"And you're sure the island's defense systems are dealt with?"
"Ah yes, they're all disabled. Those...heroes your fiancé has invited won't face any resistance." Billiam Milliam glanced over at the robot standing next to Lord Boxman. "Nor...him."
Mr Logic nodded, as Billiam sneered. He leaned in towards his esteemed guest, whispering so that the robot couldn't hear.
"So, why did you select him as your best man, again?"
"It's a long story." Still not satisfied, Billiam huffed, but then called over another villain that Boxman didn't recognize. "Oh, also, I hope you don't mind that I've asked my dear friend the Alternate Universe Warlock to officiate. He finally got out of prison recently for his use of AU magic, and I felt this was an excellent time to re-integrate him into villain high society."
Boxman looked the small warlock over, confused. "I thought Ernesto was officiating?"
"He...wasn't as prepared as he'd wanted to be." The warlock pointed to the large robot in a chair at the front of Boxman's side of the aisle, with his siblings trying desperately to contain his panicked sobbing. "He says he'll still try to DJ the reception. But, don't you worry my terrible sir, I'm an ordained minister in no less than 23 different universes!"
He thought for a moment. "No, wait, 24. I forgot about that one where you're an angel and you're marrying this snake demon guy with sunglasses."
"Right..." Boxman merely brushed the two off, turning back to Mr Logic. "Okay, so Billiam's got his island all set up as the venue, Mecha Maw has the chairs for the rest of the night, the Kaktus Krew got all their 'floral' arrangements done…" He lightly kicked a small potted cactus at his feet.
"Cosma's...doing her thing." He looked at the sky, and at the barely-visible giant dragon darting between the stars, literally pushing them into the ideal positions. "That cantaloupe guy said the catering's good to go, Galge...whatever and Vormulax are setting up for the reception, the guests are mostly here. And you've got your speech ready, right?"
"It is completed and stored within my hard drive." He laughed a little to himself. "I believe I have even successfully crafted a 'joke,' and am eager to see if the audience finds it as humorous as I do."
"I know I'm missing something though..."
Logic processed the massive list of preparations, mentally checking off items as Boxman mentioned them. "Do you have your own speeches prepared? Your vows?"
"Of course! I've got them right..." He pulled a few notecards out from a pocket inside his suit and inspected them. His eyes went wide for a brief moment, and he replaced the cards, sweating. "Yep. No problem there."
Logic made a few more calculations. "Then, I recommend you take these final few minutes to relax. As 95% of the preparations are complete, perhaps you have merely forgotten to breathe."
Boxman did so, calming as he exhaled, but was interrupted by some muffled grunting and growling nearby. The wedding was set to take place in a clearing on one of Billiam's collection of deserted tropical islands, which the gold-plated man had insisted was free of any wild animals that may interrupt the ceremony. The two entered the surrounding bushes in search of the source of the noise, finding Mikayla batting at and chewing on the large purple bow tied around her neck.
"Mikayla, please don't play with that..." Boxman carefully squatted down among the plants and tidied her bow a little, and satisfied, motioned for her to return to the rest of her siblings. He fondly watched his children for a few more seconds as they chatted in their seats -- Shannon's green dress was tied with a bow matching Mikayla's, and all of the boys and Fink wore tuxedos with green and purple accents, with the exception of the ever-present cowboy hat on Darrell's head. Raymond had truly outdone himself on all of the outfits, and Boxman couldn't help but smile at the green robot, proud.
"Lad, one moment," Logic started as he stood. The robot held out his thumb in front of Boxman's mouth, to his confusion. "Saliva, please." He licked the metal thumb, which Logic then ran over a stray lock of hair that had come unstyled, returning it to its proper place.
"If nothing else, I calculate a 100% chance your hair will be perfect tonight, as will Professor Venomous'. I will see to that." The robot smiled, confident.
Curious, Boxman scanned the area, finally catching a glimpse of the professor, standing a few feet from the crowd. Logic was right, his hair looked gorgeous, with that cowlick he had always swore was un-fixable neatly combed and slicked down, and that slight gray he'd begun to develop dyed back to his natural black. Venomous seemed to feel Boxman's eyes on him, and turned, just as the cyborg hurriedly glanced away.
It was bad luck to see the bride on her wedding day, and even with two grooms, Boxman didn't want to take too many risks.
Venomous caught his husband-to-be looking away, though, and chuckled at his reaction, content with just a peek as he returned to greeting their guests. Unfortunately, though almost all of the villains the two invited had already arrived, the professor's own guests were quite late...
To his surprise, though, the first finally made his way to the venue, followed by his plus-one, and Venomous smiled as he took a second to recognize just who stood before him.
"Oh, hey there...Kiddo." Except, as he studied his son more closely, he realized KO was not just a kid anymore, now a teenager almost as tall as him, with some impressive muscles bulging out of his tuxedo vest.
"Hey. It's been a while, uh...Dad." KO did his best to smile, reluctantly. "Mom said she's...happy for you." The two slowly came together in an almost painful, involuntary hug that lasted all of one second before they snapped back to their original awkward stances.
They stared at each other for a while, before KO finally broke eye contact, glancing over at the Professor's almost empty side of the aisle, and lightly tapping the teenage kappa next to him on the shoulder. "Oh, there's Ms Quantum. Think we'll just go, um, sit down with her and say hi. You probably got more guests to greet."
Dendy politely nodded as she followed his hasty exit, muttering a small "Congratulations!" Venomous watched as the two found their chairs in the front row, right next to their former teacher -- Boxman had sent invitations to his entire client list throughout Boxmore's history, and the ex-villain had surprisingly accepted, though she seemed to prefer her own company. KO slumped and held his head while his friends tried to calm him.
Venomous stood, alone, his eyes drifting over to Boxman's side -- in stark contrast to his, almost every chair was filled, with villains or various robot clones. In the very back, even Steamborg knelt on the ground, keeping his rocky bulk out of everyone's way, and waved at the professor once he realized he'd been noticed.
"Hey," he shouted up at the giant robot, towards the piece of paper he wore with a makeshift eye drawn on it, now that even his googly eye had been destroyed. "I'm not sure if they're actually coming yet, but I did invite the other members of POINT. Are you going to be okay with that?"
"STEAMBORG OKAY WITH THAT," the robot shouted back, despite his loud voice being clearly audible across the island. "STEAMBORG IS REPROGRAMMED, REVENGE NOT NECESSARY. ALSO, DOCTOR WEAKPOINT SENDS REGRETS. CANNOT MAKE IT."
Venomous scanned the guests again, realizing that his old nemesis was indeed absent, as usual. "I understand! Thanks for coming!"
He glanced once more towards his empty section, and sighed. He really did screw it all up, if the only people actually there for him were a complete stranger and two reluctant guests. And Fink, he reminded himself, as he noticed his teenage minion jogging down the aisle towards him.
"We finally got Ernesto to stop crying. What's the status over here?"
Venomous almost wanted to cry himself, feeling unworthy next to his beautiful little girl, but pushed the thought out of his mind. No more feeling sorry for himself, he'd promised.
"You've got the rings, right Fink?"
She held them up, attached to a small purple pillow, to his approval. "And...the robots?"
"They've got their decoys, Boss." Fink flashed him an "OK" gesture. "So, when we all come up, be sure to take 'em from me!"
"Will do. And...thanks so much for compromising with them on who gets to be the ring-bearer." He smiled, embracing his minion tightly, but then saw another guest arriving over her shoulder. "Hey, KO and his friend are here already, why don't you go hang out with them? They're probably feeling a little out of place."
Fink grimaced, but once she noticed the woman in full military dress approaching she relented. "Fine..."
As she left, Venomous took a deep breath, then held out his hand, which Foxtail shook, hesitant but firm.
"I'm sorry, I don't think I'll stay for the reception." She gazed nervously at the villain crowd. "We'll see. But, I figured at least one of us should be at the wedding. To represent the team."
Venomous frowned, realizing she was indeed alone. "So, the others aren't coming? Greyman, Rippy?"
"I see," he sighed. "Foxtail...I really appreciate you being here for everyone. I know this can't be easy for you."
"It really ain't." Foxtail caught herself glaring at her former teammate, and shook her head, trying her best to soften her expression. "But, they wanted me to let you know, they all wish you the best, Laser."
She pinched her nose. "I mean, Professor. Sorry."
"It's okay." As she tried to leave, Venomous caught her for one last thing. "Hey, sorry to ask, but when you sit down can you tell Fink to come meet me? Think we're ready to get started, now that everyone's here."
Foxtail smiled, and nodded, making her way to the front of the empty section. She greeted KO with a big hug and a loud, hearty "Sugar cube!" before sending the rat girl back to her boss' side.
"All good?" she asked, looking over both their outfits and making sure they looked acceptable.
"All good." Fink dashed towards Boxman and the robots to inform them, and Venomous wiped away a single stray tear, as he made his way down the aisle.
While his fiancé took his place at the altar and waited, Boxman moved to the back of the clearing, along with all of the children, including Fink.
"Ernesto, are you sure you're alright?"
"I'm...I'm fine." The robot wiped away more tears, his eye somehow completely red. The music started and he jumped, but Boxman helped him straighten up and held his arm securely.
"Come on, I'm the one who's getting married, I should be more of a mess! But, you can cry all you want after you give me away."
"R-Right," Ernesto whimpered, and did his best to keep it together as he led his father. Behind them, Boxmore's little robo-dog, Double Beat, dutifully carried a small basket strapped to her back, which Mikayla periodically dug her claws into for flowers, and she rather forcefully threw them towards guests on either side of the aisle. One even managed to stab Billiam Milliam right in the eye, and seeing the resulting chaos Fink whooped in delight.
"Hang on, I gotta get in on this!" Still at the back of the aisle with the rest of the robots, she shoved her pillow and its rings into Jethro's hands and caught up with the flower girls, cackling as she doubled their floral assault. Boxman simply looked back at her and laughed, the activity distracting him from his own tears as he approached the altar, and looked up at Venomous. The man held his hand down to the cyborg, and gently helped him up the steps, as Ernesto rushed back to his seat to start sobbing anew.
Though it took a moment, Boxman managed to tear his eyes from the radiant purple man in front of him, to gaze out at the crowd, and at all the empty chairs behind him.
"Ah-hemp!" He snapped his fingers, and immediately an army of Darrells, Shannons, and Raymonds made their way out of the bushes, filling in those chairs to at least give the appearance of a full house. He nodded expectantly to Venomous, whose eyes seemed to sparkle even more at the gesture.
With both grooms finally ready, the Alternate Universe Warlock cleared his throat, and addressed the crowd, in his usual booming voice.
"Ladies, gentlemen, robots of all ages..." His gaze drifted across the venue. "...And Dogmun. We're here today to join these two wicked souls, Shadowy..." The warlock glanced again at the professor as the crowd looked on, confused. "I'm sorry, Professor Venomous, and Lord Box-Max...sorry, Man, Lord Box man ...in the most unholy matrimony."
He whispered to the couple, "Sorry, I got my realities a little confused there!" Venomous shook his head in embarrassment, while Boxman motioned for him to continue.
"Anyways. Can we have the rings, please?"
At their cue, Darrell, Shannon, Raymond, and Jethro charged down the aisle, the four carrying a collected five small purple pillows with two rings attached to each. The robots jostled for position, each trying to make it to the altar first, with Shannon ultimately winning their private competition. Her brothers all lined up next to her, sharing the same tearful smile.
"Wait," Venomous whispered, "which one of those did Fink give you?"
The robots looked at each other nervously, particularly at Jethro, who happened to be holding the duplicate set of rings. He shrugged, and offered both up for inspection. Boxman quickly pointed out the one on the left, and Venomous took it, allowing all four robots to retake their seats (and console Ernesto yet again, as his wailing grew just a little too loud).
He sighed as he removed the rings and realized they were much lighter than expected, and felt like cheap plastic decoys as he slipped Boxman's onto his right hand.
Still, satisfied that the two had their rings, the warlock continued. "Now, I understand they've chosen to write their own vows, so I'll let them take it from here. Professor?"
Venomous shuddered, and both men pulled out notecards from their suit pockets. Why did he have to go first? But, he noticed Boxman gulp as he looked down at his cards, and figured he may as well save his groom at least a little anxiety.
His voice shook as he read the first of his lines. "I...I turned to villainy...because I got tired of...saving the world, and wanted to...destroy it, instead..."
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath -- now with at least the first sentence out of the way, he tried to keep the momentum going as he calmly read on.
"Villainy turned out to be my passion, the thing I was best at. I only wanted to destroy the things I once tried to protect, and I did succeed, but mainly the things I...didn't plan to."
He glanced out over the guests, at Foxtail, at KO, at Fink, at all the robots that filled the otherwise empty spaces, and back at Boxman, and sighed, continuing. "I destroyed my team, my friendships, my family, my home, even a whole planet."
He teared up again, barely holding them back. "It was all for power...but I realized, it was never power that made me happy. All this time, throughout everything, the thing that made me happiest...was you."
Boxman smiled at him, and he paused, trying to regain his composure. "I vow to be yours, if you'll still have me, Box."
"And I vow to have you, Professor. Until the end of the world." Boxman tipped his notecards, revealing to Venomous, and only to Venomous, that they were completely blank. He shrugged, and ripped up the cards, flinging them out into the audience -- always the dramatic one, Ven mused to himself.
"Or, you know, whatever we end up destroying. Together."
He held Venomous' hands in his own. "I missed you, PV, and I missed doing petty villainy with you. I forgive you. I love you."
"Box..." Venomous couldn't resist as he pulled the smaller man into a kiss, and neither could Boxman, as he held him tightly, even disturbing that perfect hair as he stroked it with his chicken claw.
"Erm, wait, this isn't one of those universes where you kiss without me telling you to, is it?"
Venomous looked back towards the warlock as he pulled away, blushing a deep purple. "S-Sorry. Go ahead."
He cleared his throat. "Well, I'll make it quick. Do you, Lord Boxman, take Professor Venomous to be your husband?"
"I already said I do."
"Right, right." He laughed, nervously. "And Professor Venomous, do you-"
"Okay then. By the power vested in me in 24 separate alternate universes, I pronounce you evil husband and evil husband." He smiled up at the two. "Go ahead, for real this time."
The second kiss was even better than the first.
With the actual ceremony concluded, Billiam Milliam personally led the party to another clearing, this one set up with numerous tables, each decorated with alternating purple and green tablecloths and a tidy potted cactus centerpiece, and a dancefloor off to the side. One of the tables, a long one with seats all facing the rest of the area, was the first destination for the new husbands and their family.
Before they even got comfortable, though, Citrus Twisty floated over, and with a wave of her nubby arm two glasses of champagne appeared in front of the newlyweds, a glass of oil in front of each robot, and a plain bottle of orange soda in front of a relatively disappointed Fink.
"Here, it's probably gonna be a while before those metal guys over there get around to your table..." She motioned towards Billiam's waiters, still gathered off to the side. "I sure didn't want you all to be thirsty, especially after that long ceremony!!"
Venomous transferred a large potted cactus in front of him to the floor, and politely nodded. "Twisty, I wasn't even aware you were a full villain."
She giggled. "Yeah, it's amazing what one lost lawsuit on your record will do to your rep nowadays." She shrugged, and floated off. "Enjoy!"
Boxman moved to take a sip from his glass, but the professor tapped him on the shoulder, a stern look on his face. " One glass, remember? You know how you get with this stuff."
"Yeah, yeah, don't worry. I'll stick to soda after this."
On Boxman's other side, Mr Logic stood, holding his glass in one hand and accepting a microphone passed down the table to him in the other.
"Before I begin speaking, as Lord Boxman's best man, may I first propose a toast, to the newlyweds' health and success in their future endeavors." He smiled down at his best friend. "Even if those endeavors are quite disagreeable, and possibly illegal."
"What's the point if they're not ?" a voice cried out from a distant table, and muffled laughter spread throughout the reception. Boxman groaned, his nerves rising -- why did he think inviting a hero to speak to a villain audience would go over well?
"Just...get to the speech, Logic." He raised his glass, as did Venomous, and eventually each and every one of the guests, and they all collectively sipped to the couple's future.
"I will admit, though it was quite a surprise, for all of us, to learn Professor Venomous' origin as a hero, I find many things about their relationship and their marriage today now make much more sense, logically." Logic took another sip of his glass of oil. "For instance, the newlyweds actually first met a very long time ago, much longer than I believe most in this room would realize. And that day is still stored within my memory."
Boxman glanced up at him, alarmed. "Oh no."
"When we were still very young villains, Lad Boxman and I hatched our most diabolical plan yet: We would sneak into POINT's headquarters and pour his newest and deadliest robotic creation, the Nano-Junkfish, into their leader Foxtail's coffee."
" Oh no. " The eyes and ears of everyone in the room besides Boxman were trained onto Mr Logic, though, eager to hear the story that the cyborg had tried so, so hard to forget. Already, the wedding guests began to snicker, and his heart dropped.
"I easily spliced the building's security cameras into Boxmore's network, analyzed the heroes' routines, and worked out the most effective time and place for us to strike. But, Lad misinterpreted my calculations, and I believe even read my diagrams upside-down. It turned out that the coffee he poured them into belonged to Laserblast instead!"
The snickering turned to laughter, and Boxman hid his head in his hands. "Please don't tell them the rest of it," he quietly begged, though the robot ignored him, taking another sip of his oil. However, this time instead of setting it back onto the table gently, he came dangerously close to dropping the glass, and his voice took on an uncharacteristically jovial tone as he continued, beyond the point that a logical best man would normally stop.
"Laserblast then chased us both all the way back to Boxmore, firing upon us the entire way. I recall that I only required simple repairs upon our return, but Lad…" Logic suddenly giggled, taking a few seconds to regain his composure enough to continue. "...He could not sit down properly for three days, as several shots managed to hit their mark, right on his rear!"
At this, it seemed the entire island roared, and Boxman could only groan, his face turning bright red. He slumped over the table, and Venomous lightly rubbed his shoulders.
"Logic...please tell me that was your joke…"
Venomous heard a very loud, familiar laugh somewhere towards the back, and located Foxtail at an otherwise empty table, in hysterics at the story. To his relief, she'd stayed for the reception after all.
"And from that day on, until Lakewood Plaza Turbo began to take up all of his time and energy, Lad absolutely fixated on destroying Laserblast specifically! However, I always did suspect it was about more than petty revenge. He even insisted we include eye lasers on 60% of all future Boxmore models, as he claimed they were, and I quote, 'the sexiest superpower.'"
Now Venomous blushed, a shade of purple that complimented Boxman's red quite well.
"Oh, and Professor, please do not think I have omitted your own part in this." He pointed right to Venomous, who had to quickly bring one hand up to hide his blushing. "For I also recall a certain member of POINT then insisting, up until his mysterious disappearance, that he stake out and preemptively strike against Boxmore on his own, though without much accomplishment beyond allowing himself to be tied up over the lava vat and demonstrating his dramatic escape capabilities. Even after rebranding as a villain, Professor Venomous only employed a few Boxmore products into his schemes, so one must logically conclude he became one of Lord Boxman's most loyal customers for reasons beyond the robots!"
The robot drained the rest of his glass, and his soft voice finally incorporated some very faint slurring as he finished his longer-than-anticipated speech.
"Unfortunately, though, the rest of their story is beyond my era. By then, of course, I was a traitor to Boxmore, exiled to the plaza with nothing to my name, so my only view into how their romance blossomed was from the end of a charged arm cannon, or the occasional spiky fist." He winked down at Darrell, sitting next to him at the table. "At least, until Lad himself happened to suffer the same fate, twice. It would seem that poor Boxman just cannot help but be betrayed by his best friends!" He held his hand up over Boxman's head towards PV, who eventually high-fived him, extremely confused.
Logic's audience refused to settle, and he took the opportunity to comment to his friend, "I suppose I have successfully made two jokes." He smiled with pride, and obviously more than a little impairment.
"Wait a second. Is he...actually drunk? " Venomous whispered to the now completely mortified Boxman, and studied the crowd until he finally found Citrus Twisty, her soda face contorting a little as she desperately held back laughter.
Lesson learned: Never let an omnipotent prankster genie with a sick sense of humor bring the drinks, especially if she's handled them personally. He glanced up and down the table, at each of the robots. "Hey, take it easy on the oil, guys. I'm pretty sure Twisty spiked it with her magic."
Darrell looked hazily down at his fourth glass, and shrugged. "Oh well. Thank goodness I’m not a robo-teen anymore," he whispered back, smiling as he continued to listen to Logic's speech.
"But, regardless of their history, of their ups and downs, betrayals and redemptions, it truly does appear that the stars were aligned for them." He pointed towards the sky. "Literally. Thank you again for ensuring that, Ms Cosma."
The dragon nodded to him, and began to applaud, with the rest of the guests joining in.
As Boxman looked back out over the tables though, the applause barely even registered. They had all laughed at him. Not at the jokes, impressive as they were coming from a robot he specifically programmed to lack a sense of humor, but at him .
All those years, and he was still just a joke...
Venomous caught the tears beginning to fall down his still-red cheeks. "Hey, you okay?"
The cyborg suddenly shoved Logic back down into his chair. "How could you say those things? How DARE you!" Thankfully, Billiam's personal staff began serving another round of drinks, drawing all attention away from his outburst.
The robot merely looked up at him, dazed.
"Say...what things…?" He processed for far longer than usual, blushing. "Did I...give my speech already? My 'joke' about Cosma aligning the stars?"
"What do you mean 'Did I give my speech,', you just embarrassed me at my own wedding, right in front of all the other villains and-"
He looked back at Venomous, but to his surprise, he didn't share the guests' amusement. Rather, he calmly stared Boxman down, taking in a deep breath.
"Hey," he started, rubbing his thumb under his metal eye, to clear the tears that couldn't otherwise absorb into his skin. "He probably shouldn't have said most of that, but he was right. We really were meant for each other from the start, weren't we? Even if we didn't know it then."
Boxman paused for a second, listening to their guests still chattering, but Venomous redirected his focus again onto his face, and his patient, loving smile, until it finally worked its magic to defuse him.
As the two spoke, Logic just held his head, and woozily started away from the table. "I...will just go...freshen up. Please continue in my absence."
"You really got a point there, PV…" Boxman cleaned himself up, and laid his head onto his new husband's shoulder, sighing happily. "And you always manage to remind me, it doesn’t matter. Especially after tonight…"
Somewhere there was the sound of glass tinkling, and then suddenly cracking. The entire crowd turned to look at Steamborg, again sitting at the back on his own, with the broken shards of what had once been his glass and a fork falling from his massive stone hands. Slowly realizing that all eyes were now on him, the giant robot shouted an explanation:
"STEAMBORG WANT SMOOCHING!"
Laughter spread again throughout the reception area, as the guests turned then to the newlyweds, seeming to agree.
Boxman and Venomous did as well, and to everyone's approval, they gave each other a quick kiss.
Now that he finally had his chance, Venomous touched Boxman's hand for a moment, running a finger over that fake ring once again. He turned to Jethro, sitting at the very end of the table. "By the way, what did you guys do with those other rings?"
"Oh, uh…" The little robot tapped his fingers together. "We threw away all the decoys."
He stared at the rings on his fathers' hands, slowly realizing why he'd asked. "...Those are the decoys, aren't they." Venomous nodded, grimly.
"It's okay, we'll sift through the trash later."
A member of Billiam's personal chrome-plated staff rushed over, somehow balancing several plates of food along both arms, while identical waiters started weaving between tables to serve the guests. He sat in front of them plates containing a meal consisting entirely of watermelon and cantaloupe balls, cantaloupe slices, honeydew cubes...and an ear of roasted corn.
"Shoot, I should probably just take this with me." Ernesto picked up his melon plate and stood, carefully making his way down the table behind his siblings. "I promised Vormulax I'd sort out the wiring for the dancefloor before I got ready." He sped off, with the rest watching for a moment as he stopped Vormulax from simply melting a few uncooperative speakers in the distance.
Boxman studied his dinner, shooting a glare towards Cantalop out in the crowd, and sighed. "Well, guess that's what I get for letting him cater. I don't understand the corn, though, who brought that?"
Darrell cleared his metallic throat. "What, you don't want some of the best evil produce around at your wedding?" He glanced down at his own plate. "Glad I didn't bring my watermelons after all though…"
"Trust me, they did not fit in the car," Fink added, shivering and pushing the plate away. "Never looking at fruit juice the same way again."
"Aw, come on. Sure it took three hours to clean up in the hot sun, but it wasn't that bad!" Darrell had already inhaled his food, and looked sadly down the table at the rest of his family.
"Why don't you just ask these clowns for more?" Shannon suggested, pointing to a nearby waiter just standing around and waiting for orders. "That's, like, what they're there for."
"Nah, I'll just get it myself!" Darrell ducked under the tablecloth, emerging from the other side and dashing past the numerous waiters trying to stop him, even bringing out his arm cannon to blast a few out of the way, laughing.
She counted the empty oil glasses at his seat. "We're cutting him off at ten, right?"
Boxman rolled his organic eye. "Please. Do." He sat down his empty corn cob, and sighed at the rest of his food. "Geez, it's like we're already starting with dessert…"
It was as if his husband's words were sweeter than even the meal, and Venomous finally called that waiter over. "Hey, why don't we just skip ahead a little? Go ahead and start serving everyone cake."
"Ooh, are we havin' dessert?" Darrell literally leapt back into his seat, vaulting over the table and almost knocking Shannon over.
"Ugh, watch it!" Some of the melon balls from his plate rolled off onto her lap from the jump, and she lightly punched her brother in the shoulder and scrambled for a napkin.
At the sight of the dessert, though, Boxman frowned, and gently tapped Venomous' arm. "I thought I was doing the cake?" He pointed to a small, one-tier, homemade chocolate cake, sitting sadly on a nearby table next to a grand, five-tier, finely-decorated and clearly expensive one.
"Yours was...nice, Box." the professor hurriedly explained, "But, I was worried it wasn't big enough for all our guests, so I ordered a backup."
"Oh, you're so smart, PV!" He hugged his new husband, as Venomous sighed in relief. "You know what, let the guests have that one then, we can have mine all to ourselves!" Boxman glanced over to the chrome waiter and snapped his fingers, eventually summoning the chocolate slices to their table. Naturally, the instant Boxman received his, he started digging in. "Well, how is it?"
Venomous realized he'd simply been staring down at his piece, at its cracked and dried icing, and the small, lopsided heart cookies just stuck into its top. It almost looked like Boxman had tried to echo his own recent baking efforts, with even less-appetizing results.
He hesitantly took a bite. Despite how it looked on the outside, the inside was soft, and moist, and...wonderful. Just like him.
"It's definitely better than mine."
Boxman gently laid his claw onto Ven's hand. "Yeah, it is. But that's okay, I'll teach you how to bake, maybe after we get back from our honeymoon."
"I'd like that." Venomous requested another piece as he finished his off.
Across the reception area, though, the quiet preparations on the dancefloor suddenly grew in intensity, and a spotlight activated, shining down on a turntable with a large, purple robot standing behind it, wearing a multitude of gold chains and at least two hats.
"Are you ready, for DJ E-E-ERNESTO?" He employed an impressive scratching effect on his name, and with the flick of a few switches he activated dozens of lights around the dancefloor, signalling that it was finally open for business.
"I take it he had some of that oil, too," PV remarked, pushing aside his empty plate.
The cyborg next to him sighed. "No...he just gets like this when he's in DJ mode." He shook his head, with a guilty smile on his face. "You know, drama runs in the family..."
At this, Venomous cracked up, patting Boxman on the shoulder. "Trust me, I have definitely learned that by now."
The robot pointed right to them, his voice booming. "It's time for our couple to make their way down!
"Well, can't exactly refuse…" Hand in hand, the two made their way past a few tables, eventually stepping onto the floor. They gazed at the amused looks on each other's faces, mentally preparing themselves, but then Ernesto interrupted the moment with another announcement.
"And also, anyone who's interested in being the stars of our next wedding, make your way to the stage for this!" He held up a bouquet, and Boxman's eyes suddenly grew wide.
"Oh, I forgot about this…" He smacked his forehead, turning to Venomous. "Can...you do this part?"
His husband smiled down, but when he tried to pass on the bouquet it was refused. "Just...throw it. You've got a better arm than I do."
Boxman scanned the small crowd that had gathered behind him, but then shrugged, and prepared to just toss it over his shoulder randomly -- it wasn't like whoever caught the thing was any of his concern.
However, before he could do so, Venomous tapped him on the shoulder.
"Hm?" He glanced curiously towards the professor, who sighed, relieved he'd stopped him in time. "Did you have a request?"
"Throw it to Foxtail," he said quietly.
"Just trust me." He glanced at his former teammate one more time. "She...deserves it. And Greyman too."
Box stared at him for a few more seconds, trying to discern if this was some kind of elaborate joke, but shrugged again. "Well, you're the boss."
He jumped up, and effortlessly tossed the bouquet right into Foxtail's hands. She caught it on reflex, obviously not expecting to be the recipient, and instantly all the gathered villains' eyes were on the hero, but as she readied herself for a fight they cheered instead.
With that final task out of the way, Boxman leaned in close, laying his head onto Venomous' chest for a moment before taking a deep breath, and gripping his hands, getting into a strange pose that appeared to be a clumsy attempt at a waltz.
He muttered, anxious, "I had the kids show me a few moves, but I...hope you're okay with leading."
Venomous just smiled, and adjusted his arms to the correct positions, laying one hand across his back.
"So, what'd you pick for our song?" he asked.
"You'll see." Boxman turned to Ernesto. "Hit it!" The robot nodded in response, and started spinning the record, and immediately speakers surrounding the dancefloor came to life.
"Wait, is this…" He smiled as he recognized the tune, and squeezed Boxman's hand. It was certainly not a waltz, and the professor switched positions, leading in a much more energetic manner.
Boxman glanced up, following Venomous' steps carefully. "Hope you don't mind I requested this one specifically, PV." He nodded to Ernesto again, who raised the volume slightly.
Before the lyrics started, though, the robot flipped a switch on his turntable, and gave a thumbs-up towards the other side of the dancefloor. The two turned to see Raymond, Shannon, and Darrell crowded around Vormulax's karaoke machine, microphones in hand.
" I never said I wasn't gonna tell nobody...No baby... "
" But desperate lover, I can't keep it to myself...Oh no! "
"Okay, I didn't request that." Box shook his head, laughing.
" When we're together it's like hot coals...in a fire! "
" My body's burning so come on heat...my desire! " Darrell sang completely off-key, and Ernesto quickly cut off the feed from his mic, leaving his siblings to continue over him.
" Come on! "
" Come on! "
Boxman looked up at his partner, missing a couple of steps that the man compensated for beautifully. "You wanna do some karaoke next, Professor? I'll let you pick the song."
He thought over his offer. "You know me too well, Boxy, but I've already got one in mind. Keep it going for me a second, okay?"
His eyes still locked onto Boxman's, he carefully stepped backwards to the karaoke machine, taking Darrell's mic.
" Two of hearts! Two hearts that beat as one! "
In Venomous' place, Jethro stepped up to dance with his father as he sang the rest, though eventually the whole family, including Boxman, couldn't help but join in on their own, mic or no mic.
" Two of hearts, I need you, I need you! "
Once the song concluded, other guests took to the floor, lining up to sing as well as dance, but the kids clearly still took center stage, with Ernesto queuing up several songs for Shannon to show off her talent, a single country one for Darrell to lip sync to, and some of Fink's favorite Korean pop songs, with Jethro joining in and performing the dances perfectly with her. Raymond even called over a few of his duplicates and loaded the 'Ray and the Monds' portion of his hivemind into them for a quick set, to the audience's approval.
Eventually, Big Bull Demon and Small Calf Demon finally made their way to the front of the line. "And now, we would like to dedicate this special ballad to Lord Boxman and Professor Venomous."
The first few notes of 'Crystal Light' began playing, but before they could sing Boxman grabbed the mic, shoving the large villains aside. "Hey, there's just a couple things I wanted to say, you know, before this evening winds down..."
The instrumental track still played behind him. "I truly do want to thank you, Professor Venomous, for just...giving me a chance."
He snatched his hand and dragged him onto the dancefloor once again, though Venomous didn't resist.
"You saw something in me that no one else did, not even myself. And I can't wait to spend the rest of my life at your side, you know, building robots, or destroying the plaza, or extorting money from the government, or contaminating the Neutral Zone's water supply with flesh-eating bacteria, or even just kicking back and baking cupcakes with the kids..."
He winked at Fink, who nodded at his signal, and ducked into the crowd to collect her stepsiblings. Boxman continued, his voice rising in volume.
"...Or, destroying this accursed wedding!!"
The cyborg suddenly produced a large remote and an evil grin. He located Fink again among the startled villains, and at her thumbs-up he pushed one of the device's two buttons.
No way… It just wasn't a party without Boxman throwing some kind of surprise out there for him, Venomous mused, though he was amazed Fink had managed to keep her involvement from him so well.
Shortly after it was summoned, a familiar flying desk swooped down towards the couple from the sky, a piece of paper taped onto one side reading "Just Married!" Boxman pulled his husband onto its surface as it passed overhead, and Fink hopped onto the back, with all of the robots in tow, including Double Beat, held securely in Raymond's arms.
Boxman slammed the remote's second button as they took off -- behind them, hundreds of heavy, spiked boxes rained down, completely wrecking Billiam's island, and the beautifully-crafted wedding venue. And as the new husbands watched the destruction unfold in the distance, listening to the screams of all the villains that had worked so hard to set up their celebration, they couldn't help but laugh, and the kids all joined in, at least the ones still sober enough to really grasp what was happening.
"Man, you guys...ssshoulda cut me off at, like...eleven." Darrell laid out across both Shannon's and Raymond's laps, moaning and clutching his head, half to soothe an already-incoming headache and half to keep his hat secure in the wind. Behind them, Ernesto, still in his DJ garb, was finally coming down from the party and followed suit. He drowsily leaned onto Fink's shoulder as the girl struggled to hold him up, though Mr Logic helped in a way by leaning on her other shoulder, already completely out cold.
"Yeah, Fink?" He glanced back at her, among the pile of robots.
"How long's the flight back?"
He turned to Boxman, who thought for a moment. "About...two hours?"
"Wonderful," Fink sighed. She tried to get as comfortable as she could, squished between two heavy robots on the cramped desk, but at least she'd prepared a few games on her phone for the ride.
With the vehicle growing silent over the open ocean, Venomous eventually leaned over onto Boxman's shoulder, earning a chuckle from the much smaller man. "Don't push me off, now!"
"I'll catch you, don't worry." He shifted, getting comfortable, and closed his eyes for a few moments.
"So...what did you have in mind next?"
"Hm?" Venomous perked back up.
"I coordinated the wedding, and you were handling the honeymoon, remember?"
"Oh. Right." He sighed, thinking. "Back in the day, Fink and I stopped on a bunch of planets on our way back to Earth, and there were a few really nice ones I figured we could visit. Planet X has some great food, and shouldn't be too busy this time of its year…"
Boxman smiled, and yawned, starting to fade just as fast as PV from the evening's excitement. "It sounds great!"
Some snoring from the back of the desk caught their attention, though, and the two glanced back at the kids, of whom only Raymond was still alert. Even Fink held her phone securely on her lap as she snoozed, her game paused.
"You may wish to drop us off at Boxmore before blasting off," Raymond suggested, clearly having a difficult time keeping his eyes open himself as he adjusted Shannon's head on his shoulder and secured his grip on Darrell, the source of the snoring.
"Besides, we certainly wouldn't want to get in the way of you lovebirds."
Boxman smiled, turning away. "Yeah, that's probably our first stop, PV…" He paused. "...PV?"
The man sleepily wrapped his arms around him, holding on tight as he drifted off, and he just sighed, happily.
"Raymond, make sure no one falls off this thing, okay?" he asked, quickly ensuring the desk was on full autopilot as he joined the rest of his family in dreams.
Dreams of finally having their future, together.