Neither woman slept well that night. After breakfast they packed their bags.
“Okay, Shego, tell me something about this morning.”
“You've heard of the group Heroes United Against Crime, haven't you?”
“Yeah, I never see much about them though.”
“Well, they're so high and mighty they don't really do much but hold meetings. It takes an invasion from outer space to catch their attention.”
“Why did they pick the name Heroes United Against Crime? Weren't they thinking about the initials when they did that?”
“The rumor is that some of the original members, when they formed in the fifties, wanted to call it Heroes United Against Communism.”
“Then it's not an accident.”
“Afraid not. At least that's what I've heard. They broke up in the late fifties. But when the Fearless Ferret TV show was a hit the Flying Fox came out of retirement -- I mean the whole Fearless Ferret thing was clearly a rip-off of the Flying Fox -- and started the new team. The point of this story is that Hego always dreamed of being asked to join. We weren't hard to find. If a post card had been sent to Go Tower they could have reached him. But he never got an invitation.”
“I'm still not sure what this has to do with last night's phone call.”
“I called a member I know. I'm going to introduce Hego.”
“You know a member of HUAC? Did they ask you to join?”
“Nothing that nice. You're not going to hear the full story unless I'm very, very drunk. Let's just finish packing now. Hego will be at the park with us at ten. Hell, he was so excited last night he may have slept there.”
They finished packing and Shego carried the bags down to the front door. Goodbyes took almost half an hour. While Susan tried to suffocate her daughter Shego's father winked at Kim and slipped an instrument case into a suitcase. Kim suspected it held a flute. When George pried Shego from her mother's embrace Susan transferred her python-like hug to Kim. Fortunately Kim's twins were in the way enough to keep Susan from hugging too tightly, which allowed the redhead to keep breathing.
“You know you two are welcome any time you want to come?”
“And don't be so long between visits.”
“Oh, Kim, did you write down your parent's names, address, and phone number the way I asked yesterday?”
“Sorry, Mrs. O'Ceallaigh. Give me a piece of paper and I'll do it now.”
“Call when the babies are born. I'll come down for a week and help.”
“Uh, Mom? I'm not sure what the housing situation is going to be.”
She sounded so disappointed Shego had to add, “But if there is any way to work it, we would love to have you.”
George still looked uncomfortable, but managed to give Kim a hug before the women left. “Thanks. Two weeks ago it felt like we didn't have a daughter. Now we have the both of you -- and granddaughters on the way. Life is good.”
Will and Ed gave each of them a hug before Kim and Shego headed out the door.
“Did you need anything to eat along the way?” Susan shouted as Shego loaded their bags in the trunk.
“We're fine, Mrs. O'Ceallaigh. Thanks for everything.”
“Hurry up, Kim,” Shego whispered loudly, “we need to get to the park.”
They could see Hego pacing back and forth as they walked towards him. “Is someone really coming from the HUAC?” he asked excitedly as they got closer.
“That's what she said last night. I'd have called if she said no.”
“What time do you have? Is my watch right?”
“I have nine fifty-seven,” Kim said.
“So do I.” Shego said. “I told her ten. That doesn't mean she'll be here exactly at ten. Both of you need to work on patience.”
“Later,” they said together.
“Jinx, you owe me a soda.”
At 9:59 an iridescent plane dropped beneath the clouds. The VTOL craft came down swiftly into the large central clearing of the park. Kim took shelter from the gusts of wind the plane was kicking up behind Hego. Just before her watch went to 10:01 a door on the side of the plane opened and a ladder began to extend toward the ground.
“Who is that?” Kim whispered as the imposing figure moved towards them.
“She calls herself Speed Queen. Stay close Kim, I need you to protect me.”
“Protect you from that? She's got to be seven feet tall.”
“Only six foot three, and you're my best hope.”
“That's what I'm counting on.”
There wasn't time to say anything else before the tall woman grabbed Shego. “I've missed you sweetheart. Give me a big kiss!”
Shego struggled helplessly in the big woman's arms. Those appeared to be real blows Shego was hitting her with, but the big woman shrugged them off as she forced Shego's mouth closer to her own.
Hego just stood there, his mouth hanging open. Kim kicked the big woman in the shins, which had as much effect as Shego's punches.
“Leggo of my Shego!” Kim screamed.
That distracted Speed Queen's attention slightly. She looked at the source of the annoying voice.
“Who's the little blimp?”
“This is Kim, my wife. Those are my babies she's carrying.”
The tall woman dropped Shego so suddenly she simply fell on the ground. But she scrambled to her feet and ran to Kim. The two kissed. Partially for Speed Queen's benefit the kiss was deep, and long, and passionate. But it was only partially for Speed Queen's benefit, Shego wanted to thank Kim for the rescue, and Kim enjoyed the thanks.
“You didn't call so we could get back together?”
“We were never together except in your head! Don't you get it?”
“Drop it! There was never an us.”
The big woman was starting to look angry; Shego pushed Kim behind her and took a defensive posture. Then Hego moved in to separate them and Shego breathed a sigh of relief.
“I called you because I wanted to introduce you to Hego. I think he is a good candidate for membership in the HUAC.”
Hego stuck out his hand, but she ignored it. Instead she stepped back and looked him over. “We've heard of you. Frankly the HUAC always considered you something of a B List hero -- your concerns always seemed local to the city here instead of international or even national.”
“Oh, you've underestimated him. Why don't you take him to the HUAC satellite and see how he does on the admission tests? He has strength, endurance, and a great invulnerability index. He takes a blow to the head better than anyone you've ever met.”
Speed Queen stepped forward and took his hand. It appeared she was squeezing hard, but Hego gave no reaction. Shego punched her brother, “She expects you to squeeze back.”
“Okay, Shhh… Hey you.”
Speed Queen winced slightly, and then gave him a big smile. “Hey, big boy, want to come up to my satellite and really show me your muscles?”
Hego gave them both a big wave as he boarded the aircraft. Kim and Shego retreated quickly before the VTOL aircraft could leave. Neither said a word as Shego started the car, and heavy traffic discouraged conversation for about half an hour.
“So, are you going to tell me about that?” Kim asked as they got out of the city.
“I told you, only if I'm really drunk. And I never plan on getting really drunk again. That's what happened the last time. And I really think it was the last time.”
“Yeah, but you take away the sandals of Mercury and the cloak of Hercules and she isn't much. I think Monique could whip her.”
“Monique isn't a fighter.”
“Well, Doh! -- That's my point. I just hope Hego is safe with her. While she is wearing those things she's hard to beat. And that is one kinky lady.”
“She goes both ways?”
Shego shuddered, “Both ways doesn't even begin to cover it, Kim. She's dated at least two aliens and a robot. I've got to call Mom and Dad tomorrow and make sure Hego got home in one piece.”
Shego fell silent for a few minutes, then returned to the conversation. “I'm not really sure why I did that. Oh, I know Hego wanted a chance at membership in the HUAC. I don't know if they'll ask him. Maybe I want him to find out that heroes aren't all as squeaky clean and wholesome as he imagines.”
“Any chance you were trying to set your brother up with her?”
“God, I don't think so. I've never seen Hego show much interest in anyone. I think his pure hero lacks a sex drive. But one time he told me he was afraid of getting into a relationship; that he was so strong he would hurt a woman if he got excited while they were making love…”
“Well, it doesn't look like he'd have to worry about that with Speed Queen.”
Shego groaned. “Her for a sister-in-law? Just shoot me if that ever happens. I'm finally talking to Mom and Dad again -- and they'd disown me if they met her.”
Kim glanced at the clock on the dash. “Oh, look at the time. We got started so late we won't make it to Middleton tonight.”
“What a shame,” Shego grinned.
“I'll call my Mom and tell her we're going to have to stop somewhere for the night.”
They listened to more of Shego's music collection as they drove through farmland. At the end of a CD Kim ejected the disk and put it away.
“You really felt nothing for Bella when you saw her?”
“No, I told you that. Jealous?”
“No. Is it because she lost her figure? What if I never get back in shape after the babies?”
“You will, Pumpkin, I have faith in you.”
“No more 'Pumpkin' until after the babies, please. That's what I feel like. I appreciate your faith -- but what if I don't? Will you still love me?”
“I don't think I'm that shallow. Maybe that was all I saw in her years ago -- but I never knew her. I know you Kim. And the more I know you the more I love you.”
“You really love me?”
“I really love you. And you will get back in shape so you can work for Global Justice…
“Can I tell you I'm worried too?”
“What are you worried about?”
“Your Mom once thought you were interested in me because I seemed exciting and dangerous. What if she was right?”
“I don't understand.”
“You are a thrill junkie, Kim. You like a little bit of danger; you love the excitement, the challenge. What if it was the fighting that made me interesting to you?”
“You're going to stop sparring and training with me? How am I supposed to get back in shape without you?”
“Not that. We'll train together. But I don't want to be exciting and dangerous any more.”
“What do you mean?”
“I want out of my life. I want what your folks and mine have, a place they call home and a family who loves them. I want friends who call and wish me Happy New Year! I want to be dull. I want to do something with my life where I never have to look over my shoulder and worry that the police or some hitman are after me. Will you still love me if I'm dull?
“I don't think you can be dull. You're always going to be at the center of a problem -- don't you think just the two of us being together will keep things from ever being dull?”
Shego gave her a smile. “Will it be enough?”
“It will be perfect. I want to work with Global Justice. You can stay with the girls; you're a better cook than I am. I'll come home to a hot meal, drink a beer and watch TV while you clean the house and put the girls to bed--”
“I am hoping for a little more life than that.”
“You can have a life on one condition.”
“What is that?”
“If we have any more kids, it's your turn.”
“Two sounds like a perfect number to me.”
“So, is this when we start fighting about names?”
“Sounds good. Ron has put in a vote for Rhonda and Ronette.”
“I hope you said no.”
“Let's see, Jim wanted Thing One and Thing Two. I hope he's been reading the Cat in the Hat or I'm going to throw him down a flight of stairs.”
“Throw him down the stairs on general principles for that idea. Any suggestions from Monique and Bonnie?”
“No, but remember Bonnie has sisters Lonnie and Connie, and I have brothers Tim and Jim.”
“No to any rhyming names. How about Jane and Elizabeth, from Pride and Prejudice?”
“It seems a little too cute when they have a mother Georgiana.”
“What do you have against cute?”
“Well you vetoed rhyming names.”
“How about Charlotte and Emily, two of the Brontë sisters?”
“Are all your ideas going to be literary?”
“Its a great source for ideas, do you have another source?”
“Are there any sisters in the Bible?”
“I didn't do much with Sunday school, and haven't done enough reading in the Torah.”
“I think some guy in Genesis married sisters. He had to work for his father-in-law for years because he got tricked into marrying the ugly sister first.”
“No, whichever kid got the ugly sister's name would always hate us.”
“We could always find the list that tells us the most popular girl's names this year and pick the top two -- but frankly I don't like that idea.”
“Me either, they'd be in classes where half the girls have the same names.”
“But nothing too unusual. Kids would just make fun of them.”
“Kids are cruel. It doesn't matter what names we pick -- someone will find something to tease the girls about.”
“Yeah, but we shouldn't make it too easy for the little monsters to tease our darlings.”
“We don't have to decide today. Let's keep thinking. Maybe Jane and Elizabeth will grow on you.”
“Or maybe we can stick with Jacob and Esau.”
“I remembered something while you were signing us in at the registration desk tonight.”
“What was that,” Shego asked as she opened the door to their motel room.
“You told Speed Queen I was your wife.”
“I was just trying to get her to let me go.”
“Aren't you forgetting something?”
“In Canada you said you'd look me up when you got out of prison and ask if I still wanted to marry you. You're out of prison. I want the ring, bended knee, the whole nine yards.”
“I'm out on bail. I'm not out of the woods yet. I'm off the hook in Canada -- but there are still some other places where I could end up incarcerated. Betty says there are even a lot of misdemeanors on the list. She advised me to see how many I could clear up before my state trial -- said efforts toward restitution would look good on my record.”
“That's a lousy excuse for trying to back out of your promise and break my heart. I'm going to start wearing that ring you gave me in Mexico and tell people it's an engagement ring.”
Author's Note: At present there isn't even a complete outline on the 6th story in the arc. I planned to take a short break and decide if this seemed popular enough to justify another fairly long work. I think I will write it just to have closure - and the fact I started getting reviews encouraged me (even if I had to beg). While I've written a few pieces of what could be in the next work the hazy nature of the outline means I'm not certain exactly what would, or would not, be there. (A number of little pieces written in the outline process for Cognitive Dissonance disappeared from the final draft.) There are no plans to further the Hego storyline at this point, but the outline is fluid. If/When I write a 6th story it will follow the pattern of the others and I'll finish writing everything before I began posting.
Author's Note: Shego mentioned Speed Queen to Wade in chapter 11 of Cognitive Dissonance. Don't you just hate it when a Mary Sue who gets mentioned as a joke comes back into the plot three stories and 24 chapters later to bite you in the ass?While on the subject of getting bit in the ass… If anyone knows what happened to Hego, I'd be glad to hear it. I know Bueno Nacho called his Mom the next day to ask if she know where he was. She had no idea, but covered for him -- explaining he wasn't feeling well and had probably gone to the walk-in clinic. He was back on the job the day after that with some interesting bruises. One hopes it was just part of the admission test.