The rain was still coming down. It was nighttime by now and that was only noticeable because it was darker than before. Shego was still holding onto Kim, who was sleeping rather soundly; so much so that it would probably creep the teenager out if she was aware of it. Shego was staring at the redhead.
The kid did something to her. It was not something negative or physical. It was an internal something, but Shego did not know what it was exactly because she had never felt something like it before. She knew that whatever it was, it had made her angrier at Kim than any other person that she had been in her whole life, and that was something considering how often and easily she lost her temper. But, it was that same thing that had allowed her to forgive Kim when the samurai requested it. It was something that she believed was strange, especially since she could not identify it exactly.
What had the little redhead done to her, Shego wondered. She should still be upset with Kim for being a spy, she believed. But, she just did not have it in her when the teen asked for forgiveness; it was like she was just waiting for that moment, so she could surrender. She had been considering forgiving Kim before the redhead even asked. It was just that the olive-eyed warrior had admitted to enjoying spending time with her and she knew that Kim was speaking in earnest; she could just see it in those eyes that pled with her to keep what they had. It had done something to her, touching points inside of her that did not want their bond to die either and overwhelming all of her anger, quelling the negative emotion like an animal trainer did with performing dogs.
Did it mean so much for her to have a friend? She guessed so. She had had friends when she was a child, but she did not feel the same way about them as she felt about Kim. She figured that maybe adults felt different about comrades than children did and that made sense to her. The world was different from childhood to adulthood. So, why would friendship not be the same? An eerie voice in the back of her mind scoffed at the notion, mocking her it would seem. It knew why she had given in, why she had been silently begging to yield, and why she always would as long as that invisible connection between her and the redhead existed.
She continued to focus on Kim. She was keeping the girl warm since they were stuck in a drafty cave in what seemed to be a mini-typhoon, she thought. It was coming down out there like someone was pouring the ocean on the land. The winds were howling like lonely wolves and blowing into the cave on occasion. It did not look like the weather was going to break anytime soon either. She did not mind that and it was an excellent excuse to keep Kim close to her.
The redhead seemed to read her thoughts and snuggled in closer for more heat. The raven-haired woman nearly smiled because of the action. She liked having Kim pressed against her, feeling safe enough to sleep so soundly in her arms, trusting her enough to protect her from the winds, rains, and any other enemy that dared to vex them. She could hardly believe that she had even considered killing the teen earlier that afternoon. It seemed unreal.
Maybe it was deeper than a friendship, Shego considered because of the voice in the back of head mocking her for even trying to think that their bond was about friendship. She just had never felt anything like it to know just what it was precisely. As she looked at the peaceful expression on Kim’s visage, she thought about it more. Maybe it was much deeper than a friendship. After all, why would she feel like kissing a friend?
Through out her life, she had had such attractions. At first, she thought that they were perfectly normal. It was logical to her that a girl could be attracted to another girl. After all, boys were attracted to girls, so obviously there must be something really nice about girls. The idea entered her mind because she had always been a daddy’s little girl. She had idolized her father for much of her life. Whatever her father did was the ideal for her and her father had been attracted to her mother. Her father was attracted to women. It had to be best to be attracted to women, she concluded based on that information.
As she grew older, Shego had come to understand that she was not supposed to be attracted to women, mostly through admonishments from her parents. It was through those reprimands that she had come to think that the attraction was wrong, for her anyway. She began focusing on men, believing that to be the right course of action since it was the opposite of what she had been doing, and she forgot about her earlier attraction. Well, she thought that she had forgotten about it. Maybe it had just been waiting under her skin for a moment like now.
Shego took her hand and brought it up to Kim’s face. She caressed the redhead’s slightly chubby cheek. She had to be careful with her fingers because her nails were like claws, but she made sure to take extra-care while touching the younger fighter. Her face was soft, like lily petals.
“Is that it?” Shego asked herself. She was not too sure, but she did note that the voice in the back of her mind shut up when she got to that conclusion. She thought that she had gotten over her attraction to females. It had not even been an issue with her for almost fifteen years. She did not see why it was coming out now. She had not even considered it back when she thought that Kim was “Akako-chan.” There was something between now and then that changed that, but she could not figure out what it was.
Back when she thought that Kim was “Akako-chan,” yes, she thought that the girl was adorable. It was hard not to think of the redhead that way back then. She was made up to look cute and then there was something about her reluctant performance as a maiko that Shego enjoyed. She supposed that she just liked seeing people when they were uncomfortable and Kim had been extremely uncomfortable as a maiko, even when they had spent plenty of time together. There was just a charming quality about it.
She had been able to tell that Kim did not like being ordered around, which made sense now that she knew Kim was a samurai. The younger woman was more than likely used to someone doing all of the things for her that she had been doing for Shego, especially pouring drink. Ah well, it was still fun to watch her do it.
Being around Kim then had been fun in its own weird way, but it had not led her to consider that she might be attracted to the redhead in what she had been told on many occasions was an inappropriate fashion; she had never been given reasons as to why it was improper. What was changing the teenager from someone that she thought was adorable and friendly to someone that she might be attracted to? She figured that if she thought on it some more, she would figure it out now that her anger had passed.
Shego glanced outside of the cave and noticed that it was not raining as hard as it had been a second ago. She considered that she might go scout around while the rain was more of a drizzle than a pour. She eased Kim off of her, missing the small amount of weight already. She sighed and then left the cave.
Kim shivered and wrapped her arms around herself, hoping to warm herself up. She then remembered that she had been more than warm not too long ago. She had been warm because she had been pressed against Shego. She opened her eyes, considering that if the warmth was gone, then Shego might be as well.
The olive-eyed female found out that she was correct. Shego was gone. She immediately knew how she felt about that, hurt, betrayed, and angry; Shego would have found that ironic and amusing. She had halfway poured her heart out to Shego and the pale woman disarmed her with an embrace only to cut out as soon as she was asleep. What a worm!
She sat up and crawled to the mouth of the cave. It was still raining, harder than she remembered. She sucked her teeth because of the weather. If Shego had gotten enough of a head-start, the rain would wash away her tracks and make it harder to find her again. She did not care; she would find Shego and take her back to Edo by force if necessary if the older woman was just going to toy with her.
And then those thoughts faded as Shego came out of the dark and crawled back into the cave. Kim was stunned by that and she backed away to let the moss-hued fighter in the cavern. She hid the shock in her face while Shego sat down so close to her that Kim could feel the wonderful body heat of the raven-haired female.
“You’re up. I thought you’d still be sleeping. I’ve been gone for a few minutes, after all,” Shego commented. She thought that she would make a quick sweep of the area and then be back way before Kim’s body got cold enough to where she might not wake up from her little sleep.
“Where’d you go?” the redhead asked curiously.
“I was hoping to find a village nearby. I mean, this rain doesn’t seem to be letting up and I’d rather not wait out the storm in a filthy cave,” the pale woman explained.
“Is there a village around?”
“None from what I could see, but it is dark. I found an abandoned house, though. So, come on,” Shego urged the younger warrior.
Kim was about to say something, but Shego put her hand out for the slender redhead. Kim was taken back by the gesture, but she got over that rather quickly. She took the surprisingly small hand of Shego and the pale woman led her out of the cave.
While they went toward the house that Shego was talking about, Kim looked down at the hand holding hers and noted how she liked the sight. It was hard to believe that she had never noticed how feminine those hands were, but now she could see that they were similar to her own. The hand was not soft, but it still brought a continuous gentle wave of pleasantness through Kim. It was not like anything that she had ever felt and she did not want it to end.
How could a hand holding her own hand have such an affect on her, Kim wondered. She did not really get the chance to consider it because they came to the house rather quickly. It seemed like there was someone there in Kim’s opinion. She could tell from a window that there was a fire going on in the place.
“Shego-san, are you sure someone doesn’t live there?” Kim asked.
“No one’s there,” Shego replied. “And don’t call me ‘Shego-san,’” she added. She disliked like when perceived friends were formal with her and she had been that way since childhood.
“But, that’s your name, right? And there’s a fire in there,” the younger woman pointed out.
“I started the fire. And my name is Shego, without the ‘san.’ Got it?”
“Okay,” Kim replied.
Shego glanced back at the redhead, just to make sure she was all right. They went into the little wooden shack and saw that there was a fire going in the fire pit in the center of the one room house. Shego thought that it would be best for the place to be warm for Kim when she showed up. She tried her best not to question why she was being so considerate, even though she had already gotten to thinking about it. Not to mention, part of her seemed to swear that it already knew the answer.
They sat down on the wooden floor. The house was dry; well, it was drier than the cave anyway. It was also warmer than the cave, so Kim guessed that her time curled up next to Shego was done. Ah, well, she reminded herself that all good things had to come to an end.
Now that she was warmer and awake, though, Kim remembered her injuries from her battle with Shego earlier. Her whole body was aching, but the places that were really throbbing were the scratch marks. She pulled her sleeves up to inspect those to see that they were more like burns than regular slash marks. Well, that explained why they were hurting more so than her other injuries.
“What are you doing?” Shego inquired when she noticed Kim staring at her arm.
“Nothing,” Kim replied while pushing her sleeve back down.
Kim went into her pocket and pulled out a very small container. She opened it and then pulled her sleeve back up. Shego noticed those actions as well and figured that Kim was applying medicine to her burns.
“Let me do that for you,” Shego offered, figuring it might help ease her guilt for having harmed the samurai so much in the heat of anger.
Kim did not argue and handed over the container, which held a special balm her mother made for her since she did suffer wounds every now and then. It came with being an active person and a warrior. Shego carefully applied the salve to each scratch mark on both of Kim’s arms. When she was done, she handed the cream back Kim.
Shego wanted to ask if Kim felt better, but her voice would not do it. She was glad that it had not done so because it made her remember that she was no longer dealing with a delicate little maiko anymore. She was in the presence of a masterful samurai and she supposed that she liked that more than thinking of Kim as a dainty maiko.
The redhead turned her attention to Shego after she returned her balm to its place in her pocket and they just sort of stared at each other. They did not know what else to do. Moving from the cave might not have been the best idea, Shego considered. Now, they seemed a bit awkward around each other and they both disliked that, but were unsure of how to dispel the strange air around them.
The pale woman had thought that it would have been good to move from the cavern. She did not like the open cave and Kim was cold, so she thought that things would be better in the small shack, but she supposed that she was wrong. She had been banking on Kim going back to sleep too, but it seemed like the girl was intent on staying awake now.
Kim had actually fallen asleep in the cave by accident. She had been so comfortable and resting against Shego had been soothing. The rhythm of her breathing and the sound of her heart beating had been like a lullaby for Kim. Lying on a stiff, wooden floor just was not going to cut it after catching a nap against Shego.
“Shego-san…I mean, Shego, what now?” Kim asked.
“What do you mean? We wait for the rain to stop and we get going on to Edo, as promised,” Shego answered.
“You’re going to go back to Edo?” the redhead inquired with a bit of a shock.
“I gave you my word,” the emerald-eyed warrior replied with a bit of a shrug to down play the significance of the matter.
Kim was seriously impressed by that. Shego had made an arrogant, hate-fueled boast when she promised to return to Edo before their fight, yet she was standing by it. She was quite possibly going to go to her death, but she was going to keep her word. Kim knew that most people would have fled as soon as they had the chance, but Shego had the chance twice and only used one of those to go find better shelter. Wow.
“You should probably get some sleep. I don’t think that rain is going to do stop anytime soon,” Shego commented.
Kim was not sure what to say. Her body was rather weary and she would not mind getting some sleep, but she did not feel like it right now. She wanted to stay awake and she did not know why.
“Shego-san…I mean, Shego,” Kim corrected herself again. She looked away for a moment while sucking her teeth in embarrassment because she was slow in calling Shego what she desired to be called.
The smart-aleck warrior laughed a bit at Kim’s reaction to her mistake. There was something about Kim, she silently noted for probably the millionth time now that she thought about. Almost everything that she did was cute to the green-skinned woman. She had never met anyone quite like Kim and she supposed that added in the fact that she could forgive the redhead for the whole spy thing. She had an inkling that the unnamed emotions that she held for the teenager was what made Kim cute in the first place. It was all so very odd, she thought.
“Yeah?” the raven-haired female replied.
“Um…” Kim was not too sure what she wanted to say, but she knew that it was going to be too much. She looked away and licked her lips, wondering if she should chance what her words. She might bring down Shego’s wrath again if she did. “I’m glad you’re not upset with me anymore,” she opted to confess.
Shego nodded, but she could see that there was more underlying that statement from the look in those olive eyes. She realized that for her, those dark green eyes were windows into Kim’s mind and there was something that she wanted to get out, but was deciding against. Something that was probably important. It was probably why the redhead had made that obvious admission. Well, Shego would try to get to that information because she wanted to know what it was now that she could see that it was there.
“And why is that?” the pale female asked.
“Well…um…because I like being around you,” Kim replied. That was as obvious as the fact that she was pleased that Shego was no longer vexed with her.
“So you’ve said,” Shego pointed out as if it was trivial information.
The younger fighter nodded and then chewed the inside of her lip in a nervous fashion. She had said that already, she reminded herself. Something inside of her was compelling her to speak, but it was not offering up exactly what she wanted to say or why she wanted to say it. It just had something to do with back when they were spending time in the teahouse and she believed that she knew what it was. She did not want to say it and run the risk of having Shego irate with her all over again.
“You know I don’t think I ever thanked you for taking me out to that hill those couple of times,” the samurai said with a nervous grin. It was a dodge in Shego’s opinion.
“You have,” the super-powered warrior informed Kim.
“Oh.” The teen just laughed. It was an anxious sound, which Shego took note of. Damn it, Kim cursed mentally. She told herself to either say what she felt necessary or to just shut up altogether before Shego started to think that there was something wrong with her. “Get it together, Possible,” Kim ordered herself mentally.
Shego studied her redheaded companion, who looked like she was mentally fighting with herself. The older woman was trying to figure out what Kim was trying to get at. It was apparently something that she would rather dance around then bring up. She could not put her finger on what that might be. Was Kim looking to apologize again? That would not explain her nervousness.
“Maybe you should go back to sleep,” Shego suggested, if only so she did not have to look at the samurai’s twisted expression as she tried to get out what she wanted to say.
“I’m not really tired,” Kim replied. She lying and that was clear from how sound she had been sleeping back in the cave. She was still exhausted, which Shego expected. They had had a grueling battle and then the redhead had carried her body to that cave and she could only guess the distance between the combat zone to the cave.
“You don’t trust me?” Shego asked with a taunting smile. It looked down right spooky in the fire-lit setting with the flames dancing and illuminating different parts of her face. Kim considered that Shego’s face was what youkai (1) might look like.
“It’s not that,” the younger warrior answered honestly, which Shego knew anyway since Kim had already fallen asleep against her.
“Then you should go back to sleep.”
Kim was not sure how to protest the suggestion without sounding weird or like a ranting idiot because she was not sure why she did not want to go back to sleep. She ended up nodding in agreement since she could not think of a proper response. Her body would be grateful for the rest anyway.
The redhead lay down as close to the fire as she could without burning herself and tried to go to sleep. She ended up pretending to sleep, thinking that if she did not do that then Shego might scold her or something like that for doing something idiotic, like staying awake when it was clear that she needed sleep. She was not sure why she thought that, but she was pretty right about that assumption.
Kim thought about what she had been trying to tell Shego and she could almost figure out exactly what it was. It frightened her a little bit as she realized it. There were so many things wrong with it and she just could not say it. What would Shego think, after all? The older woman would certainly be enraged by her again and she would rather not deal with that.
Shego watched Kim for a few moments and then turned her attention to outside. She could still hear the rain coming down hard and the winds were still bellowing to their hearts content. She guessed that she could get some sleep too. Her body would appreciate the rest just as much as Kim’s would; after all, she had been in the same fight.
The pale woman hit the deck and tried to go to sleep on the hard wood. While she rested on her side, she realized how much it hurt. Kim had really done a number on her. She chuckled internally; she had been pounded by a little kitsune (2). She was aware that Kim would take offense if she knew that was the thought in Shego’s mind about her defeat. Hey, maybe she was a fox spirit. It would explain why she won, in Shego’s opinion anyway.
Shego glanced over her shoulder to look at Kim. She then looked at Kim’s shadow out of curiosity. It was too distorted to tell her anything, so she was going to have to swallow her pride and just admit that she was beaten by an above average young samurai, an extraordinary samurai. At least it was Kim that had beaten her. If anyone else had been able to pull off such a feat, they would have been rubbing it in her face, especially Director Betty. Oh, that was going to be one smug bitch when they got back to Edo and turned herself in. She would rather be crucified than have to deal with that one-eyed annoyance.
She then turned her attention back to trying to go to sleep. Sleep did not seem to be coming, though. The floor was uncomfortable and something seemed to be missing to help her relax enough to go to sleep. She started thinking. She thought about how she had been holding Kim not too long ago and it had made her feel at peace. Maybe if she was doing that again, she would be able to sleep. Well, it was worth a shot and Kim would not know since she was asleep anyway.
Shego silently got up and moved closer to Kim, which the redhead did notice since she was not sleeping. She wondered what her green-skinned companion was doing. She heard and felt Shego stop when the older woman was behind her. The redhead wondered what Shego was doing. She did not worry, but she did consider that Shego was a little strange and then she felt an arm wrap around her waist. It took all of her self-control to continue feigning sleep and not react to the limb pulling her close to a warm body.
Shego sighed; yeah, that certainly felt better. She rested her head on top of her free arm, letting it act like a pillow; Kim was not doing that with her arms since they were injured. Shego’s face was settled near the top of Kim’s head and close to being right in Kim’s red-orange mane. She inhaled, taking in the samurai’s natural scent, which was buried underneath the layers of sweat, mud, and rain that she was coated in thanks to the day that they had had. She smelled faintly of wild flowers. They both hardly stayed awake a minute after Shego had moved.
One of the two warriors evidently moved around in her sleep. Why was it obvious? Because Shego was now lying on her back and Kim was spread out on top of her. So, either Shego rolled over from her side onto her back and took Kim with her since she had her arm around the olive-eyed teen or Kim turned around completely sometime in the night and caused Shego to fall over. They would never know because they were both going to deny that they moved in their sleep later on.
For the moment, they both awakened at the same time. Kim was the first to stir, but Shego noticed the movement against her and that caused her to regain consciousness. They almost immediately noticed their situation. They would have noticed sooner, but they were wondering why they had had such great sleeps and then came the awkward realization of how they were positioned. They both blushed; Kim more so than Shego.
“Um…sorry!” Kim squeaked as she moved to get off of the elder warrior, but two things prevented that from happening. One was the arm that was still around her waist flexed and held her in place. The other was the fact that Shego verbally halted her.
“Don’t move,” Shego sort of commanded/requested. It was a mix of the two and she hoped that Kim would respond to one of them.
“Why not?” the younger woman asked quietly. Maybe something was wrong. Was there a danger around or something? Nothing got her attention, aside for the strange way that she was on Shego anyway.
“I like you right where you are,” the pale woman commented with a smirk. Hey, it was the truth.
“I don’t understand,” the redhead replied.
Shego chuckled a bit. She did not expect Kim to understand. After all, how she felt right now, it just was not normal. It was inappropriate as far as she knew. It would have surprised her to know that underneath it all, in a place that Kim was not too sure existed, she did understand what was going on.
“What’s there not to understand?” Shego teased. “I like you right where you are,” she repeated and she began caressing the younger woman’s back.
Kim blushed even deeper. It seemed like she might have popped a blood vessel in her face from the dark crimson stain spreading across her visage. She could feel it too, so she knew that she was about as red as her hakama, if not more so, and that sort of embarrassed her, which did not help. She only blushed more.
“Shego-san,” Kim started, but she was cut off.
“Shego,” came the correction.
“Right, Shego. Um…maybe we should get up now,” the teen suggested.
“Why? It’s not like we’ve got anywhere to go,” Shego replied.
They both could still hear the rain coming down just like it had been last night. Hell, the only reason that they knew it was morning was because it was just less dark outside, but the sun was not making its presence known by much. There were obviously still clouds in the sky blocking the sun. It was probably a rather miserable morning out there, but Shego was not inclined to find out, especially since the morning inside was the total opposite.
“Yes, I know—” Kim tried to say, but Shego interjected again.
“Then let’s just appreciate getting to see another day,” the green-skinned woman remarked while pulling Kim closer to her.
The redhead seemed to be unable to blush anymore, which was probably good since she did need her blood circulating her body rather than rushing to her face. She rather enjoyed being so close to Shego and she was rather certain that she knew why. It was what she had been trying to say last night, but she had not been so sure of it. She knew now, though.
“Now, isn’t this much better than protesting and suggesting that we should get up?” Shego commented while putting her other arm around Kim.
The teenage warrior nodded without realizing it. She was telling the truth, but she had not told her brain to make that movement. Well, it was too late to take back now and it was honest, so there was nothing wrong with it. She exhaled slowly and made herself comfortable where she was since Shego was not taking offense to their predicament.
“Shego…” the olive-eyed female said.
“Yeah?” Shego replied.
“I have something that I really want to tell you.”
“All right. Shoot.”
“Well…back when you were a client at the teahouse…well…I think I was starting to like you…” Kim confessed. Maybe Yori had had a point back then. She had been at least a little smitten with the bodyguard, which was why she had been so comfortable around “him” and why she had made sure “he” did not go out that night when there was the raid on Senior’s home. She had to admit that to herself now. She had done those things not for a friend, but someone that she was falling for.
“Only starting?” the raven-haired female teased. She had a playful smirk on her face.
“Okay, do you know what I mean, though?” Kim asked since Shego was taking it so lightly.
“Yes, I know what you mean,” Shego sighed, but it was not a disheartening sound in the least, which let Kim know that it was all right to try to finish talking.
“Okay, well…um…you know…um…”
“Spit it out, hime (3),” Shego said. She was not sure why she had used that nickname, but it was a nice name now that she let it slip. She just wanted to sound understanding and thought that a pet name might help Kim say what was on her mind.
“Well…the thing is that…um, that hasn’t changed…I still like you,” the redhead confessed and then she looked away. She was waiting for Shego to yell at her for admitting such a thing, for even thinking such a thing.
“That is good to know,” the pale woman commented in an almost disarmingly light tone.
“It is?” the teen asked with confusion dominating her voice.
“It is very good to know.”
Shego only smiled. It was not her way to explain herself for things like that. But, back when she thought that Kim was a maiko, she realized now in retrospect that she had been starting to like Kim too and not in a friendly manner. The feeling had not waned since finding out that Kim was something else because she could tell that Kim had been being herself, even when she was pretending that she was someone else. It was the reason why everything was going the way things were.
It was the connection that they felt, Shego was sure of that. It was not just a liking, it was an attraction; a very adult attraction. It was also a rather heavy attraction in Shego’s opinion, at least on her end for it to have conquered all of her negative emotions toward the samurai.
“So, it’s all right for me to still like you?” Kim asked because that did not seem right to her. In the things that she had seen in her short life, women liking women in the manner that she liked Shego was not one on that list.
“It is,” Shego confirmed.
“But, you’re a woman,” the redheaded samurai pointed out. She thought that there had to be something wrong with that.
“Yeah, I noticed that too,” the emerald-eyed female remarked with a smile. “There’s nothing wrong with it,” she promised the younger woman. There could not be anything with it, not with the way she felt and she was certain that the redhead felt the same way too. It could only be wonderful, even if it was inappropriate as far as she knew.
Kim was about to say something else, but Shego decided to just show her that everything was all right. She pulled Kim down to her and pressed her mouth against Kim’s. The redhead was so caught by surprise that she pulled away. She stared at Shego with wide eyes.
“It felt wrong?” Shego guessed. She figured that was why Kim had wrenched herself away from the contact.
Kim did not respond. She stared into those lovely emerald eyes, glad that she was now allowed to see them along with the charming face that accompanied them. She then leaned down and kissed Shego, softly and gently. It felt far from wrong.
1: youkai: ghost, phantom, or an apparition.
2: kitsune: fox.
3: hime: princess.
Next time: the rating goes up.