“And I knew about all this?” Ron asked. “It's not ringing any bells in my head.”
“You knew it at the time. You forgot. It didn't mean as much to you as it did to me… Girls, go outside and play.”
“Ah, mommy, no fair!”
“No, we need to talk, and we need to talk without little ears listening in.” She handed over the jar with the holes in the lid she had found earlier. “Here, I'll give you each a dollar if you can find a lightning bug for me.”
“Yes, now scoot.”
“Yes, out now.” As they headed for the stairs she called, “That's a dollar for each of you. Not for each lightning bug!”
Kim and Ron listened to the clatter of little feet on the steps and the sound of the front door opening and shutting, then silence returned to the house.
Ten Years Ago…
A somber thirteen year old sat on her parents' bed as they watched the morning news. “I checked the alt.heroes.teamgo newsgroup when I got up this morning,” she said. “Someone who lives in Chicago said Team Go broke up.”
“People say things on the web that aren't always true. You know that.”
Kim perked up a little, “So it might not be true?”
“You don't even know if the person who wrote that really lives in Chicago.”
“You're right! And it's not even on the news. So it can't be true! Thanks dad.”
But fewer people came to the newsgroup all the time, and eventually it became a demon-haunted place filled with pornographers and trolls who posted things Kim didn't want to see. While the rare story on Hego still appeared no one had anything to report on Shego, except for rumors that she had gone to Europe and become a criminal. It was all confusing and frightening to Kim. She sent fan mail to Go Tower, but never received an answer.
Seven Years ago…
As the sea plane sat down on the river Wade's voice came over the Kimmunicator. “I can stream you the tape from the security camera now. This is the lab of Professor Akari.”
A green and black figure flashed across the field of the camera too fast to follow, but the colors caught Kim's attention and fear stuck in her throat. “Please, God,” she prayed silently, “don't let it be her.”
“Rewind and freeze, Wade.” she requested.
Wade rewound the tape and slowed it down. Kim had not mistaken the uniform, but she refused to believe this was the woman she had once admired. It had to be someone who had copied the costume.
“Who is she?” She's good…”
Kim stared at the image frozen on the Kimmunicator. The picture was small and blurry from a combination of the small size of the Kimmunicator and the poor quality of the original security camera. She wasn't sure which was the stronger feeling -- still wanting to believe this was someone who copied Shego's old uniform or anger that a hero could go bad. She had always refused to believe the rumors about Shego, but the picture seemed to confirm her worst nightmare. As she tried to analyze her feelings Ron slurped noisily on his soda. “Is that necessary?” she snapped -- irritated more with herself than with Ron.
“Uh yeah, every drop counts when you're a thousand miles away from free refills.” “Geez, what's her problem today?” Ron wondered. “Is this one of those female things?”
Kim's stomach hurt as she and Ron hiked to Prof. Akari's lab, and she suspected the pain she felt had nothing to do with the mystery meat served in the school cafeteria for lunch that day.
Wade's call came just before classes started the next day at Middleton High. He sent Kim a mugshot, it wasn't a good image, but it was clearly Shego, “I took that freeze-frame from the security camera. Her name is Shego. She's wanted in eleven countries.”
Kim felt her heart sink inside her, so it was true. The woman she had held up as a role model was a criminal.
Ron leaned over and peered at the image. Apparently he had completely forgotten the pictures Kim had up in her room years earlier. “Make that twelve,” he growled, “Rrowwr.”
Kim gave him a look of disgust, “So not your type, ugh.”
She gave up the dream that the thief had not been Shego. Instead a rage began to build within Kim, a rage fueled by a sense of betrayal. How could a woman who was a hero, who had the respect of thousands, turn to crime? It made no sense. Kim took it as an almost personal insult, and made a silent promise to herself that she would have revenge. And she would never, never mention that she had ever regarded Shego as a hero, or had even heard of her before that day.
“I noticed it often seemed like it was personal between you and Shego. It was like you and Bonnie on a bigger screen. You wouldn't let either one of the them beat you.”
“It was personal.” Kim leaned back and closed her eyes. “I wish it hadn't been that way, but I really hated her. I didn't just want to defeat her; I needed to defeat her. I needed to prove she was wrong to quit. When I saw how vicious she had become I gave up hope there was any of the old hero left. I needed… I'm not even sure now what I needed then.”
“There were fights where the hate didn't seem that strong.”
“Oh, over time we came to respect each other. But I could never forget what she had been. And I could never figure out why she became a criminal. I think it scared me. If she was a hero who became a criminal, could it happen to me too? Maybe I needed … I don't know. I was a different person then.”
“No, you've always been Kim Possible. And Kim Possible has always been a hero -- always will be.”
“Thanks, Ron. What happened to Shego still scares me. But it's good to hear you say that.”
“A lot of things may have changed in our lives, but I have faith in you.”
Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town And they tell her, “Take your time. It won't be long now. 'Til your drag your feet to slow the circles down”
And the seasons they go 'round and 'round And the painted ponies go up and down We're captive on the carousel of time We can't return we can only look behind From where we came And go round and round and round In the circle game