Title: Hands and Fingers and Touching. Oh My!
Spoilers: Seasons 1 and 2 to be safe.
Rating:
PG-13 to be safe.
Word Count:
2300ish
Diclaimer
: If I owned anything, the people of Paradox would have total creative control.

Notes: this fic really belongd to my awesome beta htbthomas without whom this would still be a bedrangled mess on my hardrive. I am just borrowing.

This is also for those who have the fetish. You know who you a

His fingers gently brush up her arm and across the length of her collarbone -- it is barely a touch, but her body responds to every slight contact. They ghost past the nape of her neck and she gasps and tries to move closer to his touch…

Dammit, not again!

Penny shot up and blinked, checking her surroundings. She was on the couch where she'd collapsed after pulling the mother of all double shifts, still in her uniform and purse at her feet. Her gaze moved to the coffee table -- yep, not even any alcohol this time. Just her own very sober, very vivid imagination.

Sitting up and bringing her hands to her face, Penny let out a muffled groan. This has got to stop! It's one thing to think about Johnny Depp dressed as pirate but...Enough.

Sleep that was what she needed, her brain didn't have enough juice left for thinking and deep introspection. Laying back on the pillows and pulling the blankets over her head, she closed her eyes, and waited. And waited.

Turning sharply to her other side she hit the pillow and tried again. Nothing. What the hell had happened to her life that this was all she could think about...?

Long, thin capable fingers twine themselves through her hair and the strong hand resting on her hip urges her towards him...

Growling out loud and turning onto her back, Penny stared at the ceiling as she tried to figure out how she had let it go this was not something that was an intrinsic part of Penny's personality. She had interests and things that caught her in passing, but she was not like the guys. For them, they had every little detail, right down to which colour underwear Spock would wear on a Thursday.

So when she found one, it kinda caught her by surprise.

The thing was -- she'd never really put much thought into hands before, they were just another part of the body. However, hands -- and one pair of hands in particular -- were becoming the repeated focus of her attention.

The Penny Blossoms, that was where it all started. Watching him carefully overlay each petal and hold it in place. It caught her then, the discovery that large hands could handle something so delicate.

From then on she found herself watching how he handled other things. As she suspected, it was with the same precision and accuracy that permeated every other part of his life.

It was little things at first. The swift, deft action with which he dunked his teabag. Fingertips barely touching as they turned a page of the latest copy of The Flash. Then came the times when she would want to see something happen with those fingers when they were neatly folded in his lap.

'That's when it started to cross the line from observation to something more. Finding things for him to do so that she could watch his hands.

The first time she was filled with a nervous excitement. She stepped uninvited into apartment 4a and made noises about her laptop freezing and how the hell was she supposed to look at shoes on eBay, knowing he was the only one home. Penny bore his reprimands and threats of strikes for disturbing his solitude, even pretending to listen to his 20 minute lecture on the hazards of computer mismanagement, so she could watch his fingers fly over her keyboard.

She started bringing the Chinese food, just so she could watch him balance the chopsticks carefully between his fingers, making only the slightest subtle movement to bring the food from the container to his mouth. It fast became one of her favourite things. Once or twice Leonard had asked if she was okay, because she would be sitting there kind of distant and spacey. Snapping her head around towards Leonard, she just nodded and mumbled something about a long shift, hoping not to draw attention to the real reason she had zoned out.

She found herself asking more about his work and Sheldon, who needed no real provocation to talk about himself or his brilliance, would begin a long monologue about his latest theory that she had no hope of understanding. However, she found herself entraced by his gesturing hands as he emphasised a particular point.

Then there was the day that the chain for the locket her mom gave her for her sixteenth birthday became inexplicably tangled, and after hours of trying, it was the same tangled mess. Then it struck her.

She ran across the hallway and presented the guys with her dilemma . She stood back and watched as they huddled over the chain, discussing the virtues of various space tools as a means to untangling it.

All the while Sheldon had been quietly observing the situation from his spot on the couch. He then silently walked into his room and emerged with what Penny recognised as a seam ripper in his hand.

He walked over to the counter where Leonard was looking at the knots under a large microscope, took the chain and began to carefully untangle it with expert precision. His large, thin fingers gently teased the tangles and then he turned and handed the unknotted chain back to Penny. He gave her a small, slightly self-satisfied smile.

She couldn't help but smile back. It was then she started to think this was about more than just hands.

Halo night that week really sealed the deal.

She was sitting in the middle of the couch, totally kicking all of their asses, when she had glanced over at Sheldon's fingers moving over the buttons on his controller. The image of Sheldon's fingers moving over skin flashed in her mind and sent a wave of heat straight through her body.

She had jumped up in shock without realizing it, and found everyone gazing at her intently

."Erm, I felt something crawl across my foot. Sorry, guys, it was probably just a spider."

The minute those words left her mouth, Leonard turned and gave her what could only be described as a level 5 death stare.

What had followed had brought a smile to her lips now. It had involved Leonard and Sheldon dressed in Level 1 hazmat suits and industrial-strength insect repellent.

But in the safety of her own apartment, part of her wondered how it had taken so long for her to reach this point. She was, after all, a self-proclaimed big ol' 5.

The rest of her wasn't quite so sure.

This was Sheldon, the man who had strung her underwear up on a telephone wire. Who had thought that hooker from upstairs was jumping on the bed.

Thinking back over the time she had known him, part of her admitted to a strange inevitability to her situation. She flirted with him that first day and called him "beautiful mind guy". She'd nursed him when he was sick and sung to him. He had battled with himself when she asked him to keep a secret and ended up high on drugs. Then there was the money and the Penny Blossoms. He had matched her better in battle better than anyone she had ever met.

Sheldon's hands, she had realized, were an extension of Sheldon and all the things he could do. She was fascinated with them because she was fascinated with him.

That realisation had led to where she was now. Awake at three in the morning thinking about Sheldon and all the things his hands could do.

If it had been any other guy, she would have walked straight up to him and planted one on him. However, he wasn't, and she had been stuck in this state ever since. Caught between thinking about him and ways to stop thinking about him.

Denial was a blissful as far as she was concerned

She had nearly given herself away the night before, having been invited over to watch Battlestar re-runs, knowing she really shouldn't. But she had found herself once again sitting on that middle cushion, knowing that the slightest move to the left would bring her into contact with his body. No matter how much she tried, she couldn't keep her gaze away from the hand resting on his knee.

She sat on her own hands to stop herself reaching over and twining those long gentle fingers with her own. By the third episode, she was at the breaking point and found her hand lightly resting on the corner of his knee.

"Penny, may I remind you that you are contracted to respect my personal space and stay within your own allocated boundaries."

She automatically jumped to the attack. "Don't worry, Sheldon, I was just pushing your leg back over your side, It's not my fault your giant-size legs take too much room."

With that, he had shifted over and remained silent for the rest of the night, eyes fixed on the TV.

Unable to take any more, she protested an early start, and went home.

Penny rolled over and glanced at her alarm clock. 3:30 AM. She had to stop thinking now and try to get some sleep. She was finally drifting off when she heard a knock at her door.

KnockKnockKnock

"Penny.

"KnockKnockKnock

"Penny

"KnockKnockKnock

"Penny.

"What the hell?! I mean, this has got to be some kind of joke!

When the knock sequence was repeated, she hauled herself out of bed. After a quick detour to the bathroom, she found herself answering the door to a pyjama-clad Sheldon.

Before she could say a word, he moved swiftly past her and was standing by her sofa. Then he spoke. "Penny, before you begin to berate me for the inappropriate timing of my visit I ask you to grant me the favour of letting me explain my reasons and then decide whether it has been a valid interruption of your circadian rhythms."

It was all she could do nod and sink into the chair while she waited for him to continue.

"I feel that there is something that you may have the answer to, and I feel that it will be positively conducive to my state of mind to obtain that answer."

He paused and looked at Penny. When no reply came, he continued.

"I will take your silence as a positive affirmation to allow me to state my case. I have noticed in the last few weeks that you have been undertaking a series of observations and experiments, and would like to a like to understand your preliminary hypothesis and whether you have been able to reach a satisfactory conclusion with the data you have gathered."

This statement had Penny's complete attention and she finally found the words to speak.

"What the hell are you talking about, Sheldon?!"

Sheldon gave her a pointed look, "There is no need to use profanity. I was merely referring to the observations you have made on the gross and fine motor skills of my manus and in particular, the movement and actions of my phalanges."

Registering Penny's blank stare, he continued, "I refer to the continued observations that you have been making about the way in which I use my hands and how I conduct different actions with them."

All Penny could do was stare athim.

He had noticed. Holy crap on a cracker. How the hell are you going to get yourself out of this one?

Feeling the heat rise through her body at the intensity of his stare, she shuffled in her seat and tried her best to answer.

"Oh, well, Sheldon, sweetie, I was, I mean, I just like sometimes watching people do things with their hands." Good thinking, Penny. "It reminds me of my dad. He was always doing things around the house, making and fixing things, that's all."

Shrugging her shoulders for effect, Penny turned her gaze to his face, trying to gauge his response. She thought she saw a flash of disappointment pass over his face then it was gone and it was once again the stoic mask of Sheldon Cooper, PhD.

"So. It was not my hands in particular that you were studying, you were merely making a connection with the movement my hands made and something that reminded you of home."

She did her best to not scream, No, Sheldon, it's because you and your hands and all the things they could do to me are all I think about! Instead, Penny shrugged her shoulders and said, "I guess."

"Thank you for your honesty, Penny. I bid you goodnight and ask that you do not mention this conversation to Leonard."

With that, he moved around the coffee table and reached for the door. Seeing him move to leave, Penny suddenly sprung into action. Realising she could not let him leave like this, she reached for Sheldon's hand, and turned him to face her.

"Sheldon, why did you come here and ask me this now, why not wait until tomorrow?!"

"The answer to that question is not relevant at this point. I wish to return to my room -- please release my hand."

"Not so fast, Sheldon. You don't get to wake me up at past three in the morning without explaining why!"

"I told you, it was to ask about the observations you had been making."

Penny could see him struggling with his response and continued to press her point. "Yes, sweetie, you told me that, but why?" Penny moved closer, closing the gap between them to a few inches.

"As I have said…"

"Not good enough, sweetie. Tell me why!"

She saw Sheldon draw in a deep breath. "Because I was hoping that you had been making observations of a similar nature to that of those I have been making about you."

She saw him sag and move his eyes to focus anywhere but her face.

Emboldened, Penny moved closer. "What kind of observations would those be then, Moonpie?"

There was what seemed to be an eternity of silence before he answered.

Looking at her this time, he said, "I have observed that you like to sit with your legs tucked under you and that you chew your lower lip when you are unsure of a situation. Which by the way is not conducive to maintaining good skin condition on your…"

Before he could finish, Penny stood up on tiptoe and planted one right on him.

Slowly pulling back, she looked up to see his reaction.

Hrlooked at her, eyes burning, and raised one hand to curl the fingers in her placed the other on her hip, pulling her closer towards him.

Eyes widening slightly at his assertive action, Penny moved closer and sighed an uncharacteristic "Oh, my..." before meeting his