A/N: Written for the 1st Fiction Friday over at the Sheldon/Penny livejournal community (check it out!). Was originally supposed to respond to the prompt 'rain'...yeah, that didn't happen. This is however, what did happen when I let the story run its own course, with very little planning past the first three paragraphs.
She always knew he could be a gentleman, opening doors for her and giving her the right of way on the stairs. After meeting his mother, she could see where it came from.
She also knew he could be a complete prick, constantly pointing out (or not-so-subtly implying) the intelligence gap between him and her, and anyone else he conversed with.
He also could be very awkward. She had seen many a social situation rendering him almost shy, unsure of what conventions to follow or absorb.
It was a few years after their meeting that she found out he could also be a hopeless romantic. He would never use that term himself, he was sure, but years of reading superhero comics had ingrained in him an underlying knight-in-shining-armor complex.
The first time he 'rescued' her, she brushed it off as social incompetence. Seeing him matter-of-factually tell off her most recent boyfriend for yelling at her and making her cry in the hallway, she didn't know how else to interpret it. Her surprised stare and whispered 'thank you's sent him quickly shuffling back into his apartment.
The second time, she recovered more quickly when he berated Howard's daily attempt at a pass. He didn't notice her soft smile directed towards him for the rest of the evening, as he himself was focused on the Star Trek movie they were all watching.
When she happened to walk in on him scolding Leonard for whining about her and her latest fling, the phrases "pathetic possessiveness of something you don't own" and "more credit than you give her" made her mouth drop, as the two boys turned around to find her gaping in their doorway. A moment later, she simply turned around and returned to her apartment, avoiding her inevitable analysis of his words.
The evening he showed up at her door with a bouquet of flowers ("the most comparable in appearance to Penny Blossoms he could find") in apology for another prank war gone too far, she could not help herself when tears started building up behind her eyes.
He followed her inside as she looked for a glass to put the flowers in, explaining that he had cleared his evening's schedule of someday-Nobel-prize-winning research to watch a movie of her choosing, as further apology for his actions. He cringed a bit when she selected "Ever After" (something about overuse and distortion of traditional folklore), but she swore he smiled slightly when Leonardo DaVinci appeared as a character.
He remained unexpectedly quiet throughout to movie, never once launching into rants about the impracticality of glass shoes or the physics of walking on water as she would have expected from him. Nor did he say anything as she incrementally moved closer to his side.
When she dared to lay her head on his shoulder, he finally spoke up.
"Concerning your future relationships, are you expectant for a so-called 'Prince Charming' figure to become infatuated with you and thereby 'rescue' you from a mediocre life?"
She was slightly taken aback by his choice of topic, but gave his question some thought. "I suppose when I was little, I thought that would happen. Every girl dreams of her knight on a white horse."
She sighed, and took a risk. "Now, I guess I'm just waiting for the right person to realize I'm here."
"Does that mean you have selected said right person?"
"I believe so, yes." She refused to look at him, unsure but also fearful he would understand the meaning behind her words. However, after a moment's silence, she couldn't help herself and looked up.
He was still staring straight ahead at the TV screen. To the untrained eye, it might seem he was reading the credits rather intently. But she knew him well enough to see the calculations going on in his head.
He looked down at her, staring into her eyes openly. She was almost blown away by their sudden intensity. "It would be impossible for me to be knighted as I am not a British citizen and the United States does not have a equivalent system in that area to that of the British government."
"And though I have a Battlestar Galactica flight suit that could be considered battle apparel, it is not made of particularly reflective material."
He continued. "Also, I don't have a particular preference of color when it comes to horses, but I know I do not currently have the training to ride one skillfully."
"Sheldon, what are you trying to say?"
He paused and looked away for a moment. "Sheldon?" He turned back, his brow furrowed slightly in concentration and eyes blazing.
"What I am trying to say, Penny, is that I'm afraid I would be unable to fulfill your childhood hopes of a charismatic prince. And now you have expressed a focused interest in an unnamed person. However, should your opinion on that matter change, I would like to submit my name as a possible romantic suitor." Again, he turned away.
He looked down at his hands, but continued determinedly. "In the event that said person does finally notice your interest and presence in their life, however, I will respectfully wish you all the happiness and romantic 'bliss', as they say, in your relationship."
"Sheldon!" His head shot up in response, only to find meet Penny's lips within millimeters of his, her hands cradling the sides of his face. She smiled. "He just did."
The kiss that followed was only the beginning.
A/N: Review if you love it, review if you kinda sorta like it, please don't review if you hate it (I'm a fragile creature...) but constructive criticism is always welcome.