"Purr, purr, purr," he finished, obviously proud of himself. She beamed at him.
Penny's day hadn't been awesome, but, she was surprised to discover, it hadn't totally sucked, after all. Sheldon had helped her, kind of, and he'd driven (freakishly slow) and tried to comfort her (oh, heaven, the nightmares she would have) and...
Wait, what part hadn't sucked, again? She'd kind of forgotten. The medicine was definitely flipping her brain. That wasn't quite the word she was looking for, but whatever. Sheldon was still looking at her. Something hit her, something so monumental she had to share it.
He concluded the song, letting the emotions wash over him as he fell silent. The song was so intimately tied to the pleasant parts of his childhood that he could not hear it, much less sing it, without becoming affected by it. Though he was generally opposed to becoming overemotional, he often welcomed this particular experience. When sick, a brief regression to childhood was acceptable.
Penny did not appear as tired as he had hoped she would. Although he was not a medical doctor, he questioned the prescribed dose they had given her—mentally, as he had been informed that any further questions would lead to a forced exit from the premises. Her whimsical behavior had lost its charm and had become simply irritating.
The woman opened her mouth, and he prayed that she would tell him good night.
"Your eyes are blue."
Penny giggled at her own non-sequitur-ness. No, that wasn't right. Nonsequestering? Non...she wasn't making sense. There we go.
And then Sheldon was looking at her with an even stranger look on his face, and she'd call herself a pickle if that wasn't a teeny tiny blush that'd been growing on his face since...when? Maybe when she said he had to get her into bed. Hah. (And he had, even funnier!).
Oh, Lord, she had taken leave of her senses entirely. He felt his face grow warm. Was it possible that he was already manifesting symptoms for what he could easily have caught in that disease-ridden emergency room? If only he could learn to be less noble, his troubles would be less.
"Yes, my eyes are blue," he told Penny patiently. Every few minutes, she would erupt into giggles, a noise which, while not unpleasing, served as a reminder of her continued state and his responsibility to care for her.
She blinked her own eyes at him, in a manner he supposed was meant to be endearing. He cursed the fact that it rather was.
You know, he wasn't not cute. He wasn't really cute, either, but he could be. Especially when he looked so concerned. She mused for a second on why this was. He was softer, somehow. All soft and full of love. Yep. She hit the mark on that one. His pretty hands. His hands were pretty. She felt herself grin.
"Well, I shall leave you to your medicated slumber," Sheldon said, beginning to rise. Automatically, her hands reached out. She didn't want him to leave. She wasn't ready for that kind of pain. What if she needed...soup? (Which brought her back to him seeing her naked, which would be awkward if it wasn't so, so, so funny, and how embarrassed he'd been, looking off to the side and avoiding her eyes like a naughty little kid. When he was little, he'd totally been a handful, she was positive. All "brilliant ideas" and trains and where was she going with this, again?)
Oops, she'd grabbed his arm. It was kind of pretty, too. Huh.
He regarded her severely. In reply, she merely pouted. Her strong fingers were tight against his arm, and while he could have freed himself, a small voice of scientific curiosity urged him to discover this strange attachment.
Why would she possibly object to him leaving? Her bright eyes betrayed no secrets. Obedient to her unspoken request, he stayed. Penny said nothing, and after a minute of internal debate, he called it fruitless and began to stand once more.
She appeared aghast at this, and widened her mouth.
"Wait!" she protested, and her mouth sounded full of gummy bears, all garbled. She'd eaten a whole ton of those when she was seven and had gotten sick. You'd think she wouldn't like them anymore. Nope. Still loved them.
He gave her a look. Not that he could give her anything else with his eyes, but he gave her a Look look, a trademarked Sheldon Cooper "I Am So Far Above You" look, mixed with just a dab of being freaking confused. At least, that was her opinion. Hey, she was still grinning.
"I wanna tell you a secret," she whispered. Maybe not so much whispered as, you know, said, because it turned out to be pretty loud. Whatever. She was an actress. She had a stage voice and she knew how to use it.
Sheldon loathed secrets. He found most of them uninteresting, and his lips were quite loose enough to sink an entire navy. Secrets were associated, in his mind, with only anxiety and Missy's threats. Yet a small part of him, the part he often tried to squash, the pathetically human bit of his mind murmured to him that a beautiful woman was offering to tell him a secret, and he should listen.
If Sheldon was one to wonder things vaguely, he might have vaguely wondered if Penny knew that she still held his arm, though her clutch had relaxed to a gentle pressure. Either her air conditioning was broken (unlikely), or he had indeed contracted a disease, for his temperature was definitely higher.
She was looking at him expectantly, and it suddenly came to mind that social protocol required a response. "Very well."
He wasn't looking at her now, so she cleared her throat. The blue eyes were pointless if they weren't hers. Boo.
Penny licked her lips, real slow-like. Oh yeah, was he watching her now. She felt tingly, but she wasn't sure if it was the medication, or Sheldon, or the fact that she was almost-three-quarters asleep at the edges. "You hafta come in closer." She sounded about as sexy as a kindergartener, but whatever. He looked nervous. "Lean in!"
She almost squealed when he actually did, but again, she wasn't sure if it was actual excitement or, you know, the gazillion milligrams of high coursing through her veins. He was so close, she could smell his breath, all minty and nice. She'd dated a guy once who always had killer morning breath and hated to brush his teeth, and, well, that relationship didn't last long. Sheldon smelled safe and homey. She sniffed him loudly and he looked sort of uncomfortable, eyes all over to the wall like they were glued there.
Sheldon considered informing Penny that he could potentially infect her with whatever deadly disease the emergency room had granted to him, but between her lovely (though bloodshot) eyes and the sweet smell of her shampoo, he lost the will to do so. Her hair had a lavender scent, but it was a whiff of her lotion that kept him cemented in place. A delicate air of vanilla.
He'd always despised women who bathed themselves in thick perfumes, destroying any sense of "natural beauty" and disturbing his sensitive olfactory system. Penny loved to dress in a manner that could be considered loud, and for the first few months in her presence (when he had been successful in avoiding physical contact), he had assumed that she would wear one of these vulgar scents.
When he had embraced her at Saturnalia, however, he had discovered the vanilla scent. He convinced himself that recalling that pleasant memory was what caused this strange bubbling sensation in his abdomen.
At first she'd just been wanting to freak him out a little little bit, but now he was all up close and blue eyes and smelling nice and she was firmly in the "Kissing His Face Off" camp. Hey, if she was making out with him, he couldn't lecture her. That would be mega sweet. Okay, now she sounded like a twelve-year-old. With a crush on her teacher.
Her mom had always told her to "take the plunge" with boys. Or wait, maybe she'd just seen that on TV. Didn't matter. The point was, it was totally true. She was a big ol' five. If the scale had gone past five, she'd be...whatever that would be.
Penny squeezed her eyes shut like a tube of toothpaste, and stuck her lips to his.
He had not expected unsanitary oral contact. The rational action would be to remove himself from her lips immediately. Yet such a rush of hormones seemed to flood his body that his biology simply would not allow it. A slightly less rational, but socially condoned, action would be to "return" the kiss, yet he found himself figuratively frozen.
The pressure of her lips against his was soft, and, shockingly, he found the sensation pleasant, perhaps even worthy of repetition. Sheldon took the second course, and moved a centimeter closer to kiss her back more easily.
As soon as he began to return the osculation, her lips drew away. Surprisingly, he discovered that he was a little disappointed.
HE HAD KISSED HER BACK HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER THIS THIS THIS.
Penny was looking at him and if he had told her he'd been replaced by an alien, she would have chilled a little bit, because this was freaking weird. Alternate universe kind of weird. Maybe the drugs were halluci- hallucina-
Maybe she was seeing things, but could she really have imagined the taste of him on her lips?
Later, when months had passed, she would describe his expression as "like a deer caught in the headlights", and he would be forced to silently concede the point. Sheldon had no knowledge of the social protocol for this situation, and until further research could be performed, it would be foolhardy to discuss the moment.
She appeared as shell-shocked as he, a hand drifting to her lips. He was unsure if this was positive or negative feedback, or merely a side effect of her overly medicated state. Oh, Lord, her overly medicated state. He had taken advantage of a drugged woman. His mother would have his hide.
He intended to tell her good night, at the very least, but his apartment door was locked before he realized he had fled without a word.
She passed out with a smile on her face, and a sweet lullaby running through her mind. When she awoke the next morning, it took her a minute to remember why her hand was on her lips, and when she did remember, she gasped.
Well, this was going to be an interesting few weeks.
And, with a sinking sensation...what would she tell Leonard?
End Notes: This does take place directly before Can't Win 'Em All, so if you have not read that yet and are interested in this plot, please read that for the "follow-up". Originally, this was intended to be purely from Penny's perspective, but Sheldon invaded it, as he tends to do. This story would not leave me alone, so hopefully now that I've written it, I can focus on my "real projects". I may end up writing other things in this universe. Who knows.