The video screen lit up and the sandy-haired man on the other end of the screen grinned widely. “That was fast, even for you. Losing your stamina in your old age?”
“Shut up and call the retrieval team,” Shego groused. “I've got the stuff, still sealed and uncontaminated. Ready for pick up.” She was on edge from her earlier confrontation with Kim and the adrenaline from sneaking into the lair undetected to recover the stolen nuclear material. Snatch-and-grab jobs always left her pulse racing and nervous energy needing to be burned off. It was one thing to carry out her charade in front of Drakken. It was quite another to creep in, search for information, grab the purloined items and leave with none being the wiser.
She had been tempted to show herself when Kim had burst in, startling Drakken and commencing the routine Shego knew by heart. Enter lair, make witty remark, spar with evil sidekick while making more pithy remarks, foil plan, leave after villains escape. Irritated by her momentary lack of focus, she had firmly steeled herself against revealing her presence and had carried out her orders swiftly and silently. When she had left, the all too familiar sounds of henchmen being thrashed were echoing throughout the lair. That's my Kimmie, doing the impossible.
“Shego? Hey, Galloway!”
“Huh, what?” She snapped out of her musing to find Frost giving her an amused grin.
“Transport is on its way. You gonna wait for your girlfriend?”
Shego gave him an icy glare. “Keep it up, Frost. I'll leave you typing one-handed for real and it won't be because your other hand is down your pants either.”
“Touchy. Seriously though, you aren't gonna wait for her?”
She turned and glanced back at the lair. “She can handle herself. Let's just get this stuff back where it belongs.”
“Y'know Shego, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were deliberately avoiding the fair Miss Possible,” Frost smirked at the baleful look thrown his way.
“It's a good thing you don't know any better then, huh?”
“Whatever you say, Agent Galloway. Oh, Dr. Director said she wants to see you as soon as you're back. She mentioned something about keeping Kim in line or it was your ass.” He laughed at Shego's slightly stricken look. Clashes between their boss and the double agent were always entertaining. As the screen went black, he leaned back in his computer chair and stretched his arms behind his head. Sometimes I love my job.
She was warm and cozy. Sunlight filtered on her face and there was peace and quiet all around her. A distant voice was calling her name but she mentally shook her head, not wanting to be disturbed.
“KP, wake up!” Ron hissed out of the corner of his mouth. It was fourth period World History and Mr. Barkin had been on the warpath, handing out detentions left and right. Normally it was Kim nudging him to pay attention, so Ron was doubly surprised to find himself on the opposite side of a familiar situation. Glancing up quickly to make sure he wouldn't be caught, he gingerly poked his sleeping best friend in the side.
Kim's eyes shot open at the touch. She was disoriented and it took a few minutes for her to gain her bearings. The droning of Mr. Barkin's voice quickly clued her in. Gingerly, she raised her head and after rubbing her eyes free of sleep, threw Ron a grateful look. She couldn't afford another detention, especially when she had a mission of the highest importance to take care of after school. Mercifully, the bell rang a few minutes later and she hastily gathered her things, studiously avoiding the suspicious look Mr. Barkin gave her as she walked out the door.
“KP, wait up,” Ron called out, pushing through the crowd of students milling in the halls. Lunch time always had people congesting the halls as students hurried to the cafeteria. He finally maneuvered his way out of the throng and found Kim at her locker. “Man, talk about your road rage. It's just lunch, people,” he huffed.
Kim laughed. “This coming from the guy who's love for food has earned him the title ‘Bueno Nacho Customer of the Year’ 4 years and running,” she joked.
“Okay, first off, comparing Bueno Nacho to cafeteria food? Sick and wrong, KP.” Ron shook his head, “Second, you can't blame BN for having good taste when it comes to giving out that award. The Ron man has got it goin’ on.” He grinned and struck a humorous pose.
Rufus poked his head out of the pants pocket he called home. “Yuh huh, yuh huh, goin’ on!”
“See? Rufus agrees,” Ron nodded at his best friend, “So, and don't take this wrong, what's up with you catching some z's in class? I know Barkin isn't the most exciting guy, but he wasn't that bad today.” He was curious; it was unlike Kim to slack off during school. In fact, it was more his style to pull a stunt like that.
“So not the drama, Ron. I was just up late last night and must've dozed off,” Kim opened her locker and froze as she saw the monitor that was her connection to Wade at school. She had forgotten the young computer genius had indeed been in on the Global Justice secret conspiracy the whole time. Hastily closing her locker, she turned and started walking towards the cafeteria. She wasn't in the mood to deal with Wade right now; she would have that discussion later. For now, she just wanted to have something normal.
“Hey, whoa, wait up,” Ron cried, struggling to keep up with her. Kim was acting really odd today. She'd gotten to school late and barely said two words the entire morning. When he'd commented on her fatigued look, she'd merely waved him off and mumbled something under her breath. Her falling asleep in class confirmed Ron's growing suspicions that something was bothering his friend. And he intended to get to the bottom of it.
“What's with the ‘natural Kimness’ coming out in force today?” He set his tray down and slid into the seat across from her.
“Ron.” Kim frowned and gave him a look that was less than friendly.
Her tone set off alarm bells in his head to tread carefully. Easy Stoppable, don't make any sudden moves and avoid eye contact,he coached himself. “Just worried is all, KP,” he shrugged and poked at his food. He knew better than to push Kim when she was in a mood. Especially now that their friendship was just starting to get back to normal.
The redhead sighed and leaned forward to lightly touch his arm. “I'm sorry. I don't mean to be such a spaz. I'm just tired and had a rough night last night,” she explained.
“Did you go on a mission or something?” Ron was puzzled; it was unlike Kim to go off without at least checking in with him first.
“Um, yeah.” Kim thought frantically for a plausible reason for Ron's exclusion. “It was no big though. Just the usual. Besides, did you really want me to get you up at 3:30 in the morning to come with?”
The blonde-haired boy made a face and shook his head. “No thanks. Y'know, if you get any more calls like that, feel free to pass me up again.”
Kim laughed in spite of herself. “I'll remember that. Say Ron,” she took a deep breath and steadied herself. She had to know the truth one way or the other. “I heard something interesting about Shego last night.”
“What, did she finally choose something else to wear besides black and green?” He joked.
“No,” Kim smirked and rolled her eyes.
“Oh no, is Drakken trying to take over Bueno Nacho again?” His eyes grew wide in horror.
“Ron! I'm serious.”
“So am I, KP. Bueno Nacho is sacred. You do not mess with the home of the Naco.” He said this solemnly, Rufus nodding his agreement.
“No, I meant…y'know what? Never mind.” It was obvious Ron did not know Shego's true identity. While this frustrated Kim as it meant she couldn't talk to him about it, it also made her feel oddly relieved. Ron not knowing meant she wasn't alone.
She looked thoughtfully at her former boyfriend as he shrugged at her and started eating his lunch. They'd certainly been through a lot the past few months. Her mind wandered back to memories of the junior prom, discovering the truth about Eric, her and Ron walking in together, Bonnie's attempt to humiliate them, and the awkward kiss at the end.
In hindsight, Kim could be honest and say she had kissed Ron simply because he had kissed her first. She had jumped on the fact that someone, anyone, liked her, not even stopping to see whether she really felt the same way in return. Her pride had been bruised and Ron telling her how he felt had been the balm her wounded ego had needed. There hadn't been time to really talk more in-depth as they were focused on stopping Drakken and Shego and shutting down the lil’ Diablo toys for good. I need to ask her about that, Kim made a mental note. If Shego was working for Global Justice, then Kim had some hard questions to ask about her involvement in Drakken's plot.
It had only taken a few awkward dates and disastrous attempts at romance for Kim to realize the truth. She just didn't like Ron that way. While she admired his laid-back attitude, his sense of humor and even his penchant for nonconformity, none of that admiration translated into the feelings a girlfriend ought to have. His immaturity towards the relationship and tendency to still treat her as a best friend didn't help matters either.
It had taken the new school year starting for her to gather the courage to end it. She had sat him down and haltingly told him the truth. The stricken look on his face had her in tears, believing their friendship ruined. Ron had surprised her by taking her in his arms and comforting her while admitting to feeling the same way. He had also confessed his fear of being replaced. That with Kim having someone new, there would be no room for him in her life.
They had agreed to break up and give each other space for awhile, knowing their friendship was too important to throw away because of a failed attempt at romance. It had taken time but now they were able to relax in each other's presence and the easy camaraderie they shared was back in full force. They still had the occasional tense moment but otherwise were back to being Ron and Kim, best friends since pre-K. I'm glad we didn't lose each other over that, she mused silently. The sound of her name being called startled her out of her woolgathering.
Ron was giving her an odd look. “I asked if you were gonna eat that. You sure you're okay?”
She smiled reassuringly and pushed her plate towards him. “I'm sure Ron. Go ahead. I don't have much of an appetite today.”
He shrugged and began wolfing down the food on her plate. Kim laughed at his horrible table manners. At least this hasn't changed.She was grateful for that.
“Oh hello, Kim.”
“Hello, Mrs. Load. I was wondering if I could speak with Wade for a moment.” Kim had managed to make it through the rest of the school day without falling asleep and had begged off a Bueno Nacho run with Ron, saying she had an important project she needed to work on. She felt terrible lying to him, but her need for answers would wait no longer. Here she was, at the home of a reclusive boy genius to discover just how deep his duplicity ran and if they were even going to remain friends after all was said and done.
“Wade's just in his room. If you'll follow me,” Mrs. Load beckoned Kim inside and led her down the main hallway. She stopped in front of the door and softly knocked. “Honey, Kim Possible is here to see you.” She waited a few moments for an answer and failing to get one, shrugged at Kim. “He's probably got his head stuck inside one of those computers. Go ahead, Kim.”
Kim nodded her thanks and opened the door. She'd only been in Wade's room a few times. The sheer amount of technology crammed into the small space always astounded her. “Wade?”
“Kim?” Wade poked his head out from underneath his computer desk. He had been rearranging cords underneath his desk and hadn't heard the knock.
She picked her way through the various computer parts and cords littering the floor. “We need to talk.” Her tone was soft but serious. She didn't like lying, especially when it was by someone she called a friend. The boy genius nodded and moved to sit in his computer chair. He motioned for Kim to sit in the only other available space. She took a seat and pondered how to begin a conversation she had been dreading since last night.
Fortunately Wade beat her to the punch. “I'm sorry,” he said quietly, looking at the ground. He had known this day would come, when Kim would find out the truth. He had managed to push it to a far corner of his mind, choosing to deal with the here and now rather than some far-off event that hadn't yet come to be.
She slowly shook her head. “How could you do this to me, Wade?” The disappointment and hurt she felt was difficult to hide. “I thought we were friends.”
“We…we are,” Wade protested. He hadn't expected her to take it so personally.
“Friends don't lie to each other.”
“But…but…I was just trying to help,” he argued, weakly.
Kim dismissed his words with a wave of her hand. “If you had really wanted to help, you would've told me the truth about Shego. It's been 4 years, Wade.” She stood and started to pace. “4 years of thinking she was my mortal enemy when in reality, she's anything but.”
There was nothing he could say to refute Kim's words. He continued staring at the ground, feeling small and miserable.
“Do you have any idea what it feels like to be used that way? To be lied to by someone you thought you could trust?” she asked, reproachfully.
“I'm sorry,” he whispered, tears filling his eyes. In truth, he hadn't counted on feeling this horrible, but Kim's consternation and obvious disappointment left him reeling. Wade had never meant to hurt anyone. He looked up to Kim as the epitome of what was right and good in a world that was all too terrifying sometimes. The look of betrayal on her face was something he knew would haunt him for a long while. “I never meant…” Emotion choked his voice and he squeezed his eyes shut, letting the tears roll down his cheeks.
Kim stopped her pacing at the sound of sniffles. She hadn't meant to castigate the boy so harshly and a twinge of sympathy ran through her at the sight of Wade crying. He would've only been 10 years old when Global Justice would have come calling. He's just a kid, she reasoned. I probably would've done the same thing. Kim knelt at Wade's side and reached a hand up to wipe away the tears. “I know you meant well, but it still doesn't make it hurt any less that you lied to me, Wade.”
He nodded, still refusing to meet her eyes. There was nothing he could say in his defense. In fact, he wouldn't blame Kim if she never spoke to him again, if she found someone else to be her go-to person when it came to saving the world. A gentle finger lifting his chin broke him out of his self-pitying tirade. He looked up into warm green eyes.
“It doesn't make it okay, but I can understand why you did it,” Kim said softly. “I know you were just looking out for me.”
“I was. I…I hated keeping it from you,” he sniffled and rubbed at his eyes, embarrassed at his emotional outburst.
“But now that I know, you don't have to pretend anymore. No more secrets, okay?”
Wade nodded vehemently. “No more secrets. I really am sorry. I'll make it up to you, I swear,” he vowed, wanting to do whatever he could to make amends.
A calculating glint came into Kim's eyes. “It's funny you should mention that. You see, there is something you can do right now that will go a long way in making it up to me.”
A vague sense of uneasiness filled him at the look on her face. “What?” He had a sneaking suspicion what Kim wanted.
She grinned, slyly. “Tell me where I can find Garrett Frost.”
Shego was not in the best of moods. Her day had barely begun and already it wasn't going well. Drakken had been his usual whining self when she'd casually strolled in this morning, cursing her absence until she had reminded him she was back early from her vacation. A plasma blast had silenced his petulant retort and she had stalked off to her room to grab a few hours of sleep. Her nap was interrupted by a single shrill beep from her communicator that signaled Frost needed to see her.
She had grumbled something about errands to Drakken and left him sputtering over her departing again so quickly. Shego carefully made her way into the woods surrounding the lair and meticulously searched the area for any signs she'd been followed or was somehow being recorded. Finally satisfied the location was secure, she pulled the communicator out from her ankle pouch.
She truly was not in the proper mental state to deal with Frost today. Her vacation cut short, Dr. Director giving her a verbal thrashing when she had returned to headquarters after the mission, not to mention the deliberate avoidance of Kim, all combined to leave her with a less than cheerful demeanor. “Let's get this over with.”
“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.”
“Shove it, asshole. I'm checking in so Dr. Dictator gets off my case.”
“Ah Harper, why do you fight the boss lady so hard?” The computer genius shook his head, “She always gets her way. Better yet, why not fight in a pool of warm oil and let me sell tickets?”
“Because your head would implode and you'd need a change of pants before the first punch was ever thrown.” She rolled her eyes. “Just give me the run down. And don't call me Harper.”
“Sure thing, Shego.” He grinned at the scowl currently being aimed his way. “Updates being sent to your communicator now. The fuel rods and plutonium were returned safely and intact a few hours ago. Any leads on who helped Drakken get it in the first place?”
Shego shook her head, “None yet. But whoever it was, was a professional. I checked for signs of a calling card, even snooped a bit to see if they were still around, nothing. I'll do some hinting, see what he says. I've got my suspicions though.”
“Care to share?”
Frost frowned, “C'mon, you know you're supposed to divulge any information you have, that includes ideas about possible suspects.”
“When I have a better idea, I will,” she snapped. “Don't start with me, Frost. Bad enough I got Bets jumping my ass for Kimmie's attitude, I don't need you to pile on. And don't even think about it, whatever stupid remark you have in your head,” she interrupted before the tech could say anything. “I know you, dorklinger. Don't think I won't kick your ass either. I still owe you for that ‘hot and bothered’ remark.”
He snorted, “Please. We both know you won't lay a finger on me, even when I offer to pay first.” Frost loved antagonizing Shego. They had an odd relationship that seemed to baffle most people. There was mutual respect for each other professionally and a degree of warmth between them. But any opportunity to harass the other, verbal or otherwise was swiftly exploited. It had gotten to the point where Dr. Director had threatened to have them both disciplined within an inch of their lives if they didn't stop assailing each other with pranks and sarcastic taunts. “You should reconsider, Bean Sprout. You know what they say about beggars and choosers, ‘specially if you're green,” he couldn't help baiting the green-skinned woman.
“You're a dick.”
“You love it. Now smile for Frosty,” he tapped his keyboard, entering in information to be encrypted and stored for later perusal by Dr. Director. “Show me that beauty-queen charm I know you have.” He chuckled as Shego raised her middle finger in an unmistakable gesture. A click was heard as a snapshot was taken and stored in her restricted personnel file. Undercover agents were required to show evidence of their physical well being at every check-in. “By the way,” he slurped on a diet soda, “I had a visitor today.”
“Who?” Her irritation grew tenfold. As if she didn't have enough to deal with, someone was checking up on her via Frost as well.
“Oh, this cute lil’ red head. Quite the firecracker, that one.” He snickered when quiet cursing filtered over the speakers. “She seemed awfully interested in you, your whole career here at GJ, heck she even offered me a bribe if I'd just pull up your restricted files and turn a blind eye for 10 minutes.”
“Possible offered you a bribe?” More cursing erupted from her lips. This was just what she needed, Kimmie snooping around GJ for information on her. “What did you say to her, Frost?”
He smirked and shrugged. “What could I say? I am a weak man, I admit. Especially in the face of such hotness.”
“WHAT?!” If she could reach through the screen, she would be throttling the man who kept her safe and in one piece day in and day out. This could not be happening to her.
He held a straight face for a moment before erupting into laughter. “Oh man, the look on your face! Ha ha, that was awesome. Hee hee, oh my sides. Ouch…oh…ha ha ha.”
“When I get back to headquarters, your ass is mine.” Her tone was soft and deadly.
The laughter immediately stopped and the computer whiz gulped audibly. Shego never could take a joke. She could dish out the insults but rarely liked to have a dose of her own medicine. He sighed heavily. “You never let me have any fun, you know that? Calm down, calm down,” he placated the irate woman glaring daggers at him through the screen. “I didn't tell her anything,” he paused and smiled wickedly, “I told her to go straight to the source if she wanted info.”
“Frost, you sonofa - “
“What's that, Special Agent Galloway?” he asked loudly, pretending he didn't hear the stream of obscenities being hurled at him. “I can barely hear you,” he fiddled with a few keys on his keyboard and tweaked a few knobs. “The picture's getting fuzzy. You've got your orders. See you next week, Harper.” Ha! Take that, Greenie.
Still in the middle of her tirade, Shego was left snarling curse words at a darkened screen. Fucker. I'm gonna kick his balls into his throat for this. She growled with frustration. If Frost was telling the truth, and his cowardly exit left her no doubt he was, then her Princess was liable to show up anytime now, demanding answers.
As if on cue, a red-headed blur swung out from the trees and managed a full-body tackle on the unsuspecting agent. A loud grunt escaped Shego's lips as the weight of her assailant came crashing down on her and she fell to the ground. She closed her eyes and fervently hoped it wasn't the person she thought it was. I promise, no more spiking Frost's soda with laxative, no more goading Du, no more back talking to Bets if you just let it NOT be Possible,she prayed silently. She slowly opened her eyes to gaze up into the countenance of a very pissed off teenage heroine.
“We need to talk.”
“Wonderful.” She muttered skyward at the ineffable force that seemed hellbent on making her suffer today. One of those days indeed.