Title: "Fighting Change"
Author: g_girl143 / gwendy Rating: G Chapters: One very long one shot.
Summary: Change is something Sheldon Cooper just couldn't deal with. At least, not without taking drastic measures.
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: To keep with the actual TBBT-verse and episodes, and with everything that's been happening in the community, from the Season 3 spoilers to the Comic-con, I've decided to go ahead and write what would be a season ender that would actually work for both shippers and non-shippers alike. So depending on your point of view, this can be romantic or not...well, I doubt it'll be the latter though haha! I hope you guys like it! One shot! And watch out for dialogue! You're gonna be hit by an avalanche of dialogue. And fluff! Like Dandelion fluff.
Major thanks to [info]gemsile123 / Jessi for the beta ^_^

Penny wiped the sweat off her brow and surveyed her apartment. Sunlight was pouring in from the now curtain-less windows and onto the boxes on the floor. She had stored away her belongings with no thoughts of organizational paradigms, and she imagined Sheldon would flip if he knew.

God, she would miss that whack-a-doodle.

Penny got the last can of diet coke from her almost empty fridge. She was moving out. After years of slugging out on minimum wage, pitiful tips and slaving away at auditions, she'd finally hit a regular stream of acting gigs. Mostly commercials, plays, maybe a noteworthy extra here and there, and now she was under negotiation with someone who could possibly be her first real agent.

Things were changing, and Penny knew it was for the better. She was still working at the Cheesecake Factory, but didn't need to pull double shifts just so she could get by. No thanks to Sheldon's nagging, she'd long since devised (or rather he did) a financial feasibility chart which helped her enormously. Now, she could finally afford that nice apartment she'd been eying for months.

Yep, Penny thought. Things could only get better.

Then again, it wasn't going to be easy. She'd been positively heartbroken when Leonard broke the news that he was leaving. Not in a romantic sense though. She and Leonard had called it quits on amicable terms and remained very good friends, so to see him go was very hard. Still, she was happy for him. Leonard had been granted a very rare pass to North Korea to work in a prestigious university, though they all knew that was only part of the reason he had accepted. Joyce Kim, Leonard's longest girlfriend (next to her), and whom she had come to realize was his first and only love, had sent for him. It was dangerous for him to go, but Penny thought it was utterly romantic and so brave of Leonard to cross such borders just to be with Joyce Kim.

She wondered if one day, someone would give up everything just to be with her.

Penny shook her head and crushed the aluminum can in her hand. Once, she'd thought Leonard was that man but as it turned out, he was only in love with the idea of them, rather than with her, and she was only after how good he made her feel. Her ego-booster. It hadn't been a healthy relationship, and she was glad it ended as smoothly as it did. Strangely, it wouldn't have if it hadn't been for Sheldon...

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"Penny?"

Speak of the devil, Penny thought, and turned towards the door. She sighed. This was yet another thing she would miss. Who else could do that crazy knock but Sheldon Cooper?

Once the three-knock-pattern was complete, she opened the door, her smile brighter than she actually felt as she looked up at the tall physicist from 4A. She was going to miss the stiff necks she got from talking to him while standing. "Hey Sheldon. What's up?"

"I have some pressing matters to discuss with you, and it would be more convenient for both of us to discuss it in my apartment, as I will need to visually explain as well the purpose of my disrupting you from packing."

God, she was going to miss this walking dictionary/thesaurus.

With a shrug, she followed Sheldon to his apartment, where he had her sit down on what had become her spot on the couch, right beside his. He had set up his whiteboard in front of the TV, and written on it was a flowchart she could only describe as a spider's web.

Sheldon cleared his throat. "As you are well aware, Penny, Leonard has gone off to North Korea upon the request of Joyce Kim, which of course, leaves me without a roommate."

"It's only for a year, Sheldon," Penny assured him. "That's how long Leonard's pass will last. By then, I'm sure he'll find some way to bring Joyce Kim here. That's his plan, isn't it?"

"Yes, but this is North Korea, Penny. Or do you always prefer watching those pseudo-reality TV shows over the news?"

"Sheldon, I know how dangerous North Korea is." Penny sighed. She didn't want to be reminded exactly HOW dangerous. "But trust me. Leonard's a big boy. He can take care of himself."

"Oh, I'm not worried about Leonard. I'm worried about me."

"About you?" Penny rolled her eyes. So much for worrying about your best friend, she thought.

"Who else should I worry about but myself? Leonard's there and I'm here," Sheldon reasoned with his usual tone of condescension, though Penny had gotten used to it. "Now, let's get back to the topic at hand. As you are well aware, Leonard and I were roommates for four years, eleven months, one wee--"

"Sheldon, I don't need an exact chronology, I get it," Penny interrupted with a wave of a hand. "He was your roommate up until a week ago."

"Right. Now, in that span of time, Leonard and I have built an extensively debated and meticulously planned routine. But with his inevitable 365 day absence, this being day 7, I have been left with a routine built for two, not one."

"Oh, honey, we've already discussed this with everyone," Penny reminded him, for once using an endearing tone. She knew how to play with Sheldon's idiosyncracies if and when she needed to. "Howard, Raj and I will still be coming over for Thai night, Halo night, Wii bowling night--"

"But coming over to visit is not the same as actually having someone here, or having someone across the hall from me."

Penny paused. She already knew where this was going, but before she could speak, Sheldon tapped at his white board and began explaining his diagrams and calculations. Penny had known him long enough to just pick up on the important parts, and after he had finished a lecture on the significant savings of having a roommate, he began with elaborating other advantages.

"Having a roommate, especially one who has the ability to drive me to and from work, as well as all over Pasadena, would prove to be highly sufficient to my needs."

Penny heard 'I need a personal chauffeur.'

"I will also need a companion of whom I can have DVD marathons with, someone who can get my take out order right, which Leonard never seems to be able to do, a roommate who can perform the Heimlech maneuver should I choke on my food--"

"Sheldon--"

"--someone to take care of me when I am sick, specifically to put Vaporub on my chest and perform sponge baths--"

"Hey!"

"Okay, sponge baths are optional, but a roommate who knows how to sing 'Soft Kitty' would also be necessary for when I--"

"Sheldon, I can't be your roommate!"

Sheldon froze, as did Penny. She hadn't wanted to shout like that, but he wouldn't shut up. Still, that didn't make her feel any better, especially when she saw his dejection. "I...I haven't even reached that part of my proposition yet."

"You didn't have to, honey. I know. And I'm sorry, but I'm all packed and ready to move. I just can't be your roommate."

"Have I not presented valid enough reasons why you should be?"

"You did. But it was all about you and what would be beneficial for you," Penny said, and she was unable to hide a sad note. "But then, what about me? What would I get from it?"

Her own statement gave her a pause. Was she somehow considering this?

Sheldon seemed to have picked up on it, because his lip curled up to a slight smirk. "You seem to be under the impression that I had not thought this through. Well, you have sadly underestimated my intellect...which you should not have done in the first place," he added, not without a note of annoyance before gesturing at another white board. He started another lecture, this time, on the advantages of her having a roommate. He started with finances, wherein Penny had to admit, he did raise several good points. He then expounded on the dangers of looking for a roommate (and this applied to both of them, he pointed out), that unless they did a thorough background check (like he had done with Leonard, and he emphasized at a huge expense) of the possible roommates, they might as well share an apartment with Jack the Ripper.

Then he discussed at length on why he should be her roommate. He was more knowledgeable than she was (which he expressed in words Penny deemed could have been a little more tactful), he'd be able to keep the apartment in tiptop shape, even on his own (definitely a plus, Penny thought), he could cook better than she did (this, Penny took in both a negative and positive light), being the male, he could protect her from possible mauraders (Penny snorted at this), he already had a disaster evacuation plan that could accomodate both of them should an earthquake trap them in the apartment (my hero, Penny thought with an eye-roll)...

"And," Sheldon punctured the air with a dramatic finger, "I'd like to think that I've become such an endearing and important part of your life that you would not wish to be without my presence."

Penny made sure her groan made a point. "Sheldon...those are very good arguments and I'm glad you took the time to think this through, but--"

"Penny, please."

Penny looked up and saw Sheldon, stiff as an ironing board, his arms tight at his sides, his fists shaking. Did he just say please?

"Penny, I'm not used to this kind of social situation. I mean...everything's changing so fast that I can't...it's just...it's horrible!"

The horror was clear in his voice, and it made Penny swallow. He looked like a little boy, so vulnerable and afraid, and though she didn't want to, she felt her heart aching for him. "Honey...me and the guys will help you cope. I...we may not be at your side all the time, but we'll be around as often as we can and--"

"What do I need to do to convince you? I've presented you with all the necessary facts." Sheldon threw his hands up in the air, and Penny knew he was bordering on desperation. "Penny, if you stay I...I'll let you watch whatever you want, even that intellect-draining pseudo-reality model hunt you seemed to enjoy. I'll...I'll let you use Euclid Avenue to drive me to work and I won't even complain...or try not to...I mean, no, I won't complain. I'll also...allow you in my room, should the situation call for it..."

Penny had to raise an eyebrow at that.

"...and I'll also let you win at Halo..."

"Sheldon, I ALWAYS win at Halo."

"Then, I'll let you win even more."

"You know that's not possible." Penny shook her head, then watched as Sheldon paled and mumbled something so unbelievable, she felt her jaw drop. "W-Wait...excuse me? What did you just say?"

Sheldon swallowed, then, in a strained voice behind gritted teeth, said, "I'll let you sit in my spot."

"In your spot?" Penny felt like a parrot, but she had to have confirmation of this. "In your single point of consistency. Zero. Zero. Zero."

"Zero, the time parameter," Sheldon corrected, still through gritted teeth.

Penny blinked. It seemed as if at that moment, her eyelids were the only parts of her body capable of moving. "Sheldon, I'm confused. You said you can't deal with change. You've said numerous times that your spot is the one constant in your life...and you're giving it up?"

"Just on occasion," he muttered, then shook his head. "No. I mean yes. I'll let you...just please say you'll be my roommate."

Penny stared at him. She was still too much in awe to process everything, but oddly enough, she was...pleased.

Sheldon Cooper was actually going to give up everything...even his spot...just to have her as his roommate.

Then, as if his offer wasn't shocking enough, what he did next almost made Penny faint.

"Penny...I've never been privy to social protocols and admittedly have not had time to google it properly, so..." Sheldon took in a deep breath, went down on one knee and with his eyes on hers, reached out to take her hand. "Penny, will you be my roommate?"

Penny felt as though the words had lodged themselves in her throat, and she couldn't get a single one of them out except for a few squeaks and choked noises. He was still holding her hand, his blue eyes still intense, his face still serious, and when she finally managed to find her voice, she said, "H-Honey...I think you looked up the wrong website."

********

Penny wiped the sweat off her brow and surveyed her apartment. Sunlight was pouring in from the curtain-less windows and the now empty floor. She and Sheldon had finished moving the last of her boxes into apartment 4A, and 4B was now as empty as the day she first set foot in it. How long ago was that? It seemed only yesterday that she moved in here, and saw the two men watching her from the open door, one short and dreamy-eyed, the other tall and shy.

"Penny, what are you still loitering here for?"

Penny rolled her eyes, but was unable to hide a smile. They say first impressions last, but what they failed to take into account was that things change. You can't fight it; you can only adapt to it. And shy Sheldon had turned out to be brash, egotistic, tactless, yet so endearingly convincing. And she had been able to adapt to it.

She turned and found him at the doorway with his hands folded across his chest. He was still tall. He was still Sheldon. And she was glad that that would stay constant. "I was just remembering the day we first met. You were at the door, back then too."

She thought she saw something flicker in Sheldon's eyes but it disappeared into his scowl.

Yup, some things never change.

"Penny, there will be time for reminiscing later. It's anything-can-happen Thursday, in case you've forgotten, and you've opted for a change in routine with a Death Note DVD marathon. Now, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, so if you could come home, we'd be able to proceed with our plans for the night."

Penny smiled. Home. That sounded so...right.

She started for the door when pain shot up from her calf, causing her to shriek and drop to the floor.

Sheldon was hovering over her in an instant. "What? What happened?"

"I think I have a cramp," Penny grimaced and rubbed her calf. "Must've pulled a muscle when we were moving the fridge out."

"Penny, get up. We're already six minutes and thirty-three seconds off schedule--"

"Sheldon!" Penny threw him a scathing glance. "Can't you see I'm in pain here?"

"Fine," Sheldon muttered, then, to Penny's complete surprise, knelt down to scoop her up in his arms.

"Sh-Sheldon..."

"We're running out of time," Sheldon muttered, and began carrying her out the door.

Penny had to try desperately to hide a blush, and she suddenly remembered the tresling match at the Cheesecake Factory. And she thought Raj was just weak. "My leg still hurts."

"Of course it still would. A cramp is not the type of muscle pain to go away without physical therapy. I happen to know a great deal about massage--"

"Massage?" Penny had to parrot it with wide eyes. "You, Sheldon, know how to massage?"

Sheldon gave her his usual you-continue-to-underestimate-me look. "Penny, I'm a physicist. I have--"

"A working knowledge on the entire universe and everything it contains," Penny finished, but continued to stare unbelievingly at her new roommate. "You're going to give me a massage?"

"Who's giving who a massage?"

Penny felt herself grow cold. She knew that voice, and when Sheldon turned, they were met with Alicia's wide smile.

Oh crap.

"Alicia, this isn't what it looks like."

"Dr. Cooper carrying you to his apartment isn't what it looks like?" Alicia pursued, and Penny growled. The bitch was enjoying this.

"Correction, Alicia. It's mine and Penny's apartment."

Penny spun her head to Sheldon, and he looked at her with an I'm-right-and-everyone-else-is-wrong smirk.

What the hell?

"Yours and Penny's?" Alicia repeated.

"That is correct. Penny has, by all accounts, agreed to live with me for an interminable amount of time."

"Not all accounts," Penny protested, which earned her a confused look from Sheldon.

"Not all? But didn't we agree last night that--"

"Yes, Sheldon, we did but--"

"Then what seems to be the problem?"

Penny closed her eyes and bit her lip. She knew, without looking, that Alicia was taking everything so out of context. "Look, can you please just get me inside the apartment?"

"Ah, so you guys gettin' busy tonight?" Alicia teased, and if her leg hadn't been killing her, Penny would've gladly pulled every golden hair off Alicia's pretty little head.

Sheldon answered before Penny could come up with a reply. "Why, yes, Alicia. In fact, Penny and I have a whole itinerary of activities tonight, the first of which would involve me massaging her legs."

Only two familiar words formed in Penny's mind: Oh, crap.

Alicia was grinning. "And after the massage?"

Sheldon shrugged. "She and I will engage in a marathon, but after that, who knows? Today is anything-can-happen Thursday." And with that, he carried Penny inside apartment 4A, kicking the door close.

THE END

A/N: I warned you about the fluff LOL! And also, I think this may be the closest thing we'll get to a marriage proposal from Sheldon...for now, HAHA! I so wanna see this in the show! I mean, it'd be both funny, and it's not necessarily super-shippy as to make non-shippers uncomfortable...then again, that's my opinion, and my shipper's goggles are superglued and screwed to my skull, and my shipper's heart is beating madly in my chest so....neeeh....I can't say I'm unbiased haha! I hope you guys enjoyed this ;) Had to add Alicia, because...frankly, I couldn't picture Raj and Howard asking Sheldon about that and not...you know, question it a whole damn lot, and then of course, we wouldn't have gotten those responses from Sheldon if it were the guys who saw them.
One last thing, I was supposed to add this final line:

In the hallway, Alicia continued to grin before finally shaking her head. "Man...those two are complete whack-a-doodles."

But I just decided to leave it at the kicking the door part. Because then I'd have to explain where Alicia got the whack-a-doodle term LOL! Just think of that line as the alternative ending. Hmmm....will there be an artwork about this fic? If I say YES, then I think we're already in agreement there are two particular scenes that would make for a good fanart. Watch out! ^_^