This is the sequel to "The Earth Moved 1,117.7 Miles In Our Kitchen", and is a compilation of all the ficlets posted in the comments of the original post. What began as a one-shot turned into this long epic thing, and I'm finally posting it here at The Pit. I hope you enjoy it!

Summary: A comedy of jealousy and need. When an act of romantic charity misfires, Penny, Sheldon, and their friends have to deal with the fallout.

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. This story probably makes no sense if you haven't read "The Earth Moved", but that's only a one-shot so it takes maybe ten minutes to read.

Dear readers, this story comes with illustrations by the amazing Irrel, who challenged me while we wrote and drew this series together. See links after the story for her comic strip sketches. Opening lyrics by the Magnetic Fields. Ficlet #2 contains a slight allusion to characters from the show Chuck.

A single rose in your garden dwells
Like any rose, it's not itself
It is my love, in your garden grows
but let's pretend it's just a rose

Collision Series

Part 2


A Swiftly Tilting Heart



Seated in the kitchen like a good listener, Raj raised his eyebrows. "What did she say, precisely?"

Sheldon hemmed and hawed over his eggs. They were nearly burning, but he kept turning them over anyway. As if he would ever be anything but precise! "She said she respected my boundaries, which is a self-evident lie, then she said she thinks of me as a friend and told me not to be alarmed."

"Alarmed at what?"

Sheldon stabbed his spatula into the scrambled eggs, defeated the wobbly protein mass that dared to challenge him, and scooped out his winnings. "I was going to ask her that question, but she kissed me before I could."

Behind him, Raj fell off his stool.


Like all the best anecdotes, it spread with the telling. It required no embellishment, no build-up, and best of all: it had no coherent explanation. It was most effective when delivered in the same open and straightforward manner as a punch to the nose.

"Penny did WHAT?" Howard exclaimed. He held his cell to up to his ear and vowed never leave Leonard and Sheldon's apartment again, as apparently it was where all the important and interesting things happened. He'd have to formally adopt the sofa and possibly pay rent, but think of the potential rewards afforded by proximity to action!

On the other end of the signal, Raj was babbling. "That's why we haven't seen Penny all day today. She was supposed to take over for you on HALO night and she said she was sick. But I cornered Sheldon this afternoon and he spilled his guts to me like cod in a sushi bar."

Howard wavered metaphorically, and then, when he at last started to breathe again, he flailed-literally. He fumbled for grip against the check-out counter of the Buy More mega store, pushing his anticipation for the new Fallout game extension pack aside for fresher fantasies.

"Don't toy with my emotions, Koothrappali," he snapped, feeling a full-bodied shudder. "If Penny's really handing out kisses to mal-romanced nerds, this is like Christmas coming 351 days early!"

"But Christmas didn't come for you two weeks ago either," said Raj, "So I don't see what that's got to do with anything."

"It's expression, my friend, but that's okay because my birthday's closer anyway," said Howard, and slapped two twenties onto the counter. The green-clad He-Man behind the register looked from the money to the cell phone, and rolled his eyes. Howard wrinkled his forehead in a "yeah, what?" face, and waved at him to hurry along. The hulk of a Buy More employee scowled, and the totality of muscle ticks involved in this act made the smaller man feel like he was watching an avalanche collapse. Instantly, Howard dropped his eyes to the candy bar rack.

"Raj," he replied, interrupting his friend's endless trill about environmental factors and Leonard's AC unit, "This situation requires careful planning and forethought. Has anyone told Leonard yet?"


As a matter of circumstance, Leonard was not the next to be told. Leonard was not even fifth or sixth to hear about it. For as long as the guys had known him, Leonard had been one of those unfortunate souls who could go a month without anyone remembering to tell him the department's costume potluck was pushed back a week. Shit luck for Leonard, but funny as hell for the likes of Dr. Winkle.

"So I heard that Nebraska Beach Barbie took your lip virginity."

Leslie dropped the bomb on Sheldon after distracting him for four minutes with a suspiciously monotone speech on quantum chromodynamics. A victim to her merciless subject change, Sheldon was so unprepared for this line of attack that he dropped a twenty-two pound textbook on his foot, tripped, and landed with his arm in the laboratory waste basket. He was going to have to wash his hands at least four times before dinner, thanks to her.

"Oooh, that good, huh? Are you smitten, now? Does her smell remind you of the sweet perfume of new comic books packaged with mommy's fresh-baked cookies?"

Sheldon stood up. He discreetly brushed his shirt and picked a string of old ramen off his wrist. He opened his mouth to say something; nothing came out.

Leslie smirked, and pointed toward the exit door. Gathering his books against his chest, Sheldon threw her a death glare and hightailed it.

Winkle: 1.

Penny: 1.

Cooper: 0.


$960 read the tag taped to the plastic wall of the cage. A dark brown puppy with short hair and round eyes mewled at her; Penny almost started to cry right there.

"I'm lonely," she confessed to it. Her fingers tapped on the plastic where the dog's wet nose left a smear.

This was the root of the matter: loneliness was why she was in a pet store, crying to a dog that was too expensive for her buy. Loneliness was why she'd broken down and gone on a date with Leonard a few months before, even though she knew that chemistry didn't just magically spring from a platonic desert. It was why she'd had three weekend-stands since the date with Leonard. Now the inner monster had gotten her so wrapped up and distracted, she'd gone and done something stupid like kiss one of her friends.

"The problem is," Penny told the dog, "They aren't even my friends." They were Leonard's friends. Or Sheldon's friends, she wasn't sure.

Penny went over to their apartment for Thai food night and she went over to their apartment for biweekly movie night. She even drove Wolowitz to the hospital once, and Sheldon frequently asked her to take him to the store. But they never came over to her apartment just to hang out, just for kicks, and they never, ever inquired about her hobbies. She wondered if some golden rule had been passed the first week she met them: Do not ask the pretty girl about Pretty Girl Stuff, because surely it is an alien world and you don't want to scare her away by inviting cross-culture contamination.

As far as geeky things went, Penny actually liked the board game Monopoly, and she was good at it too. Yet they were so busy playing Klingon Boggle and 3-D chess that it never crossed their minds to ask about her preferences.

Somehow she'd become theirs, but they weren't hers.

Maybe she didn't need a dog. She certainly didn't need a nine hundred dollar dog, even if it had eyes to die for. Maybe she just needed a friend.

"This sucks," she said to the puppy, and sniffled.


Leonard got the news last, and he got it from Sheldon's sister. Specifically, he got it from Sheldon's totally normal, totally hot sister, who apparently found out because Howard was stalking her on Facebook and dutifully reported gossip about her brother in between offensive photos.

Dr. Leonard Hofstadter,

Hi, Leonard. This is Missy, Shelly's sister. We met several months ago, if you'll remember, and unfortunately since then your creepy little friend (not the cute Asian one) found me on Facebook and has been stalking me. He gave me your email address. I was de-friending him from my account for the fourth time when he mentioned that Shelly had some sort of rendezvous with your neighbor Penny across the hall?

Naturally, I didn't believe it, because it's hard to take anything one's stalker says at face value, and this is my brother we're talking about. So I wanted to have it confirmed from a reliable source, and I understand that you're Sheldon's best friend and are also good friends with Penny. This is too interesting to ignore, but I can't tell our mother about it unless I get it verified, just in case it isn't true.

Get back to me soon,


Dr. Leonard Hofstadter blinked at the text in front of his eyes, bathed in the cyan gleam of the LCD screen. He folded the laptop, put it in his shoulder bag, zipped the bag, and slouched in his chair.

He had no frakking idea what that message meant, but apparently everyone else did. This explained the sad-face looks this morning from the girls in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who shared their break room. Whatever it meant, Leonard was stone cold certain that he should have been told about it before his roommate's estranged relative from three states away asked him for testimony.

He'd go home, he'd talk to Sheldon, and he wouldn't overreact.

Because there was nothing to overreact about.

Because this was Sheldon, and despite his skittishness of the last few days, there was nothing in Sheldon that would match up with Missy's hypothesis of a rendezvous. It wasn't part of his programming.


Sheldon was having a difficult time of it. He was having a difficult time because people were heckling him, and had been heckling him all day long. They heckled him about Penny (which annoyed him); they heckled him about her kissing skills (which he uncomfortably reported as satisfactory); and they even were so nosy as to heckle him about his "feelings" (he told them he didn't understand the question, which is almost close enough to being false to make him even more uncomfortable and, consequently, even more annoyed.)

Nuisances though they may have been, these conversations were small potatoes compared to the discomfort Sheldon felt anytime Leonard was around. He hadn't formulated a fool-proof plan yet for how to explain the situation to his roommate, so he didn't.

About 65% of his mind wanted to never tell Leonard, ever, because it shouldn't matter since Penny only kissed him out of pity. Leonard had no claim over who Penny kissed, and the whole business would probably never be spoken of again after a week or so.

The opposing 30% of Sheldon's mind, despite being half the size of its adversary, was vocal about things like Loyalty and Honor and Duty, which Sheldon didn't understand all the time but which he did, thanks to an lifetime raised by Star Trek, believe in. Leonard was his friend—he ought to tell.

The last 5% of his brain coolly noted from the sidelines that Leonard was going to find out either way, and the other 95% was a pathetic waste of gray matter and a disgrace to the Cooper thought process.


Howard pushed open the door to Sheldon and Leonard's apartment just in time to see a lanky shape dart into one of the bedrooms. He let the door close and stomped with deliberate noise across the common area.

"Sheldon! Sheldon!"

No response, which he expected. He stomped over to his friend's room and swung the door open. There was no one inside.

Howard moved into the are and stomped loudly toward the closet. He waited three heartbeats, then flung that door open too.

"Danger, danger!" yelped Sheldon, who was backed against the coat rack.

"Hello my dear friend Dr. Cooper," said Howard, and his smile was anything but jolly. "I've heard some interesting things today. Why don't you tell your Uncle Howie all about it? And I do mean all about it."

"There's nothing to tell. Danger!"

"Yep, there's danger all right. If you don't talk, I'm going to take something valuable from Leonard's ugly old Ford. You will have to take public transportation to get to work."

Sheldon grabbed a sweater off one of the hangers behind his head and stretched it taught. He clenched his hands around the material and whispered, "Villain. You show your true colors at last."

Howard waved a grease-covered metallic object in front of Sheldon, who gasped. "Turns out, it's already taken care of! Start talking."


When faced with a difficult situation that required skill and negotiation, Penny did what most young women did: she called her mother.

"... ... ..."

"Okay, I told you about the men across the hall from me, right? They're both major geeks but they're also PhDs, and they're good people. I told you about the really rude and insufferable one with the some kind of undiagnosed OCD? Well, we're kind of friends now."

"... ... ... ... ..."

"What? No, I haven't slept with any of them, mother! Just let me finish."

"... ... ... ..."

"Well I went over to get my mail-long story, you don't want to know-and I got into a conversation with Sheldon-that's the tall, rude one-about movie kisses and first kisses. And he admitted that his first kiss had been disappointing, which explains A LOT, OH MY GOD, but honestly I don't think he's had any more since then."

"... ... ..."

"Um, about 28? 30? I'm not sure."

"... ... ... ... ... ... ... . ... ..."

"No, mom, it's not that bad. You'd have to know him to understand. He's probably not a serial killer; I don't think he could handle the blood."

"... ... ..."

"Well, I-"

"... ... ... ... ... ... ..."

"That's what I was trying to say! Anyway, I felt bad for him, because he's my friend, so I thought I'd give him a really hot sympathy kiss so at least he'd know what these things are supposed to feel like. Then maybe he'd get out more, and learn to be social, you know? I was doing the world a favor by opening Sheldon's eyes to the possibilities."

"... ... ..."

"What? No, I don't mean me as a possibility, no!"

"... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... "

"No, it isn't."

"... ... ..."

"Because I told him I only think of him as a friend."

"... ... ... ... ... ... ..."

"Yes, okay, that was right before I gave him the best kiss of his life. Dammit! You're right. He's probably confused."

"... ... ..."

"I don't know, Mom. I mean... it was just a soft romantic kiss, very Hallmark, but then all of a sudden it got really intense. Really intense."

"... ... ..."


"... ... ... ..."

"I don't know, that's the problem. What do you think?"

"... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... "

"Okay, that's worth it I suppose."

"... ... ... ... ... ... "

"Love you too. Bye."


Companion art listing:

#1 - http:/rashaka .live journal .com/1396913. html? thread= 5860785# t5860785

#2 - http:/rashaka. livejournal. com/1396913. html? thread= 5869233# t5869233

#3 - http:/ rashaka. livejournal .com/1396913. html? thread= 5869489# t5869489

#4 - http:/ rashaka. livejournal. com/1396913. html? thread= 5869745# t5869745

#5 - http:/ rashaka. livejournal. com/1396913. html? thread= 5870769# t5870769

#6 - http:/ rashaka. livejournal. com/1396913. html? thread= 5873073# t5873073

#7 - http:/ rashaka. livejournal. com/1396913. html? thread= 5876145# t5876145

#8 - http:/ rashaka. livejournal. com/1396913. html? thread= 5876657# t5876657