"A…a freeze ray."
Roxanne looked up from her laptop. He had been sitting on the couch the last time she'd glanced at him, but now he was lying with his head lolling over the front. His legs were thrown up over the back, bobbing gently. He always tended to migrate like that when he tried to sit still. It was one of the reasons Roxanne would not sit beside him when he was thinking. The other had to do with the way black leather felt on her skin when the weather was warm. He never seemed to mind it, and more power to him, but Roxanne despised stickiness.
He was drumming his fingers against his chest now, eyes narrowed over the thought he had just voiced. "A ray which can instantly freeze anything you can think of into – no, inside of a solid block of ice."
Roxanne's mouth stretched into a wide line as she pressed her lips together. "Mmm…."
He let his head drop farther to look at her upside-down. That sound was the one she made to buy time and this frustrated him. He regarded her now as one impossible to please. "Oh, what, what? It's constructive, it doesn't do anything illegal, none of the components are poisonous -"
Roxanne pulled her shoulders into a shrug, widening her eyes as if the two actions were controlled by the same lever. "Look, I'm sorry, okay? I just can't think of any reason to use a freeze ray that isn't at least a little bit evil!"
"All right, what would you use it for, then?"
"Freezing things, of course!" They stared at each other, until Roxanne's slowly rising eyebrows made him start to squirm. "Bad things. Evil things. Evil things that needed, at a molecular level, to be frozen."
Roxanne wrinkled her nose at him. She probably thought it was cute, but he resented her and her nose. "Fine." He crossed one leg over the other and bobbed the top one, more forcefully now than he'd been doing before. Roxanne estimated she could get a few more words typed before he spoke again and turned to her screen to write them.
"How about a, like a big…tank, and it has missile launchers here and here – " he lifted a finger and drew an invisible diagram in the air, but Roxanne looked at him again and he abandoned the idea right where it was. He hadn't liked it anyway.
"Why don't you just start small?" She was writing while she spoke, not looking at him. "Like… like a pothole-filling gun or something."
"Pfft! A pothole-filling gun, you're joking, that's the worst idea I've – " He sensed her glare a moment later than he should've and snapped his mouth shut. "N-not that … I mean, the idea has obvious merit." She returned to typing. He bobbed his leg, drummed his fingers, chewed on his bottom lip. Irritation overtook him at last, and he thumped a fist against the couch.
"I still can't see why it would be such a big, huge deal if I just built one little amnesia chamber like I suggested in the first place – it isn't as though I would erase just anybody's memories, and the vast majority of them are probably pretty boring anyway – "
Roxanne's head jerked up. She did not like the habit he had of reanimating discussions she had considered closed. "No! No amnesia chamber, I told you – "
"But that's totally unreasonable! It's not like I'd be erasing any socially constructive identities – "
"You can't erase people's identities at all!" Roxanne raked her hair back from her forehead with a little chuckle that was born of frustration. "That is so evil!"
The cheerful metallic clank that was the sound of Minion's footfalls approached the room and stopped at the doorway. Minion had two tanks these days, the fancy one for taking out and this smaller one, similar to his old one, for staying home. Roxanne had laughed when she'd first heard him call it a tank, but both overlord and underling had stared at her so blankly that she had swallowed it down and kept her amusement to herself. He was lifting one finger now, his polite acknowledgement that he was about to break into an ongoing conversation. Roxanne looked up sharply before he could.
"Minion, is an amnesia chamber evil?"
The lifted finger curled back as he hesitated. "Uh…."
"What? Wait a minute, that – " Megamind had tried to sit up, forgetting what sort of position he was in. He half-fell, half slid to the floor, rolling his torso around to drag himself upright. "That's not fair, you're deliberately phrasing the question in the way you want it to sound. Minion, an amnesia chamber isn't necessarily evil, is it?"
"Well, I…." Minion had been prepared to answer until Megamind's eyebrows shot up, then he shrank back away from the glass front of his bowl, artificial shoulders scrunching up guiltily. "It…it does sound a little evil, sir…."
"Ha!" Roxanne barked. Megamind let his breath out in a disgusted huff, rising to his feet at last only to flop back against the couch, sliding down until his chin was jammed against his chest.
Minion flexed his hand open and shut, trying to segue out of the exchange as gently as possible. "So, did…anyone want…coffee, because I was going to make a pot if anyone wanted coffee…."
Megamind, who was now pouting, snorted. Roxanne, who was now gloating, hummed. Minion drew back. "I will just…go. Make water. H-heat water. Water for coffee." He retreated with a soft mechanical buzz, tiptoeing away down the hall so that they could work it out between the two of them. Easier that way. Wiser.
Roxanne was able to finish an entire paragraph in silence before she recognized how silent it was. Smiling before she even looked up, she saved the thing and closed the laptop, setting it aside before leaning back to admire how broody he looked when he was brooding. "Aw, come on. Don't be like that. I'm sure some nice boy will still take you to the prom even if you haven't got a freeze ray."
"Don't mock me." He threw his arms across his face, legs splayed across the floor like some gigantic squashed insect. He gave a long sigh out loud, which turned it into a moan, then fell silent for a moment. Roxanne waited.
"…I'm not any good at this."
Her nose wrinkled again, this time in sympathy. He lowered his arms, pushed himself upright again, gesticulating. "Everything is so much easier when all you have to do is come up with one really good bad idea and do it. Nobody just goes around making up helpful things, that's ridiculous. Even saying it out loud is embarrassing. Ooo, look at me, I'm Megamind! I invent things for the good of all people everywhere, ooo!"
Roxanne rested her chin in her hand, watching him as he began to pace. "Mm-hmm. Well, I guess you'll just have to go back to being evil, then."
For just a moment, his smile became wicked. "Hnhnhnyes – I mean no! That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid, NNG!" He raked his fingers down the sides of his face. Roxanne shook her head and drew her legs up underneath herself.
"Hey, all right, come here. C'mere, c'mere, c'mere." She reached out her hands and flapped them until he slouched over to where she was sitting. Roxanne slid to one side to make room for him and he dropped down sulkily beside her. "Look, nobody ever said this was going to be easy. It's tough to be a hero. It's not a job for just anybody, remember? It takes a special kinda guy." He scoffed, but that really only meant that he was listening to her. She poked his chest. "A guy like you." He sat there, just breathing, for a moment or two before his eyes turned toward her. She smiled, shifting closer to snake an arm around his thin shoulders. "Look, why don't you take a break for now? You're going about this all the wrong way."
He frowned, wanting to be wounded but too curious to commit to it. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, look at you! You're sitting here trying to spontaneously create some sort of masterpiece. It doesn't work that way." He didn't quite understand, so she brushed a lock of hair behind her ear and closed her eyes. "Okay, look. When you used to come up with awful schemes to take over the city or whatever, you weren't just doing it to prove you could do it, were you?"
Now he looked insulted. "Of course not! That's not how the game works – it's an insult to the craft. My evil plans were for the benefit of everyone."
"Uh huh, and what was it like once Metro Man was gone and there was nobody to try and foil all your plans?"
"Well, it – " He was beginning to follow her now. "… like the world was a dark, cold lonely place where nothing mattered at all," he mumbled into his chest. Roxanne smiled.
"See? There you go." She unwound her arm from his shoulders to slip it, with its partner, around his waist. There was room for her head on his shoulder now and she nestled it there with a satisfied sigh, scrunched against him with her legs curled up underneath herself. "You just need to stop trying so hard. Don't think about it so much. When people need your help, you'll know what to do. You're great at that."
She could feel him relax against her. His hand hovered over the curve of her waist for a moment before he remembered – again – that it was all right to lay it there. "…I am pretty great at that."
"And no amnesia chamber." She untangled her hands and lifted one to finger his collar.
"No amnesia chamber." His eyes were closed, and although he sighed, he didn't sound sorry. "Even though… it would've been really awesome."