Disclaimer: Based on characters and concepts owned by others. Written for fun, not for profit.

Rating: PG

Author's Notes: This story was written for the 2012 Advent Calendar at the Megamind Community on LiveJournal. The prompt was "a funeral scene with Wayne Scott's family and Roxanne, who think he's dead." Here is what I came up with!

The first names of Metro Man's mother and father were taken from a screenshot at the beginning of the film. The names appear on the label of a present underneath the Scotts' Christmas tree.

Enjoy the angst, everyone!


A Grief Shared

A Megamind Fanfiction

by Rummi


"Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief." ~ Cicero


"His heart is an ocean that's inside a bigger ocean . . ."

Roxanne winced. ". . . Was," she berated herself softly. "Was an ocean . . ."

She sighed. Her head drooped slightly and she pressed her lips into a thin, rouged line as she rubbed one thumb into the palm of the opposite hand. Roxanne didn't fidget often. She had always prided herself on being relatively unflappable. She had never been flustered at the thought of speaking in front of other people. It was what she did. Who she was.

But today was . . . different. Today there would be so many people hanging on her every word, looking to her to say exactly the right thing. And today, of all days, Roxanne Ritchi found herself completely at a loss.

She squared her shoulders and glanced back up into the restroom's vanity mirror. Placing one hand firmly on either side of the sink in front of her, she stared intently into the eyes of her own reflection. She took a slow breath in and out before starting over.

"Sometimes it seemed as though Metro Man had enough room in his super heart for the entire universe . . ."

Roxanne cut herself off again with a soft groan of frustration and a disgusted shake of her head. No, that wouldn't do either. It seemed as though everything that came out of her mouth today sounded like just another stock piece from one of her old reports. And today, she had to do better than that. She was supposed to be eulogizing the man who everyone in the city seemed to think was her boyfriend, not gushing incessantly over a larger-than-life superhero in front of a camera.

When it came to Metro Man, the enthusiastic praise had always come so naturally for her. Today, however, that sort of thing just wouldn't be enough. Unfortunately, Roxanne didn't know if she could manage anything else. Her ability to string a simple, modest sentence together suddenly felt very strangely inadequate. It made her wonder if she had ever been any good at it in the first place.

Maybe if she and Metro Man actually had been a couple, she would have had something more appropriate to say. Something more meaningful. Something more personal, for goodness sake. Over the years, she had built a veritable pillar for him to stand on with the heaps of flattery she had piled at his feet. And the people of Metro City simply ate it up. But all that had apparently given them the wrong idea about Roxanne's off-camera relationship with Metro Man. The misunderstanding had never really seemed like such a big deal before. Now, however, on the day of Metro Man's memorial service, the people who romanticized Roxanne Ritchi's connection with him inevitably expected one final thing from her: poignant words from a grieving girlfriend to speak to the loss that they all felt.

Roxanne was becoming steadily less confident that she could give them what they needed.

She glanced back up into her own reflection. She certainly looked the part: she was wearing a simple, widow-black dress and a strand of understated pearls. Unfortunately, as she mentally dismissed yet another unsatisfactory draft of her impending eulogy, she came to the realization that she wasn't sure she could be the mouthpiece the city needed her to be.

Metro Man had been the city's hero. He had been Roxanne's personal hero more times than she could count. But when all was said and done, Roxanne Ritchi had not been Metro Man's girlfriend. She wasn't part of his family. She hadn't even met his family. The sad truth was: for as much as she missed him now, she and Metro Man really hadn't even been friends - not in ways that mattered. Granted, she probably knew him best, but only because she spent more collective time with him than anyone else had. However, knowing things about him - like the fact that he had a personal hideaway beyond the city limits, or that he had a tendency to hum absentmindedly as he flew - did not mean she knew him . . . not in any substantial way.

Heck, the only reason she ever spent so much time with him in the first place was because, when it came to her relationship with the Metro Man, Megamind was apparently under the same quixotic misunderstanding as everybody else in this city. Naturally, this had turned Roxanne into the villain's favorite - his only - kidnapping target.

Megamind.

Roxanne felt heat rise in her cheeks at the thought of him, and it tinted the surface of her reflection in the mirror. Her frustration over her unsuccessful attempts to come up with the just right words for the eulogy momentarily evaporated, and was replaced by anger.

This . . . all this. It was all Megamind's fault.

She could picture the villain now: probably lounging around the empty rooms of the hijacked City Hall, still laughing and gloating over his victory, giving his legions of evil robots the run of the streets, blithely destroying even more of the city's irreplaceable treasures . . .

He had taken so much that was irreplaceable.

Megamind's visible presence in Metro City seemed to have waned recently, but if there was one thing experience had taught Roxanne, it was that the calm before the storm often meant the villain was planning something. Usually something big. Roxanne had always tended to inwardly brace herself if a long period had lapsed between kidnappings. She wasn't sure what to expect now that Metro Man was gone.

She wondered if Megamind was plotting to disrupt the service today - to offer his own twisted version of a memorial.

Roxanne's grip on the sink tightened and her jaw clenched as she glared hotly into the mirror. If he dared . . . if he even dared to try something today . . .

Roxanne stared straight ahead as though it was Megamind himself who was looking back at her through the mirror's reflective surface. Her brain was suddenly a scrolling, steady, stream of angry accusations:

. . . This city lost its hero . . .

. . . He's gone and it's your fault . . .

. . . Do you even realize what you've done? Do you even care?. . .

. . . Monster . . .

. . . Are you happy now? . . .

Apparently, when it came to Megamind, Roxanne never seemed to be at a loss for words. Strange how cathartic it was to finally string a set of thoughts together that actually felt satisfying.

She closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. Her fingers uncurled and relaxed their tight grip on the edges of the sink. Satisfying or not, this wasn't the time or the place for those kinds of words. Today was about Metro Man and the good he had always done for this city, not the villain who had taken him away.

But if that villain even dared to show his face here today, Roxanne wouldn't let something as trivial as propriety - or even a lack of super powers - hold her back. She'd give him his "banter," all right. She would let him have it with both barrels.

She straightened away from the sink and brushed her hands down the length of her simple black dress. She wasn't any closer to scripting a fitting eulogy, but she couldn't hide in the restroom forever. The service was probably going to begin soon, and someone would inevitably come looking for her.

Roxanne wondered, not for the first time, if she should have declined delivering this eulogy right from the beginning. No one had ever really asked her if she would be willing to do this; people just seemed to automatically assume, given her supposed relationship with Metro Man, that she would want to. She could have said no. And she would have had the perfect opportunity to finally come clean about the fact that they had never really been a couple.

That thought made Roxanne physically shudder.

No. No, she couldn't do that. Not now. Not anymore.

It would have been one thing to admit to that fact while Metro Man had been alive, but now that he was gone . . . After the countless times he had raced to her rescue . . . After he had died trying to rescue her . . . And now, with this memorial service and the eulogy and the entire city about to be glued to every word she said about him . . .

No.

Roxanne shook her head and wrapped her arms tightly around herself.

No, no.

If there had been a time to come clean about their "relationship," that time had long passed. Metro Man had always given the people of this city what they had needed while he had been alive; Roxanne would do no less for them now that he was gone . . . even if it was partially for her own sense of self-preservation. Because she didn't even want to imagine the potential fallout if the people of Metro City thought their beloved hero had met his end trying to rescue a woman who hadn't actually been special to him after all.

So, as far as anyone knew, Roxanne Ritchi and Metro Man had been a couple. And she would never tell another living soul otherwise.

Roxanne rubbed her hands along her upper arms briefly before unwrapping them from around her body. She took one last look at herself in the mirror and swept her bangs gently to the side. Then she took a deep breath in and out, and headed for the door.

She had planned to return to where the majority of the crowd of mourners had gathered and slip back among them as discreetly as possible. That plan was derailed when she abruptly collided with someone who was hurrying down the hallway past the bathroom door. For a moment the world spun. Roxanne tried to maintain her balance by instinctively grasping hold of the person she had run into. They circled each other awkwardly in a graceless attempt to steady themselves, clinging to one another's arms and muttering distracted apologies as they went.

When their odd dance ended, Roxanne looked up at the man with whom she had collided. She immediately felt an unnerving cold sensation prickling across her skin. She knew his face. She knew it very, very well - even if she had never actually seen him in person before. It was one of the faces she knew she would inevitably see today . . . and one she had dreaded encountering the most.

It was the face of Mr. "Lord" Robert Scott.

Metro Man's father.

Mr. Scott's eyes widened as he seemed to recognize her as well.

"Oh," Roxanne exclaimed breathlessly. Her hands recoiled from where they had wrapped around his forearms as though she had been burned. "Mr. Scott, I . . . I'm so sorry. I didn't see you."

She gathered her wits and her composure as quickly as she could. After all, this encounter - finally meeting members of Metro Man's family - it had to happen today at some point. Roxanne just hadn't been prepared for it to happen the way it did - in the hallway outside the restroom.

She took a quick, calming breath and offered the older man a soft smile. "I know we've never been formally introduced," she began. "I'm-"

"Roxanne," Mr. Scott said, sounding a bit breathless himself. He quickly recovered and straightened, almost a little too stiffly. "I mean- Ms. Ritchi," he amended in a much more formal voice. He clasped his hands behind his back, puffed his chest slightly, and tilted his chin upward. "How nice to finally make your acquaintance."

Something struck Roxanne as very odd in that moment. While she had never actually met the man who had taken to calling himself "Lord" Scott, she had certainly heard about him on numerous occasions during her lifetime. (Though, ironically, never from his son.) All reports seemed to imply that the wealthiest man in town was a pompous individual - as indicated and reinforced by his self-given title. Most people she had spoken with described him as stuffy, out of touch, and extremely aloof. But Roxanne Ritchi had become very good at reading people during her years as a reporter, and as she watched the man in front of her overcompensate his posture, make tiny little shifts from one foot to the other, and glance discreetly over her shoulder in the direction he had originally been heading when they collided, she began to get a very different first impression of him.

He almost seemed to have been sneaking around this back hallway. But why? He was Lord Scott, and this was his own son's memorial service. Why would he need to . . . ?

And then it hit her . . .

He doesn't want to be here any more than I do.

In that moment, some of Roxanne's own anxieties dissipated slightly. She felt an odd sort of connection with this man whom she had never met before - this multi-millionaire business mogul who, according to most of the people in this city, was considered just as untouchable as his superpowered son had been.

And maybe it was true what most people said about him; maybe their assessments of the man were partially accurate. But those people certainly weren't seeing what Roxanne was seeing now. Lord Scott was uneasy; Roxanne could tell. Why wouldn't he be? He had lost someone close to him and it showed - in his body language, in his face, and in his eyes. And in that moment, standing alone with the man who - regardless of other people's opinions of him - must have been such an important presence in Metro Man's life, Roxanne knew: she not only had the opportunity to offer quiet condolences, away from the prying eyes of the crowds, but she could also, finally, make a more meaningful connection to Metro Man - something she had never really done before.

"Mr. Scott," she began, looking up at him with sympathy, "I just want you to know how sorry I am. Sorry for your loss, and sorry that you and I had never had the opportunity to meet until now."

Lord Scott seemed to regard her curiously. His features were pale and pointed, and his hair, which still showed a few hints of the soft brown it had once been, was colored a distinguished shade of silver. As he looked down at Roxanne, the sharp planes of his face smoothed out a bit, even as he continued to move his feet in a barely perceptible, restless shuffle.

On impulse, Roxanne reached out to him slightly, then thought better of it and pulled back. She would have liked to have taken his hand in a gesture of support, but she noticed that Lord Scott continued to keep his own hands carefully positioned behind his back - away from her. Perhaps, she thought, that sort of thing made him uncomfortable. So instead she folded her hands together and allowed them to hang down in front of her.

Lord Scott's head gave a little shake and his attention fell to a point somewhere in the middle distance between him and Roxanne. His eyes went slightly out of focus. "I'm sorry for your loss as well, Ms. Ritchi," he replied softly. "I know how close you were with Met- Well . . . ," he broke off with a small shrug as his eyes blinked back up to hesitantly refocus on her. ". . . With my son," he amended.

An uncomfortable squirm bloomed in the pit of Roxanne's stomach again. Although she missed Metro Man terribly, the fact that even Lord Scott seemed to be under the impression that she had had a much closer relationship with his son suddenly made her feel guilty. And while Roxanne knew that hadn't been Lord Scott's intention, and that he was probably just trying to be kind, his words really hit home and reminded her of just how little she truly knew Metro Man. It made Roxanne anxious about the upcoming eulogy all over again.

Of course Roxanne mourned the lost hero, just like the rest of the city. But she would never be able to speak to a true connection with him - at least not a connection like the one he must have shared with the man now standing in front of her. For a moment Roxanne wondered if she should tell Lord Scott the truth about her actual relationship with Metro Man. Not only would it feel better to at least tell someone, but she would also no longer have to feel as though she was deceiving the deceased man's family.

However, in the end, it just didn't seem appropriate to mention - not to Metro Man's father, not like this.

So instead, Roxanne made up her mind, right there and then: she was going to present the best eulogy she possibly could. Not only for Metro Man's memory, but to also provide her support for the family he had left behind.

Of course, that decision did not solve her ongoing problem of not having anything truly meaningful to say. But . . .

She blinked as she regarded the older man in front of her.

There was one thing Roxanne knew: whenever she had a burning question, her job was to find a source with the answer. She was a reporter. (A rather nosy one too, as it had been pointed out on numerous occasions.) She may not have been as close to Metro Man as the rest of the city seemed to believe, but she was willing to bet that the man across from her was.

Roxanne took a small step closer to him. "Mr. Scott, I want you to know how honored I am to be able to speak about your son this afternoon," she said. She smiled at him gently and added, "I wonder if maybe . . . May I include some of your thoughts as well?"

Lord Scott's head gave a little twitch and he regarded her curiously again. "What do you mean?" he asked.

Roxanne ducked her head modestly with a small shrug. "Well, Metro Man meant a lot to the people of this city," she replied. "But there's only so much we really knew about him. Even me," she added. "But you . . ." She continued to smile softly. "You've been there with him from the very beginning."

Lord Scott almost seemed to stare off into space again for another moment. His eyes narrowed as he appeared to be pondering this. "I-" he murmured. "I suppose that's true." Then he blinked several times as he looked back at Roxanne. "I have, haven't I?"

Roxanne responded with a small laugh that was both sad and good-natured. "Of course," she said. "No one would know him better - what he was like, how good he was. Not just the hero, but the man." Unconsciously, she gestured to reach for Lord Scott again before she stopped herself. "Mr. Scott," she said softly, "I want you to know - since you're not speaking today - if there's anything you might want the city to know about him - about the real person that he was - I'd be honored to help share that with them."

Roxanne nibbled slightly on the inside of her lip and hoped that she sounded less desperate than she felt. She didn't want Lord Scott to think she was simply probing him for intimate information about Metro Man when exactly the opposite was true: she honestly wanted her eulogy to be an appropriate tribute to the city's lost hero. And who better to learn about him than from his family? His father?

Lord Scott didn't respond right away and Roxanne thought her stomach was going to tie itself into knots. He seemed to have an uncertain expression on his face as he looked at her and she worried that her question had sounded too much like it had come from Roxanne the reporter, rather than Roxanne the woman who missed Metro Man.

After a pause, Lord Scott arched one eyebrow at her. He cleared his throat. "Do you believe that some things are meant to be, Ms. Ritchi?" he asked cautiously.

Roxanne blinked. "I . . . guess I never really thought about it," she answered.

Lord Scott offered her a small nod. "I was always . . . exactly the opposite, I suppose," he admitted. "I believe that, eventually in life, we all become who we were meant to be."

Roxanne regarded him as she listened. It wasn't hard to imagine someone like Lord Scott as being a person who firmly believed in a kind of destiny. His family had always been extremely lucky and successful, after all. Roxanne wasn't sure she agreed with his viewpoint - the notion of "destiny" had always seemed so limiting to her - but she quelled her reporter instinct to dispute. At this particular moment, it seemed more appropriate to listen than to debate with him.

"So I suppose that's what it was like," Lord Scott continued. He finally brought his hands out from behind him and folded them together in front of his waist. "I always felt I was meant for something important. I just didn't know what." He finally looked at her again; his eyes were over-bright and sad. "Until he came along," he said softly.

Roxanne felt a pang in her heart and she lightly bit down on her lower lip to keep her own emotions in check.

"Having him here gave me purpose, Ms. Ritchi," Lord Scott continued. "At a time when I didn't know what my true purpose was." He glanced away from her, looking at nothing in particular across the hallway, and sighed. "If it hadn't been for him, I may never have learned what my life was actually meant for." He finally looked back at Roxanne. "It was as though he really was destined to be a part of it."

Roxanne offered him a sad, sympathetic smile, which Lord Scott returned with difficulty. Suddenly, Roxanne didn't care what anyone else said about "Lord" Robert Scott. He may have come across as remote, stuffy, or out of touch to some people, but standing here alone with him - in an empty hallway between the bathroom and the reception area of Metro Man's memorial service - the "untouchable" man had pealed back a layer for Roxanne Ritchi to see. Here was a person who used words like destiny and purpose when he spoke of the meaning Metro Man had brought to his life. It was clear how much he missed the fallen hero - probably more than anyone.

Roxanne was beginning to feel the beginning pricks of tears behind her eyes when Lord Scott glanced away from her and down at his own hands, which he opened toward the ceiling. "Of course," he said with a wistful chuckle, "I'm not exactly sure about my purpose now."

Roxanne didn't try to stop herself this time as she reached forward and gently slid her hand into one of Lord Scott's open palms. She gave him a reassuring squeeze and the older man glanced abruptly back up into her face. He tilted his head, once again regarding her with a kind of curiosity. Roxanne's lips curved into another sad smile and she squeezed his hand again. Then, before she could talk herself out of it, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Lord Scott's shoulders.

He stiffened rigidly at first, and for a moment Roxanne regretted the impulse that led her to embrace him. He hadn't exactly indicated that a hug was wanted, or welcome. She was about to back off quickly when she felt his arms slowly begin to raise behind her. His hands gently touched against her shoulder blades at first, then began to press more firmly as his body slightly relaxed. Roxanne briefly closed her eyes, tightened her grip, and released the anxious exhale she had been holding.

A moment later, a voice sounded from down the hallway. "Roxanne? You here, Roxie?"

Lord Scott straightened abruptly away from her and Roxanne's arms fell to her sides as she turned in the direction of the voice. That was Hal; the service was probably about to begin.

Lord Scott cleared his throat again. "Thank you, Ms. Ritchi," he said, formally and hurriedly. "For listening. I'm sure you now must have your own responsibilities to attend to." He glanced quickly at his watch as Hal rounded the corner of the hallway. "And I need to go to . . . wherever it is I'm going to be."

He stepped past Roxanne and began to hurry down the hall in the direction he had originally been heading. After a few steps, he stopped and turned back again. A tiny, more genuine smile curled a corner of his lips and his sad eyes seemed just a little bit brighter. "Good-bye, Roxanne," he offered with a small, gentlemanly flourish, then he turned and went on his way.

He and Hal passed each other in the narrow hallway, and Hal turned slightly to eyeball the older man as he disappeared around the corner. "That old dude bothering you, Roxie?" he asked as he reached her. "If he was, I could, you know, teach him a lesson . . . or whatever."

Roxanne offered her cameraman a half-smile. Socially awkward or not, he always meant well. "That was Robert Scott, Hal," she replied.

Hal nodded. "Well, yeah," he said with a matter-of-fact shrug. "Of course it was."

Roxanne shook her head. "Lord Robert Scott," she clarified. "Metro Man's father."

Realization seemed to dawn on Hal and his eyes widened slightly. "Oh," he muttered. He turned his head in the direction Lord Scott had disappeared. "Bummer."

Roxanne smiled again and reached out to straighten Hal's disheveled collar, which was sticking out on one side. He didn't wear a button-down shirt very often, even when he was on the job, but today's service called for a bit more decorum than his usual graphic t-shirt and vest ensemble. He looked a little out of his comfort zone, but he allowed Roxanne to adjust his collar without complaint. He absentmindedly raised one hand up to smooth his hair, which seemed a shade darker than usual with all the gel he had used to slick it back for the occasion.

"Come on," Roxanne said, patting Hal reassuringly on the shoulder as they turned and headed down the hall. "We should get in there if they're about to start."

Together, Hal and Roxanne reentered the reception area where the other mourners had gathered. The funeral directors were ushering those in attendance to their seats so the service could begin. Hal separated from Roxanne and headed for his camera, which had already been set up on a tripod near the podium.

Naturally, it would have been impossible to accommodate the millions of citizens of Metro City within one reception hall. (And the larger and more public the venue, the greater the likelihood that Megamind might attempt to disrupt the service.) So instead, it was decided that the memorial would be held in a more private setting, but televised to every home in Metro City.

Thinking of the impending eulogy once again, Roxanne, for probably the first time in her professional career, was actually uneasy about being in front of the camera.

Roxanne had taken her place near the base of the podium to wait for her cue when a sudden hush swept across the reception hall. Roxanne, along with everyone else, shifted her attention toward the main doors. Metro City's mayor was walking into the room, looking sullen and reserved. At his side walked a tall, slender man with sharp, pointed features and dignified, silver hair.

A small, unconscious smile gently curved Roxanne's lips as she recognized Lord Scott once again.

He was now wearing a pair of darkly tinted glasses over his eyes. As he walked, he supported a slight, dark-haired woman whose attention flitted around the room like a nervous bird. Roxanne recognized her right away as "Lady" Sally Scott, Metro Man's mother.

Roxanne offered them a small smile as they passed, waiting for Lord Scott to notice her there. As they were about to walk by, Roxanne took half a step toward them. "Mr. And Mrs. Scott," she began gently by way of a greeting.

Lady Scott focused on her quickly, blinking her eyes as though she was alarmed that someone was addressing her. Lord Scott took his wife more firmly by the arm and finally directed his attention toward Roxanne, who continued to smile warmly at them. As she opened her mouth to speak again, Lord Scott turned away from her and back to his wife.

"Come along, dearest," he said flatly and ushered the woman on his arm toward their chairs, leaving Roxanne standing alone.

Roxanne blinked after him in slight confusion. After what they had shared in the hallway, she would have at least thought Lord Scott would have offered her a hello. Even a discreet one.

The Scotts took their seats beside the mayor in the very front row. Their lightly-joined hands rested on top of Lady Scott's lap. The heavy quiet that had followed them into the room continued to linger as the service was about to begin. Roxanne noticed Hal waving at her from beside his camera. He began counting on his fingers backwards from five, indicating that they were about to go live.

Roxanne quickly shook off her confusion and tried to regain her composure, straightening the skirt of her dress as she hurried back. Slowly, she ascended the stairs and took her place at the podium. Complete silence fell upon the reception hall as Hal gave the cue and Roxanne began to speak.

"Good afternoon," she said, her clear voice echoing through the hall's speaker system. "I'm Roxanne Ritchi, and on behalf of the Scott family and the entire county and metropolitan region of Metro City, I would like to welcome everyone to today's service. We come together this afternoon to remember our city's greatest hero: Metro Man."

For a moment she paused and glanced around at the crowd before her, instinctively bracing herself. After all, if Megamind had been planning to make an uninvited appearance, this would have been his opportune moment to do so. Roxanne felt her body tense as a few eternal seconds ticked by.

But nothing happened. No explosions, no smoke machines, no robotic pyrotechnics, no blaring rock music.

No Megamind.

Roxanne continued to scan the crowd dubiously. Was it possible that Megamind had actually stayed away? That was very . . . unlike him. Roxanne felt her hands begin to unclench as she slowly released her fierce grip on the sides of the podium.

Well, . . . good, she thought pointedly, even as she kept an incredulous eye on the assembled crowd for the telltale electric spark of hidden brainbots. If Megamind wasn't here, it was probably the first and only decent thing the villain had ever done.

Roxanne took a deep, steadying breath and finally allowed herself to relax and continue.

"When I was first approached about doing this eulogy," she said, "I was going to begin by talking about the Metro Man we've all come to know - about the strength, the courage, and the determination that embodied the man who was our city's hero. But then I realized: that was the Metro Man we already knew. So instead, I'd like to talk to you about something a little different; today I'd like to talk to you about . . . destiny."

As she spoke, Roxanne cast a hopeful glance in the direction of the front row.

"I want to talk to you today, not about a superhero, but about a man who - I think we can all agree - was destined to be an important part of all of our lives . . ."

Roxanne paused and offered another smile in Lord Scott's direction as he sat with his wife. However, he did not look back at her. In fact, he did not give any indication that he recalled having this very conversation in the hallway at all. Roxanne's brow furrowed. Lord Scott simply stared straight ahead, without even glancing her way, his eyes obscured by the tinted glasses that now covered them.

Roxanne's face fell and she felt a pang of sharp disappointment in her heart. It seemed that the public's impression of Lord Robert Scott wasn't that far from the truth after all: he did seem colder and much more distant now than he had just a few short minutes ago.

Of course, he was grieving, Roxanne rationalized as she attempted to gather herself and continue with her speech. Grief affected people very differently. She tried not to hold it against him.

Still, Roxanne mused as she prepared to incorporate some of the meaningful, personal thoughts that Lord Scott had shared earlier, it would have been nice if he had at least looked at her. There had been something very familiar and reassuring in the vivid green of his eyes.

The End.