The Summer Shower Precipitation

Title: The Summer Shower Precipitation

Spoilers: None specific

Rating: PG-13 for implications

Word Count: 2328

Disclaimer: The Big Bang Theory is property of Warner Brothers and CBS; no challenge is intended or financial gain made. Laughter In The Rain written by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody.

Summary: Three years of curious and unexpected datapoints pile up on Sheldon, forcing him one rainy night to reach an unexpected conclusion.

A/N: This was written in response to a prompt on the Sheldon_Penny LJ community's recent kink meme. I don't know if this'll end up being terribly graphic; knowing me, it probably won't. But I really like the prompt, so I'll figure something out - if I manage to write a scene more in keeping with that challenge, I'll add it as a deleted scene. Anyway, this gave me an excuse to use one of my all-time favourite songs, Neil Sedaka's wonderfully tranquil Laughter In The Rain.

Ooh, I hear laughter in the rain

Walking hand in hand with the one I love

Ooh, how I love the rainy days

And the happy way I feel inside

The last few months had been increasingly awkward. And they had been doing so well, too, becoming closer and closer friends, spending more and more time together. Sheldon had started looking forward to Penny's presence, occasionally even getting so engrossed in conversation with her that he missed his schedule.

Then had come the looks. She had been watching him intently, almost appraisingly. She had started shuffling closer to him on the couch, scrutinising him, rubbing up against him.

Something was going on. Perhaps he was upsetting her, or boring her. Perhaps it was some damnably subtle hint to shut up; he'd certainly had enough of them.

And then there were his reactions. Whenever she was nearby he found his face softening into a smile far distinct from his usual affected rictus. He found himself enjoying every accidental brush of hand on arm, every nudged shoulder, Penny's hand on his back pushing him out of shops when he got sidetracked... and he started engineering situations to encourage these little 'accidents'.

This couldn't continue. It was interfering with his work. Nobody was allowed to interfere with his work. But there was something stopping him... he found himself enjoying the interference. The world felt right when she interfered. Very curious.

But he couldn't allow it to continue. His work was vital. So he started trying to avoid her. It didn't always work, and the times when it failed ended up an infuriating delight, possibly better than the thrill when he discovered a new Mersenne prime.

And so it continued, two weeks of dodging and evading. And worst of all, Sheldon wasn't sure why. He knew even this was affecting his work; his usually rigid circadian rhythm was all wrong, his appetite was becoming erratic, his whole digestive system was in revolt. He found himself lying awake long into the night, thinking. About Penny. About neural pathways he'd never noticed, suddenly wide open and crackling with activity. About increased pulse rates when she was near, and clear signs of his brain flooding with oxytocin and dopamine.

And so, one morning in May, he found himself at five in the morning still awake, still staring at the ceiling, as shadows of raindrops trickled down his wall. He had been thinking. He had spent a lot of time thinking, and an inevitable conclusion struck him. It was impossible, he was sure... or he had been sure. Now, though, the evidence was overwhelming. It wouldn't be scientific to ignore it. And...

A blasphemous thought struck him, one that he mentally but half-heartedly disavowed a fraction of a second after thinking it: Perhaps some things were more important than hard science.

He swung his lanky frame out of bed, absently noting the heavy patter of the rain outside as he pulled his slippers and dressing gown on and padded for the door.

He didn't make the bed before leaving. He didn't shut the door. He didn't even think of it.


He paused, drawing a deep breath. He almost turned and went back to bed, but this was important.







There was silence. He could have left. He probably should have done. He had the cosmic ray observatory at nine thirty. Actually, the whole thing probably wasn't that important. He could go back to bed. Yes. He would go back to bed.

But his feet didn't seem to want to obey. They refused to turn and retreat. No, it was fine. Penny was asleep. She couldn't possibly be awake at this time of night. He would just turn around... turn around, feet, damn you! ...and go back to bed and sleep...

Then the door opened. There was Penny – Who else would it be, genius? – bleary-eyed and dressing-gowned, too tired even to rip him limb from limb.

"It's twenty to six, Sheldon," she whined. "What is it, and am I gonna want to go cornered wolverine on your ass when you tell me?"

He tried to say something, but no words came out. He changed tack.

"I need you to accompany me for a stroll."

"A stroll? Sheldon, twenty to six!"

"It's a matter of... some importance to me." His voice was quiet, barely audible, tentative, with less than a shade of his usual arrogance. "Please."

She squinted at him, trying to line up enough neurons to figure out what he was on about. Then she nodded, grabbed her keys and stepped out into the corridor.

"Lead the way, Moonpie," she said, grudgingly. "This had better be good."

He would have admonished her for calling him 'Moonpie', but... no, something felt right about it.

He reached into his and Leonard's flat and snagged an umbrella, then guided her up the stairs, forcing himself to rest a hand on the small of her back as they climbed the stairs side by side in companionable silence.

And then, a minute later, the door to the roof garden swung open and they stepped out onto the gravel, protected by the powder-coated aluminium roof jutting out above the door and a couple of benches.

He considered the benches, but they were hard, cold, wet metal, and would hardly be comfortable for people dressed only in pyjamas and dressing gowns. He looked out over the unkempt, bedraggled greenery, somehow more lively in the heavy rain, then he unfurled the umbrella and held it invitingly just beyond the cover of the roof.

Strolling along country roads with my baby
It starts to rain, it begins to pour

Penny glanced at him, sighed, then stepped under the umbrella, soon joined by Sheldon.

"You like rain, huh?"

They strolled out across the wood decking, crossing between planters of... well, plants. Nothing of any scientific value, of course, despite his many notes in the suggestion box. Not even a salicylate-rich willow, which would have allowed him to produce his own Aspirin, but nooo...

"On the whole. The water cycle is interesting throughout, of course, but the mechanisms of precipitation are particularly fascinating"

They reached the wall at the edge of the roof and gazed westwards, the lights of LA lighting up the clouds in the distance.

They stood there for some time, leaning on the railing in silence as the rain started attacking the hems of their gowns, sticking the lower edges of their pyjama bottoms against their shins.

"I have spent a lot of time recently," Sheldon finally said, "evaluating a quantity of data that shows significant deviation from the norm. Related to intrapersonal matters and an apparent..." He stumbled for words. "An apparent... increase... in..."

He trailed off, shooting her a pleading glance. She watched him, eyes wide in surprise. He couldn't really mean... Could he? She'd been trying to send him signals for months.

"Are you... trying to tell me something, Sheldon?" She gently placed a hand on his shoulder and moved a few inches closer, just a fraction closer than she'd managed on the couch down in the apartment. He didn't pull away. "Are you saying you... have a deal?"

He raised an eyebrow.

"A 'deal'?" Then the penny dropped. "Oh. Howard's preposterous mitosis hypothesis. No. Well, not in that sense, at least. I will, under the circumstances, acknowledge the existence of, as you so eloquently put it, a 'deal', but of a considerably more conventional nature."

She blinked. She could pretty much follow his ramblings these days, but sometimes they got too twisted to figure out.

"Sweetie, I know you think you're being clear, but –"

"On the contrary," he said, the merest hint of an apologetic grimace on his face. "I'm... inexperienced at this, resulting in a pseudo-deliberate attempt at obfuscating my meaning to prevent embarrassment should the outcome be unfavourable." He dodged her gaze, turning back to the railing. "You understand."

They stood there, heavy raindrops pounding off the three United Federation of Planets logos silk-screened above their heads.

"I think you'll be okay being a bit clearer, sweetie," she eventually said, very quietly.

He turned and looked at her.

A flash of lightning strobed far to the west. At any other time, Sheldon would have done the calculations. At any other time, he would have expected the thunder. But he was nervously watching Penny, testing phrases in his head.

Without an umbrella we're soaked to the skin

I feel a shiver run up my spine

I feel the warmth of her hand in mine

A sudden crash of thunder startled him, allowing a sudden gust of wind to snatch the umbrella and blow it over the edge. He gasped, lunging for it, but Penny held him back.

"Sheldon! Don't, you'll go over!"

He held back, but remained leaning on the parapet, staring after the umbrella as it spun away into the darkness.

"That was signed by Walter Koenig," he mumbled. A cold shiver ran up his spine as the pounding rain soaked his pyjama top, which reminded him of a more pressing concern. "You'll get wet," he said, rather redundantly. He turned, fully expecting to be on the receiving end of a Patent Penny death glare.

But rather than glare at him, she was smiling fondly, rain-soaked hair plastered across her face.

Ooh, I hear laughter in the rain

Walking hand in hand with the one I love

Ooh, how I love the rainy days

And the happy way I feel inside

She laughed.

"It's just rain, Sheldon." She took his hand in hers and leaned on the railing beside him. "Say it."

"'It's just rain, Sheldon'?" He frowned. "What good will that do?"

She glanced sideways at him, eyes smiling out from under her drenched hair.

"Say what you wanted to say."

"I... forgot."

She turned fully towards him and took a step closer, bringing her body to within inches of him.

"Sheldon, honey, this is what we do. I'm not Leonard."

"Thank Krypton for that," he said, "or this would be a lot more awkward."

"Stay on target, gold leader," she breathed, closing in on him. "He lets you stay in the paddling pool. I'm throwing you in the deep end. Say the words. Trust me, if it's anything like what I think you want to say you don't need to worry about the outcome."

He took a deep breath to calm himself; he was shaking, though even he wasn't sure if it was out of cold or terror. "I think... I can't. I can't."

He sank to the decking, curled up with his back to the railing, and buried his face in his crossed arms. Penny sank to her haunches beside him and draped an arm across his shoulders.

"Sheldon... This is worth it. Sheldon." She realised he was shaking even more than a moment ago. "Sheldon, are you crying?"

He shook his head, still hiding his face. "Can't," he rasped. "Want to, can't."

"Oh, sweetie..."

He abruptly straightened his legs and sat up, staring vacantly at the planking directly by his feet.

"This is ridiculous." He spoke quickly, as if afraid that the scraps of courage he had scraped together would get away before he got all the words out. He sounded almost... human. "Penny... Leonard's my friend and roommate, but I am forced to concede that over the last three years you have gradually assumed his position of 'best friend', do you understand?"

She nodded mutely, watching his shadowed profile ramble. He was trying for his usual detached tone, but it wasn't really working; a quarter-century of repressed emotions had found a crack and were racing to get out.

"Therein lies the absurdity. I..." He froze, then with a shake hung his head. Eyes closed, his next words were almost a whisper, delivered in a strident monotone. "The absurdity... you're my best friend, and one should be able to tell one's best friend that I –" His head snapped up, and his blazing eyes locked onto hers. "– love you."

He held her gaze for a fraction of a second, then his eyes started darting randomly about, as if looking for an escape route. He started to scramble to his feet.

"I should probably..."

After a while we run under a tree

I turn to her and she kisses me

He didn't get any further. She grabbed the lapels of his dressing gown, pressed him up against a planter, and kissed him soundly.

"Come on... let's go for a swim."

He looked around. "There's no pool in the building." Penny suppressed a chuckle.

"Not an actual swim. It's, y'know, metaphorical."

"Oh." He thought for a moment, then his eyes went wide as he joined the dots. "Oh! No, are you sure that's a good..."

"It's okay, Moonpie," she smiled. "We won't go all the way, and we won't do anything you don't want to." She kissed him again. "Welcome into the deep end," she mumbled against his mouth.

She reached down and untied the belt of her dressing gown.

There with the beat of the rain on the leaves

Softly she breathes and I close my eyes

Sharing our love under stormy skies

Eventually the sky started turning red in the east, the stormclouds dissipated, and the rain turned into a gentle early morning fog. Penny and Sheldon lay curled up beneath a large fern, thoroughly entwined in each other and covered with a slowly congealing dressing gown.

That, then, is how Mrs Vartebedian found them when she came up to water her tomatoes.

This, Penny thought once she'd shaken Sheldon awake and assured Mrs Vartebedian that she wouldn't 'catch her death of cold', would be a hell of a thing to explain to the others.

Ooh, I hear laughter in the rain

Walking hand in hand with the one I love

Ooh, how I love the rainy days

And the happy way I feel inside