So, I was re-watching The Zarnecki Incursion and this fic idea popped into my head, so here it is. Technically there are spoilers for the episode, but this fic in no way spoils the plot or ending if you haven't seen it. It's just based off of something mentioned in the episode.
I do not own a single thing in this fic.
She still couldn't believe he'd actually agreed to come today. After two years of trying to convince him, she'd never expected him to finally say yes. Yet here they were, at the beach.
They were holding hands as they walked along a small paved path that bordered the sandy beach, Penny resting her chin atop Leonard's bare shoulder from time to time to plant a kiss on his cheek. Much to her surprise, her boyfriend had come only wearing his swim trunks, not even leaving on his T-shirt as he'd abandoned the layers of clothing he usually wore. Penny was glad; he was usually self-conscious about these sorts of things but he had no reason to be.
The couple walked a little farther down the path and then Penny began to slow down, Leonard quickly adjusting to match her pace.
"So, do you want to go in the water now?" she asked, smiling as she came to a stop and reached for his other hand.
Leonard cast a dubious glance at the calm waves lapped at the water's edge and then moved his gaze down to their joined hands. "I don't know," he said, after a pause.
Penny frowned, confused. Why would he agree to come to the beach if he didn't want to go in the water? Then a sudden realization hit her and she gasped. "You can't swim!" she accused.
"What? Of course I can!" he said, taken aback.
Penny shook her head. "Sorry," she said, stroking one of his hands with her thumb.
"My parents had me in swimming lessons for years," he added, looking unsure if she was convinced.
The waitress raised an eyebrow at him. "Really? Recreational swimming didn't violate the No Cake, No Christmas code?"
Leonard smirked, rolling his eyes. "Well, my learning to swim wasn't really for recreational purposes," he explained. "Considering I was the Hofstadter family's intellectual weak link"-Penny squeezed his hands when he frowned slightly- "my parents thought I'd need a back up plan if I failed to become a physicist."
"So…swimming?" Penny asked curiously when he didn't continue.
"My parents figured I could become a marine biologist," he said shrugging. "So, they put me in swimming lessons for a few years."
"Okay," Penny said, nodding slowly. "Then why don't you want to go in the water?"
"No, I do," he said, quickly reassuring her. "But…," he trailed off again and then let go of her hands, moving one up to rub the back of his neck awkwardly. "Okay, well I'm going to sound like Sheldon here, but I don't want to walk on the sand.
Penny frowned. "Why not?"
The experimental physicist sighed. "Because I'm afraid of stepping on medical waste."
Penny stared at him incredulously. "What?" She knew that sometimes people did step on dirty needles or infectious objects like that at beaches, but was it really such a big worry? Swimming in the ocean was probably the more dangerous activity, what with pollution and jellyfish, not to mention drowning. Penny made a mental note not to bring that point up.
Leonard sighed again, looking down at his feet. "Look, I know it's silly, but I'd really rather not risk it."
"No, it's fine," she assured him, putting a hand on his shoulder. She could tell he was embarrassed about being afraid and didn't want to worsen it by getting angry. So, they wouldn't go swimming. There were plenty of other things to do-granted, most of them involved actually being on the beach, so those also got ruled out, but…oh, who was she kidding? There really wasn't much else to do…unless…
"Hmm," she said thoughtfully, crossing her arms and cocking her head.
"What is it?" Leonard asked, frowning in confusion.
"Just don't freak out, okay?" Penny instructed, moving towards him.
"Why would I freak out-hey!" Leonard let out a yelp of surprise as Penny picked him up in her arms and began heading towards the water. He quickly began protesting, but she ignored him, fighting the huge grin that threatened to take over her face.
They quickly reached the water, the waves splashing against Penny's legs. She easily pushed past them and continued wade deeper into the ocean until the water level was just below her waist.
"Okay," Leonard began, but she didn't let him finish. Penny slowly slid her arms out from under her boyfriend and let him flop into the water.
Leonard quickly resurfaced, his right hand gripping his glasses, probably in an attempt to keep the sea from whisking them away. He shook his head to shake off some of the water droplets, spraying her in the process.
Penny giggled mischievously when Leonard gaped at her, mouth hanging open, water still dripping from his face. "Was that really necessary?" he asked.
She nodded. "Yep. And so was this."
"Wha-" Again, Penny cut him off, this time interrupting him with a splash in this face.
Leonard nodded his head a few times and then met her gaze to glare at her playfully. Penny shrieked and used her arms to cover her face as he began splashing her. He moved closer and closer to her, not stopping his attack, until he stood right in front of her. Penny cautiously lowered her arms, raising an eyebrow at him suspiciously. He simply smiled at her, wrapping his arms around her waist. Her hands went to his chest, she leaned forward, and then felt herself fall forwards as Leonard pulled her under water.
"Hey!" she cried once she'd resurfaced. Leonard gave her a triumphant smile. She tried to glare at him convincingly, but was unsuccessful; she was having too much fun and the playful way he was grinning at her was far too adorable.
Penny moved towards him and he started to backup, most likely fearing another attack, but she quickly wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him to her, pressing her lips against his. She smiled as she kissed him. She could taste the salty ocean water on his lips, and feel the water that dripped down her back from his arms that were now tightly wrapped around her. All of these were little reminders that she was the one who had finally gotten him out here to the beach. She was the one who had shown him what a great time you could have out here. And because of that, she was the one who got to share this experience with him first, and that made her so, so happy.
When they broke apart, she grinned at him and pressed her nose against his. "Thanks for coming," she said.
He smiled back at her. "Thanks for asking me. You were right, it's fun out here."
Penny nodded and then grabbed his hand, heading towards the shore. "Okay, now let's do something really dangerous and walk on the beach!"
Leonard slowed his pace. "Uh…," he said uncertainly.
"I'm not carrying you when you're soaking wet!" she laughed. "You'll be even heavier with all that water."
Leonard laughed with her. "Was I really all that heavy before?"
Penny smirked. "Good point."
So he didn't want to walk on the beach yet. That was fine. It was just something else that she would make sure she ended up doing with him first.