AN: When I should be in bed I write fanfic instead, alas. This takes place immediately after the movie, with the natural consequences of what Roxanne's been through.


Safe Place


Oddly enough, they didn't happen right away. Her sleep after first being hurled around the city like a ragdoll had been fitful, but she'd consumed enough alcohol by the night's end to garble her dreams into nothingness. The next day, once the adrenaline of nearly dying a good dozen times or so wore off, she collapsed in exhaustion and didn't regain consciousness until morning.

And then they began.

First, falling. Not just falling through the air, but being tossed and juggled, whipped into traffic and yanked back out again while the wind clawed at her skin and her screams filled the air. There was no lucidity in it, just panic, blood-curdling, mind-numbing panic, as she was plunged through the air over and over and over—

Then the running. She ran as fast and as hard as she could while the city shattered around her, jagged shards digging into her bare feet, the tower pursuing her like a titan's spear and crushing everything in its path. Sometimes people tried to help her—her mother and Carlos and Metro Man and Susan and Minion and Megamind and Bernard and even Hal—but as soon as she reached out to them they turned into somebody else.

Her therapist (God, it had been years since she'd actually spoken to him) told her to take the week off. She'd been through enough traumatic experiences; the nightmares were natural. But then the week ended and the nightmares didn't.

She went to work—meaning that she showed up—but that was starting to mean less and less. More than a week of nearly no sleep had left her shambling through the office like the living dead (and after dying every night in her dreams, she certainly felt the part). Another week passed.

No change.

She huddled under a blanket at night, on her bed, her couch, under the television (and never ever on the balcony), wishing sleep would come but terrified of what would happen when it did.

It was in this state, addled and insane from eighteen days with twelve hours of sleep between them, that she marched out of her apartment in the middle of the night and started walking.

She was in her pajamas and a pair of flip-flops, an old quilt tossed over her shoulder. She didn't care.

Her hair was a mess, her breath smelled, and the rings under her eyes were so dark they looked like they'd been smeared with eyeliner. Screw it.

It was a three mile hike. She needed the exercise.

It was in that state that she marched through the holographic secret entrance of Megamind's lair.

As she approached the brain bots swarmed around her benignly, confused at her presence. It was four in the morning. What was a two-legged person doing up at four in the morning?

Roxanne kept walking, all but ignoring their robotic barking. It was bound to wake somebody up.

Heavy footfalls told her that Minion was the first one awake, and she whirled to face him.

"Miss Ritchi?" he asked, still yawning a little bit. His suit's hands dangled limply at his sides; apparently they hadn't warmed up quite yet. "What are you doing here? Do you know what time it is?"

"Yes." There wasn't any life left in her to come up with snappy comebacks and one-liners. She was tired, dammit. Jut cut to the chase. "I need that—that spray stuff." Her mind wasn't even working well enough to come up with its proper name. "The knock-out stuff. In a can. I need it."

"Is… everything all right?" Minion asked carefully. His fingers were starting to twitch to life. It took her until this moment to realize that it was one of his older suits.

"Yes. Peachy. Fine." There wasn't some other superpowered psycho out to get her, no, just the one who'd kidnapped and repeatedly tried to kill her, still at it long after he'd been put away. Which Minion had helped save her from. Meaning he didn't need this right now. She tried to reign it in. "Listen—I need sleep. These nightmares—I can't—I haven't slept in weeks, and I need it. I can't work, I can't—I can't do anything—"

Dammit she was on the verge of tears. In fact, she might have started crying already; her face was still too numb from the trek for her to feel anything. More footsteps, followed by a slight raise in the volume of the metallic barking.

"Minion, what's going—" A gasp. "Roxanne?" She turned around to see him floundering, trying at once to cover his pajamas (what, did he not notice the glorious ensemble she was wearing?) and say something and flip to the setting on his watch that actually told the time. Unfortunately, that first required that he cycle through the other settings on the damned thing.

Some old guy in a sparkly jumpsuit. Metro Man. The warden. Bernard.

It was like her nightmares all over again.

In some distant part of her brain she knew what was going on and why, and she knew she wasn't being rational for lack of sleep. She couldn't help it. She squeezed her eyes shut against the tears and wrapped her arms around her chest, trying to steady her breathing and only succeeding to choke on sobs. She wasn't even aware of the point where she sank to the floor. Megamind and Minion might have bumbled together in a spectacular feat of panic and confusion, but she wasn't aware of it.

She was only aware of a tentative hand touching her shoulder, and faint metallic squeaking as the quilt was pulled away, billowed open and wrapped around her. Megamind pulled her just a little bit closer, and then a little bit closer, and then a little bit closer still so that she was leaning almost entirely against his chest. Frantic, she buried her face in his bony shoulder, not even noticing when he went rigid for a moment of shock. His arms around her tightened some more, and she could feel the added weight of a second blanket being laid across her back.

"Now, I don't know much about these… nightmares," Megamind said after a long while, quite likely with Minion's prompting. "But Roxanne—" Stop. Wait. Decided against it. "I want you to know that you are… safe here."

A part of her wanted to giggle at the irony, if she hadn't been so busy soaking his high-collared pajamas. He was right, after all. He'd been kidnapping her here for years, and for all the threats and all the dangerous stuff lying around, he had never once let anything happen to her here. Hell, it was safer than her own apartment. Hal had never dragged her away from here. Hal probably hadn't even known where this place was.

"So… um… you don't need to worry… or be… er… scared or anything here."

If Minion hadn't put another blanket on her just then, she would have sworn the fish was writing him cue cards. She half-thought she saw him doing so, but that was impossible. Her eyes were still shut. Maybe she was hallucinating. Or maybe she was just dreaming.

"So just… yeah."

The sobs subsided altogether as Roxanne fell definitively asleep. Still attached quite ambitiously to Megamind's chest. He looked at her for a long while, and then up at Minion.

"Code: what do I do now?" he whispered.

"Code: I can get her off if you want," Minion said, reaching down to try and lift her off his boss, but Megamind shook his head.

"Code: just bring some… pillows or something," he said. "I'll stay here tonight."

The pillows were remarkably helpful. Roxanne Ritchi didn't wake until well into the afternoon, well rested and still wrapped tightly around Megamind. She was a little confused, and more than a little embarrassed, but even more grateful.

Because this time, there were no nightmares.