It had taken him about a month to regain feeling. Soon, he was inundated with feeling and emotion and confusion. The E.L.E. had offered what guidance they could, but it was clear that they were beginning to doubt the choice to accept Dr. Horrible into the League...
Billy was finally returning to the laundromat. The same laundromat where he first saw Penny. The laundromat where he fell in love with Penny. The laundromat where he watched his arch-nemesis steal Penny away from him.
And now, four months after Penny's death, and a number of expensive dry-cleaning bills later, Billy was returning to the laundromat around the corner from the Chinese grocery down the street from the newsstand where the papers had finally given up on the "Defeat of a Hero, Rise of a Villain" type headlines.
Billy stepped through the door and heard the distantly familiar chime of the bell, notifying the currently unconscious attendant of his arrival. The scent of fabric softener in the air put a series of knots into his stomach. His eyes inadvertently swept over to the corner tumble drier where he may or may not have drawn a heart around a copper penny he'd trapped there with gum. His knees weren't exactly willing to hold him up when his eyes caught the memory of his small foray into graffiti. He braced himself against a top-loader washing machine to gather his composure. He did not, however, notice the gaze of the blonde woman across the room from him.
Think... evil. Think... composure. Be cool. Be calm. Be evil... quietly. He gave himself an internal pep talk before turning to the task at hand: laundry. Right, laundry. No problem.
Calm and composure-regained, Billy proceeded sorting his evil whites from his evil darks and colors. Evil, evil, evil... He chanted in his head. He mused over the ease with which any old object suddenly became sinister with the simple prefix of "evil." A side-effect of membership in the Evil League of Evil. Soon, Penny was out of mind, and his laundry was getting done.
Someone in the laundromat was humming a hauntingly familiar tune. In his mind, Billy sang to himself of a shiny new Austalia. And then, out of the black pit of his mind, Penny was there, swimming through his consciousness.
His hands faltered and a stray sock fell to the floor as he pulled a clean load from his claimed machine. He bent to snatch the wayward article up and presently cracked heads with an unseen interloper.
"Ouch..." the blurry person mumbled. "Sorry, I... Saw it fall, and... Was trying to catch... Ugh..."
A dull pain was quickly dissipating from Billy's skull. His fingers closed around the troublesome sock and his free hand grasped a washing machine to pull him up. With out thinking of the shear decency of the gesture, he offered a hand to the blonde girl who sat sprawled on the floor beside him. She was palming her forehead, but somehow managed to catch hold of Billy's arm and scramble to her feet.
"I am so sorry," she repeated. She brushed some lint off her butt and looked up into Billy's face. A lilac-colored bruise was beginning to sneak out from under her hairline.
"No, no," he began. "I mean, generally my laundering skills are flawless. Haven't lost a sock in seven years. But today..." He grinned what he hoped was a cold and disheartening grin. "My mind is in another place."
The girl in front of him did not appear chilled, nor disheartened. In fact, the small smile with which she countered his gesture was - though subtly - far more chilling than he had anticipated. Billy took one step back and reassessed the startling woman before him.
Her eyes were a cold grey-blue. Her hair a flaxen blonde not unlike his own. She wore a navy blue hoodie over a goldenrod dress which hung just past her knees. Her slender legs were also clad in navy between her hemline and the tops of a pair of deep red rain boots. What the...? Rubber boots? Her complexion was too pale for this part of the country, and her looks quite eerily reflected the person currently residing in Billy's mirror. The one who appeared after weeks of careful plotting and scheming had distracted him from things like food and know, if he were a chick, anyway.
"Well... I still apologize," she responded. "I ought to know well enough by now to let sleeping socks lie." She giggled at her own ridiculous pun. And in that lilting giggle, Billy's evil-trained ears detected the slightest traces of malice and discontent. His developed momentary goosebumps, and he had to look away from her alabaster and lilac face. Perhaps I need to take a breather from all this projection of evil I've been doing. I'm turning innocent victims into villains.
He glanced back. Blonde. Normal. Although still pale. I need to get out of the lair more often he decided, returning his full attention to the girl and holding out his hand.
"I haven't seen you here before," he stated the obvious. "Billy."
She extended her hand towards his own "Doctor vish-" a look of horror flashed across her face for the smallest of nanoseconds that Billy hardly registered it. "Vuh, vih- Vicki!" she stammered to a save.
"Dr. Vicki? Is that the official title?"
"Vicki. Just Vicki is fine." Her lighter-shade-of-pale cheeks were now attractively flushed within an inch of her red rubber boots. She grinned a genuinely warm smile and giggled a friendly and embarrassed giggle. "I work with children, and a Doctor first name is a smaller mouthful for the young ones." She grasped his outstretched hand and her fingers were warm like clean sheets straight out of the drier. "I'm Vicki."