a.n. After reading countless BBT fics, I've decided to take my first foray into the Penny/Sheldon pairing. I was a little nervous about the voices but I think they came across OK. Constructive criticism welcome!

disclaimer. Until I work out the kinks in my time machine, I own nothing.

.the right man.

It was Saturday night. Penny sat on the couch of apartment 4A, shovelling corn chips in her mouth and watching How I Met Your Mother re-runs. Leonard and Howard were out 'tearing up' some club, playing Goose to Raj's socially-inept Maverick. Earlier in the afternoon, Leonard had invited Penny to come along, knocking on her door and flashing his trademark hangdog expression. She had turned him down, knowing full well what alcohol, dark dance floors and the scent of Aramis did to her. She had not been with anyone since since the abortion that was the 'Relationship Beta Test' but she was not desperate. Yet.

Settling back in the couch, she watched Robin attempt to break up with Kevin after cheating on him with Barney. Robin kept trying to spit the words out but it was never the right time. Eventually, she stayed with him, though her heart clearly was not in it. Penny wanted to slap her. Then, she realised she had been doing the exact same thing with Leonard. Leonard was safe. Easy. It should have been enough.

Sighing, Penny picked up another handful of corn chips and stuffed them in her mouth. At the sound of her crunching, Sheldon looked up from whatever alien language he was scrawling on the whiteboard.

'Must you chew so loudly?'

Penny jerked around at his condescending tone. She had been so engrossed in the DVD she had forgotten he had stayed behind because he 'could not bear to lower himself to such petty human endeavours'. Smiling sweetly, she crunched what was left of her mouthful extra-loudly and stuck out her tongue, revealing the wet orange blob.

Sheldon's cheek twitched. 'Strike one, for you.'

Winking, Penny washed the chips down with a sip of Chandon out of a plastic cup and returned her viewing.

Onscreen, Barney waited in MacClaren's, looking between his scotch and the clock on the wall. Even though she knew what would happen, Penny could not help sniffling when Robin walked in with Kevin, shattering Barney's heart with a near imperceptible shake of her head. In Robin's eyes, Penny saw nothing but love for Barney, love the ladies' man returned. She wondered what Robin was so afraid of. Penny would sell her shoe collection for that feeling.

The sound of Sheldon's marker squeaking across the whiteboard snapped Penny from her reverie. She turned around just in time to see the marker fall from his hand and clatter to the floor.

'You OK?' she asked, pausing the DVD.

Sheldon cradled his hand and flexed his fingers. His usually tight mouth was twisted in a grimace. 'My mogigraphia appears to be acting up.'


'Mogigraphia,' said Sheldon, his superior tone strained. 'More commonly known as Writer's Cramp. It causes cramps or spasms in certain muscles of the hand, much like what I am presently experiencing.'

Penny's eyes softened. As much as Sheldon got on her nerves, she hated seeing him hurt. 'Anything I can do?'

Sheldon shook his head. 'No, mogigraphia is a task-specific focal dystonia, meaning it is difficult to treat. I have already tried Botox and physiotherapy to no effect. I'm afraid there is nothing I can do but wait for the pain to pass.'

Penny looked at Sheldon, taking in the deep furrow between his brows, the protruding tendons in his neck. He rubbed his injured hand to no avail. He could not seem to straighten his fingers.

'Sweetie.' Penny stood up and walked over to Sheldon. She touched his elbow, feeling bone beneath the soft red fabric of his undershirt. 'Come sit on the couch.'

'Penny, you do realise I am but a few short equations from redefining—'

Penny rolled her eyes. 'I don't care if you're redefining the Karma Sutra. A ten minute break won't kill you. Don't make me get junior rodeo on your ass.'

Shooting Penny an indignant look, Sheldon assumed his position on the couch. Penny dropped to her knees and positioned herself between his legs. His eyes shot open. The look on his face was worth a year of Saturday nights in.

Penny could not help chuckling. 'Relax, Sheldon. I'm not going to jump you.'

'If you are not going to 'jump' me, why have you assumed such a provocative position? If you are desperate for coitus, I have Leonard on speed dial. I'm sure he would be back within the hour.'

Penny laughed, a loud barking sound that made Sheldon jump. Observing Robin's inability to force herself to be happy with the 'right' man had made her feel better about breaking up with Leonard. If the spark was not there, she could not force it. 'That's not going to happen. Give me your hand.'

'I don't think—'

Penny snatched Sheldon's hand out of his lap, jerking him towards her. He yelped, his eyes nearly popping out of his head.

Penny snickered. 'Just relax.'

'Penny, you know I don't like to be touched. If you don't relinquish your hold, I will be forced to issue you another—' The remainder of his protest dissolved into a moan.

Penny smirked. 'Still wanna' give me that strike?'

Sheldon lolled back in the couch, spreading his legs to better accommodate Penny. She drew closer, massaging his hand, sinking her thumbs into his palm and circling the flesh. His skin was cool and soft; his fingers, long and thin with manicured nails. She could feel the tension seeping out of him.

'That helping?' she asked.

Sheldon straightened and studied her, his blue eyes glittering the way Penny knew they did when trying to solve a complex equation. She felt a tingle in her stomach. She had to swallow to unglue her tongue from the roof of her mouth.

'Where did you learn this?' asked Sheldon. 'To my knowledge, you are a community college drop out, untrained in the Arts let alone the medical arts.'

Penny dug in with her thumbs, cracking one of Sheldon's knuckles. He winced.

'I used to cramp up a little... OK, a lot, during my Age of Conan phase,' said Penny. 'Rather than take a break like a sane person, I hit the wine and gave myself a massage. Got me through many a quest, it did.'

Keeping a grip on his hand, Penny rolled up Sheldon's sleeve. Though she refused to admit it, she had always admired his forearms. Like the rest of him, they were long and sinewy, possessing a hidden strength garnered from hauling heavy physics equipment around the lab. She traced her fingers along the underside of his wrist, following the black ink smudges and prominent veins. She wondered what it would be like to replace her fingers with her tongue.

Wait. What?

Penny dropped Sheldon's hand as if it were one of Howard's g-strings. Her face flushed pink; her heart did a somersault. She could not meet Sheldon's gaze.

'Are you alright, Penny?'

Penny nodded, not trusting herself to speak. She reached for the cup of Chandon behind her and downed it in one gulp. 'Yeah, I'm fine. How's your hand?'

'Better thank-you. The cramps have completely subsided.'

Penny glanced up and immediately regretted her decision. Sheldon's eyes were bluer than she had ever seen them, fringed with long dark lashes that fluttered against his sharp cheekbones. His lower lip was full, wet. She was suddenly aware of where she was, positioned between his legs, his thigh brushing against her shoulder. She stood up swiftly, almost clipping his nose.

'I think I've had to much to drink,' said Penny, trying to rationalise the way her head was spinning.

Sheldon tilted his head, his eyes narrowing. 'You do not appear to be exhibiting traditional signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, clumsiness or swaying. And your mental faculties do not appear to be any more impaired than normal. Perhaps you are sick?'

Penny looked at Sheldon, wondering how this complete whack-a-doodle was capable of insulting and expressing concern for her in the same breath. He was narcissistic, weird, rude and completely insufferable. And yet, she kept coming back for more.

'Would you like me to sing Soft Kitty for you?' he asked.

She smiled, her body filling with warm as soft and comforting as the titular kitten's fur. 'Yes,' she said, sidling closer to him and resting her head on his shoulder. He smelt like soap and sweet powder. He did not pull away.

'Soft kitty, warm kitty...'

She closed her eyes, wondering when the 'wrong' man began feeling so right.

a.n. What did you think? Reviews are like candy so be sure to tell me what you think!