Despicable Me:
Down The Bloodline 4

I'm back!

Sorry for being away for so long. Life's been happening and stuff. I guess I haven't really been gone, I've still been trying to write Despicable Me fics in my spare time. I just can't seem to finish any of them. Regardless, I've completed this one!

I've been wanting to write a fourth Down The Bloodline for a while now. I've just missed writing these stories so, so, so much and I've been waiting for the right idea that would fit a fourth entry. Honestly, as long as I don't completely run out of those ideas, I'll probably always want to do more with this series.

This takes place around five or six months after the third. I've decided to tone down Gru's accent A LOT for this one. I think in previous stories, I'd written the accent so thick that you could barely understand what he was saying. Of course, I've still tried to replicate his mannerisms, but it should be a little more readable now.

I've been VERY excited to release this and I really, really hope you enjoy it :)


Chapter One:
A World Without Villains

BREAKING NEWS!

"We have an important update regarding the Ember situation. The villainess's plot to kidnap the mayor's wife was leaked to AVL representatives this morning. Researchers at the company had unveiled her evil plot through a set of anonymous tip-offs and were doubting they could foil the plan before it saw realization. Thankfully however, the organization has just confirmed that she has been apprehended.

The credit appears to go to agents Felonious and Lucy Gru again, marking their thirteenth success in a row."

"Thirteenth success! By god!"

Ramsbottom was very cheery. That was an oddity, to say the least. He switched the news report off using the unnecessarily high-tech remote and turned to the AVL employed couple at his desk, glee written across his face. Gru and Lucy were sat grinning in their chairs, unable to avoid the pride such an announcement gave them.

"This is some commendable work, Gru's. If you hadn't gotten to the mayor's mansion so soon, who knows how much ransom money city hall would be forking over right now!" The AVL director praised. The couple shared glowing grins. "In fact, I'm fairly sure that thirteen successes in a row is a new company record."

Lucy glanced off to the side in embarrassment, offering a little shrug.

"Well, I didn't wanna be the one to say it, but…" Her humility soon gave away for her enthusiasm. "No-one's had a streak like this since 1994, yeeeeeeee!"

She bounced in her seat happily, all remnants of professionalism stripped away. The director and her husband shot her contrasting expressions of befuddlement and delight. Ramsbottom couldn't help but question how the most childish agents in the whole company held the highest success rate of anyone he'd ever employed.

"Yessssss…well, the dream of a world without villainy is feeling more promising by the day, thanks to your efforts." He swayed his gaze over to the male agent, who too donned an overzealous grin. "Must I add, Mr. Gru, I was not expecting our workplace relationship to be so…not insufferable."

Gru raised his head in response, expressionless. "Likewise. I am assuming that head-office are…pleased with our accomplishments."

Ramsbottom narrowed his eyes, disliking the mocking grin that slowly crept along Gru's face. The bald man's chummy relationship with the higher-ups was ever infuriating to the director. It gave him passage to be as irritating in attitude as he pleased, and with a former villain, that ability was bothersome.

"Hmm…" Ramsbottom glanced away for a split second, leaning back in his seat. "Yes, they're requesting that I issue you both a pay rise. Though, I'm sure you had some say in that decision."

Gru shrugged, his sardonic demeanor giving away the situation entirely.

"Oh, nothing but a mere suggestion." He also leaned back in his seat, providing a subtle challenge. "I guess hard work really pays off, sheep's butt. Surely yoo of all people understand that, right?"

The two stared each other down in silence for an uncomfortable period of time. Lucy was left to glance between her husband and employer, unsure if she should say anything or just leave the two to their own devices.

Eventually though, Ramsbottom swiveled his seat around, turning away from the couple.

"You are dismissed, Gru's."

With that confirmation, the married couple snapped to look at each other, wide toothy grins on their faces. Though it was a successful day, it was an equally difficult one. It began with doubts about whether they'd have enough time to stop Ember, then hurried plans of how they were going to do it, and the stressful period of actually stopping her.

With a workday like this, they just couldn't wait to get back to the family!


In the infamous 'G' adorned tank, the couple pulled into the drive of the Gru mansion, finally making it home by 9pm. Disregarding their achievement, it was kind of upsetting. By early noon, they were forced to abandon their children and rush off to the AVL headquarters, on their day-off no less! At least the house hadn't been blown up, set on fire, or dissolved in a flood of acid, they considered.

Hey, when Jack's left to babysit, it was a concern worth considering.

"Y'know, Gru…" Lucy trailed behind her husband as he twisted the key in the lock, opening the door to the mansion. "I think Ramsbottom was right. Villainy really is on its last legs. Like, who knows how much longer it'll be until it doesn't even exist?"

"Ehh, maybe." Gru stepped aside to allow his spouse into the home before he shut the door behind her. "I mean, If we keep up this streak, it is more than possible."

Lucy smiled and spun around on her heels, pointing both fingers at Gru like an 80s disco star. "Shoot for twenty in a row?"

Gru chuckled. "Make that thirty."

The couple locked arms and wandered through the hallway, grinning at each other in a proud silence. That was until they stepped foot into the pitch-black kitchen, where the lights came to life and Margo and Agnes jumped from behind each corner, almost startling them off their feet with confetti poppers.

"Surpriseeeee!" Agnes squealed.

"Woahhhh!" Lucy placed a hand on her alarmed heart, blinking in shock as the confetti fell around them. Giggling, the AVL mom took in the sight of the two children, who were clearly beyond ecstatic. "H-hey, girls! What's all this for!?"

"For being on the news!" Margo elatedly replied. "Thirteen in a row is amazing!"

With that, Edith appeared from seemingly nowhere to also stand in front of the couple, balancing a party horn in between her lips.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

If the couple were startled before, they were almost driven to heart-attack when she arrived.

"You guys ROCK!" The tomboy cheered, raising her fists high in the air.

"U-uhhh…yes." Gru had to take a moment to steady himself and his pulse before he could properly address them. Once ready, the parents kneeled to their daughters, pulling them inside a great big bear hug. "Thank yoo, gurls."

"Yeah, and thank you, Jack…" Not expecting another voice, the married couple looked to their right to find the teenager at the booth table, sat with his arms crossed and a sneer on his face. "For finding out about Ember's plan during your research, for telling us about it before it was too late, and for making the girl's dinner while you were gone. Oh, and for being freaking awesome!"

Gru rolled his eyes and stood back up, smirking down at the teen as he playfully grinned. "I'd like to see Mr. Awesome stop thirteen villains in a row."

"Pffft…fourteen's more impressive."

Chuckling, Gru shook his head and turned back to the girls, who were blissfully bouncing on the spot while beaming up at them. The adorable smiles on their faces never ceased to amaze him. He just couldn't fathom how happy it made him to see them happy. "Have yoo three had a good day, hmm?"

The trio nodded in unison, but before they could each explain an in-depth analysis of every playful activity they'd partaken in throughout the afternoon, a blonde faux villain came bulleting into the kitchen, his ever-present explosive energy throwing the room's atmosphere into disrepair.

"Brother! Brother! Yoo are on de news! Yoo are on de NEWS!" Dru exclaimed. He grabbed Gru by the shoulders and threw him back and forth on the spot, just in case he somehow hadn't processed his presence yet.

"Yes, yes, I know, I know!" The bald man promptly pushed his brother off and straightened his rustled collar, as well as repositioning his beloved scarf. "Please do not rip another coat."

"So, thirteen villains in a row, hmmmmmmmmm?" Dru crossed his arms and looked between his brother and sister-in-law, a coy smirk gracing his face. "I guess little old me will have to end that streak!"

"I for some reason doubt that…" Gru groaned and massaged the bridge of his nose, already ruing the new source of blaring noise. Edith's extremely deafening party horn was somehow more relaxing than his brother's voice.

"It doesn't count if he's off scheming with you." Lucy pointed at her husband, who lifted his head to watch her perplexingly. "It's gotta be just you, Dru. Come to think of it actually, it's been a while since you two have done anything villainous together. What gives?"

"Oh, right! That reminds me!" Dru twirled back to his brother, subtly motioning behind him. "Can me and yoo have a word in de lab?" However, not a second after asking it, he nervously glanced back at Lucy in regret. "Uhhhhh…a word about something totally unrelated to de current subject matter!"

Gru frowned. "How loud is de word?"

"Very very quiet!" Dru squealed loudly.

He grabbed his brother by the arm and dashed out of the room with him in tow, almost hurling the man off his feet. The last thing Lucy saw of her husband before they disappeared down the hallway was his highly discontented expression, plainly unpleased with his predicament.

She couldn't help but laugh at him, especially since she knew just how much he secretly enjoyed spending time with Dru.

"Come on then, girls." She energetically spun back to her daughters. Alike Dru, she too motioned her head out of the room. "Let's get you ready for bed."

"How many bad guys have you stopped, mom!?" Agnes immediately questioned. It was clear that this news coverage of her parents' success had tickled her to her no end. "Is it over a hundred!? Two hundred!? Five hundred!?"

"Hmm, maybe. I've lost count, kiddo." Lucy guided the girls out of the kitchen, all while smiling down at them lovingly. She had to admit, she gained a lot of joy from how astonished they appeared by their achievement, more than any pay rise could give her anyway. "Who knows, when me and your dad are finished, we might be living in a world without villainy!"

Edith came to an instant halt.

She blinked and swiftly looked up at her mom, searching for affirmation on that statement. Before she could snatch a glance of her expression though, Lucy had left the room, with Margo and Agnes following quickly behind.

She almost wanted to chase after her and directly ask, but she was a little fearful of the answer. It was obvious, right? Why else would she say that? Dropping her head, the ten-year-old stewed in silence for a few seconds.

"Goodnight, Edith." That was until Jack appeared from her side, to wrap her inside a quick cuddle. The tomboy was immediately stolen out of thought, slightly startled by his affection. "May you have dreams about ninjas and samurais and other really cool related things."

Edith, shaking her head, giggled and quickly removed her far-off expression, as the teen smiled and strolled out of the room.

"Goodnight!" She called with a wave, placing energy into her demeanor. But the moment she was alone again, that demeanor dropped. Was that really true? Were her parents going to destroy villainy as a whole? Well, the city would be a lot safer if villains didn't exist. People would definitely be happier.

A world without villainy.

Why did that scare her?


BREAKING NEWS!

"We have an important update regarding the Ember situation. The villainess's plot to kidnap the mayor's wife was leaked to AVL representatives this morning. Researchers at the company had unveiled her evil plot through a set of anonymous tip-offs and were doubting they could foil the plan before it saw realization. Thankfully however, the organization has just confirmed that she has been apprehended.

The credit appears to go to agents Felonious and Lucy Gru again, marking their thirteenth success in a row."

"Those stupid little…" A short, fair-haired teen muttered.

Waker was sat harmfully close to the television, pupils scanning the displayed footage of Gru and Lucy. Ember, a promising villainess with worthy ambitions, was being handcuffed and towed off by the agents to her new home. An AVL prison cell. Another future prospect defeated by the couple…

It boiled his blood.

"The Gru's..." He seethed aloud, glancing behind him as he spoke. His lanky long-haired partner, Hatchet, was slumped in his seat at the dining table, frustratedly munching on popcorn. "They just dunno when to quit, do they?"

Hatchet glared off into space, his expression void of rage when compared to his nineteen-year-old friend.

"Thirteen villains in a row…" He gave a little nod. "Ya gotta admit, that's pretty impressive."

"Pfft, well wait until they get a load of us! Like to see how their streak looks then!" Waker stood from the couch and rustled through a nearby set of drawers, carelessly tossing anything undesirable to the side. After searching, he unveiled a gold-tinted folder, holding it into the light glamorously. "Those morons ain't gonna stand a chance against my plan!"

Hatchet frowned, glaring at his partner in befuddlement. "What?"

"Oh, yeah! I've been meaning to show you this!" The bubbly villain paced through his one-bedroom apartment and snatched a seat at the table. He placed the folder down and slid it in front of his friend, who glanced at it critically. "I've been working on this for the past week! I mean it when I say that Gru and Lucy are finally done for!"

Hatchet shook his head, locked in disbelief. "You can't be serious?"

Waker appeared thrown off by the teen's less than pleased reaction, but before he could question why he wasn't excited about the long-awaited downfall of the AVL's top agents, the television beat him to the punch.

"Ember had been planning this kidnapping in secret for eighteen-months. It's understood that she spent the last decade under the wing of multiple veteran villains, deeming her well-educated within the profession. It's also estimated that she had fourteen-years of her own evil experience prior her partnerships. Just goes to show how impressive today's performance was from the AVL."

Hatchet put his hand out, indicating towards the news report. "Ember was one of the best in the business and the Gru's stopped her in one day! Ya really think we got any chance against them!?"

"Uh, yeah! We're just as good!"

"Dude, we've been villains for six months! If my parents hadn't kicked me out, I wouldn't even be here right now!"

"Well, lemme just show you my plan and-"

"Warren, shut up!" Hatchet stood from the table, cutting off his partner. Shaking his head in exasperation, he put his popcorn down and headed for the door. "I'm done with this, man…"

"W-wait, what?" Before Waker even had the chance to criticize his friend's use of his real name, Hatchet was already out of the room. Grabbing the folder, he too stood from the table and chased after him. "Hold up!"

After lowering the apartment block's staircase at a hazardous pace, Waker soon caught up to him. He launched himself forward and slammed a hand on Hatchet's shoulder, stopping him in place before he marched off down the street.

"Hatchet, listen, I-"

"My name is Harley!" The teen spun around at speed, making his friend jolt backward in fright. "I'm so sick of these villain names, they're ridiculous! In fact, y'know what, I'm sick of being a villain full stop!"

Waker's eyes widened, clearly dismayed. "Dude…s-seriously?"

"Yes, seriously!" Hatchet placed his hands on his head, like he was facing some form of life dilemma. "You promised me this evil stuff would make us both multi-millionaires! Half-a-year in and we're still living in a freaking single-bed apartment!"

"It takes time and commitment!"

"You said it only took one scheme!"

"Yes, and that scheme is right here!" Waker held the folder in front of his face, waving it back and forth abashedly. Hatchet groaned and crossed his arms, clearly at the end of his patience. "Look, please just…lemme tell you about the plan."

The lanky teen stood still, silently watching Waker with an evolving frown. After a few seconds of uncomfortable staring, he relented, rolling his eyes and slumping his shoulders.

"I'm listening…"

Waker beamed.

"Okay great, here's the idea!" He opened the folder and unveiled a small A5 slip of laminated paper, which he flipped back and forth in front of Hatchet. One side donned a clip-art image of a treasure chest, while the other held writing in a scribbled font. "We ain't gonna beat Gru and Lucy in a fight, but we can lure them into a trap. Everyone wants money, right? Well, what gives you more riches than a hidden treasure chest!?"

Hatchet glowered at him. Waker continued, totally oblivious.

"This card has a riddle on it. That'll lead them to the first clue. That'll take them to the next. If they keep following each one, they'll end up at an abandoned ice cream factory. There, we set up a trap, and BOOM! Gru and Lucy are ours and we demand the AVL millions of dollars for their safe return!"

Hatchet kept silent for a few seconds, glancing between the teen, the folder, and the shiny gold card in his grasp. Taking in a breath, he cocked his head to the side.

"Hmm…" He stepped forward. "You wanna know something?"

"Yeah!?" Waker questioned eagerly.

"If other villains are anything like you, this profession is finished."

With his soft yet very hostile comment, Hatchet spun around and got back to his march down the street. Waker's entire expression fell, visibly taken aback by the personal insult. For a short while, he was left glued to the spot, confidence and enthusiasm erased. However, when his brain regathered control, he held out his hands and called to him.

"Hey! Where are you going!?"

"To ask my parents for a seventh chance!" Hatchet responded, throwing his hand up behind him. "Face it, Warren. Villainy's doomed."

Entirely shocked, Waker was left to stutter helplessly, watching his best-friend and villain partner disappear down the block. He wanted to exclaim a series of benefits (or what he deemed as benefits) of his villainous scheme, but with the shock of Hatchet's choice to ditch him, not a coherent word passed his lips.

Growling in rage, he threw the treasure chest riddle on the sidewalk and stormed up the stairs, unable to hold back the barrage of aggressive remarks under his breath. If Hatchet wasn't by his side…

What was he going to do now?


The elevator came to a prompt stop, granting Gru and Dru access to the underground laboratory. Just when he thought he'd broken free of his brother's insistent pulling, the blonde grabbed another hold of the bald AVL agent's arm and yanked him towards the main working desk.

Upon arrival, Gru was met by many blueprints, maps, and other assorted documents, all laid across the table abashedly. Strange. His brother never usually planned out his schemes. A lot of them were spur-of-the-moment ideas that get blown up into something insanely ridiculous by other spur-of-the-moment ideas. This level of efficiency provoked an intrigued furrow of the brow.

"What is all this?"

Dru, clearly excited, released a little squeal and jogged off to the right. He grabbed hold of a large whiteboard and wheeled it over to his brother, placing it opposite him at the table. Quickly flipping the board over, he revealed a weirdly well-illustrated dragon, covered in detailed annotations. It was even graced by his signature, giving away how proud he was of his drawing.

"This is de latest sculpture produced by famous Spanish artist Alejandro Alverez." Dru explained, pointing at various parts of the drawing passionately. "Some of his earlier work has been sold in art auctions for millions. Experts predict this new dragon piece could be his most expensive one yet, with estimations spanning well over two hundred million dollars."

"Okay, okay, stop right there!" Despite how impressed he was with his brother's broad knowledge on this niche subject, Gru frowned and give the man a tiresome look, already knowing where he was going with this. "We've been over this a dozen times, Dru. Even though I like to do de villainy on occasion, I don't want to leave lasting repercussions. If I help yoo steal this, yoo know we're gonna have to return it."

"Yes, yes, blah blah blahhhhh!" Dru waved his hand dismissively, like a royal swatting away a peasant. "Yoo do not have to steal it with me! I only want help in building a high-tech weapon for use in my plan!"

Gru glanced at the many various schematics in front of him. Everything seemed so complicated, that it almost intimidated him. The main reason he liked mixing up his life with villainy was to relax and have fun. AVL missions required a lot of planning and thought, while being evil with his brother was a simple thrill.

This looked like it needed a lot of planning and thought.

"Technically, that is still helping yoo steal it, Dru." He glanced at the dragon sculpture drawing. When he was a full-time uncaring villain, this was an opportunity he would've eaten up in a heartbeat. In his fun-driven way of life nowadays, this was just exasperating. "Plus, I am not even a weapons expert. What would be in it for me?"

"A chance to relive the ol' golden days."

Dr. Nefario suddenly appeared from the left, his hands placed behind his back as he trudged. He regarded his best-friend with a nostalgic smile, missing the sight of Gru overviewing evil blueprints. Even though he'd been getting a little more mischievous as of late, he was but a far cry from his old villain self.

"This ain't any old high-tech weapon, Gru. This is one that's been sorely missed." Nefario picked up a seemingly random document from the table and presented it to the former villain. "One with a lot of sentimental value, perhaps."

Gru took it from the doctor and cynically assessed it. However, when he realized exactly what he was looking at, that pessimism quickly faded.

"Wait, is this…" He double-checked, ensuring he wasn't mistaken. Nope, he wasn't wrong. This is definitely what he thought it was. "Is this a shrink ray?"

"YES!" Dru cheered explosively, leaping up and down into the air. He picked up and showed off a multitude of other drawn-up plans, each representing a different art piece he wanted in his possession. "With a shrink ray, we can steal anything in de whole world with ease!"

Gru was very taken aback, taking a moment to close his eyes in sheer shock.

"But…I…yoo told me this was impossible!" He held out his arms, intensely staring into the doctor's goggles. "Yoo said that any modification of de cellular structure to provoke shrinking in size was genetically unfeasible!"

"Yes, but that was until that Asian research facility proved that it was possible. Then, I looked into it a tad more and found a modification method that theoretically works. It's almost like image compression, but with cells." When he spied the angry shock on Gru's face, likely since the heist to steal the first shrink ray was rendered pointless, Nefario straightened his posture and cleared his throat. "I'm man enough to admit my mistakes."

Gru blinked, gawking down at the blueprint. This was no doubt a fantastic breakthrough. The initial shrink ray had not only given him the ability to steal the moon, but it later proved to be a great asset in pretty much anything they required. From basic lab maintenance to the construction of other valuable gadgets, the shrink ray made everything easier. It was of great inconvenience when it was left at the IVB headquarters, to be exploded like the rest of the malicious company.

In addition, it had always stood as a reminder of the best heist he'd ever orchestrated. Not just because of its infamy, but also because of who it allowed him to meet…

He looked back up, staring off into nothingness for a short time. Then, turning to his brother, he nodded.

"I'll help."

Dru tensed, beaming as bright as the sun.

"WOOOOHOOOOOO!" He darted forward and wrapped his arms around his twin, hopping up and down on the spot. It was clear that Gru was quickly regretting his decision. "I'm so happyyyyyy! We are scheming together, brother! We are finally doing de evil again!"

Once he'd seemingly had his fill of the hug, he let go and hyperactively pranced around the lab. His dances became so uncontrollable that, despite seeing the trio of minions who were carrying highly toxic formulas, he fell into them and sent the glass vials clashing to the ground. Once whatever liquid was inside them dissolved the metal flooring, the four fell through the new hole and down into the lower level of the lab, leaving only shrieks and one loud crash in their wake. It provoked a concerned look from Gru and Nefario, right until a voice called out.

"I'm okay!"

Rolling his eyes, Nefario returned to the subject at hand.

"We're going to require a few resources before we can proceed with its construction. Some can be obtained easily, while others will have to be stolen." The doctor cocked his head to the side, watching his former partner skeptically. "Is that gonna be a problem for the AVL agent?"

Gru glanced away in thought. Stealing without returning definitely went against his new principles. As mentioned, he liked mischief and causing a scare, but just as long as everything was reverted to normal in the end. He was, of course, still one of the good guys. By unrightfully thieving someone else's possessions, he was literally becoming the same type of person that he stopped at the AVL.

He looked down at the blueprints again. Then, he envisioned the final product.

"Not a problem at all." He stated firmly. Nefario smirked. "Whatever yoo need, I'll provide."


The girls, now in their pajamas, observed their mother lovingly, as she read them a bedtime story from atop Gru's comically small stool. It was a mundane run-of-the-mill children's tale, following the power of friendship between a cartoon goat and chicken, but nonetheless, the sisters were hanging off every word.

Apart from Edith, who was too distracted to listen properly.

Her thoughts were still trapped in the kitchen, by what Lucy had absentmindedly said. It wasn't that she was particularly upset, nor heavily troubled by her comment. It just…bothered her somewhat. One of those things said in passing conversation that doesn't really mean anything, yet was impactful enough to stick in your head for some time afterward.

Lucy got through the rest of the short book before rising to wish each child a fond goodnight. When she got to the middle child's bomb bed, Edith wasted no time in bringing it up. If she didn't, there'd be a lot of trouble in getting to sleep.

"Mom? Do you think villainy will always exist?"

Lucy grinned at the question, recalling the grand welcoming home a little while ago. It had been an overall successful day for the AVL agent. She was no doubt at the top of her game and her confidence was running ever high. To see her children enamored by such success was always heartwarming.

"Not while we can help it, kiddo." She crouched to address the girl better, who raised a brow at the response. "Me and your dad will pound every villain's butt 'til their ain't none left!"

Edith's gaze fell sadly. In fairness, what other answer was she expecting? They were AVL agents who had been hired to stop villains. Of course, they'd try to destroy it altogether. Lucy, not anticipating a slightly solemn reaction from the young girl, felt her expression drop in unison. Leaning forward, she brought her in for a hug.

"But don't worry, okay. While villains are still around, we'll always keep you safe." Edith frowned a little, but when her mom pulled back to lay a kiss on her forehead, she quickly hid it with a smile. "Goodnight, Edith. I love you."

"Love you too."

After wishing them a collective 'sweet dreams', Lucy switched off the light and left the room, plunging it into darkness. With fully awake eyes, Edith stared up at the mostly obscured ceiling, lying motionless. So much for being able to sleep. It appeared probing Lucy further on that topic had bothered her even more. Huffing, she tossed over and closed her eyes, trying to shut out her thoughts. It had been a usual day full of childlike energy, so surely her body would value some rest.

A minute passed, she was still awake.

Five minutes passed, she was still awake.

Ten minutes passed, she was still awake.

A whole thirty minutes since Lucy had left the room, and Edith, somehow, was still awake.

Now angry, she growled under her breath and reopened her eyes, having to resist the urge to punch the mattress. It wasn't its fault, after all. It was her stupid brain causing all this trouble. Out of ideas, she turned to watch the night sky through the bedroom window, hoping it could relax her into slumber.

It irritated her that the moon was on the other side of the house. During some vacations, on times when she couldn't sleep, looking up at the moon from the window helped her drift off. It always reminded her of her dad and the first few months of being readopted, a bliss that usually helped send her off into her dreams.

Can't do that here, though. The backyard gets the moon privilege.

She recalled a few weeks back, when her and Margo had spent some time together. At one point, she pulled the tomboy aside and let her in on a little secret of hers. When needing solace away from her thoughts, she liked to sneak out to the backyard and watch the night sky. Apparently, this had helped her deal with a very concerning issue a few months back. Maybe the moon cheered her up in the same way that it did Edith.

For that reason, maybe she should follow in her older sister's footsteps.

Slowly getting out of bed, the ten-year-old quietly tip-toed across the room and slunk into her slippers, periodically ensuring she hadn't disturbed her siblings. After checking if the coast was clear, she exited her bedroom and carefully strolled down the hallway, heading for the back-door downstairs.

Once outside, she walked across the lawn and craned her neck upwards, happy to see the full moon staring back at her. It helped that it was summertime. Otherwise, it likely would've been too cold for the pajama-wearing child to handle. Thankfully, though the breeze sent a sporadic chill, it was still pretty warm. With the grace of the peaceful night sky, she delved into her thoughts.

The past year of her life had been a rollercoaster ride she'd likely never forget. Meeting a biological sibling, almost getting assassinated by an IVB hired hitman, coming face-to-face with multiple dangerous villains, and even being reunited with her arch-nemesis Vector, who thankfully turned out to be alright in the end. It was akin to fiction, yet it had all really happened to her.

However, when it came to how she was feeling right now, the whole debacle at the NASA headquarters stuck out amongst them all.

It was a day of ranged emotions for her and her sisters. It began with frustration, when Lucy forbid them to tag along on the rescue mission. Then it warped to fear, when they were kidnapped and held captive inside a rocket destined for the cold pits of space. Then it finally turned to unbridled glee, when Margo, Edith, and Agnes were the ones to take down the 'Bank of Evil' owner Mr. Perkins.

It was a form of happiness she'd never really felt before. Saving her loved ones from what was surely their deaths was a fulfilling achievement that packed her with pride. Not to mention that she did it alongside her sisters. Never before had they united as a trio so effectively. From that point, she was certain on how she wanted to live her life. She kinda knew beforehand, but that experience set her wishes in stone.

When she grew up, she wanted to be the hero. The one who saved the day against adversity. To be just like her parents. Of course, many people around the globe shared that same dream, to be revered as a hero. But many don't ever see it through, and her success in stopping a man like Mr. Perkins gave her the confidence that she could comfortably aim for that dream.

Her best bet would be joining the AVL. Her parents and her brother worked in pretty high-up positions at the company, so it wouldn't be difficult to land a job there. Once she found a way to intertwine her ninja agility and her katana skills into her career, then she'd be unstoppable. Yep, in the future, she'd be the one getting news coverage, for defeating the latest threat to humanity with ease.

Sighing sadly, Edith dropped her head, looking down at the blades of grass beneath her feet. With her parents' skill slowly annihilating the occupation, the number of villains was diminishing by the day. Soon enough, every last one of them will be arrested or discouraged into something else.

Without villains, was there need for an Anti-Villain League?

That's what scared her.

Jack, with a garbage bag in tow, tiredly opened the back door and slumped across the porch to the outside trash cans. Hurling it into the dirty metal container, the teen aggressively mumbled under his breath, shaking his head at the horribly sickening injustice he was facing.

"Why do I have to clean up the confetti? It was Agnes's idea. Why do I have to take the trash out?"

Huffing, the teen flopped against the wall and took a moment to rub his tired eyes. It had been a long, hard day of researching villains and babysitting sisters. Evidently, he needed a lengthy, peaceful period of uninterrupted sleep. Turning around, he swiftly headed back into the house, desperately seeking the relief of his bed.

That's when he spotted the pink figure on the lawn.

Taken aback, Jack adjusted to the sight, uncertain whether his eyes were fooling him. He gave them another quick rub, just in case. Nope, it was still there, he wasn't hallucinating. That onesie adorned human on the grass was definitely Edith. Puzzled, he threw any need for sleep to the side, and diverted course to mosey towards her.

"Whatcha doin'?"

His simple question overly startled the girl, making her nearly jump out of her own body. Spinning to look behind her, Edith was met by her brother, watching her with a confused yet soft smile. She glared at him owlishly for a few seconds, but preferring some alone time, she chose to ignore him and returned to observing the moon.

Her silent response puzzled Jack further. She was obviously bothered by something, evident by the fact that she was stood outside well past her bedtime, staring at the stars. If she was upset, then he wanted to know the problem. But, knowing his sister a little better than that, outright questioning her was not going to get him anywhere.

Still, he wasn't just gonna leave her alone outside at night, was he?

Wandering forward to stand beside her, the teen also looked up, feeling his own sense of peace rise. It made him strangely proud to see his little sister use the bliss of the night sky to deal with internal issues. It was exactly how he managed to cope with things at times. He was glad they had that in common.

Allowing her about ten more seconds of silence, he eventually spoke up again.

"Looking at the sky, huh?"

Edith glanced at him for a split second. "Yeah…"

"Space is cool." Right on time, a shooting star appeared from their left, prompting both siblings to tilt their heads in unison. "Like, really cool."

"Hmm…"

The ten-year-old rubbed her arm awkwardly, veering her gaze towards another part of the sky. Her attention was nabbed by a distant star, one that shone a lot brighter than any of its counterparts. Despite how much stronger it stood out, it almost seemed like it didn't belong.

Blinking away that thought, she quickly broke the tension. "D'ya think aliens exist?"

Jack peered down at her.

"Probably. I mean, there's like trillions of planets out there, so it's hard to believe that none of them have an alien dude sitting on it." His response drew a brief smirk from Edith. Finally getting a positive reaction out of her, he quickly continued. "But I doubt you got outta bed and came out here just to think about aliens. What's wrong?"

Edith looked to her brother, focusing on him for a few seconds. He returned her gaze, evidently concerned about her. She kind of wished he never came outside. She only wanted to look at the moon for about ten minutes before she returned to bed. Now, she's gotta deal with questions about why she came out here in the first place, something even she wasn't totally sure on.

Sighing, she evaded his gaze again, this time to stare at nothing in particular. "What's it like being an AVL agent?"

Jack hadn't been expecting that question. From her dismayed tone of voice, this must've been part of what was bothering her. Blinking, he looked at the floor, taking a moment to try and figure out why this would have any relevance.

"Ummm, yeah, it's…it's alright." He shrugged, thinking back to when he stumbled upon a leaked reveal of Ember's scheme this morning. It threw everything off, prompting him and his parents to stressfully deduce how to stop her. It hadn't been very amusing at the time, what with it being what was supposed to be their day-off. "I mostly gotta do all the researching and stuff, which is kinda boring. But the training is fun though, and when I turn twenty-one, I can go out on missions like mom and dad."

Edith was closely analyzing him while he spoke, with a degree of intrigue he hadn't seen from her in some time. After a moment though, she lowered her head, still discernably troubled. This only added to Jack's confusion.

"Why'd you ask?" He probed.

"I wanna be an AVL agent too. I wanna stop bad guys. But mom said that her and dad are gonna destroy villainy." She arched her eyes up, her pupils giving away just how worried she felt. "If there's no villains left to stop, then why would there be an AVL? Without the AVL, then…what am I gonna do?"

With her hopeless tone of voice, Jack felt his heart genuinely sting. Maybe her fears seemed a little naïve, but in fairness, she had a point. Their city was slowly becoming a haven for pretty much everyone. In time, there might not be a need for an AVL. And with villainy at its lowest ever point, additional resources were being supplied to the police force, giving them more ammunition against standard criminals. They still had a way to go, but in a few years, crime could be non-existent.

Obviously, the AVL couldn't suppress their commitment to stopping villains, just to appease Edith's dreams. The safety and lives of the citizens and their loved ones were on the line, and though Jack empathized with her, that had to come first. But still, he wanted her to feel hopeful. Edith may love the thrill of mischief and annoying people, but at heart, she was a good person.

She wanted the world to be a safe place that she helped rid of evil, almost to get back at it for the pain it had caused her.

Jack could relate to that.

"Edith, even at the AVL, I've never seen anyone with better agility than you. You're strong, you're skilled, you're determined. And you're still just a kid!" This gathered the tomboy's attention, whose keen gaze was locked on her brother. "Even if there are no more bad guys, I know you'll amount to something when you grow up."

She watched him for a further few seconds, unresponsive. Then, she once again turned away, still upset. Jack's heart stung again. He thought he'd nailed that pep talk. Lost on how else to comfort her, he sighed and kneeled, offering a small hug. Edith hesitated but eventually accepted it, searching for some form of reassurance.

"Plus, I don't think villainy will ever be destroyed completely." Jack said.

Edith pulled away. "Really?"

"Yeah…" He nodded, offering his sister a supportive smile. "There's always gonna be at least one lunatic out there who wants to hurt people."


With fully awake eyes, Waker stared up at the mostly obscured ceiling, lying motionless.

He'd been trying to fall asleep now for nearing thirty minutes, without success. At this rate, he was going to pull his own hair out. He was just way too angry to drift off. The Gru's, Hatchet, the downfall of villainy. All of it was on his mind like an untuned piano, screeching in harmony with his depressing sense of failure.

Huffing, the nineteen-year-old rose from his poorly maintained bed and staggered to the nearby table. Switching on a lamp, his sight was quickly swallowed by the gold-tinted folder, lying in front of him mockingly. He'd put so much time and effort into perfecting that plan, with the riddles and the many clues. But, without his partner, there was no chance he could see it through.

Him and Hatchet were close childhood friends. Throughout his fairly short life, he'd been the only one he properly related with. Both their parents had always found ways to nag them, whether it was about attending school as a child, or finding a job as an adult. Needless to say, that was not the life Waker was going to pursue. Such mediocrity was best left to those who met that description.

Hatchet had tried to freeload a home from his parents for as long as possible, but with the constant arrests from his acts of trouble, he was finally kicked out for good. He found it a little pathetic that he was even bothering to ask for another chance. Villains should never fall to those kinds of lows.

Waker wasn't going to deal with his parents' complaints. When they endlessly harped on after he committed his first shoplifting, he knew he couldn't lay around at home for a moment longer. Thus, he stole their life savings and ran off, to buy the most affordable apartment he could find. Once he'd done so, he quickly invited Hatchet to live with him, both to be villain partners and to have someone to help with the rent.

They kept themselves afloat with as many small crimes that came their way. However, as of late, it was proving more difficult to get away with it. Just the other day, they'd barely managed to escape the cops, when they broke in and nabbed a local superstore's safe. Thankfully, it held enough money to support them for the week, but a more long-term supply of cash was certainly in order.

For that reason, Hatchet getting up and leaving was devastating.

Fists clenched, Waker shook his head and swiftly turned to grab the bottle of bourbon. Pouring a measure, he gulped it back with ease. The bitter taste didn't even hit him anymore. It only reminded him of past times, when his parents would yell at him for drinking underage. He was a man who'd robbed from stores and mugged people on the street! Like he cared for legal drinking ages...

Unable to handle the silence any longer, he switched on the radio and leaned back in his wooden chair. That was until it let out a frighteningly painful creak, where he balanced it back on its legs before it gave out.

"…and like I was saying, I have no qualms with anyone foreseeing a world without villains. After today, I think it's a future worth aiming for."

Pfft, just his luck. He'd wanted some music to drown out his thoughts. Of course, he'd tune in during a stupid talk-show section.

"I mean, just look at how far society has progressed in recent times. Remember when the NASA headquarters was attacked by that nutcase Perkins? Only half-a-year later, most evil schemes like that are being intercepted before they can even begin. Who knows how much farther we can progress in the NEXT six months? Just imagine, the days where the IVB were mind-controlling children could be a distant memory."

Right as Waker reached over to switch the station, he came to a halt.

Ironically, he'd forgotten about them. He used to dream of working with the International Villain Brotherhood someday. Those dreams were violently shot out of the sky when he heard of their sudden collapse, the credit for the kill going to those Gru's again. He growled at the thought of them.

A month after the company were taken down, the government had declassified a few documents relating to the IVB, in conjunction with the AVL's findings. Their plans of brainwashing children and training them into mindless killing machines, destined to become unstoppable villains, were finally revealed to the public. With the knowledge that those ambitions will never meet completion, it hurt Waker to read those documents, enough that he tried to forget about their existence full stop.

Just goes to show how far he's come since ditching his parents. Now, with literally nothing left to lose, he was more than willing to delve into that information. In fact, he could go searching for a few more documents. Ones that had been kept classified. They would certainly provide him with the knowledge he needed to follow in the company's footsteps. To resuscitate villainy using their envisioned methods.

Brainwashing.


And there we are! The end of Chapter One. Did you like it or hate it?

Honestly, I loved writing this. For a while, I've been in the process of going over the first two Down The Bloodline's and giving them a fresh coat of paint, just to improve the writing quality so I can actually read them back without cringing. But it's been taking a long time and I've missed writing an original story with these characters A LOT. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed making it :)

Also, not sure why, but I loved writing the little interaction between Gru and Ramsbottom in the beginning. I see them as two very different personalities fighting for the same goal and I had some fun making them interact again. That could just be me though haha.

As always, if you choose to review, it's seriously appreciated!