"I'm hungry, Minion."
A growl echoed through the water-filled container, underlining the words the skinny boy had paused in his doodling to sigh. The fish snuggled his sphere closer and tried to not worry.
"I know, Sir," he replied.
The gentle scratching of the pencil resumed. Getting the bedtime munchies had long been a problem for his friend, but lately it had gotten worse. Every night for the past week he had complained of hunger. Maybe he was going through another growth spurt. Minion flipped over and pressed his flat face to the glass, peering at the hand holding the pencil. Boney blue wrists were well exposed at the ends of the orange sleeves.
"You have to try to eat more."
"I do. I eat as much as I can. But I get full," the boy answered with a shrug. "And then I'm not hungry anymore." He stared at the yellow pencil, thinking of its waxy wooden feel on his teeth and the chemical taste it left behind when he chewed on it.
"But then later, I am again," he pointed out, lifting his gaze to the grey concrete wall.
Sometimes when he was this hungry it was hard to think. He rolled onto his back, looking down toward the general vicinity of his bellybutton. "I think my stomach's too small." Then he looked at his piscean friend and asked, "Think there's any way to make it bigger?"
"Weeell," the fish answered. "I don't know."
"Maybe if I estimated the serving sizes of each of my portions," he speculated, "and forced myself to get down a few extra milliliters every day, I could increase my capacity over time and eventually get seconds." He rubbed a blue hand over his skinny midsection. "Stomachs stretch, right?" Certainly some of the men in the prison had stretched theirs somehow.
"I don't know, Sir," Minion replied doubtfully. "I think you're just growing again. You're always hungrier when you're growing."
"Hmph. And it might be worth the pain if I was growing a little faster!" Megamind griped before turning on his side and pulling the comforting roundness of Minion's spherical containment unit to his stomach.
"I'm tired of being hungry, Minion," he continued more quietly. "If I could just fit more food in." He stared at nothing, thinking of the prison's unappetizing fare. "I wish we had our own refrigerator right in here. Stocked with all my favorite things. And I could eat all the time."
The sad fish leaned against the curving side nearest his buddy. He hated to see him hurting like this. "Do you wanna end up looking like Angry Bob?"
Megamind blinked. Just between themselves they often made fun of the grumpy guard they had privately nicknamed Angry Bob. His massive gut hung down over the top of his belt like a pricked balloon over a stick. Or an ice cream cone melting on a hot day, sinking down, down, down the cone until it was in danger of engulfing it completely.
Ice cream, Megamind thought, as his stomach protested with another squirty spasm.
Minion was thinking about how he could possibly get the idea through to the warden that his friend needed more food. Or better yet, food more often. Of course the other inmates were long past growth spurts and would probably gripe about him receiving special treatment. But it didn't matter anyway. It was a lost cause. No one seemed to want to hear his thoughts on his master's metabolism. It was obvious to Minion that he required smaller, more frequent meals and higher calorie foods. His stomach capacity just wasn't made for three squares a day. Another noise near his ear quickly rose in pitch, as though posing a question.
"D'you think I should try to squeeze out?" Megamind softly asked.
He really was hurting if he was considering that again. "Better not."
Once when Sir had been younger, he had been so hungry he had tried to squeeze between the bars of his cell to go find something to eat. Somewhere, anywhere. His slender body had in fact slipped fairly easily between those metal pipes, right up to his chin. But his head was another matter.
Try as he might, twisting this way and that, no matter the angle, he just could not find a way to get his skull to pass through the opening. And he had tried hard. In fact for one terrifying moment, he thought he might have gotten himself stuck. He'd pulled and wiggled as hard as he could, wedging his head in as far as possible. And then frantically wiggled just as hard to back out again. The pressure had been intense, but then so were his hunger pangs.
In the end he had had to give up as Minion pointed out that his noodle simply wasn't going to fit. I know, he'd ruefully agreed, tears pricking the big green eyes looking up toward the uncooperative bulb he was rubbing, and that's the part of me that needs food the most.
"You know what I really want?" Blue said now as he rolled back over and continued his scribbling. "Ice cream."
Something sweet. Not surprising. Sugar. That was what his friend craved most often. Minion could only assume he needed the energy.
But the warden had unsympathetically dismissed his request, pointing out that the alien boy was a child after all, and all children would rather fill up on sweets than eat healthily.
Being half starved is hardly healthy, the fish had barely managed not to shout at him. He'd been badly stressed by listening to his friend moan over stomach pains and a headache for a couple hours the night before until he finally fell asleep. Added to that the known fact that the warden kept a mini fridge in his office stocked with ice cream sandwiches just about put the guardian fish right over the edge.
"Ice cream…" Blue was still daydreaming, lifting the picture he had been drawing until Minion could see too. "With peanuts. And chocolate."
Minion looked at the artwork. He liked ice cream too. Not peanuts very much, although he did like to suck the salt off of them. Then he would just spit the nut out, although after one mortifying incident he was always careful to make sure he left his spent nuts in a tidy discard pile so Sir wouldn't eat them by mistake.
"Yeah," Minion agreed, readily joining in the oft-repeated ritual of dreaming about what they liked to eat most. "A giant pile of ice cream that you could sliiiide down, face first! With your mouth open." He could just imagine the cool, creamy stuff on his fins and scales. He did a slow barrel roll in his water, closing his eyes, a smile on his face.
Blue smiled too, staring at his drawing. "Yeah... Look, Minion," he said tapping the paper with the pencil eraser, his feet waving gently in the air behind them. "We could crash an ice cream tanker into a peanut truck!" He didn't really know if ice cream was delivered in tanker trucks but who cared. Details, details.
"And then! A helicopter would fly over and pour chocolate syrup aaall over it too."
Minion grinned up at his friend just as the lights blinked out and the guard called the time.
"And I'd just roll around in it and eat it, all at the same time. Oh!" A sharp rejoinder from his stomach made him wince.
Minion yawned. He smacked his jaws and suggested they turn in. "The sooner you go to sleep, the sooner it'll be time for breakfast."
"Oatmeal," Blue dully pointed out. "Tomorrow's Friday."
Laying his drawing on the floor, he turned on his side, clutching Minion's lukewarm sphere to his empty belly again before reaching down to pull up the blanket. The firmness of the smooth curve pressing into that hollow place provided a small measure of comfort.
"Someday, Minion," he quietly pronounced, "I'm going to eat whatever I want. Whenever I want. And no one's going to stop me."
"That's right, Sir."
And the little fish really did believe that day would come. He looked forward to it. To never again knowing his friend was suffering and being able to do nothing about it. To never having to eat when and what someone else said. In fact, he decided right then and there that he would get Sir whatever he requested every single day and never complain about having to do it. "Doughnuts and hot chocolate every day."
"And ice cream."
Megamind lay still until bubbling little snores rumbled against his belly. Minion always dropped off quickly.
There were so many things he wanted. Not just ice cream. Not even just food. He felt a gnawing inside himself that could not be reached or filled. He didn't know what to call it, but he was certain that once he was free of the restrictions placed on him by those who had resolved to control him, to quash his efforts to determine and fulfill his destiny, he would be able to placate that ache. He would finally be free of them and finally be happy. The desire to cast off their constraints chaffed more and more at his youthful exuberance, and the determination to escape grew stronger every day as he grew more certain it was the authority he lived under that was the cause of his dissatisfaction.
Reaching down he patted around until his fingers brushed paper. He lifted the drawing over his head again, staring at it in the dark, barely able to make out the pencil lines in the glow of the security lights from the hall.
His other hand slipped behind his head into the secret spot he'd made for his binky inside the end of his thin pillow. With only the smallest sense of shame, he slipped it in his mouth and ran his tongue over the smooth end, feeling the familiar yet mysterious tingle of energy.
He was too old for the binky now, and he didn't want anyone to see him using it, even Minion. But he needed it. Somehow it helped, even though his stomach remained just as painfully empty as before. He continued to gaze longingly at the delectable pileup he had imagined, tonguing the glassy bulb while his eyelids grew heavier and heavier. His arm drooped until it fell to the blanket.
The two vehicles connected at full speed, ramming head on. The screech of metal and crunch of safety glass was followed by the high-pitched zip of an energy ray cutting through the side of the tanker.
"Oh-ho! Did you see that trajectory, Minion?" he gloated, tossing a remote control over his shoulder. "Perfect!" Rubbing his hands together, he barely bothered to look for the reaction of the crowd. "Ok," he spoke into a headset. "Bring it in! Easy…"
The helicopter hovered overhead, waiting. "Ready, Sir."
Liquid chocolate fell from the chopper in dark, twisting streams as Megamind raised his face to the sky with a maniacal laugh.
"A dream come true!" he crowed as he sauntered toward the wreck. Then spinning around he threw his arms wide and addressed his audience with a show of graciousness. "Come now, come now… You can all enjoy it too!"
As a few gullible faces began to look hopeful, he clenched a fist and growled, "Enjoy watching me stuff my face, that is! Bwahaha! Come on down, Minion!"
It had been a full three weeks since they'd programmed the bots to search and destroy every bit of frozen confectionary out of every retail store and hold up all subsequent deliveries throughout Metro City following yet another of his daily "No You Can't" broadcasts. Informing the populace that they would be without ice cream in the heat – "That means you too, Warden!" – had put a smile on his face for the rest of that day. Since then, in the blazing heat of one of the hottest Junes on record, the brainbots had been kept very busy, but Megamind had been determined to make the city that was now his to toy with as he pleased suffer. That surely would bring him some gratification. Sweet revenge! And with Metro Man out of the way, it had been so easy.
Roxanne had been particularly piqued by the scheme. With knotted brow and pursed lips as they passed apologetic signage in storefronts she had griped to Bernard on several occasions about being denied something cold and creamy. And he had had to exercise a good deal of control over the subsequent inclination to provide her what she was wishing for.
He had found a perplexing thrill in pleasing her, ever since running into her, almost literally, at the museum the night he'd destroyed the city's testimony to its late hero and borrowed the curator's identity. Sometimes it was giving her things, however small, but often just a turn of phrase he thought would amuse her would elicit a smile that made his face light up in return. Sometimes he wasn't even trying and some candid admission or thought he expressed aloud would suddenly make her laugh. And the sense of pleasure that bloomed in his chest each time amazed him. But this time he had to deny himself the opportunity. Mostly because he couldn't think of a good way to explain how Bernard would have access to such contraband when no one else in the city did.
One particularly blazing afternoon when even the Lair was having trouble maintaining its cool, the dastardly duo had found themselves hot, bored, and cranky. Having noticed his boss's growing restlessness, Minion had proposed they retire from their new digs at City Hall back to the home front in order to regroup and plan new amusements. But nothing seemed to make his boss happy anymore.
Megamind had twisted his chair listlessly back and forth, cheek resting on a fist while Minion had suggested idea after idea, shooting down every one until the exasperated fish had thrown his mechanical hands up in frustration. Then they'd had an argument that escalated into a shouting match, and Megamind had stomped off to his monitors, hoping to soothe his discontent with a glimpse of that pretty reporter whose company was such a balm and yet so stimulating. But apparently she was holed up at work. Probably as bored as he was. She had said as much the other day. That his unchallenged reign was monotonous at best.
And it was. Metro Man was gone. No one else would challenge him. Roxanne had become truculent and unresponsive. So he had sunk into a funk little by little until even Minion didn't want to be around him.
Everything was too easy now. Having the city in his grasp, having everything he wanted at his fingertips, he found himself disenchanted. There was surprisingly little pleasure to be had in it all once the initial novelty of having his way with everything wore off.
Odd, he'd thought, pushing the chair side to side again with a toe of his boot. He'd expected the opposite. That being free of effort or opposition and able to enjoy doing whatever he pleased would be the means to ultimate fulfillment. Puzzling over this conundrum for any amount of time only gave him a headache and put him in a foul mood.
Finally he had taken to looking through some old papers; items they had liberated from his considerable file in the records room at the prison. Things not pertinent enough to his current body of work to hang in his massive idea cloud but which he figured he could use to illustrate his memoirs someday. And that was how he'd stumbled across one of his favorite childhood drawings.
Minion had been excited at seeing it again too, and after reminiscing fondly they had quickly formulated a plan. Allowing one delivery truck to slip past their ice cream embargo, they easily hijacked the unsuspecting driver who had thought he was being exceptionally clever and brave to outsmart the overlord's dairy ban by hauling soft serve bulk in a milk truck in order to provide sweet relief to the city's suffering denizens. He had just been daydreaming of the hero's welcome he would receive, the chanting of his name as he waved humbly to a worshipping crowd, when with a start he found himself surrounded by a cloud of glowing cyborgs. Little had he realized his temporary success was all part of their plan to rub it in the faces of the citizenry.
Now Megamind stood in the street grinning, his cape whipped wildly by the descending chopper. It buffeted the bots standing their ground until Minion stopped the blades and hopped out, striding over to his friend to give him a high five. They stood laughing together, admiring the mountain of their handiwork.
"Just like you imagined, eh, Sir?" Minion proudly pointed out. "What were you then, seven?"
He shrugged modestly. "Something like that. I was a visionary ahead of my time, Minion."
Minion grinned and offered his boss one of the sets of bowls and spoons he held.
"Dinnerware?" Megamind howled, tossing it away with an accompanying crash. "Who needs that?"
"Hahahah!" Minion laughed, tossing his over his shoulder as well before bending at the waist and motioning toward the twenty-foot high gooey mess melting in the sun. "You first, Sir!"
"Oh no," Megamind answered. "After you, my fine-finned friend. I insist."
Minion grinned. Seeing this childhood fantasy come to life had certainly put his boss in a better mood. Finally. Eyeing the nearest drift, he took a slow few steps back and then lumbered forward on stumpy legs as fast as he could go.
With a mighty splat his mecha suit sank, disappearing up to the bottom of his dome. With a cheer he popped out of the hatch and dived in for real, sliding around in the rich goop, hooting happily. "Come on in, Sir! The ice cream's fine!" he yelled before filling his mouth.
Megamind chuckled, admiring his sidekick's antics. A goodly portion of their evil sundae - ice cream, peanuts, and syrup - had exploded onto the crowd standing at a distance, pelting them with gooey blobs. He'd been hit himself – ice cream and chocolate splattered his right cheek and peanuts speckled the front of his suit, but who cared. He'd be a lot messier in a second. He brushed at himself absentmindedly, first looking around to see if he had the attention of his audience. All for me and none for you, plebs!
That was when he noticed Roxanne had arrived on the scene, clutching her microphone, one leg drawn back as she stood looking down at a large splotch of syrup that had just missed her. Her red sundress, straps baring her tanned shoulders and full skirt granting a teasing glimpse of her cute little knees and the shapely calves beneath, would have been ruined by that chocolate grenade.
She looked up suddenly and narrowed hostile blue eyes at him. He couldn't help but bite his lip. Oh, he loved it when her temper flared.
Swooping down to pick up the bowl Minion had discarded, he scooped up some ice cream and sauntered over, seeing her back up a step as he drew nearer. "Here you are, my dear. For you."
"Why are you giving me this?" she demanded.
"I think you mean, oh, thank you, Mr. Overlord," he prompted with a coaxing smile, still holding the bowl out to her.
Her eyes bounced warily from the treat he held back to his face.
"No? You don't want it?" Megamind asked, feigning hurt feelings. Then ignoring her suspicious reluctance, he grabbed her unwilling hand and put the bowl firmly in it. "Obviously you need it. Because… you look sooo hot."
Then with a wink, he dabbed chocolate syrup on the end of her nose before strutting away, leaving her with a mess melting in one hand and her mouth agape below the shiny brown spot. Let her mull that one over and see what she came back with!
Waltzing over to the edge of his creation, he took his time deliberately removing his cape. Folding it precisely, he laid it on the ground nearby with care. Then he turned around and heaved a dramatic sigh with an even more dramatic smile of satisfaction, spread his arms wide and fell backward. Splat!
Laughing, Minion used a fin to throw something his way. "You can have my peanuts, Sir!"
"How generous of you, Minion!" Lifting a handful of ice cream, he let it drop into his mouth and gargled. "Yum!" Then he began slowly waving his arms and legs and laughed, "Look, Minion! An ice cream angel!"
"I think you mean devil!"
"Hahaha, yes!" He rolled slowly onto his stomach, feeling the viscous pull of the mess, and propped his head on a hand. Lazily licking a chocolate-coated peanut off one finger, he said, "You know, it seems as though it would be sinfully decadent to even add whip-ped cream..." He looked over to where a group of brainbots was shaking a second milk truck to which they had made some modifications. "But… what the hell."
"Oh right! Hang on," Minion answered, diving down to the retrieve yet another remote control device from his mechanical hand. He brought it up held between his sharp teeth and spat it out. "There you go, Sir."
"Disgustingly fluffy topping, coming up!"
As he sat up and began to manipulate the controls, he smiled thinly. Yes, everything I want. Everything he had. And revenge on all who've denied it all to me for so long. This is the way to drive away those blues.
He glanced over at Roxanne in her crisp red sundress, rubbing her nose and observing their wanton display with a scowl, and felt a stirring. There was something about rousing her pique. He missed it, missed their interactions as villain and damsel, despite his interactions with her as Bernard.
He had expected her to become even more feisty and combative after taking over the city. Had daydreamed about her more openly trying her wiles on him to learn his plans, the way she used to, thinking she was being subtle. But she didn't seem to be even remotely more attracted to him now that he was the unchallenged victor, the supreme ruler of the city.
She clearly was attracted to Bernard. Bernard, who was nothing but a lowly nerd. And as much as he was enjoying spending time with her as that goofy curator, it frustrated him to see her so drawn to… what? He frowned down at the controls in his hands and glanced at her again. Then did a double take.
"I just realized something," he murmured seeing that she had turned away and was conferring with her cameraman, preparing to film. "I completely forgot the pièce de résistance."
"What's that, Sir?" Minion asked, swimming closer to him.
"A cherry, Minion," the boss answered. "My sundae of evil will not be complete without a cherry on top."
He nodded Roxanne's way.
"Ohhh," Minion replied. He would have to interrupt his fun in order to apprehend the unwilling reporter and compel her cooperation. "But Sir, I'm not even sure she's-"
"Minion," his boss silenced him with a look. "Am I not the Supreme Overlord of Metrocity? Can I not have whatever I want?" A black look dared his sidekick to argue further. "I want that cherry."
Minion cowered appropriately. "Yes, Sir."
"You take care of that. I'll take care of the topping," Megamind commanded, lifting the remote again.
Minion struggled back to his suit and plopped through the hatch of his dome, obscured for a few moments by the milky cloud that floated and swirled around him. The filters whirred, restoring visibility in short order while he strained to pull the massive form upright. Eventually he waded out of the mess, carving a trail through it until he stood solicitously behind the pretty reporter, dripping goop.
"Miss Ritchi?" When she turned, he smiled. "Would you join us, please?"
"Ha. Haha," she replied. "That's funny, Minion."
"Right this way," he tried again with his most winning smile, gesturing toward the massive sundae.
"No." Roxanne's brows lowered and, taking a step back, her fingers tightened around her microphone.
"That never works, you silly simian," Megamind called. His tongue poked from the side of his mouth as he manipulated the control stick. The brainbots stopped shaking the truck as propellers extended from the top of the tank and began to lift it higher over the scene. "Grab her."
"Now, Miss Ritchi," Minion tried to reason, blobs dropping from his hairy arm shields as he started forward. The crowd closest to the lady in red backed away. "Let's not do this the hard way…"
"Back off, Minion," she warned, raising her hands as she backpedalled. "Get away from me!"
Suddenly she dodged behind some of the nearby crowd. People gasped and tried to scatter as Minion picked up speed and gave chase.
"You're not getting me in there!"
She was more nimble than he thought. "It'll be fun!"
"I have a report to do," she cried in frustration, dodging a grab of his giant hands. "And this is a new dress!"
Listening as he directed the brainbots' efforts with the cream truck and knowing she had to be getting good and mad by now, Megamind shouted back to them, "Take it off her first!"
Then he stopped what he was doing and turned around. "I'll wait."
Minion had managed to snag Roxanne's arm as she attempted to dart past him and make a break for the news van. Tossing her lightly in the air, he'd just caught her again when he heard his boss make the unexpected request. Now he and the reporter struggling in his arms both stopped and stared.
Megamind smirked. This would surely bring out the wildcat in her, and he would enjoy that immensely. But certain she was going to ruin a dress rather than strip in public, he also knew that in the end he would have her in its cherry redness crowning the swirl of whipped cream while he circled slowly through the melting ice cream below her like a shark, camera rolling and everything. And everyone in the city would look on, knowing that finally he could have whatever he wanted. His just desserts. Megamind smiled at his own cleverness.
"Take it -? But… Sir…" Minion wavered, struck dumb by the audacity of his boss's command. Ms Ritchi's integrity had always been inviolate. Always. "I -"
"What?" The silly fish couldn't even see the play. No matter. He waited with supreme confidence for her acquiescence. She'd never do it. Not that he wouldn't have liked to see her nude, but that was beside the point. At least for now. "I have dominated this city, Minion. I am the Evil Overlord! I am in control. Metro Man is no more, and what was his is now mine," he growled, staring hard at Roxanne, "To do with as I please." He shrugged, looking loftily at the pair, playing his hand. "Any time now."
Roxanne's face turned nearly as red as her dress as she pushed away from the arms of the unresponsive sidekick holding her. As her feet hit the ground, she strode over to her self-proclaimed ruler until they were toe to toe.
The dress was sporting splotches of ice cream and syrup. It was already ruined anyway, he thought, looking her smugly up and down while waiting for the banter to begin.
But she said nothing. Just glared at him, lips tight, breath ragged, body taut. He looked in her eyes, and his certainty began to slip.
"You think you can have whatever you want now, huh?" Her eyes blazed. "Fine. You want the dress off?" she said in a low voice thick with suppressed emotion, hands clenched at her sides. "Then you take it off me."
His smile faded. She held her ground, waiting, indignant fury radiating from every inch of her petite frame. Perhaps he had gone too far. The look on her face was about as far from flirtatious and ready to banter as it could get. Apparently she hadn't gotten the memo that women are attracted to power.
They stood staring at each other for an uncomfortable eternity. It was probably only a moment or two really. But as that moment stretched on - whether it was from the glaring sun or from something far worse to consider he never knew - upon seeing a shiny brightness beginning to rim her blue eyes, his composure broke.
He swallowed hard, nearly fumbling the controller forgotten in his hands, unable to tear his gaze from hers. Oh, she was angry but also… something else.
His fingers poised over the controls gave a convulsive twitch, jerking the little joystick. Overhead the truck began to spin, and the misguided bot impatiently waiting fired its laser, cutting off the end of the spout so the creamy topping could pour down and crown its master's creation below.
The first dollop landed beside Megamind with a plop, startling the two figures still frozen in silent tableau. But it was the foul odor that immediately rose from the substance that really broke the tension.
"UGH! What the- Minion!"
The fish blinked rapidly, roused from his own contemplation of the scene. Roxanne covered her mouth and nose with a hand, grimacing. Megamind gagged.
"This cream's gone bad!" Despite his predicament, the irony was not lost on him.
"Well, we did hijack that truck a few days ago."
"It's a refrigerated truck!" Megamind howled, throwing an arm over his nose and beginning to dance around, trying to escape the curdled dairy product now thudding down around him. "Didn't you plug it in?!"
Roxanne had already turned and run, barely glancing back at the fish whose face had gone blank. He pressed his fins closer to his sides. "…oops."
"Of all the- AH!"
Megamind yelped as a blob landed on his head and in throwing his hands up, the joystick fell to the pavement with a crack. The truck overhead began to spin faster and faster, flinging rotted cream everywhere.
Chaos ensued. People screamed and ducked. Everyone scrambled, trying to avoid splattering clots of cheesy curd and the greenish whey that had separated from it. The stench was unbearable.
The truck began to buck, spinning out of control and losing altitude while Megamind was distracted by his own woes, eyes squeezed shut tight as he frantically tried to rid himself of most of the stinking mess sliding down his head. "Help me, you grllgarrllll-!"
Minion trotted to the nearest fire hydrant and opened it with a quick kick. The blast of water blew his boss clear across the street but saved him from being smeared into oblivion as the tanker fell and shattered the pavement, obliterating the sundae of evil once and for all as well.
Woozy, the blue alien sat up with a groan, spitting and wiping his face. Blinking his eyes, he surveyed the scene. The crowd was in retreat, chased off by the smell if nothing else. Even Roxanne and the news van were out of sight. Which was fine with him. It hadn't exactly gone as he'd planned.
Minion lumbered over with a look of concern as his boss got to his feet. "Sir! Are you ok?"
"Yes," he answered, massaging a spot on his rear. "Nothing but a bruised ego." Nothing new.
"Well," the fish added, looking around. "That was… that was quite the…"
"I don't think we need to say anything more about it."
"Right." The sidekick knew when to shut his trap. "Ahem. But, um… Sir?"
"What?" Megamind answered wearily.
Minion knew he shouldn't, but he had to ask. "Were you really, uh… you know. As far as Miss Ritchi," the little creature pressed on with true concern and no small amount of disbelief. "Were you really going to do it?"
Megamind knew exactly what Minion meant. He was still hung up on that scene with Roxanne.
"Of course I was!" he insisted peevishly. Was he evil or not, for Pete's sake? His own sidekick shouldn't be questioning him. He folded his arms with a dark scowl and glared at his henchman in silent chastisement.
"Oh." Minion's little face was a picture, and he looked away uncomfortably.
Megamind's own scowl faded as he thought again of Roxanne's outraged, brimming eyes. He slumped, arms falling to his sides. He had to face it. He'd pushed her too far. High on a power trip and thinking he could manipulate her to get what he wanted, he had elicited a response that he'd never expected instead. Her anger he could face. Frustration. Annoyance. But... disappointment? Her eyes had said she could not believe he had fallen so far as to treat her like that.
He grimaced, looking over the scene of destruction. But it wasn't the sight of their melted treat plastered everywhere, the cheesy cream stinking up the place, or the three wrecked vehicles lying strewn about, one on fire, that made him cringe.
"Sweet revenge went sour this time, Minion," he commented dejectedly.
Minion, sensing his mood, kicked into bolstering mode. "The desserts were a little too just, eh Sir?"
He would try to make it up to her. To apologize in some subtle way, without being too blatant; something she would surely cotton on to, quick as she was. And things would be ok again. He hoped.
When Megamind didn't respond Minion tried again. "And you know what they say… to the victor go the spoils!"
He elbowed his boss with an expectant grin, finally earning a wry, half-hearted smile in return.
"You funny fish. I hadn't thought of that one." He chuckled a little and shook himself. "I can always count on you, Minion," he added, looking up fondly at his friend.
"Of course you can, Sir," Minion smiled back with a nod. "Now let's go home and have some ice cream."
"I think I'm all ice-creamed out. Let's fire up the Death Ray and barbe-queh something instead."
"Whatever you say, boss."
A couple days later Roxanne stepped out of the door to the offices of KMCP News, her face lighting up as she spotted Bernard leaning against the building, waiting for her. He held a brown paper bag and indicated it with a smile as she drew near.
"Hey," she greeted him. "What's that?"
"Something you've been wishing for." He reached in, pausing to build the suspense, and then pulled out a half gallon of ice cream. "Ta da!"
"Bernard!" she cried with a look of surprised delight, taking it and examining the label. "Contraband substances, wow," she teased. "Don't tell me you've taken to dealing with shady characters on the black market just to impress me."
"Uh, in a way. It showed up at the museum," he fibbed. "With this note attached." He held out a yellow Post-It. 'For Ms Ritchi' it said, signed simply '-MM'.
The smile fell from her face. Slowly she took the small piece of paper, her lips pressing together as she stared down at it. But when she looked up at him again, her eyes seemed sad. "So, is this from you or... him?"
Bernard hesitated, answering carefully. "Well, to be fair, there's only one person in the entire city right now capable of giving you this particular gift."
She stared at the note a moment longer.
"Maybe it's a peace offering," he couldn't resist adding.
She snorted quietly. "In that case..."
Walking to a nearby trashcan, she pushed the entire carton through the flap without ceremony.
His mouth dropped open. "Bu-"
As she turned, she brushed the cold from her hands. "Got time for a cup of coffee?"
He swallowed. "Of course."
She took his arm as they began to walk down the sidewalk, starting to talk about her day at work. He nodded distractedly, then caught a glimpse of his reflection in a storefront window. The look of sheer despair startled him. He tried to compose his face and smile, hoping the attempt didn't look as wooden as it felt. Roxanne playfully bumped his shoulder but this time instead of swelling with that happy burst of sunshine, the old familiar empty place inside ached once again.