If You Build a Better Monkey 14
Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".
Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!
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.
"Is this how you were with Drakken?" Kim asked.
"Hm?" Shego replied, half paying attention.
"Feet up, filing your nails?"
"Oh, yeah, pretty much constantly." She looked over at her. "Although I didn't usually have my feet resting on the back of a 'morilla'."
"Shego!" Kim burst out, exasperated. "Those are genetically engineered killing machines you're using as furniture! And Ron's in the next room fighting for his life!"
"Please," Shego said. "Stoppable's only in danger if he makes me wait much longer. Maybe if you trained him a little better, it wouldn't take him so long to polish Monty off."
"How can you tell?" Kim asked. "You closed the door! Which I opened for a reason, you know."
"So Monkey Fist could escape?"
Shego sighed. "I was watching. He tried to make a break for it. I singed his fur a little, he decided he was safer with Stoppable, and I had to figure out a way to close the door so it wouldn't happen again. Which, of course, then left me with nothing to do but wait for you to show up."
Kim hadn't been able to watch the fight since she'd left DNAmy's lab, having used her Kimmunicator to download the temple layout and find Ron's location. "So - he's doing well?"
"Well enough that this fight should have been over a while ago," Shego said.
"Oh . . . but the morillas!"
"Shh," Shego said, raising a finger to her lips. "You'll wake them."
Kim clapped her hands over her mouth.
Shego laughed. "Just kidding, Kimmie. You could set off firecrackers in here and it wouldn't wake them. These boys are going to be hibernating for quite a while, I think. I guess Monty didn't train 'em to fight for extended periods of time. Unlike, say, you and me." She frowned suddenly and crossed her arms.
Kim scratched her head. "This didn't end quite the way I expected it to," she admitted.
"Swooping in to save the sidekick?"
"Well, kinda - I knew Ron was getting better, but I didn't think he could compete with Monkey Fist, with all his experience AND his new monkey ninjas," Kim said.
"He can," Shego said simply, still scowling. "Which is why you win," she grumbled.
Kim blinked. "What?"
"The wager. You win. I'll - wear your stupid mission clothes next time."
"But - there's still a couple weeks left! And Ron and Monique have to - "
Shego interrupted her. "Look, princess, I watched Ron fight the Supreme One not long ago. And I was giving Monique lessons before that. I know how good they were before this bet started. And I was watching Ron before. Right now, he's better than Monique. And I say that knowing just how good she's gotten."
"You mean it?" Kim asked, startled. Monique had been fighting hoodlums while she and Ron were still attending college and Shego had been in a cell.
"Yeah, I do," Shego said. "And if he's gotten THAT much better, THAT much faster than Monique, then you must be a pretty goddamn good teacher. Much better than me, anyway." She looked disappointed. "So there's no reason for us to wait another few weeks. You win."
Kim had beaten Shego many times over the years. Having Shego concede defeat was - strangely unsatisfying. "I'm sure you've done a great job with Monique," she said awkwardly.
Shego shrugged. "I thought so. Maybe you should take over, though. Monique's got skills, and I don't want to be slowing her down."
"Shego - "
"Ah-ba-ba-ba," Shego said, holding up a hand. "I'd appreciate it if you could save the gloating for when I show up in baggy pants."
"I wasn't going to gloat!"
"I know, Kimmie, I know," Shego sighed. "I do, uh, reserve the right to wear these, of course." With her hand still raised, she snapped her fingers. Once again, it was alight with black plasma.
"They show no sign of weakening, huh?" Kim asked, suddenly eager to change the subject.
"Nope," Shego said, sounding hopeful again. "It'd be nice if we knew how it happened, though."
"Do you still think it was Thomas?"
"Well, it's possible if he was in the building when you carelessly left my door unlocked while I was alone sleeping," Shego replied, grinning.
Kim smiled. "Oddly enough, I'm not feeling sorry about that any more."
"Ooh, naughty, are we? Anyway, it's possible, but according to Dr. Director, his reinventions are pretty random. And I think it's strange that a toddler who wasn't even conceived yet the last time I had plasma gloves would, by sheer coincidence, give me back my old powers," Shego reasoned.
"Still," Kim reminded her, "Thomas and Sappho can communicate in binary. We could always have Sappho ask him, just to be sure."
"Whatever," Shego said, shrugging. She stood up. "Where's Amy?"
"The device she uses to combine her subjects' DNA? It makes an excellent holding cell," Kim told her.
"Hm, really?" Shego asked idly. "Does it separate them too?"
"It did years ago. That's how we saved Rufus when he was spliced with Mr. Barkin."
"High school principal."
Shego chuckled. "How do I get out of this dump?"
"Here, give me your Kimmunicator."
"I really need a more appropriate name for this thing," Shego said as she removed it from her leg pouch.
Kim pointed hers at Shego's. "I'm transmitting you a copy of the temple layout. You can use the keypad to identify the key points, including the exit."
"Thanks," Shego murmured. "Think I'll head up. Tell Stoppable - " She paused. "That I said his fighting wasn't half-bad."
"That kind of exuberant praise? From you?" Kim said. "He'd never believe me."
"Ha ha," Shego said. "I'll check up on Amy before I leave." She started to walk past Kim, but she stopped and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "And you're getting those bites looked at when we get back."
"You too," Kim answered, smiling at the show of affection.
Once Shego was gone, Kim went over to the door mechanism Shego had used to close it. As she got closer, though, she heard a light pounding. She put her ear to the wall.
"Shego! I can't open it from this side! Are you going to let me out!"
Kim put a hand over her face. "Such a gracious loser, Shego," she muttered.
"KP!" Ron said once the door was opened. "You're okay!"
"And you're - looking more than okay. Victory suits you," Kim said. "Monkey Fist doesn't look so good, though."
"Yeah, well, I know you probably wanted to beat him, so I waited as long as I could! But I had to knock him out finally. Just between you and me, KP," he said, leaning forward, "when he's really close? Smells like poo."
"Aw, gross, Ron!"
"So where's Shego?"
"Off to make sure DNAmy is still in her cage," Kim said. "She tried to kill us with a swarm of rat monkeys."
"Wait, she tried to kill you? And you're letting Shego near her? Especially after DNAmy and the other villains wrecked her old apartment and tried to capture her?" Ron asked, surprised. "You must really trust your girlfriend."
"I do," Kim agreed.
Then she thought about it.
"Or maybe we should hurry."
"Still gotta drag Monkeybone upstairs, Kim."
"Oh well," Kim sighed. "It's not like she'd beat DNAmy up or anything."
"I still can't believe you!" Kim yelled at Shego as she piloted them back to America. "I leave you alone with her for twenty minutes, and you splice her DNA with a monkey!"
"Aw, but she and Monty make the perfect couple now."
"Team Possible shouldn't do that sort of thing to people intentionally!"
"Apparently me not being a villain any more doesn't mean I can't still hold a grudge for a long, LONG time," Shego said casually. "Don't forget I removed her hummingbird DNA first. I wonder how many calories it'll take her to realize her metabolism has changed again."
"Fat monkey Amy," Ron said, shuddering. "I may not be able to eat tonight."
Rufus made a face. "Uh-uh, no way," he wailed.
"I'm not sure what the authorities in Africa were more thrilled about," Kim told Dr. Director that night after they'd landed at the Space Center. "Having Monkey Fist in custody, or having DNAmy in custody. Monty's wanted on a list of poaching charges that's as long as the Blue Nile, and DNAmy's in major trouble for her reckless genetic experiments on the wildlife. She's going to have to undo all her genetic experimentation before she goes to jail - otherwise they'd have to destroy all the monkeys for fear of what they might do if released into the wild." She shot a stern look at Shego, who brushed it off. "Hopefully being turned into an ape won't prevent DNAmy from doing it."
"I wonder what DNAmy's pelt would go for on the black market," Shego said thoughtfully.
Kim stared at her. Sometimes her sense of humor could be so, well - evil!
"Monkey Fist may not be in Africa long," Dr. Director said. "Wade contacted me earlier. He found plenty of evidence in Fiske's computer server that shows he ordered the hit on Irma Newcastle last week. Massachusetts state authorities should issue an arrest warrant for murder within the next forty-eight hours. Of course, after being in an African prison, an American penal facility could be 'so not the drama'."
Kim and Shego both looked at Dr. Director. "So not the drama?" Kim asked in disbelief.
"I'm not allowed to say it?"
"No, no, it's just strange hearing it from someone else."
"Someone older," Shego said.
"Look, I'm sorry you lost, now get over it!" Kim shot back.
"Um, am I missing something?" Dr. Director asked hesitantly.
"Nothing, just a little tension," Kim said, while Shego folded her arms sullenly.
"Ah. Well, I called ahead," Dr. Director told them. "Your mother will see you in the emergency room once you're done here. You were scratched and bitten multiple times by wild monkeys whose DNA had been altered. There's no telling what you could have in your systems right now."
"We know," Kim sighed. "Before we go, though, we wanted to get your permission for something."
"We want Sappho to ask Thomas something."
Dr. Director's one eye widened. "You what?"
Shego held up her hands and activated her gloves. "The one thing we didn't tell you is that my plasma powers are back, and I don't know why. But one of the only people who had any opportunity to do anything to my gloves was - "
"Thomas," Dr. Director finished for her. "He DID show an interest in your gloves the last time you were at my house. I guess it's a good idea. Vivian and I have been talking about having Thomas and Sappho talk more anyway. Let me get him."
"I'm not in a bad mood because I lost," Shego muttered.
"You're being snarky."
"I'm always snarky. Speaking of which, where's Stoppable?"
"He left Ruby with Sadie," Kim said. "He went to get her. And Shego, I think you should continue teaching Monique."
"She'd do better with you."
"I don't have time to teach two people - "
"Teach them both at the same time."
"Even then, I won't be giving either of them my undivided attention. And I don't know what Monique does and doesn't know," Kim went on. "There could be any number of things you've taught her that I haven't taught Ron and vice versa."
Shego looked at her intently. "Are you saying this because you don't want to hurt my feelings, or because you honestly believe Monique would be better off with me?"
"I honestly believe that," Kim said. "And I won't believe that Ron is sure to beat Monique in a match until I see it. I mean, when we fight, is the outcome EVER preordained?"
"Well, if I really want to win, yes," Shego replied with a wicked smile.
"You ALWAYS want to win."
"One of many things we have in common."
"And here I thought we only shared a size in clothing," Kim said dryly.
Shego started to pout. "Oh, Kimmie, you look so good in a catsuit. Why do you have to wear those baggy pants of yours? And make ME wear them?" She grabbed Kim around the waist. "Are these bodies meant to be hidden by big pockets?"
"Well, not when you look at it that way," Kim admitted. There really WAS no reason why she couldn't change her mission gear. She'd been wearing the same thing for seven years - why not debut something new to coincide with the emergence of Team Possible, Inc.? Something tight-fitting, something that Shego would just love - but not green and black.
Of course, she somehow doubted Ron would want to go on missions in a cat suit. Still, no reason why he couldn't go on wearing -
Dr. Director coughed in the doorway. "Ladies, if you're free?"
Kim blushed a little as she realized Thomas was staring at them. She backed out of Shego's light embrace. Shego smiled and shrugged, and it seemed the tension was gone.
Shego had deactivated her powers when she put her hands on Kim, but she turned them back on now. "You like, Tommy?" she asked sarcastically, waving her hands around.
Thomas Director made a little squealing noise and struggled in his mother's grasp with an arm outstretched.
"Well, THAT was suspicious," Shego said.
"It's almost like he wants you to hold him, Shego," Dr. Director said.
"Yeah, well, bad girls like me aren't much for being maternal, Doc," Shego replied. "Especially when someone's been playing with my things."
"I'm sure he didn't mean any harm if he did it, Shego. It was what you wanted, in fact."
Shego's eyes sparkled, and Kim had a bad feeling about it. "What I want is a night with Kim filled with nonstop sex, but I don't see how - "
"LA-LA-LA-LA!" Kim screamed, putting her hands over her ears as her cheeks started flaming. "I'm not hearing this!"
If Shego was hoping to get a rise out of Dr. Director, though, she was sadly mistaken. "I'm afraid they frown on carnal bliss in the ER, Shego, which is where you'll be an hour from now. Getting shots, perhaps."
When Sappho finally retracted her "eye" from Thomas' forehead ten minutes later, they waited for her to tell them what he said. And waited.
"AND?" Ron finally asked.
"I'd rather not say," Sappho mumbled.
They all looked at each other. "You're worrying me, Sappho," Dr. Director said. "Is Thomas all right?"
"Oh, he's fine! He's just - well, he's young. He doesn't understand computer etiquette yet."
"Etiquette?" Kim asked.
"Well, electronically his brain is very advanced," Sappho explained. "More advanced than I, in fact. But he's also very new. There are a lot of things he hasn't learned yet."
"Like scanning my memory files without my permission," Sappho said gingerly.
"Excuse me?" Dr. Director asked.
"It appears Thomas' cybernetic implants allowed him to bypass my firewalls and access my memory banks when we first made contact," Sappho told her. "Apparently I'm much more advanced than any other machine he'd encountered, and he wanted to see more of me. So he saw all my memories . . . plus some other things."
"What other things?"
"I told you."
"Told us what?" Shego asked.
"That I'd rather not say."
"Sappho!" Dr. Director exploded. "You are on Team Possible's payroll, which makes you an employee. And if Kim Possible wants you to share information she needs, then you give it to her. Understand?"
"I'm sorry!" Sappho pleaded. "It's - embarrassing."
Kim groaned. "Well, how about you just tell one of us, and that person can tell the others outside?"
"I guess," Sappho finally agreed. "I'll tell Dr. Director."
"Kim," Dr. Director said, "since Shego isn't the mommy type, could you take Thomas and wait outside the hangar for me?"
"Sure thing," Kim said.
Shego looked from Dr. Director to Sappho. "I can't believe she won't say what this is," Shego grumbled. "I thought I was your favorite pilot."
"You are!" Sappho said. "But I can't tell you most of all!"
"This is sounding weirder by the minute," Ron said.
"Yeah," Ruby agreed.
The three members of Team Possible, plus their two mole rats, were forced to wait outside with Sadie like students outside the principal's office. "Who knows what my cousin has done this time?" Sadie asked. "Her parameters are completely irrational!"
"Leave her alone," Shego said. "I'm sure there's a good answer."
"I'm sure there's an answer too. 'Good' isn't the word I was going to apply, though. 'Deranged', perhaps," Sadie replied.
Dr. Director's arrival forestalled any further bantering. "Okay, I know what happened now."
"Was it Thomas?" Kim asked.
"Yes, he told Sappho he did it."
"And was it a coincidence?" Shego asked.
"No," Dr. Director told her. "It was definitely NOT a coincidence." She paused. "Apparently, when Sappho has no one to talk to, she spends a lot of time on the Internet."
"And?" Shego asked, her voice growing dangerous.
"Sappho has downloaded a great deal of security and news footage showing you and Kim fighting, Shego," Dr. Director told her. "Actually, Kim has nothing to do with it. She just likes watching footage of you."
Shego stared at her. "You're kidding."
"I don't believe I could make this up, Shego. She's absolutely fascinated by you. And when Thomas saw all the footage of you with your plasma gloves, he decided to change them back as a favor to Sappho."
"Where do you GET security footage of Shego?" Ron asked.
"Villains Digest Online, where else?" Kim told him.
"I should be more surprised, but I'm not," Sadie muttered.
"I'm not entirely surprised either," Kim said. "She's always flirting with you."
"She just does it because Sadie likes you more," Shego said.
"Perhaps at first," Dr. Director said, "but Sappho tells me that if she were human, she would want to be just like you."
"This is what happens when you give machines personalities," Ron said.
"It's not like you don't flirt back, you know," Kim grumbled. "Always 'grabbing her stick' and 'taking her for a spin'."
"Look, I am NOT in love with a spaceship!" Shego shot back.
"How come you don't flirt like that with me?"
"Hello? Did you really not hear me say the words 'night with Kim filled with nonstop sex' earlier?"
"Whoa, penalty, fifteen yards for too much information!" Ron said.
"Could everyone just settle down for a minute?" Dr. Director asked. "Now we know what happened. And judging by Thomas' other inventions, your gloves should continue to work for quite some time, Shego. And Sappho has promised to delete all the downloads and tone down on the spicy talk if you promise you'll keep flying her."
Shego ran her fingers through her hair and grunted. "I've never exactly had an artificial intelligence crush on me, but I'm all right with that if Sappho promises to stop talking that way when Kim's around. And if she recognizes that Kimmie's the only girl for me."
Kim smiled in spite of herself. Suddenly complaining about robotic flirting didn't seem to matter any more.
Dr. Director smiled as she took Thomas from her and saw that Kim was barely paying attention. If a woman with one eye could see they were meant for each other, then so could Sappho.
To be concluded . . .