I did it... I DID IT! *mad cackle* The next chapter! I published! I know it's been long but, yeah, my inspiration went on vacation to the deep, central Amazon, got kidnapped by a pack of wild boars, rescued by a flock of dwarf elephants and lived with them for a while before falling into the river and washed up later on the beaches of Portugal.

But it came back!

Again a big thanks to Psychochiquita and MegsForEVA1 for amazing help and support. Love ya!

Oh, and since this story turned out to be a fucking can of worms instead of the 6-7 simple chapters I thought it would be, I'm changing the title! To something more suitable. But not yet, The New Thing will be my working title and I'll officially change it when the it's done, however long that'll be...

Hope you like!


Metro City Prison for the Criminally Gifted, Saturday, 4 1/2 weeks missing.

An hour after Minion and the reporter had left, warden John Kellem had ordered a prisoner to be brought to his office.

It wasn't unheard of for an inmate to have a private meeting with the warden. All the inmates had something to discuss with Kellem at some point, be it inside information of the goings-on between the prisoners, or insignificant things like how the mattress was too thin, and a lot would just do it as a normal meeting in his office.

What had every inmate talking now was the fact that Jugs had been granted an office meeting.

Any time the warden had needed to talk with him, or vice versa, it had been in a high-security visitation room, with dividing Plexiglas-walls and guards by the door.

In all the years Jugosh 'Juggernaut' Yevyeni had been a 'guest' at the facility he had never set foot in the office wing, and nobody could understand why the sudden change of routine.


The warden had known he would have to tell Jugs about Blue's disappearing act, and it wasn't a conversation he'd looked forward to.

Jugs could be an unpredictable brute, going off at the strangest things, and there was no guarantee that he wouldn't jump John himself for- selling Blue, or something preposterous like that.

But, instead of the nuclear blast Kellem expected there was- nothing.

Well, almost nothing.

To anyone who didn't know Jugs it would appear as if he didn't give a rat's ass about anyone gone missing. The huge man didn't look like he'd just been told the blue baby alien he'd helped take care of and later seen grow up into a supervillain couldn't be found.

But that was if you didn't know what to look for.

John Kellem knew better though.

He had known Jugs for almost thirty years now, and knew very well what a good actor the man could be, but even he couldn't hide everything.

John could see his blue-gray eyes darken a shade. His bearded jaw tensed, making the vein just over his temple stand out and the scar giving a slight pull on his eye as his breathing started coming in slow, very deliberate breaths.

- How long?

- Five weeks on Thursday.

Jugs turned a shade darker in the face, but his voice was as black as the deepest part of Hell and the Devil himself would cower in a corner when Jugs spoke.

- I need out.

And there it was.

The moment John knew would come had arrived.

The point in time that he, John Kellem, the warden of Metro City Prison for The Criminally Gifted, decided whether he was going to be a lawman, making sure the law was upheld at any cost... or a father.

- There's a new employee starting tonight. He won't know you're not allowed into the workshop. He, like everyone except you and I, also won't know about the five minutes after ten pm tonight that the surveillance system will need a reboot because of an unexpected glitch.

Jugs did nothing but stare at the warden with a searching, dark look. John was used to getting all kinds of filthy, hostile and downright hateful looks from his inmates, but what Jugs was giving him now was something he rarely received from a prisoner; a grudging dawn of respect and not a small amount of- was that humor?

Well… That's a new one.

He buzzed the guard and had Jugs taken back to his cell, not another word needed between the two men.

John was pretty sure they'd see the first successful jailbreak in years tonight, not committed by an alien.

It went against everything he believed in and everything he logically knew was right, but he didn't deserve to call himself a father if he didn't do whatever was in his power to help get his boy back again.

And if that meant helping a convicted hit-man, mobster, enforcer and murderer walk out the prison doors...

Well, then... that's just how it had to be, wasn't it?

To hell with it, they'll need all the help they can get.

During the count at eleven pm that night the alarm was sounded and lock-down was put in effect when it was discovered the prison was missing one inmate.


Outside Metro City, day 1

His world came back in flashes and light and the taste of watermelons crawling down his dry throat, sticking to the roof of his mouth.

His entire body ached, shoulders and lower back in particular. He felt like he'd just gone through another epic battle with Metro Mug but the brute had forgotten to turn down his strength.

What the hell happened?

He opened his eyes, careful of any stabbing lights, not moving anything else, and discovered he was looking down at his own bare feet sticking out of what looked like one of those ugly hospital gowns, planted on a cold concrete floor.

Huh... Weird…

This wasn't usually the position he woke up if he'd been taken out in a battle, whether he escaped capture or not. What had been the plot of the day?

As more parts of his still-groggy brain reactivated, pictures started flickering through his mind at a steadily increasing speed until he remembered again.

Oooooh, right...

The rude wake-up, the walk through the hallways, how he flattened Mr Tough-Guy (heeehehe...), the escape attempt that could have been- a tad more successful...

A numbness in his fingers made him aware of pins and needles prickling along his arms and shoulders under the coarse fabric. His arms were tied behind his back, pulling his shoulders all the way back, making them fall asleep.

His forearms were tied parallel, wrapped together from his elbows to his wrists with a semi-smooth rope or narrow cargo straps, and secured to a horizontal strut in the back of his metal chair, pulling his shoulders into an uncomfortable but at least for now not painful position.

Tied up like this he didn't have any freedom of movement at all.

He swallowed hard, trying to get rid of the watermelon-taste even if he knew it wouldn't help, and barely managed to stifle a low groan as he tried to roll his stiff shoulders, settling for baring his teeth in a silent hiss instead.

It wasn't tight enough to stop blood-flow to his tingly fingers, but he still felt the restraints digging into his skin every time he moved a muscle.

He could move his hands, but there was nothing to grab on to and nothing to help him free himself.

The way he was tied down was a disturbingly safe way to ensure the chance for escape was minimal, even for an escape artist like him.

Sure, he could see sixteen different ways of immobilizing Doc and what was presumably a guard he could see a blurred outlining of outside, but without any freedom of movement he had no way of getting out of the damn chair in the first place!

His feet were secured to the floor with handcuffs (a fact his brain for some bizarre reason found immensely funny), one on each ankle clipped to a solid-looking eye-bolt driven straight into the floor, the sharp metal already warmed by his body heat.

Megamind scanned the room without moving.

Every detail was noted, from how one table leg had three pieces of cardboard under it to stabilize it on the uneven floor to the way the doctor, wearing too-bright white, held his shoulders in that nervous-but-eager way, and filing away any and all information that could prove useful.

The white-clad doctor stood only a few meters away directly in front of Megamind, but he had his back turned at the moment, writing something in an old, leather-bound journal while leaning his elbow on one of three shiny, stainless-steel tables.

The tables ran along the three walls Megamind could see without moving and were full of notebooks, papers, a state-of-the-art microscope on the right-hand one, while 57 beakers, test tubes and Erlenmeyer flasks were neatly stacked according to type and size on the one to his left. No doubt the cabinets below held things like bunsen-burners and other large lab appliances.

There was a small but expensive-looking centrifuge at the end of one table next to the Meiji-brand microscope he knew for a fact had a listing price of over 8000 USD (since he'd stolen six of them once), and one overhead light on a movable arm, now folded together on the left wall, had to be high-end; a cluster of 58 bright blue-white LEDs in the center surrounded by a wider ring of violet-looking ones, two LEDs deep.

UV-light?

All the equipment, including the tables, appeared new, painstakingly organized in an OCD kind of way, not at all like the organized chaos he like himself and that sometimes drove Minion nuts.

In the corner to his left was a sleek-looking computer cabinet with several external hard-drives plugged into all available USB-ports. No less than three screens were displaying a few anatomical diagrams and graphs, something that looked like the result-part of a thesis and six pictures of brain-scans on a split-screen.

The three on the left seemed to be of an average human, but the ones to the right Megamind recognized immediately, sending chills down his spine in a wave of goose-bumps and a spiky stone was dropped into his stomach.

He could still remember the day those scans were done. Every painful, panicky second of it. And he wasn't likely to forget it any time soon.

Yeah, nope, not thinking about that now, let's rather-

He turned his eyes away from the screens and tried instead to sneak a peek behind himself, still leaning forward as if unconscious with his head lowered, even though his muscles were screaming for him to move, both to distract his own mind from that old reminder, and to gather the last bits of information he might glean from his surroundings.

In the back of his mind plans were made, inventions based of the things he could see, just to keep more of his mind busy and not go spiraling down that old, familiar, dark staircase.

(He mentally made a little robot that could warm a cup of coffee instantly while standing on it's head, he started on a scanner for brain activity but abandoned that quickly since it reminded him too much of what was on the screens and instead modified it to a plasmonic light-concentrating device, plus five other useful and less useful distractions.

And it kept his mind from going through all the possible fates for him being here. With Doc. Tied to a chair.)

Despite all the high-quality, shiny equipment and bright lights, the space he was trapped in gave off an air of a dilapidated run-down reject, not suitable for anything but mold and rats. Even through the watermelon he could taste the spores of gods knew how many species of mold on his tounge.

The floor was rough concrete with small pits inexpertly filled in not long ago, and stained everywhere. It was covered with plastic that wrinkled in all the corners and had caught and ripped in the little wheel of an office chair shoved into a corner.

The plastic ceiling stretched over a metal scaffolding was littered with small and large puddles of water, and at least three drops plopped onto it, even though they were inside, in a /basement/, as he looked at it from the corner of his eye, slowly slowly turning his head just enough to get a glimpse.

The walls were more plastic, but opaque, reflecting some of the light from the overhead fluorescent hanging from the scaffolding.
The bright light inside the plastic room made the outside invisible, sort of like how one-way glass worked, and gave no further indication of what this building once was.

Yet this was where Doc had decided to set up shop?

The impression was- contradictory. Disconcerting. Paradoxical.

And Megamind didn't like it at all, his gut-feeling screaming at him what he already knew.

That this was Wrong and that he was in Danger!

Not the normal 'oh no, Metro Monkey is coming for me *look appropriately worriiiiied... now!*'-sort of danger, but the kind of danger that meant one wrong move could leave him gasping for air in a fraction of a second and begging to die.

A sound of movement and an excited yell.

- Six!


Evil Lair, Sunday, 4 1/2 weeks missing.

- Well that was a fucking waste of time!

Roxanne slammed the car door shut and stalked across the dark, echoing parking area in the lair, heels clicking sharply on the floor, fuming like a blown radiator at an entire morning lost to dead-ends and stupid drones who didn't know shit.

Not even the now-familiar, strangely comforting, ever-present smell of motor-oil and hot steel permeating the lair helped her mood at the moment.

She needed to move! Get out some of that nervous energy that rippled through her and sending her thoughts racing down ten different paths at once.

A part of her mind was always on the blue alien and she shuddered at the horrifying images her wayward imagination bombarded her with now.

She could feel time running out! It was in her bones! They had to find him, fast, or she was convinced she'd never get to see him again!

The ten ton rock that thought dropped in her stomach made her falter in her stalk, gasping as a physical pain stabbed through her chest.

Since when had she become so attached to the alien god-damn supervillain who had kidnapped her every single month for the last six years?!

Deep down, Roxanne knew she could tell herself all she wanted that it was just her habituation of having him in her life that had her concerned.

And she would be lying through her teeth.

She recognized the need to acknowledge that her feelings for the villain was far from the initial annoyance and exasperation she'd felt in the beginning of their 'relationship'. Over the years it had evolved into- something, a weird sort of friendship, because she hadn't lied when she told Minion she considered them her friends, but now... she wasn't sure what it was anymore...

She wanted him in her life, one way or another, she just hadn't admitted to herself how important that was until the threat of not having him there reared it's ugly head.

A wall rose in her path out of nowhere, covered in rough, wooden shelves overflowing with anything from single screws to complete robotic arms and she stopped, but just because her instincts told her legs to not walk straight into it.

She stared at it without seeing it for a good two minutes.

Down the middle, half-way dividing the shelves, ran a half-rusty pipe. The shelves had been built around it, just notches cut into the wood, and she thought she could hear the faint rushing of water.

The absence of manic laughter in the vast building was deafening.

She glowered at the pipe for rudely disrupting the shelves. The shelves she was sure Megamind had made. Made with his bare hands.

Perhaps as a 'fuck you' to her, the pipe decided at that point to gurgle and burp like a dead-drunk walrus in a rude dismissal.

- Oh fuck you too!

She wheeled away from the wall, frustrated tears forced back, and made her way towards the kitchen.


Minion winced at how the door slammed shut when Miss Ritchi exited the car.

With great care he extracted himself from the unique Hudson and gathered the groceries from the back seat before shuffling his way towards the kitchen go get lunch started.

He tried to ignore how his echoing footsteps made Evil Lair feel more desolate with each step, more abandoned than it had felt even before they moved in, as long as his clunking footfalls wasn't accompanied by his boss' laughter or aggravated yelling at an invention that didn't do what it was supposed to.

Even the brainbots' 'bowg'-ing had an unnatural, hollow resonance to it now.

Fish didn't cry but Minion still couldn't stop his lip from trembling or his breaths coming is stuttering gulps.

He had failed.

His boss, his best friend, his only family!

What if he never got to see Sir again?!

He was a horrible minion! He was useless. Worthless! He didn't deserve to call himself a min'in! If- 'when!' he thought savagely at himself- he got Sir back he would- he would-

Well, he would probably never let Sir exit the building ever again, not without a swarm of 3000 brainbots as bodyguard.

He squeezed his eyes shut against the sudden tightness in his throat, stopping in the middle of a step, the vast desolation of Evil Lair sucking the warmth from his water and body.

The moment dragged.

Minion fell deeper inside his mind until he hit something that wasn't the bottom. The mental jolt was enough to wake him from his momentary petrification, enough to give himself a shake and claw his way out of the desperate mire he had tried to stay out of since this all started.

It was getting harder every day.

(What he'd said to Miss Ritchi was true; he would never stop looking)

Deep breath.

Deep breath.

I need to replace Sir's star-flower…

Deep breath…

Extra oxygen flowing over his gills helped. Finally Minion felt like he wouldn't break down if he moved again, so he started to drift towards the kitchen, if only so the tuna wouldn't spoil.

Small victories.

Cooking lunch might help lighten his bordering hopelessness for a short time, so when he stepped into the kitchen-

He almost let the bags of groceries go clattering to the tiled floor, because-

- Glowstick!

The huge man with a prickly-looking 4-day shadow and bald like the moon rumbled, flinging his arms wide, sending a brainbot, still clutching a coffee pot, spinning. A huge grin was trying to split his face in two and blue-grey eyes twinkled at the stunned face Minion was offering.

- It's been too long! How come ya never visit?

Minion froze. His voice caught in his throat as the zings of- shock, surprise, elation- shooting down his spine was easily drowned out by the all-consuming awareness that EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY BECAUSE UNCLE JUGS IS HERE AND HE WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

- …Unl... Juh…

In a numb daze he put the bags down on the counter, purely from muscle memory, and had to support his robotic body on his way around the kitchen island.

Finally it clicked.

- UNCLE JUGS!

Minion rushed forward the last few steps with a scream, grabbed the huge man around the waist and lifted him clear of the ground in a HUG.

And stayed like that, squishing his face hard against the glass of his bowl, trying to get as close as possible to Uncle Jugs uncle Jugs oh my god uncle Jugs is here oh my god!

- You're here! You're- how did you get here?! When?!

- Walked out the door, found a car, took a drive... Did have some trouble finding your door, though, you've moved it since last time.

Even after putting his uncle back on the floor Minion couldn't make his hands move completely away from his uncle's shoulders, lest he was just a mirage and disappeared.

Minion didn't trust himself enough yet to be sure he wasn't just seeing things, even though the bio-metric sensors in his suit sent him the sensation of rough fabric from the ugliest button-down shirt he'd ever set his eyes on, stretched to the breaking-point across uncle Jugs's broad shoulders.

Maybe- maybe he was dreaming. He could be, maybe he fell asleep somewhere, gods knew he hadn't gotten much much of that the last few weeks...

- I- we… yeah, we- had some… problems… You're really here?

- Heh, yeah, Glowstick, I'm really here.

Jugs gave a genuine smile at the fishy kid who still hadn't remembered to close his toothy jaw, and smacked a large hand on his furry shoulder.

- Ol' Warden opened the door for me himself!

- That's… really…

Warden?

- Right! Yes! Um-

Uncle Jugs had already gotten coffee, thanks to 386 who was still hovering in a corner with the coffee pot, looking a little miffed.

- Hungry! I mean- are you hungry? You must be, I'm making! Lunch! Yes!

Minion shooed Jugs out of the cooking area and motioned for him to sit on the outside of the bar while putting away the groceries and preparing his ingredients.

- Just don't gimme anythin' that looks like that crap we get inside.

Minion gave him a Look over his shoulder and rolled his eyes, easing back into himself.

- Pff, please. Like I'd ever serve something like that. You will be dining on fresh baby-greens, flash-fried, sustainable tuna with my exclusive vinaigrette, everything topped with roasted sunflower seeds!

Cooking always calmed him down, and it worked it's magic now too.

Uncle Jugs just grinned back at him and leaned back in his chosen chair.

- How 'fried' we talkin'? Not like that sorry piece o' salmon when he- what'd he call it? 'just addin' to the taste of an otherwise perfectly fine piece of fried piscine'? How much salt did he use?

- About half a box I think. After two heaped tablespoons of lavender and rosemary. I still can't understand where he got fresh lavender from and he refuses to tell me!

Jugs couldn't stop the loud snort that image brought up; a six year old Blue proudly presenting a charred piece of salmon so salty it would give a Dead Sea fish kidney failure while reeking like a soap factory.

Minion grinned at the memory himself, remembering uncle Jugs's face when he took a bite of that horrible piece of fish. He had been extremely impressed their uncle managed to swallow it while keeping a straight face.

His uncle studied the counter surface, residues of a smile on his lips around a huge cigar.

The silence stretched, but it wasn't uncomfortable. They both knew they were avoiding certain topics, but Minion preferred to keep heavy subjects out of the kitchen.

So Minion made the food and Jugs leaned back and petted another brainbot that came in for attention, and they just existed.

- Minion, have you seen-

Miss Ritchi stepped into the kitchen, dressed in a dark green, thin wool dress only Minion could appreciate the craftsmanship behind, and froze solid at the sight of uncle Jugs.

Only now did Minion realize he was sitting in Miss Ritchi's chair, and somehow this must be a Mistake if he was going to judge by her frozen stance, her face blank and just-

- What's goi-

Uncle Jugs took one look over his shoulder at the new arrival and shot out of his- her?- seat before Minion had the chance to utter a word, sending it clattering to the floor, and pulled something dark and ugly out from the waist of his jeans, pointing it at Miss Ritchi.

He had rounded on her like a startled wolf, but his stance was devoid of anything resembling surprise.

- The hell'r you doin'ere?!

Her brows snapped together at his caustic, ice cold tone and words.

Minion was astounded that she didn't bat an eye at having a Glock 45 pointed between her eyes, but- she was used to having death-traps aimed at her several times a month, so…

Miss Ritchi took a half-step to her right and grabbed a cast-iron frying pan from the wall, wielding it like a bat and stood her ground.

Minion flinched as Uncle Jugs flicked the safety off and his index finger came to rest on the trigger in one smooth move, letting Sir's favorite kidnapee stare straight into the barrel.

It all happened so fast! One second he was mixing the salad, the next he was scrambling to get between uncle Jugs and Ma'am before they killed each other!

- STOP IT! Both of you!

Wide-eyed and glowing like a firefly on steroids he jumped between them, robotic arms out to either side in the universal stop-sign.

His heart beat a frantic rhythm in his small chest and his escas were twitching as if an electric current was running through them.

All he could think of was stopping the idiotic humans from killing each other, because Sir will KILL me if I let anything happen to either of them!

He did not want to have to explain how uncle Jugs got his head smashed in by a frying pan! Or why Miss Ritchi has a hole in her head where there should not be one!

- QUIT IT YOU TWO! I MEAN IT!

Uncle Jugs had lowered his gun as soon as Minion stepped into his line of fire, but Miss Ritchi was still poised to swing her improvised bat.

Whirling to her, Minion wrenched the heavy frying pan out of her grip, giving her his best 'I'm very disappointed in you'-glare as his crests pulsed pink in terrified outrage.

- What the fuck is she-

-QUIET!

Minion rounded on his uncle, pointing at him with the frying pan, peering at him through narrow eyes over the rim of the pan and matching his hostile stance easily.

This was not happening!

This ends now!

- You! Sit down! Leave it, that's Miss Ritchi's chair. You go sit over there.

Minion pointed his uncle to the other end of the bar. Then he turned to the irate reporter who was still staring daggers at the other human in the room.

He extended his arm and righted the fallen chair for Miss Ritchi, placing it deliberately at the other end of the bar, far away from his uncle.

- Now. We're gonna sit down. Like normal fucking adults! And we're gonna talk! Like civilized fucking people! Is that clear?!

He swiveled around in his bowl, looking each of them hard in the eyes. Uncle Jugs kept scowling at Miss Ritchi but didn't make a move, which counted as consent coming from him.

She glided into her chair, eyeing Jugs like a green panther stalking a prey.

A couple more seconds to make certain nobody was gonna jump across the counter to strangle someone Minion took his own spot between them.

Foregoing his reinforced chair he decided it would be best if he kept his position of power for the time being, standing between them, hands planted on the counter and looming.

- Now, I believe there's been a misunderstanding h-

-Yeah, lil' missy'ere thinkin' she can go snoopin' 'round n' stickin' 'er nose where t'don't bel-

- Oh fuck you, Jugosh!

Miss Ritchi slammed her hands down on the counter. Leaning over and glared at uncle Jugs.

- That's right, I know who you are. And the misunderstanding is the fact that after he basically made me give a blood-oath, swearing me to silence and to not reveal anything, the warden can't keep his own mouth shut fo-

- YOU LEAVE HIM OUTTA' THIS!

Evil gods give me strength...

Minion opened his mouth to try and mediate the two clashing titans, but-

Everything happened at once;

Miss Ritchi shot up, her chair caught on the tile floor and toppled backwards again.

Her eyes burned with barely suppressed anger.

Uncle Jugs surged up like the demon he was.

His right hand went to his belt.

His left planted on the counter, fingertips going white.

Cold, pale blue-grey eyes stared down the reporter.

And Minion almost clouded his water.

Oh no, oh dear-

And then, suddenly, he'd had enough.

This was ridiculous!

- I SAID SIT DOWN!

And slammed a fist into the counter top, cracking the stone slab down the middle.

The number of people who'd ever heard Minion truly roar doubled.

- Or do I have to tie you to the chair, Miss Ritchi?

A dark chuckle coming from the other side had Minion spinning around in his suit like a striking cottonmouth.

- You too, uncle, don't make me gag you!
The choked sound devolving into a cough told Minion the message had been received.

Miss Ritchi, however stared at him with wide eyes, the ghost of a disbelieving smile tugging at the side of her mouth.

- You wou-

- Try me!

Enough with this crap!

- The next one to talk I'll gag and tie to a chair before hanging it above the pit, is that clear?!

Evil gods, even his fins were tingling! What was it with these two?!

For a long moment nobody talked or made a move.

Miss Ritchi looked at him with a funny expression, arms crossed over her chest and back ramrod straight, while uncle Jugs leaned back in the chair, his cigar clamped between bared teeth.

- All right. Uncle Jugs, I want you to meet Roxanne Ritchi, Sir's kidnapee. Miss Ritchi, this is uncle Jugs, aka Juggernaut, aka Jugosh Yevyeni. -but apparently you knew that already.

Without a word the two glared hellfire at each other in greeting, and Minion was surprised no-one burst into flames.

I guess that's the best I can hope for...

- Now, we're all here for the same reason, which means! You two are gonna have to handle being in the same room without trying to kill each other! Can you do that? Or do I have to make Spider-bot babysit you?

All he got from uncle Jugs was a dangerous growl sounding like consent, and Miss Ritchi huffily accepted the forced truce.

- Oh, fine!

Minion didn't understand why she was so hostile towards his uncle in the first place. It was the warden who had spilled, but- well, as far as he knew female minions had been hard to understand. Female humans seemed impossible!

Besides, Minion was ecstatic that uncle Jugs was here to help! Between Miss Ritchi, uncle Jugs and himself they were bound to find Sir in no-time!

To keep the frail peace from collapsing, Minion turned back to his food preparations, trying to get a sense of normality back into the kitchen, but still casting glances at the two to make sure they behave.

He motioned 386 to refill his uncle's coffee mug and find some tea for Miss Ritchi.

He knew sharing a meal or a drink was instinctively calming and often bonding between humans so, you know, worth a try if nothing else...

Maybe lunch could help ease the tension still thick in the air.

Then they could get back to work!


Outside Metro City, day 1

- Six!

Doc twirled around to face Megamind with a huge grin, making him twitch at the sudden move, but then-

Not many things had the capability of leaving Megamind speechless, but this was one of them.

The Doc he knew from years ago had been gorgeous in human eyes. Scientifically handsome! Thick, shiny dark brown hair with a natural wavy thing going on, large oval eyes, an elegant, straight nose, chiseled chin, deep musical voice...

There was a reason everything at the facility with two X-chromosomes had fallen into his arms like flies drawn to a honey pot.

This Doc, however... was a husk!

Still dark-haired, but now it was matted and flat. His eyes were still large but had sunk, giving him a vague skeletal air, crows-feet and wrinkles reminding Megamind of those mummies sometimes found in the ice.

At some point he'd also broken his nose and it hadn't been set properly. The voice; rough like a smoker's yet still unpleasantly penetrating. Tall as ever, though, towering a good head-and-a-half above the alien, even if Megamind had been standing up.

But all that was secondary information that didn't really register through the red fog of hatred.

Megamind couldn't stop the feral growl rumbling in his throat from escaping.

He hated that name! Despised it. It wasn't even a name, it was a damn designation! Like he was just a thing. A thing to be used and then discarded when he no longer was of any value.

Oh but that's exactly what you are, isn't it?

Shut up, I'm not listening to you anymore!

- So good to see you up and about!

Doc greeted him like they were old friends, a wide smile that looked warped and mad in the corners, sending a wave of goosebumps down Megamind's arms and spine.

Megamind knew he should be scared out of his magnificent mind, being back with Doc, but- he was just- numb. Like this was someone else. Like it wasn't him, Megamind, it was happening to. From his initial reaction, when he woke up in his cell, he would have thought he'd at least feel something! Anything! But he was just... hollow. Empty. Maybe that was for the best? He could freak out later, when Doc wasn't watching...

The silence stretched as Doc was staring at him with wide eyes, leaning forward with one hand planted on a knee to get face-to-face with the alien, as if waiting for a response.

Megamind took a whole three seconds before he could form an appropriately sarcastic comeback, rehearse it several times in his head and say it without gagging at the words.

- Oh yes, it's wonderful seeing you too! What is it I can help you with this time? Adding? Dividing? How to shave? Sorry I don't get up to hug you but I'm all tied up at the moment.

It ate at him that he couldn't keep all of the resentment he felt towards the man from bleeding through into his voice, but he camouflaged it well with dripping sarcasm and a condescending grin.

- Oh, nonono, no not this time. Well, yes, later, but not yet.

Oh... kay?

- Are you high?

Megamind couldn't not ask.

Something was amiss with the scene playing in front of him. Doc had to be high! That was not-

- There are so many things we never got to do the last time we worked together! We never even got started on testing your mental capabilities!

Doc was bouncing around like a kid before Christmas, laughing as he talked and clapped his hands in an excited 'let's get started' kind of way.

Megamind's skin crawled at the way Doc said 'we'. Like he'd ever been a willing participant in that nightmare.

- Of course, I still need to replicate all my work you destroyed last time, but- that's for... later... hm-

Doc trailed off as he got distracted by something on a table and started muttering under his breath instead.

Staring at something in one of many notebooks lying open he was switching between twirling a pencil in his fingers and biting the end of it.

It looked like Doc had forgotten Megamind was even there, muttering under his breath about bio-metrics, neural feedback, enzyme extraction, and scribbling something in an old, leather-bound book.

Not one to be ignored just like that, Megamind couldn't help but speak up.

He was itching for answers and the only way to get them was to get Doc's attention back on himself, even if that entailed the dangers of getting Doc's attention.

- Sooooo... you kidnapped me to give me an IQ-test? What the hell is wrong with asking? Ever heard of email? I do have one, you know.

Even to Megamind his tone was a strange blend of incredulous condescension.

This was Doc.

There was no telling what he'd do if, or rather when, he snapped, but the man seemed oblivious to Megamind's tone, and he had a- vacant? No, a- feverish look in his too-glassy eyes.

A dangerous look.

Doc twirled around again with a flourish, his knee-length lab-coat flaring out behind him like a cape that had seen too many washes and turned stiff.

- But I also have a few surprises for you, Six, if you behave that is.

- Oh, great, I'll get a lollipop if I'm good? Seriously, did huffing up whippets with the Nitro make you forget? Bad has always been in my blood, Doc.

- Hah! 'Bad, yes, I've watched the news. You really know how to make a show!

And then Doc winked at him!

Megamind was going to make another jab, but all he managed was a strangled noise and a very shocked-looking, open-mouthed, wide-eyed grimace.

The reactions were... completely off.

Last time Doc had been a cold, calculating, clinical asshole of a man, driven by a thirst for knowledge and power.

The first time Megamind met doctor Neerim it had been like meeting a creature from another planet (which, technically, it was).

Doc had kept an emotional distance, but was smart enough to personally slam down on Megamind's convoluted and less convoluted jibes at his intelligence, escape attempts and his opinion of Doc's overall value in the human gene-pool.

Making a comment about Doc huffing anything should have sent him into an almost-uncontrollable rage! There was no way for a personality like that to make such a profound turn as what Megamind was looking at now.

It could be an act...

But then Doc would be- no, the subtle, unconscious body language humans didn't even realize they were using was- well, it was there, but it didn't match with the words. And yet it read as genuine... but so did his voice!

This man just- the man before him now was- It was impossible to read him!

Doc whirled around again, a big smile and a piece of paper in his hand.

- Right! Let's get to work!

He skipped back over to Megamind and leaned in close enough for the alien to feel the breath ghost past his cheek, like Doc was about to tell a secret.

- I need you to be completely honest with me now, Six, okay? Since I can't let you have any freedom quite yet I'm going to show you a test, and you have to tell me the second you've solved it. I'll be timing you and you just tell me, all right? It's not very accurate, I know, but it'll do for a simple preliminary test.

This was... creeping him out. The tone Doc was using, it-

Scars...

Ugly scars from fire, running along the hairline, from above the right ear and down the neck, disappearing beneath a gray shirt under the lab-coat.

When Doc had turned Megamind remembered he could see they also covered all his neck and probably part-way down his back, it just hadn't registered until now. Other things had taken precedence.

The imagery made him cringe inwardly, thinking of how those scars came to be. Thinking of how sensitive his own neck was. How he'd react himself to-

A shiver of cold lightening ran down his back at the thought, making him squirm in his chair.

Did I do that?

Did it matter?

Concentrate you idiot!

Jerking back into the presence from the screeching voice in his head demanding he pay attention he focused his eyes back on Doc, still waiting for an answer.

- Oh yes, of course I'll be honest.

Megamind gave him his sweetest, sardonic grin that held nothing even close sincerity, trying to lean a bit closer to the maniac.

- It's not like I'm a supervillain or anything. Not like I lie and cheat every day. Obviously you can trust me!

- Great!

...the hell...?

- You ready?

Megamind met the doctor's eager eyes with what was hopefully an unimpressed look, but it felt more like one of utter confusion.

What did Doc expect him to do? He'd said 'mental capabilities'. Was he just going to be used for his brain? Like an idea-machine chained to a chair?

It could be anything from creating weapons of mass destruction to solving the unified field theory (which he'd already done but he wasn't telling Doc that!).

He was shown a Sudoku game.

Sudoku, digit-single. A logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle where the objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 subgrids that compose the grid contains all of the digits from 1 to 9 his mind supplied unnecessary.

- Oh for Einstein's sake- you weren't kidding?! What the fuck is wrong with you?!

Doc just chuckled and showed his teeth in what must have been an attempt to smile.

At least it was one of the hardest Sudoku games ever created, so that was something.

Megamind recognized it as the work of Arto Inkala, the Finnish mathematician.

Sudoku was rated with stars, one star was easy and five was considered the 'expert' level.

Inkala's game had scored an eleven.

Megamind guessed it would be considered cheating by not telling Doc he'd been consulting Inkala during it's creation, but... like hell he was, he was going to screw with Doc every chance he got!

Let the games begin...

Megamind almost laughed out loud at that wonderful pun, but got himself under control and focused instead on the man before him.

With an exaggerated, drawn out sigh even that apathetic, dusty curator for the new library- Barney wasn't it? -would be proud of, he spared a 0.82 second long glance at the paper, looked back up at Doc through his eyelashes with an exasperated 'this is it?' look, raising a brow for emphasis.

- Is this really the best you can do?

He rolled his eyes and spit the last words at the doctor with a disgusted expression.

- It's not even a challenge!

- Wha- you solved it already? But- you said you'd be honest! You barely even looked at it! You-

Yes, Megamind had used shorter time that he theoretically should have, since he'd worked with the creator and knew some of the math gone into it, but it wouldn't have taken more than 0.12 seconds extra even if he'd never seen it before.

Besides, he wasn't going to give Doc any more correct results than necessary!

Doc was standing over him, gesticulating wildly, pointing at the sheet of paper, looking at Megamind, looking back at the puzzle with a frown and several times a shadow that had nothing to do with any kind of light-source flashed across his eyes.

Megamind, outwardly calm, observed Doc's rant with laughing eyes and a positively evil grin while his insides was twisting itself into knots at his idiocy and his instincts were screaming at him to Stop Antagonizing The Mad Man!

But he was determined to let himself enjoy the show for a few seconds and screw the consequences, all the while in the back of his mind he continued cataloging the different equipment around the room he could use.

Cannibalize centrifuge for radio parts.

Objectives from the microscope should make good barrels for compact de-gun, plus wiring.

Is that potassium powder? Very reactive...

Oh, laser-pointer in his chest pocket!

Scalpels and knives are always useful...

A reflection from Doc caught his attention.

Something small on the inside edge of his lab coat. Was that- Oh! A pin! Looking like one of those dry-cleaner-pins used to attach the receipt, and Doc had missed it. It was to the inside edge at the perfect height to get his hands on it, if he could just get close enough...

A pin wasn't much, but it was a start.

Megamind could do things with a pin.

All he needed was a way to get loose, then he would get out of here, get home, assemble an army of brainbots with Minion and then he would demolish both this place and Doc!

When it seemed Doc was finishing his rant at Megamind's lack of cooperation, he switched his focus back to the human, pretending he wasn't planning aaaaaanything *look innocent now*.

Doc looked a bit lost as to what to do next. The silence in the chilly room was roaring at them and Megamind finally decided to break it by purring a sing-songy explanation at him.

- I told you... Eeeeevil...

And grinned like the cat who got the canary when the doctor completely lost the ability to produce sounds.

Or breathe.

Doc's left eye twitched, a vein started throbbing on the right side of his head just above the temple and as impossible it had seemed he turned even whiter!

Huh. Never seen that one before…

No matter, he was going to mess with Doc's head, tests and whatever else he could until either he found a way out of here, Minion came to get him or Doc got tired of him and just put him down like any other animal.

Megamind was only getting started and refused to acknowledge the tinny, increasingly frantic voice in the back of his head screaming at him to Pay Attention, Look at the man, See him!

(He really should have)

Somewhere in the far back of Megamind's mind his subconscious realized that this guy was truly dangerous. Dangerous on a deeper level than Megamind had ever known before. A new level of evil Megamind never wanted to touch with a thirty-foot pole!

Doc let out a frustrated yell and crunched the paper into a ball, throwing it into a corner.

It bounced off a table leg and rolled part-way back to Doc out of spite, stopped by a fold in the plastic sheet on the floor.

- This isn't how it was supposed to be!

Surprised by his outburst Megamind carefully observed as Doc stalked back and forth across the room that somehow felt smaller than just a few seconds ago.

- You were supposed to- to cooperate!

Doc's voice was trembling with infuriated passion.

- We're meant be working together! You know you want to! You- you said I could trust you! I- You- you have to do this! You can't just-

Doc's breathing was picking up speed, he was loosing what little color remained in his face-

He fell back into ramblings, walking in tight circles, hands clenching and unclenching and several times Megamind though he'd rip his hair but Doc stopped short every time and lowered his trembling arms again.

After several minutes he slowed down until he stood, white-faced and shaking, staring off into the distance.

Then, with sleepy steps he walked past Megamind without so much as a glance at his captive, Megamind heard the sound of a drawer opening and Doc starting rummaging through them.

He stayed there, behind Megamind's back, for a long time, at an angle Megamind couldn't quite turn his head to see and his nerves started singing very off-key.

A cold draft kissed his shoulder.

The smell of disinfectant got more pronounced.

Wait, disinfectant?

Something in the room changed.

TBC