Author's Note: From the following prompt on the Livejournal flashfic thread:
"Megamind/Roxanne: what happens to someone stupid enough to hurt roxanne?
one word: minion."
If someone had told her that she would one day be entertaining a talking, alien fish in a gorilla suit as a guest in her living room, Roxanne... would not have been surprised. But only because she'd always rather liked Minion, and her life had been very strange for years now, and not because she could have predicted the sequence of events which would lead up to it. She didn't think anyone at all could have predicted those.
Minion sat in on the couch in a way that implied that he was afraid he was going to break something - floating in the middle of his bubble-dome, hands in his lap and eyes flitting around the room, taking everything in at once. He'd come by himself. Just turned up on her doorstep, asking if she would let him in, and then Roxanne had awkwardly offered to go and get them some refreshments. It was only once she was in the little adjacent kitchen that she wondered what refreshments she could possibly serve an alien fish. Oddly enough, Minion made it easy to forget that he wasn't human sometimes.
Settling for a few crackers, Roxanne emptied the box onto a plate and set it on the coffee table between them. Then she sat down, trailing one socked foot a little absently over the carpet, and gave what she hoped was an encouraging smile.
Minion looked at the crackers. "Ooh, crackers," he said, although he made no move to pick one up. Roxanne felt kind of foolish. She didn't know how, exactly, Minion got food to himself. Maybe she was being silly... well, either way, it was possible to cut the tension in the room with a knife.
She cleared her throat. "So. Minion," she began, since he obviously seemed bothered by something. He'd never sought her out on his own before. "What can I do for you?"
Minion blinked, and his gaze flitting a little from side to side. Her sofa creaked as he leaned forward, gingerly extending one hand to pluck a cracker off of the dish, and bring it towards his bubble-dome. Roxanne watched with some fascination as he then pushed it straight through the dome - apparently unimpeded - and took a nibble, not even spilling so much as a drop of water in the process.
That was kind of amazing. She wondered idly how it worked.
When the cracker was finished, Minion curled his hand into a fist, and coughed gingerly into it. Then he laced his fingers together, and something like an intent expression fell over his face.
"I'm here to ask you about your intentions, Ms. Ritchi," he admitted.
There was a pause.
Roxanne raised her eyebrows a little. "My intentions?"
"Your intentions," he agreed. "You know, towards him."
A lightbulb went off. Roxanne's mouth formed a tiny 'o' of surprise, and she leaned back a little, reflexively giving Minion a double-take. "Oh. Oh, my 'intentions'," she parroted, abruptly trying hard not to laugh. It wouldn't be good to laugh, because obviously he was serious, but it was just so... well, it was odd on a lot of levels.
But Minion was resolute. "He feels very strongly about you, Ms. Ritchi. Very strongly. I know he acts like he's extremely put-together and knows everything there is to know, but the truth is, he's very sensitive. But please don't tell him I told you that."
Raising a forestalling hand, Roxanne bit back the last of her urge to chuckle and shook her head. "I know," she replied. How could she have failed to notice either of those things? "Look, you don't have to worry. I'm not-"
"But I do have to worry," Minion cut her off, to her mild surprise. His fins flipped a little in some genuine distress. "I know you're not a mean person, Ms. Ritchi, but you're also a successful reporter. A popular, ordinary person. You've probably had a lot of relationships," he said, with just enough concern in his tone to keep her from becoming offended. "You're giving him a chance, but you're better equipped to deal with things if they don't work out. For someone like you, a failed relationship is just another part of life-"
"Whoa, whoa," Roxanne halted him again. "Stop right there."
Minion obliged her, and darted another look at his surroundings. She couldn't tell if he was afraid of the room they were in, or if he was secretly worried that Megamind would pop out of the woodwork and catch them talking. Maybe a little of both.
Taking a deep breath, she reminded herself that neither Minion nor Megamind were terribly good at that whole 'social interaction' thing, and Minion's brand of not-good tended more towards just blurting out whatever crossed his mind. "If you're here to get me to promise that things are going to work out between the two of us, then I'm sorry, but I can't do that," she said gently. "A failed relationship is never 'just' another part of life. Not even when you've had more than one. But..." she thought about Megamind, and where the two of them stood. They were giving it a shot. Matters between them were still kind of complicated, though, and she couldn't lie about that. "Sometimes things just don't turn out the way you want them to."
Minion gave her a careful look, tilting slightly in his bubble-dome. His eyes looked very intelligent and very intent for a moment.
"...How do you want things to turn out, Ms. Ritchi?" he asked her.
She smiled a little. "Honestly? Right now? I just want everyone to be happy. And call me Roxanne," she requested.
Slowly, Minion nodded. Or, well, bobbed up and down in his water. "Roxanne," he agreed.
"I made cheesecake!" Minion's happy call reached them from the vicinity of the lair's 'kitchen'. Honestly, Roxanne couldn't see how anyone could bake in that place – it looked more like an industrial-level laboratory than anything else – but Minion apparently could, and she wasn't about to complain. Megamind glanced up from the blueprints he'd been excitedly showing her, his already-broad smile widening even more.
"Excellent, Minion! I'll just-" he started to say, before a jangling sound kicked up in his pocket. Blinking, he looked down, and then retrieved the tiny black cell phone from his pocket. Roxanne had given it to him as a gift not too long ago. He looked at the digital face, and then let out a heartfelt groan.
"What? What is it?" Roxanne asked, as Minion appeared in the doorway, holding a pan in his hands and wearing a bright orange apron that read My Other Outfit's a Gorilla in embroidered letters.
"It's the mayor," Megamind said, in the same tone of voice most people generally reserved for 'an infestation of rabid squirrels' or 'my mother-in-law'. Rolling his eyes dramatically, he lifted the phone to his ear, while Minion set the cheesecake down on the table (careful not to crush any blueprints) and exchanged an uncertain glance with Roxanne. They both listened to one half of the conversation for a few minutes, gleaning little of it until Megamind hung up and, expression shifting from annoyed to faintly chagrined, jammed the phone into his pocket again. "I forgot about that," he murmured quietly to himself.
"Forgot about what?" Roxanne asked.
At the same time, Minion said "Forgot about what, sir?" and made for an odd echo in the room.
Megamind flapped a hand vaguely in both of their directions. "The pool," he said, which made Minion's eyes widen in understanding. He elaborated for Roxanne's sake. "When we first took over City Hall, we thought that installing a pool in the basement would be a fun idea."
"We just flooded things," Minion admitted. "It wasn't really a… coordinated effort."
"Yes. Well, the mayor would like me to see about getting it fixed now," Megamind concluded.
"Should I get the car ready?"
"No, no," he replied. "It's nothing the brain bots can't handle. I'll just go get them set-up myself. Apparently, there are a few other things I'm supposed to discuss with regards to city management and heroics. Might as well get it done with." His expression dropped into something a little more forlorn, then, and he turned fully to Roxanne. "I hate to run out on you…"
Giving him a reassuring smile, she leaned over and pressed a quick kiss to his lips. He froze up for a few seconds, the way he usually did when she surprised him, and she pushed a stray lock from her bangs off of her forehead. "Don't worry about it," she said. "I didn't have anything special planned for today. We can do something when you get back."
Just like that, some of the slump left his shoulders, and he brightened considerably. There still wasn't quite the usual spring in his step as he left them to head over to the garage, though. But Roxanne found herself feeling unexpectedly proud of him. The old Megamind had never, in her experience, done something because it needed to be done – he'd always done things because he wanted to do them, or because they were part of his game. It probably wasn't easy to go from the latter to the former. She eyed him as he left, glancing around the lair at all the familiar, strange things, and felt something warm unfold inside her chest.
The cheesecake smelled delicious.
"Well…" Minion said, looking vaguely concerned, in that way he always did whenever he wasn't going with Megamind. "No point in letting this go to waste, I guess. Can I cut you a slice?"
Roxanne blinked. After a brief moment's hesitation, she nodded. "Sure. Why not?" she agreed, and Minion smiled at her. A moment later they'd settled down at the table across from one another, Megamind's things carefully moved out of crumb-range, the lair tall and quiet all around them. A few brain bots buzzed to and fro in the background. The cheesecake was sweeter than Roxanne generally liked, but still quite good. She grinned around her fork.
"Now I wish I'd brought my bike," she admitted. "I could've used the ride to burn all these calories."
Minion fluttered, putting his own fork straight through the material of his bubble-dome. She wondered where he kept all the food he ate. His actual body looked like it was all teeth and face.
"A little indulgence never hurt anyone," he philosophically declared.
"Maybe not. But it's different when you're on television," she replied. "Any time I put on a pound I have to listen to make-up and wardrobe harp my ears off."
Minion did his little flutter-tilt as he looked at her again. "Really?" he asked.
"Really," she said with authority. As he turned a concerned expression towards the cheesecake again, she laughed, and reflexively patted him on the shoulder. The faux gorilla hair was coarse under her hand. It was a silly gesture – he probably couldn't even feel anything. But it seemed normal enough, and he only blinked at her hand for a second. "Don't worry, though. I'm not a supermodel. One slice of delicious cheesecake won't be the end of the world."
At the word 'delicious' his sharp-toothed mouth broke out into a broad grin. "The recipe's from Martha Stewart. I changed some of it, though," he confided.
"It's good," she reiterated.
A moment later, awkward silence descended between the two of them again. Minion coughed. Roxanne finished the last of her cake, and subjected him to a long moment's scrutiny. Things were kind of invisible awkwardness between the two of them, she decided. Strangely enough, they might have gotten along easier before, back when their roles were more clearly defined as hostage and henchperson. It was different now. Less certain, less formulaic. But that wouldn't do. Megamind was an important part of her life, and Minion was an important part of his (and vice-versa) – and she was the reporter, the person who was good at getting people to talk, to open up, to tell her their stories and relax their guard for the camera. Reaching an internal decision, she cast a glance at the nearby clock. It was just after lunchtime, right around when the little theatre she favored would start showing its matinees.
"Do you like action movies, Minion?" she asked.
He blinked. "…You mean, like on television?"
Starting for a moment, Roxanne felt her grin widen, and shook her head. "I mean like at the theatre," she clarified, recalling that the one time she and 'Bernard' had gone to the movies, he had seemed unusually awed by the experience. Of course, in hindsight, that was probably his first time going to see one on the big screen, with crowds of people and warm, buttery popcorn, and everything else that came with the experience. "C'mon," she decided, standing up and starting to help clear the dishes. Minion almost immediately intervened. "I'll show you."
"For the last time, I am NOT cheating on you with Minion! I mean do you even listen to half of the stuff that comes out of your mouth sometimes?" Roxanne found herself snapping, her arms folded and her expression dire as Megamind waved what looked like a gossip tabloid wildly through the air.
"Then what's this?" he demanded, jabbing one finger at the cover, which depicted a photo of herself and his best friend leaving her local theatre.
Feeling a headache coming on, she raised a hand and rubbed at the center of her brow. "We went to a movie while you were taking care of things at City Hall," she said. Then she heaved a rather dramatic shrug. "I thought it would be fun! He'd never been to a movie theatre before!"
Megamind stilled. He looked at the picture again.
With what she felt was a monumental level of patience, Roxanne resisted the urge to throw him bodily out of her apartment. Instead she let out a breath and sank down into the chair behind her, and after a moment's thought, extended one hand forward to grasp the part of her boyfriend nearest to her. It happened to be his belt. His cheeks darkened as she pulled him towards her, until he was standing scant inches away, and then she leaned forward and rested her forehead against the flat surface of his stomach.
"For a brilliant guy, you really can be an idiot."
"I mean, I like Minion and all, but he's kind of a fish. In case you haven't noticed."
"…Sometimes I forget?"
"And even if he wasn't a fish, and was in fact the most handsome man alive, do you still really think I'd cheat on you with your own best friend? Or anyone, for that matter? Do you think that Minion would do that to you?"
Silence. For a moment, she felt a twinge of worry. But then he let out a heavy sigh, and she felt his hands come to rest on her shoulders, warm and slender. "No," he admitted quietly. It sounded like the truth.
"Good," she decided, pulling back a little to give him a reassuring look. Eventually, they were going to have to talk more about his insecurities regarding her and them and all things pertaining to their relationship. Eventually, they would probably have a real, not-over-in-five-seconds argument about it. But at that particular moment, honestly, one sincere 'no' from him would do. It was amazing what the littlest words could accomplish.
It was just going to be one of those days, Roxanne decided. She'd woken up that morning with a headache from the night before (writing and researching interview questions longer than she should have), only to discover that she'd forgotten to buy coffee on her last shopping run. That did absolutely zero for her mood, and it definitely didn't help that as soon as she left for work it started pouring rain – bucket loads of it – and once she finally got inside, it was to discover that the building had sprung a leak… right over her desk. Not a tiny leak, either. Her keyboard was wrecked, although the rest of her computer was rescued before things could get any worse. The rain didn't let up at all during the day, however, and she was forced to move as the repairmen came in and tried to mitigate the whole disaster. One of them even wound up clocking her across the back of her neck with a ladder leg, and didn't so much as apologize. By the time she headed home again she was on the verge of strangling someone, or possibly crying, and so could only muster up the energy to be quietly grateful when a familiar black car pulled up to the roadside.
Minion rolled down the window and grinned at her. "Hey there pretty lady. Need a lift?" he asked her jokingly.
Roxanne smiled back and pulled open the car door. "I don't know. I wouldn't want to get kidnapped," she replied, sliding into the passenger side seat. She winced as her damp skirt dragged against the interior leather. "Sorry."
"Oh, don't worry about that. Would you mind stopping by the lair, or should I take you home first?" he asked. Then he leaned over in a conspiratorial fashion as he pulled out into traffic again. "The boss has a romantic dinner planned. Don't tell him I told you – but maybe you'd like to change or something?"
Gratefully, she nodded. "That's a good idea." Admittedly, after the day she'd had, she didn't exactly look her best. Leaning her head back against the seat behind her, she let out a breath and closed her eyes for a minute. She kind of just felt like curling up in the bathtub and never coming out again, but dinner would be nice, too, and she hated to disappoint her boyfriend when he went to that kind of trouble for her. He loved springing things on her. It was probably some kind of hold-over from the beginning of their relationship.
The sharp intake of breath beside her made her eyes snap open. Before she could react, she felt one thick, robotic finger push back part of the collar of her jacket.
"What's that?" Minion demanded, glancing between her neck and the road.
Roxanne blinked. She raised a hand to the spot, and winced at the tenderness there. Oh, right. Somehow she'd almost forgotten about the accident that morning. "Nothing, really," she replied. "We sprung a leak in the building today, and one of the idiot repairmen wasn't paying attention and got me with the bottom edge of his ladder. The jerk. He tried to pretend he hadn't noticed, but I saw him do a double-take and everything – sometimes people are so rude." It wasn't often that she complained, but given the day she'd had, she figured she'd earned it.
Minion scowled past the steering wheel. "He hurt you?"
"By accident," she confirmed.
"That doesn't sound very professional. Did you catch his name?"
Sighing, Roxanne made a vague gesture of futility. "Oh, his nametag said Dave, and I was thinking about making a report to his superior. But it's not really worth it. It's just a bruise," she concluded.
"Dave. I see. And he works for…?"
"Metro City Office Repair," she replied unthinkingly. Then she blinked, straightening a little and turning to look at him. "Why?" she asked with no small amount of suspicion.
Minion shrugged. "Oh, no reason. It's just good to know these things. Look, we're here," he said, hitting the breaks with just enough force to jolt her a bit. "I'll just wait with the car while you get ready. Don't worry about being too formal, it'll just be the two of you. I've got some pieces for my quilting club that I'm still doing the top-stitching on. It'll probably keep me busy all evening." He graced her with a considerable smile, and then all but hurried her out of the car. By the time she'd showered, dried her hair, changed, and raced back, she'd all but forgotten their conversation, and instead listened to Minion go on about the various newsletters he was signed up for until they were at the lair. Then her evening almost made up for the day she'd had before. It was quiet, and lovely, and she spent the whole night there, so that she didn't get back to her apartment until the next afternoon.
She did notice that Dave the repairman was kind of pale and shaky at work the next day, but didn't think anything of it until she got home and found a letter in her post box.
Dear Miss Ritchi, it read. I am incredibly sorry for having injured you the day before. The letters were very carefully written out in blue pen, though it looked like whoever had put them there had done so with a shaky hand. I am particularly sorry for the rudeness of my reaction. I ignored you and pretended that I hadn't hurt you, which is inexcusable. Please accept my heartfelt apologies. It will never happen again. Yours sincerely, David McKellen of Metro City Office Repair.
She blinked at the letter, and was suddenly reminded of the conversation she'd had the other evening.
But… no. No. That was ridiculous. Sure, it was quite the about-face, but maybe someone had just mentioned the incident to his employer and put the fear of a lawsuit into him. With a shake of her head, Roxanne tucked the letter into her pocket and headed for the stairs. She was being silly. Perhaps if the guy had hit Megamind she could imagine something like that, but Minion was perfectly friendly to people as long as they left his boss alone. With an internal shrug, she turned her mind to thoughts of the upcoming weekend, and dinner, and calling her boyfriend, and forgot about the incident entirely.
Still, though. The belated apology was kind of nice to get.