Honor Bound

Chapter 15

Sheer force of will


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TITLE: Sheer force of will

AUTHOR: StarvingLunatic

DISCLAIMER: I don’t own these characters.

SUMMARY: AU. Set in Japan during the Tokugawa era. Director Betty recuits samurai Kim and ninja Yori for a job to find out about a plot to overthrow the govt. The job: go undercover as geisha.

TYPE: Kim/Shego, Yori

RATING: US: PG-13 / DE: 12

Words: 6805

Kim and Shego ran at each other and met in a flurry of fists. Their vicious fists slammed against each others’ cheeks with unimaginable force, bruising their faces, but that did not stop them. They continued on fighting, disbelieving the battle that they were engaged in, but slowly growing to love it.

They were both unaccustomed to fighting for so long. They usually ran through opponents, no matter how many there were. Battles usually only lasted a minute or so, but as far as they knew that had been going at each other for about a half hour. Time would not have mattered if they at least knew each other as warriors or respected each other as warriors when the combat began, but that had not been the case. They had not entered the battle with a mutual respect for each other as fighters.

Shego could hardly believe what was happening. She might have been impressed if she was not so upset and desiring so much to destroy the girl before her. She was so furious with Kim and with herself. The redhead had lied to her and she had fallen for it; she was not sure which one upset her more.

She had stupidly assumed that she had gone out and made a friend of some kind. She had even been nice to the girl, taking her outside when she was stuck in the teahouse, even taking the redhead to her own secret, special spot. She had shared her most private space with the teen and discussed the stars with her, opening up slightly, but more so than she ever had with someone in recent years.

She had even felt sorry for the kid. She thought that the teen was a prisoner, trapped in a gilded cage and too frightened to fly away. But, it was not even like that. Her emotions had been wasted on a lie! Her emotions had been brought out because of a damned liar. It was unacceptable and infuriating and she just waited to wrap her hands around that light, slender neck of her opponent and snap it! Unfortunately, her opponent did not seem for that idea and kept avoiding her attacks.

The worst part was that she had worried about Kim, even though she did not acknowledge that was the worst part. She had even wanted to help the olive-eyed kid, though on a conscious level she was not sure why that was. She just figured that it was because she had grown to like the girl, maybe like one would like a stray puppy, she considered. There was something about the redhead that she had connected with in a way that made her care about the redhead, even if she did not want to acknowledge or admit to it. She had thought that the girl was in a bad position in life and she had wanted to change that because of the connection that she felt, but it turned out that the girl was just a spy.

It was because of that connection that she was feeling so angry, hurt, and betrayed. She thought that it was something that they shared, but finding out that the teen was a spy and probably just acting back then made it all seem like a lie. It was as if her mind and heart had been toyed with. She had been played with by a kid and she just did not appreciate it. It did not help that she had been played by a kid that she had liked, that she had meaningful conversations with, that she had shared laughs with, that she had felt so comfortable with.

Kim was trying to focus on solely on the fight, but there were some emotions going on inside of her. Mostly, she was confused. She could not believe that the bodyguard was a woman, first of all. That should have changed the way Kim thought of her, at least that was what the redhead believed. But, it did not change a thing.

When she looked at her opponent, she still saw “yojimbo-san.” She saw a person that had been so kind to her and someone that she believed that she understood. She saw the person that she felt at peace when being around, even if she was doing things like serving the bodyguard drinks or playing the dreaded shamisen for. She still felt the same now as she had then.

She wished that “yojimbo-san” would talk things out with her, but every time she opened her mouth to say something, the bodyguard would up her effort ten-fold. It was like the sound of her voice angered the green-skinned warrior beyond reasoning. It would seem that “yojimbo-san” honestly wanted her to die on the battlefield. Well, she was not going to oblige. She was going to win the battle and attempt to set things straight after that. She would not be able to live with herself if her relationship with “yojimbo-san” ended so sourly with the bodyguard wishing a painful death upon her.

They continued to go at each other, neither showing signs of weakness, even though they were pushing their bodies to new limits against another person. They were both shocked by the level of martial arts that the other knew. It seemed like no matter what they did, the other had a way to counter the moves, which was one of the things dragging the battle out. They were not about to give up, though.

“I’m not losing this,” Shego told herself as she and Kim backed away for a moment to catch their breath and rethink some attacks. She could not believe the strength of the teen and that was muscling in on her anger, but her fury would not give way. She was still vexed the teen and she still wanted to do away with her.

“Why am I doing this?” Kim asked herself. What would happen once she did win, she asked herself. Would “yojimbo-san” actually hear her out if she defeated the moss-hued warrior? She was not even sure what she wanted to say if that was the case. So, really, why was she doing it, she silently asked again.

“Samurai-san, this is the end of this fight,” Shego informed Kim. She was done playing around with the teen, she told herself. She had to think of it as “playing” for the sake of her pride since someone who could not be much older than her youngest brothers was seriously keeping up with her and working her over to a certain extent.

“What makes you say that?” the redhead inquired.

“Because you’re tired and I can do this.” Shego flared her hands.

Kim could not believe her eyes. Was the bodyguard some kind of demon or spirit? No matter, she told herself. She had yet to meet anyone, be they human, demon, or otherwise that could best her in a fight. She was not going to run from a little fire, especially if it stood in the way of her clearing the air with the bodyguard. They could not part on bad terms, she told herself. She was doing it, chasing “yojimbo-san” and fighting with “yojimbo-san” because they could not part as enemies. She would stay standing and she would win because she wanted to save some part of that connection they had.

“I’ll give you a sporting chance, if you run away right now, I’ll let you have a ten second head start,” Shego said in an even tone.

The pale woman was actually mocking her opponent. It would please her if the redheaded warrior did run. It would make it all the more fun when she finally caught the girl and destroyed her for deceiving her. She wanted Kim to feel every drop of agony that she was feeling, yet denying. She would punish the little redhead for making her feel so utterly betrayed and completely used.

But, Kim did not run. She stood her ground because she never ran from anyone in her life and she was not about to start now. Besides, she had other reasons for standing her ground, which included wanting to save them, their connection. Shego frowned since her opponent was not sprinting away. She started counting out loud backwards from ten, hoping to show Kim that she meant business and to frighten the girl into fleeing. Kim did not even flinch.

Part of Shego dared to consider that she wanted the girl to run, so she would have an excuse to let her get away. It was a part of her that she was ignoring because she wanted so badly to completely detest the redhead. But that part, small as it may be, wanted Kim to get away, wanted to let the person that she connected so deeply with to live. Feeling that tiny part inside of her only enraged the pale woman all the more. How could she still positively consider someone who had done such things to her?

“Fine, have it your way!” Shego snarled and she launched herself at Kim.

The petite warrior dodged some rather forceful, flaming slash moves. She could tell in the attacks themselves that Shego was beyond livid with her. She wished that was not the case, but it was. She just made sure to keep avoiding the strikes because it was clear that Shego would not mind killing her from the way that she was coming at the redhead.

Shego could not believe that she could not hit the girl and that just upset her more. She hated Kim so much right now. She loathed that she was so emotionally injured by what happened and she just wanted to forget that any of her time with the teen even happened. She wanted to just take the kid down and never think about her ever again. She wanted to forget that she dared to become someone’s friend or to think of someone as her friend.

People were supposed to just be clowns to her, Shego told herself. Drakken was a clown to her and that was why she stuck with him. That was how it was supposed to be and that was how people were supposed to be to her if she did stick around them. She had stuck around “Akako” and she had actually felt something for the brat that she never bothered to identify. She had not thought that it needed a name as long as she could continue spending time with “Akako.” She had not even really noticed the “something” when she was around “Akako.” She just knew that she always felt relaxed and just all around good when she was in the redhead’s company. It was almost like there was nothing to worry about or nothing truly wrong in the world when she was with “Akako.”

She felt so stupid now for even liking the damnable teenager and she just wanted to make the kid go away. She could then pretend that it never happened, that she never held emotions toward someone before. Kim was dead set against allowing that to be reality. She would not be forgotten, their connection would not be slain out of existence as long as she continued to breathe. It never entered her conscious mind, but whatever she had with the bodyguard was quite precious to her, enough for her to stare death in the emerald eye and stave off the force with her own powerful will.

Shego snarled like an angry beast as she went at Kim again with another attack. The redhead decided that she better just counter at some point in time if she did not want to die. So, after her next dodge, she went into attack mode.

The pale woman was shocked when Kim’s fist came at her and she almost did not get out of the way in time because of her surprise. She had to get over her surprise very quickly because the redhead caught coming. Shego threw up her hands to block a punch, only to be hit with a kick. She growled, infuriated from being hit.

The raven-haired fighter countered and lashed out at Kim with her glowing claws. The redhead jumped back and put her hands up to block, forgetting that she was not in a regular fight. She was cut across her arms with claws and plasma. She hissed in pain and her body reacted of its own accord. Shego was coming in for another hit and Kim kicked out automatically with all of her might to keep her opponent back.

The blow landed and Shego fell back, feeling like she had been hit with a tree truck. Kim decided to keep going and she came in with a fury of kicks since her arms were now injured with scratches and burns. Shego was dazed by the time the kicks stopped and she was bleeding from her nose and lip.

The older female did not let her slight injures stop her and went back at Kim. The redhead blocked again when it was necessary, like when she was not able to totally avoid the strikes against her. But, she made sure to become offensive as soon as she had the chance. She made her main attacks with kicks, but came in with hand strikes too to throw her opponent off.

Shego quickly got over her shock when the hand attacks came, but it had taken a toll on her by the time she did. At least she knew that she was giving as good as she was getting, but she wanted that bitch of a redhead to go down by her hands. She did know that she was going to have to do something drastic, so she could still get away and achieve her goal of slaying the tramp against her. Yeah, through all of her fury and hatred, she had not forgotten that she needed to get away.

The green-skinned woman waited for an opening and was planning to fall back on her ninjutsu to hit a pressure point on her opponent. She was going to go for the throat. She was aware that if she did the move just right, she would kill Kim. And when her moment came, she took it. Only problem was that she missed.

Kim dodged the move just in time, dipping underneath Shego’s in coming hand. The next thing went in slow motion for Shego. Kim came in for as many torso hits with her fists as she could get. In fact, when she started, she did not stop. Shego took a wild, flaming swing, trying to get Kim away from her.

The redhead did back away, but she just came back right in with powerful kick moves. Shego blocked and went to attack again. Kim pushed Shego’s hand away to throw off her attack and came it with a killer kick, letting loose a battle cry as she did so. She caught Shego right across the head and sent the older woman to the ground.

Shego could not believe the force that she was hit with and also could not believe that she could not get up. She was exhausted and after a few seconds, she was unconscious. The redheaded samurai dropped to her knees, sucking in air as if she had just been drowning. She had never had such a draining battle in all her short life.

A thunder clap then echoed through the woods. Kim sucked her teeth as she raised her head to look at the sky. There were thick grey clouds gathering and she knew that it was going to rain. Great, she thought sarcastically.

As soon as Kim got sarcastic in her own mind, another thunder clap sounded and she could see lightning in the distance. She forced herself to her feet and staggered over to Shego. She struggled to lift the heavier woman up and then she dragged the unconscious woman along, seeking out some place to settle down before the downpour that was sure to come was on them.

Shego regained conscious and the first thing that she noticed was that her clothing was wet. She wondered why that was and then she noticed that she was in a cave. She looked at the opening of the cavern, which was a couple of yards away and saw why she was probably in the cave, not to mention why her clothes were wet. But now, it begged the question of how she got in the cave and out of the rain?

She looked around and got her answer. Lying opposite her, a few feet away, was Kim. The redhead was unconscious and she was shivering in her sleep. Shego just left her there for the moment, telling herself that she did not care about the lying, traitorous teen. She could not and would not attack; she was too worn out from the earlier fight and she would never attack an opponent that was not conscious. Telling herself that she did not care about the obviously freezing samurai only happened for a moment, though.

Shego could not take her eyes off of the olive-eyed warrior and eventually moved over to her. She lifted the girl into her arms and held onto her to warm her up. She figured it was the least that she could do since Kim had not left her out in the rain. Maybe the girl was not completely wicked, she considered. But, her actions did not mean anything beyond her repaying a favor, she told herself, as if she needed to justify her movements to her own mind.

She looked down at the knocked-out redhead. The petite warrior was starting to show bruises from their battle. Her injures on her arms, the scratch marks from Shego’s claws, were no longer bleeding, but they were not scabbing over yet. There were also a few burn marks because of her plasma and as she looked at them, she realized that she had been holding back on the deadly energy, even though Kim had been avoiding her hits. If she had really been going after Kim, she would have been able to cut through the girl’s limbs with her plasma working at full force. Maybe she did not want the teen dead, she thought since she had subconsciously held back her full power.

Her emerald eyes fell onto the samurai’s hands. She looked at those small, slender hands. Those were the hands that pulled her out of chilling rain. Those were the hands that had taken her on and bested her. Those were the hands that beat her and proved her declaration foolish. Those were the hands that were going to make her go back to Edo and to face the Shogun.

She could not believe that she had been beaten by such a young warrior. Looking at her, Kim seemed so unassuming, which she guessed made the kid the perfect spy. But, having a closer look, she could see the training marks on the girl. She had never bothered to look too much at the redhead before, just preferring to sit there, talk with her, and listen to her play the shamisen. Besides, she had been hidden underneath the elaborate formal kimono and makeup of a maiko.

She shook her head. She could have adored the kid so much, she considered. She had enjoyed being around her so much when she thought that Kim was just a harmless maiko, so much so that she would have probably tried to give the teen anything that she wanted. But now, she just detested feeling so close to the girl and liking her. She loathed whatever it was inside of her that connected her with the maiko and made her want to be around the redhead. She despised whatever it was that made her wish that she could just take Kim away from it all and keep her all to herself and nothing in the world would ever matter. She just detested Kim and how she had ruined the good feeling that she had once brought Shego.

Added to the fact that the girl turned out to be a spy, there was the fact that she had beaten Shego in a fight that bothered the green-skinned female quite a bit. The pale woman always considered herself the ultimate warrior. She knew several forms of martial arts and she had her special powers; her plasma, her claws, strength beyond that of any normal person. She thought that no matter what she would have been able to take on anyone and destroy that person if the whim overcame her, but then came Kim.

As Shego stared at the petite redhead, it was almost laughable that she had been defeated by the girl, she thought. She was close to being amused by the circumstances that she was faced with, the irony of it all. How she, the ultimate warrior, had fallen to a slender little girl. But, she was still so angry with everything that happened that she just could not find it in herself to be amused by what happened. She had been defeated by someone that she wished would just die and stop haunting her (and hurting her) with her existence.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Kim started showing signs of regaining consciousness. She watched with an interested expression as the redhead yawned and opened her eyes. For some reason that neither of them knew, Kim smiled when she locked eyes with Shego, as if she had forgotten all of the bad blood that was between them like a raging river. They were still and quiet for a brief second and then Shego practically tossed Kim out of her lap.

“Ow, what was that for?” the young samurai asked as she hit the ground. She banged her forehead on a rock and split her eyebrow open.

Shego felt a ping of guilt course through her when she saw the wound that was on Kim’s head. The younger warrior did not seem to mind it much and just used her sleeve to wipe away any blood that was trying to make its way into her eye. Kim sat up and faced Shego, who turned her head away. The gesture caused the redhead to frown slightly because she knew that the bodyguard was still angry with her.

Kim supposed that it was a good sign that the bodyguard had not run away or killed her since she had passed out and the pale woman had woken before she did. She had not meant to lose consciousness when she found the cave, but some things could not be helped. She had gone beyond her limit by holding up Shego’s unconscious form when looking for shelter from the rain and her body simply gave out once she got them both into the semi-dry space.

“I don’t have to explain myself to you,” Shego replied. Great, now she was pissed because she felt guilty for injuring the redhead again. She tried to remind herself that she hated the girl anyway, so it should not matter, but some part of her still seemed to think that Kim was “Akako-chan,” she realized. Some part of her still wanted to connect to the redhead and even though she was trying to ignore that part of her, it was clear that it had some kind of control over her.

“Yojimbo-san…are you mad at me?” Kim asked curiously. A piece of her was hurt because the answer to that was so obvious; the bodyguard had been talking about slaying her earlier, after all. She did not want the bodyguard to be upset with her. She wanted them to be as they were before, if that was possible. She at least wanted them to be able to get along as civilized beings.

“Gee, what makes you say that?” Shego huffed, making sure not to make eye contact with the other warrior.

Kim did not respond to that at first. She pushed herself up against the wall that was opposite Shego, which made her positioned where she had left Shego when they first came into the cave. She folded her legs underneath her and glanced outside the cavern opening.

It was raining much harder than it had been when it first started. She supposed that she lucked out when she came across the cave because as far as she knew there was not a settlement around for a while. It had taken a lot of effort to carry Shego since she had been dead weight thanks to her unconscious state. As soon as she had put Shego down in the cave, she passed out without even thinking that she might never wake up, either due to her own exhaustion or Shego possibly fulfilling her dark desire. She just could not do any more than she had already done.

“Yojimbo-san…Okay, I know you’re mad at me. I mean, if that got anymore obvious, I’d have your sword stuck in my torso somewhere. Oh, speaking of your sword, I’ve got it for you,” Kim said and she pulled the weapon from her obi. She held the weapon out for the pale woman.

Shego first pretended that she was not interested in the weapon. She then glanced at the sword and left it floating in limbo for a few more seconds. And then she snatched the weapon without a word. She made sure not to look at Kim and not to think anything of the gesture of how the teen not only carried her out of the rain, but also retrieved her weapon. The kid seemed so thoughtful, but she was actually just an inu (1) and she did not think that it was fair that growing parts of her was trying to only consider that Kim was actually kind. It was just an act, she reminded herself. It was an act by a trained dog of the Shogunate.

“Yeah, didn’t expect a thanks,” Kim muttered. “I know you think I’m just a rotten spy for the Shogun, but believe it or not, I’m not a spy and I didn’t want to do that job. I sort of volunteered for it before I knew what I was supposed to be doing,” she explained, hoping that it would at least get the bodyguard to look at her. She was going to tell the truth with the hope that it mended their broken bonds and kept them linked in some form.

“Yeah, I believe that,” Shego remarked sarcastically.

“I was sincere in my time with you,” Kim admitted in a low voice. It was slightly embarrassing to confess, but she felt that it needed to be said. She needed it known that she was not totally lying and she was not completely acting.

The redhead had enjoyed her time with Shego, even though they both seemed to be lying to each other in some form. The only thing was that Kim knew to some extent that Shego was misrepresenting herself. She had not known that Shego was a woman, but that did not come close to her being a spy for the Shogun and trying to get information from someone that saw her as a friend. Other than that though, they seemed to be being themselves with each other, honest and open, bare to each other in ways that they never were with other people. At least, Kim knew that was true for her, but she could feel that it was true for the moss-hued fighter also.

“Keep lying,” Shego replied in a snippy tone. She did not want to hear anything from the little liar, especially since that rebellious part in her dared to believe the words that it was hearing. She would not be fooled a second time, she promised herself.

“I was,” the olive-eyed samurai insisted in earnest.

“You know, you don’t have to talk to me anymore. I already agree to go back with you, so you can shut up now,” the pale woman said.

Shego did not want to hear anything from the little brat. She was a liar and more venomous than any snake that Shego had come across. She had no reason to believe anything that came out of the girl’s mouth now and she had no reason to believe that Kim had been sincere in the past. She was going to go back to Edo as promised, so she thought that should shut the little Shogunate hound up.

“I wasn’t looking to hurt you or make a fool out of you or anything like that,” Kim continued on.

“Well, good work since that didn’t happen,” Shego replied, still not looking at the redhead.

Kim sighed, sounding close to defeated, but she certainly was not going to give up, not when she had the chance to clear everything up. She wished that the conversation was going a little better. She wished that the bodyguard did not see it as all her fault too. Everything that happened was something beyond them and they were both wheels in a cog. They added to the problem, but she was not the cause of the problem.

“You know, I’m not the only in this cave that did something wrong,” Kim pointed out because of her frustration.

“What are you trying to say, dog of the Shogun?” Shego inquired with some anger in her voice because she would be damned if she was going to sit there and let some bitch of the Shogun judge her.

“First of all, I’m not a dog of the Shogun,” the redhead declared quite proudly. She had never done a mission just because the Shogun ordered it and she never would. She needed reasons to make her move, good reasons, not just because the Shogun wanted it done.

“Right, you just volunteered for the job before you knew what you were going to do. You’re telling me that you wouldn’t have done it if you were told to do point blank?” Shego asked in a skeptical tone. She felt that the redhead was lucky that they had already had their determining battle and she had made that stupid promise to go back to Edo with the teen because if she had not done that, she would have rushed to the other side of the cave to behead the lying tramp. Well, she would have tried anyway, but with the way that her body was feeling, she probably would not have been able to do such a feat.

“I wouldn’t have,” Kim proclaimed firmly, as if that was the stone cold truth and nothing would be able to break it. “Can you say the same thing about what you were doing?” she countered.

Shego was silently for a couple of seconds. She was not even looking at Kim, but she could tell from the girl’s strong voice that she was telling the truth. Kim would not have been a spy if she knew what she was being recruited for. The pale woman chuckled a little; Kim was not sure how she should take the sound.

“No, I can’t say the same thing. I went along with idiots with my eyes wide open. I enjoyed it,” Shego replied.

She remembered how Kim was being a maiko. It was clear that she had not enjoyed it. Shego had assumed it was because the redhead was being forced into the lifestyle and she was partially correct. She knew that Kim did not want to be where she was when she was acting as a spy. She just had not been sure why, but now, she figured that she knew the reason, or at least one of the reasons.

“You might be mad at me, but you have to remember that I could be mad at you too,” Kim commented.

Shego scoffed and rolled her eyes as she spoke. “I don’t care.” It was a lie.

The slim samurai could tell that she was not getting the truth from the bodyguard. Shego just wanted to be standoffish. They had a connection back when they were both playing roles and Kim knew that she did not want that connection to break. Somewhere deep inside of Shego, a part she was trying her best to ignore, also did not want the connection to go away and it was almost like Kim could see that part as she started her next few sentences.

“I really was sincere in my time with you and I appreciated your company. I know you were sincere too, which is why I don’t hold any of this against you. I liked being around you. I still like being around you,” the redhead admitted.

“Yeah, because this cave is just a great place to be,” the pale woman replied.

Kim sighed. She supposed that she was going to have to dig deep if she wanted to get the bodyguard to not only stop being mad at her, but to trust her again. She would at least like to know the woman’s true name. She did not want to lose the connection that she felt to the bodyguard because she felt it with so few people. To be honest, although Kim would not admit to herself, the connection that she felt to Shego was different compared to the ones that she felt to her friends and family. She had never experienced it before and it was something that she could not describe, just knowing that it was a positive and good thing. She could not, would not let the bodyguard throw everything away.

Shego squirmed in her seat for a moment, which did not go unnoticed. She wished that the redhead would stop trying to reach out to her. The more Kim reached, the more Shego remembered how much she enjoyed being around the redhead and the more her anger conceded to their bond. She then had to remind herself that she liked the redhead back when she was “Akako-chan” and not some filthy inu to try to keep her fury burning.

Kim decided to keep going since she noticed that Shego was getting fidgety. The pale woman was also fighting with herself to not glance over at Kim, which the samurai could see because those emerald eyes were wandering all over the cave now. Those emerald eyes stopped when they were in her direction for just a piece of a second, but they were focused on the ground.

“You know, if you’d just give me a chance, you’d know I mean this. I enjoyed being around you. And I like you so much that I’d even play the shamisen if you’d just forgive me for being a spy,” Kim seemed to plead. She knew that sounded rather ridiculous, but if Shego would read her well, she figured it should work.

The moss-hued female cracked a smile before she could stop herself; she wished that she had her mask to cover that up. It was not just because she knew that Kim hated playing the shamisen, but it was her choice of words. She had actually asked forgiveness for being a spy. It seemed like an odd thing to request.

There was also the tone of her voice. Kim sounded near desperate to her and it was something that she could relate to. She understood that Kim was trying to retrieve and revive some part of what they had and she wanted that; she needed it. It seemed like Kim needed it too. They needed each other and what they gave each other, even if they did not want to acknowledge the connection itself. They had to accept its existence and allow it to repair the damage done because they needed that in order to feel at peace again.

Shego turned her attention to Kim. The redhead took that as a good sign. Plus, the pale woman did not look at angry anymore. There was something about Kim that told Shego that, even though Kim had turned out to be a spy, she was still “Akako-chan,” although she had a different name and everything. She was fairly sure that Kim had been honest with her when they were together. Their bond had been real, not some act.

“You’d have to serve sake too,” Shego remarked.

Kim smiled at that, even though it was a taunt. But, she was not sure if the comment meant that she was forgiven. Did her friendship mean as much to Shego as Shego’s friendship meant to her? She supposed only time would tell. She then shivered as a cold breeze blew into the cave; Shego noticed.

“Come here,” the pale woman ordered.

“Huh?” Kim asked, shocked by the harsh sounding command.

“Come here,” Shego repeated.

The samurai was not sure why, but she complied with the order. She crawled over to Shego, who snatched the teenager up and embraced her. Kim was a bit stunned by the move and she blushed, which Shego took note of. The emerald-eyed woman smiled just a little bit. Maybe there still was a chance for her to adore the girl, she considered. Maybe there was room for forgiveness in her heart, not that she ever thought such a thing was possible.

Shego carried grudges for a long time; it made her a horrible Buddhist. Yet, some unidentified emotions had just defeated her anger and her grudge. She supposed that she might want to work on figuring out exactly how such a powerful connection worked before she ended up at the mercy of a girl that she was starting to think that she could adore.

“You’re really warm, yojimbo-san,” Kim commented in a low voice when she realized that she was warming up faster than expected while being in the arms of the older woman.

“Shego,” the pale warrior said.

“What?” the redhead asked in a confused tone.

“My name is Shego, so you can stop calling me ‘yojimbo-san,’ especially since the guy I was a bodyguard for is probably dead,” Shego explained in a plain tone. She tried not to think about that blue idiot.

“Oh…” Kim muttered.

Drakken probably was dead, they both figured. Shego was unaware that he was captured, but she would not have put it passed him to have either died in that huge fire or to have been captured, meaning he was probably crucified by now. Kim knew that Drakken had been captured and she was inclined to agree that he was probably dead by now, if Betty and her people had arrived at Edo anyway. It had been about a week, give or take a day in her opinion, so they might not be in Edo yet.

“I’m sorry,” Kim mumbled. She was sorry to have caused the bodyguard any grief over the death of her master, if Shego did feel as such anyway. She was willing to bet that Shego felt something over the probably death of the inventor; she had been working for him as his personal bodyguard, after all.

“Don’t be. I’m not. Everyone should be prepared for the consequences of their actions,” Shego replied in an even tone. She would mourn for Drakken, she supposed, but not outwardly. He did need to be prepared to die; that was how the life of an outlaw was.

Kim nodded in agreement. She then curled up closer to Shego, which the raven-haired female noticed of course. They both told themselves that the action was done because Kim was looking for more warmth, but that did not explain why they were both blushing from the action. They tried not to admit to themselves how comfortable it all was.

They were quiet for a long while once they settled into their positions of Shego embracing the redhead and Kim cuddling up close to her living furnace. It reminded them of back when they were alone at the teahouse. They actually felt that same soothing and calm feeling, letting them know that things had not changed between them, even though they now knew what each was. It was like everything was at peace and right, like they belonged near each other.

And then they both realized that sooner or later, they were going to have to break apart. They were going to have to return to Edo. Nothing could come of them anyway if the feelings that were experiencing meant what they thought they meant. All they had to be at peace with each other as they were was their time in the cave right now. Well, maybe it would never stop raining and their time would last forever.

1. Inu: dog or spy.

Next time: the rain continues and things heat up as they decide just what their feelings are.

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