Disclaimer: Dr. Horrible is not mine. Neither are Felicia Day or Neil Patrick Harris. If you're old enough to read, I think you knew that already. ;-)
A/N: This is a companion piece to another story of mine, "Freeze," but I think it can stand alone without too much confusion. If you'd like to read "Freeze," you can go to my profile or simply copy-paste the following story id into this page's url: s/5213503/1/
The first paragraph is taken almost verbatim, with permission, from jamie55's lovely "Walk Home" (id: s/6075982/1/). Much thanks for the inspiration and the concrit, Jamie!
Penny's smile slowly faded as she walked down the street, away from the new Caring Hands shelter. Susan had kindly offered her a ride home, but she'd refused. After all, she only lived a few blocks away—and she needed to think.
Penny was happy about the new shelter—and relieved that no one had been seriously injured in today's accident. Captain Hammer, despite his wails, had suffered only a few shallow cuts, which she'd covered with BandAids before breaking up with him as gently as her irritation with him would allow. The villain whose weapon had exploded had disappeared before Penny could find him to see if he was alright. She had felt an urge to go to him that she couldn't quite explain.
Oddly enough, Penny's strange feeling of familiarity toward the blonde man was one of the more normal things about today.
It started to rain as she remembered the least normal thing about today.
Billy nodded with finality. "You're safe now. But I have to go." He reached up to stroke her cheek. He looked so tired. She was about to ask him again if he was alright, but the question died on her lips when he kissed her softly. "Goodbye, Penny…"
When she'd opened her eyes, he'd been gone.
Billy had kissed her!
To say Penny was confused would be like saying the raindrops currently beginning to soak her hair and clothing were "sort of a little bit damp."
To be more accurate, she was whatever emotion was the love-child of confused, shocked, and numb… except that this love-child had been stung by a radioactive bee and gained superpowers. Yeah, she was… that.
Of course, there was a niggling feeling of happiness mingled with the that.
Billy had kissed her. Kissed her. Penny smiled despite herself and the rain.
It was difficult for Penny to deny that she liked Billy as more than a laundry buddy. He was thoughtful and kind and so smart. And he had the cutest smile. He got discouraged sometimes, but he never stopped trying.
Penny would never forget the moment when she'd touched his face and felt herself leaning in. She might have kissed him right there in the laundromat if she hadn't snapped out of it and remembered that for once she wasn't exactly single.
Penny never would have guessed that Billy returned her feelings. He seemed slightly nervous around her, but she had chalked it up to him being a bit shy. Perhaps he was like that with everyone, she'd thought.
With her new perspective she remembered the time he had brought her an extra frozen yogurt. She had believed him when he'd said it was a "crazy random happenstance," but perhaps he had simply been trying to hide that he'd gone out of his way for her.
Then, Penny allowed herself to remember the way he, too, had leaned toward her that day in the coin wash. Almost longingly, she thought.
In hindsight, Penny could see that Billy had been not-so-skillfully hiding romantic feelings for her. So why would he finally make such a bold move today, of all times, in the midst of the chaos? She hadn't even noticed that he was there, and then he was pulling her to the floor and leading her out of harm's way, before she'd even realized she was in danger. She might have been seriously injured if it hadn't been for Billy.
Penny was surprised to realize that she had reached her apartment complex. She also hadn't noticed just how wet she was, and the sudden warmth as she entered the lobby made her shiver. Tomorrow she was supposed to give him back his letter. What if, despite his apparent crush, he decided to pretend the kiss hadn't happened? He'd obviously been worried about her at the time, so perhaps he had gotten carried away. She briefly thought of skipping laundry day tomorrow… But she had promised to deliver his letter to him on the next laundry day.
She took a shaky breath. Okay, no problem. I can do this. Tomorrow she would pick up two frozen yogurts and wait at the coin wash. When Billy arrived, she would hand him dessert and deliver the letter. What happened after that would be up to him.
Penny stepped into the waiting elevator, reaching inside her jacket to pull out the letter, and pressed the button for the fifth floor. She wished she knew what the letter said, but she would never infringe on Billy's privacy by opening it. In any case, it was a tangible reminder that the exchange on the stairs had, in fact, actually happened, and for that she was thankful.
Distractedly, Penny exited the elevator, half-stumbled the several steps to her door, and unlocked it. Once inside, she pressed her back against the wood and slid to the floor.
Billy had kissed her. Kissed her. She smiled despite herself.
Penny waited, sitting on the counter of the coin wash, eating her frozen yogurt. She'd taken to flicking her eyes to the door every time it opened.
Come on, Billy. Don't skip laundry day again.
Finally the door opened again and he came through it, looking distracted and a little upset. His expression brightened when he saw Penny. Wordlessly, she grinned and handed him a frozen yogurt.
"H-Hi! I mean…" He cleared his throat. "Hey."
She ducked her head to hide her laugh. He was adorable.
Penny patted the counter next to her, and Billy took a seat. "I brought your letter," she said, reaching into her laundry basket.
He lifted an eyebrow as if he had no idea what she was talking about. She frowned. "Don't you remember asking me to give this to you, Billy?"
"Uh... Of course!" He took the proffered letter, then broke the wax seal and slid the letter from the envelope.
Penny gave him a moment to read it. He seemed upset. "What does it say?"
Billy blinked back tears, looking at her in awe.
"I love you," he blurted.
"W-What I meant was… I-I mean… I love the, uh…"
Oh, don't try to take it back!
Billy closed his eyes briefly, then let out a breath. "No. You know what? That was exactly what I meant."
Penny had to stop herself from sighing in relief.
"I know it's sudden and it probably sounds a little nutty, but…"
Penny touched his chin. There was no way she was not going to kiss him this time. She leaned in and pressed her lips firmly against his, smiling when he gasped, then sighed, against her mouth. "No disappearing," she murmured as he twined his fingers into her hair.
"Never," he replied, so close to her lips that she could feel his breath.
His lips were so warm and moving so wonderfully against hers that Penny wanted to kiss him for at least a week, but since they were in public, she pulled back to lean her forehead against his, his fingers still tangled in her hair.
"One more thing, Penny." Billy smiled shyly. "Love your hair."
Billy had kissed her. Twice!
He loved her.
"Why, thank you, Billy-buddy."
Penny could take it from here.
A/N - Every signed review will receive a reply. Concrit makes me smile! Of course, so does a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down. :-D Thanks for reading! :-)