The Wolverines go up to bat in the bottom of the eighth with a sort of desperate determination.
Megamind is leaning forward in his seat, frowning, intent on the game. The first batter gets out on a fly ball. The second batter grounds out, but the third hits a ball that, strictly speaking, should probably just have been a single, but he keeps on running and makes it to second base.
It gives the fans, and the players, a new confidence; the fourth batter hits a single and the runner on second makes it to third.
The Eclipse pitcher checks the runner on first five times, throwing two balls and a strike to the batter in between. When he throws to the first baseman instead of the batter a sixth time, the Wolverines fans, Roxanne and Megamind among them, boo. A foul ball on the next pitch, and the count is two balls, two strikes, with two outs already.
The next pitch, the batter hits a fly ball into the gap between the third baseman and the centerfielder, and the runners go. The third baseman pounces on the ball swiftly, though, and throws it hard to home plate. The catcher gets it, and the runner's just barely out at home plate.
Megamind's leg is bouncing when the Eclipse come up to bat in the top of the ninth; Roxanne finds that she's gripping the armrests of her chair very tightly. Like an omen of disaster, the sky overhead is darkening, clouds moving to block the sun as the day turns overcast.
The Wolverines' pitcher, though, is on fire this inning, and retires all three batters in just eleven pitches.
The sky is still getting darker, and rain is rumbling in the distance as the Wolverines come up to bat in the bottom of the ninth.
Megamind glances nervously at the sky. Rain is threatening and the disguise watch isn't waterproof. He didn't even think to make it waterproof.
—he should very definitely make some excuse to leave. If his disguise fails, it is going to be very bad. Metro Man is on Roxanne's other side, and Roxanne—
Ohhh evil gods help him, if Roxanne finds out who he really is, he might not live to get pummeled by Metro Man. She held his hand; she's going to be enraged.
Beside him, Roxanne shifts closer in her seat, until her arm, on their shared armrest, is pressed against his.
…oh who's he kidding; there's no way he's leaving now.
Their first batter strikes out swinging hard at a fast ball inside, their second is struck out looking, and just like that the Wolverines are down to their final out.
The batter hits a long, long fly ball, that, if there were any justice in the universe, should have been a home run. The left fielder for the Eclipse, though, jumps up and reaches over the wall and snatches it out of the air.
The tied game goes to extra innings.
In the distance, thunder growls.
Wayne jumps suddenly to his feet.
Roxanne feels Megamind flinch beside her, but Wayne isn't looking in his direction at all, is facing the vendor who has just spilled a whole glass of beer in his lap.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Sir; I'm so sorry about that," the girl says, trying to wipe him down.
Roxanne raises her eyebrows in amusement as Wayne goes beet red and tries to fend the girl off while not appearing to be fending her off.
"That's-nnnn-that's-quite all right...Citizen, no harm, just-I can-napkins-you-uh-"
"Oh, I feel so bad; your beautiful pants! Here, let me help you-"
"Let me just-"
"-just get that for-"
"CITIZEN PLEASE!" Wayne yelps, "YourAssistanceIsAppreciatedButUnecessaryThankYou!"
"I've got a towel!" The girl says.
Wayne makes a wordless sound of horror and, under the stares of everyone in their section, ignominiously flees.
The girl looks after him with an expression of...satisfaction? Why would she...?
Megamind gives a choked laugh beside her and Roxanne turns towards him.
He looks at her as though he's afraid she's going to be angry. For a split second, Roxanne tried to look serious, wanting to tease him, but the expression in his wide green eyes has her laughing, too, before she can stop herself.
"Poor Wayne," Roxanne says, laughing.
"Oh, and poor us, being deprived of his presence," Megamind says under his breath, looking up at her through his lashes.
Roxanne smacks him playfully on the arm.
"You're mean," she says, laughing still, "very bad."
"Oh, Miss Ritchi," Megamind murmurs, "you have no idea."
Roxanne looks at him, arching an eyebrow pointedly.
"You sure about that?" she asks.
Megamind tilts his head, looking at her, looking confused and uneasy.
"Well?" Shufty demands. The whole group of them are crowded together eagerly.
Priya's friend Mia shakes her head. They all groan.
"Nothing definite," she says. "I think she implied she knows, but it's nothing we could prove."
"I told you all," Shufty says. "How I let you talk me into this-"
"Be patient!" Priya says. "Tom, is Lady Scott still busy?"
"Yeah, the line to the ladies' room's about a mile long," Tom says. "Saw her standing at the back of it."
"Good, good," Priya says. "Now just wait."
Shufty eyes her balefully. Damned optimists.
(The sky grows just a little darker.)
Wayne comes back in the top of the ninth.
He sits down, takes out his phone, and begins texting furiously, his fingers flying as he frowns intently at the little screen.
In a tragic reversal of his beautiful pitching in the last inning, the Wolverines pitcher seems to have gone all to pieces. He hits the first batter in the second pitch. The second batter hits one foul ball out of play, but then the pitcher misses outside three times in a row, throws a pitch that's in the dirt, and walks the second batter.
The crowd shifts restlessly, the fans of the Eclipse booing as the catcher goes out to the mound to talk to the pitcher.
When he gets back to his place behind home plate, it seems like the talk might have done the trick; the first pitch is a strike.
Sadly, though, it doesn't last; the next pitch is low, the pitch after that high. Another pitch is high, and the count is three balls, one strike.
The pitcher stands tensely on the mound, rolling the ball between his fingers.
Roxanne hears Megamind take a deep breath and then hold it-
The pitch-a hesitation on the part of the umpire—but it's called a strike.
The pitcher throws and the ball is fouled back out of play.
Full pitch count: three balls, two strikes.
Another ball founded back out of play. And then another and then-
A walk. The crowd groans.
The bases are loaded now, and the Wolverines' coach goes out to the pitcher's mound to take him out of the game.
The sound of Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love starts up, the sign that the Kiss Cam is about to begin during the dead time of the pitching change.
An old couple comes up first on the big screen. The white-haired old lady points excitedly at the screen, then turns to give a quick kiss to her husband. A couple of young women are the next couple, one in a Wolverines shirts, the other in a red Eclipse ball cap. The one in the Wolverines shirt gives her girlfriend a kiss and steals her girlfriend's hat while she's distracted. There's a chorus of laughter and cheers.
Roxanne smiles and stretches her legs out, stretches her hands towards her feet.
It's while she's mid-stretch that the Kiss Cam moves to her and Wayne.
It gives her an unpleasant jolt, seeing herself up on the screen; she straightens up quickly.
Oh no; why? Why did they have to pick her and Wayne out of the crowd?
(Metro Man and his famous reporter girlfriend; she should have been expecting this)
She smiles; an automatic reaction to knowing she's on camera, grits her teeth, and turns towards Wayne. Get this over with quickly, she thinks.
(Megamind is right there beside her and she wants to scream with frustration.)
Wayne, intent on his phone, hasn't even noticed that they're on the big screen.
She taps him on the arm and he grunts but doesn't look up.
"Wayne. Wayne," she hisses. "We're on the Kiss Cam."
He does look up at that, looks up and gives her a look of dismay.
And shakes his head mutely.
"It's Metro Man!" somebody shouts.
"Roxanne Ritchi!" Someone else calls.
"-just give me a quick peck on the cheek," Roxanne says in an undertone, mortified by now.
The entire stadium is staring, more people are shouting their names.
"Kiss for luck!"
"For luck; kiss for luck!"
"Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!"
"No," Wayne says, making a face almost of disgust, and okay, now Roxanne is mad.
(How dare he embarrass her like this, in front of all these people, in front of-)
Roxanne turns suddenly to Megamind, meets his eyes.
"Do you want to kiss me?" She asks, blindly furious. (Out of the corner of her eye, Roxanne sees the video feed on the screen jerk away from her and Wayne to pan over to her and Megamind.)
"Yes," Megamind says.
That's all Roxanne needs to hear; then she's twisting to face him even more and leaning forward and-
And she's kissing Megamind.
He's kissing Roxanne. Kissing. Roxanne.
He freezes for a moment when their lips touch, not knowing how to-
And then she tips her head just a little and-
And that's it, he forgets everything, forgets their audience, forgets her superpowered boyfriend sitting not two feet away, forgets it all, forgets everything but her.
(This is your one chance Megamind the universe has given you this single chance to kiss Roxanne Ritchi. One kiss, just one, so make it as good for her as possible)
Megamind cradles her face gently in his hands and tried to pour everything he feels for her into the kiss, all of the things he's never been able to say, will never be able to say because of who and what he is.
I love you Roxanne you're so brilliant and beautiful and good and I love you completely and entirely I love you I love you I love you
She makes a sound against his mouth and presses closer to him, parts her lips for him and lets him lick into her mouth and sink his fingers in her hair and-
He's breathless and flushed when she pulls away; Roxanne's cheeks are pink, too, and she looks-
She looks very kissed.
Somewhere in the crowd, somebody wolf-whistles.
The consciousness of where he is and what he's doing hits him hard and sudden oh god Metro Man—
On the field, the new pitcher throws the first pitch. The Kiss Cam turns off and the crowd turns its attention to the game.
(oh. oh god she kissed Megamind in front of an entire crowd what was she thinking oh god—)
Roxanne can't bring herself to regret the kiss. That kiss was-Megamind kisses like he does everything, throwing his whole heart and soul into it.
Megamind kisses like he's in love, and his voice, his expression, when she asked if he wanted to kiss her and he said yes.
(Like a man dying of thirst offered water, like he was desperate, like the chance at kissing her was something unimaginably precious and does Megamind-is-can he be-?)
"Roxy," Wayne says in a choked voice. "Embarrassing—"
Roxanne, giddy and just a little dazed, turns to him.
"We're done, right, Wayne?" she blurts out. "We can be done pretending to be together, now, yeah?"
Wayne stares at her, clearly caught off guard. For a moment, he hesitates.
"Please," Roxanne says in an undertone.
Wayne lets out a long breath.
"Yeah," he says, "that would be-" he gives her an awkward smile and scratches the back of his neck. "Sorry; I've kinda been a jerk today. It's just I've been—uh—well—" he taps his phone against his knee, "—I've been talking to someone."
"Wait, talking-talking to someone?" She asks.
"Yeah, and I...well I just finally asked him out," Wayne says in a low tone. "And then there was that—" he waves a hand at the big screen. "—kiss thing—and I couldn't—right after."
"Oh. Ohhh," Roxanne says, understanding dawning, "yeah, no, obviously not."
Beside her, Megamind makes a weak noise of bafflement. Roxanne reaches out without turning and puts her hand on his knee, wanting to make sure he doesn't bolt. He is not just running off after a kiss like that; she has to know if he-if he meant it, if-if Megamind maybe-maybe could feel about her the way she feels about him.
"So?" She says to Wayne. "What did your guy say?"
Wayne gives her a sheepish, pleased smile.
"He said yeah," he says.
"Nice," Roxanne says.
Megamind makes another wordless noise of confusion. Roxanne squeezes his knee and he goes silent and perfectly still.
"Oh—" Wayne says, looking over her shoulder and giving Megamind a reassuring friendly smile. "Oh, right—yeah, no worries, buddy."
Wayne glances at Roxanne's face; she feels herself flush at his speculative expression. He grins, looking over at Megamind again.
"Me and Roxy are just friends, really."
Roxanne glances at Megamind, blushing even harder. He looks stunned, his mouth opening and closing soundlessly.
"So anyway, I think I'm gonna go ahead and head out," Wayne says, just a little too loud and overly casual. "Find my mother, beat the crowd out. You guys good here, Roxy?"
Roxanne looks back at Wayne; he moves his eyebrows at her suggestively, gesturing with his head at Megamind in a way that is not subtle in any way at all, whatsoever. She rolls her eyes at him, her face positively burning now.
"Yes, Wayne; thank you; goodbye," Roxanne says pointedly and he snickers.
There's a moment of awed silence in their little group after Metro Man moves past Shufty and the others, headed towards the exit.
"We broke up Metro Man and Roxanne Ritchi," Mia says in a voice of amazement.
"Yes, we did," Priya says, smiling like a satisfied cat with a bowlful of cream.
Shufty thinks he might be warming up to this girl after all.
Roxanne has her hand on his knee.
Has her hand.
On his knee.
She has her hand in his knee and she just kissed him—well, kissed Miguel the bookie, anyway—in front of Metro Man and Metro Man was fine with it because apparently they were never actually dating, and Megamind thinks maybe he's died and gone to evil heaven,
Roxanne has her eyes fixed on the field now, like she's avoiding his eyes, and he would think that she's regretting the kiss, but she still has her hand on his knee so that can't be it, right? That can't be it.
There's a pink flush along her cheekbones-embarrassment? Or-or maybe it's excitement-
Megamind has never regretted not being a bookie more. Not being Miguel. She likes Miguel. Why couldn't he just have been born Miguel?
(Maybe he can just wear the disguise watch forever, yeah that's a good and totally reasonable plan.)
His mind spinning and his lips tingling, Megamind looks blindly out at the field, mentally replaying the kiss in his mind.
The disguise watch...as the first drops of cool rain begin to splatter down onto the crowd, onto his head and arms, a thought about the disguise watch attempts, unsuccessfully, to get his attention.
(Roxanne turning her head just so and pressing her lips against his like—)
The thought about the disguise watch fades into unimportance.
They've missed the end of the top of the tenth, Roxanne realizes, looking out at the field, and half of the bottom of the tenth.
It's still tied; there's two outs and one runner on second. The Eclipse pitcher is throwing to the fourth Wolverines batter and the runner goes, stealing third base.
The pitch count is two balls and one strike and the batter hits a fly ball that is caught by the center fielder.
In spite of the fact that most of Roxanne's focus is taken up by the fact that she has her hand on Megamind's knee (her hand! on his knee! and he's letting her!), she joins in the collective groan that the crowd gives at the stranded runner.
(It's really, really unfortunate that Megamind's holographic disguise, however it works, extends to texture as well as visual appearance. When she'd kissed him, she'd wanted to feel the scratch of Megamind's goatee, the smooth shape of his head. She'd wanted to kiss him, not the damn human disguise.)
It's raining now, as they move to the top of the eleventh, the score still tied-light splattering raindrops. The people seated around the two of them keep glancing at Roxanne and Megamind and whispering together, probably speculating at the content of Wayne and Roxanne's last conversation, at the way Wayne left her here.
(The way they were both smiling as he did it is probably giving rise to a lot of confusion, Roxanne thinks wryly.)
The first of the Eclipse batters comes up to the bag and on the first pitch-the first pitch-hits it out of the park.
Roxanne surges to her feet, grabbing at her hair in dismay. Megamind jumps to his feet, too.
"No no no no no," she groans as the ball flies over the fence. "Come on."
Megamind makes a noise of miserable agreement and turns to her, his shoulders slumped in defeat.
"That's it, then," he says. "It's over." He gives her a small bitter smile. "I told you not to back the long shot."
"It is not over," Roxanne says forcefully. "We have the entire rest of the inning yet to play!"
"They're going to lose," he says, and he sounds more resigned than anything, never mind their bet. "They always lose. That's how it goes."
Roxanne opens her mouth to argue and a thought occurs.
(The petition she signed to keep the team colors, all the comments people made at the time about blue being an unlucky color in Metro City, all the comments they've made about Megamind, about him always losing.)
"Not this time," she says. "They're not going to lose this time, Meg—Miguel."
She reaches out and grabs his hand, squeezes it quickly, then lets go to clap as the pitcher gets the second batter out.
The two of them stay standing through all the rest of the top of the eleventh. At first it's mostly Roxanne cheering, but eventually Megamind joins in as well, whistling loudly and joining her as she claps. Their enthusiasm spreads to the rest of their section; soon they're all on their feet, shouting loudly for the Wolverines, whistling, and clapping.
It seems to give the pitcher new life; he retires the next two batters on strikes.
By the time the first of the Wolverines goes up to bat in the bottom of the eleventh, nearly the whole crowd is on their feet. The Wolverines players look dazed but determined; they're obviously still shocked that they've come this far, against the best team in the league, shocked at this much enthusiasm coming from their fans.
The first batter gets a single; the second strikes out swinging hard, clearly aiming for a home run. The third batter gets out, too, also swinging, but the fourth is hit by a pitch and walks to first. The fifth is walked—four pitches, all balls, no strikes at all.
It's raining harder, now, but no one in the stadium crowd looks ready to leave, even when the Eclipse call for a pitching change and play is stalled.
The Eclipse pitcher on the mound doesn't seem to want to go, ends up arguing with his catcher and his coach. The stadium starts up the music for the Kiss Cam again, probably to cover the awkward moment.
This thing called love, I just can't handle it
This thing called love, I must get round to it
I ain't ready
The first couple is a middle-aged pair who give a surprisingly dramatic kiss.
Someone in Roxanne and Megamind's section—a popcorn vendor?—whistles and then shouts—
—and gestures wildly at Megamind and Roxanne.
"Yeah!" another voice in the section shouts, waving their arms. "Here, over here!"
"Didn't they already—?"
Roxanne hears someone ask.
"Yeah, and it worked last time, didn't it? Got us out of the inning—"
"Kiss for luck!"
"Oh god," Roxanne mutters as the two of them appear again on the big screen. She turns to Megamind. "Look, I'm really sorry about—"
It is at this, the most inopportune moment, that Megamind's holographic disguise disappears.
"—heh—" Megamind says, unable to do anything but give that stupid, panicked little laugh.
Oh god oh no.
(oh god it's like a nightmare everyone staring, everyone seeing him, and Roxanne looking at him with wide eyes and opening her mouth to yell at him for being such a freak, for tricking her and kissing her and—)
"It wasn't waterproof?" Roxanne blurts out loudly and Megamind blinks at her because
that's not what he expected her to say and
it almost sounded like she already knew it was him but that can't
"Oh my god, Megamind," Roxanne groans. "It's always the simple stuff with you—"
"—ah?" Megamind says weakly.
(the crowd is still frozen and silent, shocked at his appearance, but soon, he knows, the screaming will start and he'll have to run because he's not even wearing his spikes, not wearing his protective suit; he's in these normal clothes because he wanted to feel like he belonged with these other fans when he went to this game and god why is he so stupid; how could he think—)
"Not waterproof," Roxanne says scathingly, and then she's leaning forward and—
Oh, but she is very definitely kissing him, one of her hands sliding up to hold his face for a moment, then slipping around to grab the back of his head.
Megamind makes a small, shocked sound and Roxanne parts his lips with her tongue and hooks the fingers of her other hand one of the belt loops of the jeans he's wearing and pulls him closer.
And Megamind still has no idea why this is happening—why is she kissing him? Roxanne knows it's him, and she's still—she's still—
—but answers suddenly don't seem anywhere near as important as wrapping his arms around Roxanne and kissing her back.
Roxanne breaks the kiss, both of them gasping, and, from the back of the section, a group of people burst into applause and cheering.
There's half a second where the whole crowd seems frozen, and then someone in the next section bellows.
"Yeah! Let's go, blue!"
—and suddenly, impossibly, the rest of the stadium is cheering, too.
"Wait, what's the date today?" Megamind hears someone a few rows up demand from their seat mate.
The first speaker groans.
"Damn it, I had my money on the thirtieth!"
The crowd continues to cheer, Megamind looks around wildly.
Why are they cheering? They can see him! They know it's him! Why are they cheering for him?!
He looks back at Roxanne, who still has her fingers hooked firmly in his belt loop, as though to keep him from getting away. She's—
—she's laughing, her eyes shining and her cheeks flushed, and she's looking at him.
"…you knew it was me?" Megamind says, still not believing it, but unable to come up with any other explanation for—
She bites her lip and gives him a look that actually seems—fond.
"Yeah," she says. "Yeah, I did."
"When?!" Megamind demands. "When did you—and how could you possibly figure—"
"You said my name," she says. "And I knew it had to be you."
Megamind gapes at her. When he said her name? She figured it out when he said her name? That means—that means she knew after the first sentence he said to her as Miguel; that means this whole day, all of the talking and the flirting and the kissing—
That means she always knew it was him.
Roxanne leans forward and kisses him, quick and chaste, almost like it's a punctuation mark to her statement that she knew it had to be him.
"—oh," he says, dazedly.
"—so I was kind of wondering if I could take you out sometime, Megamind," Roxanne says, in a rush.
Megamind stares at her.
She looks back at him, and her eyes seem just a little uncertain, suddenly.
Roxanne just—Roxanne just asked him out on a date.
And she's looking at him now like she thinks maybe the answer might be no, and that is just unacceptable.
Megamind leans forward and kisses her swiftly.
"Yes," he says. "Yes, definitely yes."
Roxanne's whole face lights up in a smile.
The sound of a bat cracking against a ball makes both of them turn to look at the field, just in time for them to see Leo Alvarez hit a walk-off home run and win the game for the Wolverines.
Shufty, Tom, Priya, Mia, and all the rest of their group cheer as Leo Alvarez rounds the bases and the Boss leans in to kiss Miss Ritchi once more.
"You know, you still owe me two hundred and forty dollars on that bet," Roxanne points out later, after he drives her home and walks her to her apartment, after she invites him inside and they kiss on her couch for so long that Megamind loses track of time.
Megamind laughs breathlessly and nods.
"I don't get it," he says later, after they've stopped making out and are just lying on her couch together, tangled up with each other.
"Hmm? Don't get what?"
"I don't get—I—why in evil heaven did they cheer?"
"You mean after the second kiss?" Roxanne says. "I—well, I think it's because you were wearing this, honestly." She hooks a finger in the collar of his blue Wolverines hoodie and pulls him in for a lazy kiss.
"The shirt?" Megamind asks, when she lets him go and leans back. He frowns, still confused. "It's just a Wolverine's shirt."
"Mmhm," Roxanne makes an affirmative noise. "A Wolverines shirt. You'd clearly risked a lot, going to that game, Megamind. And you weren't doing it as a supervillain. They could see that. Because you were wearing a Wolverines shirt. You were doing it as a fan."
"…blue losers have to stick together?" Megamind says.
Roxanne smacks him lightly on the shoulder.
"Fans stick together," she says. "And we won today, Megamind."
Megamind smiles at her, slow and amazed and joyful.
"Yes," he murmurs, leaning in to kiss her again, "yes, I did."
When the Wolverines win the World Series later that year, Roxanne and Megamind are right there in the stadium to see it, holding hands and cheering.
Thank you for all of the lovely reviews of the previous chapters! I really appreciate all of them and I hope you all enjoyed the final part of the story!