A/N: Set right after "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency."

The Robot-Man Paradox by ACM a.k.a. Annie May

Chapter 1

Penny awoke to a realization: her shoulder hurt. She gingerly eased herself into a sitting position and used her good arm to turn on the light, which was really unnecessary since it was obviously early afternoon at least. Thankfully she didn't have to work today. Penny got up and headed for the kitchen to see if her fridge contained anything resembling food. She quickly realized that her only breakfast options were Diet Mountain Dew and cheese curls, so she decided to defer that meal until later. She headed off for what turned out to be a rather complicated trip to the restroom, considering her one-handed status. She was midway through brushing her teeth when she decided to go to her secondary food source, Leonard and Sheldon's. Sheldon...The events of last night were a little fuzzy, but she realized that Sheldon had been there the whole time, taken care of her, and...! She suddenly remembered! Sheldon had shown a bit of a naughty side! That was new. True, he only accidentally touched her, but a smart guy like Sheldon would have figured it out right away and let go. He didn't let go! And what was it he said..."The hero always peeks." He seemed almost human.

"Fashunating," Penny mumbled, her mouth full of toothpaste. Just then she heard the familiar sound.

Knock knock knock. "Penny."
Knock knock knock. "Penny."
Knock knock knock. "Penny."

She spit out the toothpaste and headed for the door, smiling to herself. She opened it to find Sheldon, holding a plastic bag and wearing his usual condescending stare.

"Good afternoon. Oh, I see you hardly drooled on yourself at all during the night," he said, pointing, as though this were a socially acceptable greeting.

Penny looked down at her shirt in disgust. She felt the familiar talking-to-Sheldon headache coming on.


"I trust you haven't caused yourself another devastating yet easily avoidable injury today?"

Penny gave him the sort of look such a comment deserved. His right eye twitched slightly.

"Did you come here just to annoy me or was there another reason?"

Sheldon looked down briefly, smiling his childish smile, then held out the plastic bag.

"I brought you ducks!" he proudly declared.


"Ducks!" Sheldon said again in his oddly high-pitched voice, as though it were obvious. He switched into explaining mode. "Whimsical, adhesive ducks to prevent further tub accidents!"

Penny realized she hadn't yet taken the bag. She did so and backed into the apartment, dumping the contents of the bag onto her kitchen counter. Sheldon followed her in.

"Now, it wasn't easy to get these. I purchased mine quite some time ago. The first store was out and the surly clerk in the second store could understand the significance of neither waterfowl nor whimsy." Sheldon rolled his eyes. "However at the third store I was able to find these on my own, as they were quite prominently displayed between the seashell- and frog-themed bathroom decorations."

Penny took a moment to process what Sheldon had said. He went to three different stores, just to get her the same ducks he had protecting him from falling in the tub? She looked at the package on the counter. Sure enough, the ducks had umbrellas.

"Thanks Sheldon. That's very..." 'Sweet' her brain supplied, but she ignored it. Dr. Sheldon Cooper was a lot of things, but certainly not sweet. "Proactive."

This was an unusual word for Penny to choose. Sheldon clearly noticed, but did not say anything about it.

"I see your coherence has marginally improved now that the painkillers have worn off. You've nearly recovered your usual, disappointing command of the English language," Sheldon muttered, making his way toward the door. "I feel satisfied that you are recovering well, so I'll take my leave," he said as he stepped into the hallway.

Penny shut the door and sat down on the couch. So irritating. He just couldn't say anything nice. But wait, was that the Sheldon way of saying he'd been worried and had come to check up on her? She pulled a blanket up over her legs. This was a whole new side to Sheldon. She tucked the thought into the back of her mind and fell asleep.