Author: g_girl143 / gwendy Rating: G Summary: Forget junior rodeo. It's time for Superman to die. Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the series and am not making any money out of this despite putting my sweat and blood into it. So save me the lawsuits and just allow a beggar to indulge in fantasies. Thank you. A/N: Geez, I seem to be in the habit of making fics which I want as an episode. This is yet another fic which I so want to see in Season 3. Not much in dialogue though, unlike my previous fics LOL. Oh, and this is TOTALLY UNBETA'd so if you can see any mistakes, point away!
Penny knew Sheldon Cooper had always been strange, though she didn't know that back when she first met him. She had actually flirted with him for crying out loud, and if it wasn't for his obvious good looks, there would've been no excuse for the way she had acted towards the tall, strapping neighbor she would later learn to be a neurotic, tactless and obsessive compulsive pain in her Nebraskan behind.
But that was years ago. She'd gotten used to his quirks, learned to integrate herself to his patterns and knew how to take him down if she had to.
From strange, Sheldon Cooper, to her, had become...Sheldon Cooper.
That was the closest thing she could describe him to being normal. And throughout the years, he had remained 'normal' for all accounts. His months in the arctic hadn't changed him one iota. He still loved science, videogames and comic books, still annoyed her to the brink of junior rodeo, and even with her and Leonard being officially an item, Sheldon had remained unchanged, and didn't treat her with any less respect, or any more either. One thing that did change however, was the amount of time she spent with him. She'd often turned to him for advice on how to deal with Leonard, and he had been helpful for the most part, if she could manage to somehow nitpick through the wide range of vocabulary he used.
Then, out of the blue, he went from Sheldon Cooper...to not Sheldon Cooper.
The three-pattern-knocks were the first to go. In fact, he didn't knock on her door anymore, or come to her apartment at all. At first, Penny was grateful, but soon, the silence at the other side of the door became...well, not right. Perhaps she had taken on some of Sheldon's obsession about patterns and schedules.
The next thing to go was Tuesday Cheesecake Factory Cheeseburger night. Penny ended up spending two Tuesday nights staring at the only empty seat in a table of four.
She would later learn Sheldon had taken to having his cheeseburger delivered.
For Wednesday new comic book day, she had never really taken part in that tradition, unless you count the day she had to buy a present for her nephew. But from what Leonard had told her, Sheldon had apparently stopped talking to Stuart.
Thai night. She still sat in the middle of the couch, sandwiched between Sheldon and Leonard. What was weird was how Sheldon pressed himself so hard against the arm rest, you'd think his leg was going to fuse with it. And if that wasn't enough indication he didn't want to sit close to her, the way he hitched his shoulder and angled his head away was certainly noticeable.
Halo night went the way it usually did: her winning a streak against Sheldon. What was missing was his vocal sourgraping. He barely even grunted, and once they were done playing, he'd stalked to the fridge for a diet coke. Penny had tried to tease him into a word fight, but when she didn't get a response, she fell back to the game, embarrassed and very much disturbed.
Laundry night. Saturday at 8:15, the laundry room. Sheldon wasn't there. Nor was he there the next two Saturdays. Penny later learned he had begun doing his laundry at the laundromat across the street.
Penny spent days pondering on what she could've done to Sheldon. Well, that was certainly a long list. Leonard had tried to help her figure it out as well. He even created a flow chart for her but even he couldn't pinpoint the problem. Oh, they'd tried confronting Sheldon, but more often than not, he would make one incredible excuse after another not to talk. One thing that Leonard was able to catch, however was the sudden frequency of Sheldon's self-diagnosis and trips to Caltech's clinic. This worried Penny, although from her recent encounters with Sheldon (which were lessening by the day), he appeared healthy. Except maybe for the dark circles under his eyes. Leonard confirmed her suspicions when he told her how Sheldon had been nodding off to sleep while at work.
From here, Penny took it upon herself to be extra nice to Sheldon. She made it a point to know his new schedules and one day, ambushed him with chicken soup. He'd thanked her...in two flat words before putting the bowl inside the fridge and locking himself up in his room.
Leonard ended up throwing the soup away after it lay untouched in the fridge for days.
Penny went a step further, and called Mary Cooper to ask about a certain soup recipe. Sheldon later arrived to find her in the dining room of his apartment, ready with a bowl of split pea soup with little frankfurter slices and homemade crutons.
Sheldon ate it. In front of her. It was progress, but with Sheldon's complete silence and refusal to engage in conversation with her, it wasn't all that satisfying.
She called Mary Cooper again, and this time, greeted Sheldon home with a tray of cobbler. Again, he ate it in her presence. And again, he ignored her existence, except for the only two words he muttered after eating: Thank you.
She began bringing home his Tuesday Cheeseburger.
She let him win in Halo.
No thank you. Just silence. Not even a victory smirk.
And that was the end of it. He began avoiding her completely, and changed his schedules so frequently, it sent Penny's head spinning. How Sheldon...neurotic, obsessive compulsive Sheldon...could manage that much change, she could only describe as...well, insane.
She was just going to have to pull a junior rodeo on him.
Since Sheldon no longer had a particular schedule, she arranged a little gathering with the boys, and they went along with the ruse.
Tuesday night found four scientists in apartment 4A, watching Battlestar Galactica on dvd while eating pizza. The night was going fairly well (except it really wasn't supposed to be pizza night) until Penny snuck in to the room and stealthily sat on Sheldon's spot. She gave a thumbs up to Leonard, who quickly pocketed his phone and waited for Sheldon to emerge from rummaging the fridge for a diet coke.
Penny swore Sheldon's eyes bugged out of their sockets when he saw her.
Phase 1. She greeted him in an annoying singsong voice, making it a point to wiggle her butt in his spot. His face flushed and twisted, but his lips remained clamped. Tight.
He approached them. She waited for him, dared him with her eyes to demand for his spot back.
He didn't. His head was panning the room.
Holy crap on a cracker. He was actually looking for somewhere else to sit!
Time for Phase 2. She reached up and grabbed the slice of pizza from the plate in his hand. She smirked at him and took one giant bite before putting the slice back on the plate.
Sheldon began shuddering. His eye was twitching. His lip was trembling. It was horrible to watch but Penny couldn't help smiling as she waited for him to give her a strike. To banish her. To yell at her.
To at last, talk to her after so many weeks of silence.
Then, to her and everyone else's shock, Sheldon walked towards the trash bin, calmly disposing of the pizza before setting the plate on the dishwasher and striding towards his room.
It was the click of the lock that finally sent Penny flying from the couch and knocking...or rather, hammering on Sheldon's door.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
BAM! BAM! BAM!
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Penny felt her hackles rise.
Forget junior rodeo.
It's time for SUperman to die.
"Sheldon Cooper, you either tell me what's wrong or I'm going to call your mother!"
"Then you would unfortunately be too late. I already did!"
It was that reply which sent Penny back up into a wall, and if it hadn't been for Leonard steadying her, she would've slid down to the floor.
Mary Cooper crouched down beside her son as he droned scientific terms while assembling his little DNA thingy. She imagined she wouldn't be able to understand Shelly's ramblings even if she cared to. Some answers to life's mysteries, like how she was given such a...unique son...was best left to the Lord.
Still, she continued to nod and stroke her boy's short hair, like she had done whenever he told her about the bullies in the neighborhood. She'd understood him back then. She couldn't now, but she knew she would eventually. Jesus had given her the gift of tongues when it came to Shelly, but this time, she didn't need any divine power to know what was going on. She'd picked up a few words here and there, but it was what he did with his hands that made her see.
"Is it me, or is my little snickerdoodle in love?"
"In love?" Shelly turned to her with a look which reminded her of a deer about to flee. He shook his head vigorously. "I'm not in love. What would make you think I'm in love? If anything, I've gotten a virus of some sort. I already gave you a litany of my symptoms--"
"Aw, my snickerdoodle's lovesick," Mary cooed and pulled her son into her arms, her smile so wide, her cheeks actually hurt. "My little baby's finally growing up."
"Don't treat me like a child," Shelly whined, though he didn't make an effort to pull away from her. He never did, and it made Mary's heart break a little to think he may have to one day.
Still, she was happy.
"Course you're right, Shelly. You're grown up now." She kissed him on the cheek. She wanted to ask him who it was, but she thought it best to save that for a later time. Besides, she already had a pretty good idea of who it might be. "Do you want mommy to make you some cobbler?"
"Then you wait right here and play with your little toys while I fix you some."
Mary stood up and left the room, almost with a skip in her steps. When the door's latch clicked, Sheldon Cooper turned back to the DNA model he had been assembling and made sure to position the last piece properly, all the while, trying to decipher how his mother could've come to the conclusion that he, Sheldon Cooper, PhD., had become susceptible to human emotions. Scratch that, ROMANTIC human emotions. Hadn't he told his mother about the symptoms? The lack of sleep, loss of appetite, distraction, heart palpitations, daydreaming and unpredictable abdominal spasms? Granted all those happened whenever Penny was around, and worsened the nicer she treated him, which was why he stayed away from her. She'd been a viral carrier before, and the chances of it re-occuring were rather high, with her obvious lack of organization and concern for sanitation. She'd gotten him sick again, he was sure, but this was unlike any virus he had ever known. It seemed he was the only one infected.
Virus. Infection. Sick. Lovesick. In love. Penny.
He's in love with Penny?
"Absurd," Sheldon muttered under his breath, and managed to shake away the mental reminder that at one point, he had come to the same conclusion. He wasn't in love with Penny. Not in the least. Penny was Leonard's girlfriend. His best friend's girlfriend. Granted she had been spending a lot more time with him because of that, shopping with him because she didn't know what Leonard would like and he would; how she often surprised him (and Leonard) by knowing more about his quirks, patterns and tastes than even Leonard; how he surprised himself (and Leonard) by knowing more about her quirks, patterns and tastes than Leonard; how she turned to him whenever she and Leonard had a fight, and how almost always, she would manage to manipulate him into taking her side...wait, no one manipulates Dr. Sheldon Cooper! All those times he had sided with her was by his own volition. Yeah, it was his own decision to side with Penny.
All the time to side with Penny. To see the smile on her face when he did.
"Absurd, absurd, absurd," Sheldon muttered repeatedly and concentrated on the setting the last DNA strand in place. Sheldon Cooper does not fall in love. He was just sick, that's all. Not lovesick, but physiologically infected by a yet to be identified pathogen that caused his heartbeats and pulse rate to increase in Penny's presence.
He was not in love. Period. Not with Penny, not with anyone.
But as his eyes took in the entire shape of the DNA structure he had been assembling, he blanched.
He'd formed it into the perfect shape of a heart.
In the kitchen, Mary Cooper smiled when she heard Shelly's loud, "Oh dear God!", and raised her eyes to thank the Lord for finally knocking some sense into her hardheaded little boy. Scratch that, he wasn't a little boy anymore. He was growing up. And with that, she turned to her son's pretty blonde neighbor, her smile meaningful as she gave Penny a hands on demonstration on how to make the perfect cobbler for Shelly.
A/N: I don't know if this theme is something that had been tackled before, (I couldn't find any fic like it, you know, the avoid-your-crush bit) but I hope you guys like it. If you've been following a few of my fics, this can actually serve as a sequel to "The Elevator COnundrum" (first time Sheldon refers to Penny's virus) and a prequel to "Running Away", though it can definitely stand on its own. If you guys want to know exactly when Shelly's viral infection started, please read the "Elevator Conundrum". And if you wanna know what happens next, please read "Running Away" (the sequel to "Running Away" is "What Was Missed"). Oh, and the DNA heart shape thing? I thought it's a good way to represent how Sheldon focuses so much on the little things that he often fails to see the bigger picture. Until it hits him like a freight train LOL! I'm thinking of doing a fanart, where Mary sits with Shelly on the floor, and tells him he's in love, and we can all see the heart shape DNA structure thingy...I'll see what I can do.