She falls for him in pieces.

It starts when she first notices him at the Laundromat, cute and quiet and shy. He's there every time she is, and while he should fade into the background, she always finds herself noticing him. Laundry guy's washing the lab coats again today. He's probably someone very smart. A chemist, maybe, or an engineer. When he mutters to himself it's always in trains of syllables, complicated words and ideas that fly straight over her head. But he stutters when anyone talks to him, and he hunches like he expects to be hit, and so she finds him cute instead of pretentious.

He's one of the few to sign her petition, and though he seems distracted, he stops texting long enough to talk to her. She leaves the alleyway happy, and ready to see him again.

She falls for him in pieces.

She never notices him, because he's exceptional at fading into the background, and it's not until she sees him while she's trying to get the petition signed that she remembers who he is. The quiet, nervous guy who always washes his two lab coats separate from his normal clothes. He stutters his way through signing the petition and doesn't spend a second listening to her, too busy texting.

And then the van tries to hit her and a large and very cheesy man shoves her into the garbage. But she can hear laundry-guy's voice in the background "I stopped the van/The remote control was in my hand," and knows who really rescued her.

The lab coat doesn't stop her from recognizing him, and soon enough she ends up drawn into his world, into social change that actually changes something. She never carries another petition again.

She falls for him in pieces.

She's always harbored secret fantasies that the cute, quiet guy at the Laundromat is secretly a mad scientist. A supervillain, maybe. He washes his two lab coats once a week, separate from his normal clothes, and while she likes the white one, for some reason the red one gives her the creeps. It's too bright a red, she decides. It reminds her too much of blood. Her gut tingles when she sees it.

He mutters to himself, and she tries to listen in without looking like she's doing it. And every snippet she can hear just tantalizes her more, because it sounds like he's a supervillain.

Then Captain Hammer comes into her life, a superhero in the flesh, and she's so caught up in the newness of it all that Billy slips the name "Bad Horse" before she remembers what she'd wondered about him before.

She can't resist the kiss as they sing together, and she knows who he is for certain when his eyes widen in terror as Captain Hammer strides into the mat. But the man's oblivious, and he doesn't see it. And that is, perhaps, when she realizes that he doesn't see her, that the maybe-supervillain next to her does.

She falls for him in pieces.

Ever since the first day he brought in the frozen yogurt, it's been a constant hurricane of almost-touches, of fluttering heartbeats, of thoughts of cheating. Hammer never listens, and he does. Hammer never cares, and he does. And Billy would rather drive a spork into his leg than admit to her what should be so obvious, because he doesn't want to hurt her:

Hammer doesn't love her, and he does.

Hammer's not as quiet as he thinks he is when he tells Billy how he's going to charm her, and why. And she hears every word, and Hammer does his best to make it absolutely clear what he's talking about. She also hears something else.

She leaves with Billy, and it isn't until he's walked her home (and never missing a step, almost like he knows the way), that she asks why Hammer called him Doctor. How Hammer knows him. And Billy stutters out the explanation, and the honesty's just enough to tip her over the edge into moving beyond almost-touches and hidden heartbeats.

She falls for him in pieces.

Villainy was a hobby, and it wasn't until Billy stood in front of her as she tried to get him to sign the petition, ranting about how society should be changed directly, that it all clicks together. Villainy doesn't have to be a hobby. It doesn't have to be what pays the bills. It can be how she does it. It can be how she changes the world.

She sees Billy's true identity when Hammer rescues her from the van, and she talks the hero out of giving her dinner more abruptly than she would have normally, because she has to go home, she has to find out who Billy is. Dr. Horrible, yes, and she's heard that name, but she'd never seen the blog before.

He's young, and inexperienced, but he has the ideals she's constantly afraid of losing. They email back and forth until she finds out the woman he never stops talking about is her, and she tells him who she really is.

It's not hard to charm Hammer into getting the mayor's sign-off on the homeless shelter, to set up the freeze ray. She fires her own slender death ray above the heads of the crowd as Dr. Horrible makes his speech. Never hurting anyone, of course, but holding the threat out to them. Change or die.

She falls for him in pieces.