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Black Hole Heart

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It begins with the black hole.

(everything, always, begins with the black hole)

He dreams of it sometimes, dreams of the way it ate the sky, dreams that it follows at his heels, threatening to pull him and all of the things he loves, all of the things that his hands touch and build and create, into the terrifying blank nothingness

you are destined for— his father said, and then the rest was lost in the pull of the silence and the dark and sometimes Megamind thinks that means something, thinks that maybe what he’s destined for is the

nothing / silence / emptiness / dark

that maybe he didn’t really escape after all, not a pardon, just a stay of execution, another day on death row

waiting

waiting

waiting

for the point when he can no longer outrun that damn event horizon, the day that everything redshifts and is lost for all time.

Sometimes he dreams that it follows at his heels and sometimes he dreams that it hovers just behind his shoulder, never there when he turns around, always hanging somewhere just out of sight.

And sometimes he dreams that it’s inside him, this emptiness in his chest, beneath his sternum, the terrible greedy hunger for beauty and light and love and laughter—

(Roxanne)

—all of the things he can’t have, all of the things that he’s incapable of giving back because Megamind is a monster with a black hole where his heart should be.

Those are the worst dreams, the one where he is the black hole. The other dreams, he wakes up screaming from (when he’s a child—when he gets older, he wakes up with his teeth clenched, holding back the scream holding back the scream holding it back don’t scream don’t scream don’t scream).

But the dreams where he is the black hole, he wakes up crying from (wailing, sobbing, when he’s a child—when he gets older, he learns how to cry silently, voiceless sobs shaking his shoulders, teeth bared, tears coursing soundlessly down his face; it’s a useful skill, Megamind finds, being able to cry silently.)

The dreams are one of the reasons Megamind hates to sleep.

(when he’s a child, when he still wakes up screaming and crying out loud, he’ll sing to himself sometimes, afterwards, to try and calm himself down, the song he thinks he remembers his mother singing to him when he cried in his cradle, before the black hole ate the sky and ate the sea and ate his mother up as well. It’s a song about the sea, a lullaby, in the language of the people that looked like him and he thinks, lying there in his prison cell, holding a glass ball with a fish in it to his chest, that when he finally figures out how to fix Minion’s brain so that he can talk, this song is the first thing he’ll teach Minion, so he doesn’t have to sing it alone.)

(by the time he’s figured it out, though, he’s trained himself to keep from screaming, to cry silent tears if he cannot stop himself from crying, and he never teaches Minion the song after all.)

The dreams come and go, in and out like the tide, more frequent, less frequent, but never entirely gone.

The dreams start featuring Roxanne after the Disintegration Beam kidnapping.

Everything is going much as usual: kidnap Roxanne, banter, try to impress her. (try and fail. try and fail. try and fail.)

(a moth outside a window hurling itself uselessly against the glass again and again battering itself to death for want of the light on the other side because it cannot help itself)

He has the Disintegration Beam turned on, pointed just slightly to the left of Roxanne’s chair, close enough to look properly threatening, but far enough away that, even if it should bypass all of the many safety features and accidentally fire, she won’t be hit. He’s in the middle of his monologue, has turned to the control panel to set the secondary beam for Metro Man’s arrival, and when he turns back, Roxanne is gone.

And he thinks.

he thinks—

(she’s gone it swallowed her you got too close, wanted her too much, loved her too much and the nothing saw and knew and took her in punishment for daring to reach out your hand to something bright and beautiful and good)

He—he isn’t—entirely rational. At this point.

It’s just Metro Man, playing a fucking joke, coming to the lair early, slipping inside and disappearing with Roxanne while Megamind’s back is turned, and when he tells Megamind that, while they’re flying back to the jail, Megamind snarls I would kill right now you son of a bitch if I only fucking knew how and Metro Man actually looks startled, taken aback, but then he grins that smarmy fucking grin and says well, that wouldn’t be very smart; if you killed me right now, you’d fall to your death.
and Megamind says, voice shaking with rage and sincerity it would be worth it.

(I thought she was dead, he doesn’t say. I thought she was gone. I thought she was gone and it was my fault and how the fuck would you feel if—)

(but that’s the point, isn’t it. Metro Man is allowed to care about her. Megamind is a monster with a black hole where his heart should be and he’s not allowed to love)

The dreams, which have been almost entirely gone for nearly a year, start up with a fucking vengeance, and every goddamn one of them has Roxanne in them.

They’re together somewhere, anywhere, he looks away from her for a moment, and then he

turns and she’s gone

turns and she’s gone

turns and

she’s gone

turns

and

she’s

gone

Night after night, Roxanne disappears in a thousand different ways (turns and she’s gone turns and it’s all his fault)

Megamind stops sleeping, or tries to; he still winds up passing out sitting up in his chair, staring at the television, standing at his workbench, tiny pockets of sleep, of nightmares, of

(TurnsAndShe’sGone)

And then one night he crashes, collapsing in the midst of constructing what he thinks is meant to be some sort of satellite death ray, but he’s not really sure because there are whole chunks of tech on this thing that he doesn’t even remember designing, doesn’t remember building, doesn’t remember anything about.

He reaches for a wrench (why does he need the wrench, again? he knew a moment ago, but now he isn’t so sure) and then his knees buckle and his vision goes dark and he—

—is standing in Roxanne’s kitchen, darkness and pinpoint stars and haloed streetlights outside her windows, electric light spilling golden over Roxanne’s hair and skin and eyes, and she’s looking at him with an expression that isn’t scorn or hatred or disgust and she’s saying

something

her lips moving, but he can’t hear what it is over the insistent thrum of how much he wants to kiss her

and he reaches out for her like this is something he’s allowed to do, and he threads his fingers through her hair like this is something he can have, and he kisses her, hard and hungry, her hands on his chest, pushing him away, and then something inside of him

gives way

and she breaks through the eggshell-thin cover of his skin and her hands disappear into the swirling, hateful nothing that lives inside of Megamind, and the black hole that wears his face pulls Roxanne inside itself and engulfs her, destroys her, unmakes her, and—

—Megamind wakes up underneath his workbench, except he’s not sure if he is awake or not, not sure what is real and what is not (turns and she’s gone, Roxanne’s hands breaking through his chest to the emptiness and falling inside) and he—

—is on the hoverbike and headed for Roxanne’s apartment before he makes a conscious decision, because he needs to see her, has to see her, needs to know that she’s all right, that he hasn’t erased her from existence because he wants her too much—

It’s a miracle that he manages to make it there without killing himself; he’s flying faster than he ever has before and he’s crying the whole time, tears streaming across his cheekbones, pushed back by the force of the wind into the darkness.

It’s late, after midnight, but Roxanne is still awake, moving around in her kitchen in her pajamas, making what appears to be a cup of tea, and Megamind, seeing her, throws himself off of his hover bike and moves to stand in front of the window.

(moth fluttering against the window, longing for the light)

He’s crying as he watches her, crying even harder, terror and exhaustion and relief.

(alive alive she’s alive you haven’t killed her yet)

He weeps silently, one arm wrapped around his ribcage—

(hold it back hold it back)

—the other hand pressed against his mouth, muffling the sobs.

God, he needs to leave. He can’t let her see him like this, can’t let her see him at all; standing on your kidnapping victim’s balcony at 3am crying like your heart is breaking (like you have a heart to break, like there’s a heart there, underneath your eggshell skin, and not a hungry nothingness)—standing on your kidnapping victim’s balcony at 3am crying like this is a level of fucked up that even Megamind hates himself for falling to. God only knows what Roxanne would think.

(He needs to hear her voice, needs to touch her, needs to make sure that she’s real, that she’s all right)

(don’t reach for her, don’t touch her, everything you touch is destined for entropy)

He turns to go.

He has one hand on the handlebar of the hover bike, is prepared to swing himself onto the seat, when the sound of the balcony door opening behind him makes him freeze.

“Megamind?” Roxanne’s voice floats through the dark towards him. “What are you doing?”

And Megamind turns and—

(turns and she’s gone)

—turns and she’s there, leaning against the doorframe, all soft edges and sleep-tousled hair and he—

—he cannot—

he cannot say I had a nightmare about you

cannot say I dreamed you were dead and I killed you

cannot say I have a black hole for a heart and I dreamed that it swallowed you whole

cannot say I dreamed you died and it was worse than the end of the world, and I know because I’ve seen the world end once already and

and then

he cannot say

anything

because he is in tears again.


 

It begins with the black hole.

(everything, always, begins with the black hole)

When Roxanne is a small child, she doesn’t know that it’s a black hole; knows only that it is this terrible thing that haunts her dreams, eats the sky and the ground and the sea and the stars behind her as she hurtles through space, small and so very scared.

She wakes up screaming and her parents say night terrors, she wakes up crying and they say just a nightmare, just a dream, but when Roxanne is in fifth grade, she’s flipping idly through her science textbook and she sees, there on the page, a picture of the thing that eats the sky in her nightmares, with the words black hole underneath it, and she presses her hand flat to her mouth to keep from crying out because she knew, she always knew that it wasn’t just a dream.

Roxanne’s always been an odd child, so smart and logical except for the occasional strange, intuitive leaps she sometimes makes, the way she’ll sometimes murmur a song to herself in nonsense language—normal for small children, but you’re eleven, Roxanne, dear; don’t you think you’re a bit old for baby talk?

(But it isn’t baby talk. And she didn’t make it up; it is just a song that she knows, a song that she knows is about the sea. She knows these things, and does not know how she knows them)

This is a theme, for Roxanne; this knowing things and not knowing how she knows them.

(What an unusual metaphor Roxanne’s middle school english teacher says, and what an interesting concept and Roxanne blinks in confusion because surely everybody has said that a person has a heart like an ocean inside of another ocean before, right? And heroes aren’t born; they’re made is such a truism that she debated even including it in her essay.)

(She takes automotive class in high school on a whim, the only female student, and at first there are good natured and less good natured offers from the other students to help her, but that all stops when Roxanne pulls the engine of a car to pieces and fits it together again better in a sort of trance state. Oh, the teacher says, your dad must have let you work with him on cars a lot, huh? But Roxanne’s father doesn’t even have a car; he rides the bus to work each morning. Roxanne has never worked on an engine before in her life. Roxanne just sees things, sees the way they go together, and she doesn’t understand why no one else seems to see these things, too.)

It isn’t until she meets Megamind that she ever encounters anyone who sees things the way that she does.

She watches him build a robot suit in twenty minutes out of a pile of junk after the intended weapon self-destructs unexpectedly during a kidnapping, and Roxanne thinks that piece there now, yes, just like that, the entire time and it’s honestly probably the most satisfying experience of her adult life.

(She actually feels angry when Metro Man smashes their—Megamind’s robot suit that time.)

Roxanne can always predict what Megamind’s going to do. Always. Everybody else will be running their mouths off about crime spree and criminal lunatic and utterly unpredictable, but

Roxanne will wake up one morning and think kidnapping today, probably something with me dangling from a height, better wear pants.

And she’ll be right.

Every. Single. Time.

And she just—she just would like some acknowledgement. From Megamind. About the fact that Roxanne is able to keep up with him, okay? So when he says I’ll bet you weren’t expecting piranhas! she says yep, called that one. And when he says the people of Metrocity will never comprehend my riddle in time to locate the bomb, Roxanne shouts out it’s in the abandoned movie theater.

(Pay attention to me, she wants to scream. Stop worrying about Metro Man; I’m the one who you should be concerned with; I’m not some vapid little damsel in distress; we are equals; aren’t you impressed yet?)

She almost punches Metro Man in irritation, the day that he sneaks in and carries her off while Megamind’s back is turned.

They were in the middle of something, damn it!

But she pastes a smile on her face and thanks him instead, because that’s what you do when the superhero rescues you, Roxanne, you smile and thank them. You don’t demand to be taken back to the evil lair so you can tell the supervillain exactly what you think of his disintegration beam’s power cell configuration.

This is the first time that it really strikes Roxanne, how she doesn’t think about all of this in a way that’s at all normal. That she doesn’t—that she sees things differently than other people do.

(Megamind. That she sees Megamind differently than other people do.)

Really differently.

Like.

(Roxanne, you should probably be concerned about the possibility of psychological damage when you start getting yourself off to a fantasy of building a satellite death ray with an alien supervillain who regularly kidnaps you.)

That kind of differently.

She thinks the black hole nightmares are trigged in part by stress, because she starts having them every night. And they’re not exactly like they were before, the nightmares, because now she dreams of running from the black hole, dreams of falling into it, dreams of kissing Megamind, dreams that this breaks his chest open somehow, and that inside is that terrible nothingness and it’s all Roxanne’s fault because she couldn’t leave him well enough alone.

She’s just awoken from yet another nightmare, one of the worst ones yet, and she’s wandering her apartment, making herself a cup of tea, as she does most nights, when she happens to glance out the darkened windows onto her balcony and see something moving.

(moth fluttering against the window)

is her first, automatic, half-thought.

But it’s clearly much too big for that, and when she moves to the door, the shape coalesces itself into—

Why is Megamind on her balcony at three o’clock in the morning? Granted, sometimes he does do late-night kidnappings, but Roxanne wasn’t expecting this—and—he’s moving to his hoverbike, not away from it, he’s—is he leaving? Without her?

Roxanne tugs the door open, leans tiredly (god, she would kill for a good night’s sleep) against the doorframe.

“Megamind?” she says. “What are you doing?”

He freezes for a moment, and then he turns, and Roxanne sees the stricken look on his face, the way his cheeks are wet, the way his eyes well up with tears and—

He crumples, knees giving way, one arm wrapping around his chest as if he’s in pain, the other pressed to his mouth, and Roxanne is at his side in a moment.

“Megamind,” she says, “Megamind,” trying to pull his arm away from his chest—is he injured? Is he wounded? Why won’t he let her—

She places her hand on his chest and his head snaps up, eyes wide behind the tears, and he scrabbles backwards away from the pressure of her hands.

“Don’t do that; don’t do that!” he says.

“I’m trying to—I’m just trying to see if you’re hurt!” Roxanne says, hands held up placatingly.

“I’m fine!” Megamind says, in defiance of the way he’s still clutching his chest, the way tears are still streaming down his cheeks, the way his whole body appears to be convulsing, shoulders jerking.

Why is he—why is he crying like that, those horrible silent sobs, so much worse to watch, somehow, than ordinary weeping?

“Megamind—” Roxanne says, “Megamind, please, let me—just let me help you, Megamind, please—”

Megamind shakes his head violently from side to side, but—fuck, he must have come to her for a reason—

Roxanne wraps her arms around him.

“Don’t—” Megamind says brokenly, “oh, don’t—” but he hides his face in her hair and winds his arms around her with a shuddery sigh that sounds relieved, so Roxanne keeps holding him anyway.

He’s still shaking in her arms, weeping silently in a way that Roxanne honestly finds rather frightening and entirely too much like her nightmares of him breaking apart under her hands.

She strokes up and down his back and hums quietly, absently, the first tune she comes up with.

Megamind goes still in her arms. At the end of the song, he pulls away and looks at her, a strange, unreadable expression on his face.

“Where—where did you learn that song?” he asks slowly.

Roxanne blinks.

“Oh,” she says, “I’ve known it since I was a kid,” she hedges.

She doesn’t really want to explain about the nonsense song she apparently made up when she was a kid; besides, it isn’t really important right now.

“Are you—do you want to come inside?” Roxanne asks.

Megamind gives her an even stranger look.

“Do you—want me to come inside?” he asks incredulously.

“Yes,” Roxanne says, getting to her feet and pulling him up with her. “It’s freezing out here, come on.”

She keeps her hold on his hand as she leads him inside. She remembers the awful way he was crying just now and finds that she’s not ready to relinquish her grip on him yet.

She pulls the balcony door closed and pushes Megamind lightly, urging him to sit on the couch. He does, looking lost, and Roxanne sits down beside him. She still feels—she’s worried he’s going to try to leave, and she feels weird about taking Megamind’s hand again, so she turns sideways on the couch and arranges her legs over his lap instead.

There.

Not any less weird—more weird, probably, but—well. You might as well drown in the ocean as in a bucket.

(Is that a real saying? Did she make that up? It sounds familiar, but—)

Megamind freezes, hands awkwardly held in the air above her legs. And then he slowly lowers his hands so that one is curled around her ankle and the other is resting on the back of her leg, right where her calf turns into her thigh.

Oh.

Well.

She really didn’t think this whole drown-in-the-ocean thing through, did she?

“So,” Roxanne says, ignoring the way her stomach is tying itself into pleasurable knots at the feeling of his hands on her. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“About what?” Megamind asks, frowning down at her legs in his lap.

“About whatever it is that’s got you so upset,” Roxanne says.

“Not really,” Megamind mutters.

Not really. Okay. Well.

“It’s not Minion, though, right?” Roxanne asks in concern.

“What?” Megamind asks, looking up at her.

“Minion’s okay, right?”

“Minion?” Megamind says blankly. “Yes, of course, Minion is—Minion is fine.”

And then Megamind does something that Roxanne is very much not expecting.

He takes off his gloves.

Which.

Blue. Blue hands, his fingers, oh yes, beautiful

But then

He puts his hands back down on her legs.

Roxanne sort of gasps, because what. What is—?

Those are his hands, his bare hands on her bare legs, and fuck, is she ever glad that she decided to wear shorts to bed and also that she shaved her legs during her shower earlier and. uh. now his hands are stroking over her legs and feet? Which is—

Is she dreaming again? If so, then this dream is definitely way better than the last one.

Megamind runs his hands up her thighs and then back down, then makes a frustrated noise.

He moves suddenly, pushing one of her knees up and turning his body so that he’s facing her now, kneeling on the couch between Roxanne’s legs and—

—Is this. Is this a thing that is happening?

Megamind puts one hand flat on her stomach; he’s trembling, Roxanne can feel it. She’s trembling a little bit, too.

“What are you doing?” she asks in a whisper.

“Sorry,” Megamind bursts out, angry and defensive. “I—had a nightmare. That you died. And now I’m having a little trouble convincing myself that you’re actually alive, so.”

His free hand cards through her hair.

Roxanne blinks at him.

“Oh,” she says weakly. “Well, then. Ah. Carry on?”

Megamind makes a sound low in his throat, almost a growl, and moves the hand from her stomach to cup her face, runs his other palm down the side of her neck to her shoulder, down her arm to her wrist. He takes her hand and brings it between their bodies, tangling their fingers together, lacing and unlacing them, his restless fingers threading themselves through hers, stroking her palm, her wrist, the back of her hand.

“You had a nightmare that I died?” Roxanne asks quietly.

“Repeatedly,” Megamind mutters, eyes on her hand in his. “Continually. Every time I try to sleep. I haven’t been sleeping a lot lately. This is really okay that I’m doing this?”

“I’d stop you if it wasn’t,” Roxanne says. She reaches up and touches his chin. He startles, looking into her face. “Lose the spikes?” she asks.

Megamind stares at her, then lets go of her hand and her face to twist the silver M at the base of his throat, popping the catch that holds his collar together. Eyes on Roxanne’s face, he pushes the whole spiked collar and cape backwards off of his shoulders, letting it fall the the floor.

Roxanne smiles at him and slides her hand down to his shoulder.

Oh,” he says, as though she’s just done something incredibly surprising, as though he isn’t kneeling between her legs with his hands all over her body.

“I had a nightmare tonight, too,” Roxanne tells him.

Megamind goes still.

“Please don’t mock me,” he says in a small voice.

Roxanne frowns.

“Mock—? I’m not—why do you think I was awake this late?”

You had a nightmare?” Megamind asks in a tone of deep skepticism, as though he’s cornered the market on bad dreams or something.

“Yes, Megamind,” Roxanne says. “I did. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately either. There’s this—your nightmare, the one about me, you said it’s reoccurring?”

He nods, palms sliding up her sides and then down.

“Right,” Roxanne says, “well, mine is, too.”

“What about?” Megamind asks, his hand on her throat now, stroking her skin.

Roxanne closes her eyes, lets her head fall back against the arm of the couch.

“Oh,” she says, “—I’ve had it since I was a kid. I thought it was gone, but now it’s back, and it’s all—there’s this—there’s this black hole.”

Megamind’s hands stop moving.

“A black hole,” he repeats.

“Mhm,” Roxanne says, eyes still closed, letting her hand drift to the front of his throat, to the hollow between his collarbones. “A black hole. It sort of—when I was a kid I used to dream the earth got pulled into it. Pretty weird thing for a kid to be dreaming about, right?”

Megamind makes a soft sound. Roxanne, eyes shut, dares to slide her hand up and let her fingertips trace his mouth.

“But now,” she says, “the black hole sort of—follows me around sometimes? And sometimes—”

“Am I there?” Megamind asks, lips moving beneath her fingertips.

Roxanne opens her eyes, startled anew by how close he is.

“In the dream,” he says, “about the black hole. Am I there?”

“Yes,” Roxanne says, feeling like she’s falling into the endless green of his eyes, “how did you—”

“Do I kiss you?” Megamind asks her, and for a terrifying, brilliant moment, Roxanne thinks that he’s asking permission, for instruction, but then he continues, “In the dream. About the black hole. I kiss you?”

“—yes,” Roxanne admits in a whisper.

“And then,” Megamind says, “and then. And. Then my chest breaks open and—the—the black hole is—”

“How,” Roxanne whispers, eyes wide, “how would you know that?”

“Because,” Megamind swallows, “because that’s the same dream I have.”

Roxanne stares at him. Megamind stares back at her. He looks—he looks terrified.

“Okay,” Roxanne says, “okay. What. How—?”

“I don’t know,” Megamind says, “I don’t know, I don’t—you said you’ve had this dream—since you were a kid?”

“Yes. You, too—?”

Megamind nods.

“Is that—is that normal?” Roxanne asks, “For someone like—but! But we didn’t even know each other then!”

“I don’t know!” Megamind says. “I don’t—I mean, this has to be possible because it’s happening, but—”

“Is there someone we can ask?”

Megamind gives a slightly crazed laugh.

“Ask? There’s no one to ask. Where do you think the nightmare about the black hole came from? There’s no one left to—there’s no one left to ask.”

“Wait,” Roxanne says, dread curling in the pit of her stomach. “You mean the black hole is—”

“Real, yeah,” Megamind says.

“Oh, my god,” Roxanne says blankly. “Oh, Megamind, I’m so sorry.”

Startlement across his face—has no one ever—has no one ever told him that they’re sorry he lost his planet?

“Why are you apologizing?” he asks in bewilderment. “You’re not the one who—you’re not the one who had a goddamn alien fuck with your brain, oh god—”

“Stop,” Roxanne says, “stop, no, Megamind, it isn’t like that—”

“It is very much like that,” Megamind hisses. “It is exactly like that. I’m inside your head; I’ve been—I’ve been inside your head for years without your permission because that song you were humming earlier? I know that song. I’m the only person left alive who knows that song and—god, I don’t know how to make it stop; I’m so fucking sorry—”

He starts to pull away from her and Roxanne panics a bit, wrapping her arms around his neck, holding him there against herself. Megamind makes a shocked noise and goes still.

“Don’t you dare be sorry,” Roxanne says fiercely. “Not on my account. Don’t you dare be sorry on my account, Megamind, because I’m not sorry at all.”

She loosens her grip on his neck, wanting to look at his face. His eyes are unbelievably wide, his mouth trembling around the edges.

“Megamind—”

He shoves himself away from her, but Roxanne sits up swiftly, grabs his shoulders before he can stand, pushes him down, making him sit again. She climbs into his lap, her knees on either side of his hips, catches his face in both her hands.

“Megamind,” Roxanne says, “do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted you to pay attention to me?”


 

Megamind stares at Roxanne. She thinks—she thinks he doesn’t—

“I always pay attention to you,” he says, words coming out stiff and angry because how does she not get how utterly unforgivable this is?

“No,” she says. “No, you don’t. I’m just there as bait in your stupid game with Metro—”

“Half of the schemes I come up with are specifically so I can see you,” Megamind spits out. “You honestly think I need you as bait? I could—I could threaten some sort of—I don’t know. Stray puppy or something. Or a public figure. Or some mindless drone off the street. And Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes would still fly to the rescue. I’m the one who—I need you there. I need you; I’ve always needed you, because I—because you’re you.”

Roxanne is smiling at him, bright as sunlight; why the hell is she smiling at him?

I love you,” he snarls, certain that this will make her push him away at last, will make her—

Oh,” she says, in a tone of wonder. “Oh, I—Megamind, I love you, too.”

A wave of horror rises in Megamind.

“No,” he says, “no, you don’t; you just think you do because I’m in your head, making you think that—”

“Megamind,” Roxanne says, “Stop. Megamind—I really seriously doubt—I mean—well. I don’t think you could make me love you by being in my head, because— Because I kind of get the feeling that you don’t like yourself very much.”

“What’s there to fucking like?” Megamind bursts out.

(a flicker of a memory in the back of his mind, that time he had to build a battlesuit in twenty minutes because his other machine broke down, and why would he be thinking of—)

“Is that—” he swallows, stares at Roxanne, “is that you? Is that you thinking that?”

“It worked?” Roxanne grins. “Oh, my god, it worked? This is the best thing ever!”

And—

Megamind ignores the little voice inside him that says the information exchange goes both ways; you don’t have to feel so guilty, you haven’t taken over her brain; she’s in your head as well.

“Satellite death ray,” Megamind blurts, “have you been—”

Roxanne pictures it, the thing Megamind has been working on, and oh, now he sees, he sees how that array of wires and gears on the side there works—so that’s what the wrench was for—sees—

“It all makes sense now,” Roxanne says wonderingly.

“No,” Megamind says, shaking his head violently from side to side (this fails to dislodge Roxanne’s hands from his face). “No, it doesn’t, Roxanne, nothing makes sense now, how can you say—”

“I love you,” Roxanne says softly, looking into his eyes, brushing her thumb over his cheekbone.

Megamind wants to scream until he tastes blood in the back of his throat.

“You cannot love me,” he says, voice low and shaking but certain. “You cannot, Roxanne. I’m not—I’m not something you can love. It isn’t—it isn’t safe, Roxanne, I’ve got a—”

“—black hole for a heart,” Roxanne echoes his thoughts. “I know.”

And then, slowly, impossibly, she—

—smiles at him.

“So do galaxies, Megamind,” she says.

And she leans forward and brushes their lips together.

The universe—Megamind would swear that the universe stops in that instant, electrons halting their motion, planets hanging still in the sky, ocean waves caught mid-swell.

And she pulls away, and—

There is darkness and pinpoint stars and haloed streetlights outside the windows and electric light is spilling golden over Roxanne’s hair and skin and eyes, and she’s looking at him with an expression not of scorn or hatred or disgust, but of love and—

—and he reaches out for her (he’s allowed?) and he threads his fingers through her hair (he can have this?) and he kisses her (he can—?) and—

Roxanne’s hands are on his chest now, pushing him, not away, but back and down onto the couch cushions.

And something in Megamind

gives way.

He lets her push him down, and she follows him, her body over his body and her mouth against his, and he hears her ask without words

(show me)

and he pictures it inside his mind, the way the Milky Way looks from the outside, the way he saw it when he was so very young: swirling lines of light with something golden and blinding at the center, around the black hole that lies at its heart and

he feels a bright pulse of

(wonder / amazement / see what I mean, Megamind)

and

oh, and—

(love you)



It begins with the black hole.

Everything, always, begins with the black hole: the singularity around which every good and beautiful and bright thing spins and laughs and loves and lives and—

—learns how to be happy.