Hey, everyone! I'm back with a new fic :)
So, this initially started off as a small little excerpt for my Lucy one-shot series, but as I've worked on it over the past three months, a series of new ideas kept flashing through my head, to the point where it evolved into its own full, completely different story. Regardless, I'm glad it did, because I've had a great time creating it!
This takes place around two years after the events of Despicable Me 3, and mostly centers around Edith and Agnes. Hope you enjoy!
Still Her Big Sister
"Are you absolutely sure yoo have got everything? And are yoo sure yoo are not wanting a ride? It is no trouble, I can fire up de tank real quick and make sure yoo're SAFELY taken to your-"
Margo twisted on her heels to address her father curtly, holding out her hands as if to wade him away a little. He'd been following her through the hallway for near five minutes now, firing off question after question. Despite how unbelievably aggravating he was being, she was fairly impressed by his ability to come up with brand new insignificant qualms on the fly.
In the end, she couldn't be too angry with him. While growing up, she'd always wished for a parent who showed concern for her safety. Now that such a wish had found fruition, complaints weren't in order. Having said that though, there were extremes in all areas of life…
Getting this fretful over her sleepover at a friend's house located three blocks away was certainly one of them.
"I've explained, like ten times! Alisa's mom is already giving me a ride. Besides, I don't even need one, her house is in walking distance!"
"Theoretically, so is New York City, but yoo do not see me strolling on down to Grand Central Park, now do yoo?" Gru placed his hands behind his back and grinned down at her victoriously. But, when Margo raised an 'are you serious' eyebrow at what he thought was an intelligent rebuttal, he chose to swiftly proceed. "Anyway, we have yet to clarify whether Alisa is a girl's name or a boy's name!"
Margo shut her eyes and held the bridge of her nose frustratedly.
"Girl's name. It's a girl's name. It's an all-girls sleepover, so it's obviously a girl's name! You've met her before so you KNOW it's a girl's name!" She opened her eyes once again to launch a glare at her father. "Are we done now?"
Gru frowned. "Not until I get de legal names of all sleepover participants, receive identification papers for Alisa's parents, ensure that no one there is involved in any of de criminal activity, and-OW!"
"What ya doing?" Lucy appeared from Gru's right, tightening a pinch hold on her husband's side. "I assume we're not pestering our daughter about an innocent sleepover at a friend's house, despite the fact that she's fourteen and starting high school soon, right?"
The bald father nervously chuckled and wiggled free of her painful grip, offering his spouse an innocent smile.
"O-of course not, honey." He lied, turning back to Margo. "We were just, uhhh…discussing de weather and such. What a lovely sunny morning, hmm?"
Margo shared a short thankful glance with Lucy, giggling.
"Yep." The small awkward silence that proceeded was abruptly broken by a car horn, inviting every facet of the young teen's attention. "Oh, that'll be my ride!"
Filled with excitement, the girl spun around, grabbed her bags, and rushed for the front door. Akin to a magnet, Gru instinctively lunged forward, remaining hot on her heels. For Margo's sake, Lucy reasoned that it was probably best to stick close to them. In his protective state, it wasn't wise to rule out the possibility of him freeze-raying the car.
At that moment, the living room door swung open, and a little Agnes ran after them as well, like she too had been keeping an ear out for the car horn.
Upon arriving at the front step, Margo jumped up and waved to the four similarly aged girls in the car, who quickly returned it with equal levels of excitement. That was until their gazes landed on Gru, who was watching the vehicle and its occupants venomously. This had them pause mid-wave out of fear, their expressions falling in a similar fashion.
Thankfully, Margo had turned back to her parents before she spotted this. Otherwise, Gru would've been in for a disapproving yell.
"See ya then, kiddo!" Lucy exclaimed, kneeling to her level to consume her in a hug. "Have a great day…and evening…and night. And the little part of tomorrow morning before you come home, can't be forgetting that!"
"I will." Margo replied, chuckling. From there, she turned to her dad, noticing how uncommonly flat his emotional defenses had fallen. He seemed sad all of a sudden, maybe from the sight of her growing up. Yeah, sleepovers weren't particularly a mature thing, but throughout her childhood, she'd never been invited to one until today. Anything new that Margo ventured into since her adoption provoked that expression. "I'll be fine, dad. Don't worry."
Gru smirked a little. He was proud of his daughter, that fact was unmistakable. But every new snippet of maturity she displayed both filled him with pride, and sucker punched his heart. He didn't know if he had the strength to go through this with three different girls.
Alike Lucy, he too kneeled and gave her a tight hug.
"Have fun, kitten."
He held his daughter for a further three seconds until an idea popped in his head, reigniting his anxious overprotectiveness.
"Yoo want to take a gun with you!? For self-defense!? I have some very small ones in de lab that still do a whoop ton of damage if yoo-OW!" Yet again, Lucy jabbed a pinch into this side, making him jolt away in pain. "Okay, okay! I am shutting up!"
Just as Margo was about to turn around and sprint for the car, a little black-haired figure squeezed in between her parents. She was clutching her beloved unicorn to her chest and brandishing a saddened pout, obviously dismayed by something.
"Goodbye, Margo." Agnes mumbled, her voice unusually quiet and bereft of glee. "I'll miss you..."
Margo smiled down at her sister and gave her a short yet sincere hug.
"Miss you too."
Not wanting to keep her friends waiting a moment longer, she grabbed hold of her bags and hopped down the steps, eagerness coursing through her veins. After opening the car door and briefly greeting everyone inside, she turned back towards her home for a final fleeting moment.
"Stay safe!" Lucy called back.
"Give us a call if yoo need several armed AVL helicopters dropped on your location!" Gru added.
Rolling her eyes, Lucy shot her husband a quick frown as Margo ignored the man's ridiculous exclamation and jumped inside the vehicle. Within a few moments, it slowly sped off down the road, leaving the three family members at the door to watch after it.
Lucy continued to hyperactively wave until the vehicle was more or less out of sight, where she put her full attention on Gru. His eyes were watching the street distantly, completely betraying his worry. This sent a shot of empathy through the AVL agent. Of course, she too was a little anxious about Margo, but their eldest daughter was intelligent and mature. She could look after herself, especially in something as innocuous as a sleepover.
Not to mention that she'd met Alisa's mom at a PTA meeting a few months back and she had two well-cared-for children herself. How untrustworthy could she be?
Putting an arm around his shoulders, she gently pulled the man back towards the hallway, an act that finally stole his attention from the street.
"C'mon big guy, we gotta get started on that paperwork, before Valerie blows another blood vessel." The notion of AVL work didn't seem to improve his sullen mood, surprisingly. "I'll make you a cup of tea. Ya look like you need one."
"She should have at least taken de 100-watt laser gun with her." Gru muttered as he followed Lucy through the house, leaving little Agnes stood alone at the door.
Her gaze froze on the end of the street for a further five seconds until she finally dropped her head in sadness. Margo had been planning for this sleepover for around a week, and from the way she had been excitedly harping on about it, it was clear she couldn't wait to get away from the house. She knew this probably wouldn't be the only time she'd spend the whole day with her friends.
If that was the case, little Agnes was in for some boring days in the future.
No one else in the house had the time or willingness to do board games or play unicorns with her. Mom and dad did sometimes, but with their AVL commitment, it wasn't uncommon for them to jump up and head out to thwart another villain midway through their game. It was a similar outcome with the minions, though they were usually heading out on another one of Dru's petty heists.
It was like everyone was beginning to drift away from her a little…
Releasing a long and heavy sigh, the young girl turned and traipsed her way back into the house, her head hanging low the whole time. She could get used to playing alone, right?
Edith finally chose to drag herself out of bed at just gone 11 am, three hours later than everyone else. Now that school was finished and early mornings were no longer mandatory in her life, the tomboy was more than ready to make up for any lost sleep that she'd missed throughout the whole year. That meant an extra few hours under the covers every single day for the foreseeable future.
Nope, she wasn't about to let her lie-in's pass her by, no matter how much her parents or Margo complained about it.
After fixing herself a bowl of extremely sugary, possibly diabetes-provoking chocolate cereal, the eleven-year-old excitedly wandered into the living room with her breakfast in hand, smiling up at the big TV in anticipation. One amazing benefit of missing school was the ability to watch cartoons in the morning. Ninja-themed, violent, action cartoons specifically.
Since her parents were usually working, Dru was planning his next scheme, and Margo and Agnes were playing some boring unicorn game together, Edith got the television all to herself for around an hour. On occasion, a few of the minions would beat her to the punch, but the little yellow henchman would pity her when they spied her sad face, opting to let her watch cartoons to make it go away.
Of course, it was a very fake and quite obviously forced sad face, but it worked perfectly almost every time.
Thankfully, the crocodile couch was empty, meaning such tactics could be put on the back burner for today. Now, she could concentrate on her cartoons in peace and quiet. Claiming a seat, the girl shoveled a quick spoonful of cereal in her mouth, before turning to the armrest covered in scales and reaching out for the TV remote.
This was when she spotted her little sister, sitting quietly at the window atop the big pink unicorn seat.
Edith raised an eyebrow at the sight. The eight-year-old had her eyes locked behind the glass, her gaze far-off and her shoulders slumped. She appeared almost depressed in the way she watched the bright sunny front yard, a far cry from her usual demeanor.
On most mornings, Edith would be yelling at Agnes to go away by now, mainly since her manic energy was too much for the barely awake tomboy to handle. After which, she'd disappear to go play unicorns or some other vomit-inducing tripe, blissful and filled with vigor.
Therefore, this unexplained bout of dejected silence puzzled her.
"Agnes?" She spoke up. Her little sister barely glanced back. "Whatcha looking at?"
"What do you care?"
Edith's eyes widened at that unexpectedly despondent tone of voice, especially when she turned the unicorn seat around to completely face away from her. She was certain she'd never heard her sister speak with such hostility before. It was like Agnes wanted her to go away, rather than the other way around.
That definitely didn't sound right.
But, if Agnes wanted some alone time, then Edith wasn't about to complain. That's exactly what she wanted as well. Everyone was happy! Shrugging, she grabbed the remote and turned back to the television, ready to switch it on and indulge herself in as many cartoons as physically possible.
Her absolute favorite show of all time, 'Ninjax', was about to start, followed by two episodes of another action-packed cartoon 'Unseen Hunter'. Even though she was getting a lot better at her ninja abilities, she had to admit, she was kinda jealous of the Ninjax protagonist. They could kick-butt and then some. Part of the reason why it was her favorite show was that she loved trying to recreate the insanely agile moves they used. It was dangerous, and likewise, tons of fun!
However, as she was about to hit the power button, she found her gaze instinctively sway back to her sister. No matter how many times she insistently turned back to the TV, that miserable tone of voice played at the back of her mind. Of all the humans on planet Earth, she would never have envisioned Agnes to sound that hopelessly sad.
Maybe that's why she couldn't stop thinking about it.
Releasing a deep and irritated sigh, Edith begrudgingly jumped from the couch and traipsed over to the window. She leaned up against the wall and crossed her arms, frowning at her sister as she remained slumped in the seat.
"Nuh-uh, you ain't getting off that easy. Tell me what's wrong."
Edith's persistence drew a pretty angry look from Agnes. After a second, she turned her head away again, refusing to offer her much more attention than that. This certainly wasn't the Agnes that Edith knew. It actually kind of hurt to see her this uncharacteristically cold with her.
It was here where Edith noticed an oddity in the household. The absence of the eldest sibling. She hadn't seen her upstairs, she wasn't in the kitchen, and she couldn't hear her voice from any other room. Throughout most of the day, the two girls were usually at each other's sides, so that was puzzling. Although, it wasn't like Edith had been searching for her, so maybe she was still around.
"Where's Margo?" She questioned.
"At that sleepover she's been talking about..." Agnes dropped her head even lower, to the point where she was close to falling off her seat. "Now I'm really bored."
Edith raised a confused eyebrow.
"That's why you're sad? Cuz you're bored?"
With her tremendously sorrowful voice, Edith was getting a little worried that something very bad had happened to the girl. But no, all this moping around was because she was freaking bored. Edith got bored all the time! There were a lot of occasions where she felt downright worse than that. But you never saw her gloomily sulk as if her whole life was about to end.
This unneeded level of concern was about to anger the eleven-year-old, right until Agnes looked over with a much more accustomed expression. The face she donned when she was on the brink of tears.
"Margo's gonna want to be with her friends and mom and dad are always really busy. Nobody's gonna wanna play with me anymore." She dropped her head, as those prior tears made an expected appearance in her eyes. "I feel lonely."
Despite how much she thought Agnes was getting way too concerned with Margo's sleepover that literally only lasted one day, Edith found that last statement a little reminiscent. Enough that her earlier sympathy made an abrupt return.
The girl glanced back at the TV, thoughts of animated ninjas still running rampant. This was legitimately one of the highlights of her day, was she about to let it slip just because her sister was bored and sulking? It was obvious this internal debacle was troubling Edith, since her gaze was now swapping between the sofa and her sister at pace.
But, when Agnes began softly crying, the tomboy rolled her eyes and emitted an extended huff of exasperation.
"What do you wanna do?"
The youngest sibling whirled around, tears swiftly halting.
"Wait, you…you wanna play with me?"
The TV once again snatched Edith's gaze. It was like it was screaming at her to return to the couch and suffocate herself in cartoons, a proposition that seemed annoyingly alluring. It took a lot of inner coercion for the girl to ignore such wishes.
"Ugh…if I have to." Edith only frowned as the eight-year-old's usual beaming smile reappeared, accompanied by a bounce of delight. "Well, come on! What are we doing?"
Agnes shrieked and leaped from the chair, wrapping a tight hold around Edith's hand. Providing no response to the question, she dragged her older sister to the other side of the room, over to the shelf where they kept all the board games. There, she reached out and unveiled the 'Chutes & Ladders' box. Edith's frown subsided a little.
'Chutes and Ladders, huh?' She thought. 'This can't be too bad…'
"Yayyyyy, a six! That means the unicorn gets to climb the stairs to the pixie heaven! Now if I roll a three, she gets the golden crown and becomes the new princess!" Agnes announced, as she dragged the little pink counter up the ladder, to the space on the board marked '97'. "Better not roll a two though, or she'll be sent back to the lollipop village and carry on her life of being a strawberry cow farmer."
Edith had zero idea what was happening.
Despite the fact that she'd brought out the board, they hadn't played Chutes & Ladders, not by a long shot. Somehow, Agnes had turned this pretty simple game about rolling a dice and moving a counter around numbered boxes, into a huge, RPG-inspired, glitzy nightmare.
All the colored counters had become literal characters with fleshed-out backstories, including a princess, a fairy, a butterfly, and of course, a unicorn. All the numbers on the board were different places inside this magical kingdom she'd made up, the chutes had been colored over to resemble roads, and the dice dictated what each character wanted to do, whether it be picking flowers in the garden or exploring the candy cane hills.
It was obvious that Margo had helped her make this. Who knows how long the two of them had spent designing all the different events that could happen! She had to question how anyone could have the dedication to make something both sickly sweet and absurdly complicated. Edith would be kinda impressed, if she weren't both disgusted and totally flabbergasted.
As if the fate of the whole universe depended on this moment, Agnes narrowed her eyes and carefully shook the dice in her hand. Then, with precision, she rolled it across the board. It bounded around for about two seconds until it came to a stop, brandishing the number three…
"Yessssssss!" She cried, grabbing the pink counter and slamming it on the '100' space. "The unicorn becomes the new PRINCESS! I win!"
Edith's eyes widened. "Wait, you can win?"
"Duhhhh! How else would the game end?"
"I was starting to think it never did…" Edith rubbed her tired eyes, yawning in the process. Not even her ridiculously sugary breakfast gave her enough energy to get through that game. She still couldn't process just how in-depth it was. If the unicorns and fairies were replaced by ninjas and dragons, Edith probably would've freaking loved it. Fate was not that kind, it seemed. "That was definitely…something."
"I know! It's super fun, right?" Agnes cheered, missing the obvious weariness in her sister's voice. "I wish I could be a unicorn princess in real life! Then I could rule the world and keep everyone safe from danger, just like mom and dad."
Edith raised a brow.
Even though she hated that board game with a fiery passion, she kind of related to her sister's wish. Playing with ninja and samurai toys was fun and all, but it was nothing compared to actually being a ninja in real life. She wished for a long time that she got to live out that fantasy, right until her father bought her the katana and black outfit, and also set up the obstacles in the back yard.
From there, it really felt like she was a ninja in real life, even if she maybe wasn't.
Glancing upwards, Edith spotted four of the minions wander past the living room door, likely off to rummage through the kitchen for unprotected bananas. She smiled slightly, a plan emerging.
"Hey, come with me." She stood from her spot on the floor and nodded forward, attracting Agnes's intrigued expression. "I've got an idea…"
Ten minutes later, Dave, Kevin, & Phil were stood in the front yard, adorned in an assortment of different wigs and costumes. The two children had forced the minions into wearing them, each one made to somewhat resemble an innocent civilian. It was fortunate the yellow creatures just happened to have random get-ups laying around the lab. It made things a lot simpler.
They weren't the only minions involved either, as Bob had also been roped into the make-believe game. He was stood before the other yellow henchmen, dressed in devil horns and equipped with a super deadly ray gun, also known as an empty water pistol. It was obvious that he was having a lot more fun than his counterparts, probably because the villain role was significantly more entertaining.
Agnes wandered over to the group, decked in her beloved light-blue princess outfit along with a fake unicorn horn strapped to her forehead. She feigned fear upon approaching, pointing at Bob with an expression of exaggerated shock.
"Oh, no! An evil demon is attacking the kingdom!" She screeched, receiving a very unthreatening look from Bob. It was clear that the short minion held no ability to strike fear in anyone. "Well, bad luck, bad guy! I've got the most powerful fighter in the world on my side to protect my people! The super-strong ninja!"
With two overzealous backflips complemented by an impressive landing, the ninja-costumed Edith appeared from on top of the playhouse and stood menacingly between Agnes and Bob, the katana sealed tightly in her grasp. The minion eyed the weapon anxiously and took a legitimate step back out of fear, knowing what the girl could do with it.
"What is the problem here, uhhh…" Edith glanced back at her younger sister. "Princess Agnes?"
Those last two words had obviously delighted the eight-year-old, to the point where she released a small giddy squeal before responding. Edith couldn't help but smirk.
"That demon is trying to hurt my people!" Agnes pointed back towards Dave, Kevin, and Phil, the makeshift citizens of the kingdom. "Look how scared they are!"
For a moment, the three minions only returned a puzzled glare, up until they realized that the attention was wholly on them. From there, as if they were starring in a dramatic TV sitcom, they cried and placed their hands to their head, like a set of damsels in distress.
"Ohhh, wee ba day doo!" Kevin fell to his knees, holding his hands in the air like all faith in the world had been lost. "Wee ba day dooooooo!"
To say they were overacting would be an understatement.
"I see…" Edith muttered in a dark tone. She lowered her head to glower at the floor, like an anime protagonist who was waiting for the right moment to strike. She'd be lying if she said she'd never practiced this pose many times in the mirror. "It is your choice, princess. What do you need me to do?"
"Okay, okay, ummmm…" Agnes rapidly looked from right to left, racking her brain for a plan of action. It was clear that having reign of the make-believe kingdom had tickled her significantly. "I'll take my people to a safe place, and you can kick that demon's butt!"
Edith grinned maniacally, turning back to the 'demon'.
"Nigeru." She whispered in a dangerous tone, narrowing her eyes and positioning herself into a fighting stance. Bob returned her heavy gaze, though this was mainly due to pure bewilderment from what she'd said. "That means 'run away' in Japanese."
Bob didn't need to be told twice.
Spinning around, the minion shrieked and darted across the front yard, as Edith chased behind with her katana wielded. The two of them ran around in circles for a few seconds, until they swerved off and disappeared around the side of the mansion, through the fence gate that led into the backyard. Distant minion shouts could be heard, proving that he likely wasn't having fun anymore.
Giggling, Agnes turned to the rest of the minions, her head risen high in pride. Unlike before, they appeared much more thankful that they'd been stuck with the citizen roles. Though it may be somewhat tedious, the lack of being chased by a sword-wielding human cannonball definitely made up for that.
"Don't worry, I'll protect you guys!" She guided the minions into the small playhouse, shutting the door behind them. Once secured inside, the girl stepped back and put both hands on her hips, valiant in her make-believe victory. "Yayyyyy! Princess Agnes, the ultimate unicorn, has saved the day once again!"
"Pffft, you're so weird."
Slightly startled, Agnes spun to find a fair-haired, kinda chubby boy on the pavement, mocking her with a contemptuous grin. She vaguely recognized him as one of the fourth graders in her school, making him about two years older than her. She didn't realize he lived so nearby, though she obviously didn't know him enough to pay attention.
She simply gazed back at him for a few seconds, no response in mind. How did she respond to someone calling her weird? She didn't have enough experience with comebacks to know. On the contrary, the boy traded his gaze from her to the black mansion, his expression unchanging.
"Actually, it ain't just you…" He paused to chuckle maniacally, similar to some form of miniature supervillain. "Your whole family is weird!"
Agnes frowned. She did know how to respond to that one.
"Hey! My family ain't weird!"
"Rigggghhttttt…" The boy's tone was ladled with sarcasm, enough to anger Agnes further. Never before had she felt so determined to stand up for herself and her family, especially while her princess outfit offered a layer of confidence. "Aren't you and your sisters adopted? Ewwwww! That's super weird!"
However, with flashbacks to when bullies used to poke fun of her and her sisters for being orphans, the ponytailed girl quickly backed down. She wasn't ready for that kind of insult. Despite it being such a pathetically low blow, it was a jab she struggled to fight off. Stepping back, she confided in herself a little, any prior bravery fading.
"You ain't gonna survive fourth grade!" The bully spat, feeling his ascension in the confrontation. "I bet you'll get eaten alive!"
"Really?" Agnes questioned, cowering a little more.
"Uh-huh! Nobody likes adopted kids! That's why you were in the orphanage in the first-"
Before he could finish the very cruel insult that he was itching to hurl, a flash of pink darted at him from the right, sending force into his chest at haste. One second, he was on his feet, the next, he'd been heavily pushed to the sidewalk.
Edith had graciously granted Bob freedom after a short while, meaning she was just in time to find the boy as he threw hurtful comments at Agnes. Even though she'd been running in circles for an extended period, no lack of energy in the world was going to stop her from sprinting across the front yard and pushing him on his butt.
"Leave my sister alone!" She yelled, standing over him with her fists clenched. The boy glowered up at her in rage, though he was too shocked to fight back just yet.
"Ow! That hurt!" Looking Edith's ninja-suited body up and down, his ire temporarily swapped out for his earlier mocking grin. "You're dressed up too!? What's wrong with you guys!? Did the orphanage mess with your brains or something!?"
With a spiteful insult tossed in her direction as well, Edith reached peak aggression. Quickly leaning down, she grabbed him around the collar and lifted his head up with fairly impressive strength, enough that a sudden jolt of fear thundered through the boy's heart. She practically threw him back towards Agnes, angling his face to look up at her.
"Say sorry to her right now, or I'll make that push look like nothing!" The boy struggled under her vice grip, wiggling around like a fish in a feeble attempt to free himself. But, though he was arguably bigger than her and of a similar age range, it was clear that Edith was much stronger. "What ya waiting for!? Say sorry!"
"Okay, okay! I'm sorry!" He closed his eyes as he whimpered out the apology, as if he were trying to distance himself from this whole situation. Agnes blinked down in shock, amazed that he'd been reduced from a bully to a blubbering mess so effectively.
"Good!" Edith released him and stood up straight, her aggressive eye still locked on him. All remnants of confidence erased, the boy accepted his defeat and ran away, not wanting to somehow anger the pink-hatted girl any further.
As the bully ran off, Edith gradually calmed down and briefly glanced over at her sister, who was closely watching her in awe. At first, she wasn't certain if the younger girl was frightened or delighted by the way she violently got rid of him, but when that beaming smile of hers made an appearance, the answer was provided.
"You stood up for me!" She cheered, hopping on the spot while holding her hands to her chest. "Thanks, Edith! You're the best! I thought you hated me!"
Edith spun to face her.
"What!?" Dumbfounded, she quickly shook her head. "Agnes, I don't hate you, I-"
Halting mid-sentence, she could only stare blankly at her younger sister, lost on how to proceed. Agnes stared back, with what appeared to be anticipation swimming in her eyes. They kept silent for a small period, until Edith chose to roughly break eye contact, stepping past the girl with a strange look on her face.
"I don't wanna play anymore…"
Watching after her older sister as she paced back into the house, Agnes raised a bewildered eyebrow. Of all the things she was expecting her to say, that hadn't been one of them…
Sometime later, Edith was sat alone in her bedroom closet, flicking through a family photo album silently. She had been rummaging through some old possessions for a while now, trying to relive a few old memories. Upon spotting the big book full of pictures of the family, most of which had been taken around eighteen months ago, she presumed that this was the best method of doing so.
It began with photos of only Gru and the girls, before Lucy had entered the picture. Then there were a few from the wedding. Then Dru began popping up in some of them. It was pretty nice flicking back through all the good times they'd had together, as well as pondering on how much things had changed. She was still yet to process how the trio had gone from being completely alone, to having an extensive and loving family in just a few years.
As for the present, she wasn't really sure what brought her up here. Well, she kind of knew what. After Agnes's comment, Edith just wanted to recall the many things the three siblings had done with each other. It had lessened as of late, but looking through some of the photos from last year, the middle-sister was always present.
Yes, she was usually pushed off into the background somewhere, but she'd still been there. It always felt like Margo and Agnes were more focused on each other, largely since the eldest sibling was outstandingly good at appeasing the youngest's interests. A lot better than Edith was anyway. But still, she'd been around.
Edith had tried to be involved with her sisters' activities, but time after time of feeling a little left out eventually sapped away at her motivation. Once Gru, being the amazing father that he is, had invested in all the ninja gear to give Edith her own source of entertainment, the tomboy focused on enjoying her interests instead.
Practicing her agility and strength as a ninja was tons of fun. It was, definitively, her favorite hobby of all time. The mix of danger and thrill always filled her with joy, even if her sisters completely disagreed…to the point where it was usually just her playing it by herself.
A frown appeared on Edith's face.
And now, the moment Margo disappears, the moment she has to play by herself, Agnes wants to mope around and feel lonely. The more she considered it, the more it angered her. But then, when another thought arose, that frustration swapped out for sorrow.
What would give Agnes the idea that she hated her?
Sighing, the girl sat back against the wall, staring up at the small ceiling light sadly. Maybe she was looking at this from the wrong angle. Maybe this photo album, filled with pictures of Edith trying but failing to enjoy her sisters' activities, didn't allow for a realistic view.
Maybe she was the problem…
Before she could think any further, the closet door flung open and a concerned Lucy popped her head inside, darting her gaze around the tiny room. Once she spied Edith sat against the wall, glaring back at her expressionlessly, the AVL mom sighed with deep relief and offered the child a smile.
"There you are! I've been looking for you for ages!" She chuckled and motioned her head behind her, whirling back towards the bedroom with the expectation that the eleven-year-old would follow. "Come on, kiddo. Dinner's almost ready."
Edith, not moving an inch, immediately spoke up before her mother disappeared.
"Mom? Am I a bad sister?"
Lucy turned around instantly.
It was here that she took the whole sight in properly. Edith was slumped against the wall, the family photo album laid abashedly across her legs. Her expression, as well as her posture, was void of energy or joy. Rather, she appeared troubled, like she was internally questioning some sizable issues.
With the context of the little girl's prior inquiry, it was easy to see exactly what issues she was questioning.
The moment her mom turned back, Edith regretted saying a word. Closing up, she turned her head away and crossed her arms, her infamous pink beanie drooping over her eyes. Lucy regarded the girl in bewilderment. It was rare for the middle-child to ask a question as open as that, yet it was much more common to see her as guarded as she was right now.
It was that realization that pushed her into the small room, to gently sit beside her.
She'd been Edith's mom for a little while now, and over that time, she'd learned a lot of things about her behavior. It took effort to decipher and solve the issues she was facing, especially compared to her siblings. She always donned a tough protective shell, one that took work to break through. Although, thinking about it, that was kinda fitting…
Edith was just as tough in combat as she was in defending her emotions.
"Looking through the photo album, huh?" Lucy lightly questioned, glancing over her daughter's shoulder. "I forgot we had this."
Edith, unresponsive, turned her head away to distance herself, leaving an awkward silence in her wake. Lucy's attempt at striking casual conversation with the child was an instant failure. Frowning, the AVL mom scanned the photos the girl had been looking at, trying to at least get a clue of what provoked her earlier question.
She was currently on the very first page of the album, the one that held some fairly dated pictures of Gru and the girls, way before Lucy had arrived. They all seemed a lot more drab and depressing than the others. Not because the people in the photos were particularly unhappy, but because their mansion surroundings was still in the 'gloomy villain' phase. For that reason, everything appeared a lot greyer.
The only real snippets of color in the images were the girls themselves…
"Look at your dad there." Lucy pointed at a particular photo, attracting Edith's gaze somewhat. Gru was standing behind his children, hands placed boldly behind his back and his lips drawn in an indifferent parallel line. "Trying to act like the moody supervillain. Just look how much cooler he's gotten since I've arrived."
Lucy eagerly flipped over to the wedding photos. Despite only turning three pages, it was like they were looking at a completely different man. Gru's posture was a lot less domineering and the smile on his face was comparable to a trillion-watt bulb. This snagged a smirk from Edith.
"Since I've arrived, you mean." She said, turning back to her mom. Lucy chuckled.
"Oh right, I forgot. I gotta settle for second coolest in this house."
Edith giggled and relaxed a little, allowing her shoulders to fall. Lucy hadn't noticed before, but it looked like the young girl had been tensing up, likely a subconscious way of safeguarding herself. Thankfully, it hadn't taken much more than a little bit of humor to make her feel more comfortable. She could think of a few times prior where Edith would completely refuse to open up while upset, even in the slightest.
She'd definitely made some progress in that regard. Maybe it was the love and support of her family that made her less emotionally airtight, with the assurance that none of them would mock or devalue her feelings…
"Y'know, Edith…" Lucy joined the girl in sitting up against the wall, a subtle attempt to build rapport. "You remind me a lot of me when I was your age."
"Yep." She nodded down at the girl, who suddenly appeared a lot more interested in the conversation. "I used to love danger, making tons of mess, and driving people a little crazy sometimes. And, after the parent-teacher conference last week, we both love fighting a bit too much as well."
Edith shrugged, clearly unconcerned. "No one gets away with making fun of me."
"As they shouldn't. Just as long as that katana isn't involved…" Lucy smiled and gently elbow nudged the girl, prompting a giggle from her. But then, with strategic timing, she switched her tone of voice and calmly pressed her. "I used to struggle with talking too. About…feelings."
Edith's smile quickly vanished, as Lucy was expecting.
She averted eye contact and looked back down at the photo album, her gaze somewhat distant. It kind of reminded Lucy of how Gru was this morning, staring off down the street in silent contemplation. However, she had to admit, Edith was probably better at hiding her sadness than Gru. It begged the question; how'd she get so good at it?
There was an intentional silence for a few seconds, where the AVL mom was hoping the girl would finally start talking. However, just as she was about to give in and try another tactic, Edith beat her to the punch.
"Agnes thought I hated her."
Lucy blinked. "She did?"
Edith nodded. "She looked really sad this morning, cuz Margo wasn't around to play with her. She said she felt…lonely. So I played with her, so she'd stop sulking…"
Lucy raised an eyebrow and turned away, frowning somewhat. Agnes had been upset as well? How hadn't she realized? Before she had the chance to berate herself for not being vigilant enough, Edith continued.
"We were in the front yard when some boy came over and made fun of her. I got rid of him. She seemed really surprised that I stood up for her and that's when she said that…she thought I hated her."
"And now you feel like a bad sister?" Lucy asked. Edith hesitated, but nodded. "That's why you're looking through the photo album? To see if you have been?"
Lucy smiled solemnly, like a cross between empathy and adoration. It was kind of nice to experience the innocence of the Gru household from time to time. The problems her daughters faced, apart from the more deep-rooted issues of being adopted, were mostly small and kinda wholesome. When you spend much of your day fighting against dangerous people in the AVL, it's easy to forget the virtue that still exists in the world.
Her daughters helped remind her of that sometimes. It was almost definitely the same for Gru, judging on this photo album alone.
"Agnes is a little younger than you, Edith. She probably doesn't understand what she's really saying. She sees how much more time Margo spends with her and thinks that you don't-"
"That's not MY fault, though!"
The moment that particular sentence left Lucy's mouth, Edith's expression tightened and she immediately got to her feet, a sudden yet very angry frown emerging. The yell she bellowed was abrupt enough to startle the woman back a little.
"I wanna spend time with Margo and Agnes! But I don't wanna do all that girly stuff all the time! Do I have to play along and be bored forever so she doesn't think I HATE HER!?"
When Edith finally focused on Lucy's wide-eyed expression, that, along with the genuine anger she was feeling, helped her to calm down. This only pushed her to another feeling. Heightened sadness. A few tears surfaced in an instant, along with a much timider tone of voice.
"Why is she the one who gets to feel lonely?"
The penny dropped for Lucy in an instant. This wasn't coming from a comment that was playing on her mind. This was a set of bundled-up frustrations reaching its peak. This was one of those deep-rooted issues.
This suddenly seemed less wholesome.
Initially unsure of what to say, Lucy launched herself forward and brought Edith in for a tight hug, which the eleven-year-old gladly accepted. It was clear that she worked herself up way more than she needed to, because the moment she was pulled into the embrace, she calmed down entirely. The tears swiftly swapped out for exaggerated breaths.
It was obvious that, out of the three girls, Edith was the most different. Of course, that wasn't to say they weren't all unique. Agnes was an ecstatic girly girl, who loved princesses, unicorns, and overall, living life with happy-fueled energy, a trait that was way too rare in this world. Margo was logical, responsible, and a lot more education-focused, but still childlike enough to enjoy a lot of the simple things. Lucy had also never met a fourteen-year-old who was more intelligent than her.
But Edith was a lot of different things. Yes, she certainly veered towards the tomboy camp, but there were other aspects of her personality that always puzzled Lucy, even if the two of them were quite similar at that age. When she observed her playing with her sisters, she appeared nonchalant and uncaring, like she didn't want to be there. Lucy would assume that Edith was just that kind of person, if it wasn't for those random times where she'd burst with the exact kind of happy energy that Agnes held. Not to mention the many fun-driven conversations the AVL agent had had with her daughter.
With her tearful question, maybe those times weren't so random after all. Maybe Edith always wanted to live with that happy energy that she reaped from her own interests. But since Margo and Agnes could in no way appease her more destructive hobbies, she was forced into playing games she didn't find enjoyment from, if she ever wanted to spend time with her siblings.
That is unless, she just enjoys her hobbies on her own.
"Listen to me, Edith." She released the little girl from the hug, who wiped away the remaining remnants of tears with her sleeve. "You're a loving girl, it's clear to everyone on earth that you don't hate Agnes. But just because someone won't play ninjas with you all the time, that doesn't mean you should start separating yourself."
Edith frowned and threw her gaze upwards, but before she could argue, Lucy quickly continued.
"However...that doesn't mean that you should be playing unicorns all the time. You're a unique girl, Edith, explore those interests. But maybe consider having a little bit of both." She watched as Edith's frown evaporated, her head dropping in thought. "You know how easy Agnes is to please. I mean, why'd ya think we have a goat wandering around the house!?"
Edith giggled, sniveling slightly from the final scraps of her earlier outburst. Lucy was happy to hear it, as it allowed the tension in the room to fully fade.
"Look at Margo, for example." She continued, relaxing against the wall again. "She's starting high school soon and wants to study all that complicated science stuff she likes. You think she wants to be playing unicorns all the time? 'Course not! But she still finds ways to enjoy herself so she can spend time with Agnes."
Edith raised a brow, thinking back to this morning. As she reasoned, there was no way Agnes had made that thorough Chutes & Ladders inspired game on her own. Margo clearly had a large part to play in designing it, based on the many complicated layers it had…
"If you wanna spend time with your sisters, then what's stopping you?" Lucy continued, prematurely ceasing that thought. "And like I said, Agnes probably didn't know she was hurting you when she said that. She's a little younger than you, and she probably doesn't understand what real hate is just yet."
With that, she reached forward and put a comforting hand on Edith's shoulder, granting her full attention.
"So remember, no matter what, you're still her big sister. No unicorn is ever gonna change that..."
Edith, in an instant, smiled as bright as the sun.
Clearly filled with glee again, she wrapped her arms around Lucy's shoulders and held onto her, prompting the AVL agent to reply with her own embrace.
"Thanks, mom." She muttered softly.
The young girl then let go and raced for the door, but just before she could leave, Lucy turned and made one last addendum to her pep talk.
"And remember, kiddo!" She said, halting Edith and once again getting her attention. "You remind me a lot of younger me, and I used to suck at talking about my feelings. But sometimes, it's good to remind people what you do feel about them, y'know."
The eleven-year-old paused to consider that for a few seconds, but when she realized what her mother was referring to, she gave a prompt nod and darted out of the room. Lucy watched after her with a bright smile, glad to see the happy energy return in her.
She might be quiet at times, but the middle child of the household was a lot more complicated and unique than most people would initially think. If the AVL agent had one goal, it would be to help Edith realize just how unique she was.
Having someone to do that was important, something Lucy knew all too well…
Leaving the bedroom to head back downstairs, she bumped into Gru in the hallway, who appeared equally as concerned as Lucy did when Edith was 'missing' earlier.
"There yoo are!" His slight worry traded out for a grin, one of which she enthusiastically returned. "Yoo said yoo were getting de gurls, like, ten minutes ago. What have yoo been doing?"
Lucy shrugged nonchalantly.
"Just being a great mom." She then leaped into a sudden fighting pose, one akin to her 'Bake My Day' escapade a few years ago. "Either that, or I was kidnapped by an evil alien race and had to Krav Maga my way over three different planets in the most epic space battle of all time! Whatever sounds cooler…"
Gru rolled his eyes as his wife laughed and straightened again, unable to hold back a loving chuckle of his own. "Yoo never cease to amaze me, yoo know that?"
Lucy, in an instant, smiled as bright as the sun.
A few hours later, Edith was alone in the girls' bedroom, sat atop the stool in front of the easel. She was hastily adding the final touches to her latest drawing, with speed taking priority over precision. That made some parts of the crayon figures a tad messier than she desired. However, the pace was necessary. Bedtime was fast approaching, and she simply had to get it finished before then.
Thankfully, with a few minutes to spare, she added the final dabble of color. Grinning, she lifted the paper up to gleefully admire it, proud of herself and her creation. However, such pride was short-lived, as when the sound of the door swinging open hit her eardrums, she instantly hid it behind her back.
A pajama-adorned Agnes came waddling into the room, humming a jolly tune to herself as she flew her toy unicorn around like a jet plane. Edith nervously watched her for a moment, contemplating the best way to do this. She absolutely hated these kinds of situations. She knew she wasn't an easily frightened person, but she just couldn't deny, this always played on her nerves. Unleashing a courage-fueling sigh, she stood from the stool and eventually spoke up.
The eight-year-old stopped, attention stolen from unicorn-jetting. "Yeah?"
Edith fell silent again and averted eye contact, a subtle frown appearing. Why did she have so much difficulty with this? It wasn't like Agnes was intimidating. Rather, she was up there with the friendliest and most welcoming people in the whole world. Still, something in her head was causing her a lot of trouble, and whatever it was, Edith was sick of it.
Walking towards her, she ditched her thoughts and forced herself to continue.
"I, uhh…I enjoyed playing princesses and ninjas and stuff with you today. That board game was actually kinda cool too." Agnes instantly beamed up at her, which she had to admit, put her to ease somewhat. Like Lucy said, it really wasn't difficult to please her. "So, I…made you this."
Pulling the drawing from behind her back, Edith offered it to her sister, whose eyes widened in shocked glee. For a moment, the little girl could barely believe her eyes, but when she fully clocked that Edith had really made her a drawing, the joy-filled her at pace. When was the last time she'd done that? It had certainly been a while. Squealing, Agnes ecstatically took it from the older girl and analyzed the color-covered paper deeply.
"Woahhhh!" She exclaimed, gawking down at it. Figures of a princess, a ninja, and a few minions littered the edges of the drawing, but what captured her attention the most, was what graced the center. There was a large yellow circle, one of which was surrounded by crowns and held a jeweled unicorn horn in the middle. "Is that a unicorn princess badge!?"
"Umm, yeah." Edith couldn't hide how lame she thought a unicorn princess badge was. However, she also couldn't suppress the proud smirk on her face, as she was enjoying her sister's enthused reaction way more. "That officially makes you a unicorn princess. Now you can rule the world and keep everyone safe, just like mom and dad…"
Agnes, releasing yet another delighted screech, jumped up and down on the spot in complete elation. Edith would've likely considered this an overreaction, if it wasn't her drawing that was provoking such joy.
"This is so awesome! Thank you, Edith!" The pony-tailed girl came to a stop and smiled elatedly at her big sister, holding her amazing new badge to her chest protectively. "I love you."
Edith, taking a moment to awkwardly rub her arm, returned the smile.
"I…I love you, too."
Agnes's expression brightened even more. "You do!?"
Edith, slightly dumbfounded, scoffed and turned away to disappointedly shake her head.
When was the last time she'd said that to her? It must've been a while, long enough for it to legitimately provoke shock anyway. Thinking about it, she'd probably yelled at her to leave her alone a lot more than she'd said, 'I love you'. Turning back, she gave the younger girl a much firmer expression, wanting only to set this straight...
"Yes, Agnes! Of course I do!" Edith soon dropped the serious look, to opt for a soft smile. "Even though you're super annoying, I'll never ever hate you. You're my little sis…"
She thought it was surely impossible. But, at unprecedented speed, she watched Agnes elevate to another level of excitement, to the point where she looked armed to detonate. Rather than exploding though, her younger sister darted forward and wrapped her arms around Edith's neck, almost startling her off her feet.
Grinning warmly, she soon returned the embrace. Although, she was actually having some difficulty in maintaining the hug. The eight-year-old was very, very giddy, to where she felt like she was holding a washing machine. Regardless, she pushed through the struggle and brought her little sister closer.
Edith honestly couldn't remember the last time she'd made someone so frantically happy, and it was over some stupid drawing of a ridiculous-looking princess badge.
That was pretty cool…
The next morning, a green car pulled up outside the mansion, allowing a happy Margo to emerge from the back seats. After bidding her friends farewell, she approached the front door and entered the home, which seemed curiously silent. Yes, it was still early, but the mornings never stopped the Gru household from creating noise. She was about to raise a puzzled eyebrow, if it weren't for the childlike giggles that interrupted such a thought.
Smiling to herself, she wandered through the hallway and entered the living room, where she found Edith and Agnes, watching TV on the crocodile couch. From there, Margo was met by more oddities. First, this was too early for Edith to be awake. Second, there was a very sappy, glitzy cartoon on television. And third, they weren't paying it much attention, rather opting to simply talk to each other…
However, before the fourteen-year-old could fully process the sight, Agnes spun around and elatedly sprinted towards her.
"Margo! You're home!"
She wrapped her arms around her waist, prompting Margo to giggle and respond with a hug of her own. "Haha, yep! Did you miss me?"
"Yeah…" Agnes muttered lowly. She pulled away and peered up at her older sister, her expression muted and unreadable. That was another oddity. If Agnes was anything in the whole world, she was simple to read. "Did you enjoy your sleepover?"
"Yeah, it was so much fun!" Margo happily replied, complemented by an excited nod. Her attention was then momentarily caught by the 'Chutes & Ladders' box, which had carelessly been left on the floor beside the shelf. Beginning to understand her sister's weird look, she softened her smile. "But, uhhh…I've really missed it around here. Wanna play something?"
Within an instant, Agnes's expression became readable again. How else do you interpret a glowing smile coupled with a thrilled nod? Grabbing her hand, the eight-year-old thundered towards the hallway, eager to take Margo and re-immerse herself into her make-believe world. She had so many new things to show her!
But that's when she came to a halt.
Throughout their conversation, Edith had been attentively watching her sisters, but the moment Agnes looked back at the couch, she turned away and acted like she'd been watching TV. Her attempt at appearing casual might've worked, if she wasn't pretending to watch a sickly-sweet cartoon drenched in girly sparkles and glitter. That just didn't make any sense.
"Edith?" Agnes spoke up. The tomboy chose to ignore her at first, but when the little girl wandered right in front of her, she had no choice but to give up some attention. "Wanna play with us?"
Edith silently focused on her for near five seconds, unsure of what to say. Disregarding their little mishap, yesterday was pretty fun. She got to spend a few hours with her sister, and somehow, their unicorn-princess game hadn't been that bad…
But then, her gaze veered towards Margo, who met it and judgingly crossed her arms. She thought back to the photo album, to the times they would always play together. Sighing, Edith put her head down and shrugged.
"It's fine, Agnes. Just go play with Marg-"
"Please!" Agnes practically leaped forward to get closer, startling the eleven-year-old a ton. "The kingdom needs its ninja…"
She never would've thought such simple words could touch her so greatly, yet here Edith was, smiling warmly from ear to ear. She recalled Lucy's closet pep-talk. Unicorn games might be sickeningly boring on the surface, but if she truly wanted to spend time with her sisters, then maybe they don't have to be. Considering that, Agnes was totally right!
The kingdom does need its ninja…
"Alright." Edith said, nodding.
Squealing happily, Agnes returned to her energetic sprint for the hallway, as Edith rose from the couch and enthusiastically followed her. Margo, raising a curious eyebrow, watched the youngest sibling run off with a highly puzzled look. Then, as Edith approached, she handed the middle child a skeptical frown.
"You know she just wants to play unicorns and stuff, right?"
Edith, without a moment of hesitation, gave an uncaring shrug.
Blinking in shock, Margo watched the eleven-year-old follow Agnes out of the room, almost refusing to believe her own ears. Edith, the girl who vehemently hates every stereotypical girly girl hobby in existence, was okay with playing unicorns? The same girl who, just last week, had yelled at Agnes to stop pestering her about doing that very thing? It had been a long while since she'd last seen the day.
What on earth had happened during her sleepover?
Unlocking her arms, she simply observed her siblings, running upstairs to their bedroom in excitement. Agnes was joyfully yelling something about a kingdom being in danger from evil candy elves, and with a big smile, Edith was nodding along and yelling something about a new samurai who needed their first fight.
At that point, it clicked.
Margo smiled, proud of her little sister.
So, there's my story! I hope it was a good read :)
If you know anything about my past work, the inspiration behind this whole thing is probably pretty obvious. I just love giving Edith the attention that she fully deserves! The full return of her ninja hobby seemed like another good way to do that, since Illumination apparently forgot about it in the third movie. I honestly think it could lead to some good plotlines, but maybe that's just me…
As for Agnes in this story, I've always imagined her as A LOT more innocent and childish than her siblings, which makes sense considering she's the youngest lol. But having her believe that her own sister hates her just because she tells her to go away at times is something that I can see her thinking. As Lucy said, she likely doesn't understand the real meaning of hate, so maybe she would take Edith's disinterest in playing unicorns with her in the wrong way. I dunno, maybe that's just me again haha.
Anyway, if you choose to review and tell me what you thought of this, it's highly appreciated!