“So…what’s he supposed to be?” Shego inquired as she and Kim gazed upon the transformed Jackie. At least he was taller, the pale woman thought.
“A tanuki (1)?” Kim guessed.
“Maybe a wolf?” Shego said.
“Well, an inu (2) of some kind,” the redhead assumed.
“I’m a jackal!” he declared in an angry growl. He could not believe that they were just standing there as if he had not done something extraordinary. In his opinion, they needed to be begging him for their lives right now. After all, he had just transformed into a huge jackal god.
“A jackal?” Kim echoed, looking to Shego in case she knew what he was talking about. She had never heard of a jackal before.
“I don’t know. I’m going with a wolf. He’s got brown fur and everything. Shouldn’t you be running then, little kitsune?” Shego teased.
“Ha, ha, ha,” Kim replied sarcastically.
“What’s wrong with you two? Don’t you get it? I’m a demon,” Jackie declared. He figured that putting things into terms that they could understand would garner more appropriate responses from them, like falling to their knees and pleading with him not to devour them.
“No, really? Us too,” the green-skinned woman commented with a devilish smile.
“No, you’re not,” Jackie argued forcefully.
“No, really, we are. She’s a fox spirit. In fact, she’s a nine-tail fox spirit,” Shego lied.
“Whoa, what are you talking about ‘nine-tail fox’? You’re going a little too far with this,” Kim informed her companion. It was bad enough that she had to put up with being called a fox, but now Shego was just going too far since a nine-tail fox spirit was a most powerful spirit; the most powerful of any fox (3).
“She’s no nine-tail fox,” Jackie called the green-skinned woman’s bluff.
“No, she is. And I’m just your average, run-of-the-mill pissed off female,” Shego said and then she ignited her hands. “That can do this,” she added in with a smirk.
Jackie was taken back by her ability. He had never seen anything like that. He then glanced at Kim, considering that the redhead might actually be a fox spirit like Shego claimed. He quietly assured himself that it was nothing. He was a demon too. He could take them down with no problem, he assured himself. He would paint the lush forest floor with their blood and have them begging him to stop, have them screaming that they would do anything for him to stop.
“I don’t care what you can do!” Jackie declared and he charged Shego.
He took a swing at her and Shego found that he was much faster than he had been before he had transformed. He also had some help with the new height that he gained because of his change and he landed the blow. Shego grunted, more in surprise than pain, but he was just getting started. She turned her attention to him, scowling deeply.
“Is that all you got?” Shego inquired in a dangerous tone. She was a bit embarrassed that he had hit her, especially since her companion was standing right there and had witnessed it. She could not let him get away with that.
To answer that question, Jackie charged over to her and engaged her in combat, attacking her with a series of punches. Shego blocked and dodged everything that he threw at her, but she was unable to counterattack. She just did not have the extra limbs to do so. She would be damned if she was going to allow him to make her look bad in front of her little kitsune.
“Not so confident now, are you?” Jackie asked in an arrogant tone.
“I’m always confident,” Shego proclaimed and she forced him away from her as she blocked one of his strikes. She then launched herself at him coming in with a glowing slash attack.
Jackie growled in anger as she cut him across the chest. He snorted as he turned look down at the wound, which were four slash marks that were burned closed. Was she really a demon too? It was the only way to explain how she was able to even touch him in his opinion.
He went at Shego again and punched her. She blocked, but the force was so great behind the hit that it sent her skidding back a few yards, leaving heel marks in the ground; another few inches and she would have crashed into a rather thick tree. He did not give her a chance to recover and leaped at her, hitting her again. She grunted as she flew back, going through the tree that she was inches from and then stopping because of a tree that was yards away.
“Um…should I help?” Kim asked, not enjoying watching someone beat up on her companion of course. She wanted to jump in and teach that jerk a lesson to never touch Shego in a harmful manner again, but she was not sure if Shego wanted that.
“Stay out of it!” Shego snarled as she ducked another punch just in time.
Jackie connected with the tree that Shego had impacted and the plant cracked where his knuckles connected. The pale woman moved in with an uppercut slash attack while he was open and she nearly sliced his jaw open, but he countered before she connected. He punched her with his other hand right into the ground.
Shego bounced when she hit the dirt from such a powerful hit. She coughed in unexpected pain. Since when could someone hurt her, except for Kim anyway? Since when was anyone as powerful as the mutant before her was anyway? She could not believe that she was being beaten up in front of her lover.
“I’m not going to take this lying down,” Shego remarked and she flung a plasma sphere at Jackie before she even climbed to her feet.
“What’s this weak attack?” Jackie wondered out loud and he foolishly allowed the blazing orb to connect with his chest. He hissed in sheering pain, not knowing just how hot that plasma was.
“Never call my attacks weak,” Shego ordered him as she stood up.
“Filthy wench!” he snarled and ran at her.
He seemed faster, the pale woman noted. She blocked his attack of several punches because she would not have been quick enough to dodge them. She silently noted that he seemed to be getting stronger too because her forearms were throbbing from blocking him; she knew that she was going to be sporting a number of bruises later on. He landed a punch on her cheek and it was like he nearly took her head off with that blow.
Shego’s body twisted as his fist connected with her face. She landed on the ground on her side and made an impact crater. Blood oozed out of her now busted lip and she knew that she was lucky that he had not broken her face with that strike. She groaned and tried to force herself back to her feet, but it was rather difficult at the moment. It was like he hit her with a mountain.
“Shego!” Kim cried and she tried to run over to the green-skinned female to help since she could see that Shego was in some pain. Shego was actually willing herself to suck up the agony.
“Stay where you are!” Jackie commanded as he turned to her and shot beams of energy at Kim from his eyes.
The redhead thought fast and pulled her katana halfway out of the scabbard to reflect the beams. It worked quite well, but it left her open to attack. Jackie was on her as soon as she was about to completely remove her sword from the sheath. He batted her away from the scene, knocking her back almost a hundred feet. Kim rolled like a rounded stone and settled on her back when she ran out of momentum. As soon as she was halted, Jackie came out of the air and planted his feet in her abdomen.
“Ah!” Kim cried out in agony. She coughed and a few droplets of blood flew from her mouth.
Jackie then kicked the slender samurai away from him as if she was trash. She coughed again as she halted and a small trail of blood came from her mouth. Jackie smirked and was about to go over to kick her around some more, but someone else got his attention.
“Hey, mutt! Get the fuck away from her before I’m forced to kill you,” Shego ordered him with a fire blazing in her emerald eyes. There was almost an animalistic snarl tugging at her top lip after seeing what he dared do to her little kitsune. She was going to beat him unconscious just for hurting her lover.
Jackie turned around in disbelief to see that Shego was not only still alive, but apparently still able to fight. She was standing and she had her hands up, ready for another round. She had an almost murderous look in her eyes, which he thought was a bit amusing. It just did not seem real to him after the strength behind the punch that he had landed, but there she was. Ah well, he thought; he was just going to have to get her to stay down now. After all, she was no match for him now and even if she was a demon, he was on the level of a god. Besides, she was the one with the bruised cheek, bloody lip, and he knew that her arms were probably worthless now from all of the times that she had used them to block his fists.
“What’s the look on your face?” he asked Shego, mocking her and her outrage from the things that he had just done to Kim.
“Nothing for you to worry about,” she answered, the expression in her eyes not fading in the slightest. No one was going to hurt her kitsune and get away with it. No one.
“You don’t know when to give up,” the mutant commented.
“No, you don’t know when to give up. I’m not going to let anyone treat my princess that way, dog-breath,” Shego replied.
“You’re in no position to stop me.”
“That’s what you think,” she stated and her hands flared up brightly to the point where it looked like she was holding a green bonfire in each hand. She was so vexed that she did not even know that she was burning more intensely than she ever had in her life. She just could not stand the fact that he had hurt Kim and she was not going to let that action go unpunished.
“Bring it on, bitch,” he stated with confidence. How was one injured woman going to do anything to him, after all? She did not even have backup anymore since he had taken care of her partner, who he was now certain was no nine-tail fox from the way she was so easily dealt with.
“You look more like the bitch to me.”
Jackie snorted in anger and Shego decided to attack. She charged him with reckless abandon; he thought that it was almost comical. She was so angry that the only thing on her mind was cutting him down and the fastest way to do that was going straight at him. He threw his hand out and fire shot out. The orange blaze that let loose went straight for Shego, but she did not even think to change course. She cut through his fire with her hand and continued on. He was so shocked by her boldness and ability that he could not think for a couple of very precious seconds.
“Yaro (4)!” Shego practically howled in a fury as her flaming claw strike connected with his abdomen.
Jackie hollered in sheer agony as she burned him deep, going right through his thick hide into the meat of the matter. He clutched his pained belly and Shego just came in again with the opposite hand, clawing upward. She slashed his chest and then she finished with a strong punch right on his cheek. He stumbled back and that space between them was the only reason her combination halted.
Jackie righted himself just in time to see Shego coming in for more. She had pure hatred blazing in her emerald eyes hotter than the fire coming from her hands and she attacked with another vicious swipe move, attempting to rake him with both blazing hands. He caught her hands, thinking that he had her and he was going to just tear her arms out of the sockets, but she acted first.
Shego merely took the chance to kick the demon dog since he had his hands occupied. She clipped him right on the muzzle, making his teeth click from the force. He dropped her thanks to the blow and she landed crouched in her fighting stance. She sprang right back at him, punching him in the face. All she wanted to do was keep going at him until he could not move anymore. Her mind just commanded her to attack and keep on attacking until it was clear that he was not going to be able to do anything properly ever again.
Jackie fell back a little bit, but he did not go down. He countered and punched her back. The hit did connect with her face and she felt a rush of pain from it, but she did not even waver. She decked him again and again; attack, attack, her mind kept telling her. She was not going to let him beat her, not in front of Kim and not if it meant that he was going to start on Kim when he was done with her. Jackie managed to grab her fists to stop her, for the moment anyway.
“Why do you even persist?” he asked in a manner that suggested he believed she was stupid for even trying. “I’m going to win eventually,” he pointed out. He always won eventually, especially when he transformed into the jackal.
“Funny, I was going to say the same thing. I was also going to say that you shouldn’t hold my hands like that, unless you want to get burned anyway,” Shego remarked.
Jackie did not seem to realize that he was holding what seconds ago had been pretty much stars, but for some reason they were not particularly hot at the moment. Shego’s fists then ignited with a burst of power that caused him to scream in pain. He backed away, waving his hands to relieve the searing pain of her flames.
“Let’s see you make a fist now, asshole,” Shego commented and she ran at him.
Jackie took a backhanded swing at Shego to keep her from injuring him further. Shego was starting to consider that she might want to end things as quickly as possible as she was starting to run out of steam; igniting her hands to the level that she was happened to be much more than her body was used to and it took a lot of energy to maintain. She needed to do something before she used so much of energy that she would not even be able to make a spark let alone flare her hands.
She then turned her attention to the necklace that Jackie was wearing. He had put the thing on when he turned into the big mutt that he was, so she figured that removing it would get him to go back to normal. It was worth a shot anyway.
Shego went at Jackie again, attacking with her usual slash moves. He growled at her and the fact that she just kept coming at him like a pesky insect. He was going to put an end to her, he promised himself because he was sick of having to deal with her; not to mention, she was dangerous and he did not want to chance any more injures to her claws. He dodged her assault and then grabbed her by the throat as soon as he had the chance; it hurt his burned hands, but he did not care at the moment. He picked her up by the neck and squeezed tightly.
“I’m going to snap your neck, bitch. And then you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to go and break the redhead’s fucking legs. And then do you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to sell the stupid whore into a brothel,” Jackie informed his captive in a rather angry tone for a guy that thought he had won.
“You know, you talk a big game for a little fuck,” she replied in a forced out voice since it was particularly difficult to speak with his hand crushing her windpipe. She noticed that she was in a good spot, though. He was close by, within arm’s reach actually. That was just what she needed.
“You talk a lot of shit for a bitch at my mercy,” he retorted.
“Is that what you think? I’m at your mercy?” Shego actually laughed.
“Yeah,” he answered and he squeezed her neck, reminding her who had who. “I think you are.”
“I think you’re wrong,” she stated and she took just about the fastest swipe move ever at him.
Jackie gasped as her hand went right through the chain around his amulet. The necklace dropped to the dirt, followed by Shego. Jackie fell back while Shego coughed and rubbed her now sore neck. She watched and hoped that worked. She was not too sure if she was up for round three with that demon.
Jackie hollered as he began to change again. He shrunk back down into his human form, his proper form. He looked down at himself with an expression of sheer disbelief.
“No, no, no. Where’s my amulet?” he asked in a panic. He knew that he was no match for that she-beast he had been battling without his gem.
“You looking for this?” Shego inquired, holding up the necklace.
“Hey, give that back,” he ordered.
“I’d rather not. I bet you you’ll cry if I do this,” Shego commented and she ignited her hand to the highest level she could. She melted and crushed the gem by making a tight fist. She then dropped it to the ground when she was done.
Jackie looked down at his magic amulet and what Shego had done to it. It was just a mass of melted goo now. He crawled over to it and grabbed it, burning his injured hands even more so than they already were. He tried it to see if it still worked, only to find out that it was now as worthless as it appeared.
“NO!” Jackie screamed at the top of his lungs.
“If you don’t want me to do the same to you, little man, I suggest you get your ass out of here right now. You don’t want to see what I can do to human flesh, now do you?” she inquired. He shook his head in response to that. She smirked. “Good, so how about you get a move on it and make sure I never see you again.”
Jackie was not sure what he wanted to do. Should he run? No, he could still take her, he told himself. She had to be on her last leg now. After all, their fight had been long, hard, and grueling. She could not have much left inside of her now, he convinced himself. She could not be much of a challenge anymore, so he charged her.
Shego sucked her teeth and kicked the short man with ease. His head snapped to the side and he fell to the ground. He coughed and started breathing rather hard. She rolled her eyes, disgusted and annoyed that he persisted even now. Did he just not know when he was beat?
“Get out of here, dipshit. I don’t want to have to kick your head off of your shoulders. I also don’t want to ever see you again, so if I do see again, you’re not going to enjoy it,” the pale woman informed him.
Jackie finally took Shego up on her offer and started fleeing in the direction that he came in. He left his two unconscious lackeys lying there in the middle of the forest. They had been beaten up by Kim and Shego earlier. They would just have to find him later on.
Shego turned her attention to Kim. She ran over to the redhead. She carefully gathered Kim in her arms and cradled the smaller female.
“Kim-hime, you okay?” Shego asked in a concerned voice. There was a sorrowful, worried look in her emerald eyes.
“Yeah, stomach hurts like hell, though,” Kim answered with a weak smile. She did not want her companion to worry about her since she was relatively fine.
Shego laughed a little and put her hand on the teen’s belly. She gently caressed the area, which kept Kim smiling, even though her stomach was killing her. The green-skinned woman was just happy that they were both going to get to walk away from that battle. She was also glad that Kim was not seriously hurt, but the redhead was still injured, she reminded herself.
“You need a doctor,” Shego stated.
“No, I’m fine. I just need a good night’s sleep,” Kim insisted. She was a tough girl. She could take a lot of punishment.
“I’d rather get you to a doctor,” the pale woman replied while climbed to her feet and continuing to hold her little kitsune.
“Shego, I’m not some helpless little girl. I can take a harder beating than this. I don’t need a doctor,” the younger female persisted.
Shego did not respond. She was not trying to hear anything that Kim said if it involved her not going to a doctor. She hoped that there was a doctor nearby, either one in a town or one on the highway. She was going to have to make it back to the highway too.
Kim stopped protesting when she saw that Shego was not going to pay her any mind. They traveled in silence, thinking about the fight that had just occurred. Shego had been intense and Kim wondered why she had not been so fiery when they had fought. Yes, Shego had been rather severe when they fought each other, but against Jackie, she seemed almost like another person. She wondered why that was.
“Shego, are you all right?” Kim asked curiously. She wanted to ask so many questions, but she was not sure if they were all right to ask. Some of them, she did not even want to think about anyway because of the subject that would have to be brought up to discuss them.
“Yeah, I’m totally fine,” Shego lied. She was pretty beat up, but she was going to press on until she felt safe in putting Kim down.
“You know, I can walk,” the redhead said. She did not want to tax Shego’s body any more than necessary, knowing that Shego could not be as all right as she was pretending to be.
“You can put me down and save your strength.”
“I’ve got more strength than you know, so shut up and relax,” the raven-haired woman commanded.
“Stop being so stubborn. Let me walk.”
“No,” Shego said sternly. She was going to take care of her princess. She was going to protect the girl, even if Kim could do it herself. She just felt like it was necessary for her to guard Kim. Maybe it was because that was about all she could offer now.
It was not like Kim needed any material possessions that Shego could provide. Who knew what would happen when the journey came to an end anyway, which was something that neither of them even wanted to think about. So, right now, all Shego had was protection, in her own opinion anyway. Kim seemed to know that was on Shego’s mind just from looking in her eyes.
“When it comes to a fight, I can take care of myself,” Kim stated.
Shego frowned at that because Kim was right. The redhead had beaten her, after all. She was worthless to Kim then, was she not? Her heart lurched in her chest. She was useless to the small creature in her arms. It was not fair, she silently lamented.
“But,” Kim continued on. “Just because I can doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s really sweet that you’re helping. I just don’t want you to wear yourself out. After all, you’re the one that took care of that demon.”
Shego smiled a bit. Kim was trying to spare her ego, it seemed, but that was not the case. She was telling the truth, but it was actually hurting Kim’s ego a little bit because she was the one that had been dropped so easily and she was the one being carried. The pale woman looked at her and she could tell that the redhead’s pride was stinging just a bit.
“Consider this payback for when you carried me out of the rain,” Shego said.
Kim nodded slightly to that one. She guessed that both of their egos had taken some checks around each other. The redhead then smiled out of the blue and snuggled into Shego’s chest. The pale woman arched an eyebrow and then she smiled warmly, pulling Kim close to her. Maybe it was all right that their pride took some checks around each other. It seemed to have brought them closer and they were not going to complain about that.
Shego picked up her pace and they did hit the highway. She peered as far up the road as she could in the dark and noticed lights. Was that a checkpoint or was it just a town? Maybe it was both.
“That’s a checkpoint, isn’t it?” Kim asked as they came closer to the lights.
“Yeah, and we all know how you are with inspection points. I’ll take us around,” Shego replied.
The redheaded warrior did not object to that, especially since they would not have been able to get through the checkpoint if Shego was still carrying her anyway. As far as she knew, Shego did not have a passport to go through any inspection posts. So, the pale woman took a detour back into the woods and searched for the easy way into the town that was just beyond the checkpoint. Her belief was that there was always an easy way and there was.
Kim was lying on her back on a futon in a hotel room. She had already been seen by a doctor. It had been Shego’s mission to have that done, so as soon as they got into the town, Shego went searching for a medical professional. When she found the doctor, she presented Kim to the man. The girl had been a little shy about having a man examine her. She was used to her mother being her doctor.
The examination had not been too intrusive. The doctor inspected her abdomen, which had some heavy bruising. Nothing was broken or too damaged. Kim then insisted that he inspect her raven-haired companion too, which Shego did not like much, but she put up with it to ease any worries that Kim might have about her wounds. Shego was bruised on both her arms and back. He prescribed some balm to both of them for their injuries and then kicked them the hell out of his house. He had been sleeping before the two crazy females showed up; it was the middle of the night after all.
Shego and Kim went to a hotel afterwards. They cleaned up and shared a bath, but they were too tired to do anything. They retired to their room, which was where they were now. Kim was lying down and Shego was sitting against the wall next to her, sipping a cup of tea.
“How’re you feeling?” the pale woman asked.
“Could you stop asking me that? I’m fine. I told you, I’m pretty strong myself,” Kim replied with a bright smile. She smiled because she wanted to set Shego had ease. It was nice that the green-skinned woman was worried about her, but she did not want to stress the older female out. She was also a bit annoyed that Shego was so worried about her.
Shego just stared at Kim. The redhead was strong, she reminded herself. She supposed that her mind was having trouble with that because of the way that she met Kim. Her girl was a fighter, though, she told herself. It was one of the things that attracted her to Kim. It was one of the things that she loved about Kim.
“Love?” Shego muttered to herself as the thought raced through her mind.
“Huh?” Kim said.
“What?” Shego asked.
“I thought you said something, but I didn’t hear it,” the redhead explained.
“No, I didn’t say anything,” the pale woman replied.
Shego went back to drinking her tea and thinking about the word that went through her mind, love. That could not be what it was, right? She stared down at Kim and shook her head. Nah, it was not love, she told herself. It was something, something powerful, but not love. Someone like her would never fall in love, especially when she doubted that she would be able to keep the person.
Kim glanced over at Shego when she felt those emerald eyes on her. She liked that Shego looked at her, even if she did not know the reason why. It just made her feel warm inside, like most attention from the pale woman did.
“Are you going to lie down or what?” Kim asked Shego in a lighthearted tone. She wanted to curl up next to the older warrior now.
“Could I finish my tea?” Shego countered in a playfully teasing voice. She would like to get in the bed too, but she had to stave off her sudden craving for tea. Besides, she found that certain teas interacted with her body in a positive way and assisted her already speedy healing process.
“No,” the redhead replied.
“Shut up,” Shego said in a good-natured tone.
Kim smiled bit and settled into her pillow. Shego finished her tea and put the cup down. She undressed; Kim was already down to her yukata since she was in the bed. The pale woman put out the lanterns around the room and moved in next to Kim. The redhead abandoned her pillow, in favor of resting against Shego’s shoulder. They exchanged a kiss before going to sleep.
Kim and Shego sat in a restaurant and ate breakfast. They had looked around town and noticed that there was a lot of commotion going on. They found out that the town was going to have a celebration later that day. It seemed that they had a festival to honor the founder of their town, complete with fireworks and, of course, all kinds of games and food.
“You want to stick around for it?” Shego asked her companion.
“Yeah,” Kim replied energetically. She would love nothing more than to hang out at a celebration with Shego at her side. She was willing to bet that it would be a blast.
So, they stayed around and got to join in the celebration that night. The first thing that Shego did was get Kim a mask. She shamelessly presented her princess with the mask, even though she knew that it was going to just set the redhead off. It was a fox mask and Kim looked rather offended by the gift.
“Come on, kitsune. Don’t look so down,” Shego said and she leaned down, pecking Kim on the lips.
“Shego,” Kim said in a whisper and she jumped back because of the shock from the public display.
“Put the mask on for me,” the pale woman requested.
“You get me some candy and I will,” Kim bargained.
Shego chuckled a little and did just that. Kim had not expected the candy, but she did not turn it down. She then put the mask on, backwards. It was good enough for Shego. The pair strolled through the attractions set up for the festival, looking for games and ways to impress each other. They walked by a young man and did not notice him, but he noticed them.
“Wow,” he muttered.
1: tanuki: a raccoon-like animal indigenous to Japan. I think it’s called a raccoon dog.
2: inu: dog.
3: Explanation on the nine-tails fox: fox spirits were believed to gain a tail every thousand years of life and with each tail the spirit got more powerful. Nine tails was the most that any fox could achieve and they were a force to be reckoned with.
4: yaro: bastard; despicable person.
Next time: whose attention did the ladies just grab? And who was he wow-ing at? Could it lead to trouble? Probably.