She knows what it is to pine. She has done it for so long, and so well that it's as natural to her as breathing. In fact now, she almost doesn't even feel it. Almost. And she really really wishes she couldn't. But she does. She feels the ache for him, everyday, without fail, her body pines for him. Longs for him in a way that it doesn't for anybody else.
She smiles, and drinks, and sleeps, and works, and laughs, and dances, and sings, and cries, and is happy, but through it all, she still pines. Aches in a way that makes her chest want to explode. She doesn't understand why, because he was not the one written for her. The Gods didn't craft him for her, their hands probably don't slot perfectly together and his eyes don't immediately search out hers when he walks into a room, but still. She pines.
She watches as he falls in love with her. And a small masochistic part of her laughs in joy, because he could of chosen anyone. Anyone in the whole word. And he chose her. Her best friend, the one truly beautiful friendship she had and he chose her.
She grins happily as they smile secretly at each other and amuse themselves with jokes about the brain that she will never understand. She rolls her eyes in amusement when they start arguing over which science is better, and kindly and without complaints drives the two of them to their dates. Or at least that's what it looks like, but inside her heart is shattering, breaking into pieces over and over. And then slowly over night, the trembling shards piece themselves back together again, slowly sealing up the gushing wound that causes her so much pain. But then she wakes up, and see's them together and the poorly mended wound tears back open with a split so loud she doesn't understand why no one else hears it break.
She is pining, and she doesn't think it will ever stop.
The first time Sheldon willingly initiated a kiss between himself and Amy, Penny thinks her heart may have stopped beating. Everyone was in shock, Leonard smiled softly at the pair, Howard looked kind of shocked and Bernadette was full out grinning. She turned her gaze to Raj, who just looked straight back at her. He tilted his head towards the door and without even stopping to think, she had wrenched the door open and was out in the hallway, Raj following suit.
She turned back to look at him and his big brown eyes stared right back. They were full of sorrow and pity and understanding. She swallowed thickly a hot tear dribbling down her cheek. Raj knew, Raj understood. He understood that her heart was being twisted and pulled and completely wrenched apart. Raj had seen the looks she gave him, and the way her eyes seemed to soften when he smiled. Raj knew.
"I'm sorry Penny," Raj croaked out, looking as if it physically pained him to say the words, she guessed that that showed her how truly sorry he really was. How much he wanted to be a friend to her right then, by pushing aside something that came naturally to him, to try and help her. And just like that the tears flowed thicker and she practically collapsed into his arms, holding him tightly, because even though it was Raj, she needed someone. And he had let it be him.
She allows one loud sob to escape from her mouth, and she thinks it sounds exactly like pure agony.
"What is going-"
Penny chuckled hysterically into Raj's shoulder because it had to be him who opened the door. God had to make him see her this way, the one person she didn't want to see and the one person who was here. Sheldon trailed off and Penny buried her header deeper into Raj's shoulder, wanting to disappear from the Earth altogether. But Raj gently detached himself from her, pushing her away and spinning around to confront Sheldon. Penny twisted her face away from the open door and the tall figure stood in front of it. She quickly pushed away her tears, using the edge of her finger to rub away mascara.
"Penny was crying." Sheldon stated bluntly, and Penny turned around, grinning at him.
"No, I wasn't," she said brightly, trying to get past him and back into the apartment.
"Penny, I have an IQ of 187. I may not be known for expressing or identifying emotions correctly, but even I was able to understand what those water droplets on your face were. I know you were crying, on Raj."
He paused here, looking down at her, obviously waiting for an explanation. An explanation she refused to give. Raj remained silent as Sheldon cocked one eyebrow looking between the pair of them. After a few more beats of silence he rolled his eyes.
"You missed a bit," he added, nodding at her cheek.
Penny stood dumbstruck, not knowing how to respond to the situation. Her heart was still crumbling, but Sheldon was here and so she had to begin acting, had to continue pretending it was all fine. Best freaking performance of her damn life. When she didn't move or even acknowledge what he had said, she heard Raj begin babbling quietly behind her about how they were missing the rest of Doctor Who, and it was Sheldon's favourite episode, so they should really go back inside.
She rubbed frantically at her cheek, and when Raj had stopped spurting out words to try and distract the robot man, Penny tried once again to enter back into the apartment.
"Penny," Sheldon sighed, "The mascara splodge is still there."
"Damn it," she whispered and began to rub back at her cheek.
"No, no," Sheldon said exasperatedly, reaching out with no hesitation towards Penny's face. With one quick movement, he had rubbed the mascara off her face, just underneath her eye. Penny began to feel to sting of tears again at his touch.
"I need to wash this hand," Sheldon murmured and turned back into the apartment.
She sat quietly, wondering if she just ignored it, he would go away. Assume she was asleep and she could begin ignoring him tomorrow. But, nope, there it was. The three knocks and the quiet murmur of her name.
Sighing she stood up, quickly muting the television and pushing her hair behind her ears.
"Sheldon, it is like eleven at night. I have an early shift tomorrow, what do you want?" She asked, her eyes not quite reaching his.
"Penny, it has come to my attention that when a friend is in emotional distress they need a hot beverage, and maybe someone who will listen to them? So I have bought you tea,"
She paused for a moment, trying to think if she'd ever hated a word more in her life. Nope, she didn't think so. Friend. Crappy word. Summed up everything that was wrong with this. She was his friend, no more, no less. Except she wanted more.
"Thank you Sheldon, she murmured taking the tea from his hand. But I'm really kind of tired, so I'mma pass on the whole talking thing. Night,"
She tried to close the door, but his hand stretched out and stopped the door in its path. Then with surprising strength he pushed it back open.
"It has also become clear to me, that you are, for whatever reason, distancing yourself from me. You are doing it well, quietly and without arising any kind of suspicions from anyone else. But it obvious to me. So I say this to you now Penny, I am extremely and sincerely sorry for whatever it is that I have done to offend you. I would like us to resume our past relationship paradigm."
His apology made tears well up in her eyes once more. Because it was nothing he could apologise for. It was him. His stupid little rules about everything, how he saw straight into her, into who she was and accepted it, how he could make her feel so beautiful and incredible or crush her like she was insignificant. How she used to be his special girl. The one person in his life, aside from his Meemaw who he made exceptions for. And then Amy happened. Then he and Amy happened. And his happiness meant way more to her, than her own. And so did Amy's.
"Good night Sheldon," she whispered, shutting the door, closing her eyes and trying to ignore the fleeting look of hurt that passed across his face.
"Because I can't do this anymore. I cannot stay here and watch him begin to fall in love with her, I can't. I refuse, Leonard. I refuse to do that."
She had crumbled. For two months she had slowly deleted herself from the others lives. They hadn't let her go easy, and really only Amy and Leonard were even still trying. Raj had released from their group happily, he didn't want to see her in pain. They still met up for cheesy movie marathons, and she was slowly helping him with his own problem.
Amy, that beautiful hilarious bestie, refused to let go of the one true friend she had, and even now after constant rejection, continued to appear at Penny's door with gifts, wine, hugs, smiles and love.
She glanced over at Leonard who was sat on the couch, his head in his hands. She realised the effect of her sudden, unexpected words, and it felt like her entire existence drooped.
"Leonard," she murmured.
"How long has it been him?" He asked.
"Since the beginning," she replied quietly and without pause. "And till the end,"
She didn't know whether it was letting go of Sheldon that had bought her down, or the loss of constant friendship, the lack of work, or what. But somehow, somewhere, Penny's life had fallen apart. Her life was work. Working and sleeping. Nothing else really came into it anymore. She had no nights out with the girls, no trips out shopping. The money she made went on paying bills and food. That was kind of it.
Penny understands pain. She didn't know that you could have different versions of pain but you can. Heartbreak, sadness, tiredness and she thinks perhaps the worst of them- loneliness. Because she doesn't have anyone anymore. Her family aren't in her life, they haven't been for a while and she's managed to slowly push away any of the crazy genius friends she had before. She doesn't even spend time with Raj anymore. She can't even remember the last time she saw Sheldon, the last time she heard him speak. She's managed to avoid the boys so well, which is incredibly difficult seeing as how they're literally ten seconds away from her.
She misses him. Everything about him, sometimes it gets so bad that she wants to rush over to his apartment and just tell him. Tell him she misses him and loves him and needs her to help him fight this. But then she remembers Amy, and she remembers what it's like seeing them together and Penny knows that if she had to deal with anymore pain she will fall apart.
She's barely existing right now so seeing Sheldon happy, with someone who's not her; well, it would probably destroy her.
At work they make her take an hour off, instead she has to sit in Jerry's office and listen to a woman with blonde hair and a scratchy voice ask her questions. About her feelings, her interests, her family, her friends. And Penny doesn't understand why, she doesn't care about this woman or understand why she's here. So she answers noncommittally and keeps her eyes trained on the clock above her head, thinking of the amount of tips she's missing out on.
But then the woman says things like 'depression' and 'mental health' and 'professional help' and Penny's world shatters.
The knock on her door seemed so loud that Penny didn't know if it's real or she just imagined it. For a few moments Penny just stared at the door, wondering how long it had been since anyone had knocked on it. She walked to the door and opened it to find Amy stood on the other side her hands clasped together. Her eyes widened when she saw Penny and her posture visibly drooped.
"Penny," she whispered, staring at her with such a look of intense sadness in her eyes that Penny has to blink and frown at its intensity.
"Hey Ames," she murmured back, fidgeting with anxiety.
"May I come in?" Amy replied, trying to look past her into Penny's apartment but Penny closed the door even more so that only her body was available for Amy to see.
"I don't think that's a good idea right now," Penny muttered back, her eyes trained on the floor.
"Oh. Well, I shall do this here then. Happy birthday Penny," Amy said, pulling out a present from her bag. Penny just stared at her blankly.
"Birthday?" She whispered. "It's my birthday?"
Amy's eyes widened largely, and if it weren't for the situation Penny probably would of laughed.
"Oh Penny, surely you couldn't have forgot-"
"I really think you should go Amy," Penny whispered wearily. She shut the door without another word and waited until she heard Amy's footsteps walk away from the door. Slowly, she slid down the door and held her head in her hand, her fingers digging into her scalp.
Penny knew then, that without a doubt, she had given up.
Penny walked from her bedroom to see Sheldon stood in the middle of her apartment, his chest heaving and his eyes passionately burning. Penny never realised it could physically hurt her to look at him.
She began but he lifted up a hand and cut her off. His hair was longer than she remembered, his way of dressing was the same, but he looked…older. More tired. More sad. Penny swallowed nervously and pushed her lank hair behind her ears. She was wearing some old sweats and no makeup.
"I have friends in my apartment waiting for me to commence their Halo night. A girlfriend that is desperately trying to shift our relationship paradigm to a more physical one. A sister who is suffering from lack of money and an emotionally abusive husband. A brother that is slowly following our fathers footsteps and becoming an alcoholic, a grandmother, MeeMaw, who is ill in hospital and if you think I don't miss you everyday…"
He broke off here and Penny's mouth opened slightly. Tears filled her eyes at the blank, angry look in his and she swallowed nervously.
"I didn't…" Penny trailed off. She had nothing to say.
"You left Penny. You chose to eradicate yourself from our friendship. I should neither care nor try to convince to rethink this, but I do. For whatever reason Penny, my life without you in it, feels empty. So I will not allow it. I won't allow you to do this to me,"
"Do what to you? I haven't done anything to you." Penny replied, lifting her hands up into the air.
"You abandoned me."
"Oh for God's sake Sheldon. I had to okay? I didn't have another choice,"
"Well that's preposterous, you had every choice,"
"No Sheldon. I didn't."
"Why didn't you have another choice?"
Penny looked at him and a single tear slipped down her cheek.
"Because I fell in love with you,"
The apartment fell silence. But Penny didn't think she'd heard anything louder. She shut her eyes and choked back a sob. She was an idiot. A big old idiot. She opened her eyes and made to move into her bedroom when Sheldon suddenly seemed to materialise in front of her.
"Penny, I am going to kiss you now. This is non-optional."
And he did.
And it made Penny want to die. Because his lips were soft, and he was uncaring about germs or his routine. His hand dug at her hip, whilst the other cupped her cheek, coaxing a response out of her. And when she tried to pull away, he growled. He actually growled.
So for the second time in her life. Penny gave in.
She surrendered to the kiss, and locked her hands around his neck, her fingers tugging at his hair. She whimpered into his mouth and tried to push her body as close to his as possible because he was finally here. He was finally with her. And she would willing drown in him if he let her.
It finally became too much. She could feel his desire for her pressed against her thigh, and she could feel her broken heart trembling with hope. And then she remembered Amy. And her entire world burned.
She gently pushed him away and looked down at the floor.
"Penny?" He asked, his breathing heavily and his eyes widely dilated.
"We can't do this Sheldon. You have Amy,"
"I will terminate our relationship paradigm,"
"No. No, you will not." Penny replied softly, her hand coming up to caress his cheek.
"It can't work Sheldon,"
"But Penny, I want you."
He said it with such innocence and sincerity that Penny just wanted to collapse in his arms, but she couldn't do that. Not to Amy.
"But Amy wants you,"
Sheldon gave her that look. The one he did, when it obvious that she wasn't explaining herself at all.
"I'm sure Amy will survive without me Penny,"
"No honey, she won't. Come with me,"
Penny tugged at his shirt and opened the door to her apartment. Penny's heart started to thump underneath her sweater, it had been so long since she'd walked across the hall with the intent of actually going into that apartment.
"Just be quiet, for once," Penny even managed to giggle a little as she said it. She couldn't fully remember the last time she had laughed.
She waltzed into Sheldon's apartment as she had always done, and tried to ignore the feeling of how right it felt. All eyes were on her, she instantly sought out Raj's. It had been so long. A bright smile was planted on his side and Penny's eyes flickered to the pretty Asian girl sat to the side of him, her hand drawing patterns on his knee. After her eyes flew back to Raj, she raised her eyebrows at him, and he grinned even wider, shrugging modestly. Howard was just staring, Bernadette no different. Leonard was flicking his gaze between her and Sheldon, his eyes narrowed slightly, trying to work out what was happening. And Amy, beautiful hilarious Amy walked towards Penny as if in a trance.
"Bestie," she whispered, her voice breaking a little as she enveloped Penny in one of the tightest hugs she'd ever received.
"Amy, I need your help," Penny said, slowly detaching Amy's arms from around her.
"Anything," Amy sniffled and Penny glanced back to Sheldon.
"What is your favourite thing about me?" Penny asked. For a fleeting moment a look of confusion passed over Amy.
"Oh Penny, the list is practically infinite. Your dazzling smile, your gorgeous mane of hair that resembles to me the sexu-"
"No, Amy. No, sweetie." Penny held up her hands, smiling a little awkwardly at Amy's compliments. She had missed them. "The favourite thing about me?"
Penny here looked meaningfully at her, her eyes intensely boring into Amy's and it was like Amy understood at once. Her shoulders dropped a little and she sighed quietly.
"That you let me have him," Amy murmured softly, her eyes not straying from Penny's face.
"What?" Sheldon asked, coming to stand by Penny's side.
"It was that she let me have you. That's my favourite thing," Amy replied, squaring her shoulders as she looked directly at Sheldon.
Penny remembered it as clearly as if it had just happened.
"He's in love with you, you know," Amy said conversationally, but it caused Penny to spit out her drink.
"I'm sorry?" Penny stuttered out, her face incredulous as she stared at Amy in surprise as she sat next to Penny on the boy's couch.
"Sheldon. He's in love with you. I don't think he's even realised it yet, but he is."
"Don't say anything. Please, just don't,"
"Nothing is going on between us Amy," Penny said worriedly, grabbing her friends hand reassuringly.
"Yet. Just please promise me, when, if, you fall in love with him, you'll let me know. Because for the first time, I, the geeky dumpy scientist, finally gets the guy."
"Amy that's never going to happen," Penny laughed, but added when she saw her friend's story. "But I promise I'll let you have him,"
"Do you see now sweetie," Penny said quietly, turning back towards the door and lightly squeezing Sheldon's arm as she did.
Amy's eyes gazed between Penny and Sheldon and then she nodded. She walked over to couch and picked up her bag. Penny turned back to watch her, a frown on her pretty face.
"The last few months have probably been the most hurtful, painful, ridiculous of my life. Because of you," Amy aimed her gaze at Sheldon who took a step back under her glare. "But his behaviour, rude and vile as it was, was caused by you," Amy turned her gaze to Penny, who followed in Sheldon's footsteps and took a step back.
"He complained about you constantly, about how rude he found you, about how no one could do the cheeseburger right, how no one was good enough to be his partner at Halo, how he missed that vanilla smell that used to linger in the apartment and he could never figure out where it came from. He refused to let anyone look after him when he was sick, and when he began to become delirious from the pain medication, he believed I was you and begged me to stay, to stay and to never leave him because he couldn't imagine a life without you. He would see your haggard appearance and worry so much it would stop him from sleeping. And if you can't see the conclusion that I'm going to draw from this Sheldon then not only has your IQ dropped a lot, you need to be retested by your mother for possible insanity."
"He is in love with you. And you left because you were in love with him. You left, for me. I care about the two of you more than I have ever cared about anyone else in the world. So now I am, as they say, eliminating the middle man. I am terminating the relationship paradigm between us Sheldon, because it is hard when one's partner lusts so strongly after someone else. I hope that in time, once I have grieved and moved on, I will be able to contact the both of you and continue to be friends. Especially you Penny, Amy's eyes filled with tears and Penny swallowed thickly as her own ran down her cheek. You are the best friend I could ever have, and I am sorry to have caused you so much pain,"
"I am leaving now. Goodbye," she murmured to everyone and with more grace and composure than anyone would have ever believed capable, Amy left.
"I didn't think it would end like that," Penny murmured to Sheldon. Everyone else had kindly left to give the two some privacy.
"I think that tomorrow I will have to apologise to those who I hurt with my childish behaviour," Sheldon said thoughtfully, coming to stand in front of her.
"Because you missed me," Penny said playfully, a beautiful grin plastered on her face.
"Don't make me say it Penny," Sheldon sighed and Penny giggled.
"I am, you know," Penny said quietly, locking her arms round Sheldon's neck and ignoring his flinch at her touch. It took him a few moments, but he quickly recovered from the physical contact and quirked an eyebrow.
"In love with you,"
Sheldon smiled, a proper, normal person smile.
"And I am in love with you," Sheldon replied quietly into the dimming light of the room.
Penny pulled him in for a kiss, knowing that this moment, well, it was a little bit perfect.
Hello All! First ever Big Bang Theory fic, so please don't be too harsh. Sorry if my characterisation of Sheldon kinda sucked, I'm a newbie at this. Hope you enjoyed and leave a review to let me know what you think. Also sorry about the angst fest, it kind of got out of hand.