If you asked Lilo which of Jumba's experiments was the most dangerous, she'd say, "None of them are dangerous, if you learn to understand them!"
If you asked Stitch, he would proudly point to himself and say, "Meega!"
Pleakley? He would immediately pull out a list and bring up 627 and the one dubbed, "Leroy." He was the only one who considered the now-inactive Experiments in his lineup.
The other Cousins' answers would have been rather mixed with bias. Some maintained it was themselves, others believed it was Sparky in the lighthouse, a few said Angel, but most agreed that it was, hands down, Stitch- Jumba's perfect creation.
Jumba's answer, however, would have been, "625."
No one else would understand. They would look over at Reuben, making a sandwich and lounging on a branch, laughing at something ridiculous his companion has said, and just shake their heads in confusion.
But none of them knew Reuben the way Jumba did. None of them knew what he was capable of.
When Experiment 625 was activated for the first time, it was utter havoc and chaos. In the beginning, all the little yellow monstrosity had was his programming- and the first thing he did was break out of the containment tube. Jumba could only watch, yelling for him to stop, as the little furry creature tore his lab apart.
The experiment was a success, but Jumba feared he would never be able to control it.
But then the strangest thing happened.
It had been mere minutes since his little monster broke through the glass and began slashing, ripping, shredding, tearing everything apart. An expression, an expression Jumba couldn't place, fell over his face as he stopped and stared at the sparking innards of the computer he had just torn out. The wicked snarl, squinting of his eyes, fell away, replace by a crease and an almost soft frown.
The silence rang clear around them, interrupted only as a panel fell off the wall. Jumba could practically see the thoughts behind those rounded eyes.
625 looked up at Jumba. "W... why... did I... do that?" he asked slowly, his speech finally catching up to him.
Jumba rubbed the back of his neck, looking around at the extensive damage his creation had wrought in just three minutes. "Because," he said, "that is your programming. You are Experiment 625, and I am your creator, Jumba Jookiba."
"You were created as genetic experiment by Jumba," the Kweltikwaan told him. "To destroy is your purpose."
The understanding in the little experiment's eyes told Jumba everything he needed to know.
625 didn't want to destroy.
"That's no purpose at all," the experiment said bitterly, dropping the pieces of the computer and turning away.
Experiment 625 was incredibly powerful. He was the ultimate weapon. But he was also incredibly intelligent- and that intelligence quickly gave way to free will, turning the little monstrosity away from his own program within five minutes of his existence.
For such a new, intelligent creature, Jumba realized, one who could put pieces together in seconds flat, such an existence wasn't a happy one.
Jumba had failed again.
Yet there was a strange feeling, almost like pity, in the alien's stomach as he watched his experiment look around at the wreckage. It was the first experiment to not listen to him and bow down to programming- the first experiment to react so violently, then calm just as fast. To come to realize that life had no meaning when your purpose was to take all meaning from others.
The first experiment to truly act like a person, rather than an animal.
"Perhaps Jumba can be offering 625 new purpose," he suggested, walking over to the smaller creature. 625 had looked up at him with eyes much more lifeless than they had been, in that moment between destruction and rejection. "See, Jumba is needing help in lab, and if 625 is not wanting to be destruction bringer, perhaps 625 can be Jumba's helper."
It wasn't a true purpose, Jumba knew, and deep down 625 would always know that too. But it was the best he could do.
So they worked together, 625 putting his incredible power to the test by helping repair his lab, his incredible intelligence to helping Jumba with inventions and experiments until the day Jumba was finally ready to activate 626.
625 had called it a bad feeling that morning, a feeling that led 625 suggesting Jumba dehydrate all active experiments and put off 626's activation. Jumba only half listened.
Now, almost four years later, Jumba wondered what exactly 625- now Reuben- had known when he advised Jumba to hide the evidence of his illegal experiments.
But he never asked.
Instead Jumba laughed with Pleakley as Lilo and Stitch made up stories and games, and watched with one eye as Reuben, playing his own laugh at Gantu's expense, quietly watched everyone.
Jumba saw the way those eyes, which knew too much from the very start, scanned everything. Observed the situation. Understood what they were seeing.
Perhaps Jumba was the only one who saw those thoughts, faster than light, crossing through those all-too-knowing eyes.
Every strength. Every weakness. Every word, every tone shift, every double meaning, every backhanded comment- everything.
It was one thing, to see the experiment whom used to be his closest companion observing everyone while refusing to use his powers- it was one thing to see Reuben watching when he was in that strange state of depression and apathy that he had existed in for what felt like years now.
It was a whole other to see him watching after regaining that spark that Jumba had not seen since he was created. To see him watching while fixing something on the ceiling for Gantu, or when he rattled off facts for Pleakley to note down.
When Reuben had a purpose, he was dangerous.
When Reuben had a reason, he was the most dangerous of all.
And Jumba was, perhaps, the only person who knew