Disclaimer: I still don't own The Big Bang Theory. Really, if I did, there'd be some changes in certain ships... ;)
A/N: As a reviewer suggested, since I had updated a day late of my 5 day thing, I decided to post the epilogue for you guys a day early... so here it is! :D This is it. They're returning home!
And I just wanted to add that in case you guys didn't realize, the tagline to this story is: "There are some constants throughout the universe..." and I wanted to make that clear between Sheldon and Penny throughout the story. She truly is the one constant in his life. She'll always be there for him. ;) :) Please enjoy!
The image of the apartment projected on the screen once again. In view of the transporter, Sheldon and Penny could see Bernadette and Howard sleeping on the couch on the opposite side of Sheldon's spot.
"Wolowitz!" Sheldon yelled, jerking the engineer awake and in effect, waking up his wife.
"Sheldon?" Howard rubbed his eyes at the sound of the physicist's voice.
"No, it's the Boogie-Man," Sheldon replied, sarcastically, "Of course it's me. I figured out how to get back home, now press the button so we can both have visual."
"Everybody, get up," Bernadette moved out of view, seemingly waking up the rest of their friends. The whole gang must've spent the night at the guys' apartment out of worry and concern for their friends across the universe. "Sheldon's figured out how to get him and Penny back home."
"I knew if anybody could to it, it'd be him," Leonard moved into view. Raj and Amy also came into view, joining Bernadette and Howard. Leonard pressed the button so they could have visual with Penny and Sheldon and just like that, they came into view.
"Hi, guys," Penny waved with a huge smile plastered on her face.
"Penny, please, we don't have time for pleasantries. You can wave all you want when we're back. We don't know how much power we're using," Sheldon chided.
"Sorry," Penny apologized.
"How do we get you guys back home?" Howard asked.
"We have to press the 'try me' button I pressed initially at the exact same time as each other," Sheldon explained.
"How do we know which one that is?" Leonard asked, looking at all the buttons.
"It says 'try me' on it," Sheldon deadpanned, "Honestly, Leonard…"
"That is not what I meant, Sheldon," Leonard replied, "There are a few 'try me' buttons on here."
"Oh," Sheldon stopped and looked down, "The blue one."
"Thank you," Leonard said, "I'll do it."
"Do you think this is actually going to work?" Amy asked, kneeling down next to Leonard.
"We can hope," Penny answered.
"It will work, Penny," Sheldon assured her. He grabbed Penny's hand, this time, in complete view of all their friends. He looked back to everybody and said, "Leonard, on the count of three, we press the blue 'try me' button, got it?"
"Got it," Leonard nodded, finger at the ready.
"One… Two…" Sheldon, Penny, and Leonard counted in unison. "Three!"
Leonard and Sheldon pressed the button at the exact same moment. A bright light surrounded Sheldon and Penny and in the next second, that same light flashed in front of Leonard's eyes. After it subsided, Penny and Sheldon were sitting right in front of him with their transporter in front of Howard's, their hands still clasped and their eyes closed.
"Welcome back, you two," Bernadette smiled. She squealed, ran around the table and enveloped them both in a hug, much to Sheldon's protests.
"We're back!" Penny ran around and started hugging everyone.
"I'd suggest, as much as it pains me, we should destroy these toys so this doesn't happen again," Sheldon proposed, "And then tell Stuart to take them off the shelves so this doesn't happen to anybody else."
"Sounds like a sound plan," Howard nodded.
"Penny?" Leonard started as Penny got out of her hug with her bestie Amy.
"Yeah?" Penny turned to him.
"Why are you wearing one of Sheldon's Superman shirts?" Leonard pointed.
She looked down and realized she was still in her parallel universe sleeping attire, "Oops."
"Looks like my doppelganger is going to be missing a shirt," Sheldon remarked.
"Yeah, but why are you wearing it?" Leonard wasn't letting the subject be changed.
"Isn't it obvious, Leonard?" Sheldon stood up after helping Howard dismantle the transporter toys. "She slept in them and in our haste to return home, she forgot to change."
"But why was she in your clothes?" Leonard wasn't letting this go. He stood up a little straighter and took a step closer to his roommate.
"They're not my clothes. They belong to the Sheldon Cooper of the parallel universe," Sheldon corrected him.
"Same difference," Leonard stepped even closer.
"It was just something to sleep in, Leonard," Penny stood in between them, stopping the shorter physicist from doing anything he might regret. "Sheldon was making sure I was comfortable instead of having to sleep in my jeans, you know, my day clothes."
Leonard looked to Penny and stepped back, deciding to let it go. It was just Sheldon. Nothing to get worked up about and he really didn't have the right to get so worked up about anything between them anymore, anyhow. He let out a sigh. He and Penny were just friends now. He said he could deal with it and that's what he intended to do – be friends.
"So what was the parallel universe like?" Howard thought it might be best to change the subject.
"Pretty similar to here," Penny replied, "The only real difference was that my other self never moved to California or moved across the hall."
"Though, despite that, there still are some constants throughout the universe," Sheldon said. Penny smiled at him, and he gave a whisper of one in return.
"How about we all go out to celebrate?" Howard suggested.
"Are you suggesting a celebratory breakfast? It's still morning," Sheldon looked at his watch.
"Yeah, and it can be on Raj," Bernadette patted his shoulder. He looked at her in protest and she replied, "Don't look at me like that. Howie told me how stinking rich you are."
Raj shrugged and gave a thumbs-up to everybody. Breakfast was on him.
"We can take two cars," Leonard suggested, "Mine and Raj's."
"Speaking of cars, we found yours in the comic book store's parking lot, Penny," Amy said, "Is there something wrong with it?"
"Yeah, the engine sorta… died," Penny replied.
"Something that was bound to happen as you always ignored your check engine light," Sheldon commented.
"Thank you, Sheldon," Penny remarked back. Looks like everything was still normal between the two of them.
"You're welcome?" Sheldon furrowed his brows. He paused for a moment, "Listen, everyone, before we go out and break my routine for one final time, may I have a moment in private with Penny?"
"Uh, sure… I guess so," Leonard replied.
"We'll just wait in the hall because we still need to get dressed before we leave," Howard pointed out.
"Right," Penny nodded.
"Don't forget to change out of Sheldon's clothes," Bernadette said as they started toward the door.
"Right… so after this, I'll just text you guys when I'm ready," Penny looked down at herself.
"Or we'll knock on your door to say we're ready. Whatever comes first," Leonard nodded.
"Sounds good," Penny replied.
"I'm so glad you're back, Bestie," Amy smiled.
"Me too, Amy," Penny replied. Everybody left the apartment, leaving Sheldon and Penny alone once again.
"What's up, Moon Pie?" Penny tilted her head.
"Firstly, as I have told you time and time again, only MeeMaw can call me that," Sheldon held up a finger and Penny bit back a smile. She couldn't help herself, "Secondly, I have an inquiry for you."
"Shoot," Penny answered.
"Has our relationship paradigm changed?" Sheldon looked at her with all seriousness.
"How do you mean?" Penny wasn't following. He couldn't be asking what she thought he was asking.
"You've slept in, for all intents and purposes, my clothes, went out to dinner with me, and slept on me twice," Sheldon listed, "Does that not change our relationship?"
Penny looked thoughtful for a moment and stepped a little closer to him, "I guess it does, Sheldon."
"It does?" Sheldon looked a little scared.
"Yeah," Penny nodded, "I guess this changes our relationship from good friends… to best friends."
"Best friends?" Sheldon looked less scared and more relaxed.
"You're my best friend, Sheldon," Penny smiled. Pressing her luck, she enveloped her tall, lanky physicist into another hug. He stood there with his hands hovering over her back, awkwardly. After a moment, he returned the hug, with not quite as much vigor, but Penny appreciated it all the same. With Sheldon Cooper, you took what you could get.
"And after all the data I've collected from the past few days, past five years, really, I've reached the conclusion that you are also my best friend, Penny," Sheldon replied.
She released him from the hug, "You don't have to worry about that changing, Sheldon. That's one thing that will remain constant forever."
"Throughout the universe," Sheldon completed and gave her that true Sheldon Cooper smile he always reserved for her once more.
That wasn't too corny was it? I hope it was just the right amount of fluff. Penny really is the one constant in Sheldon's life. A prime example is from two episodes ago, this season ("The Cooper/Kripke Inversion"), when Sheldon was blaring "The Imperial March" from Star Wars in his apartment, Leonard wanted to walk away, but Penny wanted and *needed* to check on Sheldon to make sure he was okay. Sheldon may call Leonard his best friend, but I say that his best friend is most definitely Penny and vice versa. ;) :)
I had a lot of fun writing this story. I'm thinking I might write more Big Bang Theory stories if inspiration hits. I hope if I do, you all will keep your eyes peeled for them or any other stories I might write in other fandoms that you guys might also be a part of. I love and appreciate you all, whether you just read and/or if you reviewed.
I hope you all enjoyed the story as much as I did writing it. Keep reading and reviewing, everybody! Please review and tell me what you thought if you can! Shenny Forever! :)