Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (2)
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.
Kim turned her head and sneezed.
Or at least tried to.
It was hard when Shego's lips were locked with hers. It was even harder when this was one of those times when kissing was like sparring - both women fighting for dominance, years of rivalry and a lifetime of pride driving them to seek the upper hand. One might gain the advantage, but could never dominate the other. Perhaps that was why they did it. Knowing that the competition they seemed to feed off would never end between them.
Except now it was also fueled by the connection, the sense of knowing who each other REALLY were, that linked them. There was a mutual respect and appreciation that was behind every caress and gesture. When Kim's hand cupped Shego's cheek, it was like she was saying, "Thank you for being able to understand what kind of person I am." And when Shego's fingers trailed lazily along Kim's arm, she was almost thanking Kim for believing she was worth something.
Even when their competitive sparks were dormant and their arms held each other gently, this feeling of union was still there.
Right now, however, Kim was about to sneeze.
Pulling herself away was easier said than done, considering how possessive Shego's free-ranging hands got at a time like this, so Kim simply yielded instead. It was the last thing Shego expected, and she broke the kiss, giving her a questioning look. Kim's answer was a sneeze that barely went over Shego's shoulder. "Sorry," she said. "It's dusty in here."
"Hm," Shego said, grabbing her by the elbows and practically molding Kim's body to hers through sheer will, so that their breasts were the only thing allowing air to flow between them. "I always knew I'd get you in the gutter with me some day," she added with a taunting grin.
"If you think this will happen the next time if this place still looks like a sewer, you're crazier than the other villains combined," Kim shot back, smiling. They'd decided to work on getting Shego's rooms at Drakken's abandoned lair - aka, the new headquarters of Team Possible, Inc. - habitable. It had led to Kim getting dust and mildew on the back of her Club Banana shirt as Shego attacked her in a fashion quite unlike she had five years ago. But Kim wasn't the only one with a little grime on her, and as if to prove what she'd just said, she reached up with some difficulty and removed a cobweb from Shego's perfect waves of hair.
Shego chuckled. "Miss Responsibility would rather clean? All you have to do is break my grip. It should be easy for Kim Possible."
Kim didn't try. Why fight to break free, when her tongue could be dueling with Shego's once more?
"Mmmmmph!" Shego moaned into Kim's mouth. They were a unique breed, she and Kim, and she'd never share this kind of chemistry with anyone else. Part of her still wished there were no other Possibles, no Oryx, no one to share Kim with. And of course, no . . .
Shego broke the kiss. "Stoppable," she breathed viciously, and Kim shivered as Shego clutched her all the more tightly and their breasts rubbed against one another. "Interfering again, what a surprise."
Kim sighed. "He'll be up here any minute. We'd better clean up."
"Why, don't you like it dirty?" Shego murmured, her eyes intense.
Kim wondered who had rubbed off whom more, because at the same time, Shego didn't sulk or pout. She just released Kim and began smoothing her hair. While Kim reached a hand back out and ran her hand along the curve of Shego's hip, sending a tremor through the other woman.
"I can do anything," Kim said, and flashed a confident smile.
"Or anybody," Shego purred, and by Kim's expression, she knew she had the upper hand.
"Sorry, Ron," Kim said as they entered. "We're doing some cleaning, and we got a little filthy."
Ron looked at her dubiously. Kim was flushed as if with fever, and there was a look in her eye that she usually got after trading punches with Shego. "I can imagine," he said, although that wasn't the same as saying he wanted to. Two girls making out might be a common fantasy among males, but not when the male was Ron and one of the girls was Kim.
"What are you doing here so soon?" Kim asked. "I thought you were going to be out with Zita today."
"Oh, uh, she cancelled," Ron told her.
Actually, she'd broken up with him, but Ron figured that implied the cancellation of all future dates. Except at the gym - Zita still expected him to show up for their physical training exercises. Funny how Zita could always keep business separate from pleasure, and yet she didn't think he could do the same. Why else would Zita use the same tired argument she'd used to break up with him in high school? "Oh, Ron, how am I supposed to feel when I can't compete with another woman for your attention? And now there's that other girl hanging around you!"
She saw Shego as a threat. Funny, if he hadn't been so irritated. Never mind that she was jealous of two women who only had eyes for each other.
But he wouldn't tell Kim that. It'd only make her feel guilty.
"Anyway, I thought we had a mission?" he asked.
"Boston," Kim confirmed.
"Aah! Bonnie!" he yelped.
"No Bonnie," Kim said hastily. "Someone stole some animals from the zoo."
"Monkeys?" he asked with trepidation.
"No - well, we don't know yet."
Shego slapped a hand over her face. "Stoppable, quit the screaming, or I fly us to Boston extra-fast."
The thought of the stomach-lurching thrill ride that Shego considered "piloting" shut Ron right up.
"Kim Possible, thank goodness you've arrived. This is simply terrible!" the head of the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston said. "We're at our wits' end."
"What's the sitch?" she asked as Shego and Ron followed behind her. It was strange being here during the day. Not long ago she was here at night, and a woolly mammoth was chasing her across the property. "What did they take?"
"I'm sure you remember Simza," he answered, waving his hand at the cage they'd arrived at. The interior was empty of any animals, and the bars were festooned with yellow tape, a telltale sign that the police had already been here.
"One of our tigers. You met her when she was a little - different?"
"You mean the sabertooth," Shego said flatly.
"Yes, that one. The owners of that strange machine changed her back into a normal tiger," the zoo curator said, "but she was stolen the other night. The only animal taken, for that matter."
"Probably not a coincidence," Kim said.
"I assure you, it is not. We'd already had multiple offers from various zoological institutes to buy Simza. They wanted to conduct tests on her. Apparently they felt her DNA might show some trace signs of her transformation. Naturally we declined. Our animals aren't meant to be used as test subjects."
"Do you think one of those institutes could have hired someone to steal the tiger?" Kim asked.
"It's possible," the curator acknowledged. "Although this isn't the first time we've had an incident."
"No! Several months ago, there was another theft. We lost a silverback gorilla, a gibbon, and a spider monkey."
Ron's face twisted in horror. A moan escaped his lips.
The curator looked at him oddly, and Kim quickly distracted him. "I take it you never found out who stole the primates."
"The police did not, no," he said angrily. "That's why we've asked for your assistance. This zoo no longer has faith in the local authorities. If you can recover Simza, we'd be willing to forget about that little incident the last time you were here."
"Hey," Shego shot back, "it was Professor Dementor who broke in here, released your animals, and transformed them into prehistoric killers."
"Simza was missing two teeth the next day," the curator said coldly. "Are you saying the madman was responsible for that as well?"
"Indirectly," she muttered.
"We'll get right on it," Kim said, "after we've checked out the scene. Maybe you could show us the monkey house later? So we can see if there are any similarities between the two thefts?"
Ron clutched his throat.
"We meaning me and Shego," she sighed.
"Sorry, my analysis didn't turn up anything other than animal DNA, Kim," Wade apologized over the Kimmunicator later. "They must have been real professionals."
"I bet they wore gloves," Ron said.
Shego rolled her eyes and began filing her nails again.
"You could help, you know," Kim told her. "You're not just part of the team during a fight."
"If you'd asked for my help, we wouldn't have wasted time looking for clues in the first place," she said, bored.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Shego idly pulled out her own Kimmunicator. "Wade," she purred, "I want you to access Villains Digest Online as an anonymous browser and enter the forums."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Kim said, holding out a hand. "Villains Digest Online?"
"Well, people usually steal things so they can sell them. Trust me on that one."
"And tigers aren't exactly something you can buy at Smarty Mart," Shego replied. Then she glanced at Ron. "Can you?"
"No, although they once were offering a live ostrich for half price," he said. "Something about eggs that could feed a family of four."
"Yeah, right," she drawled. "Anyway, nice upstanding goody-goodies like you, Kim, don't buy endangered species from thieves. Only evil people like me," she added, placing a hand modestly on her chest. "So, if one villain wants to go to another villain for a purchase, you go to the want ads the villains use. Except now they've gone high-tech."
"She's right, Kim," Wade said. "They've got thousands of threads here . . . hey, there's even a board dedicated to you, Shego."
This bit of news did not seem to thrill Shego. "Can we focus on finding - "
"There's one thread where they guess what your measurements and cup size are," Wade continued.
"Thank you, nerdlinger!" she growled.
"Five hundred and thirty-one replies so far."
Shego delivered a wordless snarl this time.
"Okay, okay," Wade said smugly. "Quit calling me nerdlinger, and I won't repeat things people wrote like, 'Rather small. 34-Beta, tops'."
Kim coughed into her fist while Ron's eyes widened.
Shego ground her teeth and almost smashed her communications device. "Gemini, you little troll, when I get my hands on you . . ." she hissed. She tossed her head, her wavy black hair swishing to the left and right, and took a deep breath. "All right, Wade, I want you to post an ad. Tell them you're looking to buy rare and endangered species of wildlife, good condition only, willing to pay top dollar. Tell them you're based in the New England region, and that you want to set up a meet in the Boston area so you can inspect the merchandise."
"Shego, wait," Kim said. "This whole thing reeks like a set-up. No villain is so stupid that they're going to fall for this."
Shego looked at her. "Dr. Drakken. Monkey Fist. Duff Killagan. Now, what were you saying about no villain being that stupid?"
Kim didn't have an answer to that.
"It's posted," Wade said. "I'll let you guys know the minute I get a response."
"Don't go rushing off in a hurry," Shego told him. "You'll get your answer real soon. There are plenty of poachers out there waiting for buyers. Which is why we specified good condition. Most of the animals available on the black market have been in captivity for months, and they're not looking so good. Thieves don't spend money on upkeep until it's absolutely necessary. Our crook has had Simza in his or her possession for just a few days. She'll still have that shiny zoo fur."
"Got something," Wade interrupted. "It's - huh, how about that."
"What?" Kim asked.
"Note from the site administrator. He's moving my post to the appropriate thread. These guys are pros."
Shego chuckled. "Relax, Kim. Take a breather, put your feet up. Life's too short, even for a perfectionist like you."
Kim wondered if this was what future missions would be like - her doing the hard work while Shego took the shortcut.
"Got a seller," Wade told them.
Right now the shortcut was looking pretty good.
"They say they got a new 'shipment' recently," Wade continued. "Including one tiger. But she's not coming to us. She says she'll select a place to meet if we accept her offer."
"She?" Kim asked.
"She referred to herself in the third person."
"Who were the first two people?" Ron asked.
Shego stared at him. She still wasn't sure if he was intensely clueless, or extremely unfunny.
"And she has this habit of tripling her s's," Wade said.
"I sssincerely hope we can come to an underssstanding. She actually wrote that."
Kim rubbed her temple. "Don't tell me. She's a snake-themed criminal."
"Got it in one. She calls herself the Snake Charmer. You'll like this, Kim. She says she can steal anything."
"Ripping you off, Kimmie," Shego said, chuckling. "Trademark infringement - worst crime there is."
Ron calmly stood up. "The Snake Charmer?" he asked.
"Yeah?" Wade said.
"And she trills her esses?"
"That's what I said, why?"
"Wade," Ron said hesitantly, "could you look up an actress named Juliet Newcastle for me?"
"Okay, time out," Kim said. "Before Rufus becomes the next one to ask Wade something completely out of left field, who is Juliet Newcastle?"
Rufus poked his head out of Ron's pocket upon hearing his name. "Eh?"
"Come on, KP," Ron said. "You lived with the tweebs. You've never heard of her? She was the Snake Charmer! On the television!"
"Sorry, I generally tried to avoid anything the tweebs found mildly interesting."
"The Fearless Ferret," he explained. "She was the Ferret's archvillainess."
"Fearless ferret?" Shego asked slowly. The look in her eye suggested she thought Ron had gone quite insane.
Kim groaned. "Not again," she said. "Like White Stripe?"
"Nah, White Stripe was just a one-time villain. Snake Charmer was in a lot more episodes. The tweebs had me watch a marathon of Snake Charmer episodes a few years ago. I think they rediscovered her appeal after they hit puberty. Sort of a romantic interest for the Ferret - walking the line between good and evil, attracted to the hero and the dark side at the same time - "
"Finally, something I can relate to," Shego muttered.
"She had this tight leather outfit like the scales on a black racer," Ron went on, his eyes becoming slightly glassy. "It looked like she was poured into it. And - "
"Sure it was just the twins who rediscovered her?" Kim asked dryly.
"Bad girls are hot, pumpkin," Shego said to her.
"You're not helping," Kim said, but she shivered as well.
"Anyway," Ron said, rubbing his eyes, "she always trilled her esses like she was hissing. And she was played by Juliet Newcastle. So if Timothy North could do it, why not her?"
"As much as the idea makes me cringe, it's worth checking out," Kim said. "Wade - "
"Sorry," he said. "But Juliet Newcastle died one year ago."
"Dang," Ron said.
"Hold it, Wade. Does she have family?" Kim asked.
"Uhhh, yeah, she does! One daughter, father deceased as well. Irma Newcastle. And guess where she lives?"
"I'm guessing within shouting distance of Cape Cod?" Kim guessed.
"Way to go, Ron. Wade, we're heading over to her house. Once we locate Miss Newcastle, set up the meeting. I bet she'll lead us right to the tiger."
"We could just go to the meeting," Shego pointed out.
"If she's stolen other animals, I want them recovered too," Kim replied.
"There might be a reward too," Kim reminded her.
"Oh. In that case, let's do it."
Kim and Ron looked at each other. Kim smiled, while Ron just shook his head.
To be continued . . .