Epilogue

The tall, slim man approached the beach. He had been on this beach every day for the last seven days. She'd been released from the hospital, and he'd come straight here to wait for her.

He'd decided that he had misunderstood what she'd been saying to him. Where he had believed she was saying to meet her here, it was becoming obvious to him that she had only been delirious from her injuries and rambling about beaches.

Today was the last day he was going to sit here and wait. Of course, he had been saying that to himself for the last three days. Every day was going to be the last.

But today, he saw her. She had strolled onto the beach like a sun goddess, and staked her claim on a lounge chair. She was wearing a pretty yellow one-piece suit, oversized sunglasses and a gauzy cover-up. Several of the men who hung out on the beach had attempted to engage her in conversation, but she had gently rebuffed each. He watched her for almost an hour, before believing the evidence of his own eyes.

He quietly approached her, not noticing the dismissive looks the other men were giving him. He wouldn't have cared about their opinion of his actions had he noticed. Only hers mattered. He stood over her, his shadow caressing her. He studied her for a few seconds. She had pushed her sunglasses up to act as a hair band, and her eyes were closed. He could see the tiniest hint of the pain she'd endured in the new little lines around her eyes and mouth.

She spoke suddenly, without opening her eyes. "Took you long enough, Sheldon."

"Me?" He protested. "Penny, I have been here for an entire week. I was beginning to believe that …." He trailed off, overwhelmed now that she was actually here.

Her green eyes opened and smiled at him, all traces of pain washed away. "I'm sorry, Honey. I had to go see my family." She threw her legs over the side of the lounge chair and sat up. She indicated the next seat.

He settled himself, and met her eyes. "Are you well, Penny?"

"Yeah, almost back to 100%. How are you?"

"I also am doing quite well." He stopped, unsure what to say next.

"I didn't think we'd be this awkward," she admitted.

"I suspect that is my fault."

"We're partners, Honey. We'll share the responsibility, okay?"

He gave her a rare smile. "I have missed seeing you every day."

"Yeah, we saw each other every day for six years, and then went cold turkey. Quite a shock to the system."

"Indeed." He cleared his throat. "I believe that I am now supposed to say something 'geeky but sweet', although I'm uncertain as to what that might be."

Her eyes studied him. "When did you know that you … liked…me?" She asked finally.

He hesitated. "I suspected that I liked you when you told me that Alicia was "more fulla' crap than a prize bull", but I started to fall in love with you the first time that I was ill, and you brought me soup and sang "Soft Kitty" to me."

A big smile had blossomed on her face. "And I knew when you and 'Zade got kidnapped and I ended up with a dislocated shoulder. Not only did the thought of letting you out of my sight for even a minute literally nauseate me, but you sang "Soft Kitty" with me. You stayed the whole night and never …. I knew then."

They shared a smile. He stood, and offered her a hand. She hesitated for just a second, and then placed her hand in his. She led him down to the shoreline, and tucked her arm in his.

"What do you want to do now, Sheldon?"

"I had thought that being more experienced in these matters, that you would take the lead."

She stared at him blankly and then gurgled with laughter. "I meant as a job, you Whackadoodle, not when are we going to have sex."

"Oh, I see." He was curiously disappointed. He had long denied his carnal needs, basic masturbation notwithstanding, and had actually been prepared to let Penny guide him through a sexual relationship.

She must have read that on his face. "Just to be clear, Sheldon, we *are* going to, just not today. I've never…." She blushed and then squared her shoulders to continue. "I've never cared about anyone the way I care about you. I've never had a man know me as well as you do."

He cocked his head to the side, silently disputing the latter claim.

"Sheldon, you've seen me at my worst. No make-up, no coffee. You've seen me when I've been shot, beaten up, and just after I've terminated someone. You've sat by my side when I was injured, and tried, badly, to comfort me. You know how I take my coffee, what my favorite colors are. Hell, you know when my period is. You know ME. You also know you're always going to be smarter than me, but you don't talk down to me. You respect me, and I don't want to ever endanger that. You mean far too much to me to rush into something you might not be ready for. So we will take our time, and get there together. Okay?"

"Yes, I find that acceptable." His voice was deep and twangy due to the emotions running rampant through him.

"So, to be clear, what were thinking of as a job now that you're a free man?"

"I have many projects that I would like to pursue, although I lack funds for many. The funds could be obtained, but I fear I would have to indenture myself to get them. What of your plans?"

"I have a couple of ideas that I've been playing around with. Although they might be a byproduct of all the meds. While I was recuperating, I saw a TV show, and there was an assassin. He would find very bad people, and then find someone who was willing to pay him to kill them. We could do something like that. Or maybe more like high price bounty hunters, or something."

"Hmm," he said thoughtfully. "Those possibilities are not without merit, however they may be impractical. We should discuss it."

She grinned up at him. "Let's discuss it then."

They slowly strolled along in the sand, the rushing surf erasing their footprints almost as soon as they passed. The wind carried random words back as they headed off into their future.

End…although I may post random adventures if the inspiration strikes me.

Thanks for Reading, and for those of you who have been kind enough to review: Thank you!

A/N The TV show referenced was "Bones". Which I also do not own.