Thanks so much for the reviews on the last chapter! That one was really difficult to do, so the support means SO much to me! (I swear every chapter opens up the same way lol, but seriously, I do mean it)

Anyway, we're at the final chapter! Really hope you enjoy it!


Chapter Twelve:
Down The Bloodline

Rain crashed to the floor hard. Black clouds covered the night sky. A harsh, cut-throat wind sliced through the air. With his hood up in a protective manner, Vector trudged begrudgingly through the murky marshland, feeling the deep squelch of mud underfoot. As he did so, practically no thoughts passed through his head. Right now, the only thing invading his mind, was the strong want to taste victory...

Building up the pace, Vector snatched a glance of the lifeless landscape in front of him, still attempting to shield himself from the stabbing winds. A castle stood in the distance, clearly in complete disrepair. Mountains stood firmly in many places, flames scorching inside its dense forests. An ominous dark red glow beamed from behind them all, filling up the sky with a demonic presence.

This truly was hell on earth.

Although, even if his surroundings implied otherwise, he had no doubts he would succeed in his mission. There wasn't a chance he was going to fail. Even if it meant risking his entire life, Vector was ready to save the world.

Reaching into his pocket, the master villain turned super secret agent revealed his walkie talkie, speaking into it with a hushed yet confident tone.

"Agent A, do you copy?" He inquired, awaiting a response. However, only silence proceeded the question, something he really didn't want to hear right now. "Agent A, do you copy!?"

"No..." A deep voice croaked from behind.

Startled, Vector jumped and spun to the voice's source, his heart-rate instantly trebling. Stood in front of him was his target. The one he had been searching for this whole time, the one who had started all of this chaotic mess in the first place, the one he needed to destroy.

Their name was 'Shadow'. They were a very tall ancient samurai, who rose from the dead and brought along some evil creatures from the depths of hell. With their lethal flaming sword and darkened terrifying eyes, Shadow had been enveloping the entire world within his warpath.

Now, if it wasn't stopped in its tracks, the earth was truly theirs for the taking.

"Give it up, Shadow." Vector snarled, clenching his battered fists together. "You've had your fun! But now it's time to return to where you came from!"

"Hmm...that's a good idea, y'know! Let me think about that..." The demonic creature replied, turning it's gaze to the darkened skies above. A red glow emitted from its eyes as it thought, as if the brain behind them had somehow caught on fire.

Taking a step backwards, Vector stood defensively, preparing himself for whatever attack Shadow was surely conjuring. But, when an explosive array of flames sprung up from below his feet and sent him flying to the ground painfully, the secret agent was now totally defenseless. All he could do was exclaim a multitude of harsh anguished yells, as the embers continued to torture his skin.

"Nah..." Shadow muttered, shrugging.

Vector stewed on the floor, desperately attempting to scoot away as the samurai approached threateningly. Once it was standing directly over its foe's form, Shadow reached down and grasped the agent tightly around his neck, before proceeding to lift him high into the air.

"You tried your best, I'll give you that," It stated poisonously. "But no-one can stop me now..."

Audibly growling, Vector balled his fists and sent the demon a vicious frown, desperately attempting to conceive a solution to this problem. But, as his mind fluttered helplessly through a million different thought patterns, the clouded sky above suddenly brightened and opened up, emitting an expansive heavenly glow.

The two spun and turned their attentions to the light source, but after almost being blinded, quickly spun back around and covered their eyes protectively. A giant figure then emerged from behind the clouds, it's ferocious glow making it practically invisible. As the figure descended to the floor, a rushing sound of wind swiftly enveloped the landscape, as the dead marshland below their feet suddenly gained life.

Once the painful glow and racing winds died down, both Vector and Shadow had to quickly save themselves before they lost their balance and toppled to the floor. Once they positioned themselves correctly, the two opened their eyes and glanced at each other, one of them holding a more positive expression than the other.

Vector felt a wave of elation spread through his entire body. He had finally received the miracle he desperately needed. The savior that can help him protect the world had arrived. The one he had been internally pleading for since this tyranny began.

The two slowly turned to face the figure, and sure enough, to Vector's utter glee, there stood a...

...

Unicorn?


"...and then the friendly fairy unicorn princess comes down from the sky and saves the world with her super glowing magical horn!" Agnes cheered, as she slammed the aforementioned toy on the living room floor, knocking the samurai toy over. "The end!"

"Awww, Agnes..." Edith sulked, huffing and crossing her arms irately. "That's always how the game ends! Why do you have to ruin it!?"

With the ten-year-old's aggressive exclamation, Vector jumped slightly and shook his head in surprise, as if he had been abruptly woken up from unconsciousness. He didn't know how or why, but for whatever reason, that silly childish game with unicorns and samurai toys had consumed so much of his attention, that he felt like he was in an entirely different world. He had to give her credit, Edith had an impressively wild imagination...

However, even though he knew the very concept of playing pretend in a made-up universe with objects bought from some vomit-inducing toy shop was absolutely stupid, he couldn't deny that he really, really enjoyed it...

"I'm not ruining it!" Agnes retorted, also crossing her arms. "The unicorn makes it more fun!"

"Nuh-uh! Unicorns are stupid!"

"Are not!"

"Are too!"

"Are not!"

"Are too!"

"Guys, stop it!" Margo butted in, sitting up on the couch in order to intercept her little sisters' ridiculous argument. The twelve-year-old had been really engrossed inside her murder-mystery novel, up until an array of high-pitched yells interrupted her. "It's just a silly game, don't get so worked up over it!"

Scoffing in unison, the two younger siblings turned away from their eldest sister and crossed their arms, glaring at each other angrily. However, it didn't take long for the tension levels to drop, once Vector smiled and looked down upon the two girls happily.

"That was...actually a lot of fun." He commented, a small feeling of sadness overtaking him, simply because he was already missing the pretend world. "Thanks for letting me play."

"That's okay!" Agnes screeched, an overzealous smile quickly replacing her prior frown. "We should play again sometime!"

"Yeah!" Edith agreed, picking up her mini samurai to inspect it critically. "Next time, I'll get the ninja cyborg. That one's way cooler!"

As the two girls looked up at him brightly, Vector simply couldn't stop the grin on his face from expanding, even if he wanted to.

"Yeah...that sounds fun."

At that point, Gru and Lucy entered the room in a fit of giggles, their arms locked around each other lovingly. After the constant fear of kidnappings, divorces, and rocket ships, the couple had been spending the entire day together, simply enjoying the company the both of them had sincerely missed. A huge and seemingly neverending smile had engulfed both their expressions throughout the whole day, something the two had no objections against.

However, the moment that Gru laid eyes upon Vector, that smile proved it's finite existence...

"What are yoo doeeng een here unsupervised!?" He yelled, detaching from his wife to march over to the young man hazardously. "I thought I told Dru to keep an eye on yoo!"

"H-he was b-but..." Vector replied desperately, scooching backward at speed to protect himself. "He l-left to go h-help that scientist dude w-with...something."

The angered frown that dominated Gru's face continued to grow and grow with rage, right up until his eldest daughter finally joined her little sisters on the floor, where she interjected the conversation.

"It's fine, dad." She spoke soothingly, giving her distressed father a calming smile. She could instantly sense the tension, and to avoid another enraged argument that would surely lead to regrets, had joined in to try and halt it in its path. "He's just been playing with toys, that's all."

"Playeeng weeth toys?" Gru reiterated, looking down on Vector questioningly. The former villain stared back with an embarrassed fake smile, the urge to dismiss such a claim being very strong under Gru's seemingly judgemental expression.

"Yeah! He's really good at it, daddy!" Agnes spoke up loudly, gathering the director's attention at speed. "My unicorn really likes him!"

As Gru watched both Edith and Agnes give Vector contented smiles, the father-of-four really didn't know how to react. Obviously, he would never have considered Vector as the type of person to play pretend games with children, but based purely on his daughters' happiness, he couldn't ignore the feeling of appreciation that spread through him.

But, on the contrary, every time that he laid his eyes on the little punk, he still saw Margo falling dangerously through the air, and that intense feeling of rage returned in an instant.

Before he had the chance to berate Vector further for being such a waste of time and space, his twin brother came wandering into the room, humming a tune to himself happily. Although, Gru's enraged voice quickly put a stop to that...

"Dere yoo are!" He bellowed, startling Dru to no end. "I told yoo to keep an eye on Vector! Where have yoo been!?"

"Well...m-me and Nerfroid were just planneeng a-" However, after reminding himself that he was indeed talking with two AVL agents, the blonde interrupted himself and stuttered for a few moments. "...um...definitely not evil scheme. Besides, what does eet matter? Everytheeng's fine, isn't eet?"

"No! Eet's not fine!" Gru exclaimed, taking a fierce step forward. "Somebody's gotta be here to watch Vector at all times! I know he 'saved your life' and 'came to de rescue' but we still cannot trust dis absolute piece of-"

"Gru..." Lucy interrupted gently, gathering his attention by placing a hand on his shoulder. "Calm down, okay sweetie. It's no biggie, so don't stress over it..."

Considering how much emphasis was placed on the word 'stress', Gru picked up on the signal and dropped his head with a solemn sigh. He really had to stop getting like this. Anytime something even slightly concerning happened, Gru lost control and went off on another angered rant. Of course, nothing like the outburst in the minivan, but still way too aggressive than he was actually intending...

At this point, he was really beginning to worry that this anger control problem would never be solved...

"Sorry..." He muttered quietly, as he lightly pulled his spouse closer to him. Closing his eyes for a few seconds, Gru simply held her there, his arms wrapped closely around her sides, waiting until he had fully calmed down.

After a moment, the door to the living room speedily swung open and a tired looking Jack came bounding inside the room, a large pile of reports in his grasp. Once he made it over to the small coffee table, the teen dropped the reports atop it and took in a large fatigued breath, his cheeks beaming with a shade of red.

"Okay, so..." He quickly had to cut himself off after only two words, since he realized he needed more oxygen if he actually wanted to talk coherently. "I've finished up the research on all villains under investigation, so they're all ready to be taken down. I've also tampered with the payroll sheets and logged you in for this week, so head-office will never know that you took off on a road trip. I even contacted Derek and had them apprehend that Fullbyte guy you were talking about, after Vector gave us his home address, of course."

Gru turned and gave Vector a small look of appreciation, but the moment his former villain nemesis turned to meet his gaze, the director frowned and looked back at his son.

"Well, great work, Jack. Thank yoo..."

"There's n-no need to thank me. Do you need anything else? I-I could go water the plants, or maybe do all the laundry, or just, y'know...something useful!"

Ever since returning home, Jack had been working himself silly to ensure that Gru had absolutely no worries. After what he said and did in the minivan, he thought it was the least he could do. At first, Gru wasn't too happy about it, considering that it was also his fault as well. But, after seeing how truly determined he was to set things straight, he allowed him to just do what he had to do.

Now though, he looked like he was on the brink of passing out cold, so there was no way Gru could let him continue in good conscience.

"No, Jack, eet's fine." He stated authoritatively, motioning towards the sofa. "Just take a break."

"Break!? What!? Does it look like I need a break?"

Gru examined the huge purple bags under his eyes, the small shake of fatigue in his legs, and his concerning slouched stance, and decided there was a very simple answer to that question.

"Take a look een de mirror and decide for yourself." He responded, before switching his gaze to his three daughters. "Now, come on gurls, eet's time for bed."

"Awww!" They moaned in unison.

"Can we please just have five more minutes?" Agnes protested cutely, equipping those dreaded puppy dog eyes. However, after catching a glance of the time, which displayed truly how long past their bedtime it was, Gru managed to show some resistance.

"No, no, yoo've had long enough." Gru replied, smiling at his littlest child, who huffed and looked down at her feet sadly. "Go get changed into your pajamas and den we'll come read you a bedtime story."

Raising her head again, the slightly more upbeat six-year-old gave him a hopeful expression.

"Can we read 'One Big Unicorn'?"

Gru's smile grew ever wider. "Sure theeng, kiddo."

Now, obviously won over by that agreement, the three of them ran out of the room in excitement, all other aspects of life completely forgotten. However, after a few seconds, Agnes popped her head back through the living room door, her body still bouncing a little in anticipation.

"Bye, Vector! See yoo again soon!"

Not knowing the conflict she was soon to cause, the little girl closed the door and disappeared with a giggle, leaving the room in complete silence. However, that silence was short-lived, because when Gru turned to his nemesis with an irate frown, it was only a matter of moments before it was obliterated.

"Look, I don't know what yoo told her..." He started ominously, his teeth gritted together. "But yoo can FORGET ever comeeng back here!"

Before responding, Vector frowned and crossed his arms, not allowing himself to be intimidated out of a confrontation this time. He was sick and tired of fearfully giving in at this point.

"I never told her anything!" He argued loudly, taking a step towards him. "Plus, why would I ever WANT to come back here if I'm not even wanted!?"

"Pfft, like dat's ever stopped yoo! Yoo've never been wanted anywhere een your WHOLE LIFE, but yet yoo're still around!"

Suddenly extremely offended, Vector's expression practically exploded with rage and the young adult couldn't stop himself from charging forward.

"WHAT DID YOU JUST SA-"

"Guys, stop it!" Lucy exclaimed, as her and Jack jumped in and apprehended Gru and Vector respectively, just in case a physical fight was to break out. "Gru, remember what happened the last time you went off on one like this!?"

"Well, look I...I can't help eet!" Gru responded, the anger and stress becoming very clear in his face and voice. "Why ees he even here!? We should've left dis idiot een NASA to DIE! I don't care eef he saved yoo guys, he still tried to hurt MY GURLS!"

"YOUR girls!?" Lucy responded, a massive frown instantly consuming her expression. Once he realized what he unintentionally implied, the regret hit Gru like a train, and with that, the frown on his face quickly faded.

"N-No, I d-deedn't mean-"

"They're OUR girls, Gru, and this 'idiot' saved OUR lives! So, if you were to leave him to die in NASA, then WE wouldn't be TOGETHER RIGHT NOW!" After clearly scaring Gru a tonne with her outburst, Lucy lowered her voice a little and spoke more soothingly. She knew that Gru didn't mean it in that way, but yet, she had to make this very clear to him. "Look, I know he put the girls' lives in danger a year ago, but just yesterday, he saved their lives! It's obvious he's not the same person that he was before!"

"But-"

"And do you want what happened with Jack to happen again!? When you refused his changed personality and drove him away!? Do you want that entire situation to repeat itself!?" She continued. Gru could do nothing but stare into Lucy's angry eyes silently, unsure on how to respond. He wasn't sure where this was going, but for whatever reason, it was scaring him deeply. "He's not how he was before, Gru. He's changing as a person."

"Which is something YOU should consider doing!" Vector exclaimed suddenly, gathering Gru's attention. The AVL director's frown instantly returned when his eyes laid upon him, coupled with his aggressive tone of voice.

"What's DAT supposed to mean!?"

"We all saw what you did at NASA, Gru!" He replied aggressively, attracting Lucy, Dru, and Jack's threatening looks, the three of them mentally screaming for him to shut up. "All those things you did! All those people you hurt! Doesn't look the actions of a good guy to ME!"

Gru's expression completely dropped, as he turned to his wife with a look of pure sorrow.

"Yoo...yoo saw dat?" Lucy didn't respond. Instead, she turned away sadly, not wanting to relive the events of the past few days. "Lucy, I...yoo gotta understand dat I...I was forced into-"

"Don't make excuses, Gru." Lucy interrupted gently, the glimmer of tears shining in her eyes. "You did that, okay. That's the end of it."

"Look...it's obvious you're not okay, Gru." Vector continued, his voice suddenly a lot softer. The AVL director turned back towards him, the mixed look of fear and total sadness still present on his face. "Leaving your family and doing those kinds of things, that clearly isn't who you are. Trust me, after I came off the moon, I was the same way. I don't know what happened up there, or even how I survived, but...it changed me. I was unsure of who I was. I did a lot of stupid things that I regret and I had no control of myself. That was until I saw Doctor Redcliffe."

At that point, Vector dug into his pocket and took out a small business card, which he cradled in his grasp for a moment. He moved past Jack, who decided not to stop him, and handed it to Gru, who looked down upon it critically.

"She's a therapist. Trust me, I don't know where I would be right now if it wasn't for her. She was the one who helped me to understand myself. I still had a lot to do on my own, but she was the one who set me on the right path." He paused for a few seconds to cast a look at Gru's family, who were all heavily invested in the conversation. "I think...she could do the same for you."

For a little while, Gru simply stared down at the card with a frown, skimming over the details upon it. Eventually, when he fully digested what this would involve, he pocketed the card and turned away from Vector, realizing his wife was much more important than a conversation with him. He couldn't stand the thought of following his advice, but yet, it did sound like a good idea...

"I'm...Lucy, I'm..." He began, staring into his wife's eyes, who stared right back sadly. "I'm...I'm so sorry yoo had to see me like dat."

He wrapped his arms tightly around Lucy's back, hugging her soothingly. Lucy responded by doing the same thing, as she buried her head into his chest. She didn't blame him for what happened, or how he reacted. She just wanted him to be happy.

For a long while, the room was totally silent, all apart for the distant sound of laughter and pat of small feet coming from upstairs. Gru loved that sound. The sound of the girls running around happily, enjoying their lives.

Right now though, because of endless memories and regrets, it was just causing him guilt...

"I...think I should get going." Vector spoke quietly, finally breaking the 'silence'.


"So...what are you thinking of doing now, Vector?" Lucy questioned, as they all walked him to the front door, one of them doing so reluctantly.

"I...I dunno." Vector replied, as he left the house and strolled out onto the front steps. "Guess I'll get a job, save up for a vacation, try and find a girlfriend..."

The former villain looked down at the floor, a slight smile growing on his face.

"And who knows...maybe I'll adopt."

With that, Lucy, Dru, and Jack smiled in elation. Although they never ever thought Vector would say those words, it was suddenly such a relief to actually hear him do so. Again, another normal guy who was wrongly placed on the path of villainy had been shown the right way to live life.

How many more times could it happen before it became cliché?

However, just after those words had left his mouth, somewhere deep inside, something was berating Vector for being so stupid. Why on earth would he want children? What idiot would even think of that? All they do is eat, whine, and demand attention. That life sounds like total hell.

But, when he realized that berating thought process was just another cynical quote from his 'father', then he soon erased it from his brain.

He considered having children exactly like Gru's. Would that make him an idiot? All they ever do is eat, whine, and demand attention. Doesn't that life sound like total hell?

Nope.

"So, what's gonna happen with my dad?" He questioned, cocking his head to the side anxiously. "Is he gonna go to prison, or...?"

"Let's just say, he'll be kept in good hands." Lucy responded, angrily balling her fists as she thought about the brutish former bank owner. "Forever."

Vector nodded happily, an evil smile lurking on his face.

"Good."

"Well, see ya, Vector!" Jack exclaimed, leaning over to give the young man a playful punch in the arm. Judging on the way he groaned in response, maybe it was a little too hard. "Good luck with that 'finding a girlfriend' stuff. You're gonna need it."

"Uh...yeah." Vector replied, frowning a little as Jack gave him a joking wink. "Thanks..."

"Bye, Vectro! Eet was nice meeteeng yoo!" Dru screeched, giving him an overly energetic grin, something Vector struggled to replicate.

"See you the next time we need saving from a rocket." Lucy added, joyfully grinning at him.

"Haha, yeah..." Vector responded, chuckling as he returned the grin contentedly. "Can't wait."

And then, after that short exchange, an awkward silence built up between them all. It was pretty obvious as to why, considering that Gru was yet to say a single word since they'd left the living room. He hadn't even turned to face him once throughout the whole conversation. After giving him the therapist contact and some advice on how to deal with the anger problem, he was still holding onto the bitter resentment he had towards him.

But, could he blame him, considering certain past events?

"Uh...Gru?" Vector began, his voice quiet and anxious, the total opposite to what it was a few seconds ago. As if he was completely deaf, the AVL director still refused to turn to him, instead opting to stare at the doorframe. "I'm...I'm sorry about what I did last year. I see now what those girls mean to you and...I'm sorry for almost taking them away from you for good. Like Lucy said, I'm not the same person that I was before, and although it's no excuse, I think you of all people can relate to that. Just...keep a hold of those little girls. They're pretty special."

Gru still refused to face him. Although his apology was as sincere as it could ever be, he realized that this was never going to go anywhere. This was something he simply didn't deserve forgiveness for.

"Anyway...I'll see ya around."

Turning away from the Gru family, Vector started his descent down the front steps, unsure of where to go now. Would he go home? That was the only property that he owned, so it seemed he had no choice. Maybe he should think about buying a new house, considering that his evil lair reminded him way too much of-

"Wait."

Vector stopped instantly.

He turned back towards the door as Gru stepped out and approached him, his expression totally indifferent. Once he was face-to-face with Vector, Gru stood there for a few seconds, silently looking deep into his eyes. For a moment, Vector genuinely thought he was going to punch him in the face, as one final revenge for what he'd done. But, when a small smile started to flicker on his lips, that thought was eradicated.

"Goodbye, Vector." He said, giving him a single nod.

Vector quickly returned the nod.

"Goodbye, Gru..."

With that, the young man turned and descended right down the front steps, heading off into the night. As Gru moved back up to join his family at the front door, all four of them watched as he traversed over the front lawn and onto the street. But, just before he left the property for good, Gru's former nemesis turned back around and addressed them all with a coy grin.

"Oh, and by the way..." He began, raising his head a little confidently. "It's Victor."

Turning around for the last time, Victor started down the street with a joyful swagger, a gigantic smile placed firmly on his expression. The family watched him for a little while longer as he slowly disappeared into the darkness, all four of them smiling happily, before finally closing the front door...

As Victor excited himself with thoughts of the future, his gaze was suddenly caught by a glimpse of something strange in the sky. As he came to a halt, the ex-villain turned his head up to investigate it. Considering how far away it seemed to be, he could only guess it was a shooting star. But, based on how slow it was moving, and the fact that it carried an ominous purple glow, that also didn't seem correct...

Eventually, after a few seconds, the odd light completely disappeared.

Totally confused, Victor stood there for a short while, staring at the empty depths of the night sky questioningly. Odd thoughts and scenarios and...memories flashed through his head. His brain desperately searched for answers on what that could've been. Was it some kind of satellite? Or rocket ship? Was someone watching him?

But, when he realized how crazy he was acting, and how stupid a lot of these thoughts were, he shrugged unknowingly and carried on down the street.

It must've just been his imagination...


"Come on, we've been waiting forever!" Edith complained, as she dragged her father the rest of the way through their bedroom door. The couple could only take a single step inside before they were attacked by their middle daughter, who managed to latch an impressively tight grip around Gru's arm.

"Okay, okay..." Gru replied, chuckling as he let the ten-year-old drag him over to the small stool in the room. "Don't pull too hard, Edith, I'm goeeng to fall."

As the girls all giggled and directed their dad to his designated book reading spot, Lucy moved over to the shelf and picked out the 'One Big Unicorn' book, something the family hadn't read in a little while. Obviously, the girls absolutely loved that story, but Gru had made it a rule to save it for special occasions, out of fear they may tire of it.

Tonight seemed like an appropriate night to forget that rule, considering recent events.

The moment that Gru sat down on the stool, the girls all ran off and jumped up into their individual bomb beds, eagerly waiting for the story to begin. Once they had all laid down and Gru had scootched over to give a Lucy a seat beside him, which was a very tight squeeze considering how small the stool was, they began.

"One beeg unicorn, strong and free..." Gru started.

"Thought he was happy as he could be." Lucy added, as the couple shared a quick smile. Since joining the Gtu family for good, Lucy was given special rights to read the 'One Big Unicorn' story along with Gru.

For a privilege so simple, that very thought gave Lucy a massive feeling of happiness.

"Den three leetle keeteens came around..."

"And turned his whole life upside down!"

"Dey made heem laugh, hoho..."

"They made him cry, ohhh."

"...he...he never should have said goodbye."

Gru felt the pain of guilt rise in his chest. He closed his eyes for a moment and took in a breath, as Lucy wrapped her arm around his side. She obviously understood the connection, and as always, she was as supportive as ever.

He truly didn't deserve her, nor any of them.

"And now he knows that he could never part..." Lucy continued, as she looked back down at the book, waiting for him to continue with the last line.

But, after a few seconds, when it still hadn't come, she looked up at her husband worryingly. There, she noticed his very anguished expression. He looked like he was on the brink of crying, most likely out of guilt for his actions. He shouldn't have to feel this way. They all still loved him. Nobody blamed him for what happened.

But yet, she knew he was going to have a hard time persuading himself of that...

"F-From dose...dose three leetle keetens..." He finally spoke, his voice stuttering. He turned his head up to look at his three precious little girls, who all stared back at him with concerned expressions. They didn't even look tired. This book always made them feel tired. But today, for a fairly obvious reason, it didn't seem to have much of an effect.

"...who changed his heart."

After giving them all especially long goodnight kisses and hugs, Gru and Lucy turned off the light and quietly exited the room, a present sense of sorrow above their heads. They knew it shouldn't be like this. Today was a great day. They were all safe and back together again, so they should all be happy.

Yet, there was no use in ignoring this problem.

"Deed yoo see deir faces?" Gru spoke quietly, once the two of them had come to a stop in the hallway. "I made dem feel like dat, Lucy! God, dis ees all my fault."

"Gru, come on, you know that isn't true." Lucy replied, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. "Yes, you stormed off from the motel, but you were stressed out. Jack shouldn't have yelled, we should've helped out more, and most importantly, I should've listened sooner. We all messed up here, okay. So, let's just move on and try and find a way to fix things for good."

With that reminder, Gru sighed heavily and put his head down, massaging his temple as he did so. After a moment, he reluctantly reached into his pocket and took out the therapist's business card, the two of them staring at it solemnly.

"But I shouldn't be like dis..." He stated, looking back up into Lucy's eyes, who slowly met his expression. "Dere has to be a reason why dis ees happening. And, even though eet's gonna be difficult...I'm gonna go find out...for yoo."

The couple wrapped their arms around each other lovingly and hugged for a long while, a comfortable silence sticking in the air. This was one of the most difficult periods their marriage had been through since actually tying the knot, but they knew it was a battle they needed to take. It shouldn't be too difficult, right? Whenever things got tough between them, they stuck it out together and kept the other one afloat, simply by just being there.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, it seemed Gru had to fix this one alone...


The next morning, Gru pulled up to the therapist's parking lot and exited his tank at a slow pace, feeling the nerve bulge violently within. When he looked up at the small building before him, he couldn't ignore the overwhelming doubt in his head. What if this didn't work? What would he do then? He truly would be out of ideas.

As he strolled over to the front door, entered the reception, and checked in at the front desk, he was directed over to a small grey door with a sign upon it. It read 'Dr. Redcliffe PhD', confirming that this was indeed where Vector went for therapy. His heart practically jumped out of his chest when he finally built up the courage to enter it.

Once he trudged anxiously into the room, a short, blonde-haired, very formal lady stood from her seat and approached Gru, giving him a wide and friendly smile.

"Why, you must be Mister Gru." She greeted, extending her arm out for a handshake, something the director met apprehensively. "My name's Dr. Redcliffe, but you can just call me Rachael. It's very nice to meet you."

"Yes..." Gru replied, awkwardly dropping his head for a few moments. "Nice to meet yoo too...uh...Rachael."

"Why don't you take a seat?" The blonde motioned her arm towards the nearby bed, and with a small sigh, Gru moved forward and solemnly followed her request. Once he was comfortably laid down, Rachael strolled back to her seat and settled upon it, before speaking in a very gentle tone of voice. "Now, before I start, I should remind you that this is a safe zone. Everything that you say will remain just between me and you. You do not have to be fearful of confidentiality."

Gru turned away for a moment, contemplating this whole scenario. He seriously felt like a child right now. Someone who was completely helpless and dependent. He knew deep down that these thoughts were irrational, since going to therapy was obviously nothing to be ashamed of, but like with a lot of things recently, he was struggling to control them.

"So..." She continued, picking up a small notepad and pen from a nearby table. "How are we feeling today?"

"Well, um..." Trying to uncover an answer, the director dropped his head again, unsure of how to respond to such a question. Of course, this very thing was the main problem he had been facing for the past few weeks. Attempting to decipher his emotions. "Fine...I guess."

"You guess?"

Releasing a deep huff, Gru flopped backward and laid his head against the bed, staring intently at the ceiling. "I don't know! I should be, but...judgeeng on all de stupeed stuff I've been doeeng lately..." He turned his head away sorrowfully, to avoid the sadness in his eyes being exposed. "...I guess not."

"Okay, well..." Rachael began jotting stuff down on her notepad, something that Gru couldn't help but get slightly curious about. "How about we start with that? What is this stuff that you have been doing lately?"

"Ugh...where do I even begeen?" He replied irately, unable to stop the frown from permeating his expression. The very reminder of what he did to his family caused him a huge amount of anger and guilt. Deserting them and almost leading them to their deaths. It was truly unforgivable.

But yet...they still forgave him. They really were the best part of his life.

Somehow, that only made him feel worse...

Letting out what must have been his thirtiest sigh of the day, Gru turned back to the ceiling and began the long story of events, knowing truly how much recalling this would hurt him.

"Okay, so, eet all started when I wanted to get away from my job for a while. I suggested to my family dat we all go on a big roadtreep together and get away from everytheeng, wheech dey all agreed was a good idea. Eet was supposed to be a time for fun and joy, and also a chance for me to get a break from work. But...theengs went badly. After my son got us all keecked out from our hotel, I screamed at dem all and left dem een a stingy motel and den got keednapped by one of my old nemesis's and den my wife was tricked into theenkeeng I wanted a divorce and den my keednappers took me to de NASA headquarters and I flipped out again and started puncheeng people and den my family got put een a rocket sheep and dey almost died but thankfully we were saved by my nemesis's son and den he suggested dat I come here and after realizeeng how leetle control I have over my anger...well...here we are!"

Rachael had given up on trying to keep notes about ten seconds into the story. Gru had spoken at such an intense speed, that doing so was practically impossible. In all her years of studying psychology and helping people with their problems, she had never once been at a loss on how to proceed.

Well, they say there's a first time for everything...

Her training would advise that she asked questions, but how could she do so when she had literally no idea what he was talking about? She recalled him mentioning something about a motel and being kidnapped and flipping out at people and...something about a rocket ship, but these items of information were literally useless without context.

Thankfully, after around ten seconds of thoughtful silence, Gru continued releasing his thoughts, saving Rachael from a dreaded case of unprofessionalism.

"And...recently...I've been seeing dis...dis demon. Sometimes een my dreams and...sometimes een real life. Kind of like a...hallucination of some sort." With that, Rachael nodded contently and started writing notes again, now that she had finally understood something he'd said. "Eet always threatens my family...and eet scares me. Like...eet always goes on about how dey're bad for me and...how eet'll take control again and...how eet misses de good old days."

"Good old days? Hmm...well, that could be a clue." She responded, taking down a few more notes before looking up at the AVL director. "Most of the time, parts of our brain are very informative on what it wants or needs, but people will dismiss such thoughts out of fear. Are you secretly missing a past period of your life?"

"No, no, NO! I could never!" Gru exclaimed defensively, sitting up at speed. For a few seconds, the two simply stared at each other, an anxious and very tense silence invading the room. Eventually, Rachael dropped her head and broke it, giving her patient a very comforting expression.

"Calmmmmm, Mister Gru." She spoke soothingly. Under that gaze and tone of voice, Gru couldn't help but loosen up, and he gradually fell back to the seat. "It's okay. Remember, this is a safe place. If there is something being a bother inside your head, this is the best place to just let it out."

"But...but no. Dat just...can't be true." Gru continued, shaking his head dismissively. Rachael watched him do so and started making notes again. "Look, I...I used to be a villain, okay. Eet was a very, very lonely life and...everytheeng was stale and tiresome. I'd just spend every seengle day alone een de basement, comeeng up weeth new evil plots and schemes. Eet was fun een de begineeng, but...eet got old very fast. Notheeng was goeeng anywhere and my entire life held no meaneeng! And den, after one of my schemes didn't go to plan, I accidentally adopted my three beautiful daughters and...suddenly dere was a meaneeng. Not too long after, I met my amazeeng wife and started my job at de AVL and...everytheeng changed for de better. How could I ever miss dat old, stagnant period of my life?"

"Hmm...I see..." Rachael nodded, scribbling a long series of notes down. "So, you love your family and want them to be a part of your life, but yet, you're still struggling to retain a consistent level of happiness?"

Gru turned away again, a huge look of guilt and sorrow crossing his features. He shouldn't be allowed to complain when he had the best family in the whole world, but he couldn't deny, that theory sounded very true. "...yes."

"Mm-hmm, yes, I think I understand now. This is a very, very common problem." Rachael looked up from her notepad, holding a much more confident expression compared to a little earlier. "Mister Gru, tell me about your AVL job?"

Turning to meet her expression, Gru narrowed his eyes and fell silent for a moment, not expecting that question.

"Uhhh...eet's..." He looked down at the ground in thought, attempting to answer this in the most truthful and honest way possible. "Eet's difficult and...pretty stressful, but...eet's still fulfileeng! I mean, I'm de director of de whole company! Even though eet does get hard sometimes, eet always feels like what I'm doeeng has actual meaneeng."

"Mm-hmm. So, what is it that you actually do as the director, then?"

"Well, I'm een charge of planneeng de heists, overvieweeng reports, and superviseeng de employees."

"And is that what you do every single day?"

"Uhh...yes, pretty much. Sometimes I also go out on de schemes but...dat eesn't a daily occurrence. De other stuff ees though."

"Okay, so..." Rachael began, pausing for a moment, considering this one last time. "Would you say it's getting stale and tiresome?"

With that question, Gru spun and stared at the therapist for a few seconds, his mind going entirely blank. It was getting pretty stale and tiresome, but that didn't particularly matter, right? So far, he has been one of the best directors the company has ever had. Since his appointment, the criminal world was being crippled more and more by the day, as more and more villains were either being defeated or scared out of the profession. Because of that, his wants and needs had to remain a secondary concern.

Now, he was actually making a difference, and people were looking up to him instead of fearing him. It simply wasn't comparable to his old way of life.

Right...?

"No...no, I wouldn't...eet definitely ees not...I don't theenk eet ees..." Gru stammered and stuttered as he struggled to produce an answer, his brain filling up with conflicting thoughts. Rachael watched him do so the whole time, and even though she was giving him a very comforting and reassuring look, Gru was now suddenly feeling very pressured. It genuinely seemed that, no matter what answer he gave, more internal problems would arise. "I...I love my family and I...I love saveeng de world! I could never wish for anytheeng different, because...I...I'm not..."

"Mister Gru, it's fine to get a little tired of things." Rachael interrupted gently. "It doesn't mean you hate it, nor does it mean you hate them. It just means you're a human. After all, you can't be stuck in the same place forever. It gets boring..."

With that vague recollection of a recent conversation, Gru didn't particularly like where she was going with this. But, since he sensed some form of breakthrough coming up, he decided against becoming defensive. Instead, he watched her carefully as she leaned forward in her seat, presenting him with a small smile.

"I'm not telling you to ditch your family and go back to that old lonely life you mentioned. I'm just advising you to mix things up. Why not forget about all of those director responsibilities and go back to enjoying your job? Why not go do some evil stuff somedays, and then some good guy stuff other days? And also...why not try out some new hobbies? You can even do them with your family."

And with that, Gru was now really glad he kept himself quiet. That actually did sound good. Living life without those added responsibilities. Spending time trying out some new hobbies with his family. That really did sound like the answer to his problems.

But...there was still one issue.

"Well, dat...dat certainly sounds great, but..." Gru began, his whole expression dropping again. "But quiteeng de director job...eet just isn't dat seemple."

"Why?"

"Look...I'm not de one who gets to call de shots, okay. I just...I can't be lookeeng out for myself here."

With that clarifying response, Rachael's questioning expression quickly swapped out for one of realization.

"So, it's the thought of letting down your family?" Based on Gru's expanded surprised and saddened expression, she didn't need a verbal response. "Mister Gru, I do not think that is a concern. Either way, no matter what, your family are still going to love and support you. I mean, think of it from a different perspective. Imagine one of them decided to give up on something because it was making them unhappy. Would you be disapppointed?"

Turning his gaze to the floor, Gru lost himself in thought for a few seconds. What if the roles were reversed and Lucy was the one who had become director? What if she had found the occupation to be incredibly stressful? Would he be there to support her through it?

Of course. There wasn't a doubt in his mind.

"No, but-"

"Then, don't worry about that. I know you feel like you're being selfish, but there are just some things you need to do for yourself. And plus, being happier and less stressed out will do your family a big favor as well!"

In another few seconds of silence, Gru dropped his head in consideration. He was still a little internally conflicted, but it did feel like some strides had been taken in solving this. The thought of quitting the director job still frightened him, but in terms of the bigger picture, he knew it would be the answer to his problems. So, why couldn't he just do it?

Thankfully, Rachael must've noticed the continued hint of doubt within his expression, and she leaned forward again to provide support.

"You don't have to follow my advice, Mister Gru. At the end of the day, this is your call. I know this is a scary choice. I know you don't want this to harm them. But, deep down, you know that sticking with this way of life for much longer...will end up hurting them much more than quitting your job ever could."

Gru's first reaction was of complete rejection. He could never cause physical harm to any of his family. That very thought made him feel sick to his stomach. The fact that she implied that was deeply insulting. He loved them more than the entire universe combined, so that proposition was absolutely absurd.

But, when he remembered how he ran away and ditched them in that motel, seemingly without a care for how they would feel, he realized that causing them physical harm wasn't what she was referring to. No, how he had been acting was mentally affecting them all.

He thought back to the demon in his head. To what he had been threatening ever since their first encounter in his nightmare.

"Oh, you can stop me from hurting them, Felonious…but you can't stop yourself."

Now, he was going to prove it wrong.

"Thank yoo, doctor." Gru announced happily, as he rose from the seat to shake Rachael's hand. She met it with a smile, happy to see that his expression contained a lot more optimism than it had before. "I theenk I know exactly what to do now."

As her patient left the room with a few more statements of gratitude, Rachael let out a small relieved sigh and leaned up against the wall. That had to be up there with one of the strangest sessions she had ever been through. She still had very little context as to the NASA and rocket ship reference, but for whatever reason, she figured it was better to stay in the dark on that.

Considering that he had strong ties to both the AVL and villainy, she could only presume that it involved something bad.

Either way, she powered on through it and seemingly solved his very odd problem. Truthfully, she was terrified halfway through that Gru wouldn't be persuaded. If he left with the same issues that he'd entered with, then her reputation could've been put under question. But, thankfully, he seemed elated by her advice, something that made her feel equally as happy...

ZAP!

That's when a very loud set of noises interrupted her deep thought process, startling the living daylights out of her. There was some sort of zapping noise followed by a horrified scream, before both were cut short by total silence. It seemed to have come from somewhere outside, so in a moment of deep concern, she thundered over to the window to catch a view of the parking lot.

When her eyes laid upon a pedestrian stuck in a thick block of ice, and then subsequently drawn to the tall bald man who was happily whistling to himself as he grasped a huge metal weapon in his hand, there was only one way Rachael could react...

"Yep...strangest session ever..."


Inside the AVL intelligence office, Derek was sat quietly at his desk, absentmindedly tapping his pen against a nearby notepad. He had been placed on final report duty, which was possibly one of the most boring and intensive tasks you can do. It involved a ridiculous amount of typing and a stupid amount of research.

Plus, as of late, he really hated doing research. Not because of what it entailed, but because of who used to be in charge of doing it. It would always remind him of how Nigel would complain. How he would always sit there, frowning at his monitor, thinking about a drink at the bar rather than the work in front of him.

The AVL really hadn't been the same since he'd died. It just hadn't...

Then, as the loud whizzing noise of the elevator caught in his ear, the agent quickly forced himself out of his thoughts and sat up in his chair at a swift pace. Trying to act totally causal, Derek started typing heavily upon the keyboard, staring at the monitor as if he was in deep concentration. When Gru finally appeared at his side, he refused to look at him, instead pretending to be so consumed by his work that he didn't even notice him.

"Don't bother pretendeeng, Derek." Gru spoke, rolling his eyes as the agent acted completely startled. "I know yoo've been slackeeng off."

"Wh...I...slacking off?" Derek rebutted, a fake look of shock upon his face. "I...I would never do such a th-"

"Eet doesn't matter Derek. I really don't care anymore." Ignoring the agent's puzzled look, Gru changed the subject and proceeded with a very important question, the one that drove him up here in the first place. "Deed yoo ensure dat Perkeens was placed een de underwater prison as I'd asked?"

"Oh...uh...yes, I did it this morning." Derek replied, revealing a set of papers to him, all of which confirmed that he had already been transferred from the regular prison to the more secured prison. "I also put him in the cell opposite to Fiona's, just as you had requested."

"Excellent, excellent." Gru spoke, nodding as he read through the papers. "He's gonna absolutely love eet een dere. Dis ees some great work."

"Uh...r-really?" Derek spoke excitedly, leaning in a little as Gru smiled with elation. "Great enough to...get a pay rise?"

"Hmm...well, possibly, but...dat ees not goeeng to happen." When Derek gave him a deep look of confusion, Gru turned around and loudly cleared his throat, gathering the attention of the whole room. "Everyone! I have news. Today, as of immediate effect, I will be giveeng up my position as AVL director."

The whole room responded with a shocked gasp, as many of the agents turned to each other and voiced their surprise. Clearly, that announcement had caught them off guard. Whether they were happy or disappointed with his departure, Gru was happier not knowing.

"You are?" Derek questioned, standing up from his seat to give him a wide-eyed expression. The father-of-four couldn't help but roll his eyes as he responded.

"Yes, Derek, I deedn't just say dat for de fun of eet."

"S-So, wait...t-the position is available?" He inquired, his face brightening up with glee. With that question, Gru narrowed his eyes and smirked a little, unable to hold back a very small chuckle.

"Yoo want to take over as director?"

"W-Well...I mean...if...if nobody else is available, then I could definitely-"

"Okay, furst..." Gru interrupted, his face now consumed by a humorous smile. Even though he was a complete idiot, he was still glad Derek was here. He did say some pretty funny things every now and then. "I do not have de authority to hand people de director job. Dat responsibility ees handled by head-office. And second, I've already persuaded dem to reinstate Ramsbottom."

At that moment, as if it was perfectly timed, the elevator whizzed and ascended again, allowing Silas Ramsbottom, the former director before Valerie's employment, to enter the room with a cold frown. When he did, all the agents quickly quietened and sat down, leaving Derek as the only one still on his feet.

"What!?" He exclaimed, turning to Gru with an irate expression. "So, after all of the work that I've been putting in for this company, after all of the villains that I helped apprehend, I still don't get any recgonitio-"

"Derek, my god, be real! All yoo ever do everyday ees sit around, pretend to work, collect your paycheck, and den head off home." Gru interrupted, savoring this one last beration. After this, he won't have the power to dish out commands or yells anymore, so this was his one last chance to enjoy it. "And second, eef I am correct, yoo have a wife and keeds. Trust me, from personal experience, haveeng a family and being de director are two theengs dat don't mix. Eet really eesn't de job for yoo."

"B...but-"

"Now, Silas here, he's been divorced for several years." Gru continued, moving over to put an arm around Ramsbottom, who narrowed his eyes aggressively. "When he goes home, he has no other responsibilities but to pay de bills for heemself. He has no-one else dat he can hurt by being de director, because dere ees absolutely nobody een his house but heem. Now, eef he was still married, den I definitely wouldn't have-"

"Yes! Thank you, Gru! I don't need reminding." Ramsbottom yelled, pushing himself away from the former director, who was grinning to himself slightly. "I guess I do have to thank you though, for bringing me back to...this again. Just as I was getting settled into retirement."

He cast a look at the agents around the room, not bothering to hide his expression of disgust.

"Not a problem, Silas. Anytime." Gru replied, giving him a mocking grin. "Now, dere are only a few conditions dat I want met eef yoo are to take over again. First-"

"Conditions? Why, I think you've forgotten how being a standard AVL agent works." Ramsbottom responded, anger lacing his voice. He was already getting sick and tired of Gru, and it had only been about two minutes. "I'm the one who gets to call the shots around here, so I do not need to take any conditions from some lesser employee."

Gru chuckled a little before replying.

"Well...I theenk you've forgotten how many times I've saved dis stupeed company." He spoke, approaching him dangerously. "Though I may have resigned as director, I still have a very large influence within head-office. I'm pretty chummy weeth dem now, especially after I've saved a lot of their careers. So, eef yoo do not wish to abide by my conditions, den I'm sure I can put een some...nice words for yoo."

With that threat, Ramsbottom narrowed his eyes and gave him a frown. As much as he wished he could, there was no point lying to himself. Retirement was freaking boring. The only place where he felt like he belonged was the AVL, and ever since taking on retirement, he was finding life more and more hard to deal with. He just couldn't find any sort of interest in anything else. This was the only thing in life he was interested in, as much as he pretended he hated it.

For that reason, he couldn't allow Gru to jeopardize his position with head-office. Of course, he was the one who got him back in as director. It wouldn't be too difficult for him to do the opposite.

"Proceed." He replied, turning his head away with a deep angered huff.

"Great." Gru commented, smiling as he spun around and absentmindedly wandered back and forth. "First condition, no matter how many mistakes he makes or how much attitude he gives yoo, yoo cannot fire my son. Second condition, whenever I say so, yoo will allow me or any of my employed family to take a day off to participate in some external activities for my or their mental well-being. And finally, and dis ees de most important condition..."

Gru came to a stop and stared at Ramsbottom threateningly, his eyes alight with an aggressive blaze.

"No matter what dey have committed or who dey are, yoo will never EVER reinstate executions. Eef dey are a terrible criminal who has done wrong, yoo will sentence dem to a life of walloweeng een de underwater prison. Eef dat ees not met, and I find out yoo have been executing villains, we are goeeng to be haveeng a very...unpleasant conversation. Understand?"

Hating the fact that he was taking orders from Lucy Wilde's husband, a former full-time scumbag, Ramsbottom huffed and put his head down, unable to stop himself from clenching his fists. He will require many a cup of tea after this conversation.

"Understood." He spoke, his voice hoarse with rage. The burly man turned and strolled further into the room, his back firmly against Gru. "Now, if we are done here, I have other business to attend to."

"Almost." Gru replied, gathering the director's attention at the last moment. As he spoke, Gru made his way towards the exit elevator, a grin planted on his expression as he did so. "As per my second condition, me and my family will be takeeng de next week off from work. Yoo see..."

"We have a family road trip to finish!"


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

ONE WEEK LATER

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


WHIZZ...BANG!

WHIZZ...BANG!

Atop Hunchback Mountain, fireworks of all different colors were lighting up the night sky, all of which had been purchased and set off by the Gru family. For the final day of their week-long road trip, they had all hiked the mountain together and placed a series of fireworks in a small patch of grass near the cafe, an activity they'd all had a hand in planning.

Thankfully, when they arrived, they were the only ones up there, with even the café being closed and empty. That way, they had the whole mountain and it's surrounding scenery for as long as they wanted it, something that was perfect for the final day of the road trip. There were even some ideas of camping out being thrown around, but that hadn't been confirmed yet...

Although, with a two and a half hour drive standing in between them and their beds, it did seem like a pretty fun and useful idea.

Stood near the mountain edge was Gru and Lucy, who were simply admiring the view and the fireworks, something that Lucy was in charge of setting off. Meanwhile, Jack and the girls were sat at the café's bench, conversing while they too admired the fireworks.

The conversation was originally about the road trip and the activities they'd undergone, then it veered off onto something about a unicorn pixie hybrid, a topic that was obviously directed by Agnes, before they finally fell into a nice silence, apart from the firework explosions, of course.

Well, that was the case, up until Margo broke it with something a little unexpected, as she closely watched the night sky.

"Remember when we hiked up here the first time, and we all saw Miss Hattie?" She said, turning to her siblings, who all seemed immediately confused. Where did that come from?

"Uh, yeah..." Jack replied, pulling an odd face. "What about it?"

"What if we never saw her that day?" She continued, looking off into the distance in thought. "What if she hadn't decided to come up here?"

"Are we really having this conversation again, Margo?" Edith asked, rolling her eyes. "It doesn't matter what could've happened. Everything's fine now, isn't it?"

"No, I mean it in a good way." Margo responded, smiling at her tomboy sister. "If we hadn't seen Miss Hattie, I don't think I would be this...happy right now. I mean, look at what we've got. This is all so...amazing. Everything that could've gone right, has gone right! It...it doesn't even seem real."

"Well, it is!" Jack exclaimed, grinning at all three of them. He couldn't help but agree with her logic. After visiting his old childhood home, and then living through the events that proceeded it the next day, he now truly understands how lucky they all are. "We've made it, girls! Woo!"

All four of them giggled and cheered, before lifting their arms into the air in celebration just as Lucy lit up another firework and sent it flying high into the air.

WHIZZ...BANG!

"Well...I'm gonna go look for some flowers." Margo spoke, motioning over to a nearby set of wildflowers as she rose from the bench. "If everything keeps going right, then I should be able to find a Georgia Aster. It's one of the rarest flowers in the world."

With that, the twelve-year-old happily strolled away, humming to herself. Shortly after, Agnes stood from her seat and lifted her unicorn in the air, pretending to be extremely concerned.

"Quick, the gingerbread forest is being hurt by some super scary monster fireworks!" She exclaimed aloud, giggling to herself excitedly as she ran off to play. "We gotta go save it!"

Once she had also disappeared, Jack and Edith were now the only ones left at the bench, and after a short silence, the youngest sibling spoke up.

"Hey...Jack?" She started, looking up at him as she gathered his attention from the fireworks. "Uh...thanks."

"Thanks?" Jack repeated, smirking through his perplexed expression. "For what?"

"For...y'know..." She continued, dropping her head a little. There was some clear discomfort on Edith's face, and at that point, Jack started to get a little worried. He hated seeing her concerned about something, especially at this moment in time. Only happy faces can exist right now. "For not being like...dad. Our dad."

"Edith..." Jack replied, his face dropping a little as he moved over to sit right beside the ten-year-old. "Where's this coming from?"

"I...I dunno. I've just been thinking about it for a while." She said, turning to face her biological brother. "I mean, you have the same...uh...g...greens as him, so why didn't you become a super evil bad guy like he was?"

In this sudden complex conversation, Jack couldn't even find it within himself to laugh at the fact that she said 'greens' instead of 'genes'. It was concerning him a little that this topic had been brought up so abruptly. How long had she been keeping this in for? He wanted to know, but at the same time, also didn't.

"Well, the same goes for you." Jack replied. "You have the same genes as he does, but you turned out really good. I don't know why but...that's just the way things happened."

"It's so weird..." Edith commented, glancing away for a few seconds in thought. "Do you think we were just born to be not evil?"

"Possibly." Jack replied, nodding as he too looked off into the distance. "Either that, or...somewhere down the bloodline, we got the good guy genes."

Edith smiled brightly.

"Yeah!" She said, nodding at speed. "We got the super cool...uh...jeans?"

Jack chuckled, the happiness evident in his voice.

"Yeah..." He agreed, nodding at a much slower pace to her. He watched as she joyfully stared up at him, that fantastic smile present across her face, and that familiar sense of total elation swept over him. Before, he would've questioned whether he actually deserved to have such a great sister, no, such a great family. But now, he had finally learned the definition of deserving it. As long as you appreciate what you have, then yeah, you deserve it. "We sure did."

The eighteen-year-old dragged his little sister in for a small hug, and in return, Edith wrapped her arms tightly around her brother's side, smiling brightly to herself.

What if he had never accidentally murdered his social worker at the age of ten?

What if he had never been kidnapped and forced into a horrible job in the IVB?

What if he had never been given the task of killing his own sister and her adoptive family?

Who cares? At the end of the day, he gets to hug his biological sister right now. Yes, those bad things seemed bad when they were happening, but if they had never happened, he wouldn't be in this great position.

Now that was super cool!

"I still don't know about this, Gru..." Lucy spoke, as she leaned her head against Gru's shoulder at the cliff edge. "Being good on some days and being bad on others? It just feels like you might...y'know..."

"Lucy, no matter what, I will always love yoo and de gurls." He replied, wrapping his arm a little tighter around her side. "Yoo're de best part of my whole life and dere isn't a theeng I wouldn't do for you. But, I also gotta look out for myself as well. And I feel like dis ees de only way we can avoid another Gru temper tantrum."

"Well, yeah, I want you to be happy..." Lucy said, nodding slightly in agreement. "But...does this mean I'm not gonna have my AVL partner anymore?"

"Of course not, I'm still gonna be dere." Gru replied, smiling to himself. "Eet's just dat...sometimes...I might be de one yoo're takeeng down."

Lucy laughed a little, subconsciously snuggling closer to him.

"Fine..." She gave in playfully, smiling along with her husband. "But prepare to get your butt kicked, big guy."

"Haha...we'll see about dat."

The two simply stood there in silence for a short while, admiring the comfort of the night air. It was an odd silence. As if there was someone trying hard to be extremely quiet. Nevertheless, it was very peaceful, and the couple couldn't ignore the immense loving relaxation they held for each other.

"I love you." Lucy spoke, closing her eyes, admiring the feeling even more.

"I love yoo too." Gru replied. However, at that point, he moved away from her slightly, startling her a little. "And that's why I gotta go..."

Suddenly, a huge whirring noise sounded and Gru was lifted high into the air, almost giving Lucy a heart-attack. She quickly followed him with his gaze, and when she found him being lifted up by a minion rope into a large metal plane, steered by her blonde-haired brother-in-law, her mouth couldn't help but fall agape.

"And keep de family tradition alive!" Dru yelled, as the minions lifted Gru up into the cockpit alongside his twin brother. At that point, the rest of the family ran over and stared upwards in complete shock, as the ship turned and flew off into the distance, the sound of multiple high-pitched waves of laughter slowly fading.

As they all watched the distant light travel further and further away from the mountain, Lucy turned to Jack and gave him a shrug, coupled with an excited smile.

"Five-minute head-start?"

THE END


There we are! We've made it to the end! Cue the credits song from DM3 (that song is annoyingly catchy)

I can't believe that I've actually managed to finish this! I honestly never foresaw myself ever getting to the end, so that makes me super happy! But...also really, really sad at the same time! I'm gonna miss writing this story so bad, man...

Anyways, now, I'm gonna talk a lot about this entire trilogy, just to overview and clear up some stuff. So, in short, I'm just gonna ramble...

Obviously, over this past year, I've been pretty slow with releasing a lot of these chapters, and I want to express how much I seriously appreciate everyone's patience. Even after I took a month or even longer to release the next installment, people still seemed very interested, which is something I definitely wasn't expecting. It means a lot, so thank you.

But, as to why I've been taking so long, I'd say there are three main reasons. One, because real life stuff has become a lot more hectic. Two, because I wanted to ensure that the messages in the story were being conveyed properly. And three, because I didn't want to force myself to write.

Basically, after DTB2, I realized how much pressure I was putting on myself to get chapters out. Throughout the whole of that story, I was always forcing myself to write, even when I REALLY didn't want to. Obviously, I LOVE writing fanfics, but doing it non-stop, every day for months gets extremely tiresome. This time around, I not only wanted to take my time and write only when I wanted to, but I also thought that could be something cool to actually explore as a theme of the story.

Throughout this, Gru has been forcing himself to live this AVL life that he was finding boring and repetitive, no matter how much he was starting to hate it. He obviously still loves his family and his job, but going through that same stressful routine ended up driving him crazy. I feel like if he shakes things up and mixes a lot of what he loves together (such as a bit of villainy, and a bit of world-saving), then he'll be a lot happier. I guess I thought it would be cool to explore.

I really tried my best, but I don't know how well that got conveyed in the story. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed it.

Now, after this DTB, I feel I've covered and wrapped up pretty much every plotline I started in this series. I've seen some requests for a fourth one (which makes me happy, since I'm glad you've enjoyed these so much), but I really don't think it's needed. I'll miss writing Jack's character, so if people are interested, I'm certainly up for doing one-shots about some stuff with him and the girls or him and Grucy. But, I highly doubt I'll make another full-length story for this series.

Instead, I'd rather focus on starting up some new stuff. Don't exactly know what yet, but I've got a few vague ideas.

Finally, thanks for the INSANE support throughout this entire trilogy. I know I've literally said it a million times, but I am INCREDIBLY appreciative of every favorite, follow, and review. In fact, even those who have just been occasionally reading along, thank you. I started Down The Bloodline just to give Edith a more integral roll in Despicable Me, since I feel she gets forgotten about a lot in the actual movies, but it's kind of strayed off into this bigger thing that I really wasn't expecting. Nonetheless, I love what it became.

Yet again, thanks so much!

Anyway, I'm going on and on here, so I'm just gonna wrap it up.

Until next time, goodbye :)