"Hey, there's a hot chick looking for you, dude." Doctor Rajesh Koothrappali placed his plastic lunch tray on the table across from the award-winning physicist before he slid into his own seat.
"A hot chick's looking for Sheldon?" Howard Wolowitz looked from Sheldon to Raj with stunned disbelief.
"Don't get too excited, she's visiting from London with some experimental figures for me to look at," Sheldon said quickly. "She'll be here just long enough for me to scoff at her work and then we'll be rid of her."
"How do you know her figures aren't going to be worth looking into?" Doctor Leonard Hofstadter gave his roommate an exasperated look.
"Because I didn't write them," Sheldon said before placing his napkin over his lap and picking up his fork.
"You just can't write off another scientist because you don't think they could write a better paper than you!" Raj exclaimed.
"Of course I can," Sheldon replied as he speared a tater-tot with his fork. "I looked her up and she hasn't published anything anywhere. I don't even know why the Dean's wasting my time."
"Maybe because she has something important to show you?" Leonard suggested.
Sheldon turned to look at him for a moment. "No, I don't think so."
"Doctor Cooper?" The four men turned to look up at the young woman that was standing near their cafeteria table. She was wearing a long white sundress, with a long, knitted green vest that nearly went nearly down to her knees. Her curly brown hair was knotted tightly behind her head, and she was cocking an eyebrow at Sheldon.
"I am," Sheldon said as he got to his feet.
"I'm sorry to interrupt your lunch, but I want to make sure I get to see you today. When would be best?" She was holding a brown briefcase and looking him up and down, from the tips of his sneakers to the Flash emblem on his shirt.
"I'm open after three," Sheldon informed her coolly.
"Fine. Your office or your lab?" She asked just as coolly.
"My office, or do you think we'll be needing the lab?" Sheldon asked her.
"The lab would be more practical," she assured him.
"If you don't mind me asking, I'm not sure why someone who's never written a paper needs my opinion. Why have you come here?" Sheldon asked her. Perhaps if he discouraged her he'd be able to spare himself the boredom of whatever she was going to show him.
"I've written many papers," she said silkily.
"I've never seen a Doctor Granger listed anywhere," Sheldon pressed.
"That's because I stopped being a Doctor when I advanced to Mastership." She smirked at him. "I used my married name at the time: Weasley."
"Oh, I see," Sheldon said in an unbalanced tone. "Well, I'll be glad to look over your work."
"Thank you for your time Doctor Cooper. Until then." She gave him a small nod before turning on her heel and walking away.
"I hate it when females change their names," Sheldon muttered as he sat back down. "Vulcan females don't do that."
"Vulcans have family names," Howard pointed out, a confused look on his face, "and they change when they're married."
"But they're unpronounceable to humans so they never use them!" Sheldon hissed.
"How many names do you think there are on Vulcan?" Raj asked. Everyone turned to look at him.
"Well, you'd think that there would be people with the same first name," he reasoned. How do you tell the difference between" T'Pol the scientist and T'Pol the street cleaner."
"I don't think there are street cleaners on Vulcan," Howard said skeptically as he picked up a dinner roll and bit into it.
"Of course there are street cleaners", Raj said with a roll of his eyes. "How else do they keep the planet so clean?"
"Maybe because they're logical and always pick up after themselves," Sheldon hissed. "Either way, I still have no idea who this woman is!"
"Except that she has a higher degree than you," Leonard piped up, a wide grin across his face. Sheldon glared at him. "And you aren't familiar with her work."
Sheldon grabbed his plastic tray and stood up, banging his knee on the table as he went. He turned his back on the table and stalked out of the cafeteria.
"You're enjoying every minute of this, aren't you?" Howard asked Leonard.
"More than you could ever possibly imagine," Leonard said with a satisfied smirk.
The door to the lab opened, and Sheldon popped his head up from the laptop where he had been playing Conan.
"I'm afraid we may have gotten off on the wrong foot."
Sheldon took a deep breath and let it out. "I think we might have. Am I to address you as Master Granger?"
"Hermione would be fine. You're a colleague, not a student". She looked amused, which made Sheldon nervous.
"Well, we tend to address each other formally here," Sheldon said as he closed his laptop before sounds of battle came from it. He could re-spawn later.
"Yes, your Dean was quick to point that out, until I explained my degrees would make him look like a dim-witted primary student, and I doubt he'd want to announce that to the whole of the staff." She smirked.
Sheldon smiled widely, in spite of himself. Anyone that could take the air out of the Dean's sails was a friend of his.
"It's my pleasure, Hermione," Sheldon said warmly as he held out his hand.
"Same here," she said as she shook it.
"I have to admit, I'm confused", Sheldon said. He squinted his eyes at her as if he were trying to see inside of her head. "Why would you need my assistance?"
She set her briefcase on the counter and popped it open. Sheldon looked at the contents suspiciously. Some of the papers were hand written on parchment and the scrolls looked positively ancient.
"You have to realize, this goes against protocol," Hermione said conspiriatorily. "Normally these would be sealed from the general public and kept in-house, but we found ourselves in a bit of a bind. You're supposed to be the best so you were chosen."
"I am the best," Sheldon said simply.
"Good," Hermione said grimly. "I think you should brace yourself. These papers are so old no one should touch them, and they shouldn't be exposed to light."
"Then how do you know whats on them?" Sheldon asked.
Hermione pulled a wand from inside her vest and waved it over the briefcase. A scroll slipped out of a protective case with a whisper and unfurled itself as if it were on display in a museum.
"I came up with a UV protection charm, and a spell that prevents disintegration."
Sheldon stared at the scroll for a moment before he turned to her. "Is this some sort of joke?"
"I wouldn't have come all the way from London for a joke," she said seriously. "Take a look at the scroll."
Sheldon looked at her skeptically before turning to look at the scroll. He quickly moved his hands above and below it. There were no wires. He snatched up the steel pen the faculty had given him after his last contribution to NASA and dropped it on the table under the scroll. No magnetic field.
"How are you doing that?" he demanded.
"Look at the bloody scroll," Hermione snapped.
He cringed for a moment before actually reading the scroll. His expression soon turned into one of wonder. "What is it?"
"We think they're the calculations to pinpoint a portal into another dimension, but we're not sure," she said as if it pained her to admit it.
He stared at it for another moment before pointing to something. "I don't understand these symbols. They look like they're from a horoscope."
"They are," Hermione confirmed and he turned to give her a withering look." Not that type of horoscope. They're measurements of time according to star charts. Apparently the writer didn't have access to a calender."
"Fascinating," Sheldon remarked as he continued studying the scroll. His eyes snapped to the briefcase. "What do the others say?"
He shook his head for a moment. "Wait. Are you telling me you can do magic?"
"Absolutely," Hermione said levelly as she studied his face.
"There's no such thing as magic," Sheldon said automatically.
"Really?" Hermione asked with a smirk on her face. She waved her wand and suddenly Sheldon found himself wearing a pink gorilla suit.
He squeaked in surprise as his wide eyes looked down at himself. Then they snapped up to hers. "If it's real, how does it work? Prove it!"
"You'll believe the scroll about the portal, and yet you disbelieve the gorilla suit," Hermione scoffed. "They missed you on the day they handed out logic, didn't they?"
Sheldon felt his face turning hot as his fury rose. "So, I'm to believe you have magical powers and you use them to threaten physicists with silly costumes. It's a wonder they haven't made you leader of the world."
Hermione snickered as she waved her wand. This time she did a lower frequency transfiguration spell so he could see the fur retract and the plush turn back to his original clothing.
He straightened himself and tried to look as dignified as possible.
"The common word is magic, but I think you'd think of it as logically applied metaphysics," Hermione explained.
"Metaphysics is theory at best," scoffed Sheldon.
"Maybe for you," she said looking far too pleased with herself.
"How does that thing work?" Sheldon asked, gesturing at her wand.
"The base object is infused with what you would commonly think of as spells, the case has a few charms on it, and it's all topped off with a bit of organic chemistry ."
Sheldon wasn't comfortable with how smug she was. He was a genius and he had thought that he knew everything there was to know about science, but apparently there were branches so secret and evolved he hadn't been able to examine them yet.
Clearly this should be considered to be a criminal offense.
"What organization are you with?" Sheldon demanded. "Why haven't heard of you? Are you saying I wouldn't be qualified enough to be in your program?"
"You were asked," Hermione said, surprise on her face.
"I certainly have not! I would remember if I had been asked to study magic..." his voice trailed off.
"So, you do remember?" Hermione asked. "Everyone was surprised when you went to the University of Texas."
"My mother thought it was some sort of letter for a circus school." Sheldon felt his knees go weak.
"They sent out representatives-"
"I remember some hippies trying to come out to talk to my parents, but mom chased them off with a broom." He reached around behind him to find his chair and he sat down. "Said I wasn't going to go to some sort of liberal college. If the University of Texas was good enough for Robert Cade, it was good enough for me."
"Who's Robert Cade?" Hermione asked bewilderedly.
"The inventor of Gatorade."
"I'm guessing your mum forgot Janis Joplin went there, too?" Hermione waved her wand and one of the other scrolls unrolled itself.
"How do you know so much about UT?" Sheldon asked.
"We had to do a full background check of your academic and professional careers, along with ties to organizations and people you associate with," Hermione admitted.
"So you knew who everyone was sitting at my table at lunch?" Sheldon asked her, his head quirking to the side.
"I'm afraid I did," she admitted.
"And you still approved me?" Sheldon snorted. "Your standards aren't very high, then."
"None of them is a danger to the public at large, although after that space toilet catastrophe we started to wonder." Hermione chuckled as Sheldon leaned over to look at the second scroll.
"Fascinating, he remarked as his eyes skimmed over the calculations in front of him. What's this symbol for?" He pointed at a star with it's top half shaded in.
"The pressure in the air can be no more than fifty dermits," Hermione explained.
"What's a dermit?" Sheldon asked, his eyes getting a fanatical gleam to them. Finally! A branch of science that he hadn't mastered yet!
Hermione cocked a corner of her mouth at him. "I think we need to concentrate on a few other things first."
"Like what?" Sheldon looked at her in disbelief.
"Getting you a tutor so you can fill in the gaps in your education," Hermione pointed out. "Then, the most important thing."
"Which is?" asked Sheldon who was becoming clearly agitated that she had torn him away from examining the scrolls.
"Getting you your wand." She grinned widely at him. "You're going to love this."