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The Aftermath

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            Shego stood on the battlefield staring at the two embracing teenagers, still flabbergasted by the sidekick’s display of monkey powers.  She heard the hovercraft move down beside her, and Drakken’s voice cut through the still air.

            “Wait, what happened?  What did I miss?” he asked her.  Although her back was still turned to him, and she was still staring at Monkey Boy (the sidekick’s new nickname), she could practically see Drakken looking about frantically while perched in the hovercraft.

            “I don’t know,” she started.  The reality of the situation hit her—the sidekick just fucking became a hero.  “But I think the sidekick just stepped up—monkey style.”

            “Monkey style?!” Drakken shouted.  Used to his antics (and his misplaced jealousy, although she could hear the genuine confusion in his voice—God, when did she become so aware of his inflections?), Shego didn’t bother turning around.  “Hnng,” he uttered.  “What’s that?” 

            “You had to be here,” she deadpanned.  Shego felt her face and her posture drop at his question.  She was aware of the supernatural in the world—hell, she was proof of it!—but her mind was reeling from the buffoon’s display of monkey powers, as Drakken so often called him, and she found it easier to intrude on the teens’ moment than to think about her own buffoon and what had just transpired in the last fifteen hours.

            It seemed that the sidekick wasn’t the only one who stepped up.

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            The teens made their way to their graduation ceremony, and Drakken and Shego were left alone—truly alone for the first time in what felt like years, although in reality, it hadn’t even been a full day.

            And, God, was Shego fucked.

            “So, what now?” Drakken had asked after Kimmie flew off in Monkey Boy’s arms bridal style.

            Shego sighed.  She was tired, first off, but more than that, she was drained.  Within the last forty-eight hours, Drakken had managed to mutate himself, the two of them had moved halfway across the world (again), he’d been abducted by aliens, and aliens had invaded and conquered the earth.  (Shego already knew that she was never going to hear the end of it from Drakken that aliens had succeeded in world domination before he did.)  And to top it all off, she’d teamed up with Kimmie’s family and the sidekick, been to space, almost hugged Drakken, fought said world-conquering aliens, (almost hugged Drakken), helped save the world, (almost hugged Drakken), and witnessed the birth of the sidekick’s new powers. 

            Oh, and she almost hugged Drakken.

            Sue her if she just wanted to sleep for forty-eight hours.

            “Um, Shego?” he asked.  She was still attuned to him, somehow—she supposed that was the result of working for someone and co-habitating with them for four years (it didn’t make the realization any easier on her, though)—and in her mind’s eye, she could tell that he was tapping his fingers together waiting for her lead.  It was strange, their dynamic, but after everything that happened, it was comforting to know that not everything had, in fact, changed.

            And it was this dynamic that led her to say her next words.

            “Uh, sleep, Doc.  Let’s go sleep,” she told him, turning around and facing him for the first time in about a half hour, and when she made eye contact with him, his face turned purple.

            It took Shego a moment to realize what had just happened.  Drakken was blushingBlushing!  For the first time in all the years she had known him, the man was blushing

            “Uh, Doc?” she called, putting her hands on her hips and cocking them as she stared up at the new sight.  “You okay?” she asked innocently.  He shook his head rapidly—less in answer and more in an act of breaking himself out of whatever stupor his mind had placed him in—and began to lower the hovercraft towards the ground, but Shego noticed that he didn’t make eye contact.  She sighed and muttered a “whatever” to herself as she jumped in before he started flying away from the scene, but her subconscious began nagging her, and Shego was finally forced to admit during the silence of their hovercraft ride that she was pleased that he noticed a change in their dynamic, too, however small the shift was.

            They rode like that—in silence, stealing glances at the other when they thought the other wasn’t looking—for the entirety of the trip back to South America, where all of their earthly possessions still remained. 

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            The hovercraft touched down on the grass next to the Lorwardians’ beacon, and the two of them just stared at it.  Well, Drakken stared at it.  Shego stood next to him as he glared holes into it and took the opportunity to observe him.  It wasn’t often that she actually wanted to do that, but… A lot had happened in the last twenty hours, and he almost died.  She was allowed to be self-indulgent.

            The beacon had stopped blinking, thankfully, but Drakken looked pissed.  His eyebrows furrowed, a scowl present on his face, he looked angry—and not his usual brand of anger either.  No, this was not his usual I-just-got-defeated-by-Kim-Possible-again kind of anger.  This was not Kim-Possible-stopped-me-from-world-domination-again kind of anger.  This was rage.

            And Shego was kind of turned on.

            But Drakken didn’t (thank the gods) notice that.  Instead, he stormed towards their tree house (“Tree lair, Shego,” she heard him say in her head) and began climbing the steps up to the balcony.  With her distraction gone, Shego looked up at the beacon herself and thought—truly thought—about what the Lorwardians did to them—about what the Lorwardians did (almost did, she corrected herself—he was fine) to Drakken, and she found herself scowling as Drakken had done before, only to suddenly grin.  Evilly

            The beacon in front of their tree house was no more.  She shot her green fire at it several times, and the explosion from the contact sent pieces in every direction.  Including some towards the tree house.

            “Shego!” Drakken shouted from the balcony of the tree house (“Tree lair, Shego,” she heard him say again in her mind).

            Shego rolled her eyes as she grinned again at the spot where the beacon used to be.  “Yeah?” she shouted back as she made her way towards the steps.  When he didn’t respond, she simply rolled her eyes again, waiting instead for his reaction to unleash itself upon her when she entered.

            And, man, Drakken did not disappoint.

            “What were you thinking?!” he screamed.  “You could have blown up the lair!”

            “Yes, and then the pattern that you managed to break up in the Himalayas would be fixed.  Is that what you want?” she responded.  She cocked her hip out as she gestured her right hand towards him.

            He seemed to calm down a tad, and Shego took that as an opportunity to make her way towards her beach chair.  She really needed to sleep, or at least get out of the spacesuit.  God, that thing was getting hot—because of course they were in the Amazon jungle.  Of course.

            “Well, at least warn a body next time!” he called after her.  She rolled her eyes again, but he didn’t seem… full of rage anymore, so that was good, at least.

            As reluctant as she was to admit it (for decidedly personal reasons), she was glad that he didn’t seem to be as visibly affected by it anymore.

            Shego kept her back to him as she took off the spacesuit and flung it to the ground, finally allowing herself to collapse into the beach chair.  With a relaxed sigh, she closed her eyes and willed her body to sleep. 

            Unsuccessfully, of course, because that’s just how the world was working right then, apparently.

            She contemplated laying there for a while, in order to determine whether the chair would get more comfortable with time, but she heard Drakken swear as something shattered in the next room over, and she resigned herself to making herself function for a little while longer.

            Getting up, she walked over to him and the scene of the accident.  His head—still surrounded by flower petals—hung defeated.  A quip on her tongue, she had to remind herself of just how much had happened and instead decided to play nice.

            “Dr. D., you’re tiredI’m tired, and the beach chair is horrible for collapsing and crashing.  Let’s just find the air mattresses and do the rest tomorrow.”

            But Drakken didn’t respond.  His head was still hung low, and the fact that he hadn’t even been trying to remove the petals alarmed Shego.  “Uh, Doc?”  No answer.  “Dr. D.?” she called, trying to reach him even though he was only a few feet away from her.

            “We saved the world, Shego.”  His whisper was so soft that she almost hadn’t heard it, but they had always been able to hear what the other said.  How many times had she heard his quiet curses when he was working?  His growls when he couldn’t get an invention to work?  His humming when he was baking?  And how many times had he looked at her with a scowl when she muttered pointless comments about how foolish he was being under her breath?  How many times had she pretended not to see him frown when she came home complaining to herself about another botched date?  How many times had she seen him smile when he caught her moving her lips and whispering along to whatever magazine she was reading?

            Fuck, they were domestic.

            Shego was surprised to realize that the thought wasn’t as uncomfortable as she had once figured it would be.

            Drakken suddenly looked up at her, and Shego was startled away from her train of thought.  “Say something, Shego,” he whispered again.  He was leaning against the counter in the kitchen, and Shego noticed for the first time that he was trembling.

            “Doc, so we saved the world.  So what?  At least we’re not slaves right now.”

            Drakken’s fist rammed through the counter.

            “You made the counter out of twigs?” she asked him.  His action, as comedic and out of place as it was, was a small reminder that the man in front of her was still the Drakken that she knew.

            As Drakken struggled to remove his hand from the wrecked counter, her subconscious chastised her for trying to get out of talking about it, for trying to avoid talking with him, for trying to return to normal when the definition of normal—both for them and for the world—had just changed forever, in no small part because of them.

            She envisioned herself stepping on an anthropomorphic cricket to shut her train of thought up.

            Finally, he freed his hand from its small prison, and glared at her.  In response, Shego simply leaned against the counter (which hadn’t completely broken, thank God) as she tried to laugh his antics off.

            The cricket in her mind threatened to speak.  Her mind’s version of herself simply twisted her foot against the ground.

            Drakken shouted her name again, but his voice held emotions she hadn’t known he was capable of, and the introduction to them scared her, primarily because she didn’t know that she knew what they all were. 

            She took her weight off of the counter slowly as she took in Drakken’s posture.  He was hunched over and panted heavily, and while his eyes held anger (not rage, but still of a different brand than she was used to), they also held sadness… and… was that fear in his eyes?

            She couldn’t deal with fear right now.  They were safe.  Drakken was alive.  They were home.

            Since when had their shared lairs become home?

            So Shego crossed her arms in front of her chest as she stared Drakken down.  “Whatever it is you have to say, Doc, spit it out.  I desperately need to sleep and I still have to find the air mattresses.”

            “Don’t you care at all?” he shouted.  Drakken placed one foot forward, and the cricket in Shego’s mind informed her that she was disappointed that Drakken didn’t do it to walk towards her, instead utilizing the change in position for a better stance.  “Don’t you care about what just happened?”

            The cricket in her mind did not tell her to get mad about it, however.  Unfortunately, that’s just what she did.

            “What?” she shouted back at him.  “What just happened?  So we stopped some aliens with damaged pride from turning our planet into their hunting grounds.  Big whoop.  ‘Oh, look at us!’” she mocked, stomping and rotating around in a circle where she stood.  “‘Look at us!  We saved the world!  Fiddle-dee-dee!  What do I see?  A man and his sidekick, as good as can be!’”

            She stopped her rotating and crossed her arms in front of her chest to look at him again.  Drakken’s anger had faded away during her mock-victory cry, and he stood in front of her, eyebrows upturned, and eyes… eyes actually gleaming.  Gleaming with sadness along with one of those other emotions that she couldn’t name from before.

            “What?” she spat at him.  Did they have to do this right then?

            The cricket laughed as she realized that she was, in fact, trying to delay the inevitable.

            But, damn it, Drakken was being ridiculous!

            “You’re not—” he started, and Shego softened when she realized that he was still… not mad.  “You’re not my sidekick.”

            Her heart fluttered at what that might mean, but it was Drakken in front of her.  The man went for sugary, sweetly sickening women like DNAmy.  What in the name of the gods would he actually want with her?  He made his lack of interest clear enough when he didn’t hug her (a measly hug, of all things) on the Lorwardians’ space craft.

            “I’m not your sidekick,” she repeated back to him.  He nodded, and she laughed.  “No, no, I get it,” she told him sarcastically.  “I’m your assistant.  I’ve been promoted from lackey.  Thanks, boss!” 

            Shego had to hide how wrong it felt to address him that way.

            “Hnng, Shego!”  The man tore off the petals from around his neck and stomped one foot (like a petulant child, she thought) before he clenched his hands into fists at his side.  “Can’t you figure out what I’m trying to say?”

            “Gee, Doc, if you would invent a mind-reading machine, maybe I could!  Why don’t you get your blue ass on that!  It sure as hell would make this conversation a lot easier!”

            When had their bickering… turned into fighting?

            Drakken calmed down at that and relaxed.  With a sigh, he rested his left arm across his torso, leaning his right elbow against it, and placed his head in the fingertips of his right hand.  “Why are you making this more difficult than it has to be, Shego?”  His voice was laced with exhaustion, but she noticed a hint of teasing in it as well.

            Fighting the urge to grin, she teased him back.  “Well, where would be the fun in that, Doc?”

            He started laughing, and she found it difficult to not join in as the pure ridiculousness of the day caught up with them.

            “We just saved the world, and to think that two days ago we were lamenting over my botched killer plants!” Drakken said, tears running down his cheeks.

            It was first then that Shego realized how beat up they were—his tears of joy left clean streaks down his face covered in dirt and sweat—but she didn’t care about that.  That was a mere observation.  No, Shego was simply (oddly enough) happy that they were together and that he was alive.

            They stood in the kitchen for a few minutes, just repeating the events of the last couple of hours in a (surprisingly effective) attempt to normalize everything and just calm themselves down, when Drakken touched upon the one subject that Shego had been trying desperately to avoid remembering since it happened.

            “And then when we almost mimicked the teens when they ran to hug each other on the spaceship!”

            Shego abruptly stopped laughing, as all the hurt and the fear and the (dare she name it?) heartbreak suddenly returned in one fell swoop, and she was not equipped to deal with any of it just then.