A/N The BBT does not belong to me. If they did, Penny and Sheldon would be happier.

Also, this take place a couple of days after "Sheldon's sick".

"... A carefully researched list based on your needs and the traits that you possess, and I can create an algorithm that takes all of the 'luck' out of your search for a mate."

Sheldon spent a great deal of time in front of his white-board working on an algorithm for Penny's ideal mate. After the way she had cared for him when he was sick, he felt that he "owed her one" and stopping her endless and hitherto vain search for a perfect mate was one that would benefit them all. Its benefit to Penny was obvious, the benefit to Leonard was that he'd finally have to give up any hopes that he was harboring to get back with Penny. The benefit to Sheldon was that he would no longer have to listen to Leonard whine about men that Penny brought home, or, ironically, listen to Penny whine about the men she brought home.

Once the algorithm was complete, he compiled the list and took it to Penny.

Knock, knock, knock. "Penny."

Knock, knock, knock. "Penny."

Knock, knock, knock. "Penny."

"Hey, Sheldon," she said perkily as she stood looking up at him. "Feeling better? You look better." Her hand went to his forehead. "Feels normal, although I know that's not very scientific." She smiled at him.

He returned her smile, for once, not commenting on her touching him. Weirdly, it didn't really bother him when Penny touched him. Considering how often she did so, he was probably just getting used to it. "I feel much better, thank you, Penny." He cleared his throat. "May I come in?"

"Oh, sure, of course." She led the way into her apartment. He sat in his spot in her apartment, and unfolded his list.

"As per our discussion whilst I was ill, I have completed an algorithm and based on that have compiled a list for you. For your ideal mate." He held it out.

"My wha…." She trailed off as she remembered the conversation while he'd been so sick. "Oh, um, thank you?"

"You're welcome. Would you like me to read it?"

"Sure," she said resignedly.

He cleared his throat again. "The top 10 qualities for Penny's ideal mate (in no particular order):

1-Intelligent (you told Leonard that you couldn't go back to stupid now)

2-Understands sports (I know how much you enjoy football and need a mate who will at least be able to understand it.)

3-Supportive of your return to college (I think you go back and study nursing, you have a natural affinity for it.)

4-Non-judgemental regarding hokum i.e. psychics ( I know that Leonard tried to change your point of view on the subject, as if that was ever going to happen)

5-Secure enough not to mind your friendship with us (That Chris didn't like you to spend time with us, if I recall correctly. Which, of course, I do.)

6-Able to stand your glare of death (The one that makes Koothrappali dash to the restroom.)

7-Tall (Leonard seems convinced that you'd still be together if he'd been taller. Most of your previous dates have been over 5'10", so he may actually be onto something.)

8-Tolerant of your lack of housekeeping skills (perhaps someone who is willing to tidy up for both of you.)

9-Not intimidated by your tomboyish strength, nor your uncanny ability at Halo and Age of Conan (It would probably be better if he actually considered these an asset.)

10- Willing to take direction romantically (based on your numerous complaints about testosterone driven lovers who do not listen to your very clear instructions.)"

When he finished, he looked up at Penny to gauge her reaction. She was staring at him with a very strange expression on her face. "Sheldon, honey, I …." She trailed off. She wanted to ask him how he'd come up with these traits, but he'd explained them pretty clearly as he'd gone along. And, if she were being honest with herself, she actually agreed with each of them. She was a little concerned by how well he knew her, as evidenced by those explanations, but there was something else about the list that brought her to a screeching halt. She just couldn't put her finger on what it was.

Sheldon handed her the list and watched her as she read it. He hoped it would help her find a mate that would make her happy. She was his friend and also a kind person and he thought she deserved to be happy.

Penny read the list through twice, and on the third time she started mentally naming men who met the criteria. And damn it, if one name didn't keep cropping up. And that's when she realized what was bothering her about the list. "Sheldon, Sweetie, you do realize that I already know this guy?"

"You do?" He seemed pleased. "That should make things easier for you. May I enquire as to his identity?"

Green eyes met blue. "Honey, it's you."

"Oh." He blinked rapidly at her. Then in an entirely different tone. "Oh! No, that's not right. It can't be." He snatched the list from her hand and skimmed it. "Well, no, here '#4-Non-judgemental regarding hokum i.e. psychics'. I think it's hokum." He said firmly.

"True, but you didn't try and change my mind about it, or about the astrology, which you also think is hokum. You just told me you thought I was wrong and moved on."

He had to admit that it was true, and returned to the list. "What about the last item?"

"What about it?" She was oddly calm about the whole fiasco.

"I don't want to have sex. You do." He was blunt, because he was starting to panic.

"You haven't really tried it, have you?" She was pretty sure about the answer to that, but did him the courtesy of asking.

"Well, no."

"Then you don't know you don't want to, it's just an unproven theory. How unscientific of you." She had no idea where she was going with this. Part of her just enjoyed rattling Sheldon's cage, but part of her thought that maybe there was something there. But he'd never go for it, so, mostly she was just baiting him.

His face started twitching as he realized that she was not wrong (he couldn't even think that she was right, let alone say it). He didn't want to be Penny's mate. He didn't want to be anyone's mate. If he'd wanted a girlfriend he'd be much more likely to want Amy Farrah Fowler. She was exactly what he thought he wanted in a mate. If he wanted a mate. Which he didn't.

But his internal debate continued as he considered what he might want in a mate. If he wanted one. Which he still didn't. She would need to be intelligent, able to integrate into his social group, good breeding material if he ever wanted progeny (which he wasn't sure about), an asset at Halo, paintball and bowling, challenging…is was at this point that he realized that his eyes were straying to the patiently waiting Penny. She would even take care of him when she was sick. Amy wouldn't. She was too much like him and he certainly wouldn't.

Except for that time when Penny had been injured. He'd taken care of her, that night. He started twitching again as he realized that he would not do that if Amy were to become injured. Of course, Amy would not have been injured in such a way, nor would she ever need him to be the hero to her damsel in distress. She would never really need him for anything. Penny needed him. She needed him for tech support, to lend her money when her bills got out of her control, to help her level up, to explain things to her. He found it agreeable when she needed him.

His eyes came back into focus, meeting hers. "Oh." He said again.

"Yep." She said, popping the "p".

"Well that's an interesting turn of events."

"You think?"

"There is still the last item. I am more than a little uncertain about adding a sexual component to my life, let alone to our interactions."

"I agree. It would be strange." Then Penny had the most brilliant idea of her entire life. "Of course, you probably wouldn't be able to fulfill the last criteria even if you were willing to add that 'component'. Taking directions isn't exactly your strong suit, is it?" She kept the note of challenge out of voice by sheer willpower.

His eyes narrowed at her, and was about to accept the implied challenge, when his expression cleared, and reluctant admiration crossed his face. "Well played, Penny."

She grinned at him. "All teasing aside, Sheldon, we can't. You and I, we could not play at this. Try it out and see if it works. At least one of us would end up hurt. Probably both."

"Perhaps." Still he looked at her, considering the situation from all angles. "It could work."

"Show me the algorithm on that. And don't forget to add Leonard into the equation."

Sheldon really was a genius. "That's the easy part. He would have to think that it was entirely his idea."

She grinned at him again. "So, then, step one would be to get Leonard onboard."

"And step two?"

Her eyes grew serious. "You. Sex. Because you are absolutely right. I want sex. I like and enjoy it. And if you're never going to want to, that's a huge stumbling block."

"Agreed." His answer surprised him almost as much as it surprised her.

"Oh." She said.

The End