SO the new season has started and I was inspired and delighted by how much Penny/Sheldon there was in it and this fic was born. Totally unbeta'd I actually don't have one and am too tired to do any real editing so I hope there isn't any major boo-boos. Spoilers for Star Trek (2009) so be warned and I used one line from the movie so I credit JJ with that yum line.
Please enjoy and let me what you think!
Not surprisingly convincing Sheldon to clear his schedule, to disrupt the flow of his week, was the hardest part of the whole thing. In the end she had looked at him, crossed her arms, and simply ordered him to get downstairs.
Maybe it had been her look, or her tone, or maybe he was simply curious about where they were headed, but he had gotten into her car without further complaint.
Well there had been complaints, her engine light had blinked back on while they were gone; there was some new road work that Sheldon hadn't been aware of, and that had led to a frustrating ten minutes while he wrote down as many details of the work as he could. He probably had a log of such things.
Smiling as the road finally opened up before them, she had missed them all, Leonard especially, but she had missed Sheldon too, they had been getting along better since the "napkin" and even more since her realization that Sheldon couldn't be swayed by anew neighbor.
"So," Sheldon launched into a narrative story about, well, she hadn't really been paying attention when he had begun talking but she caught something about elves and a pomegranate?
Nose wrinkling in confusion, she studied Sheldon's profile, hoping to gleam some sort of explanation from the clean angles, but no such luck; she did however discover just how nice his bone structure was.
Wasn't fair, it really wasn't now that she thought about it. Sheldon Cooper, for all his, proclivities, her word a day calendar had yielded a good one last Wednesday, was a looker. He had good skin, great hands, amazing eyes, and well, he was tall.
Really, really tall, the kind of tall that a girl could get a crick in her neck kind, the kind of tall certain girls went for; certain girls like her, but she digressed. The physical attributes that separated Sheldon from the rest of the boys, were also wasted on him. His height would be much better suited on Leonard or Howard and even though his mouth spewed out the most inappropriate things at least he spoke to the opposite sex, unlike poor Raj.
"Penny," jostled from her thoughts she felt the blush spread up her neck.
"Yes Sheldon," he couldn't know what she had been thinking, he was in no way intuitive enough for that, but he was looking at her, really looking at her and the blue eyes, God it would never do for those blue eyes to be anywhere else.
"Could I have an estimate please of our arrival time?" she blinked, the moment between them passed, she turned her attention back on the road, her eyes flicking towards the small clock on the dashboard, doing the quick math she shrugged, "A half hour, if the roads stay clear."
He nodded and turned his gaze out towards the passing traffic.
Maybe she had been without his, all of their company for too long, maybe it was simply the absence that had dragged her thoughts into such strange directions.
There couldn't be any other reason for it.
"Where exactly have you brought me?" Sheldon stood next to Penny and they both looked at the building, if he dared call it that, before them.
"It doesn't look like much, I know, but trust me," Penny had come alive when the car had pulled in to the parking lot. Sheldon had found himself intrigued by the sudden change, as one who had been on the receiving end of very few successful 'surprises' he had followed Penny with a certain degree of hesitation.
In the face of her excitement it was hard to contain his growing, curiosity, he was certainly not excited yet, but crossing the parking lot, he considered the possibility, factored in the probability of this being a successful day.
"Come on Sheldon," Penny was waving him on, extending her hand, he found himself taking it without question and didn't even flinch, much, when she tugged him towards the entrance.
"Penny, what on earth," they were in a lobby of sorts; there was the customary racket from video games, and the sudden not unwelcome hit of popcorn. Penny had brought him to a movie theater, his eyes slid across the unfamiliar lobby, not one he had ever been too.
He had certain criteria for movie theaters, she knew this, and he knew she did, but she had still brought him to one not on the list, "Penny," he turned to tell her this when she held up a hand.
"I know you have your list and there are rules and whatever, but," and she did the strangest thing, she literally bounced in excitement, for him, "this was the only theater still showing it."
He was still reeling over her excitement for him, no one got excited for him he allowed her to pull him towards the concession stand, he recovered enough to order for himself and slip the cashier his credit card for both their orders.
There was so much wrong with what was happening, he didn't know the name of the theater, if it could be called that, when he saw only two sets of doors, one closed, one opened; he had done no vetting of their acoustics or level of digital output.
Still, Penny walked, bounced over to the open doors and waited for him. Despite the money he had just spent on snacks, he could refuse, there was nothing stopping him from insisting that she take him home. Except that he knew she would, that she would be upset, but she would take him home, give him that look that his Mee-Maw would give him when a dish, his favorite apple crumb cobbler, at Sunday dinner went uneaten by him because someone had touched the serving ladle first.
And as he took his first step towards her he decided he didn't want to see that look, not today, better to simply bear it, and when exactly he decided to make such concessions for Penny he had no idea.
Penny was literally grinning ear to ear by the time he reached her side and he was content with his decision, it wasn't as if too many people went out their way to surprise him.
That brought about another thought, "What are we here to see Penny?"
Penny shushed him and pointed to the empty theater, "Pick a spot Sheldon," she glanced at her watch, "You have about four minutes to decide. They aren't usually busy for the first show, so we'll probably be the only ones. Go pick."
He raised his eyebrows and reassessed his opinion of the theater, the screen was large enough, the seats were worn but not ripped and there was a clear hint of disinfectant.
"I don't know if I've ever been the only patron in a viewing before," intrigued by the idea he walked the aisles, determining the best viewing and acoustic location until Penny cleared her throat. Nodding he made his decision and took a seat; Penny sat to his right and promptly kicked off her flip flops off and crossed her legs.
Balancing the overlarge tub of popcorn in her lap Penny methodically opened six of the too small napkins and spread them over her right knee.
When she offered the seventh to him he accepted it with thanks, "I've always wondered why movie napkins are so small," Penny giggled at his statement her smile genuine when she looked at him.
"I wondered about that too, seems like you would use less if they were bigger," he nodded and settled into his own seat. Just as his straw had entered his cup the lights dimmed.
"Are you going to tell me what we are watching," he whispered, out of habit, they were the only patrons, but still it was a movie.
Penny leaned in close, her hair brushing his shoulder, "This is a second run theater, the only one that was a reasonable distance from Pasadena."
Sheldon was still lost, the screen had begun to advertise the latest Harry Potter film, a possibility arose, "You didn't?" he squeaked.
Penny grinned, he suspicions confirmed, she laughed her voice was far above an appropriate whisper, "They're running Star Trek Sheldon!"
He forgave her outburst.
Penny loved the new Star Trek movie.
Had gone to see it opening weekend and out of real delight of the film and in homage to her neighbors had gone to see it again the next weekend.
Sitting next to Sheldon, watching him as much as she watched the film she realized she kind of got it now. Loving Uhura and Chekov and do not get her started on Spock, she understood how the boys could get so wrapped up in shows and movies.
Sheldon hadn't moved, had barely breathed since the moment the Kelvin came into view and she couldn't blame him. She was curious though, it was so hard to sit there through each plot twist and story revelation and not utter a comment or a question, those could come later, this was for him and she was certainly not disappointed in his reaction.
He gasped and sighed and 'oohed' and 'aahed' at all the appropriate points. Penny had never seen Sheldon so emotive, the clear affection and curiosity he held for the figures on the screen played out in vivid detail on his skin. She had had no idea that he had it in him, that he could care so much, that he could put it out there so clearly, it was a rocking of her world kind of moment.
Turning back to the screen she focused and realized she had almost missed her favorite part, her favorite Zach Quinto part at least, and grinned as Spock put the smack down on Kirk.
There was just something mad hot about the quiet brainy guy beating the crap out of the cocky captain, with hardly any effort at all. Briefly she wondered if Sheldon could handle himself like that, her skin heated, grateful for the dark of the theater, she reached for her coke and sipped it.
The comparison between Spock and Sheldon was natural, hadn't he always made the comparison himself? And there was the whole napkin thing that she could only now fully appreciate, she had kicked herself more than once since May for not getting her own autograph, but she had kept the ticket and swiped the credit card receipt, which she didn't feel guilty about the numbers were all replaced with those little x's. It wasn't the same though, but she knew now why Sheldon had been so freaked out, Spock Prime was a sight to behold.
She hadn't been comparing Sheldon to Spock Prime though, no, she had slid him right into Mr. Quinto's interpretation and he had fit just fine.
Not good things to think about now, with him, here; Penny scratched her left knee until it was uncomfortable and focused all her attention back on the screen and watched the plan to rescue Pike begin to take shape.
Her real favorite part was forthcoming, with her surprising new favorite couple. Spock stood on the transporter and Uhura appeared, their embrace was sweet and hot and so them; and she smiled at the kiss, 'Nyota', God she loved that name, wondered how Sheldon would feel about that story twist.
Her eyes again flicked to his profile, and she studied his reaction, she noted the slight sense of disbelief, she had certainly been shocked in her first viewing, but she didn't know how Sheldon would react to Spock in a relationship.
Just like she didn't know how she would react to Sheldon in a relationship. Eyes wide she turned back to the screen, the bad thoughts were back, and she didn't think scratching her knee was going to help much.
As one of the people who felt it was their duty to stay trough the entirety of the credits, homage as it were, to everyone who participated in making the film, he let the story wash over him.
Analyzed the liberties, the additions, the omissions, his mind was whirling as fandom took over.
It was everything he had hoped it would be and so much more, overwhelmed he broke his own rule, turned his eyes away from the screen and faced Penny, "Thank you Penny," once again his thanks didn't seem enough.
Once again Penny had done something so far above and beyond that he had no language with which to repay her.
Penny shocked in her own right at hearing his voice, there were rules after all, but he thought she recovered admirably and covered his hand with her own and squeezed, "You're welcome. It's just I knew you wanted to see it and had been gone, and then everything fell apart after you got back."
Their hands were still together, on his arm rest, and he swallowed, "Yes well," it meant a lot to him, "it means a lot to have seen it in the theater. There is very little that can make up for theatrical viewing."
Nodding Penny agreed, "but there is something that can out do that." Reaching for her purse Sheldon wondered just what she had up her sleeve this time, and when she withdrew two more non-perforated tickets.
"You didn't?" he squeaked, something about today was leaving quite the inarticulate academic. She nodded, "I did, if you're up for it?"
Amazed he could only shake his head in disbelief. He took the offered ticket and stood as she did, his mind spinning with excitement at seeing the movie again so soon.
Penny began peppering him with questions. How did like this or what did he think of that? It was overwhelming to find Penny so excited, so knowledgeable about the film. She revealed that she had fallen in love with the film and had taken Leonard up on his offer to help herself to the DVD's in their apartment and she had been trying to make her way through the original series.
Positively agog at the news, he followed her through the lobby, he listened, stunned as she further revealed that she had taken a particular liking to Spock and the actor portraying him.
"I kinda obsessed over Heroes," he watched her eyes drop to her clasped hands, "rolled through all three season over a four day weekend."
Quickly changing the subject when she caught sight of what he knew to be a blatant jaw drop she demanded real food before the next showing, pulling on his sleeve she marched along the sidewalk investigating the food possibilities in the strip mall.
Penny was not supposed to be one of those people, one of his people, a person who got caught up as a fan, he stumbled over his feet as his brain made the next logical step; Penny was a fangirl.
"Oh, yum," Penny had found fast food, the chicken place that closed on Sundays, much to Leonard's late night dismay. He ate without complaint; she ate without silence, every question, more insightful and full of fandom, made him even more convinced of her change of status.
And he had no idea what to do with the change. Penny had her role in their social group and he didn't if or how this change would affect things.
Walking briskly back to the theater, they bypassed the popcorn, she ordered chocolate, he individually wrapped fruit candy, and they both got drinks far too big for one person, but would no doubt finish in two hours.
As Penny headed for the restroom, he promised he wouldn't let her purse out of his sight, the teenager who had served them their snacks, caught his eye, "your girlfriend?" the disbelief was clear and Sheldon felt his spine stiffen.
"No," the eyes widened on the teen and Sheldon felt his hackles rise, "she brought you here for Star Trek, for two showings?" Sheldon nodded eyes sharp, in the affirmative.
"Than why the hell isn't she your girlfriend?" once again Sheldon found himself floored by words uttered in his presence.
Before he could reply or even think of a reply or really process the words, Penny appeared taking her drink and purse and offering him some candy which he only managed to refuse with a half nod.
The movie was starting and he stole one last glance at Penny, why indeed.
"So, you had fun?" Penny was pulling into the parking lot, Sheldon had been anything but quiet on the drive home, but he was quiet now and she looked over at him, a frown growing between her eyes.
"Penny," Sheldon had turned in his seat, she could see the strain on the seat belt as he twisted his body, "I do not say this lightly, or without careful consideration," and she knew that he said most things in that very Sheldon-way, she pulled into a parking spot and put her in park, "today has perhaps, been, one of the best days, ever."
Penny gaped, her jaw dropped, her heart tripled its rhythm, the words, the tone, the hesitation, everything, spoke the truth but seriously?
"Oh, Sheldon," and there really wasn't anything else she could say. Killing the engine, she unhooked her seatbelt and turned towards him, "I'm so glad you had a good day," she smiled at him, "one of the best for me too."
It was the truth, she had had a blast today, wouldn't mind having another one of them. They shared a look, and when she had started sharing looks with Sheldon she had no idea.
There was a lot about Sheldon that she had no idea about. They had been neighbors going on three years, and this was one of the first times that she had felt, connected, to him.
Between them her phone chirped, they both jumped and he coughed as she reached for her phone, "it's just Caroline, wants me to pick up her shift Thursday."
Sheldon nodded and she quickly accepted, the moment had passed between them and there was no other reason to stay in her car. If it had been a real date she was heading home with, there might have been some fooling around in the car, a few loud laughs on the way to the elevator.
Across the parking lot Sheldon walked next to her in silence, his hands wrapped the strap of his messenger bag and she wondered, not for the first time, what all he kept in there.
"Thanks," she liked the manners, wanted her own boys to hold the doors open for the women in their lives, like Sheldon. She stumbled on the second step, Sheldon caught her arm, steadying her, saving her, maybe, but not helping in the slightest.
When had she become a woman in Sheldon's life? When had he gotten such blue eyes, eyes that were studying her on the second step, his hand was still on her arm, still steadying her, and it was all so right.
When had Sheldon become right? "Thanks again," she grinned as best she could.
Sheldon nodded, but didn't let go of her arm, he was thinking, she could tell something was going on in that big brain of his, she opened her mouth but he beat her to it, "Thank you Penny, for everything."
He let go of her arm and moved to third step.
At the fifth, he turned and tilted his head down at her, "Come on, I'll walk you home."
Penny blushed, stepping up to the third and then the fourth step, she looked up at Sheldon and for one crazy instant she thought about considered muttering it, just to see what is reaction would be, 'I'll be monitoring your frequency' it was the perfect moment for it.
After the second viewing, there had been a few whispered comments, but in their surprising third viewing of the movie it had been a full on chat fest. She had been unable to hold her tongue during the third run through and neither had he.
Sheldon had been as in love with the movie as she had been and to her great surprise completely at ease with the Spock and Uhura pairing, had in fact applauded her decision. After all Spock was the logical choice, Penny had snorted at that and was thoroughly convinced that logic had little to do with why Nyota had chosen the Vulcan.
Standing as close as they were on the steps, she wondered how he would react, if he would react favorably. Not well, she was almost positive of the fact, her mind made up she stepped up to the fifth step, next to him and smiled, "Thanks Sheldon," if he thought she was acting a little nutty he said nothing and they walked up the rest of the steps without incident.
"Well thanks again," she wondered how long he would continue thanking her, not that she minded, "your welcome."
The locks on both doors turned and she snuck a look over her shoulder and found him looking her way, rolling her eyes, she grinned and waved, "goodnight Sheldon."
"Goodnight Penny," he disappeared behind the door and she felt a pang in her chest, she really wished she was monitoring his frequency about now.
There was nothing that could come from thinking about Sheldon, like that. Falling against the closed door she slid to the floor into a mess of legs and limbs, she was in so much trouble.
Didn't matter, she woke up the next morning, groggy, turned on and wishing she could slide back into sleep, snuggling up to her pillow she smiled into the pillow case, Sheldon had looked really, really yummy with those pointy ears and blue shirt.