You know, the kid doesn’t really surprise me as much as she used to, but still she does some weird things. I guess it’s because she has such a big heart, which is one of the things I love about her. But, that big heart does make her do some outrageous things. Well, what are you going to do, right?
“Kim, have you done your Christmas shopping yet?” Monique asked as the usual crew entered Bueno Nacho. They went straight to a booth and sat down. They had been out shopping for the aforementioned holiday and Monique noticed that the redhead had not bought anything. She guessed that her friend might have gotten it all out of the way since Christmas was close.
“I don’t have any money,” Kim admitted with a sigh.
“You never have any money,” Felix noted. It seemed like every time that they went out, Kim only had enough money to eat and do whatever it was that they went out to do. If they thought of something out of the blue, someone always had to spot the slender hero a few bucks. He thought that was a little odd considering all of the things that Kim had going on in her life. He figured that money should not be a problem for her, but it always seemed to be that.
“It’s true,” the redhead groaned. She was always broke and most of the time, she did not know where her money went. There were always charities or kids or something that she gave her money to. It never seemed like much at the time, but then as she examined her funds later on, she found out what her generosity added up to little by little.
“How can someone so busy always be so broke?” Felix wondered aloud, which earned him a glare from his girlfriend. He decided to shut up at that point.
“It’s all right, Kim,” Monique said. She knew where Kim’s money went. Her money went to buy kids candy or other treats, to almost any beggar that they might pass on the street, and at Christmas time, to any and every person on the street collecting money for whatever reason. If a person had his hand out, Kim would put money in it without a second thought, even if the person was not looking for a donation.
“Your mistress didn’t fork out any dough for Christmas shopping?” Ron asked incredulously. Odd thing, he had to buy Christmas gifts too because even though Yori was a Buddhist, she was very enthused about the holiday and loved to celebrate. At least he liked Christmas too, so it was not a big deal to him. It was just weird considering they were a couple that was not Christian.
“She’s trying to give, but I’m trying my best not to take. I feel a little silly buying stuff for Shego with her own money. Kinda takes the whole ‘gift’ thing out of it. I’ve got to get some money,” Kim groaned again.
“You could sell blood,” Felix suggested.
Kim looked like she could go with that idea and they all knew since it also meant that she would be helping people in a way, she might actually do that. Monique and Ron tried to think of something else because the blood idea was not going to get Kim much money and they could picture her just in there, giving all of her blood away. That would not be good business.
“Perhaps you could make a gift,” Yori proposed. Her boyfriend and Monique breathed a sigh of relief that she came up with that to save someone from having to follow Kim around to make sure that the hero did not decide to sell her blood and not know when to stop.
“That’s brilliant,” Kim agreed with that idea. It seemed like something that she could do, after all. Now that the bug had been put in her ear, she was already attempting to think of something that she could make.
“Not to mention cheap,” Ron added.
“Are you kidding? With her mechanical skills, it might be cheaper to buy a park fountain for her mistress,” Felix commented. People seemed to forget that Kim could build things just as well as her brothers. She just did not do it often.
“That’s true, but where would her mistress keep the fountain?” the blonde wondered out loud.
“Her mistress could put it in the lobby and everyone in the building could enjoy her mistress’ fountain,” Felix remarked.
“You know, you guys like using the word ‘mistress’ way too much. Anything you care to tell us or should we just assume something?” Monique inquired while motioning between herself and Yori just to shut the guys up. The fellows did look for almost any excuse to talk about Kim’s master just so that they could use the phrase “her mistress.”
The guys closed their mouths while Kim contemplated what she could make for her owner. They went and ordered food and then went back to their booth. Kim continued to ponder what it was that she could possibly make for her mistress for a good Christmas gift.
She sat and thought about it even after her friends had to go. They had more shopping to do. The redhead sighed; she had saved up so much money for holiday shopping and now it was practically gone. She had gone over her limit when she got gifts for her brothers. She knew what she wanted to get them, but the gift had an accessory and she just felt like she had to get that too. She had actually miscalculated something for once in her life. She wondered how she could come across some quick cash short of selling some part of her body. She wanted to get her master more than one gift, even if the woman still disliked Christmas.
She did consider that idea of selling blood again. She doubted that she would be able to do that. She was not sure if she weighed enough to give blood since she believed that there was a weight requirement. Even if she did sell her blood, she knew that it would not get her enough money to buy anything worthwhile. She did not know what she was going to do.
Kim was distracted from her thoughts by movement out of the corner of her eye. She spotted something, or more specifically someone, watching her from behind the garbage can. It was a very small child. She did not pay the kid any mind at first, thinking that the boy was being weird, like some children had a tendency to be. But, after a few minutes, she noticed the child lick his lips while watching her eat some nachos. She raised an eyebrow and looked around for an adult that might be with the child, but she was the only patron in the fast food restaurant at the moment. She looked over at the workers, but none of them seemed to be concerned if they were missing a child.
Kim decided to try to wave the kid over, but he ducked behind the garbage can as if she was shooting at him. She was confused for a second, but she guessed that he was hungry at the very least because of the way he was eyeing her chips. She held up a nacho, as if offering it to him, but he stayed right where he was. At least he knew not to take things from strangers, she thought. But, if he was hungry and she was not going to hurt him, she figured that he could share her meal.
The slender hero decided to use a different tactic and she left the table, pretending to go use the restroom. She watched him from a corner where the bathroom was tucked away as the little boy dashed over to the table that she had been occupying. He began tearing into her chips. Okay, so he was hungry.
The adventurer exited her hiding place after a while and the boy bolted back to his. She looked at her nachos and saw that he had eaten half of them in about a minute. He was not hungry, he was ravenous, she concluded. Well, she had a few dollars on her, so she went to the register. She checked to make sure that the boy did not belong to someone that worked at the store and found out he did not. So, she purchased a couple of tacos. She took the food to the table and left the meal there since she suspected that the boy would not take them if she offered them to him. She then walked out the door, pretending to leave.
The boy watched her to be certain that she was gone. He then charged over to the “abandoned” food and proceeded to devour it. Kim watched him from outside for a minute or so before going back in. He had already finished one of the tacos by then. She stood behind the boy, cutting off his escape, but he did not notice. The taco seemed to be the most important thing to him at the moment.
“Hey,” Kim said and the boy jumped in fright.
He quickly turned around to face her and he looked absolutely terror-stricken, as if he expected her to slaughter him. All of the color drained from his already pale face and he dropped the taco on the floor. He backed up to the table and yelped as he banged his head on the corner of it. He hissed in pain and held the back of his head, rubbing the area that he bumped. He was going to have a knot later on because of that accident.
“It’s all right, little guy. I’m not going to hurt you or anything. Where are your parents?” the hero asked curiously and in a gentle tone. She did not want to scare him any further, especially if he was going to bang his head again.
He turned away from her, ignoring her question. She was not pleased with his antisocial behavior and asked him what his name was. He once again did not respond. She inquired if he was lost, but he refused to speak to her. She shrugged it off and purchased him a new taco to replace the one that he dropped. She put the taco on the table and started for the door. If he was going to be difficult, she would find another way to help him. A cop might be nearby or something and she could tell the police officer.
The boy looked at the taco and at Kim’s retreating form. He grabbed the taco and then jogged after Kim. She noticed him followed her and he ducked behind a bush when she turned around to face him. She guessed that he did not want her to know that he was trailing behind her. She continued on her way, making sure to go slow enough for the little boy to keep up with her. She figured that he might eventually talk to her if she let him come with her because she truly believed that he was lost. So, maybe he would tell her all the information that she needed to know to reunite him with his family sooner or later. At least she now knew where he was if she did run into a cop and did not have to worry about something happening to him.
The little boy was a redhead; he had short, but wild deep crimson hair. He had slightly pale, cream-colored skin with some dirt smudges on his face. His clothing looked a little damp and dirty, so he might have been out for a while on his own. At least he had on a coat, but she noticed that he did not have any mittens on his hands and it was pretty cold. As soon as she noticed that he did not have anything covering his hands, she removed her own mittens and turned around. He tried to dive behind a pole, but she did not accept his hiding that time. She approached him and he now looked like a deer in headlights.
“Here, take these,” Kim gently ordered him, holding the gloves out in front of him. He did not move. She smiled at him, hoping to get him to trust her. “It’s all right. Here, take them,” she insisted.
The hero took his tiny hand and placed her mittens in his palm. He looked down at them as if he did not know what they were or what to do with them as she started to walk away. He dashed off after her while trying to put her gloves on his freezing hands. Once he got the mittens on, he ran up to walk along side of her. She glanced down at him and smiled at the child. He blinked, as if he did not understand the expression at all. She was not put off by that.
“So, are you going to talk to me yet?” Kim asked and he answered honestly by shaking his head from side to side to decline on that proposal.
She smiled at him again. His pale green eyes showed confusion again. He did not seem to comprehend a smile, she noted because of the way that he kept looking at her when she smiled at him. She decided to just keep on walking. She guessed that he was coming home with her, which she did not see a problem with. Maybe Shego could get him to talk and find out who he was and where his parents were and any other important information.
“Shego, I’m home,” Kim called as she entered the apartment with the boy in her wake. She shut the door once she was certain that he was all the way in.
The pale woman came from in the back and was about to greet her pet with a kiss, but she noticed the boy and that halted all normal activities as far as she was concerned. Kim leaned in for her kiss, which never came and that caused her to pout. Shego asked who the boy was because that was more important to her than anything else at the moment. Last time she checked, she was not running a daycare and she would rather not have a rugrat in her apartment. She did consider that he might be one of Kim’s little “students” from the park or something.
“I actually don’t know who he is,” the olive-eyed scientist admitted while glancing down at her guest.
“You just brought a shrimp home that you don’t even know?” Shego asked to be sure. If she did not know her pet so well by now, she probably would have been incredulous or at least surprised. But, it was getting hard for Kim to shock her now. Sure, she could still surprise her mistress, but not enough to get a big reaction anymore.
“Well, he won’t tell me who he is. I think he’s lost,” Kim replied.
Shego sighed; it was just never a dull day with her pet. She turned her attention to the little boy and inspected him. His short red hair was dirty, oily, and begging to be washed, much like his clothes. He was more than likely homeless and not lost from what Shego could see, but she would get the information from him. She was not going to let some brat push her around like her monster seemed to do. He was going to tell her who he was, so she could get him the hell out of her home. She did not need another brat around the house and she damn sure did not want one.
“All right, shrimp-o, what’s your name?” Shego inquired and the boy did not reply. She was far from deterred. “Well, since you don’t have a name and you followed this one home, I’m guessing you want to stay with her,” she reasoned and he nodded to confirm her logic. She loved it when little kids did not see a set up coming. “All right, well, this one here is my pet and if you’re going to stay with her, I’m going to treat you just like I treat her. She wouldn’t tell me her name either when she came in, so you know what I did? I gave her a new name. I named her Princess. Do you want me to name you Princess too? You could be Princess Junior since you want to follow her around. You like that?” she asked and the child vehemently shook his head to that suggestion. “Or what about Booger? You look like a snot-picker, so I could call you Booger,” she proposed and he shook his head again, disliking that nickname almost as much as the first one.
“Shego,” Kim said, slightly objecting to the names that her mistress was throwing out. She did not think that her owner should tease the boy either. He was obviously shy and frightened already, so taunting him would not help.
“Well, if you don’t want me to call you Booger or Princess Junior, you’re going to have to tell me your real name,” the pale woman pointed out.
“Todd,” he whispered in a very low voice. He sounded much like a young child and he looked that way too. Shego suspected that he was no more than five or six years old, but she would inquire about that later.
“Todd? I can see why you wouldn’t want to share that name,” the green-skinned female muttered. “Parents sort of gave you the bare minimum with that name. Well, Todd, I’m Shego and that’s Princess,” she introduced herself and her pet.
“Kim,” the hero corrected her master. She did not want the boy to know her as “Princess” or “Pumpkin.”
“You’ll confuse him with all the names,” the moss-hued officer stated. “Look, kid, your name is kind of boring, especially around these parts. Do you like it?” she inquired and he shrugged; he never really thought about it. “Do you want a nickname?” she offered.
“Not Booger or Princess,” he muttered while staring at his feet. He seemed to have a fixation with his shoes, but most shy kids seemed to have the same interest.
Shego laughed a bit. She doubted many people would want to be known as “Booger.” She also doubted that there was a guy on the planet that would want to be called “Princess Junior.” She figured that she would make him feel more comfortable being around them by offering him a friendly nickname and he might offer up more information for them to find out who he belonged to. She had a feeling that he was going to be rather tightlipped about it because he even failed to mention his last name when telling her his name.
She did wonder why he was being so secretive. She knew that most kids that got separated from their parents usually bawled until they were back with their parents. She remembered once when she was younger, she went to the mall with her baby brothers and they had gotten separated from their mother for like ten minutes and the boys acted like they would never see the woman again. They had been about six years old at the time and that had to be about how old Todd was, so why was he not emotional about being separated from his parents? She decided to stop thinking about it since she did not have the answers.
“Okay, what sorts of things do you like?” Shego asked and he shrugged. She could tell she was about to go through something annoying already. If she was not so certain that the boy would just cry, she would yell at him for everything that she wanted to know. She doubted her pet would appreciate that either and she was not looking to put up with her girl whining.
“Do you like rockets?” Kim inquired because her brothers loved rockets. He shook his head “no.” Wow, she thought that rockets were something that every boy could appreciate.
“Drawing?” Shego guessed because her little brothers were into drawing. He shook his head again.
“Dinosaurs?” Kim offered and he shook his head.
“Cars?” the pale woman asked.
“Dragons?” the hero threw in and he gave the same response to those.
“ Monsters?” Shego was not sure where that one came from, but she knew that boys liked disturbing things.
“Bugs?” Kim added because she also thought that boys were partial to gross or disturbing things. The master and pet were out of guesses because they did not know what else little boys tended to like.
“Kid, you’re going to have to give us some help on this one. We’re not psychic and we can’t read your mind. Do you like anything at all?” Shego inquired with a sigh and he nodded. “All right, now we’re getting somewhere. What do you like, kid?” she asked while silently praying he gave an actual answer.
“Saber tooth,” he replied, still speaking in a very low, rather shy tone.
“Oh, we could call him Smilodon,” Kim proposed since smilodon fatalis was just about the most famous of the saber tooth species.
“Smiley for short because of his cheery disposition,” Shego remarked. If nothing else, she loved verbal irony.
“Do you like that?” Kim asked the boy and he nodded in confirmation.
“Do you have a nickname?” he asked the other redhead.
“Yeah, Princess or Pumpkin,” she replied while glancing at her mistress.
“What’s your real name then?” he asked curiously. He had thought that her real name was “Princess.”
“Kim,” she informed him.
“And you?” he asked Shego.
“Shego is my nickname. Don’t ask what my real name is because if I tell you, I have to kill you,” she remarked and he gulped. He moved to hide behind Kim, just in case Shego was serious.
“Shego, you’re scaring him,” Kim protested and she placed a reassuring hand on Todd’s head to let him know that her owner really did not mean him any harm. He did not seem to believe her at the moment because he remained behind her, hoping that she would protect him from the scary green woman.
“Whatever. He needs to loosen up. So, kid, where are your parents?” Shego asked and he shrugged. Fine, he did not know where his parents were, she could believe that because he might be a lost little kid. “How old are you? And think carefully before you answer this one because if you say fifteen or something like that, I’m kicking you out for you to go get a job,” she joked.
“Um…” he thought too hard on the answer, but did not seem to notice his mistake. “Ten,” he decided to state rather soundly.
“Yeah, so are we. Try again,” she replied, knowing that it was not that he did not know his age, but he was trying to pretend that he was older than he was.
“Then you’ll be able to tell me what number comes after twenty, right?” she asked.
“Um…” he stopped to ponder that. He tried to go on his fingers, but he was not very successful in that endeavor. He was also very obvious about it, which was only helping to give away his true age.
“Yeah, before you hurt your head and I lose my patience, let’s try again. How old are you? I’ll tell you right now I’ve got you pegged at about five or six,” she informed him.
“I’m five,” he sighed. He guessed that she knew that because she was an adult and adults seemed to know everything.
Kim was stunned to hear that. He was only five and he had been out on his own? His parents were probably freaking out in the worst way about him being gone. She was shocked that he was not bawling his eyes out. He almost did not seem to care that he was not with his family, which seemed a bit odd.
“So, what’re your parents’ names?” Shego asked Todd and he shrugged.
Oh, that was a very nice lie, she noted. She wondered why he would lie about that, though. He was acting like he did not want to go back to his parents, she thought. She did not see why he was being that way, though since he did not seem very keen on staying with them either. After all, he was scared of her and who would want to stay with someone that he was afraid of?
“You don’t know your parents’ names?” the pale woman inquired and he shook his head. Apparently, he was sticking to that lie. “What’s your phone number?” she asked and he shrugged. “You don’t know much, kid. You might work for the mob. Do you live around here?” she asked.
“No,” he finally answered, but that was not helping.
“Where do you live?” she asked and he went back to shrugging. “What were you doing around here?” she inquired and he shrugged again.
Shego sighed. She was not getting anywhere with the little boy. It was all right for the moment, she supposed. She could find out what she needed to know later on. She turned her attention to her pet.
“So, what do you want to do?” the pale woman asked.
“Well, we can’t just kick him out. He’s only five,” Kim replied. Her mistress had expected such an answer and was actually in complete agreement with that. Hey, she might be gruff and bothered, but she would never send a small child on his way if he did not have a way to go.
“Fine, if he’s going to stay, go give him a bath,” Shego ordered.
“But, he doesn’t have a change of clothes,” the younger female pointed out.
“I’ll wash the ones he’s wearing. He stinks,” Shego stated rather bluntly.
“Shego!” The slender hero could not believe that her mistress would just say that with him standing right there.
“What? He does.”
“But, you shouldn’t say that with him standing right here. It’s not his fault anyway. He’s only five. Come on, Smiley. You should take a bath,” Kim said.
The small boy did not complain. Kim offered him her hand and he took it after looking up at her to make sure that it was all right. When he saw her bright smile, he knew that everything was going to be all right. She led him to the bathroom and started running some bath water. He really did need the bath, she silently conceded.
Next time: how do the ladies handle the new addition to the house?