June 8, 2005
“More tea?” Shego asked as she took the now-empty cup from Kim.
Kim shook her head vehemently. “No thanks. I’m fine with only about, oh, five cups. Or are we at six now?”
“Sorry Princess. I forget that not everyone is as big a tea drinker as myself.”
“Hey, I’m not saying tea is bad, I’m just saying that five or six cups within the time span of a couple of hours is a bit much.”
“Its only one cup per chess game.” Shego protested.
“Its still herbal overload.” Kim replied, rubbing her temples as if she had a headache.
Shego shrugged, but took note of Kim’s complaint. “To each her own I guess.”
As Shego took the cups back into the kitchen, Kim licked her lips, pondering on the tea’s aftertaste. Even with the honey she added, it still was a tad too bitter for her particular preferences. Oh well…
The lapse in conversation and interaction with Shego gave Kim a chance to think over her post-accident life. Everything was almost perfect. Almost.
She couldn’t place it, but something was off. Nothing that rang loud and obnoxious alarm bells in her head to send her running away in panic, but still…she could feel something in the air that wasn’t quite right.
A muffled thump from Shego jumping over the back of the opposite couch and landing squarely on the cushions snapped Kim out of her thought processes.
“What’s on your mind?”
Kim felt her eyes widen in surprise. Was she really that easy to read? Or did Shego just know her too well? She reminded herself that Shego was her girlfriend – of course Shego would be able to read her expressions and body language and know when something was amiss…right?
“Nothing.” Kim lied.
“I told you before – “ Shego started.
“Yeah, I know. I’m bad at lying.” Kim interrupted.
“Well, no offense Princess, but you are.” Shego stated. “It could be something you might want to fix later, but right now, don’t worry about it. You don’t have any reason to lie.”
Look who’s talking.Shego internally reminded herself.
Kim nodded. “I guess not. I wouldn’t even know what to lie about anyways.” She tapped her head lightly. “I can’t remember anything, remember?”
“Well, I think we need to start fixing that.”
“Me learning how to lie?” Kim asked, confusion in her intonation.
“No. You knowing what to lie about.”
“You knowing what to lie about.” Shego repeated.
“No, I heard you the first time. I don’t understand. You’re going to tell me what to lie about, and what not to lie about?”
Shego laughed. “Well, sort of.”
Shego stood up, walked over to Kim and took a seat next to her. She extended a hand and ruffled Kim’s hair before answering.
“You’ll find out later.”
Kim scowled. “You know I hate it when you do that, right?”
“Do what?” Shego asked, a mock-innocent expression on her face. She continued to run her fingers lightly through Kim’s hair, effectively sending chills down Kim’s spine. “This?”
“No…” Kim started, temporarily lost in the moment. She shook her head and pulled back from Shego to regain her thoughts. “When you do that mysterious enigma thing…”
Shego shrugged nonchalantly. “Well, I AM an enigma.”
“Even to me?”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Kim demanded.
“Whatever you want it to.” Shego slyly answered.
“Shego.” Kim stated, her expression becoming quite a bit more serious. “I don’t know if you were this mysterious before the accident, or if this is a new development, but its driving me crazy. If you were this way before everything happened, then whatever, fine. But right now, I can’t have you talking in riddles to me. I’ve lost my memory for goodness’ sake – I can’t sit here and try to interpret your half-answers when I can’t even remember anything about my life, even really simple stuff like the names of my parents. Speaking of which, who are my parents?”
Shego took a deep breath. She knew the basic facts about Kim’s family, but nothing in great detail.
“Well, your mother is a highly respected brain surgeon and your father is a rocket scientist. You have two younger brothers, who happen to be twins.”
“Oh? How much younger? What are their names?”
Shego gave a mental growl. Here’s the part where everything got a little tricky.
Oh God…I know I’ve heard her call them by their REAL names before. Why the hell can’t I remember now! Of all times!
“They’re quite a bit younger, and quite honestly, the only name I’ve heard you refer to them is The Tweebs. Usually because you’re upset with them…”
Shego could see the hypothetical wheels turning in Kim’s head, and knew what the girl was thinking. If she and Shego were going out, how could Shego not know the twins’ real names? Isn’t that basic information that would be shared right away? And what if she wanted to know more about her parents? Oh, crap. Shego held her breath and kept her face expressionless as Kim mulled over everything.
Kim gave a second glance at Shego, and although she didn’t immediately say anything, Shego could sense there was a question lurking behind Kim’s deep green eyes. Kim opened her mouth, but quickly shut it.
The question remained unasked. But the tension in the air continued to expand. Exponentially.
You know what she’s thinking, don’t you?
She wants the truth…which is something you’ve consciously withheld from her. You’re a bitch.
Here’s your chance then. Let her ask her question.
Give an honest answer.
Give her the truth.
Shego swallowed the lump in her throat and felt a great pain tear through her heart.
You’re going to hate me Kimmie. But I can’t do this anymore…
“Kimmie…” Shego started. “Ask your question.”
Each word she uttered felt like a dagger pushed deeper.
Looking at Shego, Kim could see there was a deep and intense conflict waging itself in the older woman’s head. When she had spoken only a few moments earlier, Kim could have sworn she heard raw pain in Shego’s voice. Interesting. Kim thought about this unexpected response before choosing her question.
Shego looked at Kim, and for the first time, the cheerleader saw fear in Shego’s eyes.
“Shego…” Kim began again. “Do you love me?”
Shego stared intently at the redhead before her. Kim was looking at her expectantly, a soft expression on her face – one that almost said, “Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be okay.”
This is your question, Kimmie? This is the question that has been lurking in your eyes, that you have been so terrified of asking me? No, I know you. There’s something else underneath it all. You’re still hiding something.
Shego swallowed, knowing that at least time, she would be giving Kim the absolute truth of the situation. “Yes.”
It was a single word, but it was somehow charged with a power and intensity foreign to Shego. Unlike many other words that people like toss around and barter back and forth with, at this exact moment, this one word had a real meaning.
Kim nodded solemnly. “That’s all I need to know.”
And just like that, the question behind Kim’s eyes was gone, replaced by a soft knowing smile.
“Well…I think its time to play our game of Truth or Dare.” Kim volunteered.
Shego gaped at Kim in surprise.
“I thought you said that…?”
Kim shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. “I know. But, I’ll have to muddle through this. It will be hard, I will be confused and maybe frustrated, but I’ll still be moving forward.”
She glanced over at Shego. “Does that make any sense?”
Shego nodded. “Perfect.”
Kim leaned back into the couch, her shoulders drooping into the soft back cushions as she settled in. “Why don’t you start?”
Shego smiled. “As in, you daring me, or me daring you?”
“You may not like my dares, Kimmie.” Shego hinted.
“Then I’ll have to take that chance.” Kim grinned back.
Shego paused, thinking about how exactly she wanted to pursue this delicate matter. The game itself didn’t matter. For all she cared, she and Kim could play Go Fish. But no. There was a goal to be accomplished here. Truth or Dare just made for an easier means to achieve it.
“Truth or Dare Kimmie?” Shego asked, letting a wicked glint sparkle in her eyes.
“I’ll chicken.” Kim blushed. “Truth. But I’m warning you right now, I don’t know what dirty secrets you’ll be able to uncover as I can’t remember anything.”
Shego waved her off. “Don’t worry. We’re not playing this game so I can uncover all your ‘dirty secrets.’”
Kim looked a bit befuddled at Shego’s response, but nodded nonetheless.
“Princess, how to you feel?”
Kim laughed. “Being one with hardly any thermal regulation, I’m feeling a little chilled right now.”
Shego chuckled. “Nice dodge Pumpkin. But you know what I meant.”
Kim widened her eyes in a mock gesture of innocence. “Do I?”
“I think you do. But still, that was a worthy answer.” Shego did a mock salute.
Kim grinned, obviously pleased with herself. “Now, my turn. Shego…truth or dare.”
“Dare. Of course.”
“Okay…this has to be a good one.”
“Take your time Princess.”
“Oooohh, I got it!” Kim exclaimed, clapping her hands together.
“Well? Do tell.”
“I dare you to do a backflip.”
Shego blinked. “Say what?”
“Aww, come on Shego. Do a backflip. At least try? I promise I won’t laugh at you or anything if you fall.”
“How is this supposed to be a dare, Kimmie?” Shego said incredulously.
Kim shrugged, looking genuinely confused. “I don’t know. It seemed like a crazy request at the moment…is it not?”
Shego laughed. “For anyone else, doing a backflip would be an admirable dare.”
“But not for you?”
“You’ll see in time Princess, that we’re different from everyone else.”
Flashing a quick wink in Kim’s direction, Shego leaped over the coffee table and in the rest of the open space of the living room, executed a series of Olympic-caliber acrobatics, including both front flips and backflips. When finished, she calmly walked back to have a seat on the couch, a smug expression on her face. Kim noticed that she didn’t even break a sweat.
“Umm. Well. I guess I’ll have to think of better dares for you in the future.” Kim stammered, obviously awed at Shego’s show of athletic prowess. In response, Shego gave Kim a knowing smile.
“Don’t fret Pumpkin. Once you’re all better, you too will be doing backflips again in no time.”
Kim scoffed. “Me? Backflips? Riiiight.”
“You are not only the world famous superhero who happens to have an eleven o’clock curfew, but you are also a cheerleader.”
Kim blinked. “I’m a cheerleader?”
“Yeah, I sorta found it odd at first, but how else do you think you get all that acrobatic practice?”
“Now. My turn.”
Perhaps it was the dim lighting, or perhaps it was her imagination, but Shego could have sworn she saw Kim pale.
“Truth of Dare?”
“Ummm…truth. I’m in no condition to do dares.”
Shego grinned. “Are you sure you want to choose that Princess? Last time I asked a ‘truth’ question, you tried to evade it. I’ll give you one last shot to choose ‘dare’ instead.”
“Well, I don’t think that will be happening because I wouldn’t be able to perform any dares.”
“And why not?”
“Because I am in no physical condition to be doing any dazzling acrobatic stunts.”
“Who said I would ask for that? YOU are the one who seems to have a fascination with gymnastics.”
“Nah. I would ask for more…interesting activities.” Shego replied thoughtfully, a playful half smile gracing her face.
“Such as?” Kim inquired, not quite understanding what Shego was hinting at.
“Oh, Pumpkin, what I’m thinking of isn’t appropriate content for polite conversation.” Shego licked her lips suggestively, and Kim appeared to pale even more.
“Now you REALLY have me wanting to stick with my original answer. I shall still go with truth.”
“Alright. Tell me, Kimmie…how do you feel? Emotionally, that is.”
Kim stared. “Is that really your question, Shego? I mean, you could, you know…try and find out all this dirt about me and blackmail me later and-”
“You’re trying to dodge again Kimmie.” Shego cut Kim off. “But to answer your question: yes. And you have to answer truthfully. Rules of the game.”
“Define ‘emotionally’ please.”
“As in, what is your current emotional state?”
“I feel fine.” Kim shrugged nonchalantly, trying to feign passivity. But Shego noticed how the teenager refused to look her in the eye.
“Try again Princess. And this time, don’t keep averting your gaze when I try to look at you.”
Kim started to reply, but paused, creating a sudden silence.
”Go on.” Shego gently urged Kim.
Kim opened her mouth, as if to try a second time, but quickly shut it again.
Wordlessly, Shego stood up from the couch and walked over to have a seat next to Kim. She pulled the red-head into a firm, but gentle embrace, wrapping her arms around Kim’s shoulder, one of her hands taking hold of Kim’s soft hair, her fingers trailing through it, caressing Kim’s scalp. She used her other hand to guide Kim’s head to her shoulder.
She whispered in Kim’s ear, “You don’t have to be strong all the time. Its okay to be scared. It means you’re human.”
Kim muffled something, but Shego couldn’t quite catch it.
“I’m sorry, what was that Princess?”
Kim lifted her head from Shego’s shoulder.
“I’m scared. I don’t want to admit it, but I am. It makes me feel weak, somehow. And I don’t like that feeling.”
Shego continued to lightly massage Kim’s head. “And that’s perfectly alright. Fear is just your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. And in this situation, fear is a very natural and expected response. You’re a very strong, stubborn, and aggressive young woman. Even after your accident, you’re still all those things. I can tell. I could tell the moment you tried to walk downstairs on your own. Remember that?”
Shego paused and smiled warmly at Kim before going on.
“You’re just not used to not being in total control of the situation. This is a first for you.”
“What would you know about memory loss?” Kim glumly asked Shego.
“Well, Princess, I see it like this: One day, you’re hiking across this empty field, when all of a sudden, out of the sky comes this great big meteor. It happens to hit you squarely on the head and create a great rift in the landscape, pulling you down with it. For the next year or two, your family embarks on a rescue mission, but in the end, they will realize that their loved one has been greatly changed by the ordeal. She had to leave a lot of things back in that rift – things that are impossible to get back. She doesn’t know she was hit by a meteor – she might never know. She only knows that she’s spent a lot of time in a dark, lonely place.”
Kim looked up a Shego to see a solitary tear running down her face. Shego returned Kim’s gaze, and Kim could see pained love in her eyes.
“That was…pretty accurate, actually…” Kim whispered.
Shego nodded in understanding. “I thought so.”
“How…how did you know that?”
“Does it really matter?”
“Not really. I just thought it was very…” Kim paused, searching for the right word. “Beautiful.”
“Just like you.”
Kim blushed slightly. “Thank you.”
Still nestled in Shego’s arms, Kim took a deep breath and settled into the embrace. Shego continued to hold onto the young girl and let herself savor this rare moment of peace between them.
Closing her eyes, her mind drifted to the pre-accident days. The days were she and Kim would fight, trading blows with relative ease, leaving everyone else in the dust. The days where they always seemed engaged in a delicate, but intense, dance, where their lives hung in the balance…where one slip, one miscalculation could result in paying the ultimate price for failure. How Shego both longed for and dreaded to see those days renewed, for the encore to commence.
But for right now, there was serenity.
And Shego liked that.
“So, Shego.” Kim said, breaking the silence. “Truth or Dare?”
“I thought so.” Kim sighed heavily.
“What’s wrong?” Shego inquired.
“You always choose Dare.” Kim pouted.
“And what’s wrong with that?”
“I can’t ask you any Truth questions.”
“And I reiterate: What’s wrong with that?” Shego mused airily.
“Because I can’t learn anything about you. I think right now, the only thing I know about you is your name. Everything else – everything you’ve told me about me - I’m have to believe on faith.”
“Well, Princess…sometimes we have to go on a little faith, because sometimes, that’s all we have.”
“I guess so. But one day, sooner rather than later, can we sit down and have a serious discussion?”
“So…you’re not going to back out and choose Truth?” Kim asked hopefully.
“Not a chance. So. What will you have me do for this round Princess?”
“Errr…TWO backflips this time?”
Shego chuckled. “I think you are capable of thinking up more challenging and death-defying dares than THAT.”
From the look in Shego’s eyes, Kim could tell she was still falling short of requesting a truly outrageous dare.
“Okay, fine. I dare you to do ten backflips, followed by ten frontflips, do a split, and then do that cool fire-breathing stunt that’s always in action-adventure movies.”
“Why fire breathing?”
Kim shrugged. “I don’t know. I just had this fleeting vision of you and fire. It seemed to fit.”
Shego grinned sheepishly.
“Is there something you’re not telling me?”
But Shego only grinned like the cat who ate the canary.
The weather in the garden couldn’t have been more perfect. The temperature outside had plateau-ed at about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees, and although the sun’s rays shone strong on the pair, an occasional breeze provided much appreciated relief. Shego had decided that Kim was probably experiencing mild cabin fever, and getting her outside for a little while might break up the repetition of the day’s events. The idyllic setting; however, was a sharp contrast to the activities currently taking place.
“HA!” Kim shouted in triumph.
With one fluid sweeping motion, Kim successfully parried Shego’s half-lunge before setting up and quickly executing her riposte.
“Very good Princess.” Shego commented, while simultaneously taking a retreat from the armed redhead.
“This is fun. I can’t wait until I’m all healed – then I can actually bout with you on my own two feet.” Kim laughed.
Sitting on one of the kitchen stools Shego had dragged out of the house, Kim was currently holding a practice foil in her right hand – the one that remained uninjured. Shego had suggested that perhaps Kim resume some basic exercising to at least strengthen the muscles that were useable. Fencing had provided an excellent means of doing so, as Kim was still able to bout with her good arm and sit and elevate her broken leg at the same time.
“I can’t believe you’ve never fenced before. With your reflexes and all…”
Shego smiled, seeing the genuine joy shining in Kim’s eyes.
Kim shook her head. “I can’t remember. But if you say so. Nonetheless, when I regain use of all my limbs, I’m definitely picking this sport up ASAP.”
Shego laughed. “It’s exhilarating, no?”
Kim nodded. “Indeed.”
With a slight flick in her wrist, Shego advanced one step while making a feint to Kim’s left side before a disengage to the right. With a circle parry 6, Kim was able to successfully parry Shego’s attack.
“Good.” Shego said, approval lining her voice. “But you forgot to riposte. Remember: Parry, riposte. Parry, riposte. Always.”
“Then let’s try this again.”
A flash of movement, silver glinting in the afternoon sun, and the distinctive clang of swords coming into contact with each other sounded through the hazy air.
“Here you are.” Shego gave Kim yet another cup of herbal tea.
“Shego…please…no more tea.” Kim moaned while making a motion of rubbing her stomach as if full. “I’m tired of tea.”
Sighing, Kim took a sip, which resulted in a fit of coughing.
“What’s wrong?” Shego asked, her eyes focused on Kim. Kim wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and stuck out her tongue.
“This is awful-tasting. What weird herbs are in THIS concoction of yours?”
Shego shrugged. “Its just tea. Its what I’ve been giving you all along. But if you find it so bitter, I’ll go get you some honey.”
Kim watched as Shego disappeared into the kitchen, muttering something about having to deal with Kim on a sugar-rush. Inwardly, the amnesiac sighed and took the chance to study her drink. It was definitely more bitter tasting today than before. Bringing the cup to her nose, Kim noticed that it also smelled different. Not by too much – it was still herbal-smelling, like chamomile, but there was an extra unrecognizable scent to it.
Back in the kitchen, Shego retrieved the honey from the cabinet. She turned to head back to the living room, but paused. Reaching up into the top-most cabinet above the refrigerator, Shego pulled out two small orange vials that rattled from whatever was rolling around inside them. She turned them over in her free hand, double-checking the labels.
Shrugging, she carefully put them back, pushing them as far into the cabinet as they would go, almost as if she were trying to hide them from the casual observer. Stopping by the sink, she briefly turned on the water to rinse off two spoons that had been coated with white powder, the remnants of a crushed…something.
“Let’s see who loves us.” Ron exclaimed as he opened the mailbox. “Bills, bills, bills…hey, what’s this?”
A single white envelope actually addressed to him.
“Boo-yah! I got mail!”
Rufus responded by slapping Ron a high-five.
Tearing open the envelope, and paying no attention to the return address, Ron wrestled the single piece of paper free and began to read, his eyes going wide as he choked out portions of the letter aloud to Rufus, who was already reading over his shoulder.
“Ron Stoppable…Three days ago, Ms. Possible was rushed into the ER department suffering from severe and traumatic head injuries, several broken bones, and a collapsed lung…The exact situation of the accident is unknown… Her parents…already been notified of the current situation…being kept under close surveillance…not permitting any visitors…sincerest apologies…”
“Rufus…” Ron sighed, as the letter fluttered to the ground, unnoticed. “I can’t believe it…she…she’s gone? Just like that? Gone?”
Rufus hang his head and chirped out a word that sounded an awful lot like “Kim.”
Shaking his head, somewhat violently, Ron reached into his backpack and violently grabbed the spare Kimmunicator, scattering books and loose leaf paper in the process. A few seconds later, he had the right channel.
“Wade, I need to know something NOW.”
Wade looked surprised at the sudden outburst, but regained his composure.
“The last mission Kim went on, who was she going up against?”
Looking at Ron, Wade could see something was definitely wrong. There was raw unbridled anger looking back at him through Ron’s normally calm (if not dazed) eyes.
Typing furiously at his computer, Wade got took a look at his screen, but looked hesitant to continue.
“Well, I have her mission history here, but don’t you think you should – “
“NO! Tell me what you know NOW!” Ron interrupted.
Taken aback at Ron’s rare show of intense emotion, Wade took another glance at his computer.
“She was going to try and disassemble Drakken’s newest–“
“Drakken, got it.”
Ron clenched his fists together.
“Wade, get me a jet. A fast one. And tell me where I can find Drakken. Where there’s Drakken, there’s Shego.”
To be continued…