That Certain Something – by Darlin
A/N – After watching last weeks episode when Sheldon had to take Penny to the emergency room my friend who watched it with me asked if I'd write a gift fic centered around those two for her. Gift fics are hard to do and I don't do many and to top it off I've never seen Sheldon and Penny as a couple so it was a challenge. Long story short I churned out a one shot the next day at work and thought okay, that's done but when I went back to tweak it the next day I actually started having fun with it and I hope some of that shows.
The story takes place right after the emergency room episode where the guys were watching meteors, or rather forgetting to watch meteors, and getting high off of marijuana laced cookies. Mind you this is my first and most likely my last Big Bang Theory story so be nice please. This is for you Megan. :)
The first thing Sheldon noticed as he drifted out of sleep was that his room smelled different. Something wasn't right.
"Mmmm," he breathed as he sniffed the air curiously. It smelled nice, like perfume almost. Decidedly odd but not off putting even familiar, he thought as he sat up and stretched. He stopped mid stretch, his eyes open wide. Something wasn't right at all in fact nothing even looked right.
"Good morning, Sheldon" came a muffled voice from beneath his covers. Only they weren't his bed covers and he wasn't in his room.
"Good lord, I'm trapped in some sort of nightmare centered upon one of my worse psychosis!" Sheldon exclaimed.
"Uh, no, sweetie you're probably just caught in the covers," Penny said as she peeked out at him from under the comforter.
Sheldon looked at her with even wider eyes. He looked down at the brightly colored comforter that was nothing like his own comforter. Confused, he stared at the messy room and the bright feminine colors all around him.
"What's wrong now, Sheldon?" Penny murmured as she sat up. "You know, I don't think it's the most horrible thing that could happen to you, waking up in my bed after you stayed the night to take care of me and yes my shoulder is feeling a little better now, thank you."
Sheldon gave her a quizzical look.
"Try to remember, sweetie. You were my angel of mercy, you helped me in the shower when I slipped and dislocated my shoulder, you helped me get dressed and played hero and . . . um . . . peeked – think soup – and you played Speed Racer getting me to the hospital, well, your version of Speed Racer anyway. Remember the pain medication they gave me? Oh and how could you forget singing soft kitty with me?"
"Oh! Well, that does ring a somewhat foggy bell – lack of proper adhesive ducks if I recall correctly. How on earth could I have forgotten such an entertaining night as that I wonder?"
"Uh, thanks, Sheldon you really know how to make a girl feel special in the morning don't ya? But you know what, sweetie? I'm going to pay you back and make you feel special like you deserve for helping me like that. I know you were really out of your comfort zone especially staying the night in my, well staying with me. I know it was hard for you. I'll make you some pancakes, would you like that, sweetie?"
Penny was up and out of the bed before he could think clearly, the comforter falling to the floor in her haste "Uh, yes please," he said noticing she was fully clothed. "Well, that's a relief," he muttered to himself.
"Pancakes coming right up."
"Blueberry pancakes?" he timidly inquired.
"Blueberry just for you and I'll make the smiley faces you like on them. Ouch, my arm still hurts a little; maybe I should take another pill. Hmm. Well, be back in a little bit."
Sheldon looked around the room when she was gone. Everything was just as he remembered from last night – a disorganized mess. Even the comforter, now on the floor, looked as if it knew that's where it belonged. He shuddered. Did anything belong in this mess? He most certainly did not. And yet he didn't move from the bed.
He remembered why he was in Penny's bed. After they'd sang the kitty song together she had asked him to stay and the last thing he remembered was wondering how and why she had a Chinese tattoo for soup on her derriere. No, he realized that wasn't true. His last thought was of how soft her skin felt and then he must have fallen asleep beside her. Fully dressed too. He looked down at his shirt and lifted the sheet to see if the clothing he felt covering his legs was really there. Yes, he was still wearing pants. Why he'd never gone to sleep without pajamas before! Oh, no, that wasn't true. He remembered that one episode which Leonard, Raj and Howard had told him never to speak of again. But it had been freezing and sharing body heat is a logical and superb way of sustaining proper body temperature so one therefore stayed alive. How was that shameful? Sometimes he just didn't understand his friends.
It was almost an hour before Penny came back. She'd expected Sheldon to be up, anxious to get to his safe spot on the couch in his own apartment or wanting the familiarity of his own shower but when she entered her bedroom she was astonished to see Sheldon had fallen asleep again. He was curled up like a little boy, a very tall little boy, and hugging a pillow.
"Sheldon? Sweetie, breakfast is ready," she whispered but he didn't stir. "Sheldon?" He looked so innocent she didn't want to disturb him. Impulsively she leaned over the bed reached out and let her hand skim over his hair. He must still be tired from the long night they'd spent in the emergency room, she thought as she yawned.
He really was a sweetheart. Yes, he was that robotic man she knew only too well but when you looked past his tragically, inadequate social skills he had a heart of gold. For the most part. What Sheldon was was a frustrating knight in shiny armor – her frustrating knight in shiny armor.
"Wow," she said. That was a bizarre thought, something she would never in a hundred million years have ever entertained. "Wow," she said again and sat down beside him to contemplate the unexpected emotions she'd been feeling ever since she woke up.
Sheldon stirred and his lips parted slightly. She heard him sigh. It was a sigh of deep contentment she thought and hoped. There was something odd but satisfying about having Sheldon sleeping like that in her bed. Sheldon had felt that too she guessed and found herself hoping. Oh, not good at all, she thought.
When Sheldon woke up again he immediately froze. He was startled to feel a warm body tucked under his arm. He knew it was Penny. Logically it had to be Penny. If it wasn't Penny then someone had broken in and climbed into bed with him which would not do at all though he couldn't imagine why a stranger would want to break into Penny's messy apartment and then crawl into bed with him unless the intruder had mistaken him for Penny which was of course absurd unless said burglar was blind which actually made the entire conversation going on in his head rather moot.
He opened one eye and saw the sun had streamed into the room. He'd slept longer than he should have though he knew he shouldn't have fallen asleep again at all, at least not in Penny's bed. He looked at her now, the blonde head of hair pressed against his chest just below his chin. He caught a whiff of what was something more than perfume – most likely pheromones he theorized and held his breath. She really did smell good but he had the distinct feeling he shouldn't be this close to her and that he shouldn't be enjoying her scent or enjoying the touch of her soft skin. It would be best if he left and yet, dare he move? She looked so peaceful. What if he woke her?
Last night she'd been in so much pain, enough to make her rather testy though he'd understood. He'd been thankful for the pain killers they'd given her. He surmised that she could be feeling the effects of another pain killer now, which had made her sleepy or she could simply be as tired as he felt from their late night. He wondered if that was wise, taking another pill. He'd have to hide the bottle – what if she became addicted to pills and he lived next door to a drug addict? She'd lie and steal and cheat to get money for her drugs. She knew he had savings that he kept stashed some where in his room too!
For a second Sheldon's face twisted in a curious way. In that one second he had doubted himself. He never doubted himself. Okay, once in a blue moon he did. He'd doubted his ability to sit through countless games of football with his father and long church sermons with his mother but to believe Penny would ever become an addict with her generous and caring spirit was down right ludicrous! He really did need to reign in his thoughts some times, he decided. But looking at her he just couldn't. She looked so beautiful and innocent and . . . He shuddered at where his thoughts had gone. He'd briefly thought she looked irresistible!
"Good lord, one would think it was me who slipped and fell in that shower instead of Penny," he muttered.
He needed to get out of there quickly. Only he didn't want to jar her arm, she didn't deserve to suffer any more. And if he just walked out of there would she think he was abandoning her? After all, despite the drugs and the healing shoulder she'd awakened bright and cheery just as always and had even offered to make pancakes for him. Not only that but she'd called him Speed Racer! He loved that cartoon, the original one, not the later one. The original was one of the better animes from the sixties; he'd even enjoyed the movie though mostly for nostalgic reasons. He imagined going by the nickname Speed but only she would call him that when they were alone, like now. He almost chuckled but instead he bolted straight up heedless of Penny, truly alarmed that his thoughts had taken another peculiar turn.
"Mmmm, what time is it?" Penny purred as she settled herself more comfortably on the bed now that she didn't have his chest to sleep on. She peered at him through strands of disheveled hair and smiled.
The sight of her, sleepy and careless, shouldn't have caused him to feel anything other than distress that she still hadn't combed her hair but instead he thought she looked prettily disheveled. He felt strange. The stirrings in his stomach and mind were, well they were utterly bewildering. By all rights he should've raced out of her apartment the very first time he'd woken up that morning thereby avoiding the tempting offer of blueberry pancakes with smiley faces and the alluring sight he was now witness to.
"What's wrong now, sweetie?" she asked, her voice tinged with the utmost patience.
"Well, excuse me for feeling a little out of sorts this morning," he exclaimed defensively. "I don't understand why you aren't at all disturbed – an unorganized room makes for an untidy mind – oh . . . right," he said as he looked at the room and then at Penny. "Well, this may be perfectly suitable for you but I'm not used to these things, this environment. I feel so . . . well, out of sorts."
"It is weird isn't it? But it's kind of an unexpected fun thing too. I like waking up to you, Sheldon."
"Well, it was interesting waking up . . ." he gulped before continuing, "waking up to you too, Penny."
She laughed. Her laughter was carefree just like her. He smiled despite himself.
"Pancakes are cold by now," she murmured.
Sheldon didn't care how cold the pancakes were. He felt inexplicably light but he also felt incredibly weighed down. His emotions were conflicting with common sense causing his thoughts to be all a jumble. His hands were trembling. He didn't want pancakes. He wanted to snuggle with Penny in the warmth of her bed even though he was sure the comforter she'd thrown over them when he was sleeping was dirty from being on the floor which he was sure she probably hadn't swept in days. Something was exceedingly wrong here.
"This isn't right," he said.
"What if . . . what if it is right, Sheldon?" Penny wondered.
"It can't possibly be right, Penny!"
"Are you so sure?"
He swallowed uneasily. She settled against his chest and he found his arms going around her without thought as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
"You're soft," he whispered. "And you smell good. I don't know why I didn't notice before."
"That's so sweet."
"Well, of course I should've expected you'd be soft, the top layer of epidermal, stratum corneum, is a series of thin layers which . . ."
"No lectures right now, sweetie," Penny said and put a finger to his lips causing him to shudder from the gentle, intimate touch. "Let's just relax this morning and not think or talk."
"Not think? Why I could no more not think than you could keep a tidy room!" he cried.
She giggled. "Well, that's true but we're going to have some quiet time now just to feel things out."
"As in if you would prefer me as a sexual mate rather than Leonard?"
"Well, I hadn't thought that far ahead, sweetie not that that's at all romantic."
"I don't do romantic."
She sighed. "I know."
"So, you see I would in no way be a suitable replacement for your sexual and romantic gratification."
"I don't need a replacement."
"For Leonard? Actually I believe you may."
Penny sat up and looked at him. "Why? What's happened? Is he alright?"
"Well, apparently from the text I received – make that a multitude of texts received from Howard and Raj – Leonard has apparently become involved with a woman old enough to be his grandmother and they're going into the cooking making business. I've been given to understand they're going to specialize in milk and cookies and with brisket on the side. Lord, how unappealing. If one is to run a successful bakery the menu should consist of similar and compatible items not something completely unappetizing."
"Are you serious?"
"I know!" Sheldon exclaimed. "With Leonard being lactose intolerant how would he even be able to sample the milk to see if they have the best kind? It would be my suggestion that he taste before purchasing after all there are quite a lot to choose from. There's organic milk, milk that's pasteurized at different temperatures and for different lengths of time, raw milk and what about the different flavored milks and buttermilk? I don't understand how he could possibly function in a bakery specializing in milk and cookies. It doesn't make . . ."
"Sheldon! Look, I don't care what kind of milk that little man wants to serve! Where's your cell phone! Give it to me!"
"It's where I always put it before I go to bed," Sheldon said, turning to the nightstand as if it were the most natural thing to find his phone on Penny's nightstand.
As he was marveling at how surprisingly natural his cell phone looked and felt having it there on her nightstand Penny reached over him and snatched it up. She deftly navigated through the messages, and there were a lot. Meanwhile Sheldon watched her. She didn't appear upset. That, he thought, was a good sign. The palms of his hands had actually grown clammy at the thought of losing her. The thought of losing her shook him to his core. It was all too confusing. He didn't even have her, had never contemplated having her and never could have her. But he wanted her. Of course he couldn't do that to his best friend. And yet as he watched Penny he thought maybe his best friend would understand since he was opening up his own business with the woman he was already involved with.
Finally Penny let loose a long peal of laughter then tossed the phone high and fell against Sheldon.
"Good lord, are you trying to destroy my cell phone!" shrieked Sheldon.
"It didn't break, see!" The phone, having landed on the bed, was still in tact and she picked it up and held it out to him. "Here. You're just going to have to learn to lighten up, sweetie," she said.
"Well, aren't you quite the example of lightening up!" Sheldon remarked as he placed his phone back on the nightstand. "I would think since your partner for coitus has just jilted you for an older, cookie making woman that you would be a little more emotional, an understatement for you, but it would seem you could care less. I was right then wasn't I? Leonard was just a momentary distraction wasn't he?"
"Well, I don't know about that. I mean I'll miss him, he's sweet but, well he needs to grow up a little. And he needs to gain a little more confidence. These texts make him sound just like Howard, chasing after any kind of woman just to get – well, never mind. Anyway, he can do whatever he wants, I'm fine with it. We'll stay friends I guess but . . . well there wasn't that certain something that a girl needs to feel when she's with a man and I think he felt something was missing too."
"Are we talking about – no, I don't quite understand what we're talking about, please clarify."
"Well, he and I didn't really click. We just kind of fell together because I was lonely over the summer. It happened really fast. We didn't even date. I don't know, Sheldon you and me we just kind of click. We always have. Haven't you noticed?"
He looked at her with wide round eyes.
"Crazy but true," she admitted with a simple shrug.
"Do you mean that you are now considering me for your new romantic interest?"
"Sweetie, I mean I think you're the only man I need as weird and crazy as that sounds. You're the sweetest man I know. When I needed money you were there for me and those Godiva chocolates you give me – mmmm, I could die for those – and last night, the way you took care of me and then waking up with you! I liked that a lot – waking up to you. And I like taking care of you too even if you are a little crazy. And I don't mean that in a bad way at all, sweetie. I never would've learned that cute little soft kitty song. Besides, we're kind of both a little crazy but that's what makes you and me fun. I like this, you and me. Don't you?"
"I will admit it has been . . . well, rather enjoyable in a kind of fascinating albeit preposterous manner. I've never considered a mate before. Actually that's not true, I did once but then she was nominated for the Steveinson award and thought I was beneath her. That was before I won it."
"Did she get it?"
"Oh goodness no. We were both twelve only she couldn't handle the pressure, burnt out too quickly. My memaw always said if you can't handle the smoke then get out of the kitchen. She didn't though; last I heard she had a career in the culinary arts – making hamburgers at some fast food place I believe. Her mental break down enabled me to become the youngest winner of the Steveinson award," he said with a satisfied grin.
"Uh huh. Well, Sheldon maybe a brainiac like you just needs a normal woman."
"A normal woman? And you think you're a normal woman? Why, Penny I'm surprised at you!"
"Okay, I know I'm not the most smartest person around but . . ."
"First there is no such thing as the most smartest person, although that would be me, and that's not even correct grammar. Secondly, Penny, you're the sweetest person I know and that is in no way normal. I like that about you. You're optimistic, more optimistic than anyone I know – sometimes too optimistic but you're like a bright ray of white light, a rainbow of sorts, a rainbow of optimism."
"Isn't' that contradictory? Oh, never mind I don't even want to know the answer to that."
"See? You amuse me. I like you. Why I like you a whole lot!" Sheldon said as if the comment surprised him right along with the ease he felt at admitting his feelings.
"Even if I'm not the smartest cookie in the cookie jar?"
"Penny, dear you wouldn't even be the smartest kindergartener in a game of duck duck goose but oddly enough when I think about it that's your appeal."
"You're very welcome."
"I was being . . ."
"Sarcastic! See, I caught that – and so was I! I'm getting better aren't I?"
"I guess. Hmm, I didn't think you would know anything about a game like duck duck goose."
"Goodness yes! I had to suffer through kindergarten and two months of first grade until they realized my IQ was 170 and they moved me into 5th grade. In the meantime they tortured me with a slew of games in which you had to run for your life. Duck duck goose, red rover red rover, dodge ball. I could go on but I won't." He shuddered as he remembered that time.
"Um, maybe you should just shut up and cuddle with me."
"Oh lord! Cuddle? I knew you were trouble the day you moved in, mark my words I told Leonard but he . . ."
"Oh, sweetie," Penny sighed. She pressed a little closer to him and let him go on and on and on even as he wrapped his arms around her. She'd think about food later. After her nap. It would be good to wake up in Sheldon's arms again.