Ray seems like the perfect boyfriend -- he’s gorgeous, incredibly romantic, and has a mechanical suit that he invented to become the dastardly MantaRay. For Alec, who also spends his nights making life difficult for do-gooders everywhere, it’s a match made in supervillain heaven. Except that Ray is a bit too into the hit soap opera, All My Werewolves. When tempers flare during what’s supposed to be a quiet night out, Alec nearly ruins everything over a stupid bet with an alien gorilla.
Desperate to prove his feelings to Ray, and with Christmas fast approaching, Alec decides the fastest way to Ray’s heart is by embracing the thing that threatens to divide them -- a certain werewolf show with a certain star actor who Ray admires. A simple case of kidnapping promises to do the trick, only fur (and fandom) fly when Alec’s romantic gesture leads to a very hairy situation.
Can Alec prove to Ray how much their relationship means to him, or will his plans be ruined by the werewolf before Christmas?
“I’m an idiot sometimes,” Alec said, deflating.
Ray sighed and moved closer. He draped an arm over Alec’s shoulder. “Yeah,” he said.
There was a small spur of offense that stuck into Alec’s mind, but he shook it off, let it go. It was only the truth.
“I have a theory,” Ray said, and something in his voice made Alec look over into his deep brown eyes, nearly black in the twilight. “You want to hear it?”
Alec couldn’t speak just then. Ray’s face was haloed by the faint lighting of the MantaRay suit, his expression almost wistful, all of his attention directly on Alec. He was beautiful, with wide features, a subtle smile, and a mysterious scar running down the side of his face. Alec thought of kissing him then, just to relieve the pressure that seemed to be building inside him, but instead he nodded, waiting for Ray to continue.
“We’re supervillains, right?” Ray asked.
There was really no point in Alec responding, so he just waited.
“It means we’re addicted to losing. That’s, like, the whole point. You want to win, you become a hero. Because even if one of us has a great day, punches Gravity in the face, makes the Achievers look like the fools they are, steals the crown jewels, or something -- even when we seem to win, it doesn’t last. Some other hero shows up, or the one we just beat gets back up thanks to some sacred amulet or inspiring pep talk, and we still lose. It’s not like it’s this great big secret. It’s not like we villains don’t know that.”
The night became suddenly quiet, like the city was holding its breath for Ray to continue.
“But we do it anyway. Not because we’re evil. At least, that’s not why most of us do it. Don’t get me started on some villains, but for the most part, we’re not out to really hurt people. We want ... we want the romance of it, the freedom of it, the defiance of it. And maybe because we feel that, given everything, we deserve to lose. That maybe we’re not good enough to be heroes, even if we’re not really bad either. We self-destruct. We sabotage ourselves. Our plans suck. Sometimes we’re just idiots.”
Ray’s grip on Alec’s shoulder tightened, and Alec realized he was trembling slightly, like Ray’s words were shaking something loose inside him.
“But that doesn’t mean that we can’t win. Just that maybe we’re afraid of it, that we try to protect ourselves from it because we don’t know how to handle it. And I’d hate to see that happen with us. I like you, Alec, and I know you like me. This thing we have -- I don’t want it to explode like a malfunctioning Tornadotron. But I need to know that I can trust you, and that you want this too.”
Alec swallowed, the cold inside him gone. Instead, he felt a warmth radiating from every place where Ray touched him, from the lack of distance between them.
“I’m not dropping out of the bet,” Alec said. “I made it not just to shut Gorillord up, but because I do want to do something for you. I want to give you something that you’ll love. And ... and I’m sorry that I screwed that up. I still want to try. To win. Because even if we’re all addicted to losing, I feel like, with you, I can break that habit. And I won’t make them stop playing All My Werewolves. I just want to prove to everyone that I can do this. And maybe I want to prove it to myself too. Because l -- like you a lot and I don’t want to lose you.”
Ray smiled and leaned in, and the heat of their kiss banished what cold remained in Alec’s chest. Everything in him concentrated to that one point of connection, lips on lips, then tongue on tongue, like he had been hit with a spell that erased everything else from existence. Until, of course, a voice broke through the spell, shattering the intimacy of the moment.