Megamind had wings once.
(soft and downy gray-white baby feathers, proof of his parents’ love, meant to be replaced with other, later feathers as love grows.)
The feathers fall out as he falls through the emptiness between the stars, as the two people who loved him are pulled into a black hole and wink out of existence. When he crashes to the ground, the prisoners who look down into the opening pod find a wingless blue baby with a too-large head, lying in drifts of colorless feathers.
(the other child’s first feathers fall out that way, too, during the flight to earth, but as soon as the woman who is to be his new mother sets eyes on him, a new set of beautiful white wings unfurls from his shoulders. Lady Scott loves easily.)
The blue child does not get a second pair of wings. To the prisoners, he is a mascot, a pet, well-liked, yes, but not understood. Not loved.
(can we keep it, one of them says: it, this wingless thing, not human, and it is so easy to forget those drifts of gray-white feathers, to forget what they must have signified)
The warden’s heart is too cautious to allow himself to fully love this sickly, wingless blue thing (the baby’s immune system isn’t equipped for earth; the prison doctor spends the first three years of the baby’s life pessimistically predicting the child’s death from one of the various common illnesses that ravage the little blue body).
(but the baby doesn’t die)
Metro Man’s wings are enormous; so large and heavy that, if it weren’t for his superhuman biology, he wouldn’t be able to fly.
Wayne Scott wonders, quite often, what his wings would look like if he wasn’t Metro Man.
Megamind has always liked capes, ever since he was a child, the material swishing at his back almost like feathers, the folds of cloth hiding the flat, wingless plane of his back, hiding the scars.
(Minion loves him, of course he does, of course, but Minion’s people were fish; they had no need for this twist of air-breathing evolution. Minion’s love resonates on a different wavelength, of course it does. It does; it does, of course. It does.)
(Most of the time, Megamind is able to make himself believe that.)
Megamind invents so many things to make himself fly.
Roxanne Ritchi’s wings are glorious.
For most of her life, they’re average in size, the feathers a practical brown-gray. It isn’t until Megamind starts kindapping her regularly that the feathers lengthen, grow, new feathers emerging, shades of shimmering iridescent blue.
She assumes, based on the timing, on the extravagant brightness of the coloration, on the size of the wings, that they are fame-feathers, given to her by the affection of the public.
Megamind assumes, for the same reasons, that they’re an indication of Metro Man’s romantic feelings for her.
(they are, incidentally, both wrong)
Sometimes, after a kidnapping, after he spends time in Roxanne’s company, Megamind feels a sort of itchy ache in his shoulder blades.
(sometimes he has to rip off his own shirt and twist his arms around his back and claw at his skin to make the feeling stop)
He assumes it’s a psychosomatic reaction, his desire for Roxanne’s love manifesting itself in this ache of phantom wings that he will never have.
Roxanne tells herself, after every kidnapping, that she doesn’t care about Megamind, she doesn’t, she doesn’t, not at all.
(they are, incidentally, both wrong about these things as well)
Roxanne assumes that Megamind’s winglessness is natural for his species.
It isn’t until something goes wrong one kidnapping, acid from a deathtrap vat splashing onto Megamind’s uniform, that she learns otherwise.
He tears the top half of his costume off in a matter of seconds, stepping beneath the spray of one of the emergency safety showers in the lab of the Lair.
Megamind thoughtlessly turns his back to her, beneath the water, and Roxanne sees the scars.
“Jesus, what happened to you?” Roxanne blurts out before she can think better of it, too shocked by the two, uneven white lines that mar each of his shoulder blades to be anything like tactful.
Megamind freezes, his shoulders going tight, and then he turns, steps out of the spray of the water, head held high, droplets sliding down his face like tears.
He snaps his fingers and the brainbots fly in and help to dress him again.
“Minion,” he says, voice perfectly even, perfectly controlled, “I believe we can dispense with Miss Ritchi’s company for the day.”
Megamind’s chin is up, his eyes avoiding hers, and Minion is frowning unhappily as he steps forward to pick Roxanne up again.
“Minion, what happened to him?” Roxanne asks later, in the invisible car.
“This planet, Miss Ritchi,” Minion says, angry grief in his voice, “this planet is what happened to him.”
“But he doesn’t have any—” Roxanne protests, “—he doesn’t have any, Minion, you—”
“I’m a fish,” Minion says flatly, robotic hands tightening on the steering wheel until the leather creaks, “wings aren’t something fish do.”
“But I’ve never seen anyone who didn’t have—Minion he’s—doesn’t he love himself?”
Minion doesn’t answer.
It takes Roxanne a lot longer than usual, that night, to remind herself that she doesn’t care about Megamind.
(love she doesn’t love doesn’t love she doesn’t—)
Megamind claws at his back that night until he bleeds.
It’s several long weeks before Megamind kidnaps her again.
Neither of them mention the last kidnapping.
Roxanne is puzzled (and a little upset) when she starts dating Bernard, by the way neither of their wings get any bigger.
But—perhaps they just aren’t there yet, perhaps they just aren’t ready—?
After Minion leaves the Lair, Megamind looks at his (wingless, inhuman, unloved) reflection in the mirror.
He twists the disguise watch and Bernard’s reflection (human skin, human body, perfectly normal wings) appears.
Hal—Tighten, whatever he’s calling himself now—shouts at Roxanne, so angry at the way his ‘getting over her’ hasn’t changed her wings at all.
(Hal never loved her, not really)
He actually tries to tear out some of her feathers—Roxanne bites her tongue to keep from crying out at the pain, the violation—but gives it up quickly, frustrated by the way the feathers grow back all but immediately.
(Who is it, Roxanne wonders, who loves her that much?)
Megamind is falling to his death before Roxanne admits to herself she doesn’t really need to wonder.
He’s falling to his death, falling and falling and he’s going to die because he doesn’t have wings—he doesn’t have wings and he still came for her, no expectation of her returning his feelings—
Roxanne turns to run to him, tries to leap into the air—she doesn’t use her wings to fly much, but if she can just get airborne, perhaps she can break his fall, can—
Tighten catches her wrist in a grip of iron, pulling her back to earth.
Roxanne screams, twists wildly, trying to get away, to get to Megamind, her eyes fixed on the shape of him, falling, falling—
He’s falling, he’s falling and he’s going to die, he’s going to die and Roxanne is never going to get the chance to tell him—to tell him that she—that she—
(loves him she loves him she loves him she does)
Megamind screams, high and pained and wordless, and then he isn’t falling at all, the dark shapes of his wings unfurling as he pulls himself up into the air.
Tighten gives a shout of pure rage, letting go of Roxanne, taking flight, moving like a bullet towards Megamind.
They collide in a tangle of limbs and wings; Roxanne again takes off running, trying to get up enough momentum to get herself up off the ground, but—
Suddenly there’s a burst of golden light around the two struggling figures in the air—
—and then it’s over, Hal is Hal again, falling to the ground.
Megamind dehydrates him; Hal falls the last few feet as a blue cube, re-hydrating when he hits the water of the fountain.
Megamind splashes down into the fountain a moment later, wings trailing in the water, black feathers and blue tips.
“Thing about bad guys,” he says to the dazed, de-fused Hal, “they always lose.”
For a second, he looks like some sort of dark avenging angel, proud and stern and beautiful, and then his eyes go wide as he windmills his arms, clumsy and off-balance from the wings he isn’t used to, and topples over into the water. Roxanne jumps over the edge of the fountain and helps him up.
“I—I have wings,” he says, wonder in his voice, looking so sweet and lost and hopeful that Roxanne simply has to pull him close and kiss him.
He makes a surprised noise, wings fluttering in shock, his feathers brushing Roxanne’s cheeks. He makes another sound of surprise when she reaches up to run her fingers over one of his feathers.
“—you—?” he says, pulling away from the kiss to look at her, still dazed and uncertain.
“Love you, yes,” Roxanne says, “I do.”
She curves her own wings around him protectively and kisses him again.
My love has wings,
slender, feathered things
with grace in upswept curve
and tapered tip
—from Nightingale Woman
(poem from Star Trek: TOS)
Megamind has wings now.
This is—rather difficult to get used to, honestly. He’s constantly caught off-guard by them, by their (welcome, unexpected) weight, by the shape of them, always there now at the edges of his vision.
Often, if he’s thinking hard about something else, he’ll forget his wings are there, see feathers out of the corner of his eye, and whirl around, startled, thinking there’s something behind him.
Usually, he’ll end up ruffling his feathers in his startlement, and sometimes he’ll end up almost falling over, clumsy with the way he’s still not accustomed to the alteration to his body weight and shape.
(He’s terribly flustered and angry with himself about this, until Roxanne mentions offhandedly one day that she finds it adorable, and then he’s just flustered)
Wayne’s Scott’s wings are smaller now; feathers shedding each day of his ‘death’, falling out and not growing back as ‘Metro Man’ fades from the hearts of the people of Metro City, until he finally ends up with a pair of ordinary sized wings.
He’s very practiced at keeping his wings politely tucked out of the way; Megamind and Roxanne don’t even notice how much smaller his wings are until the third time they go over to his Secret Hideout for what Megamind refers to as ‘Obligatory Awkward Social Interaction’ (Roxanne finds this description both accurate and amusing).
Megamind, who is not practiced at keeping his wings politely tucked out of the way—most people learn how as children; Megamind obviously never needed to before—gets distracted during a discussion, unfurls his wings half-way, and knocks over a marble bust of Metro Man.
Startled, Wayne lets his own wings snap out over his head in preparation for flight (the combat-ready habits of being Metro Man die hard).
Roxanne and Megamind both blink at the new size of his wings, and Wayne has just enough time to feel his stomach drop with shame before Roxanne blurts out—
“Oh my god, you look so much better now!”
(because he does look better now, balanced, his wings no longer overlarge and over-heavy)
It’s not this visit, but the next, that Wayne ends up breaking down and telling them how guilty he feels about not telling his mother about faking his death, every white feather of her love in his remaining wings something like a reproach to him.
“Just go tell her,” Roxanne says.
“And maybe get ready to apologize?” Megamind adds uncertainly, extrapolating from his experiences with the whole Bernard-thing-arguing-with-Minion-and-lying-to-Roxanne-and-yes-Wayne-get-ready-to-apologize-a-lot.
Of course Lady Scott forgives Wayne; of course she does. He’s her son and he’s alive and she would forgive him anything.
Minion has always liked Miss Ritchi; after the battle with Tighten, he adores her; she gave Sir the wings that Minion never could, and if Minion’s heart was less generous, he might resent her for that, but—
(Minion’s heart nearly stopping as he watched Sir fall and fall, and Miss Ritchi screaming for him, the desperate, terrified sound of her cry like the pain of Minion’s heart given voice, and then, oh then, Sir’s wings unfurling, exactly like a miracle, and Minion cannot ever be anything but grateful to Miss Ritchi)
(Minion’s love resonates on a different wavelength than the land-dwelling love that gives wings, but if it did not, both Megamind and Roxanne’s wings would be so much larger than they already are)
Wings are terribly sensitive, Megamind learns. The first time Roxanne preens his feathers for him, he practically melts.
(The first time she asks him to do the same for her, his hands are shaking and he can barely bring himself to touch her, half-convinced he’s going to hurt her somehow. Roxanne talks him through it, though: low, soothing voice and clear instructions until he forgets his nervousness and strokes her feathers with quiet, joyful wonder at this expression of his love given physical form. It’s hard for him to believe, really, that something as beautiful as the iridescent blue feathers of Roxanne’s wings could have come from him.)
Megamind isn’t used to sleeping on his stomach, the way having wings necessitates; he almost always ends up turning over onto his side or his back sometime in the night, waking up in the morning with stiff wings and rumpled feathers.
(Roxanne inevitably laughs and kisses him and helps him put his feathers to rights, and this, Megamind thinks, makes the discomfort more than worth it.)
Megamind’s wings never get overlarge, like Metro Man’s. They grow a little, the blue tips lengthening slightly, as the city accepts him as their hero, but Megamind is simply far too real to inspire the fanatical sort of worship that Metro Man did.
(He makes terrible puns during interviews and calls the Chief of Police an idiot in public and the first time an overenthusiastic fan tries to throw herself into his arms he’s so surprised that his wings snap out and he ends up smacking her in the face with them.)
(That’s pretty much the end of the hero-worship, as far as the public is concerned, and Megamind is nothing but relieved.)
Roxanne is a little confused (and a more than a little hurt, to be honest) by the way Megamind seems to swing wildly between being terribly proud of his wings and terribly embarrassed by them.
(is she embarrassing to him, does he find how much she loves him oppressive—?)
“What?” Megamind asks, sounding shocked. “What are you—no, of course not, Roxanne, how could you think—”
“But then why—” Roxanne begins.
“Well, I mean,” Megamind says, eyes avoiding hers, wings and shoulders hunching protectively, “—aren’t—you embarrassed that people can see you—love me? I mean, it’s—me.”
He makes a face and Roxanne makes an angry hissing noise and kisses him and it’s not until sometime later that she is able to catch her breath enough to explain, in no uncertain terms, that she is absolutely not ashamed of loving him, that he is amazing and his wings are beautiful and she is glad they’re so eye-catching because she wants everyone to see.
(Megamind cuts her off with another kiss at that point)
It takes a long time, but eventually, eventually—
Megamind wakes up one morning to find a narrow line of pale blue feathers on the underside of each of his wings, right where the feathers join his skin.
They are small feathers, hardly noticeable, the same blue as his skin, hidden beneath his wings like a secret, but they are there, all the same.
(The undeniable proof that he’s finally able to love himself.)
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -