“Kim, what's up?”
“I need some help Wade. I need you to find someone for me. And Wade, I think I also need to apologize to you. I've really been ignoring you… I've been ignoring everyone the last couple months. I'm sorry.”
“That's okay, Kim. We all know you've been preoccupied with Shego in the hospital. Who do you want me to try and find?”
Kim hoped Wade didn't ask why she wanted the information. She was prepared to lie.
Kim drove up to the house at the address Wade had given her. A small white cottage with green trim, surrounded by flower beds. It certainly didn't look like the home of a super villain. Kim could hear the chimes in the house after she pushed the buzzer. Then there was movement in the house. The front door opened a crack, the security chain in place. A startled eye saw Kim and the door began to close.
Kim kicked the door, hard, ripping the security chain from the frame and knocking down the heavy-set woman behind the door.
“What do you want Kimberly?” she growled.
“This is just a little social call. Aren't you going to ask me in for tea?”
“Social call? That door frame will come out of my security deposit!”
“Oh, I'll pay you back for the door frame.” Kim offered her hand to help the woman up, “Please, Amy, I just want a cup of tea and a little chat.”
The dumpy woman poured them each a cup of tea, but kept the Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies for herself.
“So, are you going to tell me some lie about wanting to talk Cuddle Buddies™, or going to cut to the truth?”
Kim stared at DNAmy. If fighting skills were called for there were few people in the world Kim couldn't defeat -- but her fighting skills weren't going to help her in this situation.
“Oh, you're going to let me guess why you're here. There are rumors on that you are sleeping with Drakken's bitch. Is that true? I never liked her, a nasty and sarcastic little tramp. I was quite pleased to hear she'd been shot.”
“SHE'S NOT DRAKKEN'S BITCH! HER NAME IS SHEGO!”
“Oh, I seem to have struck close to home. My first guess, too. I deserve a reward.” Amy took another cookie.
Kim realized she was off to a poor start. “Yes, Shego and I are lovers.”
“And does that have anything to do with why you are here?”
“Yes, it does.”
“Oh, how wonderful. Tell me about it. I always thought I'd like to combine Shego with a Burmese python. I thought it would be a natural. You… You I would combine with a tiger. You're both predators, but nothing alike. I can't imagine how the two of you ended up together.”
Amy appeared to know that her chatter would simply irritate Kim.
“Amy, I was wondering if you'd heard about a mouse name Kaguya?”
“Know of Kaguya?” Amy laughed. “I was on the team. Tomohiro brought me over especially to work on the project. You've just read news accounts, haven't you. My name appears on the scientific report. I'm very proud of my work on the project. Oh, my, is this what you have in mind? Is that why you came looking for me?”
Kim attempted to preserve some mystery. “So, tell me Amy. Do the fact you are a wanted woman mean you have to charge less for your work, or can you demand a premium because you are willing to take on projects no other geneticist will touch?”
“I demand a premium, Kimberly. If you thought you could pay me for what you have in mind I have to disappoint you. You can't have enough money to pay me for my consulting fees -- and for my services it requires much more.”
“That's okay. You probably couldn't do it anyway, not without Tomohiro Kono's lab and equipment.”
“Oh, how darling. Now you're trying to appeal to my vanity. Pretend you think I can't do it so I'll do what you want just to prove you wrong. I already know what I'm capable of and have no need of proving it to you. What do you have left -- you could threaten me… or are you going to offer yourself to me? Sorry, Kimberly, neither will work. You don't hurt people, and I'm perfectly straight and have no interest in you at all.”
Kim shuddered, she had certainly never considered making that sort of an offer. “I guess I was just hoping the challenge… You know, something to add to your reputation…”
“Kimberly, I worked on the team when Dr. Kono proved it possible for two females to produce a baby. There are a couple interesting elements to your idea, but it doesn't interest me as a challenge. Reputation? You think I need to add to my reputation? The fact you are here begging me for my help tells me what kind of a reputation I have. You come to a woman who hates you because you know I am the only person in the world who might be able to give you what you want. Reputation…” DNAmy fell silent. “Reputation,” she repeated softly. “Have a cookie, Kimberly, let me think about this for a minute.”
Amy slid the Milano cookies over to Kim, tilted her head back and closed her eyes. As Kim ate a cookie she watched Amy's lips move, as if the stocky woman was carrying on a debate with herself.
Amy opened her eyes and looked at Kim. “Your proposal may interest me. Let's talk for a few minutes about what it really means, and whether you really want to go through with this.” Amy gave Kim a lop-sided grin. Kim took it as a good sign. She couldn't read the face of the homely woman well enough to know it was a smile of pure evil.
“First, how are you going to get egg cells from Shego? I can't imagine the hospital is cooperating with this.”
“Ah, well that is going to be a problem. We can't get egg cells from Shego.”
“Then why are you wasting my time?”
“I read about haploidisation - can't geneticists split diploid cells into a haploid cells?”
“Haploidisation is just a word to you, isn't it Kimberly? A haploid cell isn't necessarily a gamete -- those are only the egg and sperm. Tomohiro figured out how to activate gene receptors on the two eggs for them to be accepted by the other with a similar effect to sperm. You can't even furnish an egg to work with? This is too much work -- forget it.”
“So you can't use blood cells or any other body cells?”
“I might, but I don't think I want the bother… Wait, does Shego even know what you are planning?”
“No, she doesn't.”
“Oh, Kimberly, how delightfully evil of you. You want to make her a father without her knowledge or permission. You're raping her--”
“Oh, yes you are. And that alone makes this interesting enough to be talk about a little longer. You will be able to get a small blood sample at the hospital?”
“They are taking them all the time.”
“Oh, wonderful, and you will be stealing it too. This only gets better, Kimberly. I will enjoy this ever so much. Let me see, where to start…
“Let's pretend for a minute I really am going to help you. First, you would need to leave me a blood sample. I would want to work on producing an artificial gamete -- you are lucky I worked with Tomohiro, only someone on the team would have a chance of doing that. I'll use my biggest needle, it will leave a bruise.”
“Is a big needle necessary?”
“No, but I'm not charging you. I'll get my pleasure where I can.
“Second, you would need to monitor your cycle. I'll need to know when to give you the clomiphene citrate -- it's a hormone treatment so you'll produce multiple eggs.”
“Actually, I've done a little reading on the harvesting process. Here is the information on my cycle.” Kim handed a sheet of paper to Amy, who studied it.
“A narrow window here Kimberly. You would need the clomiphene citrate in three days -- or wait a month. And the total procedure will take days. I'd rather not wait around here two more months after you've demonstrated I can be found. You and I both need to decide, and now, whether we're talking hypothetically or for real. If you want this, I'll start to experiment with the haploidisation today. If that can't be done there is no point in proceeding further. If it can be done, you are going to experience a lot of pain.”
“A lot of pain?”
“Oh, yes, that will be my favorite part. Egg harvesting is usually done under general anesthesia. But, of course, if you let me put you under you are liable to wake up genetically bonded with an Irish Setter -- you'd make a very pretty bitch. No, Kim, you'll have to make do with a local -- you'll need your mind clear in case I try something. Hearing you scream in pain will be lovely. Oh, try and have Shego's blood sample here before the egg harvesting. You may need a couple days to recuperate afterwards. Still want to move forward?”
Kim shook her head yes, “Then what?
“Oh, you can relax for a few days. Then I have my hard work -- getting your egg cells to accept the gametes I develop from Shego's blood cells. There are no guarantees there, but I'll do my best to make sure you have some healthy little zygotes. If they mature to the blastula stage you are back here for implantation. There are still no guarantees. Most fertilized eggs don't implant -- even in healthy women. The success rate for in vitro fertilization isn't even twenty per cent -- but a lot of that might stem from the fact that women who need IVF often have problems with conception, which is why they turn to IVF.”
“Does implantation hurt?”
“No, but it's rather uncomfortable. I'll try to be gentle. You don't need any stress. Spend a few days in bed.”
“And then the most anxious two weeks of your life as you wait to find out whether there is success or not. If implantation takes place it should be a normal pregnancy -- remembering, of course, that miscarriage is always possible in any pregnancy. Is this really what you want? Are you ready for this?”
“Yes, its what I want. A baby that will be really mine and Shego's. I'm ready.”
“You little fool. There is no way you can be ready for what is going to happen to you.”
Amy had instructed Kim to call in two days.
“Amy? How does it look?”
“All indications are that I can create a functioning gamete. You need to stop by tomorrow for the hormone treatment. Then, like I said, you will need to get me one of Shego's blood samples before the harvesting next week.”
Kim watched as the nurse drew a small blood sample from Shego.
“So, what are the doctors saying about me?”
“Everyone is surprised at how well you are doing. You'll probably be upgraded from serious to fair condition sometime late next week and moved out of Intensive Care -- a couple of the physicians aren't even sure you need to be here now.”
“Hear that Kim. And from fair condition I'll probably be upgraded to prisoner. I hope Global Justice has better food.”
As the nurse pushed the cart from the room Kim gave Shego a kiss. “I'm sorry, but I have to run. I… I have some business. I'm not sure how long its going to take me. You may not see me for a couple weeks.”
Shego looked disappointed.
“I'm really sorry. And I really have to run.”
Kim did need to run -- run and jostle the cart as it went down the hallway. Kim apologized to the nurse, as she pocketed Shego's blood sample. Cell harvesting was scheduled for the next morning. If it was anywhere as painful as DNAmy had promised it would be Kim didn't think she'd be going anywhere for a couple days.
Kim desperately wished she had more time to think about this. But time was one of the things she did not have with Shego. Was Shego right? Was it a crazy plan that would only mess up the rest of her life? If Kim and Shego had a future, if they had years together they could think and plan about what they wanted to do. Kim wouldn't have this frantic need for a baby if she knew she and Shego had a future. But Shego would be heading to prison, a prison specifically designed to withstand even her skills. She might never come out.
Could Kim find another great love in her life someday? Was Shego right about that -- a little heart-break was good for a young person and someone better would come along? Kim thought about the times Shego had saved her life in the last few months. Shego was right. Gratitude is not a good reason to bear a baby. But love is. Kim felt gratitude to Shego for saving her life -- but she also felt love. What was that saying about 'no greater love than laying down your life for a friend?' That was the love Shego had demonstrated. Kim would never find anyone else willing to die for her that way. She knew Shego loved her. And Kim could not imagine ever finding anyone she could feel as strongly for.
Kim knew it was an insane plan. But she could think of no other idea to always have the woman she loved with her in a tangible way. This would be their child. She wished she could talk with her mother, Monique, or anyone who could give her rational advice. She knew what all of them would say. But none of them knew the depth of her feelings. As frightening as the whole prospect was, Kim had to make the decision unilaterally.
“Here is Shego's blood sample.”
“Very good, Kimberly. Drink plenty of fluids before the harvesting tomorrow.”
“In the reading I've done… Are you going to use the laparoscopic method?”
“No, that would give you more pain, but the ultrasound probe and needle are faster and more effective. Hopefully it will be over in about twenty to twenty-five minutes.”
Kim looked around DNAmy's sterile room. It looked like she was equipped for anything. “Uh, Amy, I'm sorry I always think of you as just a villain. I forget how educated you are. This is a real medical procedure and you are probably the only person in the world who can do it. Thank you.”
“Don't thank me, Kim. Don't thank me. Reputation is the only thing I'm thinking about. Oh, and the pain you're about to experience. That local will dull some of it. But you need to throw your head back and scream when the pain hits -- it will be good practice for nine months from now.”
Kim clenched her teeth. She wouldn't give Amy the satisfaction of showing pain. Her composure lasted for about five minutes -- then she screamed until her throat was raw and blacked out.
Kim recovered in minutes. She was sweaty and felt miserable, but this should be the worst of it. “How did it go?” she managed to croak.
“Just wonderfully!” Amy seemed amazingly upbeat. “Three eggs. They're in nutritive culture material in that incubator. I think this is going to work.”
Amy brought Kim some Milano cookies and some orange juice. “Just relax for an hour or so. It's usually an outpatient procedure, you just had it worse than most women. You're strong, you should be able to drive yourself home.”
“When will I know something?”
“Call me in two days. By then I'll know whether you have zygotes or failure.”
Kim crawled into bed when she got home and stayed there for the rest of the day. Amy had assured her that this was the worst physical pain of the entire process. Kim wondered if she should be suspicious of the way Amy had said, 'worst physical pain.'
“Kim, you don't look well. You shouldn't go to visit Shego.”
“But, Mom --”
“No buts, with all the problems she's had the last two months she doesn't need you giving her a cold or the flu.”
DNAmy answered the phone on the third ring. “Hello?”
“Amy, this is Kim. What is the news on fertilization?”
“Two of the eggs accepted the gametes I produced from Shego's blood. The third failed.”
“So I have two chances?”
“Two chances are not good odds. I already told you, most IVFs end in failure. Doctors used to implant seven or eight blastula in order to have a chance at getting one baby. That stopped a while after a woman in Iowa had seven kids. I will probably divide the two at the morula stage -- old Biology 101 trick. That will give you two sets of monozygotic embryos.
“Can you explain that a little, I'm not sure I'm catching some of it.”
“I'll be putting two sets of identical twins in you. If two blastopores implant you might have monozygotic -- identical -- twins, two from the same divided morula. Or you might have dizygotic -- fraternal -- twins, one from each. It seems a little odd to speak of fraternal twins. Two mothers and only daughters are possible. -- Unless you think Shego has a y-chromosome in her. It wouldn't surprise me.”
“But I could have four babies?”
“Not much chance of that.”
“But the woman with seven?”
“Yes, and another had eight before doctors changed their procedures. But the chances you won't have any baby are several thousand times greater than you having four. Remember, Kimberly, there are no guarantees. I'm giving you solid advice -- call your gynecologist and check on this if you don't believe me.”
“I don't have a obgyn yet.”
“Well, you need to start thinking about that. If everything goes well you'll be wanting to talk with her in less than three weeks.”
A strange voice answered the hospital phone, “Hello?”
“Can I speak with Shego, please?”
“Sharon? Certainly, here she is.”
“Was that a nurse?”
“No, Rabbi Kominski. I like her. Why haven't you been coming in?”
“I want to. There are just some weird things happening right now.”
“More important than me?” Kim could feel the hurt over the phone.
“Nothing is more important to me than you. Nothing. Remember that. I'm thinking of you constantly.”
“You aren't thinking of anything stupid, are you? You're not going to try and break me out?”
“No, of course not. I don't want to interrupt you and the Rabbi. When can I call you back?”
Kim was sweaty and shaking as she rang the door bell. No death trap she had ever faced filled her with fear like this moment. It was a decision she couldn't back away from. Her composure wasn't helped when a huge, hulking creature with long arms answered the door.
“Taurkey, let Kimberly in.” The creature backed away and let Kim enter.
“What is that.”
“Oh, a little thing I threw together this morning. Combination bull and spider monkey. It should be helpful with packing.”
“Packing? The U-Haul truck in the driveway?”
“I told you. If you could find me the police or Global Justice can find me. I'll be gone tomorrow. Taurkey seems like very useful Portmanteau for the move. I hope he's stable enough to last through setting up my equipment at my next place so I can break him down.”
“Oh, my Portmanteaus don't last forever. If the two creatures are fairly close genetically the bond may last for weeks. If they are too diverse the compound creature will die in hours. Birds and fish just don't work together -- it can never decide where it wants to live. I can break my Portmanteaus back into the original creatures if I have my equipment.”
“Like Mr. Barkin and Rufus.”
“Oh, yes, exactly like that. Now, head into the sterile room we used for harvesting. You'll need to undress. I'm washing up and putting on scrubs and will be with you in a minute.”
Kim looked around the small room with the incubator and instruments laid out neatly. Her last chance to back out… She took a deep breath, and started to undress.
“Sorry about the position, but I don't have a tilted table. I'm not really set up for this procedure. You need to stay in that position for awhile, let gravity work with you in keeping the blastospheres in your uterus. I'll take you home in a few hours -- I don't want you trying to drive yourself. Now I'm going out to start directing Taurkey to load the truck.” At least DNAmy had the decency to cover Kim with a blanket before she went out. Kim suspected this was what DNAmy meant about the worst of the physical pain being over, implantation had only been somewhat uncomfortable, but the position was humiliating.
Kim gritted her teeth as Amy ground Herbie's gears. She may be a great geneticist but she couldn't drive a stick shift. Kim was curled up in the back seat while Amy fought the manual transmission. They got home rather later than Kim had wanted, but still before either of the Drs. Possible was home from work.
Amy called a taxi from her cell phone as Kim crawled out of the back. Before Kim headed to her room to lie down, “Thank you, Amy.”
“I told you Kimberly. Don't thank me. I'm not doing this for you. I'm thinking strictly about reputation.”
“It still means a lot to me.”
Amy gave her that odd, lop-sided grin that Kim never knew how to interpret.
Kim had elevated the foot of her bed before leaving that morning. She wanted to keep gravity on her side as much as possible, and reduce the risk on an ectopic pregnancy.
Kim didn't need to stay in her room, not after the first day or so. But she wanted to do anything to increase the chance of success. She told her parents she felt sick. She did feel sick. It was probably nerves. She wondered if it could be the feeling of implantation, her body telling her that she would become a mother. But she told herself that was probably psychosomatic. She had no way of knowing what being pregnant could feel like.
For several days Kim could only talk briefly with Shego, The rules in the Intensive Care Unit didn't allow long calls.
When Shego was upgraded to fair condition and moved to a private room longer calls became possible.
“Why haven't you come back to the hospital?”
“I told you, I'm not feeling well.”
“This is a long time to be sick. Have you been to see a doctor?”
“I'm… I'm hoping to see a doctor next week.”
“What is going on, Kim? Something is happening. Why can't you tell me? I'm going to be put into the Cage in a couple weeks. I… I already know we may never make love again. Damn it, I need to see you Kim, I love you. Why aren't you here with me?”
“I'm sorry Shego, I really am. But something might be happening. I can't tell you unless I know for certain.”
“You're really not planning to break me out or something stupid like that.”
“Would breaking you out be so bad?”
“Kim, you don't want life on the run. I don't want life on the run any more. And Kim, I'm too weak for it right now. Even if you got me out I can't live like that.”
“Maybe they'd put us in jail together.”
“No, you don't even say such a thing. I'll tell them I put a mind control chip on you. Promise me, Kim, you aren't going to try and break me out.”
Breathing a little sigh of relief, “I can promise you that, Shego. I'm not planning to break you out of the Cage.”
Five different little home pregnancy tests lined up in the bathroom. Each of the five little tests promised to be convenient, easy, reliable, and confidential. It sure wasn't confidential when she went through the line in the drug store and the clerk stared at her. And she didn't think any of them counted as easy or convenient -- working with her own urine was messy and unpleasant. Reliable? Five different little home pregnancy tests lined up in the bathroom. Each of them showing positive.
“Dr. Schultz? I'm Kimberly Ann Possible.”
“Oh, yes. We met at your parents' New Year's Party. I love your mother.”
“My visit is strictly doctor -- patient confidential, right? You don't even tell my mom I was here?”
Dr. Schultz gave Kim a penetrating glance. “That question usually means one thing.”
“Yes, I think I am.”
“Then, Kim, we have a lot to talk about as well as some tests to perform.”
Shego's eyes lit up as Kim breezed into the room. “God it's good to see you.”
Kim gave Shego a deep and passionate kiss. Then, noticing that Agent Haskell was on duty she gave Shego another. He violated Global Justice procedures at that point and left the room. Kim celebrated his absence with a third kiss.
“You seem awfully happy today.”
“I am. It is wonderful to see you. I just had some good news. I wanted you to be the first to know. Well, the first to know after my doctor.”
“What are you talking about? You said you felt sick. What did the doctor tell you that made you so happy?”
“Oh, just that I'm pregnant.”
Shego stared at her, “Don't even joke about a thing like that.”
“I'm not joking.”
Shego lay back on the bed and closed her eyes. Kim noticed tears forming. “I hope the pain medication is giving me nightmares,” Shego said softly.
Kim held her hand, “It's not a nightmare.”
There was bitterness in Shego's voice, “Who's the father?”
Shego opened her eyes and stared at Kim. Whatever pain medication she was on had never given her such vivid hallucinations before. “What are you talking about?”
“You remember when we talked about Kaguya? The idea that two women could have a baby? You said that our having a baby sounded wonderful.”
“I said if you were older. I said… Wait a minute. This is impossible. I didn't donate any eggs to this. What in the hell are you telling me?”
“You were right. No ethical doctor would have helped me, helped us. I had Wade locate DNAmy --”
“DNAmy? The woman who hates your guts?”
“She's a great geneticist.”
“Who hates your guts and manufactures monsters.”
Shego's eyes were opening wider, moving from shock to horror, as Kim told her the process, the egg harvesting, haploidisation, and the transfer procedure.
“You let that mad woman put something inside your body!”
“It's ours Shego. A part of both of us they can't take away from me.”
“KIM! HOW COULD YOU BE SO STUPID! SHE HATES YOU. YOU COULDN'T SEE WHAT SHE PUT INSIDE YOU! SHE MAKES MONSTERS! MY, GOD! KIM, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GROWING INSIDE YOU?”
“No, Shego, you're wrong. Amy just wanted --” And then the horror hit. Shego was right. What was growing inside her?
-- The End? --