Until Then

Ninnik Nishukan

Summary: "You know, I think there's an apology in order for the other night." Title stolen from the song of the same name by the band Broadcast.

I don't want to hurt you
For no reason have I but fear
And I ain't guilty of the crimes you accuse me of
But I'm guilty of fear

It Could Be Sweet, Portishead (1997)

He couldn't believe he'd managed to even knock on her apartment door after what had happened.

She couldn't believe he'd had the nerve to bother her in her own home after what he'd done.

Yet here they were, they realized, driving off to try to save the city together, just like they had when they were "Bernard and Roxanne".

It wasn't lost on her that the real Bernard was most likely sitting at home, reading a book and letting the city go under with a bored expression on his face. Even if it was all his fault, it was also dawning on her that Megamind could've still just escaped to another city. He didn't have to stay and try to fix this. Titan, for example, would've just let the city burn.

It wasn't lost on him that he was lucky that she'd even listened to what he'd had to say, let alone actually come with him. He knew it was because she had no choice if she wanted to save the city, but he still secretly wished it also meant he was going to be forgiven. Eventually. Maybe.

There were so many things he wanted to say, but he couldn't seem to think of anything that didn't seem like pathetic begging. Not that he was above begging if that would bring her back, but all the possible things he could say all appeared to be things that would only anger her further and make him seem like he was trying to downplay the magnitude of what he'd done. Part of him just wanted her to yell at him some more, wanted to be punished if that could somehow make things okay between them; part of him knew he deserved it. At the same time, he was still suffering from a wounded heart, and couldn't help wanting to hear her say she was sorry somehow, even if there was no chance in hell for that.

There were so many things she wanted to say. Well, shout actually. Not to mention a few body parts she'd like to clobber with a wrench. Not that she would, but it was a strangely placating thought. Mostly, though, she wanted an apology, and none seemed to be forthcoming. She couldn't quite decide if this was because he was just too afraid to talk about it or if he was simply an arrogant ass. At the same time, she was feeling irritatingly guilty, since she could tell he was trying to hide how heart-broken he was. Most of what she'd said had been undeniably justified, but she regretted—

Do you really think I would ever be with you?

—if only because of how devastated it had made him look. Now that he was here, right in front of her again, it was harder to ignore the fact that his feelings had been genuine, and still were. She hated that about herself; that part of her was feeling sorry for him. He'd tricked her and hurt her, and didn't deserve her guilt.

Sensing Roxanne's mood, which had only worsened in the tense, confined space of her car, Megamind had spent the first portion of the car ride looking out the window in silence. Now, he allowed himself to glance at her, surreptitiously studying her profile. "Roxanne, I—" He began, startled by the reedy quality of his own voice. He usually sounded so…so epic.

"Well, you got what you wanted, Megamind," Roxanne interrupted him grimly, "you're certainly not predictable anymore."

Megamind's mouth snapped shut. He had been wanting that; had been waiting to hear her say that for a long time. The way she said it, however, made it clear that it wasn't a compliment. Cringing, he redirected his gaze out the car window. It didn't occur to him that while he'd shocked and disgusted her with Metro Man's death and the deceit of "Bernard", one of the other reasons he was indeed unpredictable now was the simple fact that he was even there, in that car, headed towards finding a cure for the city's problem.

He was silent most of the rest of the way there, but then when she started asking him why he couldn't just remove Hal's powers in the same way he'd granted them, he was bringing up the other night again before she knew it, actually asking her if she'd ever looked back, of all things. Since she actually had, it struck such a humiliated nerve with her that she snapped. The sound of his ridiculously oversized head hitting the windshield was satisfying.

Megamind dropped all attempts to bring up the subject after that. It was clearly better to be smart and wait until she was less angry this time, no matter how strong the longing was. He wasn't used to having to consider anybody else's feelings much, and had certainly never really felt forced to shut up about anything; these last few weeks had changed everything.

As they were walking down the hallway of one of Metro Man's old hideouts, she got tired of waiting and asked for an apology. When Megamind had the audacity to assume she meant she was going to apologize to him, however, she gave up. In her eyes, she'd made an attempt at extending an olive branch, and he'd taken a blowtorch to it. He really was an egomaniac.

When it was all over, and he was walking her home through the dark, quiet, confetti-strewn streets of her neighbourhood, itching to hold her hand but not daring to, his buzzing, overwhelmed mind wandered back to that fateful, rainy night, which they still hadn't discussed properly.

It wasn't until that very moment that he finally caught on what she'd really meant when she'd mentioned an apology. He wanted to groan. For such a genius, he had been piteously unperceptive.

Well, he comforted himself, a lot had been going on at the time, so he supposed he couldn't be blamed. He still couldn't quite believe that not only had he never killed Metro Man…but now he'd even saved Metro City?

Glancing down at the pavement, he discovered that the remnants of confetti were in various shades of blue.

It was all a bit too much to take in right then. Megamind decided to temporarily put aside the staggering, new redemptional public image (not to mention self-image) he was gaining and deal with more pressing matters first.

He'd also "gotten the girl".

Allegedly, at least.

"Roxanne," he began, unable to remain unhesitating when faced with discussing the delicate subject of what he'd done…not to mention what was going to happen from now on.

"Yes?" She turned around as she noticed he'd stopped walking, and smiled at him. Understandably, he was still nervous around her, almost as nervous as he was around the crowds of people gathering around him after his victory, and she didn't mind going out of her way to reassure him after everything that had happened. It had been a long day for all of them. Heck, it'd been a long month, for that matter.

Now, after everything, she was slowly starting to wonder what life would be like with an ex-villainous alien. Remarkably enough, the thought of their tentatively developing relationship didn't trouble her too much, but perhaps she was still high on adrenaline from the action-packed day. Today had been easy, as they'd been too focused on simply trying to survive to think about anything else.

Roxanne hoped it wouldn't take too long for them both to become comfortable around each other, but it would probably take a lot of work. She was still recovering from the sick feeling she'd gotten from agreeing to cooperate with and still being drawn to what she'd thought was a murderer. When she'd discovered he hadn't killed Metro Man after all, she'd been indescribably relieved. She suspected he felt even more relieved than her about that.

The hero had abandoned them to go do his own thing after practically a lifetime of heroic servitude…and the villain had picked up the slack. She was still trying to come to terms with that one. Crazy, upside-down world, indeed!

Megamind returned her smile. He could talk about the two of them now, he remembered. Because now she'd confessed to him that she had looked back. But how to apologize?

Inspiration came to him, then. "I really will clean up the city this time, you know," he murmured, meeting her eyes with resolution. "I promise."

To his relief, Roxanne seemed to take this as the apology it was supposed to be, with all of its underlying meaning. He was vowing to change. He was already changing.

Roxanne's smile softened. Although she hadn't quite realized it at the time, the reason she'd still felt drawn to him was that he hadn't been evil, not really. Maybe even never. He'd been in some kind of limbo between evil and good, and whether she'd known it or not, she'd become the force that'd been slowly but surely inching him towards a change more fundamental than what he'd managed to do on his own.

Say I wasn't so normal…say I was bald and had the complexion of a popular primary colour, he'd hypothesized, on that last, disastrous date. She should've guessed it, then, she supposed. It hadn't occurred to her later, either, because she'd been too upset. And it was only now that she was starting to appreciate the intention, the hope behind those words; he'd been considering the option of telling her, to stop tricking her…testing the waters to see if she'd still want him if he was completely honest.

Now she could finally feel the knots in her stomach unwinding.

She took his hand, and his mind became fuzzy. He still managed to catch her next words somehow.

"Yeah, I'm sorry, too," she murmured, still smiling fondly at him.

"I'm sorry," Megamind echoed, sighing with content. Even if she'd understood, he'd probably regret it if he didn't also speak the apology out loud. Punch-drunk from all this unforeseen affection and forgiveness, Megamind wondered dreamily if it was too soon to try that kissing thing again. It probably was, but at least now he had hope for the future. Savoring the feel of her hand in his, he absentmindedly wished he wasn't wearing gloves.

Eventually, Roxanne spoke up again, breaking the serene moment. Gone was the tender, hushed tone; she was sounding quite determined now. He noticed her other hand was on her hip. "But apologies aside— if you're gonna be the new hero, I'm not gonna put up with being used as bait every time some new villain wants to challenge you."

Megamind's hand went slack in hers. "Are you saying you don't wish to be associated with me?" He asked, aware that he was starting to sound far too shrill.

"No, I'm saying I want some sort of gun," she explained, calmly but firmly.

"Gah! I knew this was too good to last!" Megamind exclaimed, dropping her hand so he could flail in indignation and defensiveness. "Did I do something wrong already? What did I—" He halted abruptly, then. "…wait, what?"

Roxanne smirked. "Well, that's supposed to be the advantage of a mad scientist hero, right? Using your enormous superbrain to produce your own superbrawn since, just like the rest of us, Nature didn't give you any?" Tilting her head at him, she regarded his puzzled expression, still amused. "That way you don't actually have to be there in person to protect me, because I can just use your inventions to protect myself— just like you do, see?"

"Oh." He blinked. "Oh! Well, of course I could— I have plenty of— of course!" Megamind agreed, regaining confidence; and everywhere that Megamind's confidence went, volume was sure to go. "My, my, my, Miss Ritchi, you are a clever one, aren't you? Always thinking of everything!" He waggled his eyebrows briefly at her before letting loose a booming laugh, throwing his arms wide. "Megamind, magnificently intelligent Master of All Mad Science will grant you— nay, will custom-make your very own marvelously awesome death ray! It will surely be glorious!"

Roxanne raised an eyebrow. "Death ray?"

Megamind paused, considering this. "Okay, okay…stun ray? Stun gun?" He suggested skeptically, dropping his arms to his sides. "I don't know…maybe good is better than bad, but bad still sounds cooler…and old habits die hard!" He added, grumbling.

Chuckling, Roxanne shook her head. She was sure some of those habits would never die, but now that he'd given up evil, she believed she could handle his villainous little quirks and mannerisms. She'd already had years to get accustomed to them, after all. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a ray gun. As long as I get something that'll put my would-be kidnappers out of commission without actually killing them, I'm good." Brushing back her bangs and looking pensive for a moment, she went on: "But one of those dehydrators might come in handy, for instance."

Oh, he was really starting to like this. She was asking him to build her stuff, and she must know how much he loved showing off his skills.

A huge grin bloomed on his face. "Just tell me what kind of color you'd like."

Laughing, she took his arm. They chatted the whole way as they continued walking.

The End.

Author's note: That's the advantage to having a mad scientist boyfriend when you're the Damsel formerly known as In Distress, right?

I'll be taking a break from fic writing for a few weeks, but I'll be back later.

Thanks to Masako Moonshade over at the Megamind Live Journal community. Currency (your fic about Roxanne's damsel role) made me think, so I added this last part about the gun. ;)