A/N: Why did I do this? I hated high school! *headdesk* Megamind is not mine. Please save your tomatoes to throw at me in a later chapter, when they'll be nice and rotten.
As she stepped off the city bus in front of her high school that morning, Roxanne new that day would be nothing but trouble. To start, the entire pathway to the front doors was carpeted in rose petals. Not that she saw much of that, as she was literally swept off her feet barely ten steps from the bus stop. There was two things Roxanne could truly say she hated; one was taking the bus as a senior, and the other was being picked up by people with no reason or warning. In the rush of suddenly not having solid ground beneath her, she dropped her coffee, watching the mug fall for a surprisingly long distance to spill on the grumpy bus crowd below.
Deprived of her caffeine, Roxanne decided to fight back, punching blindly at the person gripping her around the waist. "Roxy, whoa, chill out!" The large hands twisted her so she could face her kidnapper, and she wasted no time practically breaking her hand on his jaw. Metro Dude had his usual suave grin on, despite her struggles.
"Wayne!" she half gasped, half screeched. "Put me down! What are you doing?" She glared at the perfect little flip in his hair, refusing to look down. She wasn't particularly scared of heights, but several hundred feet did tend to get a little unnerving.
"It's okay Roxy, I got you," That little line would most likely get most girls in the school to melt, and coupled with his charmingly sparkling blue eyes and football star status some girls might resort to outright fainting. Roxanne swore his too-white teeth had a shiny ding noise whenever he smiled.
"What do you want?" she managed to regain her dignity in her voice, although she was clutching at his letter jacket with white knuckles. The early morning air was still crisp and cold, seeping in through her sweater and making her breath fog as they gained altitude.
"I'm here to make your day, baby." The last word seemed tacked on awkwardly, like he had memorized his whole speech but didn't quite believe it. When he didn't elaborate right away, she found herself chewing on her lip to keep the cutting remarks in. His smile faded slightly, and he jerked his head to the side. She followed his gesture, clawing at his coat at little more when she registered how high he had carried her. They were floating just a tad too high for her comfort over the football field, the words "Will you go to prom with me Roxy?" etched into the freshly fallen snow, along with several little hearts around the edges. She guessed he had melted the words with his laser vision.
"Why me?" she blurted. His smile dropped even more. Her saying anything but yes was probably not in his script. "I mean, why not a cheerleader, or maybe the star of the school musical? You could have any girl you want as a date."
They began to sink, mirroring his confusion. "Or the editor of the school paper? Just say yes, Roxy. Please?" The first bell rang, making them both jump. He began to sink faster, the descent resembling more like falling than flying. Roxanne gulped.
"No thank you. You're nice, but I just don't like you that way. Ask Jess, or Ana, or someone." She congratulated herself on sounding so casual as he set her down right next to the front doors. Metro Dude let her waist go and she released her death grip on his coat, even straightening it as best as she could. "Sorry," she offered, ducking into the school.
Right into a waiting gathering of what could be considered the Metro Dude fan club. The two aforementioned queens of the senior class, Jessica and Ana, ushered her into a sort of spray-tan chick-huddle.
"So, what happened?" Jessica asked in honeyed tones, flipping her blond hair over her shoulder maliciously.
"Yes, girl. Details on Metro Dude's relationship status." Ana sounded overly friendly, her dark eyes glaring daggers at Roxanne. Several other girls of varying top clique position squawked for news.
Well, the news was her forte. "I said no," Roxanne attempted to duck out of their clutches, aware that the late bell was going to sound at any minute. That was probably the third most thing Roxanne hated; being late. And without her usual cup of coffee, she was most likely going to be late to everything all day. Perfect.
"GASP, no!" Jessica or Ana; or some other member of the fan club reacted in horror. Roxanne couldn't really understand why; hadn't she left Metro Dude single for one of them to dig their perfectly manicured nails into? "How is that even possible?"
"I'm gonna be late, guys. Gals. Whatever." Roxanne managed to disentangle herself from the group, half running down the hall to her first class. If she wasn't stopped again, she wouldn't be late. Probably. She picked up her pace, her backpack slipping off her shoulder. Rumors, it seemed, were faster, however. A surge of mutterings picked up around her as she ran.
"Did you hear? He totally dumped her."
"... felt so inadequate next to him she had to say no!"
"And then she threw her coffee right at me!"
Roxanne decided to skip visiting her locker so as to avoid the whispers drifting around the still crowded hall way. She kept her focus forward, glued to her classroom door.
"... so romantic! She must be crazy."
"She totally screamed like a girl!"
"Roxanne?" She swept past that voice too, not wanting to hear more insults at turning down the most popular kid and resident hero. She just wanted to get to her advanced English class.
"See, I told you you'd become invisible with that hood up." Roxanne pretended she didn't hear this along with every other conversation. Her classroom was twenty feet away. Could she make it without being stopped by every weirdo at Metro High?
"Whatever. I'd rather be invisible than stared at." The boy sounded so dejected, she couldn't help but glance over her shoulder. Even though they had been attending the same school for almost four years, it was still slightly jarring to see the skinny blue alien and a fish in a robotic monkey suit standing in the hallway. The fish always looked cheerful despite being tripped over constantly in the traffic between classes, but he had a less than excited frown on as he stared up at his friend.
Megamind did indeed have his hood pulled over his huge head, and for a brief second Roxanne wondered where he had gotten a jacket with a hood big enough to fit. The hood cast a shadow over his face as he slumped into the jacket, although a scowl was still visible on his blue chin. He had been shooting up recently, going from embarrassingly short to less short, and as a result he was skinner than ever. His twiggy frame was only accentuated by his fondness for black skinny jeans and his various too-small death metal t-shirts. As if he could feel her eyes on him, Megamind stared to raise his head. A wave of people quickly blocked him from sight, and Roxanne walked headlong into someone else.
"Oh, I'm..." she started to apologize but stopped when she saw who it was. "Seriously?"
"Roxanne listen," Metro Dude reached down and grabbed her hand. Would she ever make it to her class? His hands were as burly as the rest of him, but still surprisingly gentle. "It's almost, like, required that the hero date the reporter. And since you're the editor... I just thought... Look, this is meant to be. It's destiny."
Roxanne shifted her backpack on her shoulder, attempting to shuffle around Metro Dude. "I'd like to believe we choose our own destiny." A look of confusion passed across Metro Dude's square jaw, crinkling at the corners of his blue eyes. "I think you're asking me out because you feel you have to, not because you want to," she clarified. "It just doesn't feel right, ok? No hard feelings."
Metro Dude slumped, and she took the opportunity to skirt around him. The bell rang, but she paused, leaning in the doorway of her class. "Cheer up, hero kid. They're plenty of other girls who are literally clawing at one another for the chance to date you."
Since Metro Dude had an almost incurable sense of optimism, he brightened visibly at her words, winking as he blew out of sight. In the wake of Metro Dude's sudden disappearance, Roxanne found herself locked eyes with Megamind. He was still on the other end of the empty hallway, his Nirvana hoodie pulled up over his head. It became a staring contest down the length of the hall, neither wanting to be the one to look away first. Megamind shuffled awkwardly, his Converses squeaking on the linoleum as he chewed his lip. Roxanne opened her mouth, although she wasn't sure what she wanted to say.
"Get to class, ruffians!" the booming voice of Principal Xiphias made both teenagers jump. The stout man rolled out of his office, looking today like a large pink bowling ball in his cheap polyester suit. Even through Megamind was no giant, the incredibly round man had to reach up to smack the back of his head. "No hoods, delinquent! And put that fish in your locker!" Megamind scowled, but he pushed the hood off his huge blue skull and skulked out of sight, the robot trotting at his heels like an obedient puppy.
"Ritchi!" Principal Xiphias roared, and Roxanne ducked into her classroom before he burst a blood vessel.
Megamind had always fascinated her, in the way that a fender-bender outside a cafe you were eating at was interesting, or watching an acquaintance's Christmas tree burn down. He was a small disaster all on his own, but since he had no friends besides that weird talking fish in a robot... thing, watching him mess up was in a detached kind of way. He had never gained instant popularity the way Metro Dude had, his alien qualities shunned instead of revered.
And he was always in trouble. Roxanne knew this perhaps better than anyone else, as she had written most of the stories of his pranks and property damage for the school newspaper, stories that she knew no one read past 'Metro Dude saves the school again.' The puzzling thing was, it never really seemed intentional, more like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe a science experiment blowing up in his face.
She had actually heard her AP Physics professor admit to the AP Chemistry teacher that Megamind could be teaching an advanced college course, and that he would take it. The same Chem professor had added that if Megamind had ever asked for something highly reactive, such as rubidium, he would have given it to him just to see what he would make with it. This terrified her as much as it intrigued her.
More than once she caught herself wondering what he was doing here, wasting his time in high school when he could be designing rockets for NASA. She watched him across the cafeteria, at a table in the corner by himself, scribbling in one of his notebooks. The school lunch he pushed around absently with his plastic fork, mixing peas into his lumpy gray mashed potatoes. Over the course of the entire lunch period, Roxanne watched him take three or four bites, each one followed by a look of revulsion. Okay, so that wasn't exactly strange behavior; she had learned long ago to pack a lunch instead.
He had put his hood back up, but the pink softball of a principal had been patrolling and he had yanked it off his blue skull again. Other than a death glare at Xiphias' retreating back, Megamind hadn't even noticed the world around him.
Neither had Roxanne, it seemed. "Roxanne! Sheesh, girl. What are you looking at?"
"Hmm, what?" Roxanne blinked at her elbow, nestled in her salad.
"I was just wondering about Prom. Ya know, if you're still planning on going, what with Metro Dude dumping you and all." Her best friend Sarah straightened in her chair, thrusting her chest out as several members of the football team walked by. Two boys took the advantage to not-so-discreetly stare down her shirt, but otherwise remained aloof. "You sick or something?" Sarah asked through her clenched teeth smile.
"No, I just..." Roxanne wiped salad dressing off her arm, a little irked at the twisting of the morning's events. "I don't really see the point of it. It's all so contrived, you know?"
Sarah beamed at her, a tinkling laugh falling out of her pretty red lips for the benefit of a boy from the swim team one table over. "No, I have no idea what you're talking about. This is Prom. The most important night of our lives, remember?"
"It's just high school," Roxanne started, but she was interrupted by an overweight freshman bouncing up to her table. "Hi Hal," she sighed.
Hal grinned, his red hair forming a frizzy halo around his face, still chubby with baby fat. "Oh hey Roxy." He scratched absentmindedly at the acne on his cheek. "I just heard the news, and I wanted you to know that Metro Dude is total suck-sauce."
"Yeah, ya know, for dumping you like that!" He leaned in uncomfortably close to her. "And I don't want you to feel too bad. He obviously doesn't care about you like I care about you." He cringed at his last statement. "I mean, not care about you, like a relative, or like a romantic sense, I mean, I care about you! Like a really, really good friend cares. But I can be more than a friend!" Roxanne and Sarah exchanged exasperated glances as Hal floundered. "I was just like, you're not going to the Prom with anyone now, and I wouldn't want you to go alone, so what I mean is," he took a breath and got eerily still and serious. "Will you go to Prom with me?"
"Oh, um." Roxanne felt her mouth go dry at the very thought. She had been friendly to all her new staff at the school paper in the beginning of the year, but Hal had developed an annoying attachment to her. He was a nice guy, just too... clingy for her tastes.
"You can't ask her as a freshman!" Sarah cut in. "You're not even invited. You can't get in."
Roxanne frowned at her friends rudeness, as she didn't need saving. "That's nice Hal, but I'm not going."
"Oh you're not going either? Cool, 'cause I was just saying how lame it's going to be. I mean, balloons in the gym, how dumb is that?" Roxanne could practically hear Sarah grinding her teeth at Hal, and mercifully he was backing away. "And cummerbunds. Who needs those? But if you're going to be free that night..." he bumped into another table and the occupants made disapproving noises as their drinks spilled. Hal tried to play it off by walking away quickly. "I'll be free too! I'll call you!"
"Ugh." Sarah went into a very repetitive rant about Hal that Roxanne had heard a million times before. She glanced down at her salad, realized that it wasn't salvageable from her elbow attack, and moved to toss it in the trash. That's when she noticed Megamind watching her. It wasn't creepy, the way Hal sometimes did in paper meetings, and it wasn't menacing the way the rest of the school seemed to believe. Rather, he was watching her with the same distracted interest that she had been watching him with earlier.
He caught her staring and quickly scooped up his books and hardly touched lunch. As he hurried to dump his tray and leave the cafeteria, someone Roxanne recognized as a linebacker for the football team blocked Megamind's way, accidentally-on-purpose spilling his entire can of Mtn. Dew all over his sweatshirt and textbook. Megamind could do nothing but stand there with his mouth open as fizzing liquid soaked into his chest.
"Oh! Sorry buddy," the guy said sarcastically, crushing the empty can on Megamind's large forehead. Megamind batted his hand away angrily.
"Watch it, you slug-faced Cro-Magnon!" Even though the guy outweighed him by about ninety pounds, Megamind still glared his best up at him. The football jock towered over the little alien, glaring back, although he also had a cruel smile twitching about his lips. The tension in the room cranked up as everyone fell silent.
"What was that, freak?"
Megamind's eyes narrowed. Roxanne realized she was holding her breath, crushing her wilted salad bowl between her hands. It was plainly obvious who would win if any punches were thrown, and for whatever reason, Roxanne did not want to see the skinny blue kid get the crap beaten out of him.
"Ookay, that's enough, guys." Roxanne was on her feet and tugging at Megamind's arm as the jock cracked his knuckles. Megamind gave her a wide-eyed look of surprise that Roxanne felt she was mirroring. Why was she helping him out all of a sudden? Four years of basic recognition in the halls and just today she was saving him from a fight he would most certainly loose? The cafeteria broke out in mutterings that Roxanne ignored.
"Hey, aren't you Metro Dude's whiny ex-girlfriend? What, do you think that saving this twerp will convince him to take you back?"
Roxanne rolled her eyes. "We weren't going out, so no one dumped anyone. We're just friends." She pulled Megamind back a step by his soaking sleeve so she was standing in between the two. He was still giving her a confused yet wary look, and she mouthed 'back off' at him angrily.
The jock unexpectedly grabbed her waist, dragging her towards him. If she was picked up again she was going to make sure her punch hurt this time. "Whatever. You're just some irritating bitch with a thing for weirdos. Are the rest of us normal people not good enough for ya?"
"What the hell?" Roxanne exclaimed, pushing against his chest to try and free herself. Where were all the teachers? Hell, where was Metro Dude, the supposed hero and her fake ex?
"Let her go!" Megamind joined in her attempts to get out of the jerk's grasp. The huge guy gave Megamind one push with his beefy arm, and he toppled over, his books spilling across the floor. Megamind scrambled to his feet and the jock mercifully let go of Roxanne, if only to hold up both fists. The cafeteria exploded with chatter, and a chorus of "fight, fight, fight!" started up. Roxanne stumbled for a few steps, grateful that she had been let go. Sarah appeared at her elbow, either for support or to keep her from diving headfirst into the fray again.
"All right! Break it up!" Principal Xiphias shoved his way through the crowd of students. "You three! Detention after school!"
"But Roxanne didn't-" Megamind started.
"Don't push your luck, punk! Detention!" Xiphias boomed.
"I have weightlifting for the wrestling team after school," the jock whined.
"Fine, you're exempt." Roxanne and Megamind spluttered protests. "But you two! De. Ten. SHION! Today! Now everyone get to class or you'll be joining them!"
In the chaos of the entire cafeteria emptying to avoid the wrath of Xiphais, Roxanne lost sight of Megamind, which bothered her more than it should have. "Girl, let's go!" Sarah pulled her along through the crush of bodies to class. Roxanne followed tiredly.
Normally, Roxanne had advanced calculus with Megamind. But when she finally made it through double the amount of whispered rumors to her class, he wasn't there. Nor did he show up to their shared physics class. Now that she was thinking about it, she shared half her schedule with Megamind, although he preferred the back corner of every classroom while Roxanne usually sat at the front like a good student.
She wasn't surprised when he didn't show up to psychology, although she was still frustrated. Hadn't anyone noticed his disappearance besides herself? Her professors didn't acknowledge his empty seat, and neither did anyone else. On any other day, Roxanne probably would have been oblivious as well, which only fueled her annoyance at herself. Today had probably been their first real interaction, and he had practically started a fist fight in her defense. Why had she never talked to him before? She could even remembering publishing a few of his controversial yet well written editorials in the school newspaper.
"...Oh! And here he is! Speak of the devil; let me introduce you to the new school counselor, Dr. Mirfak. You could all learn a lot talking to him." Roxanne snapped out of her musing as a tall man with graying hair and twinkling gray eyes sauntered into the room. She couldn't even feign interest. "Hopefully certain blue aliens won't scare him off by blowing up his office." The class chuckled halfheartedly at this, but Roxanne dropped her pen in indignation. What right did a professor have talking about Megamind behind his back like that?
The man laughed twice and smiled at the class. "I don't scare that easily." He cleared his throat and took on a more serious tone, although the smile stayed in the crows feet around his eyes. "I understand this school has some... interesting characters in the student body. My PhD is in the psychology of extraneous individuals, so if you ever want to talk, cliché as it sounds, my door is open. I know that interacting with aliens can be scary and, well, alien," he laughed again, his eyes lighting up like he was the friendliest person on Earth. "You are all welcome to express any fears or stress to me, completely confidentially and anonymously. Come visit some time." He nodded to the professor and left the classroom.
"Dr. Mirfak is here expressly to help our unique problem. I am requiring that all my students visit him at least once. Ask him some psychology questions, folks. That's your homework." The bell rang, but Roxanne stayed in her seat, fuming to herself. Was everyone rude about Megamind? Even though there was two aliens in the school, three counting Megamind's friend in his locker, 'the blue alien' was the only one specifically mentioned.
She delayed putting her stuff back into her backpack as everyone scrambled for the door. Eventually she decided to just sit and wait in the quiet classroom rather than face the scornful rumors out by the lockers. She doodled on her notebook in an absentminded way, wondering mildly if a new rumor had emerged to outshine the Metro Dude relationship/dumping that had been haunting her all day.
It wasn't that she didn't like Metro Dude. He was genuinely caring and nice, just like his teenage superhero personal suggested. Sure, he was a part of the popular clique that Roxanne wasn't fond of, but they seemed to come with the territory that was the football team, wrestling team, basketball team and class politics. She had cemented her place on the school newspaper, and the outcast crowd, freshman year with her scathing editorial on the use of Metro Dude's powers. At the time, he was simply using his super strength and speed to become a star on the football field, and Roxanne had critically observed his overall potential and contributions to the school and the city. She almost had to switch schools after it was published, but Metro Dude had stepped up to the plate by laughing off her editorial and becoming the hero that Metro City loved. She and Metro Dude had even managed to become friends, and he used his popularity to get the other kids to leave her alone.
As for Megamind, he seemed like he wanted to fit in, or even just blend into the wallpaper and not be seen at all. Unfortunately, he was weird and blue and had a giant, humongous head that was an endless source of jokes for the entire school. He had proved that his big head housed a big brain, but in ways that were less than upstanding. He had managed to blow up not one, not two, but three chemistry labs, and flood homecoming in mayonnaise last year alone. He had also managed to design and engineer a robotic suit for his pet fish, but she hadn't seen much of that alien as he was forced to live in Megamind's locker during school hours. She had actually once had an entire conversation with the strange fish, as opposed to Megamind himself. The fish had called himself 'Minion,' and was actually a pretty sweet guy.
Roxanne's pen scratched in the relative silence of her deserted psychology classroom. Just why had Megamind stood up for her anyway? Or maybe the better question was, why did she stand up for him? She could have easily sat idly off to the side like she had been for four years and let Megamind dig himself into trouble again. Why now, why today? She recalled the look he had given her earlier that morning at the opposite end of the hall after she had spoken to Metro Dude. She had been talking about destiny or something of the sort, and he had the same confused expression that Metro Dude had when she mentioned free will. And then when they had locked eyes before Principal Xiphias had ruined everything; he had somehow managed to give her a look that was both woefully heartbroken and hopeful at the same time. She had noticed for the first time that he has a tiny silver stud in one eyebrow. And in the cafeteria, when he seemed so surprised that she was helping him at all...
"You wouldn't happen to know where Mr. Gutierrez's office is, would you?"
Roxanne's pen shot across her paper, leaving an uneven line across her doodles. "What?" The new school counselor, Dr. Mirfak or whatever, was sticking his head in the door. Maybe if she had been able to drink her coffee this morning, she would have been able to pay better attention all day. "It's uh, three up from the end of this hall, I think."
"You're Roxanne, aren't you? The editor of the school paper?" He straightened and took one step inside the classroom. "I've read some of your articles, they're really well done."
"You think so?" Roxanne allowed the hint of a smile to tug at the corners of her mouth.
"Yes. I've heard you've had quite the busy day today." Her smile dropped like it was weighed down with bricks. Dr. Mirfak held up his hands like her glare was a gun. "It must be hard to endure all those rumors when all you did was say no to a date."
"Come on, Roxanne, give some of us here credit. It's written all over the football field in ten foot letters."
"Oh... I guess." She fidgeted uncomfortably in in her chair.
"I've also heard that you were involved in a fight. Is that true?" He dropped his hands and clasped them behind his back. His tone wasn't patronizing, but she didn't trust him. He sounded more like what she was trying to become, an unbiased reporter, seeking truth.
"Principal Xiphias stopped it before anything happened."
"How about that pink suit of his, huh? What a riot." Roxanne didn't smile, aware that she was probably being psychoanalyzed throughout their entire conversation. "You're a good kid, Roxanne. Don't let anyone drag you down." The way he emphasized 'anyone' suggested that he had someone specifically in mind. Roxanne could guess who. He nodded to her like he had to her professor and stepped out of the classroom again. Roxanne furrowed her eyebrows at the back of his gray head, unsure of how she felt.
She turned her attention to her notebook with a sigh. She was going to be late for detention, and even though it was a punishment, she still hated not being on time. The cover of her notebook caught her eyes as she packed it away. Her hand had doodled while her mind was elsewhere; dotting it with tiny stars and planets, a little spaceship zooming over the logo and a long, dark line bisecting the whole thing. She shook her head and shoved it into her backpack. Could her day get any more bizarre?