There was something to be said about sleeping at home, Kim mused as she took off at a dead run toward school. Home had toiletries, her backpack, her alarm clock, and perhaps most importantly, a closet full of her own clothes. At least there had been a shower stocked with shampoo and soap at the Mansion, so Kim was confident that she didn’t stink, but she was seconds away from being late to class with no homework and dressed head to toe in Shego’s clothing. The only good point about the entire situation was that Shego had really nice taste in clothes and the budget and/or burglary skills to back it up, so Kim was lucky to have had a lot of nice-looking stuff to choose from.
Kim bolted through the door just as the bell was ringing, and luckily for her, her first class was fairly close. She slid into her seat just as the bell stopped ringing and was greeted by Ron, who much to her surprise, was holding her backpack.
“Morning, KP!” Ron chirped. “I stopped by your house this morning to pick you up, but your Mom said you weren’t there. She asked me to bring you this because you forgot it.” He paused, noticing her clothes, and gave her the once over. “Nice threads, KP,” he said admiringly.
“They’re borrowed,” Kim said embarrassedly.
“They would have to be,” Monique chimed in from her other side. “Unless you are getting a whole lotta money from baby-sitting.” She looked at the form-fitting v-neck sweater Kim had picked out. “It might be fluorescent green, but you know that is cashmere, right?” she asked. “And that those jeans are only sold in about 2 places in the entire United States?”
“I don’t know if they were actually bought,” Kim muttered.
“And just who are you borrowing from?” Monique asked pointedly.
“I got stuck at the Mansion last night,” Kim admitted. Monique’s eyebrows rose and she said nothing, but her expressive face went through several shifts ranging from smugness to concern as she thought about it. Ron, still half-listening to the conversation, was surprised to hear about this development.
“You were at the Mansion? Why? Was something up with Shego?” he asked.
“She wasn’t home,” Kim answered, glad to clarify. “I was there to see Mim.”
“Ah,” Ron said, nodding his head.
“Who’s Mim?” Monique asked.
“The Possible in the picture you saw in my room,” Kim answered.
“I got the impression that both of those ladies had passed on,” Monique said.
“They did, about 15 years ago,” Kim answered. “Mim’s a ghost.”
Monique looked at Kim and then looked at Ron for confirmation. He nodded. She shrugged, not really surprised, and turned her attention to Mr. Barkin, who today was subbing for their biology teacher and who was glaring at them all for being disruptive and talking when class was supposed to start. Kim and Ron followed suit and class began, effectively tabling the conversation for the moment.
The three of them split up after class, each heading to a different elective. Monique and Ron were in the advanced home ec classes on the other side of the school and Kim was in the language arts class that was just down the hallway. They said bye to one another, and as Monique and Ron were making their way to Advanced Design and Advanced Cuisines of the World, respectively, Ron’s cell phone went off. “Yo, what up, dawg?” Ron asked.
“Can’t you just say hello like a regular person, Stoppable?” Shego implored.
“Hey Shego!” Ron said happily. “We were just talking about you.” His brow scrunched. “But why are you calling me and not Kim?”
“I couldn’t get a hold of her. I called Nerdlinger and he couldn’t get a hold of her either,” Shego answered. “Then I remembered that you were the only one with the brains to have a regular old cell phone.”
“Um, thanks?” Ron replied, not sure if it was a complement or not. “So, what do you need, SG?”
Shego rolled her eyes. He had insisted on calling her that most of the time ever since she joined the team. She still wasn’t quite sure if she liked it or it annoyed the shit out of her. “I was calling to see what time you guys get out for lunch. We have some stuff to talk about and we need to talk about it soon,” she told him.
“We have lunch from 12:30 to 1:00,” Ron replied. “Hey, are you gonna spring for Bueno Nacho?”
“Great. I will see the three of you then. And no, I refuse to actually spend any more money in that place. Bye, Stoppable,” Shego said, cutting off the call. She tossed her cell phone down into the seat beside of her, needing to focus all of her concentration on flying. Jack Hench had done a really nice job and the jet was now gorgeous. Gone was the hideous mottled rainbow paint job; it had been replaced with stealth-fighter black and the stylish “KP” logo on the left and right sides of the tail. Jack had got it done more quickly than Shego had anticipated and she had been surprised to get his call yesterday. She had also expected it to take longer than it had to get out to his place, collect both the plane and some information and get back. That had been why she had told Kimmie not to expect her for a couple of days, yet she had managed to turn around the entire trip in less than 24 hours. She was glad she had though. Jack had told her some things about those planes, it fit with the suspicions she already had, and something major was about to go down; she just knew it. She flew for a few minutes, just thinking, but something whizzed by far too close on the left and it snapped Shego out her funk. She shook her head, clearing it, and made for the hangar at the Middleton airport. She landed about 12:15, stashed the plane and grabbed her car, a brand-new green Cobra Mustang, peeling out of the parking lot and hauling ass towards Middleton High.
She parked in a visitor spot and strode in through the front door just as the clock struck 12:30. She glanced around for Kim and/or Ron, but she did not see them immediately. So, seeing one person in the crowd that she knew, she strolled up to him and asked after Kim and Ron’s whereabouts. “Hey, Big Mike,” she said, looking up. “Have you seen Kimmie or Stoppable around?”
“Can’t say I have, Shego,” he answered, looking down. He looked sheepish and shuffled his feet. “Sorry about last week,” he apologized.
“S’okay, Big Mike,” Shego reassured him. “You didn’t know I was working for Kimmie nowadays, and you always did know how to put me out of commission. Just sit elsewhere from now on, would ya?”
“Sure thing, Shego,” he said. “And if I see Kim, I’ll let her know you are looking for her.”
“Thanks, Mike,” Shego replied.
“If you are looking for your girlfriend, she will be coming down that hallway,” an annoyingly dismissive voice from behind told them.
They both turned. Big Mike growled and Shego had to agree with the sentiment. “Ah, Rockwaller,” she said. “A perfect reminder of why I hated high school more than I hated my family.”
“Why? Because a freak like you could never fit in and people like me are constant reminders of that?” Bonnie taunted.
“No, because I was still on the good side in high school and I couldn’t murder petty little bitches like you,” Shego said honestly. She sidled up to Bonnie, pinning her up against a locker, and Bonnie could feel the menace flowing off of her. It made Bonnie duly terrified and she shrunk back. “A word of advice, Rockwaller,” Shego said low and purposefully, “Stop trying to stir up shit regarding Kimmie and Stoppable. As a matter of fact, stop pestering Kimmie altogether or I might have go to back to my evil ways.”
Bonnie wanted to crawl into the locker, but natural hubris took over first. “Fine, whatever,” she spat, trying to sound brave, but still looking mostly terrified. Satisfied, Shego turned away, only to here Bonnie mutter “Psycho.” She whipped around, ready to make good on her promise when a voice stopped her.
“Shego!” Kim called. “Over here!” Shego smiled, quite unintentionally considering she was performing her patented hard-ass bitch routine.
Bonnie snorted. “Someone looks like someone is on a short leash,” she sniffed.
“You’d better hope she never lets me off the chain, Rockwaller,” Shego informed her in a menacing purr. Bonnie cowered. “Later, Big Mike,” Shego said, turning around.
“Later, Shego” Big Mike answered.
Shego nodded in acknowledgement and started walking through the crowd, scanning for a familiar red head as she did so. She found Kim easily enough and started heading in that direction only to stop abruptly when she was able to see Kim in her entirety. Though her face contracted into a scowl, she wasn’t actually angry; she was completely blown away by the sight of Kim in her clothes. Shego was so thoroughly blown away that she wasn’t really firing on all cylinders, and that had caused her expression to revert to its default position of grumpy. She stood there for a few moments more, and as thought started trickling back in and she started getting her hormones under control, she finally got why Nana Sheila had been perfectly content to stare at Nana Mim when there were sharp, pointy and death-wielding things all around them.
Kim, even from where she was, could see the expression and she sighed. Shego was angry, or so she thought. Just one more annoyance that her choice of clothing had caused, Kim grumbled to herself. She hadn’t wanted to anger Shego, nor had she wanted the attention that had been lavished on her due to her choice of clothing. Add in the fact the clothes themselves had smelled so cloyingly of Shego that Kim had been distracted for most of the day, and Kim was really wishing she had just taken the time to go home and get her own clothes, tardy or not. She threaded herself through the crowd, intent on getting to Shego to apologize for borrowing her clothes without permission. She had made it about halfway when she was able to see Shego from top to bottom, and much like Shego had done, she stopped dead in her tracks. It had been a while since she had seen Shego in the catsuit, over a month to be exact, and now, being quite a bit more aware of certain realities than she had been previously, Kim realized how formfitting it really was.
The charge between them was palpable, and every student in the hallway felt it. Most of the students glanced at them and hurried away to find a good place to watch. Pretty much the entire school knew who Shego was (the rumor mill had made sure of that) but few knew that she and Kim were now friends and so most thought that a fight was going to break out. Even those who knew they were friends thought a fight was going to break out. Monique was the only exception; she knew exactly what was going on.
The tableau held for a few moments more before Shego’s brain kicked in all the way and she roused herself by repeating the mantra of “underage straight girl with a boyfriend” over and over in her head. Relaxing her expression, she continued her path towards Kim. “So, what’s the deal, here, Kimmie?” she asked when she got there. “Run out of crap in your own closet and decided to raid mine? That whole ‘the house is half yours’ thing doesn’t apply to my clothing, ya know.”
Kim, having snapped out of it when Shego had stepped up to her, rolled her eyes. “I know that, Shego,” she said. “I got stuck at the Mansion last night and I had nothing to wear this morning.”
“Stuck at the Mansion?” Shego queried. “Don’t you live like five minutes away?”
“I do, but it was like two in the morning and I was tired,” Kim countered. “And I was told it was all right.”
“By whom?” Shego asked. “I wasn’t home last night.”
“My spiritual advisor,” Kim replied with a small grin.
Shego rolled her eyes, knowing what Kim was getting at. “So, who popped out of the mirror this time?” she asked nonchalantly, hoping that it had not been Nana Sheila because Nana Sheila would flat out tell Kim exactly what Shego did not want Kim to know.
“Aunt Mim,” Kim replied, to Shego’s relief.
“It would be just like her to offer to let you stay,” Shego grumbled. “She always was the softhearted one in that pair. Did she say you could wear my clothes, too?”
“No,” Kim admitted. “But I was late and I needed something to wear.”
“Well, you made a good choice,” Shego acquiesced. “They look better on you than they do on me.” Predictably, Kim blushed and Shego rolled her eyes for a second time. “I won’t get pissed if you get them dry cleaned before you give them back to me,” she offered.
“Deal,” Kim agreed. “If you tell me where you got this,” she said, pointing to the yellow and green “KP” logo that she had noticed was affixed to the left shoulder of Shego’s catsuit after she had come out of her lustful haze.
“Oh, that,” Shego replied noncommittally. “I had it made and then sewed it on. I figured it might give people a heads up on what side I was on.”
“You sewed it on?” Kim asked incredulously.
“Yes, I sewed it on,” Shego countered. Kim still looked dubious. “It’s moving a needle and thread in and out of fabric, Princess. It is not rocket science.”
Kim smiled. “I like it,” she said, wanting to touch it, but given its proximity to Shego’s left breast, she just wasn’t going to go there.
“Of course you do. You want to put your mark on everything,” Shego replied, not unkindly, but with obvious deeper meaning. Before Kim could respond to it though, Shego had moved on. “Stoppable!” she barked. “You ready for lunch?”
“Always, SG,” Ron replied amiably, appearing at her side.
“Good. Then let’s go,” Shego replied shortly. “You guys only get a half hour.”
“Bueno Nacho is only five minutes away,” Ron pointed out.
“We aren’t going there, Stoppable,” Shego retorted irritably. “So get that thought out of your one track mind.”
“One day you will appreciate the beauty of the Bueno Nacho,” Ron insisted.
“Yeah, whatever,” Shego said. “Let’s go.”
They ended up at MacRonald’sŪ, and after they had ordered and sat down, Shego began explaining where she had been and what she had found out. “Those planes were a custom job done by Jack Hench,” she explained, passing out some photographs of them as works-in-progress. “Jack said he had never dealt with the guy before and that he paid cash.”
Kim looked at one of the photographs. “Does Mr. Hench have any idea of what he looks like?” she asked.
“No,” Shego answered. “Jack never saw him, either in person or by video phone. The only thing he could tell me was that he had a weird sort of maniacal chuckle.”
“That isn’t much to go on,” Kim complained mildly. “What are we supposed to do? Make every villain we find laugh?”
“We could send Rufus up their shirts,” Ron offered. At the mention of his name, Rufus looked up from where he was gorging himself on Shego’s fries and nodded.
“Hey, you little naked mole rat bastard! Get out of my fries!” Shego commanded in an annoyed voice. Rufus looked offended and went to snack on Ron’s fries. Shego zapped him with a small amount of plasma from her forefinger as he went by, causing him to jump. He turned around and squeakily told her off. Shego chuckled, handing him one of her fries as a peace offering. Rufus accepted, ate it and promptly ran up her sleeve to perch on her shoulder. Shego sighed and Kim giggled. Rufus had taken a shine to Shego and though she would never admit it, Shego liked him too.
“So we know a little something else, but not much more about the planes,” Kim stated, getting them back on track. “We don’t even know who bought them.”
“No, we don’t,” Shego allowed. “But we do know where they were delivered. Jack gave me the coordinates and the place is somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.”
“Who had lairs there?” Kim pondered. “Dementor had one, Monkey Fist had one, and DNamy had one, but they all got destroyed.”
Shego shrugged. “We may be dealing with someone new here, Princess,” she pointed out. “But, you could ask Nerdlinger to check the coordinates for you and see if you’ve been there before.” Kim looked embarrassed. “But you don’t have your Kimmunicator, now do you?” Shego taunted.
“No,” Kim admitted. She thought for a moment, and then said something that had been on her mind for most of the conversation. “So how do we know this information is accurate?” she asked reasonably. “Hench works for the people we go up against; he could be deliberately misleading us.”
“True,” Shego replied. “But he is also a businessman. He knows how much money I have at my disposal and he is not about to piss off one of his better customers, especially one that has the means to destroy his entire operation.”
“Did you blackmail him for this information?” Kim asked, dismayed.
“No,” Shego replied truthfully. “I bribed him.” Kim sighed. “What, Pink?” Shego asked with a smirk. “You can take the girl out of the criminal underworld but you can’t take the criminal underworld out of the girl.”
“We’ll see about that,” Kim muttered.
“Is that a threat, Princess?” Shego asked, her grin getting wider at the thought of a challenge.
“Maybe,” Kim retorted, a grin forming on her own face. Ron rolled his eyes and Rufus followed suit. Shego had actually melded with the two of them far better than Ron had anticipated, but a certain times, like now for instance, the old habits flared up, causing Shego and Kim to revert to their hyper-competitive ways.
He was about to say something, but was stopped by the sound of Shego’s wrist kimmunicator going off.
“What’s up, Nerdlinger?” Shego inquired of Wade when she had answered it. There was no way in hell she would ever answer with “What’s the sitch?”
“There’s been a break in at the N-Bohrium,” Wade told them.
“The who in the where now?” Shego asked. “Am I just supposed to know what or where in the hell that is?”
“It is the chemical plant on the edge of town,” Kim explained. “You know, Niels Bohr, the physicist guy.” Shego still looked blank. “It is a play on the element named after him because it is a chemical plant,” Kim further clarified.
Shego looked at her expressionless for several seconds before quirking an eyebrow. “You are diving into the murky waters of geekdom by knowing that,” she stated. “You are aware of that, right, Pink?”
“My parents are geeks,” Kim reminded her. “It is genetic.” She looked across the table. “Better take it to go, Ron,” she said. “We have a mission.”
“Right behind you, KP,” Ron said, shoving the remainder of his food in a bag, and together the three of them got up and left the restaurant.