AN: Ok, as this is AU (but hopefully not too OOC, or as little as possible) I've decided, the hell with it, this is gonna go MY way. Hope you like it.

Chapter One.

She walked along the road, avoiding the puddles and trying to not break her heels or her ankles on the uneven cobblestones. The falling darkness didn't bother her, there was very little that she was afraid of, except for ending up alone, and even then, it more the knowledge that she would have to deal with letters from her father for the rest of her life, each asking when she was going to settle down and come home that bothered her.

Settle down maybe. Come home? Never.

The mist was rolling in, and she pulled her mink stole around her closer, her hand fingering the ivory handled pistol hidden inside it. Just because she wasn't afraid didn't mean she was foolish. Her eyes shifted, noting the numbers on the buildings she was passing. The road was deserted except for her, most people by now were at home or in the speakeasy, drinking "tea".

At last she saw the number, and she walked up the stairs and into the building. Her heels clattered as she climbed the stairs, her green eyes flicking around her warily. A short hallway, a frosted door. She paused, the light behind her.

S. Cooper, Phd, Phd, PI.

The man seated at the desk rolled his eyes towards the door again. "You might as well come in, I heard you coming up the stairs." He said crossly. "You've already disrupted me, you might as well do it properly."

Dames. Always the same. Indecisive. One moment they wanted to be your secretary, the next they wanted to be your wife. He shuddered in horror and sent a glance at his associate. He had solved that issue well enough, Hofstader was annoying and whiny but he kept notes suitably well and almost made tea correctly, perhaps soon he'd graduate to making cocoa. Hofstader was currently staring at the silhouette in the doorway with awe.

The blue eyes rolled again. "Hofstader, you're drooling like a neanderthal."

The gaping mouth snapped shut, and the door opened. The woman walked into the room, her chin held high, her blonde hair coiled on top of her head but falling down slightly.

Both men stared at her blankly.

Green eyes wavered between the two men, sitting behind matching desks, before making a decision. She stepped towards the desk with the more impressive chalkboard behind it, and smiled. "My name is Penelope. I lost something."

The blue eyes in front of her didn't blink. "I'm not in the business of finding things."

"Yes we are." Hofstader interrupted, standing up, holding out his hand. "I'm Dr. Leonard Hofstader, I'm an experimental physicist, and part time investigator."

The other man sighed. "You are an associate investigator and part time experimental physicist, and not very good at either."

The woman shook the hand offered and turned her eyes back to his. He stood, reluctantly. "Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Phd, PI."

He was tall, taller than most men, and thin like he didn't eat.

"And what kind of doctor are you?" She enquired.

"I'm a theoretical physicist. I solve the mysteries of the universe."

"Then why are you a Private Eye?"

He blinked at her. "Because I like to solve problems." He could hear the seconds ticking past, time wasted, he was so close to a breakthrough and it four minutes it would be time to go home, it was roast beef night...

She looked back over at Hofstader. "Do you have a gun?"

"No." He looked surprised. "I'm a physicist."

"I'm an actress, and I have a gun." She turned back to the tall man with the blue eyes. "Do YOU have a gun?"

"Of course." He said simply. "I'm from Texas. We get guns as christening gifts."

At last, she smiled. "Call me Penny. I'm from Omaha."

"Oh damn." He sighed, sitting back down with a graceful thump and a shake of his head. His roast beef would be cold. "What did you loose?"