Megamind is not my property. He never has been and never will be.

Warnings: this is not for Metro Man fans. You have been warned. There are also a lot of alien words- see the glossary at the back of my fic for pronunciation and meaning (if applicable).

In a lot of ways, I had an easier life than my partner. People never really went out to bully me; they didn't really perceive me, 'that blue kid's freaky talking fish,' as a sentient, thinking person, so they didn't bother trying to torture me psychologically. I was thrown around physically in a game called fish ball and once I was 'confiscated' by that horrible teacher and given to Scott, when I nearly died of chlorine poisoning because the idiot put me in his swimming pool, but all those acts were more about hurting him than tormenting me.

But that wasn't the most important factor in making my situation easier to bear. I had a purpose, a reason for living. My parents and favorite aunt, who was paired to my partner's mother, had used the weeks before his birth to hammer my duties into my head. I was supposed to take care of the child who was first called Messerosyx, nicknamed Syx late on Christmas Eve, and finally dubbed Megamind by his sneering classmates.

I couldn't. Messerosyx khvat'Kelluerai dun'Dazarro Ztanye knew in his bones that he had a destiny- but he had no idea what it was. After much prompting from Metro Boy, he decided that destiny was to be a villain, but that never really fulfilled him. I can't tell you how often he slumped over in depression, miserable and discouraged, loathing the life he'd been forced into. That wasn't his purpose. He knew that, deep down, but he was so determined to complete his phony fate that he refused to acknowledge it.

Now, though, he's finally found his purpose. He's a hero- and a far better one than that smarmy Scott. He loves it. He's so much more alive, now, that it's almost frightening. He was always enthusiastic before, but now…. There's just no comparison. Sure, we've had a few bumps and roadblocks. Sure, it's only been a couple months. Sure, some of the citizens are still wary around us. But he's lived more, done more, experienced more happiness in the past nine weeks than in all his years as a villain.

There's just one tiny problem….

5:52 p.m.


Megamind looked up from his current project, re-reconfiguring the Death Ray into a way of providing solar energy for the western half of the state. It had actually originated as a power source- most of his evil inventions began as good devices that he perverted in an attempt to be bad. "Yes, Minion?"

The piscine sank low into his head-bowl. The cluster of tendrils hanging from his belly vanished into the robot body. "I had to do something today you won't approve of."

Code: I don't need you! Megamind flinched. Those ugly, thoughtless words still echoed through his lair, and he wasn't the only one to hear them. "I'm sure that whatever you did is fine with me."

Both his companion's bodies squirmed, fish and gorilla twitching together. "What did you do?" the blue man continued, worrying despite himself. There were things he wasn't ready for Roxanne to know about, and he could easily imagine his faithful Minion letting something slip that he shouldn't have.

The ichthyoid held up an unadorned CD in his robotic hand. "I think I'd better show you, sir."

"All right." He followed the fish to the lair's entertainment room. An entire wall was covered with an enormous television screen that would put theaters to shame, and several comfy couches and beanbag chairs took up the center of the room. There was even a water-filled tank with cushions at the bottom so Minion could leave his suit during movie marathons.

The piscine placed the unmarked CD into their DVD player, and the show began.

In other ways, though, my life was a lot tougher. It's like this Greek myth about a guy named Tantalus. As punishment for feeding his own son to the gods, he was imprisoned in a pond by gorgeous fruit trees. Whenever he tried to drink, the water would flow away. Whenever he tried to eat, the branches would move just out of his reach. He could see them, but he could never relieve his hunger or thirst.

I'm like Tantalus. I haven't done anything wrong, certainly nothing as abhorrent as encouraging cannibalism, but our situations were the same. I too knew my goal, my purpose- but I couldn't reach it to save my life!

On our home planet, things were different. 'Minions,' whether Vihiln or Pir, were given a great deal of respect. We were the peacekeepers. If war ever broke out between our two peoples, the submissive partner in a clan-bond would become the dominant partner's hostage, forcing the submissive partners' clans to negotiate. We hadn't gone to war for sixteen hundred years, but everyone knew that the submissive partner might have to sacrifice everything at a moment's notice. For that reason, we were often accorded even more respect than the dominants.

Here, though, no one knew about our bond. They saw me as a fish, nothing more, and certainly not as a respected ambassador and equally loved foster-brother. I was helpless. For years I was trapped inside a tiny sphere, unable to fight off the bullies without suffocating. I had to watch helplessly as my beloved partner was bullied, beaten, despised, insulted… you name it, he's experienced it. I couldn't stop Metro Boy and his cronies; I couldn't save my master.

Now the adult Music Man is hurting Megamind again. I couldn't stop him as a child… but I'm grown now, older and wiser and much more dangerous.

There was a saying on my home planet: "Better to provoke a thousand Glau than a single Pir." The people who made it up… they knew what they were talking about.

Wayne Scott will face justice for what he has done.

1:21 p.m.

The invisible car slowed to a stop. Minion gazed out the window, side fins swaying gently. It had been a long time since he'd last seen their old school house.

Memories welled up in the fish's mind: being tossed round and round, trying not to vomit as his sphere flew through the air; the disastrous attempt to make popcorn; his boss's sixth birthday; the day in early May when it was finally enough, when Syx snapped and Megamind was born.

Anger surged. How dare Scott use this place, this den of foul memories and fouler actions? It was like rubbing salt in burning wounds, a permanent reminder that he had money, popularity, human looks, friends, family, acceptance, and that the other two aliens did not.

Just the sight of the little red school house was enough to steal his resolve.

"Come on," the fish ordered. A contingent of five brainbots- Pokey, Lolo, Nom-Nom, Hufflepuff, and Zippy- floated out after him. "Remember, you have to stay quiet. Don't attack no matter what happens. Just film. And don't draw attention to yourselves. He won't have any qualms about hurting you." The little cyborgs bowged obediently. Daddy and Uncle Minion would fix them, but no one liked being torn apart.

Minion forced his eyes to remain open, knowing that if he closed them he would probably experience a flashback. Flashbacks usually incapacitated him (or the boss, if he were the one to receive the unfortunate visitation) for hours, and he was on a time limit.

The piscine didn't knock. He knew from Miss Ritchie and his master that Scott's living quarters were underground, hidden beneath the teacher's desk. To access Metro Man's fortress of solitude (or whatever he called it; he could be more ostentatious than Megamind), visitors would have to pick up the desk, just as Metro Boy had done on his first day of kindergarten.

"Show-off," Minion growled. He shoved the desk aside, superbly grateful for his gorilla suit's enhanced strength.

The gaudy shrine that Scott called his living room did nothing to improve the fish's temper. Egotistical, self-obsessed, smarmy jerk! Selfish, thoughtless egomaniac! He was about to get into other descriptions, words he'd learned growing up in prison but rarely used, when an awful sound rent the air. It reminded him of a dying goose being run over by a semi filled with angry tomcats.

The brainbots whimpered pathetically. Pokey and Hufflepuff hid behind their current master's bulky frame. "Sh," he ordered gently. "It's gonna be okay. Uncle Minion will protect you."

"Bowg b-b-bow-bo," whined Nom-Nom. In English, that translated to something like, "Make it stop. I beg you by all that's holy, make it stop!"

"I will, I will," Minion assured her. He raised his voice. "Scott?"

The hideous goose-noise stopped. Music Man, dressed in a white outfit reminiscent of Elvis's most ridiculous costumes and an enormous gold M medallion, stepped into his shrine room. "Hey, fishy!" he laughed, slapping Minion on the shoulder. "Nice to see ya! How's my little buddy doing?"

Minion grit his fangs so hard that they drew blood. He wanted to snarl that his name was Kelluerai khvat'Messerosyx dun'Ztanye Dazarro, thank you very much, or Minion if the brainless oaf couldn't remember that. He wanted to scream that Megamind was not this man's little buddy, that Scott should be groveling on the floor for what he'd done to them with Titan and high school and the wasted years of villainy and kindergarten and nearly killing them (several times) as their pod fled their home planet. He settled with, "You will refer to my master as Megamind."

Scott blinked at him. Minion idly wondered if the hero had ever been spoken to like that before. Probably not.

"You can hardly call him your little buddy when you've framed him for murder." Minion kept his voice flat, calm, with just the faintest undertones of anger. He boiled inside, but his voice was cold as the northern seas.

"Oh. That."

"Yes. That."

Music Man's expression resembled that of a child told he couldn't stay up past his bedtime. "What do you want me to do about it?"

"I want you to clear his name."

"No can do. Sorry." He plopped into a couch. The TV flickered on to the weather channel. Music Man eyed it briefly before changing the channel.

Minion stalked in front of the television, arms folded, eyes narrow. "I need you too clear his name. People can ignore the property damage, but not murder, and especially not your murder." To most of Metro City, Metro Man was a god- just like the gods who'd imprisoned Tantalus. His supposed killer was worse than Pilate and Judas combined.

"I'm not going back," Scott snapped. "I faked my own death for a reason, you know. I like being Music Man."

"They're threatening to give him the chair. Not a lethal injection, the electric chair," Minion replied quietly. "There are higher-ups in the government who would give anything to perform an alien autopsy, and they are milking your 'death' for everything it's worth. I'm not saying you have to be a hero again- we'll take care of that- but if you don't tell everyone that you faked your death, my master will die. And there will be nothing fake about it."

Music Man shifted on the couch to get a better view of his television. He flipped the channel.

Minion almost couldn't believe it. Almost. He knew how this man worked: unless it benefited him, Wayne Scott wouldn't lift a finger. He thrived off of adoration, fame, reputation, and there was no way he'd sacrifice his undeserved bread and butter to save an innocent man's life. "Weren't you listening? Unless you do something, Megamind will die."

"He should have thought about that before trying to kill me."

The piscine fought back the urge to bite him. It would probably break his teeth- Pir fangs were strong, but not strong enough to penetrate a Glau's hide- but it would be so satisfying. "Even if you don't care about your 'little buddy,' think about Metro City! Villains are popping up like mushrooms after rain. The city needs a hero. Without one, you'll get to experience a real evil overlord, someone who kills and wounds instead of just repainting Town Hall. If you're in hiding and Megamind is dead, there will be no one to keep Metro City safe. The brainbots might hold the villains off for a while, but eventually they'll be completely obliterated! Hundreds, thousands will die!"

"You're not going to guilt me into this," Music Man snapped. "Now move. My show's on."

Minion punched the TV, robotic fist tearing through the delicate circuitry and electronics. "Watch the rerun."

The former hero stood up. Despite sitting on his white-clad rear for months, his muscles hadn't lost an inch to flab. He was very large, very intimidating, and there might have been a faint prick of red in his eyes.

"I'll pay you," Minion promised, knowing it was useless, knowing that Wayne Scott was too rich to be swayed by that. "I'll do anything, say anything, just don't let my best and only friend, Metro City's only hero, die. We have friends in the media, and there has to be some way we can get through this with your reputation unscathed."

"No deal, fish." His arms folded, and there was definitely a glint of red in those narrow eyes.

His xibenlo, the bioluminescent bulbs on his back, flared with rage. Minion sucked in a deep breath, visibly struggling with his temper. He doubted his next tactic would be any more successful than the others, but he still had to try.

"You owe Metro City, Scott," the ichthyoid growled. His xibenlo sparked, shone, blazed as the piscine stomped up to the former hero, meeting him nose to nasal ridge. "You abandoned them every last day that Megamind and I ruled in City Hall, and you betrayed them when Titan went berserk. Everything that happened is your fault just as much as it is ours."

"Get out of my house."

"Please. For once in your life, be a hero. Help us." He hated begging, but if it would save Megamind….

"What do you mean, for once in my life?"

By all the Clan Founders, what had possessed him to say that? "Nothing," Minion lied, knowing that the lie was futile, knowing that he knew.

"I am a hero."

Minion thought back to the smug baby in his white-and-gold escape pod, the smirking boy in school. He remembered his master's crush on Roxanne during high school, how Metro Dude hadn't shown any interest in her until after he'd noticed Megamind's feelings. He remembered that awful year in this same schoolhouse, the pain and loneliness, the nights of silent tears….

"In the public eye, maybe," he breathed, "but it was never real. If you were really a hero- if you were a decent person- you would save his life."

Metro Man snapped. Retired or not, he was still a Glau, and Glau were dangerous by definition.

In a motion too quick for any human eye to track, he lunged at Minion, wrapping one huge hand around the piscine's gorilla body. Then he threw.

Minion went flying through the ceiling, the roof, the air. His robot body tumbled and spun. The fish inside was unable to right himself. Moaning, doing his utmost not to throw up, he squeezed shut his eyes. A tiny whimper escaped his throat.

Then he hit the ground, mechanical suit exploding, small body bouncing, gasping for oxygen, panting-

He landed hard, skidding several feet through dirt and grass before sliding to a stop.

It was a testament to his toughness that the fall hadn't killed him. Still, that toughness would be worthless unless he got to water soon. He could survive without it longer than any Earth fish, but everyone needed to breathe sometime.

"Bowg!" Hufflepuff grabbed him in her many mechanical arms, flying at breakneck speed towards the invisible car. The other four brainbots had assembled his spare gorilla suit, the one Megamind always kept in the trunk just in case.

Hufflepuff dropped him into water, too concerned to be gentle. He swam woozily, righted himself with a tiny shake. "Thanks."

There was no way he was going back to the Lil Gifted School for Lil Gifted Kids, not with Metro Man mad enough to kill. Besides, there was no point in trying to reason with him. He'd made his choice, and he was going to stick with it.

"Go film the pieces of my other body," Minion ordered the brainbots. "Get good shots of it. When you've done that, stop filming."

"Bowg! Bowg bow-owg b-bow-owg bowg."

"My thoughts exactly."

The brainbots flew off. Minion closed his eyes. "Time for Plan B."

I knew exactly what would happen if Megamind was given the chair and sent off to be dissected. First off, the world would lose an incredible person. That's a tragedy in itself. I would lose a friend and brother. Miss Ritchie would lose a soul mate. Even the brainbots would lose their daddy.

The repercussions would be even worse. Like I told Scott, the brainbots might be able to hold off the criminal horde- for a few months, a year at most. Then they'd be destroyed or disassembled or captured and studied by the same scum who had stolen their creator's corpse. With the brainbots gone, Megamind and me dead (there's no way they'd let me escape), and Music Man with his head in the sand, it would only be a matter of time before Metro City was torn apart by warring criminals. Dozens if not hundreds would die, caught in the crossfire. The police couldn't handle it. They're all incompetent morons, accustomed to Metro Man handing them criminals on a silver platter.

Perhaps, after months of violence and fear, one of those villains will succeed in taking over the city. Unlike Megamind, though, he or she or they will want to expand. They'll build up their forces before striking the rest of the county… the state… the region…. It's possible that they'll drag America into a second Civil War.

But no one else knows that. They don't appreciate just how dangerous some criminals are, not after my master's carefully harmless plots. They think the police will protect them. That's just not going to happen. New villains are cropping up faster than ever, and they have powers and skills and alliances that normal people just can't deal with. Perhaps, if given enough time, the police and military could learn to fight off these new, improved villains, but there won't be time unless my master lives. If Megamind falls, so does Metro City. His death could change the world- and not in a good way.

6:17 p.m.

Megamind stared at the screen in stunned, silent horror. His friend's body, the one he'd been wearing to meet with Music Man, was completely destroyed, shattered, the pieces strewn around something that could only be described as a crater. There was a horrified bowg that translated to "I can't believe that Uncle Minion survived that." Another brainbot responded with a noise that meant, "I think we should get out of here before Scott realizes Uncle Minion isn't dead." He had no doubt that the conversation continued, but that was when the brainbot in charge of filming turned off the camera.

The blue man spun to face his minion, his friend, his beloved brother. He hadn't noticed before, but…. Poor Minion was bruised on his left side, missing revealing the torn skin underneath. "Kelly," he whimpered, using the nickname his friend had been given in infancy, "you're hurt." He peeled off a glove, placed the hand on Minion's head-bowl.

"You don't have to do that, sir," the embarrassed piscine assured him.

"Yes, I do." Megamind's tone brooked no argument, so Minion swam up to the top of his bowl and let his master touch him.

The blue people, the Vihiln, weren't empathic in the traditional sense of the word, but they did possess a few semi-psychic abilities. One of those gifts was the power to reduce another's pain by taking that pain into his own body. Not even the most skilled Vihiln physicians could take away all their patients' pain, even if they shared a bond with that patient, but they could still alleviate a great deal of suffering. Megamind could take almost half of Minion's pain and about a third of everyone else's.

He took every last bit of pain that he could. It wasn't enough, but it would have to do.

"You could have died."

"I know that now," Minion confessed, "but I really wasn't expecting him to throw me out the ceiling."

Megamind chose that moment to unleash another of his hereditary abilities. He let down his mental shields. Minion's emotions- shame, love, relief, leftover fear, old rage- flooded through him, just as his own love and concern and joy swept through the fish.

"You're fantastic, Kelluerai," he whispered, pressing his cheeks against the piscine's head-bowl.

For a moment the ichthyoid's negative emotions vanished, but they returned stronger than ever two seconds later. "What's wrong?" Megamind asked. "I'm glad that you went to talk with him, even knowing it wouldn't work. We'll find some other way out of the whole murder thing, don't worry. I'm not going to let them take us."

"That's not what I feel guilty about."

Megamind's lips pursed in a frown. "Is this about going behind my back to see him? That probably wasn't the smartest idea you've ever had, but I don't care. You're whole and healthy, and that's all that matters."

Love washed through their bond, love and pure adoration. The emotions sprung from each partner, flowing from small blue hand to scaly head and back again.

"I don't feel guilty about going behind your back to talk with Scott." He fidgeted, twiddling his robotic thumbs. Nervousness flowed through their link, nervousness and guilt. "I do, however, feel guilty about sending copies of the brainbots' footage to KMPC, CNN, MSN, the New York Times, YouTube… pretty much every news venue in the country and a couple dozen overseas."

Megamind's jaw sagged. His limp hand dropped to the bottom of Minion's head-bowl. "Huh?"

Minion swam away, retreating to the back of his habitat. Their physical contact broke, and their emotional unity shattered. He didn't meet his master's eyes. "It is big news, you know," the piscine mumbled, "Metro Man being alive, and all. He was a worldwide celebrity, and his so-called murder made him even more famous. And since he doesn't have a TV now, he won't know that everyone knows he's alive until witnesses start showing up on his doorstep. Besides, not even he can fix the hole in the roof or the crater from where I hit the ground before people stop by. There might even be a few gawkers there already. I gave directions to the schoolhouse to the newscasters. " He seemed to shrink. "I'm sorry, sir, but it had to be done."

Megamind leapt forward, engulfing the startled ichthyoid's mechanical body in a hug. Tears streamed down his face. "You wonderful… amazing… you perfect paragon of piscines, you fantastic…. Don't ever do anything like that again! You could have died…." He sniffled.

"…You're not mad?"

"How could I be mad, you idiotic ichthyoid?" the blue man sniffled. "You finned fool…. Have I ever said how much I appreciate you? Well, I do. Very much. And I love you, Kelluerai!" He blinked. "Um… not in the same way I love Roxanne, of course. That would be… indeed… but I still love you, you know?"

Minion pressed his side against his master's cheek, hardly noticing the glass between them. "I love you too, Messerosyx shirimo."

Megamind's sniffles had been growing weaker, but they returned full force when Minion called him 'brother.' If anyone walked in on them, they would be forced to use the Forget-Me Stick to preserve their masculine reputations. "My hero," he mumbled, then forced himself away from the gorilla suit's warm, soft fur. "Come now, Minion," he declared, forcing himself back into business mode, "there will be several consequences from this news release. We have to organize a press conference and contact our lawyer and read up on the differences between real and attempted murder…."

His friend, brother, and hero listened carefully, smiling all the way. The echoes of their thoughtless, ugly words fell silent, leaving another echo in their place. My hero….

I could have blackmailed Scott, shown him copies of the video and made him confess his survival to the world. I could have kept quiet about his location, his new identity (though people would have figured it out after his first concert), his true selfish nature.

But would it have been right to do so? Justice isn't a one-way street. Just as it spares the innocent, it punishes the guilty… and Music Man was very guilty. He'd dressed his heart up in shining white and golden stars, just as my partner hid his goodness behind black leather and silver spikes. My friend was innocent of true crimes, the kind that scar people instead of property. Metro Man was not.

He stole what was most important to us: a chance for love, affection, acceptance, fulfillment. He used that robbery to build his own pedestal, an adoring cult that worshipped his false reputation. Did he deserve to be remembered as a martyr when he'd fled out of selfish boredom? No, not at all.

But now the truth has come to light, and we all have what we deserve.

You do NOT make Minion angry. It's just a really bad idea. Really, really bad.

Kelluerai: kel-loo-eh-reye (emphasis on loo, which rhymes with zoo; secondary emphasis on reye, eh is as in wet)

Messerosyx: mes-sair-row-six (emphasis on sair, which rhymes with air; secondary emphasis on six)

Dazarro: da-zahr-row (da as in dad, zahr rhymes with car, emphasis on row)

Ztanye: z-tan-yeh (very fast, percussive z; tan rhymes with van; emphasis on yeh, which is as in yes)

Khvat: (rhymes with vat, kh is very aspirate). A name-title which translates to something like "paired to."

Dun: (halfway between done and dune). A name-title referring to one's second or foster clan.

Xibenlo (singular xiben): ksee-behn-low (emphasis on low; secondary emphasis on behn).

Shirimo: shee-ri-m[whistle] (the o is pronounced like a low-pitched whistle or hoot). Means "brother."