Memories and Loss.
Her eyes fluttered open. A dull pain radiated throughout her back. She slowly pulled her sheet off her and got out of bed. Reaching out a hand, she grabbed her cane. Brushing a stray strand of hair out of her line of vision, she slowly sat back down on the bed. She looked around her room, pictures lining the walls and atop of the drawers. She smiled at each one.
"Where have they all gone?" She muttered to herself.
Knock. Knock. Knock
"Penny?" She smiled. Fifty years and he still hadn't changed.
"Come in," she called, throatily.
Her door opened to reveal a tall thin man. His piercing blue eyes surveyed her room carefully, his demeanor reminiscent of a stick insect.
"Penny, I'm glad you're awake. However, I am disconcerted to find you sitting without any support."
"Sheldon, I'm fine. What do you want sweetie?" He seemed flustered for a second, but almost immediately regained his composure.
"As I'm sure you're aware, it is the mandatory day where I serve you breakfast in bed. What would you like?"
"Sweetie, I've told you before. I can make breakfast on my own. Every day." He scoffed a little.
"Nonsense Penny. I have been serving you breakfast every Sunday morning for the past forty-five years. I see no reason to stop now."
"Apart from your worsening arthritis," Penny remarked as she slowly and gingerly stood up. Sheldon made to help her up, but she batted him away. Hurt flashed through his eyes for a second.
"Worsening conditions or not; Leonard, Melissa, Raj, Howard, Bernadette and Amy will be arriving soon. You will need to be ready."
"Don't worry Sheldon, I'll be ready." Penny smiled up at him. He smiled back. Her grin grew wider as she remembered his old smile. The one that freaked her out more than she'd care to admit. His "newer" smile was softer. Less teeth and more warmth.
Sheldon had disappeared, so Penny closed the door and grabbed a towel. Padding to the bathroom, she slowly showered and brushed her teeth, before heading back to her own room. She had many memories in the room. Not just the numerous photos of her friends. It had been Leonard's old room, but he had found a girlfriend and moved out. Sheldon had asked her to move in, and she had stayed ever since.
She had been there for so much. Leonard's marriage to Melissa, who had been lab tech at the university. She had been there when Sheldon had received his Nobel Laureate letter from Stockholm. He had been so happy. She smiled to herself. She been in that room, when Howard and Bernadette came over to tell everyone about impending pitter-patter of little feet, and their desire to move into their own house.
Tears started to stroll as the memories flooded through into the foreground. She remembered the night Leonard told everyone he was moving in with Melissa. She been int be apartment when Leonard broke the news of his impending fatherhood. She'd been there when Raj married and divorced a woman he'd met at a spin class. She even remembered the night he confided in her about his sexual orientation. To this day, she still hadn't told a soul. Not even Sheldon.
Couples came and went in the building, remarking about how incredulous it was that Penny and Sheldon weren't a couple. She smiled at their incomplete look at her relationship with the great Dr. Cooper.
He, despite all of his rules and tendencies that drive her nuts, was her best friend. Their bond went deeper than a relationship. Almost tied together, he had a special place in her heart.
Sighing, she stood up and decided what to wear for the day.
Penny ran her wrinkled hand over the wooden box. Tears streamed down her face as she clung onto the last vestige of what was her friend, Raj. The neurotic, selective mute she had come to think of as her brother. The man who died with only Penny as his true confidant. The man who, while brilliant, couldn't be truly happy.
"I'm so sorry, Sweetie. I just wish you could have been happier. I hope you are now."
Feeling a hand on her elbow, she almost didn't want to leave. The hand squeezed her gently, and she turned away and slowly walked away. Sheldon walked her down the aisle and out of the church. He knew that she was having a hard time. He couldn't see her so hurt.
Penny sat in living area, staring at the TV, a picture moving, but the sound not reaching her brain. Out the corner of her eye, she saw a figure standing in the hallway, unsure of whether it was safe to enter. Her mind flashed back to the first time she had met him. It was a freakish resemblance. So much had happened. So many had come and gone. After Raj passed, Howard and Bernadette had been next. Amy followed soon after. They had just received a call from the hospital. Leonard was now gone. Penny let out a sob. Then another. Sobs poured out of her, tears streaming down her face. Everyone was leaving her alone. Sheldon walked over to her and say next to her. She slowly leaned her head on his shoulder and cried. He awkwardly patted her on the head. Penny choked out a laugh, despite herself. Despite all the years and experiences, he was still uncomfortable around her when she cried. Oddly, her crying and Sheldon's awkward patting, made everything that little bit better. She knew she would be okay. Eventually.
She swatted people away. They tried to help her, but she was determined to walk on her own, even with the walking stick. She passed pew after pew. Her eyes were set on the coffin. Not wanting to believe it was true, she finally reached the open casket. She stared down at the lifeless body. The immaculately combed hair, the closed eyes which covered the brilliantly blue eyes, the soft smile of his face.
Penny felt weak at the knees. It couldn't be. As if confirming the fact, his presence in the wooden box, took her breath away. She slowly kissed him on the forehead, before taking out a issue and wiping it off.
"Sorry," she whispered, a hint of a smile on her face.
She stood straight and headed to the front of the congregation. She pulled out a piece of paper and slowly unfurled it. Pulling in her glasses she started to read.
"Dr. Sheldon Cooper was a genius..."
Mourners came up to the coffin paying their last respects. They all saw the smile on the face of the woman. They assumed it was done post morgen or something. Penny had been smiling the moment she felt herself slip away. She was joining her friends. She was seeing them all again. Nothing could take that away from her. Nothing could stop her from being reunited with her real family. Nothing could keep her from Raj. From Howard. From Bernadette. From Amy.
Her eyes had closed and she passed peacefully. Content.