Disclaimer: I do not own nor do I claim to own any characters or concepts related to Megamind. This is a nonprofit work of fanfiction.

Happy birthday to Megamind!

But Once a Year

Minion turned on the light. It shivered, pale and wan, and filled the barren room.

"Wow," Roxanne said, "he must be really hard up for company."

"Miss Ritchi, if you don't mind?" Minion bent to her. "You're supposed to be a surprise."

"A what?"

"Sir!" he called. "Could you come in here please?"

A moment. Roxanne figured she'd let that silence speak for her. Surreptiously, she tested her bonds.

Minion coughed. "Sir? Si-ir!"

Light footsteps rang out in the hallway beyond, the quick snap-snap-snap as familiar to her as the spikes Megamind wore studded in his leather.

"What is it, Minion?" he shouted, near and nearing. "I'm very busy regretting all the wasted years of my life!"

Megamind broke through the door and there froze, his breath catching as he spotted her. His chest rose. She thought, He wears a cape with his pajamas?

"I like the slippers," Roxanne said. Someone had to say it.

"Happy birthday, sir!" Minion cried. "I got you Miss Ritchi."

"What?" said Roxanne.

"What?" said Megamind. He looked disoriented still, thrown by her presence.

Minion beamed. "Now we can go ahead with Operation: Chill Out."

Megamind gazed at her a moment longer, caught, then he blinked and turned.

"Oh, Minion," he said. "You shouldn't have."

"It was nothing, sir, really. I just had to-"

She couldn't believe this. She was surrounded by psychopaths.

"I was on vacation," she said, "in Hawai'i."

"You went all the way to Hawai'i to bring me Roxanne Ritchi for my birthday?" Emotion clogged his throat. Megamind wiped at his eyes.

"Well, I know how much you were looking forward to Operation: Chill Out," Minion said, "and it's like you always say, it's just not the same without Miss Ritchi."

"This is really touching," Roxanne said, "but if you could just drop me back off at O'ahu-"

Megamind chuckled, and that was never a good sign. He crouched before her.

"That wouldn't be very nice, now would it, Miss Ritchi? After my dear friend Minion went to all the trouble to procure you." He rose, his cape swirling dramatically about his frowny face pajamas. "Minion, take Miss Ritchi to the freezer. I'm going to go change into something more suitable."

"Oh, come on," Roxanne shouted after him. "Hawai'i! Couldn't you have waited until New Year's? I was going to bring you back a javelin!"

At the door, Megamind stopped and pivoted sharply on his heel. He sneered down at her, his long throat exposed to her. "Miss Ritchi, believe me when I say no javelin could touch my foul, forsaken heart half so much as the sound of your voice."

Roxanne blinked, unable for a moment to think of anything clever to say. Her heart did a strange trip-trapping thing in her chest. Maybe she shouldn't have doubled up on the hot sauce.

Minion made a noise then a series of complicated hand gestures, and Megamind blanched, purpling. He cast about, then he straightened.

"The sound of your voice," he said again, "raised in a helpless, anguished scream that will never be answered!"

Minion flashed him a thumbs up.

She sighed and relaxed into her bonds. "Oh, no," she said, resigned, "whatever shall I do. Metro Man will save me." Then maybe he'd fly her back to her hotel.

"Save your groveling for the main event," Megamind said. "Come, Minion! We've much to do!" He flared his cape, but as he vanished down the hall, he laughed and said, "This is going to be the most fantastic birthday ever!"

Roxanne smiled. Then Minion moved, his metal joints sighing softly, and she exchanged the smile for a look of boredom.

"Maybe I should've gone to New York after all."

"It would have saved on travel expenses," Minion said apologetically. He stooped to pick her up. "But hindsight is everything, Miss Ritchi."

"Tell him that."

He sighed. "I've tried."

He bore her, cast over his shoulder, out of the room. She wished she'd worn a longer dress when she left her hotel this morning. A chill breeze wafted about her thighs, slicking over her skin.

"For what it's worth, though," Minion said, "you've really cheered him up. He was really looking forward to this whole Operation: Chill Out scheme, and he's been down since you left. And with his birthday and all..."

She tightened her legs against the chill and thought of Megamind standing in the doorway, so breathless and then pleased to see her. Way to make a girl feel welcome, she thought.

"Fine," she said. "Just drop me back off at my hotel after Metro Man saves the day again. I'm paid through the end of the month."

"Of course, Miss Ritchi," said Minion.

In the wake of the bust, as Metro Man carted Megamind to the waiting police, Roxanne shouted, "Happy birthday, Megamind!" and shivered. The coat she'd pillaged from Megamind was too small. It clung tightly to her shoulders.

"You won't be so lucky next time, Roxanne Ritchi!" he shouted back, and she laughed.

"Miss Ritchi?" Minion touched her elbow.

Cop cars swarmed the plaza, their lights flashing like holiday lights strung across the night. Homesickness for Metro City struck her then, a sad longing for the snow and the cold winds. Megamind vanished into the back of a cruiser. She could trace his profile through the window: the long nose, the heavy brow, the fat curve of his skull. She wondered if he smiled.

Roxanne turned to Minion.

"Yeah," she said. "Let's go before they arrest you, too."