Story: Give Me One Reason (chapter 10)

Authors: A Markov

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Chapter 10

Title: Learning to Fly, Six: Lift Off

I’m not sure how long I stood there semi-catatonic, my mind racing in circles like a computer stuck in an endless contradictory logic loop, trying to make sense of this new information. Every time my mind completed a circuit of the illogic loop, another piece of the puzzle fell into place and a picture I’d never consciously anticipated was taking shape.  The more I tried to deny it, the more it made sense. I snapped out of it when I heard the door slam and a part of me understood she was going away.  There was a voice in the back of my mind screaming that if I let her get away I’d never see her again.  I started after her but when I hit the street I stopped short. 


What could I say to her? 


What did I want from her?


What did she want from me?


If I chased her down, would she expect me to… be with her?


Do I want that? 


What do I say? What do I do? What do I want? 


I caught a glimpse of her. She was nearly a block away and moving fast.  I had to decide.  My mind continued to race along, sorting through all of the possibilities, the complications, the problems, the issues, the gossip… but I kept coming back around to the simple fact that I didn’t want her to leave.  I wasn’t even sure why I felt that way, but I knew I didn’t want to wake up tomorrow and not be able to call her up on the phone.  I didn’t want to face another disappointment without her sharp tongue and biting sarcasm to amuse me.  I didn’t want to come in to work on my days off because I didn’t have anything or anyone else to occupy my time and I couldn’t spend one more day alone in my apartment staring at the TV. My life before the accident had been lonely.  I didn’t want to go back to that.  That was enough for my legs, they took off after her and the rest of me had no choice.  I chased her down and cornered her. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say, much less how I wanted to say it but I knew I had to say something… I started babbling. I’m fairly sure I didn’t make any sense but I have a feeling she didn’t really want to leave any more than I wanted her to go.  She let me stutter for a few minutes before she clapped her hand over my mouth growled, “Gah! If I promise to come back with you, will you shut up?”


It was awkward for a while but after a few weeks, we developed a kind of comfortable rhythm to our time together.  I wanted her around but I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea and think I “wanted” wanted her.  I also didn’t want her to think I was leading her on so I constantly pointed out the fact that I didn’t want to sleep with her...  I don’t think she believed me.  She insisted that she was perfectly happy just to be my friend and that she wouldn’t sleep with me if I threw myself at her…  I know I didn’t believe her.  At the end of the day, neither of us wanted to be alone and our relationship, no matter how weird it might have seemed at times, fulfilled that. 


You understand the social difficulties people in our positions face.  Never knowing a person’s true motivation… Never knowing when the requests for favors will start coming… What you don’t know is that I was never socially adept when I was younger.  Throughout high school and college I had many acquaintances but I never made a friend.  Elly was my first real friend.  I realize now, that I would have slept with her if I thought it was the only way to keep her around.  I’m sure she knew that and it’s a testament to her regard for me that she never once pressured me, physically or emotionally.  The months passed and a new pattern emerged in my life.  Sheldon spent most of his time on projects that wouldn’t come under my jurisdiction and when we did come into conflict, he was always supportive.  I’m not saying he ever took a dive.  I think we’re both too competitive for that but, after foiling one of his plans, I’d get a nice congratulatory note in the mail.  If he got away with something, the note would compliment my effort and assure me that I would do better next time.


Sitting across the table from a woman who used to be on my ten most wanted criminals list and is now my best friend, reading a note from my brother congratulating me on foiling his latest scheme, I came to a deeper understanding of the word “surreal.”  Slowly, my world outlook was changing.  You see, while you were giving me the run around and dragging your feet refusing to help me, my brother, the supposedly evil one, was helping me in the only way he knew how.  While the Agency’s psychiatrists were delving into my sub conscious trying to prove to me that hanging out with Shego was self destructive, she was making me laugh and making me feel as though I belonged somewhere.  I still came into work every day, but my heart wasn’t in the job anymore.  Fortunately, I had a couple of first rate junior agents on their way up and some senior agents who were fully capable of taking over some of my duties.  Sadly, none who was able to take over everything, but I have been able to spread out the duties among several top agents.  Ken Triplicate is a records ace.  Ben Sight is doing wonders over in analysis and planning. And Will Du is heading field operations more efficiently than I ever did.  Global Justice is in good hands. You don’t need a bitter woman who’s heart isn’t in it to be running it, especially one who’s dating an ex felon, and a female ex felon at that…  Oh, right… I skipped that part, didn’t I?


It was about three months ago, Elly had started training for her second assault on Mt. Midoriami.  To help her in her quest to conquer the thing, she enlisted the aid of one Sayuki Asami. Now, Sayuki is the cutest little Japanese girl you ever laid eyes on.  Athletic… determined… sweet too.  But she’s never made it past the second stage of the Sasuke women’s course much less the first stage of the men’s.  I knew Elly had picked her as a training partner because of how cute she was as much as because she was a good training partner.  I knew it because she told me so.  I don’t think Elly was trying to hurt me, but she was trying to make me a little jealous. Boy, did she succeed. I was so damn jealous we had matching complexions.  I had a hard time understanding it and a harder time accepting it.  It took me about three days to work it out, but when I understood what was going on and accepted it, I…  Let’s just say I’ve never been one to let what I want slip through my fingers… even if I’m missing half of them.  I wouldn’t say I was gay, but I wouldn’t say I was straight either.  Love doesn’t recognize gender and I’ve never spent any time worrying about sexual orientation.  In fact I’ve spent very little time worrying about sex at all.  It always seemed like too much work to be worth it.  You’ve got to take your clothes off… it’s messy… no one does it right… then you’ve got to clean up… get your clothes back on…  Why bother?  I’d been with men. I’d been with women.  It was the same thing.  Way too much drama for something I could take care of myself in a fraction of the time at my own convenience.  But I had never been with someone I really cared for and, quite frankly, I was unprepared for the difference that made.  And Elly can do this thing with her plasma that’s… well, it’s none of your business, actually.


As I was saying before I got sidetracked, I’ve made the necessary preparations.  GJ is in good hands and, in a few years, young Miss. Possible will be ready to take over my old job.  She may be ready sooner.  Perhaps she’ll break my record and become the youngest Director ever appointed. But that isn’t my concern anymore. None of it is. You had your chance to show me how much you valued me and my talents and you squandered it.  You used the bureaucracy of our organization… your organization now… to try and keep me in check. I’m done with that.  I’m done with your little power struggles and your red-tape.  In thirty seconds, I’m going to get up and walk away from it all.  I’m going to go get a new hand and then I’m going to start a new life.  You can consider this my resignation.



The thin man studied the woman sitting across from him intently. She was quite possibly the most dangerous woman in the world right now.  With her knowledge of the inner workings of the intelligence community, and her close relationships with a couple of the world’s more notorious criminal types, she could cause a lot of trouble. It would be easier for him in the long run if she conveniently forgot most of what she knew, but there really wasn’t any easy way he could make that happen.   He sighed inwardly, regretting the fact that he had allowed this meeting to take place in a public setting.  There was no way he could take her into custody discretely.  He was also positive that she had not come alone.  He couldn’t see Shego, but he was certain she was lurking somewhere nearby.  It was no coincidence that the former Director had pointed out the mercenary’s infiltrating prowess several times during her narrative.  It was also possible that her brother was nearby as well.  Sheldon was just as smart as Betty and lacked her moral compass.  The thin man suspected that if he tried anything, there was a good probability that he’d find himself plunging into the unknown.  His staff psychiatrists had warned him that this outcome was a possibility but they had rated it as negligible.  Among other things, it was time to get some new staff psychiatrists.  On the plus side, she had provided for her departure. She had rearranged the GJ command structure and distributed her duties across her senior agents.  The transition would be as smooth as any of its type could be.  Right now, she was not an enemy, even if she was not an ally.  Letting her go allowed the possibility that she could be used by Global Justice in the future.  Trying to take her in would result in her being rendered useless or worse, becoming a dedicated enemy.  It took him less than a second to decide.


With a sad smile, he reached across the table.  “We’re going to miss you, Elizabeth.  I hope we can count on your discretion and occasional assistance…?”


She smiled back and took his outstretched hand with her good one.  “Of course.”


As she walked away, she was joined by a plump blonde woman.  A cab pulled up as they approached the curb and they got in.  As a matter of course, he ordered them followed but in less than twenty minutes he got the call saying that the tail had lost them.  He sighed and turned his attention to an internal matter in the CIA.



Sheldon glanced at the rearview mirror.  The car that had been tailing them was no longer visible.  He waited a few more minutes to make sure there wasn’t anyone else behind them before announcing to the women in the back seat, “We lost them.” 


Betty let out the breath she hadn’t realized she been holding and sagged against the pale woman beside her.  “That went better than I thought.”  When she didn’t get an answer, she turned to look at Shego. The former thief had removed her blonde wig and was sitting quietly with an unreadable expression on her face. “What?”


“I heard everything you said to him, you know.”


“I know, El.  I was telling the story for your benefit as much as for his.  I wanted you to know… what’s wrong?”


“I don’t want you to be with me just because there’s no one else…”


“El, there is no one else.  And there never will be.”


“Gah!  I think I’m going to throw up.”


“Well, open a window.  These are new shoes.”


Shego’s expression softened and she pulled Betty in tighter.  Glancing up, she noticed they were getting some attention from the front seat.  “Keep your eye on the road, twin-boy, or I’ll poke it out!” she growled at the driver.


“Don’t think that just because we’re in a moving car I can’t push a button and send you sliding down into the sewers, Mistress of the Dark.”


Shego lit her hands. An operation made more complicated by the fact that they were in a small enclosed space and that Betty was holding on to one of them.  “I’ve been taking lip from you all day, Tweedle-bum. You say that one more time and I’m gonna give you a plasma enema.”


“Truth hurts, huh?” He said with a smirk.


Shego tried to untangle herself from Betty and climb into the front seat.


“Stop it, El! He’s just trying to get a rise out of you.”


“Well, he’s going to get a lot more than he bargained for if he keeps pushing my buttons.”


“Besides, he’s right… in a round about way…”


“It’s all fine and good for you to stick up for your brother, but remember who you’re sleeping with to—“ Shego stopped and looked at Betty.  The one eyed woman was trying to keep a straight face, but a little smirk was showing around the edges.  In the front seat her brother was grinning like an idiot.  “What do you mean, ‘He’s right.’?”


“I don’t think this is the best time…”


“No time like the present.  You two can let me in on the joke or you can let me out of the car.”




“Don’t you ‘Elly’ me.  Spit it out, Ms. Director.”


Betty looked sheepish.  “That’s part of it right there.  My… our…” Her gesture took in Sheldon, “…family name isn’t ‘Director.’ That’s just my title… was my title.”


Shego glanced back and forth between them.  Neither of them was hiding their amusement very well and it was starting to get on her nerves.  “What the hell is your name then?”


Sheldon turned partway around and included both of them in a sweeping gesture. “Elvira Gonzales… I’d like you to meet Elizabeth Scarita.”


“Scarita.” Betty echoed between chortles.  The one-eyed woman was obviously trying to control her expression. “My name’s ‘Scarita.’”  She was shaking and a tear was rolling down her face.  She obviously thought that it would mean something to the pale woman and she was biting her lip in a not entirely successful attempt to keep from laughing out loud. Shego kept looking back and forth between the twins trying to understand what was so damn funny and getting more and more upset.  Betty recognized it and tried to stop laughing.  “It’s Italian…” She took a deep breath and covered Shego’s hand with her’s. “It’s been mangled over the years but, roughly translated it means ‘the black’ or ‘the dark.’”


Shego’s eyes were as large as Betty had ever seen them “No. Fucking. Way.” She whispered. A strangled choking sound came from the front seat. “Tell me you’re joking.”  The pale woman begged.  Betty didn’t trust herself to speak.  She just shook her head.  A snort escaped from her throat.  Finally she couldn’t hold it in any longer and she broke out in uncontrolled laughter.  From the front seat, her brother joined in.   The pale woman put her head in her hands and sighed deeply.  “It’s just not fair.” She said quietly, a grin spreading across her face despite her shock and disbelief at life’s little quirks. “After all this time, after everything I’ve done to get away from it, I end up actually being… I’m actually El… Elvira… Miss… I’m… Mistress…” Her mouth worked silently a few times but she couldn’t bring herself to say it.  Finally she just leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes.


“Look at it this way, Elly.” Betty said, giving her a little kiss on her cheek. “We were supposed to end up together. It’s Destiny.”


“Well, Destiny is a bitch.”


The End.

[End notes:

Thus concludes “Act II: Learning to Fly.”  Look for the continuing adventures of Betty and Shego to appear in this space sometime in the summer of 2008.  It will most likely be called “Act III: The Ballad of Bet and Elly.” 


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