Author's Note: Post-ep for 4.17, "The Toast Derivation." Penny-centric but with a fair amount of talking about Leonard/Penny.
Penny stumbled back into her apartment later that night, pressing her hand to her forehead and letting out a low groan. The music at the club had been loud, and despite her best efforts otherwise, she couldn't quite get the night's events out of her head. The thrill of the chase of finding a random guy or two to grind up against at the club had been tainted before the night even really began.
She'd almost forgotten about that snowflake.
It was trivial and just another gift given to her by an ex-boyfriend.
And yet, unlike the tangle of jewelry from other well-meaning ex-boyfriends, it remained sitting out in the open in its little red bag where anyone - including Amy and Bernadette - could find it, instead of buried inside a box in her closet or sitting in a landfill somewhere.
It couldn't be just another trivial gift. There had to be some sentimental value to it for her.
She picked it up and held it up to the light. Bernadette's earlier words floated through her head, "Leonard's really one-of-a-kind."
He really was. Only Leonard would find the romance in a snowflake preserved between two pieces of acrylic: an one-of-a-kind gift from an one-of-a-kind guy.
In the privacy of her quiet apartment, she allowed herself the smile she'd denied herself in the presence of company. She slid it back into its bag and gently placed it back on the nightstand, before slipping between the covers and falling asleep, alone but content.
Regardless of whether or not they ever got back together, she'd always care for Leonard in some way, even if she didn't admit it to anyone for now.