Roxanne nervously approaches Megamind's evil lair. Well, probably not evil anymore after defeating Hal today. They hadn't spoken much. After he'd drawn his dehydration gun on the crowd she'd calmed him down and he and Minion (in an emergency fishbowl retrieved from the invisible car) had left. The police took Hal, brainbots retrieved all of Megamind's broken equipment, and the crowd lost interest. It was strangely anti-climactic. It felt surreal.
She'd spent the afternoon at the TV station reporting on what had happened. After such a traumatic experience, most reporters would have relayed the facts and let someone else handle the reporting, but not her. She'd had so much experience reporting on her own kidnappings that it hadn't even occurred to her boss that today had been significantly different. Few people realized that her abductions by Megamind were never dangerous and they assumed she'd simply become acclimated to life-threatening situations. So, with a borrowed jacket over her tank top, her hair fixed, and her make-up done she went into the studio to tell all of Metro City about the unexpected heroics of their Evil Overlord. Her report made the city understand that what Megamind did was not simply one villain defending his territory from a rival villain, but actually a heroic, selfless act for her and all of Metro City. She was purposely vague about how Megamind knew how to defeat Titan (or Tighten?) and didn't mention how he'd gained his super powers in the first place. She needed to talk to Megamind and find out how much he wanted to tell the public.
Of course, she hadn't revealed the truth about Metro Man's supposed death, even though she was furious about it. With great power comes great responsibility, yet he'd abandoned the city! Not just to Megamind, which was bad enough, but to Hal! He'd flat-out refused them when they'd begged for his help. It was an insane piece of the most improbable luck that it had turned out all right at all. Lots of people almost died. She almost died. Because of him. But she knew no one would believe her without proof, and she was certain Mr. Super Speed wouldn't provide it. She didn't know what she could do, but she'd be damned if she let Megamind take the rap for murdering that sorry excuse for a superhero. Oh, if only he weren't invulnerable, she'd strangle him herself!
When she was done at the station she'd gone home to find her apartment trashed. Hal's doing, it looked like. It was just as well. She really didn't want to be alone tonight anyway.
So, here she is. The doormat's missing, but she remembers where to go. She takes a deep breath and walks into a brick wall which shimmers around her as she passes through.
"Megamind, Minion," she calls, "Anybody home?" A sense of foreboding crawls down her spine. Sure enough, a swarm of brainbots appears and charges her, growling menacingly. Did she just scream? She isn't sure. Their red "Eyes" and snapping bear trap jaws are terrifying and she retreats until her back is to the wall. She crouches with her arms covering her head, cowering from the machines. This was definitely a very, very bad idea.
"STOP!" a familiar voice commands, "Bad brainbots! You will NOT harm Miss Ritchi. She's Daddy's friend." Megamind sounds tired. Roxanne opens her eyes to find the brainbots surrounded him now. His hands are stroking them as if they were pets, which, she reflects, they probably are. Did he just refer to himself as Daddy? That doesn't seem very evil villainish. As she watches, one nips at his finger and he scolds it affectionately, "No biting. Ah-ah. No." She can't help but smile.
As she rises to her feet, one of the brainbots floats toward her. It seems hesitant. "Bow-bow" it says and bumps her hand. She gasps at first, then grins as she realizes what it wants and strokes it's dome. Electric sparks follow her fingertips and the bot squirms appreciatively. Soon, she's surrounded by brainbots, all vying for her attention. She laughs and pets all the ones in reach, "I didn't know you guys were so sweet," she coos at them, "You're actually kind of cute."
"Enough! Brainbots, disperse," Megamind orders. The bots retreat a bit, but seem unwilling to obey. Megamind makes a frustrated grunt and mutters something about dimwitted creations of science. She hears metal clanking as he picks up something. She can barely see him through the crowd of brainbots. "Who wants the wrench?" he asks, his voice playful as if addressing a pack of friendly dogs. All the bots turn their attention to him immediately, Roxanne instantly forgotten. "Go get it!" he calls as he throws the tool into the darkened warehouse. The brainbots race after it, leaving their daddy alone with Roxanne.
"I'm sorry. I should have called-" she begins at the same time he says "I should have instructed them about you-" They both laugh nervously.
"You go first." says Megamind.
"Hal trashed my apartment." she says, "I was hoping I could stay with you tonight."
This takes Megamind by surprise, "You want to stay here? But, wouldn't a hotel be-"
"I don't want to be alone." Her arms are wrapped around her body. She looks scared and vulnerable. He's rarely seen Roxanne that way. It's disconcerting.
"You could...stay with a friend or your family...or..."
"Please," she interrupts, looking at him with huge blue eyes, "I want to stay with you."
"Uh," he swallows, "Okay."
She rushes toward him and the next thing he knows, her arms are wrapped around him, hugging him. Her body's shaking and she's...crying? Roxanne doesn't cry.
"Shhh..." he hushes her awkwardly, "It's okay." He feels clumsy trying to comfort her, having never comforted anyone before in his life. His arms are around her and he rubs one hand around her back, stroking her as he'd calm one of his pets. "You're safe. I won't let anything hurt you."
"I thought he was going to kill me." She squeezes him tighter and presses her face into his neck. "And then he was after you and I thought you were dead so many times," she sobs.
"I'm not that easy to kill."
She laughs through her tears, "Thank God for that." Sniff. She pulls herself together a bit and moves back from him slightly, wiping her tears away with one hand. "I'm sorry, I must look a mess."
"You've had a hard day," he looks at her face. It's blotchy from crying and her eyes and nose are red. He smiles at her. He thinks she's beautiful, even like this, though he hates seeing her scared and crying. Not his Roxanne. He's secretly thought of her that way, as his, for a long time, even before he'd disguised himself as Bernard. She was his chosen victim and woe to any other criminal that might lay a hand on her. She is special to him, though he knows he has no real claim to her. He cups one hand around her jaw and she leans into it, eyes closing. He's amazed that she would come to him, willingly, for comfort. Has so much changed? Has she forgotten who he is? What he is?
Megamind hears a familiar soft whirring as Minion approaches. Before the fish can interrupt, Megamind says, "Minion, Miss Ritchi will be staying with us tonight."
"Yes, sir. But where will she sleep?"
Megamind hadn't thought of that. He is so tired from the battle and his injuries that his mind isn't working at its normal genius level and Roxanne's presence was distracting at the best of times. Even more-so with her actually in his arms. His brows draw together with worry. "Actually, that is a problem. We don't have a bed here."
Roxanne is confused, "Then where do you sleep?"
He shrugs, "On the couch or in my chair."
"The couch sounds fine," Roxanne assures him. She still remembers her college days when she'd be out late with friends and crash on their couch rather than heading home. She can handle a night on the couch if it means not having to be alone tonight.
He winces as she steps back from him. Her arm had brushed his tender side and sent a jolt of pain through him that he'd been unable to disguise. "You're hurt!" she exclaims.
He smirks at her. Of course he's hurt! He just had his butt kicked pretty good by a super powered idiot. "I'm used to it. Occupational hazard," he jokes.
She's concerned, "Of course. I'm sorry. I should have realized." She looks him over with a critical eye and notes how pale he looks, how many bruises and scrapes are visible on his blue skin, and how stiffly he's holding himself. "Where are you injured? Can I help?"
"I appreciate your concern, but Minion's got me patched up pretty good. I'm alright now."
"Sir, you really should rest. Miss Ritchi, he's good at hiding his pain, but he's really in bad shape. He has at least two cracked ribs, a sprained wrist, possibly a concussion, and more cuts and bruises than I care to count. He needs to rest."
"It sounds like it. Why aren't you in the hospital?" she asks him.
"I don't trust doctors."
"Why not?" Perhaps he's afraid they'll call the police and send him back to prison, she thinks.
"I'm afraid they'll try to dissect me."
She blinks at him, startled. Oh, right. Alien. "Sorry, sometimes I completely forget you're not human."
"Doesn't the giant blue head kind of give it away?"
She shrugs, "I guess I'm used to it. I don't even notice most of the time."
That statement completely boggles his tired and possibly concussed mind. She doesn't notice? "Huh."
He limps across his lair, Roxanne by his side. Minion follows behind, but is stopped by Megamind's frantic headshake. It's an unfortunate move that sends the world spinning around him for a moment, causing him to stumble. Roxanne steadies him, bumping his injured side again. An involuntary gasp of pain. "Sorry." she says. Minion watches them, but does no follow as they make their way slowly to a back area she hasn't seen before. Separated from the main floor by a black curtain is a large leather couch facing a huge flat-screen TV.
"Wow. Nice screen," comments Roxanne, impressed. It's 6 feet across.
"Thanks. I made it myself." he grins like a schoolboy looking for approval. A tired, slightly dizzy schoolboy.
"You didn't steal it?" she's slightly surprised.
"Well, I stole parts of it. Other parts I bought with stolen money. So, it's pretty much entirely stolen one way or another." He looks sheepishly proud, an odd combination.
Roxanne tries to frown at him with disapproval, but ends up laughing, "I shouldn't be surprised."
They sit, Megamind with obvious relief. He removes his custom baby seal leather boots and then reclines against one arm of the couch. He wants to put his feet up, but Roxanne's in the way. "Do you mind if I put my feet up? I really need to lay down." His head is still spinning a bit and he's having some slight difficulty stringing words together into sentences. He wonders if he should be concerned about that.
"Go ahead." He expects her to move down to the end to give him room, but she doesn't. He's too tired to worry about it and puts his feet in her lap. She doesn't seem to mind. Maybe normal people sit like this all the time? he thinks.
"I half expected leather socks," she says, plucking at a perfectly normal black sock.
"No. Just regular cotton. Five toes on each foot, too. Just like anybody else," he wiggles his toes to illustrate the point.
"You're just blowing all my illusions."
He closes his eyes, but doesn't asleep. A brainbot drifts over and lands on his lap. He strokes it absently. Roxanne watches the little machine, fascinated by it.
"What is a brainbot anyway?" she asks, "Is it an A.I.?"
He shakes his head no, immediately regretting the motion. Note to self: Head movement: bad. After a moment the room settles down and he answers, "They're cyborgs. Partially organic brains with robot bodies. Brainbots. "
He smiles, eyes still closed and points to himself, "Evil mad scientist."
"Of course. Why do they act like dogs?"
"I started with canine DNA, so they share certain personality traits. But they're smarter than dogs. Some are smarter than most people. They're not quite sentient, but they're clever. One of my oldest evil inventions," he says with affection and obvious pride.
"They're really not all that evil."
He shrugs, too tired to defend his evilness.
"I thought cyborgs were purely sci-fi. You know: Terminator, Borg, Cybermen. I didn't know they were actually possible."
"I do a lot of things that aren't possible. Even been trying to kill a man who's invincible. Copper." He laughs. "Should have known better. I'm glad it didn't work."
"Me too." For all the crimes he's committed, she knows Megamind's not a murderer. "So, Evil Overlord, huh? You always said you'd do it. What now?"
"Interested in being my Evil Queen?" he opens one eye to look at her, but closes it again when she answers.
"Not really. I'd rather not be evil." He's so tired that the fact she does not object to being his queen, but only to being evil, goes right past him.
"Yeah, I figured that out awhile ago. A shame, though. You look good in leather and spikes." he grins, remembering a certain Halloween costume he once caught her in. "Temptress."
She smiles too, her face blushing, but he doesn't see with his eyes closed. "Are you going to give the city back?"
"Probably. I don't really know what else to do with it."
"What are you going to do after that?"
"I don't know. Try to stay out of prison for awhile."
"The city needs a hero."
"Yeah, I can just see me in that role. Marching through the street in my giant battle suit rescuing kitties from trees."
Roxanne giggles at the image, "Playing AC/DC the whole time."
"What's wrong with AC/DC?" Megamind asks, slightly hurt.
"Nothing. They're very evil," she assures him with mock seriousness.
"You're making fun of your Overlord, aren't you? You make as lousy a slave as you did a captive, Miss Ritchi."
"And you make a lousy Evil Overlord. You could do it, you know. Be the hero."
"Eighty-eight life sentences, killing Metro Man, destroying the city. I'll be in prison again in a week, regardless of what happened today."
"He's not dead, you can walk out of prison anytime you want, and the people loved you today."
"Yeah, that was nice." He smiled wistfully at the last item.
Roxanne takes his left foot in her hands and starts rubbing it. He jerks it out of her hand, startling the brainbot from his lap. "What are you doing?"
"Rubbing your feet."
"Because they're in my lap and I thought you'd like it."
"Oh." He put his foot back and she continues to rub it. It feels very nice. "I've never had anyone rub my feet before."
"There's probably a lot of things normal people do that you haven't tried."
"Yes, there are."
"Ever go out with a girl? Other than with the disguise watch?"
His face falls and he looks sad. Haunted. The scene replays in his mind, how she'd left him. Alone. In the rain. "No."
"Would you like to?"
Startled, he opens his eyes to look at her. Hope lights his face. "Are you asking me out, Miss Ritchi?"
"Yes, I believe I am." She's answers, amused.
Suspiciously, he asks, "Why?"
"Because I enjoy your company."
"Really?" That's amazing.
"Is that so surprising."
"Yes, it is. I thought you didn't..." Did you think I'd ever be with you? "I'd like that. To go out with you."
"What?" He's suspicious again.
"If I wanted to date a supervillain, I'd have asked you a long time ago. If you want me, you have to be a good guy."
"That's a lot to ask."
"I know. And I'm not saying you have to take the job of hero, but you can't keep being evil."
"I'm not sure I know how to do that."
"You can figure it out. Aren't you the smartest man on the planet?"
"Yes..." he agrees, wary of the compliment. Since when does she acknowledge his intelligence? "That doesn't mean I always make the best choices."
"You made the right choice today."
His thinking is muddled and this is a serious decision. "Can I sleep on it?"
"Sure." She kicks off her shoes, spreads a blanket from the back of the couch over him, and starts to climb under next to him. "Scoot over."
"What are you doing?" Megamind asks, a touch of panic making his voice higher than he'd prefer.
"Getting ready to sleep."
"I should move to my chair then. Let you have the couch." With a painful moan he starts to sit up.
"No, stay there. I told you. I don't want to be alone tonight. I'll have nightmares."
"You want to sleep with me?" his mouth is suddenly dry and his heart pounding. Is that the way things worked with humans? She did just ask him out. But this is way too soon. He's unprepared. And he's injured and tired almost to the point of passing out...
"Relax, spaceman. I just want to sleep. Nothing else."
"Oh, I knew that."
She snuggles down under the blanket, spooning with her back to his chest. His body is tense and he doesn't know where to place his hand. He tries resting it on her upper arm. That seems safe, but she has other ideas and pulls his arm around her waist.
"Good night, Megamind."
"Good night, Roxanne."
Unsure how he'd gotten himself into this position, but pleased none-the-less, the city's Overlord gradually relaxes and drifts immediately into an exhausted sleep. Roxanne stays awake a bit longer, enjoying his warm body wrapped around her, the steady rhythm of his breathing, and the strange, 3-beat pulse of his heart. Eventually, she also drifts off.
Minion peeks in on them later, surprised to find them curled around each other, faint smiles on their faces even as they sleep. The fish smiles.
I know she's a bit more vulnerable than normal (actually crying!), but she's been through a very traumatic experience. Although she's been kidnapped a lot, this was the most frightening thing she'd ever experienced. She's got a right to feel shaken. But she did get up the nerve to go to him. So, that took some guts. Not entirely un-Roxanne.
Megamind isn't showing much of his typical bravado because he's REALLY beat up. He's tired and possibly concussed and frankly is barely conscious. He doesn't have the energy to keep up his usual villain persona. So, we can see the real him. I tried to make him very similar to his Bernard persona.
I also thought that he wouldn't immediately decide to be a hero. He hasn't really had time to consider what's happened and what should come next. Technically, he's still Evil Overlord at this point.
They're both vulnerable tonight. Sleeping together (just sleeping) will be very healing for both of them.
And yes, she does sometimes forget he's not human. She's been around him so much that she tends to forget that he's blue. Yes, she knows he's blue (even calls him spaceman affectionately) but it's not like she's constantly thinking about it. That's just how he looks. So, in the movie, when she's horrified about him being the one she kissed in the restaurant, it's not because he's a big-headed blue alien. It's because he's the villain who killed Metro Man and took over the city. The contents, not the cover.
The Halloween costume mentioned is from my story titled A Villain's Cape (the alternate ending). You can find it on my profile if you want to read it. It's my favorite one.
Yes, I'm a Spiderman geek. Or I used to be before I grew up and had kids. With great power comes great responsibility.
I swiped the 3-beat heartbeat from some other fan fiction writer here. Sorry, I can't remember who. I've read so many (and so many of you have such good stories!). I also encountered one story where he had 2 hearts, like a Timelord, which I really liked (Doctor Who rules!). But I decided to go with the 3-beat one instead. Does anyone else think that the Black Mamba looks a lot like the formal robes of a Timelord?
Reviews make me happy. And more likely to write more. :)