Roxanne awakes confused with a throbbing ache in her head and a nauseous feeling in her stomach. She senses movement, as if traveling in a moving vehicle. But she's lying down on a hard surface. If she's in a car, shouldn't she be sitting? Or at least on a soft seat? What happened? She tries to sit up but a spike of pain in her head warns her to lie still. The world spins around her briefly and her stomach makes its disapproval known.
Her hands are bound behind her back. That's familiar. Kidnapped, then. But why the headache? Even the few times they'd used the forget-me stick on her, it hadn't hurt this much. Minion is always careful to apply only the minimum amount of force necessary. It feels like someone is hammering on her skull. Did something go wrong this time? Wait. No. Megamind wouldn't be kidnapping her anymore. She smiles briefly, finally remembering the last few days. He'll have no need to ever abduct her again. But, if not Megamind, then who? That worries her in a detached sort of way.
She opens her eyes painfully, blinking against the stabbing pain of the dim light. She's in the back of a van. A familiar van. Hal! She remembers! He wanted to get her away from Megamind's influence. Fat chance of that. She feels along the telepathic bond, but the ache in her head makes it difficult to follow. Her mind keeps slipping away from it. Finally she senses him. Faintly and at a distance. Rage and Worry. Terror. She tries to touch him, to let him know she's awake but she can't project with enough strength to get his attention. She takes some comfort in the knowledge that he's coming for her but worries that he'll do something terrible when he arrives. Something evil.
She tests the bonds on her wrists and ankles. They are tight. A bit too tight, if the numbness in her hands is any indication. She'll have rope burns later, she predicts. She carefully shifts her position, checking for injuries. She finds bruises all along her right side. Her hip is especially painful. But nothing feels broken. The dizziness worries her. She wonders if she has a concussion. That's just what she needs, a concussion when she needs to be able to think clearly. Lying on her side, she slowly moves her bound ankles up to her hands and begins picking at the ropes while watching Hal from the corner of her eye. The contortion this requires does nothing good for her head.
He must have heard her movement because he says, "Awake finally?" He glances at her in the rear-view, thankfully too preoccupied with driving to notice her hands struggling to free her ankles. "Good. I was starting to worry. I didn't mean for you to knock yourself out on the steps. You shouldn't have struggled."
"Megamind will kill you when he catches you," she says with absolute conviction. She can feel her husband's fury in the distance and it frightens her.
"Don't worry, Roxy. He won't find us. I got rid of that watch he was spying on you with and I searched you for bugs. There wasn't anything."
"You searched me?" she feels suddenly violated, wondering exactly how thorough he'd been. She decides she doesn't want to know.
"I had to, Roxy. I couldn't risk any more of his evil devices telling him where we are," he explains.
She lets it go. If he believes that Megamind needs a device to track her, she'll let him believe that. She tests the link again. He's slightly closer, but still too far to hear her.
"He's not tailing us and we've been out of the city for half an hour," Hal continues, "He probably has cameras all over the city, but he's never attacked anything this far out. We got away."
You wish, she thinks. "What are you planning to do with me, Hal? You have to know that the moment you release me I'm going right back to him," she tells him. What is it you want from me? She wonders.
"That's why I had to tie you up. But it'll be okay soon. I know a guy who works with victims of brainwashing cults. He can deprogram you. He'll help you see that what that freak did to you was not natural," he answers, "It's wasn't right. You don't belong to him. You deserve to be with someone normal."
"Why does it matter to you who I deserve?" A sudden ray of perception cuts through her clouded thoughts, "Wait. You mean you don't you? I don't believe this. Do you actually think that I would ever be with you?"
"Of course, Roxy. It totally makes sense. We belong together. We're already partners at work. Why not partners in life? Once we get you deprogrammed, you'll understand," he insists, "I won't ever treat you like that freak does."
"What do you know about how he treats me?" Roxanne demands. How many knots did he put in this rope anyway? Even the brainbots tie me up neater than this, she thinks.
"I've seen it. For years. Him tying you up and threatening you like your life was worthless to him. You were nothing but a worm on a hook, Roxy," he tells her, "And then last weekend. I saw the two of you together on your balcony. The way he smirked at you at breakfast. Never even talking to you, just looking all smug and possessive the whole time. Like he owned you. I don't know how he tricked Metro Loser into leaving you with him. He should have flown that evil blue freak back to prison where he belongs, but he didn't. Some hero he is. Leaving you with that monster. Allowing him to keep you as if you were his personal property. His little sex toy for all the city to see!"
"I am his, Hal!" Roxanne insists. "I married him. I'm his wife. He didn't force me into bed with him. I chose that."
"That's just the brainwash talking," he answers, "No woman would really want to have sex with that. Especially someone like you. You deserve so much better. He's a criminal, Roxy. He's spent more time in prison than out. I know some women are attracted to dangerous men, but you're smarter than that. You need to stop before it's too late. There's no telling what you'll catch from him. Little guy like him? I'm sure he's some guy's prison bitch. And what if you end up pregnant with his mutant kid? God, I don't even want to think about that. I'm just doing this to protect you."
Her ankles are now untied, though the ropes are still in place so he won't notice yet. She arches her back and pulls her legs up behind her again. This time she hooks the heel of one of her high-heeled dress shoes under one loop of the rope binding her wrists. She experiments with how she holds her arms, turning them to get as much slack in the rope as she can manage. She makes her hand as narrow as possible before slowly and painfully pulling the loop of rope down over it. She grits her teeth against the pain of the coarse rope scraping her skin, leaving her hands bloody. Having both years of experience at being tied up and recent access to the brain of arguably the world's best escape artist, she's confident in her ability to get free of her ropes. If only she has enough time. She has to move slowly and keep him talking so he doesn't notice what she's doing. It would help immensely if her head would just stop throbbing. "If this is what you do to protect me, I'd hate to see what you'd do to hurt me," she tells him angrily.
"Oh, I'd never hurt you, Roxy. I know you don't believe me now, but when you realize what he's done to you, you'll thank me. You'll realize that everything I've done is for your own good. You'll understand that you're much better off with me than with him. I'm the good guy."
"You're not the good guy, Hal. You kidnapped me. You're trying to take me away from my husband. You are the villain!" she tells him, "I. Am. Not. Brainwashed!"
His is getting angry now. Why does she keep contradicting him? "Then what is it Roxy? If you're not brainwashed, what is the explanation? Do you just like fucking freaks? What happened? Did Metro-Jerk dump you so you decided to go bang the other freak in town? God, Roxy. Can't you see? You can do so much better than him. I can show you what a real man feels like. Show you what it's meant to be like. Maybe I should pull over right now and give you a sample," he suggests, "Once I show you, you won't be chasing freaks anymore."
Oh, I don't like where this is going, she thinks, Megamind, where are you? Her head pounds as she pulls at the mental bond, trying with all her will to get his attention. There! He felt her! She feels his relief. His terror recedes as he feels she's awake, but he's still furious. She's frustrated at not being able to speak to him. To tell him what's happening. She can only send him vague feelings at this distance. Her pounding brain even makes that difficult. She tries to send him a sense of calm. She doesn't want him rushing in, de-gun set on destroy, and doing something he'll regret later. If he'd regret it. He's not a killer, but would he consider this justified? She'd certainly regret it. Horrible as Hal is, he just doesn't pose enough of a threat to warrant what she suspects Megamind will do to him. But Megamind doesn't know that and she has no way to tell him.
Right now, though, she needs to distract him from his last suggestion. Megamind is getting closer, but it's hard to tell how close. Her headache is making it hard to understand what their link is telling her. Maybe she can reason with Hal. Make him understand how horribly out-classed he is. Make him give up. "You keep calling them freaks," she says, "Metro Man and Megamind. They're not freaks. Did you know? They're aliens. From outer space."
"Un-freaking-believable! Not even from Earth and they're trying to steal our women."
"You haven't heard the good part yet. Metro Man has all those powers, right? What do you think Megamind has?" She gives him the chance to work it out himself, wondering if he'll guess. The loop of rope finally slips over her hand and she's suddenly attacked by the pins-and-needles sensation of her circulation returning.
"What? Some weird alien dick? Is that why you're screwing him?" Hal asks bitterly.
"Hardly. Think about it, Hal. In all those science fictions shows with the aliens with giant brains, what powers do they usually have?"
"So, he is using some evil mind-control on you?" He feels vindicated. Finally, she admits he's controlling her!
"No." she answers slowly as she rubs her wrist. "But he is telepathic. And I'm his mate now. Do you really think there's anywhere on this entire planet where he won't find me?" She pauses to let that statement sink in, watching Hal tighten his grip on the wheel and shift in his seat. She allows a girlish lilt into her voice. "He's coming, Hal. I can feel him in my head." She smirks though he doesn't see it. She watches him carefully as she removes the ropes, but remains where she is, her hands still behind her back, "He's almost here. And he's furious. That someone would dare to steal his wife," she grins evilly, "And he doesn't know who you are. What sort of threat you pose. He's coming armed to the teeth. He will crush you."
"I'm not afraid of him." He glances nervously at the side mirrors, checking the road behind him. "He always loses. He's a complete failure as a supervillain."
"He only loses against Metro Man, Hal. He walks out of prison whenever he chooses. The police can't touch him. It's been years since any other supervillain has challenged his claim to Metrocity." Hal's eyes narrow as he hears her unconscious mispronunciation. To him it is further proof of Megamind's corruption of her. If only he could get her to see that. "Everyone in the city gives him whatever he wants. The only one that gives him any challenge at all is Metro Man, and that's only because he's invulnerable. Even then, Megamind almost wins more times than most people know. But playing against you, Hal?" She laughs, "You don't stand a chance."
"Even with all those fancy inventions, I bet a bullet to that over-sized brain of his will still take him out," as he says this he leans over to pop open the glovebox. He pulls a handgun into view and makes sure it's ready to fire. He rests it in his lap in easy reach. "And I bet it'll free you of his evil alien mind-control, too."
Shit! she thinks, He has a gun! Adrenalin floods her system, finally pushing back the fog that's been clouding her thoughts. She hears it then. Low and barely audible. Ominous tones, half-heard voices, a few quit guitar notes, and then the melody begins. She can't place the song yet, but it has a heavy beat and guitar cords as harsh as the percussion. She knows it's him. Who else would bring a sound-track into battle? To him, it's as essential as his spiked cape and gloves. A tool of intimidation. Her heart thrills at knowing he's here.
Hal curses and looks outside frantically. He's trying to figure out where the villain is. Good, he's not paying attention to her. He lifts the gun from his lap, gripping it tightly, "Don't worry, Roxy. I'll take care of him for you." His hand is shaky, but he's determined. If only he weren't so misguided, he'd almost be brave. Roxanne feels Megamind coming. So close. Suddenly the van begins to slow, despite Hal's foot pressing hard on the gas, "What the hell?" he growls, glancing down at the gauges in hopes that they might provide some insight into the problem.
Roxanne takes her chance. In one motion she stands and snatches the gun from his surprised hand. He curses and reaches back to grab it from her, but she's out of his reach. She leaps for the back of the van and swings the door open, unsurprised to meet a swarm of brainbots pulling the van to a stop by lifting its rear wheels from the road. Her dizziness returns to spin the world around her, making her foot land wrong. She stumbles, throwing her arms out to catch herself, but finding nothing but air in front of her. She screams as she sees the pavement coming up to meet her. Three brainbots catch her inches from the road. The metal tentacles lift her gently and set her safely on her feet on the shoulder of the road.
Immediately Megamind's hoverbike slides to a stop beside her and he launches himself at her, sweeping her up in a fierce embrace, I thought I'd lost you, Roxanne.
Pft. I've been kidnapped by better than him, she tells him. She quickly summarizes what happened as they walk together to the driver's door. The brainbots are holding the van stationary, floating six inches above the road. Inside Hal is pounding on the wheel and cursing a blue streak. The two-lane country highway is empty for the moment.
"Get out, Hal," Roxanne orders.
Reluctantly, he does so. He stands trembling with both fury and fear in front of the couple who are standing hip-to-hip, each with an arm around the other's waist. Roxanne is still holding Hal's gun.
"Hal, meet Megamind," she says. Hal is struck by how much shorter the blue man is in person than what he expected and by how incongruous he looks standing out in the open on an empty country road. Still, surrounded by a swarm of flying robots with glowing eyes and bear-trap jaws, the man is still intimidating, despite his small stature. Megamind watches the fat man with contempt, but allows his wife to take the lead. "He hasn't brainwashed me or coerced me," She explains to Hal, "I understand that you thought you were protecting me, but I don't need to be protected. I want to be his wife."
"You can't want him, Roxy," Hal insists, "It doesn't make sense. You're a beautiful, smart woman and he's not even a man. He's a thing!"
"You don't know what I want! You don't really know me at all, Hal. We've never hung out socially. You've hardly even seen me outside of work. You have this fantasy about who I am and it's not true. I want Megamind, not you. I've never wanted you. Not even a little." Hal flinches at that statement, as if she'd slapped him in the face. "And as for him," she continues, "You don't know him at all. I do. I can hardly help it. He's inside my head, Hal. Do you know what that means? He can't hide who he is from me. A can pick up anything he's thinking about, anything he's feeling. I know him. The good and the bad. He's not a thing. He's the man I love."
Hal looks like she's punched him in the stomach. "You're making a horrible mistake, Roxy," he tells her, "Someday you'll realize that and it'll be too late."
"You can think that if you want, but it's my mistake to make," she answers, glancing at her husband with a knowing smile, "I'll live with the consequences." Looking back at Hal, she says, "It's none of your business because I'm not yours. I never will be."
She steps away from Megamind slightly to hand the blue man Hal's gun. Hal's eyes widen and he turns to run, only to be confronted by the glowing eye and bear-trap jaws of a brainbot floating right in his path. He turns back to Roxanne and Megamind, cringing away from them.
"He isn't going to shoot you," she assures him. She steps behind Megamind and crosses to his right side to pull his de-gun from its holster on his hip. She checks the setting and switches it from destroy to dehydrate, "But I am." She aims and fires, reducing Hal to a small blue cube.
She slides the de-gun back into Megamind's holster. Then the dizziness she's been fighting the whole time washes over her. She stumbles toward her husband and, to her later embarrassment, faints into his arms.
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