The days were slowly lengthening, but while there was now plenty of light in the late afternoon the figure who prowled the roofs merged so well with the shadows as to be almost invisible. Her binoculars raked the streets. She was fairly certain this was another wild goose chase, there had been many over the last eight months, but her source had sounded so certain she had to check it out. When her search first started it had been almost a hobby. For the last couple months it had become more of a challenge. In fact, it was now so close to becoming an obsession that she feared it would interfere with classes.
“Bingo,” she said softly to herself as she picked out a homeless person shuffling down the street. It matched the description she had been given, but didn't match her own memory of the woman she was seeking. Poorly dressed for the chill of spring the emaciated figure shivered as she tried to beg spare change from passers-by. The rooftop watcher could almost smell the filth of the beggar as pedestrians turned away from her in disgust. Shego felt conflicted as she searched for some sign that would confirm or deny the identity of the woman on the street below. She was torn between wanting her search to be over and hoping the woman she sought had not been reduced to this.
Shego watched the figure, waiting for a chance to talk privately with her. Eventually the woman moved into an alley, which the pale watcher suspected was her home. The street itself seemed deserted and Shego descended to the sidewalk via a fire escape. She paused, should she go in silently to try and verify the woman's identity -- and perhaps frighten her -- or make enough noise to let the street person know she was not alone? The pale woman cleared her throat loudly and kicked a piece of rubbish as she walked boldly into the alley.
She swore to herself, “Wrong, fucking choice,” as she stared at the business end of a pistol.
The rheumy eyes of the vagrant tried to focus on the pale green woman. “You! You were Drakken's bitch. Did he… Did you do this to me? Are you here to see how my life is ruined?”
“Do what to you? What happened to you? I haven't seen you in years--”
“It's the truth. I couldn't even believe it was you when I saw you.”
“But you were looking for me. You aren't here by accident. You… What did you do?”
Shego moved to the voice she used in trying to reason with three-year olds. “I really don't know what has happened to you. Please tell me.”
“My money, my house, credit cards… Everything gone. Bank says zero balance. Cards not work. I got new jobs… Money gone… Stealing my account… Even wash dishes… Live on cash… Can't cash checks, can't live anywhere… Lost it all… Been mugged… How many times… Can't even get job washing dishes now, they say… They say… Why are you here?”
“You should have turned yourself in, Amy. Jail would have been better than this.” Even as she said it Shego knew that she wouldn't have turned herself in -- even a couple times early in her criminal career when it might have made sense.
“YOU HATE ME!”
“I'll admit I never really liked you. But I would never do this to a person. Hell, three and a half years ago I might have killed you if I hadn't been in prison. But I would have never done this. I don't work like this.”
“You'd have killed me?”
“For trying to hurt Kim? I would have hurt you. You took advantage of her when she was crazy with grief. You were trying to hurt her, and you did. Everything bad you wanted to happen to her did, maybe more. But she came through it all -- and she's stronger than ever.”
“Why are you here?”
“I thought you might like to see some pictures. They had their third birthday about a month ago. They're probably the best work you've ever done. I wanted to see the woman who can work miracles. I wanted to say thank you. Can I reach into my leg pouch and get the photos?”
The gaunt woman nodded agreement. Moving slowly, not wanting to frighten her any further, Shego slowly reached down. “You know I never carry a gun, right?” Amy remained silent, watching closely as Shego's hand dipped into the pouch. Shego kept her own eyes on the gun; looking for any movement that might suggest Amy would shoot.
“Put them down on the ground and back away,” Amy ordered. Shego complied with the commands. Amy seemed to be making a little more sense. That was good. But the way the barrel of the gun was shaking was a bad sign. Shego felt like she could dodge if she knew what the shooter was doing, but if Amy pulled the trigger Shego couldn't guess where the random shots might go.
Amy shuffled forward to pick up the pictures. Shego weighed her options, she could probably overpower the geneticist without a real chance of being shot, but feared she might hurt Amy in the process. She could probably escape without a problem, but wanted to find out what had happened to Kim's former enemy. Reasoning with Amy in her current condition seemed out of the question. Shego kept her eyes on the barrel of the gun. The pistol was shaking even more violently now, it was no longer just Amy's hand, her whole bodying was swaying and Shego's choices narrowed dramatically as Amy attempted to bend down to retrieve the pictures and simply collapsed in the alleyway.
Exhaustion, exposure with hypothermia, and hunger struck Shego as the most likely problems as she checked Amy's pulse -- probably a combination of all three. She couldn't leave Amy there and Shego weighed her other options. She was sorely tempted to call the police, but she wanted to know what had happened to this woman. The pale woman sighed. She could dump the pistol in some river on the way home.
As soon as Shego got in the front door she was assaulted by her daughters. “Eemah! You're home! Who is that? She smells bad. Is she dead? Why are you carrying her?” Ron followed them from the living room and raised an eyebrow as he saw Shego's burden.
“Hush, sweeties. This is a woman your mommy and I met years ago. She is sick right now, so Eemah's going to put her to bed.”
“Did we ever meet her?” Kasy demanded.
“Not really,” Shego smiled. “But she's kind of a godmother to you.”
“Is she a fairy godmother?” Sheki asked.
“Well, your mommy and I think she can do magic. Ron, a little help here. Should I put her in Monique's old room or Justine's?”
“I think we're calling Justine's old room the guest room.”
“I'm going to put her bed. You want to help me take off her shoes and coat or fix some sort of snack to leave on the night stand for when she wakes up?”
Ron took a sniff, “I'll go to the kitchen and fix something.”
After tucking in Amy Shego went to her own room and took off her old green and black suit. She took a whiff before dumping it in the laundry hamper. She pulled on a pair of jeans and a black sweater, gathered her hair in a fast ponytail and went down to see the day's coloring projects from daycare. As she changed one question kept running through her mind,“What am I going to tell Kim?”