Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters.
AN: This is my first Big Bang Theory story, thank you for giving it a chance.
AN2: References to Season 5, episode "The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition."
AN3: Even though I love Sheldon/Amy now, Sheldon/Penny are like the first love that is oh so hard to forget. :)
Penny stands in her kitchen fixing herself a meal as she explains to Sheldon that playing games with Amy will not get her back. She proceeds to tell him about her regret on not telling a guy how she felt about him before he started going out with someone else.
Sheldon contemplates this for a few seconds. When she asks him if he understands what she's trying to say, he nods, "I believe I do. I'm the guy."
Their conversation continues as she still insists that, he's "definitely, not the guy."
It is a quiet Saturday night, Penny sits with Amy, exchanging yet another conversation about Sheldon's Relationship Agreement. Amy had signed the document a little over two months ago, and has realized since, how truly demanding it is to be in a relationship with Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
Penny explains to Amy how she would never be able to accept any terms for a relationship. If she wants to hold a guy's hand, she will, on her terms.
The next day, Amy attempts to hold Sheldon's hand.
She receives her first strike.
The day after that, Penny grabs Sheldon's hand and leads him from the kitchen to his spot.
She receives a lecture about personal space.
Sheldon shows up at Penny's door late Wednesday night, wrapped in a blanket and sniffling into a Kleenex. He explains to her that Leonard conveniently had a project he needed to work on for the next few nights at Caltech. Penny follows him back to his apartment, into his room, and takes a seat next to him on the bed as he once again cocoons himself.
She asks why Amy isn't here doing this. He recites the section on their relationship agreement that states "Penny will sing 'soft kitty' when sick."
She asks, why her.
He doesn't reply.
She sings him to sleep, touching her fingers softly across his cheek before leaving.
Sheldon finds Penny sitting on the stairs in the lobby of their apartment building. He asks if she is in distress. She explains that she twisted her ankle and scraped her knee while out jogging. She assures him she will be fine, she just needs to let the pain settle a bit before making her way upstairs.
He thinks for a moment then offers his hand, telling her to take it. Penny hesitantly takes it. He pulls her up in one fluid motion, and drapes her left arm around his neck, his right arm moving around her waist to support her as he half carries her up the stairs.
She sits on a stool in the kitchen. He sits in his computer chair in front of her, gloves and mask equipped as he dabs at her scraped knee with an alcohol soaked cotton ball. He is thorough and gentle. She watches him at work.
When his eyes meet hers, she thanks him.
He nods, but doesn't say a word.
Penny writes her name on his board. She then draws a heart around it and smiles proudly to herself. Sheldon wakes to find his board vandalized. He sends her out of his apartment.
She is back ten minutes later with a peace offering in the form of a new box of his favorite assortment of tea. He lets her in, and asks if she would like to join him for Dr. Who this morning. She politely declines, but sits next to him on the couch anyway, the latest edition of Cosmo in hand.
He glances at her as she pretends not to watch Dr. Who with him.
He softly grins.
Penny sits on her couch, Amy in front of her on the coffee table. She finishes the last few touches of Amy's makeup and sits back to marvel her handiwork. Penny grabs one of her Penny Blossoms from her kitchen table and pins Amy's bangs back. Tonight is her first real date with Sheldon, just the two of them. He finally agreed to no third party being involved.
Sheldon knocks on Penny's door, and Amy makes way to the bathroom to look at herself in the mirror. Penny smiles at how excited Amy is. She opens the door for Sheldon.
Her eyes widen at the sight of him. It's déjà vu. He stands in the outfit he bought when she had taken him shopping, his blue eyes more apparent against the dark of the suit. She doesn't say anything for a few seconds before she regains composure and invites him in.
Sheldon smiles as he steps pass her, visibly pleased with her reaction.
He looks back at Penny one last time before he leaves her apartment with Amy.
Sheldon is upset when Penny tells him she already did her laundry early in the day. He reminds her that they have been doing their laundry every Saturday night together consistently for the past couple of months, and she cannot just change the schedule whenever she sees fit.
She informs him that Amy asked her to come over for one-on-one bestie time so she had to readjust her schedule. He tells her that is unacceptable and Amy should know better because she possesses a copy of his schedule.
Leonard argues in her defense. Howard tells her it was her choice to even start a routine with Sheldon in the first place. Raj shrugs his shoulders and gives her a sympathetic look.
After another apology, she leaves to meet up with Amy.
Sheldon is knocking on Amy's door an hour later, demanding an explanation for her unacceptable behavior. Amy recites the entirety of section 47 in their relationship agreement back at him, "Penny will sing 'soft kitty' when sick at any time, superseding the regular schedule if necessary." He opens his mouth to protest that section 47 was meant for only him, but stops himself, knowing that it is his fault the section wasn't clear enough in that aspect.
Penny is the one to send him away, scolding him for not taking into account the physical condition Amy is in, and how she should be resting not arguing with her schedule crazed boyfriend.
Sheldon discusses with Leonard his concern over Amy stealing Penny away from him.
Leonard is taken aback
"What do you mean by stealing?"
"Penny was my friend first."
Leonard rolls his eyes and tells Sheldon he needs to learn how to share.
Penny is waiting outside 4A, laundry basket in hand. Sheldon emerges right on time, a look of surprise crossing his face only for an instant before he purses his lips together and nods a greeting to his neighbor.
The walk to the laundry room is quiet, but after they both put their clothes in the washers, Sheldon thanks her for allowing the regularity of this time together to continue.
"You're welcome, sweetie."
Their conversation tonight consists of a week's worth of thoughts and stories, and doesn't conclude till two and a half hours later when they part ways in the hallway between their apartments.
It's a spring wedding, and Penny is so happy for her two friends. Bernadette looks absolutely breathtaking in her wedding gown, and to Penny's surprise, seeing Howard waiting at the end of the aisle for his bride is the most attractive she has ever seen him. She smiles as she waits her turn to walk down the aisle.
Amy compliments her again on her attire which Penny returns, saying Amy's choice of bridesmaid gowns were spot on, the red quite flattering on both of them. Penny looks around for her partner in this wedding party. She lets out a held breath as she sees him enter the lobby.
Sheldon, handsome in his black tux, walks up to her adjusting his cuffs, a nervous yet confidant look on his face as he offers her his arm. From behind them, she hears Raj softly squeak before he offers his arm to an eager Amy. Penny stifles a laugh as she looks at them. Leonard, arm in arm with one of Bernadette's relatives, is the first couple down the aisle. She glances at Sheldon to see if he is ready and to her surprise his eyes are already on her.
He blushes slightly before quickly turning his head forward again, mouthing that it is their turn. She nods as they make their way to the front.
The reception is beautiful. Penny is seated with the rest of the wedding party at the front. She loves weddings, especially those of close friends. She couldn't even help the tears during the ceremony; she's never seen Howard so happy. It is time for the first dance of the newlyweds. Penny watches them for a few minutes before moving to head to the bar.
She feels a hand on her forearm and turns to find herself getting a stern look from a familiar pair of blue eyes. Sheldon half informs, half scolds her that the wedding party will need to join the new couple on the dance floor soon. She doesn't argue when he offers his arm again, being the gentleman Mary Cooper raised him to be.
Penny does not anticipate the closeness when Sheldon places one hand on her waist and with the other he takes hold of hers. She swallows for no particular reason, wondering why her insides are suddenly in knots. She remembers to breathe as Sheldon steps closer, their bodies not touching, but just barely. She had seen him dance with Amy the night he joined them to go clubbing, at the time she had never considered what it would be like to actually dance with Sheldon Lee Cooper. Slow dancing with him should not be affecting her like this. Then she remembered this is a lot more intimate a setting, the beat of the song much more calm.
Her grasp on his arm is firm, her other hand only lightly touching the back of his neck. She is physically unable to look up at him, the quickening beats of her heart only matched with the thoughts racing through her mind. Penny does the only thing she can form a complete enough thought to do, she closes her eyes and as naturally as water across sand, she closes the space between them and rests her cheek softly against his chest.
She feels him stiffen for only a few seconds before relaxing.
Penny keeps her eyes closed, and smiles.
With help from Leonard, Penny gets an enviro bag with the words, Anything That Doesn't Matter Has No Mass, for Sheldon's birthday present.
She doesn't get it.
Sheldon does a quick chuckle and thanks her.
Penny buys cheesecake for Sheldon's birthday. She and the guys walk into the apartment to surprise him, cheesecake with candles lit, in her hands as she does. He is in the kitchen on the phone with his mother, his back to them. They have no choice but to listen from the doorway.
Sheldon is correcting his mother that Amy, not Penny, is his girlfriend.
"Of course not, Penny! She does nothing but complicate my life, she creates unnecessary chaos and interruptions to my once organized schedule…"
Penny hears enough, she hands the cheesecake to Leonard before hurrying to her apartment. Sheldon turns to see his friends and he quickly says goodbye to his mom. He greets them, but they are no longer happy to see him. It is Raj who steps forward first.
"Dude, you need to go apologize to Penny."
Sheldon knocks on Penny's door. She reluctantly opens it for him. He can tell immediately that she has been drinking. He sits with her on the couch while she vents her frustrations regarding his conversation with his mother. He tells her he meant what he said, but she is taking what she heard out of context.
She stands and tells him to shut up. She is disoriented as she falls into his lap. He does not move when she kisses him tenderly before curling up in his arms, her head resting on his shoulder, her breath against his neck. He sighs to himself realizing she is fast asleep. He is disappointed that he wasn't able to finish his explanation.
He stays with her, waking the next morning when she finally stirs.
"If you will excuse me, Penny. You have already caused a delay in my morning schedule."
Penny hugs her pillow to her chest.
Penny moves while Sheldon is away at a conference. She has dinner with the guys along with Amy and Bernadette before she leaves. They wish her well. They do not ask why she decided to move in Sheldon's absence. They know better. She hugs each of them, Amy holding her the longest.
She doesn't tell them where she is moving to, but it isn't far. She stays with a friend in Burbank for a few weeks then finds a nice place to rent in Santa Monica.
Sheldon stands silently in front of 4B a half hour every day before work. On the weekends he stands there for maybe two hours at a time before Leonard drags him back to their apartment. He still hasn't made sense of her decision to leave.
It upsets him that she left without warning.
But more so, it upsets him that he is even upset to begin with.
Penny catches her first real break in a pilot for a new show on CBS. She's not a lead, but being a regular cast member is all she can ask for. She loves her steady paycheck and the new friends she is making.
Still, she misses Pasadena.
She misses her wackadoodle neighbor.
It takes three months, but Sheldon finds her. He is waiting at the gate to her studio home when she returns from the set. She stops when she sees him, his hair untidy, and his superman shirt not as smooth and wrinkle free as usual. He nervously adjusts the strap of his messenger bag across his chest. She's not sure of what to do or say. He moves first, walking up to meet her in the driveway leading to the garage.
She asks what he's doing there, how was he able to find her. He tells her it wasn't difficult. He works on complex equations daily and he has a working knowledge of the universe, surely locating a particular person proved simple enough. He looks away when he explains this to her because finding her was anything but simple.
She tells him to go home and then proceeds toward her front gate. He stops her with a gentle hand on her forearm. She turns to face him again as he pulls out something from his bag. She instantly recognizes the document; it's his and Amy's Relationship Agreement, their names outlined clearly on the front page. He explains that their relationship is now null and void. Before she can ask why, he turns to the last page, clears his throat and reads section 74, the last in the agreement.
"This contract is subject to immediate termination if/when Penny realizes that I am indeed, 'the guy.'"
It takes only seconds for Penny to realize what the statement means. Sheldon can't help the smile that creeps to his lips as her face lights up. Her feet are moving before she even realizes it. She holds him, her cheek firm against his chest, her vision now blurred. They stand there, his hands lazily resting on her lower back. After a few moments she pulls away to look up at him, his eyes soft and clear under the pale light of the moon.
She sees something in his eyes she had never seen before. Before she knows what's happening, he is leaning forward, his lips dangerously close to hers. She closes her eyes.
A voice cuts through the air around them, and Sheldon immediately steps away from her, turning to face the intruder. Penny's eyes widen as she's pulled back to reality. Her friend and new co-star stands a few feet away, a curious look on his face as he glances from Sheldon to Penny.
"Sorry, am I interrupting something?"
She opens her mouth to speak but Sheldon is quicker. He turns to face her again. He apologizes for showing up unannounced, assures her it will not happen again. Her heart aches at the vacant expression on his face. He confesses their reunion did not go the way he had hoped, but he is not surprised because he has never been able to predict the outcome of moments spent with her.
She reaches for him, but he steps away, nodding a quick goodbye before turning and leaving, his steps fast and with purpose. He wants to get away from her. Her co-star walks up to her, an apologetic look now on his face.
"Was that the guy?"
Penny nods slowly, a tear finally falling.
Amy picks up on the first ring after seeing her caller ID. She is overjoyed to hear her bestie's voice again. Penny smiles into her phone, asking Amy how she is doing.
After some idle chit chat, Penny breaks down, apologizing profusely to Amy over what happened with Sheldon, knowing how it must have hurt Amy when their agreement was null and void. She acknowledges how horrible she feels, and how much she regrets the way everything turned out. Penny takes a few seconds to catch her breath and wipe the tears from her eyes, at which time Amy finally speaks.
"I knew from the day I signed that relationship agreement, that it was a means to an end. The end, Penny…being you."
Penny is speechless as Amy explains that both herself and Sheldon had a lot to learn about relationships. Sheldon agreed to run a mock relationship in hopes of gathering enough information to be ready for the real thing when it came along. He admitted that his social skills were still only subpar, and hoped over time that being in a relationship would allow him to more accurately pin point the areas he needed to work on.
"Simply put, Penny, he wanted to be ready…when you finally were."
"Are you sure you're okay with this?"
Sheldon rolls his eyes at the now 11th time Raj has asked that same question.
"Yes, now will you leave me to my research?"
Raj nods as he straightens the collar of his dress shirt. He neatly adjusts his sweater vest, and smiles to himself, now self-assured. It's funny what a simple drunken conversation about anxiety and neurobiology can lead to. He pats Sheldon on the back before exiting his friend's apartment and into the hallway where Amy Farrah Fowler is waiting.
She greets him with a courteous smile as she laces her fingers through his waiting arm.
Tonight is their third date.
It is a week since his visit that Penny finds herself standing in front of a door labeled 4A. She did not warn any of her friends she was coming. She has been standing here for ten minutes and still lacks the courage to knock. She slightly jumps at the sound of her name from the staircase to her left.
She turns to see Leonard, a bright smile on his face, but her eyes immediately pass him and meet Sheldon's who is standing behind him. They climb the remaining steps to meet her. Penny steps back to allow some space for the three of them.
Leonard hugs her warmly telling her it is great to see her, and she is relieved he is trying to make this less awkward for her. No doubt, Sheldon confided in him about what happened a week ago. Sheldon remains behind Leonard, not moving, just staring off to the side, anywhere but at her. Leonard looks from Sheldon to Penny quickly before moving pass them, heading to 4B. He pulls out a key and opens the door. Penny asks what's going on, as he steps into her old apartment.
"I live here now," he smiles knowingly at her, his eyes darting to the back of Sheldon's head before he gives her an encouraging nod and shuts the door behind him.
Penny, mouth still hung open, looks at Sheldon for an explanation. He says nothing, just a polite, 'excuse me,' before stepping pass her and getting out his keys from his pocket and unlocking his door. Realizing he was really going to enter his apartment and shut the door in her face, she stops him, her fingertips brushing across the exposed skin of his forearm. He turns to her, arms folding across his chest as he meets her eyes with a stern gaze.
She finds herself momentarily lost in thought from the intensity of his eyes, but regains herself after nervously tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Everything about her appearance today is purposeful, from her wavy hair, her bangs pinned to the side with a single Penny Blossom to her light cerulean blue top and fitted denim jeans.
She realized recently, that there was no one's approval she so strongly sought after than Sheldon's. A compliment from him was unique and rare, she could count on one hand the times when she did gain his favor and he let her know. Before she can stop herself, she is apologizing for what happened a week ago, assuring him there was nothing going on with her co-star and that they were only rehearsing lines that night. She apologizes for taking a week to come after him, regretting that she didn't run after him as soon as he walked away, but she was scared and in denial.
She stops speaking for a moment to see if he has anything to say. Standing before him now is nothing like the countless other times she has been alone with him. This Sheldon is so different from the awkward guy she met outside her apartment five years ago. He is much more matured now, but still so innocently vulnerable. He remains silent, considering what she is saying.
Unable to bare the silence, Penny continues. Reminding him of a conversation they had nearly a year ago. She confesses she doesn't know how it happened, or when, or why, but he's definitely 'the guy' now and she knows that for a fact, and he can try to come up with all the equations and calculations in the world to prove her conclusion wrong, but it will be in vain. She is here with him now, and it is exactly where she wants to be.
"I will sign anything…any agreement…any contract you want me to. Just please, Sheldon…don't send me away."
Her words are honest and true. Her voice cracking at the end, and to this, he unfolds his arms, letting it hang loosely at his sides, allowing his mind to process everything that has been said in the last few minutes. His features are softer now, as he takes a step toward her, his eyes never leaving hers.
He takes a breath, choosing his words carefully; he explains that having her confined within rules and regulations, terms, and consequences, is not appropriate for someone like her. That making her sign any kind of contract with him will not suffice. The minute she does so she will cease being Penny, and, "I cannot live in a world where Penny ceases to exist."
She suddenly exhales and then she is in his arms again, not knowing and not caring how she got there, but she holds him firmly against her. Afraid to even think this is not what he wants to be doing right now, but she is instantly reassured when his arms encircle her and his lips press softly against her hair. Sheldon is the first to pull back, coughing nervously, clearing his throat, one hand moving to his back, another scratching his chin.
"Penny. Would you care to join me in my apartment for a cup of hot chocolate?"
She nods quickly, a silly smile on her face that just refuses to go away. She takes his hand in hers and pulls him into 4A.
He makes a small grunt at her aggressiveness.
She leads him.
And he lets her.