~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~
"Don't you see! It's perfect Minion! Evilly genius!" His grin stretched wider as he ran between his plans hanging around his thinking corner, fingers snatching one showing two different globes across town. "We take Roxanne Richie to a fake observatory and leave her there while we confront Metro Man via the teleportation beam. He will have to dodge us, rush to save her, and be out of time to leave when he does!"
"But sir, that is a bad idea"
"Yes, dastardly to use the lady against her caped knight."
"No sir. Not that kind bad – I mean – how would it catch Metro Man and not Miss Richie?"
For a moment Megamind's face showed concerned before it cleared. "We will leave the portal open from the teleportation gun! You will go back and grab her once he flies off to rescue her and seal it behind you! It's perfect!"
~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~
Minion had not objected after that detail and, confident Roxanne Richie would have a failsafe, Megamind charged forward with his mastermind plan.
It worked perfectly. Far more perfectly than his plans ever worked. She had teased him about being predictable. Ha! Devious woman. Yet, she had not predicted she was in a fake observatory well outside the city. Not to mention that her expression had been utter shock and awe at the awesome power as the portal opened once Metro Man was clearly on his way. Even more so, once Minion and he stepped through. Though he had to admit, seeing nervousness he hadn't seen for some years in her expression made him less happy than the surprise did. The last look through to make sure the portal had stayed open after they left did not make him feel better and he briefly considered aborting the plan entirely. She should be fine with Minion waiting on their side of the portal, just in case, he told himself.
Soon enough he was in his new robotic suit, the portal gun safely with Minion in the hall off-shooting the observatory. It wasn't but a minute after he was ready that his old rival slammed through the ceiling with an almighty crash.
"Megamind! I should have known to expect your devilishness today!"
"Yes, thank you old friend for that pre-party at the museum, though it won't compare to the opening when I take over as Overlord!"
"Of the prison? I haven't received my invitation."
"Invitations are reserved only for those who acknowledge your eventual defeat at the hands of my glorious brilliance!"
"A part of zero, hardly counts as a party. Not that you would know."
"I have been to plenty of parties. Dastardly evil parties!"
Though the screen came the exasperated voice of Roxanne. "Ok girls, you are both pretty. Can I go home now?"
"Roxi!" Metro Man shouted, the nickname giving Megamind the usual queer feeling, "where are you?"
He chuckled darkly. "A place no one will find her. Only I and Minion know where she is and look-" he pressed the button to warm up the death ray, the bar starting to slowly fill with yellow on the giant screen, "she is running out of time."
Metro Man gave his normal haughty glare "Your darkness cannot touch her Megamind!"
He gave an evil laugh, "I think you will find darkness is not the problem. Let us see if your personal ray of sunshine can withstand the full power of the sun!" Megamind threw the first punch, as always. It is only proper when one is evil after all.
It was on. This suit was lasting much better than the previous models, though it still did little damage against Metro Man's awesome powers. Megamind ducked most of the blows, until one sent him flying into the wall. He must have irritated Metro Man more than usual with this particular stunt, because he caught Megamind with a right hook before he even hit the ground. As if in slow motion he saw where he was going, shouted at Minion to get out of the way but was unable to stop his flight path even as Minion turned around.
He hit Minion full force, the tickling of glass singing at the edge of his awareness as the blue light of the portal flickered and went out. Sure enough, Megamind looked past the wreckage of his battle suit to the see the gun battered and the energy store broken, rendering it unable to sustain the portal. He stood up and threw another punch at Metro Man, who had been flying towards him and not expected it.
"You fool! You utter imbecile!"
Metro Man's faux glare took on a little bit of true anger and, with it, malice. Megamind still remembered what that looked like from their childhood, before Metro Man had learned to hide it. "The size of a man's skull doesn't tell you his intelligence. You are proof of that."
Megamind momentarily gaped. This was not the witty banter of their adult years, but the taunts he remembered from school. Before he thought about it, he was on top of Metro Man, punching every inch of that perfect face.
Suddenly, there was a blaring alarm, as the death ray screen flashed red to indicate it was about to fire. Roxanne! he thought, lunging for the desk to turn it off. Suddenly he was brought up short by several feet as Metro Man grabbed him by the cape, choking him. The hero pulled him back for more, mind still clearly on the fight Megamind had forgotten about in his panic.
"Metro Man! Stop!" A blow hit his jaw once again. "Stop! Roxanne!"
Metro Man instantly stopped on top of him, looking up as his eyes widened in alarm. He had already started to blur to go into super speed when Megamind saw the fiery explosion reflected in those eyes. The white-garbed hero was gone in a second, but as Megamind painfully crawled upright and over to the opening in the observatory dome he knew it had been too late.
~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~
Roxanne Richie's funeral had been an elegant affair, full of praise from the city and devoid of the sparkling charm of the woman herself. Megamind had watched the entire thing from afar, seething on her behalf. Metro Man should have fought for more for her, yet the man was clearly lost as he stood at the front, eyes red from crying for the first time in his perfect existence and his gaze far away. Only once did he come to, when his eyes flickered up and met Megamind's at the back of the crowd. A bit of fire entered them then as his gaze narrowed, but the mayor grabbed his attention asking him to speak. His eyes had left Megamind but for a moment to answer, yet long enough for Megamind to become another innocuous man and make himself scarce.
Megamind disappeared that day. Just as well considering Metro Man spent the week after Roxanne's funeral tearing apart the city trying to find him. Slowly thereafter, Metro Man disappeared more and more from the public eye. Without a villain to cause mischief, he only was spotted for the occasional fire or robbery. He no longer gave interviews or sought out the public.
No one dared comment on the new costume, though previously there would have been columns in the fashion section about how the dark grey brought out the clear blue of his eyes and distinguished silver at his temples.
Megamind had not dared go to cemetery again since the funeral, but he could not let the day pass without at least trying to visit. He picked someone inconspicuous, a tall bespeckled man that he could imagine being what he would look like if he were human. Seeing his own vibrantly green eyes reflected back below the shock of sandy brown hair standing upright solidified the feeling. If she could have seen me like this… he thought momentarily before turning away from the mirror, shutting down the thought before it could stir up the complex feelings he still didn't fully understand.
The graveyard was quiet, with no one standing by her grave. Apparently, no one but him remembered the city's darling only a year after her passing. He carefully put the long-stemmed roses under the granite stone, trying to not think of the usual connotation of roses but that he picked them because they were as classic as she had been. He stood for what seemed like ages staring at the headstone, taking in each dip and flourish of her name.
He barely sensed it when he was joined by someone, not even noticing the bulky mass besides him until the familiar timbre made him freeze although it was softer than he had ever heard it.
"I should have known you would be here."
Megamind turned towards his old rival slowly, taking in the subtle differences from last year. His shoulders were slumped, his hands in his pockets, the perfect hair longer and tousled instead of styled, and he had at least three days' worth of stubble. He looked more like a hulking rock star than a polished city hero.
"Have you come to arrest me?" Megamind asked, equally quiet as he met his former nemesis' eyes.
The awkward moment stretched, even the birds seeming to silence their song as both reflected on the time Metro Man spent hunting for him after Roxanne's death. Megamind knew that if Metro Man arrested him now no city penitentiary with friendly camaraderie with the warden who had raised him awaited him this time. At the very least he would be shipped off to a high security state prison. He also couldn't bring himself to feel he deserved anything better. Finally, Metro Man let out a long sigh, almost as if releasing an inner demon, and he turned back to the grave.
"I am here for the same reason you are Megamind."
They stood in silence for a long time, just looking at the grave. At first it felt like a strange truce but slowly eased into a quiet companionship as Megamind realized Metro Man was not going to hurt him. He was bizarrely at ease with the situation and reflecting by the time Metro Man's voice disturbed his thoughts again.
"Tell me, did you know beforehand or only realize after?" his voice had an odd note of resigned loss, which confused Megamind further. Forgetting twenty years of resentment he responded without thinking.
"What are you on about now?"
Metro Man responded slowly, as if speaking to a dimwitted teenager. "Did you know you loved her before then or did you only realize after?"
Megamind instantly stiffened, before hunching his shoulders around his ears and stuffing his hands into his pockets, his mind racing. The meaning of all those emotions all those times before that day and since snapped into place in his mind. Though, to some extent, he had always known and not wanted to admit it. He certainly wasn't about to admit it to Mr. Goody-two-shoes.
"And why would Mr. Perfect want to know how other people felt about his girlfriend?!" he snapped.
He wasn't sure if he expected a gloat, a mocking laugh, or a punch from his old rival but this virtual stranger only sighed before responding quietly enough that Megamind barely caught it.
"What?" Megamind asked in bewilderment. Surely not….
"She was my best friend. Nothing more, nothing else."
"But…. But…." Megamind sputtered. "She went with you! As your date! To all those events! It was the only reason I used to kidnap her."
"I know." He finally looked at Megamind. "I tried to convince her to publicly 'dump me' so many times so you wouldn't grab her anymore, but she never would. Her parents and sister tried to convince her too."
"But….." Megamind's mind was racing. "Why?! Why wouldn't she stop it?"
He shrugged, "It took us some time for us to realize you thought she was my girlfriend. By that time, she was no longer afraid of you. Supposedly, she allowed it to continue so some other girl wouldn't take her place."
"Supposedly?" Megamind asked, still agape.
"That is what she always said, yes…" Metro Man turned back to the grave, apparently thinking something over. "But I wondered many times. I wondered when her eyes would light up while bantering with you. I wondered the first time she didn't look relieved when I showed up. I wondered when she insisted you were both harmless and predictable with amusement." He turned back to Megamind. "And I especially wondered the day I came and you two were too busy flirting to even notice I was there for ten minutes."
The last comment was made with a hint of amusement leaving Megamind speechless for a moment. "But surely she never felt…." He stopped before changing tones, "Being amused by me would not have been enough for her to put herself in danger."
Metro Man snorted. "That is the only reason I let it continue and defended her decision when her mom fought with her over it. Both of us knew you would never intentionally put her in danger."
That comment felt like a slap to the face, leaving tears stinging his eyes and a lump in his throat as he turned back to the grave. "I see how well that worked out." He spat.
The silence stretched. Metro Man's voice was hard with pain but clear when he replied, "I know you did not mean for her to be hurt Megamind. I saw where the portal went before it closed and can guess why Minion was there. I can also guess why there was a large, easy-to-reach emergency off button when supposedly you were trying to kill me."
That hit more painfully than his steel-like knuckles ever had, and Megamind lashed out instantly in a harsh voice, "I am sure that was a great comfort to Roxanne's mom." The barb hit home from the way Metro Man swallowed.
"Maybe it would be, but I have not been welcome since Roxanne passed." He elaborated after Megamind's questioning look. "As you know, Lord and Lady Scott are my adoptive parents, and I appreciate that they've provided for me, but neither of them are particularly….. paternal. The first break from college Roxanne and I got after we met she brought me home to her folks and they had been the closest thing I have ever known to real parents ever since."
"Ah" Megamind said, well-able to guess what that would have meant to an effectively parentless child and how keenly he would have felt its absence now that it was gone again. He finally said, "You know that it was my machine that killed her and not you, correct?"
He glanced over to see Metro Man's mouth set in a thin line. "That may be. But she should have never been there. Roxanne was the most amazing woman in the world, but she was an ordinary human expected to play on the same field as comparative gods. You never forgot that and planned for it, but I did, and it killed her." The saddest look took over his face. "She was always superwoman to me and it was easy to forget she couldn't string us both up with a snap of her fingers. She always seemed like she could."
Megamind nodded in agreement, lost in the memories.
More hours passed, until night fell and both seemed to acknowledge they had to go.
"What will you do? Where will you go?" Metro Man asked.
Megamind shrugged. "I could only afford to build my gadgets for our epic battles because I have a string of patents under another name that bring in a tidy source of income. A few years ago, I bought my own private island because that is what villains do. I could do nothing for the rest of my life and live quite comfortably."
Metro Man looked at him for a moment, "But will you?"
Just the barest hint of Megamind's old grin stole across his face. "Probably not. I was thinking of trying to travel to our home planets and see if there was any way to undo what has been done." Metro Man nodded and Megamind offered on whim. "I will let you know. What will you do?"
Metro Man shrugged, looking a little sheepish. "I am trying my hand at music. But if you find a way for us to go back….. I would be appreciative."
They looked at each other awkwardly for a couple of moments before nodding at each other and walking in opposite directions.
~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~
For the next ten years, two silent figures could be seen standing in front of Roxanne Richie's grave for an afternoon annually. They stood mostly in silence though occasionally some quiet whispers were exchanged.
The eleventh year they stayed until the usual time but walked off together at the end instead of separating as normal.
They did not arrive the twelfth year, but several days later a ripple went through the universe. An unraveling of sorts occurred, fixing one stich and subtly changing the fabric of the clothe thereafter. A girl with a wide smile and sparkling eyes was suddenly breathed back into existence, ignorant to her otherwise fate, as the gravestone vanished.
~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~ ~M~
Author's Note: Long-time reader, first time poster. Feedback is much appreciated. Flames for the sake of flames will be ignored. Obviously, I do not own any of this.
A lovely reviewer commented that Minion's death wasn't dealt with at all. That was because I did not kill Minion off in the death ray. I most certainly would have addressed that if I had, considering Megamind would handle that far worse than Roxanne's death at this point in the story (you may have inspired another fic). But the fact you thought that meant I needed to go back, edit, and fix the issue. Thanks for pointing it out. As far as what Megamind did to fix what had had happened, that is up to your interpretation. I left it deliberately vague, though I have my own head cannon of how that would happen. If you would like me to write it, let me know.