He flipped the switch, but no light came on in his office. He muttered a low curse and was about to turn around to find someone from maintenance when a voice ordered him back into the dark room.
“Sit down, we're going to have a long talk about a mutual acquaintance.”
“Awfully melodramatic, aren't you, Shego?”
“It's for your own good. If I see a smirk on your face after what you've done I might not be able to stop myself from beating the crap out of you.”
“Are you serious?”
“I'm serious. Even after our years of friendship I'm tempted to beat the crap out of you for what you did to Amy. Nobody deserves that.”
“I have no idea what you're talking about.”
“You know exactly what I'm talking about. I've got the computer logs.”
“Drakken would have never hurt her. She saved his life. And he was at Innsmouth most of the times when you cracked her bank accounts and credit reports.”
Wade swore loudly. “I should have never taught you those computer cracks.”
“Yeah, but you did. And now it's come back to bite you in the ass.”
“So, what are you going to do? Turn me over to the police? I was a minor when I screwed up her life.”
“You were a minor with three PhDs. I think the courts would be willing to try you as an adult. And you've kept running searches to find if she gets any new credit or bank accounts. The last search was only four months ago. You were nineteen. Some heart-wrenching testimony about how badly you screwed up her life and you could be looking at a long sentence.”
Wade remained silent.
“You've got no regrets, do you?”
“Nope, she messed up Kim's life. I messed up her life. It seems fair to me.”
“Maybe Kim wasn't thinking very clearly. But Amy did what Kim asked. It wasn't Amy's idea. And don't you ever call our girls a mistake or say they messed up Kim's life.”
After another minute of silence Wade asked, “What do you plan to do? Are you going to turn the evidence over to the police and have me arrested? I can afford some awfully good lawyers.”
“I want you to give Amy back her life. Put her money back in her name; fix her credit ratings. Oh, put her money back with interest -- maybe in the form of some preferred stock in Lipsky and Load.”
“You won't go to the police?”
“You're letting me off cheap.”
“Look, if I could rip three years out of your life to give to her, I would. But that can't happen. Monetary restitution is the best I can think of. Also, I want you to wipe out her criminal record while you're at it. There isn't much. You can leave on the information about her getting fired for doing experiments her university didn't want her to conduct. Hell, that ought to make her a hero to you.”
Wade muttered something Shego couldn't catch. “What was that?” she asked.
“Who have you told?”
“I haven't told anyone it was you. You're good for the Doc. He doesn't even know what happened to Amy. I hope you still value the good opinion of Kim and Ron. When I said I knew who had hurt Amy he offered to cripple the bastard who did it. It was easy enough for you to sit in front of a computer and ruin someone's life. We saw the consequences. None of us liked Amy. Hell, I'm still not sure if we do. But we have a lot of sympathy for her right now. You managed to accomplish something I didn't believe possible. Do this the easy way and I won't tell them. It's your choice. Give her back some of her life and I keep my mouth shut, or you'll spend more money on lawyers to keep yourself out of jail and what you did will be known to everyone.”
“I'll do it.”
“You'll do what?”
“I'll give her back her bank accounts, restore her credit, clean up her record.”
“When? I want you to start on it today. We want her out of the house.”
Wade swore again, “She's staying with you?”
“Yeah, you came close to killing her… “ Shego paused to collect herself, remembering how she found Amy made her want very badly to hurt Wade.
And the young man wasn't helping his own case. Shego was still one of the few people he was willing to vent in front of, and her promise to keep this incident a secret allowed him to express more of his bitterness towards Kim, Amy, and Joss.
Shego let him ramble on; when he finally slowed his rant she asked him, “Do you really believe Kim would intentionally ever do anything to hurt you?”
“No,” he replied sullenly. “But she didn't stick up for me with Joss. I made Kim, and she deserted me.”
“You made Kim?”
“She was a junior high kid. It was my brains that made Team Possible. I was the one who found the bad guys, found a way to get her places, made her weapons, helped her win the fights. And I never got any credit. The spotlight was always Kim and Ron.”
“She was the one who faced the danger, fought the fights, and inspired others. You sat back and ate too many burgers and sucked down too many sodas. You needed each other. She still wants your friendship. I hope you want hers.
“Wade,” she said softly, “you need to get your personal life in order. Maybe it's hard for you because you're a genius. You got sent off to college when other kids were playing with action figures and toy trucks. You never learned how to interact with people. That was the problem with you and Joss, why nothing ever happened.”
Wade remained silent.
“Look, prison is not the place to learn interpersonal skills. The first lesson you learn is don't bend over if you drop the soap. You took my advice when you were the fat kid. The physical exercise and better diet has given you a healthy body, you look good. I've got more advice. Get some therapy. Spend more real time with real people and less time in front of the computer or in the lab.”
Wade sat silently.
After a moment Shego asked, “Will you think about it?”
He nodded, and she quietly left.
It took a couple days for Amy to receive new credit cards and access to her bank accounts. Like that first breakfast at Casa Possible Shego had to warn her not to overdue at first, but the geneticist wanted a car, and clothes and her life back as quickly as she was able.
Amy gave up on saying goodbye to Kim before she left. 'Holly' had readThe Cat in the Hat one last time to the twins and the pair was enthusiastically watching The Wiggles while the geneticist and Shego had coffee and finished the last batch of snickerdoodles in the kitchen.
“There are universities all over the world that would want you,” Shego told her. “And they don't all have restrictions placed by congresses trying to suck up to Neanderthalic conservatives. A university's research budget would be nice to have.”
“Maybe later. I have plenty of money for right now. I'm going to get my Cuddle Buddy™ collection back together and see old friends… I really want to thank you. I didn't like you. I tried to hurt you and Kim, and you still saved my life. If I can ever do anything for you let me know… Do you and Kim want to try for another daughter?”
“I think Kim said two was enough for her.”
“Well, this could be your turn.”
“Uh, after watching Kim through pregnancy and getting back into shape afterwards I think I'll pass.”
“If you change your mind, let me know.”
A little later, after hugs from the twins and a promise made, Amy was gone.
Kim made it home early on Thursday -- or perhaps very late since she had not come home Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday nights. A group of National Geographic cameramen and environmental scientists had gotten lost while working on a story on deforestation of the Amazon basin. Rumors of Shining Path guerillas in the area brought Global Justice into the search.
She needed a shower and nap, in that order, but heard the sound of the television and looked into the living room, “Ron! How can you let them watch that?”
“Hey, KP, I don't think they understand anything on the show. It's just a chance to see aunt Bonnie on TV.”
“You'd better get a good job when you graduate. You're going to be paying for their therapy. Or you can pay me back by working for Global Justice. I could really use you to watch my back.”
“I thought you had that Latisha chick as your second.”
“Don't ever let her hear you call her a chick. I think the only reason Latisha doesn't stick a knife in my back is because it would look bad on her performance review. Latisha is the new Bonnie -- as in the old high school Bonnie. Where are 'Holly' and Shego?”
“Holly is gone. Check the kitchen for Shego, she was looking greener than usual when I saw her.”
Kim found Shego in the kitchen, staring off vacantly into space. “What happened to your forehead?”
“My forehead?” Shego asked in a hollow voice.
“Yes, your forehead. It looks bruised.”
“I've been pounding my head against the wall. Amy's gone.”
“That's what Ron said. I don't understand the forehead bit. I thought she got on your nerves too. Did she steal something?”
“I would rather she had.”
“You're making no sense. Why were you hitting your head against the wall?”
Shego stared at Kim, “It's true what they say, you know, no good deed goes unpunished.”
Kim was sorely tempted to shake Shego until her teeth rattled. Finally, the pale woman began to speak again. “She wants to go looking for Monty.”
“Weird, but typical Amy. I don't see how it could leave you like this.”
“She loves our girls, Kim.”
Kim smiled. “Yeah, everyone loves those two.”
“She asked if she could come to their birthday party next year. I wasn't thinking. I said yes.”
Kim patted Shego on the hand. “That's not so bad.”
“She promised the girls she would bring them a pet.”
It took a moment for the enormity of the situation to sink in.
“What's the noise about in there?” Ron called from the living room.
“Kim's beating her head against the wall.”
“Why is she doing that?”
“Because it feels so good when you stop.”
Kim sat down at the table and took Shego's hand. “What are we going to do?”
“I don't know, Kim. I love this house. But maybe it's time to sell it and live on an uncharted island in the Pacific. I mean; if the choices are live on coconut for the rest of my life or share a house with a pet Amy makes I'd have to go with the coconut.”
Author's Note: I have not yet decided what the pet will be -- if I continue writing. It will not be a small family of cats. I am 98 percent sure of that. I'm pretty sure Amy did NOT collect hair samples from their brushes for DNA content before she left. There is a greater chance, if the pet is introduced, that it will be given the name Smaug.