Okay people. *stern look* It's almost International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I'm a very greedy, and on occasion, cruel woman. I need pirate stories. Don't make me beg. That usually involves tears, hiccups, raccoon eyes and, on occasion, copious amounts of snot. It's not a pretty sight.
Anyway, in honor of the upcoming holiday, I submit my own little story as I raise a tankard of grog and wink at you from behind my eye patch.
The fact that Penny knocked and waited patiently for him to open the door made Sheldon suspicious. When she sat down on the middle cushion and asked politely if he was free only increased that suspicion. "I have 42 minutes before I must commence with laundry night," he said hesitantly. "What is it you want?"
"My friend Charlie is hosting a party for International Talk Like A Pirate Day," Penny began. "I have two requests. One, I was hoping you would use your awesome cos-play skills to help me make an authentic pirate costume, and two, I was hoping you would agree to go with me. I promised Charlie I'd bring a date to keep the numbers even, and I know you wouldn't think of it as an actual date date." Penny looked at him hopefully. "Please?"
Sheldon blinked three times, his mind working quickly. Producing a costume for Penny would be simple enough. Accompanying her to a party, though? That was well outside his comfort zone. He opened his mouth to say so, but Penny's expression froze the words in his throat. Her eyes were wide with yearning. He sighed heavily knowing he was helpless against that look.
"Okay," he said quietly. "I will help you create a costume and accompany you."
Penny's jaw dropped and she jumped up. "You will?!" She flung her arms around his waist tightly. "Thank you, sweetie!" she cried out happily. "You have no idea how happy that makes me!"
Sheldon twitched until she finally released him. He glared at her fiercely. "Kindly keep your man-hands off my person!"
Penny nodded contritely and clasped her hands behind her back. "Of course. I'm sorry. I accept the strike I know you want to issue."
Sheldon sighed softly. "First thing to do is research pirate apparel and decide on what you want to wear. Then we can buy materials, double check your measurements, and begin making the costume. While we are at it, I will make one for myself as well."
Sheldon walked over and sat down at his desk. Penny followed, drawing Leonard's desk chair over. Sheldon pulled up a few sites about authentic pirating clothing and they settled in to pick something out.
Leonard, Howard and Raj stared at 4B with shock. They must be dreaming. Yeah, a nightmare of sorts! Right?
"Penny, please hold still. I'm trying to concentrate."
"Sorry! My ribs are ticklish."
"So I see. Turn around so I can undo your zipper."
"What do you think of my leather thong? Too much?"
"Not at all. I'm sure many would find it intimidating, but I quite like it."
"You know, I have to admit I was really surprised by how muscular you are beneath those layered shirts. I always thought you science types focused on working out your mind, not your abs."
"Penny, Penny, Penny. I am a man of science, true, but I am still a man. Now, hold onto my shoulders for balance."
Leonard blanched when Penny gave another soft giggle. Howard and Raj grabbed at him as he sprang forward and pounded frantically on the door. They were trying to hold him back when the door opened and Sheldon looked out curiously. Leonard shoved the door open wider and stormed inside.
"What the hell?!" Penny yelled, hopping down off the milk crate she had been standing on. Blood red material billowed around her shoulders as she turned. Her pants were leather and encased her curves like a glove. Her hair was haphazardly pinned on top of her head to keep it out of the way.
Howard looked at Sheldon curiously. The Texan was wearing tight linen pants, a white cotton shirt that was loosely laced up to mid chest, pirate boots that rose over the knees, and a wide leather belt with a brass buckle. There was an actual, honest-to-god blunderbuss tucked into the back of his pants.
"What is going on in here?" demanded Leonard loudly.
Penny and Sheldon looked at each other with confusion before turning back to Leonard. "We are making costumes," Sheldon said calmly.
Penny laid the leather braided whip she held on the sofa and held out her arms to twirl slowly. "Sheldon and I are making pirate costumes," she said with a smile. Sheldon quirked an eyebrow at her and she rolled her eyes in return. "Okay, Sheldon is making the costumes and I'm just standing still."
Leonard gawked at them for a couple of seconds. Now that he knew his suspicions were faulty he wasn't sure what to say. Raj leaned in and whispered in Howard's ear. Howard nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I'm a bit confused as well."
Sheldon sniffed with annoyance. "It's very simple. Penny and I are attending a party to commemorate International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Rather than wear cheaply made, inauthentic costumes that do not fit correctly, we are making our own."
Leonard was silent for a couple more seconds before his eyes narrowed angrily. "You're going to a party? Together? Sheldon, may I speak to you in the hall?"
Sheldon sighed in a put-upon manner and stepped into the hallway. Leonard slammed the door behind them. He rounded on his roommate, hands clenched.
"In case you forgot, I saw Penny first!" Leonard growled. "I called dibs! We're going to have smart and beautiful babies!"
Sheldon flinched from Leonard's diatribe. "What does that have to do with me?"
"You can't invite her to a party!" Leonard hissed. "Since when do you even go to parties?!"
Sheldon fidgeted anxiously. "I did not invite Penny to a party. She invited me."
Leonard jerked back slightly. "What?"
Sheldon nodded quickly. "This is her idea. She came over and asked me last Saturday."
Leonard's shoulders slumped and the fight drained out of him. "Why would she ask you?" he muttered. "I'm the one who loves her."
"Maybe because Sheldon would go with me and have fun," Penny said behind them. Lenard and Sheldon both looked over with surprise to see her standing in the open door, arms crossed. "He wouldn't think it was something it's not. Leonard, you're a good friend and a sweet guy, but I'm not interested in dating you."
Leonard's cheeks flushed with embarrassment and anger. "Why? Because I'm not some brain-dead body builder?"
Penny shook her head and took a moment to steel herself for his response. "No. It's because you're kind of creepy sometimes."
Everyone looked at her with shock. Leonard sputtered loudly. "Creepy?! Howard is the creepy one! Sheldon is always insulting you! I'm the nice guy!"
Penny shook her head. "Leonard, don't get me wrong. I do like you, as a friend, but you're still a bit weird at times. Like insisting we would have smart babies. Or calling dibs. Or stealing my mail. Or tricking me into going out with you. Howard's a pervert, but he's upfront and honest about it. Raj is the nice guy. And yeah, Sheldon can be insulting, but the things he says are mostly just tactless."
Penny shrugged one shoulder. "Look, you're a typical guy, always chasing girls, and there's nothing wrong with that, but the way you do it is dishonest. Like the whole dibs thing, and the deceit. I put a lot of value on honesty. That's why I asked Sheldon to go with me. I know he can be trusted. Besides, Sheldon's my best friend. We have a lot of fun together."
Sheldon moved to stand beside Penny. "I'm your best friend?" he asked softly.
Penny smiled up at him and patted his arm. "Of course you are, Moon Pie. My best friend, my nemesis, my beautiful mind, and in two weeks, my fellow sea dog. Let's get this shirt pieced together and I'll treat you to pizza."
Howard, Raj and Leonard watched silently as Penny and Sheldon walked back into 4B and shut the door. Leonard wanted to burst into her apartment and argue that she was wrong. He loves her and he's the good guy! He knows he is!
Howard laid a hand on Leonard's shoulder and shook his head. "Don't do it, man. She's right, and deep down, you know it."
"I love her!" Leonard whined.
Raj shook his head. "So? Who says she has to love you back?"
Leonard tried to think of an argument but Howard and Raj just turned and walked into 4A. "Dude, Penny said I was the nice guy," Raj whispered happily.
Sheldon shivered as Penny's hands settled on his shoulders. The party consisted of about thirty people. Surprisingly, Sheldon knew a couple of them. Glen Foster had been in Germany while Sheldon was a guest lecturer. He studied dead languages. His wife was both Charlie's and Penny's agent, which was how she knew them. Two of his students, Megan Douglas and Hannah Wicket were there also. He was surprised to see they were a couple. They sat on opposite sides of class and he would have never guessed they even knew one another, much less planned to marry as soon as they graduated. They were also involved with the local community theater, which is how Penny and Charlie met them.
The music started and he took a deep breath before leading Penny through the steps of the polka. He had to admit that so far it had been a pleasant night. Charlie was welcoming but didn't crowd him. Penny's other friends had been just as happy to include him, but give him plenty of space. Plus, no one had tried to shake his hand and, several had been suitably impressed when Penny gave him all the credit for their costumes. No one had looked at him like he was an oddball or weirdo when he spoke.
"Okay there, sweetie?" Penny asked softly.
He looked down at her concerned expression and nodded. "To my surprise, I have enjoyed the evening very much. Thank you for inviting me, Penny."
She frowned and gave her head a little shake. "I don't see why you're surprised. Did you think my friends would be snobs?"
He shrugged self-consciously. "I have never fit in anywhere, Penny. All my life it has been pointed out that I am an odd duck."
Penny stopped dancing and placed her hands on his upper arms. "Maybe in Texas. Maybe in those snooty labs. But here, in real life? Maybe you're smarter than everyone else in the room, but none of them care about that. All they want is for you to have as much fun as they do. They want you to like them as much as I want them to like you."
"This matters a great deal to you," he realized aloud. "Why?"
She smiled, momentarily dazzling him. "You're my best friend, silly." Penny pulled him back into the moves of the polka while he considered her words. When the music stopped Sheldon held onto her hand until she looked up at him.
Sheldon swallowed nervously. "Penny, until tonight I thought Leonard was my best friend. We room together, share an interest in comics, sci-fi and science. However, Leonard has never been concerned with whether I fit in, nor have I worried about his social standing. Neither of us has ever defended the other. Looking at our relationship, I have to admit that what Leonard and I have may possibly be a friendship, but not of the 'Best Friend' variety."
Penny smiled softly up at him and he relaxed enough to continue confidently. "You and I share few interests. We have different jobs, different likes, different lifestyles, but you have always been on my side. Even when I frustrate you, you still care about me. I have done things for you, tolerated behaviors from you, that I would never have done for anyone else. I am honored to be your best friend, and lucky to have you as mine."
Tears formed in the corners of Penny's eyes and she sniffled loudly. "Moon Pie, if you don't let me hug you, I'm going to burst into tears right here."
Sheldon blushed and loosely wrapped his arms around her shoulders. Penny buried her face in the folds of his poofy shirt. He had no clue how long they would have stood there if Charlie hadn't announced a new game. They separated, sharing a smile before heading over to play Pin the Beard on the Pirate. Sheldon made a mental note to talk to Penny later about making this a yearly thing for the two of them.
A/N: I have to be honest. I'm still just a wee bit in love with the idea of Sheldon and Penny being best friends (or more). I'm also a little bit obsessed with ITLAP Day and Towel Day. I'd rather celebrate those holidays than most other holidays.