Sometimes I wonder what my pet is doing during the day while I’m at work. I know there’s a chance that she’s just sleeping on the couch, like most pets, but there’s also a chance that she’s somewhere missing a limb or worse. I tell myself not to worry or that I don’t care about her, but an evil voice in my mind likes to point out that if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t think about it.
Kim halted the party behind her; they were hiking through a rain forest. There was a viper in their path; it seemed like the millionth one in the last hour, even she was fairly certain that it was the fourth one. Well, it was the fourth viper anyway.
If she was counting just the snakes in general that they encountered, the numbers had to be in the high twenties by now. The funny thing was that she was not even annoyed with all of the snakes; hey, they were in a jungle, so she expected the snakes and a bunch of other creatures. Besides, she had been meeting up with reptiles since she started doing missions. It was the idiots that she was traveling with that were tapping dancing all around her last nerve.
The people that Kim was trapped with at the moment was a group of wealthy tourists that thought it would be a smashing good time to take a journey through a real South American rainforest; she bet that they were going to stop traveling with whoever made that brilliant suggestion once they got out of the rainforest. They ended up lost after wandering away from their tour guide only a few hours ago; they were acting as they had been trapped there for years from the way they were complaining. Not to mention, they were bad mouthing the tour guide when he was the one that told them to stay close; he was also the one that contacted Kim to find the party, seeing as how it could look rather bad for the nation to have lost the very rich, and very stupid in Kim’s opinion, people. She rushed out as soon as she got the call.
Now, what were the people doing that was getting on Kim’s last nerve? Well, that was a long list. It started with the first snake that they had come across and one of the men decided to kill it straight away. He looked like a rather athletic fellow and she guessed that he had to prove his manliness by clubbing an innocent creature that had not done anything to him, nor had it been in their path. It was hanging out near a tree.
The hero found herself stepping in and uttering a sentence that would become her motto every time that they saw an animal in general. She had to assure them that “it was probably not gong to attack unless it felt threatened.” With poisonous snakes she had to add that “they really don’t like to waste venom on things they’re not going to eat.” Hardly consolation when facing down a deadly serpent, she knew, but it was rather true for many snakes. She knew that most snakes just did not want to waste venom on something that would not fit in its mouth and even though many vipers could kill a human, they damn sure could not eat one.
It did not stop with them being frightened of almost every animal that moved and they also wanted to slaughter almost every creature that moved. They had plenty of other gripes aside for the local fauna. Every time someone noticed a bug, they were sure that it was poisonous. She was not sure where they got that idea from, but they were not letting it go.
Every snake that they saw was also venomous in their opinions. Kim could not believe how many times she had to say the words “don’t worry, it’s a non-venomous snake” in one hour alone. They never seemed to believe her either unless she picked the limbless critter up and proved that it was not dangerous in that manner. In a little while, she thought that she might have to stop and give some biology lessons on the hike out of the place that she would have thoroughly enjoyed if not for her present company; she would not be surprised if the tour guide actually just abandoned them because he could not take it anymore.
She would not blame the tour guide if he had ditched the group because they were complaining about the insects and bug bites. They were in a rainforest. What did they expect? And the ridiculousness did not cease there, either. A couple of them were actually moaning about the heat. Yeah, she could definitely understand if the tour guide just ran off screaming from that lot.
The redhead stepped forward to clear the path of its venomous roadblock. She had come equipped with things to handle all of the vipers and adders that she knew would be scattered about the jungle. She removed the snake with the same calm that a normal person would have while ordering lunch. She continued on her way and about a million complaints and fears later, she got the crew back to the safety of city life. She could not wait to get home herself; Shego would worry if she was not there when the officer got home.
On her ride back to Go City, Kim thought about the mission that she had just done. It made her think about when she was back in the woods. She was comfortable in such places. She was comfortable with the flora and fauna in those places. She was definitely going to study animals some way. She just had to figure out how she was going to do it and what she was going to focus her study on.
Shego came in from a long, irksome day. She could learn to hate Go City if the villains were going to resort to being clowns and she seriously meant clowns. The man that she had to go after was not only dressed as a clown, but tried to make his get away in an ice cream truck. Now, she was not sure if he played too much “Twisted Metal” or if he had just read one too many “Batman” comics as a kid, but he had left his house looking like a reject Picasso painting. He had thrown flaming pumpkins for some reason instead of pies. She thought that he should have tried for the “Headless Horseman” rather than a clown; it would have been just a bit less pathetic. But, none of that mattered anymore. Once he tried to rub a bank, she got called in and his party was pretty much done before it started.
The raven-haired woman noticed her lack of a hug as she shut the door, so she guessed that her pet was sleeping. She just hoped that the girl was not laid out on the floor like a throw rug again. She entered the living room and saw her little monster was sprawled out on the sofa, lying on her back. She marched over to the couch and inspected Kim to make sure that she was all right, not sporting any fresh bruises or anything. Once she was certain that the redhead was all right, she caressed the girl’s cheek and then went to change her clothes.
Shego went back to living room and sat down like she typically did once she was settled in. She moved her girl to where her head was resting on her lap and then turned on the television, which woke Kim up. The younger woman yawned and stretched, being careful to avoid hitting her mistress.
“You weren’t here all day, were you?” Shego asked while she continued to channel surf. She figured since the girl was uninjured that she might have stayed in for the day.
“No, I went out and saved some people. I was in a rainforest,” Kim reported.
“A rainforest? You really get around. The only tropical place you’ll catch me at is a beach,” the pale woman remarked.
“I like it.”
“I figured as much from the way you acted in the woods. Why do you like it so much?”
“I don’t know really. I’m banking on it having something to do with my natural desire to experience as much as possible. There’s something so infinite about a rainforest to me. There are so many life forms secreted away in there that we don’t know anything about. So many possibilities housed in one place. I saw so many things today alone, especially snakes,” the redhead answered.
“Let me guess, you’re not scared of snakes.”
“No. Should I be?” Kim asked in a confused voice. She had not met an animal that frightened her yet and she doubted that she would.
“No, it’s just that most girls are afraid of certain things. Although, you’re nothing like most girls,” Shego answered.
“Are you afraid of snakes?”
“No,” the green-skinned woman replied. She, of course, did not like snakes much, mostly because they fell into the category of being animals. She figured that is she ever did like animals reptiles would be the first ones since they were her favorite color.
“I figured as much. I bet you’re not scared of anything.”
Shego did not respond. She was not frightened of anything tangible. It was those untouchable, unseen things that scared her. The things that she just had to trust were there, not that she would ever admit that out loud.
The older woman bet her pest would not know anything about fearing the intangibles in life. Kim was too impulsive to think about the unknown; she just ran right off into the void to make the unknown known to her. She seemed to just trust that she was not running off of a cliff or something like that. Shego shook her head and petted her girl’s head because of that thought.
“So, what happened in the rainforest?” Shego asked. “Aside for all of the snakes anyway.”
Kim smiled, obviously happy to relay the tale despite how annoying those people were. She told her mistress everything about her mission. She was experiencing the one beautiful thing that their relationship lacked the first time around and that was that she could be as open as possible with Shego now. The best part about that was that even if Shego did not understand why she did something strange or why she liked something, the raven-haired woman never looked at her like she was some kind of weirdo.
There were not many people on the planet that Kim could tell she enjoyed traveling through mud up to her knees, handling poisonous and all round deadly reptiles, or that she enjoyed seeing how many kinds of birds she could name while hunting for lost cities and stopping bad guys bent on world conquest. Sure, she could tell her friends some of the things, but they tended to still look at her a bit odd because those were not things that they could relate to liking. Shego could not relate to some of them, just like everyone else, but she never looked at Kim as if she was anomaly like many other people would.
“Can we have spaghetti tonight?” Kim requested out of the blue. They had been quietly watching TV after she finished recounting her jungle misadventure.
“No, we just had pasta last night. You keep this up and you’re going to turn into a noodle,” Shego replied.
“Come on! I’ll even do a trick,” Kim said. Tricks were for treats, though, not dinner. A trick would get her a cookie at best.
“No,” the pale woman said plainly. A trick was only worth a cookie because her pet was a human being who completely comprehended the words that she was speaking, even though sometimes it seemed like she did not.
“Stop whining,” Shego barked while grabbing Kim by the end of her nose.
“Let go!” the redhead wailed.
“Don’t tell me what to do!”
“Let go!” Kim began flailing her arms and wiggling about as an attempt to get her master to released her.
“Cut it out,” Shego ordered while grabbing her pet’s arms, so now her brat was having trouble moving around.
“Pet abuse!” the eccentric hero hollered.
Shego smiled a bit and then collected her little monster in her arms. The redhead groaned as Shego trapped the girl by folding her in her grip. Kim’s chin was touching her knees. She could not break free no matter how much she struggled; man, her mistress was really strong, her brain noted.
“Now, what were you saying about pet abuse?” Shego inquired with a taunting smile on her face.
“This isn’t cool,” the girl groaned.
“I know it’s not. Now, you’re going to stop whining, right?”
“Un-huh,” Kim answered.
“And you’re not going to bug me about spaghetti again, right?”
“But, that’s what I want for dinner.”
“Wrong answer,” the super-powered woman said and she adjusted Kim just enough to pinch the girl. The redhead squeaked and jumped. “Now, you’re not going to bug me about spaghetti again, right?” she repeated.
“But, that’s what I want!”
Shego pinched Kim again and the girl jerked to the side instead of upwards, which threw off the older woman’s balance. They both toppled off of the sofa and on to the floor. They landed on their sides, but Shego was on top of Kim. The redhead smirked like a devious little imp.
“You say anything dirty and you won’t get anything for dinner,” Shego promised her pet when she noticed the girl’s expression.
“Aw, c’mon. Can’t I make one joke about you being on top?” Kim asked.
“Then can we have spaghetti tonight?”
“No, damn it.”
“Come on!” Kim purred at the end of her request and rubbed her head against her mistress’ cheek, much like a kitten would do. Shego groaned; her pet was always pushing the limits.
“We’re not having fucking spaghetti no matter what you do,” the pale woman stated bluntly for her munchkin to get the picture.
Kim decided that she would test that theory; life was about testing hypothesis and theories anyway to prove them true or false. First, she nuzzled her owner’s neck and started whining like a puppy; she had perfected the noise thanks to spending time with Leonardo. Shego was not moved from what she could tell. Man, her keeper could be a tough nut to crack sometimes. Well, then, she would just have to up her efforts.
The redhead continued whining, but added the word “please” in between her whimpers. Shego still was not caving, but Kim noted that she had not been shoved away. She leaned over a bit more to check the raven-haired woman’s pulse in throat; it was going just a little faster than normal. Maybe her owner was just enjoying the close, intimate contact, Kim considered; it was not like Drakken would ever think to touch the pale woman’s neck with his mouth. She decided to make the moment worthwhile, even though she was certain that it would get her pushed away. Kim’s tongue darted out of her mouth across Shego’s smooth, tasty skin.
The green-skinned woman caught a moan that dared try to escape her throat; it seriously almost made it out. She should have guessed that the girl would try something sneaky like that. She flung Kim away from her, careful not to hurt her mischievous pet, but just get her away from her.
“Bad, Princess!” Shego reprimanded the girl. “You just want to be punished, don’t you?” she asked.
“Um…no,” Kin answered honestly. Who in their right mind wanted to punished? She just wanted to make the moment memorable. Mission accomplished in her opinion; she knew that she would not forget it anytime soon.
“Just for that stunt, we’re not having spaghetti for the rest of the month,” Shego declared.
“Come on!” the redhead whined. The punishment so did not fit the crime.
“Nope, no more spaghetti. Spaghetti? What’s that? Never heard of it.”
“But, I’ll be good!” Kim insisted.
“Nope, too late for that.”
“This is pet abuse! Pet abuse!”
“Keep hollering like that and I’ll show you some real pet abuse,” Shego threatened the girl.
Shego dived at Kim, who rolled out of the way just in time to miss being pounced. The redhead laughed since her mistress had not caught her and had crashed onto the floor. Shego was on Kim in a flash while she was busy chuckling; the younger female was very surprised when she was captured. Kim yelped as her mistress pinned her to the floor. Shego grabbed Kim’s hands and held them over her head with one hand so that the redhead could not flail her arms again.
“Now, are you done acting up?” the pale woman inquired with a triumphant smirk.
“Did you ever consider that this is what I wanted all along?” Kim countered with a smile of her own.
Shego frowned and thumped her pet in the nose with her fingers for lack of a better thing to do. She then climbed to her feet and went into the kitchen to start making dinner while Kim remained on the floor. The redhead smiled; she loved that her owner could cut loose around her to the point where she was acting almost like a little kid.
“So, we’re having spaghetti, right?” Kim called into the kitchen.
“Hell, no,” was the frank answer from the cook.
Kim was up in her loft reading a book when her Kimmunicator went off. She was accustomed to it being in her pants pocket, so she subconsciously went right for her pocket, forgetting that she was in her pajamas. After a few seconds of searching and not feeling a pocket, she looked down to see why. Oh, there were no pockets, which explained a lot. She looked for the next obvious place, which was underneath her pillow and there the device was waiting.
“What’s the stich, Wade?” Kim asked.
“Well, it’s not really a stich,” he replied.
“Then what is it?”
“An invitation. Do you remember a Doctor Juan Martinez?”
“Boy do I. I helped him out on his joint research project with Doctor Lurkin, my favorite professor freshman year,” she answered with a small smile.
“He wanted to know if you wanted to come help him out again,” Wade informed her.
“Really?” she asked a bit shocked. She did not know Doctor Martinez very well. She met him through Doctor Lurkin, who had been her first biology professor. He had joined up with Doctor Martinez and they went out hunting for reptiles and amphibians one summer and it was fun getting down and dirty, chasing cold blooded critters, even if she did get tore up by bugs.
“Yeah, he said you’ve got a knack for his sort of work. Should I tell him you’re coming?” the computer genius inquired.
Kim was about to readily confirm that she would go, but she stopped and thought about it. She did not have a month or so to waste like she did back then. She had a job now; a very important job in her opinion. Not to mention, it was a job that she loved much more than belly-flopping into swamp water after an anaconda, which was actually not something that she recommended for anyone that was about her size. Maybe sometime later she could do it, when she felt comfortable leaving her mistress alone for a month or so. Right now, she doubted that her master would be content or even pleased with her being gone for even half that amount of time.
“Tell him that I’ll have to pass on this one,” the redhead decided.
“Really? You usually jump at the chance to go into a jungle,” Wade commented.
“For a day or two, yeah. I don’t have a month to spare on lizard hunting, even though it’s really fun.”
“You’re probably the only girl in the world that thinks lizard hunting is fun,” he remarked with a bit of a smile.
“Hey, you should try it,” the hero stated.
“No, I’d have to leave my room for that,” he pointed out.
“You’re going to have to leave your room sometime,” she said.
He scoffed. “Yeah, right. Hey, Kim, have you ever thought about doing that as a career?” he asked because he knew that she was still a little confused on what to do with her life. He thought that maybe she could use a few suggestions to help her consider what she would like to do with her life, aside for being able to do anything.
“What?” she asked, even though she did not want to get into such a conversation.
“Studying reptiles,” he elaborated.
“Reptiles?” she echoed. She did not hold any particular love for reptiles over any other animals. She did not see why he thought that she should study them over some other creature. Reptiles were not even cuddly like other members of the animal kingdom.
“Think about it, Kim. It gives you an excuse to travel the world, hang out in jungles, and dive after anacondas without someone asking what’s wrong with you after that, although I think someone did ask what was wrong with you after you did that,” he explained in a bit of an amused tone.
“I don’t know,” she said hesitantly. She really did not have a special place in her heart dedicated to reptiles or cold blooded animals. It was just that she liked jungles and wooded areas.
“Just think about it. I think it’s something you’d like and you kind of make your own hours. You could do a lot of good studying reptiles.”
“How so?” she asked.
“You’ve got to be the creature to know about it,” he replied with a laugh.
“Wade, why are you giving me career advice?” she inquired with a bit of a sigh. She thought that she had escaped such subjects by going back to school like everyone wanted. Why could they just not trust that she would get her act together on her own? She was trying and just maybe if she was given have a chance to breathe, she would be able to come up with something.
“I’m just saying,” he answered.
“No, you’re not. Why are you giving me career advice?”
“To be honest, biology is a big field and I’ve already seen what you do with too many options. I thought I’d help by occasionally suggesting things to you. If you don’t like that, ever thought about marine biology? You like scuba diving and you’ve swam with just about every sea animal known to man, including great white sharks,” he pointed out.
“Wade, I’m hanging up on you now,” she informed him because he knew how she felt when people started trying to point her in some sort of direction. She would get there when she got there in her mind.
“Wait, I’ve got ten more suggestions.”
Kim disconnected the communication. Life was like a vicious cycle with her, she thought. She would get pressured into finding some place to be or having something to do until she finally settled some place and then the pressure would start all over again once everyone saw that it was time for her to move on. She had finally decided to get a master’s degree in something and people were already wondering what section of biology she would focus on. She was thankful that her parents had not started up; although, she was certain that her mother still thought that she was going to be a medical doctor of some kind and her father still clung to the hope that she would be a rocket scientist. At least with Shego, as long as she was just doing something, that was good enough, which was one of the best things about being with her owner.
“And that’s why I’m going to stay with her for as long as I can,” Kim decided. She wanted to stay with Shego forever and always.
Next time: Leonardo makes a comeback. Remember him? Well, he and Kim have a little misadventure together.