The Four Stages

AN: This is the fourth and final installment in the four stages of an 'I love you', as inspired by How I Met Your Mother. This one isn't tied to any particular episode. It just takes place at some point after "The Large Hadron Collision" (obviously). Probably not the 'I love you' scene you were thinking of, but it's what popped into my head. Dedicated to all the awesome Snowflake Snugglers over at fanforum. I'm so glad I found you guys!! Go LP!!!

AN 2: Random, but I just realized that I somehow managed to reference one of my favorite shows in 3 of the 4 installments. LOL Also that the actual 'I love you' is the shortest scene. Weird how that worked out.

4. You Know You Know It and You Can't Keep It in Any Longer

It turns out all those warnings are right. There is no 'perfect moment' for anything, especially when it comes to three little words. Love isn't a grand gesture. It's not planned out in advance. It doesn't wait for the right time. And it certainly doesn't create fairytale-like scenes full of lights and music and dancing. Love simply gathers all the tiny moments up and makes them feel special. Gives them meaning.

Love creates it's own 'perfect moments'.


"Leonard! Stop stealing my toothpaste!"

"I didn't steal it" Leonard replied, sliding over so Penny could get into the bathroom too.

"Oh? Then who's toothpaste is that then?" She asked, pointing to the toothbrush in his hand.

He quickly stuffed the toothbrush head in his mouth and mumbled, "Mine." Penny reached for her tube of toothpaste and eyed the nearly empty tube critically. "Oh, yeah, you're almost out of toothpaste," Leonard said between brush strokes.

"Really?" Penny said dryly. "Maybe that's because someone keeps stealing it." She lightly elbowed him in the ribs. Leonard frowned a bit and kept brushing.

"So how come you keep buying your own toothpaste, if you just end up using mine anyway?"

Leonard spat in the sink and rinsed it with the faucet. "I don't. That tube's been there awhile." He raised his brush to his mouth again, but paused when he caught Penny's expression in the mirror. He turned to look at her properly. "What?"

"So you've been stealing my toothpaste for a while now, huh?"


Penny raised an eyebrow.

"Well, you see," Leonard started, trying to avoid getting into trouble, " the term 'awhile' isn't very specific. It could refer to almost any length of time, from a few minutes to a few a years. Or even, in the case of immortal beings such as Vandal Savage or the Doctor, 'awhile' may refer to several centuries. Although, come to think of it, the Doctor isn't technically immortal because he only has 13 bodies. But with the success of the New Series, there's been some speculation that the BBC will choose to ignore that fact and continue Doctor Who long past the 12th regeneration. Or they'll come up with some way..."

"Leonard," Penny interrupted before he started listing all the possible ways a fictional alien could obtain more lives.


Now Penny had many responses lined up, all battling to be said: "Stop stealing my toothpaste", "Just answer the question", "Who the hell is Vandal Savage?", even saying nothing and just simply laughing instead. But none of those were what wound up bursting out of her mouth.

"I love you."

Leonard, who hadn't been expecting that statement, just stood there for a second or two letting the words sink in. Then his face lit up in a large smile. "I love you, too."

Penny chuckled softly and shook her head as she turned her attention back to her own teeth cleaning preparations.

"By the way, you still owe me a new toothpaste."