June 9, 2005
Kim’s feelings of confusion and foreboding were slowly growing, a knot of dread in her stomach becoming heavier with each passing second. She sat there and watched, unsure what to do or say, desperately wanting to know what was going on, but subconsciously sensing that she should remain silent.
They stood there, glowering at each other – the boy with blonde hair and Shego, her hands lit up with her signature green plasma fire – but not that Kim knew any of this.
As Kim continued to stare at the pair, her eyes were drawn to Shego’s strange green fire. Her mind flashed back to a conversation she had with Shego only yesterday…
“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?”
“I don’t know. I just had this fleeting vision of you and fire. It seemed to fit…Shego?”
“Is there something you’re not telling me?”
Instinctively, Kim’s hand flew to her mouth, her mind reeling. Shocked, she turned her attention back to the boy and Shego, hoping for further revelations.
“You’ll what? Kill me Shego? Isn’t that a little dark for you?” Ron mocked.
In response, perhaps even involuntarily, Shego’s flames seemed to glow brighter for a split-second, almost as if echoing her outrage at the comment.
“Don’t tempt me, boy.” Shego snarled. “You know I could take you out without even breaking a sweat.”
Ron smiled, but it was cold and emotionless. “Maybe you can. But I bet you can’t take all of us out.”
“All of us?” Shego smirked. “Do you mean your pathetic excuse for a pet?”
Crossing his hands across his chest, Ron shook his head, a defiant and smug expression plastered on his face.
“No. I meant, the whole police force I brought along with me of course.”
On cue, dozens of officers donned in riot gear seemed to emerge from every direction. SWAT vans with sirens screaming rushed into view, mounted police with shields rode onto the scene, all with various firearms aimed at the former villainess. Shego narrowed her eyes and took in the challenge, mentally breaking it down.
She smiled at the various law enforcement representatives. It was chilling.
“Come and get it.” She whispered, her voice husky.
At Ron’s nod, the police began advancing, slowly at first, but gradually picking up speed and finally running at her, guns drawn, at a full charge. They might have been yelling cliché phrases about surrendering and being outnumbered, but Shego was too busy roundhousing the two officers closest to her to really notice. Hearing footsteps over her left shoulder, Shego swirled around to land a punch under the officer’s jaw before delivering a front kick to his midsection. As he doubled over in pain and stumbled away, Shego spun around to the opposite direction to easily dodge what would have been a blow to the head before launching herself in a front-flip over a group of seven officers attempting to close in on her.
As Kim watched in a mixture of awe and ever-growing bewilderment, Shego continued to evade and negate any attacks directed at her. She moved liked a panther, her motions fluid and graceful, her actions calm, cool, and collected, almost as if she were merely rehearsing a ballet dance.
And then there was the fact that she apparently could literally shoot green fire from her fingertips…
Feeling the slight pressure of a hand on her shoulder, Kim turned around to find herself face to face with that blonde boy.
“What are you trying to do to my girlfriend, you bastard?” Kim practically hissed.
The boy’s face twisted, and a flurry of different emotions passed.
“What did she do to you, KP?” The boy said softly, looking Kim in the eye, his tone sympathetic.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about you jerk.” Kim spat. “I just want to know why you sent the cops after Shego!”
“KP, listen to yourself! You’re defending Shego! Do you even know who she is!”
“Of course – she’s my girlfr-“
Before Kim could finish her sentence, Ron had clamped his hand over Kim’s mouth, effectively shutting her up.
“No, she’s NOT!” Ron hissed.
Stealing a quick glance at the scene unfolding in front of them, Ron decided it was time to leave. Although she hadn’t actually used her plasma fire on any of the officers (yet), Ron could see that the majority of them would probably be taking a few doses of painkillers as well as investing in some ice packs. Signaling for some help, Ron summoned two free officers over to where he was crouched next to Kim before looking back in Shego’s direction. His eyes narrowed as some part of his brain took mental notice that Shego had only knocked out the charging officers rather than outright killing them.
“Okay KP, its time to get you out of here whether you want to or not. Trust me, it’ll be for your own good.”
Flinging the nearest man with a stun gun out of her way as if he weighed little more than a few pounds, Shego was able to catch a quick glimpse of the situation occurring behind her – That pesky sidekick was talking to Kim. Alone.
All thoughts of law enforcement and global justice organizations forgotten, Shego desperately launched herself at the former Team Possible duo – all the while watching helplessly as Kim was being taken away from her.
As the police took care in picking up the teen superheroine and escorting her off the property, two balls of flaming green plasma seemed to fly out of nowhere and squarely hit the two extra officers in their chests. As the men toppled over, obviously dead, Kim felt herself beginning to slip from their grasp. Involuntarily, she squeezed her eyes shut and tensed her muscles, waiting for the impact with the unyielding ground.
It never came.
When Kim opened her eyes, she found that she was back in the grasp of a certain pale green-skinned raven-haired woman.
“Kimmie…” Shego started, her voice loving and her eyes soft as she held onto the girl. “You don’t have to go with these people. Stay with me?”
Kim looked into Shego’s eyes and saw emotions flickering there that she had never witnessed before from the woman: vulnerability, fear, and sorrow. She didn’t have time; however, to ponder on this observation as Shego was continuing.
“Please?” Shego whispered in her ear, her voice barely audible. There was desperation, a silent plea in that one word.
“Shego, I –“
“No way Shego. Not this time.” Kim was interrupted by the boy again.
“Look, you idiot.” Shego snarled. “Kimmie’s mine. So if you entertain any wishes of living past the next five minutes, you’ll take all your cop friends, and leave.”
“Dude, that is beyond sick and wrong. Its wrong and sick.”
The naked mole rat nodded vigorously in agreement.
A sharp shooting flash of pain surging through her skull made Kim wince.
“My dad’s allergic to animal hair…so I bought a naked mole rat…”Her thoughts whispered, Ron’s voice echoing in her head.
“Well, I didn’t see YOU caring for her after her accident.” Shego accused.
“Yeah? Well, you’ve been brainwashing her! How is THAT caring for her? And I’ll bet anything that you caused her fall!”
The split-second mental video of Kim falling through empty air, frantically clawing at nothingness, her face stricken in terror flashed through Shego’s mind. A pang of guilt tore its way through her soul.
“How DARE you accuse me of brainwashing her!”
“Because you ARE!”
“You’re pathetic – just looking for any excuse to badmouth me.” Shego snorted.
“And you’re trying to warp KP’s mind, making her out to be a villain or something. Making her like YOU!”
“Its better than what you would have done to her. Tell me, you buffoon, what would you have done differently? It’s not like YOU wouldn’t have twisted some truths.”
Ron’s mouth dropped open before his face contorted in unrestrained rage.
“I wouldn’t have lied to her! What would I have to lie about? We’re best friends! How dare you even THINK for ONE SECOND that I would EVER lie to KP.”
“Uh huh.” Shego rolled her eyes. “Suuure, you wouldn’t.”
“I care about her too much to lie to her. Obviously, you don’t.” Ron shouted.
Shego blinked, but didn’t immediately offer a retort. Instead, her face twisted into a predatory grin, an expression of triumph. Her eyes sparkled with malicious intent and she left a soft chuckle escape her throat.
“Oh, Ron, Ron, Ron…” Shego started, her voice saccharine-sweet. Her eyelids drooped for a split second, almost as if she were enjoying some kind of private joke. She gently deposited Kim on the ground, ruffling her fingers through her hair before rising again to face the sidekick.
As Ron continued to glare at Shego with Rufus still perched on his left shoulder, Shego was continuing her pseudo-monologue. Despite having now been surrounded by several dozen police officers that were still relatively functional, Shego appeared to be unfazed. She practically radiated an aura of control. Walking over to Ron, Shego teasingly trailed a gloved finger down his chin, looking him in the eye before returning her feline gaze to Kim.
“You didn’t tell her, did you?” Shego asked the boy, making sure that Kim could hear the conversation.
“Tell her what? That you’re a psychotic bitch who’s brainwashing her?”
“No no no, silly boy.” Shego laughed coldly. She paused a moment, almost as if for dramatic effect, locking her eyes with Kim’s. As Kim looked over at the boy and Shego, she could have sworn that she was seeing genuine fear in the boy’s eyes.
“You didn’t tell her that the reason she’s like this is because of YOU.”
As Ron’s face paled even more, Shego’s grin expanded, almost as if to say:
She let her gaze wander back to a certain redhead behind her. With her good leg brought up to her chest, Kim looked positively puzzled. She looked at Shego, her eyes pleading. She opened her mouth, but nothing audible came out. She turned her attention back to the boy, studying him. There was truth here. It might be buried underneath several layers, but it was there. Kim was determined to find out.
“You dirty liar.” Ron got out, scowling at Shego.
“No, you are.” Shego answered him, just has coldly.
“How dare you even think that-“
“Uh uh uh!” Shego silenced the boy, pressing her gloved hand over his mouth, effectively mufflilng his cries. “I can dare whatever I want boy, because deep down, you know the truth. You know that you’re the cause of Kim’s accident; she’s like this because of you. You can fool yourself all you want, and wrap the truth up in as many pretty ribbons as you want, but at the core of it all, you know that you’re to blame.”
Ron’s expression only became more irate, his frown more pronounced. But Shego was continuing.
“And the only reason you’re so angry right now is because you know I’m right.”
And at that sentence, with amazing lightning-quick reflexes, Ron raised his hand to hit Shego upside her arrogant head.
But Shego was faster.
Or…at least she thought she was.
Ron’s attack came with a surprising swiftness and potent force. In the blink of an eye, his fist had made solid contact with Shego’s face, and she stumbled back, stunned and surprised, gaping at the seething boy slowly advancing on her. Feeling a metallic taste in her mouth, Shego raised a gloved hand to wipe the blood of her lip and face. She looked at the still-warm red fluid in wonder, almost as if she couldn’t quite comprehend that Kim’s sidekick had landed a successful hit on her.
Observing from the sidelines, Kim flinched at the sight of the bloody combat quickly developing in front of her. She knew she should and could stop it, but before she could get a word out, the two opponents had already entangled themselves in a nasty-looking brawl. Shego grinned as she successfully dodged a left punch from Ron, but Ron had reflexively compensated with a roundhouse kick to her midsection, effectively knocking the wind out of her. She grasped her chest, desperately attempting to refuel her body with oxygen. As Ron took a step towards her, his arm tensing to deliver a second blow to the air-deprived woman, Shego lunged forward and stomped on his foot.
It was low, it was cheating, but it did the job.
Grabbing and twisting his raised arm in her left hand, Shego ignited her right hand, threatening the other officers to stand back. Ron’s yelps of surprise and pain were the only sounds echoing through the afternoon air while Rufus had taken shelter inside Ron’s pocket. Clenching her jaw, Shego was surprised to find that keeping a firm hold on the boy was harder than she originally thought. She could feel his muscles flex as he tried to wrestle out of her grasp.
“As I said before…if you value your life, you’ll leave Kimmie and me alone.” Shego gasped between breaths.
“I can’t let you do that Shego.” Ron argued, exhibiting a surprising amount of bravery despite being held in a vice-like grip of a very enraged Shego.
“I don’t want to kill you…Ron.” Shego hissed at him, letting her grip on his arm lighten just a bit.
Ron’s face twisted in a mixture of astonishment as he seemed to realize that she had finally addressed him by his real name. Not “sidekick.” Not “buffoon.” But Ron. He looked at her, an understanding finally beginning to dawn on him. He opened his mouth to speak, but quickly shut it again. Grimly staring at the boy still in her grasp, Shego remained silent.
The police officers fidgeted nervously, but continued to hold back.
The tension was quickly becoming unbearable.
“Shego?” Kim’s soft voice rose up through the silence, demanding attention from all those present.
Shego forced herself to look at Kim. Her mind was still reeling from the sudden and un-expected attack, and the impact of what was really happening was finally sinking in.
Why did you have to ruin it!
Kim was looking at Shego, her expression unreadable. Shego took a deep breath as she continued to face Kim. Her mind needed to be clear, she needed to be able to think – a simple task that was becoming ever more difficult with each passing second.
Kim quickly shot a glance at Ron before returning her gaze to meet Shego’s dark eyes.
“Is what he’s saying…true?”
“You bet it is. I – ACK!” Ron’s answer was cut short when Shego slightly tightened her grip on his throat, effectively lessening his oxygen supply.
In response, with a strength borne of a longtime-standing simmering anger, Ron wrenched free of Shego’s hold and grabbed her arm, twisting and pulling it – anything that would make her let go of his throat.
“Shego! Ron!” Kim admonished sharply, looking back and forth between the both of them. “Let him go. And you. You let her go.” After a moment’s pause, and in a considerably softer tone of voice, Kim added “Please?”
Nodding at Kim, Shego let Ron drop to the ground with a muffled thud. Quickly scraping the dirt and grass off his pants and making sure Rufus was still doing alright in his pocket, Ron wasted little time in scampering away from Shego and taking refuge behind the nearest armed guard.
“That’s right, KP, you tell her!” He cheered, a smile once again gracing his face.
“I didn’t do it for YOU.” Kim shot back.
“Oh. Uhh, okay.” Ron stammered, confused as to Kim’s misplaced anger. “Then…ahhh, who did you do it for?”
“I did it to find out what the hell’s going on.” Kim growled, staring down both Ron and Shego. “There’s something strange here; I can feel it. And I’m going to get to the bottom of it.”
Swiveling her head to fully examine the scene in front of her, Kim let out a deep and heavy sigh.
“What a mess both of you have created.” She observed.
“Well, what are you gonna do?” Ron inquired, still enjoying the safety that stemmed from standing behind several officers.
“I’m going to go with you.” Kim answered, gesturing toward Ron and Rufus.
Hearing a sharp intake of breath from behind her, Kim turned around to face Shego. Her mouth was slightly open, and her eyes were reflecting a flurry of emotions. She silently gave a slight headshake in Kim’s general direction, almost as if asking her not to leave, her expression asking the question she wouldn’t dare voice.
Please don’t go.
Kim softened her gaze and gave a small smile, trying to wordlessly assure Shego that everything would work itself out. She mouthed the words “Its going to be alright,” but Shego didn’t appear to be convinced. She had long since extinguished her plasma flames, but some semblance of annoyance still lurked behind her eyes as she moved her gaze to Ron and company.
As Kim slowly stood up and hobbled over to Ron, Shego involuntarily took one step forward, her advance halted by the sounds of the numerous clicks of various wielded firearms aimed directly at her.
There was desperation in her voice, a feeling of hopelessness and despair.
You can’t leave me like this! I finally found you!
“I’ll be fine, Shego. Don’t worry about me.” Kim smiled over at Shego.
“Yeah. She’ll be fine.” Ron nodded. “Now that she’s finally in the hands of people who actually love her.” He added, a twinge of venom lacing his voice.
“Shut up!” Shego yelled at the boy, her hands spontaneously bursting into flame again. Her being radiated stress and spoke of an urgent desire to pounce on Kim’s sidekick with claws and fangs extended.
“Both of you – STOP!” Kim roared. Both Ron and Shego stared at her in amazement, both of them realizing that this was the first time she had raised her voice since the accident. Her eyes alight with some emotion akin to fury, she was resuming her diatribe.
“Both of you are telling me contradictory things – I can’t make sense of anything you’ve said. Someone’s lying. It could be one of you, or, for all I know, both of you. But I’m going to find out what’s been going on here.”
“Whether you like it or not.” Kim added with a frown.
“So…you’re coming with me?” Ron asked.
Kim nodded, pretending not to notice Shego’s aura of murderous rage directed at the boy.
“Shego…” Kim started, commanding the attention of the older woman. “Please come here?”
“Please? I want to tell you something.” Kim inquired again, utilizing her puppy-dog expression.
Succumbing to Kim’s display of cuteness, Shego sighed heavily and walked over to Kim, placing her hand on the redhead’s shoulder. She shot a daggered-look at Ron.
“Ron…a minute, please?” Kim requested.
Frowning, Ron took a few steps backwards from the pair, but not quite enough to give Kim and Shego adequate privacy.
“Ron!” Kim reprimanded, narrowing her green eyes.
“Right right. Sorry KP.” Ron yielded, taking an additional several steps backwards.
“Kimmie…” Shego practically sighed, taking the time to run two gloved fingers down Kim’s cheek before tracing them over her upper lip. Kim involuntarily closed her eyes, letting herself experience and enjoy the sensation that had become all too familiar during the past few days.
“Shego.” Kim whispered, raising her hand to grasp Shego’s.
“Stay with me?” Shego’s husky voice was soft and insistent, and Kim felt herself begin to melt.
Seeing the younger girl’s reaction, Shego smiled to herself.
Without a second thought, Shego began stroking Kim’s neck and shoulders, massaging the tender muscles there. She felt Kim’s heart flutter and her pulse speed up a few notches.
“Shego…I can’t…” Kim slowly exhaled, shaking her head no.
“Of course you can.”
Kim shook her head.
“I need to do this. I need to figure out who I am. For me. For you. For both of us. Don’t you understand?” Kim was speaking barely above a whisper, and Shego found herself leaning in close to hear what Kim was saying. She nodded glumly, knowing there was truth in Kim’s words.
If you truly love her, you’ll let her go.
“Come with me?”
This time, it was Kim who made the demand.
“We’ll figure this out together. And we’ll talk with my parents. We’ll make them understand that we love each other.” Kim was persisting.
There was regret and bitterness in Shego’s reply, but her gaze was fixed downward, and Kim couldn’t see into her eyes.
“Why not?” Kim pressed, attempting to tilt Shego’s head up.
Meeting Kim’s peaceful inquiring expression and seeing a certain innocence reflecting in her emerald green eyes, Shego broke down, her defenses completely shattered by the one human on the planet with the ability to do just that.
“Princess…there are some things that I…uh…haven’t been completely truthful about with you.” Shego admitted, a sheepish expression creeping onto her face.
“What?” Kim asked, her voice quiet, and a knot beginning to form in her stomach. She took a careful and hesitant step away from the raven-haired woman.
And Shego could see it.
There was hurt and pain and betrayal in Kim’s eyes. A slow-burning anger was in the process of being ignited. By her.
Shego cursed herself.
Damn it Kimmie. Only YOU can do this to me! Only YOU can reduce me to this…this…stupid, pathetic, stammering…
…caring and loving…
“Stop it. Please.”
“Kim, I need to explain-“
“No! I don’t want to hear it!”
“Kim, there’s something you need to know!”
“No, no, no!” Kim shrieked, her voice shrill and panicked, as she held a hand to her forehead.
Her face and dark eyes showing concern, Shego continued to try and communicate with the frenzied girl.
“Shego. I didn’t know you cared.” Ron commented icily, his voice dripping with disgust and undisguised sarcasm before he turned his attention to Kim, worried about her sudden behavior change.
“KP? What’s wrong?”
Ron came running over, but Kim shrugged him off as she continued to stagger, almost as if drugged, back and forth.
There were voices coming through the haze, there were people trying to talk to her. But it was all far away and distant, and really didn’t seem all that important. Kim’s head was spinning, the world was rapidly blurring, and reality was hitting hard, knocking away all her comfortable illusions. One line was relentlessly repeating itself in her mind.
I didn’t know you cared…I didn’t know you cared…I didn’t know you cared…
She didn’t notice when consciousness abandoned her.
She didn’t notice when Ron darted forward to catch her limp body as she slumped forward.
She didn’t notice when on Ron’s cue, the police systematically closed in on a stunned and shocked Shego.
The darkness was just too inviting to fight.
She gave in.
It was the logical thing to do.
“You know what I really hate?”
A pale green-skinned woman with ebony hair and green eyes that matched her own was standing perched on a ledge of some sort, somehow managing to appear bored and angry simultaneously. She was glaring at Kim, and Kim gave an internal shudder.
“When somebody kidnaps your boyfriend?”
Who’s talking? It sounds a lot like…
“When somebody doesn’t know when to GIVE UP!”
Green fireballs were headed straight at her and with a practiced ease, Kim watched herself dodge and evade the plasma bolts as if it were merely an exercise. The ill-aimed blasts hit the surrounding walls, and chunks of the building began falling around her.
The Kim of the internal movie screen didn’t seem to mind, nor be fazed by the intense fight going on around her, but the Kim of the audience was stunned and shocked.
This is me. That’s me. I’m her. I’m fighting…Shego.
Shego is the one throwing the green plasma fire, Shego is the one who is trying to…
She’s trying to kill me? Why?
Ron’s earlier statement was echoing through her head.
“Well, you’ve been brainwashing her! How is THAT caring for her?”
Kim’s betrayal was growing, eating at her from the inside out, hollowing her out, leaving her empty…
Scattered and half-coherent visions and sounds were bombarding her mind.
Shego, flipping over her before jumping on a rope ladder suspended from a helicopter.
“Next time, Princess!”
Shego, with white streaks in her hair, an insane grin on her face.
“I KNEW my past would come back to haunt me…”
Shego, am amused and arrogant, almost lazy expression.
“Try to focus here Kimmie.”
But before Kim could unscramble the images and gloats, the internal movie was continuing to play.
Kim winced as she witnessed herself throw Shego against the wall before Shego fell back to the ground, obviously knocked unconscious. A male voice, but not Ron’s, sounded behind her. She turned around to see a boy with dark brown hair and a tuxedo descending on the escalator, his arms held open for her. Her…boyfriend?
“Wow. I didn’t know you cared that much.”
“Eric, you’re okay!”
“Actually…here, I’m known as Syntho-Drone Number 901.”
Alarm bells were ringing in her already befuddled head, but the feeling was familiar – too familiar, too real, and too recent, etched and burned into her brain and soul with amazing clarity and conciseness. The bitterness of it all was still fresh in her mind.
Oh, she knew that sensation.
Consciousness was a thin string slipping between her fingers.
Shego’s laughter was surrounding her. It was triumphant. It was cold.
Kim fell away, the distant sound of Shego’s ridicule echoing through her fevered mind.
Kim woke up, an anguished scream easily tearing itself from her throat.
“YOU LIED TO ME!”
The floodgates were open, and the tears came easily.
To be continued…