The mind was a funny thing, Kim mused. First off, she was lying here thinking that the mind was a funny thing when the rest of herself was occupied with the presence of a warm body on top of hers, which, ironically, was what had got her to thinking that the mind was a funny thing to begin with.
But, anyway, the thought that has sent Kim’s mind on this tangent when the rest of her could have cared less was the thought that she had been way too judgmental of Mim when Mim had related the story of her meeting with Sheila in the parlor. At the time, Kim had thought it odd and a little impulsive that Mim had been willing to jump into the physical with Sheila. True, Mim and Sheila had, at this point, known each other for two years, had spent the last year in love with one another and were considered to be adults in their time, but Kim was still a little disappointed that Mim would cave so easily. Now, though, faced with much the same situation, Kim found herself completely empathizing with Mim and completely agreeing with her decision. Kim panicked as she realized that Mim had only been thwarted in her quest because clothing and distance to privacy had interfered. Shego was only wearing a bathing suit, and though being on beach did make privacy an issue, the cabin was but a thirty-second walk away.
Ron crept slowly along in the sand, hunkering down as best he could. The sand provided little cover and he was hoping for the element of surprise. He was still undecided on his plan; dunking them with seawater seemed like a good thought, but getting down to the water, making it back with a full bucket and dumping it on them without being seen seemed highly unlikely. And if he was seen, he would probably wind up murdered before he even completed his prank, and that would just suck in its entirety. So, seawater was out.
Next, he thought about sand. It would be easy to get, seeing as he was currently creeping through it. He thought about it for a second and then decided against it. Sand might make them mad and he really just wanted to embarrass and surprise them. He thought of a few more things, but all of them seemed too harsh. Finally after creeping closer and closer, he stumbled on an idea. He grinned. The classics were always the best.
Completely unaware that she and the inexplicably distracted person she was kissing were about to be ambushed by a stealthily moving sidekick, Shego continued her meticulous survey of Kim’s lips. Her brain had stopped coherently functioning a while back, but the few synapses that were still firing here and there had decided that this had to be some sort of hallucination brought on by too much sun, lack of sleep or something like that, because it was never supposed to happen, like winning the lotto or like Drakken succeeding with one of his dumbass schemes. It was nothing more than a hazy fantasy, or so Shego’s mind tried to convince her even as her body told her otherwise. It wasn’t until she heard the chanting of a familiar refrain that her mind started thinking it might actually be real. When the refrain repeated itself, she had come out of her trance even more, and this time she could hear the following words:
“Kim and Shego, sitting on the beach,
“K-I-S-S-I-N, um, Geech
“First comes love, then comesdating
“Then comes unrestricted procreating.”
She opened her eyes, and from the look of the face below her, Kimmie could hear it too, apparently. The mood dissolved in an instant and she cracked up, her whole body shaking with laughter as she flipped over onto the blanket.
Kim was not nearly as amused. She was mortified, actually, and her bright red face gave testimony to that. The only saving grace she could decipher was that Ron didn’t appear to be upset; or at least if he was, he was doing a darn fine job of hiding it. She opened her eyes slowly to see Ron grinning at her from above.
“So anything you wanna tell me, KP?” he asked, as a slyly mischievous grin spread on his face.
“Um, maybe one or two things,” Kim said sheepishly. Her face still burning with embarrassment, but at least she was starting to see the humor in it.
“Uh, I just remembered something that I needed from the house,” Shego said hurriedly, jumping to her feet. It seemed like things were going to be amicable, but if there was going to be boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/straight/gay angst in the offing, she was getting the hell out of here, bravery be damned. Kimmie could kick her ass for it later if she wanted.
Ron settled himself down on the blanket beside Kim, as Kim enviously watched Shego retreat. She was grateful that Shego had left because it would make things a little less complicated, but she really really wished she could join her. She glanced over at Ron nervously, but in spite of the awkweirdness of the situation, he had his normal grin on his face and was only looking at her with mild anticipation. Kim sighed softly, took a deep breath and said the first thing that came to her mind. “I’m sorry, Ron,” she said softly. “You shouldn’t have found out like this.”
“Found out what?” Ron asked. “That you have a thing for SG? Dude, that is so old news.”
Kim looked at him, her eyebrow rising slightly at his obvious confidence in his last statement. “How did you know I had a ‘thing’ for Shego when I only realized it myself a couple of days ago?” she asked, perplexed.
“Because you, while being one of the smartest people I have ever met, are amazingly oblivious when it comes to some things,” Ron stated bluntly. Kim glared at him. “What, KP? I had to tell you that I had a crush on you when it was obvious I had a crush on you for at least a year,” he pointed out.
“Okay, fine,” Kim relented. “But this is my crush we’re talking about. Shouldn’t I have been the first to know?” Ron looked at her with a raised eyebrow of his own. Kim sighed. Apparently Monique and Bonnie weren’t the only ones to have figured a few things out before she did. “When did you know?” she asked plaintively.
“Well, you have been acting weird ever since she became a member of the team,” Ron explained. “It took me a while to figure out, but then I realized that you were acting like you had with Mankey and Eric the synthrdrone and all the rest that have popped up on the radar over the years. And then it all made sense.”
“What, that I had a crush on Shego?” Kim asked.
“Yeah, and that you had a crush on her from way back,” Ron agreed. Kim looked at him in disbelief. “Like bug guy way back,” he clarified.
“I have not had a crush on Shego since the beginning,” Kim protested.
“Well, if you look at the evidence, KP, well, yeah, you kinda did,” Ron disagreed. “I mean, even before all this, it was pretty evident that she was the one villain that got under your skin.”
“She and Drakken were the ones we fought the most,” Kim pointed out. “It is natural that she would be a…a preoccupation.”
“Yeah, except that Drakken never seemed to be part of your concern,” Ron countered, a teasing grin on his face.
“Well, he was never skilled enough to pull anything off,” Kim said hastily. “I mean, if she was ever motivated, Shego might have been able to take over the world.”
“True, she might be able to,” Ron conceded. “But as far as we know, she has never tried. And she has never tried because she was into you.”
“And how do you know that?” Kim said
“She was kissing you on the beach?” Ron joked. Kim gave him a look and he chuckled unrepentantly. “I have a lot of opportunity to see stuff when I am running for my life, KP, and put into the right context, things can pop out.”
“Like?” Kim prompted.
“Like the picture of Shego in your locker that never seemed to go away, even if she was in jail or became a member of the team,” Ron jibed.
“I just never got around to changing it,” Kim muttered.
“Yeah, except that the picture of Drakken would disappear and reappear at times, so it wasn’t like it was forgotten space,” Ron deftly pointed out. Kim didn’t say anything, and Ron grinned. “And there was the way you would get pissy if we hadn’t fought them in a while, the way you would always pair up with Shego if we were forced to work with them, the way you would roll around on the ground with her oblivious to anything around you, the rapport you always seemed to have with her even when you guys were fighting…”
“All right, all right,” Kim interrupted grumpily, cutting him off. “I get it.” She sighed and looked over at him. “So you seem to be taking all of this really well,” she commented.
“I kinda figured it out a while ago, so I’ve had a while to think about it,” Ron confessed. “And I have been reading about a guy in my situation and what he thought of it, and that has helped a lot too.”
“What have you been reading?” Kim asked, curious.
“My great-great Uncle Jonathan’s journal,” Ron replied, surprising Kim, who thought that it had been part of the dream but nothing else. “I started looking for it after Mim and Sheila popped up, and I found it a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t write as much as Mim, but he wrote about the important stuff. It was nice to read that I wasn’t the only Stoppable that had been dumped by a Possible for a Goshen.”
Kim winced. Ron was being extremely nice about everything, all things considered, but the guilt that had been nagging her along the edges ramped up into a suddenly crushing intensity. “I’m sorry, Ron,” she repeated for the second time. “I never meant to hurt you. It just happened and, and I’m…”
Ron cut her off by turning toward her and grabbing her hands. “Stop with all the drama, Kim,” he ordered gently. “I’m a little sad that you aren’t going to be my girlfriend anymore, but I am not pissed off or anything else about you choosing Shego. You are still my best friend and you are always going to be my best friend even if we are not together romantically.”
“How can you be so reasonable?” Kim demanded, tears threatening to spring up. “Shouldn’t you be calling me names and stomping off in a huff or something?”
“And why would I do that?” Ron asked, honestly puzzled. “Why would I want to lose by the best friend I have had since I was four by throwing a fit about something no one really has any control over?” The mischievous grin came back and improved Kim’s mood considerably. “Unless I was so bad as a boyfriend that I turned you gay,” he teased.
“You didn’t turn me gay,” Kim confirmed, a begrudging smile starting to form. Ron really was okay with this, it seemed. But there was one thing more that she wanted to know. “But are you okay with me being gay?” she asked.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Ron asked, again a little puzzled. “It actually helps out the old ego, because if you like girls, KP, there isn’t much I can do about that. If you had let me for another guy, then it means I wasn’t good enough. Besides,” he concluded, shrugging, “lesbians are hot.”
Kim rolled her eyes. Ron was a seventeen-year old boy after all. “Well, I am glad you think so, Ron,” she replied, a wry smile on her face. She reached over and hugged him tight. “Thanks for everything, Ron,” she said.
“I wouldn’t think of doing anything else,” Ron replied sincerely, hugging her back. “But you know I am going to tease you for years about catching you guys on the beach,” he informed her cheekily.
“I wouldn’t expect anything else,” Kim assured him with a good-natured grin.
Kimmie was smiling and Stoppable was smiling. This was a good development, Shego thought as she stood at the window watching them as waited for her call to go through. Stoppable seemed to be okay with everything, and that was a relief, even though it shouldn’t have been a relief because villains like her weren’t supposed to care about other people’s feelings. But her villain cover had been blown at least three times this afternoon already, so it wasn’t that big of a shock. A pleasant voice answered on the other line, drawing her thoughts back to her task, and Shego told her what she was after. The woman put her on hold to confer with her superiors and then, after a few minutes wait, got back on the line. Friday at eight would be fine, she informed Shego. Shego grinned, thanked her and cut off the connection, happy that her first choice for her and Kimmie’s first date was available. It was going to be so much better than going to some crappy movie. She flipped her cell phone on to the couch and was about to join it when she noticed some strange activity along the horizon. She stared at it for a few seconds and her instincts signaled a warning. She grabbed the binoculars by the window, their presence there an artifact from the days when this was a villain’s pad, and used them to scan the horizon.
They were still fairly far away, but Shego could make out at least 2 helicopters and a couple of jets. Shego growled under her breath; she had a hunch that the jets would be the same type that had ambushed her and Kimmie during their flight lesson, but they were still too far away to tell. If it was them, though, they weren’t here to exchange pleasantries. They were probably here to either kidnap them or assassinate them. Shego paused for a moment, thinking, before breaking out into a smirk. Good thing hell would freeze over before they managed to find their way through the myriad passages and booby traps that had kept Shego safe from intruders and law enforcement whenever she came here. The cabin might have been simple, but the area around and below it certainly was not.
Take the underground bunker for instance. Shego had designed it to hide her vehicles while she was at the cabin, and it was now doing its job by hiding the jet that they had come in, leaving one less clue for anyone looking for them to follow. Shego glanced out the window. Three big clues were still sitting outside, however and Shego opened the back door to get Kimmie, Stoppable and the mole rat off that open beach.
“Princess, Stoppable!” she barked. “We got company. Grab the blanket and the mole rat and get over here!” Kim and Ron looked up of her voice, and shared a glance, but did as they were told, popping up off the blanket, grabbing it and making their way towards Shego.
“What’s up, Shego?” Kim asked when they arrived.
“We have helicopters and jets coming in,” Shego answered, pointing in their general direction. “I can’t say for sure, but it looks like the same type we saw before.”
“Are we going to engage them?” Kim asked, and Shego raised an eyebrow.
“Engage them? What, you going all military on me, Pink?” Shego teased. Kim glared at her. “We lack the capacity to engage them at this time, General,” Shego answered in her best military affectation. “Our aerial resources do not have the firepower required, Sir.”
“I know the jet doesn’t have weapons,” Kim said in exasperation. “I was wondering if we just wanted to go up and do what we did before.”
“Eh, I’d prefer not to skydive without a parachute again, if you don’t mind, Pumpkin,” Shego replied. “Besides, that would ruin what little element of surprise we have. I think we should just hide and see what they do when we get here.” She smirked, seeing an opportunity to tease. “I mean we should commence with covert operations to determine the enemy’s plan of attack, Sir.”
“Cut it out,” Kim ordered crossly.
“Make me,” Shego offered, grinning.
“Well, it’s good to see that nothing’s changed,” Ron muttered to Rufus, rolling his eyes. Involved or no, those two would bicker until the grave, and if Mim and Sheila were any indication, even that wouldn’t stop it.
“So where are we hiding?” Kim asked, abruptly changing the subject. “In the cabin?”
“Nope,” Shego answered. “That’s what the hideout is for.”
“Hideout?” Kim questioned.
“Well, I know you have a problem with this, Princess, but I used to be a bad guy,” Shego said, smirking. “I had to run from the cops, and when I ran here, I didn’t want them to know this was my place.”
“So you had a hideout,” Kim said, ignoring the sarcasm. “Where is it?”
“We’ll go there in a sec,” Shego said. “I am going to go inside and change. If we do end up having to fight someone or something, I would prefer not to do it in my bathing suit.” Kim’s eyebrow quirked slightly and she blushed a bit, but she did not say anything. Shego didn’t say anything either, but she definitely noticed the gesture. It intrigued her to say the least.
She disappeared into the house for a couple of minutes and came back clothed in black shorts and a green tank top. She led Kim, Ron and Rufus to the back of the house and proceeded to climb the tree that was nearest to the back door. Kim shrugged and followed suit and soon found herself on a platform that, while well hidden in the foliage of the trees that bordered the beach and cabin, afforded an excellent view of each. “This is nice,” she told Shego.
“Oh, this is not the real hideout,” Shego said. “This is the lookout.” She pointed upwards. “That is the hideout,” she told them, and Kim looked up to see a well-camouflaged building hiding in the upper branches. “This whole tree is hollow,” Shego further explained. “The trunk goes all of the way into the ground and there is another tunnel that leads, in a roundabout way, back to the cabin.” Kim was impressed; she really hadn’t known that there was anything but a small cabin on the beach and the parking garage under the sand.
Shego looked over the railing on the platform to where Ron was looking for a place to ascend. “Hold on, Stoppable,” she ordered. She flipped up a round cover in the middle of the platform to expose a ladder. She climbed down and popped the hidden hatch, allowing Ron to use the ladder to climb the tree instead of taking the same route she and Kimmie had.
“Now what?” Kim asked.
“Now we wait and see what they do,” Shego replied.
They didn’t have to wait long; all of the aircraft coming towards them were coming at a good rate of speed, and one of the helicopters made it to the beach within minutes. It hovered there for a few seconds and a zip line descended. A henchman slid down and began poking around the beach, turning over the sand here and there until he found something in the sand, examined and pocketed it. He looked around some more, scanning carefully, but they were well hidden and he couldn’t see anything beyond the house. He grabbed the line and tugged, causing whoever was in the helicopter to reel him back in.
“I can’t believe I was so stupid,” Shego grumbled.
“Why? What did he pick up?” Ron asked.
“Part of the damn Kimmunicator, doy,” she said impatiently. “That’s exactly where I blew it up. It must have had a tracking device in it.”
“So, they know we are here,” Kim said.
“Well, they know the Kimmunicator was here,” Shego confirmed. “But they can’t be sure that we were. For all they know, we could have discovered the tracking device, blown it up and thrown it out the window.”
“But it will at least give them the heads up that we probably aren’t in jail like they hoped we would be,” Kim pointed out.
“Yup,” Shego replied. All four of them sighed shortly, annoyed that their element of surprise had gone out the window. The scout team only stayed a few minutes more; both of the helicopters scouted the beach and the two jets flew by both the beach and the forest, but due to Shego’s skill, they found nothing and soon flew away. When they were sure they were gone, they climbed out of the tree and made their way back to the cabin.
“What if it is a trap?” Kim asked, giving voice to the thought that was on everyone’s mind.
“Then we kick their asses and fight our way out,” Shego suggested.
“Hm,” Kim replied.
The four of them thought some more. “What if it is a trap trap?” Ron piped up. “So, they know that we know and are planning on us knowing and are setting a trap to the trap.”
“You had to bring that up, didn’t you, Stoppable?” Shego muttered.
“I guess we’ll find out when we get there, Ron,” Kim decided and in pensive silence, they walked back to the cabin.