Title: My Dearest Moonpie

By: TriplePirouette

Category: UST, Post-Ep

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: They're not mine- I'm a poor and having fun... take pity...

Distribution: my site, here, and my LJ, anywhere else please ask first :)

Summary: Penny reads Sheldon's letters. Post-ep for "The Terminator Decoupling"

Author's notes: My first Penny/Sheldon fic. I was converted to a BBT fan in December, and started shipping maybe 2 weeks ago. If I'm missing info, just point me toward the episode that I missed! I'm just getting into their "voices" so I hope this isn't too OOC... Thank you to gladdecease for the fabulous beta! I'll be posting this to my LJ and the community there as soon as I figure out how...

Feedback PLEASE at: I love anything constructive! Blatant flames, however, will be disregarded and used to roast s'mores....

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The plot is all mine. No copyright infringement is intended.


*~*~*

Penny knew it was wrong. It was as wrong as using all the washers during his regular time to do laundry or calling his mother on him. She was invading not only his space but his privacy as well. If he ever had an inclination that she did more than skim them, she'd be banished with three strikes. No questions, no reprieve. She was sure she'd no longer be his friend, despite rating above Raj.

Yet, that still wasn't enough to stop Penny from sitting on Sheldon's bed and reading every letter from his grandmother that he'd hidden in that nondescript box.

It started out as fascination, really. Even his closest friends thought of him as more robot than man, yet here was very tangible proof that he not only had emotions, but still tapped into them. A robot would not keep letters so lovingly. She would have expected that maybe he'd scan them into his computer and keep them on file to save space and time. Knowing Sheldon, he probably had scanned them, but he'd also kept the hard copies. These letters were kept flat and clean and were still so crisp and clear that she could read every single letter in the flowery handwritten script as if they'd been written yesterday.

It wasn't easy to pass up a chance to get to know him better, to really understand what made him tick, what made him who he was.

She sat on his bed, cross-legged and bare footed, letter in hand, and could only imagine what he would say to her. (No one's allowed in my room, Penny. Please take your feet off my bed, Penny. Do you know how much bacteria build up on the bottom of your feet in a normal day, Penny? My bed is a sacred area for rest, Penny. Those letters are private, Penny.) It didn't stop her from reading.

My Dearest Moonpie,

I am so sorry to hear that your classmates are not behaving better towards you. Unfortunately I'm going to take your mother's side on this one: you are not allowed to bring death rays to school. Not only is murder a sin, Sheldon, but it's not polite, either. Continue to be kind to them and turn the other cheek and they'll soon see how wonderful you are.

Penny put the letter down after skimming the rest of it- only bridge clubs and questions about what he'd like for Christmas. None of the letters were dated, though some pages looked older than others. She lifted the next. Knowing Sheldon they'd be in chronological order.

My Little Moonpie,

I'm so happy to hear that you helped your sister with her science project, even though you didn't want to. You know that I've always told you that you need to share your gift with the world- and that starts with your own sister. Despite the fact that it was "only a model of a volcano" and she wouldn't let you "crate a real blast of molten magma", I know that she appreciated it. And you helped her win first place! She has always looked up to you Sheldon, remember that.

This one was shorter and spoke about another week in the life of Sheldon's Mema. Penny wondered if it was his mother's or father's mother, but didn't dwell as she moved on to the next letter. Even though she knew he was on the train, Penny couldn't help but feel like he would walk through that door any moment armed with strikes. She started shifting through the pages. Thank you's for gifts sent for birthdays and Christmases, questions about how school was going and what he was doing with his friends over the summer.

Penny tried to concoct his replies in her head, but couldn't picture a young Sheldon. Every time she tried to picture him she'd simply see a tinier version of the man she knew, the same scientific jargon flying out of his mouth at a fantastic rate. She couldn't picture him playing with his action figures like her cousin's kid- he'd probably had shelves lined up with toys in their original packaging. She couldn't see him chasing his sister around with worms like her friend Johnny had done to her when she was 7- Sheldon would have dissected them instead. And no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't picture him crying with a scraped knee after falling off of a bike. He seemed like he would have always been too careful to hurt himself.

She flipped through the pages, looking for anything to catch her eye, but saw little more than the words of a doting grandmother. At the bottom of the box was a page that looked more fragile than the others, like it had been read over and over. Instead of taking it out, she lifted the rest of the pages away and held the box up, reluctant to touch it.

Sheldon-

I never thought I'd live to see the day one of my grandchildren graduated college. Your grandfather would have been so proud. He was smart, smarter than me and your Mother-

Well, that answered that question.

-but not nearly as smart as you are. Your Mother likes to say that your genius is a gift from God, and while I know it to be true, I also know that your own hard work has taken you farther than you could have ever imagined. You could have hung back, skipped a grade or two, and breezed through. Oh no, not my Moonpie. You worked hard, pushed forward, and now you've graduated college. And you're determined to become a Doctor. Oh, I know, you're going to say "Mema, not that kind of doctor." Well, I know that, but you'll still be the first PhD on either side of your family. That is an accomplishment that no one can take away from you.

Penny had met Sheldon's mother. She seemed like a simple woman who loved her son, and while she understood how to manipulate him, she didn't quite seem to understand what made him tick, either. Mema did. Penny smiled at the letter. No wonder it looked so worn. She bet Sheldon read it often; she would have if she had something like this. She pulled the box a little closer as she read.

You've sure had your problems. People will always be jealous of how smart and handsome you are, of how easily you grasp things that others can't fathom. People won't understand your need for order. I know you get that from me- but a tidy house is a happy house. People will be threatened by what you can do with numbers and theories. People will be jealous of all that you've achieved so quickly and easily. People will never, never see how amazing that brain of yours is quite like I do, dear. That is their loss.

Be yourself. Be amazing. Be smart. Never apologize for being who you are supposed to be. And enjoy it. I know I do.

You will always be my nummy, nummy Moonpie, no matter how many doctorates you hold or how old you are.

All my love,

Mema

Penny could barely hold back the tears that had formed in her eyes. It was touching, emotional, and unlike what she'd ever imagined for Sheldon. She carefully and quickly put all of the pages in the box back in their order, reverently placed the lid back on, and gently placed the box back on the shelf. Penny stared at it for a moment, feeling intensely guilty.

For all the things she couldn't imagine for Sheldon, she could clearly see him as a sad, misunderstood boy who was made fun of and beat up a lot, who had tricks played on him by older boys and who was laughed at by girls. She could see him studying harder and harder in his room, determined to fall back on the only thing that made sense to him, forsaking people for science. She could see his mother banging on his door (bang bang bang Sheldon bang bang bang Sheldon bang bang bang Sheldon The principal said you threatened to blow up the chemistry lab with dry ice today. No, Mommy- I simply said it was a distinct possibility for it to happen given the chemicals the teacher had on display) and correcting his behavior and forcing him to do things he didn't want to do just to get through life.

And she could clearly imagine a grey haired Granny, maybe with a cane, who couldn't get around that much anymore, but who always had milk and cookies ready when her grandson came to visit her. Maybe she lived far away... it made the letters make more sense. Maybe he didn't see her that often. Maybe, she thought very sadly, there hadn't been another letter in that box because she hadn't lived long enough to see him get his doctorate.

Penny knew she was making things up, filling in the gaps with her imagination, but she couldn't help it. As she turned to leave, her foot crunched on a piece of wood that lay on the floor; the remnants of his Japanese puzzle box. All of a sudden she felt like a horrible bully.

'People won't understand you,' came the thought. She didn't think that was a line explicitly from the letter, but it was the gist of it. She didn't understand him and neither did his friends. If they did, maybe they wouldn't be so quick to call him crazy (or wackadoodle, she reminded herself) and criticize his quirks. They all had quirks, just not as many or as specific. She picked up the broken wood up off the floor, sweeping all of the splinters into her hand as she stood.

She enjoyed fighting with him, no doubt. There was something about pushing him, challenging him, and Sheldon pushing back, that felt right between them. Holding the broken box and key in her hand, though, she vowed to stop going so far.


*~*~*

Sheldon stopped short after opening the door to his room, startled to see a brown shopping bag sitting in the middle of his bed. He surely had not left it there. He stood still, pondering what to do. He wanted to unpack, re-scan his clothes into their inventory and take a shower. Reason said he should investigate the bag, though he would like nothing more than to pretend it wasn't there.

Because that meant that either Penny had left it there when she'd been in his room to retrieve his flash drive, or she'd entered his room a second time without permission. Neither option was one he liked. He sighed, putting his luggage by his door and moved forward to the brown bag. He examined it throughly before reaching in to remove the note from the top of the bag, the key to his desk drawer taped securely to the bottom of the paper.

Sheldon,

I think I broke your puzzle box when I was getting your key the other day. I replaced that box, and bought you another one because they seem interesting, and this way I won't know where you're hiding your key this time (If you choose to hide it in one of these at all). I hope you like them.

Also, I'm sorry I read your Grandmother's letters. It was very rude of me. I hope you can accept my little token of apology.

I can't wait to hear all about the conference on Thai night.

Penny

Sheldon put the paper down, puzzled. He wondered how she could have broken the box in a way that he wouldn't have been able to fix, but appreciated her gesture all the same. He reached in, pulling out two small white boxes. He opened them, finding a puzzle box similar to the one he'd had, and another that was shaped like a ball. He smiled. They would be a fun challenge this evening after he unpacked. It really was thoughtful of her.

He pulled the last thing out of the bag: a soft circle wrapped tightly in a plastic shopping bag from the store on the corner. He unwrapped it and raised an eyebrow, unsure if he should laugh or be insulted. He decided to take the gift in the vein it was meant, and laughed.

He placed the individually wrapped Moonpie on his dresser. He would have that for dessert tonight.