A soft ray of light penetrated the bullet-proof glass of the mountain compound. It reflected off the multitude of dust particles in the well-furnished room, warming the skin of the girl who lay in the king-sized bed. An unconscious smile made its way across her face as she soaked up the rays. She felt like she could stay there forever.
Green eyes snapped open and the girl wondered where she was. Last night was a blur in her mind. She had no idea how she got here. But she remembered it had something to do with… Shego!
With a gasp, the girl sat up quickly and surveyed the room. The first thing she noticed was the green-and-black color scheme of her pajamas. Figures. She arrived here last night in a prom dress with a burnt hem. Shego must have given her a spare set of pajamas. The second thing she noticed was the fact that the entire room, right down to the sheets, was entirely green and black. ‘There’s a fine line between stylish and obsessed,’ she thought. The third thing she noticed was that the villainess in question was nowhere to be found.
“Where is she?” she asked nobody. At least she had a few minutes to herself. Rubbing her temples, she struggled to recall the memories of the previous night. No luck. The last thing she remembered was helping Shego to escape. Everything after that was obscured by adrenaline. She didn’t know what the hell she did last night. Nor did she know where the person was who could answer that question.
That matter was quickly resolved when the door hissed open and Shego, fully dressed in her trademark green and black catsuit, stepped through. She looked over at the newly awakened Kim and smiled. “Morning, Pumpkin.”
Kim did not return the smile. Instead she was afraid. “W-where are we?”
Shego just smiled even wider. “One of Drakken’s old lairs. One of the few you didn’t blow up.”
“H-how did I get here?”
Shego chuckled. “You really don’t remember?”
Kim shook her head, clutching the sheets to her chest defensively. She was frightened. Shego, however, was amused.
“Don’t worry, we didn’t do anything like that,” she assured the redhead , who relaxed a bit more at that statement. “This is one of my spare rooms. I slept in the other one. You were all by yourself last night, Pumpkin.”
“I must have been exhausted,” Kim yawned, stretching her arms above her head. The loose-fitting sleeves draped down and exposed her forearms. “Normally I can’t get to sleep without—” Shego eyed her quizzically. “Never mind.” She had been about to say, “Pandaroo.” Shego didn’t have to know about her favorite stuffed animal just yet. “I kind of left all my stuff behind.”
“Don’t worry,” Shego reassured her, “we’ll swing by your house and get them later. Until then, you and I have some stuff to talk about.”
“I’ll say,” Kim agreed. “Everything went kind of fast last night. I think we need to sort it all out.”
“Over breakfast,” Shego offered. “C’mon, I made us pancakes.” She turned and walked out the door.
“Ooh.” Kim was out of her bed in an instant, hopping on Shego’s back like a small child. “To the kitchen!” she commanded.
“Ack! Princess, do you have any idea how heavy you are?” Shego was struggling to stay standing.
“Not too heavy to be eating pancakes,” Kim retorted. “Besides, you could use the exercise if you’re gonna be eating ‘em.”
“Yeah, well take it easy, will ya? You just kicked me into a high-voltage tower last night. I’m running on pure adrenaline right now.”
“Do you have enough strength to carry me to the kitchen?” Kim asked.
“Yes,” Shego admitted.
“Onward then!” Kim thrust her arm in the air like a lance and pointed to where she had traced the smell of the pancakes.
“Yes, your majesty,” Shego quipped before letting out a strained grunt and took off running.
“Whee!” Kim was thoroughly enjoying herself. After all the heavy drama last night, she deserved a little fun. She clung to Shego’s remarkably resilient body like a parasite, giggling like she hadn’t in years. Shego muttered some choice words under her breath, but Kim was too busy enjoying the ride to notice. This was the start of something great. She could feel it.
“I don’t get it. Why would she do that to me? It makes no sense!” Ron Stoppable yanked off his bowtie and threw it onto the bed. Rufus dodged the piece of ribbon and shrugged his shoulders in response.
“Yeah, I don’t know either, buddy. I mean, was it something I did? Did I come on too strong?” Besides Kim, the only friend Ron could talk to was Rufus, his pet naked mole rat. It was like any conversation with a pet. Largely one-sided, pretty much conversing with himself and only talking to his pet for the sake of having an audience. But unlike other pets, Rufus could answer back, albeit with a limited vocabulary.
“Dunno,” the pink rodent offered, shrugging his shoulders once more. He didn’t quite understand human romance, but he knew that his owner was heartbroken. “Mebe scared.”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m afraid of,” Ron sighed as he removed his coat. He had spent damn near 12 hours in this suit. It was good to finally be able to get some rest, though he’d much rather have been out there looking for the girl who ran off inexplicably after he’d kissed her. Dr. Director had to order him to go home. But that didn’t mean it didn’t occupy his every thought.
After Kim had exited the prom in a rather panicked state, Ron had stood there in shock for untold minutes. It wasn’t until Wade had hijacked the sound system and told him to meet Dr. Director outside that he was able to find the composure to move. When he had arrived outside, the head of GJ had informed him that Kim just knocked two Global Justice agents unconscious and taken off with Shego. At first he refused to believe it—until he confirmed that his scooter was indeed missing. “Aw man!” were the only two words he could come up with.
Over ten hours of panicked searching later, Ron had finally been forced to go to home and get some rest. He kicked off his shoes, then made quick work of his dress shirt and slacks. The blonde’s exhausted body collapsed on the bed, almost crushing a certain naked mole rat who barely managed to dive out of the way.
“I mean, what the hell could have caused her to run off like that? Was it my breath? No, she’d tell me if it was my breath.” He turned his head towards Rufus. “Something big’s going on, Ruf. I mean, what would possess her to run off and free Shego? I mean, she helped capture her! She took me back to the prom! What the hell got into her?” His eyes suddenly went wide as dinner plates. “Unless….” He sat up slowly, his finger raised in the air to signal that he had just gotten a brilliant idea. “That’s it! It wasn’t KP at all! Oh my God, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before!” He stood up and started to pace.
Rufus watched with confusion as his master excitedly congratulated himself on solving the case. It didn’t matter whether or not he had evidence. When Ron Stoppable thought he had something figured out, there was no convincing him otherwise. “Rufus, I think I’ve got it!”
“Huh?” Smart as he was, what went on in Ron Stoppable’s head was beyond the naked mole rat’s understanding.
“You know how Drakken was able to fake everybody out with Eric?”
“Uh-huh.” So far Rufus was following.
“He was even able to fool Kim! And trust me, that ain’t easy!”
“True.” Rufus agreed. Where was his master going with this?
“So what’s to stop him from pulling one last trick before they haul his ass off to jail?”
Rufus slapped his forehead when he realized where this was going. “Uh-oh.”
“That wasn’t KP at all!” Ron declared triumphantly as he raised his finger high above his head. “That, ladies and gentlemen and naked mole rats, was a Synthodrone!”
Shego was astonished at how someone so small could wolf down so many pancakes at such a rate. “Damn, Princess, don’t you ever stop?”
Interrupted from her rather messy eating, the redhead looked up and tried to say something, only to find her mouth was still full of chewed up pancakes. She swallowed. “What?”
“I never thought you’d be such an animal. I’m almost out of pancakes.”
“Yeah, well, I kinda starved myself yesterday so I could fit into that dress,” Kim admitted. “I’m so hungry.” At that, she dug her fork and knife into her fifteenth pancake.
“I’ll say,” Shego commented. “Stoppable must be rubbing off on ya.”
Kim stopped. The food hung on her fork which was now suspended in midair. She glared at the woman across from her incredulously. “What did you say?”
Shego suddenly realized she’d made a mistake. And for the first time in her life, she felt guilty for it. “Sorry,” she said softly. “I forgot you left him behind. You gonna be okay?”
“Oh, yeah,” Kim said in such a tone that Shego knew she was lying. The green woman arched her eyebrow. “Okay, no,” the redhead sighed. “I kind of left him hanging there and I didn’t even get to say goodbye.” She was close to tears now. She slammed her fist down on the table. “No! I’m evil now! Evil criminals don’t cry!”
Shego sat up a bit straighter. “So you’re evil, huh? Why the sudden change?”
Kim sighed and swallowed another bite of her pancake. “Well, considering that I just committed a major felony by helping you escape, I guess I’m a criminal now. Doesn’t that make me evil?”
Shego shook her head and laughed. “Pumpkin, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. You don’t have to be evil to be a criminal. You ever hear about Robin Hood?”
“Well what he did wasn’t exactly legal,” Shego continued. “But he obeyed a higher authority. He didn’t see himself as evil. Hell, I’m not even sure I’m evil. But my point is that the law isn’t always necessarily good.”
Kim had apparently never heard that before from the look of complete and utter shock on her face. “It isn’t?”
Shego shook her head. “No, Pumpkin, it isn’t. “Hitler killed over six million Jews, all ‘legally.’ Banks and Insurance companies rob millions of people a year by training their employees not to tell their clients about tiny details that end up ripping them off and bankrupting them. ‘Legal’ isn’t the same thing as ‘good.’”
“But that was in Nazi Germany,” Kim protested. “And banks and insurance companies are just trying to make a profit.”
“Okay, what about during the Civil Rights protests of the ‘60s where police would unleash attack dogs on unarmed, nonviolent blacks? What about the Army National Guard shooting up college students during the Vietnam War protests? None of those men got jail time. Hell, they were branded as heroes. And as for money? In case you don’t remember your history class, the fact that blacks were originally slaves in this country meant that the white plantation owners saved a bundle because they didn’t have to pay them. All of this happened right here in the country you call home.”
Kim stared at her, speechless. Despite her rather liberal upbringing, she had never heard it put that way. She opened her mouth to object, but Shego wasn’t done yet.
“Meanwhile, people like Martin Luther King got arrested for ‘marching without a permit.’ Nothing wrong with that law on the surface. You’ve gotta preserve order. Can’t have just anyone having random parades and disrupting traffic. But they were looking for an excuse to arrest him because they hated what he stood for. The people in the underground railroad were breaking the law. It was illegal to hide Jews in Nazi Germany. Sometimes the right thing to do is the exact opposite of what the law tells you to do.”
“So I don’t have to be evil?” Kim asked hopefully.
Shego smiled. “No, Pumpkin, you don’t have to be evil. Hell, I’m not evil. I just answer to a higher authority.”
“And that authority is?” Kim remarked snidely.
“Freedom,” Shego answered matter-of-factly.
“Okay Braveheart,” Kim teased.
“I’m serious,” Shego insisted. “I’m not saying overthrow the government or anything. Hell, I still pay my taxes. I just don’t follow laws that I don’t believe in.”
“You pay your taxes?” Kim balked.
Shego nodded. “Yep, Pumpkin, I do. I get all my wages legally. Drakken’s bonded and insured. The stuff I do to earn those wages… well, that’s the illegal part.”
“Oh.” Kim couldn’t manage to say anything else. She appeared even more surprised than before.
“So, what do you say? Partners in crime?” Shego offered.
“It would be nice not to have to baby-sit just to afford a new dress…” Kim admitted. She grinned wickedly. “And I would so totally like to kick Bonnie’s ass without caring whether or not it goes on my permanent record.” She punctuated that remark by stabbing her pancake. The redhead extended her hand. “I’m in.” They shook hands, but to both women it felt as though they had just signed a contract in their own blood. They were partners for life.
“So, you ready to start training?” Shego asked after a moment.
“Well if you’re gonna be a criminal now, you need to learn how to not get caught,” Shego explained. “This isn’t like bein’ a hero, Cupcake. You can’t just charge into any place you want and not expect them to be looking for you. You gotta be sneaky. Get in and out without them ever knowing you were there.”
“Like you do?” Kim asked.
“Yep, and you’re the only one who’s ever managed to beat me,” Shego replied. “It doesn’t help that Nerdlinger can track my energy signature. That’s why we’re in this mountain base. Drakken installed some sort of material that blinds GJ’s satellites. Speaking of which, that little comm thing that you carry around, it’s gotta go. Too dangerous. The only reason they haven’t been able to track us here is because I’m jamming them. But if we’re gonna leave to go get your stuff, you’ve gotta destroy it.”
“Done,” Kim agreed. “I always hated that ring tone anyway. Wade would always call at the most annoying times.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out the device. Flipping open the back, she removed the battery. “This thing has uranium in it,” she explained. “If we blow it up, there’s a chance that it could go nuclear. It also has an insanely long battery life. I was thinking we could at least use this and just destroy the case.” She handed the Kimmunicator to Shego. “Will you do the honors?”
Shego gratefully accepted the sacrifice. Holding it up in the air, she proposed a toast. “To a new life.”
Kim raised the pancake that she had impaled on a fork. “To a new life.”
With that, Shego ignited the plasma in her hand, turning the hunk of plastic into slag. Kim watched in awe as the last remnant of her days as a hero melted and dripped onto the floor. It felt satisfying. She felt free for the first time in her life. “That’s the end of that,” she stated simply. “So long, Wade. Nice knowin’ ya, pervert.” Shego arched her eyebrow at that remark. “Last year I discovered that he can activate that screen without the chime. And cheer uniforms don’t have pockets.”
Shego tried to resist the urge to laugh out loud and failed. “So he was a little voyeur, huh?”
Kim nodded. “Yep. If he wasn’t the guy who ran my website, I’d have filed a restraining order long ago. Speaking of which….”
“I need to update my website later,” Kim answered, appearing to make a mental note. “I think it’s time I turned over a new leaf. Plus, I think the whole world deserves to know that I’m no longer Global Justice’s little angel.”
Shego grinned devilishly. “That sounds like fun. You done?” She indicated Kim’s pancakes.
Kim clutched her stomach and burped. “Yeah, I think so. Excuse me.”
“You’re excused,” Shego responded politely. Kimmie still had good manners, even if she had decided to become a criminal. “We need to start your training. I’m gonna teach you how to be the second best thief there is.”
“I assume you’re the best?” Kim guessed.
“You assume correctly,” Shego replied proudly, standing up and taking a bow. “Hey, if I can train SSJ, training you should be a walk in the park. Meet me in the gym in half an hour.”
“Okay,” Kim grunted, standing up as well. “Just let me go throw up first.”
Shego nodded in understanding. “Take your time, Princess.”
Kim groaned in agreement and shuffled off towards the bathroom. As Shego watched her go, she couldn’t help staring at that perfectly formed ass. She was going to have fun making Kimmie burn off all those calories she’d just consumed.
“I don’t understand what could have happened!” Wade insisted frantically as his hands flew across the keyboard so fast it threatened to make his fingers bleed. “I mean, one minute I was tracking them, and the next they disappear under some mountain! Shego really knows how to throw me off the trail. Did you scan the mountain?”
A woman with short brown hair and an eye patch stared into the view screen at the young supergenius. Her face was the epitome of professional as she gave her report. “Yes, and our satellites picked up no signs of any structures or technology that would identify it as one of Drakken’s lairs. No caves, even. Ms. Shego either pulled a really good trick or they crashed.”
“I’m willing to bet it’s the former,” Wade grumbled as he began to type even faster. “She always was slippery. I always used to be able to catch her though.” He paused. “And what the hell was Kim doing? I mean, she sounded a little panicked when she asked me to track Shego down, but I just figured she was going there to apologize!”
“Apologize?” Dr. Director interrupted. “For what?”
Wade sighed. “Apparently she had told Shego she hated her and wanted to let her know that she didn’t, and she also said something about wanting to apologize for kicking her into that tower and almost killing her. Personally, I wish Shego had died.”
“That’s awfully dark of you, Dr. Load,” the one-eyed woman observed. “Not to mention what it might have done to Ms. Possible if her intentions were as you say. She’s clearly developed some sort of emotional attachment to Ms. Shego. We need to find out just how deep that attachment goes.”
“Deep enough to turn her into a major felon, apparently!” Wade snapped, his fingers never breaking stride. He seemed to be blessed with the ability to type and talk at the same time. “She just violated treaties in 11 countries stating that Shego needs to be imprisoned by Global Justice! Not to mention that she did it without warning, almost like she’s been playing us the whole time!”
“Are you suggesting that Ms. Possible planned this?” Dr. Director inquired. “It doesn’t seem very well thought-out.”
“Well, the way she was talking kinda made it sound like she was acting on the spur of the moment,” Wade admitted. “But that could have just been part of the act! For all we know, Kim’s been playing us since the day she started going on missions!”
“Aren’t you jumping to conclusions, Dr. Load?” the one-eyed woman interjected. “It sounds to me like she just got confused and ran. Besides, why spring Ms. Shego and not Dr. Drakken? If anyone were to hire her as a double agent, it would be him.”
“I don’t know,” Wade admitted. “But something tells me there’s more to this than meets the eye.”
“Perhaps Ms. Shego is using Kim’s uncertainty to her advantage?” Dr. Director guessed.
“That makes sense,” Wade agreed. “Kim did seem awful confused. Shego’s the kind of person who would twist that to help her escape.”
“It’s settled then,” Dr. Director stated. “Until we find evidence to the contrary, Kim Possible is to be considered a hostage of Ms. Shego by her own free will. Ms. Shego is dangerous and sneaky, and is using Ms. Possible’s confusion about the situation to give herself an advantage. A rescue squad will be assembled immediately.”
“Thanks. I’ll keep trying to track them down,” Wade said.
“Inform Ronald of this development after he’s gotten some rest and get him down here,” Dr. Director ordered. “He’ll undoubtedly want to lead the rescue himself.”
“Roger. Wade out.” The supergenius’ image faded from the screen and Betty Director found herself staring into a blank monitor. ‘It doesn’t make sense. Why throw away everything to go free someone you just captured? It’s insanity. Or… love. No, that can’t be it. Love may make you do crazy things, but you can still do crazy things without it. I just hope you know what you’re doing, Kimberly.;
Shego watched as Kim moved through the obstacle course with impressive speed. She had always been physically gifted, which accounted for why she could keep up with the green skinned, super powered villainess, but her attention wavered, she noticed. She would be able to make even faster time if she could just learn to focus. Kim tended to focus on one thing at a time, moving from one item to the next and not taking the time to memorize the course or plan ahead. It was how she lived her life, Shego observed.
Kim was still at that young age where her she could shift her attention at will, forgetting everything else and pursuing her goal with a singular mind. Not that there was anything wrong with this approach as far as Shego was concerned. After all, that’s the only reason she was here. Kim was able to change gears so quickly. She had gone from supposed hate to lesbian love in two hours. But then nearly all life-changing experiences happen far too quickly for us to understand, and we are left to pick up the pieces when we go too far on the wrong path.
‘She doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into,’ Shego thought. ‘She reminds me of myself when I was first getting into all this stuff. Course I was a little more experienced with the darker parts of life. She thinks this is all a game. It hasn’t even registered with her that she has to leave everything behind. She doesn’t seem to realize that there are consequences for every action. I give her till tonight until she breaks down and wants to go home. That’ll be the time to see where her loyalties really lie. Still, she’s got potential. And the whole love angle doesn’t hurt either. Could use that to my advantage. Though I’ll probably have to knock her out once she realizes exactly what she’s gotten herself into.’
Shego was jerked out of her thoughts when a sweating redhead jogged up to her and she hit the button on the stopwatch. “Time!” Kim shouted.
“One minute, thirty-three seconds,” Shego announced. “Not bad. I think you’re ready for the stealth training.”
Kim nodded enthusiastically. “Okay, I’m up for that. You know how much I’d give to be able to have a gym like this at my home? Being a criminal is so much more fun than saving the world!” She skipped off merrily towards the water fountain to re-hydrate herself.
As she watched the redhead hum to herself as she sauntered away, Shego thought to herself. ‘Yeah, but it comes with a price. You still talk about your home like you can go back there. Criminals don’t have the luxury of being able to settle down in one spot. Why do you think Drakken has so many lairs? The truth is gonna hit you hard, Pumpkin, and hopefully I’ll be able to snap you out of the mother of all panic attacks you’re gonna get.’ With that, she sighed and shook her head, following the optimistic redhead who had no idea what she had gotten herself into.
Got this done sooner than I thought. I’m still at that point in my story where the chapters are relatively short, plot points slowly developing on their own as I prefer not to plan out my stories. It makes the ideas more flexible in my mind. I’ll be posting these semi-weekly, maybe even more often than that. It’s hard to tell. How will Kim react when the gravity of the sitch hits her? Will Shego be enough to pull her out of it? Is she really in love? Or is she just confused and crying out for attention? What will Dr. Director think of Ron’s theory? Will Kim go the way of the criminal and run off with Shego forever? Or will Ron’s boyish charm be enough to bring her back? Or will he too get seduced by the dark side? Find out in the next installment of Hate is Such a Strong Word. Please read and review. No flames, please.