Hematite Badger (hematitebadger) wrote,
Hematite Badger
hematitebadger

Fic: Thwarted

Title: Thwarted
Fandom: Kim Possible
Rating: G
Wordcount: ~4100
Summary: Sometimes, Ron is right. Drakken/Shego


Something was off. Ron cast a critical eye over the mountain fortress that loomed over his head and Kim’s. There were half-transparent domes and sharp, jutting towers of black stone, metal walls at least thirty feet high, and – Ron had never been able to work out how Drakken managed it, considering how badly his weather machine plan had gone – a localized storm complete with clouds that turned the twilight sky black with the occasional flash of lightning. A building like that really had no choice but to be menacing. And yet...

“I dunno,” Ron said slowly. “It kind of feels... not terribly evil out here.”

Kim paused in her preparations for the infiltration, a length of rope dangling from her hands. “What?”
Ron shrugged and made a vague gesture towards the walls. “Normally, we come sneaking up on the lair like this and you can just kind of... feel the evil coming off the place. It’s like whatever makes you crazy enough to start a ‘take over the world’ plan in the first place leaks into the air or something.” He made a quick check of the equipment on his belt. “I don’t know how else to say it. There’s a feeling in the air when a supervillain is plotting something, and it’s not here right now.” Kim’s dubious expression made him shrink slightly. “Or maybe it’s just me?”

“It’s just you,” Kim confirmed. Still, there was a thoughtful look on her face as she pulled out the Kimmunicator. “You’re sure this is happening tonight, Wade?”

“Drakken did a better than usual job of covering his tracks, but yes,” Wade replied. “There’s been money going in and out of a couple hidden accounts for three months, and even if I can’t decrypt all the work orders I can tell they’re attached to today’s date.”

“But you don’t know what for?” Ron asked.

“Nope. He’s being extra paranoid. Probably even relying on paper records so he can’t be tracked.” Wade sounded mildly disgusted by the thought.

“And there’s no chance of it not being evil?”

Wade hesitated. “Well, I guess technically there’s always a chance,” he said. “But this is Drakken we’re talking about.”

Ron couldn’t really argue with that, no matter how strongly he wanted to. “Something still doesn’t feel right,” he insisted.

“But you don’t know why you think that,” Kim said. “Look, I believe you when you say you’ve got a weird feeling about this, but we’ve got enough clues to assume Drakken is up to something. We can’t just ignore that.”

“I know,” Ron said. “But...”

“I know,” Kim echoed. She flashed him a tender smile. “Now come on, okay? I need you with me on this.” She squeezed his arm and planted a quick kiss on his cheek. “I’m not going in there without my team.”

*

Getting in was easy: scale the wall, break through a fifth-story window, and burn the locks off four doors to get to the lab at the heart of the complex. Which was dark and empty.

“That’s unusual,” Ron commented. “If there’s not a giant death ray or something in here, you’d think there’d at least be a trap.”

“Right day, right time,” Kim said. “Wade, is there a chance we’re in the wrong place?”

“This is the only known lair that’s been showing any signs of activity all week. And no indication that he’s been building anywhere else. Give me a minute to dig into their system; I should be able to track any other human heat signatures in the building.”

Ron dropped his voice. “Is it me, or is it really weird that he can do that?” Kim made a ‘little bit’ gesture out of the camera’s range.

Wade made no response to that. “Aside from you guys, it looks like there are only two other people in the building. It’s probably Drakken and Shego, judging by the size and shape. Not to mention the hot spots coming off one of them. They’re a couple floors above you, way in the back of the lair.” A map popped up on the screen. “Actually, I don’t think you’ve ever been back in that area before.”

As the two of them followed the path Wade had indicated, the atmosphere in the lair changed. The usual blend of stone, steel, and industrial lighting gradually gave way to fluorescent tubes and carpet, the doors looking less like they contained the darkest horrors of evil science and more like any one of them might lead to a broom closet or a bathroom. “Okay,” Ron said hesitantly. “K.P., I totally get that we don’t want to risk letting Drakken get away with something, but will you at least admit that this feels weird?”

“Yes,” Kim said firmly without breaking her stride. She still clearly had no intention of turning back.
Ron held back a sigh. “So I guess that means we should get to the bottom of it quick so we can get out of here,” he said with resignation.

She gave him a grin that almost made the weird feelings worth it. “I knew you’d understand.”

“Not ‘understand’ so much as ‘give up.’” He shrugged. If the scenery was anything to go by, this might at least be less life-threatening than their usual missions. And he had to admit, he was a little curious now.

The door that Wade’s directions led them to was alone in a stretch of corridor, indicating a large room behind it. Aside from that it was completely ordinary, but if Ron strained he could her Drakken’s voice behind it. Kim caught his eye and nodded, indicating that she heard it too. She grabbed the knob and threw the door open. “Hold it right there, Drakken!”

It was a large room, a living room dominated by a picture window that covered one whole wall and looked out over the bay. There was a couch facing the window, with Drakken stretched across half of it and Shego leaning back against his chest. His arms were around her stomach, her head was resting on his shoulder, and they were wearing the dopey, contented expressions of two people who were so happy just to be with each other that nothing else mattered.

They looked like an ordinary couple, hiding out from the world and stealing a moment alone. Ron was absolutely certain now that this mission had been a bad idea. “Uh-oh.”

It wasn’t exactly a surprise. Sure, the two of them had been quiet about their relationship since the alien invasion – so quiet that even after almost a year the tabloids hadn’t caught anything more incriminating than Drakken’s arm around Shego’s waist when they were navigating through a crowd or her hand drifting into his when they were on stage – but if they thought they could actually hide it they were crazy. Even the way they yelled at each other when their latest scheme was getting foiled had turned into a kind of flirting. Ron suspected that this wasn’t the first time he and Kim had almost caught them out.

The quiet little scene only lasted for the fraction of a second it took for Shego to register their presence and react. Her eyes widened and then narrowed. She twisted out of Drakken’s embrace and onto her feet with her usual violent grace, dropping into attack position with her hands burning. She was in civilian clothing – a loose green shirt and well-worn jeans – which Ron thought should have made her look less intimidating. It didn’t. So much for this mission being less life-threatening.

“Kim Possible! What the hell are you doing here?”

Drakken’s voice brought even Shego up short. She straightened a little, turning back to look at him. The flame in her hands went out. “Don’t think I’ve ever heard you swear at the kids,” she said mildly.

“It’s justified,” he snarled, coming up to stand behind her. Like Shego, he was dressed in casual clothes, including what looked like a short, open lab coat that was noticeably rumpled where she’d been leaning against it. Unlike Shego, it did make him look less intimidating, but the anger in his face more than made up for it.

“Wasn’t suggesting otherwise.” Shego’s threatening look didn’t change, but all the same she seemed to relax when Drakken got closer, like he was draining some of the tension out of her just by being there.
“‘Kids’?” Ron repeated, indignation replacing his suspicion and confusion.

“It’s better than what I call you when you’re not here.”

“And ‘not here’ is exactly where you should be right now,” Drakken added.

Kim looked about as startled and confused by their reaction as Ron felt, possibly even more so because he’d been half expecting something strange. Still, she put her hands on her hips and gave Drakken a defiant glare. “We’re not going anywhere,” she said. “We’re not just going to let you get away with…whatever it is you’re doing.” She seemed to deflate as she said that last part.

Ron winced. Kim always sounded so confident and authoritative when she was calling the villains out, but it was hard to be convincing when she didn’t actually know what she was calling them out for.

And the villains had picked up on it. Shego folded her arms and leaned back on her heels. “That’s it? You don’t even have a real accusation?”

Drakken was right behind her. “So what, you’re here because you’ve got some kind of hunch? And that’s a good enough reason for you to break into our home?”

That stunned Kim into brief silence. It explained the sudden change in the look of the lair, and why they’d never seen this part of it before. “You live here?”

“It’s a lair,” Shego said. “That’s what they’re for.”

“It does sort of make sense,” Ron said. “I mean, you’ve got that whole ‘mad-scientist workaholic’ thing going. It’s probably easier to take your work home when you’re already there.”

“I am not a workaholic!” Drakken snapped. Shego’s quiet scoff spoke volumes, but he shouldered around her to lean over Kim. “It’s not bringing my work home when it follows me here on its own.”

“We wouldn’t be following you home if you weren’t leaving a trail,” Kim returned.

Drakken went silent, his eyes wide. Behind him, Shego tiled her head and leaned forward like she was trying to see around him. “D? What’s she talking about?”

High, nervous laughter bubbled through Drakken’s voice as he turned to smile at her. “I have no idea!” he yelped far too loudly. He wheeled back towards Kim with a desperate glare.

Kim was unfazed. “We’ve seen the work orders. Everything’s been leading up to tonight.”

Drakken leaned in until his too-pale face was just inches from hers, his voice a low hiss. “This doesn’t concern you, Possible. You and your sidekick need to leave. Now. Please.”

The last word came out so softly and desperately that Ron barely heard it. The doubt he’d been having about this mission crept back in. “Um. Kim?”

“I don’t believe you.”

Everyone spun around at the sound of Shego’s voice. She was glowing with indignation, figuratively and literally. “You’re working?” she hissed at Drakken, plasma trailing off her hand as she aimed an accusing finger at him.

“Of course not!” Drakken was backing away slowly, probably not even aware that he was doing it.

Shego didn’t close in on him the way Ron had expected her to. She sighed and folded her arms. “You know, I don’t ask for a lot,” she said, the anger in her voice turning colder, more resigned. “I don’t need big romantic gestures or constant reassurance that you love me. You’ve got a job you love that’s kinda taken over your life; do you honestly think I don’t get that?”

“It’s not like that,” Drakken started, but she cut him off.

“All I ask,” Shego continued, sharp and relentless, “is that when you tell me you’re putting the job aside so you can spend some time with me as my boyfriend and not my boss, you stick to that. Just because I’m your sidekick when we’re on the clock doesn’t mean I’m willing to come in second to everything else in your life.”

“Hey!” Drakken sounded shocked now, indignant. “You’re not second to anything else, you know that.”

“You say that,” Shego started, jabbing a finger at him again.

“And I mean it.” Drakken moved in closer to her and caught her extended hand in his, his voice turning soft and gentle. “I know I’m... not very good at this,” he said, with a wince like he was admitting defeat. “I get caught up in things, like you said, and sometimes I don’t do everything I should for you.” He leaned in even closer, brushing his other hand against her cheek. “But I’m getting better at it, right? When was the last time I really screwed something up?”

Shego warmed up enough to give him a little smirk that didn’t look entirely unfriendly. “Personally or professionally?”

That made him draw back a little. “Not cool, Shego. Remember what we talked about? About how we both have to respect the difference between our work lives and our relationship?”

“You started it,” Shego grumbled, tossing her head to indicate Kim and Ron. She sounded like most of her anger had burned off, but she wasn’t quite ready to let the fight go.

“I did not! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! I don’t know what they think is going on – or why they’re still here!” he added in Kim and Ron’s direction. “But I swear to you, tonight has nothing to do with them, or the job, or anything else except you and me.” He rested a hand on her face again, leaning in until their foreheads were almost touching. “And I wouldn’t lie to you about that.”

Shego leaned into his touch with a smile. “Not this well, at least,” she teased softly, tracing her fingers down his collar and tugging on it like she was going to pull him in for a kiss. “Doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe you.”

Drakken gave her a gently impatient sigh. He let go of her hand and slipped his inside his coat. “Have a little faith in me, Firefly.”

The choking sound that Ron made was completely involuntary. “Firefly?” he repeated in a strangled voice. Beside him, Kim let out a little giggle.

The softness that had come over Shego vanished in an instant. She pushed herself away from Drakken, knocking him off balance. Her face was dark, almost like she was blushing, and her hands were blazing again. “You got something to say, monkey-boy?”

“N-no!” Ron stammered, putting his hands up. “It’s cute!”

“It’s okay, Shego,” Drakken said quickly. He was still stumbling a little, trying to regain his footing, his balance hindered by the fact that his hand seemed to be caught on something in his coat pocket. He finally managed to pull himself free, and whatever it was bounced out and nearly hit him in the face. He grabbed for it with a panicked yelp, succeeding only in sending it in a high arc across the room.

Four pairs of eyes watched the black cube float though the air and fall to the floor with a soft thump, cracking open on impact. Four people fell absolutely silent at the sight of a diamond ring sparkling on a cushion of black velvet.
It was like all the sound had drained out of the world, possibly muffled by the velvet. Ron was pretty sure Drakken had stopped breathing, and Shego was staring fixedly at the box, looking utterly shocked. For his part, Ron could feel a dozen thoughts about the weird-but-not-totally-surprising situation that was unfolding, but they were all held back by the one that was looming largest in his head: We really messed this one up.

“Oh my god.” Kim’s quiet voice finally broke the frozen silence, voicing what Ron had been thinking. “I. Wow. We didn’t— Oh my god.”

“Yeah...” Ron ran a hand nervously over the back of his neck. “I kinda feel like we should have seen this coming. I mean, it totally makes sense that we didn’t, but in hindsight...”

The spell was broken. Drakken swept forward with a speed and grace that Ron couldn’t remember having seen in him before, scooping the box up and stuffing it back into his pocket in one fluid motion. There was anger in the glare he fired off at Ron and Kim – and, yeah, Ron had to admit that he had a right to be angry this time – but there was also a kind of terrified hopelessness. He tried to sneer, but he gave up on it quickly, his entire body deflating. He turned slowly, his head still slumped between his shoulders, twisting his hands together. “Shego...”

She hadn’t moved. She was standing perfectly still, watching him with wide eyes and her hands over her mouth. It was fascinating. Ron had seen her in so many emotional states over the years they’d been fighting each other – most of them variations on rage – but he’d never seen her stunned like this.

Drakken stumbled for words for a moment, then sighed, running a hand through his hair. “This... is really not how this was supposed to go.” There was something like a laugh in his voice, soft and helpless.

“Getting that impression, yeah,” Shego finally managed, her voice high. She buried her face in her hands and breathed deeply for a moment or two. First stunned, and now flustered. Ron might have found it funny if he didn’t feel bad about being the cause. When she raised her head again, she pushed her hair back in a gesture that probably wasn’t meant to mimic the one Drakken had made just before. “Possible.” Her voice now had a distant, calm tone, the kind people got when they were so far from calm that they’d somehow looped back around to it from the other side. She wasn’t actually looking at Kim; her face was pointed at Drakken even though she didn’t seem to be quite looking at him.

Kim cringed. “Yeah?”

“This is so none of your business.”

“Yeah,” Kim muttered, sounding sheepish. “That’s obvious now.”

“So clear out and take your sidekick with you and we’ll forget this ever happened,” Shego said evenly. “We won’t even try to stop you from leaving. Deal?”

“That sounds fair,” Ron said. Kim still seemed slightly transfixed; he put a hand on her arm and pulled her backwards towards the door.

“Right,” Kim said. She raised her hands in a disarming gesture. “We were never here. And. Um. Sorry.”

“And would it kill you to use a door for once?” Drakken put in.

“Doors! Got it! Totally leaving now.” Ron felt like he should say something else. ‘Congratulations’ was premature, given that there hadn’t actually been an answer – or even a question, come to think of it – yet, and ‘good luck’ didn’t feel right. “Have a nice day,” he finally managed, which was probably worse than either of the other options. He tamped down the urge to smack himself in the face as he and Kim squeezed out of the room, the door slamming emphatically behind them.

“‘Would it kill you to use a door for once?’” Kim mimicked as they slunk sheepishly down the hall.

“Do we even know where the doors are?” Ron started to ask, but even as the words were coming out of his mouth an exit sign flickered to life at the end of the hallway, its arrow pointing down the stairs. “They really want us gone, don’t they?”

“Not that I blame them,” Kim muttered. “I hate it when the bad guys have the moral high ground.”

“It’s even worse than when they have, you know, the actual high ground,” Ron agreed. “With that there’s usually at least a chance to fix it later.”

“I can’t believe we barged in on a date!” Kim groaned, raising a hand to her forehead. “And not even just a date, a proposal! I mean, who does that? Aside from us, apparently.”

“It’s not like we did it on purpose,” Ron pointed out reasonably. “We didn’t know.”

You did,” Kim said. “You kept saying something didn’t seem right, but I wouldn’t listen. And you were right.”

“Oh yeah, I was, wasn’t I?” Ron brightened a little at the unusual feeling. “But still. I mean, I figured there was something going on, but I never would have guessed that.”

“I guess,” Kim said. She pulled out the Kimmunicator again. “We need a pickup ahead of schedule, Wade. Can you swing it?”

“Like, emergency pickup?” Wade tapped at his keyboard. “My system didn’t pick up any of the weapons systems or self-destruct failsafes going off.”

Kim had been starting to relax, but now she looked mortified all over again. “No emergency; we’re just... done here. It was a false alarm. Sort of. Long story. I’ll explain it later.”

“Okay,” Wade said, his expression dubious. More typing. “Annie was planning on picking you guys up when she circled back from her usual route, and she’s still about twenty minutes out. Can you hang out at the pier until she gets there?”

Kim sighed. “Yeah, no big. Thanks, Wade.” She turned the Kimmunicator off before giving a massive groan. “This is so embarrassing. Like, ‘the ninjas could take lessons from this’ embarrassing.”

Privately, Ron thought that this didn’t even crack the top ten on the list of the most embarrassing things that had ever happened to him. He hadn’t even lost his pants this time. Outwardly, he settled for a shrug. “Could be worse,” he said as they finally reached the exit. It was unlocked, although the click when the door closed behind them suggested that someone had locked them out. “At least it’s nice out tonight.”

“True,” Kim agreed. She tilted her head back, breathing in the cool breeze off the bay, and finally gave Ron a smile, her hand drifting into his. “Not a bad night for a walk.”

It wasn’t a long walk to the pier where Annie’s little speedboat had dropped them off. It was technically a public area, but Ron couldn’t remember ever having seen anyone else there. Even though the general public seemed oblivious to the fact that the massive building behind them was an actual supervillain lair, people still didn’t want to come too close to it. He and Kim settled down on the worn wood, looking out over the water. It really was nice out here. They should try to come out here some time when they weren’t tracking Drakken down.

Kim had her knees tucked under her chin; she looked like she was still feeling kind of thoughtful and off-kilter about the whole thing. After a while, she lifted her head to look at Ron. “Is it weird that I really want to know what’s going on back there right now?”

Ron let out a relieved breath. “I am so glad you said something first.”

Kim unfolded, finally losing the last of her sheepish look. “It just makes so much sense!” she said, throwing up her hands. “I mean, they’re evil, but they’re both evil, and it’s like... it kind of works?”

Ron nodded his agreement. “They just sort of fit. Even if Shego is way out of Drakken’s league.” He couldn’t help smiling at Kim as he said that. He knew firsthand that there were some girls who didn’t care about the rules.

Kim didn’t seem to notice, but then again she never did seem to realize that Ron was the lucky one here. “They really do seem happier together lately,” she said. “You think that being together might end up making them less evil?”

“Or more evil,” Ron suggested. “You know, shared interests and all. They’ll probably end up raising an entire evil family.”

That seemed to strike Kim as more funny than worrisome. “Of course, that’s assuming she says yes.”

Ron raised an eyebrow. “Have we been watching the same two people lately? Of course she’s gonna say yes. She’s totally into him.”

“I guess, but—”

A screaming whistle cut Kim off, followed by a crackling explosion. She jumped to her feet, with Ron only a beat behind her as a second explosion rocked the pier and splashed them with a wash of red light. They turned back to look at the lair, which seemed untouched. There was another blast and a burst of gold. “Well, that explains at least one of the work orders Wade found,” Kim said, relaxing out of her defensive position and craning her neck to watch the fireworks continue.

Ron reached out and put his arms around her, pulling her close with a soft smile. “I know the odds are against me being right twice in the same night,” he said, “but I’m pretty sure that was a ‘yes.’”
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