I own nothing except a crapload of glow in the dark stars and the first two seasons on DVD. There is a line in this little story from season two's The Friendship Algorithm. I don't own this either. If I did I can promise you that I would own the pretty black Camero at the gas station tonight not just drooling over, on, and around it.
Penny was afraid of nothing…except for the dark. She hated everything about it: the monsters both real and imaginary that lurked there, the way it seemed to press in around her like a plastic bag suffocating her, the way sounds seemed to be magnified into the ominous soundtrack of fear.
The dark was never her favorite place to begin with but when she was seven it got much worse. She and her family had gone to the fair that came through town every year and this year her parents had decided that she was old enough to go at night. Penny was having the time of her life! She rode the Ferris wheel until her parents threatened to ground her, ate more than her weight in cotton candy, and used her natural hunting skills to win a stuffed monkey. And the lights! The lights shone so prettily and she wanted to see them from far away so Penny quietly slipped away and kept walking further and further from the crowd. Soon enough she had reached a stand of trees and sat down with her back against the trunk of a particularly large oak tree. The soft breeze felt so good on her face that she drifted off into a pleasant slumber. When she awoke all the pretty lights she had been admiring were gone. Even the moon which seemed to always be there was no where to be found. Penny started to get scared and began to cry. Sounds coming from all around her seemed to get closer and closer to her while the dark seemed to get darker and darker. Clasping her arms around her head Penny crying even harder until she opened her eyes sure she was going to die and saw one bright star shining. Keeping her eyes on the star Penny stopped crying and that was how she stayed for the rest of the night, until dawn began to break and she finally dozed off in a ball in the grass beside the tree where her dad found her hours later.
She had dreamed about that night so many times throughout the years that it was no surprise when it came again. She would wake up from the dream and go through her normal routine of making sure everything was alright: turn on all the lights, put on whatever CD she had in her stereo that day, make a cup of Cadbury drinking chocolate saved for nights like this, grab the blanket her mom made her when she was little, and calm down enough to fall asleep again on her was a surprise was how she was awakened.
Shake, shake, shake
Shake, shake, shake
Shake, shake, shake
Startled awake from her dream Penny let out an bloodcurdling scream and jumped a foot in the air off the brown sofa she was laying on, grasping the blanket that was around her like a weapon. Breathing heavily she looked around and realized where she was.
A tall physicist in plaid pajamas and a matching robe. Moonlight shining in through the window and bouncing off meticulously dusted surfaces. The red numbers on the microwave in the kitchen glaring as if she had woken them up as well.
"Penny?" Sheldon asked in a stern voice. "Penny, I am assuming based on the crying and frantic clawing at my cushion that you were having a nightmare. However I must notify you that it is 3:17 in the morning and you have disturbed my REM cycle."
Oh, yes. That was Sheldon. Everything would be okay as long as Sheldon was Sheldon. After all he had a plan for everything from zombie apocalypse to natural disaster, and he was a genius after all. If anyone could rationalize away her fear it would be him.
"Sorry, sweetie." Penny said with a soft smile. "I didn't mean to wake you up." She folded herself down onto the sofa and as close to his cushion as she dared, pulling the blanket around her shoulders like a cape. She could feel her pulse coming down and her breathing become normal again.
"Hmph," he hmphed. "Well since it would be pointless for me to attempt to return to my bed and I believe it is a non optional social convention to ask, would you like to talk about it?"
Penny patted the cushion next to her and smiled wider. Sometimes he could be very sweet and this was Sheldon being his sweetest. He sat down and settled into his spot, wiggling a bit. "Thank you," Penny whispered to him. "Long story short I wandered away from a fair when I was little and fell asleep. When I woke up it was pitch black and I was really scared. Ever since then I have dreams about it and…yeah. Anyway, sorry I jumped at you like that. I've never actually been shook awake during one of these dreams."
"Penny," he scoffed. "There is no reason to be afraid of the dark. It's what is in the dark that you should be afraid of. That was a foolish thing to do. Removing yourself from the crowd like that. I know you consider Omaha to be perfectly safe but I'll have you know that the crime rate is rather high when you take the population per square mile and factor in the number of crimes that are committed. You very easily could have been kidnapped, raped, and murdered."
"I know, Moonpie. But the lights were so pretty. They looked like stars…" Penny leaned against Sheldon and, surprisingly, he didn't give her a strike for that action nor for calling him Moonpie. Only his Meemaw was allowed to call him that. Feeling safe Penny told him the entire story before she drifted off to sleep again, still leaning against Sheldon
Sheldon contemplated the sleeping blonde woman leaning on his arm and cutting of the blood supply to his phalanges. No wonder the woman had nightmares! He didn't bother figuring the exact probability of having nightmares himself after her story. No, there was a reason he had bioluminescent fish. But something kept pecking at his sleep deprived brain like that blasted chicken did before he managed to escape into the tree. Slipping out and placing Penny's head on a pillow he stood and walked over to one of his white boards and began figuring it out….
Three and a half hours later dawn was breaking and Sheldon was capping the lid back on his favorite black marker. There was the answer: stars. It was the illusion of the lights at the fairground being stars that lead Penny from safety. And yet it was the appearance of that one star that kept her from being completely terrified. Hmm…
Everyone who knew Sheldon knew that look. And right now it was trained on a certain blonde waitress who was just beginning to stir.
Penny shuffled up the stairs after a very long day at The Cheesecake Factory. One of the other girls had called in sick and the overwhelmed manager had begged Penny to stay longer. Damn it all to Hell, it sucked being a good person sometimes. At least she got time and a half for her efforts and there was a very cute pair of Chanel sling backs on eBay begging to join her collection.
Dreaming of designer shoes and hot bubble baths and sleeping for a year Penny unlocked her door and froze. WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HELLO KITTY WAS GOING ON HERE?
Sheldon was perched precariously on a ladder and the entire floor of her living room was covered in packaging of some sort. Sheldon just stared, startled and clinging to the ladder like a lifeline, as Penny stooped down and grabbed one of the packages littering her floor. Way To Glow Shining Stars 30 star variety pack. What the frack? What was Sheldon doing with glow in the dark stars in her apartment?
"Uh…ya wanna explain something to me here, sweetie? Like why I am drowning in the packaging for glow in the dark stars?" Penny asked in a bewildered tone. Sheldon flushed bright red, brighter red than she had ever seen before. "And why you're on a ladder?"
Sighing as he stepped very carefully down, after all a fear of heights is illogical, a fear of falling, on the other hand, is prudent and evolutionary, and adjusted his shirt sleeves still not meeting her eyes. "Well Penny. I thought it quite obvious. I am attempting to give you the stars."
Never had Penny heard anyone say anything so sweet. She knew of his feelings on standing on anything higher than a coffee table, not that he would ever do such a thing, but he had stood on a ladder for hours judging by the number of empty packages surrounding her. She looked up and on the ceiling was a perfect glow in the dark replica of the night sky.
"Sheldon," she sighed. "Its beautiful!" Penny spun around trying to get the whole effect, her fatigue forgotten in the face of such a sweet gesture. "You did this for me? Why?"
Sheldon still hadn't looked up at her but he squared his shoulders and lifted his chin up, finally meeting her eyes. "The story from your childhood you shared last night upset me quite a bit. You have become a necessary part of my daily routine. It would distress me greatly if you were to suddenly disappear from my life and in your story a key element was the stars. It was because the lights at the fair looked like stars to you that you left the safety of the group and put yourself in a situation where grave harm may have fallen upon you. As it is, seeing the star in the sky when you awoke in the dark was what calmed you down. I theorized that if perhaps you had something close to the stars that you seem to enjoy almost as much as Japanese cartoon felines, that perhaps you would not do something so dim-witted again as to put yourself in danger."
Wow. Penny just stood there staring and thought about what he had said. A night of star gazing on the roof with the boys came to mind and she remembered Sheldon explaining the history on several constellations, both well know and obscure. They had spent hours together, long after the others had pooped out and had gone to bed, on the roof. It was one of the best nights she had ever had.
"Also," Sheldon said going shy on her again and averting his gaze. "I endeavored to make it so that the repeated night time disturbances you indicated you have would be lessened."
"Moonpie," Penny whispered stepping closer to the tall physicist. "No one has ever done such a kind thing for me. Thank you." Cradling his cheek in her hand Penny stood up on her tiptoes and kissed him softly on the cheek.
Sheldon flushed even redder and smiled the special smile that he usually reserved for discussions on trains and when he received a letter from his Meemaw. "You are welcome, Penny." The two of them stood there for an undeterminable amount of time until the sun was down completely and the stars were glowing their synthetic light down on them.
Taking a deep breath and stepping back Sheldon moved to shut the curtains in Penny's apartment and turned to face her again. "Would you like me to show you the constellations?"
Grinning hard at him, Penny sat down on her sofa and patted the seat next to her. "Yes, Moonpie. I would like that very much."
Cassiopeia. Andromeda. Leo Minor. Equueleus. Hercules. Draco. Fornax. Orion. Mensa. Vulpecula. Puppis. Triangulum. Ursa Major. Saggitarius. Grus. Lacerta. Horologium. Lyra. Camelopardalis. Antila. Indus. Crater. Reticulum. Serpens. Lepus. Pictor. Vela. Traingulum Australe. Phoenix. Bootes. Chamaeleon. Eridanus. Gemini. Cetus. Ophiuchus. Libra. Perseus. Pegasis. Microscopium. Lupus. Pisces. Vela. Tucana. On and on and on. And for the second time in two days Penny fell asleep with Sheldon near by. Unbeknownst to them it was the start of something that would shine brighter than the sun and last longer than the life of all the stars in the sky.
A/N: if any of the names of the constellations are wrong or don't exist or can't be seen from earth except on every fourth leap year that ends in 7, I apologize. Blame Wisconsin University because that is where I got the list.