I.

She had to cough multiple times in order to clear her airway.

Was this a joke? Did Sheldon and Amy all of a sudden become mastermind pranksters, and decide to use her as their first subject? It was the only logical explanation, really. Cause there was absolutely no way she was hearing what she heard. She had to look around multiple times, in her own apartment, for hidden cameras. She learned when it came to dealing with super smart scientists, like she does on a regular daily basis, anything is possible. And with the way they both stood there, twin Cheshire smiles on their faces, she had to believe her gut. There was absolutely no way.

"Oh man, I think we've broken her, Sheldon. Perhaps this wasn't a good idea after all, shall we look for a new candidate?"

The taller man in question only shook his head, "No," he eyed his neighbor curiously as she moved about her living room, her hand running over ever crevice and cranny she could find, "I think she's simply in shock. I think this is what you call a state of distress, it is understandable. What we are asking of her is rather life changing, she'd be responsible for one of the greatest minds on this planet alone. Let's give her a moment," he stated simply, fingers locked behind his back patiently.

Amy looked up at her boyfriend unsure but didn't voice her doubts. She had learned Sheldon was a jigsaw puzzle that you put together leisurely, and slowly. If you did it all at once, you were sure to get stressed out and strained. It took them both some time to come up with a suitable candidate. She suggested her cousin, Mabel, but Sheldon had immediately shot that idea down telling Amy just how foolish that idea had been. Mabel was prone to Ovarian cysts, and that would surely cause some complications with the task at hand. It was he who decided the perfect candidate was none other than his neighbor, and best friend, Penny. So, with much consideration and a hefty pros and cons list, they both agreed and made their way to her apartment.

Now they wait.

"Penny, please, I can assure you we are not joking around," he gestured to the sofa once the confused blonde looked at him, she sat, to his pleasure.

Amy and he stood before her, serious looks on their face as they propositioned her. It was then Penny realized they were indeed not joking around, they were serious, Sheldon was serious. Although she already had her answer ready, she felt like this was important enough to hear them out. Clearly there was a reason they came to her, and as both of their best friend's she felt like she owed it to them to listen.

"Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that I have POF, also known as Premature Ovarian Failure. What it means is my ovaries no longer produce eggs, and it lowers my estrogen levels incredibly. Which, in short, it means I'm infertile." Amy was curt, and straight to the point. It hurt her heart hearing that about her friend, she had no idea. In retrospect, there was no way for her to actually know, nonetheless it was devastating to hear one of your closest friends would never be able to produce children.

She opened her mouth to speak, but it was Sheldon who silenced her.

"We are very much aware that what we are asking you is life changing and can put an incredible amount of pressure on you. But we have a proposition," he stated while he retrieved papers from a manila folder he brought in, "Within these papers is a contract, we don't expect you to sign right away, of course take as much time as you need."

He stepped back, and by Amy's side again, "But the most important parts, the parts that benefit you, highlight that if you were to go through with this. If the implantation was successful, and it's confirmed you are pregnant we will pay you sixty thousand dollars," he informs her. Penny cannot lie, the numbers made her eyes widen, and she nearly started choking again.

Sixty thousand? For carrying a baby for nine months. She nearly agreed right there and then.

"Of course, there are conditions. Like, if this were to happen you wouldn't be able to drink throughout, obviously, and you'd have to spend most of your time in my apartment so I can keep an eye on you and the child's well-being. Most of it is dietary plans and schedules that we would go through if you were to accept." He said dismissively.

She was surprised when she found herself actually weighing the pros and cons of this, she did spend most of her time in 4A anyways. Only this time she was getting paid for it.

"But what if there's more than one kid."

Amy nods her head; they were aware of the chances of twins or more. They discussed this beforehand, thankfully, "If by chance you happen to conceive more than one child there will be an additional ten thousand added, per child."

She was speechless.

"We'd have to go through your medical records, and your family history. Though, of the six years we lived across the hall from each other you have not gone to the hospital for an emergency once, aside from the issue in the bathroom, so I'm fairly certain that will be a nonfactor," he explains.

Penny looks between the two of them, and she feels oddly honoured that they had come to her for this. They could've gone to anyone, much less a random stranger that a clinic suggested to them. Yet, here they stood in her living room, offering her to become the surrogate to their test-tube baby. Honoured, yes. But the money is what made the whole situation promising. She had been behind on rent again, not surprisingly. This money would help her with that, and her car. She sighed deeply and looked at the contract in her hands.

"And how would this happen? How would I be inseminated?"

She swears Sheldon wears a proud face when she uses the correct term, but she ignores it, she's too busy hearing the little noise the shopping cart makes when you complete your online purchases. Amy speaks though, "We'd go to the clinic, we already picked one out. It's completely safe and painless, and it's over really quickly. Sheldon will collect a sample of his ejaculation," Penny grimaces, "And the doctors will use a medical tool to inseminate you, painlessly."

She nods her head and flips through the contract absentmindedly.

She's heard enough, and she's pretty sure she has her answer. She pauses momentarily when she sees a clause in the contract that highlights, once she's given birth she relinquishes all rights to the child and Amy is to automatically adopt it and become it's mother. It kind of saddens her, because what if the kid comes out looking like her. It would be half her genes anyways.

But she shakes the thought out of her head and looks up at the couple in front of her. Sheldon's face indifferent as he studies her own expression, and Amy's face hopeful. She couldn't help but wonder who's idea this really was. She never thought Sheldon would be the type to want to start a family, especially now, he didn't have his Nobel yet. She refuses to ask those types of questions though, so she just nods.

"I have only two conditions," she states simply as she rolls up the contract. Amy nods, "Anything!" Sheldon gives her a glare at that.

"One, don't name the child something stupid like Spock or Sheldon Jr.," she says that pointedly at Sheldon, and he rolls his eyes and nods anyways. He wasn't even thinking to name it that…he liked Flash. "And your second condition?"

She throws the contract onto the coffee table, "No contract."

She sees Sheldon about to protest, and Amy looks rather uncomfortable, but she holds up a hand to silence both of them before they could speak. "I trust you," she says and she's looking at Sheldon, but then looks at both of them, "Both of you. I'm obviously going to do what's best your child, I know I won't be able to drink, I know I won't be able to party anymore. I'm okay with that, I don't need a contract to tell me to be a decent human being," she explains, partly offended, only because she knew Sheldon's world included contracts.

"I trust you guys to pay me, and I hope you trust me enough to keep your best interest at heart. If you do have any concerns, you can always talk to me," she explains gently. She knows both of them aren't well-versed in social conventions, so she takes her time.

Amy frowns, she knew Sheldon wouldn't go for this. His whole world revolved around order and the best way to establish that was contracts, so she goes to tell Penny this. Sheldon didn't even budge when I begged him to not make me sign a Relationship Agreement, now you're speaking about his child, Penny—

"That's acceptable."

She's shocked when she hears her boyfriend speak, both of them are shocked when they hear Sheldon speak. He just looks between the both of them and nods his head as he picks up the forgotten contract on the table, "I will keep it around for reference, but I don't expect you to sign this. You're right," he states with a slight twitch to his jaw, "I trust you to do what's right, or else I wouldn't be standing before you now."

Penny smiles but agrees.

"So, it's settled. Tomorrow afternoon we'll head to the doctors and get your medically examined, if all is well, we'll go through with this at the end of the week. So, according to schedule in two weeks we'll know if you're pregnant with my offspring or not."

With that, the odd couple exit her apartment, and she can finally be alone with her thoughts.

She knows what she just agreed to, and she knows how heavy of a situation it is. But right now, nothing in her life had been going right, and if she could bring happiness to her closest friends than why would she deny that? She wouldn't be taking care of the kid, she'd only be carrying it because her friend couldn't, and she felt so bad for Amy because of it. Then there's the fact the money would be a nice bonus, sixty thousand wasn't a joke. No, it wasn't much, especially when it came to Los Angeles, but it would help her greatly. She'd be able to pay her rent consecutively, fix her car, buy out of her debt, and possibly go shopping (she'd been eyeing a pair of Louis Vuitton's for some time now).

The thing that got to her the most, more than Amy's medical issue and the money, was the fact that child wouldn't really be Sheldon and Amy's. It would be Sheldon's and hers. There was a chance the child could come out looking exactly like her, and if that was the case what then?


She asked Amy and Sheldon to be quiet about this situation they found themselves in. It wasn't the best position she's been in and she didn't want her smart fulfilled friends casting judgey eyes her way. Sheldon had no issue keeping the situation mum, so as long as no one asked him any questions he didn't have to lie. Amy on the other hand was bouncing with excitement every time she came around; she could barely contain her happiness and they hadn't even known if she was indeed pregnant yet. It got to the point Amy kept asking her weird questions about cervical mucus and tenderness of her breast, all she had to do was give her a look and she knew to back off. She was thankful Sheldon hadn't pestered her like that, yet. She figured the worst of him was to come if she did get pregnant.

They went to the doctors office like promised the next day, and results came in the next two days, she was completely healthy and in good shape. She knew this, but it was great to hear the reassurance. She could only smirk broader when the odd couple smiled at each other and nodded, "I'm pleased with your results, Penny, not that I doubted it," he stated simply and she felt her own sense of pride.

By the end of the week, she found herself in a paper gown and laying on a cold metal surface, bright lights overhead as she lay legs open in front of one doctor and a nurse. They went over the standard procedure with her, telling her the pros and cons and asking her for the tenth time if this was what she wanted. She only signed their contract or waiver, honestly she couldn't tell the difference, and then proceeded to let everything they said drift in one ear and out the other. She knew Sheldon wouldn't put her in harm's way, and if he trusted this medical office, than she knew she could too. She closed her eyes once she heard them start up a machine and warn her they were going in.

It was over before she knew it, and immediately she was being questioned by Amy on the drive home. Sheldon was silent.

Fast-forward two and a half weeks, Penny had yet to take a pregnancy test, a part of her was nervous to know the results. Did she want to know the results? It got to the point she was avoiding Sheldon at all times, she knew if he found her he'd corner her into taking a test, she knew he had bought some when they agreed she was going to do this.

She was dragged out of her thoughts when she heard her apartment door opening.

"Penny, I know you're in here," she heard his voice and she closed her eyes. Maybe if she couldn't see him, he couldn't see her?

She frowned deeply when he walked into her bedroom and threw a plastic bag down beside her, "I don't know what you're doing but you have a test to take," he explained to her gently, he sounded as if he had all the patience in the world but she knew just by the slight colour change of his eyes that he was just as nervous.

"Where's Amy?"

"She's at work, we'll inform her of the success or failure after we find out," he said, and she hated that he sounded professional. She was about to take a pregnancy test to determine if she was carrying his, theirs, his and Amy's child. It was all so confusing. She sighed deeply and picked up the bag he threw at her, in it was three tests. She supposed it was now or never, she didn't feel any different so she wasn't even sure if she was pregnant. She wasn't nauseous or feeling tender anywhere, so she wasn't expecting much, but it was still scary.

Before she went into the bathroom, she looked at Sheldon who sat at the edge of her bed, facing the bathroom door. Perfect view of when she opened the door to show him the results. "I just want to say, I'm sorry if I failed. I—" she struggled to find the words, she felt like she had to apologize to him but she didn't know why. She knew it wasn't her fault if it didn't work, but she still felt responsible.

He waved her off simply, "You're too stubborn to fail."

She didn't stop to correct him about her acting, and her life in general. She'd take the backhanded compliment, "Still, I just want to say I know you and Amy are looking forwards to this and I don't want to let you down…I tried, I guess…" she shook her head, embarrassed and closed the door behind her before he could reply.

She took the test with shaky hands.

She sat beside him her bed, both of them not speaking as the tests lay on the dresser beside them. Her phone being utilized as a timer, three minutes. One in a half minutes to go.

She couldn't help but chuckle, she felt the stare on the side of her face when Sheldon looked at her, confused as to what she found funny, she ignored it. She just felt like she was a teenager again, sitting in the bathroom stall at school with a pregnancy test on her lap as she hunched over with her eyes closed, praying to God please don't make me pregnant, please don't make me pregnant. I promise I'll never have sex again. Ricky Wilson on the phone as they both wait with bated breath for the timer to go off and see what their futures held. Both sixteen and aware each of their older siblings had fallen into the same situation, except they weren't lucky enough to get a negative result. After the treacherous three minutes passed, she'd look into her lap and see the negative result. She'd thank the heavens and then have celebratory sex with Ricky. Sorry God.

Her phone goes off, three minutes over.

They look at each other, and it's Sheldon that goes towards the dresser first. She's surprised that he's braver than her and he carefully examines all three tests, he's silent for a while and she can only wonder what's going through his large mind because she had never seen him so quiet before (for an extended period of time). He surprises her when he turns around, his face indifferent as he speaks, he gestures towards the instructions that lay beside her on the bed, "What's two lines mean?"

She's pregnant.