'Stop it,' Penny screamed attacking her invisible attacker in her bed, 'I won't go with you. Leave me alone.'
Sheldon's eyes shot open from his REM sleep, he briefly looked around for a moment to decide what had awakened him at 3am. Then he heard it a scream coming from a woman, he jumped out of bed careful not to tangle himself in his sheets. He picked up his Green Lantern lantern, placed his iphone in the pocket of his robe as he made his way to the front door. He listened with his ear to the door for a moment making sure his mind hadn't been playing tricks on him until he heard Penny shout, 'stop it.' Sheldon's hand holding the lantern shook but he picked up the key to Penny's apartment from the bowl ready to defend her from who ever was upsetting her. As he crossed the hall he thought briefly about waking Leonard but dismissed the small man as no use in a fight anyway. Sheldon noted he wasn't either but he was already up.
Sheldon opened Penny's front door and made his way to her bedroom without knocking, he didn't want to alert her attacker until the last minute as he would still have the element of surprise on his side. Sheldon opened her bedroom door and shined his Green Lantern lantern into the darkness to see what he was up against.
Sheldon breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Penny was alone in her bedroom. There was no attacker; she was only having a nightmare but a serious one at that. Sheldon watched her shout, 'stop touching me and leave me alone,' as she tore at the bed clothes around her, further unmaking her bed. Her tank top had ridden up and now revealed her flat stomach, her legs kicked at the blankets like they were trying to trap her. Her face was tight and she looked in pain, he had to stop this. Sheldon strolled to her, setting down his lantern on the bedside table; he leaned down to touch her naked shoulder but was met with a slap from her right hand to his cheek. 'So much for waking her gently,' he thought before shouting her name into her ear and following it by, 'wake up.' Her eyes opened with a start and she screamed when she saw a man in her room. She grabbed her pillow from behind her head ready to defend herself with it when she noticed the green light of the lantern reveal Sheldon's face, 'Sheldon, why are you in my room?'
'I came to defend you from your attacker but you were merely having a nightmare so I woke you,' he told her rubbing his cheek, 'you are fully awake now, so I'll leave you to restart your REM cycle.'
'Wait Sheldon,' Penny said collapsing back onto her bed, 'did I hit you?'
'Only a slap, it was my own fault for getting in your way, you were defending yourself in your dream,' he noted and started to walk from the room, 'I've had much worse when I was growing up.'
'Wait, I'm sorry, Sheldon but could you stay with me for a minute,' Penny asked patting the side of her bed, 'it was a very bad nightmare.'
Sheldon sighed knowing he would not be continuing his own REM sleep tonight; he sat down on the edge of the bed next to Penny, 'what transpired in your dream? Maybe we can analysis it?'
Penny looked down at her chest pulling her shirt down to cover her stomach, 'I think I already know why I had it. This guy at work today hit on me a lot when I was serving him; he even tried to grope me when I was taking his dessert order. I told my boss and he asked him to leave but the guy threaten to come back tomorrow to get what he wanted.'
Sheldon reached his hand out to touch her shoulder but instead let it hover an inch above her skin, 'you dreamt he came back?'
'I dreamt he got in the apartment and tried to…I can't believe I'm even saying this in front of you… he tried to you know…'
'Perform sexual intercourse on you without your permission,' Sheldon clarified.
'Yeah, I think so. It's not like I think he will really come back tomorrow either,' she told him trying to force back the water building under her eyes, 'but the way he tried to touch me earlier today did scare me.'
Sheldon lowered his hand so it came into skin to skin contact with Penny's shoulder, 'it's alright, your safe. Sheldon's here.'
Penny looked at Sheldon, she half expected him to be making the same funny face he had made when he had taken her to the hospital but instead his eyes were serious and he had a slight grin on his face, this was his real comforting face. Looking at him Penny felt her self break and she let the tears run down her face as she wrapped her arms around his chest and pulled him towards him, 'thank you.'
Sheldon felt himself melt into her grasp, he hated when women cried, 'if you need me to, I could arrange for me and the guys to stake out the Cheesecake Factory tomorrow. I know we aren't enough to go Nebraska on his ass as you would put it but we can look intimidating when we need to.'
Penny smiled, 'that would help,' she told him laying her head on his chest so she could feel his heart beat.
'Sheldon Lee Cooper never leaves a damsel in distress.'
'In that case,' she asked leaning her head back to look up at his face, 'Sheldon would you stay with me?'
'You want me to sleep on your tiny sofa again; we have discussed why that won't work before Penny.'
'No,' Penny sniffed wiping the tears from her eyes before suggesting, 'you could sleep here next to me,' she asked staring at the bed sheets.
'You want us to sleep together, in the literal sense?'
'If you wouldn't mind, I'd feel safer with you nearby,' she told him letting go of his chest and laying back down on her bed.
'I bought this on myself, didn't I?' he told her lying down under the covers, 'only for tonight.'
Penny adjusted her self so her head rested on his chest, 'good night, Moonpie.'
Sheldon sighed to him self, wishing her a goodnight, he knew there was no way he would be continuing his REM cycle tonight.
When Penny woke up the next morning she was surprised to find her head lying across something harder than her pillow. It was oddly comfortable how well she molded to this foreign object, she breathed a sigh of relief it felt so comfortable until she heard it speak.
'Penny, are you awake?' it asked rising and falling with each word.
The events from last night came flooding back to her as she lifted her head and her eyes came in contact with one Sheldon Cooper.
'It is 8am Penny, if I remember correctly you have to be at work at 9am and I am hours behind my morning and bathroom schedules, so if you wouldn't mind?' he asked waiting for the blonde woman to untangle her self from his body she had held captive for the last few hours.
'Oh sorry, Sheldon, I was comfortable. I didn't mean to…,' she didn't finish her sentence just moved to the other side of the bed as he rose to begin his day.
'Would you like coffee, Penny? I'm going to go across the hall to make myself breakfast,' he told her.
Penny bolted awake like lightning had hit her, suddenly desperate for Sheldon to stay, 'you could eat here. I have food.'
'Your cereal is not sorted by fiber content and I prefer to use my own sanitary bathroom facilities,' Sheldon explained, 'but you are welcome to join me across the hall.'
Penny waited for her front door to close before collapsing back onto her sheet letting her mind wander, 'what was she thinking? Why did she want someone who discusses fiber content in cereal and his bathroom habits like its normal everyday conversation to stay with her so badly? Sure, his chest had felt soothing with her head lying across it and she had been enjoying the gentle beat of his heart in her ear but this was Sheldon Lee Cooper she was talking about here. As he had said him sleeping in her bed had been a one time thing never to be repeated,' she told her self, '…unless she had another nightmare.'
True to his word Sheldon Cooper had joined Penny at the Cheesecake Factory twenty minutes after her shift started, 'why didn't you let me know you were leaving, Penny? I could have procured a ride with you rather than waking Leonard.'
'Sorry, I forgot our arrangement,' she lied leaving him at his usual table to peruse the breakfast menu. She hadn't forgot, something had changed last night, she was seeing Sheldon in a whole new light and didn't know what to make of it. She knew she wanted to be close to him and thought hanging all over him in her car on the way to work would either scare him off or cause an accident. Penny tried to push the thoughts away but she wanted him in her bed again tonight, to hold her and protect her, she remembered she had felt this way before when she had been drugged for her shoulder and she had forced him to stay by singing soft kitty to her. She briefly wondered what it would be like to have his arms around her, spooning her in bed and a dirty part of her mind wondered what it would be like to have him between her legs. She shook her head at the thought glancing at Sheldon across the room whispering to her self, 'never in a million years.'
Her hero stayed her whole shift, annoying the cook by ordering a BBQ bacon cheeseburger before the lunch menu started and frightening the other wait staff with small talk about particle physics. The creepy guy from the day before never showed so Sheldon never had to look intimidating. At five she peeled him away from his table and offered him a treat of any takeaway he wanted on her. He opted for Chinese food and confessed to Penny he was pleased her groper had not returned or he would have been forced to play the part of the brute boyfriend.
When they arrived back to the apartment building, they went their separate ways. Penny wished for a moment he would have invited her over as she knew he was on his own tonight with Leonard staying over at his new girlfriend's but instead went to her own apartment to make plans for tonight. She did all the things she thought Sheldon would like, she changed her sheets, laid out her tiniest tank top and short pajama set (she wasn't above showing a little skin to convince him to stay), picked up the dirty clothes and food cartons around her place, make sure there was breakfast foods in her cupboard and even cleaned her bathroom to make sure there was no reason for Sheldon not to stay the night.
Penny finished her dinner and went to bed at 9pm excited for the night ahead, settling her alarm for 2am she went to sleep. When her alarm rang she quickly reset it for the correct time and got up to brush her hair and put a light coating of makeup on, she assured her self it was not for his benefit but know deep down she wanted to look pretty when he came over.
Penny lay down in bed and prepared to give the best performance of her life. She yelled and screamed for help waiting to hear Sheldon's extra key in her door as her queue to close her eyes and pretend to be asleep. She had left the blankets off of her and kicked them onto the floor so he would see her cute Hello Kitty shorts when he walked in.
Sheldon rubbed his eyes carrying his Green Lantern lantern across the hall for the second night in a row. He entered Penny's bedroom surprised to see no blankets covering her and her tiny white and pink shorts covering very little of her legs.
She was kicking and hitting the bed like last night and instead of trying to touch her, he had decided he had learned his lesson last night. Before he could speak he heard her whisper, 'help me, Sheldon.'
He changed his mind and rubbed her shoulder, 'Penny wake up, Penny please.' Like the night before her eyes popped open, they landed on him and she jumped up in bed to grasp his chest like the Jaws of Life, 'you're here.'
He waited for her to break her grip and when she didn't he settled on the bed next to her and lightly tried to hug her back, 'you're okay, Penny.'
'Now that you're here,' she assured him burying her head in his chest, 'please stay with me again,' she begged him fake tears running down her face; 'I need you.'
Sheldon didn't answer just adjusted himself so he and Penny were on laying down on her bed, 'don't make a habit out of this,' he told her trying to sooth her by running the fingers of one hand over the back of her head.
Penny couldn't help her self from moaning when his fingers touched her hair.
Sheldon looked at her confused noticing in the green light from his lantern her tears had dried up.
She watched his eyes scanning her face for distress but instead her saw her move forward and touch her lips to his. She pulled him closer not allowing him to leave her lips. When the kiss broke, she whispered one word to him, 'stay.'
He nodded understanding what she was asking and joined his hands to the sides of her face to weave their breath once again.