Penny leaves Sheldon. No, really. Fifty drabbles on the beginning and the end. Sorry if it's a little abrupt.
Disclaimer: The Big Bang Theory belongs to its rightful creators. They are, just in case there was any confusion, is not me.
Really, the series of encounters were the reason it all started; that, and Stephanie's shameless encouragement of their relationship; that, and Penny's insistence that the sex was too good to give up.
She trips on the stairs and unthinkingly he grabs her; the delicate skin of her wrist is softer than anything he's ever held before. He leaves the room and fills his head with theories, not letting himself wonder why she shivered when he touched her.
Her smile lights up the room; he watches her work from a table on the other side of the room and wonders whether it will ever be for him alone.
He points out constellations in the night sky, but she's too busy watching his enthusiasm and falling in love.
Her hair is gilded in the sunlight, golden highlights shining through, and if his mother's angels exist at all, surely they have hair like hers.
You have cute ears, she comments, and he blushes for no apparent reason, certainly not because he cares about her opinion of his ears, which he can't control anyway.
You're in my spot, he says one day when they have the flat to themselves. Obediently she stands and lets him sit down, but when she unexpectedly plonks down on his lap instead, he has to fight himself not to twine his arms around her. Now we can share, she teases.
Open wide, she croons, and without protest he obeys, neither noticing their friends' identical expressions of shock.
Their hands are so different – his fingers are long and slender, and they envelop hers like he's trying to cushion her from the world.
The night is like any other; she drinks and smiles and flirts, but it's with him, and he can't understand why. The taste of his non-virgin Cuba Libres is heavy in his mouth, and he watches her, this conundrum he cannot solve.
The world is spinning pleasantly, but he's not drunk, although she must be. He can't really care, though, because her lips are on his, and she's making the most delicious little sounds in the back of her throat as she pulls him towards his bedroom.
But why? he asks. She grins. Because we can, she replies, pulling his last shirt over his head in one smooth motion.
Sheldon, she moans, rasping his name out of her straining throat. Oh, God, Sheldon, Sheldon, don't stop. He reflects that his name never sounded so good as when it's stretched out with her ecstasy.
He never before understood Leonard's fears of not sexually satisfying his partner, but now, he understands it takes an extraordinary amount of courage to even ask.
Come back to bed, she murmurs in his ear. But I'm not sleepy, he protests. She giggles. That's not what I meant.
She thought it was just a one-night thing, so when he reaches across and grabs hold of her hand in the car the next day, she smashes down on the accelerator in surprise and they nearly crash.
The wind whistles fiercely outside the tent; he hates camping but she wanted to go, and the warm pressure of her against his bare chest in their sleeping bag makes sleeping on rocks completely worth it.
They all agree, after Penny's 'incident' with the stove, she probably shouldn't cook again, but it is the expression of concern in Sheldon's eyes that convinces her as he tenderly bandages her burn.
Lightning flashes behind his eyes, his entire body seizes up, and her name is a mantra on his lips. She lifts her head and smiles up at him. Told you I'm good.
She strips for him late one night, removing each piece of clothing down to the ultra-sexy lingerie, and as she pushes him back into the sheets, he thinks that this kind of thing just doesn't happen to him.
Lets get married, she says abruptly one day. He stops typing. Why? he asks, bemused.
He realises something's wrong when she throws her phone out the car window and bursts into tears. There, there, he says, and she only cries harder.
Leonard has to explain it to him. She thinks you don't want to marry her, he says. Sheldon just blinks.
He hums 'Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty' when she's sick, and gathers her tightly to him. It must be love, she thinks deliriously, if he's braving the germs.
A day later, he's caught it too, and he realises as she tends to his every need that he doesn't want to live without this.
Will you marry me? he asks, steeling himself for the reply. In a moment, she is kissing every inch of his face, punctuating each kiss with a yes.
Hey, Mom? Yeah, it's me, Penny. Listen – I'm getting married.
They walk through the streets of Pasadena at night and talk about the future; anything is possible under the changing moon, and even as his eyes flick around nervously for muggers, he revels in the feel of her hand against his own.
But there's so much to do, she says, invitations and organising and oh God I need to call the caterer – SHH, he snaps, and pulls her down onto the bed with him.
The wedding is perfectly quirky, with just enough of each of them to balance it out. They make an odd couple, but their few guests can see how much they mean to one another.
They shop together, smile together, and even though things are sometimes awkward – she is his wife, and she won't leave him.
He expresses, one night, the lingering fear that she will come to her senses and leave him. She snuggles against him, knowing what it has cost him to admit even this much. Don't worry about that, she soothes. Besides, you could always tie me up, she whispers. He imagines Penny bound and beautiful beneath him, and his mouth goes dry. Well – we'll, uh, see, he stammers, and she smirks.
She can't cook, and he does all the cleaning, but she waits every night for him to get home with a smile and a kiss, and it is enough for him.
For a while they are blissfully happy – it can't last.
The cracks start forming eventually, the clouds gather; when she talks to other men, when he stays late at work, when she goes on (in his eyes) ridiculously unnecessary shopping sprees, when she realises he's more married to string theory than he ever will be to her.
I think I'm pregnant, she says softly to the bathroom mirror. She says it twenty times, yet she still can't imagine what Sheldon will say.
When she starts to bleed, it's Stephanie who drives her to the hospital, because Sheldon's in an experiment and doesn't want to be disturbed.
Stephanie's eyes are sorrowful, but Penny doesn't need to hear it to know the truth. Don't tell Sheldon, she murmurs. Stephanie's eyes narrow with reproach and Penny doesn't need to be told it was his baby, too, but she doesn't tell him anyway.
She cries into her pillow for weeks, and he doesn't know why – doesn't touch her, for fear she'll break.
The Nimoy napkin has pride of place in their home; he smiles at her and announces that he will clone each of their children a Leonard Nimoy of their very own, and her heart aches.
He comes home after work one night and she is gone; the note only poses more questions than it answers, and it's just another time he's come home too late.
She comes to Stephanie and Leonard seeking help, and they turn her away, because Sheldon has found the note, and is on their couch crying. Did she tell you she miscarried? Stephanie inquires of him once she's gone, and wraps her arms around him when he sobs anew.
It's odd, really, but his fondest memory of her is when she climbed into his bed one night, shaking, in terror of the storm, and now, it's him who lies awake as the rain pelts down, wondering if she's thinking of him, too.
All they do is work, now they're apart; Leonard tries to be the friend they both need and speculates if they know they're self-destructing without the other.
Leonard calls, tentative, unsure, wanting to know if she'd like to come to the beach with him, Stephanie, and their little girl. She agrees, unaware that Stephanie is having the exact same conversation with Sheldon.
They freeze when they see each other; she crosses her fingers behind her back and he fidgets. It was she who had left, but then again, they had never really been together in the first place. The waves are the only sound between them.
She eclipses the sun; he's all too aware that's an scientific impossibility, but its been months since he's seen her and she is glorious.
He has not changed, but he is a little thinner than before, and in all the months apart, her heartbeat has never been so steady. The sky melts into the sea, and she leans forward, giving in, inhaling the familiar scent of him as she wraps her arms around his waist. I've missed you, she sighs.
He is lost in her, always has been since she first stepped – stumbled – ran – flew into their lives, and he is lost to her as she rests her cheek against his chest. What are you saying? he inquires, his vastly superior intelligence unable to process this – cannot comprehend, after so much time apart, that she still loves him.
She leans up and kisses him, and its as though the world has come to an end and rebuilt itself in a heartbeat, so much stronger. Maybe, she says quietly against his lips, we could try again.