I can't save it.
The world, I mean. I can't save it this time. I know that. I've heard that from every scientist, every guru, everyone with half a brain. It's done. We're done. There is absolutely nothing I can do. I should be with my friends, with my family. I should be there to comfort them, to lie and say everything will be okay, or at least to say that it'll be quick and painless. I should be there, not out here, alone, facing impossible odds and knowing I can't win and doing it anyway. I should accept defeat, accept death, accept oblivion.
Well, in the words of a certain snarky plasma-wielding thief I've had the (sometimes dubious) pleasure of knowing over the years, the one who's sitting here next to me and watching Saturn disintegrate into its component parts and is gripping my hand so hard it almost breaks, fuck that noise.
I do not give up. We do not give up. I've done the improbable since before my first period, and the impossible since I had braces. I do not have it in me to accept defeat.
Accept defeat, and you're already defeated. My very first sifu said that. I was ten and stupid and she laughed at me and called me "little girl" and I growled and lunged at her and she sidestepped me and I fell on the ground and started crying, because I was stupid and it hurt that I was stupid. And she picked me up and asked why was I crying, we weren't done yet, I could cry later, and I said because she beat me. I'd lost and she'd won. And she bent down and looked me in the eye and said, "The lesson here is simple: accept defeat, and you're already defeated. Never give up, and you'll never lose."
And then, heh, she hugged me and pecked me on the cheek and tousled my hair and split one of her oatmeal cookies with me. Mom's cool like that.
"Your head in the game, Possible?" says the woman sitting next to me, the woman I love more than anything, in a shakily tough voice that betrays her fear. Jupiter's half-gone now.
And I'm scared too, I really am. But I smile anyway, and I say, "Always. Why, getting cold feet? Need me to talk you through it again?"
Her eyes narrow, and my smile widens. She's angry now, too angry to be scared. "Oh, I got it, Kimmie. You're the one who still can't boil water, so don't gimme that shit."
I chuckle, thinking, Good, she's with me again. To keep her pissed is to keep her focused. That's why we've always worked so well together; nobody can get in her head like I can. Speaking of which: "Whoa, touch-y, Sheeg. I'm talking about following orders, and I think the record will show–"
She's smiling, getting into it, letting her hands operate the controls and do what they need to do. "One time! One time, that happened! And is it my fault that every room in Plastique's crime fortress looks exactly the same! I don't think so!"
Jupiter's gone, and the darkness is encroaching on Mars. It's horrible. We're up in one minute. Keep her sane, Kim. "I gave you a tracking device for exactly that reason, honey. And it isn't my fault that you dropped it in a trash compactor."
She kills the thrusters. We're at the waypoint. World ends in forty-five seconds. She barks a sharp laugh. "Oh, really? What, was I just supposed to unbreak my arm? Oh, and who's the one who broke the arm in the first place 'cause she wanted some zero-g nookie? Why don't we blame her for it?"
Forty seconds. I arm the missile and punch in the target coordinates. "Details, details. Here's an idea: maybe don't carry the important doohickey in the broken arm!"
Thirty-five. "Gee, I seem to remember having two important doohickeys to carry! Why don't you remember–"
My dad radios in to tell us we're at T-minus thirty seconds, and he says he loves me, that everyone I know is there with him and they all love me too. And I hear them cheer, and I swear I can hear every individual voice, and thank God I already punched in the coordinates of the spacetime rift, because I well up and can't see the control panel anymore. "I love you too, Dad!" I say, hating the way my voice cracks. "I love you all!"
Twenty-five. Mars has vanished. Only darkness is visible from our ship now. Shego, who I know is crying too, chokes out a "Likewise, Pops. Likewise."
Drakken – Drew, but he'll always be Drakken to me – grabs the mic from my dad and says, "Shoshanna. Kim. I... love you. Both."
Twenty. "S-save it for the... the after-party, Dr. D." We're both choking back sobs now, our hands tightly clasped together. And then Ron comes on, and I lose it completely, and Shego wraps her arms around me. We're at T-minus fifteen. "Kick its ass, Kim," he says. "You always do."
"A-Anything's... possible..." I say into the mic, smiling wanly, and I have to throw the headset away I'm crying so hard when I hear everyone I've ever known, even my worst enemies, shout, "For a Possible!"
We hit ten, and Shego coughs out a goodbye and turns off the radio so we can focus. I press the button to launch the missile and hug Shego, beautiful Shoshanna, my snarky Sheeg, and I whisper "I love you" and she whispers it right back, and then I say, "Even if you are complete crap at doohickey management," and she laughs her wonderful unsentimental laugh, and we wait, and we kiss, and we hold each other close.
At five seconds, the malfunction alarm goes off. I run to the console.
Four. "Shit, the missile malfunctioned!"
Three. "Plan B, then?"
Two. "Plan B. Gun it," I say, putting my arms around her and feeling tears stream down my face.
One. She plunges the ship toward the rapidly-shrinking rift. I think about my life. I think about all the places I've been and all the things I've done. Mostly, though, I think about the people. I think about my mom and my dad and the Tweebs. I think about meeting Ron in Pre-K. I think about saving McHenry and Paisley. I think about joining the cheer squad, and fighting with Bonnie. I think about Monique. I think about meeting Drakken, and in turn meeting Shego, and fighting her, and meeting her brothers, and kicking her into that electrical tower. I think about her saving me from Warmonga, and us working together against Aviarius and the Lorwardians. I think about kissing Ron, and dating, and realizing that I just couldn't do it. I think about meeting Shego for coffee at Chez Détente, about the jokes she told, about that irritating smirk and wanting to punch or kiss it off her face. I think about choosing the latter and feeling my whole life suddenly make sense. I think about the look on her face when I let her poor ravaged mouth breathe again, and seeing that weirdly cute green blush for the first time. I think of the way Ron's jaw hung open when I told him about us, and the way the dumb look on his face slowly turned into a grin, and I think of watching him high-five little Rufus going "That is awesome!" I think of Shego staring daggers at him, and the way I couldn't stop laughing at her expression. I think about our first few crappy dates, when she tried to pull corny junk because she couldn't accept that I wanted her the way she was. I think of the night she finally told me that, and my relief at realizing that we actually did love each other and that the relationship could be fixed. I think of the proposal, and our wedding, and our wedding night, and our honeymoon, and of how we couldn't walk for a few days. I think of our fights, all our fights, verbal and physical, and the way they only seemed to make our relationship stronger. I think of fighting by her side, and of how much better that was than fighting against her, and of how well we worked together as a team. I think of stroking her warm cheek and watching her eyes go half-lidded and her smile turn devilishly seductive. I think of kissing her neck the other morning, and of watching her make pancakes, and of her trying and failing to hide her blissful expression when I actually liked them, even though I always like her pancakes. I think of myself, holding her now. I think of how we never gave up, on the world or on each other. I think of how we're not giving up even now.
We won't die, I decide. I don't know why I think that, but I know we won't die. We'll save the world, see all our friends again. And if we don't?
Eh. I've had a good run.
And I imagine her smiling about the pancakes just one more time, and I'm content.
Author's Note: Whew. I know that was a tad heavy, so I'll be brief.
First off, this was inspired by a challenge from JC Lately on the KP Slash Haven, entitled "Last Night In Middleton" If you go there and look up the relevant challenge, you'll notice I didn't follow the challenge to the letter. I rarely do, of course, but in this case it was entirely deliberate. Someone commented earlier in the thread I originally posted this in that Kim would eventually accept defeat and await oblivion with, you know, whoever she was going to await oblivion with (in this case, Shego). That annoyed me, because I think one of Kim's essential traits is that she never gives up even when it would probably be smarter to, so I decided to write a fic where Kim doesn't give up even at the very last second of existence.
Assuming that was the very last second of existence, of course. ;) Maybe she succeeded. I ended it where I did to allow for either possibility, so whatever you think happened is what happened.
Secondly, I'd like to thank my indefatigable beta Diogenes (he's Epicurus on here, but he's Dio to me) for his help in preparing this for FFN publication. He's awesome, and you should read his stuff, because it's, well, generally much better than mine, if I'm being honest.
Finally, an update on POTH: yes, it's still coming. Chapter 1-1 is at almost fifty pages. And I don't mean forty pages with ten pages of indicia and disclaimers and Auhor's Notes or whatever, I mean fifty pages of pure story. And it is not done yet. Separate the men from the boys, that chapter will. And yes, it's the longest chapter I plan on including by far, so the wait shouldn't be nearly as long for the rest of the story. Here's hoping, anyway.
Alright, now I'll leave you to review this piece, which you will definitely be doing after you finish reading this, right?