Disclaimer: "Megamind" is owned by Dreamworks. I am not profiting from this fanfiction.

Shocked and Awed

Roxanne Ritchi, just barely twenty-two, had finally gotten an apartment of her own. She'd just graduated from college with a journalism major, and Metro City had been her ultimate destination. Applying for jobs left and right, her determination refused to waver. She would get a career in her preferred field one way or the other.

Metro City. She sighed as she walked the streets, deliberately taking the scenic routes. With a map in her purse and the number for a cab company programmed into her cell, she was ready to get lost and painstakingly find her way back to her apartment, could almost see it happening already. But what was life if not an adventure?

She backtracked through news articles as the days passed, awaiting a reply from one of the companies she'd sent her résumé to. Some of the things she discovered left her dumbfounded; others, intrigued.

The city was a battlefield between two eccentric aliens, it seemed. One who was clearly an alien, and a self-admitted supervillain. The other was tall and handsome and looked human, but his list of powers made him anything but.

The two - Metro Man, defender of Metro city, and Megamind, criminal genius and the city's tyrant - fought often. From the reports, each of Megamind's attempts at destroying the city, or enslaving the city, or destroying Metro Man in particular, were met with failure.

Rather than lower her view of the villain, she found herself increasingly impressed with the hero. Based on the things she read in the digital reprints of newspapers, Megamind's plots were very dangerous and highly destructive to the city.

That didn't stop Metro Man from stopping the plots and sending him to prison - but that didn't stop Megamind. He would escape, concoct a new plan, and the dance would begin again.

Megamind's determination to keep fighting, too, was impressive. But her eyes kept getting drawn back to passages about Metro Man, drawn to his printed images.

He flew, he was fast enough to get from one side of the city to the other before Megamind's thumb pressed down on a button, he was strong enough to right a building that had begun to fall, he had laser vision. . .and best of all, the city loved him.

Incredible. She'd moved to this city. And the more she read, the more her determination grew. One way or another, those two would become her story to report. Written or spoken, they would be hers.

She had no idea how right she would be.

Weeks passed without incident - and worse, without reply from any company she'd sent her résumé to. Her hopes began to dwindle as she watched her bank account begin to dry up. She knew she could contact her considerable family for extra money, should the need arise, but that was just the thing: she didn't want to have to call them up.

So, as her newly developed habit had dictated, she'd begun walking. As she went, downtrodden, she found herself in the park.

She remembered this park, oddly enough. It was a bigger mess than she recalled, though. How curious, she thought as she looked around. She had vague memories of riding her bike around here. Yet her family lived two cities away.

The rest of the day passed as she remained in the park, memories flitting back to her. By the time the sky had turned golden with dusk, she realized what it was. It'd been so long, she'd forgotten. . . But she'd been born in this city, as had her twin sister Maxine and her younger sisters Daniela and Regina. They'd moved away when the twins were seven, before the last two sisters, Emmaline and Evelyn, had been added to the family roster.

No wonder she'd wanted to come back here. She had a history here.

But she didn't recall any great large battles overhead or any flying boys. Had she simply never noticed? Or had she forgotten as the years passed?

Forgotten, most likely. Having a twin and four younger sisters to watch over will do that to you, she thought dryly.

Her phone chose then to ring, and she just knew it'd be Max. Still, she ignored it, pulling it out to stop the ringing. She was having fun, reminiscing here. Being disturbed was the last thing she wanted.

Being disturbed was exactly what she got when she saw an explosion in the distance. Her jaw dropped and her heart kicked up with a mix of trepidation and excitement. Was this it, one of those battles she'd read about? She surged to her feet and started in that direction, watching as a chunk of a building was reduced to rubble and came raining down.

It was so far away the rubble looked like dust, but in no time at all, it was coming closer. She began hearing metal music resound, cutting through the empty park. She started to back up, fear adding to the mix of her emotions.

Behind a series of towering buildings, something round was launched in the air. Her eyes squinted as she tried to make it out, only to find that it was heading towards the park. She gasped and darted behind a tree, but couldn't help looking around the trunk.

The sphere landed heavily in the park, tearing up ground and bouncing up once before landing again, leaving craters. The music was blaring now, and she realized it was coming from that. . .thing. A part of her wanted to inch closer, reach out and touch it, but she held herself back. Curiosity killed the cat, after all.

Something white caught her attention, in the distance one second and tearing up ground as it landed the next. It was a man - she gasped, her jaw dropping. Metro Man?

Metro Man!

Incredible. Then, the thing he was stalking towards. . ?

The music cut out just as a plate shot off the sphere, and out stumbled what could only be Megamind. He looked dizzy, dressed in black leathers, a cape, and lined everywhere with spikes. Overdoing it, she thought, noticing how those spikes climbed the sides of his legs and arms, lining his gloves and boots and swarming over his shoulder pads.

After a moment, he got his bearings and yanked out a gun of some sort, aiming it at Metro Man with a laugh that could only be described as evil. He fired; Metro Man was gone in an instant, the blast shooting off into the distance in a shower of yellow streaks.

Lightning? she thought, blinking. No way.

Megamind spun around, eyes searching the skies, and spotted her, but seemed to wave her off as she ducked behind her tree instinctively.

Her gaze met white-clad thighs as she crouched there. She looked up, dumbfounded. Metro Man? He winked at her with a grin before touching a finger to his lips for silence.

Her jaw dropped again. What with this, a game?

"Come out, come out, wherever you are," she heard a voice call from behind her. Megamind? "Oh, come on. This is childish."

"And you would know everything about acting like a child, wouldn't you?" was Metro Man's reply as he stepped out from behind the tree.


He jerked back again, another blast missing him. He rolled his eyes down at Roxanne as if to say, "He's done this before." Then he crouched down, reading into her uncertainty, and whispered, "Don't worry, I won't let him get his hands on you."

"Okay," was her inane reply.

A part of her mind wondered why Megamind wasn't chasing after Metro Man. Another part reminded her she should be thankful that he wasn't - or he'd find her.

Metro Man, she saw, was squinting at - no, through the tree, likely watching Megamind from this side. She itched to peek around and see for herself what was going on. As it was, she could just hear the blue alien, and it sounded like he was muttering to himself in frustration.

"Just show yourself already!" he demanded at length.

"Stay here," Metro Man advised her before disappearing from sight.

There was clashing sounds from the other side of the tree, prompting her to peek a glance around it. Her jaw dropped. Metro Man was playing hacky-sack with the sphere in the midst of dodging blasts from a visibly irritated Megamind.

Movement caught her eye off to the side, and she found herself squinting against the light. Something was there, she was sure - but something very hard to see. She made an angular outline of something in a lighter color than the sky behind it, then a few more. Now knowing what she was looking for, she followed the lines with her eyes, intrigued and confused at the same time. It was starting to look like a car - she could see circles that looked a bit like wheels. In the dirt behind the strange lines, she could see tire tracks.

There a window seemed to appear, and a mechanical arm protruded from the inside of what she knew had to be an invisible vehicle of some sort. The hand was holding some kind of gun. Before she could utter a warning, a swarm of floating, bulbous robots with single long arms flew by, snatching up the gun as they went. The window closed and the arm was gone, but she could still see the car.

Metro Man glanced over, distracted at the see of the flying robots, and got struck with a blast for it. Though he seemed to shrug it off, paying more attention to the new weapon than to the one currently striking him repeatedly.

"Nothing?" Megamind was shouting at himself. "Really! Nothing! Not a flinch! This is a stupid invention!" he declared, throwing it away from himself. Then he froze and seemed to realize he'd tossed his one offensive weapon away.

She moved, thinking she should get it, if only to remove it as a distraction. Metro Man was now dodging sparking nets coming from the other weapon still wielded by those gangly robots.

At once she glanced up and looked at Megamind. As if called by her, he looked at her as well. Their eyes met and they both came to the same conclusion: they were going to race for the gun. She narrowed her eyes in determination, garnering a mimicked expression from him. Then they darted off, both tearing up dirt as they raced to the oversized gun.

He was ahead of her by just an inch, and he dove for it, fingers splayed. But she knew she didn't need to grab it; she just needed to keep it out of his hands. She fell, kicking out, and sent the gun skittering out of his grip. It fired twice, leaving a smoldering hole in the ground and another smoking hole in a tree, then stopped a few more feet away. Her foot ached from the kick.

"Stupid - bystander!" Megamind hissed at her, scrambling to his feet as they both dove for it again. "Stop that! Go away! Don't make me - ah!" he snapped as her next kick collided with his hand as well. He shoved her, so she shoved back, and then his next push was so strong she floundered and rolled along the ground.

Then, with a triumphant laugh, he had the gun again. A part of her froze, knowing what it was capable of, knowing it would probably disintegrate her - or something similarly unpleasant - and knowing he was going to shoot her with it.

She surged to her feet, eyes on him, watching as he made two quick moves she couldn't discern, changing the gun or checking it, she didn't know. Right as she turned away to hide behind her tree again, she saw him aim it at her. A chill raced along her spine.

She didn't hear a shot, but she felt the oddest sensation of being coated in some kind of cold, gelatinous goo. It froze her in place for a split second before she was sent wheeling up in the air, holding in the same frozen position until she reached a good ten feet up. Then she was cart wheeling, screaming, waving her arms uselessly as she arced higher and then began her descent.

Thoughts raced through her head about falls and taking them on your back, rolling with the impact and keeping your joints loose. A memory flickered through of the time she fell more than fifty feet off a mountain face onto muddy ground, remembered how her limp body had helped take the impact well. She remembered getting up, shaken, but walking off with barely a bruise.

She twisted, watching the ground coming at her for another second before she lost sight of the ground. She shut her eyes.

The impact pushed the breath from her lungs in a harsh exhale that was half a groan, and she rolled over twice before realizing the fall had ended. Her back stung, her elbows throbbed, the back of her head hurt a bit, and she was face-down, but otherwise okay.

In a kind of stun, she pushed herself to her feet, wobbling a little from shock. She felt dizzy, but only in a mild, just-spun-in-a-circle kind of way.

Then she remembered that she'd just been shot somehow with that gun and began checking herself for other kinds of injuries. She found none, shocked. That gun just. . .froze her in place, then tossed her?

She glanced up to find that Megamind had apparently assumed she would be knocked out, because he was firing at Metro Man as well. A few curses of frustration flitted through the air. Above them, Metro Man had destroyed most of the robots, and though he was still dodging those sparkling blue nets, he was closing in on the one holding it.

Angry now, she had an epiphany about this whole situation. Megamind had the chance to literally kill her just now, but he hadn't taken it. If anything, he'd chosen to just move her further away. Out of battle? Maybe. Either way, she was pissed, and with the anger came the realization that she wasn't afraid of him. Metro City's resident supervillain didn't scare her.

She stalked over to him, approaching his back with him none the wiser. What she intended to do, she didn't know, but she'd be damned if she didn't pay him back for throwing her a good twenty feet in the air.

When she reached him, she tapped on his shoulder, calmly. He jolted before half-spinning to look at her. His expression went from a confused what in the world? to a disbelieving but didn't I just. . ?

She balled her fist and punched him, a right cross. Her father had been a boxer once, and taught all six of his daughters how to hit. This punch snapped Megamind's head to the side so hard he went cross-eyed, spinning slowly as his body followed the motion. He held up a finger, opening his mouth as if he were going to say something, then fell flat on his face.

She dusted off her hands, turning a glance up to the sky.

Metro Man was now holding a crumpled piece of metal, staring down at them with raised brows. She gave a small wave at him, which he returned, partially in shock. Was it that rare for citizens to stand up to Megamind like she'd done?

He floated down just as a lot of commotion came their way. When she looked, she saw a procession of vehicles coming their way. At the head was a series of news vans, with their stations printed on the sides. 'KMCP 8' was at the head, the driver being aggressive as he fought to stay in the lead.

"That was. . .brave of you," a smooth voice commented.

Surprised, she gave a little jolt and snapped her attention back to Metro Man. He was showing a dazzling smile, hefting Megamind up with one hand, the piece of scrap metal on the ground now. She glanced away from him then, looking for the invisible car she'd seen before, but she couldn't spot it. Maybe it was gone?

". . .Thank you," she replied absently. Then, with more gusto, "I mean, really, thank you! That was incredible. That gun of his left smoking debris of everything else, but you weren't even phased. I had no idea you were so. . .so. . ." she trailed off then, realizing she was rambling. She laughed once, giving him a sheepish grin.

He waved his hand with the air of one who was used to women fawning over him. "It's all right. Megamind tries these kinds of plots a lot. But. . .you're the first person who's ever tried to get between us. Why did you do that?" he wondered, with obvious curiosity.

News anchors and cameras were racing their way. She noticed them in her peripheral, focusing on Metro Man instead. She said, "It was. . .reflex. I didn't want him using that gun again. . .even though it was mostly useless against you anyway."

"Well, don't try it again," he advised. "Leave the fighting to me, alright? I'm sorry I missed when he threw you, but you seemed to take the landing okay. Are you hurt?"

"Hurting, yeah, but not injured," she said with a shrug. Then she winced. She was going to find a red back the next time she looked at it in the mirror, she knew.

"Good," he approved just before the anchors reached them, questions firing off. In the flurry, microphones were also shoved in her face, though it seemed to be accidental. She was shuffled off to the side as people pushed past her, and though she glared and snapped out heys and don'ts, she was ignored.

Metro Man handed off Megamind to police officers as the blue alien began stirring awake again. He was cuffed before he could wake up enough to fight them - though she doubted he would've gotten very far if he had. She saw him search through the crowd as he was pulled away, eyes darting until they found her. And then he was glaring at her, so she sneered back.

Surprise flitted his features before he sneered right back, baring his teeth as well. It felt silly to her, like the two of them were playing a one-up game with each other.

Then she heard Metro Man's half-laughing voice cut in. "I wasn't the only hero to take on Megamind today. Part, please," he said to the crowd, and then a walkway was bridged between them. He beckoned her.

Stunned, she obeyed, one foot in front of the other. When she reached him, he put an arm around her, making her face the cameras. Six of them were pointed at the duo. Microphones were now being shoved in her face on purpose.

"Your name, miss?" the woman across from her demanded.

"Roxanne Ritchi," she answered, beginning to get over her shock.

"Can you tell us what happened here today?" the woman went on.

Her lips parted, her mind thrumming through the scant time the attack had bridged. How long had it taken, one minute, two? Maybe even less. It had felt so slow, but in actuality. . .

She began to speak, hearing herself talking about how the day had been so nice in the start when a sudden boom had caught her attention. A black sphere flew from the city into the park, and she played up the dramatics of seeing Megamind emerge from the pod. She described Metro Man's appearance as soul-lifting, knowing everything would be all right with him here to help.

Metro Man gave her a tiny squeeze at that part.

She recounted the fight, the addition of a second weapon, Metro Man being indisposed while Megamind shot at him, her own dive to keep the gun out of his reach, being sent flying by that same gun (which apparently had two settings), and her decision to punch-out Megamind.

At the end, the woman holding the microphone looked scorned somehow, as if Roxanne's involvement was a direct threat to the other woman. The questions came streaming out again, asking about her age, where she lived, her occupation -

She couldn't help adding, "Unemployed. This is my second week in Metro City, and none of my internships have been replied to. I'm trying to get a job in journalism."

"Well," a man to her right chuckled, "after this famous episode, you can bet somebody will be hiring you real soon!" Other laughs rang out.

Then, to stem the flood of questions, Metro Man held up his hand in silence. As if a cord had been cut, everyone shut up. He said, "No more questions today. Allow me to take Miss Ritchi back home." Giving her a wink and a smile, he added, "If you'll allow me?"

She opened her mouth, and, surprisingly, her words were more coherent than her thoughts. "I'd be delighted," she heard herself say.

His smile softened somehow, and he moved, picking her up. He waited until they were high in the air before asking her for her address.

In partial shock from the height, she gave it, surprising herself again when she realized that, again, she wasn't afraid. Metro Man wouldn't drop her, and though his muscles were hard, his grip was gentle. He deposited her on her balcony, setting down with her.

He said, "You impressed me today. Very few people are willing to even stick around when Megamind is prowling the streets. No one but me has ever stood up to him before."

She shrugged, feeling a blush creep along her cheeks. "I don't know what to say. I suppose I'm just not scared of him. That's all."

"No, that's not all," he disagreed. "You have a courage I haven't seen in anyone else in this city. It's rare. I know I told you not to jump into a fight again, but I don't want you letting go of that courage. Keep it."

She fisted her hand with a smirk, displaying it near her shoulder. "I plan to."

He chuckled. Then he sobered somewhat and began looking at her with almost sad eyes.

"What?" she demanded, giving herself a once-over, in case he saw something she didn't.

"I was just thinking," he explained, "that Megamind may try to get revenge on you for knocking him out today."

"Oh." That was all? "Well. Let him try. I'm a very tough woman," she told him in a this is fact tone.

"I can see that," he agreed, "but I wouldn't want him harming you. Listen." He took one step closer, lifting her chin with a finger so she was looking up at him. The closeness and his attention was making her feel warm from the inside out. "I recognize your voice now. If you need me, if Megamind gets his hands on you, just call for me. As long as I'm in the city, I'll hear you. I'll stop whatever I'm doing to come to your aid. Okay, Roxy?"

Her blush returned full force at the nickname - nobody but her sisters had called her that since junior high school. She gave a hasty nod, saying, "Okay. If anything happens. . ."

"Call me," he prodded.

"I'll call you," she promised.

He nodded, satisfied. With his free hand, he brushed her shoulder-lengthy locks behind her ear before lifting off the ground, stepping lightly on her balcony.

She stopped him, catching his cape and saying, "Wait. What if I want to talk to you again?"

He cast her a roguish grin. "Call for me," he suggested, spinning in midair. She released his cape, and once he was facing her, he lifted his hands to gesture himself. "Just consider me your personal superslave."

She gave a nervous laugh. Then he took off, giving her no time to reply.

She pushed the sliding door open to enter her apartment again, looking it over. Still impersonal, lacking many decorations that would transform it into Roxy's Place. But soon that would change, she knew. Soon she would change her apartment into a home-away-from-home.

Ah, she loved this city already. Somehow. Even with all the grand battles and mandatory "Megamind Damage Insurance" on everything with a warranty.

Her phone rang, and she picked it up, reading that the caller was Unavailable. That usually meant a 1-800 number, she knew. So she answered, rolling her eyes, "Roxanne here."

"Ms. Ritchi?" a voice checked.

"That's me."

"This is KPRD channel 12. We're calling about your application?"

Her heart sped up. Her application. "Yes, I submitted one," she agreed.

"When are you willing to start?"

"You're hiring me?"

"If you're willing to become part of our staff, yes."

A part of her was screaming, Jump, Roxy! Jump on this chance! Take it! But another part reminded her that one always should be smart enough to wait, to consider one's options. Now how to do this in a businesslike manner?

"I have some other offers to consider as well," she lied, or rather, told the truth ahead of time. If this was how fast news spread in the city, then she'd be swamped with job offers soon enough.

"We understand perfectly, ma'am," the voice replied. "The position is internship, eight-twenty an hour, eight to two, forty-hour weekdays. If you have a pen and paper ready, I'll be willing to give you our contact information. . ."

She scrambled to have the items ready, having them repeat the station, the job, everything, with the number. She drew a line under it to separate it from what she knew was going to become a long list.

And she was right. Within two days, she had sixteen job offers, two from the same station and a handful from specific game shows. Honestly, they wanted her fame to be put to work as a game show host! She crossed them off the list on principle alone.

In the end, she picked KMCP channel 8, partially because of the position available to her, and partially because she recalled the driver of the van staying at the head of the line.

Once she had all the i's dotted and all the t's crossed, she was working forty-hour weeks with bi-weekly pay. It was a researcher-type desk job, but it made her grin all the same. All of her coworkers were lovely, being kind to her (though she suspected her fame might have something to do with it), and her supervisors seemed genuinely surprised when she began handing in top-notch work.

Within a month, she found herself waking up, groggy, feeling out of place. It didn't take her long to realize her hands and legs were bound, and that she was sitting in an uncomfortable metal chair with a bag on her head. The bag smelled like a mix of potatoes, coffee and oil. It made her gag.

"What is this?" she demanded, more angry than fearful of what was going on. She tested the ropes at her hands, finding that they were loose enough she just might be able to get them free. She remembered exiting the work building and starting her trek home at promptly two o'clock. Then. . .blackness.

"Ohoho, our prisoner is awake, Minion," a smooth voice said. "Remove the bag."

She knew who it was before the bag had been lifted, blinking against an onslaught of light as she glared over at Megamind. "Back out of prison, I see," she commented.

"Not even a wisp of fear at your pre-dye-kay-ment, Miss Ritchi?" he taunted across from her.

"What's a pre-dye-kay-ment?" she wondered. Maybe if she knew what it was, she might be afraid of it. It sounded like a bad disease.

He looked exasperated, rolling his eyes. "Your situation. Really. And you call yourself a journialist."

"Journalist," she corrected. "So, as for my predicament," she challenged, "what is it?"

"You - about to be swallowed by alligators!" he rushed in a flourish, yanking on a lever. By the time the last word had left his mouth, the ground beneath her opened up but for one spot keeping her aloft, and a half dozen sets of snapping jaws surged up, almost taking off her shoes in the process.

She couldn't help her shriek and flinch. Alligators! Of all the insane plots to be her demise, he had to pick something that would eat her alive!

She remembered Metro Man's words then. Call me. She was tempted to do so, but realized, as she sat still, that it would be impossible for the alligators to actually reach her. As Megamind cackled evilly to himself, boasting about how her life had almost ended, her fear began to leave.

He was just scaring her. Just like the thing with the gun - he could have killed her, but was restraining himself. In fact, if she took time to analyze the fall she'd endured from their first meeting. . .she recognized now that the angle had been meant to end in a solid roll. She'd been devoid of injury.

Still, she rebelled against having been taken capture. She was just about to call out for Metro Man when Megamind began, "So, Miss Ritchi, you may be thinking that I'm out for revange with you. You will be pleased to know this isn't the case. No, I'm just going to use you."

"Use me?" she echoed, arching a brow at him.

"And your reaction was most deliscous I must say," he approved.

Her shriek? She glared, her face reddening. Never again, she promised herself; I will never scream again. "You were saying something about using me?" she prodded.

He starting cackling again. Then, with dramatics, flitted his hand in the air with, "Inform her, Minion! I will get things ready for our target." He swept up to the controls and began working at them.

A part of her thought he was playing it up, that he was accomplishing absolutely nothing by pressing all those buttons and pulling on those levers. The hole at her feet closed and huge, robotic hand-feet stepped beside her.

She looked up in a kind of stunned horror, taking in the sight of a huge gorilla-like metal body. On top was a tank of water, and within, a. . .fish? A fish with pointed teeth? He had a piranha as a pet? Well, she thought dryly, if I were an evil genius, I'd pick a piranha for a fish.

The fish opened its toothy mouth and spoke. "Our plan is to lure Metro Man here to a trap that -"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" she demanded, leaning back. The minion looked shocked, blinking down at her, and now Megamind's attention was back on her. "What the - what - you - that's a -" she got out. A talking piranha in a gorilla robot suit? She swung her gaze to Megamind. "How did you get a piranha to talk?"

"Don't insult him, Miss Ritchi," Megamind advised. Wiggling his fingers, he added, "He just may nibble off one of your fingers."

"Sir," the minion-piranha sighed, "that is disgusting. I would never!" he defended himself. Leaning down a bit so he was closer to her, he explained, "I'm not in the news much, so I can see how you wouldn't have heard about me. My name is Minion and -"

"Your name is Minion?" she checked.

"Don't interrupt, it's rude," Megamind chided.

Minion went on, "I've always been intelligent. I'm an alien fish, not from your planet."

"Well, my brain just exploded," she commented to herself. A talking piranha from another planet in a robotic gorilla suit was Megamind's minion, named, ironically enough, Minion.

"Really?" Megamind asked, sounding both intrigued and worried in one.

"No, not really!" she snapped. "It's an expression. It means I can't believe what I'm seeing."

His expression mimicked hers. "You didn't seem to have any trouble with exploded brains with me," he pointed out.

"You make sense," she explained. "Even Metro Man makes sense. But I just can't see a fish having intelligence. . .no offense," she added to Minion.

"None taken," he replied with a shrug.

Her mind boggled at the thought that a fish could have a habit of shrugging its shoulders.

"Don't think about it," Minion advised.

She gave a laugh. "It makes sense if you don't think about it? Gotcha. Good advice."

She saw Megamind open and close his mouth as he thought over her statement, finally shaking his head. "You were telling her how Metro Man is to die today, Minion?" he prodded.

"Wait. Die? You want to kill Metro Man?" she demanded.

Megamind just began his evil laugh again, as if he reveled in the way she blanched at the idea. But no, she reminded herself, he wouldn't kill Metro Man. He may try, but Metro Man was a powerhouse unlike anything else in the world. He couldn't die.

Minion went ahead and told her about how Metro Man was to come bursting through the wall soon, and when he did, a series of traps would spring and at least incapacitate him. It wouldn't take Megamind long after that to find Metro Man's weakness and use it against him to the ultimate end.

Since Metro Man was apparently coming already, she shelved the idea of calling out to him. Instead, she asked, "So why kidnap me, if you wanted to lure him in? It doesn't make sense."

"My dear Miss Ritchi," Megamind cooed as if speaking to a child, "don't pretend innocence. Minion tailed you back to your apartment the day we met. Metro Man said he would be your superslave. Hah! He might as well have declared everlasting love for you. Which means, Miss Ritchi, that you are his perfect bait." Right about then he seemed to realize that she wasn't speaking, just sitting still in stun. He eyed her up and down, confused.

Everlasting love? Metro Man? She hadn't thought of it, but. . . She recalled his goodbye that day, the way he tilted up her chin and brushed her hair back. The gentle way he'd carried her, his arm around her shoulder, his words. . . Did he like her?

Did she have a superhero after her affections? Against her will, she began seeing images of a future of being with him, his girlfriend, the girlfriend of the most powerful man on the planet. But at the end, she shook her head. It didn't feel right. In fact, if felt just a bit wrong. If he did want her, if he would ask her out, she would just have to turn him down. He'd dazzled her, but she didn't want him.

Finally she said, "You'd better not be suggesting what I think you're suggesting. Metro Man and I aren't together."

"Not yet, maybe," Megamind allowed with a wicked smirk.

Huh. That was weird. She found herself thinking that his smirk was actually a bit on the sexy side. Then she realized where those thoughts came from and had to roll her eyes. Classic. Stockholm Syndrome mixed with the generic he's a bad boy attraction. Well, forget it, she told herself. She refused to have such thoughts about a man - an alien no less - who enjoyed setting up alligators to snap at her ankles.

"Hope you enjoy going back to prison today," she said brightly.

He glowered. "Hope you enjoy seeing your hero turned to ash today."

She narrowed her eyes. "Hope you enjoy getting the snot beat out of you."

"Hope you enjoy getting the wits scared out of you."

"Hope you enjoy failing."

"Hope you enjoy screaming."

"Hope you -"

A loud crash came from her left, cutting her off. Which was good, really; they were getting juvenile. Metro Man flashed a grin before darting forward and snatching her up. In an instant her bonds were gone and she hugged around his shoulders, pleased. He set her down off to the side before turning to Megamind.

"Minion!" Megamind was yelling. "Why didn't the traps spring?"

"I. . .ah. . .don't know, sir," Minion shrugged. "They weren't. . .ready?"

"I set them last night!"

Minion could only offer a sheepish grin and another shrug.

"I told you to have things ready," Megamind was sighing, dropping his head into his hands. "I double-checked to make sure they were ready. Why aren't they ready?"

"Fate," Roxanne offered. "The fate of the villain is to lose."

He glared at her, offering no fight as Metro Man snagged him, then her, lifting them both out of the lair, his eyes burning holes into the ceiling for ease of access. When they were on the ground again, he sent her a scorned look.

"Until next time, Miss Ritchi," he promised.

Thus began Roxanne Ritchi's four-year damsel-in-distress, frequently-kidnapped career in journalism.