The seemingly endless rain had finally halted. The mighty, grey clouds began to make way for the once again powerful sun to come through. The light intruded on the little world that Kim and Shego had built for themselves that morning in the small, wooden shelter. The two warriors glanced at the window as the sun made itself known, even though they both had hoped that it would just rain on. The world could have drowned in the downpour for all they cared as long as they could have stayed where they were.
The rain had been their ally, their friend. It had allotted them the chance to spend the night together, not to mention the morning. Now, the sun had chased their excuse away, like a dog after a cat. They sighed, hating the sun for the moment and missing the rain.
“Well, I guess it’s time to leave,” Shego commented, trying her best to sound normal and she was doing a semi-decent job at that. She actually would not mind leaving if they were just going in search of better accommodations, but the fact that they were going to be going back to Edo bothered her, of course.
“Yeah, I guess,” Kim agreed with a sigh. What was about to be done bothered her too, especially after realizing that she had feelings for the super-powered warrior.
The two sat up; Shego had been lying on her back and Kim had been on top of her. The redhead moved off of Shego and started to fix her garments. Shego turned her attention to the outside, staring at the door as if she was trying to will the rain to start again. The sounds of the birds coming out let her know that was not going to happen.
“Shimatta,” Shego quietly cursed, hating the birds now to go along with detesting the sun.
“Did you say something?” Kim asked.
“No. Let’s get going,” the raven-haired woman suggested.
An expression of reluctance washed over Kim’s face. She knew that she now had to walk Shego to her possible death back home. It crushed her on the inside. She had saved the woman once and that was before she even ready to admit to herself that she cared about the former bodyguard as more than a friend. Now, she had spent the night in Shego’s arms, exchanged kisses, and had even done something that seemed rather intimate, even though it was also bizarre and they had been dressed. Could she really just walk someone that she cared about into the jaws of the Shogun? She doubted it.
“It’ll be all right,” Shego tried to assure Kim when she noticed the redhead’s expression. She cupped Kim’s face with one hand as a reassuring gesture, but she could see that was not enough. She leaned in and placed a lingering peck to Kim’s lips. “It’ll be all right,” she repeated.
“How?” the redheaded samurai asked in disbelief.
“It just will. I made you a promise, so let’s go. Besides, we can’t spend the rest of our lives in this little hovel. Eventually, we’re going to need to bathe,” the older woman remarked with a smirk.
Kim laughed a bit herself. They were going to need to bathe and soon. They were both wearing a couple of days’ worth of filth. There was their battle sweat, getting caught in the rain, hanging out in a cave for about half a day, and their morning activities bringing on a different sort of sweat. They smelled and looked like they could use a thorough cleaning followed by a relaxing bath. They could also use something to eat, but they were both more concerned about getting clean than filling their empty bellies.
“We can’t stay here forever,” Shego pointed out.
“I know,” Kim replied and she climbed to her feet. The elder female followed suit. They walked to the door together and stepped out into the accursed sunlight. They were on their way. Even though they were not sure what it was, they both assured themselves that they had a future and they were walking toward it, not leaving behind the only chance that they would have to be together and that was why neither of them suggested going in the opposite direction.
“Ah, damn it, is that a checkpoint?” Shego asked as she stared up the dirt path that she and Kim were on. In the distance, she could see the line already. So close to a bath and she had to deal with a check point? What had she done to deserve such a cruel fate!
“It does look like a checkpoint,” Kim agreed, looking up ahead of them too. She knew that as soon as they found a decent road they were going to have to hit a checkpoint, but she did not think that it was so soon. She had hoped that a village would be on the road before a checkpoint, so that they could at least get clean.
“I hate those things,” Shego commented with a huff. She wished that she could just enter a town and not have to be subjected to an inspection like she was some kind of dog. The inspections were rather outlandish in her opinion too, which might explain why she never bothered with them.
“Do you have papers?” the redhead asked curiously.
Shego actually laughed rather hard, as if that was great joke. Did she have any papers? Like she went through checkpoints anyway. She was a free-spirited rebel; of course, she did not have any papers.
“You can go through the checkpoint if you want. I’ll see you inside the town if that’s the case,” the pale woman said.
“What do you mean?” Kim inquired.
“I don’t have a passport, Princess. I get around illegally more often than not,” Shego pointed out.
“How do you manage that?”
“I could show you if you want,” Shego remarked, even though she was fairly certain that if Kim wanted to cheat the system, she would have no problem doing it. It was not like the redhead was stupid or anything.
“I’d rather just go through the checkpoint. It’s less of a hassle,” the younger woman commented.
“You’d like to think so. When was the last time you went through a checkpoint?” Shego asked in a skeptical tone. The paper system was more complex and annoying than it had ever been and she tried to always avoid it.
“Not too long ago. It’s not too troubling. My papers are pretty specific, so I don’t get harassed much,” Kim replied.
Shego shrugged because she did not have anything else to respond with. She would not be surprised if officials did not let Kim by just because they might be scared that she was a fox spirit. She wondered just how specific Kim’s passport was, but she figured if it mentioned her redhead hair and green eyes then Kim really should not be bothered. Only a real asshole would look for more than that in her opinion.
“Well, I’ll see you inside,” Shego said.
Kim nodded and the pair parted ways as they came to the inspection line. The redhead was a bit surprised by the number of people going into the town. Usually, when she came to an inspection post, there was just her and Ron if he came along with her on a mission. She decided not to think about it, though. She just wanted to get the process over and done with it. Sure, it was less of a hassle than sneaking into the town, but it was still a hassle.
Shego looked around the town as she waited around for Kim. She figured that it might take Kim a while to get in. She believed that the younger woman should have just come with her. It had been far from difficult to get in around the checkpoint and into the town; she bet that it would not have been any harder with two people than it had been with just herself. She supposed that she could try to spot some places of interest for her and her companion, like some place to get clean and a restaurant worth eating at.
As she thought about eating, her stomach grumbled. She was really hungry because she had not eaten the day before Kim came looking for her too. She had not expected for someone to catch her so quickly. The petite redhead was just full of surprises.
So, she went around the town, looking for their necessities for the moment. She spotted a restaurant and went in to see what kind of food they served. She was not too interested in those things and as she exited the place, she was nearly mowed down by what looked like a cart, but it was not being pulled by anyone or any animal.
“What the hell?” Shego muttered as the strange device rocketed down the street. What the hell was that thing and why the hell did it nearly kill her?
The raven-haired female stared down the road, maybe hoping to catch a glimpse of the contraption that nearly hit her or the people that were in it. There were a couple of people inside the thing and if Shego had gotten a better look at them, she would have made sure to remember their faces to beat them up later. They had gone by too fast for her to see exactly what they looked like, though.
Shego decided to dismiss her anger at the pair that had nearly run her over since she could not do anything about them for the moment and she was still rather hungry. She continued on her search and found another restaurant almost immediately. She went to go see what they were serving and did not find that menu too pleasing either. She frowned; was it too much to ask for a decent meal now that she was within inches of several restaurants? It would seem so.
“Shego-chan!” Kim called in a rather loud voice.
Shego turned around to see what the redhead was hollering about and she saw Kim dashing toward her at a rather impressive speed. She arched an ebony eyebrow and noted that there was a group of five men trailing behind Kim. Oh, it would seem that the redhead got into some trouble at the inspection post. Yeah, big surprise there, Shego thought sarcastically.
“What did you do?” Shego inquired as Kim ran by her and grabbed her to run along.
“The inspector looked at my papers and then looked at me and called me a liar, saying I wasn’t the person being described,” the younger woman replied while checking behind them to see how close those guards were.
“So?” the pale woman asked as they cut into an alley, hoping that it would help them lose the guys behind them.
“He kept calling me a liar and I started arguing with him over because it’s pretty clear that my passport is describing me. I mean, long red hair, green eyes, hakama, and three swords on her hip? That’s me, but he kept arguing and then he put his hands on me and, well, let’s just say he should wake up by tomorrow morning,” the olive-eyed samurai explained.
Shego laughed a bit and smiled. She figured that the guy got what was coming to him and she bet that he would learn to watch his tongue the next time he was confronted by a petite female samurai. They turned around to check and see if they were still being followed and saw that they were. They glanced at each other and seemed to be hit by the same idea. They ran out onto the street and into another alley. The men were still chasing them and followed them into the alley.
By the time the men made it to the end of the alley, they noticed that they had lost one of the girls that they had been chasing. The good thing was that they had gotten the one that they wanted, though. Kim was standing at the mouth of the alley, looking rather confident for a young lady that was about to be arrested and probably sent into forced servitude for carrying inaccurate papers; inaccurate according to the man in charge of the checkpoint anyway.
“You guys are about the dumbest people I’ve had the pleasure of beating up,” Shego remarked, which caused the men to turn around.
The quintet of fellows was surprised to see Shego blocking the other end of the alley. They did not think about it too much since they out numbered the females and, well, the pair were females too. They did silently admit that the smirk on Shego’s face was rather chilling, though.
“You guys are going to have to learn to look before you leap,” Shego taunted the men as she and Kim started taking methodical steps toward the guys.
“Just give it up and you won’t get hurt,” one of the men informed the ladies.
“I wish I could make the same promise,” the pale woman commented, still smirking like a devil.
Kim hoped that Shego was not going to hurt the guys too much. After all, the guys were just doing their jobs and she really just wanted them to stop chasing her. The duo went at the men in a flash. The guys barely had time to put their hands up before Kim had her foot in a fellow’s throat and Shego had her fist on a guy’s cheek. The two guys that were hit flew past each other and exited the alley on opposite ends. They skidded across the dirt and did not move at all when they finally came to a halt. They were definitely unconscious and they were probably going to be out for the rest of the day.
The other three guys were in shock by what just happened and they were caught off guard because of their surprise. They really could not believe that anyone, let alone women were capable of such feats of strength. Kim and Shego just went into action again, not even bothering to note how amazed their opponents seemed to be.
Kim went in for a combination on a guy, working his face over with a few well-placed punches. Shego went in for the body of another guy, doing the same as Kim once she made contact. The last one drew his sword just in time because Kim and Shego turned to him as his partners fell limply the ground. He held his katana tightly, but he did not know who to face, especially since they were standing opposite him. A lone, nervous bead of sweat fled down his cheek.
“Well, well, well, and there was one,” Shego commented with an amused smile on her face as she cracked her knuckles.
“Stay back,” he ordered them, aiming his weapon in between them since he did not know who to face.
“I’d rather not,” Shego said, her smile changing into something more demonic by the second.
“Be careful,” Kim cautioned Shego. She could see the official’s hand trembling as he held his katana.
Shego waved her companion off. She saw the same shiver. It was dangerous to tangle with a guy that did not know how to handle such a deadly weapon in such an enclosed space. She did not care. She liked to take a chance and maybe teach an idiot a lesson about drawing weapons that he did not want to use.
“I think he should be careful. He could hurt someone with that thing,” the green-skinned female remarked with a daring smirk and she took a step toward him.
“Keep away,” he commanded in a shaky voice.
“I don’t think I want to,” Shego said while holding up a clawed hand, as if taunting the frightened fellow, showing him what he would soon be on the receiving end of.
The man gulped and then gasped. He fell forward. While he had been so focused on Shego, Kim hit in the back of the head. He hit the ground like a limp sack and Shego laughed. That had certainly been amusing.
“Wow, you need to get in trouble more often,” the green-skinned woman remarked, still smiling up a storm.
“I don’t think so. I wouldn’t have had this problem if the stupid inspector just accepted my passport,” Kim replied.
“I guess that’s one way of putting it. You’re one tough number, huh?” Shego said, laughing at her own rhetorical question. She was now in a very good mood, finding out that her companion was not only cute, but fun too, and she had gotten to fool around with some incompetent guards that had hopefully learned a lesson.
Kim laughed a little too. She was happy to see Shego in such a good mood. She was used to a more somber, laidback Shego from when they were at the teahouse. She was also glad to see what Shego looked like when she was somewhat jovial since she had only just recently been able to see Shego’s entire face. They walked out of the alley, smiling as if nothing happened and leaving the five men unconscious where they lay.
“So, what do you say we go get something to eat?” Shego suggested.
Kim stomach responded to that question by growling loudly. The redhead put her hands over her belly and looked sheepish because of the noise. Shego chuckled a bit and she put her arm around Kim’s shoulder, leading her off to find a restaurant. They both quietly noted that they liked how they were situated.
It did not take too long for them to find an eatery with a menu that Shego was not opposed to. They ordered some lunch and went to a table in the small establishment. They both looked rather grateful for the hot food and folded their hands over the food for a moment before declaring a hearty “itadakimasu,” (1) grabbing their chopsticks, and digging in. The food tasted better than either could have imagined. They had been hungrier than they were letting on, but they were not really hiding it anymore considering how quickly and much they were devouring.
They were distracted from their meals for a moment as they heard some strange noises coming from outside. They glanced over to where the entrance of the restaurant was and noticed some movement out there. They both decided that it did not have anything to do with them and turned back to their food, continuing their feast.
The noise from outside stopped and a large blonde man entered the restaurant. He was wearing a tethered blue uwagi (2) with the sleeves torn off in a rather sloppy fashion. The fact that he had no sleeves showed off a tattoo on his shoulder, which meant that he was probably yakuza (3). He had on zubon (4) that were a bluish grey. The uwagi was tied closed, but only loosely and his wide chest was revealed. He had a pair of geta (5).
His blonde hair was wild and fell below his shoulders. He had sienna brown mustache and black beady eyes. He looked around the restaurant, but he stopped completely when his eyes caught sight of two fine ladies. His mouth practically dropped to the floor when he saw them. It must have been his lucky day, he concluded.
He ran his hand over his hair, as if he was fixing it, but that had not done the untamed yellow mane much good. He then marched over to the ladies while his short sidekick entered the restaurant. The blonde walked to the females table and stood there for a moment. They did not pay him any mind until he had the nerve to his hand down on their table, cutting into their mealtime and coming close to squashing some fresh buns that they had just ordered. They looked up at him; Kim looked curious while Shego was borderline furious.
“Can we help you?” Shego demanded to know while planning to stab him in the hand with one of her chopsticks if his finger got any closer to her soup bowl, which still had soup in it that she planned on finishing.
“Totally. The name’s Ed, seriously,” he informed them, as if they were going to call that into doubt, and he pointed to his name on his shoulder.
“What’s that for, in case you forget?” Shego inquired about the reason that he would tattoo his own name onto his shoulder.
“They call me Motor Ed,” he continued on, unaffected by the snide remark from the upset-looking female. She would be surprised if he even understood the insult.
“Am I supposed to be impressed? Get the hell away from us. Can’t you see we’re trying to eat?” Shego pointed out.
“Whoa, babe, you are totally hot, seriously,” Motor Ed commented with a smile.
“Motor?” Kim echoed. She was searching her mind for the word in her vocabulary. Having a father that was an engineer and brothers that were inventors, she had pretty wide range of knowledge and the word sounded a little familiar, but she could not place it yet and she really did not want to at the moment. She just wanted to go back to eating.
“Yeah, motor. You want to see my wheels?” the blonde offered, looking charming in his opinion, but it was closer to creepy in their opinions.
“No, she doesn’t. Leave her the hell alone,” Shego ordered, quickly growing to hate the blonde. She was offended that he would talk to her companion right in front of her, even though he did not know what Kim was to Shego. Hell, Shego did not even know what Kim was to her. She just knew that she did not like the big blockhead talking to Kim, trying to take her some place to see anything.
“It won’t take too long, Aka (6), seriously,” Motor Ed commented.
Shego looked extra offended and quite vexed now. She scowled deeply and made an angry fist at the nerve to of the blonde, accidentally snapping her utensils in half before of her grip on them. Kim noticed the expression and smiled to herself; Shego was jealous. It made her feel good about herself for some reason, but she was going to calm the situation, so Shego did not have to wipe the floor with the upfront blonde.
“That’s okay. I’d rather finish my lunch,” Kim replied with a bright smile, hoping that it would get him to leave them alone.
“Come on, it’s just outside, seriously. I bet you never seen nothing like it, seriously,” the large man boasted.
“That’s all right,” she stated again, continuing to smile so lightly that she probably would rival the sun’s shine.
Motor Ed did not seem to like that answer too much. He leaned down to Kim, invading her space as far as she and her cohort were concerned. Shego frowned at how close he was getting to her companion. He seemed to be about to reach out for Kim. Before the redhead could act, Shego grabbed him by the shoulder. She dug her claw-like nails into his body, cutting through his uwagi and wounding the top of his shoulder. He groaned and turned his attention to her.
“I’d leave her alone if I were you. Now, she doesn’t want to see whatever wheels you have and she does want to finish her lunch, so leave her the hell alone,” Shego ordered and she pushed Motor Ed away with a strength that he did not expect.
The blonde flew across the room and landed on a table, busting it. He held his head, which was pounding now because that was what he had landed on. His short sidekick ran to his side as soon as he hit the table.
“Aniki (7)!” the short, ebony-haired male shouted as he went to Motor Ed, who sat up. “Are you okay, aniki?” the sidekick inquired.
“Yeah, I’m fine, seriously,” Motor Ed answered while turning his attention back to the two ladies.
Shego glared at Motor Ed, as if daring him to come back for more and give her an excuse to tear his whole face off. Kim only smiled, like a mischievous imp, seeming to hope that he did come back for more. Motor Ed did consider it. He even smiled a bit to let them know that he would take them up on their challenge.
“Hey! What’s going on out here?” the restaurant owner hollered as he came to the front of the restaurant to see damage done to his table.
Motor Ed decided to bide his time. He got up and tried to appease the outraged restaurant owner because he did not want to hear his voice. When it obvious that the man was not going to stop yelling, Motor Ed figured that it would just be better for him to leave to not have to hear the man squawking anymore.
“Hey, Aka-chan, I’ll see you around, seriously,” Motor Ed commented before leaving the eatery with his sidekick.
Shego frowned deeply; he would see the samurai again over her dead body. Kim smiled again because of the fact that Shego was jealous, even though the slim samurai had no interest in Motor Ed whatsoever. The pale woman took note of the expression and took offense to it. What was the redhead smiling about anyway? Did she like the attention from that yellow-haired monkey?
“What the hell are you looking like that for? Did you want to go with the dumb monkey?” Shego demanded to know.
Kim laughed a bit and shook her head to disagree. “It’s nothing like that at all. I just think it was sweet how you stood up for me like that.”
Shego was taken aback by that answer and a blush crept into her face because of that. She had done something that Kim thought was sweet? Something like that should not have even mattered to her, she thought, but that was not the case when it came to Kim. She had never done anything as far as she knew that was sweet in anyone’s opinion and she had never cared to until that moment. She was flattered by the thought of being sweet in Kim’s eyes. It was a rather strange feeling, but she liked it and she hoped that she could do more sweet things for the younger warrior.
“Let’s just finish our lunch. We do have to find some place to clean up and everything too,” Shego pointed out, hoping to get control back from the emotions that poked out thanks to Kim calling her actions sweet.
Kim nodded in agreement with that. They turned their attention back to their lunch and finished the meal after Shego got some more chopsticks. They then went in search of some place to get the days worth of grime off of their bodies. They could not wait to get clean.
They eventually made their way to a hotel, figuring that it would not hurt to have a place to relax. They were in no real hurry. Besides, having a room to themselves would give them some place to try what they did in the cabin again. Maybe it would give them a chance to figure out just what they were to each other too. Plus, there was a hot spring bath at the hotel, not that it mattered to Shego since she could heat up just about anything she felt like.
The pair did agree to lounge in the bath for a while after they got clean. Shego was ready first and went out into the water. She sighed as she settled into the piping hot liquid. It felt rather good, she silently admitted. It was a good suggestion from Kim because while she could heat anything up at will, she could not add the minerals that were in the water, which helped make the bath relaxing.
“Where the hell is she?” Shego wondered. It had only been a few seconds, but she was actually pretty anxious to see Kim in a state of undress.
Kim was still getting out of her clothes. She had to fold everything properly, so she was still folding her kimono, which left her still wearing the bindings around her torso and her hakama; yes, she took the kimono off before the hakama because she liked having her swords on her until the last possible moment. She then suddenly tensed up; something was wrong.
The redhead turned around, making sure to be on alert. She had her hands up ready to fight, but she could already tell how things were going to go. She was in an enclosed space and then she was suddenly surrounded. She wondered what was going on now while trying to figure out if she would be able to draw her short sword, but she doubted it. There was not even enough room for that.
“Hey, Aka-chan, how about coming to see my wheels now, seriously?” Motor Ed inquired as he stepped forward, showing that he was responsible for what was happening.
All Kim could think was how it was funny that she had no idea that monkeys could come up with such good plans. She then had to defend herself as several men came at her from all angles and because of the limited space with so many opponents, she was quickly subdued. They bound and gagged her after just piling up on her and immobilizing her.
“Well, let’s get moving, seriously,” Motor Ed commented and his men dragged Kim along. She said something to him through her gag, which he thought he understood. “Don’t worry, Aka-chan, the demon woman you’re with isn’t going to save you this time, seriously,” he promised her.
Little did he know, Kim was not saying anything about Shego coming to her rescue. She was making promises of her own, promises that Motor Ed was going to regret kidnapping her. She was going to make him regret it herself, personally, and very, very soon.
1: Itadakimasu: I am about to partake (civility exchanged before meal).
2: Uwagi: jacket.
3: Yakuza: hoodlum, gangster.
4: Zubon: pants.
5: Geta: wooden sandals.
6: Aka: red.
7: Aniki: big brother.
Next time: the reactions of Kim and Shego to Motor Ed’s bold moves.