-Holiday-flavored Legal Disclaimer: I don't own Kim Possible. And it turns out that nobody owns Christmas. Awesome.
Another Drago Christmas
Author's Note:  denote speaking in Russian.
'Christmas. If there's one Holiday I'll never understand, even if I live 'til the heat-death of the Universe, it's this sappy cautionary tale of commercialism run rampant. Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving; none of these average saps gets quite so smacked in the brainpan as they do during the jolly fatman's day. It starts in September now, sheesh! You know what, on second thought not understanding it is a blessing,' Tasha grumbled internally as she stepped past the fifteenth bell-ringing corner Santa that day.
She turned her attention away from that grumbling inner monologue and instead focused on the little three-and-a-half year old hand tightly grasping hers. She couldn't help but smirk a bit to herself as the little hellion made a point of jumping up and stomping every pile of slush she came across, totally ignoring the annoyed cries of other pedestrians hit by the soggy icy shrapnel. Or occasionally sticking her tongue out at them if they made a more demonstrative display of irritation.
'More energy than I know what to do with, baby girl,' she grinned down at the squirt, who was too busy scanning around for another pile of slush to decimate. 'Though it's not like you get to go out to the fancy part of Go too often to know better.'
Go City, as usual, had exhausted its holiday decoration budget completely. Every tree, street lamp, and awning that the city could get away with making up in the spirit of commercialism, they did. Blinking flashing lights, tinsel, Santa and Reindeer sculptures on every corner; more than a few graffitied with assorted obscenities. The whole thing was enough to make even the hard-bitten citizens of Go a bit cynical.
At least that was how seventeen-year-old Natasha Drago saw it. Knowing that she was one of the draws for holiday tourists only made her feel all the more unclean. 'Damned Grinch had the right idea. Too bad he pussied out in the end.'
Of course, her darling offspring saw only a glittering seasonal celebration which she'd witnessed only twice before. So Tasha swallowed down any biting observations she'd have shared were her brother's present, to spare her daughter's wonderment for at least a little longer.
Tasha slowed down visibly though when she noticed several other children escorted past her by their parents, even a few teens around her own age, most of whom glanced at the over energized weird little girl in the thick winter coat. Agni pouted a bit and stepped closer to her mother, looking up to her with a look the teen mother immediately identified as preceding a whine.
"Mama…" she pouted, pulling at her coat's neckline.
Natasha barely suppressed a sigh. 'Ho boy, do I know exactly where this particular conversation is going or what…'
"I'm hot! I don't wanna big coat! I'm not cold! Really!" She tugged on the young heroine's arm as though that would help cement the seriousness of her claim.
Looking down into Agni's wide pleading eyes, Natasha gave a mental groan and leaned forward. 'Life was so much easier before she realized how cute she is.'
Tasha was well aware that all either of the two green glow girls needed to do was simply increase their body temperature in response to the cold wind coming in off the lake. But of course there was that tiresome and ultimately pointless secret identity thing to account for. Though explaining the need for covert identities to a child Agni's age, even clever as she was, was not something most child-rearing books had a chapter on. Maybe that Jack guy she met the other day might be interested in marketing that?
Sadly, it was only 10 degrees outside that morning, so anything less than what they were wearing would likely have resulted in every parent along the sidewalk turning a judgmental glare in the young mother's direction. Of course, most of them would at least be charitable enough to assume that Agni was her sister, but a few would still wonder. And considering the holiday stretched her mood to the breaking point as it was; that could get ugly real fast.
"I already know you aren't cold, Kiddo," Tasha explained, not for the first time that season, and certainly not for the last. She paused with Agni a moment, making sure to get her attention, "But remember our game about pretending to be normal? Well we're still playing that game, and I know how you hate to lose."
"Yeah, I like winning!" came an immediate response. The super powered tot bounced excitedly before frowning to herself. Her voice quickly began to climb towards a whine, "But when do I win? This game's too long. It's boring!"
"Don't I know it," Tasha grumbled under her breath, leaning down and pulling the young girl into her arms before continuing down the street. Thinking quickly, she switched tactics, "We can talk about that when we get home, Kiddo. For now, you should worry about what you're gonna tell Santa when you meet him."
Agni blushed; suddenly shy and apprehensive at meeting the mysterious fat man that children at the day care claimed was the source of presents every year. The whole concept was strange to her, but she couldn't argue with the results. She wasn't sure why he was so necessary though. After all, her Mama gave her presents on her birthday without any help from an old round man with a beard. She definitely had several questions for him when she saw him.
Thinking that through, Agni was suddenly struck with a strange but suitable theory coalescing in her toddler mind. "Mama, is Santa a superhero too?"
Tasha chuckled in spite of her attempt to hold back her surprise at the reasoning. Not ignorant of the particular sullen pout Agni made when she thought she wasn't being taken seriously, the green teen shook her head. "Sorry, sorry Agni. I'm just… why would you think some crap like that?"
"Cause he has silly red clothes, the weird way he talks on the TV, and him being able to do stuff normies can't even though he's real fat! Like squeeze down chimneys and places that don't even have chimneys!" She nodded enthusiastically.
"All pretty good points," the super-teen admitted with a wry smirk, "I guess you'll just have to ask him yourself. Mama wants to hear his answer too."
Stepping around the corner, the monolithic and imposing shadow of the Go City Fountain Square Mall fell over the two of them. Tasha held back a shudder at the mental image of the crowd waiting inside on the penultimate December morning.
Agni hid a bit behind her mom's leg. "Santa's really in there, Mama?"
'Well… just because my bitch mother didn't care about spreading a little childhood wonderment doesn't mean I'm gonna follow in those footsteps,' she told herself resolutely, trying not to feel a bit guilty about so blatantly lying to her daughter this early in her life. "Sure is Sweetheart, ready to meet him?"
"Uh… uh huh," she muttered anxiously, hiding behind her mother's pant leg and gripping her hand tightly.
"Then let's go," she smirked as she led the way into a maelstrom of Holiday incarnate.
The Go City Fountain Square Mall was one of the main staples of the lakeside city, originally built in the sixties and only expanded upon since then. With its gaping architecture, and famous clock hanging from the central dome, it was one of the more recognizable attractions in the city, if not the state. Not to mention fifth largest Mall in the world to this day.
Natasha hated it and everyone in it.
'This place is just a perfect example of everything that's wrong with this city,' she grumbled to herself, trying to navigate herself and her daughter through the meat grinder that were the holiday crowds. Keeping her focus on avoiding collisions with all the shoppers around them was all that kept her from verbally disemboweling the lot of them.
'All that money and focus on set dressing like this, and content on relying on a bunch of unlucky meteor kids for their protection. They know they could be spending more on actually protecting this place from the freaks. It's only been three months since the Billion Bomb Panic, but none of these losers even remember how close this city came to being replaced by a giant glass crater.'
The entire population of the city must have been there from the look of the crowds. Everyone trying to squeeze and shove past one another in a futile attempt to land some last minute shopping or find that hot holiday item. She looked down regularly, making sure Agni was beside her at all times, despite having her overly warm hand tight in her grasp.
Looking over the railing from the second floor, Natasha could see the serpentine line of parents snaking along the floor, and twisting around. Knowing that their destination was likely at the end of that monster wait was… discouraging. The thought so distracted her that she was taken unaware by the smaller body colliding with her and tumbling to the ground.
Turning her glare down to the fallen shopper, Tasha snapped out in stressed irritation, "Hey! Eyes front you little sh… wait, Anya?"
She blinked in surprise, looking over her mother's tech-savvy young assistant. The twelve-year-old regarded Tasha with a sour look. Then, adjusting her sunglasses and running her fingers through her dyed-black hair, the smaller Russian pulled herself upright using the railing.
"[Tasha, looking Grinchy as always…]" she muttered in her native tongue, dusting herself off. Then she looked the young heroin over, noticing Agni with a smirk. The young girl received a shy smile from behind Tasha's leg. "[And a Happy Holiday to you too, little battery.]"
"[Hi, Anya!]" Agni waved excitedly up at the older girl. "[You here to get me a present too? Want my list?]"
The young Slavic girl couldn't help but smirk at that. She wasn't a fan of little children, but the novelty that this one was related to her employer was too much fun, more so that she was secretly a little nuclear furnace. She reached over and ruffled the girl's hair through her hood. "[Heh, who knows, Chubby-cheeks, who knows…? And didn't I tell you to call me Auntie Anya?]"
"[My cheeks aren't chubby!]" The three-year-old huffed with an irritated pout, stamping her foot and pulling away. "[And I don't gotta call you that 'cause you're not a grownup!]"
"[You call Tasha's brother's Uncle!]" Anya snorted back in annoyance, upset that the tot was disregarding her obvious maturity.
"Well, they are her uncles," Tasha muttered, rolling her eyes and leaning back against the railing. She cast a disapproving glance at the young hacker, and added, "And speak English, dammit. It's hard enough getting Agni to know when to speak what language where without you or Dad mixing her up. This is America, and we speak English here."
"Don't see zhe point. Da language iss crass," Anya acquiesced sullenly. She preferred to take advantage of every opportunity where she didn't need to stumble over the clumsy bastard tongue. She ignored the young heroine once again, in favor of the smaller, more agreeable of the pair. "Zho, Огненный шар, vhat are you and your Mama doink out here, eh?"
The three-year-old pointed excitedly through the glass railing, to the waiting line below. Jumping excitedly, she exclaimed, "I'm gonna meet Santa! He's right down there! See?"
Anya couldn't help but chuckle slightly at the child's boundless enthusiasm. That didn't stop her from attempting to hide it behind her hand though, "Never cease to amaze me dat you are related to Boss, Крошечный. Zho, vat vill you ask da big man for?"
"I'm not tiny, I'm three!" she corrected petulantly, holding up the appropriate amount of fingers at the girl to impress her point. "And I wanna green and black Gurgy, and a BIG black fuzzy tantula!"
Tasha could see Anya was visibly taken aback by that. Not so much by the request for a pet Tarantula; Agni's morbid fascination with spiders was already well documented. But the Gurgy was the toy of that season.
A Nakasumi designed intelligent doll, shaped like a cute furry creature that could respond to simple conversations, as well as a variety of other functions. The expensive pile of plush and hardware was likely on every Christmas list, but at this time of year, not even a deal with the devil could put one in your hands. Anya should know, she had already tried to use her new 56k modem to try to reroute a shipment herself.
Why the hell Roza had gotten the delinquent that new Micron was beyond the older teen as she watched the hacker, when she herself was relegated to the desktop in the Go Tower that any idiot villain could appear on at will.
"How… cute. I am sure you vill get one of those… things…" she muttered half-heartedly, casting an apprehensive look up at the young mother from behind her glasses. She was relieved though when Natasha simply rolled her eyes and winked.
'Unlike those tools scurrying around in a panic, I was smart enough to order one of those overpriced piles of fuzz back in September. Not to mention Nakasumi owed me anyways,' Tasha internalized smugly. Casting a brief glance at her watch, she sighed and looked back up at Anya, "Anyways, Annie, don't you have your own shopping to get to?"
"Da, yes," the young immigrant waved off, getting the picture. "As cute as dis is, ve do haf to get moving. I vould invite you alonk but… I do not van't to."
The seventeen-year-old just clucked her tongue and repressed the urge to make a rude hand gesture in front of her child towards Roza's delinquent protégé. "Just shove off, Brat."
"Flirt," Anya teased back, placing her hands in her pockets, "I vill see you tonight anyvays. Da Boss insisted I come by tonight."
"Anya's coming to dinner?" Agni perked up, diverting her attention from looking at her destination down back below to her mother and Grandma's helper.
"Apparently, baby girl," Tasha murmured, fighting a frown. 'She invites the little circuit head every year, but would never insist Anya show up unless she wanted someone to stand in for her. Of course, not like Mommy has anything better to do, does she? After all, it's only Christmas Eve.'
Ignorant to the hidden heroine's change in mood, Anya simply shrugged and started to turn away from the pair, "May as vell leave you two to make tender zhe Christmas memories then. [See you tonight.]" After a pause, she turned back, "Oh! And Agni, over here a bit, da?"
The tyke blinked and tottled up to the mischievously smirking teen. Anya leaned down and tugged her close, pulling her hood away and whispering something close into Agni's ear. Natasha frowned when she noticed Agni stiffen slightly at the secret, mouth agape in shock. She frowned and moved towards the two, preparing to give the little Siberian snot a good smack if she didn't approve of the proceedings. But before she finished closing the distance, Anya stood back up, gave a mocking peace sign and impishly skipped off into the crowd.
"What'd she say, Baby?" Tasha asked when Agni took her right hand again, gripping tightly than before.
"Can we go see Santa now, Mama?" Agni asked apprehensively, looking down at the second floor line again.
"Uh… sure," Tasha frowned, somewhat unsettled every time her three-year-old would change the subject like that. "Let's go."
'Well, that was surprisingly easy,' Natasha grinned, standing proudly at the head of the line, and ignoring the bitter glares of the scores of parents waiting behind them.
Sneaking into the front has been so painfully simple that she couldn't help but wonder why most hadn't tried it themselves. Of course, the woman she'd stepped in front of had noticed that she was not suddenly at the head of the pack anymore and seemed about ready to kick up some great annoying tirade. However, all that had been required to quiet her was a heavy dose of the infamous Drago Sneer, accompanied by angry glowing death eyes. The combination was more than enough to put the fear of a wrathful God in the older woman's heart, and she nervously backed off.
'You jackasses may not realize it, but you all owe me this,' she thought to herself with a sense of righteous entitlement. 'Every peon in this line has had their ass saved by me at least once, so letting me cut ahead is the least you all can do. 'Sides, not like cutting in line is a crime or anything.'
She looked ahead at the Santa seated on the raised platform, being handed children to promise things, and ask if they met their parents' standard of being good or not. If parents hundreds of years ago invented Santa, they must have been pretty clever. It kept so many little brats in line, for a few months at least.
And Tasha also had to admit, the man the mall had hired was definitely a convincing one. Clearly a veteran of Mall Santadom.
She looked back down at her nervous daughter when she noticed the Santa was beginning to finish up with the last young child ahead of them.
"Ready, Kiddo?" Shego smirked down at the tense young girl, just moments away from meeting some random man dressed like a childhood icon.
"Uh huh," she mumbled nervously, gazing up to the large man in red garb, seated between two large and ornate Christmas trees. She steeled herself as much as a girl her age could, her eyes narrowed determinedly.
"Alright, little girl. Your turn," prompted one of Santa's attending helpers; a young lady dressed cheaply like one of Santa's elves, complete with realistic pointed ears. She guided Tasha and Agni over to the Santa's platform, and addressed them both, "Your big sister can wait over here."
'Big Sister,' Natasha grumbled internally, 'I didn't go through four-and-a-half months of a swollen glowing belly and night sweats to be anyone's sister.'
But she ignored the label and she and the elf helped the three-year-old up the stairs, towards the Saint Nickolas. Little Agni was chewing at her lip apprehensively as she was given the Santa's full yuletide attention.
"Ho hoho…Hello little girl," came the Santa's deep, jovial voice. It was a comfort to Agni that he sounded like the one she saw on television, on top of looking like him. "Why don't you come over here and sit on my lap?"
She cast a nervous glance at her mother before walking up to Santa, and letting him help her to take a seat upon his knee. She frowned slightly when the Santa's eyes widened at the heat seeping into his leg. But the girl didn't look sick, other than her complexion, and nothing felt wet; so he pressed on, "So little girl, what's your name?"
"I'm not little," Agni pouted slightly, looking critically up at the man, "And don't you already know my name? You've visited me a couple times."
Being a veteran of many Christmases, the mall Santa wasn't at all thrown by the young girl's inquiry and responded with a carefully prepared answer he had for the clever ones, "Ho ho, of course I have! But, I need my list to make sure, and I've left that back at the North Pole. And good little children are in bed when I come around, so I don't see them…"
"Oh…," Agni frowned, considering the answer. That did make sense; after all, there were a lot of kids out there, maybe thousands, unless Santa had an unusually good memory like Agni and her family. But she weren't yet sure if he was a superhero or not. "I'm Agni."
"Oh, Agni?" the Santa blinked at the odd name. This little tyke didn't look ethnic at all, "Oh-hohoho! Of course! So, Agni, have you been a good girl this year?"
"Mama says I have, but she also says only I can say if I'm good. So… I'm good! So you need to gimme presents and stuff," she explained with a big grin across her face, not caring that Santa seemed somewhat flustered by that response. Suddenly, she recalled her question to her mother. "Um, are you a superhero, San… ta…"
She trailed off, not focusing on Santa's surprised expression, but instead on the very dark stubble poking out around the corners of Santa's beard. Her eyes narrowed and in one quick motion , a three-year-old hand pulled down the thick white beard, tearing the theater tape and eliciting a pained cry from the imposter Saint Nick. Agni's eyes glowed brightly in shock and horror at the sight of somebody decidedly not the Santa Claus of her imagination.
Witnessing all this from the elf's stand, Natasha stared dumbly at the proceedings. A dawning horror built in her gut, and it was justified a mere second later when she felt a tingle at the back of her neck as the air became literally electrified.
"I knew it!" Agni cried out, standing up on his lap unsteadily. Before anyone could move, her tiny fist lashed out and punctured a smoldering hole through the plywood back of the Santa's holiday throne.
The man barely had time to take in the disturbing sight before the three-year-old, her eyes alight with supernatural threat, leaned in and shouted, "What did you do to the real Santa?"
Of course at this point the entire crowd exploded into a maelstrom of crying and screaming children and upset parents either trying to calm them, shouting at the stage, or trying to reach security. The elves were standing rigid at the sight of a little girl, who even seemed small for her age, somehow punching a smoking hole through a wood backed chair. The one manning the camera accidentally pressed the shutter, eternally capturing the moment with a bright flash. At this point, the poor fake Santa seemed to have lost control of his lower faculties, further horrifying the children in the crowd. Worse, one or two of the braver tricycle motorists were beginning to take up Agni's indignation at the revelation of the imposter, tears turning to anger.
Shaking her head in disbelief, Natasha rushed forward past the angry crowd. Suddenly the lights and security cameras mysteriously shorted out, as well as just about every electronic device in the immediate area, a few popping and smoldering in pockets and purses as the teen passed. Then in one fluid motion, she grabbed both Agni and the camera, shouted "Merry Christmas, folks," and ran off ahead of the encroaching mall security. She didn't stop until both of them were beyond the rarely used side entrance to the mall and into the parking lot.
Agni looked up at her mother and shouted, little fists shaking as she neared tears, "Mama, you gotta go in there and beat him up! That's a badguy! He's got Santa and Santa's got my Tantula! Anya was right, he was a fake!"
The off-duty Shego took all that in silently and processed everything for a minute, including the mispronunciation. Then she fell to her knees holding her sides from the pain of laughing uproariously. 'Oh my God, I have GOT to get this film developed!'
'Ahh, the joys of motherhood,' Tasha muttered as she stepped out of the Cromarty Café, taking a sip of the scalding drink.
Taking Agni back home had been more than a little frustrating. The three-year-old had thrown the mother of all fits the entire way home. The super-powered tot accused the poor mall Santa of being a vicious thug who had beaten and possibly killed old Saint Nick and horded all of his gifts. Eventually the story became an over-exaggerated and grandiose childhood fantasy involving everything from a possible alien invasion to demonic elves. 'Hyper-active imagination, thy name is Agni.'
Eventually, Tasha managed to calm her daughter down. But only when she told her she was only dropping her off at home so she could go back and beat on the imposter and save the world… And that she was dropping the tot off to avoid endangering her. It was worlds better than simply telling the girl there was no real Santa. She wasn't Roza. 'Like hell I'm gonna ruin Santa for a three-year-old. That's three more years than I ever had with the red fatso.'
Of course, the reality was she'd dropped Agni off simply so that she could go and pick up her present from the local Circuit Shack, special delivery from Tokyo. Admittedly Christmas Eve was cutting it pretty close, but any earlier and the littlest Drago would have already dug them out of whatever hiding place Natasha had thought of. If it weren't Agni snooping the house, it would be one of her Uncles. Natasha took another sip of her newly acquired holiday peppermint cinnamon cappuccino as she entered her destination and stepped up to the Circuit Shack help counter.
She placed her receipt for the order on the table and frowned over at where the employee was reclining back, with his feet on the counter and reading through the Ultraguy Christmas edition. She placed her coffee down beside her receipt and snapped her fingers. "Earth to pizza-face. I have two-hundred dollars prepaid that says you owe me an overpriced pile of jabbering fluff."
The pimply faced chinless employee looked up at the irritated voice. Shego's lip curled further downwards when his eyes lingered a bit too long on her bust line before moving on to her face. He was finally met with an index finger flicking him hard between the eyes, making him stumble back with a wince as she nearly drew blood. "Got your attention, Poindexter? Great. Now get me that toy ASAP before I give you something a lot less pleasant to ogle, comprendé?"
The employee looked like he was about to give a weak rebuttal, but an emerald-eyed glare got him hurrying to the back room, and looking through several shelves. Finally he came back with the Gurgy package, prominently showing off the cute critter across the front. He placed the box in on the counter, avoiding eye contact with the young lady entirely for fear of his eyes drifting to the caustic teen's prominent curves.
"He-he-he-here it is…"he stuttered out, looking away, "The l-l-l-last one. N-n-no new sh-shipments 'til fe-february."
"Well boo hoo for any loser who missed out. All I need is one," she shrugged off, passing the receipt over and placing the Gurgy in her bag, a slight smile on her face as she predicted the way Agni's eyes would light up the moment she tore the wrapping paper free. As sappy as the thought was, it brought a warm feeling in her chest and melted away a bit of her icey edge. Maybe the Holidays weren't so bad after all.
'It's the little things that make the lil' brat such a pleasure,' she mused inwardly while turning to pick up her coffee. She frowned and narrowed her eyes at the exposed milky brown fluid. A ripple danced across its reflective surface starting from the center, the cup jumping slightly. She could feel the vibrations work their way up her feet, ever so faintly. A second later, a second ripple, stronger, more concussive.
'You've got to be fucking kidding me…'
A third ripple, then a fourth, all evenly spaced, but each stronger, more pronounced, and a fifth which raised a drop clear of the surface of her drink. Her teeth grit tightly.
'On Christmas Eve! Seriously? Don't they have this stupid holiday when he comes from?' she despaired silently; her fears confirmed when she noticed several people run in a panic past the Circuit Shack display windows.
"M-m-m-ma'am?" the teller muttered out under his apparent concern, "Is… is s-s-s-something wrong wi-"
He was cut off when her hand lashed out, grabbed him by the throat and dragged him eye-to-burning green eye. "Here's some cheery holiday advice, Greasy. Go out the back way, lock the door and keep on moving. Because the Abominable Snowman is outside and he's gunning for your sorry ass. Now MOVE!"
She sent the register jockey scurrying through the 'employees only' door before grabbing her package and running out the front entrance herself, turning towards the source of the sound. She quickly reached into her pocket and slid on her Team Go mask.
Her apprehensions were quickly confirmed when she caught sight of the pair of glowing red eyes glaring back at her from down the street.
'Of all the days… Hell, of all the years this SOB had to pop up, it had to be today!'
He stood in front of the burning wreck of a crushed van, the fire from the burst gas tank, the street lights and the flashing Christmas decorations giving his massive body an eerie illumination.
Most heroes in fiction or even real life had to deal with all manner of freaks or monsters. However, Team Go had the unique pleasure of some of the most bizarre and disturbing rogues imaginable. Dyno-Saur, however, was in a category all his own, putting even Rocket Rogue to shame. In the simplest of terms, he was a sentient cyborg Tyrannosaurus rex from the distant future. A speciest terrorist hell-bent on altering the course of history to ensure his kind's prosperity, and humanity's extinction.
And even after more than six encounters, Shego still had to remind herself that she was not in need of medication. There really was a giant reptile half a block away covered in futuristic machinery and sneering down at her.
"For being nothing more than a filthy over-promoted mammal," came the deep ominous rumble from between glistening metallic jaws, and huge serrated teeth. "You at least know not to keep your betters waiting."
"Christmas Eve, Sharp Tooth? Really?" she asked the theropod bitterly, a hand cocked on her hip as she settled into her super-heroine persona. "That's cold blooded, even for you."
"I chose this time because it's your pathetic mammal holiday, shrew," he growled out darkly, his implanted reticle partially obscuring one eye and casting an eerie glow. "Imagine the looks on all the little monkey children's faces when I destroy this city on their precious Christmas. My face will be what's remembered on this holiday for millennia to come, and not that swollen red ape deity."
"Well hurry this up, Thunder Thighs," she shrugged off the boast, "I've got my own Christmas Eve plans, and if your time-hopping ass makes me late, I'll make you wish you were there for that meteor with your buddies."
He roared in fury. It was a far deeper, more roughened sound than cinema implied T-Rex's would sound make. She smirked, and moved the moment she saw the big lizard's hips twitch, experience telling her he was about to activate his thrusters. Springing out of the way just as he barreled forward, she gripped one of his tiny useless arms as he half-flew past.
She pivoted around and landed on his neck, hooking her fingers under the metal plate guarding his backbone. She was about to light up and dig into the spinal implant trailing from his skull to his weapons pack, paralyzing him, but had to jump free when he twisted around and swiped towards her with one of his clawed weapon-prosthetics.
But not before grabbing the mechanical limb by the wrist and tearing a good chunk of seemingly important wiring away with it. A wicked smirk graced her lips at the roar of indignation and pain the super-predator bellowed in response to the damage.
"Aww, did I ruin your Holiday?" she rubbed in for good measure. "Maybe Santa will get you a new one, with better plumage to match."
"No, wench," the villain hissed, looking over the sparking claw in annoyance. Then he turned and smirked, pointing his good arm at the bag Shego had left beside the store front. "But I'm sure this ruins yours."
All amusement drained from the young heroine's face, replaced by cold dawning horror. She bolted forward, but before she could move so much as a foot towards the bag containing Agni's coveted Christmas present, a purple lance of light flashed forward. The air around the bag exploded in smoke, the atmosphere shimmering. When it cleared, all that remained was a shimmering molten crater in the concrete. Gone along with it the scene Shego imagined of the look on Agni's face when she was given that toy.
Dyno-Saur gave a deep rumble of a chuckle, as he turned back to where the hero was standing silently, her hair obscuring her face from view. "Your reaction is even better than I'd hoped. How delightful. I wonder for whom-"
"Shut up," Shego cut off, her voice dangerously low, dripping with cold fury. She looked up, and Dyno-Saur had to step away in shock at the burning look on the young human's face.
"Get ready to have your halls decked, Asshole," she stated, igniting her hands brightly. "Cause I'm coming home with a present, even if I gotta carve it out of your hide."
"And now Mama is gonna go blow up that guy and all those demony elves, and get my present back!" Agni explained brightly to her Uncles and Anya. The latter whom was turning a very dark shade of red from attempting to maintain a straight face, the twitch in her eye implying she was biting down on her tongue as the occasional titter escaped. Once the story was finished, Anya excused herself from the table hurriedly. The youngest Drago looked from face to face, expecting shock and awe at her entirely truthful report, but was very disappointed by the receptions she found.
Uncle Hego just smiled awkwardly and cleared his throat, trying to think of a proper way to address his niece's story before settling on, "Well, I'm sure the real Santa is so happy that you-"
"Assaulted a mall employee and started a small riot," her Uncle Mego cut off with a bemused smirk.
Agni frowned, unsure if that was a compliment or not, before she remembered who said it and stuck her tongue out.
"You know, I was always the picture of good behavior when I met Santa."
"Except you never met Santa," muttered both Wegos, "You were too scared, and dad gave up trying."
"I guess that makes Littlest Sis tougher than you," smirked one.
"Not that we didn't already know that," finished the other.
"Who told you that, you little…?" Mego growled, but the grins on twins' faces made the answer obvious, "Argh… never mind, multiplying twerps..."
Anya returned a moment later from refilling her glass and swallowing her laughter, taking her seat and grinning down at Agni, "[Well, your Aunty Anya is very proud that you beat up on that mean old fake Santa. I knew he was shady.]"
"Uh huh! I beat him up!" Agni enforced excitedly, bouncing a bit on the phonebooks underneath her, miniature eating utensils tightly clutched in each hand.
"[Hmm… where is Tasha anyways?]" the twelve year old Russian girl asked the oldest sibling at the table.
"Oh, she's going to get-" Hego began before an elbow from the nearest Wego checked him in the rib. "Er… she's doing… stuff… though she is running late."
Mego clapped his hands sarcastically, "Wow, Vik. Just wow. Nice save…"
Hego was about to offer a harsh rejoinder, but Dmitri chose that moment to step out of the kitchen and set down several platters of food onto the dining table. "[Dinner's ready, everyone! Papa's prepared all kinds of tasty treats for his wonderful children and grandchildren. Enjoy!]"
All assembled, with the exception of the youngest who wasn't paying attention, winced at their father's sappy exclamation. Especially Anya, who still refused to believe that this lukewarm bowl of borscht was the man her boss chose to spend her life with. However, all agreed that the overly sentimental doctor knew his way around the kitchen, which meant a great deal to a family with such… enthusiastic appetites.
"[Now, your mother wishes she could be here]," Dmitri muttered, drooping visibly, oblivious to the unconvinced looks from his children regarding that claim. "[But, please remember her rule about powers at the dinner table? She may not be here to enforce it but…]"
He trailed off helplessly when he saw the smirks dancing across his children's faces. Anya, unfortunately, was not warned about the inherent dangers of eating with the Drago siblings while unsupervised. As such, she missed the challenging looks in their eyes as they eyed one another over the feast set before them. Each was simply daring the others to make the first move.
"[Looks really good, Dr. Drago,]" Anya complimented, as she reached for a roll. She frowned when she grabbed at air, at least seven red arms striking out and snatching all the buttered pastries before she could so much as touch them. This was apparently a signal for all the siblings to make their move.
The table raised and tilted towards Hego's seat, sliding the ham his way so that he could carve away literally half of the meat and put it on his plate. Mego, and by extension the platters of gnocchi and creamed corn he put his hands on disappeared with a pop. The mashed potatoes were about to go a similar route but a green spark struck the table in front of the nigh invisible purple speck, halting him in his tracks so Agni could pull the bowl her way with pudgy little fingers, punctuated with a petulant three-year-old's glare down at the tiny food-thief.
Anya looked over at Dmitri pleadingly; but the good doctor just sighed with his head down, thankful that he took so many taste-tests during the cooking and wishing his wife was here to keep things restrained. Thankfully for the little hacker, eventually the frenzy settled down some. She was able to manage a few remaining scraps for herself from the decimated dishes.
"You all suck, you know that?" came their sister's voice by the doorway half-way through the meal.
Tasha glared at the family, arms crossed in disapproval and looking somewhat disheveled. There were little rips and ashen smudges on her winter coat, along with dark stains on the cuffs where some of the fur trim had been burned away. Further, her wavy black hair seemed somewhat frazzled and windswept, bits sticking out here and there.
"Mama!" Agni exclaimed excitedly, sliding off her seat, along with the phone books, and running up to the seventeen-year-old. She grabbed her by her right hand and jumped up and down. "You beat up the bad Santa, right! You got back my presents!"
She barely missed the hurt wince go across her mother's face before Tasha mumbled, "Well… about that…"
"[Sweety, you're looking a bit…]" Dmitri frowned, looking the young woman over, "[disheveled.]"
"Thanks, daddy, didn't notice," Tasha scoffed. She then settled her eyes on Anya, who smiled back at her innocently. Natasha responded by marching up to the pest and giving her the smack she'd had coming since this afternoon, ignoring the curse the teen threw her way. "You earned that, circuit-freak."
"I vas just brinking a little more excitement to holiday, bitch," Anya shot back in thickly accented English as she rubbed the back of her head.
"You run into any trouble out there, Tash?" her older brother asked, the tone indicating the question was Team Go-related, getting her other brothers' attention over their purloined meals.
Tasha was about to say something back to Anya, and her brothers. But she sighed and looked down at Agni, who looked like she still wanted an answer. "We'll be back in a sec. So don't steal anymore of my dinner or you'll make like chestnuts on an open fire."
Agni frowned, and let her mom guide her away from her family and into the living room. Her mom wasn't smiling like she usually did after beating up badguys, which was never a good sign in her three year old mind. When they were alone, she looked up into her mother's eyes nervously. "Did… the bad Santa get away?"
"N-no! Hell no," Tasha forcibly laughed off, trying to keep Agni's spirits high. "I kicked his ass all the way to the South Pole."
"Cool! Awesome, Mama!" Agni beamed. "And you got the presents back?"
With a heavy sigh, Tasha lowered herself down in front of Agni. She saw the look of apprehension return to her tiny daughter's face, "Well… I did save Santa, but I wasn't able to save your Gurgy… I- I'm sorry, Kiddo."
Her daughter's face crumpled from joy to utter disappointment, turning her head to the floor and looking about ready to cry at any moment. Tasha took her by the chin and tilted her head up so they were eye-to-eye and added hastily, "But! Santa was so happy with me that he decided to give you a special present."
"…Really?" Agni asked up in amazement, melancholy forgotten at the possibility of being singled out for a special gift from Santa Claus himself. "What is it, what is it?"
Her mother smirked and reached into her pocket, then placed a small jewelry store bag in Agni's hands. "He gave you a present nobody else in the entire world has, Baby girl."
The tyke reached her small hand in the bag, and withdrew a thin golden chain. It was decorated along half its length with shined brownish-red shapes; long triangles, but one edge slightly whitish in color on each. She looked the necklace up and down before looking up at her young mother, not understanding. "What is it?"
"A necklace made from real live dinosaur scales!" she grinned with a wink, enjoying the look of wide-eyed excitement on her daughter's face.
Agni pulled the necklace on and looked each individual scale over closely in her pudgy young fingers.
"You like it, huh?"
"Uh huh!" Agni responded with a gasp, not tearing her eyes away from her necklace.
"Really happy you like it, Kiddo." Natasha smirked. The warm gooey feeling returned to her chest at the reception her last minute gift had received. 'Nothing too good for you, Baby.'
"Well, c'mon. Let's go show you uncles, I can't wait to hear what they think of it," she smirked darkly, standing back up and taking Agni's hand. "And maybe while we're at it, we can remind them to leave their police scanners turned on during dinner…"
"Yeah!" Agni grinned without grasping why her mother had added the last part. She was about to run off back to the dining room but paused and sniffed the air. "Mama? Why do you smell like a sack of pennies? And why is your hand sticky?"
Agni looked up from her Christmas list as she navigated her way around the main floor of the Middleton Mall. In all twelve years of her life, this would be the first time she'd ever tasked herself with getting gifts for others, and her list was annoyingly long. She never had any close friends, or for that matter, nice acquaintances whom to consider on the Holidays. And her family discouraged the idea that they wanted her to get them anything, though she was never quite sure if it was because she was the youngest or because they felt so awkward around her ever since the turkey exploded in a temper tantrum when she was seven…
'Well, that doesn't matter,' she smirked, shaking off the melancholy that thought supplied.
She glanced briefly at her list before turning left, moving towards the crowd gathered around the old Mall Santa greeting kids. She couldn't help but smile at the scenery, remembering how it'd been the very last Christmas she'd spent with her mom so many years ago. The necklace from that day was sitting safely in a case in a hollowed out part of her wall in the Possible house right now.
By now she knew the truth behind that little gift, but that didn't make it any less special. Quite the contrary, the story of how her mom got it always inspired a fierce grin from her. Imagining how the great and powerful Shego had defeated a forty-five ton carnivore with her bare hands and then carved souvenirs from his hide in exchange for the destroyed Gurgy she never got was a story that really deserved to be retold to any who doubted the coolness of her mom.
The young tween used to find the thought of how that'd been her last direct gift from her mother depressing, but not today. Because this would be the first Christmas with her mom in over eight years, and Agni Svetlana Drago planned to live it up, come hell or high water or mutant Wannaweep snowmen!
That was why Agni found herself in this sorry excuse for a mall, shopping for others for the first time in her young life. She owed some stupidly altruistic saps a great deal more than she ever cared to admit, so weaseling her way out of presents wasn't exactly an option.
'Though like hell am I gonna get that annoying Hillbilly twit anything…' she grumbled to herself. 'Bad enough I gotta share a room with-'
She was startled out of her inner monologue when she heard a scream of abject fear echo across the mall concourse. She looked over at where the old Mall Santa was pointing at her; the whites in his eyes fully visible even from this distance and through the white fur trim of his upset Santa's hat and his aged white beard.
The obviously unsettled Saint Nick then wet himself, turned and stumbled over several foam candy canes, tangled himself in artificial snow and strings of lights and ran. The old Sinter Klaus shoved aside two of his elves when they ran to his aid, casting one last fearful look Agni's way, before bolting out the mall entrance entirely.
Agni stared at the scene for well over a minute in utter confusion. "What the hell was that about?"
Finally shaking off the completely random self-wetting Santa fiasco, the tweenager began walking again, trying to avoid the accusatory looks of the line of parents and upset children and the familiar feelings it brought. On looking up, she found herself outside the Humid Subject store. Grinning she looked through the window. Retro was in this year, and sitting there was a bright green Nakasumi Inc. Gurgy, sitting next to a pirated DVD of "Xtreme Xmas."
"And here I was worried I wouldn't be able to find anything for mom…" the meta-teen grinned to herself as she stepped inside the store. "Hey, Register Jockey! How much for that Gurgy in the Window?"
Another Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, folks!
Once again, this fic is dedicated to my beta, Eoraptor, who I'm sure I run ragged with all the nonsensical gibberish I send his way that he effortlessly works into a coherent story. Merry Christmas, good buddy. And to my other KP-related friends; Alexlayer and Blackbird who manage to put up with me on a daily basis, and for whom I know I can count on. Patience of saints, both of them.
And last but not least, to all of you, my loyal readers. You guys ceaselessly sticking by me guarantees me a Merry Christmas every year, and I cannot thank you enough. ^_^
Also, Anya is saying 'Fireball' and 'Tiny' in Russian. Or at least Google Translator claims she is. ;P