The Proposition Hypothesis

She'd hung awkwardly inside the closed door for a good thirty seconds.

"Sheldon, you like to... run experiments, right?"

He looked up from his book, blinking rapidly. "Given a proposed hypothesis and the correct equipment, yes, an experiment is hardly ever out of the question." His eyebrows perked up. "Penny, are you proposing a hypothesis be proposed?"

"Yeeah," she drew out, wrapping her brain as fully around it as she could. She perched on the opposite arm of the sofa and he turned ninety degrees to face her, his book now words-down in his lap and all attention focused her way.

"Well, propose away, though I don't see where you've found the sudden interest in the scientific method when you've so far proved that, while your social functions appear nominal, your cognitive processes tend to leave much to be desired."

She pressed her lips into a whitening line. "A bit off topic."

"Nonetheless, I'm still waiting for a hypothetical statement." His hands were folded, his top half leaning her way.

"All right." She straightened her back. "How about this? If you don't try something you'll never know if you'll like it."

"Hmm, no," Sheldon replied with no hesitation. "I have no desire whatsoever to try drowning. If that's your proposed experiment, I sincerely hope you weren't asking me to test your radical theory on myself."

"No, no," she cut in. Another tactic. "Start over. I bet there's some things you never tried that you'd like to do."

"Oh, of course," he continued, impish smile curling on his lips. "I have yet to gain access to a fully-functional hadron supercollider."

She growled a sigh, a claw-hand through her own hair in frustration.

"Penny, you're looking flushed." He craned his neck away from her, shielding his mouth and nose with a hand. "You're not ill, are you?"

"No," she said again. "Let's try this again. Look at Leonard."

"He's not here, that's hardly a practical suggestion."

"I mean, take Leonard for example."

"An example of what? How not to properly digest dairy products? Because that's hardly an experiment I—"

"Leonard's happy," she cut in sharply, "when he's... involved with a woman, right?"

Sheldon gathered his thoughts with a crumpled brow. "The data does suggest that Leonard is happier when he's introduced a physical relationship with a woman." He paused, shot her a glance. "Go on."

"Then," she felt as if a snowball were gathering speed, "if data suggests that Leonard can be happier when he's involved with a lady, doesn't that mean that the same could be said for... other men?"

"Hmm, Leonard is hardly a paragon of manhood," Sheldon considered. "He can't be considered a normative standard from an experimental point of view." He then swung his neck back around to stare her down. "And I think that you're failing to take into account the hardships of wooing a woman into a physical relationship in the first place, which in some cases could clearly outweigh the benefits of said relationship."

"What if we could say that you didn't have to woo anyone?" Her feet swung nervously, bare toes brushing the ground like a pendulum.

"Interesting," Sheldon considered. "So, you're saying that, for the sake of the experiment—the effect of a physical relationship on the subject's perceived happiness—only the end and not the means are taken into consideration?"

"Sure, why not." By this point, she was almost ready to agree to anything.

"Well, then, what's your proposed method of experimentation?" He awaited with his back a straight line, patiently watching her and completely oblivious. She left her perch on the arm of the sofa, sliding to the cushions.

"Direct application," she said, pulling words out of the air of the geniuses' apartment. She hoped it implied what she thought it implied.

"And who's to be the subject?"

"Hey, why not you?" Penny suggested, losing nearly all subtlety in desperation to escape the endless conversation.

His head cocked to the right an infinitesimal degree, and he squinted his eyes in scrutiny. "I'm no wizard when it comes to social interactions, but I'm under the strange impression that you're trying to experiment on me, Penny."

"For science." How she said it with a straight face she couldn't fathom.

The scrutiny remained for another moment, when he shrugged it off to sit straight again. "There are stranger things you could indulge in, why not take advantage of your fleeting interest in the scientific method."

"Close your eyes," she demanded.

He didn't. "I can't see what that could possibly add to your results."

"My experiment," she reminded him.

He sighed like a petulant child. "Very well." He did as he was told. "Now, would this be the control test or—"

She'd leaned in to kiss him to shut him up. Mostly because it was what she'd come here to do, but also to shut him up. His eyes shot open on the instant and he scrambled back away from her, his retreat halted by the arm of the couch. She remained hovering in the space between them.

"Now," she said, not straightening but seeming to take up the entire sofa, "are you any happier?"

Sheldon remained retreated into himself, but staring her straight in the eye. Was it nervousness, fear? He gathered himself rather quickly, thinking with a whip of his head. "Inconclusive results. Your original hypothesis stated that the subject was in a physical relationship when his mood was affected." His fingers fidgeted. He leaned in with a crisp retort: "You would need to be my 'girlfriend'."

"For science?" she asked, smiling slow and full—devious.

His face remained deadpan. But he nodded once, tightly. "For science."

"Kay." She kissed him again, this time on the cheek. It was burning.

AN: goshdarnit, I woke up to write this one because it wouldn't leave me alone~ I haven't had plot bunnies like this in a while, it's best to indulge them. I like writing for Sheldon, even if I'm not sure I'm doing it right. Hope so! Thanks for reading, leave us some love, and most importantly STAY AWESOME