Subject: Art/Fanfic Collaboration! "The Earth Moved 1,117.7 Miles In Our Kitchen" - rashaka & irrel
So, here's the first official collaboration I've ever done! Mostly it involved the two of us bribing each other, which turned out to be a ridiculously circular exercise in coercion. I got the the number from a website and divided it by sixty to find the distance the earth moves around the sun per minute, which is the title. And if I did it improperly, do a girl a favor and don't tell.
Title: "The Earth Moved 1,117.7 Miles In Our Kitchen"
Written by: Rashaka
Illustrated by: Irrel
Word count: 3,000
Summary: Like Wonder Woman, Superman, She-Ra and all those characters her geeky friends cherished, Penny knew in one single, glorious moment what she had to do.
Spoilers: Set and written in season 2, which means Penny and Leonard have had one failed date and kissed, but not much else. There's no Bernadette or Amy either, unfortunately for Penny. One of my big complaints with early BBT was Penny's lack of friends, and that's a sub-theme in this fic series.
Dear readers, this story comes with illustrations. Three illustrations for Part 1, and gobs and gobs of one-frame comic strip illustrations for part 2, all done by Irrel on Live Journal. This story is intended to be read with the illustrations, so please browse them after you've finished.
#1 http: / i268. photo bucket .com / albums/ jj2/ Rashaka/ irrel_sheldon_penny_ glare2 .jpg
#2 http: /i268. photo bucket .com/ albums/ jj2/ Rashaka/ irrel_sheldon_penny_ kiss1 .jpg
#3 http: /img205. image shack .us/ img205/ 9296/ kiss2kj7 .jpg
Original post, all 3 fanarts in context: http:/ rashaka. livejournal. com/ 1396913. html
The Earth Moved 1,117.7 Miles In Our Kitchen
Penny pushed with one firm hand on the door of the apartment across from hers. She let it swing open to reveal her silhouette, back-lit by the high-output fluorescence and framed by the door in such a way that her plum-colored shoes & shirt ensemble was displayed at its most attractive angle. She didn't need to make a good entrance, just like she didn't really need to flip her hair, but she liked to do both because it was good for her self-image to have people around who noticed her. It also conveniently allowed her to practice her acting skills. Penny tried different takes on her dramatic/sexy entrances from one week to the next, but none of the boys seemed to have noticed. It frustrated her to no end, and even more aggravating was that she couldn't yet bring herself to point it out to them.
She looked around to see if anyone had noticed this time, maybe Leonard, but the room seemed empty until her eyes landed on the couch. Specifically, they landed on the person sitting in the corner seat with a ramrod posture and his hands in his lap; Penny's carefully selected pose drooped at the sight.
"Hey Sheldon," she sighed. "Did Leonard steal any of my mail this week?"
Sheldon didn't look up from the TV set, where some dark shapes were flying around in a vaguely green backdrop, but his mouth pulled in one direction and he said, "Leonard ceased that pathetic habit, thank sanity. After seven months it was becoming embarrassing for all of us, even you, and we all thought you didn't know that you had anything to be embarrassed over."
Penny strolled around the couch and leaned on its back support, her elbows to the right of Sheldon's head. On the television Keanu Reeves was getting punched and kicked by a secret computer agent. "He was so reliable about it, I didn't have the heart to ruin his pet project. Oooh, hey, are we coming up on the romantic part where she kisses him back to life? I love that scene!"
Like those metal balls that go sliding across the inside of a pinball machine, Sheldon's eyes rolled up from the flat screen and around to Penny's, which required tilting his head rather far back. He didn't like bending his neck that way, she could tell, but she knew if she stayed put he'd go to extra effort just to get a good glare in. He had succeeded and was glaring at her now, upside down. Without looking, his long-fingered hand raised a remote controller and pressed the pause function.
"That scene will occur in approximately three minutes and thirty seconds, but since you've already interrupted me twice and seem intent on denying me a pleasurable viewing experience, I'm going to take this opportunity to get a coke. You may ruminate on the romance," Sheldon held up exaggerated air quotes on that word without pausing his tirade, "of actors fake-kissing to yourself. Please be finished by the time I return."
"Aaaaww, Sheldon," the young woman said, abandoning the couch back and sidling after him into the kitchen. She sensed a weak spot and like a good Midwestern predator of the grain, Penny was set to pounce. "Do you have a problem with mushy kissing scenes? Afraid of cooties?"
Sheldon pulled a diet soda from the very bottom shelf of the fridge and glared at her, again, as he came up. Penny always felt like her day was a little more complete if she could get him to glare at her twice in under a minute. Next week she was going to challenge herself and aim for forty seconds.
"Cooties are a fictitious disease created for children as a device for enforcing segregation of the sexes," he began, and Penny dug her feet into the floor because she could tell this was going to be a long one.
"I suffer from no such ailment, and my wish to be separated from my inferiors is based on the sound reasoning of evolutionary advancement. Neither of which has anything to do with my apathy towards a clichéd fairy tale plot device, even one that's been gender-reversed, being used as the climactic emotional point of a film. If the Wachowski brothers hadn't reduced themselves to sampling their Disney VHS collection for romantic moments, the whole trilogy might've been better off."
Predator Penny took a moment to sort through that rant, found the important element, and pounced. "Have you ever been kissed, Sheldon? I mean really kissed."
He almost spit up his soda, which impressed even Penny. Wow, was she on a roll today!
"Of course I've been kissed," Sheldon sputtered. He brushed a paper towel over his face and the front of his now dampened shirt. "It was an unpleasant sensory experience," he continued evenly, like someone who was trying hard not to come off self-defensive.
Oh honey, thought Penny, and her heart twisted a pinch, deep down inside. In a weird way she'd adopted these boys and sometimes it was hard not to feel for their tragedies as they stumbled through the wide and glimmering world of adulthood. Penny wasn't certain if it flattered or depressed her that they only seemed to notice that world existed after she became their neighbor.
"It involved far too much moisture," clarified Sheldon, regarding her face sharply over his soda can. "I don't understand the furor."
"Oh, honey," said Penny, this time aloud, and walked two quick steps until she was standing right before him. "I'm so sorry."
She was getting better at reading between the lines with Dr. Two PhDs Cooper, and beneath the casual disinterest and the clinical emptiness of his dismissal she detected a hint of bitterness. Penny wondered if, amidst the psychology and the cold biology of species survival that he insisted was the sole basis for human sexual relationships, a younger Sheldon hadn't absorbed just the smallest tidbit of expectation from his comic book sagas. She'd seen enough summer blockbusters to know that there was always romance present, squished and starving between the costumes and the lightning bolts. Maybe once upon a time young Sheldon hadn't been as immune as he wanted everyone to believe he was today.
"What are you sorry for?" he asked. "You didn't have to endure Carolynne Marshall's tongue attempting to lick your tonsils. Or Jeremy Pazero's."
"Oh honey," she said again, and laughed, then put her hands on his shoulders. At her touch his upper body pulled as far away as he could without his torso actually moving, and his face twitched in suspicion.
Like Wonder Woman, Superman, She-Ra and all those characters her geeky friends cherished, Penny knew in one single, glorious moment what she had to do. Everyone, even twitchy and suspicious Sheldon Cooper, deserved an earth-shaking kiss once in their lives. Especially Sheldon, because Penny had a feeling in her gut that she might be the only hot girl who'd come along in this century who might be willing to give him one.
"You had a bad first kiss, didn't you?" she said, filling her voice with calculated, but still quite sincere, compassion. "I'm really sorry—though I can't say surprised—because your first kiss should be fun and romantic. Yeah, it can be a bit wet and sloppy, but it should still be something good to remember. It's a," and Penny paused here for a moment, before pressing forward with the magic phrase, "It's a non-optional social convention."
Still visibly disturbed by her touching and her proximity, Sheldon looked at anything except Penny while he examined this ludicrous assertion. "That makes no sense, Penny. How can it be non-optional and imply responsibility on the receiver's part when a person sometimes has no control over the circumstances of receiving said kiss? I've observed Leonard's behavior in this area before, and he typically has zero choice in the progression of events, so is it your contention that he's obligated to receive something that's entirely predicated on his partner's behavior and not his own?"
"Sheldon," said Penny, "Moving on! I want you to know, Sheldon, that I respect your boundaries."
"Then stop touching me," Sheldon said, but she didn't. "Why are you repeating my name in that tone?"
"And I think of you as a friend, Sheldon," Penny continued.
He looked like his nerves were rebelling, and he'd somehow backed all the way till his spine hit the edge of the sink. "Your tone of voice suggests something unpleasant will follow that statement."
"So don't be alarmed, okay?"
"Penny," he said. "Telling me not to be alarmed is only more alarming, and you," but he had to stop, then, because Penny's hands had moved to cup the base of his skull. Her fingers pressed into the short hairs at the nape of his neck, and she kissed him very, very carefully.
She had thought about this while he was talking, and she elected to go for a closed-mouthed romantic kiss, because even Penny wasn't cruel enough to scare him off with tongue. His lips tasted faintly of cola, and his back was as stiff as post, but he didn't shove her violently away and she counted that as a sign of progress. Her hands relaxed at the place where his long neck blended into his shoulders, massaging slightly, and she tried to imagine all the heroines she'd seen in cartoons and movies as a kid. Was this how a level fifty warrior princess kissed a level seventy-two mage knight? Probably not, but Penny doubted Sheldon could handle a real warrior princess anyway.
After several seconds of what she figured was a routine panic attack, Sheldon surprised Penny. Instead of pushing her away, he put two tentative hands on her hips. His fingers were long, and they were warm. Penny wasn't sure why that caught her attention, because it's not like she thought he was secretly a vampire or something, even if he was paler than death sometimes. She was touching him now, though, and he'd evidently built the courage to touch her, and with all the touching going around it was clear that Sheldon was warm all over, just like any other man.
Buoyed by his reaction, Penny put more affection into her kiss, and he surprised her again by opening his mouth. He did it slowly, as if he wasn't sure about the process but willing to try. She remembered that Sheldon liked to experiment, on anything and everything, and that despite his public neuroses, he wasn't at all shy. Maybe from his point of view this was a chance to experiment with a new activity, and if that were the case then she wished him all the luck because boy did he need to get out and meet people.
Penny slid her tongue past his teeth and into his mouth, then pulled back encouragingly. He got the message and started to kiss her, taking the lead instead of being invaded. His technique was a little sloppy, but she was patient, and he quickly adapted himself to her rhythms and her speed. Sheldon wasn't kidding when he bragged he was a swift learner.
A thought occurred to Penny—this was what her last boyfriend had accused her of, thinking too much while they were kissing, how ridiculous was that?— that Sheldon adjusted his life to fit her patterns and speeds more than once. Sometimes it was as simple as inviting himself along on her trips to the store, other days it meant agreeing to do something because she said it was necessary and, for whatever ungodly reason, he chose to believe her. It was sort of amazing, since with Leonard and Howard and Raj, and everyone else from what Penny gathered, Sheldon demanded that they adjust their lives to fit his patterns. Of course Sheldon was still weird and demanding with her, too, and giving in 'multiple times' wasn't the same as often or even regularly, but the thought sent a pleasant buzz to Penny's ego. Someone so proud and intelligent and belligerent and Sheldonish was changing his life to accommodate her, even if it was only in small and counted ways. The buzz tickled her, and Penny found herself leaning closer into his wiry frame.
He was skinny, a lot bonier than guys she dated, but his shoulders were broad enough to give her something solid to cling to. And she needed something to cling to, which was probably the most surprising thing of all. This was meant to be a friendly sympathy kiss, but now Sheldon's tongue was in her mouth and hers was valiantly working to get back to his, and all the while she wondered how long a person's brain could survive without oxygen. Surely she'd go unconscious before mental loss started? Regardless, Penny refused to let herself be kissed into brain damage like that Chinese couple on the news, and she absolutely would not swoon for him. She'd never be able to stand the smugness later.
She needn't have worried, though, because Sheldon needed to breathe too. Penny grabbed tiny breaths in between moments of contact, and with every stolen pause she felt his hands clench her hips, almost like he was expecting her to fly away if he didn't maintain a connection. The material of her snug plum top wrinkled under his hands; she could feel it bunching into cramped folds and she liked that he was holding on so tightly to this.
Their kiss, which had started out sweet and then turned dramatic, banked hard right over a cliff and now plummeted fast toward dirty. Penny pressed full-up against Sheldon, his belt riding just a little higher than hers so that the buckle pushed into her stomach, and she was no longer on her toes because Sheldon was finally bending toward her like a real man ought to. Since she hadn't needed to hold his head down for while now, one of her hands had wandered onto his scalp while the other seemed content to dally with the muscles of his neck. His palms began to tentatively wander. She felt her body arch into it, until the merest hint of Sheldon's thumb on the underside of her breast pulled Penny back to planet earth like a bird shot clean out of the air.
He was taking liberties!
Which was too much, even though the rest of her brain balked because here Penny had just launched herself at him. Suddenly she was all jumpy because he tried for an innocent grope, when Penny was nearly dry humping him against the counter? And "taking liberties"? What cave in her vocabulary did that phrase crawl from? This was all going so wrong, and even worse, it was turning her into a hypocrite.
With a cautious awareness of her pace, Penny gradually slowed down the kiss, untangling her hands. She leaned her body back and guided his dexterous fingers to his sides where they belonged, waiting till the final moment to pull her reddened lips from his. She retreated a step, patted the shell-shocked Sheldon (ha! her brain giggled) on the cheek, and walked across the living room to make what Penny privately judged to be the finest silent exit in all of her twenty-three years.
Once she was out of the apartment, however, she sprinted across those last seven feet like a level fifty warrior princess desperate for a medi-pack. She slammed her door shut harder than necessary and leaned her shoulder blades against it. Heart racing, Penny knocked her head a few times into the surface and tried to sort out what the hell, exactly, she had just done.
If she'd ever had cause to wonder—and she didn't, of course she didn't, this was Sheldon Cooper—Penny could say definitively that the cat in that box was alive. Probably feral, too, and hungry, and possibly starved for affection after years of being locked away by merciless scientists with their needles and their micro spotlights and their bottom-shelf cat food and their magnifying glasses and, well, it was a good thing that Penny didn't like cats.
She hated cats, actually! She was a dog person. Big, fuzzy dogs that would swim through a marsh pond and bring you back a rifle-blasted animal corpse as a sign of love. That's what Penny liked.
"Dog," she said aloud, because it was the warm, furry, animal companionship she needed, and not because it was the reversal of God, god, oh god oh god oh god which was what she really wanted to say. Penny looked around her empty apartment, her back stiff against the unbending metal of her door. "I should get a pet. Tomorrow."
Original post, all 3 fanarts in context: http:/ rashaka. livejournal. com/ 1396913. html
The story continues in Collision, part 2: A Swiftly Tilting Heart