This story is lovingly dedicated to my dear friend, Neo the Saiyan Angel. You are an inspiration. Long live Drakkim and Spudken!

That said, I want to thank everyone for their patience with my posting rates.

As usual, render unto Disney what belongs to Disney...


My Enemy, My Ally?

Shego felt herself being pushed roughly into the darkened cell. The door slammed shut behind her, and she fell back against it, trying to regain her balance. She pressed her bare hands (They had taken away her gloves, along with the rest of her outfit. Oh, God, how she hated orange!) against the door. It didn't feel right; not the cold, hard steel she was used to. This was smooth and somewhat slick.

As her eyes adjusted to the dim light that came from a deeply recessed fixture in the ceiling, she saw a figure lounging on the bunk on the left. The spiky hair was just as she remembered, but the outfit was exactly the same as the one she herself wore. The woman sat up and stared at her with wide eyes.

"You're my new cellmate?" Electronique pushed herself off of the hard mattress and backed up against the wall. "They have got to be joking! Of all the places they could have put you; they had to dump your sorry butt in my cell. There goes the neighborhood!"

Shego raised her hands and tried to summon her powers. There was a sharp pain in her wrists as the manacles that she wore detected the energy flow and gave her a "mild correction shock". It was a let down not to be able to blast this scrawny little woman into vapor. She settled for advancing with clenched fists.

"Believe me, Spike, this wasn't my choice of accommodations either! You stick on your side of the room, and you get to keep all of your teeth."

The pair circled each other in the confined space. Two pair of eyes locked on each other, assessing the threat level. As one, each woman sat on a hard, lumpy bunk.

After several subjective hours of staring at each other, they finally lowered their hands and settled in to think private thoughts.

"What's with the 70's plastic d├ęcor?" Shego finally worked up the interest to ask. She even managed to do it in a civil tone. For emphasis, she rapped a long fingernail on the bunk support next to her. If she was going to be stuck here until her trial (at which point she would find an escape route) she might as well get the lay of the land.

Electronique glared over at her new roommate. "Same as your new 'jewelry'. It's to keep me from finding any way to create a spark and 'charge up'." She held out her own hand, in the gesture that she usually used to throw electric charges at her victims. With a look of disdain, she pointed to the recessed light, which was behind a very thick non-conductive lens. "Same with the lack of the usual amenities."

The dark haired villainess looked down at her wrists and thought about it. It made sense. Both of them had abilities that would make them very difficult to keep under lock and key. She considered the last known fate of Dr. Drakken, penned up with that cheap freak, Frugal Lucre. Holding onto him was simple.

Both prisoners spent the rest of the evening in silence. Neither was inclined to get into a deep, philosophical conversation.

At long last, the light in the ceiling reduced in intensity, indicating "lights out" had been called by the prison officials. They each got under the covers of their respective bunks and attempted to fall asleep. It was hard enough getting into a comfortable position, but there was no such thing when locked in a small room with somebody who was a former, and potentially, a present enemy.

xx

There was a loud piercing screech. Shego and Electronique both bolted upright, alarm etched into their faces. No matter how much time you spent in lock up, you never got used to these "wake up calls". Shego reached out and tried to find an alarm clock to blast. As she was about to pull up a ball of plasma, she remembered the restraints.

"Brings back memories, doesn't it?" Electronique stretched. "The worst of it is that noise means they are serving, ugh, breakfast."

At that moment, the door opened, and one of the prison guards stuck her head in. She looked at both women warily. "Alright, 'ladies', let's get moving. The food isn't going to get any warmer. Neither are the showers." She stood in the doorway, tapping one thigh with her baton.

With a common enemy to glare at, Shego and Electronique were able to ignore each other. They proceeded to the mess hall, along with a number of other women. The wing that they were housed in had been designed for twenty women, rather than the thirty that now occupied it. More women were being charged with violent crimes, and the facilities were not keeping pace with the increase.

Middleton was in the unique position of having to handle prisoners who had abilities beyond what "normal" incarceration methods were meant for either; hence the special manacles and electrically insulated cell.

Shuffling along in the line, the prisoners picked up plastic trays and utensils. The woman in orange prison garb and a hair net who stood behind the serving counter dropped a big glop of, something, onto each tray. Whatever it was, it quickly robbed Shego of her appetite.

Like livestock being led into the feeding pen, the women all sat down once their "meal" had been served, along with a plastic cup of what could loosely be defined as orange juice. Two long tables with benches attached served as the dining area. Each prisoner sat as far away from one another as was possible, and eating was done in silence.

While Shego stirred the mound of grey stuff on her tray, she happened to glance around at the people around her. Several were looking in her direction. The guards might well be expected to keep a close watch on her, given past performances. She was practically on a first name basis with one or two of them, she had been held here so often. It was the other inmates that had her worried.

At the far end of the other table, three women were alternately looking at her and then at each other. The same three were also paying rather a lot of attention to Electronique, who had wound up sitting across from her. This was so not good. Anybody who had seen a prison movie knew what these glances meant.

Shego put her spoon down on the tray, and picked up her drink. If things were headed the way she suspected, she wanted to be nourished, but not weighed down by cereal (if that's what it was) that had the consistency of cement. In the last three or so years of dealing with the "princess" that had put her here, she'd learned to eat healthy and be light on her feet. That, and to trust her instincts that something was about to blow up in her face if she wasn't very, very careful.

While the rest of the crowd finished eating, Shego took a really good look at her new roommate over the rim of her cup. Electronique was not well.

It was true that the villain had never been a heavy woman, any more than she herself was, but now she was positively a skeleton in an orange jumpsuit. The gleam that used to inhabit her eyes was gone. Even the Attitudinator had never really been able to extinguish that, no matter how perky and polite she had acted at the time. The figure on the bench across from her was thin, dull and had hints of bruises.

It didn't take a masters degree in sociology (which Sarah Go had) to realize that she was getting roughed up by the others for being different.

A buzzer sounded, and as one, everyone stood up. The Matron walked up to a spot between the two tables, with her back to the service counter. She swung her baton like the pendulum of a clock, as if to indicate that she ordered the day of all those presently in the room.

"Okay, you've been fed. Time to get you cleaned up, if that's at all possible." Shego winced at that last word. She hated the word "possible" almost as much as she hated the color orange. "Single file people, into the showers and strip!" At her signal, the four guards at the other end of the room began herding the flock of black sheep towards the door, one per aisle.

Sanitary facilities in the correctional system are almost an exact match to the ones in high school gym classes. Privacy is out of the question. The latrines were a row of cubicles, as in that institution, with the exception that these had no doors, and the dividers only reached waist level. The mirrors were not made of glass, but rather a reflective plastic. A door led from the washroom to the communal showers.

Trying to keep her dignity as best she could, Shego unzipped her jumpsuit and stepped out of it. With the familiarity of having spent time in this place, she could hit the laundry bag without looking. An arm's length in front of her, Electronique had meekly removed her own clothing, and was standing in line.

There were a lot more bruises on her upper body and her legs. From her posture, it was clear at what time of the day they had been acquired.

The group shuffled forward into the showers. Here, the guards didn't follow them. They were undoubtedly watching on the closed circuit monitors, but there was no one physically present. That was all the threesome from the mess hall had been waiting for.

The largest, a tall blonde woman with the build of an iron worker, blocked the path of Shego and Electronique. A slim Asian woman with tattoos on her arms slid behind them on one side, while a third woman with hair dyed green and yellow took up the third corner of the triangle.

"Would you look at this?" The blonde sneered. "Our little dead battery has a new friend. I think it's time we initiated this one. What do you say girlfriends?"

Electronique had just stood numbly. She had tried fighting the first times she had been confronted, but without her abilities, three to one were simply impossible odds to face. For Shego's part, she put up her hands and took a defensive stance, her back to the other girl. She might not be able to count on her to fight back, but at least she would know where she was at all times.

"Grab her, Kitty!" the blonde woman yelled, and the Asian woman moved in. "Don't worry about what they say about her. With the bracelets on, she's harmless."

"Harmless am I?!"Shego thought, sizing up her opponent. "You have no idea just how hard I've had to work to control my powers." She watched her attacker, but never let her mind waver from the others either. Her martial arts training had been complete, and she knew that situational awareness was key when outnumbered.

Kitty came in with an open handed swing at Shego's face. It was her first tactical mistake. The second was to make that move obvious. Grabbing the wrist as it approached her cheek, she twisted until the arm was behind Kitty's back, and she could feel the muscles straining. With a quick shove, she sent her into her colorful companion. The two went down onto the tile, tangled in each other.

Turning back to the remaining threat, she saw that big woman had grabbed Electronique, and was getting ready to backhand her across the face. What she got instead was Shego's forearm block. Surprise warred with anger for space on her expression. Before her face could make up its mind, it was roughly shoved into the tile of the wall.

Pushing Electronique farther into the shower; among the others who had been watching the entertainment while cleaning up, Shego turned to see Kitty and the other girl stand up. Using the slick tiles to her advantage, she pivoted on her right foot and swept them back down onto the floor with her left. They made a very satisfying thump as they hit it. Completing the spin, she came back up and faced the blonde again.

She was still leaning on the wall and holding a very swollen nose.

As a siren began to wail, Shego walked past her and under one of the shower heads. By the time the guards had gotten to the room, Shego had managed to have a quick cleaning with the bar of soap that Electronique had thrown to her.

xx

Dressed in a fresh jumpsuit, Shego and those inmates still able to stand were escorted back to their cells. Kitty and Evengelista, the girl with two tone hair, had been carried out on gurneys. The blonde woman, oddly named Tina, had managed to walk to the infirmary, where it was confirmed that she had a broken nose.

"Why?"

Shego looked over at her cellmate. She hadn't said anything for over an hour since lockdown. The sudden question had startled her from the thoughts that had floated randomly through her mind.

"I've been asking myself the same question. I could have just waltzed past that big ape and had a quiet shower." She bit her lower lip for a moment or two. "I think it was just seeing the way you had given up. I've fought against you, and know that you are more than just the ability to direct electricity." Sitting up, she leaned her head against the wall, and for the first time, closed her eyes without worrying.

"I've been down the road of being different and paying for it. It's why my parents insisted that I learn martial arts, so that I wouldn't have to use that difference to defend myself. Maybe, just maybe, I understand you a little better than I really want to."

Electronique thought that one over for a while.

"Thank you, Shego. I mean it. We might not like each other, but at least we both know who and what we are." She sat up and put her back up against the wall as well, so that they were like mirror images. "We take what we need, because it's the only way the world can ever see us, the only way to live with what we can do."

The two women sat on their bunks, in a comfortable silence. Each was lost in her own thoughts.

"So, what do we do now?" Electronique asked, after a subjective eternity. "You know those three bitches are going to make another play, and this time, they will know enough to take you down first. I don't think I can do much on my own. Not anymore."

Shego had been pondering that one for a while.

"I'd say it's time we got the hell out of this place." She opened her eyes and looked down at the bracelets that kept her from just blowing a hole in the wall and getting out that way. "I think maybe there is a way. It won't be easy, and it will definitely take both of us."

xx

Over the next couple of days, Shego and Electronique were very careful. Tina was the first to get out of the infirmary, but she wasn't in any shape to try for payback. Her nose was taped, and she was forced to breath through her mouth. By the time Evengelista and Kitty were on their feet again, things had changed.

In the evenings, Shego spent an hour teaching her cellmate the basics of self defense. By shoving the bunks around, they had managed to create a little space. Since the witches preferred to attack in close quarters, it seemed sensible to train under those conditions. Electronique might not have the physical strength, but she more than made up for it in the ability to concentrate what she had.

With the short break from the regular beatings she had been enduring, the pale girl began to benefit from the food she was eating. She took to following Shego's lead, concentrating on the vegetables and drinking water instead of the coffee that most of the women in the block were gulping down.

After a couple of weeks, there was another confrontation. This time, "the witches" as they were actually referred to by the other prisoners, made the attempt in the exercise yard. Coming from three points, they advanced on Shego and Electronique. Tina and Evengelista concentrated on the former, leaving the light weight Asian woman to deal with the later.

It was a qualified disaster for the trio. While the pair did manage to land a number of punches on Shego, Kitty was very quickly thrown off. She had underestimated her opponent, and made a full frontal attack. What she received for her efforts was a palm thrust to the stomach, followed by a leg sweep.

While Kitty was on the ground, Electronique was able to pull Tina's arm away from its grip on Shego. By the time she realized that the prey was fighting back, she had been shoved into the recovering Kitty. Evengelista had sensibly decided to fall back when they had formed up back to back in defensive postures.

By the time the guards had dispersed the crowd of women, it was as if nothing had ever happened. Everyone was at least six feet away from each other, with the exception of Shego and Electronique, who quietly walked over to a bench and sat down.

xx

"So, are you ready to get out of here?" Shego whispered across the space between the bunks in the cell. The lights had been out for over an hour. Insulated as it was from the others, it was quiet in the room. The chances of the guards overhearing anything were next to nil. They had checked the place thoroughly, and there were no electronic listening devices.

"More than ready, but I don't see how we're supposed to pull it off. In case you hadn't noticed, this is a maximum security prison." Electronique whispered back, she had been dreaming of escape for weeks, ever since the effects of the Attitudinator had worn off.

Shego slipped out from under her covers, and crept over to the other woman. She pulled the blanket up over her head. "Hold up the blanket, and watch my wrists." When she was sure that the blanket was up high enough, Shego gritted her teeth and summoned up a small ball of plasma. The special manacles she wore powered up and gave her a shock on the wrist attached to the hand she was using. When she brought her hands together, there was a spark between the two restraints.

Quickly, she doused her plasma ball, as the pain of the "correction" became too much for her.

"Are you okay? That had to hurt like hell." Electronique grabbed the hands before her, and massaged as best she could around the bracelets. She could feel the remnants of the shock, and sucked in her breath. "Wait, are you thinking of using these things to break us out?"

Through her firmly clenched teeth, Shego answered. "I realized that the shocks could produce sparks when I first tried to blast you that first night. I've been seeing just how much I can take before I have to stop. Besides, there was the chance that the things were being monitored." As the effect of her punishment wore off, she slumped next to the bunk.

Electronique rolled over on her side, and pulled Shego up beside her. Putting an arm around her, she massaged her back, feeling the tension in the muscles. She pulled the blanket up and over them. The two lay there, considering the possibilities, and the potential consequences.

"How long can you stand the charge? It would take me time to build up enough energy to do anything useful." Pushing back the long black hair that had fallen across Shego's face, she could feel the sweat on her brow. "If it takes too much out of you, there isn't any point. I could blast my way out, but it would take everything I have. I certainly am not going if you can't make it."

"So far, the best I've managed is just under a minute. The shock gets stronger the longer I try to hold it." She was now lying with her head down, resting it on Electronique's shoulder. "How much time would you need to get a full charge for your enhanced abilities?"

After a long pause to consider it, the answer came slowly. "Given the amount of power the manacles produce, the components in my body would take at least an hour to charge up my natural systems."

Electronique had been born with the ability to harness electrical energy. In an attempt to control the process, she had been implanted with capacitors that held the power. It had been necessary, to prevent even static electricity from overwhelming her autonomic nervous system. When she had been growing up, she had discharged the energy into a transformer each night, draining the capacitors. Eventually, she decided to use the power for personal gain.

"There's no way I could hold on that long." Shego slumped down against her companion. "Even if I didn't wind up unconscious on the floor, the guards would see the light and shut me down and you with me."

"So, we take the long view." Electronique squeezed her.

"Huh?"

"We'll build up my abilities thirty seconds at a time. Once or twice each night. We'll do it just as you did now, only we won't let it hold quite so long. You have to be strong enough to hold your own out there." She nodded at the door, indicating the rest of the cell block. "I can hold onto the power almost indefinitely. Once I'm charged, I short out the bloody things someplace where your abilities will get us out. You get your powers back, and we are out of here."

Shego put her arm around Electronique and squeezed back. "I think it'll work. We just have to be patient."