Megamind was not a brain surgeon.

Not certified, not technically. He could handle blood, but he didn't like cutting flesh, and certainly not bone. His hands shook just thinking about sawing through the skull, that tiny eggshell. You could never see how deep you were cutting, how hard you were supposed to press. And the pieces and the dust and the sound.

"It's okay, sir," said Minion.

Megamind knew how nervous Minion was. He was trying to hide it, but he was overcompensating. He held too still, and his voice was almost flat. His orb was sitting in the folds of a towel to keep it from rolling.

Megamind taped all the wires and extension cords safely to the floor. He closed the windows, locked the door, and turned the humidifier on. Five brain bots were standing by, watching him anxiously.

All the tools were clean and ready. He laid them open and showed Minion. He explained in a trembling voice what each of them was for, and what he was going to do. Minion already knew, because they had gone through it countless times together, but his eyes were a little too wide.

"Yep, you got this sir. You've taken the class, you've gotten a little practice, and you're way more qualified to do this than anyone else. Plus I-I'm a tough fish, right, sir?"

"Tougher than anyone else I know, Minion," said Megamind. He turned on the mist machine, and the thin spray of cool water moistened the air. He'd have to turn it off once the brain was exposed, but for now it would make things a little bit easier.

He wandered around the room a bit longer, cleaning things, moving things, making sure everything was perfect and within reach, and that nothing could possibly go wrong. What was the fire extinguisher doing all the way over there? Better go get that...

Minion watching him, fluttering his fins. "Um, everything okay?"

Now he was scrubbing the sink. "Yup! Or course! Perfect! Just getting ready."

"The brain bots already cleaned the sink, sir."

"That was hours ago! And how do we know they got the drain? It must be checked Minion. Ah! I need to disable the garbage disposal. Don't want that to go off if you get stuck in there, right?"

"Sir! I'm not going to end up in the drain! Are you even going to use that sink?"

Sticking out his lip, Megamind turned on the water and very deliberately washed his hands under it.

"Heh!" Minion laughed despite himself. He swam in a tight circle around the orb and sank to the bottom, partly concealed behind the towel. Megamind frowned, drying his hands quietly. He clopped over to the table and hesitated, staring at the top of Minion's head.

"You okay?"


If Megamind was scared, Minion must be terrified. He put a hand on the glass, rubbing softly so Minion would hear him. He forced a grin. "After this implant, you'll be able to control your body all by yourself. No more remote, Minion! You'll be your own man! But it can wait i-if you want. I wouldn't mind a little more practice, heheh, but, I mean, if you're ready..."

Minion shifted, hiding his face against the bowl. "I'm ready, just really nervous, sir. Sorry..."

"Yeah, it's okay," said Megamind. "I am too."

He stared at Minion's head. The scales between his upper fins were hard and flat, like a smooth, shiny helmet. Those would have to be removed before he could start cutting. He'd damage as few as possible, but the interlocking pattern could cause complications...

"There might be some scarring," he said. "But I think the scales will grow back."

"I'm okay with that," whispered Minion.

"I think you're skull will repair itself similarly to a human, with a little bit of glue and all that, but I've engineered some medicines that should help speed the process, if necessary."

"Thank you, sir."

"Yeah, I... Are you okay? Can you look at me?"

Minion hesitated, then looked up. His eyes were wide and shining. His entire tiny body was locked with tension.

Megamind opened up the glass orb and put a hand supporting hand on Minion's side. "I'm sorry we couldn't get anyone else to do this for you. I don't trust anyone else with this, but if you're not comfortable, we can see if we can kidnap someone and maybe get them to make sure I'm doing it right..."

"No," whispered Minion. "I trust you, sir. You know what you're doing, you've practiced. B-but I'm just a tiny fish! F-fish aren't built for this, our bones don't heal when they're broken-"

"Yours do."

Minion's lip began to tremble. He gasped involuntarily and hid his face again. "We don't know what mine can do! I'm a mystery! I'm sorry, sir, I know we've done X-rays and MRIs and things, but those aren't meant for fish, and we don't know how accurate they are! I'm sorry, sir! I don't wanna make you do this if you're scared, and I don't want you to be alone-"

"No, Minion! I can handle it. You'll go to sleep for a few hours, and you'll wake up nice and cozy in the big tank, and I'm going to be right there with you. Everything is going to be fine. Right?"

Minion whimpered and pushed back against his hand. "I really wanna control my own body, sir."

"I know."

He lifted Minion out of the bowl and set him down carefully in a deep plastic basin. He closed little metal braces securely around Minion's head to keep him still. His wide amber eyes watched Megamind's shaking hands.

"D-do you wanna turn on some music like usual, sir? T-to help you stay calm?"

Megamind stretched a surgical mask over the lower half of his face and slipped gloves on under the table as quietly as he could. "I'm not sure that would be appropriate."

"I guess not..."

He took the sterile syringe, full of sedative, and put a hand over Minion's head, holding his left fin steady between his fingers so he could insert the needle into his soft side. They could feel each other trembling.

"When this is over," Megamind's voice was muffled by the mask. "We're gonna build you the coolest robot body ever, okay?"

"Can't wait," Minion gasped.

Megamind squeezed the syringe the tiniest bit. Very little was needed. "I love you, you courageous carnivore."

"I love... you too... sir..."