You left the gate open and the dog ran out. Logic would say that you should leave the gate open from then on in case the dog wanders back and can get back in.
Shego woke up to the sound of her alarm clock going off. She groaned and thought about giving the annoying mechanical device a plasma-charged punch to end that insulting wailing that it was emitting. Instead of breaking the offending object, she hit the button just to shut it up. She then crawled out of bed and trudged around the silent apartment to get ready for work.
She tried her best not to think about how dead her home seemed now that it was just her. There was no whining for pancakes that she had gotten used to denying. There was no hugging or a kiss on the cheek before she left for work. There was nothing but the tomb-like quiet that was engulfed the apartment.
The raven-haired woman marched into work with an even more furious expression than usual. Doctor Director noticed her friend’s vexed look and she thought that she knew what the problem was. She waited for lunch to say something. She figured after a morning assignment, Shego would be more approachable, having taken some of her frustration out on some mutant lizard man that ran through several squads of regular police.
Shego did not look any better when she and Betty walked to their usual café a few yards from work. The chief ordered her usual lunch while the green-skinned female just scowled at the table like she wanted to wage war against the thing. Betty sighed and shook her head.
“He freaked out over the vacation, didn’t he?” Betty asked as she calmly stirred her tea. Shego seemed to have sexual frustration written all over her face, in her old friend’s opinion anyway.
“What?” Shego inquired.
“He freaked out, right?”
“Yeah, he completely freaked,” Shego answered absently, as if she did not care, Betty noted.
“That explains your mood…or does it? Anything else happen?” the one-eyed female inquired in an intrigued voice.
“My stupid pet is gone…” Shego grumbled.
“Really? She ran off?”
“I threw the little bitch out,” the younger woman declared proudly; a little too proudly if anyone bothered to ask Doctor Director.
“Really? Why’d you do that?” Betty asked. She had come to believe that the brat could get away with anything and Shego would not do anything serious to her. It was like super-powered female did not want to discipline her pet, so her pet did not know that there were boundaries. Hell, Betty was not sure if there were boundaries when it came to her good friend and that teen.
“She kissed me,” Shego answered.
“Yeah, so? Doesn’t she do that often?” Doctor Director inquired. She had seen the teenager kiss Shego on the cheek dozens of times.
“She put her tongue in my mouth,” Shego clarified.
“Oh.” The brown-haired woman nodded; that was a different story. Now, she thought that it was easy to offend Shego, but she was certain that a girl sticking her tongue in Shego’s mouth was a justified reason to be infuriated.
The chief eyed her friend. She hated to think about what was really bothering the irritated female and that was because her little brat was gone, not because the teen had kissed her. Shego certainly had been acting weird since she found the little freeloader. She thought about her friend pre-pet days.
Shego had always been the standoffish, distant type. She hated to be bothered with anything that she considered stupid or useless, which was just about everything and everyone on the planet as far as she was concerned. She quickly built up a bad girl reputation and that was the Shego that everyone was used to; hell, a handful of people even knew how to deal with that Shego. The Shego that did not smile, or compliment people, or go out of her way to help a person unless there was something in it for her. Shego was a rock that took what she wanted, no questions asked, but that was before she got her pet.
Betty had not seen Shego interact much with her little brat because, quite frankly, she did not like the teen too much, but she had seen enough of the pair together to think that she probably did not know her friend as well as she thought she did. She never would have thought that she would live to see Shego pet anything, but she noticed how gently Shego caressed her brat’s head. Shego even let the scaredy cat hug her, kiss her, even sleep in her bed sometimes. It seemed unheard of to Betty.
The stranger thing was the vibe that the one-eyed woman was getting from Shego at the moment. It seemed almost obvious that the younger female missed her pet. She probably regretted kicking her out, Betty considered. She did not understand why her friend would regret such a thing; she could not allow that little brat to take whatever liberties that she wished. Shego had to lay down the law, especially in her own home, her friend thought anyway.
“When’d you throw her out?” Betty asked Shego.
“A few days ago,” Shego answered.
“Wow, she hasn’t come back?”
“No. The stupid kid is probably dead now anyway,” Shego said in a dismissive tone. Betty nodded because it was probably true.
“Ron, thanks for letting me stay here for a while,” Kim said as she entered the blonde’s two bedroom apartment.
“No big, K.P. Gotta help out the little people that occasionally save the world,” Ron remarked.
“Occasionally? I just saved the world yesterday from a black hole machine. It was a ferociously cool machine—”
“No science talk!” Ron screamed in sheer horror. He even covered his ears in case she did not respect his wishes and continued speaking about the machine.
“All right, all right. Where’s Yori?” Kim asked while curiously looking around the apartment.
“She had sociology class today,” he answered.
Kim nodded to that information and stared around the apartment, even though she had been to the place before. She thought that they might have changed some things around since her last visit, but everything appeared pretty much how she remembered them. It was a pretty spacious, especially for two people. Ron could afford it because his naco checks just kept coming in and, thankfully, Yori managed funds way better than the blonde boy.
At the door, there was a space for people to take off their shoes, which Yori insisted on. Kim always obliged on taking off her shoes, but she never put on the slippers that were waiting for guests. She preferred to walk around in her socks, which was all right by the ninja.
The apartment while clean was covered in clutter. There were books, journals, and papers everywhere; the trouble with being the house of two fulltime college students was that they rarely found the time to clean up after studying and other things were done. The reason that they had a two bedroom apartment was for one room to act as an office and hopefully keep their mess contained in one room, but as the school term progressed, the whole place transformed into one big office.
“The couch or the room, which one is less messed up?” Kim inquired.
“Well, if we’re going by proportions, I’d say they’re about equal. But, due to size, the couch is much definitely the lesser of two evils in this one,” Ron answered and they both decided to ignore that he had actually used math in a normal situation. He hated to think that Kim might be rubbing off on him.
“It would be much easier to clean off the sofa…” Kim mused aloud with a finger to her chin.
“Well, we could always combine forces and eventually we should find that bed in the office,” Ron commented.
“Unless the floor devoured it,” Kim remarked.
Ron laughed a bit and they walked into the last room in the apartment. It was full of books and papers that were littering the whole area. There were bookshelves; some of them were half full, some overstocked, and some with magazines sticking out. There was a desk against the wall with a computer flat scene monitor on top of it and the black keyboard was hanging off of the desk halfway.
“Just how I remember it,” Kim muttered to herself. The office pretty much always looked like it had thrown up a library.
“Yeah, we’ve been meaning to clean since…when did school start?” Ron inquired.
“It doesn’t even matter. Let’s just get started.”
“Hey, it’s not a loft space, but I won’t set you on fire if I wake up next to you,” he joked.
“I promise you, you won’t wake up next to me anytime soon.”
“Fine. I won’t make you dinner every night then,” he countered while folding his arms across his chest.
“You don’t make dinner every night anyway,” she pointed out.
“But, if I did, I wouldn’t fix it for you.”
“That’s okay because I’m not your pet,” she replied.
Ron could not help laughing a little bit and they got started on moving things out of the way to locate the bed that was in the room. The bed was there just in case someone needed to stay over, like their good friend Kim the wanderer. Yeah, she was just wandering and not getting anywhere in his opinion.
“Kim…” Ron started to say.
“Don’t ask me about it,” Kim replied in a pleading tone. Just from the way that he said her name, she knew where he was going and she really did not want to hear it.
“It’s just you’ve been putting it off since you graduated. I don’t understand the problem.”
“I know you don’t because you know what you want to do with your life, exactly what you want to do in fact. You’re going to open a restaurant and manage it—”
“Don’t forget serve some kick ass snackage,” he interjected.
“Right. I respect that. Hell, I admire that. I wish it was so simple for me,” she said.
“Hey, K.P, you’re not the first teenager that doesn’t know what to do. You’re definitely not the first teenager to be confused. Just the first teenager that could do anything to be confused. I guess you just got too many options, huh?” Ron remarked with a forced laugh.
“Ron, you know how I feel about this subject.”
“Fine, K.P, I’m shutting up, but not talking about isn’t helping either,” he pointed out.
“Still talking about it,” she countered.
“Yeah, so what’re you gonna do now that you’re not a pet anymore?” he asked curiously.
“What I was doing after graduation, but before being a pet,” she answered.
Ron nodded to show that he understood, not that he approved of her lifestyle much. It was not that she did anything over the top because it was almost impossible for her to do anything over the top. He was more than aware that she could take care of herself probably better than anyone else on the planet, but to him that was part of the problem. Because she could do anything, she actually tried to do everything and on her own, which seemed to take away from her humanity a bit. He did not mean that in a bad way; he meant it in a concerned way.
See, Ron believed that a human being understood limitations and limitations led to needs. Humans had needs, but since Kim did not seem to grasp the concept of boundaries, she did not comprehend that she had needs. She understood that a body was limited to certain things and required things like food, air, sleep, and to not impact a surface from a certain distance or beyond a certain speed. Physically speaking, she understood needs, but it was the intangibles that seemed to just go over her head.
A couple of things that he noticed she overlooked were the concepts of safety and the comfort of a home. Ron could not believe the ease that she had left her home with and never looked back, even though her family meant a great deal to her. He hoped that she was going to grow out of that phase and figure out what she wanted to do because she was getting a bit creepy, especially when she first decided to be a pet.
The blonde thought that now since Kim was not a pet, she would try to get her game together. She no longer had a reason to lollygag around, which had not stopped her before she had been a pet. He wanted to have faith in her to do the grown-up thing eventually and by eventually, he meant soon.
“Cha-ching! Pay dirt,” Ron cheered as soon as they hit the bed, which had been buried under about a foot worth of debris.
“I was starting to doubt that the bed was even still there,” Kim commented.
“Don’t doubt the Ron. Although, I guess a mystic vortex could have always opened up and eaten the bed,” he mused.
“Anything is possible in this mess.”
“It’s not a mess, K.P. It’s a work in progress,” he corrected her.
Kim crashed on the bed in the office. Ron and Yori were still awake, cramming for exams. Kim knew that it was best for her to go to bed before they did and she had to go to sleep before they made it to their room. She had to or she was going to have to leave because she would not get any sleep. After an hour, she knew what it was going to be; she was going to have to leave.
Ron and Yori did not mean to be rude; they were just used to having their apartment to themselves and Yori was quite the screamer. Kim would give Ron one thing, he never disappointed a girl that gave him a chance. As much as people wanted to call him a loser, they did not know a thing about him, especially back when they got on him in high school. At least in college they learned that the boy really knew how to party, but they did not know about his other skills and Yori wisely kept that a secret to avoid having anyone else look to find out about Ron’s prowess.
Kim knew some of the secret, not from first hand experience (she would never think to do that), but because she stayed at their apartment a few times and, thanks to Yori giving her lessons, she spoke fluent Japanese. So, from what she could tell from the passionate hollering that came from the other room, Ron could go for about an hour or more and he seemed to know exactly the right spots when it came to Yori, as the girl would yell to the mountains for a few minutes before falling off of the edge of the world and letting the world know about the plummet. It was not something that Kim was inclined to listen to, especially since it could go on for hours under certain conditions.
So, the redhead grabbed her things and quickly left the house. She did not bother with leaving a note; they would assume that she had left on a mission or just left in general when they discovered that she was gone in the morning. It was no big deal because they knew how she was.
Kim walked the streets and considered where she could go for the night. She considered going to stay with Monique, but she immediately scratched that off of her list. Monique lived at a sorority house and Kim had once just slept on the sofa there. The girls that lived there all but shot Kim when they found her that morning stretched out on their couch. Monique was going to explain who Kim was, but she just waved it off before leaving, just like the girls wanted. She did not want to go through that again, especially if Monique did explain who she was.
Kim went to the next option on her list after Monique and that was Josh Mankey. They used to date and he was cool enough to let her stay at his apartment a few times before. She walked to the house where Josh stayed and went to the basement door; he had the basement apartment. She knocked on the door and Josh answered it seconds later.
“Kim,” he greeted her with a grin. He was standing in his underwear like it was no big deal and it really was not; he wore indigo boxers.
“I didn’t wake you, did I?” she asked. It being near midnight, she knew that a lot of people were actually sleeping at the hour.
“What? No, I was working on an art project. What’s up?”
“I was wondering if I could crash here for a little while. A couple of days, nothing more.”
“Oh, yeah, sure.”
Josh opened the door all of the way to allow Kim access to his home. She stepped into his bare apartment; it was definitely a step down from Ron and Yori’s place. The floor was dried up hardwood; it appeared to be water-damaged. His bed was in the very back and almost looked like a cot with messed up linen. There were clothes, paints, papers, and books all over the place. There were half-eaten meals everywhere, mostly cups of noodles. Crumble-filled pizza boxes littered the area. If there was one thing she could say about Josh was that he never let the bugs in his apartment go hungry.
“It’s funny that you should show up today,” Josh commented with a cute smile while shutting the door.
“How’s that?” Kim asked, even though she could guess why it was funny. She had heard the start of the conversation before.
“Well, I’ve got this psych paper due…” he trailed off.
“Psych paper? For a music and art major?” she inquired. Kim noticed a while ago that it seemed like every person she closely associated with was a double-major in two areas that were hard to link together. Josh was going for music and painting, Monique was doing fashion designing and English, Yori was going for physics and sociology, and Kim herself had done biology and math. About the only one that made sense was Ron, which was scary, because he was doing business and culinary arts.
“It’s a required class,” Josh answered with a nonchalant shrug.
Kim nodded for lack of a better thing to do. The whole bit started out with her “helping” Josh with his paper and that evolved into her doing the paper, as things often did. He always acted like he had no idea what was going on, but if he was as clueless as he was pretending to be, he would have dropped the class, which she knew. She was aware that he just did not want to do the paper and probably thought that it would be easy for her, which it was, but that was not the point.
As cool as Josh like to fashion himself, Kim knew him better than that now, especially since she had stayed at his place a few times. She could not believe that she used to like himlike himnow that she knew him better. He was not as cool as he pretended to be, especially now.
The problem was that Josh was cute and he knew that. He was smooth too and to have more time to do what he wanted, namely work on his music and paintings, he used his charms to get girls to do most of his work for him. He tried to work his magic on Kim almost every time he saw her, but it did not really work. She was aware of his manipulation whenever he tried to use it on her, unlike most other girls.
Then why was the redhead doing his work now? Simple, she did the work to pay back the favor of him allowing her to stay at his apartment. It was pretty much the bartering system that she lived her life by, even though she was used to doing the favor first and then a kind person would pay it back. Josh had yet to figure out why she did things for him, so sometimes he tried to get her to do his work and she had no reason to cheat for him.
“You know, you look just as hot as I remember from the last time I saw you,” Josh commented as he came to sit next to Kim on his bed; his rather hard bed, she noted.
Kim glanced at the musician before turning her attention back to the paper. She laughed to herself because she hoped that Josh did not think that he was getting two favors in one night. He leaned over and began running his deft fingers through her fire red hair. He kissed her cheek before she turned back to look at him.
“Do you think I could finish this, please?” Kim requested politely, as if it was her paper.
“All right, all right. Kim, what happened to us? Where did we go wrong?” he inquired in a sexy whisper. Did he really want her to answer that question? If so, she would oblige him.
“I do believe you fucked Bonnie during my second semester of college,” she answered casually, as if it did not matter and, to her, it did not. She did not like Josh that way anymore and she was starting to see that when she did like him, it was just a stupid teenage crush.
“Oh…yeah,” he muttered, finally showing some humility. He sat straight up, which moved him away from the teen hero.
Kim glanced over at him; yeah, she had liked him a whole lot once. He had been her first; she had been fifteen. She guessed that she mostly did it because she thought that it would be a good way to express her feelings for him since she would be graduating way before he did. It was not as great as people would like her to believe; she certainly would never think to describe it in poetic terms. It did not improve after that first time; she soon figured out that it was him. But, it did not matter by that time.
She did wonder why other girls did not say anything about him, but she figured out the reason behind that too. One girl, she could never be sure who, but she believed that it was Bonnie, made it out that Josh was a monster in bed. So, afterwards, whenever he laid a girl, and he laid plenty, the girl probably thought that he was having an off night or he just was not into her as much as other girls. No girl wanted to tell a bad Josh story after hearing so many outstanding Josh tall tales because the girl thought that it would reflect badly on her, like she was not good enough for him to bring his best game.
Kim was not the type to kiss and tell; it was not really her style or her good friends’ styles either. So, she never shared her bad Josh anecdotes, not even with him. She never saw the point to share with him; his ego was too big for her to even believe and she faced off with people that thought they were the greatest since sliced bread almost daily. Josh seriously believed that he was the greatest thing on Earth for the opposite sex. His notions were his business and he was not hurting anybody, so she did not see the point in throwing in her two cents.
“Where’re you sleeping tonight?” Josh asked.
“The floor’s good enough for me,” Kim assured him. She knew where he wanted her to sleep, but she was not even in the mood. In fact, she had not even been in the mood after she broke up with him two years ago. He knew that they were just friends, but he wanted them to be friends with benefits and she was not even feeling that.
“Oh…” he mumbled.
“Yeah, Josh. One favor per customer,” she remarked with a light laugh.
“That’s cool,” he muttered, letting her know that he did not think it was so cool.
“I know it is.”
“I don’t see why you should sleep on the floor, though—” he tried to argue.
“Because a certain bleached blonde doesn’t know how to keep his hands and tongue to himself,” she answered in a courteous tone, she even had the nerve to smile at him.
“I’m sure it is.”
Shego crept into Doctor Director’s office while the boss was off biting the head off of some of her more incompetent employees. She eased into the chair and behind the computer. She started going through files.
“Checking the morgue lists again?” Doctor Director inquired from the doorway.
“No, I…” Shego searched her mind for a good lie, but nothing came to mind; she had already used her best material days ago. “Damn it,” she growled.
“She didn’t come back, yet?”
“No,” the younger woman sighed. “But, I don’t care.”
“Sure you don’t. Why not just go out and look for her?” Betty suggested because she was sick of finding excuses to leave her office in order for Shego to sneak in and use the computer.
“Because I don’t give a damn,” Shego declared while getting up from the chair and storming out of the office.
Doctor Director shook her head. She knew that Shego would not openly look for her pet because that just was not the way Shego went about things. She was stunned that the teen had not come back on her own, begging for Shego to let her back in the house. It had been almost a week since she known about the girl being gone.
Shego went back to work and told herself that her pet was the idiot that started everything; therefore, whatever happened was not Shego’s fault. It was on Kim if she was dead somewhere because she was the one that could not follow the rules. Besides, it was not like Shego cared anyway if something happened to the little fool.
The raven-haired woman went on with life like before, telling herself that things were much better without having a pet to take care of. So, she went back to being quick to ignite her hands whenever someone got on her nerves and she was more snappy than most of her co-workers recalled. None of them had really noticed that she had been in a relatively good mood for a long time until she went back to her old self. It made working with her the closest thing to hell on Earth for some people; others were certain that the actual hell could not compare to working with Shego.
Still, her co-workers would rather be on her side than with the criminals. Law breakers got very little mercy when Shego was sent after them; she did not kill them and that was all. Almost every criminal that Shego chased ended up in the hospital; the only ones that avoided such a trip were the wise cowards that surrendered.
Kim parked herself against a wall; it was the dead of night. She figured that she would just catch a little nap before figuring out where to go next. She had only stayed with Josh the day and then went on with her wandering. He could not seem to grasp the concept of one favor for one favor. She would not have minded doing things for him if the favors went beyond his schoolwork and sleeping with him.
When she had left Josh’s places, Wade had a couple of missions for her. So, she slept on her way to do those missions. But, now, she did not have anything to do and she did not want to bother anybody for what was supposed to be a short nap.
The redhead clutched her duffle bag tightly, even though she slept very lightly. She then drifted off to sleep right in the middle of the empty street. She was taken from her nap by a nudge. She opened her olive green eyes and noticed two things, one being that the sun was up and two being that there was a pair of uniformed police officers standing in front of her. Not a great way to start the day because she did not need to be a genius to figure out what was going on.
“Can we see some ID, miss?” one officer requested.
“Sorry, officer, but I don’t have any,” Kim confessed easily.
“Then you’re going to have to come with us,” he informed her.
Kim could not believe her luck; she had been awake all of eight seconds and she was already being arrested. Maybe she should have gone back and stayed with Josh, she considered as a joke.
Next time: Kim has now been arrested, so how does she get out of this jam? Has Shego really given up on her pet? And tis the season to make Shego do several things that she never would think to do.