Kim sat in the passenger seat of the hovercraft, her eyes fixed on the pale woman positioned behind the steering wheel, driving the vehicle towards their destination. Kim found herself simply mesmerized by the woman’s beauty. Her skin was ash colored and made her look slightly like a vampire, but it was not her outside appearance that made her attractive.
It’s said that beauty is only skin deep, but in truth beauty has nothing to do with skin. For while skin can bruise, tear, bleed, burn, chafe and die, beauty is eternal. It cannot be understood except in the abstract. Beauty is evident when it is seen, but its many variations make it impossible to categorize. There are so many ways one can define beauty. Whether it is the beauty of a field of undisturbed flowers or the grandeur of a snowcapped mountain; whether it is the simple elegance of a dove’s pure whiteness or the extravagant rainbow of a peacock’s tail; whether it is the power of a well paced slow melody or an intricately structured composition that awes us with its sheer complexity; whether it is the shortest of poems that succinctly articulates the author’s exact feelings or the longest of novels that gives these feelings length and applies them to all mankind; whether it is the epitome of innocence that is the face of a baby or the radiant spirit of the person they might one day become; all of these things, no matter how small or how big, how plain or how flamboyant, how simple or how complex, how profound or how longwinded, how innocent or how matured, all of these things and more exemplify beauty. We cannot pin it down and force it to fit any pre-designed stereotypes. Beauty in its purest form defines itself; we do not define beauty. But this does not mean that we don’t try.
What one person finds beautiful, another may not. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so they say. Beauty is at once relative and absolute. It has many expressions, each with varying degrees of beauty, but they all lead back to the same universal concept. It is this concept that eludes us. We spend our entire lives searching for the ultimate expression of this concept of beauty, not realizing that we are already there. Everything is beautiful in its own way, and each thing possesses different amounts of beauty. George Washington Carver once asserted that, “A weed is simply a flower in the wrong place.” There is no such thing as ugliness. Ugliness is merely the absence of beauty, just as darkness is the absence of light. We do not call it a “dark switch.” For theirs is a direct relationship between independent and dependent variables. When we manipulate one variable, the other is directly affected. But we can only manipulate one. By removing the light, we cast our world into darkness. By introducing light, we make something out of nothing. For darkness does not exist; it is a concept. We can only affect the darkness by manipulating the light. And so it is with beauty and ugliness. Nothing is “ugly,” it is simply less beautiful than something else. The root of all judgment is comparison.
Certain beauties are appreciated more than others. If a woman is beautiful in mind and spirit but not in body, another woman who is beautiful in body but not in mind or spirit will be considered “more” beautiful despite the fact that her beauty only lies in one area while the other woman possesses beauty in two. For sense perception is the primary tool of all judgment. We see a beautiful woman, even though she lacks inner beauty. To understand the beauty of the first woman, we must get to know her; we must use our mind. And this is the Achilles Heel of sensory-based judgment. When we look past the surface, when we suspend our disbelief, when we can peer into the depths of another person’s soul, we can discover true beauty.
And it was this sort of beauty that Kim saw in Shego: the beauty of potential. For while the green woman had a rather sketchy past, she was not a truly evil person. Her morals were somewhat iffy and she had a slightly unorthodox way of doing certain things, but she did not possess a malignant spirit. She was smart, witty, and had standards that even Kim found acceptable under the right circumstances. She may have committed many crimes, but her essential morals were not compromised. She made it a point of pride to commit crimes while being non-lethal, never using guns and if she had killed anybody other than Ron (which Kim still doubted), nobody had pinned it on her. Sure, she had tried to hurt Kim, but it was mostly at Dr. Drakken’s insistence and the few times she had attacked Kim on her own she was angry. Even Kim did things she regretted when she was angry. It was not the desire to hurt Kim that drove her to attack the redhead in the past, but the need to prove her superiority over the younger woman. It was a constant struggle for dominance, and it was the spirit of competition, not hate, that drove them into conflict. They had different beliefs, but every man (or woman) builds his world in his own image. Shego had her own set of morals, and she honestly believed that what she did was acceptable, if not to other people, to herself. Kim had come to respect that about Shego. After all, her raging independence was the reason she loved the older woman.
She loved Shego. She still could not believe it. After all the time they had spent fighting in the past, Kim had never expected to be so much as friends with the pale woman. Even when they shared a bed, Kim told herself that it was all about satisfying her own desires. But it turned out that what she desired was the older woman’s happiness. She found herself taking great pride in pleasing Shego rather than herself when they were in the bedroom. Whenever she did that, her lover returned the favor one-hundred fold, and her desires were met because she had granted those of another. It went far beyond mutual respect. Respect is about recognizing that other people have thoughts and opinions, but the person offering this respect is not expected to compromise his/her own beliefs. With Shego it was different. Kim had actually come to agree with Shego on certain things, and vice versa. They were giving themselves to one another, so naturally certain parts were rubbing off. Kim discovered that she and the older woman already possessed many of the same traits and beliefs, and these traits were amplified whenever they came near each other. It was sort of like the relationship she had with Ron, but at the same time completely different. For while Ron had completed her, he couldn’t quite measure up. But Shego was her equal in nearly every way. She could interact with Kim on her level, something Ron could never achieve no matter how much he grew in his skills. Ron may have been under her nose, but Shego had been right in front of her face, staring at her with her matching green eyes as a true equal.
Kim still held onto her love for Ron, but with Shego it was a completely different kind of love. Shego completed her in ways that Ron never could. Their love was not about how much they completed each other despite being opposites, as it had been with Ron. Rather it was the fact that both of them were such wonderfully independent women who, while they had the occasional struggle for dominance, did not try to control one another or force the other person to do something that they didn’t want to. It was about more than respect for each other’s space, since they did not seem to possess much of that anyway. It was out of love for each other that they were willing to grant respect for the other’s individuality. It was not love in the traditional sense, but then neither woman cared much for tradition anyway. Kim was a former crime-fighting cheerleader who was now second-in-command of one of the world’s top espionage agencies. None of that was traditional, or even normal. Her mother had violated every tradition in the book by becoming a brain surgeon, one of the best in the country at that. And her father loved her mother because of this fact, not despite it. It was from her parents that Kim had learned to respect other people and let them be themselves, and she was amazed at how much her relationship with Shego reminded her of her parents. Both the Drs. Possible were wildly independent people, but when they came together it was as though they could not survive without the other; like they were always destined to be together. Kim now felt that way with Shego. She felt that by using her parents as a model, they could make this work.
Kim had spent her whole life searching for the perfect boy, which she had found but lost with Ron, but she had never considered that love might be feasible between two women. Even for someone who could “do anything,” she never thought that the way she felt about Shego was possible, even with her name. And yet her feelings for the older woman were so much deeper than infatuation. She found herself willing to sacrifice her life for the woman who had once tried to take hers, on numerous occasions no less. But those days were gone. Now a new era had begun in their relationship, and where there once was animosity, there was now love. What was once a fierce rivalry had become a quest to better understand each other instead of outperform each other so that both could improve by working together. Kim resolved to love Shego with all that was left of her heart, and she knew that the feeling was mutual. She sighed and turned her head towards the woman she loved, in awe of her perfect form and ravishing inner beauty. Shego was truly a sight for sore eyes.
Shego saw the younger woman staring at her and turned her head to face Kim, a smile forming on her lips. “What?” she asked with just a hint of embarrassment, interrupting the redhead’s thoughts.
Kim sat up in her seat and shook her head to clear it. She hadn’t been aware that she was zoning out. The thoughts that had filled her mind were incredibly deep and impossible to describe without boring the older woman to sleep, so Kim said simply, “I was just thinking about how beautiful you look tonight.”
Any other person would have said that Shego looked like trash. Her black hoodie was a bit torn and covered in dirt, and her hair was a veritable rat’s nest. Her cheeks and eyes were still a bit puffy from all the crying she had done, and in all she looked like hell. But she knew at once what Kim meant.
“Thanks. You too,” she replied, handing Kim a small compact mirror. Kim flipped it open and her eyes shot wide with horror as she witnessed the disheveled state of her face. Her eyes were a little red and bloodshot, her cheeks were still a bit puffy and drained, and worst of all, her mascara had run.
“Oh my God, I look like Alice Cooper,” the redhead finally managed to speak.
Shego let out a loud chuckle, disturbing the drunken Wegos in the back seat, who mumbled something incomprehensible that Shego took to mean, “Keep it down.”
“Sorry guys,” she apologized, then reached down into the glove compartment and pulled out a sanitizing wipe. She handed it to Kim, whose attention was held captive by the compact mirror. Shego had to shake the wipe in front of the younger woman’s face before she noticed it.
“Oh, thanks,” Kim spoke up, grabbing the wipe and using it to clean her mascara-stained face. She managed to get most of it off, but a faint shadow of the obsidian river remained on her cheeks. Oh well. She would scrub it off later. Perhaps she could take a nice, warm shower when she got to the house. Maybe Shego would join her and they could have a fun time cleaning off each other’s filthy bodies. She could take the soap and rub it in all the areas she knew that Shego liked, cleaning the older woman from head to toe, not missing a single crevice. She knew that Shego would return the favor. A smile crossed her face as she entertained this fantasy, and within moments she had sunk down into her chair and drifted once more into her own little dream world.
The dream was shattered once more by Shego, who smiled and asked, “What’cha thinkin’ about, Princess?”
Kim sat up and blushed a little. Her expression changed suddenly from sheepish smile to leer. “Oh, I was just thinking about how dirty both of us are,” Her voice turned husky. “and how fun it will be to ‘clean up.’”
Shego’s eyebrows rose with interest. “But I thought you said back at the concert that dirty was the idea?” she remarked in a jesting tone.
“It was,” Kim replied in the same sultry voice. “But now it will be so much fun getting clean.” She paused for effect. “Squeaky clean.”
The tone with which Kim said the words “squeaky clean” made Shego quiver. “Ooh, I like the sound of that,” she spoke with thinly veiled excitement.
“You’ll like how it feels even more,” the redhead assured her, giving the older woman a little preview by tracing her hands up her thighs. She was about to reach her destination when there was a slight disturbance in the back seat.
“Dude quit that! She’s your sister you sick fuck!” The voice came from one of the Wegos. Kim and Shego exchanged a glance and the younger woman turned around to see that one of the twins had his hand on his crotch. Kim wrinkled her face in disgust.
“Ewwwwwww,” was the only thing she could say. He was probably just thinking about her, but even that made her shiver. The Wego who was not molesting himself brought his hand up and smashed it down onto a rather sensitive area of his brother, causing the other Wego to yelp in pain. They rolled around the back seat in an attempt to strangle each other, and Kim decided to just let them fight it out and turned back to Shego, who had been paying no attention to her brothers (or at least trying not to).
Kim sighed and shifted her attention to straight out in front of her, trying not to pay attention to the little scuffle that was taking place in the back seat. Eventually Shego had had enough and lit up her hand, hitting both twins square in their respective backsides. Both of them sat up straight and kept quiet, knowing that pressing the issue any further would result in them getting ejected from the hovercraft. After several seconds of trying to hold this position, the alcohol in their system caused them to collapse and fall asleep. Shego let out a small chuckle and a smirk found its way to her face. She turned her attention back to what lay ahead of her. Kim witnessed the spectacle with great delight.
“I feel your pain,” she spoke up with a slight trace of humor in her voice.
“Brothers of your own?” Shego inquired, already knowing the answer but still curious as to exactly how Kim’s situation related to hers. It could be one more thing they had in common.
Kim nodded. “The worst. I’m convinced that their sole purpose in life is to drive me insane. You think your brothers are bad…” she trailed off as she rolled her eyes, thinking about all the times that the “tweebs” had pulled a prank on her. There were too many to count, but a few events stuck in her mind. Shego interrupted her thoughts for the third time in the last 5 minutes.
“Tell me more about them,” the green woman said in the most serious of tones, as though she was actually interested in finding out more of Kim’s past, if only to satisfy her own curiosity. She looked at Kim with an expression that the two of them rarely exchanged, but that both knew meant, “I want to find out more about you.” It was here eyes that made the look. They were filled with curiosity, interest, and love. The last of these was what prompted the question the most.
“Well,” Kim started as she stared up to the heavens, noticing that rain clouds obscured much of the sky and hid the stars from view. It was very peaceful, and not at all ominous. She suddenly noticed that she was getting lost in her thoughts again. She needed to focus. “I guess I’ve always been a little jealous of them because they’re smarter than me. I mean, they both went to high school at age 13! Caused me more than a little trouble during senior year.” Shego arched her eyebrow in curiosity at this statement, but Kim shook her head and gave Shego a look that said, “Don’t get me started.” The green woman nodded in understanding.
“So they’ve always been a pain in the butt?” Shego summarized.
“Understatement of the century,” Kim replied. “All they ever did when I still lived at home was pull pranks on me and just annoy me to no end.” A smile crossed her face, and Shego stared at the younger woman as she reminisced. Kim looked so beautiful. And the more she found out about the redhead the more she realized how much she loved her. It was a feeling she never wanted to end. Kim’s brothers did indeed remind Shego of her own, but the way Kim described them it sounded like nothing more than harmless fun and sibling rivalry. Kim had a family who loved her, something Shego had only recently reclaimed, and only after a tragic event made her realize how much they meant to her, and she to them. But Kim had always known love. What the younger woman said next confirmed that for Shego.
“But they always came through for me when I needed it,” Kim said half to herself as she looked once more to the cloud-covered night sky. Lightning was beginning to strike in the distance and soon it would start to rain, meaning they had to get home soon. A memory suddenly found its way to her mind, and she let out a quiet giggle.
“Do you remember when Drakken got both of us with mind control chips?” she asked the older woman as she slid down in her seat, letting her fatigue overtake her and just relaxed, enjoying the pleasant conversation she was having with Shego. It was moments like these, not just their intimacy in the bedroom, that gave Kim hope for their ever-closer relationship. It seemed funny to her how events of the past could seem so pointless at the time and yet take on great significance in retrospect. Kim found it fascinating how everything just seemed to connect and form a path that leads people to where they are at any given point in time, even if those events didn’t seem connected at the time. Kim shook her head at the deep philosophical thoughts that seemed to be pouring into her mind. Why hadn’t she been able to think like that in high school? Oh, right, because it was high school.
Wondering why Shego hadn’t interrupted her thoughts yet, Kim looked over and saw the pale woman staring straight out in front of her, a scowl on her face as she recalled the event. It was not the happiest of memories. Shego had been placed under Drakken’s mind control after she stole the chip that made it possible, not even knowing (or caring) what it did, which she soon found out was a mistake. As she revealed to Dr. Drakken after she had been freed from the mind chip’s control, she had been aware of what was going on the entire time. It had made her feel powerless, which was the one feeling she hated above all others. She needed to be in control, or at the very least allowed to make her own decisions. That was why her relationship with Drakken usually worked so well outside of that one incident, and it was the reason that she and Kim worked together.
The idea that someone would violate her basic human freedom of choice angered Shego more than anything. It was the reason she had freed Kim from Dr. Director’s spell. She knew how the head of GJ operated. Dr. Director did not do what she did for justice, but so that she could control the fates, actions, and even thoughts of other people. The last of these she achieved through clever manipulation that Satan himself could not have done better. She could not control everything that went on in other peoples’ heads, but she was able to manipulate their thought process, training them as to which thoughts to listen to and which thoughts to ignore. It was not quite mind control, but it still abridged people’s basic freedom to choose how to think. When Kim brought up the subject, she awakened some bad memories in Shego.
“Yes,” the green woman eventually grumbled. “I fucking hate fucking mind control.” Reminding herself that her feelings on mind control were not the subject at hand, Shego softened the expression on her face and turned to Kim. “So what does that have to do with your brothers?” Even though she already knew that they had been there and basically saved the day by freeing both Shego and Kim from the mind control chips, she wanted to know what Kim thought of the event’s significance.
“Well, I don’t know,” the younger woman answered, relieved that Shego had kept her anger under control for once. “I guess it’s the first time I realized how much my brothers care about me, and how they’re willing to do anything to help out family.”
“Your parents must be proud,” Shego said in the same warm, serious tone as before, reinforcing Kim and encouraging her to share more of herself.
“Yeah,” Kim said distantly and looked to the sky yet again. Little droplets of rain were starting to fall, dampening her skin in a very relaxing manner. It felt so peaceful, so comforting, so soothing. The rain seemed to envelop her in a blanket of cool water that washed over her imperfections and lifted her spirits rather than crush them like rain usually did. For while rain can be seen as ethereal tears, there is a certain peace in its unpredictability. You never know where the next drop will hit, and it is this lack of control over nature that inspires in us a sense of wonder, and when we stop thinking and just feel, all is made right as the cleansing water washes away all of the chaos, frustration, and stress from our lives. It is a feeling that we can lose ourselves in, an escape from reality. And as Kim lost herself in the sensation of raindrops gently massaging her skin, she found herself more at peace than she had been in years. The fact that Shego was there with her made it that much better. For that brief moment, nothing else mattered.
Shego watched Kim “soak up” the moment and thought about when she had met the redhead’s parents. She could tell right away that they loved their daughter, even if her old man was a bit paranoid at times (why did he hate show people so much?). But the concern he expressed was out of love for his daughter. Kim’s mother had resembled what Shego figured Kim would be like when she grew up, if only fate didn’t have to be so cruel. She was willing to have a bit more fun than her husband, and Shego could see where Kim got her playful side, not to mention sharp wit, bright personality, high self-esteem, and dynamite good looks. Kim had the best parents in the world. Shego wished her upbringing could have been like that. Her parents had died when she was very young, but the memories she had of them were not very good. She wanted to know more about the people who had raised Kim into the wonderful person that she was.
“Tell me more about them,” Shego spoke up, causing Kim to smile slightly as she sat up and flipped the switch to bring the collapsible roof over their heads. She didn’t want to get tooclean before her rendezvous with Shego later. Besides, it was now raining even harder. She could still hear the patter of the raindrops as they hit the metal that served as a barrier between them and the outside world. She had to speak up slightly for Shego to hear her response.
“Well, they’ve always been there for me, whether I liked them at the time or not. The biggest thing I learned from them is to be yourself. They let me go out on missions, Mom tried to give me advice on boys…” Both women chuckled slightly at that. Kim was most definitely notinto boys now, nor had she ever been. As she had once said, “Ron’s not a boy, he’s Ron.” That was one reason why she had loved him. For his refusal to fit in, and how he encouraged her to do the same. For how he supported her in every step she made. And now she loved Shego for much the same reason, but it was completely different. She knew that her parents had been enthralled when she and Ron had hooked up, they just wanted her to be happy. If that meant she was happy with Shego, then so be it. She let out a contented sigh. A few weeks ago there had been no one she could count on. Now it felt as though she had everything back. Her life was finally back in order.
Shego saw the smile on the redhead’s face. “You’re thinking about Stoppable, aren’t you?”
Kim’s expression was partly surprised, partly amused. Shego could read her like a book. “Yes. Yes I am.”
“Do you still miss him?” Shego’s face was the epitome of compassion. Her eyes invited Kim to open up, to share her deepest thoughts and feelings. Even feelings Shego wasn’t necessarily comfortable hearing.
Kim wiped a drop of water from her eye. Shego couldn’t tell if it was a tear or not, but given what was on the younger woman’s mind she wouldn’t be surprised. This was a very touchy subject for Kim. Shego knew that the redhead had loved Stoppable with all her heart, only to have him so cruelly taken away, by her no less. Eventually Kim spoke up.
“You know, I really thought that being with you would mean giving up my love for him, but it doesn’t.” Kim was staring out the windshield when she said that, still speaking to Shego, but she also appeared to be conversing with herself. “For the first time in my life, I understand what love is. Love isn’t meant to just be saved for one person, especially if that person dies. I mean, what’s the use of loving them if they’re not around to receive it, right?” Kim and Shego shared a laugh. Kim let out a sigh and continued. “Love is a gift, and loving somebody who’s already gone is just a waste of that gift.” She turned her head towards Shego. “I think Ron would like for me to be happy. I think he wants me to fall in love all over again and not cling to the past. If he was still around, I’d go back to him in a heartbeat, but…” She paused when she noticed Shego turn her head down slightly to look at the floor, then turned her attention back to the road with an expression on her face designed to mask the obvious hurt she had felt at that statement. Kim decided to continue anyway. “…but I’m not so sure about that anymore. I mean, given the choice between you and Ron, I don’t know who I would pick.”
That last sentence caused Shego to look back to the younger woman with a look of intrigue on her face. Her eyes were squinted slightly, trying to figure out what exactly was going on in Kim’s head. “Who would you pick?” she asked Kim, forcing her to make the decision right then and there.
Kim leaned slightly forward and grabbed the sides of her head in an attempt to concentrate. She hated having to make decisions like this. She was caught in a true dilemma. If she chose Shego, that would mean giving up Ron. Even though she said it wouldn’t, she didn’t know how she would be able to love Shego if her heart still belonged to Ron. If she chose Ron, that would mean giving up Shego, for the same reason. She did not want to be forced to choose. Eventually she just looked up and stated simply, “I don’t know.”
The look on Shego’s face relaxed. “Don’t worry,” she reassured the younger woman. “I’m not going to force you to make a choice you don’t want to. Not like it would make much of a difference anyway. I mean, he’s already gone, right?” They both shared a small laugh, trying desperately to bring levity once more to the situation. Shego shifted slightly in her seat to signal that she just noticed something. “Oh look, we’re here.”
Kim turned her attention to the front of the hovercraft and noticed that Go Tower was fast approaching. About time. The conversation had been heading down a dangerous route, and feelings may have ended up getting hurt if it had continued much longer. Her mind went back to her little shower fantasy. That would be fun
The hovercraft touched down in front of Go Tower and Kim retracted the roof. Shego turned around and shook the Wego twins awake. “C’mon, time to get up.” The Wegos let out a drunken moan and just went back to sleeping. Shego lit up her hand and zapped her twin brothers, startling them awake. “Alright,” Shego spoke up in a commanding tone. “Let’s all get inside and get ready for bed. This has been a long night.”
“Got that right,” Kim agreed as she stood up and exited the hovercraft. The Wegos needed a little help, and Kim was assigned the job of escorting the one who had an obvious crush on her. He tried to cop several feels, but after trading with Shego there were no more problems. At least one of the twins was decent. They went through the front door when Shego noticed something was wrong. Normally the lights came on automatically whenever someone entered. This time, they didn’t. Allowing the Wego she was assisting to sit down on a chair by the door, Shego instructed Kim to wait here and guard the Wegos at all costs. The younger woman nodded and Shego went to investigate, handing Kim a communicator before she went. It was inconspicuous and it attached to the ear, making it totally hands free. She would be able to call for help if she found anything.
Shego lit her hands and walked through the dark, empty tower, her eyes slowly scanning her surroundings. The only thing she could hear was the crackling of her glow powers and the steady, rhythmic beating of her own heart. Her breathing was calm and relaxed, but that was because she had no reason to be afraid. Yet.
It was just a flash, but for a split second Shego swore she could see a pair of eyes staring at her. She whipped her head around to see what it was, but it had disappeared. She shook her head and went back to searching for the power core. That was likely the reason that the lights were not working. She kept one hand lit and slid the fingers of her other hand along the slick metallic wall, searching for anything out of the ordinary. Eventually she reached the power core. “I’m here,” she spoke into her communicator.
The power core was located at the center of Go Tower. It extended up the entire length of the building as well as several stories below it, with entrances on each floor. There was a series of intersecting catwalks that crisscrossed each other across the room, forming a double helix effect that resembled a strand of DNA. There were staircases at each end of the room that connected these catwalks to each other, and moving from floor to floor was a matter of zigzagging across the enormous cylindrical chamber, crossing the room over and over again to go down each set of stairs. Or one could do what Shego did, and simply jump from catwalk to catwalk. Her super powers made this an easy feat. Within minutes she had reached the control panel that rested atop the massive core.
Shego flipped a switch, and at once the four multi-story power rods were brought to life, illuminating the massive chamber with the colors of Team Go: Blue, Purple, Green and Red. Back when the tower was first constructed, Hego had insisted on “alternative” sources of energy. The chemical makeup of each of these 40-story rods was the same as that of the comet that had given them their powers. The result was limitless energy, for their exclusive use. It was a gift from GJ. If anybody knew how to deactivate the power core, it would be one of their agents. That was what worried Shego.
She pressed her finger to her ear. “Alright, power’s on. Somebody just turned it off. Everything okay on your end?”
Kim’s came to her ears a moment later. “Yeah. Everything’s coming back on. I moved the Wegos into the main chamber with the screen, and,” Her voice suddenly sounded worried. “I kinda found something.”
“Found what?” Shego asked, looking around the chamber for anything she might find. Nothing was out of the ordinary in here, save for the fact that the switch had been tampered with.
“You’re not gonna like it,” Kim said with an obvious fear in her voice.
“What did you find, Kim?” Shego urged, the firmness of her voice telling Kim that she needed to know, no matter how bad it was.
“It’s blood,” Kim responded. “Lots of blood. I followed the trail and…” From the other end of the line, Shego could clearly be heard taking in an audible gulp. Kim steeled herself and spoke, “…it’s Mego.”
Shego froze. Her brain tried desperately to process what Kim had just told her, while her body just plain refused to move. Her eyes widened in realization. If Mego was bleeding, that could only mean…
“How bad is it?” she finally managed to speak.
“Pretty bad,” Kim answered. “He’s dead.”
Shego silently cursed herself for leaving Mego alone right when there was a killer on the loose. She could handle herself just fine, but it had been a while since Mego actually fought anybody. He never stood a chance. Finally she pressed her finger to her ear and told Kim, “I’m on my way.”
She made her way back down the catwalks, jumping from one to the other until she was on the first floor. There were still about 30 stories of core beneath her, so it was still a pretty nasty fall if she made a mistake. She took one last look at the core behind her before heading towards the door that would lead her back to Kim. But someone blocked her path.
He was about six feet tall. A bit thin, but he still had a fair amount of muscle, not that this was evident under the long black cloak he was wearing. But it was the sheer weight of the scythe he carried that convinced Shego that The Reaper was stronger than his frame would suggest. A bone-white hand adjusted its grip around the Kafziel, causing it to rotate slightly and shimmer in the light that it reflected from the power core. His glowing red eyes narrowed and Shego suspected that a wicked smile was making its way across The Reaper’s concealed face.
Finally summoning the courage to move, Shego pressed her hand to her ear and said, “Kim, get the Wegos to a safe place and get the hell in here.” She kept her eyes on her adversary the entire time. The green woman performed a perfect backflip, putting a good twenty feet between herself and The Reaper. She tore off her black hoodie and jeans to reveal her standard green and black outfit. She moved into a fighting position and gestured for her enemy to “bring it.”
The Reaper complied, twirling his scythe in a maneuver that was no doubt designed to intimidate, but merely earned a scoff from the pale woman, who was not easily impressed. After all, she was not a six year old girl anymore. She could fight. She could win. The Reaper’s ass was going down.
The Reaper made the first move, lunging towards Shego with inhuman speed, his Kafziel raised high in the air. His cloak trailed ominously behind him, as though he was truly a ghost. Shego effortlessly performed a back handspring and the scythe came crashing down, forming a hole in the catwalk. He pulled it out just as easily and swung it horizontally, giving Shego no time to launch a counter attack. The green woman rushed forward and slid down to avoid the swipe, hoping to take out her enemy’s feet.
The Reaper simply jumped and Shego slid under her opponent, catching a view of him from underneath. He was wearing some sort of black jumpsuit under the cloak, and Shego wagered that was what gave him his superhuman abilities. Time seemed to slow as she studied his thin frame, trying to find any weaknesses. There were red stripes running in a pattern that seemed vaguely familiar to Shego. She knew that she had seen those patterns somewhere before. She couldn’t quite place it, though.
Time sped back up and Shego kicked to her feet, turning around to find that The Reaper had launched another attack, striking her midsection with his foot. Shego flew a good twenty feet and slid on the catwalk, slamming her body into the hard metallic door.
Kim heard a resounding “CLANG!” as she ran through the halls, trying to reach Shego before it was too late. She had stowed the Wegos in a safe place and was now rushing off to aid the older woman. She had to make it in time.
Shego spat blood and stood to her feet. The Reaper was better than she expected. That kick was harder than anything she had ever felt, even the kick she received from Kim in the Diablos incident. She needed to stay on her toes. She dropped into her fighting stance once more and let her opponent make the first move.
The Reaper wasted no time, launching himself at the green woman with malicious intent. Shego was ready, igniting her hands and deflecting the scythe as it barreled towards her face. She followed with a kick to her opponent’s chest, stunning him and allowing her to perform a leg sweep that The Reaper barely avoided. Shego leapt over his head and landed in the middle of the catwalk in a feral crouch. She put all her weight on her left palm and lifted the rest of her body in the air, performing yet another leg sweep that looked as though she was on a pommel-horse. This time, she succeeded in knocking The Reaper on his back. Unfortunately, she landed on her back as well.
Her adversary swung his weapon along the floor in a semi-circular pattern, forcing Shego to jump with her shoulder blades, a maneuver that barely avoided the scythe as it slid underneath her, taking a tiny bit of her hair with it. Both opponents kicked to their feet and exchanged a series of blows, mostly dodges and counters on Shego’s part. This was not how she was used to fighting. Shego’s strategy usually consisted of slashing and swiping, with a few kicks and grapples thrown in for good measure. But this was different. She did not have a weapon of her own to counter with, so she had to constantly be on the defensive. The Reaper swung his Kafziel like a baseball bat. Shego ducked under the swipe and came back up with a swift uppercut, knocking her opponent back slightly and enabling her to perform a powerful spin-kick that sent him flying for a good ten feet.
Shego lit up her right hand and hurled a bolt of plasma at her enemy, determined to end this. The Reaper merely spun around in a circle, catching the bolt mid-swing and sending it barreling back towards Shego. Her eyes widened as it hit her square in the gut, launching her back into the opposite wall. She hit the metal hard, bouncing off the wall and landing on all fours, an intense pain growing in her midsection. That was a dirty trick.
She looked up to see The Reaper jumping at her in the same move with which he started the fight. Shego rolled forward, turning around mid-roll and standing to her feet, allowing her to plant a kick right in the small of her opponent’s back. The Reaper flew forward into the wall, hitting it with a loud “GONG!”
Wasting no time, Shego sent herself towards her adversary in a flying kick maneuver, hitting him squarely in the chest as he turned around and knocking him into the wall once more. She ran up to him and unleashed a flurry of punches, kicks and slashes, concentrating mainly on his midsection. The Reaper appeared to be weakening. It looked as though Shego might actually win. But The Reaper still had a few tricks up his sleeve.
Shego felt the blunt end of the scythe strike her in the chin, stunning her just long enough for her opponent to kick her in the gut and knock her to the floor. The Reaper spun the Kafziel over his head like a helicopter blade, and Shego noticed that a sharp spear tip was now sticking out of the bottom end. Her eyes widened and she had no time to react as he brought it down towards her midsection. This was the end.
Or at least that’s how it seemed until The Reaper was flying tackled by a woman with red hair. Kim’s arm caught him square in the neck, sending both of them crashing to the ground. He was unconscious for the moment. Kim stood up and walked over to her lover, whose life she had just saved. Shego was too stunned for words. Kim had showed up just in time.
“Need some help?” she offered, extending her hand to the older woman, who accepted it graciously and stood to her feet with Kim’s assistance. Both women turned their attention to the fallen man in a black cloak. Kim covered her mouth and giggled. “You were scared of THAT guy?” She never thought Shego would be so pathologically afraid of a man who looked so ridiculous with his long black cloak and clichéd glowing red eyes.
“I was six, okay?” Shego retorted in a vain attempt to defend herself from the younger woman’s ridicule as she dusted herself off. “Things are a lot scarier when you’re six. Besides, in case you didn’t notice, he was about to kill me!”
“I know, Shego,” Kim said more seriously. “I was just trying to bring a little humor to the situation. This whole thing’s been nothing but a bunch of drama.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Shego deadpanned, examining The Reaper’s fallen form. “For some reason psycho killers make everything serious.”
“So he just ambushed you?” Kim asked, crossing her arms and staring intently at The Reaper, studying him.
Shego nodded. “He was the one who turned off the power and killed Mego. He was probably watching me the entire time.” She grabbed her midsection and leaned forward slightly, tightening her facial features and letting out a small wince.
“You okay?” Kim asked, shifting her attention back to the older woman, making ready to grab her if she fell.
“Yeah,” she grimaced. “He was just better than I expected. I took a few hits, but I’ll be fine.” Shego recovered quickly and straightened herself once more. Looking at The Reaper once more, both women noticed that he was starting to move, letting out an audible groan. They looked at each other and grinned.
“Let’s see who’s the man behind the mask,” Kim suggested as they made their way over to the defeated Reaper. He fumbled around for his scythe, but Shego kicked it away. The older woman held The Reaper down as Kim walked up to his head and pulled off his hood. What they saw made both women take a step back.
He was about Kim’s age, Asian, with jet-black hair that had obviously been gelled down. Kim struggled to comprehend this new development. Suddenly it made sense why The Reaper was listed in the GJ Personnel Database: he was a GJ agent! But why this particular agent? Kim had worked with him before, and while he was fairly competent, murder was not among his strategies. She knew he had a penchant for following orders, but who exactly was giving those orders? The whole thing now made even less sense. Finally, she forced herself to say his name.
“W-W-Will Du?!” she stammered.
GJ’s former number one field agent smiled. “You have no idea,” he spoke ominously before pressing a button on his wrist, causing a taser to shoot out and strike Shego. The green woman winced in pain as the electric current surged through her body, then fell to the floor motionless. Kim watched the spectacle in horror and made a mad dash towards the agent, only to suffer the same fate as Shego. Electricity coursed through her 105 pound frame, and she started to lose consciousness. Just before she passed out, she took one last look at Shego. Then everything went black.
You didn’t see that coming, did you? This officially ends Act II, and the next chapter will be where everything comes together. I hope the cliffie leaves you excited and burning for answers. All will be explained in the next chapter. This took a little longer to get out, but I’ve been a little busy at school. It actually forced me to take the time to organize my ideas, and the result is a much higher-quality chapter. I hope you enjoy. I’ll start work on chapter 13 tomorrow, but don’t be surprised if that one takes a little longer to get out as well I’ve been really busy lately. Please read and review. No flames, please.