Penny had had a long day at work, and all she wanted to do when she got back to her apartment was crash on her couch with a bottle of wine. What she didn't want was to have to deal with the whack-a-doodle who was getting his mail when she walked in. He had been acting strangely (or at least more strangely than normal) around her for the past few weeks, but she had been too tired from her dead end job and from trying to make her boyfriend happy, that she hadn't cared to find out why.

"Hi Sheldon," she said tiredly as she walked over to get her mail.

"Hi Penny," he replied, before standing there patiently waiting for her to get her mail. They climbed the stairs in silence, Penny dragging her tired feet up the stairs, desperately hoping Leonard didn't come knocking on her door hoping for sex. On the third floor landing, Sheldon calmly asked, as if he was asking nothing more than how her day had went, "Penny, will you marry me?"

Penny stopped dead and turned and stared at him, her tired feet and comfy couch completely gone from her mind.

"What!?" she finally choked out after gaping at him for several seconds, trying to process if she'd really heard what she thought she had.

"I asked if you would marry me," he replied, not understanding why she needed him to repeat himself. It was a simple question, she shouldn't have any trouble understanding it.

"Ok, one more time…"

"Will you marry me?" Sheldon repeated for the third time.

So she hadn't just imagined that he'd just asked that. Finally shaking herself from her shock, she said, "Umm...why?"

She was with Leonard, and Sheldon was… well, whatever he was with Amy; why on earth could he possibly be asking her to marry him? And was he actually serious? He certainly looked like he was.

"If we were to get married, you would no longer be trapped by Leonard in your current relationship that is slowly killing you, and Amy could no longer pressure me into physical intimacy that I have no interest in. Additionally, since I make more than ample money, you could quit your job at the Cheesecake Factory and focus full time on your acting career," he answered, looking at her expectantly.

Her brain only half processed what he'd said, too stunned by the fact that he appeared to be dead serious.

"My apartment, now." she said, before turning and high tailing it to her apartment. The last thing she wanted was for Leonard walk up on them in the middle of this conversation, whatever it was.

She had made it halfway to her kitchen when she heard the door shut and lock behind her. She made two cups of tea, using the silence to process everything that he had said. Sheldon had taken his spot on her couch, and was waiting patiently for her to finish making their tea. Even though she didn't want to admit it, deep down she knew he was right in saying that her relationship with Leonard was slowly destroying her; she'd taken up drinking heavily again, just so she could put up with him. She had no clue what was going on with Sheldon's apparent relationship with Amy, but he'd never lied to her before, so if he said Amy that was pushing him into intimacy that he wasn't comfortable with, she believed him. The offer that she quit waitressing and try full time to be an actress was...different.

She walked back over to where he was sitting and handed him one of the two tea cups she was holding, before sitting down herself.

"But sweetie, we don't love each other," she said after a moment, looking up at him.

"Do we not?" he challenged. "It may not be the emotional, 'in-love' feelings that you consider to be love, but I would argue that we love each other far more than that. No matter how much we fight and irritate each other, we are always back to being friends within a day or two. We don't try to change each other, because we have both accepted the other's quirks as simply part of who we are. We always take care of each other when the other is sick or injured. I have become your shoulder to cry on when my roommate has been especially dense. You defended and comforted me after my supposed friends betrayed me in the Arctic. We are completely opposite in every way, and yet we are still best friends. I for one cannot picture my future life without you being in it."

As Sheldon spoke, Penny carefully thought about everything he was saying; it was all true, and the more she thought about it, the more she realized that for someone who seemed mostly incapable of showing his emotions, those kinds of actions might actually be the closest he could come to expressing that he loved her. She also realized that she cared for him more than she had ever realized, and despite his whack-a-doodle-ness, she couldn't really picture the rest of her life without him being a major part of it, either.

Taking a few moments to gather her thoughts, she replied, "You do understand that marriage is forever, right?"

"Of course," he responded, nodding his head.

This whole time, Penny hadn't let herself actually think about whether she might actually seriously consider doing this. She had just been trying to figure out what on earth Sheldon was up to. But since he seemed to be completely serious about the whole thing, she had one more important question to ask before she did make herself actually think about it.

"And you understand that if I were to marry you, you would have to have sex with me, and fairly frequently, right? Which is as physically intimate as you can get, and you just said you were trying to avoid physical intimacy by marrying me."

"What I said was, I have no interest in physical intimacy with Amy, which she is pressing me into."

It took Penny a moment to translate what he had just said. When she thought she had, she asked, "Are you saying you do have an interest in physical intimacy with me?"

"Yes and no. I have no interest in physical intimacy with Amy. Or any other girl. But while I do not have any strong desire to be physically intimate with you, I am also not opposed to the idea. I do not wish to marry you so that I can have coitus with you, but at the same time I am not opposed to having coitus with you. Physical intimacy in no way affects my desire to marry you, though I was aware as I thought this through that you would more than likely desire there to be a physical intimacy element to our marriage, since you do like physical intimacy."

"So just to be 100% clear, if we were to get married, you would have sex with me, and a lot of it?" Penny clarified, pretty sure that that's what he had said, but wanting to make completely sure.


"Give me a little bit of time alone to think all this through, okay," Penny replied, standing up and looking down at him. "But stay here while I do, so that if I have any questions, I can ask you. And if Leonard comes knocking, just be silent and pretend nobody's in here, I don't want him interrupting." And with that, she turned and walked to her bedroom, shutting the door behind her.

Looking around him, Sheldon decided to straighten up her living room and kitchen while he waited.

Penny collapsed onto her bed face-first, momentarily shutting off her brain, and let all the stress and tiredness flow out of her. After a few minutes, she turned her brain back on, and began thinking about everything Sheldon had said.

He was definitely right in saying that her relationship with Leonard was destroying her; so whatever other conclusions she came to, she was certainly breaking up with Leonard tonight.

She didn't really know Amy particularly well, but given the fact that the woman had declared her to be her bestie without ever giving her any say in the matter, she could easily believe that the woman was pushing Sheldon into physical intimacy with her, despite his aversion to it. She didn't like seeing Sheldon forced into anything he didn't want to do, but she really didn't approve of Sheldon being forced into physical intimacy; he was far too innocent to allow someone to do that to him. And given how tenacious the woman was about trying to force Penny to be her "bestie ", Penny knew the woman would never give up on trying to force Sheldon to be intimate with her; and that made Penny want to protect him even more.

The whole actressing thing was kind of weird, but she supposed it was Sheldon's way of trying to be nice to her and support her dreams. She wasn't sure yet if she'd actually take him up on that offer, but there would be time to figure that out later.

She definitely cared about Sheldon a lot, and he appeared to care about her more than he did any other person. She wasn't sure yet if she just cared about him as a friend, or something more. She also wasn't sure he was really capable of what she considered 'love', but on the other hand, she had little doubt that if they got married, he would always take care of her.

He certainly wouldn't ever cheat on her, or divorce her, that much she knew about him and he'd made clear. He had the same repulsion to and hatred of cheating that she did.

He was apparently more than willing to have sex with her, which had completely taken her by surprise; but now that she thought back over her time of knowing him, she had always been the one he'd been most comfortable with touching him. Other than Meemaw, she'd never seen or heard of him hugging anyone other than herself. And he didn't shy away from her touch as much as he did from everyone else. She was willing to take it slow with him, but he seemed to be okay with the whole thing if it was with her; when he clearly wasn't with Amy, and had no problem saying so.

So now she had to actually think about whether she could spend the rest of her life with her MoonPie. Despite how crazy and irritating he could be sometimes, she really couldn't imagine her life without him being a part of it. She had never really thought about it before, but he was completely ingrained into her life, and him not being there would just feel wrong. Subconsciously she guessed she had always assumed they'd be friends and next-door neighbors forever, however unrealistic that might be. But now thinking about living with him and being married to him for the rest of her life, she realized that she wasn't really opposed to that.

Sure, they fought, but they always made up. They didn't have to change each other to get along. He liked her for who she was, not just how she looked. They were best friends, even if she hadn't thought about it much before then. And if anyone ever dared hurt her MoonPie, she'd go full junior rodeo on them faster than the precious speed of light in a vacuum he was always going on about.

After an hour or so, she finally opened the door to her bedroom, and walked back into the now spotless living room and kitchen, where Sheldon was just putting away her last dishes; and she found herself smiling slightly, not the least bit irritated at the fact he'd cleaned her apartment while she was thinking.

Sometime during her thinking, she had heard Leonard knocking at her door, most likely hoping to get in a quick round of sex before he went to get supper, but after several attempts with no answer, he'd finally given up and left.

She sat down on the couch, and waited until Sheldon had put away the last dish and joined her on the couch.

"How would we actually do this?" she asked, once he had settled into his spot and looked at her, silently signaling her to begin. "I'm still currently dating Leonard, and it sounds like you have something with Amy. We can't cheat on them by getting married, we both hate cheating."

"For you and Leonard, he is currently across the hall eating supper, so it would be easy to go over there and break up with him. As for Amy and I, we have no mutually agreed upon romantic relationship, therefore it would be impossible for me to cheat on her. We would obviously need to tell her at some point soon since she will undoubtedly claim that we are in a relationship, but since she never asked and I never agreed to date her, we are not in a relationship, and therefore I cannot cheat on her by marrying you. I also believe it would not be cheating for you to agree to marry me now before you go over and break up with Leonard. You will have already determined that you are breaking up with him, you will be about to go over and break up with him, and nothing will have occurred between us other than a discussion and the promise to marry one another. And since we both know Leonard will not approve, already being engaged will prevent Leonard from being able to do anything to keep us from getting engaged."

Penny thought about it for a few seconds, before saying, "All right. Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper, I will marry you."

At this, Sheldon pulled a small box out of his pocket, and opening it, pulled out an engagement ring.

"I apologize for it not being diamond, but I had it made with multi-colored stones to match your Penny Blossoms," he said as he slipped the ring on her finger.

Standing up, he said, "We should go tell Leonard now."

Penny stood up next to him and nodded, and they headed towards the door.

Walking into apartment 4A, they found Leonard sitting on the couch, flipping through tv stations. When he saw them enter he turned the tv off, and looking up at them, said, "Oh, there you guys are. I was just about to go looking for Sheldon. It's not like him to miss Thai night."

Sheldon and Penny walked to the middle of the room to stand in front of him, and Penny put her hands behind her back to momentarily hide the ring.

"Leonard, Sheldon and I have a few things we need to tell you. First off, I am breaking up with you. I am tired of being treated as nothing more than a pretty object to be shown off. I am done slowly drinking my life away just so that I can stand to be with you. You try to pretend to be the 'nice guy', but you don't support my dreams of an acting career, and you don't appreciate me for who I am, only how I look. You've never trusted me, and you're constantly trying to change me, instead of accepting who I am. So I am breaking up with you. Oh, and Sheldon and I are engaged."

At this, she brought her hands back in front of her, with the ring out front and visible.

"We know you aren't going to like this, and we understand that, which is why we're telling you now instead of later. But before you try to change our minds, it's already done," she finished, holding up her left hand and wiggling her fingers a bit to show off the ring.

Leonard stared at them, frozen for the moment, waiting for the bazinga. When it never came, he finally exclaimed, "You're breaking up with me!? And marrying him!?"

"Yes Leonard, that is what she said," replied Sheldon in his condescending voice. "Do you need to have your ears checked out?"

Penny nudged him in his side.

"But…" Leonard stuttered, trying to wrap his mind around what was happening. His mind finally settled on the conclusion that his girlfriend had gotten engaged to Sheldon while she was still dating him.

"How could you cheat on me!? And how long have you been cheating on me?" he yelled, standing up and storming over to where Penny and Sheldon were standing.

"I haven't, Leonard," Penny said patiently, not expecting Leonard to ever accept that she had not cheated on him. "An hour and a half ago, I arrived here from work, never having given Sheldon, or any other guy, the slightest consideration. On the way up the stairs, Sheldon asked if I would marry him, and after a long discussion, I realized that I had loved him for a long time, and he me, without either of us realizing it, and that marrying him is the best decision I could make. So I agreed to marry him, and then I came straight over here to formally break up with you. Sheldon and I have not kissed, we have not even physically came in contact with one another the whole time we've been discussing this except when he slid the engagement ring on my finger right before we came over here. And any physical contact in the past was strictly due to friendship, and you were present for most of it, and know perfectly well that it was not in any way romantic. Nothing more than a discussion and agreement as friends took place between Sheldon and I before I just broke up with you, therefore I have in no way cheated on you. I do not expect you to be happy about it, I know I would not be if I was in your position, but I did not cheat on you."

Leonard just stared at both of them as if they'd grown two heads, and this was all just a bad dream. After several awkward moments of silence, Sheldon said, "Well, now that that's over with…"

Normally, Penny would have told Sheldon to shut up, that they needed to give Leonard a chance to ask whatever questions he had, but at the moment she felt like Sheldon had the right idea. Leonard would undoubtedly have a few things to say once he processed everything, but at the moment his brain seemed to be shorted out, and it seemed like a good opportunity to escape before his brain rebooted and he started yelling at them again.

Looking up at Sheldon she said quietly, "I think it's probably best we sleep in my apartment tonight."

When he didn't understand what she was saying, she pushed him back towards his room, and once they got closer, she whispered to him to get his pajamas and some clothes for the next morning. Penny stood in his doorway as he went from drawer to drawer collecting things. Once he'd gathered a few things and carefully placed them into his bag, they walked back through the living room, past where Leonard was still short-circuiting, and across the hall to 4B.

Once they had settled down, Penny asked, "So when are we getting married, when are you going to tell Amy, and where are we going to live?"

"We can get married whenever you like," Sheldon replied, "But preferably soon, before Leonard calls my mother and she comes out here to try to break us apart and put you back with Leonard and me back with Amy. As for telling Amy, I was thinking we could get everyone together to tell them all as soon as we are married. For where to live, we can temporarily live in your apartment until we see how Leonard is going to take all of this. We could live over there, since there is no applicable clause in the roommate agreement for if one party gets married, but I doubt we would like to be around Leonard until he has gotten over his anger. But my guess is that he will sever the roommate agreement in a storm of fury, hoping it will cause me to break up with you, since he believes I can't survive without him. In which case my apartment will be ours, which is preferable."

"Sounds good," Penny replied. "But do you really think that your mom will come out here to try to break us up? I mean, I can certainly see Leonard telling her out of spite that we're engaged, but will she really come out here and break us apart?"

"If Leonard told her we were engaged, she would rush out here to force us into a full-blown wedding, which if I'm not mistaken, neither of us wants. But I fear Leonard will not actually tell her we are engaged. More likely he will attempt to spin it into some story about the slut across the hall stealing me away from my girlfriend Amy and forcing me to marry her under duress."

"Okay, that I can understand," Penny said. "And yeah, I'd be pissed off too if that's the story I heard. And I assume you're not planning on telling your mom until after you're married to me, so she can't demand that you wait and have a full wedding. What about your Meemaw, it seems like she might understand, could she control your mom?"

"No one can control my mom when she gets an idea inside her head," answered Sheldon with a shake of his head. "As for Meemaw, I already told her that I was planning on asking you to marry me. She is the one I've been talking to about Amy's attempts to force me into a relationship, and about your doomed relationship with Leonard. She's the one who helped me understand that I like you and will always care for you. She might have suggested that I try to woo you, but she did not try to stop me when I told her my plans to ask you to marry me. And she understands my desire not to have a wedding. Though she did insist we come visit her at some point."

Penny smiled as he spoke; the amount he cared for Meemaw clearly showed through. "All right then, how about we go down to the courthouse tomorrow morning, and get married? I know Saturday morning is usually paintball, but perhaps this once you could change your routine and marry me instead?" She batted her eyelashes at him, giving him her best puppy-dog look.

Sheldon just rolled his eyes before replying in an air of long-suffering, "Perhaps this once. Though you may have to dust off your paintball gear and start joining the physics team. I would not be surprised if Leonard decided to take some time off to sulk and try to spite me."

The following morning, Sheldon dragged Penny to the courthouse as soon as it opened. On the drive over there, Penny asked him, "Do you even have wedding rings?", trying to stifle a yawn. Who the hell got married at 8 in the frikin' morning!?

"Of course I have wedding rings, Penny!" he reprimanded her. "Did you really expect me to ask you to marry me without planning everything out?"

Of course the whack-a-doodle has everything planned out. "Okay, okay, just checking." After a few seconds, she added, "Can we at least stop by a coffee shop so I can get some coffee? It wouldn't do for me to fall asleep while we're getting married, and you dragged me out of the apartment before I could get any coffee."

Sheldon wanted to retort that she should have gotten up earlier so she would have had time to make coffee, but decided that even though she was about to be his wife, her throat-punches-before-11-o'clock rule would probably still apply, even though she fortunately hadn't punched him when he woke her up that morning. So he instead sighed and said 'yes'.

As she waited on her coffee, she asked him, "Since you have everything planned out, does that include a honeymoon?"

"While I have plenty of money stored away for a honeymoon wherever you would like to go, since I did not know for sure when you would agree to marry me, I did not plan a trip," Sheldon replied. "Additionally, I thought we should probably plan it together, and take it whenever suited us both best."

At 8:15 they pulled into the courthouse parking lot, and strolled into the courthouse. Sheldon had dressed up in jeans, with a TARDIS Blue 12th Doctor t-shirt and a red long-sleeve under it. Penny had worn a blue Clara shirt she'd picked up few months earlier since she knew he'd like it, but hadn't had a chance to wear yet; along with a short skirt, and coffee cup still in hand.

As they left the courthouse, now happily married newlyweds, Penny said, "Only with you would I get married before I ever kissed the guy I was marrying."

Before Sheldon could respond, his phone dinged with a new text message from his mom; I just landed in L.A. Sheldon showed it to Penny, and then said, "Perhaps we should invite all of our friends out to lunch to tell them, and then meet my mom for supper."

"Sounds good to me," replied Penny. "Cheesecake Factory for lunch, and maybe that Italian restaurant you're okay with for a nicer meal with your mother?"

Sheldon agreed, and they quickly sent out texts to everyone inviting them to lunch. Sheldon then texted his mom to tell her to meet them at 6 that evening for supper. After they finished texting everyone, they wandered over to the park across the street so that Sheldon could call Meemaw and tell her they were married.

Just before lunch time, they pulled into the parking lot of the Cheesecake Factory. Everyone else was already there waiting for them, and they were soon seated: Sheldon and Penny, Howard and Bernadette, Raj, and Amy. Leonard didn't show up. Once everyone had ordered their drinks, Penny couldn't hold back anymore and decided to break the news.

"So, we have some exciting news, guys!" Penny beamed, looking around at everyone, barely able to contain herself. But before she could spill the news, Sheldon intoned in a rather bored voice, "Penny and I are married," and held up her and his left hands as proof. The whole time he was saying this, he never looked up from studying his menu, despite the fact he always got exactly the same thing.

"Sheldon!" she playfully reprimanded him, swatting him lightly on the arm, "You could sound just a tad bit more enthusiastic about it."

"I'm hungry," he whined in return, "and you were taking forever to get to the point."

Penny just shook her head and rolled her eyes at her crazy whack-a-doodle husband, and looking back at the rest of them, said, "What he said," before picking up her menu and skimming it, pretending to look for something good to eat, despite the fact she worked there and had the menu memorized, waiting for the ensuing fireworks to begin.

For a few moments, everyone just stared at them in shock, before everyone started talking at the same time (well, except for Raj, who couldn't say anything, but was beaming).

Bernadette exclaimed, "Finally! It's taken you two long enough to figure it out!"

Howard dumfoundedly mumbled, "You two?! But I thought you were with Leonard last time I saw you guys, and Amy was trying to get Sheldon into a relationship. And what about the sex? Ooh, yeah, what about the sex," perking up at the end.

And Amy practically stood up and leaned over the table at Sheldon yelling, "You're cheating on me with her!? After I've spent the last six months trying to acclimate you to my touch, trying to make you more human and datable, and you run off with my bestie!?"

By this point almost all of the decent sized crowd in the restaurant was staring at them, and the restaurant was dead silent except for the echos of Amy's yelling. Once Amy realized everyone in the restaurant was staring at her, including everyone at her own table, she sat back down, before whispering harshly at Sheldon, "We are not done talking about this!" Turning towards Penny she added, "And you, young woman! How could you cheat on poor Leonard, who has never been anything but the absolutely nicest guy to you! I will be talking to Leonard as soon as we leave here."

As Amy sat back down, everyone else in the restaurant's attention had returned to their own tables, and the restaurant returned to it's usual hubbub.

Penny started with Bernadette, saying, "Thank you Bernadette, for your support, and now that we've realized we love each other, we're wondering how it took us this long to see it as well. Though my relationship with Leonard was kind of preventing me from really seeing much of anything, and you know how emotionally clueless Sheldon here is. But we're really happy now that we've figured it out."

Turning to Howard, she said, "Yes, Sheldon and I. And yes, I was with Leonard until I broke up with him last night, and Amy clearly has been trying to force Sheldon into a relationship for some time. As for sex, we haven't had any yet, but it was part of the deal. And no, you will never be getting any details."

Looking at Raj, she added, "Given the smile on your face, I'm going to assume you're happy for us, but since you can't talk I can't really be sure."

Raj leaned over and whispered into Howard's ear, who then said with a roll of his eyes, "Yes, he's happy for you both."

Penny looked up at Sheldon, letting him deal with Amy.

Sheldon looked Amy straight in face, and said, "I cannot have possibly cheated on you when we were never together. As for the fact you've spent the last six months trying to change me and force me into a relationship and physical intimacy that I clearly did not want, that was one of the main reasons that drove me towards Penny in the first place. And Penny has in no way cheated on Leonard, either. Penny had already decided to break up with Leonard before she accepted my marriage proposal, and the only reason she accepted my proposal before actually breaking up with Leonard was so that we would already be engaged before we told Leonard, so that it would already be done and he couldn't try to do anything to prevent us from getting engaged. And other than the proposal and resulting discussion and acceptance, nothing occurred between us before telling Leonard. I will ignore the remark about Leonard being the 'nice guy', and merely say that while you are of course more than welcome to talk to Leonard all you desire, we are done discussing this."

Before Amy could respond, the waitress arrived with their drinks, momentarily delaying any potential arguments. As Amy sat there watching the waitress pass out drinks and take orders, she got angrier and angrier, until she felt like she was about to explode. All her hard work trying to make him normal and touchable, down the drain. All because this floozy, who she used to think was her bestie, had apparently somehow made him agree to touch her against his will. So, when the waitress got to her, after everything Sheldon had just said, she decided she'd had enough. Standing up, she stormed away from the table and out of the restaurant, pulling out her phone to call Leonard.

After Amy left, and an awkward silence reigned for a few minutes, Bernadette asked, "So how did you two end up married so quickly?"

"Well…" said Penny slowly, before deciding to just come out with the whole story. "I was walking up the stairs to my apartment last night with Sheldon when out of the blue he asked me to marry him. I asked him why he wanted to marry me, he gave his reasons, we discussed it, I hid in my bedroom thinking about it for an hour or so, we talked a little bit more, and I decided to accept his proposal. Then we went over to 4A, I formally broke up with Leonard, and we told him we were engaged. And we haven't seen him since then, since he isn't here at lunch and we slept in my apartment last night. Although he clearly didn't take it too well, because he called Sheldon's mother sometime last night, and she flew into town early this morning. Then, this morning, we went to the courthouse way too bright and early, and got married. Just like this."

Bernadette, Howard and Raj just stared at her and Sheldon for several minutes.

That evening, they met Mary Cooper for supper. They had spent the afternoon wandering around the city, avoided Sheldon and Penny's apartments where they knew Mrs. Cooper (and possibly Leonard or Amy) would be lying in ambush.

As soon as Sheldon got out of the passenger's seat of the car, Mary began a tirade about what she was going to do to that slut whenever she found her, and how she'd save her poor baby, not to worry, and how she'd have him back with his soulmate Amy in no time flat.

Sheldon tried several times to get his mother's attention so that he could speak, but she just kept talking over him, raising her voice every time he spoke trying to get her attention.

Finally, Penny whistled shrilly, bringing Mary's tirade to an abrupt halt, and causing her to notice the blonde for the first time.

"Mother," Sheldon began again in a normal tone, "this is my wife, Penny," pointing across the car to where Penny was still standing next to the driver's side door.

Penny gave a shy wave as the older woman stared at her, and Sheldon walked around the car to stand next to Penny, and wrapped his arm around her waist.

"Is that the promiscuous woman from across the hall that Leonard told me had tricked you and forced you to marry her," Mary said with a growl, ignoring Penny.

"While Penny was my next door neighbor for the past several years, and she is the one Leonard told you about, she did not trick me or force me to marry her. I was the one who asked her to marry me. And if you ask Meemaw, she will inform you that I have been talking with her for weeks about Penny, and she was the one who helped me realize that I love Penny, and she loves me back, and convinced me that I should ask Penny to marry me."

"But what about Amy, your soulmate?" asked Mary, finally glancing over at Penny and giving her a once-over.

"Amy was never more than a friend and colleague. She gave me someone highly intelligent to talk with, but I have never felt anything towards her other than friendship. When she started trying to change me into being 'normal', and tried to push me towards physical intimacy with her, is when I started talking to Meemaw. Discussions which eventually led to me asking Penny to marry me."

"What about you?" Mary asked, finally turning towards Penny with a slightly icy glare. "Weren't you with Sheldon's roommate last time I heard?"

"Yes ma'am, but we broke up. Thanks to Sheldon, I realized that that relationship was slowly destroying me, and was able to end it before I got too stuck," replied Penny. No need to tell her that I broke up with Leonard after accepting Sheldon's proposal.

At this, Mary finally relented to enter the restaurant and have supper.

As soon as they were seated, Mary began relentlessly drilling them.

"When did you two start dating?"

"We didn't," answered Penny.

"What do you mean you didn't?"

"I simply asked her to marry me, and she said yes," replied Sheldon.

"You never dated each other!?"

"Well, to be honest, we've kind of dated each other without knowing it for all the years I've lived across the hall," responded Penny.

"But that's not the same as dating!"

"Fine. Have you at least started thinking about when to have your wedding?"

"We're already married, mother," stated Sheldon.

"What do you mean you're already married?"

"We got married at the courthouse this morning," said Penny.

"You're not having a wedding!?"

"You are most certainly having a wedding, Sheldon Lee Cooper!"

"I insist!"

"There will be no wedding, mother. Penny and I are already married, and neither of us has any desire to have a wedding, therefore there will not be one," stated Sheldon.

"We do have wedding photos, though," said Penny cheerily, pulling out her phone.

She pulled up the selfie of her and Sheldon in the courthouse with the minister. Sheldon had taken the photo with his long arms, left hand held up showing his ring; Penny had her right arm wrapped around his waist, and was holding up her left hand to show off her ring; the hand which still held the coffee cup she'd made Sheldon let her pick up on the way there. The minister stood on the other side of Penny, in his suit, while Sheldon and Penny had on their matching Doctor Who shirts and jeans and skirt; the same clothes they were still wearing.

She flicked sideways to show the next picture, where she'd gotten the clerk to take a more formal picture of them with the minister.

"There are a few other pictures as well, which I can email you, but as you can see, we're married and have photos, we don't need a full-blown wedding," finished Penny.

Mary stared at them like they'd grown an extra pair of heads.

Eventually she stuttered, "That wasn't a wedding, those aren't wedding photos!"

"They're good enough for us," replied Penny, "aren't they MoonPie?"

"Yes, mother. They are."

"We aren't a normal couple, Mrs. Cooper," continued Penny. "We don't need a conventional wedding. We're happy together, and we will always take care of each other; that's all that matters."

The rest of supper was finished in uncomfortable silence. When they walked out of the restaurant, Mary said, "We are not done talking about this," before turning and heading to her car.

As Sheldon and Penny turned the corner to the final stairs to the fourth floor, they saw Leonard and Amy waiting for them on the fourth floor landing.

Penny leaned over and whispered to Sheldon, "This should be fun."

As they climbed the final steps, Leonard pushed open the door to 4A, and both Leonard and Amy moved to stand in the middle of the landing between the newcomers and 4B. When Sheldon and Penny stepped onto the landing, they glanced briefly at the open door to 4A, before turning towards Leonard and Amy, and staring at them. After a few minute stare-off, Leonard finally grudgingly asked, "Will you two please come into 4A for a minute to talk?"

"Of course, Leonard!" Penny responded overly brightly, dripping with insincerity. "We'd love to!"

A minute later, they were all seated in the living room; Sheldon and Penny in their spots on the couch, and Leonard and Amy in the two chairs. Sheldon and Penny waited patiently for the other two to begin.

"Sheldon, Penny," began Leonard with an air of superiority, "this is an intervention, to prevent both of you from making a huge mistake. Sheldon, we all know that you don't understand social conventions, so we're just trying to help you understand. And Penny, we just want to remind you of what you already know. Sheldon, Penny, there is no way a relationship between you two can work."

Amy picked up, "You two are complete opposites in every way. Penny is messy, outgoing, not at your intellectual level, and can't talk work with you. Penny, Sheldon is rigidly strict and unyielding, and would drive you crazy with all of his rules. And he will never be able to sexually provide for you, he can barely even stand to occasionally be touched."

Leonard picked back up, "Sheldon, Amy is a much better partner for you. She is much closer intellectually, she won't try to pressure you into physical intimacy faster than you are comfortable with like Penny will, and she would never try to change you."

Amy then said, "And Penny, Leonard is much more compatible for you. He won't constantly insult you like Sheldon will, he is able to satisfy you sexually, and he won't drive you crazy with any rules."

"Okay, I'm going to stop you guys right there," interrupted Penny. "See these thin bands of mostly element 79, with highly pressurized chunks of carbon in mine? They're really there. And I don't know if you guys take what they mean seriously, but we do. So no matter what arguments you make, these circles overrule any and all arguments you can make. Oh, and believe me, Leonard is far from able to satisfy me sexually."

This last comment caused both Leonard and Amy to gasp, and Sheldon to smirk.

After a few seconds, Leonard composed himself, and with an air of pretend patience, said, "Penny, it's not that we don't take marriage seriously, but think about it; it wasn't even a wedding. So does it really even count? And anyway, isn't it better to realize what a mistake it is now and go ahead and get it annulled so each of you can be with your soulmate, than to realize it a few months down the road?"

Amy was about to add something when Sheldon cut her off. "And I suppose you think our soulmates are you and Amy, don't you? In case you weren't paying attention last night, Penny explained to you why she was breaking up with you. As for Amy and I, one main reason I asked Penny to marry me was because Amy was trying to change me and force me to be physically intimate with her, despite the fact we were never dating and I clearly expressed repeatedly for her to keep her hands to herself, which she resolutely ignored."

"But what about Penny!?" shouted Leonard. "There's no way she would agree to marry you without ever having sex!"

Penny was getting tired of Leonard's interference, and so decided to stir the hornets nest.

"Of course I made him agree to have sex with me! And a lot of it, too," she finished with a big smile.

Leonard just stared at Sheldon, while Amy burst out, "You agreed to have sex with her, but wouldn't even let me touch you!?"

"Penny is my wife; you are just a friend who refuses to keep her hands off of me. Plus, I have always been much more comfortable with Penny touching me, and me touching Penny, than with anyone else."

Leonard had finally had enough. Leaping up, he shouted, "Look! If you two don't break up immediately and stop this nonsense charade, I am moving in with Amy! And you two will never find your true happinesses, because we two will be together, and even when you two come crawling back to us having finally found your senses, we will refuse to break up, and you two will never find happiness!"

"Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out," replied Penny as she stood up and headed towards Sheldon's room. "I'm going to bed, sweetie," she threw over her shoulder as she walked into the hallway.

Sheldon stood up and said, "Please lock the door on your way out," before following Penny back to his room.

The next morning, they awoke to the sound of the front door closing.

"Think Leonard's back to get his stuff?" Penny asked groggily, refusing to open her eyes.

"I don't think so," replied Sheldon, "the footsteps sound too light. It's more likely my mother. Which means Leonard did not lock the door when they left last night like I asked him to do."

Penny just mumbled in response as she snuggled in closer to his chest.

What seemed like mere minutes later, she felt Sheldon shaking her awake again as he started to get up. Grumbling, she crawled out of bed. Looking down at her clothes in a pile on the floor, she gave them a slight look of revulsion, before walking over to Sheldon's closet and looking for a dress shirt his sister had given him for some Christmas that he'd never worn. She found one pretty quickly, and threw it on over her underwear that she'd slept in. She gave a quick spin to make sure it was long enough not to be too indecent, just catching Sheldon's glare for wearing one of his shirts, before heading to the bathroom.

She met him coming out of his room as she headed towards the kitchen, and they walked into the kitchen together. Sure enough, Mary Cooper was sitting on the couch (in her spot, Penny quickly noticed), waiting on them.

As soon as they entered Mary jumped up and hurried towards them. When she got to the kitchen island, she paused just long enough to spare Penny a glare at her clothing, before beginning, "I have everything all set up. We'll have the marriage two Saturday's from now, in Galveston. I've already contacted your parents, and they'll be able to make it." Turning to Penny she added disappointingly, "You're parents were very upset by the way that you got engaged without telling them."

"Oops," said Penny in a bored voice without turning away from the toaster where she was waiting for her bagel to finish toasting. "Forgot all about that. I should probably call them sometime."

"Anyways," continued Mrs. Cooper loudly, "We'll have the wedding on Saturday, Missy's working on the invitations right now. You two need to get hopping on your bridesmaids and groomsmen, but I'm sure Leonard, Howard and Raj will be more than happy to be your groomsmen, and Amy and Bernadette will do the same for you, Penny."

With her last comment she turned her attention towards Penny. Continuing to address the blonde, she said, "And I was thinking we could go looking for your dress and bridesmaids dresses this after—"

Sheldon had finally had enough. "Mother!" he shouted. "We are not having a wedding!"

"Of course you're having a wedding, son," said Mary, waving him off. "Now be quite."

Before Mary could say anything else, Sheldon stepped directly in front of her, and said in a stern voice, "This isn't your decision, mother. It is Penny and I's, alone."

Mary's anger flared up, and she said, "You think I don't have any say in my own son's wedding!?"

But Sheldon wasn't backing down. "Respectfully, no, you don't. You are not the one getting married. I am. And Penny is. You do not have any say. And on top of that, you won't listen to what either of us desires. As you have clearly proven, everything has to be your way, and what we desire is irrelevant to you. So Penny and I will be attending no wedding, whether you have one or not."

By the end, Penny was staring at her husband in just as much surprise as his mother was; only Penny was proud of her husband for sticking up for them.

"Then what about your kids!?" Mary Cooper shouted. "Are you going to cut me out of their lives, too?"

"We are not cutting you out of anything," Sheldon explained patiently. "We are simply not letting you force us into a ceremony we have no desire to go through. And additionally, we are not having any children, mother. Neither Penny nor myself desire any progeny."

"You aren't going to give me any grandchildren!?" Mary shouted.

By this point, Sheldon was getting fed up with his mother. He loved her dearly, but she was treating him like he was still a child, who couldn't survive on his own or make his own decisions about his life. "They aren't your children! It isn't your decision whether we have any progeny or not. It is our decision, and ours alone. If it matters that much to you, go pressure one of my siblings to have grandchildren. But leave Penny and I alone."

Sensing she was getting nowhere at the moment with her son, she turned on Penny. "And what do you think about all this? I notice you never stepped in to defend your fiancé."

"Sheldon is my husband, not my fiancé," Penny replied with just a touch of ice to her voice, "and I didn't step in because he didn't need me to. But since you are asking, I completely agree with everything he said. This is our life, not yours. We will be attending no weddings, and you are highly mistaken if you think you can pressure us into having children just because you want grandchildren."

Mary stared at her in shock.

Grabbing their bagels and looking over at Sheldon, Penny said, "Perhaps it would be more pleasant eating over in my apartment," before walking towards the door. Sheldon quickly followed her, and before Mrs. Cooper knew what was happening, they were across the hall.

They had just started eating when they heard the doorknob to 4B start rattling. A second later, they heard Mrs. Cooper start pounding on the door, since Sheldon had locked it when he closed it behind him, and she couldn't get in.

Penny looked over at Sheldon and said, "Perhaps we should take that honeymoon now, give your mother and perhaps even Leonard and Amy some time to come to terms with this."

Grabbing her laptop off the table and opening it, Sheldon replied, "Where would you like to go?"

A/N: I apologize slightly for being so harsh on Sheldon's mother. But so often I see her being way too overbearing and demanding, and Sheldon never has the backbone to stand up to her and just tell her to leave. And doing so wouldn't mean that Sheldon doesn't love her, or respect her, but he's a grown man, despite how Mary treats him. He's made three guys bend to all his whims and rules, I can't believe that he would really just fold to Amy or his mother. Meemaw, to an extent, because she is the one person who has truly believed in him and accepted him for who he is, but then again she would never try to change him, or make him do something he wasn't comfortable with; she would just try to explain to him why he should do something. And Penny to an extent, because she will go toe to toe with him on his best day, but also would never try to force him to do something he didn't want to. But he wouldn't fold to Amy or his mother any more than he would to Leonard, Howard or Raj. And just because she is his mother, doesn't mean he should. She has no right to control his and Penny's life. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.