The job seemed simple enough when it was given to me. All I had to do was give Todd, our five-year-old guest, a bath. I started running the water and added some bubbles for him. Once all of that was done, I hit a bump in the road. He was going to have to get undressed to take a bath. I don’t know the rules of bathing a kid that isn’t related to you at all and he just followed you home. I doubt it’s cool for me to see the kid naked and I really don’t want to anyway. So, now what do I do?
Shego walked by the bathroom door and there would have been nothing wrong with it if only Kim was not sitting with her back against the wall right outside the door as if she was on guard duty. The pale woman cocked an eyebrow and tried to decide if she should just keep going or if she should actually ask. She was almost certain that she would be much happier in life if she kept walking, but she might want to know what was going on just in case she should be prepared for something.
“Pumpkin, I thought you were giving Smiley a bath,” Shego said.
“I am,” Kim replied.
“Present tense?” Shego asked with an arched, curious eyebrow and her pet nodded. “So, what you’re telling me is that he’s in there right now taking a bath?” She pointed to the bathroom with her thumb as she asked that question.
“Yeah,” the redhead affirmed.
“So, why are you sitting out here?” the older woman asked curiously.
“Well, I didn’t know the whole deal with a kid that I didn’t know in a bathtub and everything,” Kim vaguely explained, but her mistress understood.
“Yeah, but, Pumpkin, you can’t just leave a five-year-old kid in a bathtub with the door shut like that,” Shego pointed out. Their little guest could have drowned by now for all they knew since the door was closed, especially considering the fact that the kid did not make any noise at all.
“I thought as much, but I really wasn’t too sure since he’s not related to me or anything like that.”
Shego only shook her head. She supposed it was a valid concern, but at the moment, they really needed to focus on not killing the kid that followed her pet home. She opened the door and saw Todd, also known as Smiley since about twenty minutes ago, just sitting in the tub. He was the scruffy little urchin that had actually followed Kim home; who the hell thought people really did things like that, Shego thought. He looked like he was all right in the bubble bath. He was just sitting there though, like he was contemplating the secrets of the universe.
“Is he playing with the toys I gave him?” Kim asked curiously. She had a few little toys because sometimes her master did buy her goofy things that kept her entertained while she was getting her hair washed. She figured that he could use some toys to have fun while being in the bath.
“No, he’s just sitting there. He looks like he’s contemplating the meaning of life or something,” Shego remarked.
“But, he’s five,” the olive-eyed girl commented. What five-year-old would be contemplating the meaning of life?
“Yeah, that’s what makes it so creepy,” the officer commented because it certain was a creepy thing to see.
“Yeah?” the green-skinned woman asked.
“He’s going to need pajamas,” Kim pointed out. They did not have anything that was fit for a kid to wear for the night, after all.
“Yeah,” her owner agreed.
It did seem that Smiley was going to be spending the night with them. They did not know where he was from or where his parents were at the moment. He did not even tell them his last name. He claimed that he did not know his phone number. Shego figured that she would just get his information at work tomorrow, so he was going to be there for the night at least.
“I’ll go buy him some stuff. I’ll be back in like twenty minutes. Can you handle him for twenty minutes?” Shego inquired. Her pet alone with a child in the apartment…it was a scary thought.
“Sure,” Kim confirmed with a grin that made her mistress more suspicious than anything else.
“Don’t give me that smile if you’re going to say sure,” Shego ordered. The last thing that she needed right now was to have to worry about her brat alone with a kid in the apartment and all of the crap that they might get into, but the expression that Kim was wearing right now was just making her wary and reluctant to leave.
“Okay,” the redhead continued to grin.
“Don’t say okay and keep smiling like that either,” the pale woman commanded.
“I can’t help it,” Kim admitted with a laugh.
“You’re so weird,” Shego commented with a sigh.
“All right. I’ll be back in twenty minutes,” Shego stated again. She hoped that she would be back sooner than that because she really did not know what to expect with Kim alone with a five-year-old. There could be fires, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, a second flood; just about anything could happen with Kim being alone with a kid.
The pale woman grabbed her keys and dashed out of the house to get their guest some pajamas and maybe some extra clothes because the ones he was wearing when he came in had seen better days before he got lost in them. They were more than likely nice looking clothes once upon a time, but he put holes in the both the pants and shirt. So, maybe if she was in a giving mood, she would buy him an outfit to wear tomorrow instead of throwing him back into the other, ratty clothes.
Kim remained parked outside of the bathroom, but she started to talk to Smiley to make sure he was all right in there. At first, he did not seem to want to talk, but he started opening up after a few minutes. He certainly was a guarded little kid, she thought. She hoped that he would get comfortable with them soon, so they could help him get reunited with his family.
Shego came back into the apartment grumbling about how the damn line at the store went on forever. She had been out longer than she planned and much longer than she wanted to be. She had a bag in her hand and she entered the apartment to hear the sound of laughter. She tried to brace herself for what she knew was going to be a scene that pissed her off. She walked into the living room and found that she had not braced herself enough. Kim and Todd were in the living room with three different packs of cookies open, half-eaten pie slices around them, and the biggest cups of soda that the house had to offer.
“Princess, what the hell?” Shego demanded to know in a furious tone.
“Shego!” Kim gasped and Todd looked frightened because of Shego’s tone.
The terrified boy crawled behind Kim to hide from the obviously outraged female. It would seem that in his mind, Kim could and would protect him from the scary green woman. He was also dressed in a tee-shirt to hold him over until proper attire arrived. The tee-shirt was not doing him any good.
“What the hell is this mess?” the older woman inquired in heated tone.
“Well, he got hungry,” Kim replied. “Actually, we both got hungry and I didn’t know when you’d be back and there aren’t any leftovers in the fridge,” she explained.
“So, you had cookies and pie?” Shego asked incredulously and then she looked at her watch. “Dinner is in a fucking hour.”
“But, he was hungry now,” the olive-eyed hero argued.
“You can’t give him this junk when dinner’s an hour away. You can’t even have this junk when dinner’s an hour away.”
“I didn’t know when you’d be back, though. Your twenty minutes ended over an hour ago,” Kim pointed out.
“But, pie and cookies,” Shego sighed.
“There was nothing else to eat,” Kim replied. Obviously, she was not so stupid as to fill a kid up on sugar if there were other things in the house to eat, but there was nothing aside from what they had and the food that Shego had yet to cook for dinner.
“Fine,” the moss-hued officer conceded. She did not feel like arguing the matter, especially since she knew that there was nothing but junk food in the house since she had not done any real shopping in a few days. “Clean up this mess. Smiley, come here,” she ordered. Todd shook his head and remained hiding behind Kim.
“Smiley, go ahead. She’s not going to hurt you,” the slim scientist assured him.
Todd glanced at Kim and then slowly stepped over to her mistress. Shego gently took him by the hand and led him back to the bathroom. She handed him some of the clothes that she purchased for him, which were in a bag.
“Here, put this stuff on,” Shego ordered.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because they’re better for the house and I’d rather you not walk around in a girl’s tee-shirt that falls funny on you. You can do it yourself, right?” she inquired.
Todd shrugged; he seemed to be one word and a shrug when it came to giving out answers. The super-powered woman wondered why that was for a few seconds and then left him in the bathroom to change into the pajamas for a few minutes. After all, how hard could it be for him to get into some clothes? She soon got her answer to that one.
He exited the bathroom and looked like he had gotten into a fight with his clothes. His shirt was both inside out and on backwards. His pants were the same. At least he had the socks on right, she thought.
“Okay, Smiley, now this might be a stupid question, but are your underwear on right?” Shego asked. She had brought him new underwear too to go with the pajamas. She figured that he could use and probably would appreciate some new underwear considering the state that all of his clothes was in when she tossed them in her washing machine.
“Is the guy supposed to be on the front or on the back?” he countered.
“Then yeah,” he answered.
“Well, at least you made it that far,” she muttered. She did not want to think about what might have had to happen if he could not even put the underpants on right. “Let me fix the rest of this for you before you hurt me with this look,” she remarked.
Shego first fixed his shirt. It was a green shirt with the Green Lantern symbol on it. She did not know who the Green Lantern was, but the shirt was green and in the boys’ section and that was good enough for her.
His pants were black and she corrected those too for him. She figured it was all right for her to fix his pants since he had on underwear, even though she did not know the rules of how to treat a kid that was found on the street and was spending the night any more than her munchkin knew the rules. She then motioned for him to return to the living room now that he was presentable. She followed behind him and noticed Kim had actually began cleaning the place up.
The slim adventurer was cleaning up the mess because she understood that at the moment, she was going to have act beyond her lazy pet status. They had someone in the house that was actually dependent on them and he was important at the moment. So, she was going to act more responsible until things went back to normal.
“Okay, I’m going to make dinner. You two try hard not to make anymore messes,” Shego commanded the pair.
“No problem!” Kim saluted and grinned. “We’ll just sit here and watch cartoons, right, Smiley?”
Todd nodded to affirm Kim’s declaration. Shego eyed them suspiciously, but went into the kitchen to start dinner. She heard laughing coming from the living room, but it did not sound too alarming, so she left them to their own devices. She was glad to know that Todd could laugh because he was a creepy kid for much of the time that he had been with them, although it did sound like her pet was doing most of the laughing. Still, he seemed more comfortable now and that was good. She called them to dinner about half hour later.
Kim and Todd came to the dining room. Kim yanked the little redhead up and put him in a chair before sitting down herself. He did not seem disturbed by the unnecessary assist. Shego served them their meals of chicken, rice, and cabbage. She gave them juice to go with their meals, which caused Kim to whine, even though she had been being so good. The slim hero wanted soda, though.
“You’re not having anymore soda,” the pale woman stated.
“Why not? It’s not nine yet,” Kim pointed out. Her sugar intake was usually halted at nine. She was not sure why, but she suspected that it had something to do with her hyperactive nature. She figured that sooner or later her mistress was going to come to the conclusion that sugar had little to nothing to do with how she was.
“Because you already had who knows how much soda while I was out,” the older woman answered.
“How do you know I didn’t have more than what was in the cup?” the redheaded hero inquired.
“Because I’m the mistress around here,” Shego answered to end the argument.
Kim puffed out her cheeks in anger while her master went to get her own food. Todd looked curious about the argument that had just occurred, but he did not make any inquires as to what was going on. He turned his attention to his food when Kim picked up her fork to prepare to eat.
“Dig in, Smiley. It’s great,” the scholar informed him when she noticed that he was just staring at the meal.
Todd nodded and began eating as Shego returned to the table. The trio ate quietly and civilly. Todd silently conceded that the meal was great. He was really hungry too, but he managed to remain under control and eat like a proper person. He wondered if he would be able to get some more food when he was done if he was still hungry. He hoped so, but that did not come up since he was not so starved when he finished eating.
Shego took a moment to remind her pet that it was grooming day, which Kim liked and she smiled. The moss-hued woman guessed since she was going to be doing her monster’s hair and things, she might as well take care of Todd too. He needed his hair tended to in the worse way from what she could tell. She hoped that he did not have lice or something.
When Shego washed Kim’s hair, they left Todd sitting on the sofa and watching some cartoon channel. They noted how quiet he was on his own and after a while, Shego had to make sure that he was still out there. He was still sitting on the couch and watching television with a passive, almost blank look in his face. His lime-colored eyes looked almost empty, which was very disturbing to see on a five-year-old. She left him alone until it was his turn to get his hair washed.
Todd did not argue when Shego called him and he trotted over to her to get his hair cleaned while Kim went to go get dressed; as usual, she had had a bath while getting her hair done. The green-skinned woman got a chair for Todd to stand on and she washed his hair in the sink. He still had to stand on his tiptoes while she cleaned his head. He did not complain, though.
They all gathered in the living room once Todd was done and Shego blow-dried Kim’s hair while Kim used a towel to dry Todd’s hair. The pale woman also handed her pet a pair of scissors to trim Todd’s crimson hair. His hair was not long, but it was noticeably uneven.
“Can I trust you to do this without messing up his head?” Shego asked her little monster before Kim got to snipping the boy’s hair.
“I can cut hair,” Kim replied.
“Are you sure?” the raven-haired officer inquired.
“Just watch me.”
Shego rolled her eyes and then focused back on Kim’s hair while she trimmed Todd’s hair. The child focused on the television and did not notice that he was being groomed. He also did not notice when he was done. The slender scientist had trimmed his hair and brushed it back to make him look less like a wild child and more like a normal kid. Shego still thought that he looked a bit psychotic just blankly watching cartoons the way he was.
“I guess he’s not going to get any better,” the green-skinned officer remarked when she got a decent look at the boy.
“Shego,” Kim actually scolded her owner because the boy was sitting right there. She did not want her mistress to hurt his feelings.
“What? I usually think the same about you,” the pale woman commented.
“Really?” Kim asked with a pout. She seemed genuinely hurt, but she was mostly playing around.
“Stop moping. You’re fine and he’s fine,” Shego replied while petting both Kim and then Todd. Todd looked up at Shego, but he did not say anything.
The grooming did continue. Shego still clipped Kim’s nails for her. Once Kim was done, Shego clipped Todd’s nails for him and, boy, he really needed it. He stared at her while she did his nails for him with glass-like jade eyes. It was like he did not know what she was doing and he wanted to comprehend it. When it was all done, he did not seem any wiser as to what was going on with the two women that he was staying with. They were strange creatures, he thought.
“Shego, um, what do we do with him?” Kim asked while motioning to a sleeping Todd. The little redheaded boy was sleeping on the floor, curled up in a fetal position, almost like a tiny puppy.
“You can put him on the sofa,” Shego suggested when she came out to see what the problem was. She had been in the kitchen taking care of the dishes before coming to see that Todd was knocked out. She was glad that the boy was dozing. There was something about him that was just creepy and it was hard to be creepy when sleeping, which was why she was happy he was out.
“What if he moves around a lot in his sleep?” the olive-eyed scholar inquired. She did not want the child to fall off of the sofa and get injured. Not that it was long way to the floor from the couch, but still, she did not want to risk him getting hurt.
“Fine, leave him there.”
“Leave him there?” the younger woman echoed.
“Throw a cover under him and over him and call it a day or you could take time out of your day and bring your mattress down from the loft. I doubt you want the brat up there with all of your stuff. Kids aren’t usually nice to paper and crap.”
“When you’re done with that, make sure the door’s locked,” Shego informed her pet.
“Make sure the door is locked?” Kim echoed. Her master was saying a bunch of things that were not registering to her brain it seemed.
“Yeah, with him sleeping out here, we should lock the door.”
“All right, I figured that we would be able to take somebody if they came in,” Kim reasoned.
“Yeah, and usually I’m right there with you, Pumpkin, but to be on the safe side with him out here, lock the door.”
The younger woman shrugged; it would be better to err on the side of caution with a kid involved, she supposed. Shego went to the bedroom while Kim carried down the mattress from the loft into the living room. It was not hard to do because it was not filled like a real mattress; she always thought that it was more like a giant pillow. She placed Todd on the mattress and placed her blankets over him. She then made sure the front door locks were on; the three locks were secure. She then trotted into the bedroom and dived right into the bed.
“Everything in place?” Shego asked as her mini-monster crawled over to her and on top her, ignoring the fact that she was trying to read a book.
“Uh-huh,” Kim replied while pulling the tome right out of her mistress’ hands.
“Could you be a little less obvious about this?” Shego asked to tease her amorous pet, who placed the book on the nightstand.
“Why?” the redhead asked while straddling her owner’s waist and she sat down on Shego’s legs. She took her master’s hands and wrapped them around her own waist.
“You got me there,” the older woman conceded with an amused smirk as she began to gently caress her imp’s sides on her own.
Kim exhaled as she exited the bedroom. She was about to go hunt for some whipped cream. Not for that night because Shego was already close to comatose after two hours, but it would come in handy for tomorrow. So, she just wanted to know if they had any whipped cream and to know where it was if they had any. Her hunt was ended before it even got started as she entered the living room and she was frightened, much to her surprise.
The shock to her system was delivered by Todd, who was sitting up in his bed with the covers wrapped completely around his body. He had them over his head too, leaving only his eyes visible. His light jade eyes were just wide and alert, like he was on the lookout in the Revolutionary War. She wondered what was up with him.
Kim hoped to high heavens that Todd had not heard what she and Shego had been up to. She guessed that if he had heard them going at it, the screaming might have scared him. She also guessed that she was going to have to ask.
“Smiley, what are you doing?” the olive-eyed scholar asked in a curious tone as she went over to him.
“Watching out for the boogeyman,” he answered in a dead serious tone.
“Boogeyman?” she echoed in a puzzled tone.
“But, there isn’t a boogeyman,” she tried to assure the boy. She was glad that he was not up because of what she and Shego had been doing. She did not want to have scarred the kid for life or something.
“Yeah,” he insisted that there was a boogeyman.
“So, you’re going to sit up all night watching for him?” she asked curiously since he was not believing that there no such thing as the boogeyman.
“Well…I don’t want him to get me,” he replied. It seemed logical enough to him, as long as he stayed up watching for the monster, it was less likely to get him.
“Well, he can’t get in. The doors are locked,” the olive-eyed female pointed out with a small smile. She hoped that got him to feel at ease and go back to sleep.
“He can still come in,” the boy replied.
Kim scratched her head. “Well, what keeps the boogeyman away?” she asked. She figured that if she could find out what stopped the monster, she could do that and save Todd a night of sitting up in sheer terror.
“Can I sleep with you?” he requested. Usually, he would never think to ask such a thing, but so far Kim seemed very nice and she had protected him from Shego’s wrath, in his mind anyway. So, maybe she would protect him from the flesh-eating boogeyman too.
The redheaded female made a face to show her doubt, but she guessed that it should be all right. Shego was probably sleeping by now. She nodded and took him by the hand. He stood up, letting his covers fall to the bed. She led him to the bedroom and cracked the door.
“Um…Shego,” Kim called.
“What?” came the groggy answer. She had been very close to being all the way asleep and then her name had to be called.
“You put your clothes back on right?” the scientist asked.
“Why?” Shego inquired because she really wanted to know the reason behind that question.
“Is not sleeping in here,” the pale woman interjected. There was no way in hell that she was letting a creepy stranger sleep in her bed.
“But, he’s scared of the boogeyman,” Kim informed her master, who was irked beyond reason because she just wanted to go to sleep now. God, she had work in the morning for crying out loud, the older woman silently complained.
“Smiley,” Shego said.
“Yeah?” the boy replied.
“Do you pee in the bed?” the moss-hued woman demanded to know.
“No,” he answered. He was telling the truth, at least. He would never dare pee in his bed and while sleeping over, he would never pee in someone else’s bed.
“Princess, just gimme a second,” Shego grumbled. If it got them to leave her alone, fine, the scary kid could sleep in the bed. She doubted that the boy was going to do anything anyway. He had been good so far, creepy as hell, but good.
Kim closed the door and allowed her mistress some time to get dressed. Once she got the okay, she entered the room with Todd. Kim put the boy on her side of the bed and left herself in the middle for a couple of reasons. The main reason was that she doubted that Shego wanted Todd next to her with him being stranger and all. The other reason was that she thought that Todd was still a little scared of Shego and he might have trouble sleeping if he was next to her. She was right on both accounts.
Next time: Kim and Todd start to get along while Shego is hit with some bizarre news.