A Kim Possible Fanfiction
by Greg Fisk (aka "Slyrr")

Kim Possible is owned/copyrighted by Disney and its affiliates, etc. etc.

Chapter 11:
Justice And Law
Or: Complications With Leigh Gality

Kim stood with her fists clenched, her knuckles white, staring at Grimm, who stared back at her. Both of their eyes were gleaming and cold, though Kim's face was reddening with anger. Her eyes were so narrowed, Wade thought for a moment that she had closed them. He felt tension filling the whole room like a blade that had just been unsheathed at a peace conference. After several more seconds, he was practically squirming in his seat. 'Uh - should I step out?' he said, a flutter of panic in his voice.

Kim growled. 'You've got some nerve showing your face here.'

Rufus leaped out of Kim's hip pouch and stood on the table, going into an attack pose and staring at Rueful, who was poking his head out of Grimm's backpack. 'Hiyaaa!' he squeaked. And Rueful reared up onto Grimm's shoulder, his eyes glittering as he looked down at the naked mole rat. A rolling, high pitched growl sounded in his throat.

'The last time we met, you said you'd rather have Wade's help than mine.' Grimm said. 'Still feel that way? I know you've been stonewalled at every turn, and I distinctly heard 'I got nothing' before I came in.'

'Get out!' Kim shouted, moving towards him. Wade flinched, scooting as far back into the breakfast nook as he could manage. He was sure that Kim was going to throw a punch, but she stopped about a foot away from him, her fists raised.

Grimm simply leaned against the door frame, a look of non-concern on his face. 'Leave?' he said. 'After everything I went through to come here and help you?'

'I don't want your help!' Kim snarled. 'I want you in cell block D!'

'You might change your mind once you shut up and listen.' said Grimm. 'You've spent days now trying to hunt down Maze and Monkey Fist, and every moment in between angsting over what they did to Ron. I told you before - they also did it to Rhonda. That means we're both working towards the same end whether or not either of us like it. So why not pool our resources?'

'We've got our own leads.' said Kim, knowing it wasn't really true. 'And once we find Monkey Fist, we'll get Ron back without your so-called help!'

Grimm shook his head, looking annoyed. 'You think it's that easy?' he said. 'After that cute speech you gave Wade about opening his mind beyond the realm of science? This isn't going to be like one of your loser missions where you drag the culprit off to jail and the story ends. Even if by some miracle you actually manage to find Monkey Fist's lair, Ron's not gonna be trussed up inside waiting for you to usher in the happy ending.'

Kim's rage broke. She lashed out with a right cross, but Grimm neatly side-stepped, entering the kitchen and taking the lid off the cookie jar, helping himself to one of the cookies inside. As he took a bite, she followed up with a roundhouse kick, but he rolled beneath her strike, standing up and in front of the breakfast nook while Rueful leaped from his back and landed on the counter, slithering behind the cookie jar.

Kim was moving towards him again, her other hand drawing back for a punch. 'Careful.' Grimm said, his voice muffled as he finished the cookie. 'If you miss, you hit Wade.'

Kim paused with her fist in mid-flight. Her teeth gritted. 'Then let's take it outside.' she hissed.

Grimm's smile returned. 'You've got a lot of anger issues.' he said. 'You're gonna have to work those out before you'll be properly focused on finding your BF.'

'Then let's take it outside!' Kim said again, pointing at the door, her finger shaking with anger.

'Eventually.' Grimm said. 'But there's a few things to get clear before that happens. First off - do you even want to find Ron?'

Kim's eyes blazed. 'What... kind of stupid question is that?' she said, her voice shrill and high.

'I'm just asking.' said Grimm. 'Because it seems like you're more interested in getting even with me than you are in getting Ron back. What exactly are your priorities?' Kim sputtered angrily for a moment and Grimm pressed on. 'If finding Ron is your number one, then you're wasting time every second you spend trying to pick a fight with the only guy who's standing ready with both answers and assistance.'

'Answers?' Kim said, and Wade was surprised to hear her voice so sneering and vicious. 'What kind of answers am I supposed to accept from a liar and a crook?'

'How about this?' said Grimm quickly. 'I know where Ron is.' And for the first time, Kim fell silent. Several seconds passed. When no one spoke, Grimm continued. 'For some reason, I had an inkling that you wouldn't be happy to see me.' he said, his smirk returning. 'So I'm giving you information now that I'd normally charge for - as a gesture of good faith.' He held up his communicator, and Kim heard her own voice chanting words that she didn't understand.

Sipimottakiksi, Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaaksiistapokska'siimiiwa....

At the table, Wade was fumbling and taking out his scanner, which he activated just as Grimm turned off his communicator. He looked down at Wade with a wry smile. 'So? What is it?' said Kim, her face glaring and still defiant. 'Smash Mouth's newest single?'

Grimm scowled as he answered. 'It's the incantation that Maze had you speak when he possessed you in the UNIT labs.' he said. 'It's Blackfoot - not that it matters. The basic translation - it's a call to the shadows of the night to banish enemies to the spirit realm.'

'Spirit realm?' Kim said, her voice dripping with disbelief.

Grimm frowned. 'Spirit realm, ethereal plane, alternate dimension, phantom zone, whatever you want to call it. Maze used his shadow magic to banish Rhonda and Ron to another plane of existence - they're stuck between realities. That's why you haven't been able to track him and why that chip you bugged him with isn't transmitting any signal. They could be right here in this room with us, but for all intents and purposes, they may as well be on the other side of the galaxy.'

'How did you find this out?' Kim said.

'I've got my sources.' he answered cagily.

'And I'm supposed to just accept it without question?' Kim said with a laugh. 'For all I know you're in cahoots with Monkey Fist! You think I'm going to trust you?'

'Why should you?' said Grimm. 'I wouldn't. But as the saying goes - how can I prove that I'm trustworthy - unless you trust me? Still, if it'll get you over your attitude, then I'm willing to swap any information we've got until you're satisfied. And you can verify it any way you can think of.'

'You're serious.' Kim said. 'You want us to... join forces?'

'Call it a temporary cease-fire.' Grimm said. 'They took Ron from you. They took Rhonda from me. We work together to get them back - once that's done, we go our separate ways and pretend that none of it ever happened.'

'Kim?' Wade's voice sounded from behind her. She started, having nearly forgotten anyone else was there. 'In.... the absence of any other plausible theory, maybe we should... compare notes.'

Grimm spread out his hands and looked at the ceiling. 'At least someone in your group has some common sense.' he said quietly.

Kim stared. 'If we do this,' she said, her voice low, 'And I'm not saying we are - but if we do this, there are going to have to be some ground rules.'

Grimm's face split into a cunning grin. 'Rules?' he said. 'Sweet - let's hear them. I'm all about law and order.'

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Ron sighed for what he thought was the millionth time. He had never been so bored, not even in Barkin's poetry classes. At least in school there was lunch to look forward to. Here, there was nothing but the expanse of endless shadows. The only variety was the darker shapes that swirled and billowed in a never-ending kaleidoscope in varying shades of gray.

Except for Rhonda, there was nothing else for Ron to look at. They had both tried various experiments to discover how Ron had 'seen' Kim, but to no avail. They had spent time unreckoned staring into the abyss, hoping to catch another glimpse of... anything. But eventually, the ever-shifting patterns of darkness took on a hypnotic quality that Ron had to close his eyes to block out.

And they had both lapsed into a silence which seemed to stretch out as endlessly as the void surrounding them. With nothing to watch, or do, or say unless one of them had a brainstorm, they wound up doing nothing at all.

But every so often, Ron's attention was drawn to Rhonda. While he felt nothing but boredom, Rhonda seemed to be in some kind of discomfort. She whimpered occasionally, flinching and wincing and holding herself as if she were in pain. At last he ventured to speak. 'Are you OK?' he said.

She started and seemed to compose herself. 'Fine.' she said quickly. 'I'm just... trying to figure a way out.'

'Okay...' Ron said slowly, noting that Rhonda was biting her lip even as she spoke.

She seemed lost in thought for a moment. 'Have you seen.... her again?' she asked.

'No.' said Ron, sounding disappointed. His brief visual impression of Kim had not returned, and it had been so brief he was beginning to doubt whether he'd seen it at all.

There was more silence, and then Rhonda piped up as if she were somehow afraid of things going quiet again. 'I was wondering...' she said hesitantly. 'Since we're both stuck here, are we able to... touch each other?'

'I don't know.' said Ron. 'We could try...'

They both paused, and then held out their hands slowly, as if afraid of what might happen. Their fingertips pressed together and tented between them. Both let out a sigh of relief.

'So we're still solid!' he said happily. 'I guess that proves we're not really spirits ourselves. That's something.' Rhonda nodded, looking at her fingers. 'Just out of curiosity, why'd you ask?' he said.

'Well...' said Rhonda, and she looked suddenly sheepish, '...I was just thinking. If it turns out we're stuck here forever, then would we have to.... hook up?' There was a pause as they looked at each other. Then Ron's eyes went wide.

  ewww

'Ewwww!' he said, shuddering and waving his hands. 'I mean... Ewwww!'

'I didn't mean I wanted it to happen!' said Rhonda, looking embarrassed. 'It was just a thought!'

'Well - we're gonna find a way out, so... think about something else!' Ron said. 'I mean... Ewww!'

'All right all right!' Rhonda said, turning away. 'Forget I mentioned it!' And after a pregnant pause, she muttered, 'Not that I'd be caught dead with a doofus-boy like you...'

'What was that?' said Ron.

'Nothing. Nothing.' said Rhonda. Then under her breath, she said quietly, 'A doofus boy says what?'

'What?' said Ron. And Rhonda chuckled before silence fell around them again.

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Kim went into the living room of her house, followed by a very nervous looking Wade. They had gone to Graniton on Friday night, and it was well into the weekend. Kim was slightly grateful, because she figured it would take a long time to explain things to her parents and it would be that much harder if she had school and practice hanging over her head.

Behind her and Wade, Grimm remained lurking in the entryway leading to the kitchen with Rueful slithering around his ankles. Her father was in the entertainment room sitting on the couch reading his paper, his empty cup of coffee sitting on the coffee table. Anne was standing behind the couch working on her PDA and Jim and Tim were channel surfing on the big screen TV. Mr. Dr. Possible glanced up from his paper for a moment and smiled. 'I heard a lot of racket from the kitchen.' he said off-handedly. 'I hope you weren't trying to cook something?'

'Oh, something's cooking all right.' Kim grumbled.

Mrs. Dr. Possible, ever sharp-eyed, saw Grimm at once. 'Kim.... who's your guest?' she said. 'He's wearing your old outfit - is he helping you with your work?'

Grimm nodded to Mrs. Dr. Possible. 'We've met.' he said. 'I was the chauffeur driver who picked up your daughter a few months back - just before you all turned evil.'

Mr. Dr. Possible looked keenly at him. 'Kimmy-cub, isn't this the guy you told us was one of your enemies?'

Kim sighed. 'Yes.' she said, and her father frowned.

'Well, what is he doing in my living room?'

'Mom, Dad, this is... Grimm Probable.' she said, feeling suddenly awkward at the weirdness of introducing a villain to the family. 'He says he's here to help me find Ron.'

Mr. Dr. Possible looked back and forth between them. 'And.... you're ok with this?'

'That depends on what he tells me in the next few minutes.' she said, growling.

Mr. Dr. Possible relaxed. He had, after all, entertained several of Kim's foes under bizarre circumstances in the past, and he seemed to take it in stride. 'Jim, Tim,' he said, looking over at the twins. 'Scoot over and make room for your sister's evil mercenary opposite!'

'I'm insulted.' said Grimm quietly as he crossed the room and sat down on the couch. 'One of your enemies? That's like saying a nuke is one of the weapons in an arsenal. After all the fun times we've had together, I'm not even an arch enemy yet?

'I go by seniority.' Kim said, staring at him across the coffee table.

Grimm smirked. 'Maybe when this is all over I'll step things up change your mind.'

Jim and Tim were staring at Grimm. 'Grimm Probable?' said Jim.

'The Grimm Probable?' said Tim.

Grimm looked sidelong at the twins. 'What's she been telling you?' he said darkly.

'Not much.' said Tim.

'But we looked over your profile in her Kimmunicator.' said Jim.

'Then we mentioned you once at dinner, and she got so torked off she blew hot chocolate out of her nose!' said Jim. Grimm looked at Kim, smirking and raising his eyebrow.

Grimm meets the parents

'I did not!' said Kim, shaking her finger back and forth between the two boys.

'Did too!' said both Jim and Tim together.

'Out, tweebs!' Kim shouted.

Both Jim and Tim turned to Mr. Dr. Possible. 'Dad!' they both said appealingly. But Mr. Dr. Possible was already shaking his head and gesturing to the stairs. They both groaned and stumped off, though their shadows stopped just past the corner at the top of the stairs. Only when Mrs. Dr. Possible glared towards their feathered silhouettes did they flick off to the side and disappear.

Kim sighed, looking at her parents. 'Mom, Dad, I may be... working with him temporarily, which means he may be here now and again. Are you cool with that?'

'Is he show folk?' said Mr. Dr. Possible, and Mrs. Dr. Possible sighed softly.

Kim blanked for a moment. She had no idea if he was show folk or not, and glanced towards him. Grimm shook his head very slightly. 'No.' she said.

Mr. Dr. Possible shrugged. 'Well then, as long as he can follow our curfew, have at it.' he said.

Mrs. Dr. Possible tugged at her husband's shoulder. 'Come on honey, let's go to the kitchen.'

Mr. Dr. Possible looked a little miffed as he picked up his coffee cup. 'They were just in the kitchen...' but he surrendered grudgingly as his wife glared at him and led him out.

Now there was no one in the living room except for Wade, Kim and Grimm. It suddenly seemed as if the room was very large and silent. 'Well now that I've met the folks,' said Grimm sardonically, 'Can I come calling every night if I bring posies?'

'Ground rules.' said Kim, ignoring him. 'You said yourself this is temporary. So once we get Ron back, I throw you in jail.'

Grimm sniffed. 'Given your past track record, feel free to try.'

'Second - no evil.' Kim said, glaring.

'No promises.' Grimm answered.

'And... no head gaming.' Kim said.

Grimm shook his head. 'Get real.' he said. 'I'm not asking you to give up cheerleading.'

'That's the deal.' Kim said firmly. 'If you can't hack it, we skip straight to the you-go-to-jail part.'

Grimm's face set into a hard expression. 'I'm not operating under a handicap.' he said. 'If I help, I help without restraint. Otherwise, I leave you with Mr. 'I got nothing' and he can help you get your Ronny-boy out of limbo.'

'I'm still not buying this spirit world stuff.' said Kim.

'Buy it. It's the truth.' said Grimm flatly.

Wade piped up again. 'Look, before either side starts throwing down ultimatums, we should determine if the intel is good enough to even merit a team up.'

'Fine.' said Kim and Grimm at the same time, their eyes locked and gleaming. Grimm tapped a button on the side of his communicator and a flash chip slid out. He pushed it across the coffee table towards Wade with his finger.

'Here's all the info I've gathered on where Rhonda and Ron are and what happened to them.' Grimm said, eyeing Wade as if they were both spies at a cloak and dagger meeting. 'The only stuff missing is info I didn't think was... necessary.'

Kim blurted out. 'You mean any info that might lead us to your hideout.' she said angrily.

Grimm stared at her. 'Naturally.' he answered. 'I said I'd give you our intel on Maze and Monkey Fist. I didn't say I'd tell you anything about me.' Wade had taken the chip and was opening the slot to his scanner. 'But if it's a matter of trust,' said Grimm quickly, turning back to Wade, 'Then you might want to consider waiting on putting that chip in your equipment until you've verified that it's not loaded with spike programs, spyware or viruses.'

At once, Wade's hand stopped as if he had suddenly realized he was arming a bomb. 'But... you said you were here to help us.' he said. 'Why would you give us files with viruses?'

'I'm not.' said Grimm, leaning back in the sofa and looking smug. 'But I'd be disappointed if you let your guard down so easily. Scan it properly - verify it's safe. Then look it over. You can't be too careful - there's people out there who can't be trusted.'

Kim sighed and shook her head in exasperation. 'I said no head gaming.' she winced.

Grimm's smirk looked like it was in danger of freezing in place. 'And I recall saying I didn't agree to that.' he answered.

Kim was growling again and Wade hurriedly stood up. 'I'll verify the data at home.' he said. 'Once I do that, we can know whether there's any point in joining forces.'

'Yes, and please hurry.' said Grimm, a flicker of impatience in his voice. 'I'm not sure how much longer I can put up with Little Miss Sunshine here.'

Wade was looking nervous as he moved to the door. 'Kim are you gonna be.... OK until I get back?'

'Don't worry about me.' said Kim, her gaze fixed on Grimm like twin beams of ice.

Wade was exiting when Grimm spoke again. 'By the way - Jade will be stopping by when you go over the data. Just so you know.' Wade paused, then closed the door behind him, leaving Kim and Grimm alone in the living room.

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Maze stood in the lair with a satisfied smile on his face, watching as the petrified residents of Graniton labored. The statues were in the area furthest back in the lair, hammering against the wall with their fists, digging and breaking stone with their bare hands. They worked ceaselessly, increasing the size of the lair by hollowing out stone and carrying it outside in a never-ending cycle.

Monkey Fist stood next to him. 'I trust things are proceeding to your satisfaction?' he said dryly.

Maze glanced at him and nodded. 'I had my doubts.' he said. 'But the devices seem to have worked exactly as you described.'

'Of course.' Monkey Fist answered, and the smugness in his voice was plain to hear. 'I'm sure you are anxious to use them again, but I feel it best that we wait until the next phase of the plan is underway - not to mention this... side project that you have suggested.' he looked over to where the statues continued to dig and hew rock from the cavern. 'You will want to have them add support structure.' he said, glancing to the sizeable depression that had already been dug into back of the lair. 'The last thing we need is to have the lair collapse on us.'

Maze nodded again, and there was silence for several minutes except for the sounds of digging and the thud of heavy boulders being moved. At last he spoke again. 'As to the next phase of the plan,' he said, 'Why can we not proceed with the tools that we already have?'

'It is a question of scale.' said Monkey Fist. 'Our machine will affect small areas, but if we cannot cover a large enough section, we will not create enough chaos to ensure that our enemies won't be able to rally resistance. They don't know the full power of our new weapon yet, nor it's weaknesses. We must keep it that way until we are ready to proceed again. If all goes as I have foreseen, then the final operation will be massive and swift - the entire world will be powerless to stop us!'

Maze frowned. 'Then what was the purpose of assembling this device if it is too small?' he said.

Monkey Fist looked at him keenly. 'The purpose?' he said. 'To make sure that it works of course. We were always going to need a larger version. But as I said - I have reached the limit of my technical skill. Our machine works - but it is not strong enough. We need it to be bigger - more powerful. Otherwise, we are reduced to acting in small increments as we did in Graniton.'

'If we are untraceable, as you say, then what difference does it make?' said Maze. 'We can strike at will and sow fear among our foes if they cannot find us.'

'Triangulation.' said Monkey Fist. 'If we do things as you described, then eventually they will track us down simply be examining the patterns of our movements. Even the machine cannot mask that forever. All they will need is a map on which to mark the places we strike, and then to examine for any unusual energy readings. Eventually they would know. Which is why we should wait until our reach is expanded.'

'Then it might be prudent to target Mi'kksiistsikomma right now.' said Maze.

'She has already contacted Global Justice.' said Monkey Fist, shaking his head. 'I think they doubt her story at the moment, but if she disappears, then Global Justice will take the matter more seriously. We're not yet prepared to deal with an organization that far-reaching. The opportunity will arise - but until we have a larger version of the machine, it is more prudent to wait.'

Maze's eyes narrowed. 'And you are certain that this will require assistance from a third party? I am comfortable with current arrangements. Adding another factor into the equation is something I would rather not do unless we have to.'

Monkey Fist made an impatient sniffing motion. 'You are comfortable with our slaves because they cannot disobey you. And you are comfortable with me because without your power, I revert to my immobile state. Which means you'll always have a degree of control.'

'Yes.' Maze said. 'Surely that's something you understand.' Monkey Fist nodded grudgingly. 'And that control is something I would rather not divide between too many. If you say we will need someone with scientific expertise to build a larger, more powerful version of the machine, I will trust your judgment. But I would prefer someone who can be controlled. Someone expert, but... easily intimidated.'

Monkey Fist's mouth crinkled into a faint smile. 'As it happens, I think I know just the man.' he said.

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Wade sat down in the familiar chair in front of his computer. The flash card Grimm had given him was lying on a table where nearly a dozen different scanners were sending sweeping beams of light across it, humming, clicking and running through every screening program and protocol that he knew.

After each program completed it's analysis, Wade was satisfied there was nothing harmful contained on it. He took one of his older computers and set up a network of firewalls to block it from sharing files with any of his other systems and hard wired it so it couldn't be linked remotely to his main computers. Then with a sigh of anticipation, he slid the chip into the data port and started looking over the files. As he started reading he heard a beep behind him and an insolent voice hit his ears.

'Hey Wade! Kiss-kiss!'

Wade turned to the screen of his main computer and saw Jade's face staring out at him, a playful smirk on her lips. He grumbled and sniffed. 'Grimm said you'd be stopping by.' said Wade. 'I kind of thought....'

'Physically?' said Jade, sneering. 'You know me, Wadey. I let my fingers do the walking!' She paused, resting her chin on one palm. 'Any chance I could get your mom to bring in another lemon square?'

Wade glared at his screen while Jade stared back with a look on her face that was only seen on a player who held the previous win record in a game. 'Let's get this over with.' he said. 'The less access you've got the better.'

'Don't like wasting time, huh?' said Jade. 'I like that in a guy.' Jade's eyes looked almost sultry. 'You were a lot cuter when I had you hog-tied.' she said.

Wade flushed, but concealed it with effort. 'Look, do you want our info or not?' he said.

Jade sighed. 'Fine, send it along.'

For some time things were quiet as they both scanned and then read, making occasional comments, their voices taking on a distracted and distant sound as they spoke and studied at the same time.

'Interesting....' said Jade. 'So that was why Monkey Fist wanted the scroll leading to the first key shrine. He never said....'

'So all the years when Maze left he was studying shadow-medicine?' Wade said later. 'It creates some kind of barrier and lets him transfer his consciousness to someone else? That would explain why it was Kim's voice doing the incantation. Interesting...'

'The Yono....' said Jade. 'Trashed Grimm's old school lickety-split. But taking down Monkey Fist sent him packing? Too bad it didn't work in Graniton. That must mean they found a loophole of some kind. Interesting...'

'The Great Bear Spirit?' said Wade. 'Well, it's not Mystical Monkey Power, but still... Interesting...'

And then things faded to silence except for both of them muttering the same word back and forth.

'Interesting....'
'Interesting....'
'Interesting....'
'Interesting....'

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Kim had spent several minutes in silence staring across the coffee table at Grimm. He made no sign except to stare back at her occasionally. Every so often, Mrs. Dr. Possible would peer around the corner to look at them, only to return quickly to the kitchen. Rufus perched on Kim's knee and growled softly at Rueful, who slithered onto the couch and curled over Grimm's leg to chitter angrily at Rufus.

Grimm sighed at last. 'Well as fun as this is,' he said with his voice dripping disdain, 'we could save some time by going over a few things before Jade and Wade call back to confirm what I already know.' He looked her over before continuing. 'How did you find Monkey Fist that last time?'

'We didn't find him.' Kim said. 'We were investigating a missing person case in Graniton and he was just there.'

'You went straight after Maze when he turned up - why?'

Kim paused before answering. 'I thought taking him down would defeat Monkey Fist. Beating Monkey Fist was what stopped the Yono.'

Grimm nodded slightly. 'I'll have to have Jade look into that. We've never encountered the Yono before - your data on his powers could be useful.'

'My turn.' said Kim scowling. 'What have you been up to?'

Grimm paused and smiled. 'We haven't been up to anything.' he said evasively. 'But I've... heard that Monkey Fist and Maze have been collecting various components through some unknown source.'

Kim winced. 'Just spit it out.' she said. 'You've been stealing stuff for them!'

Grimm's eyes widened in stage surprise. 'What a terrible thing to say.' he said. 'I have no idea what you're talking about. But I have sources of my own who have more expertise then your people, and I think we have a good idea of all the devices they've gathered. Once Jade and Wade compare files, we should be able to make a clear guess at what they're building.'

'What do they want?' Kim said. 'And why did they go after Ron and Rhonda?'

'Beats me.' said Grimm. 'Monkey Fist said he wanted world domination, but he's been saying that kind of thing for ages - you know that. But Maze has had it in for Rhonda for some time now, just like Monkey Fist has been after your BF. If my sources had known that Maze was in on it with Monkey Fist, then they'd have... had a lot more trouble gathering their components. Pretty stupid of them really. They could have been getting help for even longer if they hadn't been in such a hurry to settle their grudges.'

Kim felt her eye twitching as anger boiled up inside her. 'You mean...' she said, taking a measured breath, '...that if they hadn't taken Rhonda you'd still be helping them?'

'I didn't say so.' said Grimm. 'Maze though - we banned him a while back for double-crossing us. Those are the rules. When a client plays it straight, we don't interfere. But if they try playing us, they get played.'

'You... two-faced...' Kim sputtered, but Grimm cut across her.

'The fact is, they did betray me.' he said, with a hint of impatience. 'Which means I'm on your side until I get Rhonda back. I'm even working for free on this one. So what are you complaining about?'

'What am I...?' Kim said, shaking her head. 'I'm complaining because you helped them get the equipment they needed to make sure we can't track them down, and who knows where they'll strike next?'

Grimm shrugged. 'It's a pickle, but just the sort of challenge that Jade would love to sink her teeth into. If your techie pays attention, he might learn a thing or two from her.'

'She'll be the one who gets schooled...' Kim muttered, but Grimm seemed to have heard her.

'Doubtful.' he said. 'He's just like you in more ways than you know - fettered and shackled with baggage from the goody-two-shoes school of hard knocks.' He looked cunningly at her. 'I honestly don't know how losers like you get by when you put yourselves willingly under so many restraints. If you had the brains and the guts, you might actually be dangerous.'

'So why come to me at all?' Kim said, feeling stung by his attitude. 'If you're so tough, and if you think I'm such a flake, why come crawling to me for help?'

Grimm looked uncomfortable for one brief instant, but then it passed. 'It's not in my nature to leave things to chance.' he said, and his voice, instead of sounding cocky or sarcastic, instead sounded measured and serious. 'I plan things out before I make my moves, and I make them only when I've determined which ones have the best odds to succeed.'

Kim glared at him. 'And what? You think your best odds are with me now?'

'Something like that.' said Grimm, and he sounded almost resentful. 'The fact is, the technology they have now makes them untraceable electronically. And between Monkey Fist's ninja training and Maze's woodcraft, the odds are slim to nil against tracking them down conventionally.'

He lowered his eyes slightly and seemed for a moment that he was speaking to himself rather than to Kim. 'Given Jade's report on what happened at Monkey Fist's manor, and then your encounter in Graniton, my guess is they're in England. But England is a big island. Maze's shadow-medicine seems to allow him to travel through darkness in some way. It's not teleportation, otherwise they wouldn't have needed anyone to gather equipment for them. I think he can use the shadows to conceal or hasten their movements in some way, but they can still be blocked by walls, locks and other security measures.'

His eyes locked back on Kim. 'Luck and chance.' he said. 'I don't like relying on it. But the fact is, you've crossed paths with Monkey Fist twice now, and I haven't found them once. I don't know what kind of mojo you've got with him, but for this caper - I want in on it.'

Grimm leaned forward and the look in his eyes was suddenly very focused and intense. 'You're lucky.' he said. 'Think back to all your missions. How many of them were sitches where you should have been taken down? But you came through them all. It's one of the reasons why getting to you is such a blast. I operate under a different philosophy and I love proving that I'm right. I don't rely on luck to get the job done, I rely on skill. In the long run, skill beats luck. It always does. But there are some times when it's better to be lucky than good.'

He leaned back again and folded his arms. 'And that's pretty much it. I don't know when or how that dumb luck of yours will help you to stumble across Monkey Fist or Maze again. But I'm banking that it'll happen. And I want to be there when it does. You had the right idea in targeting Maze first, but for the wrong reasons. When I corner him, I'll do it right.'

'How will it make any difference if you take him down?' Kim said.

'It was Maze's shadow-medicine that banished Rhonda and Ron.' he answered. 'And I think he can reverse it with the right persuasion.'

'You think?'

'Newton's third law of motion.' Grimm said. 'For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. If Maze knew how to banish them, he knows how to bring them back.'

Kim looked darkly at him. 'And how are you going to 'persuade' him?'

Grimm's expression was flat as he answered. 'I'll take care of it.' he said. 'It's nothing you need to worry about.'

Kim shook her head. 'I don't do things that way.' she said. 'No rough stuff.'

Grimm raised an eyebrow. 'You'd really leave Ron stuck in Limbo rather than let me do what's necessary to bring him back? I was only guessing before, but it sounds like you really don't care about your BF. And you say I'm the bad guy? You're stone cold, Possible.'

Kim winced at the accusation. 'You are the bad guy!' she said. 'I wasn't the one who handed stolen technology to Monkey Fist! I wasn't the one who sold my BF to them for money! And you sit there making like you care more about your partner in crime than I care about Ron? If you cared about her at all, you'd have never played footsie with every villain who has a bankroll! I should call the police in and have them throw you in jail right now!'

Grimm's frown became more and more pronounced as Kim spoke. 'Fine,' he said, looking irritated. 'This whole 'I'll see you in jail' thing - let's get it dealt with right now so we can focus on finding Rhonda and Ron.' He took out his communicator. 'Jade - she here?' he said.

'Huh?' said Jade, sounding distracted for a moment. Then she seemed to refocus. 'Oh yeah - she's coming up the walkway now.' came Jade's tinny voice. 'You can open the door for her in three.... two... one....'

Grimm quickly got up, moved to the front door and opened it. As if she had been expecting it, a woman strode into the living room without hesitation. She was tall, blonde and leggy, wearing a business jacket and blouse with a short gray skirt. She looked like a supermodel dressed as a businesswoman, and was carrying a briefcase in her hand.

'Thank you, Grimm.' she said without looking at him. She adjusted her glasses, looking Kim up and down. 'Is this her?' Grimm nodded, standing beside her.

The woman sat down in the reading chair and laid her briefcase on the coffee table, opening it and taking out several papers. Her voice went crisp and cool. 'Kimberly Ann Possible,' she said. 'My name is Leigh Gality, legal representative of Mr. Grimm Probable.' She held out one of the papers, holding it under Kim's nose. 'I am serving notice to you that if you continue with your acts of slander against my client, we will be pressing charges against you.'

  leigh gality

'What?' said Kim, taking the paper. 'You've got to be kidding me.'

'I'm afraid this is no joke, Ms. Possible.' Leigh said, and indeed her voice was utterly devoid of any emotion, especially humor. 'You have been spreading false accusations against my client and unless you can prove them in a court of law, you are hereby ordered to cease and desist.'

Kim turned to Grimm, glaring at him. 'You're siccing a lawyer on me?' she said, crumpling the paper into a wad in her hands. 'That's got to be the lamest....'

'You're the one trying to bring the law into this Kim, not me.' he said. 'You brought it on with this 'I'll sic the police on you' attitude you insist on copping.'

'You don't have to say another word to her.' Leigh said, glancing aside at Grimm before boring her steely gray eyes back into Kim's green ones. 'My client has no obligation to explain himself to you, or anyone else. Though of course, he's quite correct. You, Kim Possible, are the one harassing my client by threatening to have him arrested for crimes that haven't been proven.'

Kim scowled. 'Haven't been proven?' Kim said incredulously.

'Indeed not, Ms. Possible.' said Leigh, her face steady and expressionless. 'In fact, I have reason to believe that the accusations you've leveled against my client are nothing more than figments of your overactive teenage imagination.'

Kim sputtered. This was too much. She was used to throwing goons and villains through plate glass windows - not seeing them call in lawyers. 'I know enough about the law to know that all you need is one eyewitness to a crime - and I'm an eyewitness!'

'And we have just as many witnesses to disprove you, Ms. Possible.' said Leigh coldly. 'Any fool can make an accusation, yes. But if, as you say, you want my client imprisoned, you'll have to prove them with facts and evidence. And I assure you, I can't wait to drag you in front of a judge and rip you to shreds.'

Kim glared. 'Go ahead and try it!' she hissed. 'I'll pit my word against yours any day! Haven't you heard? I'm a world-famous crime-fighter.'

'Do you really want to do that, Ms. Possible?' said Leigh. 'Let me give you a taste of what you can expect. A world famous crime fighter? Would you please show me your license which acknowledges you as a member of any law enforcement agency, and gives you power to act in behalf of said agency in any official capacity?'

Kim flushed. Of course she didn't have any licenses. She'd never needed any. No one had ever objected to her coming in to save the day.

'Are there any formal law enforcement agencies who will claim you as their representative and present documentation to that effect?' Leigh continued, examining her notes. 'I have evidence here that you run a website in which you offer your.... services... free and without charge. Which means that any enforcement agency can only consider you a 'crime fighter' as an honorary title. 'You have no credentials as a policeman, Ms. Possible. You're not even a mercenary or a bounty hunter. You're just a kid pretending to be one.'

Kim clenched her fists. 'Global Justice will vouch for me.' she said, her voice dark and quiet.

'I've had an eye on Global Justice for a while too.' said Leigh, a faint smirk on her red lips. 'What credibility will they have when I present evidence that they've been using an underage girl to perform tasks that are clearly in violation of child labor laws? Rent-a-lawyers across the country are collecting millions from businesses for hot coffee and wet floors. How much will they pay to keep us quiet about how they send you into war zones? In any event, the only thing Global Justice can do is admit their own duplicity in using you. They have nothing on my client.'

'He broke into a military base!' Kim said, her temper flaring. 'He blew apart the roof and...'

'If you're referring to the break-in at Stafford Base,' said Leigh, interrupting her again, 'I have here an official report which states that the weapons theft was performed by one Drew Lipski, aka Dr. Drakken. My client was not involved.'

'Drakken stole the weapons later!' Kim said. 'He broke in first!'

'Besides your co-conspirator, Mr. Stoppable, can anyone in Stafford Base verify that my client was ever there?' Leigh said smoothly.

Kim paused. The fact was, Grimm had gassed everyone in the base and Jade had shut down the cameras. There hadn't been anyone else there to witness their battle. Leigh took the advantage of Kim's pause to press on. 'The simple fact is, Ms. Possible, there isn't anyone besides yourself who is making these accusations against my client. You have no other witnesses. All you have is Mr. Stoppable, who is so love-struck with you, he'd obviously say or do anything you asked, whether it was true or not.'

'He was arrested at Drakken's lair!' Kim said furiously.

'On false charges that I was already moving to have dismissed.' said Leigh. 'The two officers who were there that night have already told me that they did not see Drakken in that building. All they saw were you and Mr. Stoppable. My client had been hired through his website simply as temporary security for the facility, which you broke into without authorization.'

'My only regret is that I wasn't able to stop her from performing her acts of sabotage.' said Grimm.

'He overpowered the police and stole their van!' Kim said angrily.

'As there was no crime committed that night, my client was well within his rights to walk away.' said Leigh. 'As to the van, it was returned to the police parking lot the following morning. If you had bothered checking, you would have found out that the officers in question were compensated for the time they spent walking back into the city and the matter was settled out of court.'

Kim shook her finger at Grimm. 'He kidnapped Ron!' she said. 'He used an Attitudinator on him and took away his good!'

'And where is this Attitudinator which you claim my client used?' Leigh said, a snide edge to her voice.

Kim fumed. She had fed it into a metal shredder herself. 'He turned the whole world into super-villains and....'

'If you are referring to the incident with the device called the "Mega Synaptic Transducer", I was under the impression that this machine was built and used by a super-villain called "Zorpox the Conqueror", who bears a striking resemblance to your boyfriend. We have video footage of his ultimatum, in which he demanded access to the world's supply of Nacos. No mention is made in any police reports that my client was involved in any way.'

'Oh please...' said Kim, holding her head in disgust.

'Ms. Possible, can you provide any witnesses besides yourself and your boyfriend, who I assure you would be treated as a hostile witness, that Mr. Probable was involved in any of these incidents you have mentioned?'

Kim thought hard. 'Master Sensei and the Yamanouchi school....' she started.

'Call them if you dare, Kim.' said Grimm. 'Go ahead and try to get them to appear in a court of law. They won't come. In fact, they'll be insulted if you even mention their 'secret' school to anyone. Though I'd be delighted if they did show up. A pack of ninja and their trainer - a school unrecognized and by any accredited agency.'

'I'd relish the opportunity.' said Leigh, thumbing through more of her notes. 'If the best witnesses you can come up with are a gang of assassins, then I can't wait to see them in court. Let them try to explain themselves to a judge and jury. "Kim Possible uses international cut-throats to intimidate her enemies" - your friend Dibble will have a field day.'

Kim's eyes narrowed. 'Well,' said Leigh. 'If you're finished with your false accusations, then all that remains is for you to unfold the document you so rashly crumpled. I advise you to take better care of it. It's an injunction forbidding you from making any more false rumors, claims or charges against my client. If you fail to comply, it'll be juvenile detention for you, until you're old enough to be tried as an adult. Rest assured, I'll have representatives keeping a close eye on you. And if you commit any more acts of slander against my client, by yourself or through others, we'll know.'

'You... little....!' Kim said, but was unable to articulate anything further.

'Sorry kid.' said Leigh coldly. 'This is what you get when they try to tangle with the grown-ups. Grimm hired me because I'm the best. Get a lawyer of your own if you think you can. I've never lost a case, and whoever you get, I'll grind them into hamburger. Not that you could afford anyone close to my level, Ms. Possible. You'll be baby-sitting until you're 60 before you could pay the fees.' She snapped her briefcase shut, then stood up and turned to Grimm. 'If she even looks at you the wrong way, beep me.' she said, 'I'll have the dogs on her in five minutes.'

'Thanks, Leigh. You rock out loud.' The merest trace of a blush crossed her face, then Leigh picked up her briefcase and strode out of the house as unceremoniously as she had come in, closing the door behind her.

Kim simply stood up, glaring at the rumpled papers in her hand. The words typed on them were incomprehensible gibberish through her anger, but for the moment they blocked her from taking action, at least until she could have Wade verify things. She looked back up at Grimm, and her anger only increased. 'You really are a snake, Grimm.'

Grimm raised an eyebrow, but his expression, instead of being smug, looked totally cold. 'Thanks for the insult.' he said. 'Feel better now?'

'Obviously not.' said Kim, snarling.

'Then it's time we moved on to part two of this little catharsis-fest.' He walked back towards the entrance to the kitchen. 'Come on.' he said, nodding towards her. 'Let's do it.'

'What?' Kim said, staring at him in surprise.

'The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can get your energy focused on where it should be.' Grimm said. Kim stared at him, not sure what he was talking about. He looked at her grimly. 'What are you waiting for? Let's take it outside.' Then he turned and walked out of the living room.

Grimm strode through the kitchen, ignoring Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Possible, then slid open the door and went into Kim's backyard, looking around. 'Nice.' he said, glancing to a bare patch on the lawn. 'So here's where you do all your parachute landings. Looks like you've beat a fair path from there to the garage. Must be where you fold up the chute when you're done.'

Kim followed him out the sliding door and into the yard. Her parents looked out after her nervously, while Jim and Tim scampered in out of nowhere and flattened their noses against the kitchen window glass. 'Oh dear...' said Ms. Dr. Possible, taking her husband's hand as Kim slid the door closed behind her. 'I've got a bad feeling about this.'

Kim went out onto the lawn. Grimm was still looking around, taking things in. 'Well,' he said, turning to face her. 'I guess this is as good a place as any.'

Kim looked at him in confusion. 'Good enough for what?' she said.

Grimm put up his hands, going into a low crouch. 'Typical girl. You never say what you really want. And when someone does try to give you what you do say you want, you have the nerve to act confused.'

'Talk sense.' Kim said, grinding her teeth.

'Fine.' Grimm answered. 'When I first showed up, you tried to deck me. When Wade almost got in the way you said you wanted to take it outside. Well, here we are - outside. Let's do it.'

'Typical guy.' said Kim. 'Always saying girls confuse you. But who's the one giving mixed signals? You came here saying you wanted to team up. Then you hide behind a lawyer to make sure I don't call the cops on you. Now you're saying you want to fight?'

'You're so convinced I'm the bad guy here.' he said. 'I'm just giving you what you want. And I'm not gonna stop until you've had enough.'

'Had enough of what?' Kim said. 'Enough of a beating? You haven't got the guts to do anything in front of witnesses.'

'You think so?' he smirked, looking suddenly malicious. 'Then let me step out of character and make the first cut. Kim - your boyfriend is an idiot.' Kim flinched, her face reddening, but Grimm was still talking. 'He's a clumsy, know-nothing lack wit who just gets in your way. You should be thanking me that he's gone.'

'That's it - get out of my house!' Kim shouted. 'I don't care what information you've got, take it someplace else!'

'Oh, I'm not going anywhere now.' he said. 'Maybe I've changed my mind too - maybe I want to take you out and run the show myself. Then maybe something will actually get accomplished.'

Kim clenched her hands and bit her lip. It had happened in all their previous battles, and she was seeing through the trick. 'You're trying to get me to throw the first punch.' she said. 'So not gonna happen!'

The strike came so quickly that Kim barely blocked it. Grimm lashed out with a pair of high kicks and a roundhouse punch. Kim weaved out of the way, surprised at his sudden ferocity. 'You think you know my tricks so well?' he said. 'I know yours too, Mi'kksiistsikomma. They didn't name me Otaatoyiwa for no reason.'

'Otaatoyiwa?' said Kim.

'Yeah.' said Grimm, and he continued striking out at her with textbook routines of Tai Shing Pek Kwar. 'It's Blackfoot - it means 'kicks Kim Possible's sorry butt.'

'That sounds like it should have more syllables.' said Kim, bracing herself and deflecting his punches.

'How about I make you say ouch? That's only got one.'

'Just try it!' said Kim.

Grimm smiled wickedly. 'In fact since we've all got Blackfoot names here, maybe I should give one to Ron so he's not left out. How about... Ipi'sskinao'siwa - it means screams a lot.'

'Shut up about Ron!' Kim hissed, deflecting another punch and lashing out with one of her own.

'Why?' Grimm said, glowering. 'I'm probably not saying anything that you haven't been thinking yourself!' Then with a blindingly fast move, he pivoted and launched into a roundhouse kick which Kim blocked. He followed up with punches from both hands. As he continued to strike, Kim thought resentfully that it really was easier to block attacks when your opponent made the first move. She was able to launch counters and set herself up to attack more easily after Grimm put his effort into his punches.

They moved through the yard in a dangerous waltz of advance and withdrawal while Kim's family watched through the glass in the kitchen windows and doors. Kim gradually moved from defense to offense, finding herself expertly countered at every turn.

'Not smart.' said Grimm. 'We both know in the long haul, I'll outlast you. You fight like a stick of TNT, Mi'kksiistsikomma. There's one big blast of energy, but if you can't finish the job in that one burst, you've got nothing left. Me, I'm more like poison. All I have to do is hold you off 'till the venom kicks in, and then I own you!'

Kim's next punch whooshed through empty air as Grimm leaped up and flipped backwards, landing gracefully and balancing on the backyard fence. Kim hesitated only an instant before leaping up after him, but Grimm skittered like a cat, dashing along the thin path of the fence top with balance so flawless it looked as if he had done it a hundred times. Kim mustered all of her cheerleader skills and followed after him with a series of rolling flips.

Jim and Tim watched with their mouths hanging open, then Tim said weakly, 'I could do that, but I don't want to.' Jim snickered only once.

Grimm leaped out and seized one of the lower branches of the tallest tree in the backyard, tucking and rolling until he had flipped up and was crouched on the heavy limb. Kim landed a couple of feet away from him, leaves rustling around her.

'Stop running!' she snarled. 'Fight me fair and square!'

'That's the thing, isn't it?' said Grimm, blocking the punches and kicks that Kim sent at him. 'Maybe in a fair fight you'd stand a chance, but fighting unfair is what's kept me two steps ahead of you ever since we met. You've never been anything more than a chihuahua yapping at my heels, and that's all you ever will be!'

'Shut up!' Kim yelled. She had trouble keeping her balance on the narrow, winding beam of the tree branch, but Grimm seemed right at home. As she turned her dual punches into a series of rapid spinning kicks, she drove Grimm slowly back until the branch looked as if it were too narrow to support his weight. She pressed forward, keeping up the pressure.

She caught Grimm attempting a forward roll and managed to knock his feet out from under him, certain that he would fall. But his hands planted firmly on the tree branch and he turned his handstand into a half-spin, lashing out with his legs in a whirlwind kick. Kim blocked the first one, but the second one caught her in the side of her ribs as he completed his spin and rolled up to a crouch.

Kim landed with a thud onto the padded surface of the grassy lawn beneath the tree, but Grimm was on her an instant later, driving his fist into her gut and forcing the air out of her in a rasping wheeze. The punch wasn't that hard, but it was enough to make her gasp for breath, and he took the time to bend his head down and growl into her ear.

'Not enough for you? How about this? Everything you thought is true - I did cook this whole thing up with Monkey Fist and Maze. I did it all to get to you - to make you suffer. How about that?'

'You...!' Kim snarled, taking in a racking breath and punching with all her strength. She surged to her feet and continued her attacks, but Grimm blocked and countered every strike. She felt a furious desperation to land just one blow, to hurt him as much as he'd hurt her.

'Had enough yet?' Grimm sneered.

Kim screamed in frustrated rage as he continued to block her punches and kicks. 'Shut up!' she screeched. 'Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!'

'You think what you've felt up to now is pain?' he snarled. 'You think this is suffering? I haven't even started with you yet Kim! Getting rid of your loser BF was just the beginning - by the time I'm through, this cushy life you've got will be finished!'

Kim felt her blood roaring in her veins. Her vision seemed to blur around her until Grimm was all she could see, and everything else faded into a blurry redness around him. She struck blindly, recklessly, heedless of her own pain. 'I'll never let you win!' she shouted.

'And how are you gonna stop me? I'll chip apart everything you care about, bit by bit until you're left alone in the dark! And when you're reduced to nothing but a shivering, pathetic ball of agony, I'll be living high and laughing at you! Have you had enough yet?'

Dr. Possible watched as a wild look of fury blazed in the eyes of his daughter. He had seen her fighting against robots and synthodrones, but he had never seen her like this. And suddenly Grimm spread his arms out, standing in front of her, his eyes and his face swallowed in a calm as icy and cold as Kim's expression was hot and furious.

Her punch connected with a meaty sounding smack that resonated even through the kitchen glass. 'Ow!' said Jim and Tim together. And Mrs. Dr. Possible gasped, her hand covering her mouth.

cookies and punch

Grimm fell with a sliding thud onto the grass and did not get up. Kim was on top of him a moment later, raining blow after blow on his face, his gut and ribs. 'You jerk!' she shrieked. 'You helped them! This was all your fault! I hate you!!' She paused, taking a deep, shuddering breath.

Grimm stared up at her through one eye. The other eye was already swollen shut. He opened his mouth weakly. 'Had enough?' he said.

Kim raised her fist, a grating breath escaped her throat, almost like the snarl of an animal. She felt all her strength focusing into her arm and balled up her fist, raising it high.

But she felt something seize her arm from behind, a hand curling around her wrist and holding her back. She struggled against it for one moment, her eyes still focused with burning hate on the boy who lay bruised and motionless beneath her. Then she heard a voice in her ear, a familiar authoritarian voice that cut through her rage like a dream from which she suddenly awoke.

'Stop it!'

And Kim turned her head, looking up into the face of her father, who was looking down, not at her, but at Grimm.

'Stop it!' he said again. 'She's had enough!'

  attitudinator

Kim looked at her wrist, trembling against her father's restraining hand. She saw her mother and her brothers, staring wide-eyed and shocked at her through the sliding glass door. And then there was a faint, raspy laugh. Grimm managed a weak smile as he stared up at her. 'You see....?' he said. 'I... didn't even need the Attitudinator... for you.'

She looked at her knuckles, dotted with red, and burst into tears. Dr. Possible relaxed the hold he had on his daughter's hand as she fought to her feet. Once she was up, he reached out to put his hand on her shoulder and take her back inside, but she suddenly broke away. She ran past him through the rear entrance into the garage, slamming the door behind her. A second later he heard the sound of a car starting, a motor gunning, and the squeal of tires.

Dr. Possible stared back down at Grimm, who was struggling onto his elbows, painfully curling and rising to his knees. 'Was that... really necessary?' he said coldly.

'Yeah.' said Grimm, standing and starting to shuffle towards the kitchen door. 'Until she gets this out of her system, she won't be any good to Ron or anyone else. Your wife's a doctor, right? She might want to look me over and see if anything's busted. And once Kim gets back, we can finally get to work.'

Dr. Possible stared at the young man. Of all the villains who had wound up in his house, there had never been one like him. The 'fight' had been almost entirely one-sided in his daughter's favor. No giant robots had torn up the place, there had been no explosions and no destruction. But he'd never been quite as worried about Kim as he was right now.

'Don't worry.' said Grimm, a feeble shadow of his smirk creeping back onto his face. 'She'll be fine. That is... if you guys have been doing your jobs as parents. If not... she's in for a rough night.'

Dr. Possible felt stung. 'What's that supposed to mean?' he said.

Grimm paused at the sliding door, looking back at him. 'Nothing.' he said, a gleam escaping from his unbruised eye. 'Forget I mentioned it.' Then he went back inside.

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

Shego sat at a console table in Drakken's lair, filing and sharpening the clawed ends of her gloves. It was pointless busy-work, as her fingertips were already razor-sharp, but when she wasn't out running errands she liked to look busy. Looking busy was all the pretense she needed to make as if she were annoyed at being interrupted in the middle of something important. And that in turn was all she needed to start dissing whatever schemes Drakken was cooking up.

And right on cue, there was a heavy metallic clank as Drakken slammed an outrageous looking contraption on the table in front of her. It looked like a dragonfly's head on a solid metal base with squiggly aerials jutting out in every direction.

Drakken raised his fists and grinned down at her, manic excitement pulling every muscle on his face into a twisted mask of evil glee. 'Behold, Shego!' he crowed, throwing up his arms and spreading out his hands as if he were parting the Red Sea, 'My latest triumph! The Hypersonic Cerebral Acerbator!'

Shego stared at him coldly. Getting Drakken's goat was one of the only things that she found amusing during lulls, but having to listen to him explain his schemes was the price she had to pay for learning enough about the plan to start poking holes in it. 'So besides having nine syllables in the name, what does it do?'

Drakken gazed lovingly at his creation. 'It emits an undetectable sonic vibration, keyed to specific nerve centers in the brain!' he said, rubbing his hands together. 'It evokes irritation and anger in any person within range of the vibrations, and prolonged exposure will trigger uncontrollable rage and irrational behavior!'

'Uh huh.' said Shego, staring at the device. 'So it broadcasts your voice?'

Drakken's face twitched in the manner that suggested he wanted to respond violently, but had to control it because he knew Shego could mop the floor with him. 'Rrrrr!' he said, gritting his teeth. 'Could you at least try to consider the possibilities? By setting these in strategic locations, we can cause mass hysteria and force entire cities to surrender if they want the affects lifted!'

'And how are we supposed to make demands from them if they're irrational?' she said, keeping her patronizing expression, but smiling inwardly as Drakken's face shifted from blue to purple, blood rushing to his face.

'We leave City Hall unaffected and make our demands from them!' he said in his grating voice. 'Head in the game, Shego!'

Shego shrugged, putting down her file. 'Fine.' she said, rolling her eyes. She'd had her fun, and though she never planned to admit it, the idea had legs. It was on to her next phase, and that was doing whatever cockamamie jobs Drakken wanted in order to implement the plan on a large scale. 'So we need - what? Disco balls, coat hangers and glue?'

Drakken looked furious and his mouth was open to say something, but at that moment there was a thundering boom followed by a crash as the heavy vaulted door to the lair was knocked straight out of its hydraulic frame, falling onto the floor, a huge dented impression in the center of the thick metal.

Silhouetted against the brighter light from outside, two figures were standing in the now empty doorway. One was tall and thin, carrying a staff in his hand. The other was shorter but more broad, his large fist raised in the air.

'Sorry - knocked too hard.' said a smooth voice. 'May we come in?'

Shego got to her feet, staring at the figures. At first she thought it was Hego, or maybe Kim Possible had Hego's power again, but neither of them looked female, and neither were as muscular as Hego.

'Monkey Fist?' said Drakken, staring in amazement at the newcomers. 'What are you doing here? And since when can you knock down security bulkheads?

'We come to offer you a deal.' he said. 'We have acquired components which will rebuild the device which the buffoon used to broadcast his signal from the Mega Synaptic Transducer.'

'You didn't rebuild that thing, did you?' said Drakken, a look of panic on his face.

'Oh no, no no.' said Monkey Fist quickly. 'We have.... other signals in mind to broadcast. But we require your skills to assemble a larger version of the device.'

'And.... what's in it for me?' said Drakken suspiciously.

'A place,' said Monkey Fist, smiling darkly. 'In the new world order.'

'A place?' said Drakken, sounding dismissive at once. 'Sorry - not interested! With me it's the whole ball of wax or nothing! Shego - show them the door!'

Shego smirked and shook her head, gesturing to the dented slab of metal lying on the floor. 'It's right there where you left it.' she said jeeringly.

Drakken's face purpled again. 'I mean show them out the door!'

Shego twitched two of her fingers like a stick person walking. 'OK, you move your feet, and you walk in the direction of the biiiig gaping hole...'

Drakken was gritting his teeth and pulling at his hair, babbling in fury. 'Rrrrr! Nnn! Throw... out... Nnnn! Door!' Maze and Monkey Fist simply watched in amusement until at last Monkey Fist stepped forward.

'I suppose in the short term,' he said, glancing at Shego, 'We can offer you something in exchange for your help that you may find useful. Have you ever wished that your... lackey was more obedient?'

Shego glared, but Drakken looked up at the ceiling, spreading his hands. 'Like every minute!' he said.

'Hey!' Shego grimaced.

'I thought so.' said Monkey Fist. 'As a first payment of sorts, allow us to rectify her surly nature....'

Shego didn't know exactly what he was talking about, but she went into a fighting stance at once, powering up her hands with a green glow. 'Back off, rock boy!' she snarled. 'Unless you want me to chisel you a new face!'

But Monkey Fist was clenching his hands, his expression suddenly blazing in fierce concentration. His eyes glowed a bright yellow, and then twin beams of energy lanced out. Before Shego could react, she found herself bathed in the light. It didn't hurt, but she suddenly felt her limbs getting stiffer, and heavier. A sensation of numbness sapped all the feeling from her arms and legs, and as the sensation spread to the rest of her body, she opened her mouth to scream.

Drakken cowered behind a chair at his console table, peering around the Hypersonic Acerbator. The yellow glow faded and he stood up. Shego was still standing and staring at Monkey Fist, but she was not moving. 'Shego?' he said timidly.

Monkey Fist strode forward and seized her by the shoulders, turning her around so she faced Drakken. And Drakken's mouth fell open in amazement. Shego had been petrified. Every visible portion of her skin was stiff and gray, a look of anger and horror was frozen on her face. 'There now - that's much better, isn't it?' said Monkey Fist, putting an arm around Shego and patting her on the shoulder with a hollow thunking noise. 'So much easier to have a civil conversation without her making insolent comments every fifteen seconds.'

Drakken sputtered. 'What have you done?' he snarled, though there was a fearful edge to his voice, 'Turning her into a statue is your idea of making her more obedient? Only if the orders are 'stand still' or 'be a garden fountain'!'

The other figure, who had been silent up to this point, stepped forward. 'No, blue one.' he said quietly. 'What we offer is so much more than that.' And suddenly he clamped his fingers around Shego's left hand and began to chant.

Emet - Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaanistsi'toyiiwa!
Emet - Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaanistsi'toyiiwa!

There was a hissing sound, a plume of smoke, and then he drew back. Drakken saw three strange signs branded on Shego's hand where he had touched her.

Then she began to move. She stood straight and ready, like a robot waiting for a command.

shego humbled

'Cluck like a chicken.' said Monkey Fist, a smirk creeping onto his stone face. Shego immediately made a series of clucking noises, though her voice had a stony, emotionless quality to it. 'You see?' said Monkey Fist. 'Total obedience. And we can supply you with others, should the need strike you.'

'Total obedience...' Drakken muttered, as if he were remembering some distant memory.

'Think it over.' Monkey Fist said, and he and Maze turned and walked towards the exit. 'When you accept, we'll be in touch.'

'Wait a minute!' Drakken shouted. 'If I do go along with this deal, how am I supposed to build this thing you want without any schematics?'

'We'll arrange to have you taken to our base of operations when the time comes.' Monkey Fist said, pausing at the door. 'In the meanwhile... enjoy your new toy.' he turned to Shego, who was standing motionless again. 'Shego - obey Dr. Drakken.' Then they turned and left.

Drakken stared at the gray, motionless statue for a moment, biting his lip. He waved his hand in front of her eyes, but she didn't react in any way. 'Ah.... Can you hear me Shego?' he said tentatively.

'Yes.' Shego answered at once.

Drakken glanced back towards the Cerebral Acerbator, which had toppled over in all the commotion. 'Tell me... do you like my latest invention?'

Shego paused. 'I do not like or dislike it. I can do nothing except what you command.'

Drakken's face broke into a hesitant smile. 'Say that it's brilliant.' he said.

'Your latest invention is brilliant.' she answered.

Drakken stood up fully, his evil grin back in place. 'Come with me to the kitchen, Shego.' he said. 'There's an apron and oven mitts waiting there, I believe. I have some cooking I'd like you to do....'

   
Coming Soon:
Chapter 12

No amout of success elsewhere
can compensate for failure here...


Author: Hopefully this chapter, while darker, at least made sense. In many stories where the hero and the villain team up, it happens too easily. And while Grimm certainly deserves the beating he got, hopefully he engineered it in such a way that didn't make him lose any of his edge. I've always been of the opinion that a real villain should do so much damage that even when the hero wins, they feel like they've lost. Grimm's not about beating his foes physically, so the damage from him is dealt on an even more telling level - in the mind. He gave Kim what she wanted - the chance to beat the tar out of him, so that she could work it out of her system and thus set things up so they can work together without the need for revenge boiling beneath the surface. And of course, giving Grimm the beating everyone wanted :)

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