Dinner was quiet between the family that night. Jumba and I both knew what was approaching and despite the subject wasn't brought up during the meal, it was obvious it was on the mind of every family member at the table.
Pleakley kept glimpsing at us. He'd been the most quiet about everything that had been going on. He hated conflict and getting involved in it. Aunt Iwalani wasn't there as she was spending her last few nights here in Kauai with some of the other family who had also put her up in a motel room. It was probably for the best considering this situation just involved our family.
"How was your day out with Mr Kuakini?" Nani eventually broke the silence. I wasn't expecting her to address me suddenly so my ears flipped up. I was used to being ignored by Nani for the past few weeks so it felt weird to finally be addressed by her.
"Uh... interesting," I responded.
"I see. Did you have fun?"
"Ih." I looked away from her slightly. She noticed I seemed a bit uncomfortable and went quiet again.
While there was no denying I did have a lot of fun, it had been a really weird experience for me and the main reason I'd done what I'd did was to make Mr Kuakini happy because I knew how broken he'd been since Mitch's death and his actions made that obvious.
The reason I'd found it weird was because a few times during the moments I'd been going over the photos with him, I'd been so confused with memories inside of my head that I'd relapsed and almost forgot who I was. Like the hallucinations I'd been experiencing they were very specific and vivid; strong enough to a point where I couldn't tell which was my own reality and which was a memory. Those specific moments had caused me to become confused and my reality had been warped to such a point I'd believed I actually was Mitch. Where in my head I thought my past had happened that way, but it hadn't.
It was like having a mental blackout – I was in Mitch's shoes in those memories and his memories had overlapped mine. That's why for a moment I'd believed I had been the one at Kaila's concert when the fire alarm had gone off and that I had a friend named Chris Brown. The hallucinations were really screwing me up on a level I couldn't describe.
Only after coming out of that confusion had I realised what had occurred too late – I'd actually starting speaking as though I was Mitch and it had happened on more than one occasion. I'd had actually been quite embarrassed about getting so confused like that after I had eventually understood what was going on however seeing Mr Kuakini's reactions to it, and how happy it had made him, I had just kept the act up because I didn't have the heart in me to see him disappointed again. I was half computer so my super-computer brain had established that acting like Mitch was best possible outcome for the situation.
So that's why I had kept speaking to him as though I was his son after that point. It had made me uncomfortable to the point I'd rub my arm a few times, but I just went with it. Some human emotions I still didn't truly understand, but this was one that I did. And since I knew what Jumba had gone through being my father, I could relate to him on that level despite being an alien. Sometimes you just needed to do something because it was the right thing to do.
I knew that I was Stitch, of course, and I knew that Alanna wasn't actually my mother, and Kalia wasn't my sister. But making him happy was the least I could do for him and I would continue to do so. Of all the times I'd worked for him I'd never seen him as bright and energetic as he'd been today; this really had lifted his spirits and the burden of grief from his shoulders.
I could tell that Jumba had picked up on the fact that Mr Kuakini was calling me Mitch. I'd seen his reaction to it. He normally tapped his finger to his chin like that when he was in disapproval of something however he hadn't said anything to me.
Not yet, anyway. I expected he would.
And then he did. Once Nani and David had cleared away the table and left the room, and Lilo had left with Pleakley to watch something on the television, he faced me.
"So then, why was store-man calling you Mitch?"
I shrugged. "Make him happy. I don't mind."
"He is aware you are not boy, correct? You are Stitch, my son? Even if deceased human soul resides within you?"
"Not sure how to feel about that."
I looked at my father. He stared back at me. I hesitated, before climbing onto his lap and explaining everything that had happened.
"I see," he said afterwards. "Did not think you would actually think you are not 626."
"'Course not. I know who I am."
"I cannot stop you referring to the man as second father, if that is making him happy and is what is being most comfortable for you, but I cannot say I am fond of the idea."
"I know," I told him. "I understand. He knows."
"Just do not be getting too attached with this information."
"Pa! I won't!" I held onto his hand and he sighed and rubbed at his head.
"Sorry, 626. You know I've dealt with enough as it is recently and the last thing I'm needing right now is to be dragged into sudden competition with human as to who real father is of my own son."
I laughed. "We both know answer to that."
He just looked at me. I poked him on the nose to reassure him and he rolled his eyes before he finally smiled.
"You understand why bothers me, yes?"
"Ih. I do," I hugged him. "I am yours. Will always be yours. Stitch naga feel comfortable calling him pa 'cuz he is not pa."
Jumba rubbed my head. "Well, shouldn't occur to call him that anyway."
I looked away. "Soka. Hard situation. Makes him happy to believe I really am son."
"Oh, I do understand that, 626. As I mentioned, if you think is best thing to do, then do so. You do not have to worry what I think. You are aware does not sit right with me, yes? But I do respect you. Just as I do with you wanting to be with little girl. I only care for your happiness."
I closed my eyes and he scratched behind my ear.
"Well. Tonight is night, yes?"
"Whatever is happening to us, 626, I will be there for you. Remember, everything that was happening is my fault. None of it is yours. I won't ever let Nani or family pin blame on you."
I said nothing to that, I just hugged my father tightly and he hugged me back. We remained that way until Nani stood in the doorway, David by her side.
"Well, Jumba. I think it's time to keep your word."
Jumba sighed. "Very well. Come, 626."
And with that, we headed out into the living area.
Nani, David, Pleakley and Lilo stationed themselves on the couch. Lilo was leaning against David's lap and Pleakley just looked terrified.
"Before am beginning," Jumba spoke. "I want to make something very clear to you all – that being that 626 is NOT responsible or at fault for any of the problems that were caused."
Nani crossed her arms, before nodding. "Go on."
Jumba made a similar movement. "Am meaning it, what I am about to say is very result why we were banished. Is extremely serious. We are more than just 'criminals' larger girl, which is why it has been so hard for both of us. Our past is probably one of the darkest, if not THE darkest there is."
With an eyebrow raised, Nani addressed him again. "Darkest? Are you about to say something Lilo shouldn't hear?"
Jumba flinched at that. He went to speak, but I put a paw against his mouth. "Naga, I think... Lilo deserve to know."
"626 she is child."
"Ih. But she strong."
Lilo looked at me, completely confused. "Is it... really bad?"
"Ih. I..." I paused. "Scared of losing you to truth."
"Stitch, I promised you, remember?"
"Naga, you don't understand, Lilo!" I cried and Jumba had to calm me down a little. "You really don't!"
Lilo was about to retort to me at that but Nani cut her off before she could speak.
"This has something to do with what I saw yesterday, doesn't it?" Nani said, looking at me.
I nodded. Jumba sighed.
"Well... to begin, am having to go back a long way. Will take a while."
Jumba nodded and sat down on a chair with me in his arms.
"I grew up in abusive family larger girl. My family outcasted me due to being child prodigy. My brothers, Johzat and Johbhor, nothing like me, were lavished. Parents approved of them yet were embarrassed by me because I was too smart. Too different for their liking. I was also big and because of that, they named me Jumba and deprived me of a more sophisticated name. I had a miserable childhood on Kweltikwan. UTTERLY miserable! Jumba grew up lonely, with no friends. I did attend school, of course, but because of my smarts, other kids called me names and bullied me. So, I buried myself into study, all day and night. Books were my only company as parents made no time for me."
"You... you have a family? Brothers?" Nani asked. "I thought you had no family."
Nani looked a bit annoyed by that. "Why?"
"Would you be telling me everything about your past, even bad memories you want to forget?"
Nani looked away at that. Lilo looked intrigued. "Wow, you have brothers?"
Jumba nodded. "Said I have no family because I basically had no family. While is true I did have parents and brothers as mentioned, they were abusive. All of them hated me. Would have been better off in foster home because they gave me no love."
"I see," Nani responded slowly.
"Anyway. Being child prodigy I aced school and education. By time I reached EGU I was already creating sentient robots."
"EGU?" David asked.
"Evil Genius University."
Nani snorted. "That actually exists?"
"Of course it does. Attended there for while, also was meeting now ex-friend. Gerbil-like alien, named Habbitrale. First job was with him, and we ran a joke shop together for a few years. After went bust I learned he turned out to be a complete backstabber. Was using me."
"Using my ideas and selling them off behind my back." My father looked a bit distant. "Profiting of me and pocketing money from ideas I shared with him. Of course, he went to jail, but once learned that I was furious as I had trusted him as friend. But he was not first one to do this to Jumba, no no!"
"What do you mean?"
"Lot of aliens know about my smarts. My inventions. Claimed they wanted to work with me, but were in it for themselves. Used me for my ideas then tossed me in the trash. And due to this, I began to change. Started only seeing the worst in everybody. And I acted upon that after a lifetime of being used and rejected. I finally snapped."
Nani went silent. David looked anxious and Pleakley just stared with a mortified expression.
"How so?" Nani asked quietly.
"Formed gang. Back in the day I was assassin. Leader of the group called 626-B's. Took out those that had hurt or used me in someway and covered tracks by setting up as suicide. Not proud of it now but had to be done."
Nani was in disbelief. "So is that what you meant by dark?"
"Is only beginning."
"Well... I've got time."
Jumba sighed. "At 23 I applied for job at Galaxy Defence Industries. Biggest company in Xenon Hemisphere, which consists of Kweltikwan, Turo and a few other planets. Galaxy wide reputation and very famous company considering they were biggest in nuclear technology and innovation. Wasn't exactly what I wanted to do but with my intellect I knew it would be making me enough money to carry out my lifelong dream of creating life. So I went in one day with resume. Got the job, one week later after a very strange interview."
He paused. "Began working as head scientist of a team. Loved the job and Jumba was finally living the good life. Lived in the building due to demand of work I was given. In fact I was making this!" He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a tiny cube. I recognised it as the spidget spinner. He tossed it towards Nani. "Was most successful invention in terms of profit."
"What is it?"
"Spidget spinner. Was very thing that made Jumba famous in company. Was hit all around galaxy."
Nani snorted. "Spidget spinner? Like those fidget spinners?"
"Is exactly that. Interviewer was impressed with it. So the company started mass producing them and thanks to that I was finally able to start carrying out dream. Work was demanding, oh boy. But I was enjoying every moment of it. Up until life came crashing down."
Lilo had the spidget spinner in her hands by that point. She was trying to figure out how it worked.
"Well, what happened?" David asked quietly.
"I met female of my species. Her name was Zenda. Captivated Jumba so much that we decided to eventually marry. Thought I'd found my soulmate. She painted and drew and that amazed me considering my life was based around logic and numbers. Codes. She saw space different and I admired that. She could see beauty in things as they were and I guess that was what captivated me the most about her."
He paused. "Six years into our relationship, one day, out of nowhere, she was promoted. Up to the board. Made no sense to me, considering her position was in administration and I was above her. She changed, no longer the Kweltikwanian I'd married and fallen for, but a highly-strung business woman with no time for anybody, even Jumba. What was even more confusing was that she had no qualifications to actually work on the board. I didn't think much of it at first, but before this happened I got sick. Very sick, and needed a lot of time off work to recover, however they drilled me and due to that I went into bad condition with my health. Had heart problems from a defect but the stress overload heightened those problems. And without my work the company knew they would plummet and they did for a little while when funding was cut, since my innovations were leading brand. I created all sorts of weapons and rockets and most of them were used in the military and UGF, but then mysteriously, everything went back to normal. Another strange thing I started to notice was the staff leaving and all of my co-workers quit within months of each other. Something wasn't right."
I felt awful hearing this from my father. I knew his heart was bad from him collapsing on me before, but that job had nearly killed him. The family looked shocked as well, with the exception of Lilo who I could tell was trying to process what she was hearing. Since she was young I knew things probably wouldn't make too much sense to her.
"Zenda became very nosy and probing, wanting to know everything about my ideas and work, even most classified documents and plans. When it became too much, I vented frustrations by starting on my dream. I built secret lab out of range, and began experimenting with genetics. Most were failures up until I finally succeeded with Experiment 6-1 – my first ever organic life-form. Was little blob like creature that floated around and watched as I worked, however it perished shortly after. I kept experimenting however and my work improved over time. Eventually my creatures had limbs and would help me a little around the lab until they too perished as their bodies were unable to sustain them. Was very depressing for Jumba, but I didn't give up. The lab was my space for when work became too much. My relationship was dying with that woman and we fought a lot but then one day, she over-exhausted herself and things changed for a while. She became better and we were able to repair our relationship to good level. But then real blow for Jumba was coming."
"She didn't want to get pregnant, right?" Nani asked.
"Exactly. I wanted child, of course, so I set to work experimenting again and finally had a breakthrough with 621. He was my first successful experiment that did not perish within a month of creation and he became my beloved assistant. I sent him out to scout for DNA samples to continue improving my experiments. Zenda however, started to become jealous of him and changed again, this time worse than before. For almost a year straight she went back to having no time for me and arguing with me. I was getting truly fed up by this point so I decided to investigate," Jumba looked down at me and I held his hand. "I created tiny camera and manipulated a bug to wear it. I sent that bug into a board meeting. Very risky, but got it in unnoticed. And that was where I learned real truth."
Nani looked crestfallen. "Real truth?"
Jumba nodded. "You see, Zenda was not who she said she was. Was a spy. Undercover agent. Her real name was Gamada Luxschroge and she was hired by GDI to manipulate me. The marriage was a farce. She never truly loved Jumba. And once I learned this, I hacked into her computer when she was off on business trip for while. It was all true. I found my classified documents were on her computer, stolen from me. I couldn't figure out how at first, but then I learned that the programs she used to send me her artwork and pictures were coded. They were programmed to steal data from my computer. When she sent me those pictures and files it created gateway. My computer was being hacked."
David and Nani looked absolutely horrified. "You're joking!" David said in shock.
"Afraid not. I used the bug to spy again and this time learned that GDI had only hired me to use me and steal my secrets and ideas. My bio-weapons and nuclear technology. They had bribed me to create systems for them which I believed were for good cause, but instead, they were actually planning on using them to dominate galaxy with their company by using money supposed to pay me. Selling off my ideas to evil corporations and working with them and I think goal was to overthrow the entire Galactic Council. When I'd fallen ill, it had been one of the board members. They'd spiked my coffee one morning with a drug."
I couldn't describe the looks on my family's faces by that point. Nani had her hands to her mouth in complete shock. "Oh my gosh, that's... I have no words, Jumba. I cannot believe you went through that."
"Gets much worse," my father muttered.
"It gets worse? How?!"
"They wanted to bump me off once stealing everything from me because they were scared I'd snitch. Just as I found out and went to salvage years worth of my work, home had a mysterious power outage and by the time I was able to access my files again, everything was gone. They stripped me bare and when that fraud-artist returned home from her trip, she acted as though she had no idea what was happening, but both 621 and I knew she was in on it. I had to salvage what I could and encrypt my most highly classified documents."
"S-so what happened after that? Were you okay?"
Jumba shook his head. "No. I wasn't. I took Chops away from our home out of fear that woman would hurt him. I was mad and very depressed. Thankfully I had enough money to sustain myself by that point but the damage was done. All I could do was live day to day and pretend I didn't know what was going on."
Nani looked incredibly guilty by that point. "That's so awful Jumba, I really had no idea it was that bad..."
Jumba nodded. "Yes, was basically husk of a man by that point. Felt had no reason to keep going, but there was one thing that propelled me to do so."
Nani stared. "What?"
"I can imagine..." David spoke up at that. Lilo looked a bit upset but she kept quiet, as did Pleakley. Nani held her knees to her chest.
"So what did you do?"
"I made up my mind. To extract revenge on the board and on Gamada. I had a plan and that plan was to kill them all."
Nani went to speak but Jumba held up a hand. "YES, I am aware that was bad. But you have to also consider my position. All life Jumba had been used and robbed for ideas. Nobody cared for me. Not my family, not even woman I married. So only logical way for me to carry out revenge was through murder. Remember, they were planning to kill me and by that point, I had nothing left to care about."
Silence. My father continued.
"I spent the next four years creating my next experiment. I sourced the DNA and genetic templates myself with 621's help because I knew that if I wanted this to work, this experiment would have to be perfect. I remained married to that scam-artist and continued with my job of course, but the hardest part about that was having to pretend I didn't know what they were doing to me. Jumba suffered, day in and out, especially having to be around them at work but my plan of revenge was what kept me going and kept me strong. I knew the long days and nights would be worth it."
Nani reached for a drink. I could tell she was still in shock.
"I worked. And worked. I wanted to create an experiment so powerful it could chew it's way through solid steel and rip entire buildings from foundations. I wanted to give this experiment a toxin so powerful it could literally blow up any alien that would come into contact with it. In fact, I wanted to outdo myself and make this creature to be the most powerful in the entire galaxy! If I was going to carry out my revenge, I wanted it to be worthwhile because I wanted this experiment to be the one not only to carry out my plan of revenge, but to be my most successful creation yet. It would kill the board members and Gamada for me and nobody would be able to stop it."
Jumba sighed. "I was taking a huge risk and I knew that creating such an experiment would likely end up resulting in my own death if I couldn't control it. So, I had a brainwave. And that was to make this experiment something much more than just a creature. I wanted it to be my own child."
My father reached out and put a hand on my head, causing Nani, David and the rest of the family to look at me.
Their eyes widened. "You mean...?" David started, and Jumba nodded.
"Yes. I put my DNA into this very experiment. The result was what you're looking at right now."
They stared at me. "So then what happened?" Lilo asked quietly, finally finding her voice.
Jumba struggled. I gripped his hand tightly. "The worst thing imaginable..." he muttered. I put my paw to his cheek and he put his hand over mine.
"626 was eventually born and I neglected 621 to focus on him. And because I'd done so, I didn't realise that my creation had started to turn against me. He left for a while without me noticing and when he came back he actually tried to attack me and 626 had to stop him. After that he vanished for few months, but then he came back once more after mutating himself and tried to kill me again. 626 saved my life. I was arrested because 621 had snitched on the police to me about 626's creation, and this happened while 626 was in molecule charging process. Police stormed in and ripped out charging cable, which is reason why 626 glitched out few months back and died. However, 626 broke me out of prison and we escaped. Chopsuey remained in custody and was not knowing what happened to him after that until recent incident. I guess the police realised he was also an illegal experiment of mine and at some point he must've broke out of jail to join 626-B's to track us here."
"I ended up salvaging my possessions and returning to my own previous home on Kweltikwan. Since GDI was on Turo, I'd been living and working there. Gamada's home was on Turo as well. However before that, I did finally resign from GDI and divorced the scam-artist. It was painful to see how she reacted, feigning her misery when I knew she had no regrets at all, and that just further motivated me to want to kill her."
"I see..." Nani said quietly. "Then what?"
"They started targeting me when I sent out 626 on missions to collect DNA samples. Tried to bump me off, as they had said. Thankfully I managed to escape death from having assassination training and I knew what to look out for, but it made me realise how serious they were about wanting to kill me. So for four months, I trained up 626. Turned him into a ruthless, cold killing machine, which was what I wanted."
Nani stared at me at that but kept quiet. I looked down.
"What did not expect however, was 626's reaction when I told him the real reason I'd created him. Those missions I'd sent him on... well, I'd lied to him. It was to power him up to a level that I'd be able to execute his true programming once enough data from his missions was collected."
"True programming?" David asked. "What do you mean?"
Jumba clenched his fists. "I kept secret from him. Not just that he was going to carry out my revenge for me, but something else."
My father sighed heavily. "The Metamorphosis program."
Nani and David looked at each other. "Uh... what?"
"626 is small, yes? Well, to carry out plan I knew he would need to be all powerful. So when I created him, I had something else other than revenge in mind. I said I wanted my experiment to be not only perfect but also most powerful being in galaxy yes?"
"Mhmm," Nani confirmed, now staring at me.
"You cannot have tiny little creature like him when trying to create galaxy's most powerful creature. Do you remember... when we first moved in and I explained that 626's original programming was to destroy cities?"
Nani looked a bit nervous now. "Uh, yeah?"
"Well. 626 is actually not what you think he is."
Nani stared for a moment. I could tell she was thinking it over. "You mean... that form I saw before, that's him?"
"No," Jumba shook his head. "626 is actually monster," he swallowed, putting his hand to his head. "Metamorphosis programming changes him. He can level entire city because he is not just tiny creature; he is huge monster – like big popular lizard creature you are seeing on movie that destroyed city."
Nani stood up in shock at that. "WHAT?!"
"Let me explain!"
All of them were staring at me now with wide eyes. I turned into my father.
"When I was harnessing energy to create him, I contained an explosion from two planets that collided into each other. I filtered that energy from explosion into a cell, which is beside his heart. That very cell makes him grow," he hugged me. "Upon telling 626 about my plans and his true purpose, he was upset. He defied me, refusing to obey me and carry out my plan and after that was when I... utterly snapped. First my family, then my supposed significant other and my job and now my own SON had turned on me. And Jumba just couldn't take it anymore, so he..." he trailed off.
"What? What did you do, Jumba?"
"I shot him. Point-blank in the head."
They looked dumbfounded. "..."
"I killed him."
I cringed hard at that when Lilo let out a long moan which turned into a scream. Nani and David cried out as well. "You... shot him? In the head?"
"Yes. Was about to kill myself too. I had nothing," he looked away. "Was just about to put gun to own head and shoot but then as I saw him there, on floor, and something inside of me broke."
He quivered. "He was my son. I spent four years making him and did that to him in my rage. He was all I had. So, I picked him up. Stopped bleeding as much as I could and operated on him to save his life. Was close call, but he survived, bullet missing vital area of brain by just an inch. Took a week for him to recover but... I damaged him. Permanently."
"H-how?" Lilo asked. She was holding my arm by that point with tears in her eyes.
"Motor balance was affected."
Lilo looked confused. Before she could continue, Jumba spoke up again. "He is clumsy, yes? Trips and falls a lot?"
Her eyes widened. "Wait... so because you shot him is why he trips up so much?"
My father nodded. "I have lived with the guilt of what I have done, but... I did something absolutely unforgivable to him after putting him through that. And because I did so, is reason why I was banished from my own planet. Why I'm more than a criminal."
"But h-how? How could it get worse than that?" Nani asked quietly.
Jumba looked directly at her. "Because all I cared about was revenge. And I made my child suffer because I was so blind-sided by it. I didn't realise what I'd done until it was too late."
"Is this... what you've been hiding? Your 'dark' past?" Nani asked quietly. By now, the family was almost next to us, clinging onto every word Jumba was saying.
This was it. I had no idea what was going to happen once Jumba told them what I'd actually done on account of him. This was the moment I'd been absolutely dreading and their reactions would determine whether or not we would still be family by the time this talk was over. My father looked at me and he squeezed my paw. I prayed for the best.
"626 begged me not to do it, but I didn't listen. I should have. And have regretted every single day of my life since doing what I did."
Jumba looked away and his voice cracked. "I-I forced the program to activate against his will. And because I did so 626 not only killed Gamada and the board members in the worst way possible, he destroyed Turo and almost completely... completely wiped out the population living there. H-he demolished the entire planet."
Lilo fainted. Nani screamed at that and lunged for her to catch her.
"Lilo? Lilo baby! Wake up!"
David was in disbelief. "He... destroyed an entire planet?! But... but how are... how is...?"
Jumba's voice went dull. "I managed to stop the programming. Just barely. Had to lure him to the ocean and slam a cruiser into his head as that was the only thing strong enough to knock him out but I nearly died in process. Got 626 back to lab and uploaded encryption to cell to stop it ever activating again and also encrypted his memories to make him start to forget what happened. Went to kill myself again but 626 stopped me. He... forgave me. I still don't know why."
David and Nani looked at him in complete shock. I could see Nani quivering and Lilo groaned in her arms while Pleakley fanned her down. Despite he knew the story and what I'd done, he'd never heard it in full detail, so like them he was also in disbelief.
"We were caught, of course. Was going to be executed, however 626 managed to escape and his original programming kicked back in due to relapse from the encryption. That programming was simple, just made him very destructive but was state you saw him in when Lilo first adopted him and by that point his memories would have cleared entirely of incident on Turo. They offered me proposal that if I caught 626 alive they would allow me to live in return. Of course, I just wanted my son back so took that option. So instead of being executed, we were banished here. If we were to try head back home however, we'd be executed immediately. Nothing more than terrorists."
Nani and David were really quiet after that. It was about ten minutes until Nani spoke again.
"Is that it? Everything?"
Jumba looked at me and I looked at him. He nodded.
"Was past. Very dark, very bad. But I am truly not evil and neither is 626. He is not responsible for what he did as it was my fault I put him through that, so if you are going to blame anybody, blame me. I assure you I've spent years suffering through nightmares, stress and depression due to what I did. My past haunts me everyday and I am suffering. I never wanted things to go the way they did, but my because my own programming was so powerful, it backfired. I had no idea what 626 was actually truly capable of until I saw him destroy Turo with my very own eyes. It was that moment I realised I should never have activated the program. I was blinded by temptation and revenge and it took me seeing the apocalypse of a planet I called home to understand the extent of damage I caused. Not just to him, but to everybody else. If you wanted me dead too I wouldn't blame you but the only reason I still stay strong is because 626 found it in his heart to forgive me."
Jumba was crying by that point. "I did a bad and stupid thing and I cost many innocent aliens their lives. I deserved to be executed but instead I was banished here because the Grand Councilwoman somehow found it in her heart to give me a chance to redeem myself whereas the federation didn't. I had to leave my own planet behind and I have been banished from my own kind as a result which is justifiable. But being here has really helped us change and heal from past mistakes," Jumba hugged me tightly. "I just hope you can at least understand that before kicking us out to street. I made big mistake and have spent life suffering from it."
Nani was quiet for a while. "It's a lot... to take in. I wasn't ever expecting something this bad. I'll need more than a night to think it through let alone process it. We all will."
"626 and I will take to ship and remain there if you do not wish to be around us."
"No, you don't have to do that. I'm not going to kick you out. It's too rash of a decision after everything that's happened already. As I said it's a lot to think about and from the shock of everything I just want to rest. I can tell you're not that person anymore, Jumba."
David nodded in agreement, stroking Lilo on the head. She was staring at me groggily. "I think right now we all just need some rest. Can focus on things more tomorrow when it's had time to sink in."
Jumba looked at me. Lilo remained despite Nani asking her to go with them into their bedroom. She approached me once they'd left the room and she was about to reach out her hand towards me but instead I saw tears fill her eyes and she turned and went after her sister.
I lowered my head. Jumba quickly held me close to him and hugged me tightly. "We will get through this..."
I cried into him. If I lost my angel after this I'd lose part of my life. I couldn't tell what she thought of me after seeing her turn and run like that but not knowing how she felt about what I'd done now that the truth was out was tearing me apart from the inside out harder than I expected. I felt breathless and shaky.
Pleakley simply hugged us both and proceeded to his bedroom. Eventually Jumba stood up and followed with me in his arms.
A few hours had passed. By now it was just past ten o'clock. I'd settled down a bit, as had Jumba and both of us were just solemn, sitting on his bunk bed. I was leaning against him while he read a magazine. Pleakley was quiet below us, also reading.
Jumba had his arm around me. Since the truth had been revealed, I hadn't left his side. I was so scared that he was truly all I had left now. If Nani actually did decide to boot us, we would truly be alone. I needed Lilo. She was my saviour and my sanity, and I didn't even want to begin to imagine a life without her in it.
Jumba eventually shifted. "Parched. Dry throat, really could use some water," he said to me, starting to climb down. I followed him. Pleakley watched us before his communicator buzzed and he sighed. Jumba rolled his eyes, knowing he'd be on the phone with his mother for a while. I reached up my arms and my father picked me up before we headed down the stairs to the kitchen. The house was quiet and dark.
With me in his arms, my father poured himself a drink. He stood by the window and I watched him as he gazed up at the moon before looking at it myself.
"What do you think will happen to us?" he asked me.
"Naga nota," I responded. I truly had no idea.
"We were very lucky we got second chance here, on this planet," he spoke slowly. "May not be home we once knew, but is better than spending rest of life starving on deserted asteroid."
I nodded. I rested my head against his.
"Only regret is that you never got to see more of your birthplace as had to keep you hidden. I know you remember that hill I took you to, but... there was so much more I wanted to show you. You would have truly loved Kweltikwan, 626. Your home."
"Ih. Juta hada ni nidas baichi dagreet."
"U'cahlz nubosiz hust ro'zhus."
"Ni'zhx aiai, gjua'sh zgroda."
A footstep behind us made us stop conversing our brief discussion about Kweltikwan's beaches. Nani's figure had appeared in the doorway and she was in her dressing robe. She came forth and also poured herself a drink before turning to head out but instead she paused and took a seat.
"There is just one thing I want to know Jumba."
"What is it?" my father responded.
"Why did he defy you about carrying out revenge despite you created him to?"
I stared at that. Jumba sighed. "I have no idea. Originally I thought it was because I gave him my own DNA, and as a result backfired because instead of creating monster to obey I just created monster that was half me. Had my emotions and feelings and ability to reason and tell right from wrong. I never intended that originally. Just wanted 626 to be monster and obey me."
Nani nodded. "I see. I've always thought there was something different about Stitch."
"How so?" Jumba pulled out a chair and sat down beside her, me still in his arms.
"I don't know, really. He's just different. I saw that from him the time he spent the night with me when you went to the see the Wasp Mummies movie. But not just that, there were other things too. Like how he helped me out by working. You say you created a monster, but would a real monster truly act the way he does?"
Jumba seemed perplexed. "You are right. But I am telling truth when I was saying could never figure it out myself. Why he disobeyed me so easily and saw the flaws of my revenge. He knew it was wrong and he knew it was bad. 626 has always been smarter than me despite I created him."
I stared at Nani at that. "Isa because..."
Both of them looked at me at hearing me speak. "I know what you saying," I continued, and she looked confused. "Why I act like I do. What you tell me yesterday."
Nani just looked at me to continue.
"I think is because of something else. Jumba know. Lilo know. Mr Kuakini also know."
My father looked surprised at that, before he nodded. "Do you want her to know, 626?"
"Huh? Know what?" The older Pelekai sister asked me.
I looked at my father before looking at Nani. "Ih. Nani, Stitch not fully alien."
She gave me a weird look. "Uh, what? What are you talking about?"
I pointed to my heart. "Long story, but... I was human before."
She accidentally knocked over her cup at that and I caught it before it smashed. Thankfully it was empty.
She shook her head for a moment before she laughed. "What...?! How could you have been a human Stitch, that's ridiculous. Look at you! You're the furthest thing from a human!"
I shook my head. "Naga, is true. Mr Kuakini had son, named Mitch. When I created he die. His soul, go into me. Didn't believe myself until started having thoughts and visions. Not my own, like I was in somebody else shoes. Mr Kuakini, he see this. When I work. Start noticing things about Stitch that his son did that I did too."
Her expression fell. "W-what? Really?"
Jumba nodded. "Wouldn't have believed it myself had I not see him under UV light."
"What do you mean?"
"626 showed me few nights back. Discovered he is actually covered in freckles, only detected under UV light. Since I created him without melanocytes, is not possible for his body to produce freckles. But for some odd reason he is covered in them. Absolutely stumped me. Could not find scientific explanation for it and cannot figure out for the life of me why such thing would happen. Really is no logical conclusion for it, only what 626 has told me."
Nani looked stumped. "So you believe you are the way you are because Mr Kuakini had a son who died, and his soul passed into you?"
I nodded. She laughed slightly again but then stopped and stared at us. We weren't laughing.
"You're not joking are you?"
"Naga. Mr Kuakini knows too, is why wanted to spend day with Stitch."
Nani just looked bewildered. "Um well, guess I'll have to talk to him tomorrow about it. How bizarre. But I do agree, that would explain an awful lot Stitch and as I mentioned, I always thought something was different about you."
"Yes," my father agreed. "Really is no other possible explanation why he defied me when is hard-wired into his biology not to."
Nani nodded. "I need to sleep. Still trying to process everything, including the fact I'm married."
Jumba nodded as well. He looked at me hesitantly.
"No, I'm not going to kick you out, stop worrying about it."
"Uh, really?" Jumba asked.
"Yes. But we'll talk about the outcome of this later."
"I see." My father responded.
Nani bid us goodnight after that and left. Jumba stared at me for a moment before turning and carrying me back up to his bedroom.
I ended up sleeping in a makeshift bed on the floor beside Pleakley and Jumba's bunk rather than sleeping in my own bed. Lilo was in with Nani and David. I didn't want to bother her because I knew she'd processed a lot about me tonight. And now that she knew the truth about me, I had no idea how she was going to react to me after this. If she was going to see me the same as she always had, or just see me as a monster.
Not knowing what tomorrow held in store for me made me feel sick to my stomach. I just hoped Lilo wasn't going to treat me any different. She had promised she wouldn't but now she knew about me and that I had destroyed a whole planet and had murdered innocent aliens, surely her opinion would change in some way or another. It wasn't something to just take lightly either.
Not only that, Nani knew about me now too. That I was a monster like I'd told her. Her version of me being a 'monster' I guessed was just me destroying and breaking things, like the trees – but now she knew what kind of monster I really was. A Godzilla type one.
I realised at that point Jumba had left out some details, like the guns on my back and the fact I was starting to change. Chopsuey being responsible for the cell activating. I hadn't told him about Demon 626 just yet because was already stressed to the max and I didn't want him to collapse again knowing he had a heart condition.
I moaned out softly when I felt my body starting to perspire. My limbs quivered and I tried to call out but my voice locked up. I looked down to see my fur flaring up all over my body before my fists clenched. My claws began to grow out beyond my will. All I could do was lie there in pain. Jumba was snoring loudly above me in his bunk and Pleakley had earmuffs on despite not actually having ears yet somehow that still blocked out noise for him so I knew he wouldn't hear me.
I heard laughter echo in my head.
Tomorrow will be a wonderful day! You ready?
No... no not now...!
Demon 626 grinned at me in my mind. Would you like a small taste of what's to come?
No! Leave me alone!I felt my body lock up suddenly, as though I was paralysed. I tried to move my limbs but I couldn't even feel them and I absolutely freaked out.
STOP IT! I screamed in my head. STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!
HA HA HA HA HA!
Everything went silent again. The feeling returned to my body and I hugged myself close under the blanket, shaking. Above me, Jumba snored softly and Pleakley hummed in his sleep.
Eventually I just cried myself to sleep.