June 10, 2005
Each inhalation was like trying to breathe fire and ash; her diaphragm didn’t want to function, and her lungs felt like they were filling with some kind of fluid. An involuntary cough brought a wave of hot metallic liquid to her mouth. Even in the scant moonlight afforded to her, she could see it was deep red.
And oh god, it HURT!
That deep and slightly seductive voice…it was her. Shego. The liar, the betrayer – that bitch!
And for all her wrongdoings, the multitude of her crimes, she looked good. Her incredibly soft hair brushed against Kim’s bruised cheek, and Kim felt her eyes close as she let herself enjoy this one pleasant sensation, so starkly contrasting with the sharp pains shooting through her side. She knew she should say something, but speech just seemed so difficult for some reason. Well aware of (and somewhat embarrassed by) her obvious pathetic state, Kim looked up at her archrival, hoping to at least salvage some modicum of respect.
Of course, Shego was beautiful, her hand on her hip, her eyes dark, and her expression unreadable.
She smirked, and Kim found herself staring at Shego’s lips – the way they curved so perfectly, the way the upper joined the lower…
Great Kim, just perfect. You’re dying, and the only thing you’re noticing is how gorgeous your enemy is.
Perhaps it was due to oxygen deprivation – yeah, that’s what it was. She wasn’t thinking right, it was the only explanation.
With a suppressed chuckle, and that infuriating smirk still plastered on her face, Shego dropped to one knee to have a better look at the battered teenager.
She’s gonna kill me! Gotta run!
Her body remained motionless. Gritting her teeth, Kim tried again.
Still, no movement.
Damn it! MOVE! NOW!
She felt a wave of muscle twitches in her left leg.
Real helpful Kim…She scolded herself.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk Kimmie. What dreadful situation have you gotten yourself into this time? And where is your sidekick, that idiotic Ron Stoppable?”
The dripping sarcasm in Shego’s voice was unmistakable, and Kim wanted nothing more at that moment than to reach out and smack that smug grin right off her pale green face. How DARE she insult her partner, not to mention her best friend!
“Ron…Ron’s not…he’s not an idiot…” She choked out, ignoring her lungs’ protests as she defended her friend.
She inhaled sharply and involuntarily as she felt Shego crouch down beside her. Before she could argue, the older woman had taken her head in her hands and was gently stroking her hair as if she were consoling an injured child.
Gently…Shego was being so gentle. But Shego was never gentle. Shego was a thief, and a liar, and a -
“Such a shame Princess. I was rather looking forward to finishing you off myself. But, I guess this will have to do.”
NO! I will NOT go down like this!Kim thought frantically, as she shook her head no. Several more involuntary coughs escaped her throat, and Kim felt that metallic taste flood her mouth again.
And that damn woman laughed at her.
“You can’t even talk, can you?” Shego’s mocking voice taunted. “Well, here you don’t have to.”
Kim was trying to comprehend what the thief was saying, but everything seemed muted and her vision was blurry, like one of those paintings done by an impressionist; the basic premise was there, but when she tried too hard to concentrate on the details, her mind began to hurt. She felt like she was floating…but Shego was still talking, and Kim forced herself to concentrate on Shego’s voice.
“You just have to listen.”
The pain, thank goodness wasn’t as insistent as before, and Kim felt her eyes close as body started to relax. In fact, Shego’s voice wasn’t as insistent as before – she was still talking, but her voice was far away and growing fainter with each passing second.
“When I bring your dead body back with me, I will be feared and respected.”
“I will be the one who killed the legendary Kim Possible.”
Fighting was useless, and darkness overtook her.
A pair of intense green eyes blinked as Kim awoke and found herself staring at the ceiling. The rain was still softly falling outside, making gentle pitter-patter sounds as it beat against the windows. Kim blinked again, breathing deep to calm her jangled nerves. A cursory glance around her room told her she was alone, that she was safe. Her windows were closed, her bedroom door was shut, and her Pandaroo was still nestled next to her pillow.
“Stupid dream.” She mumbled under her breath before running a hand through her hair and pulling her comforter closer to her body. She yawned and closed her eyes, trying to block out that one damned sentence from her consciousness.
“I will be the one who killed the legendary Kim Possible.”
The rubble shifted slightly underneath her boots, causing a mini cloud of dust to swirl about, and Shego altered her position, readjusting her weight so that it mostly rested on her left foot. Had circumstances been different, Shego might have found herself taking a spare moment to enjoy the landscape and appreciate the lovely pastel colors that the sunset was painting the sky.
But today was different. Today was special.
Today was the day she killed Kim Possible.
You didn’t kill her. She misjudged distance and made a poor decision. Not your fault. Shego reminded herself.You fought her, and for the first time in your career, you won!
Then why did she feel so bad? Why did she feel a hollow pit in her stomach, one that was growing larger with each passing second of uncertainty about Kim’s whereabouts and health? The heroine had fallen quite a respectable distance into the ravine below, and despite her excellent physical training and conditioning, that was one serious tumble for anyone to endure.
Where is she? Shego reiterated to herself for what seemed like the thousandth time that late afternoon.
Dark forest green eyes quickly scanned the landscape searching for a familiar auburn red color…
Fuck it, where IS she?
She started running, the muffled thudding of her frantic footsteps echoing through the deserted canyon, her eyes still scanning the ground for a certain redheaded cheerleader. The olive green cargo pants should give the girl’s position away…or the utility belt. Maybe the last rays of the sun might catch on the metal buckles, and reflect the light towards Shego. And if all that failed, Kim did have a rather unique hair color. Pausing to catch her breath, Shego contemplated what to do. She wanted to call out, but knew that Kim wouldn’t answer – yelling would be useless.
Where the fuck are you, Kim?
The image was still replaying itself in her mind, stinging like a fresh wound. Kim’s confident smile, her brilliant eyes sparkling with the anticipation of a challenge, almost as if she were saying, “Ha. I win.” And Shego remembered how she had grinned back, accepting that challenge, a sly gleam in her dark eyes because she knew she would finally beat Kim this time.
But if she knew what winning would entail, she would have gladly taken it all back. It seemed to happen so fast, but so slow at the same time. It was paradoxical; it was ludicrous. Was she so intent on winning that she wasn’t paying attention to what was really happening? Didn’t she see how high she had pushed the hovercraft; didn’t she realize how hard she would be effectively pushing Kim to jump that high? Didn’t she remember that Kim had stitches, stitches caused by HER plasma fire? Was she THAT determined to win?
Why do you have to so brave all the time, you idiot? Shego thought to herself.You ARE allowed to call it a draw, you stubborn girl!
Shego shivered as she felt a gust of cool air blow past her. Securing the dark brown canvas bag over her shoulder, she leaped off the nearest rocky outcrop and landed gracefully on a large boulder below. A flash of motion caught her eye, and without wasting another second, Shego flipped ten feet forward to land close to a prone figure with fiery red hair.
Her breath caught in her throat, and her heart feeling as if it were going to explode, Shego cautiously made her way towards the still girl lying at the bottom of the canyon, almost as if she were terrified of what she might find once she got there. Kim lying there in a pool of her own blood? A shattered skull? A broken neck? A severed trachea? A collapsed lung?
It still didn’t make any sense, what had happened.
Oh my god…please be alright, please be alright…
But at the sight of Kim’s motionless body, with one of her legs twisted under her at an unnatural angle, a deeper part of Shego’s psyche knew better.
This is my fault, isn’t it? Oh, no, I didn’t mean it, please Kim, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it! I –
Shego was snapped out of her thoughts when a series of jerks and hitched coughs caught her attention. Shego blinked reflexively, more in surprise than anything else.
She’s alive? Still?
The sound of shallow and labored breathing caught and held her attention, almost as if answering her unspoken question.
Time is precious. Move!
But Shego continued to stand there, still caught in the absurdity of the situation, her mind still trying to sift through the chaos to uncover the truth. Was it Kim’s fault? Ron’s? Wade’s? Or was it a collective unintentional effort?
Do something! NOW!
She took a hesitant step towards the unconscious teenager, half expecting the ground to split under her and leather-winged demons to come flying out of the gaping hole to drag her down to the deepest darkest recesses of hell.
Nothing happened, of course. She took another step, this time with a bit more certainty and confidence. And another. And another.
Opening her mouth slightly, Shego took a deep breath to steady her tense nerves as she continued to study the prone teenager. Her eyes fluttered shut for the briefest of moments as she tried to regain control of her racing heart. But what should she say? Or maybe she sholdn’t speak at all? Her throat felt painfully dry. But she needed to do something, anything. Bracing one of her gloved hands on her hip for balance, Shego leaned over Kim, inspecting her, watching her…loving her…
Was that so bad? Her mind mocked her.
A sudden, yet soft, breeze wound its way through the valley, dislodging a few strands of Shego’s raven hair and effectively pushing them to brush against Kim’s cheek. Shego stared as Kim began to stir with a bit more effort, her breathing still obviously posing a significant problem for her.
Was that a…a sigh?
Before she could ponder further on that thought, Kim opened her eyes, squinting almost immediately as if she were looking at an extraordinarily bright light. But her surprise didn’t last long, and Shego felt a flash of pride as Kim attempted to give her most imposing glare. Unfortunately, Kim’s intended glower fell expectedly short of being actually fierce, and Shego felt her mouth curl into an unintentional smirk, almost as if her facial muscles were acting on autopilot in response to the cocky teenager.
But as soon as she realized her arrogant disdainful half smile was apparent, she wished she could have taken it back…
She would have taken the entire DAY back if she could…taken the latter part of her life back if she could. If she had joined Team Possible instead of signing with Drakken, she would be working with Kim – constantly! How different her life might be if she were one of the “good guys.”
A fleeting mental image of herself fighting alongside Kim, the two of the battling Drakken played itself in her mind, and Shego tried to suppress a chuckle as she saw the surprised look on Drakken’s face when she and Kim burst through the doors…
Don’t laugh! Help her!
Pushing the fantasy out of her mind, Shego bent down to level herself with Kim more. From Kim’s clenched jaw and fists, Shego could discern that Kim was trying to spur her body into movement – with little success.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk Kimmie. What dreadful situation have you gotten yourself into this time? And where is your sidekick, that idiotic Ron Stoppable?”
Shego grimaced, even as she heard herself speaking in such a condescending tone. It wasn’t that she meant to laugh at Kim, but it had just seemed so routine, their constant bantering and mockery of each other.
And where WAS Ron?
Shego felt a momentary flash of anger at the young boy. If he were here…
You wouldn’t have to be, right? Her mind jeered at her.
“Ron…Ron’s not…he’s not an idiot…” Kim gasped, hesitantly and haltingly…painfully.
Shego felt her heart constrict painfully as any pretense of arrogance and disdain quickly evaporated from her soul. Even in this weakened state…Kim still defended her friends. The girl was strong – much stronger than Shego ever imagined.
She bent down, taking Kim’s head into her hands with the utmost care. Unable to restrain herself, she began to softly stroke Kim’s matted hair, still beautiful despite the crimson liquid that coated it. A portion of her brain was screeching at her to stop, as moving Kim might ensure further injury to her already damaged body…but another more insistent part was pleading with Shego, urging her to comfort her archnemesis and hold her and tell her she was safe and everything was going to be alright…
But Shego had a façade she was expected to maintain…after all, she had kept it up for so many months, a few more minutes wouldn’t hurt, right?
“Such a shame Princess. I was rather looking forward to finishing you off myself. But, I guess this will have to do.”
She heard her own cold words leave her mouth and felt a sudden stinging in her eyes as tears formed and threatened to spill.
But her inner actress continued with her morbid speech.
“You can’t even talk, can you?” Her voice taunted. “Well, here you don’t have to. You just have to listen. When I bring your dead body back with me, I will be feared and respected. I will be the one who killed the legendary Kim Possible. Just imagine Kimmie. Kimmie?”
A forced and rasping inhalation from the young girl still nestled in her arms drew Shego’s attention away from her monologue and back to her supposed arch-enemy. She frowned. Were they still enemies? Yes? Yes and no. They were supposed to be enemies, but right now, Kim was motionless and silent…and defeated. But it wasn’t supposed to be like this! It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.
You weren’t supposed to fall in love with her. Shego’s inner mind added softly, and for once, there was no trace of the usual sardonic undertones. Without thinking, she reached out a few gloved fingers to push a stray stand of hair out of Kim’s face. When Kim still didn’t stir, Shego knew that cheerleader was unconscious. And what she said now wouldn’t matter – no one would hear it.
“I wish it didn’t have to end like this Kimmie. I’ve never had to fight anyone quite like you, you know. You were superior, you were a worthy opponent…you were special.”
Stealing a quick glance at Kim’s left side, Shego cringed as she gingerly touched the scar there. A scar that was her doing; a scar that was the cause of this whole debacle…it was a visual slap in the face, a reminder of whose fault Kim’s death would be.
The reality of the situation was beginning to hit Shego with full force, and a slow burning rage was beginning to ignite in her soul. Kim was dying. And it was at that point that Shego knew she was going to have to do something drastic. She had brought a backpack full of medical supplies, and she also knew how to properly utilize all of them. She could try to save Kim’s life. Or, she could walk away and leave fate to decide whether Kim lived or died.
Shego blinked, and found her 17-year old self in Go City.
She was sitting in literature class, and the blonde boy behind her kept poking her in the back with the eraser of his #2 pencil. It wasn’t so much painful as annoying, and if it hadn’t been that they were trying to take an exam, she would have turned around and punched him in the jaw…but no. She needed to finish analyzing the poem in front of her. It was by someone called Robert Frost…
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
She blinked again, and reality snapped back into focus.
Her jaw set in her determination, Shego began to pull various medicines and painkillers and syringes out of her canvas bag and made her decision.
She was going to save Kim Possible’s life.
For starters, she would need a sedative (just in case), definitely some drugs to dull the pain, and antibiotics to fight any opportunistic bacteria that could begin an infection in all her open wounds.
Quick and economical in her motions, Shego drew a mild sedative in her 5 CC syringe and, after double checking the volume, injected it right into Kim’s thigh. As Shego continued to rummage through her bag to gather several rolls of medical tape and bandages, she heard a soft sigh.
Shego looked down, but Kim was still motionless. Her eyes narrowed in suspicion, Shego went back to her work, rummaging through her bag for more rolls of white medical tape, bandages, and that blue non-sting antiseptic solution. She took a spare moment to steal another glance at her redhead.
But something was wrong.
The air was too quiet, and Kim was too still.
Reaching out her index and middle fingers to take a pulse on Kim, Shego felt her eyes widen in fear and disbelief when she couldn’t locate one, not even a weak flutter. Kim’s chest was still, and Shego realized that the girl had stopped breathing as well.
Swinging her leg so that she was straddling Kim, Shego reached out with one hand to pinch Kim’s nose closed, and used her other hand to stabilize Kim’s head, grasping Kim’s chin. Shego bent down, and ignoring the hair falling in her eyes, she took a deep inhalation before clamping her mouth on top of Kim’s and exhaling, eying Kim’s chest to watch for the expansion. Satisfied she had blown some air into Kim’s lungs, Shego moved her hands so that they were positioned on Kim’s sternum, and pressed down 15 times, compressing the heart and forcing oxygenated blood through Kim’s body. She then repeated the breathing portion of CPR, and then resumed the cardiac stimulation, hoping that Kim’s system would revive on its own.
Several minutes passed, and the grim situation still hadn’t changed.
Dumping the contents of her bag out onto the dusty ground, Shego scanned her eyes for the crash drugs. She quickly drew up epinephrine into one of the syringes, and jabbed the needle into Kim’s thigh, silently apologizing for having to stick Kim a second time.
Grabbing Kim’s hand in her own, Shego squeezed, hoping and praying that the drug would begin working soon.
A halted and raspy breath caught Shego’s attention, and she looked down to see Kim’s leg give a small jerk. Shego smiled in relief, and let her shoulders slump down, now finally aware that she had bunched them up in the first place.
Kim lifted her head and blinked, apparently unaware that Shego was poised above her.
“Kim?” Shego asked hesitantly.
But Kim only blinked again, her eyes uncharacteristically lifeless and dull. Shego quickly jumped up and off of Kim, standing up and offering a hand for support if Kim wanted to try and pull herself up.
But Kim just stared, emotionless.
“Kim?” Shego attempted again, slowly withdrawing her hand, her eyes showing her confusion.
Silently, Kim stood up, her movements mechanical and jerky. As she stood up, Shego could see that her wounds were still bleed profusely, and the deep crimson liquid was running down Kim’s body in spurts. Her leg was at an unnatural angle, but Kim still was trying to bear weight on it. As Kim took a step forward, Shego heard a series of loud and sickening cracks as the bones in Kim’s leg shattered under the unwanted pressure. Shego quickly moved towards the injured girl, pausing when Kim held up a hand in protest.
“Kim? What’s wrong? You need help Princess. You’re still bleeding, and you have to sit down!”
Finally catching Shego’s eye, Kim smiled. But her smile was off, somehow. It was just as emotionless as her eyes.
“Shego.” Kim whispered, and Shego strained to hear.
“You’ve killed me, Shego.”
“No. You’re still here! You’re talking to me right now. You’re not dead!” Shego protested, bewilderment lacing her voice.
But Kim shook her head. “I might as well be. You took away that which makes me how I am, Shego. You stole my mind.”
“But…but I’ve been trying to fix that!”
“Failed, haven’t you? Failed like always whenever it comes to actually being kind to someone, to do something for someone other than yourself. I DIED on the plateau because I lost myself. I lost who I am, and you just let me! Now, you’re going along with a plot to kill me because I don’t know how to defend myself anymore. You’re going to KILL ME TWICE, and it’s going to be all your fault!”
And with a burst of unnatural motion, Kim lunged at Shego, grabbed her by the throat and squeezed tight, twisting her hands with a force borne of pure hatred. A nauseating crack reverberated through the eerily calm air.
With a distressed cry escaping her lips, Shego threw her dark green comforter off the bed as she was abruptly jolted awake. Her eyes wild, she surveyed her room, but found nothing out of the ordinary – the world was quiet and asleep.
The fluorescent green of her bedside clock told her it was 4: 27 AM, and the soft glow of the display was urging her back to sleep.
“Just a dream Shego. Calm down.” She murmured aloud to herself as she retrieved her displaced blankets and pillow from the floor.
“Just a nightmare, go back to sleep.” She reasoned with herself while letting her eyes flutter shut.
The only problem was…the nightmare was actually true.
“What’s wrong Kimmie-cub?” James inquired, looking up from his morning newspaper, coffee cup still in hand.
“Huh?” Kim blinked, confusion tracing her face.
“You’ve been awfully quiet and you’ve barely touched your meal.”
Nodding his head, James gestured to the plate in front of Kim, still full of scrambled eggs, two slices of slightly burnt toast with a touch of butter and strawberry jam (just the way Kim liked it), and an assortment of fresh fruits. Kim looked helplessly at the food before shrugging her shoulders, almost as if she were somehow defeated by the meal.
“I’m not really hungry right now…dad.”
James frowned and slowly put down his coffee. “You still need to eat something.”
“I know…” Kim tried to protest.
“Your mother said to make sure that you ate something – anything – while she was working the morning shift at the hospital.”
Kim bit her lip, knowing that she was fighting a losing battle. “I know.”
“But?” Her father encouraged, folding his newspaper in half and tossing it aside.
“But…oh, I don’t know.” Kim sighed. “It just feels strange, you know?” She looked up at her father, her eyes asking if he understood.
“What’s strange?” He asked, narrowing his eyebrows in concern as he leaned forward to rest his elbows on the edge of the table as he listened to her.
“I know this is what I should be doing, that THIS is my normal life. But I only really remember living with Shego. I don’t remember this at all.” Kim confessed.
“And…?” James prompted.
“And…it’s just strange.”
“Because you don’t remember it?”
“Because I only remember something that never really was.” Kim muttered, bitterness lacing her voice as she began to play with her food, idly pushing the eggs around the plate with her fork.
“I see.” James nodded, straightening up, his expression turning pensive.
“Do you get it now?”
“Yes…but I think you’re selling this Shego girl a little short Kimmie-cub.”
“What!” Kim exclaimed, the fork making a metallic clang as it dropped to the tiled floor. “What did you say?”
Continuing to look calmly at his daughter, who was anything but pleased, James began to elaborate slowly.
“Think about it Kim. She had countless opportunities to kill you, right?”
“Yeah? So, what’s your point?” Kim frowned, still angry.
“Why hasn’t she? Or, in this instance, why didn’t she? Think about how easy it would have been to leave you there. Or to kill you. Why didn’t she?” Her father pressed carefully and cautiously.
“She was playing some weird mind game with me dad.” Kim sighed, exasperated. “Trying to warp me into being like her or something like that.”
“Ahhh…but she didn’t outright tell you that you were a thief, no?”
“Well, even if she didn’t, she still killed the cops who came to rescue me. She’s a murderer dad.” Kim brought up.
“Really? I was under the impression she just knocked them unconscious.” James countered.
“Well, I don’t know. They fell over when she fire blasted them, they had to have died, right? I mean, getting hit by a fireball must do awful things to your body, no?”
“Indeed, it must. One of them suffered quite the concussion, but he’s still alive. Your mother treated him at the hospital, actually. I think he’s out of Intensive Care by now, which is quite the improvement.”
“But she tried to kill him.” Kim still argued.
“How well do you remember Shego’s abilities?”
“Pretty well I guess.”
“Then what can she do?”
“Well…she’s really athletic, really strong, can obviously throw fire ball things with her hands…what were you looking for?” Kim asked.
“I’ve seen news footage of what that woman can do, Kimmie-cub. And she can punch through solid steel, with or without that plasma fire of hers. If she’s so evil, why hasn’t she actually killed anyone yet? Especially you, who have sent her to jail more times than I can count, when you were in no condition to fight back?”
Kim blinked, but didn’t have an answer.
“But…but…she lied to me! About who I am and what I do. And those letters saying I died! How do you explain those? What were those all about?”
“Maybe she was afraid you would die in her care, despite her best efforts to keep you alive. Let me be serious here: if I had found you in your condition, I would have expected a grim outcome too Kimmie-cub. You weren’t doing too well.”
“Why mail out letters though?”
“If you died, and there was no explanation of how or when, all your family and friends would be left with this empty gaping hole, a lingering question mark. I rather have an anonymous letter explaining what happened than doubt and false hope. At least we would have known the truth.”
“Okay, so maybe there was a reason for the letters. But she still lied when I asked her who I was.”
James nodded in agreement. “True, she may have. But what have you done if you had been in her position?”
“I would have told her the truth!”
“Really?” Kim pouted as her father arched a questioning eyebrow in mild disbelief.
“Yes, I would have.”
“So you would have told her she was a thief, wanted in a dozen different countries, and that you were a crime-fighting agent who has been working for years to turn her in?”
“Well, not that exactly. Not like that.” Kim stammered.
“Well, let’s hear what you would have said.”
Kim was silent as she tore her gaze away from her father’s, realizing a bit too late that she didn’t have a valid answer. Her eyes flickering back and forth, almost as if she were trying to find some method to refute his question, Kim finally took a breath and answered.
“I would have waited a little while until I told her anything at all.”
“Why do that?” Her father softly inquired, waiting patiently for his daughter to sort out her thoughts.
“Because if she had brain damage, I wouldn’t want to confuse her?” Kim volunteered, her expression one of a student hoping she had just answered the teacher’s question correctly. She unconsciously began to chew on her lower lip in anticipation of his response.
Smiling, and with a slight twinkle in his eye, James nodded approvingly. Picking up his coffee and Kim’s plate of still untouched breakfast (both now cold), he walked over to the microwave to reheat them. An insistent and dull hum of the machine began in the background, breaking the silence that had overtaken the room.
“So…” Kim continued hesitantly. “You think she lied to me because she thought she was helping somehow?”
“Yes. I didn’t think that originally, but after your blood chemistry results were processed, I’m 99 sure of it now.”
“What’s wrong with my blood?” Kim frowned.
“Nothing. But there’s something you should know. And you should talk to your mother about it – she’s the doctor. I’m sure I would mess it up somehow if I tried to explain to you.”
“Dad!” Kim pressed. “Please tell me?”
Shaking his head no, James turned around to retrieve the food from the microwave, with only a few seconds remaining on the display.
“Eat first. Then we’ll call your mother. But only after you eat.”
Needing no further encouragement, Kim wasted little time in gulping her food down.
“Ooooohh, so perfect!” Drakken chuckled, looking over several pieces of paper splayed out on the floor.
“Monkeys? Didn’t you try that already?” Shego scoffed, peering through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the strategy.
“Of course we did, but remember – this time, Kim can’t remember anything. She won’t remember how to fight them. And I assure you, my monkey ninjas are even better trained than last time.” Monkey Fist tried to convince Shego, who cast him a disbelieving gaze.
“And this time, they’ll be genetically enhanced.” DNAmy piped in. “That little teenager won’t stand a chance!”
“Still though.” Shego practically sneered. “Genetically enhanced monkeys? Kim can still best a genetically enhanced human.” A faint smile traced Shego’s face, and for a moment, her eyes went glassy as if she were remembering an event long past.
“No no no, Shego. You’re missing the first few pages. Here.”
Drakken turned around, handing a few pieces of loose paper with scribbles on them to his henchwoman. This time, Shego didn’t have to feign interest – she read over the text with a renewed attention and intensity, mentally judging the actual threat her boss and his allies would be posing to Kim. If the past trends had continued, she doubted Kim would have anything serious to worry about; however, this time she feared that Drakken might actually have a chance of succeeding due to Kim’s amnesia.
Shego’s dark eyes went wide as she read the text.
The sheets of paper dropped to the ground, hastily retrieved by Monkey Fist and DNAmy, who batted her eyes at him. Rolling his eyes in annoyance, he snatched the document away from her to give it back to Drakken.
But Shego wasn’t paying attention to them – her thoughts were still on the proposed plan.
“Don’t you see now Shego?” Drakken asked. “How beautiful the plan is?”
Shego nodded numbly.
“Our timing is perfect Shego. Kim’s spring dance is approaching, and I have no doubt she’ll be going with that buffoon boyfriend of hers.”
Clenching her jaw, Shego attempted to remain calm and unaffected. Luckily, Drakken was too preoccupied in describing the newest plan for world domination to notice Shego’s warring emotions.
“Senor Senior Senior and Senor Senion Junior will disguise themselves as DJs and sneak into Kim Possible’s school and set up for the dance. This way, they’ll be able to let everyone in and hide them somewhere. Once the dance is in full swing, we’ll surprise that Kim Possible and finish her, once and for all. And if that buffoon and his annoying rat get in the way, our genetically enhanced monkey ninjas will distract them. See Shego? It is foolproof.”
Drakken clapped his hands together and closed his eyes, as if he were picturing the scene unfolding in his mind’s eye.
“And how were you going to get rid of her, once you’re isolated her and all that?” Shego asked, trying to force sarcasm in her voice and hoping it didn’t sound too false.
“Easy. I’ve developed a drug that will render Kim Possible helpless.”
“She isn’t helpless enough for ya?” Shego scoffed, steeling her face to present a slightly amused, but nonchalant expression.
“You can never be too certain.” Drakken countered in a singsong voice, waving a finger.
“Heh. Whatever.” Shego snorted as she spun on her heel and turned to leave.
“Wait Shego, you’re missing the best part!”
“What, did you order cake?” Shego paused midstep in the doorway, rolling her eyes.
“Well, there will be cake, but after you kill Kim Possible.” Drakken grinned.
“After I kill Kim Possible? Is this new or something? I thought this big plan was all about you guys.”
“Of course Shego. Remember that we were going to leave the honor to you? But don’t worry, she won’t be in any shape to fight once you inject her with this!” Drakken exclaimed as he held up a small oval vial filled with a pale green liquid.
“What is that? And why…why is it green? Is it glowing?” Shego frowned, eying the glass vial warily before reaching out a gloved hand to take it.
But Drakken only grinned, and his expression wasn’t quite within the realm of sanity.
“She drugged me?” Kim exclaimed, her mouth hanging open, her brain still refusing to comprehend what her mother was attempting to explain to her.
Anne reached forward and pulled her daughter into a gentle embrace. “She did, but you didn’t let me finish sweetheart.”
“Okay. What were they? And how did they mess me up?” Kim muttered, bitterness apparent in her voice.
Anne sighed. “They didn’t mess you up Kim.”
Blinking in confusion, Kim slowly pulled out of her mother’s hold and turned to face her.
“Then…then what did they do?” Kim asked slowly, narrowing her eyes, a wild idea beginning to form in the back of her mind.
“Listen to me Kim.” Anne took her daughter by the shoulders and looked into her eyes, her expression serious. Kim nodded, indicating that her mother should continue.
“Kim…when you were at the hospital, we found traces of several drugs in your blood: vasopressin, nimodipine, and a piracetam-choline mix. These drugs are standard use for treating patients with amnesia. They increase blood flow to the brain, which delivers more oxygen to the brain cells, which speeds recovery. I don’t know how she knew about them, or even where she obtained them, but…”
As Anne trailed off, Kim slumped back into the couch, her mind racing and her suspicions slowly becoming confirmed.
“They were being used for your benefit, Kim.” Anne finished softly, still looking at her daughter, who was looking like she had just seen a certain green-skinned ghost.
“When did it happen? How did it happen?” Shego asked her mirror, her voice barely above a whisper, staring at her haggard reflection. “How did I fall for the hero?”
But the answer was painfully obvious.
It was an initial dislike that morphed into a necessary tolerance that changed into a genuine admiration of the redhead’s abilities.
Of course, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen eventually – and that is what mattered. How was more important than when.
When she first met Kim, she thought the auburn-haired teenager was just a nuisance - an annoying excuse for a nemesis, and almost an insult. Of all the highly trained and capable forces the assorted justice organizations could have pitted her against, they choose a high school teenager? And not only a teen, but a cheerleader as well? It was disgusting. Shego, one of the best thieves in the world, against a uniform wearing, pom-pom waving, school motto chanting cheerleader?
It was absurd.
The redhead was fast and agile, but used her abilities to dodge and evade rather than actually engaging in combat. Her refusal to fight enraged Shego, and Shego had tried so many times on so many occasions to force the girl into combative interactions.
And maybe it had begun to work.
In the beginning, Shego found herself coming back to the lair after a fight, and after soothing her bruises with a cold pack from the freezer, she would mentally replay the battle, trying to see where she went wrong and where she could improve. Originally, Shego found herself infuriated by the fact that she was being beaten by a high school cheerleader, and formulated plans to overpower Kim. Then, to Shego’s horror (and reluctant amazement), she found herself enjoying the fights. Kim was no longer a timid teenager; she was a capable opponent that was able to genuinely challenge Shego – mentally as well as physically. And these times, when Shego returned to the lair, she would close her eyes and let herself savor the adrenaline rush that only came after fighting Kim.
She began to relish their contests – and by now, that’s all they really were – contests…or perhaps highly unusual dances that were meant for the artists, and not the audience…
“Shego!” A familiar voice sounded from the hall.
“What?” She snarled in response, loathing the interruption.
“We’re ready to go.”
“Fine. I’ll be down there in a few.” She growled.
“Hey KP. Want it?” Ron asked with a grin, holding up the last slice of pepperoni pizza.
“Thanks Ron, but I’m not really hungry.” Kim held out her hands in protest.
“Already have lunch?”
“No…I’m not. I’m not that hungry now.” Kim frowned.
“KP. You really need to eat.” Ron crossed his arms.
“Yep!” Rufus chirped in agreement.
“I’m sorry Ron. I’ve just been…preoccupied, I guess.” Kim shrugged.
“Take a guess.”
For a moment, Ron cast his eyes downward and away from Kim, almost as if he were trying to conceal some kind of disappointment and disapproval within. Kim leaned over gingerly and gave him a small pat on the shoulder, a reassurance that he hadn’t somehow managed to offend her.
“It’s okay Ron. I know you’re probably really mad at her.”
Smiling back at Kim and taking her hand in his own, Ron took a calming breath.
“Of course I am KP. She stole you away from us and lied to you. Of course I’m angry at her. You aren’t?”
Chewing on her lower lip, now unsure of herself, Kim hesitated a few seconds before responding, making an almost conscious effort to avoid Ron’s eyes.
“Well…she did lie, but it was for my own good.”
“KP,” Ron began sternly, “when is lying ever for anyone’s own good?”
“I mean that she didn’t tell me exactly who I was because it would have been too soon in my, uh, recovery process. She was trying to protect me, I guess….in her own strange way, she was trying to help. I can’t hate her for that.”
“KP, listen to yourself. You’re defending your evil nemesis!” Ron exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air, frustration lacing his voice.
“I’m not defending her! I’m trying to explain her! I’m trying to understand her.” Kim shot back at him, a renewed spirit shining through her green eyes.
“She tried to kill you Kim! There’s nothing to understand! She! Tried! To! Kill! You!” Ron shouted, closing his mouth quickly as if he didn’t mean to say that.
An uncomfortable silence settled in the room. Breathing heavily, both Kim and Ron took a half step away from each other, each taking the temporary lapse in debate to catch their breath and regain their composure. After only a few minutes (that actually felt like hours), Kim broke the awkward stillness.
“Ron?” She inquired softly, gathering up her courage to look him in the eye.
“I really don’t think she was trying to kill me.”
“Why not?” Exasperation began to seep back into his voice.
“Because she took me in, clothed me, fed me, helped me exercise to regain my motor control, and even gave me amnesia drugs. If she really hated me, why do all that, when I was helpless right after the fall, and it would have been really easy to kill me then?”
Ron blinked before shaking his head quickly in disbelief, still digesting what Kim had just told him. “What did you say?”
“I said that she took me in –“
“No, what was that last part?” Ron interrupted, his eyes narrowed.
“Umm…she gave me amnesia drugs.”
“Like, drugs to combat amnesia?” Ron tried to clarify.
“Yes, drugs to fight amnesia. I forget what they were called, but my mom said they increased blood flow to the brain, which is supposed to help me get my memories back.” Kim shrugged. “Biology was never my best subject I guess.”
For the second time that afternoon, the room fell into silence, though this round was less uncomfortable than the last. Ron let himself fall onto the couch, lost in thought.
“She…she really gave you medicine?” He looked up at Kim, a realization slowly coming into focus.
Kim nodded. “She did.”
Ron fell back into contemplation, but Kim was already continuing.
“I know you probably still think she’s crazy and evil, especially with those letters she mailed out to say I died, but I just don’t get that gut feeling that she’s trying to hurt me and-“
“Hold up KP.” Ron interrupted again, holding up his hands.
Kim paused, her mouth still hanging open, taken aback at the interruption.
“What’s wrong?” She inquired.
“Repeat what you said about the letters KP.”
“I said that if you think Shego’s crazy because she sent out letters saying I died, I wouldn’t blame you, but I have an explanation for that too.”
Ron blinked. “Shego sent out letters saying that you died?”
“Of course. We saw copies of them in her shoebox, and you yourself said that you received the letter from her.” Kim explained, confusion beginning to show itself on her face.
“We – I – did get a letter from her. But…but it didn’t say you died.” Ron told Kim haltingly, unsure of where this conversation was headed.
“Then…what, what did it say?” Kim asked, her eyes widening in shock.
Reaching into one of his pockets, Ron carefully drew out a tattered, yellowed, and stained piece of folded paper. Without a word, he held it out to her.
“Is this it? The letter?” Kim whispered, her mind reeling with the realization that she may have been deceived once again.
Ron nodded slowly and deliberately.
With a slight tremble in her hands, Kim reached out to take the fragile piece of paper. Unfolding it with a small amount of reverence, she took a moment to read what was written. The creases and what appeared to be drops of water smudged and obscured some of the writing, but it was still legible.
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, as she was unconscious when she was admitted.
The good news is that she is now conscious; however, she appears to have no recollection of her past memories – in short, she is suffering from amnesia. Her parents have already been notified of the current situation. We have requested the services of the country’s most respected and accomplished therapists but for now, the only thing we can do is wait.
Due to the severity of the brain injury, as well as her relative fame as a superheroine, she is being kept under close surveillance. We regret to inform you that we are not permitting ANY visitors she remains in such a fragile mental state, but we will let you know of any major developments as soon as they occur. Her family has already been notified of the situation.
My sincerest apologies,
Edward Lee, M.D.
“She never told you I was dead, did she?” The redhead whispered. “She lied, but she didn’t at the same time. In terms of my health, she really was telling you the truth…letting you know I was still alive and I was being kept…safe…”
Ron nodded solemnly, but Kim could only look back at him with hot tears forming in her emerald eyes, and a small smile beginning to tug at her lips.
“So, You Know Someone With Amnesia: A Rough Guide to Helping Your Loved Ones Through A Life They Don’t Remember.” Kim read aloud to herself later that night, lounging on her bed. Ron had left for the night, and she assumed her parents and brothers were either already asleep, or just beginning to drift off. A cup of steaming tea sat on her nightstand, the chamomile tea bag just beginning to seep.
With a critical eye, she began to examine the pamphlet, one of the many that had been recovered from Shego’s cardboard box. Her earlier conversation with Ron had triggered a series of questions about Shego’s true intentions, and although she knew that each answer would lead to another question, she knew she had to try and answer them nonetheless.
Unnoticed before, Kim now saw how used the booklet had been – a series of creases crisscrossed the paper, water stains dotted the interior, and various passages had been highlighted or circled – or both. Turning the first page, she began to read the pamphlet’s contents.
The typical information was there – What Amnesia Is (And Isn’t), Causes of Amnesia, Diagnosing Amnesia, but a select few passages caught her eye: Treating Amnesia and Living With An Amnesiac – Do’s and Don’t’s. Incidentally, both of these sections were also highlighted and circled with dark green ink.
Most likely, doctors will prescribe any one or more of the following drugs: vasopressin (also known as the anti-diuretic hormone, ADH), nimodipine, and piracetam. All these drugs are designed to stimulate blood flow to the brain, which delivers an increased amount of oxygen to the recovering brain cells. More natural remedies such as herbal supplements (gingko tea or vitamins) may be used in conjunction with the prescription drugs, but always consult with the doctor to make sure such supplements will not interfere with the prescription drugs’ effects. Therapy sessions will most likely be recommended for additional mental and emotional support; however, patience and time will be the most necessary tools you will need to see your loved one through her/his ordeal.
Living With An Amnesiac – Do’s and Don’t’s:
Patients with amnesia are most likely going to be scared and confused, unsure of who you are (and in rare cases, of who they are). Be patient with them as they explore their surroundings, and do not try to force information before they are ready. If they ask to see old photos and/or other materialistic reminders of their life, fine – but as long as they volunteer the notion and you are not pushing it upon them.
- be patient with them
- answer questions she/he asks
- try to keep them as calm as relaxed as possible, creating a safe environment for them
- assure them that you are not angry with them regarding their condition
- try to prove to them that you are a trustworthy person they may talk to
- rush them into remembering anything
- try to guide them excessively as they begin to remember. A little guidance is fine, but too much can be damaging
- become angry with them if they cannot remember something
- avoid them excessively and make them feel as if you do not wish to interact with them
Reaching over to take a sip of her tea, Kim sighed. Shego had definitely taken a few pointers from the brochures. As she brought the mug to her lips, a memory shot through her mind’s eye.
“What’s in this tea again?” Kim pondered, looking towards Shego, who had taken a seat on a matching green loveseat across the glass coffee table between them.
“I don’t know exactly. Its some kind of New Age herbal stuff.” Shego shrugged nonchalantly. “It’s supposed to help your chakras or something like that.”
Kim blinked and paused, the tea mug still poised at her slightly parted lips. The tea – that weird-tasting tea that Shego kept feeding her – it must have been ginkgo tea. Slowly, she put the mug back on her nightstand, put the medical pamphlet aside, and walked over to her bookshelf, a strange suspicion beginning to form in the back of her mind.
Shego’s unusually calm voice permeated her racing mind.
“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 creates 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.”
Finding the desired book, Kim pulled it off the shelf and began to read the summary. Where Is The Mango Princess by Cathy Crimmons was another book that had been taken from Shego’s home during the raid, and for some reason that she couldn’t quite remember right now, Kim had wanted to keep it. Her perusal of the inside jacket told her that Cathy Crimmons was a writer whose husband suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was hit on the head by a motor boat. Where Is The Mango Princess was the book she wrote detailing his recovery process for him, her, and their family.
Her crazy suspicion almost becoming more founded with each passing moment, Kim began to skim through the pages, looking for a particular passage. Within twenty minutes, she found it, and her eyes widened in surprise.
Accidents divide things into the great before and after. Even before his brain injury, Alan had a hard time remembering names, I would say. Since Daddy’s accident, I have to work more, I told my daughter Kelly. The brain injury community marks time by asking how long someone has been out of injury, the same way bereavement counselors ask how long your loved one has been dead. Six months out, two years out, ten years out. Out of what, exactly? Out of the giant crevice that has been exploded into the bedrock of your life. Here’s how I see it: One day you and your family are hiking across a long solid plane, when out of the sky comes a blazing meteor that just happens to hit one family member on the head. The meteor creates a huge rift in the landscape, dragging the unlucky one down to the bottom of the crevice that has been made. You spend the next year on a rescue mission, helping him climb to the top, but when he gets up there, he realizes he has been greatly changed by the hardship. He doesn’t know a meteor has hit him. He will never know, really. He only knows that he has spent a lot of time in a dark confusing place. He left a lot of stuff behind, the stuff he was carrying with him, down in that big hole. And it’s impossible to get it all back.
But really, some deeper part of her soul wasn’t all that astonished.
Of course Shego would be reading an account on brain injury recovery.
Alone in the observational tower, crouched on the floor, holding her head between her hands, Shego’s mind was a turbulent storm of conflicting emotions and desires.
In a few days time, she would be sneaking into Kim’s high school and playing out the part of villain she knew so well. But it was a part she didn’t want to play anymore; she had tasted retirement, and it was sweet.
Reaching into her leg pouch, Shego withdrew the mini glass vial, still emitting a faint green glow, barely discernable in the dim light. She inverted it several times, watching almost hypnotically as the liquid flowed from one end of the tube to the other.
Kim’s faint voice echoed in her head.
You took away that which makes me how I am, Shego. You stole my mind! I lost myself! I lost who I am, and you just let me! You’re going to KILL ME TWICE!
Squeezing her eyes shut to block out the luminescent liquid, Shego spoke to the empty room, her voice barely above a faint whisper.
“Kim. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
To be continued…