Megamind's breath was still fast, looking out the window. As Minion slammed on the gas, his head and fins whisking around, people simultaneously flocked around and dodged the car.

"Invisibility mode, sir?" Minion asked anxiously.

"No!" Roxanne, in the passenger seat, shoved Minion's giant hand away from the button. "Wait until we're out of this crowd! Geez!"

"Oh man, this crowd," Megamind would press his face against the glass, but his back was stiff. He wrapped on hand around the other.

The bright blue skies over Metro City had curled and turned purple like burning paper. Roxanne did another huffy breath- she'd been doing a lot of those- and cast her eyes over her shoulder out the back window. She'd done that twice in the past thirty seconds, and this time Megamind watched the way her hair absorbed the gold light streaming in from behind him.

I can't believe I told her she was my reason to win, thought Megamind. What a creep he was! He quickly diverted his eyes before she could notice him staring.

"Do you think anyone's gonna follow us?" Roxanne asked. She turned back around, looking in the mirror, and out her side window, and leaning forward to peer out of Minion's window.

Minion, impatient, pushed her shoulder away. He said, "I absolutely think someone's going to follow us. That's why we have invisibility mode."

"Just wait a little longer Minion," Megamind croaked. Alarmed at his voice, he cleared his throat. "We can't go running over people now that I'm a hero,"

"You?" Roxanne turned around with a scoff, blue eyes and red lips. "You're not a hero."

"Wha-!" capeless and small in the back seat, Megamind couldn't possibly look the part. But he protested, "I just saved the whole city from a villain!"

"Which you created," Roxanne rebutted. Minion's smug eyes appeared in the rearview mirror as she continued, "And don't you go thinking I'm not gonna report on that. Because I am."

Several nasty comebacks zipped to the tip of Megamind's tongue. But he'd made too much progress today to sink back into his villainous comfort zone. He swallowed and sighed, "I'd expect nothing less of you, Roxanne."

Roxanne smiled at him with a face like the sunset.

When the crowd finally parted, Minion gave a whoop and accelerated into invisibility mode as quickly as the car would allow. Roxanne's little shriek sent Megamind into a spiral of cackles. Scary, unsettled loose ends could wait till the end of the road. The Westward planes of Metro City were gilded gold.

"Can I go inside the lair?" the question was addressed to Minion, oddly enough. Like Megamind wouldn't have a say.

Minion glanced at the back seat briefly, checking for any signs of absolute panic from his boss, before he replied. "Yeah, that's fine."

"Have to make sure you have your story straight, anyway," said Megamind. But the story that needed straightening the most, he knew, was not the one he wanted to talk about.

The car came in through the disguised garage door, eliciting an excited laugh from Roxanne. Few brainbots remained in the lair to greet them, but those that were stopped short when they saw her. They hovered above nervously, weaving through the bulging bombs which hung, swaying, from the rafters.

"You know, I'd always wanted to explore this place." Roxanne said. She was the first out of the car, and Minion followed her at a relaxed pace. Megamind forced himself out without bending his spine too much. Closing the door painfully stretched his shoulder. Roxanne's echoed voice bounced from left to right. "I didn't really have time with Bernard." and became softer. "When…"

Minion glanced back at Megamind. Megamind pretended not to notice, wrapping his arms around himself. Roxanne had frozen, and slowly continued walking again. The sun had slipped from the windows, and the main lightsource in the lair was the bobbing brainbots, who cast blue shadows on the ceiling.

"Feel free to look around a bit then," Megamind was too drained to lead a tour. "I trust you have the sense not to touch anything. No pictures please. Minion will come with you."

"I have a hole in my chest," said Minion.

"Minion will go with you after he's fixed the hole in his chest," sighed Megamind. He needed to sit down.

They went their separate ways. Minion waddled off to find his spare suit. Megamind pulled out a chair and planted his aching body there for the foreseeable future, eyes drifting closed. And Roxanne, with an sneaky look at him over her shoulder, began rapidly taking pictures of his lair with a silent digital camera

When Megamind woke up, she was gone.

It was… yes. That was to be expected. She probably went home. He'd meant to tell her more about Titan, but instead he'd fallen asleep. Woops. Maybe Minion took her home, or called her a taxi, or something. He was nowhere to be seen either.

Except his empty robotic body, which slumped in the opening of Minion's kitchen. The coarse fur absorbed the dim light while his metal plates dully reflected it, distorted by years of dirt and damage. There was still a gaping black hole in its chest.

Author's note:

This was written September 1, 2018 and titled simply, "chapter 1." I renamed it to make it more attractive to read. And I guess it's been long enough since I've written it that I no longer care about being subtle with symbolism.

I got that email from Google Drive that files were gonna start getting deleted after 30 days... so I'm just gonna drop these things as their own stories. I could publish them as new chapters in "Nuke," but I think these stinkers need more airing out than that. And that way I can just add new chapters to them individually whenever I want!