“I’m sorry about this, Ms. Ritchi.” Minion said, holding the can of knockout spray to her face. He said it without fail every single time he showed up to carry her off, come rain or shine.
The question was out of Roxanne’s mouth before she could think to stop it. “Are you really?”
She was curious, not defensive or angry. She might have been back when this first started, but now it was almost boring, routine.
Except in all the ways that it messed up her routine. She was sometimes tempted to see if they couldn’t work out some sort of schedule, or advance notice, so she wasn’t constantly reorganising things, like nail appointments or doctors visits.
She’d long resigned herself to a lack of steady social life, so at least that wasn’t a worry. And what few friends she had understood.
The question seemed to throw Minion for a loop, and he paused with a contemplative expression on his fishy face. She waited, knowing that if she ran, he’d knock her out, and she’d never get her answer.
That, and she’d get her hair messed up, which always looked bad on camera.
“I’m... not sorry for the physical act of kidnapping you, no.” Minion finally said, his tone thoughtful. “We are the bad guys, and everything runs so much smoothly with you there.”
She nodded, having long figured out her role in the game they played. Neither Megamind or Minion were really scary, past that first shocking time this happened.
“-But I do apologise for the disruption and inconvenience it causes in your daily life.” He said sincerely, his small fish body giving a small wiggle that she had come to recognise as pleased.
“That’s fair.” Roxanne agreed, smiling back. Minion was one of the most thoughtful people she knew, even if he didn’t always get a chance to show it. “Apology accepted, Minion. Thank you.”
Minion grinned brightly back, revealing his mouth full of sharp needle like teeth. “No, thank you, Ms. Ritchi.” He said gratefully. “Much appreciated.”
And then he sprayed her with knockout gas.
(Megamind vetoed the schedule idea. ‘Villainy had no timetable’, according to the evil genius. And they didn’t want to get too predictable, which could lead to their capture.
Which was understandable from their viewpoint, even if it was annoying from hers)
“Why me?” She half asked, half whined, the bag was taken off her head, allowing her to see where she had been taken.
Surprise. It was Megamind’s lair.
“You don’t scream.” Megamind blurted, then seemed shocked that he had responded.
“This is true.” Minion seconded, nodding serenely. “We tried kidnapping that one girl who used to work for channel 7 once. That didn’t work at all. I wonder what happened to her?” He mused, looking thoughtful.
“She got kidnapped by the Master of All Villainy and quit show business.” Roxanne deadpanned. Had a nervous break down afterwards and quit, citing a fish allergy. Which was ridiculous, Minion was a total sweetheart.
“Oh. That would explain it.” Minion nodded sagely.
“Which brings me back to what I meant to say.” Megamind said, shooting Minion a slightly annoyed glance. “Is that you are professional. No hysterics, no insults, and no undo name calling. And we both greatly respect and admire that.”
Roxanne blinked, taken back at the compliment.
“Now granted, a little bit of screaming wouldn’t go amiss.” Megamind chided slightly, then pantomimed his words. “The occasional “Aaaah!’ or ‘Save me Metro Man!’ would make things run much more smoothly.”
“Not really in my nature.” She said, wrinkling her nose. “Sorry.”
“Well.” Minion said promptly. “I, for one, quite enjoy your company.”
“Thank you, Minion.” Roxanne smiled.
Which was when Metro Man broke in through the wall. “I’m coming, Roxie!”
The hero froze, floating in midair as he glanced between the three of them. “Wait. You didn’t call for help.” Metro Man belatedly realised, then turned to give Megamind a confused, almost hurt look. “Why would you call for me to save you?”
“Oh, for badness sake.” Megamind ran an annoyed hand down his face, then pointed at Minion. “PULL THE LEVER!”
Minion pulled the lever.
(“What made you give me your first exclusive interview?” Roxanne asked Metro Man after Megamind’s latest creation had been destroyed. Because really, this whole thing had started when Metro Man had begun responding to her questions exclusively.
He looked her over, up and down her curves, then grinned. “I liked your smile.”
Somehow, she felt disappointed.
She spent most of the night wondering what would have happened if she was less professional, if she didn’t have supervillians kidnapping her and a superhero ‘rescuing’ her, and decided it’d be a lot more boring.
And really, she kind of liked her life the way it was, crazy aliens and all.)
“Wait! Wait!” Roxanne called in a bit of a panic. “Please don’t turn on the camera just yet-?” She asked, half-feeling as if her request was futile.
Both Megamind and Minion froze in mid button-pushing gesture, then slowly turned to face her.
“What?!” Megamind snapped, just a bit defensively. The expression faded as he saw what made her panic, that the strap of her dress had snapped and was showing a great bit more of lacy bra than she was comfortable with showing on public television. Especially with her hands tied behind her back.
There were ways to break onto national news, this was not one of better ones.
“Oh, dear.” Minion said. “Wardrobe malfunction! I’ll fetch the kit!” He scurried off.
That was not quite the response Roxanne had expected, and she didn’t bother to hide her surprise.
“We may be eeeeevil.” Megamind informed her, his gaze pointedly above her head so he was looking in her general direction, but not directly at her. “But that’s no excuse to be uncivilised.”
She shouldn’t have found the fact that his cheeks and ears were bright pink to be endearing, but it was a little hard not to.
“Here we go.” Minion announced carrying what appeared to be a woven basket sewing case, the kind she vaguely remembered her grandparents having. “I think I have some thread to match, a couple of stitches should take care of it, at least long enough to get you home. Or I think I have a brooch that could cover the seam...”
He trailed off thoughtfully, sitting down and sorting through the case for a moment before pulling out a needle and thread, quickly threading the needle with an obvious air of familiarity. “I’m going to pick up the straps now, if that’s okay with you, Ms. Ritchi.” Minion said, looking at her for permission.
“Yes. Thank you, Minion.” She smiled and nodded. He smiled back, daintily picking up the straps in his giant metal fingers, one hand twisting the ends of the fabric and holding them together, while the other made quick precise stitches.
“I… Um. Huh.” She had not quite expected that.
“Oh, I make all of Megamind’s clothing.” Minion informed her cheerfully. “I enjoy it, the design work and picking just the right fabric and accessories. Sir helps too, but he’s got other things to create-”
“-Such as a massive mechanoid army of DOOM!” Megamind interjected, his chair facing the other way so he wasn’t watching them anymore.
“-And it gives me something to do on the down times.” Minion said, without missing a beat. “Do you know what the strap was torn on?”
“Ah, well… the neck spikes on your robot suit are new.” She grimaced. Although the wide padded shoulders were certainly more comfortable to be carried on than previous designs.
“Minion, make a note-” Megamind called, one hand waving dramatically.
“Waaaaay ahead of you, sir.” Minion called back as he tied off the thread, the repair nearly invisible if you weren’t looking for it. Roxanne fought the urge to laugh, knowing that neck and shoulder spikes on Minion weren’t going to be a style choice from now on.
Megamind put his foot down when she asked if Minion could make her something, but Minion had winked at her, giving her a quick thumbs up. A few weeks later, a grey blazer with matching knee-length pencil skirt appeared on her bed.
It not only fit fantastically well, it was kidnapping resistant. Easily withstanding rough handling, stain resistant, fire retardant, all the while remaining wrinkle free and ‘wardrobe malfunction’ proof.
She quietly slipped Minion several packets of dried squid jerky as thank you the next few times he kidnapped her, something that made his fins wiggle happily. There was a reason why Minion was definitely her favourite.
(“Who’s your tailor?” Roxanne asked, pushing a mouthful of extremely fluffy fur collar out of her face as Metro Man carried her through the air. She supposed the skin tight spandex made sense with his indestructible body, but all the flappy bits were really irritating.
“I design all my costumes.” Metro Man said proudly, flashing her a toothpaste commercial perfect smile. Which didn’t really answer her question.
He turned contemplative. “Although I was thinking of opening it up as a contest to the city. ‘Design a costume to be worn by your beloved hero’!” Metro Man grinned at her. “It’d be great moral boost for the citizens of Metro City, to see me wear their offerings!”
Roxanne laughed quietly, picturing that media circus, and wondering who was going to be suckered into setting that up. And what fashion disasters would come from it.
While she was fond of Metro Man, he wasn’t exactly the brightest when it came to thinking things through. )
Roxanne’s stomach made an audible growling sound, and she grimaced, grateful that Megamind hadn’t started airing her kidnapping yet.
“I don’t suppose we could have dinner before we start with tonight’s scheme?” Roxanne ventured hopefully.
The idea was completely preposterous, of course. But she’d kind of accidentally skipped lunch because work had been crazy, and now it was shaping up to be a busy night. Depending on how things went, it’d be another one to three hours before she could grab something to eat.
A second gurgle echoed throughout the room, this time coming from the other side. Megamind, who had paused mid-sentence when her stomach had gone off, stared down at his own belly in surprise.
Minion clucked his tongue like a mother hen, shooting his boss a clear ‘I told you so’ look.
“You know…” Megamind sighed, dramatic posturing fading away as he slouched in his chair, rubbing his giant blue head. He look a little bit more worn down than usual, the shiner from his last confrontation with Metro Man having not quite faded away from around one eye. “I’m not really feeling this tonight. Are you feeling this tonight?”
“Not really.” Roxanne admitted. She rarely felt it, but tonight in particular, she mostly want to kind of call it a night. Sleep had been kind elusive the past few days, it’d been hard to turn her brain off. To sprawl out on the couch and watch mindless TV sounded like a great plan.
Minion made a hopeful sound, glancing between the two of them with rapt attention.
“I do realise this is highly irregular, but do want to call tonight a wash?” Megamind said, looking apologetic. “You can eat with us, if you would like. Or Minion can take you home, and we’ll pick it back up in a day or two-?”
“I…” She hesitated. This was really weird. Weirder than getting used to being captured by an evil mastermind and his robot pet fish on a regular basis. It was almost routine by now, she’d lost count of how many times they’d done this game already.
Going home was the safe bet, the logical bet. Or screaming for Metro Man.
But there was Minion, standing there with his hands clasped to his chest, looking at her wide hopeful eyes, as if she’d just announced it was Christmas.
“Sure, why not?” Roxanne shrugged. It wasn’t like she had anything better to do. The TV wasn't going to miss her.
“YAY!” Minion cheered, clapping his hands together and bouncing excitedly from foot to foot. “Oh! Oh! I never get to cook for anyone else! I need to see what we have to make!” He cheerfully scuttled off.
“I think you made his night.” Megamind said as an aside, his expression and voice fond as he watched Minion’s departure.
Roxanne laughed, feeling crazy.
“Alright, house rules.” Megamind said, walking behind her, looking more relaxed than she’d ever seen him. “No discussing work at the dinner table. So nefarious plans, miscellaneous villainy, and annoying co-workers are right out.”
“Backstory?” She inquired as he undid the ropes around her wrists with one easy yank.
“Can be scheduled for another time.” Roxanne could hear him making a face. “Arms up, please.”
She lifted them up, curious. With deft motions, he wrapped the rope around her ribcage without ever quite touching her, and tied it looser than they normally did.
“Can't have you wandering around the Lair.” He explained. “Not only for secrecy reasons, but for safety concerns as well, there's quite a bit of hazardous and sharp material laying around. You have excellent posture by the way.”
“Thank you.” She said, uncertain where to put her hands for a moment before settling them in her lap. He chuckled, not unkindly, then pushed the chair she was in down a ramp she hadn’t noticed and off to the darkened corridors.
She had second thoughts then, having dinner with a wanted criminal, but neither one had ever never hurt her, so she relaxed. “Any known food allergies?” Megamind inquired.
“None I can think of.” Roxanne confessed as the clattering of pots and pans became louder, no doubt approaching a kitchen.
(“Is this coffee drugged?” She asked much, much later after an excellent meal and a surprisingly enjoyable time discussing current news events and politics, even if she was tied to the chair. She stared into the cup, the room wobbling slightly in a disturbingly familiar way.
“It’s decaf.” Minion said, his voice low and conspiratorial.
“You fiend!” Roxanne straightened, staring at him in mock-horror. “How could you do that to coffee?!” Coffee was the Nectar of the Gods, the sweet bitter brew that granted both life and energy. Decaf was an abomination whose existence was firmly denied.
Megamind laughed, and she was distracted by the sound lacking the usual tone of dramatics and menace. He’d been fun to debate too, he knew almost as much as she did, which was rare. It was a weird, rare glimpse to him as a person, instead of a villain and she kind of wished...
Then everything tilted sideways, and large robotic hands caught her shoulders, keeping her upright. “It’s also drugged.” Minion added gleefully without remorse.
“You Monster!” Roxanne raged, then laughed, because to anyone else it would be an insult, but they both just cackled in return, as if she’d given them the highest of compliments.
Which to them, it kind of was.
She fell asleep with a smile on her face, warm and content in the knowledge that she was safer with them than pretty much anywhere else on the planet.
Roxanne woke up on her sofa at home, an afghan draped over her like her Mom used to do when she was little and fell asleep wherever she was. She felt strangely refreshed, as if she’d had a decent night’s sleep for once. She tried hard not to think about it too much.)
“You ever get tired of the game?” Roxanne asked once, tied up near Megamind for a change.
For all that she was constantly being kidnapped, she didn’t spend a lot of time in close proximity to the villain. It was usually Minion’s job to grab her, and then she was generally set up somewhere off to the side, safely out of reach of any potential fights, with Minion close by to protect her in case something went wrong.
Her role in the game was bait, nothing more, nothing less. Her stolen freedom the start and end to the fight.
Megamind shot her a wide surprised look, the laughing mask he so frequently wore slipping for just a moment. “Sometimes.” He whispered, the word seeming to escape unbidden.
And then Metro Man broke through the ceiling and there was no more time for words, the game was on.
(Metro Man didn’t acknowledge that it was a game, and didn’t understand the question. Not for a long while anyway. And when he did, he quit.)
"Are those really baby seal skin boots?!" Roxanne asked, glancing down at Megamind's feet. He hadn’t really changed his costume much when he became a hero, past the lack of cape. She thought they were the same shoes Megamind had mocked Metro Man with that fateful day not so long ago.
"Are they-?" Megamind's trailed off, lifting up one foot to stare at the bottom sole, where it clearly stated 'baby seal leather boots'.
His eyes went wide. "Oh good gracious, no! We just put that on the boots to make it appear more sinister. We certainly were not going around clubbing baby seals over their head, what with their cuddly round faces and those big liquid brown eyes."
He carried on indignantly about the adorableness that was baby seals and Roxanne bit her lower lip, to keep from giggling over how cute the former ‘Master of all Villainy’ was. It was hard to believe sometimes that anyone had actually seriously ever feared him.
"Thank you." She finally said when he paused to take a breath, then turned to to camera. "This is Roxanne Ritchi, KMCP channel 8 news." She got out, her voice just a little thick.
Roxanne managed to hold on to her composure long enough for her camera person to motion she was off the air before breaking down laughing.
She wasn’t sorry, she really wasn’t. Megamind pouted a bit, because he had his dignity dammit, except he really didn’t, and she kissed him while giggling until he laughed as well at the absurdity of it all.
“Dinner?” She asked when they broke apart, the former villain all soft and fond around the edges that used to be so frantic and harsh.
Being a hero had been good for both him and Minion, who was standing by with one hand over his eyes. That may have shielded them from his view, but didn’t hide the happy smile on his face.
“You ask the best questions.” He gave her a dazzling grin back, as if she were precious and amazing and she felt her heart soar. “Do you have any idea how much I adore you for it?”
He didn’t use the ‘L’ word much, but that didn’t mean she didn’t know how much he loved her. She did her best to make sure he knew too.
“I’m quite fond of your questions as well.” Roxanne smiled back, pulling him down into another kiss because she could, happiness bubbling up in her chest.
(Dinner was late, but that was okay too.)