Title: An Unacceptable Sitch 8
Spoilers: None that I can think of.
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.
"You have been selected as the very best," Senior said calmly from the raised platform the following afternoon. "The twenty-four of you will be participating in a very dangerous mission in a few weeks. For the duration of that time, you will train on my island. I can permit no outside contact, however. You will not be permitted to make or receive outside phone calls, electronic mail, letters, or any other kind of transmission. Nor will you be allowed to leave." He smiled. "Hence my insistence on men without families."
He heard a noise through the doorway behind him. Turning to look, he saw a feminine shape approaching in the darkness. "Ah, excellent," he said. "We will be mounting an assault on the secret headquarters of the Acceptable Family."
There were murmurs, of course, and he raised a hand. "I know, I know, it's been tried before. But not with who I am about to show you. Just a moment, if you will." He stepped into the corridor. "My dear, perhaps the two of you could join me for a . . . moment?"
Shego glared at him. Her upper lip was caked with dried blood, the result of what appeared to be a severely bruised nose. "What?!" she asked irritably.
He stared. "Er, where is Ms. Possible?"
"_Ms. Possible_," she said, mimicking rudely, "is right behind me. I need a shower." She moved - no, limped past him.
Senior watched her go, then turned to see Kim arrive. She had what would be a very large shiner in the morning, and she looked drained. "Maybe tomorrow," he muttered as she opened her mouth.
She shrugged and kept walking.
Starting, Senior turned back.
Rufus was perched on the railing triumphantly, waving at the men, who now looked more doubtful than ever.
The old man slapped his forehead.
Kim felt bone-weary as she walked toward the bathroom. While they had their own toilets in their rooms, they were forced to share a shower. She had shed her dirty clothes and wore only a towel around her body.
She nearly bumped into Shego, who was similarly clad and had also been trying to enter the shower. "Do you mind?" she snarled at Kim. "I called it first, you know."
"Then maybe you should have gotten dressed quicker," Kim snapped, well past being in the mood for Shego's antics. She'd always known that Shego had a bad attitude in general, but Shego's temper seemed to have been lost since before she had entered the training gym that morning.
Shego had served notice that their practice sparring wasn't about refining their skills when she cracked Kim across the face with an open-handed slap that left her entire cheek flaming red. It had been about inflicting as much pain as possible.
Kim should have kept better control of herself, but she was sick to death of Shego's tantrums, and she'd allowed the session to devolve into an hour-long catfight. Ron, or practically any other red-blooded man in the world, would have been transfixed by the sight of Kim and Shego rolling around on the mat, scratching and kicking. A wild elbow had caused the blood to spurt from Shego's nose, while Shego's fist had struck her so strongly and squarely on the eye that Kim knew the shiner would be there for days.
Thank God Shego hadn't been wearing her gloves.
When the two women had regained some semblance of control, by mutual and silent agreement they'd "retired to their corners", and had worked out alone the remainder of the day.
Naturally Kim knew it had stemmed from the incident in her bedroom the previous day, but she hoped the fight had, at the very least, purged Shego of her anger. Now, however, Shego's body seemed to shake with a volcanic anger, and Kim despaired that their partnership could survive this. It was the Acceptable Family she had hoped to split apart, and instead they were the ones in pieces.
"That's easy for you to say," Shego retorted. "Considering you dress like last year's Gap commercial. You know what I think your look is missing? More pockets."
Kim glared at her. "Save it for the Acceptables, all right?" She tried to move past her.
Shego blocked her, although it was becoming less about who got to shower first, and more about finishing their argument. "After all, you had your little moment of adventure yesterday. You got to try my clothes on, got to feel a little naughty, something to tell your loser friends while you cover your mouth with your hand."
"I can't believe you!" Kim shouted. "You're still having a hissy fit over that?!"
"A _hissy_ fit?"
"You're pissed because I wouldn't agree to go on some kind of crime spree with you?" Kim rolled her eyes. "You actually thought I might say yes?"
"Of course not," Shego hissed. "After all, I'm just so far beneath the one and only Kim Possible, so pure she was carved out of soap! You must look at me like the trash that sticks to the bottom of your shoe."
Kim gaped at her, flabbergasted. "What are you _talking_ about?"
"Don't mind me," Shego said sullenly. "I should have remembered our roles. You're Kim Possible, saint. And I'm Shego, unreliable, untrustworthy deviant. I mean, the idea of me being your equal must have seemed so bizarre."
"Shego, that's not true. You know I - "
"Then why do I have to do all the fucking work?!" Shego exploded. "I'm the one telling you about my torture! I'm the one sharing how I used to feel about you! I'm the one expected to divulge all my personal thoughts, because this is all about trusting each other, so every day it's another test. And you? You like my clothes? What, am I supposed to just trust you _automatically_, because you're such a _good_ person? Why should I trust someone who doesn't even respect me?"
"If you're looking for me to approve of the choices you've made, Shego, stop," Kim said, but she was shocked by Shego's words. She'd questioned whether they were making any kind of connection, and all along it was Shego who was unable to trust her. She hadn't talked about herself? What was there to talk about? Her life the past five years had been relatively _boring_. It was hard to talk about breaking up with your first boyfriend in college when the other person had been imprisoned and beaten for years.
She sighed. "And you can't expect me to trust you when you're always believing the worst of me," she added calmly.
"That's just what I was thinking yesterday," Shego shot back.
Kim turned away for a moment. "Maybe we tried too much, too fast," she finally said, looking back at Shego.
"There's trust, and then there's _trust_. If the two of us are in a fight, do you trust me not to let you get hurt? To push you out of a bullet's path? To come to your aid if you're surrounded?"
Shego folded her arms and looked away. "I guess," she muttered.
"Would you do all that for me?" Kim asked. "Tell me you would, and I'll believe you."
" . . . when the chips are down, I've got your back," Shego finally promised.
"That's good enough for me," Kim replied. "But do you think of me as a friend?"
Shego snorted. "No," she said quickly.
"Then I guess we should just settle for allies, rather than trying to be friends, which obviously we're never going to be," Kim told her without emotion. "Don't go too far, don't lash out, don't ruin our chances. Because when we're in action, I consider you my equal, Shego."
The brunette seemed to be mollified by her words. "All right then," she said grudgingly.
"You can shower first," Kim added. "You're right, you need it more than I."
"Thanks," Shego said, her expression unreadable.
As Shego disappeared into the shower room and closed the door behind her, Kim walked away, feeling like she'd lost the chance for something special that day.
On the other side of the door, Shego used her arm to wipe bitter tears away.
Kim and Shego stood in front of Senior's latest crew. They looked.
The men looked back.
Senior looked at them all from his platform.
Rufus perched on the platform railing near Senior and waited.
Finally Shego made a noise of disgust and stormed off.
One of the men looked at the others and jerked his thumb in the direction she'd gone. "Who was that?" he asked.
"Some of you _are_ old enough to remember us," Kim said crossly.
Shego reappeared with a large blackboard. "I swear, it's like déjà vu," she muttered. Then she glared at the men. "Since our faces weren't enough of a _reminder_, I'll give you all a hint."
She drew "KIM POSSIBLE" and "SHEGO" in large white letters. Folding her arms, she waited expectantly.
As looks of comprehension dawned in many eyes, one man looked to his right. "Which is which?" he whispered.
"Here," Kim said soothingly to Shego, who trembled with rage. "Before you blow a gasket." She took the chalk away and drew arrows below the names pointing to each woman. "Now, are there any questions?"
One of the older men in front raised a hand.
"Shego's done nothing for years," he said suspiciously. "And you're retired. _And_ you're one of the good guys. So why should I follow you anywhere?"
Kim and Shego shared a glance. "I guess we have to," Kim said.
"Fine with me," Shego snarled, annoyed that her wrathful looks alone hadn't reduced the men to quivering lumps of terror.
"May we?" Kim asked, turning to look at Senior.
He waved a hand. "Try not to break anything. These men will be going into action soon."
Shego nodded. "I'm good for all of them," she said to Kim. "How about you?"
"I think we're going to have to share," Kim replied.
Then they catapulted forward and kicked two of the men in the chin with high kicks. Their motions were so identical, it was hard to believe they hadn't choreographed them in advance.
Senior quickly lost interest, the outcome not being in much doubt. "I have never met a talking rodent before," he said to Rufus. "How did you come by the ability to speak?"
Rufus smiled and shrugged.
"Did you come into contact with some kind of mutagenic ooze?"
"A bite from a radioactive spider?"
"Were you transformed from a human into a mole rat by an evil sorceress?"
"Where did young Stoppable come by you?"
"Ahhh," Senior mused. He turned his cell phone on. "It's me," he said after the person he was calling answered. "I need you to get me all the information you have on Smart Mart, including the kind of money it would take to buy the company . . . yes, that's right, Smart Mart . . . just do it!" he added irritably before severing the transmission.
Kim rammed her knee into her opponent's chin, having doubled him over with a blow to the belly. "It's nice to hit something that doesn't block your attack 99 times out of 100," she thought out loud.
She didn't notice the burly fellow behind her, fingers clasped together in one big fist as he raised his arms above his head.
Kim's instincts completely took over as she bent over. She felt Shego's hands press against her shoulders briefly, but she was looking down and couldn't see what was happening.
What was happening was Shego running toward Kim, vaulting over the redhead, and twisting her body parallel to the ground as her foot rocked the man across the face. His entire body swayed to the right from the impact, and he landed on the ground.
Kim stood up and looked at them. "Thanks," she said breathlessly.
Shego turned her head. "I guess you really do trust me," she responded quietly. "With your health, anyway," she added.
Kim would have trusted Shego with her life as well, if the other woman wasn't so inveterately suspicious and angry. She didn't say this, however. She would say nothing that could either break their fragile truce, or send their relationship once again in a direction that obviously they weren't ready for. "The fighting seems to have stopped," she said instead.
"I only got six," Shego replied. "You?"
"Six. Where are the others?"
They both looked to their right and saw the remaining twelve men cowering against the wall. "Hey, any of you want to join your friends?" Shego called out, gesturing to the other men groaning as they lay prostrate.
They all shook their heads.
"A tie. Damn," Shego muttered. "Just one more?" she pleaded.
"Come on, Shego," Kim said, walking away. "I think we made our point." She turned sideways and looked at Senior's men. "So, if we say jump?"
"How high!" they immediately said in unison.
"Not bad," Shego said. "How about a real workout?"
"Maybe we can break a sweat this time," Kim answered.
"Well," Mr. Acceptable said reasonably.
Mrs. Acceptable sat next to him. Her demeanor was calm, almost Buddha-like.
Their three eldest children sat around the table. Their expressions were blank, but within they regarded their father with fear and their mother with loathing. Because this meeting had been called because of her. Mother wasn't happy with the current situation, so she had to unleash Psycho Dad on them.
"We haven't been able to track down this Oryx girl," their father said. "Despite round-the-clock surveillance, we have learned almost nothing from the friends and family of Kim Possible. And after all this time, there is still no sign of Kim Possible _or_ Shego."
He pushed a button gently and one of his children was randomly selected to be shocked through their chair. It was Yvonne, and she jerked.
"The three of you," he went on, "have brought shame upon the Acceptable name. Because your performance has been anything but acceptable. Oh yes, it has been most unacceptable."
His wife smiled complacently as he pushed another button.
Wide metal bands shot out of the younger Acceptables' chairs, trapping them in their seats. They looked alarmed, and well they should have been - this had happened once before.
"AND YOU WILL LIVE UP TO YOUR NAME, OR YOU WILL NOT LIVE AT ALL!" he suddenly screamed at them, pounding the table with his fist before activating a switch that sent electricity coursing through his children's bodies at a voltage four times the usual amount.
He made a disgusted sound as he turned off the juice, allowing them to twitch and cough in their chairs, slowly recovering from the assault.
"I think it's time we became more proactive," Mrs. Acceptable finally spoke. She'd never given the least indication that her children's pain affected her.
"Your mother is right," her husband said.
"She's . . ." John began to say, but Don gave him a look of death. "Absolutely right," John finished sullenly.
"Of course she is," Mr. Acceptable told them. "I think we need to take a member of Possible's circle into custody."
"Stoppable?" Yvonne asked, her ears perking up.
But Mr. Acceptable shook his head. "When Possible learns of the abduction, she will surely come right to us. She will bring her foolish sidekick with her, and then we shall have them both."
"Then who?" Don asked.
"What child doesn't need their mother?" Mrs. Acceptable asked innocently.
There was no response. The three teens were all suppressing their first answers. Don would gleefully have let John finish his earlier thought, but their father was in such a frenzy - thanks to "good old Mom" - that any punishment could easily strike all three, not just the offender.
"Tomorrow," their father told them, "we will bring Dr. Possible inside. We will give her daughter a couple days to arrive, and if that fails to work, we can begin extracting the information we need."
The malicious looks on the faces of the younger Acceptables suggested they all felt certain "emotions" could be worked out on Kim Possible's mother.
To be continued . . .