A little drabble I wrote for Paradox over at LJ, mostly to test the waters of writing out Sheldon's character. Short and sweet, quite literally! Enjoy! :)

x x x


Sheldon swallows hard as he stands in the doorway. Plastic crinkles from the bouquet held to his chest and the store bag at his side. She is asleep, and he knows better, but he raises his fist anyway. He knocks quietly on the doorframe and whispers, half-hoping she doesn't respond.

Knock knock knock. "Penny?"

Knock knock knock. "Penny?'

He almost panics when she drowsily lolls her head towards the door and slowly blinks her eyes open, meeting his.

Knock knock. Knock. "Penny..."

A smile unexpectedly blossoms over her tired face. Her voice is hoarse, unrecognizable. Weak. "Come in, sweetie."

A small garden of flowers and balloons sits on the windowsill beside her; vases and arrangements of roses, daisies, carnations, and tulips lend color to the faded beiges, pinks, and forest greens of the room.

"Aw, Sheldon," she rasps through the breaks in her voice, "you brought me flowers!"

"It is the social convention," he acknowledges on the way to her bedside. "Although tonsillectomies are hardly a major surgery, it leaves one hospitalized and therefore a candidate to receive flowers. That, and Meemaw said it was 'thoughtful'."

"What are they?"

It is his turn to smile. Immediately, Penny's eyebrows deepen as she realizes her mistake and her eyelids flutter shut.

"Despite your doctor's explicit instructions not to speak, I'm glad you asked."

"I'm not."

"These are peonies, named for Paeon, physician to the gods in Greek mythology. Paeon studied under Asclepius, god of medicine and healing. Paeon was so good at his trade that Asclepius became jealous of his star pupil, spiraling into a jealous rage from which Zeus saved Paeon by turning him into a peony flower.

"To this day, peonies are associated with the healing process. And these particular peonies are yellow, representing friendship. As you are a healing friend, I found these to be the most appropriate."

Penny smells the modest bouquet when he hands it to her, gently brushing her nose against the sweet, soft petals.

"Oh, and," - he digs into the store bag, pulling out a gallon of rocky road ice cream - "undergoing a tonsilectomy somehow gives the patient the right of eating gratuitous amounts of ice cream in a manner that can only be described as guilt-free gorging."

She chuckles despite the pain, lays the peonies on her lap, and takes the spoon out of the wrapper on her food tray. Sheldon sits in the chair by her bed and opens the ice cream, holding it up to her.

"That might be a little rough on me, Sheldon."

"I told Meemaw that dairy on a sore throat was not going to-"

She laughs. "No."

Dipping the spoon into the soft ice cream, Penny digs out a clump of nutty marshmallow and holds it up to him.

"You eat the rocks, I eat the road?"

"Only if you have another spoon."