No Use for Rainy Days
He hated the rain.
Not because it was dark, damp and cold. No, he was quite fond of dark, damp and cold, actually. Low lighting, a relative humidity of 90% and the thermostat set to 62 were ideal conditions for the type of work that occupied the majority of his free time. And given that his only other roommate was a fish, he'd never heard any complaints.
No, he hated the rain because of what tended to accompany it: Miserable failure. Oh, he'd failed miserably in every weather condition imaginable, but for some reason the rain just made it feel all the more pathetic. Failing in the sun allowed him to maintain a charismatic glow in the face of another prison sentence. Failing on an overcast day allowed him exit dramatically into fog and shadow. Failing in the wind made his cape billow dramatically, even in defeat. Failing in the snow meant that he had an infinite amount of potential projectile material at his disposal and would be able to go down fighting.
Failing in the rain, though, just left him limp, soggy, and often covered in mud. No matter how he framed it, there was no way to make that look cool. He had no use for rainy days.
Keys jangled and a door swung open. "Phew! I'm really sorry about tonight, Bernard, this downpour came out of nowhere!" Roxanne shook out her umbrella into the hallway, then left it leaning just inside the door to dry. "I know I shouldn't badmouth my coworkers, but this is the third time this week their forecast has been completely wrong."
"Ah, yes, the ever-capricious weather patterns of this planet," intoned Bernard, cautiously stepping into the room as if uncertain whether or not he was welcome. "Many variables affect its behavior, but controlling it is a deceptively simple matter."
Receiving a raised eyebrow from Roxanne, he quickly added, "You know, because, well, Megamind. He had that... device to summon clouds and lightning, harnessing the very forces of nature, commanding them to do his bidding and unleashing their full fury upon Metro Man...!" Realizing his voice was becoming ever dramatized and his posing all the more sinister, he quickly composed himself, coughing into his fist and finishing, "So, you know, if Megamind could control the weather, then obviously it is capable of being controlled... is what I was trying to get at."
Roxanne threw up her arms, plucking one piece of paper hanging from the ceiling among countless others. "Ohh, of course! It all makes sense now! Megamind is controlling the weather, and his master plan is to make it rain when the KMCP weather forecast calls for sun, thus throwing our station's credibility into jeopardy!"
Bernard stood speechless, contemplatively rubbing his fingers over his chin. "Wow, that is pretty evil. I'm surprised I hadn't thought of something like that yet."
Roxanne laughed lightly, reattaching the paper to its clip. She wandered into the sea of clippings, dodging between them and brushing her hands past a few to allow them to sway and turn. "I've been working on these quite a bit since you were last here helping me decipher them. Whatever Megamind is actually working on is big, that's all I can make out right now."
Bernard followed after her, gazing at the arrangement of clippings apprehensively. She was right, she had made significant progress since he'd last seen them. Even though he'd attempted to sabotage her work, she'd quickly been able to correct it, and he could tell that she would probably have his master plan figured out within the week.
Part of him wanted to delay her by sabotaging her work again. Pocket a clipping here, hang a dummy clipping there... but he trusted she'd eventually see through it, and moreover become suspicious of him. He admired her ability to chart his thought process, though. So much so that he dismissed the prospect of further sabotage not only out of fear of being found out, but out of respect for her work.
Well, it's not like it would matter anymore, anyway. This plan, Operation Titan, was already in motion and there was nothing she'd be able to do about it even if she did find out about it now. For once, this was a plan that she didn't figure into whatsoever.
"Urgh, it just frustrates me so much, you know? I feel like I'm missing something so obvious..." Bernard snapped his attention back to her, then rested a hand on her shoulder.
"I can tell you've put a lot of work into this, but I think it would be better to just take your mind off it right now. This was supposed to be a day of relaxation, remember?"
Roxanne sighed and twirled one final page with her finger. "You're right, Bernard. Again, I'm sorry about the rain, I'll make it up to you later, I promise." She brushed her bangs back, then gazed through the orrery of clippings into the kitchen area. "Um, would you like a glass of wine while you're here? I've got a couple bottles in the fridge."
"Uh, sure, that would be fine," Bernard replied hesitantly. His only prior experience with wine was simply for effect. Seated in his high-backed chair, legs crossed, his cheek propped in one hand, lazily swirling a wine goblet in the other... it was a classic villainous pose. He hadn't had the time to consume said wine, however, as he was promptly escorted back to prison shortly after his big scene.
Roxanne pulled two bottles from her refrigerator, one a deep red while the other a clear blush of gold. "Which would you like?" she queried.
Bernard examined the bottles thoughtfully. What was the difference, besides color? His eyes gazed over the label on the white, and got as far as "Gewurz" before he quit reading and realized there was no way in hell he was going to be able to pronounce that. His gaze shifted to the red and, upon finding a much more friendly-looking word, announced, "I'll have a cup of the mer-lott."
Roxanne giggled lightly, fishing two wine glasses from her cupboard. "All right, one glass of 'merlott' coming right up." Okay, good, he'd pronounced it right.
The two of them retired to the couch, Bernard on the end with Roxanne leaning against his side, sipping her wine thoughtfully. Bernard tensed, glancing down at her, then to his own wine glass, then at nothing in particular. He shakily brought his own glass to his lips and took a test sip.
It stung. He'd never had alcohol before, so he wasn't expecting this odd... burning sensation on his tongue. He was a villain, casually sipping wine should come naturally to him. Biting his lower lip, he swallowed it awkwardly with a slight gasp. It warmed its way down his throat, finally settling his stomach with a fuzzy heat. And once his mouth overcame the initial buzzing sensation, the flavor that was left was rather... sweet.
He sighed and allowed himself to relax a little more, Roxanne leaning into his side further, watching the rain stream down her patio doors. "It's too bad we couldn't go stargazing tonight. When I was little, I lived in a house out in the country and just took the stars for granted. But once I moved to the city, I discovered... you can't see the stars here, even on the clearest of nights. It feels so... confining, like the universe ends at the top of Metro Tower and everything beyond is just a glowing haze." She swirled her wine distractedly, then looked up at Bernard's face. "What about you, could you see the stars when you were little?"
"Yeah... I had a pretty good view of them for a while," he responded absently. "But then I ended up in a place where... I couldn't even see the sky, much less the stars."
Roxanne hummed into her wine glass. "Mm, yeah, office jobs are terrible. I'm lucky that my job allows me to get outside." She made a little sniff, then set her empty wine glass on the coffee table and snuggled more securely into his side. "I've got some time off again next weekend, if you'd like to try again then."
Bernard smiled down at her softly. "I'd like that." After another cautious sip of his own wine, he added, "And who knows, maybe Megamind will make sure it's clear that day."
Roxanne chuckled lightly into his side and wrapped an arm over his torso. "Mm, you're funny..."
He didn't know what else to say at that point. Thankfully, Roxanne wasn't prompting him further and was content to simply lay at his side. Bernard continued to sip at his wine glass, watching the rain and listening to it drum on the roof and patio.
This wasn't too bad. It was rather pleasant, actually. The wine had loosened him up into numb state of contentment and Roxanne was curled comfortably at his side. A stargazing excursion with her out in the country did have significant appeal, of course, but he couldn't say that he at all regretted the current situation. And it was all because of the rain. Maybe rainy days had their perks after all.
He didn't know how long they sat like that, until he vaguely realized that his wine glass was empty. Turning to Roxanne to prompt her for what to do now, he found that she had fallen asleep against him, her chest slowly rising and falling in time with her relaxed breaths.
Bernard gazed down at her sleeping form in fascination. He'd seen her unconscious countless times before, but her face had never looked so peaceful. She was helpless. Unawares. Completely at his mercy. He could do whatever he wanted to her right now, and she would be powerless to stop him. Even if he wasn't Megamind, that would have been the case. And yet... she trusted him enough to willingly forego her consciousness in his presence.
Even if he wasn't Megamind... No, the entire reason she trusted him was because, as far as she knew, he wasn't Megamind. She was dating Bernard. She loved Bernard. Megamind was just along for the ride, forced to sit back and watch, but never participate.
He glowered at their faint reflection in the rain-beaded glass. It was his reflection, but it felt like he was watching a completely different person. The man beyond the window was seated lazily on Roxanne's couch, with the woman he so admired sleeping contentedly at his side. That man was mocking him. Showing him what he had that Megamind never would. Oh, how he wished he could shatter that window and banish that reflection from his view.
A sudden thought occured to him. Bernard tore his gaze from the window and cautiously leaned over Roxanne to examine her. She was still sound asleep, her bangs having fallen into her face to form an auburn screen over her gently-closed eyes.
Bernard apprehensively bit his lower lip, then cautiously reached to his left wrist. His fingers drummed nervously over the watch face, before he finally lightly gripped the rim and gave it a slight turn.
Roxanne stirred slightly at the brief flash of blue. His hand hovered over his watch, fingers twitching, ready to turn it back immediately should she wake up, but Roxanne merely gave a light moan and wrapped an arm over his thin waist.
He maintained that position for several minutes, studying Roxanne's face intently until he was certain she was soundly asleep again. Slowly, he allowed himself to relax back against the couch, cautiously removing his gaze from Roxanne and returning it to the reflection in the window.
Bernard was gone. In his place sat a small yet lanky black-clad figure with pale blue skin. He was sitting on Roxanne's couch. And she was currently sleeping peacefully at his side.
Megamind stared at the reflection in awe. Experimentally, he raised an arm and crept it around the back of Roxanne's shoulders, the reflection following his every move. He allowed himself a small smile, the warmth from his stomach spreading throughout his chest.
Maybe Roxanne did figure in to his master plan after all. Create superhero, get thrown in jail by superhero, then retire peacefully with Roxanne. ... He wasn't quite sure how to get from Step B to Step C, but he had plenty of time to revise that plan. He almost felt bad for Roxanne, with all the work she'd put into deciphering his current plan and he was about to render it obsolete.
He continued to watch himself in the glass as his black-gloved fingers tentatively massaged over Roxanne's shoulder. It was him, all right, but it still felt... fake. The semi-transparent figures in the window pane were still simply hazy phantoms of his innermost fantasies, made real only through sleight-of-hand. It was still Bernard who Roxanne trusted, not him. He had simply inserted himself in Bernard's place.
It wasn't real, he knew that. But still... just for a while longer... he wanted to see himself this way. To see Roxanne at his side, not as his captive, but as his companion. Resting against him not due to knock-out spray, but of her own will. Trusting him, not just his Bernard facade.
He was so caught in the moment that he was jolted back to reality when he heard Roxanne make a sudden gasp at his side. She pushed away from him, rubbing her eyes and shaking her head forcefully.
Bernard held up his hands uncertainly. "A... are you all right?"
Roxanne regarded him breathlessly, forcing herself to blink a few times. Finally, she dug the heels of her hands into her eyes and let out a deep breath. "Yeah... yeah, I'm okay. Sorry, I must have dozed off." Her hands fell from her face into her lap as she turned her head to study the glass door suspiciously. "I had this... nightmare that I woke up and saw Megamind in the door's reflection instead of you."
"Nightmare..." Bernard repeated with a slight choke.
Roxanne brushed her hair out of her face. "Yeah..." She held her arms up reassuringly and continued, "But, it's fine, it was probably because we were talking about him right before I dozed off." She wrapped her arms around herself and shivered. "Ooh... I haven't seen him since we infiltrated his secret hideout, so I guess until I figure out his plan, I'm still a bit apprehensive about where he might unexpectedly pop up next."
Bernard rose from the couch, his shoulders slumping heavily. "Yeah... he does tend to show up at the most inopportune of times."
Roxanne regarded him with a hint of worry for a moment. Then, she stood up and took Bernard's hands firmly. "But, you know what? We're not going to worry about it. We're not going to live our lives in fear of Megamind ruining our plans. If Megamind shows up, we'll deal. I always have. If he doesn't all the better. So, let's say next week we meet for dinner, then put this whole Megamind thing behind us and escape out to the country for a while. What do you say?"
Bernard's face softened as he squeezed Roxanne's hands back. "That sounds fantastic..." he whispered.
Yes, it was living a lie. Yes, the constant deception was starting to eat away at him as he increasingly longed for this all to be real. But as long as he was able, he wanted to stay like this. He had Roxanne where he wanted her now, and he desperately didn't want that to change. So for now, he was content to keep up the act and allow Bernard to partake in this date with Roxanne, so that he, too, could experience it, however indirectly.
He just hoped it didn't rain.