There's still conflicted feelings here. In a situation like this, I think there just has to be. Each person has to come to a reckoning within themselves of what's happened and what's happening. Unless you want to go *completely* OOC for the fun of it. My thanks to Chris Cline with whom I chatted about this fic early on, tossing around the idea of characters having a dominate tendency they are most likely to act upon but recognizing that, like all of us, the possibility remains that one might throw off the shackles and follow a less likely impulse instead. Exploring those kinds of scenarios can be fun as well as a little challenging as you try to keep the characters 'in character' at the same time. Don't know if you'll think I succeeded here, but I tried. Thank you for reading, especially for leaving feedback and reviews.

Roxanne is not conflicted (er well, less):

Feeling her give in at last, he reached down to draw her hands out from behind her back as he kissed her harder. She placed them without hesitation over his spiky shoulders again… her palms riding lightly over the sharp points, her fingers falling between them to drift over that smooth black leather as he reached for the swell of her hips. Why oh why do I like his spikes and leather and... everything bad? So much? His hands slid lower to where she sat pressed against the chair's seat, following those heavy curves around, caressing their shape… coaxing her forward almost off the edge.

Cold metal brushed her knee, the buckle of his belt, when she moved her legs to either side of his hips, wrapping her heels around the back of his thighs. As the spikes began to bite into her palms, she slid her hands down over his chest and around instead, under the cape, where the hot, hard muscles of his back tensed and moved under her fingers as he slid his hands along the length of her thighs, pushing her skirt up out of the way.

Roxanne thought about her fantasies and about fighting the attraction she'd felt. At first it had been easy to dismiss in her indignation at the liberties he took with her time and freedom over and over again. But perversely the desire persisted, simmering below the surface, growing with every interaction, threatening to eventually erupt. It almost seemed like the more irritated she worked herself up to be, the more she wanted him.

It all came to a head when after a three week lapse in his usual activity Roxanne found herself sitting at work completely distracted with wondering, positively worrying over what could be the cause of his uncharacteristic absence. Irritated with the change in routine that kept her waiting on edge for him to show up... while he was nowhere to be found. It chaffed her that something that should be positive - his prolonged absence - was causing her so much agitation. Was he hurt somewhere? Was he sick? She knew he wasn't in the prison, she'd checked. Could he simply be sitting in his secret hideout, dejected and morose, out of ideas? Had he given up, moved on, moved away? Or could it be worse than that? An unexpected sense of loss flooded her. His was a dangerous line of work even outside the regular dust-ups he had with the city's massive hero.

Hardly likely, she'd roused herself to huff. Megamind would always be around. He was probably planning something more annoying than ever, and of course she would be forced to be involved. And here she was just waiting for it to happen! She was tired of being the victim. Tired of being passive. What if she went looking for him for once? She'd made some headway into finding his lair. With a little more investigative work...

Her thumb worked at the end of her pen, clicking it repeatedly as she sat at her desk, staring sightlessly ahead. What would it be like to turn the tables on him, take control of the situation... find him and try to stop him and maybe... exact revenge by demanding what she wanted from him for once? Well, just what do I want from him? Mentally she shied away from the answer. ...Oh, he'd like that way too much. And what if she failed? Made him angry... found herself captured and at his mercy... feeling the antagonism between them but seeing something in his eyes... changing into... something else. Both of them realizing how they felt...

The clicking had stopped. She blinked her dry eyes, dismissing the idea as completely unrealistic and stood up, realizing from the stiffness in her legs how long she'd been sitting there. But the lurid thoughts persisted. She toyed with them a little as she busied herself with rearranging the papers on her desk before shutting the door firmly on those forbidden desires once more.

It was too late. The seed of the idea had taken root and sat in her chest heavily for the rest of the day, demanding to grow, making her even more antsy than before.

When she got home that evening, she poured a large glass of wine and gave in - well, it was only a fantasy, right? Not like anyone would know - letting herself really think about it for the first time. And she liked the ideas she had, no matter which of them came out as being in control of the situation.

That had been a mistake because afterward it was harder than ever to stuff the feelings down and keep her thoughts from straying again toward those same and other scenarios. Things that would never, could never happen... she couldn't allow to happen... But when he finally showed up again for the inevitable kidnapping, she couldn't stop a certain seductively teasing tone from creeping into her usual snappy comebacks.

And now... here she was playing her part with someone who for the past few weeks had reminded her more and more of the man she shouldn't want. And whose hands in black leather gloves were slipping around the tops of her thighs, sliding under them, coaxing them apart to bring her closer as he inched closer to her chair on his knees. A man who not only looked and acted incredibly like Megamind but enjoyed the guilty pleasure of the fantasy as much as she did. Making it seem so real.

Again the niggling fear that Bernard might think less of her had to be quelled by reminding herself that he was the one who'd brought it up. It had been his idea after all. And that made her feel guilty, that she'd let him do this. Playing the part of this person she shouldn't even want in order to turn her on even more. He ought to know he was enough as himself first. The persistent thought irritated her conscience. An annoying grain of self-reproach disrupting her ability to immerse herself in the fantasy completely. She lifted her mouth away from his, meaning to tell him, but she only felt his lips move along her neck and felt that furry little chin ornamentation tickle her skin as he moved toward her earlobe again... and she melted. But I do want this... being with Bernard... such a sweet guy... the one she should want. Her head fell back, exposing more skin for him, offering herself up even while knowing it was Megamind who turned her on more... and shouldn't... Suddenly the hands massaging her rear pulled her hard against him.

Her head swung upright and her body tensed. Seeing his unnaturally green eyes staring into hers, wide in the dark, only excited her further. Her body swayed toward his. He exhaled heavily, holding them close, pulling her even closer, wordlessly expressing his desire. Was this Bernard then? Or the part he was playing? There'd been little indication that he could be so... assertive. She liked it, as unexpected it was. She wanted him to do more of it although it unnerved her a little, how exactly he recreated the way she had imagined Megamind would be... but the tense bulge in his tight pants pressing into her roused her body's response to greater intensity, and her arms tightened around his shoulders. Ok, just this one time, right? As he pressed forward and brushed a kiss over her lips listening to the breath rushing between them both, then his tongue along the edge of her willing mouth, a little whimpering moan escaped her. How wrong is it that I want him like this? Oh man... Megamind could make me give in so easily if he ever... But this is Bernard. Am I only wanting him because he makes me think of HIM so much? No... no... But, I shouldn't be letting him do this.

Damn it. Ok! He's willing. I'm willing. Consenting adults playing a game. No reason for guilt! The pep talk barely soothed her. Look, we just won't do it anymore. After this... I'll make sure he knows he's the one I want to be with. He was taking her hand, pulling her to her feet, rising to stand with her. But if we are only going to do it once, she thought eyes darting around the features of that blue face, so familiar and forbidden and drawing nearer to hers... I am going to enjoy it. Thoroughly.

The leather clad fingers slid around her waist as she wrapped her arms around him and kissed first one blue lip, then the other. The easy willingness floored him. ...That is her kissing me! Roxanne is kissing me... me... His happy sigh turned to a nearly silent moan as her lips left his to follow back along the edge of his jaw with a series of lingering pulses while his hands stilled at the small of her back, feeling the warmth building under his palms while he enjoyed her attentions, eyes closed in bliss. No one had wanted to so much as touch him before, so now finding this woman exploring every inch of him willingly, sweetly, even eagerly... an almost painfully keen sense of gratitude infused his lust, deepening it. Confounding him... His eyes opened, frowning... As much as he wanted her, something inside him withdrew from the thought of what he was about to do... Never mind that, he told himself, it's just nerves. You know how to get past that. He closed his eyes again and held her closer.

Now that her reservations were firmly laid aside for the night, Roxanne was ready to embrace her blue fantasy fully. She wanted to touch every part of him, believing it really was him. Her flushed, swollen lips caressed his face and although her fingers itched to caress the smooth shape of his enormous head as well... her hand stopped at his slender neck, stroking up and down the back of it. She would have to deny herself that much in order not to let the cold artificiality of his costume interrupt her fantasy.

There was no reason for him to hold back though, and as the feeling of her fingers along his neck gave him the most pleasurable kind of shiver, his own hands moved down over her ample cheeks, as far down as he could reach, then back up... doing it again more slowly to enjoy how it made her hips press into his. Her nose ruffled his goatee before she gently bit the end of his chin. Quickly his lips sought hers. But she broke away to drag her mouth and nose down his neck the way he'd done to her first, allowing herself to reach down in turn and grab two hands full of the tightly muscled butt wrapped in black and blue that imitated her captor's so well.

It stirred up such a primal feeling in him. Slow down, he told himself as an answering growl hummed in his throat. Knowing this might be a one-time offer, he wanted to make it last as long as possible. One black fingertip found the channel of the zipper on her dress and followed it slowly up, unaware of the chill he was sending along her spine but feeling her body press along his in a wave that followed the fluid movement of his hand. Then he was pulling it down... aware of her shrugging, helping to slide the dress off. His breathing grew shallow as it fell to the floor with barely a rustle, and he ran his hands down her back again. Over bare skin. Bare... He could almost feel her through the gloves. Suddenly he desperately wanted to touch her skin with his. Needed that contact. Without a projected image between them, without barriers.

Except the barrier of your lie.

His eyes popped open at the mental rebuke that seemed to come out of nowhere, but she was intent on his lips again, hands grasping the back of his belt to hold his hips tightly against hers. He relaxed and did his best to return her kisses while frantically pulling at the leather gauntlets behind her back. Stupid... gloves... Why did Minion make them so tight? When they finally began to loosen he reminded himself, just keep your hands where she can't see them. Finally with a last desperate tug, he threw them aside in triumph and quickly stroked his fingers down her back, using the sensitive tips of his dextrous digits first, then following her form more closely with the entire surface of his palms. Oh! Such softness... curviness... Roxanne-ness. Just as wonderful as he'd imagined it so many times... but reality was infinitely better. Because here was not only the loveliness of her physical body that filled his daydreams, but also the whole woman - this person who impressed him and commanded his respect and devotion more and more; her bravery, her humor, her intelligence and determination and spunk. All of that and every part of her was here now, responding to him... as himself. The sultry warmth and slight, telltale dampness of her skin betrayed her excitement. And it was him she was excited to be with... him! It made his head spin. He wanted her so much... Minion was right. I am in love with her. And yet, how was he going to accept what she was offering? What apparently they both wanted? How am I going to stop her from seeing...

Roxanne gifted him with the answer as her hands trembling with impatient passion slid up his chest and down again, around behind him. "Keep the suit on for me?" she whispered into his mouth, giving his butt a hard squeeze.

"Absolutely," he gasped in relief, feeling her hands exploring parts of him he'd never thought would feel her touch. "Anything you want. Anything for my sweet..." His lips moved to touch her ear, whisper in it, gripping her earlobe gently with his teeth, and growling the words around it, "sexy little victim..." The wordless noise she made in response was all the affirmation he needed.

He turned her quickly, steering her backward toward the couch with what was left of his functioning brain scrambling to think of a way to hide the remaining parts of himself that had to be bared but were colored and formed a bit uniquely. She would certainly find Bernard's "costume" a little too detailed if those lovely wandering hands went where none but his had gone before. Well, we can't have that... I wish I could just tell her, but... His heart ached a little knowing he had to continue the deception, allowing her to believe she was with the nerdy curator. "Would you like me to restrain you?" he hissed in her ear, thinking of how she'd tried to recreate her customary bondage herself.

She pulled away and looked at him with parted lips, feeling the edge of the couch pressing the back of her calves. Well, this was about her being his victim. He did ask how Megamind controlled her during a kidnapping, and he was playing the part very thoroughly and... the idea was so tempting, an aspect of some of her fantasies she felt distinctly at odds with but still found oddly... arousing somehow. "Promise you won't hurt me." The heavy whisper made it clear how turned on she was.

He paused to look at that lovely face, thinking of how he was willing to do whatever she wanted, to please her and make her want him more in return. "I would never." He began laying her back gently on the couch, easing her down, a hand at her back and their eyes fixed on each other. "Trust me..."

Trust you? his conscience suddenly jeered.

Argh! This is no time for you to start squawking, con-science! He lifted her hands in his over her head as she watched him, offering no resistance, and holding them there firmly he took his time kissing her.

Roxanne tingled all over with the nervous excitement her willingly vulnerable position produced, feeling his lips move down over her neck and down more, deliberately appreciating every little detail he found. It surprised her, but in a very good way. She'd half expected everything to happen in a rush of blind passion and first-time jitters. Then seeing him withdraw a little, bowing his head to look her over, she briefly wondered if she ought to play the unwilling victim yet again.

The city's illumination shining through the rain on the windows lent her naked torso a silvery glow. Deep grey pooled in the hollow of her belly, spilling a dark line of shadow up the center of her body. His eyes followed it to the delicate bra and then to her arms, lifted gracefully and lying relaxed above her dark hair. He found himself fascinated by the shimmer of the light over her chest as she breathed, waiting for him... He wondered if his skin would be colorless too. How amazing it would be to feel all of himself along all of her... but that was just not a risk he could take.

Not now... but maybe later, if I tell-

Uh yeah, how's that going to happen? Oh! You mean, tell her you tricked her after you have sex with her. Well! I'm sure that'll go over just fine. Why wouldn't she just jump right back in the sack with you?

But, she does want me. Me. She said so. She might to be happy to find out that-

Mmhmm, I'm sure she'll be thrilled. Look, shouldn't you tell her now?... before-

Well, what am I supposed to do? Ziiiiip- Hey, look, Roxanne! Bet you've never seen one of these before! Surprise! It really IS me! Isn't that great?

He hadn't realized he'd stopped, brows knotted together as he studied her luminescent form, caught up in his guilt-ridden inner dialogue until it was interrupted by hearing her voice. "Bern-"

When he looked up quickly into her wide, wondering eyes watching him in the dark, she stopped herself and questioned softly instead, "Megamind?"

Seeing the way she was waiting for him, so trustingly, he began to despise himself. Deception had always been a way of life for him - it had to be - but now it seemed utterly distasteful. He shifted uncomfortably. But the sound of his name hanging on the air, an unstated question, a request... why did you stop? Oh god, what I'd give to hear her say my name that way, knowing it's me... As he looked down over her again, his need overrode the guilt. He suddenly sat back on his haunches, arms still stretched over hers, and began to slowly lick up the length of her torso, serpentining his tongue over her skin. And when its tip ran dry, he backed up a little and used his chin, sweeping the goatee he'd noticed her watching as softly as he could over her skin, pursing his lips so they could brush against the velveted texture as well.

She looked down on that huge blue dome and tried not to laugh... but soon a sputter burst forth from between her lips and then a giggle, bubbling up more and more until she was squirming under him from the sensation of that fuzzy stripe wending such a lazy, deliberate path along parts of her that had never had such attention. The tip of his nose passed over the harder areas straining against the cups of her bra as well, making her squeak and twist sideways, laughing harder.

At hearing her losing her composure, the tongue made a comeback, and she felt hot, breathy chuckles wafting against her skin as well, fanning her now outright laughter into stifled squeals as the tickling became even more unbearable. Blissfully distracted with the enjoyment his task, he worked his way up her squirming body, alternating tongue and goatee, passing again between the heaving cups of her bra... up her neck, ending with a flick of the tongue off the underside of her chin.

"Now, now..." he pretended to scold when he'd withdrawn to watch her recover. "Torture is serious business." The dark eyebrows lowered menacingly. "And no one laughs at the Evil Overlord of Metrocity!"

Her face froze, wide-eyed as she quickly tried to compose herself again. The blue eyes stared back at him, lips pressed together tightly... but the giggles would not die and began bursting out little by little until she finally gave up trying to hold back.

Grinning, he leaned down and caught her laughing mouth in a kiss. "Oh, sweetheart," she heard him break character to chuckle as he kissed her tenderly. "Roxanne... you're so..." Another kiss interrupted his words, already barely audible. Abruptly his tone changed as he pulled away again. "You dare to continue laughing? I'll soon make you change your tune... I'm afraid... that you're going to have to pay the penalty for such foolishness."

She gasped a breathy plea at his provocative warning, "Oh, Mr. Overlord..." One leg rose alongside his. "You're not going to hurt me, are you?"

He bit his lip. "The Evil Overlord isn't in the habit of using such simple and barbaric means of discipline as mere pain. But I can tell you this..." His voice dropped lower as he brought his face down closer to hers and saw her breathless smile. "By the time I'm done, you are going to be begging... for more."

I bet I will. His lips wrapped around the soft skin of her neck where her pulse beat visibly, tongue grazing over the saltiness, nipping possessively all along the side of it to her ear as she closed her eyes and hummed, "Mmm, Megamind... I've been really, reeeally naughty..." She squirmed under him again, intensifying their contact. "If you only knew the things I've thought about you..." His hips pressed her thighs apart, and she wrapped both legs around him with a gasping whine. "You'd know just how much I deserve a long, hard penalty..."

His heart was pounding in his ears, almost obscuring her throaty whispers as he moved against her again... but the effort was half-hearted. Was it nervousness or something else that was making him hesitate?

"Oooh yeah... I definitely need you to penalize me..."

Her words echoed in his head while the pounding in his chest grew more uncomfortable. Her playful banter was so tantalizing... so obviously granting him permission, but... She doesn't deserve to be penalized. I do. Treating her this way... she's trusting me... And later... how will she ever... how could I possibly expect her to forgive this?

"Megamind?" He'd stopped and was staring at her.

Penalize... oh god... I know what she wants, and I want it too, but... I can't...

Roxanne noticed the difference in his voice first. All playful seduction set aside to address her softly and soberly instead. "Roxanne... There's... this is going to sound..." He wavered, eyes tightly closed and his head weaving side to side as though he was struggling with himself. "... there's something I should tell you." He opened his eyes, frowning to himself a little before solemnly meeting her gaze again. "I have to tell you."

The sudden change in mood was mildly alarming to say the least. She blinked up at him, still keenly aware of his body against hers, arms over her head and his hands at her wrists, his hips connected with hers in the most intimate way... What? Now? She wanted to tell him it could wait, but... There's something I have to tell you? No, this is Bernard. He's probably just nervous. "Honey," she assured him. "Look, whatever it is... it can wait... right?" She moved her hands to thread her fingers between his, clasping his hands.

Oh, sweet Roxanne. For a moment he considered going ahead, but seeing her gentle smile trying to reassure him, holding his hands... "No. This is important."

Her face sobered. "How important?"

"Really important." The green eyes were filled with apprehension.

"Ah heh, um... well, I have to say you're scaring me a little here." He's just teasing. This is going to be one of those funny turns of phrase he always comes out with at the most hilarious times. Or... or it'll be some quirky request, right? Maybe some fetish. Besides the Megamind costume. Or maybe... The worst possibilities that she was trying hard not to allow herself to think of forced their way front and center anyhow. He's engaged... he's married... he has an STD... oh lord, not HIV...? Suddenly she felt annoyed with him for waiting until now to come out with it. Whatever it was. "You know... This is not what a girl wants to hear right before things get serious." Her voice trailed away, seeing the wide green eyes looking down on her sadly.

"Please don't hate me," he begged.

Oh no. "Why... why would I hate you...? Bernard, what could make me..." She stopped and groaned. "Are you married? Please tell me you're not married."

"Wha-? No!" he answered quickly. "I'm not... I'm not married."

She looked at him skeptically. "Engaged, then."

A wry smile lifted one corner of his lips. "Not even that." He looked at her with obvious longing, "That would be nice, but..."

Roxanne was unmoved, still puzzling over what could be so critical as to make him stop in the middle of this. "Soo... are you sick?"





"No," he insisted, shaking his head, "I told you..."

Flustered, her hands opening wide, she demanded, "Well? What is it!?"

His gaze dropped, meandering to the floor. He sighed before looking up at her again like a naughty little boy. "I'm... I'm Megamind."

Roxanne froze. She knew she ought to react to this ridiculousness. But her brain felt like the rainbow wheel cursor that spun on her laptop when the CPU was having a moment. Nothing, no reaction at all, registered for several long seconds. Finally she repeated, "You're Megamind."

Baffled by her silence, he stared back at her. "Yes. That's right." He had expected some kind of response. Anger, screaming, fear, horror, even violence... something! But she was just lying there, blankly looking at him.

Finally she seemed to come to life with a sigh. "Bernard..." she began patiently. "Megamind isn't just some guy in a costume. He's an alien. He came here when he was a baby... from... I don't know. Some planet far away. You know that. Look, I know you admire him and... and enjoy playing this character. And you're really good at it! But... you can't just say, 'I'm Megamind' like some movie character saying, 'I'm Batman' and expect me to-" She stopped at seeing him slowly shake his head. "It... it just doesn't work that way."

He released her arms and sat back on his heels between her legs. "Roxanne," he reiterated. "I am Megamind." Frowning a little now, she sat up, hands flat on the couch to scoot back a little, looking more and more perplexed. He reached out and took one of her hands and placed it on the side of his head. "It's me," he gently insisted.

Where her fingers expected to touch the dead plasticity of latex, she felt warm living flesh instead. His head turned a little, coaxing her hand up higher and closing his eyes as though he wanted to hang onto the sensation of her touch. Maybe for the last time. In disbelief she put out her other hand and touched the other side of his face, fingertips trailing slowly back, above his ear, up behind his skull, smoothly slipping over his enormous blue dome until her hand left his forehead and pulled back. She looked at her fingertips incredulously, rubbing them together before returning her gaze to his face, her hand curled near her lips.

They looked at each other in silence. Then as he was about to speak, she reached out and gave the hairs on his chin a hard yank.

"Ouch!" One blue hand flew up to cover the black stripe. "I thought you liked the goatee." He rubbed at the offended area.

"I do..." Her eyes were at their widest, darting around his face. "I mean - GET OUT!"

"Now wait-"

"No! Get. OUT."

"Roxanne, please... just, hang on. Can I explain what happened?"

In shock she continued to gape until glancing down at herself she seemed to remember how scantily clad she was. Scrambling off the couch, she swept her dress off the floor and whirled to face him again, holding it in front of her.

His head tipped to the side, shoulders drooping, hurt by her reaction. "Sweetheart-"

"Oh! Don't you dare call me that!" Swiftly grabbing the lamp from the side table, she pulled the cord right out of the wall, lifting it, ready to strike.

His hands flew up, palms out. "Ok! Ok! No need for that! Just... uh... put the lamp down..."

"Fat chance! You were about to-! You were really going to-!" Her expression wavered between disbelief and outrage.

"But I didn't, Roxanne!"

She frowned, watching him warily, unable to argue with that much.

"I didn't, did I? I couldn't." Getting up from the couch, he saw her heft the lamp a little higher and pull the dress closer against her body. It wasn't covering much, and he was careful to keep his eyes on her face. "Can I just... explain-"

"Why should I-"

"I know!" He butted in again hastily as they talked over each other. "I know I don't deserve a chance to explain! And there's even less reason you should listen. But... you want to know... don't you?" Hoping her inquisitive nature really was as insatiable as he suspected, he mentally crossed his fingers and waited a moment before blurting out, "Could I please just tell you how all of this happened? And then... I'll... I'll leave. If you want."

Roxanne narrowed her eyes at him, but when she didn't answer he quickly began telling her everything he could remember starting from the night she nearly ran him down on the catwalk that had encircled Metro Man's massive statue to the present moment. How he'd felt, what he'd thought, how he'd pulled it off.

She listened despite her better judgment, still too stunned to simply interrupt and throw him out of her apartment. Outraged, betrayed, and embarrassed at being played for a fool, she recognized she was also disappointed. Hurt. And curious. As only a perpetually nosy, seasoned, hardened reporter who personally knew the city's villain could continue to be in such a predicament. A reporter who had been his long-time victim and who knew beyond any chance of denying it that she'd held her own long-time crush on him as much as he claimed he had on her. She didn't like that he was using her curiosity against her, but she couldn't deny she wanted to know how and when and even why.

She watched him talk in his usual animated fashion, arms and hands gesticulating theatrically. Shoulders rising and falling. His eyes and facial expressions conveying an impressive range of emotions, everything from his longing for her and his complete rapture at enjoying her company to his deep regret. She could see now in that blue face and those emerald eyes Bernard and Megamind at the same time, and listened to it all in total silence, eventually putting the lamp back down but near at hand, folding her arms across the dress still held in front of her.

When his story came to an end she was looking at the floor, her thoughts and emotions in turmoil, setting up such an internal clamor that she almost felt dizzy. So loud her brain seemed to be buzzing. He was trying to apologize, but it seemed she could hardly hear him and held up a restraining hand. "I think... I think you'd better leave. I need... need some time to think about this. A lot of time."

He stopped short. "I understand. Sure." He pressed the point. "When, um... when do you think... that maybe..."

"Just go."

Shoulders bowed, he turned to leave.

"Tomorrow," she suddenly spoke up when he reached the door. "Tomorrow. I don't want this to hang over our heads any longer than that." She could probably think about it forever, holding it over him forever, but it would be over her too. Waiting would only make it all that much more painful.

He looked back over his shoulder at her. "Tomorrow. Okay." Tomorrow sounded like forever away. "I'll be waiting."

She watched him leave, subdued and forlorn, the green eyes looking back for a moment to meet her gaze, almost ready to say something more... then he closed the door.

Her arms suddenly felt weak, nearly dropping her makeshift cover. Her lips trembled. "Oh man..."

Luckily it was late enough there wasn't anyone around. He had the elevator to himself and upon stepping out of it into the lobby, he didn't even notice Carlos had retired from the front desk for the night. It wouldn't have mattered. He didn't have the heart to turn the watch back to Bernard's face. Shuffling out the front door, he stopped on the wet sidewalk, finally looking up. The street was empty too. What do I do now? He looked up and down the lonely avenue without really seeing it, his thoughts straying to Minion, probably back in the Lair. But he didn't want his sidekick's reassurances this time. Or his I-told-you-so's. What's she doing now?

He stood near the doors so long he began to feel stiff from the damp seeping into every muscle, unable to make himself leave. Sadness turned to agonizing, just knowing he'd ruined everything. How am I going to make it until tomorrow? It might as well be a lifetime away. He began to pace. Is she upset? Well of course she is. She's angry. Did I say enough? Did I make her cry? He looked at his watch then stepped away from the building into the silent street and looked up. Spying her balcony, he backed up more until he could see. A light had been turned on in the apartment. And there she was, standing at the railing and staring into the night. He swallowed, wanting to draw attention to himself, but he couldn't seem to rouse his heavy arms and stood miserably instead, watching her, worried about her.

Roxanne looked down. The rain-cooled wind lifted her hair and ruffled his cape as they looked at each other across the distance. She shuddered from a chill. Time passed with both of them lost in their thoughts. And the more it passed the greater the feeling of hopelessness pulled him down into self-loathing. How could I have done that? Kept going when I knew... I knew I loved her. More and more, the longer we were together. She wouldn't have any idea how much if all she has to go on is this whole fiasco. And my pitiful explanation. His mouth opened uselessly when he saw her turn and go back inside. His chest heaved and ached as he saw the light go out too. What does it mean? He began to feel a rising panic and looked at his watch again. I have to go back in there. Now. Have to tell her... Straightening his shoulders and gathering his courage, he strode back to the door.

Roxanne stared into the darkness of her apartment. She realized she was wearing her robe now but couldn't remember having put it on. She was standing in the kitchen, not knowing how she got there. I should go to bed. It seemed like an impossible task. Her thoughts flew a mile a minute, remembering, thinking, wondering... about him... as Bernard... as Megamind... about the way she felt when they were together... how he'd acted and what he'd said... and done. About tonight.

A strange noise broke her trance-like state. Shuffling... and the sound of someone clearing his throat very quietly. Moving to the door she opened it, catching him with his hand raised just about to knock. He looked sheepish. "Uh..." One blue finger pointed at his watch. "It's tomorrow."


"Can I... can I just say one more thing?"

She leaned on the edge of the door and cocked an eyebrow at him.

"I'm sorry," he whispered desperately, slouching, pleading.

She sighed. "You already said that."

"But I can't say it enough. I am... I am so sorry. Please... please just..."

She looked away from him. "How could you have..." The whisper wrung his heart as it faded away.

"I was desperate," he appealed to her with a little self-deprecating shrug. "Absolutely desperate to be with you. And by the end... I couldn't stop. The more we were together, the more I needed you. But I am sorry... So, so sorry." He opened his mouth, wanting to add how much he loved her... but it was the wrong time. Saying those words right now, she might think he was only trying to use them to weigh in the balance and tip the scales his way. And he didn't want them to be misunderstood. Not like that. Never wanted them to be that cheap. "I couldn't wait until tomorrow... all the way until it was daylight, to tell you again," he complained, making morning seem impossible light years away. "To make sure you knew."

He stopped. She was looking at him now but saying nothing. Not trying to stop him, not reacting. Again. He took a step back. "I know you're not ready though. So, I'll wait. Just like I said. In fact... I'm going to wait right here outside your door," he pointed to an invisible spot on the hallway floor behind himself. "...until you're ready. For the rest of the night. Or... or however long it takes." Suddenly he thought of his appointment later that morning with Hal, and stopped backing away, the corners of his green eyes wrinkling as he tentatively asked, "How... long do you think it'll be?"

Roxanne's stony expression cracked into a grudging smirk as she shook her head a little. Yeah, however long it takes. But could you hurry up? Turning serious once more, she said, "I'm done thinking."

"Oh." He blinked. That was quick. His heart plummeted to his boots. Too quick.

Opening the door wider, she stepped back, clearly indicating he should come inside the dark apartment. He did with some trepidation, half expecting an ambush. She refused to move away but stood with him at the door, forcing him to be very near to her. Noticing that she wasn't turning on the lights, he was certain he'd be going back out that door again very soon.

"Is, uh... is the power out?" he ventured to query.

"I was going to go to bed. Sleep on all this. But I couldn't stop thinking..." Roxanne thought of seeing him down on the street looking back up at her. "I don't think there's any way I could sleep right now."

"Sorry," he winced as he whispered again.

"You keep saying that," she chided. "But... I need you to show me. Prove it."

"Anything you want," he blurted out. "...What do you want?"

"First of all," One feminine finger poked into his chest with surprising force, making him lean against the door. "I want you to start being yourself around me. All the time. No more disguises or play acting or... anything."

"No more disguises... ok, gladly."

"And second," she demanded. "I want you to figure out exactly how you're going to give this city back." The way she emphasized each word brooked no dissent.

He cringed. "Do I have to?"

"Megamind!" A smack landed upside his giant head.

"Okay!" He ducked like a fighter. "Okay..." Seeing her set jaw and pursed mouth, he refrained from mentioning how delightfully cute she was when she was being so sassy and stubborn. "I think I have that part figured out anyway."

Her face cleared. "Oh, that's right. Hal." Skeptically she added, "Look, I have my doubts about all that, but... we'll have to talk about that more tomorrow."


"Because, third..." She stepped completely into his personal space, watching her hands slide up his chest, then running her nails lightly down again over the black and blue suit. His hands involuntarily found their way around her waist, watching her carefully. Her eyes lifted to meet his. "You're gonna pay for this," she muttered, bringing her mouth close to his. "Starting tonight."

He couldn't help it that his eyes closed as their lips brushed. But when she pressed in more... an actual kiss setting his disbelief on fire, he couldn't have stopped himself kissing back any more than he could stop the shuddering sigh that left him at the same time. When she pulled away, he opened his eyes. "Really...? I mean, of course I will! I will most certainly pay... if that's what you want."

"Oh yes," she answered. It was then he noticed most that she still seemed hurt, even a little uncertain, and she poked her finger into his breastbone once more. "Don't you ever make me question you again..." The hushed demand was tinged with anger. "You're only getting one chance." Her eyes shone with the fragile trust she was granting him. Or was it tears he was seeing as she whispered, "If you hurt me like that again..."

He started to pull her close, intending to swear on his life. "I won't. I-" All his assurances were cut short as she kissed him with the same sudden determination as she'd jabbed him in the chest to make her point. But now she was pulling him close as well, arms wrapping around his shoulders as he wrapped his around her, engaging that soft cerise mouth as though he was afraid the moment might burst like a soap bubble. But when they parted, she was definitely still there. Unbelievably. He squeezed her a little more and, feeling her body press tighter to his, rested his forehead against hers. "I promise, Roxanne... I promise I'll be good."

The corner of her mouth lifted in an amused smirk. "We'll see about that." Pulling away from him, her hand slid down to grasp his before she turned to lead him back to her room. "Because up to now you've been very, very bad, Megamind... and it's about time you paid that penalty you were talking about."

He followed behind in a daze, muttering in disbelief, "Oh, I definitely don't deserve this..."

"No." Immediately she stopped and turned to face him. "You don't... But I do."

With barely a pause, he stepped forward to sweep her up in such a tight hug she was left standing on her toes. His luminous eyes gazed at her full of undisguised adoration. "You... can have whatever you want. Anything. Punish me as much as you like."

"Damn right," she whispered before they kissed again. Why should she give up the chance to have what she'd been wanting when she could also help him - force him if necessary - to complete this transformation from the villain he pretended to be on the outside into the man he was on the inside? She could be the hometown hero she'd been looking for all along. Hands running down his biceps, she pushed him away, breaking their kiss noisily. "Now get in there," she pointed toward her room.

"Yes, ma'am." He went obediently, ducking his head, but not before she caught a glimpse of an incredulous smile.

What if he reneged? What if... Oh, enough with the what-ifs. Enjoy it. Enjoy him. Even if it's just for tonight. Somehow, she really didn't think it would be. Feeling like a tigress, she began untying her robe, thinking about how she was going to wipe that smile off his face and leave him begging for more. Her entire body was tingling in anticipation. She'd had no idea that power could be so... stimulating. "And no suit this time," she demanded as she followed him through the doorway.