DISCLAIMER: The only things I own are copies of season 1 &2 of this fabulous, wonderful, amazing, awesome show. Also, I own both the OBC recording and the motion picture soundtrack, as well as copies of the stage production and the motion picture versions on DVD. I am awesome and amazing and all that but these guys kick my trash!

A/N: songfic based on RENT's Without You. We're going to pretend that Penny never wanted Leonard and it was Sheldon she was going to miss when the boys went to the Arctic Circle. Italics are the lyrics and I recommend that if you haven't had the opportunity to experience this wonderful musical, do yourself a favor and do it! Please be nice because this is the second time I have made an attempt at writing a fic, and I am a bit like Issac Mendez from Heroes and apparently can only write while I am stoned. Last time it was due to a tonsillectomy and this time its Benadryl due to an allergic reaction to a Hep B vaccine. If it makes absolutely no sense blame my family for letting me have access to a computer and to the internet while in my condition. And remember what Thumper's father said. I accept constructive criticism but if you're gonna bash, take it to an imdb forum!


Without you, the ground thaws, the rain falls, the grass grows.
Without you, the seeds root, the flowers bloom, the children play.
The stars gleam, the poets dream, the eagles fly, without you.
The earth turns, the sun burns, but I die, without you.

Hugs are exchanged and promises are made on both sides. The boys won't get eaten by polar bears if she promises to pick up the mail and dust the apartment. With a final embrace (and a last ditch attempt by Wolowitz to get a goodbye kiss) the boys are gone, off on a fantastic adventure of the freezing variety.

Penny, standing in her living room looks around and the silence becomes too much. Leaning back against the front door she slides down and buries her head in her knees. Tears running down her face she suddenly realize just how long three months is. Ninety day of silence and loneliness. Ninety days without Sheldon.

An hour and a half later, sitting in an aisle seat located a safe distance from the restrooms but in the optimum spot for escape should an emergency occur, Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper sits with his iPod earbuds in his ears. Those around him assume that he is just trying to keep his composure due to his intense dislike of aircraft outside of science fiction. Little do they know he is mentally flipping through the images of the goodbye and wondering what she is doing at this moment.


Without you, the breeze warms, the girl smiles, the cloud moves.
Without you, the tides change, the boys run, the oceans crash.
The crowds roar, the days soar, the babies cry, without you.
The moon glows, the river flows, but I die, without you.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Hello from sunny CA!

Hey Moonpie! How are you and the boys doing? Are you freezing your buns off? Everything is fine here, I just wanted to see how your trip was and to make sure you are alive. No polar bears or the deal is off and I will go mess up your sheets and breathe on your pillows!

Loves, P

Sheldon is ecstatic to receive this message it and reads it a dozen times, although he has it memorized after the first. He waits an appropriate amount of time and sends a response.

To: pennyblossomyahoo

From: sheldortheconquerorgmail

Subject: Re: Hello from sunny CA!

Penny,

Please restrain yourself from any rash acts. My colleagues and I have arrived safely, if not a bit colder for the wear. That is, however, expected. My research is coming along nicely and I fully expect this to be, as they say, the clincher on my Nobel Prize. Howard, Raj, and Leonard send their regards.

Yours etc.

Penny is thrilled to pieces that he is okay. She comes back several times over the next few days and rereads the message to reassure herself that he is okay. This trip can't go fast enough for her.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: package

A package came for you with a return address label from Switzerland. It looked VERY official so I took it upon myself to open it in case it was something important. You ordered a chess set from Switzerland? Did Wal-Mart run out?

P

Happiness spreads through Sheldon's chest despite Penny's actions. What an odd sensation. He chalks it up to the food and the cold and types his response almost immediately upon receipt.

To: pennyblossomyahoo

From: sheldortheconquerorgmail

Subject: Re: package

Please refrain from rummaging through my packages in the future. Please repack the set and do not touch it. I would give this behavior a strike but as you are the only one with access to the apartment and you already have two strikes consider this a warning.

Yours etc.

Sheldon and his strikes. A slash of longing shoots through Penny from head to toe. She would never admit it but she missed him.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Re: Re: package

Yes your highness. :P

That small emoticon gives great pleasure to Sheldon. It is comforting to know that this small part of his life has remained the same. Penny is still Penny. He deludes himself into thinking this just has to do with his need for continuity and nothing else.

To: pennyblossomyahoo

From: sheldortheconquerorgmail

Subject: (blank)

Dear Penny,

I apologize for the inconvenience but there has been an outbreak here of the common cold here. It would be extremely appreciated if you would gather my emergency cold kit and send it to me care of the university. I understand that it will take an estimated 7 to 10 days to reach me due to our secluded state, during which the likelihood of recovery is in the 90 percentile, but in the event of a relapse of this illness I would like to have my kit with me.

Yours etc.

P.S. Also if you could send a recording of "Soft Kitty" I believe that would aid in my recovery.

What made him ask that last bit he will never know but he will also never know that Penny often sings herself to sleep with that song just as he does. Home sickness is a type of sickness after all. He is homesick for his 0,0,0,0 and so is she. Neither of them realize that they are the others 0,0,0,0.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Re: (blank)

Dear Dr Wack-A-Doodle,

Your package has been sent. The university wouldn't let me send 2 dozen eggs with the package though. Can I just say ew?

-P

att.

Sitting in HIS spot was Penny. Knees curled up to her chest. She sings "Soft Kitty" through three times before turning off the camera. Sheldon feels a swell of warmth but passes it off as the VapoRub working.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: virus

I had heard of computer viruses but I had never realized that the common cold could be passes via the internet. I'm sick too and I blame you all!

-Queen Penelope of Sickland

The message is sent to all four of the boys but only Sheldon bothers to respond. When the others are busy doing something else Sheldon makes a recording and attaches it to his message in return.

To: pennyblossomyahoo

From: sheldortheconquerorgmail

Subject: Re: virus

Please note that it is impossible to pass along viruses this way. That being said I hope you have avoided going out and have ingested plenty of fluids. I recommend split pea soup as that is what my Mee-maw always made me.

Yours etc.

att.

Penny opens the attatchment and is surprised. Sheldon singing? The thought gives her butterflies. It is getting harder and harder to ignore the feelings she is having.

To: pennyblossomyahoo

From: sheldortheconquerorgmail

Subject: Chess

It has come to the point in this trip where I grow exceedingly weary of the company of Howard, Raj, and Leonard. I propose that I teach you chess. Please bring out the board that has arrived from Switzerland but be very careful with it. I have other boards but no one is allowed in my room. Attatched you will find an online tutorial with the basics. Please read it and then I will teach you the finer points of the game.

Yours etc.

att.

Sheldon wanted to teach her to play chess??? With his new board??? Will wonders never cease?! Knowing this game was very important to Sheldon, Penny read very carefully and did some Googling of her own.

Weeks passed and Sheldon and Penny continued to trade emails and played an entire game this way. Sheldon was pleased with her progress and they began a second.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Play game!

Knight to E3

Your turn!

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Play game 2

I played Knight to E3. What's your move?

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Halloo???
Is anyone there? Long time, no write. Are you guys alive???

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: I will…

Go through the apartment and mess up everything before you come back and leave you to deal with the mess AND Sheldon if you don't write me back!

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: I did it!

I trashed the apartment! What do you have to say about that?!

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Response

Okay I didn't really. Don't be mad. I am just trying to get a response.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: I really…

Did do it this time. Anything now?

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Sorry

I cleaned it all up.

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: (none)

Did I do something wrong?

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Please?

Please, please, PLEASE write me back and let me know you are all okay!

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: (none)

If you ever get back here I WILL kill you all after I hog tie you Junior Rodeo style! Please answer me?!

To: sheldortheconquerorgmail, len-nerdgmail, littlegrasshopperhotmail, studmuffinhotmail

From: pennyblossomyahoo

Subject: Gablehouser…

Hasn't heard anything from you either. Please be okay…

Three weeks pass and there is no word from any of the boys. Penny is beyond panic and anger by this point and has missed several days of work. Worry eats a hole through her stomach and she doesn't hardly sleep.

To: pennyblossomyahoo

From: len-nerdgmail

Subject: Its okay

Sheldon said he would email you (after he read your emails he flinched nad covered his throat by the way) and tell you what happened. We should be home soon. Raj and Howard say hi. (Well Raj waived and Howard said something else but that I am sure their intention was to say hi.

-Leonard

To: pennyblossomyahoo

From: sheldortheconquerorgmail

Subject: We're okay

The power went out one night and somehow managed to knock out the internet connection as well. It has taken this long to repair it due to the bad weather but we are able to communicate again. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Yours etc.

P.S. Our time here in the Arctic Circle is almost up. Please see our attached flight itinerary back.

Sheldon felt a pang of guilt for all the stress the knockout had caused Penny that completely overshadowed the dismay at Penny's messing up the apartment. She had been worried. Sure she had directed the emails at everyone but she had emailed him first and had done everything in her power to make sure HE got the message. And it had nearly killed him to not be able to converse with her. He had wanted to tell her all about the breakthrough that had happened. He wanted to tell her about everything going on. No doubt about it. Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooped, PhD loved Penny.

The world revives
Colors renew
But I know blue, only blue, lonely blue, within me blue.

Peace filled Penny's heart and a weight was lifted from her shoulders when she got the messages, the first at 3:08 AM and the second at 3:10 AM. As much as she was worried about the other boys, 99.9% of her worry was for Sheldon. No more denial and talking herself out of it. Penny loved Sheldon. She closed her eyes and sighed. Penny fell asleep, a gentle smile on her face, silently thanking all the deities she has ever heard of and then made up as few for good measure as she drifted off.

Without you.
Without you, the hand gropes, the ear hears, the pulse beats.
Without you, the eyes gaze, the legs walk, the lungs breathe.
The mind churns!
The heart yearns!
The tears dry, without you.
Life goes on, but I
'm gone.
Cause I die, without you.

Doors slammed closed across the hall from Penny. They were home early. HE was home early. Suddenly all was right in her world. Taking a deep breath Penny ran to her bedroom and jumped in the shower, not even waiting for the water to warm up. He was home and she wanted to look good for him.

Dressing with care after taking the quickest shower ever recorded. Hair was left unstraighted and slightly waivy. Green top that made her eyes super green. Jean that fit just right. A hint of blush and a touch of lipgloss and she was done.

Knock, knock, knock

Penny

Knock, knock, knock

Penny

Knock, knock, knock

Penny

Throwing the door open Penny grabbed Sheldon and pulled him inside. He went with a surprised gasp and she slammed the door shut. They stared at each other for a moment before Penny motioned to his spot on her sofa.

"Penny," Sheldon began after settling himself in his seat. "I just wanted to say-mmmf!"

Penny had settled herself in his lap and grabbed his face in her hands, giving him a kiss full of all the emotion bottled up over the last 3 months. Breaking apart, Sheldon looked up at her with wide eyes.

"You took the words right out of my mouth," he said and Penny moved to kiss him again.


Without you.
Without you.
Without you.