Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, amateur effort not intended to infringe on the rights of Dreamworks or any other copyright holder.

Without turning his chair around, Megamind pulled out one earplug, experimentally, to hear if any progress had been made.

"LETMEGOLETMEGOLETMEGO! I'm too young to die!" The outburst was followed by loud sobbing.

Apparently not.

Audrey Miller, selected at random by Megamind during his most recent escape from prison, had seemed at first to be the ideal hostage. She screamed properly and without prompting, in contrast to Roxanne Ritchi's calm acceptance – or, at times, outright defiance of him.

But now, after half an hour of alternating screaming with crying jags, he wasn't sure if she'd be able to pull herself together to plead to Metroman for help. It was disconcerting, especially given that the worst she'd been subjected to so far was a chair with poor lumbar support. Minion attempted to give her a comforting pat on the shoulder to calm her down, but she flinched away and started screaming again.

"Oh, god. Is it going to be torture? You're going to torture me, right? My job doesn't involve missile plans or bank codes or anything, but I'm not going to talk! No matter what you do!"

He could only hope.

It had started hours before, while he waited for the brainbots to cut an exit into his cell, when he turned on the news to pass the time. Normally he'd take note of Roxanne's current location to use when he went to capture her, but another reporter was on the screen. Confused, he paid close attention – could something have happened to her? It was hardly sporting to kidnap someone who was ill, or injured, or –

"And we wish good luck to Roxanne Ritchi, who is representing the station at the National Journalism Conference for the next week . . ."

Megamind frowned, angry at Roxanne for being out of town when he needed her – and angry at himself for caring about her so much. He was a villain! He shouldn't be sitting here, worrying about the well-being of a potential hostage. Even one who'd earned more stamps on her frequent kidnapping card than anyone else.

He thought back over his previous schemes. It sank in that it had, in fact, been years since he'd tried taking anyone else hostage. This wasn't good – it was predictable, repetitive. Certainly, targeting the only woman that his nemesis had shown any interest in was a sound strategy, but he wanted to play the field a little. Capture someone else for a change, someone who wouldn't object to a little panic – make him look good. Or rather, bad. He was a modern villain, after all – he couldn't be afraid of trying a different hostage now and then.

This was not what he'd had in mind. A good scream was one thing, but this had gone on for far too long. Honestly, didn't she notice the lack of weapons pointed at her? Or the cupcakes that Minion was offering?

Wait, cupcakes . .

"Minion, what are you doing with those?" Cupcakes were not evil. He might have offered Roxanne Ritchi refreshments from time to time, but long hostage situations would inevitably cross over mealtimes, and it would be rude to eat alone . . .

Minion shrugged the shoulders of his robotic body. "I thought they might help calm her down."

Megamind sighed and walked up to the girl. "Um. Audrey Millar, right? Could you please stop for a moment?"

It might have been the shock of his approach, or simply a need to catch her breath, but the screaming stopped immediately.

Visibly relieved, Megamind nodded. "That's better. Now, as this is your first time as a hostage, I suppose you needed some time to adjust. But don't worry, your job here is quite simple – once I have my trap in place, I'll contact Metroman and inform him of your predicament, you give a panicked scream or two and beg him for rescue, he arrives and faces certain doom, and after our epic battle you'll be free to go on your way. If it goes smoothly, Minion will set you up with a Frequent Kidnapping card before you go." Probably after Metroman rescued her, but in the (unlikely, he was barely willing to admit to himself) event of his own victory, there would be no reason to keep a hostage sitting around.

She looked up at him. Her left eye twitched, and her lip trembled. "You're lying! I'm not gonna leave here alive! I'll never see my friends again!"

Megamind facepalmed. "Minion, get the spray."

"The basic knockout formula, sir, or -"

"The one that wipes short-term memory, too. I don't think either of us want to remember the last hour."

With the help of the invisible car, they brought her to the city park and left her sleeping on a bench. Tears wiped away along with her memory, she'd likely just think she'd fallen asleep in the afternoon sun.

"What now, sir?"

"Let's just head back to the lair. Our plans can wait until Miss Ritchi returns to Metrocity. By the way, has the latest catalogue arrived from Romania? I've been thinking of upgrading to the deluxe hostage chair."

"I think she'll appreciate the gesture, as I gather she'll be our exclusive hostage now."

"And maybe a change of design to your armour . . . the spikes are stylish, as always, but Roxanne needed a new jacket after the last time."

"It would still need to be threatening . . . perhaps something like a great ape? They can be intimidating."

Megamind gave a hum of agreement, grabbed a sheet of blueprint paper from the clutter in the back seat, and began sketching out the new design.

One week later, Megamind was feeling much better. He grinned as he spun his chair around. "So, Miss Ritchi, we meet again."

His hostage flashed him a half-smile, relaxed in the new chair she was bound to. "You've been busy while I was out of town, Megamind. The chair's an improvement."

He did his best to remain nonchalant. "Yes, well, the old one was falling apart. It wouldn't do to have one you could escape from, after all."

"I like Minion's upgrade. Very . . . intimidating."

Minion beamed. "Why, thank you. I hope you had a good time at the conference; we really miss -" Megamind's glare encouraged Minion to stop mid-sentence. "Ah, never mind."

Roxanne shrugged around her bonds. "So. What's this week's evil scheme?"

Megamind didn't even try to hide the smile. It was good to have her back.