Senor Senior Sr. finished his morning ablutions and proceeded to the kitchen in his usual manner. The sight of Shego sitting casually at his breakfast table flanked by three men in dark suits was surprising but he covered well. “Ah, Good morning Ms. Shego. May I say it is with great joy that I find you hale and whole. To what do I owe the honor of your presence on this fine morning?” Her glare was really quite impressive.
“They tortured me, Senior.” Her voice dripped with menace.
That surprised him anew, “The police tortured you?”
“They turned me over to a sadistic bitch named Lisa Chairman-”
“Surely you cannot think I had a hand in…” He stopped and dropped his head. “I believe I understand, you have been done a great injustice, precipitated by my actions against you, and you have come here to subject me to the same indignities you experienced?”
Shego looked genuinely shocked. “Hell no! I’m not a freakin’ psychopath.”
“I am sure you and your companions have not traveled all this way just to tell me you forgive me for my part in this unpleasantness.”
Shego smiled. Senor Senior Sr. had been through two wars, dealt with politicians, assassins, mercenaries and lawyers, but this smile was quite possibly the most frightening thing he had ever seen. A shiver ran down his spine and he desperately thought of a way to get to his escape craft. He would have to play along until he could lure them all into the lounge where he would have access to his defense control console. He changed his grip on his cane so that he could swing it better if they did attack him physically.
“No, I haven’t come to forgive you. I have come to exact my revenge and to that end I offer you this gift.” She pushed a large manila envelope across the table toward him. “My companions, by the way, are Agent Dewey, Agent Cheedim and Agent Howe.”
Shego shook her head.
Her head shook again and her smile got bigger and, if possible, even more frightening.
“I don’t understand.”
“Just open the envelope, old man.”
With shaking fingers, Senor Senior Sr. opened the envelope and glanced through the contents. “These are citizenship papers…” He looked at her with genuine confusion, “You have made me a citizen of the United States…?”
“Ahem, those papers show that you’ve always been a citizen of the United States.”
“Ms. Shego, forgive an old man his confusion but I still do not understand how this will accomplish your revenge.”
Shego stood up and walked toward the door. “These men are agents of the IRS.” She nodded at the three dark suited men, “They are here to talk to you about fifty odd years of back taxes, plus interest, penalties and fines...” Her smile returned, “And I’ve made sure that they have access to all of your financial records. Have a nice day.”
She left him alone with the taxmen. They were all smiling; he could practically see their hands rubbing together in glee.
Kim used the weight of her body to add momentum to the henchman in her grasp and sent him careening across the room where he ran head first into his compatriot who was trying to sneak up behind Will. Two more down, she thought, only twenty to go. It was getting harder to maneuver in here with all the piles of unconscious thugs, but somehow she managed. Spin… duck… kick… dodge… punch-punch-twist-kick… flip… back-flip-kick… counter… spin-kick… and… pirouette… body-slam! Done! She paused to take a look around the room. Only she and Will were standing. There was an occasional moan from one of the piles but no one was going to be coming after them soon.
“Nice moves there Will.” She was beginning to appreciate why he was… had been, she corrected herself, GJ’s top agent. “This way!”
“Are you sure?” he hesitated, “It would seem more likely to find the control room over that way…”
“I trained here for years, Will. I think I know where the top dog hangs out.”
They burst into the open command center to find Betty and Sheldon Director behind a squad of elite fighters. “The Chief is mine!” Kim snarled and launched herself over the heads of the guards. As she landed in front of Dr. Director, she caught a glimpse of Will taking down two of the guards with his stop-watch. After that, she was too busy defending herself to worry about anything other than the Chief.
“You were never a match for me, Kimmie.” The words were harsh and the tone condescending. Kim fell back under the Chiefs brutal onslaught. “Always looking for approval, always following me around, wanting a gold star, never a true soldier.”
Kim tried to counter attack but the Chief was too fast. Every time she tried to go on the offensive, the older woman batted her attack aside like it was nothing. Desperately she defended herself and slowly lost ground to the relentless physical and verbal assault. The Chief was landing blow after blow through Kim’s defenses. Already her chest and forearms were sore and bruised. The Chief was just powering through her defenses; nothing was stopping her. Kim felt self doubt creeping up into her mind. She had never been able to defeat the Chief, she didn’t know how. The Chief was stronger, faster and more experienced, it was hopeless. Why had she even tried to come here?
The Chief maneuvered her into the small spaces between the consoles; she tried to escape to the open area in front of the main view screen but was cut off at every turn. And the Chief’s hateful monologue continued, eroding her confidence and breaking her spirit. Her head snapped back and she felt the muscles in her neck stretch as the Chief landed an uncontested blow to her face. She slid across the floor and smashed into one of the consoles. When she opened her eyes, the Chief was standing over her. The one eyed woman picked her up by the front of the shirt and glared at her.
“This wasn’t even a fight.” She spat in Kim’s face. “You’re embarrassing, always have been, hanging out with losers and punks, never had the instinct, never had the guts.” She pulled out a length of piano wire. “After this, I’m gonna go kill your green-skinned freak of a girlfriend. My only regret is that I didn’t pull the plug on your little dork of a sidekick myself.”
Kim felt a rage building up inside her. Ron had always been there for her. Her one true friend. Always ready to cover her back, always ready with a flip comment and a goofy grin. She had never let anyone put him down in her hearing while he was alive and she was going to be damned if she would let this psycho bitch do it when he was dead. She reached up and grabbed the hand holding her shirt; she began to squeeze. She concentrated all of her rage into that hand. “You think I’m gonna let you kill my girl friend?” she hissed, still concentrating on squeezing. “You think I’m gonna let you take over the world?” She asked a little louder. The Chief’s eyes were darting to her hand, now encapsulated by Kim’s and the bones were starting to grind together. “You think I’m gonna roll over and die for you?” She was shouting now, and slowly rising to her feet. The Chief’s eyes were round with fear and her free hand waved aimlessly. “You think I’m gonna sit here and listen to you bad mouth my friends?”
Kim could feel the sharp ends of the broken bones in the Chief’s hand poking into her palm. She ground them together and watched the Chief pass out. She turned to see that Will had taken care of the guards but somehow Gemini had a gun to his head. “Release my sister or I kill him.”
“Give it up, Gemini.” Kim gasped out. “There’s an entire battalion of Marines and Navy Seals camped-out outside this place, just waiting for my signal to come in and take you.”
“Ha! I don’t believe you, Kim Possible! I have monitors all over this area, if there were that many troops out there, I’d know about it.”
“Would you believe a troop of Airborne Rangers and a division of the National Guard?” Will dead panned.
Gemini looked confused and Kim tried not to laugh. “Would you believe a mall cop and a well trained poodle?” She added with a giggle.
Gemini’s expression hardened. “I do not think you will find it so funny when you are cleaning up his brains, Miss Possible…” He cocked the gun and from the doorway there came an echoing ominous metallic sound of a bullet being chambered into a gun. It was followed by many similar sounds and a squad of fully armored Marines filed into the room.
“You had it right the first time, Miss Possible. Your friend on the computer hacked into their system and allowed us to surround the place with, well not quite a battalion, but close enough.”
Gemini looked around the room that was suddenly full of Marines pointing automatic rifles at him, and let go of Will. “I give up.” He said, dropping the gun and putting his hands over his head. The Marines moved in and began cuffing everyone.
“Miss Possible…?” The Marine commander walked up to where she was helping Will to his feet, looking decidedly uncomfortable. “My orders are to bring you in as well…” His eyes shifted from side to side and he scratched his head. “But if you were to… say… knock me down and run for the exit right behind me, I’m sure that any pursuit would be delayed for a few minutes while my men made sure I was alright.” He coughed nervously. Kim exchanged glances with Will.
“Why would you-”
“My nephew told me how you took care of him when he was brain-switched with that Dr. Drakken fellow… and I know you wouldn’t do any of those things they say about you.” He looked around again, “Do it now, Okay?”
Kim exchanged another quick glance with Will, raised one eyebrow and gave a little shrug. They pushed past the commander, who made a big show about falling into a heap and screaming bloody murder. He also managed to put himself into the line of fire between his troops and their retreating backs until they were safely through the doorway. Once topside, they ran smack into a man wearing pilot’s wings. He grabbed her shirt and pointed toward an attack copter sitting unattended about fifty feet away. “Take that one!” he yelled. “Compliments of Mrs. Xanatos.”
Surprised once more but unwilling to look a gift horse in the mouth, She and Will climbed in. “You know how the fly this thing?” she asked.
“AH-1W Super Cobra,” He said crisply, “It’s a little older but I can handle it.” He twisted around to look at her, “How do you know David Xanatos?”
Kim shrugged. It was the first time she’d heard the name. As they took off, she could see the pilot acting out an exaggerated pantomime of being overcome for the Marines that were coming out of the complex.
Anne Possible clung to Jim’s arm. Her fingernails dug into his skin, even through the thick denim jacket he was wearing, but he barely noticed the discomfort. The last three days had been a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Ron’s death had been devastating, and James thought he couldn’t feel any worse until the news of Kim’s death reached them the next day. Wade’s call, letting them know that Kim was alive had lifted their burden for a moment and offered hope that Ron was OK as well, but that hope was soon dashed. Now, they stood outside together waiting for the taxi that was supposed to bring their daughter to them and Anne’s fingers were tightening every time a taxi passed without stopping. She was late by nearly half an hour. Anne refused to let herself feel anything until she saw Kim and held her in her arms. At least that’s what she told herself, but with each passing minute, she became more convinced that somehow, she was going to have to live through the agony of losing her daughter once more.
When the taxi slowed in front of them, she wrenched open the door before it fully stopped and pulled Kim into her arms. The next half hour was a blur of touching and crying. Even the twins let down their guard and joined in the hugging. Kim was passed from family member to family member as they each reassured themselves and her that she was alive and with them. She spent some of that time apologizing for the delay; she hadn’t understood the Japanese address system and had asked the driver to take her to Chuo District instead of Chuo Ward.
About eight hundred kilometers away in Sapporo, a similar reunion was taking place. There was no less joy in the reunion, and no less grief for the loss of a beloved friend, but there was significantly more cheese, and due to injuries, there were no exuberant physical displays. The family contented themselves with holding hands and crying on each other in relief.
Bonnie wasn’t happy. For what seemed like days she had been bound and blindfolded while everyone around her spoke in a language she didn’t understand. She heard Ron’s name several times and her own, but no one would answer her questions. She thought she was being passed from one group to another at regular intervals because while the language stayed the same, the voices changed. Finally she was escorted into a cold room and forced into a chair. Her bonds were cut and her blindfold removed. She found herself staring into the smiling face of a short Asian man.
“Who the hell are you and what do you want with me?” She screamed at him.
“Ah, Lockwallah-san, you are awake.”
Her breath caught in her throat and she stood so suddenly that she almost lost consciousness. “R-Ron?”
“Welcome to Yamanuchi.” He was pale and drawn but there was no mistaking that goofy smile or those ears. “I understand you tried to show Taka-san the way of the light…” He was grinning that ‘I just made a funny joke’ grin and she wasn’t sure what he was talking about. Realizing he had lost her, Ron continued, “He said you attacked him with a table lamp when he told you he was going to bring you to me… And here I thought you liked me.” The sly look in his eyes let her know he was teasing.
Everything she tried to say caught in her throat. She pulled him up out of his chair and held him tightly. “Easy, Bon-Bon,” He croaked, “My chest is still a little sore.”
“I thought you were dead.” She sobbed. “I thought they were going to kill me too.”
“I thought I was dead too. After I got shot, a nurse came into my hospital room and woke me up. Started talking about how she was going to kill me for the good of all mankind, how she’d never be convicted because she’d be a hero… Then she kinda fell over and I saw Yori standing behind her.” Something about the way he said Yori’s name raised an alarm in her mind but she was too relieved to know that he was alive to care. The pain in his eyes answered her unspoken question about Kim.
“I would never have pegged you for an acrophile.”
Kim glanced over at the pale thief with a confused expression.
“Someone who loves heights and climbing.”
Kim looked around. From the top of the Izumi Garden Tower, she could see all of Tokyo. There were taller buildings, but she usually picked this one to climb, primarily because she could take the train to the basement. “I can think while I’m up here.”
Shego walked over and sat down next to the red head, feet dangling over the two hundred meter drop. “What are you thinking about?”
Shego put a comforting hand on Kim’s arm. “He might still-”
Kim closed her eyes and pulled away, “Don’t say it!” she said sharply. “Let me deal with reality.”
“Trying to offer me hope?” Her green eyes blazed for a moment, “I don’t want hope. I want Ron.”
“Is that all you want?” Shego said it casually, but there was tension in her demeanor.
“No.” Kim sighed, “but it’s top of the list of things I’ll never have again.”
“Never is a long time.”
“More hope?” Kim asked bitterly.
“Is it such a bad thing?”
They sat in uneasy silence for a while. Tears dripped from Kim’s eyes, blurring the lights of Roppongi spread out below them. Finally she asked, “Was I so horrible to live with?”
Shego snorted dismissively, “No. I enjoyed every minute we spent together.”
“Even when we were fighting?”
“Especially when we were fighting.” Shego laughed. Then she took a deep breath and let it out slowly, “But I felt like I was in a cage. Schedules… bosses… rules… paperwork… all designed to pin me down and hold me in place.” She got up and began pacing along the parapet, “You live with those conditions, you thrive in them, but me, I gotta’ be free!”
“For you.” The pale woman put a hand on Kim’s shoulder. “I don’t want to live like that, Kitten, but I don’t want to give you up either.”
Kim stood and faced her, searching her face for some sign of deception or hedging, and finding only naked truth. “Where do we go from here?”
“I hear Toshimaen is nice, after that…? Who knows?”