**I do not own any of these characters or actors, I am just borrowing them for a while to fulfill a fantasy** Happy Reading….this is my first fan fiction so be kind **
"What do you mean that none of you will be able to accompany me to the North Pole" Sheldon whined.
"We have already been down that road with you Sheldon and we can't do it again and on top of that I have plans of my own I told you I leave for India on Friday, Howard will be too busy with his astronaut training. Raj, cannot travel again because of his VISA status" Leonard answered as he squirmed in his seat.
"So who am I going to take, no one at the University will come with me, as they all pulled out of the expedition when they heard I would be the one leading it" Sheldon asked again as he separated the food that was laid out on the table in front of him. "Not even any grad students signed the sign-up sheet, however they did doodle something akin to a raccoon with a distended phallus"
Raj and Howard giggled, knowing very well who had do that.
"Hey guys" Penny bounded in books in hand. She had been taking night classes for the last few months, getting closer to getting her community college degree. On most nights she would come over and ask the guys for help with her assignments, usually only Sheldon would help, as the others would become exasperated with the questions that would arise from Penny.
"You ready for some homework help?" she quipped as she took a dumpling from Sheldon's plate. He must have been very distracted as the others gasped while Sheldon didn't even flinch.
"Sweetie….Sheldon are you okay?" she asked. She asked as she sat down at her spot next to him at on the sofa. They had long ago determined this was her spot. He could not seem to remember a time that she wasn't there. Even during her time with Leonard, she always sat next to him, he in his spot, she in hers. It was routine, he liked routine. "Is it about the equitable distribution of the dumplings Sheldon?" she asked. He was still staring into space.
"Sheldon is just upset we cannot accompany him on his return expedition to the North Pole" Howard answered as he dug into his food.
"Why not? What happened?" Penny asked. The boys filled her in quickly, all the while Sheldon sat, his gaze transfixed onto some invisible whiteboard.
"I'm sorry Sweetie….do you want me to sing you soft kitty"
"Penny… I am not a child. I simply need to find someone to accompany me on this expedition. The data I was reviewing from our last expedition did show some positive data that requires further investigation."
The rest of the evening consisted of arguing which of the Doctor Who's was better, since there was a marathon on BBC America. Sheldon occasionally chimed in, but remained pretty silent. Penny glanced over at him occasionally, when his weight would shift slightly on his precious spot. She felt sad for him, it must be lonely to be the kid with the tickets to a big show and no one wants to go with you.
"Sheldon…can't you get a grad student to go with you? Or someone else?" Penny asked.
Howard and Raj looked up at her question; Leonard was busy trying to get his laptop up so he can chat with Priya. Penny and Leonard had given it another go, but never got past the beta testing phase of their agreement, and decided that they were better off as friends. Leonard was back with Priya, realizing they were meant to be. He would be going to India next week to spend some time with her and meet Mr. & Mrs. Koothrapali.
"That is a great idea Penny..." Sheldon darted up from his spot and got on the laptop, shooting off a letter to the university president.
"President Seibert will surely grant me the permission and additional funds to take someone else, all I really need is someone I can rely on to take notes and assist in collecting samples, a rhesus monkey can do it" Sheldon said aloud.
"Kind of insulting isn't it Sheldon, you did take us last time" Leonard said defensively.
"And look how that turned out Leonard, the three of you derailed my research by implementing the old electric can opener trick and even planned to let me freeze to death, no thank you!"
The evening ended with Penny not getting any help on her homework; however it was nice to see Sheldon smiling a bit more in anticipation to President Seibert's response. She wondered who he would take with him. He could always take his mom, or maybe Amy? While Amy and he had terminated their agreement a few weeks ago after the scene she caused when he would not go to her grandmother's birthday party. He saw that it was not beneficial to continue that agreement. She had since been working on a new procedure to cure introversion and pathological shyness and had conscripted Raj as her main case study. They had been spending a lot of time together in her lab; however you would not get much from Raj, except that he lit up like the Hindu festival of Diwali every time he was in the same room with her.
Whoever he wrangled into going with him, Penny found herself thinking about how much she would miss Sheldon and his homework help. He always made time for her, he was always patient and explained things in a way that she began to understand the universe better. Not only did she know exactly the reason he chose that spot on the couch, she knew the significant of a fixed point in time. She had loaded her class schedule with science classes, she found sitting in class that she understood a lot more of what the professor was saying and was at ease. She thought how cool it would be if she could get her PhD, then it would only be Howard left. She grinned as she got into bed, the moon shining brightly into her room. She would miss her wacka-doodle.
Early the next morning Sheldon was in President Seibert's office getting the okay to bring someone on his expedition. President Seibert approved the expense seeing that is would be a welcomed treat to be without Sheldon for a whole three months. Sheldon bounded out of the office with a light skip in his step.
He thought he would call right away and request the necessary credit and time off. He got on the phone with the school requesting information on the internship credits available to undergraduate students and also called over to the get the time off approved by the corporate office where they were employed.
With this in his hand, he headed over to ask if it was a possibility.
Knock, knock, knock…"Penny?"
Knock, Knock, Knock "Penny?"
Knock, Knock, Knock "Penny?"
"What's up buttercup?" Penny answered, she had just gotten her hair done and it flowed, no cascaded down her bare shoulders. She was obviously dressed to go out on the town.
"I am sorry Penny, I do not mean to keep you from your number 32" he said
"Sheldon…I told you…whatever… if you must know, Amy and Bernadette are coming over and we are hitting the town. Stuart and Kripe as well as Zack are going to be competing in a pub contest so we thought we would go cheer them on. Then we were going to go dancing."
"I didn't know you were friends with Kripe?" Sheldon asked
"Oh yeah, well once you get ower the way he talks, he can be really nice guy, even though he keeps calling me Woxane!" Penny giggled as she finished putting her earrings in.
Sheldon shifted nervously from one foot to another as he watched her. Her long hair tracing down her back, she had let it grow longer than usual. The blue dress she wore hugged her body, which was a lot fuller now than in the past, just the right way; it was very aesthetically pleasing her thought, as he shook his head free of those thoughts.
"Penny, I have a proposition for you…" Sheldon began nervously. "How would you not like to have to attend class this coming semester?"
"What do you mean Sheldon?" she was asking while still fixing her hair in the mirror, not paying much attention to him. She sometimes blocked him out; his running commentary can get a bit annoying.
"I propose Penny that you accompany me to the North Pole as my research assistant, now before you answer, I have already spoken to the corporate office for the Cheesecake Factory and also to your academic advisor, who I cleared your field work as credits in physics and advanced science"
"S-Sheldon what do you mean? I can't go with you to the North Pole, I have no idea what to do!" she stammered. This time she was staring right at him, his blue eyes lingering a bit too long on her clavicle, she suddenly felt underdressed.
"Sure you can Penny, you will assist me in gathering data and recording our… I mean my findings and the time will allow you to learn a semester worth of physics, as I have okayed it with your college, I would also have you know, that should you like the field work, there would be an opening in my department for you to secure upon returning that would allow you to continue your studies at the University while also receiving a paycheck."
Penny thought about it for a minute. She loathed the smell of cheesecake on her hair and that uniform had grown increasingly uglier and uglier over the last couple of years. Maybe her dream to be an actress had been too big of a leap. She could do three months in the artic, why not? But could she take three months of Sheldon. They guys would not be there to serve as her buffer zone. Surely the arguing would lead to disaster…one of the two would wind up buried in snow.
"Sheldon…can I take the night to think about it?"
"Sure Penny, I will be by here tomorrow morning, but not before 11am"
He left the apartment, a small smile breaking on his face as he thought 'she hadn't said no'.
That night Penny went to bed thinking about Sheldon's preposition. It was true this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it would lead to a new job where she can maybe proceed a whole new career, Lord knows the acting was not taking off. A hemorrhoid commercial was as good as it got and she was not getting any younger. Her social life had hit a dead stop as she found it difficult to move past her nights of Thai food and Halo to find herself someone, the truth was, after meeting the guys, especially Sheldon, it was tough to carry out conversations with regular guys. I guess that is why she had taken to drinking so much. She had stopped a bit since she saw it was getting a bit overboard.
She lay in bed thinking that she had learned so much from her time with Sheldon and the guys. I am sure he could teach her a lot more, that is if the arguing didn't get the best of them. They joked once how they were like an old married couple; she smiled now thinking of how that would be. She shook that thought out of her head quick as sleep overcame her. Just as the last bit of consciousness left she smiled thinking that she would have to buy some warm clothes.
She didn't wait for Sheldon to knock on her door, she woke up early for a run and as she returned she knocked on his door.
Her face was flushed as she was breathing heavy; she had been running, the small bag containing what he could only guess was a bear claw. "Good morning Penny, I can see you went running still no heart rate or pedometer" he quipped at her. He could not help but notice the drops of sweat as they made their way down her exposed neck, making their way to her breasts. He shivered a bit, he wondered why as the thermostat should still be at the pre-agreed upon temperature, he would be sure to check it and reprimand Leonard should he have changed it.
"Sheldon, I have decided to accept your proposal to accompany you on your research expedition"
"That is fantastic Penny, but please, from now on you should refer to me as Sir, since I am in charge of the expedition."
"Aye eye Sir" she saluted him mocking his seniority.
"First we will go get our physicals done and get you the necessary gear, I still have the gear from my last trip, but we must make sure to get you some warm clothes and gear." Sheldon told her busily as he grabbed his messenger bag and heading towards her.
"Sheldon, I need to shower and then we can go shopping, we can make a whole day thing" she smiled as she turned towards her door, he followed quickly behind her anxiously awaiting the day's events
After a day at various stores, they decided on dinner, where Sheldon went over in some detail, keeping it at a community college level, what he and Penny would be doing and what were the expected outcomes. She was genuinely excited, if Sheldon actually proved his theory, he would certainly earn a Nobel Prize, she would be so proud of him, if she can help him accomplish it, even if it is in the minutest way, she was happy to oblige. Having that little accomplishment on her resume would not be so bad either she thought as she dug into her dumpling. "Penny please must you eat like that?" he scoffed. She opened her mouth and flashed him some food that would shut him up for a bit.
The next two weeks were all about packing and getting her passport in order, she had never traveled outside of the US and needed a picture done. Sheldon accompanied her as to help her with the paperwork and anything difficult that might arise. He took care of all the expenses as the university was taking care of the bill.
On the night before the flight, the gang all met up at Leonard and Sheldon's apartment for a going away party, although Sheldon disliked parties immensely, he seemed to bear it quiet well. He seemed to be in a very good mood lately, he had almost caught himself whistling as he packed the last of their belongings. He had gone over everything with Penny and given her detailed diagrams and instructions, she seemed to pick it up very well. The few semesters already spent in pursuit of her degree have paid off, she has improved her vocabulary and even her questions are a lot more…logical. He smiled at the thought of Penny as a Vulcan. He looked up to see Penny looking at him, a small smile spread on her lips as well. Sheldon kept the eye contact very brief and immediately began ribbing Howard on his lack of a PhD.
Penny also noticed that Sheldon was in a very good mood lately. He was smiling and walking with a bit of a spring in his step. He must be very excited about the possibility of proving his theory. She smiled at the idea of him accepting his Nobel Prize, decked out in a new suit, picked out by her of course, sober this time and taking the time to thank not only her but his friends too. To come 180 degrees would be great for Sheldon. As she smiled she noticed him smiling at her as well. He had a beautiful smile, how she had not noticed before was strange. His eyes really sparkled blue when he smiled. She felt her cheeks flushing a bit at the secret glance they had stolen amidst all the talk of food and Halo.
They all said their goodnights and Sheldon walked Penny to her door, just going over some last minute details such as the airport, check in so on.
She turned and patted his chest. She noticed how firm his chest was. Her hand lingered a little more than normal definitely more than three Mississippi's. "Sweetie…don't worry, we will be fine."
"Penny wait" Sheldon said as she was entering her apartment.
"What is it?"
"Thank you Penny for coming with me" Sheldon said
"No problem Sweetie. You made a very logical argument."
He smiled, walking back to his apartment, touching the spot where her hand had left a warm sensation. He was going to win the Nobel Prize and he knew that with Penny's help he could do it. She had become a good student and kept him on his toes, the constant bickering, and the understanding of his quirks when no one else would. He thought about this as he lay in bed in his Friday night pajamas still softly touching the spot where her hand had lingered ever so softly. "No problem sweetie…" her words echoed in his ear as he drifted off into sleep.
"Holy c-c-crap on a c-c-c-racker Sheldon it is soooo cold!" her teeth clattered as they arrived at the remote station that would house them for the next three months.
The plane ride there was a blur to Penny since she took something for motion sickness and slept almost the entire flight. Sheldon did not look too happy to have his shoulder full of drool as she stirred against it…softly murmuring every now again. Sheldon could have sworn he heard her say 'moonpie'. More than once she stretched, almost cat-like and interlocked her fingers in Sheldon's and holding his arm closer to her with her other hand. She was obviously used to doing this when she slept Sheldon thought. He did not move as to not disturb her REM cycle. He knew she was capable of becoming very violent when awoken from her sleep. He touched his nose softly remembering the jab he took from her when he tried to take back 'his precious' when she was sleeping. So he let her snuggle against him lost in slumber as he tried not to think of the germs that were making their way into his system. He tried to relax but it was useless.
As they arrived, he softly stirred Penny to waken her, she stretched and purred, which made him stifle a bit of a laugh, her eyes half opened and she smiled. Then realizing she where she was, she quickly composed herself, realizing her fingers were securely entwined with Sheldon's she stood up, releasing his hand. "Are we there yet she asked.
"Yes we have arrived…we should move quickly to get our bags as the vehicle to take us to the station is on the runway already."
"Who is driving?" she asked.
"You are" He answered.
Now as they entered the station, Penny could not help but thank God that there was what looked like a fireplace in one corner and heaters throughout. The placed at first looked like a smaller version of that station Mulder and Scully got Quarantined at when they found those worm-like things that entered at the back of the neck. Penny shivered just thinking about that gave her the willies.
Setting her bags down she looked around to take the entire place in, she was really here, and she could not help but feel excited. This was something that was so brand new for her, she had taken a big step and she immediately became nervous. She turned to see Sheldon coming in with the equipment as well as his bags, all the equipment they would need had already been sent ahead by the University. The weather was beginning to get worse as there was a storm blowing in. Night was coming fast, not much work would get done tonight she thought.
As they settled in, she noticed that there was just one bedroom, there were two sets of bunk beds. She shuffled nervously as she called out to Sheldon that they had a problem. He came up behind her and was immediately floored, he became very nervous. "This is not acceptable…I specifically asked that other arrangements be made, I will be sure to contact President Seibert immediately about this"
"Sheldon…" she tried to calm him as he started to pace back and forth, small beads of sweat were forming on his forehead, his cheeks became flushed, breathing was coming out in short bursts as he babbled on about "this is wrong" "not…what…he asked for" She realized that he was beginning to hyperventilate, she had studied this in her anatomy class last semester. She rummaged around her bag for the bottles of rum and vodka that she had smuggled in her bag that were wrapped in paper bags and took one off. She ran over to Sheldon and held the bag to his mouth as she tried to get him to sit down. As he did, he began to try to catch his breath, she found herself softly rubbing his back to try and calm him down. With her hand then on the back of his neck, she began to talk. "Sheldon are you okay sweetie…?" She found her hand was softly rubbing the base of his neck and she felt him begin to relax under her touch.
He removed the bag from his face and looked up at Penny, she removed her hand from his neck, not wanting to cause him to freak out again, she knew how much he hated being touched. She stepped back a bit and surveyed the scene.
"Yes Penny¸ I am fine." As he said this he stood up and walked out of the room, not before first neatly folding the paper bag and handing back to Penny. She threw her hands up in frustration; she would never understand Doctor Sheldon Cooper.
She unpacked and placed her things neatly in the shelves by the bed closest to the door, if it was Sheldon's spot, he had not called it, so for now, she had dibs.
He would have to share a room with Penny; this was not what he had anticipated. Yes they were friends and he had seen her naked, but sharing a room. No one was allowed in his room. He began to pace again, removing the layers of jackets as he began to get warmer even as the temperature began to drop well below freezing outside. The night had fallen already and the static over the radio spoke of a storm. He thought about calling President Seibert at the University but that would not be wise, he was already in hot water with him, after the incident in the bathroom with Kripke.
He would just have to make due, this leap into practical physics was already a stretch he would have to become the Indiana Jones of physics. I am sure he could make due. He absentmindedly wiped his brow to find it sweaty.
He turned to hear the shower turn on; he felt a stir in his stomach. He must be hungry he thought. Yet he could not bring himself to eat. He left some food out for Penny and began to work on his whiteboards. The numbers began to swirl in front of his eyes as he calculated formulas, distances, speed etc. A soft knock on the lab door had him turn around, there she stood, clad in soft Hello Kitty fleece pajama bottoms, instead of her normal shorts, she wore pants as the cold would not forgiving to her skin. She wore a tight white Doctor Who T-shirt that he had purchased for her at Comic-Con when she said she thought the Doctor looked cute. He immediately thought she looked very aesthetically appealing with small flying Tardis' on her abdomen.
"Sheldon…I made you some tea…I hope you are feeling better." She placed the cup and saucer down. "It is old families remedy tea to calm the nerves" she said.
"Thank you Penny"…truth was he really did feel like he needed to drink something warm. He softly sipped the tea, careful not to burn his tongue. The tea was delicious, it was not a brew he was familiar with, but he immediately felt better.
What Penny had not told him was that the Rum bottles she had bought had been for this same purpose, her father had an old family recipe for tea that he would give her mom when she would have a nervous spell. It was infused with rum, but the herbs masked the taste of the liquor very well.
The tea seemed to be having the desired effect. Sheldon immediately relaxed, his shoulders relaxed and he sat at the table in the center of the lab. "Penny…this tea is delicious, thank you for everything, I am so sorry that the room accommodations are not to your liking"
"That's okay Sheldon, I do not mind sharing a room with you, I did go to junior rodeo summer camp as a kid in Nebraska and we needed to share a room with 5 other girls, so I think I am good sharing it with you."
Sheldon continued to drink the tea, one gulp faster than the next; as soon as he was finished he tilted his head asking for a bit more with his eyes. "I will bring the kettle here, then I will begin to take down the notes and formulas you made, tomorrow is a big day
His eyelids became heavier, the rum was working Penny thought as she looked sideways at him as his pace in front of his whiteboards had slowed to almost a snails' pace. He spoke "Penny…I do believe that I need to go to bed, would you assist me? I appear to be feeling a bit woozy."
I told him that I imagined it was all the traveling they had done that day. She walked over to him, just as he swayed a bit she caught him right under his right arm, it was as though that crook under his arm was made just to fit her. She never felt this comfortable with any of her other suitors, especially Leonard who was all types of short.
He swayed against her, she caught the weight of him, she would have to hurry if not they would not make it to the room and he would wind up sleeping on the floor and she knows he would never let her forget that.
As she got him to his bed she sat him on the bed and he began to fall back but she managed to catch him and began to remove his shirts. She noticed his chest and shoulders were very well defined, a lot fuller than he had been in recent years, his arms still remained lean and long. She found her hand tracing softly on his arm as she quickly shook her head out of its daze. He swayed again threatening to fall back onto the bed but he managed to catch a hold of the back of her legs to hold him up. She felt how truly strong his hands were as he grasped for life to keep from falling. She slowly put his white t-shirt on then his flannel pajama top on. Making sure she closed each and every button, he occasionally looked up and met her eyes even if only half open, a brief smile forming on the corner of his mouth. As he did this she swore she felt the fingers on her legs softly swirl.
She figured she would let him fall back as it would be the easiest way to get his pajama bottoms on. She removed each shoe with care, placing them neatly underneath his bed. She then stripped him of his khaki pants and found to her surprise that he was wearing his flash briefs. She had once seen him in his underwear, now that she thought about it; it had been more than once. This was no surprise to her. She gently dressed him again which was not easy, his legs were so long and gangly. She knew it was wrong to have given him the tea, but she knew it would be the only way he would relax enough to fall asleep; however she did not think it would almost knock him out.
He hadn't eaten dinner, that's why he felt so faint. She covered him in thick blankets and made her way to her bed. Tomorrow the adventure begins.
They had worked in relative silence for a few weeks, they were making progress. All the data collected looked promising and Sheldon was almost giddy. On some evenings, she agreed to play Klingon scrabble if he agreed to watch one of her DVDs. This was written into their agreement so he had no way of getting out of it.
The storm that had blown in the first night they were there had left in its wake over 8 feet of snow, it had been cleared already letting them venture out to collect samples and run tests, on this day they were out in the mid-day sun yet it was still freezing. Sheldon looked on as Penny was collecting the samples and taking notes. He could not help but stare. Her golden hair looked even more so in the clean pristine sun and snow of the most remotes place in the world. He found himself almost sighing when he saw she was pouting her bottom lip, her calculations were not adding up. He snapped out of his reverie and walked over to her to help her; she had forgotten to carry the one, classic mistake. They both laughed and continued to work for a couple more hours outside, taking advantage of the daylight and good weather. The radio warned of another oncoming storm and they had better begin to head back if they wanted to avoid being stuck outside.
They managed to make it to the station when Penny realized that she had left her bad with the samples at the site, she began to head back. Sheldon tried to stop her but when she is determined to do something, she does it. She got back on the snowmobile and took off. Sheldon stood helpless staring off as her image got further. As he did this the snow began to fall and the sky darkened.
She had been gone too long, she was not back yet. Sheldon was pacing, it had not been more than an hour, but he knew she should have been back. He threw some tea in the thermos they had been using and took off towards the other snowmobile. He turned it on and took off in the direction the GPS was indicating, however halfway there the sight he saw caused his throat to close up and his heart almost fall out. The snowmobile had hit a snow bank they had not seen before and sprawled out on the side, with her sample bag tightly gripped in her hand, was Penny.
Penny, Penny, Penny. He acted instinctively. Like the time he helped dispose of the rocket fuel in their elevator. He jumped off the snowmobile and ran to her, he checked for a pulse and to see if anything was broken. She was not responsive but she did have a pulse, although it was not as strong as he would have liked.
He scooped her up into his arms and began to run back to the outpost. He didn't even bother to use the ill conceived snowmobile, he was back at the post within what seemed like seconds. He placed her gently in her bed. Stripping off the wet coats first and her boots, he softly tried to pry the bag of samples from her hand to allow access to remove the coat, however she instinctively clung to it even in her deep state of unconsciousness. She murmured 'no…these are Moonpie's…Nobel Prize"
A small smile found itself on the corner of Sheldon's mouth, however he suppressed it, when he saw that she was starting to run a very high fever.