Classes at Middleton U started the Monday after the painting party, so no one was able to move in before classes started. A little furniture was purchased during the week, but it would take some time before the old Kringle home, newly rechristened as Possible Manor, could be called fully furnished. The first Saturday after classes started was the big moving day. Since they all left some of their belongings in their parent's homes -- except for Shego, of course, who had her possessions at the Lair -- it was a relatively easy move for everyone. Bonnie and Monique took the move the most seriously. Bonnie wanted to go back to her home as little as possible, and drafted Ron to help her load the U-Haul van. Monique seemed anxious to start establishing her own identity -- or perhaps she found her mother's kind interference as insufferable as the cruelty Bonnie endured at her home. It might even have been that Monique wanted to give her siblings more space for themselves, but with Will Du's help the two got most of Monique's belongings into her new room.
Ron perhaps moved the least, but after helping Bonnie he didn't feel like cooking and they ordered Chinese delivery. Will had seen a couple decks of cards with Monique's stuff and suggested a game of Texas Hold'em while they waited.
Without proper chips and an argument about whether a straight beat a flush or the other way around the game did not go smoothly, but they had fun.
“Can we try this again next Saturday?” Ron asked.
“I'll buy some chips so we can do it right,” Monique promised.
Shego felt a definite resentment building towards Wade. She accepted that since she wouldn't be doing much work for DTP Lipsky, Inc. she should only draw a small retainer. What annoyed her was the fight it took in order to be given a key for the side door. Wade told her he would prefer at least a half hour's notice before she came to the Lair -- even to go to her own quarters -- and the two main labs were off limits to her, period. When she went to pick up most of her clothing and some of her music collection he had offered to help her -- but she suspected it was simply so he could hurry her out of the Lair and make sure she didn't stick her nose into a lab while there.
If it weren't for how busy she was with her new classes, LSAT application, and work on the house she would have broken in on general principals just to see what the mystery was all about.
Shego caught Dr. Possible's construction crew before they got started in the half bathroom behind the stairs.
“Let me see what you've got planned,” she demanded. After looking over the plans she requested some changes.
“Look, lady. I'm not sure who you are, but James Possible signs the checks.”
“I live here. And I want real slate on the floor and those other changes. I'll pay the difference. Hell, I'll pay for the whole job. Do I get a discount if I pay cash?”
“Well, get this room ready before next weekend and you can pocket the difference as a bonus. And then we talk about the other bathrooms.”
Kim, having been there, overdone that, worried that Shego had taken too many responsibilities on herself. In addition to two classes over a full load she was spending a lot of time worrying about the house. Kim also felt guilty that some of the worry was over the expected births -- the due date for the twins was now about a month away. It seemed like Shego mentioned a headache to Kim almost every night
The halfbath was completed before the baby shower and housewarming on Saturday. Because of the lack of furniture most of the guests ended up on rented folding chairs. The mothers of Kim, Ron, and Monique were in charge of the party. Bonnie had made sure her own mother was kept unaware of the event.
Middleton U started its second semester earlier than some schools and Felix and Justine would leave for California on Sunday. Most of the high school cheerleaders were there. Liz had already left for classes, but Crystal and Marcella also attended colleges which started later and were there, and Hope attended Middlton U.
Tara stole the spotlight by bringing her toddler. Jason was about one, with curly blonde hair and startlingly blue eyes. Someone picked him up and sat him on what was left of Kim's lap -- where he immediately grabbed a breast.
“Oh yeah, you can tell he's a guy,” Bonnie laughed.
“Are you going to breast-feed?” Tara asked. “I think it is very important for mother-child bondage.”
Everyone hoped she meant mother-child bonding, but no one dared say it.
Dr. Drakken had another unsupervised weekend and arrived with Wade. Wade carried a heavy package by himself because Drakken was limping badly, but once the package was placed on the gift table the blue man started walking much better. Drakken appeared ill at ease among the other guests and Shego gave him a private tour of the house so that they could have a chance to talk privately.
Kim wasn't certain how many of the of the guests she actually knew, since some of the guests for the house warming were friends of Bonnie, Monique, and Ron -- as well as friends of their mothers from church and synagogue. The biggest surprise, other than Drakken, had been when Jean Possible arrived with Kim's aunt and cousin Jocelyn.
“They didn't come just for the party, did they?” Kim asked her mom.
“No, dear. Uncle Slim got into town last night. Joss is tired of home and on-line schooling. She wants more social interaction. And it is a hundred mile bus trip -- each way -- to a high school with a good science program out in the middle of Montana. Your aunt and uncle have asked if she can stay with us during the school year for the next couple years. We're thinking of saying yes. Would it hurt your feelings if we gave her your old room?”
“I don't know. I guess it would be okay. It's not really my room any more, is it?”
Dr. Possible gave her daughter a kiss. “She really is a lot like you when you were fifteen. It will be like watching you grow up again.”
“Maybe she won't be as much of a handful.”
“I don't know Kimmie. Possibles and trouble just seem to go along together.”
James Possible had not shared all the details about Kim with his brother, and Slim and his wife had shared even less with Joss. The first she had heard them mention Kim's pregnancy and a baby shower was as they flew in from Montana. Joss racked her brain, she couldn't even remember Kim's wedding. The young girl listened to the former cheerleaders talking, and stormed into the kitchen with tears in her eyes to confront Ron.
Joss was trembling with rage and fear when she confronted him, “Are you the daddy?”
Ron liked the little redhead, and didn't know what it would be best to say to her, but believed the honesty was an acceptable policy. “No, I'm not,” he said softly.
“Well, those girls out there sure think you are.”
“I know. I told Kim to let people think that. It's easier on Kim.”
“Easier on Kim? Having people think you're going to be a daddy? Easier on Kim than what?”
To add to the confusion Shego ushered Drakken into the kitchen at that moment.
“This is the kitchen. Incredible, isn't it? Wouldn't you love one like this in the Lair? Hey, Stoppable, how are the hor d'oeuvres coming along?”
“Just great, you going to help serve?”
“The buffoon lives here too?” Drakken interjected. “You're living with all my old enemies?”
“They're not your enemies. Are you still taking all your medications?”
“Please, Shego, it's bad enough you're sleeping with Kim Possible. Don't lecture me on controlled substances.”
“I'll be back in a minute,” Shego promised Ron. “I'm going to ask Wade to watch him.”
They could hear Drakken complaining, “I don't need to be watched…” as Shego dragged him back to the living room.
Joss's eyes were wide and she was trembling even harder when Ron looked back at her. “Sit down, Joss. You're family. She'll tell you if you ask. She can tell you better than I can. But I'm worried you're going to imagine something worse than what happened…”
Joss's lower jaw was hanging down when Ron finished. She had no idea what to say about Kim. “Ron, you must be her best friend in the world.”
“Oh yeah, best friends since forever.”
“I thought maybe you and she would, you know.”
“You have older brothers, don't you?”
“Kim and I trying to date would be like you going out with a brother.”
“Shego was a surprise. But I know Kim is good for her. And crazy as it sounds, I think she's good for Kim too.”
“Ron, can I kind of hang out in the kitchen with you? I feel kinda outa place bein' the youngest person here and all. An I'm not sure what to say to cousin Kim. And what should I call that green lady now?”
“Sure kid, you can help me in here. Should I introduce you to Shego, or do you want me to run interference for you so you don't have to talk with her?”
“I'd sure appreciate some interference, at least for a little while. I kinda feel like a steer just kicked me in the head.”
Monique and Bonnie noticed that Joss spent more time in the kitchen talking with Ron than she did in the room where the shower was going on. Monique nudged Bonnie, “Looks like you have some competition.”
“That's not competition, that's a crush. I could break her in half if I needed to.”
“She's a Possible, Bonnie. Never bet against a Possible. Except in Texas Hold'em.”
Both women laughed.
Joss felt like she was years younger than everyone else at the party except for Tara's Jason. That wasn't quite true.
“Who's that girl who came in with your Mom and that other lady?” Wade asked. “She's really cute.”
“That's my cousin, Jocelyn. We call her Joss.”
“Does she live around here?”
“No. Her dad and my dad are brothers. They live out in Montana.”
Kim didn't tell him about her earlier talk with her mom. A lot could change before classes began at Middleton High that fall.
“Uh, What is it?” Shego asked as she opened the package from DTP Lipsky, Inc. “And what are the headphones for?”
“It's a sleep inducer,” Drakken chuckled. “Something every parent will want. This is the first prototype. Set it on the five, ten, or fifteen minutes interval. Turn it on and the crankiest baby is asleep within minutes.”
“And the headphones?”
“Those are ear guards, not headphones. They're there to protect you, of course. It will put a mother to sleep just as fast as a baby.”
Tara and every other mother in the room, and everyone who had ever worked as a baby sitter, besieged the Dr. with questions about when the sleep inducer would be in general production.
Shego remained suspicious of the device, but didn't mention her reservations until she got the doctor alone. He was expecting a thank you when she picked him up and slammed him against the wall, “It's more fucking mind control, isn't it?”
“Shego, whatever are you talking about?”
“The sleep inducer, Dr. D, it takes over the listener's brain, right?”
“Not at all.”
“Is it some sort of terrorist device -- broadcast the signal to a plane and put the pilot to sleep -- or play it in a crowd and rob everyone while they're asleep?”
“You can't play it over regular speakers -- the timbre is all wrong. It only works with the speakers on the sleep inducer.”
“What's your angle, Doc? You always have an angle.”
“I'm going to make hundreds of millions of dollars with it. You saw how the mothers lined up to ask about getting one for themselves. And sleep clinics! Sleep clinics everywhere would buy them. The stressed out and insomniacs all over the world will beg for them, they'll pay any price I demand.”
“So you're going to manufacture them, for real?”
“Of course not, Shego, that would be too much work. It would put all the pharmaceutical companies who make sleep aids and premium mattress companies out of business. I figure they'll pay hundreds of millions if I agree not to manufacture them. It will make me as much as that two hundred mile per gallon carburetor the gas companies paid me not to make. And I can probably license the speaker technology for a few million more to audio companies.”
James and Slim picked up their wives and Joss after the shower. While Jean showed the family around the house Shego pulled James into the kitchen.
“Can I pay you back for the money you've spent on the house?”
“You want to buy the house?”
“No, you should keep it in your name. I'm just paying you back.”
“I don't understand.”
“If the house is in my name I could lose in a lawsuit, the court might award punitive damages. I want you to keep it in your name so the courts can't get it.”
“But when I report the financial transactions on my taxes won't it be clear you own the place?”
“Look, you just put the money back in your savings and reinvest the money. Why does the IRS even need to know it was gone?
“Shego, I really appreciate what you're trying to do. But it's not the way I do things. It's not the way Kim was raised.”
“Well, that helps me to understand Kim a little better. You both need to loosen up, you know that?”
“I'm going to take that as a compliment.”
With the house finally empty of guests Kim and Shego sat on the couch and looked around at the mess in the living room. Little Jason had managed to spread wrapping paper everywhere. Kim asked Shego, “Do you believe in premonitions?”
“I knew you were going to ask that.”
Kim picked up a cushion and hit Shego with it; taking advantage of the fact Shego wouldn't fight back while Kim was pregnant.
“You mean like good and bad omens, or reading the future in tea leaves?” Shego asked.
“No, I mean like a sense of seeing the future.”
“I can't say that I've ever had something like that, why?”
“Because when I held Jason today I felt like I could see about sixteen years in the future… And the two girls were really fighting over him. Can I hate him now, or do I have to wait until he actually breaks one of their hearts?”
“You have to wait Kim. It's bad luck to hate a one year old for breaking an unborn daughter's heart. Do you know if it was Jacob or Esau who won?”
At eight the doorbell rang.
“Were we expecting anyone else for the game?” Bonnie asked.
“Oh, I forgot to mention I invited Wade and Dr. D. to sit in with us tonight.”
“Isn't Wade your friend, Kim?”
“Yes, but I don't know about being at the same table with Drakken.”
“Relax, the Institute says that as long as he's on his medication he's mostly harmless.”
The feeling appeared to be mutual; Drakken sat as far away from Kim as was physically possible at the table. Ron suggested that they each put five dollars into a pool, with the winner of the night collecting everything.
“Sound okay,” Monique agreed. “But next time we play the winner pays for pizza.”
“I won't be here next time you play,” Drakken reminded them.
“I don't think you need to worry about winning,” Will Du told him.
“No artichoke and anchovy pizza,” Kim declared.
“Hey, that's my favorite,” Shego protested.
“It gives you gas.”
“Yeah, but I also get really good dreams after eating one.”
With real money involved Ron got out his secret weapon, a pair of mirrored sunglasses. Shego was already in a white shirt with a dark vest for the occasion, and pulled on a dark green visor. Will had worn a ten-gallon Stetson, which looked so ridiculous on him that Monique took it off his head and put it on her own. On Monique it looked cute.
“What do the colors mean?” Monique asked as they gave her a pile of chips.
“The whites are ones, the reds are five, and the blues are 10.”
“One, five, and ten what?”
“Just write in at the bottom of the piece of paper where you have what beats what listed.”
Shego cut the right of first deal. As she was shuffling Will took out his second weapon, a cigar, and offered another one to the dealer.
Shego dealt the hole cards before lighting her own, and Will's cigars with a plasma flame.
“I didn’t know either of you smoked,” Ron observed.
“I think it adds to the atmosphere of a poker game,” Will explained.
“It does do that,” Monique coughed.
“I don't smoke as a regular thing -- unless I'm on fire,” Shego said, “but I've picked up some filthy habits over the years.”
Kim looked at her hole cards, “This filthy habit raises ten.”
“Bets ten, Kim. You can't raise unless someone else has bet first.”
“Well, no one had picked me up in a long time, “ Bonnie complained. “I fold.”
“Will was certainly trying to pick you up,” Shego reminded her.
“Not your Will, Monique, my brother Will.”
“Uh, I'm not Monique's Will.”
“Oh, yes you are dear. Are you the only one here who doesn't know that?”
Shego watched the other players carefully. In her mind Will Du was the real competition. Monique was simply there to have fun and didn't care what happened. Kim and Drakken were equally awful, but their pride demanded that they defeat the other and they bet wildly -- both of them moving all in with what they had left after about eight hands. Bonnie took the pot with three deuces and Drakken laughed at Kim, “My pair of eights beat your sevens,” completely ignoring the fact they were both out of the game. Wade was surprisingly bad, having a great sense of the mathematics of the game, but not much understanding of the psychology. Bonnie was hard to gauge. She was clearly new at the game and exhibited some strong tells. But Shego suspected that Bonnie was sneaky enough that the tells could be faked when the theatre major caught on to the game and needed to bluff. Ron played with a random Zen abandonment -- sometimes making large bets without having looked at his hole cards.
Shego suspected Will played better than she did, but with Monique regularly taking chips from him to continue in the game the two stayed about even in chip count.
“Excuse me, Will, but has Global Justice ever gotten a picture of Pool Shark?”
“Still don't have one. The Shark must be the highest profile criminal for whom we don't even have a profile. Why?”
“I'm just remembering how easily you beat Stoppable at eight ball a year ago.”
“Come one, Shego,” Ron insisted, “that was just luck.”
“If you were using luck to win you deserved to get beaten,” Will told him. Turning back to Shego, “Are you suggesting I could be Pool Shark?”
“Just asking if Global Justice had a picture.”
“Awfully sexist of you, Shego.”
“You don't think a woman is smart enough to run an international gambling syndicate?”
When Bonnie was eliminated Will cut Monique off from further chips and Ron, Shego and Will quickly became the final three. Bonnie took over the position of dealer for the last hands. The game ended with Ron getting lucky on the turn or river three hands in a row.
Will pushed his last chips over to Ron with a look of disgust. Then he looked across the table to Shego and extended his hand, “There is no beating dumb luck.”
With an air of quiet dignity she shook his hand, “Yea, verily. One of us will win next time.”
“Oh, I'm sure the best MAN will win next time.”
“You are so going down.”
The Drs. Possible had Kim and Shego over for dinner Sunday night. They wanted Slim's family to have more of an opportunity to meet Kim's partner.
“Well, it could have gone worse,” Kim observed cheerily as she drove home.
“Easy for you to say, I was the ant under the magnifying glass. Your aunt and uncle do not approve of us. Or maybe they just don't approve of me.”
“They weren't talking to me either, but Joss was doing her best to be nice.”
“Kim, if your cousin had called me 'Miss Shego' one more time I would have screamed.”
“Hello, Kim. I'm glad you called.”
“Dr. Director! I didn't ask them to connect me to you.”
“That's okay. I heard you were on the line and wanted to say hello. How are you doing? How much longer until the babies are due?”
“I'm feeling tired most of the time. Dr. Schultz says my due date is in three weeks -- but a week or two either side of that is normal.”
“Will you want to work with Global Justice this summer? We would love to have you.”
“I hope I can. It depends on how fast I can get back into shape.”
“Would it be worth asking Ronald again, or has he written off working for us?”
“I'm not sure. He's been very happy with the training he's been getting. I'll ask him what his plans are.”
“Why did you call, Kim?”
“Well, Shego talks about wanting to try and clean up some of her record.”
“That's a good idea. She's already wiggled out from some serious charges, but she can't stay lucky forever.”
“I'm wondering if I could get a copy of the Global Justice report on her?”
“I'll see that you are sent a copy of the file. It's heavy reading.”
“My dad called today.”
“What did he have to say, Princess?”
“Mom mentioned how nice the little half bathroom looked when she was here for the shower. He's never gotten a bill for that work. Do you know anything about that?”
“I took care of it.”
“Can I ask what you mean by you took care of it?”
“If you want to ask anything beyond the most basic meaning of those words you probably shouldn't. The most basic meaning is I paid the bill. Your folks have done plenty for us. I wanted it done my way, and I paid to have it done my way. Do you have a problem with that?”
“I guess not. But you say it like I might find something I don't like if I ask too many questions.”
“You and your dad are a lot alike. And you might not like the way I'm doing things. So don't ask and I won't tell. I'm trying to take a little of the financial pressure off him, and that's what you need to remember.”
A large package arrived via UPS for Kim that afternoon. She waited until after supper to ambush Shego with the contents.
“I thought you were supposed to be a great thief!” Kim yelled, waving the stack of papers. “How could they have warrants out for you in all these countries? You had to be trying to get into trouble!”
“A little quieter Pumpkin, I've got a headache.”
If anything Kim's voice went up a little as she looked at the list of charges, “I don't even know where some of these places are -- what is Andorra?”
“It's a little country in the Pyrenees between France and--”
“THAT'S NOT THE POINT!”
“Please Kim, my head. Okay, would you respect me more if I told you about all the crimes I've never been charged with because no one knew I committed them?”
Kim stalked off in anger. Shego started to look through the mountain of paper, it was hard to make sense out of some of the material before her and she quickly stopped trying.
Shego leaned back, a cold washcloth over her eyes, “We didn't know each other nearly long enough…”
Two days later, after supper, Shego announced, “Stoppable, I found a carpenter with a few days off. He gave me a special rate if I acted fast. I'm going to have him do the back stairs. If he does a good job I'll have him back later for the main stairs and the bay window.”
“Is that going to be the problem I think it is?”
“Afraid so. You'll need to be out of your room for three or four days while the back stairs are rebuilt, stained and varnished -- and there will be no access to the top floor.”
“Ah well, have futon will travel.”
“The rest of us would appreciate it if you took a few changes of clothing with you too,” Kim suggested.
“I ordered a bed for the spare bedroom,” Shego apologized, “but it hasn't arrived yet. Sorry.”
Ron looked so unhappy Bonnie asked, “You want to come in with me for a few days so you don't have to sleep in an empty room?”
“Et tu, Bonnie?” Ron laughed. “What is this, tease the cook night? Thanks for trying to cheer me up.”
“I was being serious, Ron.”
“Kim, I asked a rabbi to come over tonight. Can you come in and talk with us? I should have warned you… But I was talking with her today over at the Religious Studies Department and she said she had a little time this evening.”
Shego kept the introductions fairly simple. “Rabbi, this is my partner, Kim Possible. These will be our daughters. Kim, this is Ruth Horowitz, she teaches at the U and has a Reconstructionist congregation here in Middleton.”
They moved to the living room. Kim and Shego sat on the couch and the rabbi took the single chair -- the room was still mostly bare. Shego put her hand on Kim's and gave it a little squeeze.
“You teach and have a congregation?” Kim asked.
“Yes, the congregation is so small I'm bi… Oh, that means bi-vocational. Besides, I love to teach. We're so small we don't even have our own shul, the Presbyterians let us meet in their building. I don't have a simple yes or no answer for you two. But I've been thinking about your question all afternoon and I'll give you my opinion and let you decide from there.”
“What was the question?” Kim asked. She felt Shego's warm hand grasp her own a little tighter as she asked.
“The question of whether I'd marry you two.” Kim stared over at Shego, who gave her a smile. Kim glared back at her.
“Ah, Sharon, you didn't tell me this would be a surprise for Kim. Maybe we should talk another time.”
“It's not exactly a surprise. But this wasn't how she was supposed to ask,” Kim explained.
“I can come back later.”
“No, please stay,” Kim said. “If you leave now she may try to weasel out of it again. But can you do a wedding?”
“I can perform a religious ceremony. The state won't recognize it -- but if you went to Canada, or Spain, or Massachusetts and were married there the state here wouldn't recognize it.”
“Jews do that?”
“Individual rabbis have a lot of freedom and many rabbis won't perform them. As denominations, however, the Reconstructionist, Reform, and Conservative movements all recognize and will perform same sex marriages.”
“Don't confuse the term's political meanings with Jewish identity.”
Shego nudged Kim with her elbow, “See, Kim, a religion that says we're okay as a couple.”
“Uh, not exactly Sharon. Many Jews would still have a problem with you and Kim.” Shego felt Kim nudge her with an elbow. “And as an individual rabbi I have some reservations about you.”
Kim smirked at Shego, “This is a very wise woman.”
“What is your problem rabbi?”
“Well, I believe your story. But it means you are the third generation raised with no sense of Jewish identity. I hate to sound suspicious, but I really don't know you. You have asked me to perform a marriage, but I'm only going to perform a wedding for someone I know is committed to a Jewish life. I get Christians who come into my office and want to be Jewish -- until they take my class in comparative religion and then they want to be Buddhists.”
“What do I need to do to convince you?”
“Well, traditionally there are three major ways of defining Jewish identity. First, do you know what you call an uncircumcised Jewish baby?”
The rabbi continued. “The second is the Sabbath. And Jews have been arguing about how to keep the Sabbath for more than two thousand years. Christians sometimes read their New Testament and imagine that Jesus argues with his enemies, the Jews, over how to keep the Sabbath. Jesus is a Jew, talking like a Jew and saying what Jews before and after him said to Jews who disagreed with that opinion. We're still arguing about how to keep the Sabbath. I won't tell you how you should do it, but you should try to make it a special day for you in some way.”
“So, if I wanted to get in my pajamas, eat popcorn and watch movies that would be okay?”
The rabbi sighed. “If it makes the day special and different from other days. I hope you can find something a little more serious than that. Candle lighting would be nice. Oh, traditionally the rabbis taught it was important to make love with your partner on the Sabbath.”
Shego nudged Kim in the ribs with her elbow again, “Is this a great religion or what? Making love isn't a sin.”
“Sharon, can you do something to set the Sabbath apart?”
“You bet, rabbi!” Shego assured her enthusiastically.
“And finally, we have the laws of kashrut. I would like you to keep realistically kosher for a year. If you can do that I will recognize your sincerity and be able to consider performing the wedding.”
“What do you mean realistically kosher? I'm trying to give up pork already.”
“That's good. There are a lot of laws in regard to kashrut. You can drive yourself crazy with them and would want to forget it all when you are done -- even if you could stick with it for a year. Or you can start with a level you can live with. You can take on more of the rules if you find them meaningful. I don't want you to resent it. You'll probably need several sessions with me to understand the rules--”
“Please, call me Ruth.”
“Okay, Ruth. We have a Jewish friend who does most of the cooking here. Could he explain it?”
“Not necessarily. How many Christians can explain Christian theology? Can I talk with him?”
Shego let out a yell, “STOPPABLE!”
“Yeah?” could be heard from the kitchen.
“Front and center, the rabbi wants to talk with you!”
Ron came into the living room, drying his hands on a dishtowel. “Rabbi Katz, here?”
“I'm sorry, they called you in under false pretenses. You're a member of Beth Zion?”
“I'm asking Sharon to commit to a year of following kashrut. How observant are you? If you belong to Beth Zion you probably know the rules.”
“Well, I think I know them, but there's so much mishagas I'm not observant.”
“That's what I'd like to avoid. I don't want it to be a burden.”
“So we don't need four sets of dishes?”
“I'll take one. But paper for Pesach. Oh, and no chametz in the house for Pesach.”
“Heckscher for cheese?”
“Not necessary. Strict with the milkig and fleishig rules, and make sure the meat is heckschered.”
“Are you sure you're a rabbi?”
“See, that's why you aren't observant.”
“Well, that and the fact I really like BLTs. Hey, for the rest of us in the house, do we have to keep kosher too?”
“Only in keeping chametz out of the house during Pesach. I hope you can explain the basic rules to Sharon.”
“Oh, I'll be glad to tell her what to do, “ Ron smiled. “Anything else you need me for right now? I've got homework I want to start on.”
“No, that's fine.”
Shego planned to ask Ron for a translation of that exchange later in the evening. After Ron left Kim returned to the earlier conversation. “Rabbi, you also said there was a problem with me and Sharon.”
“Yes, Kim. Three branches of Judaism have no real problem with same sex marriage. But Conservative and Reform officially discourage their rabbis from performing mixed marriages. Some rabbis will, as a matter of individual conscious, but it's their choice.”
“And the Reconstructionists?”
“About half the Jews in America marry non-Jews. We think that rabbis who tell their congregants 'The synagogue doesn't want you any more if you marry a gentile,' hurt our future. As a branch we will perform mixed marriages. As an individual I want to know you support Sharon's life choices.”
“So, what do I need to do?”
“Be loving. Be accepting. Be supportive. If you can't do that what point is there in marriage? Can you do that?”
Kim looked at Shego and smiled, then she took the pale woman's hand and squeezed gently. “I can try,” she promised.
“Can we schedule the wedding for February fourteenth next year?”
“Sharon, St. Valentine's Day is NOT a Jewish holiday.”
“Exactly. So you won't be busy with any congregational duties, right?”
The rabbi turned to Kim, “Is she always like this?”
“For as long as I've know her.”
“I really have to run. I have a meeting. Oh, how long have you two known each other?”
“We first met about five years ago.”
The rabbi looked hard at Kim, and Shego realized she was trying to guess Kim's age. “Nothing happened until she was eighteen. I swear it!”
“Well, that's long enough for a good friendship to develop. The best indicator for a happy marriage is an established friendship.”
Shego showed the rabbi to the door. Kim was laughing too hard to go with them. “She's really very bright,” Shego assured the rabbi. “She's just mentally unbalanced at the moment because of the pregnancy.”
“Oh, and I'd like to talk with you sometime about how you'll raise the girls.”
Shego checked the house over carefully, making sure no one else was back from class. She felt awkward and out of place, it had been so long she wasn't sure if this was a good idea of not. She sat by the window to watch the front walk, planning to stop when anyone else returned. Would the joints and pads even be in playable condition after so many years? When she opened the case she found the flute in good condition. She wondered if her father had checked and maintained it over the years to keep it in working order, or had gotten it done while she was there. As busy as her schedule was she felt an obligation to keep faith with him. She breathed softly over the embouchure hole. It would take time, and no one would hear her until she was ready, but she would be ready for the next trip to visit her family
The next day, when Kim arrived home from classes, she found Shego in the living room with two women, sorting through the Global Justice materials on Shego.
“Kim, you know Rina. This is Mag, she's a new Legal. They both have an interest in international law and are helping me organize the accusations against me.”
“And you'd owe us big time if we could charge you, but that would be practicing law without a license.”
“Can we back bill her when we pass the bar?”
The Legals stayed through supper, heaping enough praise on Ron for his cooking that he didn't complain about unexpected guests.
After supper Shego explained the various stacks of documents to Kim.
“These were the Federal charges against me. The Department of Justice isn't going after me on these.”
“Did you ever figure out why?”
“No. I'm just grateful, and hope nobody changes his mind. This stack contains the state charges. They're all property crimes so they can't hang me. But if the trial goes badly I'll end up in prison for a long time. And I may need to pay off the insurance companies if I want to look good at the trial. If I'm lucky I'll only get probation for the rest of my life.”
“Well, they probably paid off the damages I caused, so they'd be the ones most anxious to go after me. But it's not like they lost money -- they raised their rates so they'd make a profit. So companies I stole from got charged more in higher premiums -- so they raised costs on products. I probably owe something like two dollars and sixteen cents to every single person in the state.”
“I know Bonnie and Ron will want theirs back.”
“This is Canada.” Shego said, showing Kim a couple pieces of paper. “I'm square with them now. This pile is my summer with André, when I first decided I would be a thief. I really thought the way to make a name for myself was to become wanted in a lot of countries. I waved to security cameras as I stole things! I don't know how I stayed alive that year; I was too stupid for words. I put those little break-ins from when I was tutoring Junior in the pile. If he had been better we wouldn't have been seen at all on those. I may send his dad a bill for those.”
“Send him a bill?”
“Sure, this is all minor stuff. A lot of my early stuff was shoplifting, and the crimes with Junior were probably about that level. I need to talk with the prof who teaches international law, but the Legals thought I could probably get rid of this pile with some fines, a couple nights in jails, and some community service. If they let me leave the country I'll take care of this pile over the summer.”
“What is that really big pile? What are you going to do about those?”
“Oh, that's the easy pile. Those are crimes I didn't commit.”
“Then why are they here?”
“For years I was the James gang, Kelly gang, and Barrow gang.”
“You need to explain that.”
“They were all gangs of criminals who had gotten so notorious that whenever something happened and the police didn't know who to blame they'd blame the gang. There is no evidence linking me to any of these crimes -- because I didn't do them.”
“So what can you do about that?”
“The Legals said I should contact the different law enforcement agencies, tell them where I am, let them question me if they want, and then demand they put up or shut up -- formally charge me if they have evidence or clear me as a suspect.”
“And the last pile?”
Shego passed them to Kim, who read the top page as Shego continued to talk. “That handful will be trouble. I committed these crimes, and they're all fairly serious. I'm not always sure if they have evidence to convict me--”
“You stole the crown jewels!”
“Only two of them.”
“But, you stole the crown jewels!”
“It was still early in my career. I didn't charge nearly enough for the job. If I'd been thinking I'd have taken some for myself.”
“But, you stole the crown jewels!”
“You really need to get past that Kim. I think they put in some of the current security after I did it. And like I say, I don't know if they would have enough evidence to convict me.”
Kim sat very still with her lips firmly together so she wouldn't repeat what she was thinking. Shego continued. “Anyway, I figure the Brits would really like them back before the Queen dies and Charlie becomes king. They substituted a couple fakes in the Tower. You can't tell they're fake behind all that security glass, but if they are taken out for the coronation someone might get close enough to realize they're paste. If they had enough hard evidence they'd ask for extradition, but you can get convicted on circumstantial evidence if a jury is in a bad mood. Anyway, that's one of the sticky ones. No way I can visit England with that hanging over my head.”
“Okay, so the three problem piles are the state charges, the small stuff, and this handful. What about the pile that isn't here?”
“The pile that isn't here?”
“You mentioned it a couple days ago. The crimes you committed and no one had any idea you were responsible. What about those?”
“What about them?”
“Are you going to confess them to somebody or something?”
Shego spoke slowly to Kim, in small words, as if the younger woman were feeble minded. “No. I am not going to tell anyone about them. And that means you too. I will not look for trouble. I will do something. And that something is to ignore them.”
“But crime shouldn't pay!”
“One word for you, Kim. Halliburton.”
“But you're getting religious. Doesn't that mean you are supposed to confess or something.”
“First, I'm getting religious -- not stupid. That's one of the things I like about the Reconstructionists. Second, as near as I can tell confession is for Roman Catholics. I don't know how many Hail Marys a priest would ask me to do - but it would be too many.”
“And you can just live with that?”
“Do you want me to go to prison? Wait a minute, you're the one asking me to violate the law.”
“Right there in the Constitution. Fifth Amendment. It says you don't have to rat yourself out. You are asking me to violate the Fifth Amendment.”
“Are you serious?”
“I'm the one standing up for the Constitution of the United States. You're the one who thinks I should be guilty of self incrimination.”
“Oh, so the Constitution of the United States is ridiculous?”
“You're twisting my words.”
“I'm sorry. I thought I was just quoting you. Why don't you explain to me again why you want me to give up my Constitutional rights for the security of a long prison term?”
Shego spent the night sleeping on the couch in the living room.
Translation: Dura lex, sed lex - The law is harsh, but it is the law
AN / Pool Shark was first mentioned in chapter 7 of Cognitive Dissonance. There are no plans, at present, to explain what that means for Will, Kim, Ron, and Shego.