Megamind did not know the true name of his species, though he had told Roxanne a time or two that he informally referred to them as Vegans, due to their star's (now black hole's) proximity to the Vega system. He pronounced it in the same manner as humans who choose not to eat any animals or animal byproduct, which Roxanne found amusing. Perhaps a little defensive, Megamind replied that it was also appropriate, because as far as his studies could tell, his people didn't eat animals or animal byproducts, and for that reason, neither did he. This was one of many logical oversights he tended to indulge in; he considered eggs "gross", but refused to recognize that hot dogs, which he enjoyed regularly, were made of meat. "Just look at them!" he once said. "Look at the consistency! It doesn't make any sense!"
Roxanne often wondered what other little habits he had inherited from the now-extinct Vegans, and what were just simply his own little eccentricities. His tendency towards grandiosity and his ability to block people out had to be, at least a little bit, genetic. But there was one habit of his that struck her as strange, once their relationship began to grow a little more intimate. It seemed almost instinctive for him; whereas human males had hands that wandered, he had a head that wandered. He seemed to adore her touching it; the first time she had stroked it in an affectionate moment, he blurted out, perhaps a little too loudly, "Oh, that is exquisite! Keep doing that!" But the thing he preferred the most was to keep his head in contact with hers during intimate moments. She never asked him outright, but she assumed it had something to do with an alien instinct that he hadn't really gotten in touch with yet.
This was after their relationship became more of a "relationship", of course. At first, she wasn't sure where to go with it. Roxanne was genuinely surprised at the sudden self-restraint the once-villain displayed after Tighten was defeated. It wasn't humility, and it wasn't even pride that she sensed in him, but confusion. He was obviously glad that he had won for once in his life, and moreover to have found some genuine meaning in that victory, but like the "victory" over Metro Man that preceded it, after the thrill wore off he didn't seem to know what to do with it. The people were surprised and grateful to him, but they seemed just as confused as he was.
When the mayor and police chief made a deal with him, suggesting that by service to the city he might be able to work off those life sentences, Roxanne had stayed by his side to do damage control if he said or did anything stupid. She smiled at him encouragingly when the police chief detailed every single crime he had been charged with in his life, reminding him that he had managed only one good, selfless deed in a sea of crime. She even held his hand, trying to instill a sense of confidence in him that this was the right path for him all along. But rather than make a show, publicly stroking his massive ego as he usually did, he was strangely tight-lipped, holding his little alien fish, Minion, in a mason jar someone had volunteered.
She studied him; it definitely wasn't humility. She knew him very well, and she had never once seen him display humility. It read to her more like being lost, like he had never been so far out of his comfort zone, and he had no idea where to go with any of this. When the two of them left City Hall, Roxanne close by his side, the confused, still frightened but a little bit cautiously optimistic gazes of the people they passed by towards Megamind's now doorless invisible car only seemed to exacerbate his strange mood.
"Yes, of course!" he declared awkwardly to no one in particular. "Your gratitude is accepted, good citizenry, by I! Your new super…. Hero! Yes. You're welcome." He then slithered into his car as though he was hiding some deep dark secret, cursing when he realized that the driver's side door had been removed and people on that side could still see him.
Roxanne carefully got into the car with him, pursing her lips into a hopeful smile. "Well, I think this is going pretty well, all things considered! Life sentences and all!"
Megamind started to respond, but realizing that people could still see the conspicuous door into nowhere, he withheld. "May I offer you a ride?"
"You may," she said. His expression softened, less skeptical and now showing hope. "Would you take me home?"
Roxanne didn't say anything when she realized Carlos hadn't yet been rehydrated as they floated right past the doorman's kiosk. She knew this was a delicate time. He took minion with them, the little fish having fallen asleep on the way over. She was also tired, and didn't know what to do with him. She had invited him upstairs but that was just because she didn't want to leave him to his own devices. "I'm dead tired," she told him. "I don't think I've slept in… almost two days!"
"Hmm, you get used to it," he said as the door opened. She noticed he was staring at her, as though waiting for her to say something. When he came inside, as she took off her shoes, poured them both a glass of water and generally made small talk about how exciting and unexpected the last few days had been, Megamind placed Minion's bowl on a table and took in her apartment, scarcely listening to her. He poked the couch, as though he had never encountered a cushion before.
"Soft, very soft," he said, breaking her off in the middle of a sentence. He then sat on it, bouncing up and down a little. "Your couch is very soft."
Roxanne then got the distinct impression that the two were dancing around some big elephant in the room. "Is there something on your mind?" she asked.
"If you're tired, perhaps you might want to sit," he suggested, indicating to the spot next to him. It seemed to her that his head was off on a cloud somewhere. She did so, hesitantly, taking in the look in his eyes. The fuzzy elephant in the room started to take shape. Bernard, him losing hope, the dramatic rescue, it all came back to that one inevitable conclusion: he was still in love with her.
She wasn't quite sure yet where she fell.
He placed his hand on hers, giving her his sad, hopeful look. The thing that tortured her the most about that look was its sincerity. "You've been quiet today," she said.
He shrugged, pausing for a moment to gather his thoughts. "Well, I suppose that when we had been together, in the past, I mean, as Megamind the 'supervillain' and Roxanne the 'damsel in distress' we were playing parts," he said in a rare moment of clarity. "Does that make sense?"
She laughed, relieved. "It makes perfect sense."
"I could act in however way I wanted, because at the time I had nothing to lose. But I suppose, I'm realizing, now, I have a very great deal to lose. And if things continue-" he stopped himself. Glancing sidelong at her, nervously. She arched her eyebrows, beseeching him to continue. "Well, my point is, I'm not sure what to say, because I do have a habit of making things worse by saying… villainous things."
"I see," she said. "Were you playing a part when you were playing Bernard?"
"No!" he blurted, taking her hand and holding it to his skinny little chest. He started to elaborate, but, again, stopped himself. "I suppose that's the irony of the whole situation, isn't it? I think the thing I wanted to tell you is that anything I ever said to you as Bernard, besides odd facts like 'My name is Bernard Hulbert, I was born in Cheboygan', that sort of thing, was the truth."
She didn't respond, processing what he was saying. "But you are tired!" he blurted, letting go of her hand. "You've had an exciting day, and the whole Bernard ordeal is behind us, and I am who I am and you've made that quite clear, not that I blame you! Oh no-"
"I think you're tired too," she suggested, placing a gentle hand on his cheek. "Since my couch is soft, you're welcome to sleep here, and we can discuss it tomorrow."
He scoffed despite himself. "Soft is for sitting! I would have such a headache in the morning. Your floor will do just fine." Sensing that he might be appearing ungrateful, he added, "That is, with your blessing, of course. That is not to say you have a bad couch. It is a very nice couch."
Roxanne, exhausted, shrugged and said, "Suit yourself." She got up and headed toward her bedroom.
"Roxanne," he said, meek for his bombastic personality. She turned around. "I mean to thank you," he said. "For your hospitality. And everything. I mean, I want to thank you for everything. And I want to apologize for everything."
She smiled softly. "Thank you."
"And I do mean, everything. The alligators, the mega-crane, the suspension-bridge, the drill…"
"The plague rats, the stink ray, the Boston Terriers…"
"Please don't remind me."
"The football team, the jelly bombs, the nose hair-"
"That's enough!" she exclaimed through a forced smile. Again, he gave her the sincere face, and she relaxed. "It is a lot, but… apology accepted."
His expression melted into a big smile, and as she shut the door, she realized she had never seen him so happy.
The head-contact habit didn't start until the next morning. when she got up, he was gone, but Minion was still there, singing her a wonderful morning and assuring her that he just went out to purchase coffee (with legal tender that he obtained… legally). He did indeed return within half an hour, having purchased eight distinct types of coffee, from straight espresso to latte to Americano, not knowing Roxanne's preference. She was touched, although she did ask him how he obtained money legally.
"Roxanne" he said, emptying a packet of sugar into her latte, "I thought you and Bernard did so much research on me! The problem with stealing money is that when you get caught it gets returned to its rightful owner. I own the patents on a great number of things; cellular phone antennas, common shapes of printer cartridges, those environmentally friendly lightbulbs, and so on. These assets might get frozen from time to time but sense they are legally acquired, they cannot be taken away from me. Evil genius always needs financial backing!" He smirked, handing her the latte. His gusto seemed to have returned, as well as his confidence.
She smiled to herself, and then at him. He took her hand and kissed it gently, sending a surprising flutter through her chest. "I would have loved to have taken you to breakfast properly, but I have a great deal of work to do today."
"You do?" She was a little bit crestfallen.
"Yes, the city isn't going to repair itself!" He announced, throwing on his new white cape he "borrowed" from Metro Man. Er, Music Man. "According to the Powers That Be, using my technology to fix the streets and the buildings will count a great deal towards working off my debt to society. So, off I go!" He grabbed Minion's little fish jar, the fish inside beaming proudly. "Today, I officially go to intentionally be the good guy. But before I do, would you indulge me in a storm check?"
"Rain check," Minion corrected him.
"Ah, rain check, for the lovely breakfast I was unable to provide you today in return for your… self… ness?"
Roxanne was taken aback at how, well, gentlemanly he was being. Never in a million years, she mused, shaking her head and smiling. Never in a million years would I have thought... "Alright, Megamind," she said. "It's a… it's a date."
Try though he might, he couldn't hide the childlike glee in his expression, though he did manage to keep a lid on saying anything irreparably awkward, as he was wont to do. "Tomorrow, then!" he proclaimed, forefinger high in the air, "We break the fast!"
"Oh, we will break it," affirmed Roxanne. "Into… pieces."
Megamind grinned, placed his hand on her shoulder, and carefully moved in to kiss her on the cheek. Roxanne closed her eyes, waiting to see where it went. He broke the kiss, and leaned his big forehead to hers, keeping it there. "Then I look forward to it," he said, quietly. She sighed, leaning her face into his, and the two hugged. Alright, she thought, you win. I'll give it a chance.
At that moment, she hadn't thought of the head-contact thing as anything more than a charming, innocent little gesture of trust. It was only when she noticed how often he did it that she started to wonder whether there was more to it than that.
Inevitably, there was.