Disclaimer: "Megamind" is owned by Dreamworks. I am not profiting from this fanfiction.
Metro-turned-Music Man had a tricky life to lead, these days. As a man who'd faked his own death, he had to be careful in public. And though both his adopted parents lived, he couldn't let them know he was alive. His father tended to shrug things off, never shocked, like his emotions were dulled to nil. His mother was a bit on the slow side in comparison, hyperactive sometimes, even in her old age.
Both had a possibility of accidentally blurting out that he was alive, so he couldn't return to them. Only five people knew he was still around, himself included, and one wasn't technically a person. He needed to keep it that way.
He'd discovered that his scraggly beard and messy hair prevented others from recognizing him immediately, but he wouldn't push his luck. That was precisely why he needed to remain underground while he figured out exactly how he was going to make his dreams a reality.
And exactly why he needed Syphon gone. But the dark-skinned woman was lounging on his couch, waiting for him to get within reach of her. It was frustrating that he couldn't simply pick her up and deposit her in a prison somewhere with a gag in her mouth.
She was a bit of an enigma as she was, he'd noticed. A voice that charmed but with a touch that caused agony. She hadn't actually laid on a hand on him yet, but he feared it would hurt even him. Megamind had described it as an "unimaginable pain unlike anything you've ever felt". And considering Music Man had never technically felt physical pain, that would be a very accurate assessment.
It was a secret of his that his greatest fear was pain. He was mostly afraid that it would debilitate him, as he didn't know how to cope with it, how to work with it. He feared his mind would completely shut down - if not for the pain of a bruise, then for the pain of a broken bone or fracture.
Syphon promised much worse. Would he be able to take it?
Now he tried going through a slew of mental plans - ah, plans. How rarely he'd had to concoct them. Usually all he needed was his strength and speed. Sometimes he'd had to put together an instantaneous plan, like one time he'd crushed a chunk of coal into a diamond to reflect lasers, or another in which he'd taken advantage of Roxanne distracting Megamind (with flirts, no less) to disassemble a complex light bulb puzzle with his laser vision - a clever puzzle, admittedly. It'd been attached to a remote that would set off a series of bombs throughout the city, and the remote would trigger if he made a single mistake in solving the puzzle itself. He recalled Megamind's frustration when the villain had noticed how he'd disassembled the puzzle rather than solve it, calling out sarcastically, "Way to dodge the puzzle, pinhead!"
The fact remains that he'd never had to be much of a thinker. But that didn't mean he couldn't be.
He could put on a pair of his old gloves in an instant, to allow him to touch her. Yet he didn't have anything to protect his face. She was a wily one; he wasn't so sure pinning her arms to her sides would help. After all, she hadn't used her hands on Megamind - she'd used her face. Skin is skin.
Her face was bare, her arms were bare, even sections of her thighs. Though it embarrassed him to consider, he knew she'd use the skin there if she had to. Envisioning her with her thigh on his face made him blush, though women had thrown themselves at him in a similar manner a lot during his lifetime. Hell, women had greeted him fully naked before.
It never failed to embarrass him. Luckily, if it so happened that she got any part of her skin on him, it would probably be too painful to make him nervous. There was a small amount of relief in that.
"Get out," he ordered for the umpteenth time. She leveled her gaze on him, unimpressed and unmoved. That was fine, actually; he was just trying to keep her distracted while he thought up an escape route.
Over the past day, Roxanne had suggested he simply check out of town, go someplace out of Syphon's reach. But - and this was hard to admit - he agreed with Megamind. He still felt some responsibility to the city, even now. And he knew it'd tear him apart if he left the city and she went ahead and rampaged through it. It'd hurt him enough to see it ravaged by Tighten. But he'd known he couldn't interfere; it had been Megamind's turn to save the day.
Since the day he'd faked his death, he'd known one great big truth about the other alien: he'd never been meant to be a villain. Megamind had been good at it through practice, nothing more.
Stepping aside had been exactly what Megamind needed. Unfortunately, he still seemed to be having trouble getting up to speed with being a hero, as was proven by Syphon still having free roam.
Music Man was annoyed with this, even as he told himself to be patient. He'd spent his lifetime fighting for justice, being the hero - carting criminals off to prison within minutes of their appearances. Megamind just needed time to get going.
And time to account for the various problems inherent with defending the most advanced city on the planet. Such as keeping particular buildings out of the thick of battle.
Syphon chose then to open her mouth. He flinched reflexively. "Do you mind if I get a drink?" she wondered.
He stared at her, recalling that she'd had a drink the last time she was here, even as he was dumbfounded that he hadn't felt anything strange at the sound of her voice. Still, he reacted, his form blurring as he slammed doors shut and then returned to his spot within a second.
"Yes, I mind," he replied simply.
That's when a new plan began to form in his head. He could use his super speed to feed himself, but she couldn't do the same. He could starve her out, in a sense. Wait until she was weak from hunger. Deposit her straight to Megamind for dehydration and transportation to the prison.
It occurred to him then that they didn't have a women's prison for the criminally gifted. There'd never been a need before. But he doubted she would have trouble at the current one; no one would ever want to touch her.
He folded his arms and waited. Time was agonizing as it slipped past, to the point where he began counting the seconds for amusement, and he imagined she was doing the same as she stared him down. Regardless, he was unmoved. With his strength, he could mimic a statue for hours on end; he focused on doing so now.
In much the same fashion, she remained seated, unmoving, just watching him. Slowly, the seconds crawled by. Each tick of the clock in the kitchen (too faint for her to hear, but audible to him) was like a tiny torture device. It was difficult not to tap his fingers or shake his leg, but he remained stoic. He argued with himself that while he may not be an official super hero anymore, he was still superhuman, and his victory record was yet spotless - in his own opinion, anyway. He would not lose here.
Eventually, after what must have been an hour, Syphon rolled her eyes back and dropped her head onto the sofa. A moment later, she opened her mouth, the very picture of an exasperated, hormonal teenager. It made him wonder how old she was.
After another few seconds, she took a deep, audible breath, then sighed, the sound halfway a groan. He softened a tad at the sound, then solidified himself again. He wouldn't give in to her voice. Not like he had last time. He was determined to win this game of hers, then get rid of her.
Another idea came to mind, so long as she was looking away. Using his super speed to its utmost, he zipped from the room, sent a text to Roxanne, and returned to his spot. Syphon didn't so much as twitch, so he was confident she hadn't noticed his absence.
There was no return text, even after another dreadfully slow hour had passed. Which was good, really; he didn't want the pink-haired menace before him to know he was in contact with anyone - not that he didn't believe she already knew. No, she was a quick one. It didn't take long for her to deduce that Roxanne had warned him the last time she was here.
Oh how he wished he had something else to think about. But what else was there? His laundry? The number of items that had been knocked over? No, there was just Syphon - and he had to keep focused. Which meant that there really was nothing else to think about.
He had the sudden thought that he would drive himself insane if he didn't get rid of her soon.
Time began to crawl by again, punctuated solely by the breaths and heartbeats in the room.
Well after dark, the two were exhausted from the sheer amount of focus they'd been expending. Syphon was now laid out on the couch, one arm hanging off and the other thrown over her head. Blank yellow eyes stared up at the ceiling.
Music Man had eventually collapsed into his chair, tired in a way that had nothing to do with physical exhaustion. He, too, was staring blankly at the ceiling. Every so often, one of them would blink or sigh.
By this point, he was plagued with questions about her. Having nothing else to think about had that effect. He kept wondering who and what she was (her powers and odd mix of coloring suggested she wasn't human) and what her ultimate goal was. Not to mention all the little things: did she eat, or just drink? How old was she? Where was she born? Who were her parents? Was she built like him, with more weight than she appeared to have due to a higher density?
An endless stream was in his head, and with each additional question, he found himself thinking more and more that this was something like Stockholm Syndrome. In a twisted way, he was her prisoner. And through the simple fact that she wasn't speaking, he was imagining a personality and scenario for her life. One he could sympathize with.
After having taken a closer look at his past with Megamind, the ex-hero came to conclusion that his rival had only chosen to become a villain because he'd perceived nothing else he could do with his life. Truthfully, Music Man felt responsible for this, at least in part. On the bright side, Megamind had been able to test his brilliance time and again because of it, so it wasn't a complete loss of twenty years of his life.
Now he began wondering if Syphon was in the same position as Megamind - if the choice to become a villain had been forced on her somehow. He imagined she'd had a torturous life with the way her voice and skin worked. So far he'd come to the conclusion that she couldn't control how her skin sapped the life force from those she touched; that meant she'd had no choice but to remain apart from them.
It was so completely at odds with her voice that it seemed to be a cruel trick of whatever God created her. Her voice drew others in; her skin repulsed them. On the other hand. . .if her powers were somehow nature-selected, then that would make her race (if she had a race) seducers and, in all likelihood, murderers. Maybe she got energy from other living things through her skin instead of eating. Maybe it was a natural defense.
Or maybe she was some kind of super mutant (there were dozens of them in the world so far) and some God had indeed played a cruel joke on her.
At length, he groaned. This was ridiculous. He supposed he might as well feed his curiosity, if the questions had large breaks between them - and if the two of them were going to remain like this for the next several hours.
"Syphon," he said at last. He heard her move but didn't look. "What are you?"
He heard her move again and sigh. "I don't know," she answered.
He shook off a slight dizziness at the sound of her voice. The effect wasn't so bad, so he went on, "So you don't think you're human?"
"I'm not," she agreed.
Another pull assaulted him, but it was just as easily dispelled. Huh. This wasn't so hard after all.
She went on, "Don't think I'll be generous and give you time to recover if you keep up this line of questioning."
When no effect was apparent, he analyzed the sound of her voice more closely. It was. . .different, just slightly. As if she'd been speaking in a tone a single note lower that time. It was curious, possibly a way to nullify the effects of her voice, so he put it aside till later - something to relate to Megamind.
Which meant, ultimately, that she knew she could counter the effects of her voice, and that she'd been doing so now. She didn't want him affected by her voice. She was. . .keeping her promise.
"Noted," he said now. He lifted his head, thinking he had a good chance to get more information out of her. "Syphon," he repeated.
She turned her head to see him.
"It's not your real name, I'm assuming?"
She shook her head with a raised brow, as if to say, Whose super villain name ever is?
"Tell me," he prompted.
She gave a disbelieving laugh. The sound made his body relax a margin.
"Okay, fine," he sighed. "How old are you?"
Staring up at the ceiling again, she quirked her head and moved her lips, as if repeating his question in a mocking tone.
. . .So maybe he couldn't get more information out of her. Was she onto him?
Then she groaned, covering her face with her hands. "This is going to sound ridiculous," she said, and he almost wavered at her voice, "but do you have a bathroom?"
He regarded her with a silent, stunned look for so long that she chanced a glance at him. At length, he said, "Are you serious?"
She sat up, frowning at him. "All my plumbing works," she hinted dryly - he felt no effect at her words, so he figured she was using that tone again. He paid closer attention to the exact sound. "And I've been holding it back since before I got here. Do you or don't you?"
He rubbed his eyes with his hand. "I can't believe this," he muttered.
"I'm right there with you," she sighed.
He pointed. "Through that door, make a left."
"I'll be back," she said as she got up, hopped over the couch, and disappeared.
"Oh good," he replied with heavy sarcasm. "I was worried you might leave."
She barked a sudden laugh and his head swam in reaction. He shook himself, stood up, paced. Then decided he might as well feed himself and hurried into the kitchen. He ignored the sounds from the other side of his underground hideout as he reheated last night's spaghetti and ate it. In the end, the misplaced hospitality he'd been feeling won out, and while he was in there, he made a few drinks.
He'd gotten the broken table stable again and had a long island iced tea set out for her when she got back, sipping on a personalized version of a mud slide himself.
She stopped dead when she saw her drink, then frowned at him. She said nothing, but her expression asked the question.
He shrugged. "I could always pour it out," he offered.
With a skeptical look at him and equally skeptical sniff at the drink, she settled back onto the couch.
Apparently, she suspected it was drugged somehow (though he'd always considered alcohol itself a kind of drug) and he kicked himself for not thinking of doing just that. It wouldn't have worked, in all likelihood; he didn't know the first thing about chemistry - hence, no chance at putting together some kind of home-made paralytic or sleep-inducing concoction. Not to mention he had his doubts it would work on her.
Roxanne had told him how Syphon had fallen off the very top of Metro Tower and landed on her feet, carrying Roxanne no less, then walked away. Such resilience usually doubled towards internal tolerance - a lesson he'd learned the hard way. It took him six times as much alcohol consumption to get drunk as the average human.
At last, she took a tentative sip, then graced him with a shocked look.
"What?" he wondered. "I thought women liked sweet tea." Even the alcoholic type of tea.
She gave him a silent thumb's up with a wink.
So she did like it. He was unsure how he should feel about that. She leaned back, lounging, as she sipped the drink. After a few moments, he mimicked the pose, relaxing into his favorite chair.
"This changes nothing," he warned after another pause.
"Agreed," she replied easily with a flip of her hand.
That one word was particularly lilting, he noticed. He almost teetered - might have, had he been standing. He shook his head. And due to that one word and its effects, he pieced together aspect about her vocal powers: she could just as easily nullify it as she could empower it.
The last time she was here, he hadn't had time to analyze anything. He'd been completely (embarrassingly) swamped in the odd euphoria her voice caused. It'd gotten bad enough that he recalled having a fleeting thought about writing a song about her. Once his head had cleared, he'd been appalled with himself - and angry with her. He had assumed she had total control over her voice, that she'd put effort and strategy into making him pliant like he'd been.
Now, it appeared just the opposite was true: she didn't have much control over her voice at all. She hadn't been actively trying to force him into servitude (though he also recalled how softly she'd been speaking and concluded she had put some effort into strengthening the effect). Her voice simply seduced and calmed anyone who heard it.
For a while, he toyed with the idea of trying to get more information out of her again. There was a chance she was a lightweight when it came to drinking, after all; she might loosen up and answer honestly. But if he kept prying and she wasn't a lightweight, she would certainly grow wise to his questions. And then she might stop playing nice and go right ahead, using her voice the way her nature seemed to demand.
He decided against it. For now, for as long as he could keep it up, he was going to do his damnedest to keep her here. It was part of his plan: keep her calm, complacent, and playing fair in this game of hers, while Megamind went on developing his counter-measures to her odd convergence of powers.
Which meant also doing whatever he could to keep her interested - and happy. Hence the long island iced tea and use of his bathroom.
Some time later, he frowned at his glass, noting how the mud slide was gone. He couldn't chance getting drunk himself, lest he slip up and have her take advantage of the moment to get her hands on him. So instead, he continued frowning at the large bowl of his glass, considering licking its insides to get at the rest of the drink.
He foresaw a very long night ahead.
He held off as long as he could before checking the clock for the rest of the night. Eight o'clock went by, then nine, nine-thirty, ten-forty, eleven-fifteen, midnight, one a.m., one-fifty, two-thirty, three-ten, four. . .
Syphon's breathing changed, becoming deeper and heavier. He looked over at her, almost unbelieving. Her glass was empty, a few drops still clinging to it on the table. She was stretched out on the couch again, facing the back, her head on the arm.
Narrowing his eyes, he looked through her, examining her lungs and heart, listening as well. Slow, steady beat of the heart. Even breaths. He zipped around the couch and looked through it, finding her face was relaxed, eyes closed, lips parted. Just to be certain, he also made a quick examination of her entire body, focusing on the muscles. They were all loose, relaxed (and a few were definitely alien of the human muscle structure).
At last, he leaned back and confirmed it. She'd fallen asleep.
Curiosity assaulted him at her sudden unknowing vulnerability. He still feared pain, yes, but he started to see this as an opportunity. Afraid as he was of pain, he couldn't deny that he wanted to know what it felt like. He focused on her bare shoulder as he thought it over. He could. . .touch her. Just a tap. Like how humans tapped hot pans on the oven to see if it was too hot to handle. Just to see if it would hurt, and how much. To see if it did anything at all.
After all, he had no idea if it'd work or not. He wasn't resistant to her voice, but that's because it was audio. He was resistant to all things physical; there was a good chance her physical powers would do nothing. Bullets, fire, lasers, concrete, UV radiation, even paper cuts did nothing to him. Alcohol was almost useless and it took several times longer for nutrition to be absorbed into him than it did for a human.
He started to extend his hand, watching her closely in case this was some sort of trick. Just a tap, he promised himself. If she moves, I can be on the other side of the planet before she could reach me.
His heart started to speed up. If this debilitated him, like he feared it would. . . If one touch knocked him out, he'd be at her mercy.
He reminded himself that fortune favored the bold, but his mind came back with the rule about cats and curiosity. In the end, he gave in to temptation.
The lightest touch he could manage, he promised himself again.
He had no idea how slowly he was actually moving, being so focused on his extended index finger, but it felt like eternity. Closer. . .closer. . . He hesitated, swallowed, eyed the millimeter between his peach-colored flesh and her darker brown shade, then pressed down.
A shock rent right through him, making him think "electricity!" and jerk back. He just barely kept himself from shouting at the unwanted sensation that had torn through him. He shook his hand, focusing on making the appendage stop throbbing. In no time at all, it faded, leaving him uninjured with no mark to show for his wound.
But it had left a tiny mental scar. Now that he knew what pain was, he wasn't surprised that it was such a useful disciplinary tool; he probably would have caved if such measures had been used to steer him. And he was even less surprised that so many people feared it. All those times he'd rolled his eyes to watch people flinch as they got shots suddenly seemed cruel. Those flinches were necessary.
Now that the pain was gone, though, the memory fading, he found himself doubting how he'd reacted. It hadn't been that bad, had it?
A need to double-check pulled his hand back down, and again, he tapped her.
Another shot from his fingertip up his entire arm, and for the second time, he shook his hand as he bit back curses. He'd never felt more stupid than just then; he knew he would react like this, and yet he'd done it anyway. Despite this, his mind went in a loop, making him frown.
It hadn't hurt that much, really. . .