Title: An Unacceptable Sitch 11
Spoilers: None that I can think of. But see introduction to Chapter Nine for discussion of the Team Go episode.
Feedback: As this is my first story in a fandom I've only begun following in the last month, I hope everyone will give me their opinions.
Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. The Acceptable Family and all original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.
"We still need a way to take out that robot," Shego pointed out when Kim had finished explaining the plan to Ron and Monique. Kim was still trying to wrap her brain around Monique becoming a masked heroine, but that could wait until after.
"We need to find the mother," Kim corrected her. "She's obviously directing it from somewhere. If we can take care of her, then maybe we can turn that thing off."
"We could just destroy it," Shego said.
"There's an innocent baby inside," Kim shot back. "We can't let him get hurt."
"He's another one of _them_," Shego replied darkly.
"He's a toddler!" Kim said, shocked. "And maybe if we can just get him away from his twisted family, he might have a chance to grow up to be something normal. Unless you really want to hurt a two-year-old."
Shego looked away. "I do have my limits," she muttered.
"Fine," Kim said.
"Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth," Ron interjected, "but why hasn't the robot tried to kill us lately?"
Cautiously they raised their heads above their hiding place. Once again the robot was frozen in place.
"Is it a trap?" Monique asked.
"Wade?" she said, getting the Kimmunicator out.
"I bought you a few minutes, so if you can think of something, hurry," he told her.
"Wade, what did you do?"
Mrs. Acceptable pounded the keyboard with her fists. "Damn you, you little hacker!" she spat venomously. "You can't keep me out for long!"
Tron drooled as he stared transfixed at the images of Teletubbies bouncing across his monitors. He gurgled happily.
"I'd suggest broadcasting those images at the older Acceptables," Kim said, "but that's a little too cruel and unusual, even for them."
"I can't hold on much longer, Kim."
Shego cart wheeled out from their hiding place and ran to another sheltered spot. "Hey, John!" she called out. "You get any feeling back where I kicked you last month?!"
John straightened at the sound of her voice. "All I hear are the last words of someone about to die, Shego!"
"Then again, did you ever have any feeling there to begin with? You always seemed like a real limp dick to me!"
John balled his fists and seethed. The smirks from his siblings didn't help.
"Try to stay together," Kim said to Ron and Monique, before she darted out and ran in the opposite direction from where Shego had gone. She dove into a alcove. "You know," she called out, "when Shego warned me about the Acceptable Dynasty, I didn't realize it was going to be a dynasty of one!"
"Shut up, Possible!" Don yelled.
"Real snappy comeback, Don," Shego sneered.
"Totally," John muttered.
Don shoved him.
"How long you going to hide behind your mommy's apron, Johnny?" Shego asked loudly.
With the shortest temper of the three, John boiled with rage.
"I've never met someone who runs to his little brother because the other kids are picking on him!"
"Guess Mom can make you take out the garbage whenever she wants!"
"With Tron around, who needs the three of you?!" Kim asked slyly.
Don and Yvonne looked at each other uneasily.
"Hey, don't worry, Kimmie," Shego called back. "I'm sure if he asks nicely, Mommy will let Johnny carry the diaper bag!"
Johnny screamed with pure rage. "If anybody kills you, Shego, it's going to be me!"
Still screaming, he began running across the hangar bays, heading directly for Shego's hiding place.
"John, no! You little fool!" Mr. Acceptable swore.
If insulting him was meant to appeal to his reason, it was a bad idea.
Shego grinned and sank her claws into the barrel of gasoline. The metal quickly gleamed with a rime of frost.
As John got close, she picked it up high enough to throw it towards him. It didn't travel far, but the metal had been completely frozen by her gloves, and the metal drum split into two halves. The oily contents remained in a liquid state and spilled out across the floor, coating everything.
Just thirty feet away, his feet flew out from under him.
Mrs. Acceptable could only watch with impotent rage. "Damn you, John, you're in the way!" His pratfall didn't help her mood.
John struggled to his feet, hurt more by Shego's derisive laughter than by the fall. As he did, she dipped her hands in the gasoline and it swiftly became a sheet of ice. And since John was standing in it, the soles of his shoes were frozen to the floor. He looked at Shego hatefully and tried to free himself.
"Looks like you need a little _leverage_," Shego said, sliding across the ice on the flats of her feet and striking him with a powerful uppercut, breaking the ice and landing him on his back yet again.
"Damn it, Don, help your brother!" their father ordered.
Wanting to defeat Shego, and by doing so further embarrass his brother, Don didn't argue. He ran forward instead.
"No double-teaming," Kim said, shaking her head, as she leapt from her hiding place and ran to intercept him.
"Kim Possible," Yvonne breathed, her eyes gleaming. She began approaching, but she moved quietly so Kim wouldn't hear her coming.
Ron was looking their way, however, and he had no difficulty seeing her. "KP!" he shouted, but she didn't seem to hear. "Wooo-ahhh," he said, assuming an exaggerated martial arts stance.
"Ron," Monique hissed, knowing this couldn't end well.
He had no intention of leaving Kim alone out there with three Acceptables, a giant robot, and most of all, Shego. He jumped atop one of the barrels protecting them from view, balanced precariously for a moment, and then charged at Yvonne.
"Great," Monique muttered, looking around the hangar and seeing only Mr. Acceptable watching with impotent rage. "I'm stuck with Father Knows Best."
She did not go rushing pell-mell toward him, however. The Oryx was silent and deadly, so she stealthily moved along the perimeter of the room and allowed herself to blend in with her surroundings.
Don and Kim were bound to meet first, and they did as Kim dove forward and tackled him around the ankles. He cried out as he fell forward, landing on his stomach. "Damn you, Possible!" he snarled as he turned his head and got a look at his attacker.
"So not going to happen, Donny," she said. "Or should I call you Marie instead?"
Getting up, he surprised her by, instead of assaulting her, pulling a handgun out from the small of his back. "Now, you stupid girl," he began to say as he brought up the gun in both hands, having smashed the ice off of them earlier. Kim froze at the sight of the barrel. The hole seemed impossibly large. "Now you'll - "
Unfortunately, he dropped the gun.
She looked at the gun, then at him. He looked at the gun, then at himself. "Huh," he muttered. "Guess my fingers are still kind of numb."
"Goes with your brain," Kim said, kicking the gun away and then lashing out with the other foot, hitting him in the shoulder.
"A-Ha!" Mrs. Acceptable cackled triumphantly as she banished the last of those embarrassingly sickening TV characters from both her son's monitors and her own. "Now we can have . . ."
She was greeted by a high-pitched wail.
"Oh, damn," she hissed. "Tommy, sweetie?" she cooed. "Um, I'll let you watch as much of that show as you want. Just first let's blast those bad girls, okay?"
T. Ron Acceptable didn't seem especially mollified, as he hit her with an even louder shriek. She reeled back in her chair.
"Honey, please, lower your voice," she said anxiously. "It will only take a minute for you to . . . " Her face twisted with rage as she looked at the security footage and realized every one of their enemies was currently locked in battle with another member of her family, depriving Tron of any kind of open shot. "Can't you control our fucking kids for two minutes?!" she screamed at her husband.
Unfortunately, she'd forgotten she was still patched in to her youngest son, and her infuriated screams only frightened the child. He started crying harder.
Mrs. Acceptable was getting a migraine, and not from the circlet on her brow.
"Why don't you just give it up, She-goat?" John sneered as he fought back with greater success. "You and I both know I've seen the real you - the sniveling, whimpering, crybaby!"
Shego fought back passionately, but the look in his eyes as they fought, the way they sparkled with humor-laced contempt as he undoubtedly replayed the image of that one awful torture session in his head over and over again - the memory loomed in the back of her mind now, and instead of making her boil with fury as it usually did, now that she faced John Acceptable the humiliation slid into her heart like an icicle. "You're a real asshole, John," she muttered as she threw a punch that was blocked.
"No more witty repartee?" he asked mockingly. "Fired the last of your bullets?" She grunted as he blocked another punch and kicked her in the side. "Just so you know, you already have a death sentence on your head, but we haven't decided anything yet for Kimmie. I think when this is all over, I'm going to enjoy making her bawl like a baby."
He tried a straight kick to her abdomen, but Shego felt a cold kind of fury slide over her as she deftly twisted and caught his leg in her arm. She rammed her other elbow into his knee and he dropped. "You will never bring that kind of shame on anyone else, ever again," she said, her hands trembling with loathing. She grabbed him by the shirt and, pulling him upright, viciously backhanded him across the face with her claws outstretched.
Searing lines of pain erupted across his face as he fell backwards again. He reached up, and his hand came away bloody. Shego's sharp glove had left three diagonal parallel cuts across his face, narrowly taking an eye out. "How dare you!" he howled before he threw a wild and poorly judged haymaker at her head.
Shego caught his wrist in both of her hands and twisted mercilessly, making his lips stretch in a soundless cry of pain. His fingers uncontrollably spasmed, and she squeezed tighter. "You really want to relive that moment?" she asked hatefully. "You want to hear those words again?"
She grabbed his middle finger and pulled back with a ruthless jerk, snapping the bone cleanly.
John shrieked as he writhed.
"That's not what I want to hear, _Johnny_!" Shego snarled. "I'm bored of hearing you scream! Remember, Johnny? I want your tears! I want to see you CRY!"
She bent his index finger back so far that it almost pointed directly back along his arm. Then she took both broken fingers and mashed them together, aggravating the pain doubly. "Break down and cry, you little bitch! Remember that, too?" she asked, not even realizing tears of her own were running down her cheeks. "You wanted me to know who was the stronger one! Well, get a good look, you bastard, because you're _looking_ at her!"
John could only hang limply from her grasp, unable to stop the sobs.
She suddenly felt disgusted. "How could I ever give up to a weakling like you?" she asked herself.
Then she glanced over at Ron, who was closer than Kim was. "Hey, Stoppable, you want to trade? I've got no further use for this guy."
"Uh, sure, I softened her up good for you!" Ron called back, fighting with Yvonne and gradually losing.
"Softened _me_ up?" Yvonne said. "When I'm through with you, you're going to be tenderized!"
She heard an odd sound behind her. It sounded like a tiny raspberry. Then she felt a stinging pain in her rear.
"Aaaaaaa!" she screamed, turning and spotting the mole rat Rufus, who had evidently returned for another go-round with her. "Get off me, you little vermin!"
"Ruby, get her!" Ron said, pointing at Yvonne as he opened his pocket.
Ruby leapt out and attached herself to Yvonne's face.
"AAAAA!" Yvonne screamed twice as loudly. She began spinning madly, trying to pull the one off her backside and the other off her face. Her panicky movements weren't helping. "I _hate_ mole rats!!"
"Here's that fresh meat you ordered, Shego," Ron told her, putting his foot against Yvonne's back and propelling her toward Shego.
Shego pulled John to his feet and shoved him in the other direction.
Ruby saw him coming and nimbly crawled up Yvonne's face, putting her paw in the woman's eye and then almost getting tangled in her hair before leaping through the air and sailing into Ron's waiting arms. Rufus was already scampering back across the floor toward him.
Yvonne and John were hopelessly unable to prevent running into each other at full speed. They fell to the floor in a mess of arms and legs.
"Good work, guys," Ron said to the two rodents. "You'd better get out of here before Optimus Preemie over there wakes up."
Rufus winked at Ruby, and the two hurried away.
Shego grinned ferally as she jumped on top of Yvonne and began hitting her in the face, using her knees to keep Yvonne down. Ron just belly-flopped onto John. Soon the four were rolling around.
"That's a good boy," Mrs. Acceptable whispered, having finally coddled her child into doing as asked. This really was a year or two earlier than she would have liked, but she'd felt she had no other choice. "Now where are those little brats?"
She realized she couldn't see their surprise guest, Oryx. She wasn't fighting any of the Acceptable children. Most likely she was still hiding behind those barrels. Which, from the look of them, were a horrible place to hide from a robot's super-sized plasma bursts.
"Tron," she said gently. "See over there? Fire on that spot, and you'll see lots of lights and flashes. It will be fun."
Tron evidently liked the sound of that, as the robot raised its arm at last and quickly fired short bursts at the barrels that completely incinerated both them and anything that might have been behind them. A couple barrels skyrocketed in the air, leaving trails of burning gasoline behind them. "Oooo," Tron said in wonder as that part of the hangar became a small inferno.
The Oryx had been a thorn in their sides, and by taking Kim Possible's side, the nuisance had been upgraded to a real threat. Eliminating her was satisfying, but the true targets were still alive.
Her stomach shriveled to see Yvonne and John being completely humiliated by Shego and Ron Stoppable. "Tron," she said wrathfully, "get them. Get them both."
She directed the robot's cameras to focus on Shego and Ron, still locked in combat with Tron's older brother and sister. He failed to act, feeling hesitant. Even for a toddler like him, his brain knew John and Yvonne as "family", and hurting them would get Tron in trouble.
"It's all right, Tron," Mrs. Acceptable assured him. "I want you to, really. Those two have annoyed me for the last time."
Which two she was talking about wasn't specified.
Still, Tron carefully pointed a hand at the brawling foursome and began to power up for another shot.
"Uh-oh," Kim muttered as she watched the robot spring to life again, obliterating their old hiding place. "Big boy's awake."
Then she looked around. "Mo?" she called out, unable to see her anywhere. She could see Ron with Shego, but - "MONIQUE!"
"Who is Monique?" Mr. Acceptable said to himself, befuddled.
"Maybe she has me confused with someone else," Monique said behind the mask as she surprised him from behind, striking him in the solar plexus.
He glared at her. "So you are the Oryx my children have been flummoxed by."
"And you must be the _lummox_ who fathered them," Monique retorted. "Would you be offended if I said your parenting skills bite?"
"I can bite too," he said, smiling nastily as he raised his fists.
"You're just sick," Monique said. "I don't think I want to talk to you any more." She sprang in the air and, locking her legs stiffly together, bowled him over with a drop kick.
Kim caught the movements of the matte-black heroine and breathed a sigh of relief. But then she cried out as Don struck her powerfully in the kidneys with both fists. She fell to her knees, her insides screaming. The kick he delivered to her stomach rolled her over and left her on her back.
"John and Yvonne might be hopelessly out of their league," he told Kim, "but I've always been the best of the bunch."
"Well your entire bunch is rotten," Kim spat. Then she looked over his shoulder at the robot's hand swiveling over to aim at - Ron and Shego. "Ron!! SHEGO!"
Don turned his head and stared. "Johnny and Yvonne are in the way. What the hell is she thinking?"
Shego and Ron looked up at Kim's cry and saw the glowing hand preparing to fire at them. "Now do you see what it's like for us?" Ron asked.
"Just shut up," she growled as they both jumped away in different directions.
Yvonne shook her head as she got to her hands and knees. "I'm getting a cat," she mumbled dazedly. "And we're gonna wipe those hairless rodents off the map . . ." Then she gaped. "Uh-oh," she whispered.
Through more familial instinct than any sisterly love, Yvonne pulled her brother up by the arm and tried to get out of the way. The blast just missed them, but it landed close enough that it knocked them both flying. They landed in two small heaps.
Mrs. Acceptable scowled and pounded her fist. "Get the green girl and her friend, Tron," she urged him.
The plasma burst had returned both Acceptable kids to their senses, even as their near-destruction left both Don and Kim stunned. "Did she just try to kill us?" John asked his sister, confused.
"She was aiming for the other two," Don said, shaking his head. "They would have taken the brunt of the blast."
"Right, because your family loves each other _so_ much," Kim said below him. "Maybe you all should change your last names to Expendable, because you've just been replaced." She slowly got to her feet. "I can't imagine why, seeing as how good you are at your job."
John shot up. "Mother!" he shouted. "If you think you can go on without me, you are frigging out of your mind!" Staring directly at one of several mirrored panels that ringed the hangar near the roof, he drew his own handgun awkwardly and, using his unbroken trigger finger, fired four shots into it.
The glass shattered and fell, raining down on the metal floor. Mrs. Acceptable could be seen behind it, staring open-mouthed from behind a bank of computers, an odd contraption attached to her head. "John Acceptable!" she could be heard to shout. "How dare you fire your gun at your mother!"
"Doy," Kim muttered. "And I thought the Addams Family was weird." Quickly she tripped Don. "Sorry," she said as she rushed off, "but I just found the girl I've been looking for."
"We're not finished yet, you little bitch," he yelled as he went after her.
"She's going after our mother," Yvonne guessed.
"Not if I get to Mommie Dearest first," John growled.
Meanwhile Shego and Ron were getting to their feet. "Where's KP?" Ron asked.
Shego looked around. "Probably wherever the Acceptables are," she replied, realizing the three siblings had vanished as well.
Ron glanced at Monique. "Hey, Mo, you need a hand?"
Monique was busy struggling with Mr. Acceptable. "No - thanks - I - can - handle - this," she muttered sarcastically.
Ron looked at Shego. "I guess she's good," he said ignorantly.
Shego shrugged. "I didn't feel like helping her anyway."
Monique grumbled under her breath and planted her foot in Mr. Acceptable's crotch. He went down like a ton of bricks.
"Yeah, that's right!" Ron called after the now-vanished Acceptables. "You better run, because I got mad props in the fighting skills department!"
"Have you been reading Drakken's book on slang?" Shego asked suspiciously.
A wave of green fire passed over their heads, leaving a burnt black scar on the wall.
"Besides, we still have one Acceptable to ourselves," Shego added.
"Nowhere to hide now, Shego," Mrs. Acceptable leered. "No one to hide behind. You should have stayed in your cell. It would have spared you the indignity of dying at the hands of a baby! Tron!"
"There was a time when Shego dying probably wouldn't have bothered me very much."
Mrs. Acceptable spun around. "Kim Possible! How did you find me?"
"Hello? John Boy shooting out your plate-glass window?"
"Oh, yes, right."
"Anyway," Kim said angrily, "Shego trusts me to have her back, and I could never let her get hurt now."
"You can't make me stop Tron," Mrs. Acceptable said nervously.
"No, but I can knock you out and figure the rest out from here."
"Kim Possible! Mother!"
Kim Possible turned around and discovered all three Acceptable teenagers standing in the doorway. "No big," Kim said defiantly.
"Kill her!" Mrs. Acceptable shrieked.
"How about we kill you?" John snarled at her. "For trying to discard us permanently now that you have your darling baby fighting for you?"
"And for that smug little Cheshire Cat smile on your face every time you just sat there while our father punished us!" Don added. "Usually because you put him up to it!"
"Of course, we can kill Kimmie too," Yvonne pointed out.
"Great," Kim thought.
Monique was sweating profusely through her outfit as she rolled around the floor, fighting a guy twice her age over her own stun gun. "Okay, now I _really_ need some help here!" she yelled.
"Sure thing!" Ron replied. "Just a minute - aah!" He dodged out of the way, as Tron's foot missed him by a couple feet.
Tron Acceptable had stopped firing at them, but now he seemed determined to stomp on them like they were a couple ants. The room seemed to shake a little bit more with every thunderous footfall.
"Just great," Monique muttered as she felt her grip on the weapon weakening.
"Hah!" Mr. Acceptable crowed. "Just like my wife and I in the old days."
Monique smashed her head into his nose. "That was for you having what sounded like sexual thoughts about me," she retorted.
Unfortunately the head movement made her grip more awkward, and he wrested it away from her, scrambling away. "Now," he said, holding it dangerously in front of her as she slowly rose, "you are on the _horns_ of a dilemma, Oryx?"
"No wonder you retired," Monique said. "Your bantering ability is so forty years ago!"
Monique and Mr. Acceptable's heads snapped up as they saw Mrs. Acceptable come flying through the window of her control room and land on the head of Tron Acceptable. Kim jumped out and landed on his shoulder a moment later.
"What the hell?" they said in unison, and then they stared at each other, surprised.
He swung savagely with the electrocution device, but she dove underneath the arc of his swing, hitting him headfirst in the chest and propelling them both toward the center of the room.
Meanwhile, Tron Acceptable was growing increasingly frantic. The fact that he was so very young wasn't helping. Nor was the fact that his mother's voice had been disconnected once she had jumped from her seat in a desperate bid for escape from her infuriated children. Plus the fires caused by the flaming gasoline hadn't abated. In fact it had spread, and even though the fire couldn't hurt him, he was nevertheless becoming terrified of the burning flames, and the robot began to flail about. Stepping around the fires became more important than stepping on anyone in particular.
"Now what do we do?" John asked as the three siblings stood just inside the shattered window, watching as Kim and their mother were reduced to holding onto the robot for dear life.
"We watch," Don said calmly.
"Baby, sweetie, it's okay, Mommy's right here," Mrs. Acceptable shouted through the metal sphere that housed her baby and millions in computer technology, but he was beyond hearing her.
"Yeah, calm him down," Kim said from the other side of the robot. "Then I can climb over there and kick your ass."
"Tron and I are going to _rule_ this world, Possible!"
"You can't even rule your family without sparking a mass revolt!"
Shego and Ron were meanwhile unable to help Monique, who had fallen to the ground locked with Mr. Acceptable. The stun gun had been jostled from his grip and slid across the floor - to another large puddle of gas, one that had escaped being ignited. It stopped there, the ends just touching the gas.
Mr. Acceptable shoved Monique aside, who looked above her and saw the sole of one of Tron's giant feet coming down directly above her. "Oh, shit!" she yelped, rolling and narrowly avoided a squashing.
Her opponent, however, half-ran and half-crawled across the floor to where her weapon lay. He grabbed the handle, accidentally activating it.
A sudden whoosh of flame appeared as the entire puddle became ablaze. Mr. Acceptable screamed as he pulled his arm back, just missing having it badly burned. Tron, though, was not so lucky. Seeing the new threat appear right beneath his feet, he pulled back as much as he could, pitching the robot so off-balance that it began tilting backwards.
"Oh God," Kim thought, feeling her stomach turn and knowing what was about to happen. Mrs. Acceptable just continued to scream annoyingly.
Mr. Acceptable was focused on inspecting his hand for burn marks, however. Satisfied he had escaped injury, he raised his eyes.
Just in time to see the capsizing robot falling onto him.
The massive robot landed on its rear, completely erasing Mr. Acceptable from view, and with such an impact that the entire building shook violently. The Acceptable siblings all lost their balance but caught themselves just as they started to fall out. Their feet scrabbled uselessly against the metal wall as they tried to pull themselves up.
"KP!" Ron shouted, horrified.
"Kim!" Shego was unable to stop from screaming.
Before Kim could even ask herself if she'd survived that, the heavily damaged floor gave way beneath the extremely heavy robot, and in a scream of tearing metal, the robot fell right through.
This time, the tremors were so great that while everyone on the ground level was flat on their back, Don, John, and Yvonne Acceptable fell from the window and tumbled after the robot.
When the others were at last able to raise their heads, all they could see was the head of the robot, one of its brawny arms the only thing keeping the whole thing from falling the rest of the way. By now fires had erupted practically everywhere that hadn't collapsed into what was now a very wide hole. "KP!" Ron called desperately.
Ron started to run forward, but Shego grabbed him. "Hello?! Flames from hell? You do realize that stuff burns, right?!"
"But we've got to do something!" he said as he struggled to escape from her grip.
"She'll be all right," Shego said firmly. "She always is."
In fact, Kim was not all right. She was clutching onto the robot's back as hard as she could. The mother was nowhere to be seen. And she could see the other kids below her. Don was holding onto one of the robot's feet. John had one of Don's feet, and Yvonne had John by the knees.
Below them . . . "How deep is that?" she asked out loud, astonished.
"Several hundred feet."
Kim looked up and saw Mrs. Acceptable above her, straddling the head of the robot like it was a mechanical bull. Kim could still hear the baby crying inside. "There's a system of natural caves below our base," she explained calmly. "It's one reason we got the property. We've been storing a lot down here, such as the future of the Acceptables, Tron."
"This thing's future is going to be over in five minutes!" Kim yelled back.
"Pull, damn it," Yvonne was saying at the same time. "Pull us up!"
"I - can't," Don growled. "You're too heavy."
"How about I lighten the load?" John asked, his face twisted from the agony of holding Don's ankle while his hand had two broken fingers. He'd put his handgun back in its holster, but now he unholstered it and casually pointed it at Yvonne.
"John, what are you doing?" Yvonne asked, alarmed.
"Taking a dump!" He fired, hitting her in the shoulder. The impact cost her her grip, and she plunged into the darkness, screaming.
John looked back up at Don, grinning madly. "Better?"
"Yeah," Don said, his own eyes gleaming. "Thought it could be even better." He lifted his other foot and drove it into John's face. He yelled but managed to hold on. Another kick, however, left John holding onto Don's shoe by the barest of margins.
John grimaced as he pointed his gun upwards. "I swear, Don. You do that once more, and I'm putting a bullet in you too!"
Don laughed. "Then you'll fall anyway, dumbass."
"Dying sucks," John admitted, "but at least I'll outlive the two of you!"
Don looked at him thoughtfully, but then he smiled. "You're bluffing," he said, raising his foot one last time.
John didn't bother to answer. Don would never hear it. He only pulled the trigger a second time.
For an instant, Don continued to hold on, even as the bullet splattered his brains all over the robot's foot. John just smiled. He had outlived them both, as promised.
Then Don's corpse fell, and John fell with it.
Kim watched all this with utter horror. She rested her head against the metal, shutting her eyes and trying to block out the memory of those sounds - Yvonne and John's screams, Don's head caving in like that. Then she glared at Mrs. Acceptable. "Why didn't you DO something? They were your _children_!"
"They were reminders of my past mistakes!" the mother shouted madly. "Whereas Tron is the hope of future success! Besides, they would have killed me first!"
"I guess that's a lesson only one of us will ever learn," Kim said as she agilely ascended the robot's back. The robot was slowly beginning to drop under its immense weight, and if someone didn't get that baby out soon, it would die too.
"What?" Mrs. Acceptable said hatefully, unable to retreat as Kim approached.
"If you can't sacrifice yourself for your children," Kim said softly, now high enough that she could see Ron, Shego, and Monique through the flames, "then I will."
Kim shot her hand out and grabbed Mrs. Acceptable by the blouse. She looked back at Kim dumbly.
Then Kim turned and looked right at Ron. "Save the baby!" she shouted in a tone that brooked no dissent.
"KP?" Ron said doubtfully.
Kim pulled on Mrs. Acceptable with such force that both women fell backwards and tumbled into space.
"KIM!" Ron shouted while Shego and Monique watched, dumbfounded. He started running again.
"Get that kid out of there," Shego said to Monique before racing after him.
Monique jumped like an acrobat as she made her way to the sliding robot.
Shego meanwhile had taken Ron by the arm and was pulling him along with her toward the precipice. The flames singed their clothes, but neither paid any attention. "KP," Ron whispered, looking down and seeing nothing.
But then he felt a tug at his waist. He looked down and saw Shego taking the hair dryer-grappling hook Wade had given him the other day. "What are you doing?!"
She aimed and fired it into the hole, then put it in his hands. "If you drop this," she said warningly, "I'll come back and haunt you until you die."
Then she dove after it.
As Kim fell, she allowed herself to float downward, not even screaming. Mrs. Acceptable's own screams had ended quickly as her head struck one of the robot's feet on the way down. She felt peaceful. Her family was safe. Her friends were safe. With the Acceptables gone, Tron could be raised by a normal family, one where he could be a normal kid and never have to worry about his psychotic family coming back for him. Maybe her parents even, since they were about to lose . . . And Shego wouldn't have to be afraid any longer.
She was just sorry she'd never been able to include Shego in the "friends" category. If only Shego had let her.
She continued to fall, eyes closed.
Then her body jerked painfully.
For a moment she didn't open her eyes. "Am I dead?" she wondered.
"Damn it, Kim, stop hanging like that and give me your freaking hand! Doy!"
Kim's eyes flipped open and her head rose. "Shego?" she asked incredulously.
Shego was holding onto the front of Kim's cargo pants with one hand, and - her grappling hook was wrapped around Shego's other wrist. "It's a good thing you're wearing last year's baggy pants," Shego said wickedly, "or I wouldn't have had anything to hold on to. Now how about that hand?!"
Almost expecting this to be some sort of death-induced mirage, Kim tentatively reached up. When she felt the strong, and very cold grip, she realized this was real. Shego was saving her.
"Now climb!" Shego ordered.
With Shego pulling, and Kim climbing, eventually the two of them were holding on to the end of the grappling hook with both hands. Their bodies were pressed together as they hung suspended. "Now what?" Kim asked.
"Well, if your pal Stoppable has a brain in his head, he puts this little gadget of yours in reverse," Shego said.
"No, I mean what happens now? I mean, we're all alive, right? And the Acceptables - well, aren't."
Shego looked at her. "Well, this was a temporary alliance," she said, smiling. "I guess you and I are free to hate each other as much as we like."
"You just saved my life!" Kim said. "And in a very dangerous way that could have gotten you killed too. Do you really expect me to hate you?"
"Yeah, well," Shego muttered. "I don't know what I was thinking doing that."
Kim sighed. "If I at least said 'thank you', would you be able to accept it?"
Shego shrugged. "I guess," she said quietly.
"Then thank you."
" . . . You're welcome."
"KP! Are you all right?!" From the sound of it, he was at least a hundred feet up.
"C'mon, Stoppable, I don't have all freaking night!"
"I'm okay, Ron! Thanks to Shego," she added softly.
Kim almost thought she saw a hint of color in Shego's cheeks. Maybe there was something to the tan lines thing after all.
To be concluded . . .