Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".
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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. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.
Kim was still exhausted as she made her way into Team Possible headquarters the following morning. She'd slept at home last night because she didn't feel like dealing with her mother questioning her as to why she hadn't been home two nights in a row. Even though she was working as hard as she ever did - training Ron, practice sessions with Shego, Team Possible business - sleep had come less easily than usual.
Sleeping in an empty bed, Kim had realized, just wasn't the same any more. The fact that this had happened after just a single night of passion with Shego - it surprised her. Not in a bad way, but it surprised her all the same. If this continued, she'd have to talk to Shego about, well, moving in.
"So not the drama," she muttered as she headed for Shego's room.
Shego's door was closed, and almost certainly locked. Kim had learned the other night that Shego didn't like the door to her quarters left open, after she'd slipped downstairs the morning after they made love and encountered Dr. Director. She'd returned only to fetch her clothes, not wanting to wake Shego.
When she'd returned hours later, Shego had told her in no uncertain terms that unless she wished it otherwise, she wanted her door closed and locked, whether she was in or out. Their exchange had been - memorable.
"I don't like being asleep in bed for hours, when anyone could come in without me knowing. Do you have a problem with that?"
"Do I get a key?" Kim asked.
"Yes," Shego said after a moment, "but I'd prefer you knocked first."
"Why? It's not like you have a troublemaking pair of twin brothers in the building."
"I've got my reasons," Shego muttered.
"You're just paranoid about losing your stuff because of all the things you stole over the years," Kim teased.
Shego surprised her by scowling ferociously at her, and Kim's smile faded. "Shego - "
The dark-haired woman looked away before she could say any more. "Sorry," Shego finally said after a minute like that. "I didn't want to tear your head off there. You just don't know what you're talking about."
"About what?" Kim asked carefully.
"It's not about my things," Shego said. "It's about my privacy."
Kim didn't push. She just waited for her to elaborate.
"Being able to lock my door and go to sleep," Shego finally went on, "was a luxury I didn't have when I was an Acceptable hostage."
"Oh, Shego," Kim said, instantly beginning to understand.
"It's no big deal," Shego mumbled. "It's just - when you've been rousted out of your bed and taken to the interrogation room for torture enough times, you want to avoid feeling vulnerable. I can't go to sleep knowing just anybody can come in, even when it's only a friend."
Kim nodded. "I won't do it again, Shego." It was so easy to forget that Shego wasn't exactly the same woman she'd been before, that Shego had suffered long and hard in the Acceptables' lair.
"Like I said, it's okay," Shego said. "I'm getting better. I mean, look at us."
"What about us?"
"You're the only person I'll completely lower my defenses around. I . . . trust you with my life, Kimmie." Shego looked embarrassed to have said such words, but the fact was, she'd said them.
Kim scooted closer and slipped an arm around Shego's waist. "Well, not that you'd ever need my protection, but I guess I'll have to keep a close eye on you at all times, won't I?"
Shego smiled finally. "How close?" she asked, unsnapping her outfit at the neck and lowering it slightly.
"I'll need an unobstructed view," Kim said with a grin. "Unobstructed by anything."
Kim turned bright red at the memory. Shego had more than complied as she took off her . . .
She coughed. Better to wait for Shego to get up. Otherwise she couldn't be held liable for what she might do.
As she kept walking, she noticed one of the storage rooms that had been converted into a temporary bedroom - for Kim or Ron or whomever needed to crash there - was open. She looked inside curiously as she went past.
Then she stopped, stepped back, and looked again.
Ron was fast asleep on his back.
Monique was lying on her back, also asleep. And her back was pressed alarmingly close to his body.
Kim stared. Then she spun away and out of view, leaning against the wall. Absurdly she felt as if she'd just eluded detection by armed guards.
Ron and Monique were still dressed, she'd noticed. Probably Ron had been practicing his moves late last night, and Monique had dropped by after patrol. They'd both been too tired to go home, so they shared a bed. That was it. After all, they were still dressed, albeit a little rumpled.
Kim and Shego had been known to rumple each other's clothing once or twice -
She slapped her hands over her face, mortified. THAT wasn't the image she'd needed!
Could Ron and Monique actually be - involved?
And if this so, why was she so bothered by it?
Kim quickly scurried back to Shego's door and knocked quietly. When there was no answer, she shrugged and used the key Shego had had made for her.
Shego also preferred to sleep on her back. Her blanket was in disarray, almost tangled up in her legs. Her full breasts, hidden from view by a black lace bra, rose up and down peacefully. Shego's head was turned to the side, her luxurious black hair draped across the pillow.
Anyone encountering Shego like this for the first time would have been thrown off by her pale, almost green skin. But Kim had stopped wondering why Shego's skin was that color long before Shego told her about the circumstances of her birth, and now she felt only faint stirrings of desire at the sight of this beauty.
Kim crept forward, stripping off her top even though it wasn't her habit going to sleep this late in the morning. After the lonely bed in her room, sliding next to Shego would feel -
"Took your time getting here, Pumpkin."
Shego opened her eyes and looked at Kim impudently. Kim just looked embarrassed. "You heard me? I thought I was stealthier than that."
"I heard the door open. Remember, I've learned how to be alerted by the smallest sounds," Shego said.
"Yeah, yeah," Kim grumbled, struggling to remove her pants. "You looked like you were sleeping pretty good."
Shego's hand shot out and grabbed Kim by the wrist the moment her pants were on the floor. Kim yelped as she felt herself pulled down onto the bed. Before she knew it Shego had both arms around her chest and was holding Kim possessively against her body. "I didn't sleep well," Shego murmured. "You're mine now, Kimmie, and I don't like having what's mine sleeping across town."
Kim chuckled, pleased by Shego's admission that her sleep was as restless as her own. "Or maybe it's you who belongs to me, and you didn't like being away from your mistress," she replied wickedly.
"My sidekick days are over," Shego whispered into Kim's ear, creating a chill down her spine.
"Speaking of former sidekicks," Kim said, remembering why she'd come to Shego's room so urgently, "I just saw Ron and Monique. In the spare room. In bed. Together."
Shego didn't reply at first. "You realize what this means?" she finally asked.
"Besides my two oldest best friends hooking up?"
"This complicates the wager."
Kim blinked. That was a funny thing to bring up. "Why our wager?"
"Stoppable and Monique could be spending a lot more time together."
"Yeah, and - "
"What if they start showing each other the moves we're teaching them?" Shego pointed out. "How will we know who's the better teacher if our students are sharing notes?"
"Oh," Kim realized. "Well, in the long run that's not a bad thing. They should know as many fighting techniques as they can, and more practice is always better."
"They've got plenty of time to get better when the month is up," Shego said irritably. "Right now they're here to do only what we say so I can get that hot, perky body of yours into skintight spandex."
"Oh, is that what's going to happen? You're so altruistic, Shego!"
Shego's arms slid up and down Kim's body as she shrugged. "As long as we're all getting something out of this, I'm okay with it."
"Still, what exactly are we going to do?" Kim asked. "Order them not to train against each other? It'll just make them suspicious!"
"Come up with an excuse," Shego said. "Stoppable defers to you. Give him something halfway believable, and it'll be 'Whatever you say, KP! Booyah!'," she added, mimicking him smugly.
"And what do you think you can tell Monique?" Kim retorted.
"I'll tell her that she's going to learn those moves eventually from me, and that I don't want Stoppable messing around with my training regimen," Shego said matter-of-factly.
Kim paused. It seemed, as Shego put it, halfway believable. "Whatever," she said. "You're still going to be wearing cargo pants before the month is out."
"Go to sleep, princess," Shego mumbled. "Do your dreaming there."
Kim didn't listen, though. "Still, I guess I'm okay with them dating. I mean, they accepted US being a couple. How can I not be as accepting?"
Shego grunted. "Is that your only reason for accepting it? Because they did the same for us?"
"Well, no, I mean they're good for each other and all. It's just - I never saw it coming."
"The great Kim Possible caught by surprise? Not possible!"
"Ha ha," Kim said sarcastically. "You're not surprised?"
"I have better things to focus on."
"Having you in my clutches, for starters. Doy."
One of Shego's fingers started twirling circles around Kim's navel, and suddenly it was very easy to not think about Ron's love life.
Ron Stoppable had not dated much in college. Still, he wasn't so inexperienced that he hadn't lost his virginity by now. And he knew that there were few things that felt as good as waking up in the morning to the feeling of a warm, inviting body pressed close to his.
As he slowly woke that morning, his first thought was that yes indeed, a good feeling it was. And Monique, not that he'd really noticed back then, had had a great figure even in high school. Now that she was in incredible shape . . .
It was then, as his brain shifted into full awareness, that he realized what he was doing.
He was in bed with Monique. Which was funny, because he didn't remember GOING to bed with her.
Ron's head snapped up as he looked at himself. He was relieved to see that he was still mostly dressed. For an instant he'd wondered if maybe they had DONE something together and he'd forgotten.
Monique was a good friend and a beautiful woman, but having a sexual relationship with her when they weren't even dating was probably not a good idea.
"Eh, Mo?" Ron asked quietly.
"Mmmphrrr," Monique mumbled in her sleep.
"Monique," Ron said, shifting his position as a way of shaking her awake.
"Huh - what?" Monique lifted her head and opened bleary eyes. "What time is it?"
"Monique, how did you and I end up in bed together?" Ron asked hesitantly.
Monique turned her eyes to him. Unlike him, she didn't appear the slightest bit confused by the situation. "We were talking for a while last night, and we were both exhausted. I guess we just both crashed like this."
"Oh," he said. Gently Ron sat up without jostling Monique too much. "Good thing nobody saw us like this. They might start getting ideas about us."
Monique chuckled. "That'd be funny," she said.
Ron scratched the side of his face. "Uh, yeah, I guess I'm not prototypical boyfriend material."
"Oh, come on, Ron, you know I didn't mean it like that," Monique assured him. "It'd just be funny if Kim thought we were sleeping together. I mean, how would you feel if you found out Kim and Shego were having sex?" The words were out of Monique's mouth before she realized how ironic they were.
"I don't want to know," Ron said. "I told Kim - no details of her sex life. As long as she's happy, I'm happy. But I don't need a blow-by-blow account of their nights together."
Monique pressed her lips tightly together, but she started laughing anyway.
"Yeah, blow-by-blow probably wasn't the best choice of words there," Ron sighed.
"It's like . . . a mad scientist's laboratory," Vivian said after a moment.
Betty didn't mention that she'd had a similar reaction to Dr. Porter's robotics lab yesterday. Instead she held Thomas a little more tightly and said, "Yes, well, Thomas has some of the packrat instinct in him."
"Packrats are collectors. Your son is much more than that," Vivian Porter replied.
Thomas was a very little boy, and children were not known for cleaning up after themselves. It was understandable if his playroom was messy.
Thomas' playroom looked more like a junkyard.
Most of his toys were off to one side. The rest, those with electronic components, had been disassembled long ago. Betty Director would never know what percentage of the computer he'd rebuilt for her was made from toys for children 3 and under. It was unspeakably fast nevertheless.
"I may be mistaken," Vivian said, "but he seems to prefer using kitchen appliances."
Betty's chuckle was forced. "Oh yes. Blenders, toasters, microwave ovens, mixers - I don't let him in the kitchen any more."
"He's only a toddler. How on earth did he - "
"I got them for him," Betty admitted. "Once he spots something he wants to take apart, there's no quieting him until he gets it."
Vivian looked oddly at her, and Betty flushed. "I'm a good mother, you know," Betty said defensively. "I know what you're thinking - what kind of mother lets her son play with household appliances?"
"Betty - "
"He takes things, you know. He crawls into other rooms, he sees things that his mind can somehow translate into the innards of a holographic inducer, and he drags them back to his room like some prehistoric man hauling prey back to the cave so he can make bones into spears! I figure, at least if he's supervised, I can make sure he doesn't hurt himself or - "
Dr. Director looked up. Her son's condition was making her increasingly frazzled. First she'd run off at the mouth with Kim, and now with Vivian. And all because the robotics expert had requested an opportunity to view Thomas' life in the home. "I'm sorry, I was babbling again," Betty said.
"It's all right," Vivian assured her. "My mother was the same way."
Betty blinked. "Your mother? Wait, you don't - speak binary too, do you?"
"Well, I understand the language, but I sort of have to in my field," Vivian said. "I just meant that when I was still a child, I tended to create rudimentary robots out of toys and stereo equipment. Although my work was nothing compared to Thomas', and he's a lot younger than I was."
"I'm not sure what to do at this point," Dr. Director admitted. "My biggest concern is his future health, but I'm also worried that he won't be well-adjusted as he grows older. If he's talking to computers the way you and I communicate, what if he prefers their company to other little boys? Or what if he spends all his time in his room like some kind of savant?"
"It's possible," Vivian acknowledged. "But ANYTHING is possible at this point."
"You sound like Kim," Dr. Director murmured.
Vivian laughed. "Actually I was thinking of her father. But as I was saying, he's still too young. He's got a lot of formative years left. His mastery of technology and the binary language may be expert, but his human brain is still that of a toddler. Although Holly Possible can attest to that better than I, of course. I suspect she and I will be performing many joint consults on Thomas over the years to come."
Betty nodded. "Speaking of the Possibles, have you ever met Kim's friend Wade?"
"I haven't," Vivian said, "but I think I know who you're talking about. Child prodigy, techno-wizard, out of school by the time he was eleven?"
"That's him," Betty said. "Right now my goal is for Thomas to turn out like him. I would prefer that Thomas spend a bit more time outside than Wade does, but in my conversations with him he's struck me as a very well-adjusted young man, for someone who spends all his time on the Internet."
"Well, like I said, that's something you don't have to think about just yet," Vivian said. "In the meantime, I'm going to give Holly a call and share my findings with her. We'll figure things out from there. I'm also considering speaking to this SAFO at some point. Perhaps she could hold a conversation with Thomas, gain a few insights into how his implants work in conjunction with the rest of the brain. If that's all right with you," Vivian added quickly.
"Compared to what he does in here, Thomas talking to an artificial intelligence is pretty tame," Dr. Director said.
"You should keep doing what you've been doing. I watched how you supervise Thomas in my lab yesterday, and you seem to be monitoring him closely. Although he never seemed to be in any danger of hurting himself, I noticed." Vivian shook her head. "Your son is amazing in that respect."
"My son is amazing in all respects," Betty replied.
"Of course he is," Vivian said instantly. "Anyway, I suppose I'll call you back in a week or so."
"Oh. Right, good," Dr. Director said. She felt oddly disappointed. Maybe because other than Team Possible and Kim's mother, Vivian was the first person she'd had a normal conversation with in years. And considering the twisted minds she'd encountered in the Acceptable home, sane and rational conversation about everyday life was a prized commodity. "I realize you're Thomas' doctor now - "
"Let's not put it like that," Dr. Porter said. "People might think I was practicing unlicensed medicine. Let's just say I'm his . . . tech consultant."
This time Betty's chuckle was sincere. "At any rate, I realize there are ethical considerations at play here, but maybe - we could talk again before then? About things other than my son's condition? I don't have many friends, you see."
Vivian raised an eyebrow. "Are we friends?" she asked.
"Well, I don't see why we can't be."
The robotics whiz didn't respond at first. Truth be told, she didn't have many friends either, if you didn't count robots like Oliver who were near-perfect imitations of humans. Maybe her people skills had atrophied a bit. It wasn't like she was out of the lab much, so dating had been out of the question for a long time. But just a friend . . .
"All right then," Vivian said. "Perhaps I'll give you a call the next time I'm free."
"Perhaps then," Betty agreed.
And as two professionals, they shook on it. Vivian realized she'd almost forgotten what living flesh felt like. And Betty felt just a bit less frazzled.
"Ron, we need to talk," Kim said hesitantly as they prepared for another day of training.
"Sure thing, KP," Ron replied. "About what?"
"Well . . . I saw you this morning. With Monique."
He looked blankly at her. "Eh?"
Rufus echoed the sentiment.
"In bed this morning?"
"Oh. Ohh! You thought - "
"And I just want you to know that if you and Monique are having an intimate relationship right now," Kim said before he could continue, "that's just fine with me."
"But KP - "
"Really, it's fine!" Kim said brightly. "Only we need to talk about how this affects your training."
Ron felt deja vu coming on. "Eh?"
"Well, you know how I've followed strict guidelines in teaching you," Kim said. She'd used a disciplined lesson plan in teaching Ron. She'd made sure he understood completely the moves he learned, and then practiced them so rigorously that it became second nature to him. It was always one part physical and one part mental.
Shego was probably just flying by the seat of her pants with Monique. Kim would win the bet for sure!
She suppressed a cackle, and suddenly what she was about to say became easy.
"Yeah, I know," Ron said. Summer vacation meant freedom from classes, but not from Kim's lessons. Sensei Kim was always fair and taught by example, but she could be relentless. That being said, every night got a little bit easier, not the other way around, so Kim was obviously doing it right.
"Well, when you and Monique spend time together, does she ever show you any of the moves Shego teaches?"
"Because if she tries to, don't let her."
Ron scratched his head. "Uh, run that by me again?"
"I don't want you learning your lessons out of order, Ron," Kim explained. "I'm afraid that if Monique shows you how to do things before I'm ready to show you, it's going to interfere with my teaching. I don't want you getting ahead of yourself, you know."
He considered telling her that he and Monique had been sharing information for several days now.
Then he thought about how Sensei Kim would respond to what was apparently a gross violation of "the plan".
Ron swallowed. "We, uh, couldn't have that, could we?"
"I'm glad you see it that way, Ron," Kim said happily. "So, HAS she tried to teach you any moves?"
Glancing behind Kim, Ron could see Rufus shaking his head frantically. Ron was with him all the way on that one. "Uh, nope, not really."
"Great, glad we're clear on that. Thanks, Ron!" She gave him a quick hug.
Ron suddenly realized she'd managed to prevent him for explaining that his relationship with Monique wasn't a sexual one. "Uh, KP, getting back to Monique - "
Their Kimmunicators beeped in unison.
"Hold that thought, Ron," Kim said as she reached for hers. "Hey W - I mean, hello?" She stopped herself from assuming it was Wade, since Shego had her own Kimmunicator and could contact her as well.
"Kim, I've got something big. Really big!" Wade told her on the viewscreen. "Where's Ron and Shego?"
"Ron's right here," Kim said as Ron came over to stand beside her. "Shego's out somewhere."
"Never mind, she's answering her Kimmunicator," Wade said. "Shego?"
A small box with Shego's face appeared in the lower-right corner of the screen. "What?" she asked, sounding irritated.
Kim shook her head and smiled. Shego hated interruptions. "Now that we're all here, what's the sitch?"
"I think I found Monkey Fist."
"Way to go, Wade!" Kim said. "How'd you find him?"
"I've spent all day tracing an encrypted email someone sent to a prisoner at the women's correctional facility near Boston, Massachusetts," Wade said grimly. "They must have sent it through at least five different continents, AND bounced it off several different satellites, but I finally tracked it down to a remote corner of the African jungle in the Congo River region."
"Wait, why the women's prison in Boston?" Kim asked.
"The Snake Charmer," Ron immediately guessed.
"It's serious, guys," Wade said. "She was murdered yesterday by another inmate while awaiting trial. Looks like someone hired the killer from outside, and that someone may have been Monkey Fist."
"Not Monty's style," Shego said while Ron and Kim gasped. "He usually sends his chimps to do his dirty work."
"Tell me how to get a monkey into a prison, and I'll buy you a soda, Shego," Wade said.
"But why?" Kim asked. "Why now? Monkey Fist must have known that the Snake Charmer spilled to us by now. If he knew she was in custody, then he knew we were the ones who busted her."
"Either he was killing her to shut her up on the off-chance she HADN'T told us about him yet," Wade said.
"Or he was punishing her for opening her big trap," Shego finished for him. "And who else in the Congo would want someone like her dead?"
"He's a real bastard either way," Ron said angrily.
"Ron?" Kim asked, surprised.
He shook his head. "She was just a thief. Not even a very original one. She didn't deserve to die. If he's my archenemy, then I'm sure as hell making him pay."
"Sounds like Stoppable's grown some cojones," Shego said slyly.
"And the muscles to match," Ron retorted.
"Save it for Monty, guys," Kim said. "Get me Sappho on the horn. We're going out to Wade's coordinates first thing."
Monkey Fist settled awkwardly into his seat. There was a beeping he had to investigate and - yes, it appeared someone had finally broken his encryption and isolated the source of the email.
He felt a presence behind him, and he pointed to the screen.
"Excellent," she said.
He couldn't agree more.