A/N: Well, hello there Megamind fandom. *waves*. I haven't done fanfiction in ages, but I loved the movie so very much and this little snippet wouldn't leave me alone. It's set after Tighten's defeat and before the opening of the Megamind Museum. I think there was quite a bit of time between these events, it wouldn't make sense for them to open a museum for him right away. So yeah. Somewhere in the middle. Hope it isn't a waste of your time.
Disclaimer: I don't own Megamind and anything related to it.
"Look, Minion, look! It's our old shool chair."
There was a hint of reverent awe laced into this quiet exclamation, as long blue fingers reached out to caress the battered, dusty surface of what seemed to be a regular school seat , long since neglected. They trailed down the back rest and paused a moment as they graced the fading word 'loser' which had been scratched in with spidery handwriting decades ago. Distant laughter, distant scorn and never-so-distant insults flooded back into his mind, echoed through the dimly lit storage room where his former adversary had deposited the memories of their childhood.
"I can't believe he kept all of this." trustworthy Minion voiced at Megamind's side, swimming forth and back in his little fish bowl in order to take a closer look at the objects at hand. His words, that were so reminiscent of what Megamind himself had uttered the minute he'd first entered his arch nemes- rival's- ex- Music Man's hideout, snapped the blue hero out of his reverie immediately.
"Yes, well." he sputtered, straightening his back in an attempt to assume an aloof air for he hadn't noticed his minion-slash-best friend coming in after him. "He's always been quite the sentimentalist, Minion."
It was evident that Minion very much begged to differ, seeing right through his boss' poor concealment of resurfacing emotions. (Not that Megamind had ever been particularly good at that – years of public gloating, presentation and evil monologues had pretty much required exaggerating them if anything.) Even if there was more to former white spandex guy than met the eye, 'I have eyes that can see right through leeeaaaad' as an expression of ex-Metro Man's innermost passion was obviously not birthed by an overly sensitive soul.
But after a second of profound consideration Minion contented himself with acquiescence as he always did and as Megamind always expected of him, fantastic fish that he was.
"Of course, Sir."
With his perfectly round fish eyes, he then squinted at the black board stashed in the back of the room. His master had never quite liked to stand in front of it, he recalled, not since the popcorn incident.
"Maybe he kept it for motivation. Back to the roots, that sort of thing." he added on afterthought, his tone a little airy.
Megamind nodded, though it was glaringly obvious that he hadn't really paid attention, and continued to stride aimlessly across the storage room, every single piece of furniture and every little scratch a piercing reminder of how he'd always come short at gaining anyone's approval.
It was all so silly that simple objects should hold any emotional value for him. After all, it was all over now.
So silly and yet so inevitable. Hadn't he blown up Metro Man's museum?
He spotted his teacher's desk and sighed inaudibly. This was far worse than reminders of lost glory. This was childhood.
"We'd probably better leave them alone for a minute." Music Man whispered discretely and retreated from the threshold he'd just passed, guiding a slightly bemused Roxanne Ritchi back into the lavishly decorated living room of his personal space.
It didn't look as though the little buddy was itching to set up some kind of bomb back in that room and that was all Music Man had been concerned about, when Megamind and the outrageously intelligent fish hadn't been in sight for almost five minutes. Not that Music Man had second thoughts about passing heroism on to him, but for some, old habits die hard and it wasn't that easy to find a new place to live when you were literally dead to the world. Megamind had far more experience at making himself home anywhere (and secretly doing so) than he had. It was quite amazing just where you could set up your evil lair without anyone noticing the buzzing and whirring noises of a battalion of robot drones. As Music Man had always somewhat admired the art behind it, he'd never bothered to make use of his super-hearing in order to find his so-called opponent's newest hideout when word came in that he'd once again escaped from jail. That would've been cheating. Let the little guy have some fun.
Music Man smiled a little at his recollections, stroking his beard for effect. Good times, good times. But he didn't miss them.
It then occurred to him that Roxanne was looking up at him, obviously expecting some kind of conversation, explanation, really anything. She wasn't the one to remain silent and enjoy the almost-solitude. Being host was harder than he'd thought.
"So…" he launched in intelligently. "How's life for the living?"
He received a glare for that right away and he watched her purse her lips, crossing her arms in a defiant manner as she sat down on the white couch to their right. Yeah, he supposed she was still a little ticked off at him for 'abandoning' her city and leaving everybody who'd trusted in him in the hands of a super powered maniac, even though he'd already offered her a perfectly legit explanation and things had worked out eventually. Roxy had always been pretty hung up on responsibility and fighting for the cause. Never had had an interview without touching on these points.
"I mean…" he quickly corrected his not-so-funny joke. "How does life on the good side sit with the little man?" And he gestured behind his back even though he really didn't need to.
Roxanne raised her eyebrows a little at that inquiry, out of bemusement of surprise, he couldn't really tell.
"Well…" she drawled out after a beat, thinking it over.
The clearing out of the once-evil lair had been quite a stressful and unnerving experience. She'd never known to just how many different gadgets and gizmos a single man could hold onto, before he absolutely needed to be hauled off by force in order to preserve his physical integrity. Luckily Minion's suit had been replaced days after Tighten's defeat or she would've been in dire need of ideas as to how she was supposed to release Megamind's death grip on his 'glorious' inventions. After a minute of kindly explaining that, yes, all death rays, no matter the size, certainly needed to be destroyed if he wanted to change his image Roxanne had struggled quite a lot to remind herself that she wasn't actually the bad guy in this. Megamind's silly, bright, green puppy dog eyes could be pretty unsettling at times. Getting rid of the less-fatal weapons had been quite another thing coming for her.
In retrospect she should've figured, though, that there would be a long way to go before he'd stop blurting out ideas for dreadful doomsday machinery at impossibly early hours (when normal people wanted to get their share of well-deserved sleep) and got a knack for inventions of actually helpful impact. (Yet, she suspected he was trying…he'd never been as productive as he'd been in the past few weeks and from what she could decipher, the blueprints didn't even look half that bad anymore.)
But that wasn't even half the trouble yet. He still flinched and reached for his dehydrator gun whenever a subject 'of questionahble intents' (which included pretty much every human being but her) approached him, he still had qualms about the appropriateness of his showing his face in public without her being tied to a chair and classical rock music blasting from behind his back (not that she ever gave in to his almost desperate pleas 'for old time's sake') and he still hadn't even bothered to try wrap his giant head around the notion of common virtues like modesty and frugality. It wasn't exactly helping that Minion burst out into heavy fits of laughter, whenever she brought up the possibility of Megamind embracing at least one of them, either.
Looking back at Metro- no, Music Man's calm and friendly face, another wagonload of recent memories resurfaced.
Why, last week he had somehow managed to almost run over an old lady while fixing the public transportation system which had been severely impaired by Tighten. And almost forgotten that he was supposed to hand the money over to the clerk after he'd stopped the bank robbers. Not to mention the earful she got every day from her boss about finally passing the message on to him that evil monologues on air were sending out a bad message to the public (which in turn was bad news for the press that fully intended to profit by this new hero's arrival) and should be done away with.
But, and that was the thing that made it all worthwhile for her, no matter how many angry calls she and Minion had to battle with, Megamind did his best. Even while rejecting another idea for yet another mayhem causing machine, he radiated such an infectious enthusiasm for the new responsibilities that were being laid on his slim shoulders, that she'd never once lost her confidence in him.
The thought brought a small smirk to her face.
"I believe the greatest struggle yet, was to convince him to let go of the spikes. He's rather fond of them."
So was Minion. It'd been a long day for her nursing his hurt feelings as his boss' personal tailor.
"Ah." Music Man responded, slightly humming a cheerful tune under his breath. "Knew he could handle it."
"Yeah." Silence. After a beat. "So how's it going with your music career?"
"I'm taking my time."
And just like that they'd run out of something to talk about.
They'd never talked much, anyways, had they? Roxanne couldn't quite tell. Well, of course they had talked, but never really…talk-talked. Most of their conversations had been on a professional level or had contained expressions of genuine gratitude on her part, generous 'Don't mention it', Roxy 's on his part and mutually shared amusement and annoyance over the fact that they'd been crowned 'Metro City's most glamorous couple'. His choices had rendered these topics pretty much irrelevant and now that he wasn't her city's defender anymore, she found that there was little she could think of to converse about with him. Maybe this was part of the reason why they'd never been a thing.
Then again, she had to admit, she'd never really given him the chance to speak his mind in her superhero-induced- daze. She'd thought to have known him, everyone thought she knew him, yet 'Music Man' had caught her off guard beyond her imagination. Just like Megamind had, although that was an entirely different story with an entirely different emotional baggage.
Maybe she just really couldn't read men.
"So what's the deal about your school days, anyway?" Roxanne finally blurted out to break the silence between them, unable to stay inactive any longer. "Megamind's mentioned once that the two of you go all the way back."
He'd mentioned some other things, too, but even though she was slightly biased in his favor for obvious reasons, her natural nosiness made her want to get the full picture of what had transpired long before their tiresome cat-and-mouse game had started. Besides, it would be nice to hear his explanation as to why her boyfriend kept moping about in a storage room without any indication to stop any time soon. The things 'Bernard' had told her had been a little vague.
It didn't escape her notice that Music Man barely contained a groan at this question, as he poured himself a glass of liquor. Apparently that belonged to the things he'd thought he was done with. Well, think twice, buddy, news reporter on the job, always ready to shoot the particularly uncomfortable questions.
"We…didn't exactly get along very well."
Roxanne knitted her eyebrows together, slightly annoyed. She had already figured as much.
"Care to elaborate a little?"
Music Man cast a quick glace over to the door as though he hoped Megamind and Minion would rush in right on cue. No such luck.
"See…okay, here's the thing, Roxy.", he gave in reluctantly. "There's this new kid clad in a neon orange jail suit and he's blue. With an oversized head and a freaky looking fish as best friend. Messing around with sciency stuff nobody really gets and always messing up with that stuff. Of course you're going to think he's a little weird, right?"
She was all ears now, her face not betraying the slightest emotion. Music Man sucked in a breath. This definitely wasn't the favorite chapter of his life.
"We were children, Roxanne. You know what happens when there's the odd one out, always trying, always embarrassing himself, always…so very easy to pick on."
She nodded, her voice a little hoarse. Maybe the alcohol was a little tough to adjust to. It was a strong brand and she wasn't the person to drink a lot.
"He gets singled out." she supplied quietly. "Always chosen last for everything."
Music Man stretched his neck. Oh, the days of dodge ball.
"Yeah, that kind of thing. Well, little blue over there was that kid. That odd one out that nobody wanted to play with. And I…I wasn't."
The little admission and the look on his face was all she needed to catch on what role he'd played in all of this. She was a bright one, after all. Looking back, it didn't really come as a surprise…people had always fawned in the presence of him, Metro Man or Boy or whatever he'd called himself. Including her.
"So, that's why…"
"It certainly played a role in it, yes." Music Man cut her off, flicking the cork of yet another bottle off his chest. He couldn't really get drunk, so what of it? It was nice imagining he was pushing his limits. The cork drilled into the opposite wall and he sighed.
"I didn't really mind at first to have some kind of purpose to flaunt my powers, right? The people loved it, after a while the press loved it, eventually all of Metro City loved it, so why hold back? I liked kicking his butt; it made things a little juicier. And it was pretty interesting to see how he'd bail out next time."
She raised left eyebrow, skeptically glaring up at him under her eyelashes.
"Of course your kidnappings were a very unfortunate side-effect! Very distressing."
Roxanne didn't drop the glare. Maybe they should have apologized at some point for having brought her into the middle of their little charade, he pondered. But then again, little blue had set up the whole frequent-kidnapping card thing and he thought he'd paid his dues by rushing in to save her each time, preferably before something malfunctioned.
"What I mean is…Look, isn't this something you should rather discuss with him, not me?"
A chortled sound came from the back of her throat. "Oh no, dangerous territory."
"He's having conflicted feelings about it, eh?"
She puffed out her chest a little more, defiant to the core. "I'm having conflicted feelings about it."
Music Man couldn't hide a grin. That certain aspect of their relationship had struck him a little amusing when he'd learnt from the news that his former adversary and damsel hadn't just teamed up temporarily in the face of danger, but also privately for an unlimited period. It certainly should make up for great talk over dinner.
And even though Roxanne wouldn't tell him as it was none of his business, it was pretty interesting dinner talk. 'Excuse the blotches, don't worry the table is perfectly stable. Remember when I strapped you on it, darling? The flame thrower did leave some marks.' Or 'Can you pass the salt? Hey, wait a minute, isn't this…I'd wondered where that knife had gone, really.' 'I know! It's the perfect threatingly-dangle-it-into-your-face kind of knife! I'd misplaced it after the first time I used it on you.'
She lived in one messed up world.
"Anyways, where was I?" Music Man continued his previous train of thought. They had deviated a little from their initial topic, but it felt good talking to somebody. He hadn't done that a lot lately. That talking thing. Sort of came with the package, when you faked your own death.
"So for a while the world was perfect and rosy. When I finished high school, he finished his first wreak havoc in town. I graduated with honors; he landed himself his first life sentence. And, you know, I kind of …sort of felt, he deserved it. Cause it was then that I started to…notice."
Roxanne leant slightly forward.
He dragged a hand through his hair.
"Little blue had so many things in life that I didn't, despite my wealth and despite my powers."
She was utterly perplexed.
"Like prison bars for a view?"
"No, like a friend. That fantastic little fish of his. He always had someone willing to listen to him, no matter what he said. I…I never had that." Music Man interjected gently. "And he had a purpose, a…a hobby, more or less. Something to put his mind and his heart into. Something to work on. The ability to create. My life…it was swell, Roxanne, but all I had were my powers. I've already told the two of you, but I've never had a choice in that matter. It's an innate thing. I didn't acquire my powers, because I planned to use them, because that was what I wanted to do with my life, they were just…there. And I guess that made all the difference. He got to enjoy what he was doing before the battle had even started. I had to wait for the battle."
Something like sympathy flickered over Roxanne's pretty features, though it was gone in a fleeting moment. Megamind had always emphasized that the art lay in the plotting. Even though he'd turned 'good' now and had been advised to stay away from the term 'plotting', he still mulled over various plans how to enhance the city's defense, power supplies, general safety, waste disposal etc., etc. for hours, constantly (and quite dramatically, finger stabbing the air) exclaiming he'd never felt this alive before. It was something she could very well connect to. Fitting together the pieces of one big mysterious jigsaw was the favorite aspect of her investigational work.
She had never thought of it before, but maybe it did get quite tiresome when all your work consisted of nothing but breaking through walls and sweeping less-than-panicking damsels in distress off their feet. And holding heroic speeches of course, but it seemed Music Man really wasn't in the mood for those anymore. Although he'd been just as theatrical as Megamind still was.
"It felt as though I had nothing to offer, when he wasn't around to cause trouble. I'll admit it, as a young man, I resented him a little for that. Drinking nights with the guys? Too repetitive, they wanted the 'gory' details of our fights, nothing more. Bringing girls to a restaurant? After an hour long show of my various powers, we never had anything to talk about that didn't include the entire superhero business. Pretty hard to move past base one, when the girl won't shut up about your ability to lift cars and the like." He downed a glass in one gulp. "When you think about it, the only person who didn't constantly ask for pretence on my part was the one who thrived on plotting my demise. How sad is that, really?"
She didn't have an answer to that. He leant the unkempt back of his head against the wall.
"And then he had to have courage, too. The villain, courageous. That did it, really. Something I'll never find out if I do possess it and he just rubs it under my nose."
A snide remark about the Tighten incident lay on the tip of her tongue, but as she actually realized what he'd just said, her mouth shut close for a split-second.
"Are you pulling my leg, Mister Superstrength?"
Music Man closed his eyes and groaned quietly. "But that's just it, Roxy. I've never been in danger, not once during my life. Don't tell little blue, but nothing he or anyone else has ever thrown my way had ever posed a real threat to my life. Superstrength, laser eyes, hyper speed. I could've easily made a run for it, even if things had gotten desperate. That…doesn't make the whole 'fight for the cause of good' thing sound that impressive, does it?"
She just kept staring up at him.
"But that lanky, little blue kid who is thin as a rake and so…squish-able? Goes out, puts himself into harm's way and cackles about it afterwards."
Well, they were trying to get rid of the cackle, although it was kind of cute in a twisted sort of way.
Music Man sighed again. "I was not cut out to be a 'true' hero, Roxy, but it was too late to apologize and take back everything that's been said and done. It was time for a more permanent change. Death seemed like a convenient way to go."
So that was all his babbling about 'choices' and 'true callings' had been about. She finally lowered her gaze, trying to take it all in. Both of them were just so messed up. Funny how she'd worked all her adult life for the industry that had refined the lives of the two men who'd played a key role in her world in these disastrous ways. Should she feel sorry for him?
They'd briefly come across that topic one evening, she and Megamind. How down the dumps you really had to be if you needed to fake your own death in order to live a little. All Megamind had replied to her question day was that 'He wasn't the one who grew up behind bars.' She'd accepted that then, now she began to wonder.
But on the other hand…he hadn't come back.
"So 'shool', eh?" The adaption of Megamind's favorite mispronunciation was entirely willingly on her part. "Reminds you of everything that brought you on this path, doesn't it?"
He cracked a small smile. "Yeah."
A moment of comfortable silence passed between them. And then she punched him. Right in the face and he didn't even blink. One punch turned into three, turned into heavy battering of her fists against his chest, before she reached out to grab something-anything- to bash on his head. Again and again and again.
"You-silly-stupid-useless-chunk of meat in midlife crisis!" she bellowed out, a little bead of sweat running down her forehead, but she never ceased her punches and he didn't stop her. "I thought you were dead. I thought you were dead for real!"
A surprisingly diversified string of heavy objects impacted with his head. When she reached for his newest guitar, he finally grabbed her shoulders and waited for her to end the fidgeting and flailing. His calm, collected expression irritated the heck out of her. It had never failed to irritate the heck out of her.
"It's okay, Roxanne, it's okay…" he tried to calm her down, pulling her into an awkward kind of side hug. Okay, deep breaths, she told herself. She was a professional career woman in her mid-thirties. Composure was her shower gel. She couldn't help kicking his shin one last time though.
"Both of you are so incredibly stupid! If you could've just played nice in school none of this would've happened!" A faint ticking sound rang from somewhere, but went unnoticed by them. At least, Music Man chose not to acknowledge it. "And then dragging me in the middle of your identity crisis! I don't even know what's been worse…" her voice dropped and she scooted away from him, sudden exhaustion written over her face.
"Being lied to about the death of someone I considered a friend or being lied to about the man I went out with actually being the guy who supposedly killed said friend in disguise."
Music Man had the decency to look a little ashamed. But then he squinted at her.
"So that's the story behind Metro City's newest 'most glamorous' couple?" He chuckled. "Now that is pretty evil, little buddy."
Her retort got drowned out by the sounds of what seemed to be a minor detonation coming from the direction of the storage room. Before they could process what had happened, Minion staggered into the living room, his voice shrill.
"It was an accident, I swear!"
Roxanne and Music Man gaped a little.
"It's NOTHING, it's nothing, don't listen to him!", Megamind fell out of the door right after his personal assistant, flailing his arms as to quench their quickly arousing suspicions. There was a treacherous black smudge smeared all over his face. His suit seemed somewhat…singed?
Music Man sighed good-naturedly. "Knew I should've checked for explosives when you came in. Well played, little blue." He punched his shoulder comradely and Megamind tried his best not to falter under the blow. An affectionate smile pulled at Roxanne's lips when she saw him covering up his small yelp of pain. Squish-able indeed. "After all these years you finally managed to place a bomb inside my personal living space."
Minion and Megamind seemed a little puzzled.
"Eh? Oh…OH…oh yes.", the blue hero quickly amended, raising his arms for emphasis. "Yes, that was exactly my intention! I finally got you, didn't I? In your face and check-partner, Met-Music Man!"
Roxanne's eyes twinkled in amusement as she walked over to the pair of them, linking her right arm with the so-called-dastardly handsome genius. Somehow, Music Man doubted she regretted that they hadn't played nice at school right now.
"Can't stay out of trouble, the two of you, can you?" she feigned resignation and turned back to Music Man. "I think I better take them home, now, if you don't mind."
She was absolutely calm again. As though she hadn't just attacked him with half his furniture and her boyfriend hadn't blown up part of irreplaceable childhood memories. What a woman. He was a big guy, though; she knew he could take it. And she could tell from the way he blinked a little at her announcement, that he was grateful for any kind of companionship. Who'd have thought the two best-known men in town were and had been both condemned to so much solitude? And who'd have thought she'd be the one to fix it?
"Thanks for the invitation by the way; it was quite an insightful conversation.", she added. There would be more to come if she had anything to say about it. She wanted this silly matter sorted out and done with. Not to mention that she was nosy. Professionally so.
Music Man smiled, just as a frown formed on Megamind's forehead.
"Take care, Roxanne."
Roxanne gestured over to the various music instruments stashed up at the back of the room. "You know, you can still find out if you've got some courage in you. Doesn't take much."
His face glowed in appreciation of the thought.
"Uh…what exactly has been so 'insightful' around here?'
She rolled her eyes and skipped out of the room, handing Megamind over to the befuddled Minion. "I'll go start up the car."
"Wait-what?" Bemused and a tiny bit suspicious, Megamind turned to face Music Man. "Is there something I'm missing here?"
"Wait up, Miss Ritchi, I'm coming!" Minion cried, sensing the drama, and darted out of the door.
"Definitely missing something here."
Music Man let a little laugh and clapped him square over the back. This time, Megamind did fall over, however gracefully he tried to avoid it. Awkwardly, he straightened up and nodded at his ex-arch-nemesis.
"Well, then…this is goodbye I guess?"
He was still as socially awkward as ever, Music Man noted. Good. It was time for Metro City to stop watching the show and start seeing the people behind it.
"Good luck, man. You'll be fine."
Megamind nodded a little, subtly etching closer to the door. This nicety that he was suddenly showered in at every corner unsettled him. "Ya…uhm. You …too." He reached for the door knob. His movements were hasty.
It was right then that Music Man decided to drop the bomb. The show was over, the curtain had been drawn. There was only one thing left for him to do.
The blue man slowly turned around again. "Yes…?"
A shaky breath.
"About all that has been." Music Man added on afterthought, but his opponent didn't even notice.
The world had stopped moving the instant this one word had registered to Megamind's remarkable brain.
This one word that contained everything he'd longed for as a child trapped in a solitary prison cell, everything he'd scorned as an adult leading a life as the worst of them all and everything he now realized had still craved to hear, after all these years.
The good guys had never apologized to him before.
Just like that he was in grade shool again, bright green eyes full of timid hope and his conflicted emotions plainly written all over his face. Why now? Why say it at all, when there was no need to anymore? It might've changed everything, that one word. It might've let a ray of sunlight in into his prison cell; it might've taken his hands off the chemicals that fateful day. It might've made him the good guy right from the beginning. But that was all done with. Did self-proclaimed Music Man even comprehend the implications of what he'd just said?
He stared up at the nightmare of his childhood, the annoyance of his teenage years, the other man in that silly duet they'd played for the majority of their lives.
With a stagger in his step, he turned on his heel and scurried out of the room.
Music Man felt he had finally accomplished something good.
A/N: This turned out longer than I had intended, but oh well. Well, it's still just a little scene. As to why they're having this talk, I think Roxanne would be the closest thing to a confidant Metro Man had. Megamind did say after all that she knew him best, when actually it should be him if you take a look at their past. So they must've been on quite friendly terms in between the kidnappings. This is my attempt for some closure between the characters.
I am not a native English speaker, so please excuse grammatical errors and the like, or better yet, tell me how to fix them. I also apologize if you feel the characters have been out of character. I don't feel that good about this piece, but I needed to write it down, anyways. Thanks for reading, please tell me your thoughts :)