Author's Note: After becoming a Big Bang Theory fan just a few months ago, and a solid Shamy shipper, this is my first venture at TBBT fanfiction and my first of any kind in over two years. I love feedback (don't we all?) and I'd love to hear your thoughts on how I've done. If any followers of "A Father's Heart", my CSI-NY story, venture over here, please accept my apologies on abandoning that story for so long. I promise, the muse has been revived and I will get back to it.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own The Big Bang Theory. Nor do I own Sheldon (sadly) or Penny. But I'm very appreciative that the folks at CBS give us such wonderful characters and I hope they don't mind me playing with them, on occasion.
Knock, knock, knock.
"I'm coming, Sheldon!"
A breathy voice sounded from inside the apartment before Sheldon could call, "Penny?"
Sheldon was concerned. Penny sounded curiously winded, like she'd been running a marathon, or just run up the four flights of stairs to their floor. But Sheldon knew she had been in her apartment for some time. He would have noticed had she come in or left. He'd spent the last few hours in his living room, opening the door every 5 minutes to come speak with her, only to close it again when his courage failed him.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Oooooh, I'm coming! I'm, I'm coming, Sheldon!"
Sheldon paused. Again with the out-of-breath voice, only this time her inflection raised perceptibly on his name. It was almost as if she were calling for help. His concern mounting, Sheldon wondered if perhaps Penny slipped in the shower again and was, even now, struggling to lift her injured body out of her bathtub to answer the door. She *still* hadn't gotten any adhesive ducks, Sheldon thought, exasperated. Why were his friends so stubborn about taking his advice on such matters? He was only trying to ensure their well-being, after all.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Oh! Oh! Oh! Shelllllllldoooonnnnn! I'm commmmminnnnnng!"
"Pe…Pe…Penny?" Sheldon blinked. Now he was truly worried. Should he attempt to break down the door? It was obvious the woman was in some sort of extreme distress. His hand reached for the knob, hoping the door was unlocked as usual, when it suddenly flew open wide to reveal an apparently hale and healthy Penny.
"Well, Sheldon. I guess Leonard's not the only man who can make me come three times in a row!"
There was a broad grin on Penny's face, and Sheldon recognized the twinkle in her eyes. He really had begun to learn some of the tell-tale signs of sarcasm. Or perhaps this was teasing? They were so easy to confuse. Sheldon decided to ignore it, whatever it was. He had important things he needed to discuss with Penny and allowing the conundrum of her odd behavior to distract him was only another excuse to avoid his true purpose. He'd gathered his courage to come here, he would follow this through. He was a man, a Texan, and a future Nobel Prize winner, after all. A simple conversation with someone he'd known for six years was nothing to be afraid of.
"Penny, I would very much like to discuss something with you;" his eyes cast involuntarily down to study the tips of his shoes, noticing a slight scuffing on the outside of the left one. When had that happened? And how was it possible he hadn't noticed it when he donned them earlier? He would have to brush them immediately to remove the unsightly mark.
Sheldon nearly turned to go back to his own apartment when he remembered his purpose. Chiding himself once more for entertaining a distraction, he looked back up, facing Penny squarely and looking her in the eyes. "That is, I would like to get your advice on one of the few topics about which you may actually know more than I. May I come in?"
An odd expression passed over Penny's face. Sheldon thought she might be annoyed with him, although for the life of him, he could not think of why. Women were truly unfathomable creatures! Perhaps he should try talking to Leonard again.
Again, Sheldon began to turn to go back across the hall.
No, Leonard was equally confounded by women. Sheldon was sure Leonard would be of no real help with his present issue. Still, it had been Leonard who originally suggested that Sheldon buy Amy a gift and, although her exuberant response had been terribly disturbing, the tiara had certainly worked wonders to restore the pleasant harmony of their relationship. Nonetheless, in this area, Sheldon felt Penny was better equipped to advise him. Still, he dreaded the fodder he was about to provide to her never-ending need to tease and torment him, even though he knew that, like his sister, she meant it all with love.
Whatever was bothering Penny, it was important that he stay on her good side. He smiled.
Penny's eyes widened. Jeez that boy could look terrifying when he tried to smile. She realized that he undoubtedly thought his comment was complimentary. She turned her head to avoid looking at the grimace on Sheldon's face and waved a hand to indicate he should enter.
"C'mon in, Sheldon." She opened the door wider so he could pass into the living room. As she closed the door, she asked, "I'll get us something to drink while you ponder which seat is best. I'm sorry, I rearranged the furniture again. I know how disruptive that can be. It may take you awhile."
Sheldon looked around. The sofa was now turned to sit diagonally on the far side of the room, with the coffee table placed in front and the chair off to one side. Sheldon realized the new arrangement opened the room up, making its tiny space seem larger. Still, the change added one more unnerving aspect to a situation that was already tailor-made to send his anxiety level skyrocketing.
"One would think if you know how disruptive something is, you would avoid it," he said under his breath as he contemplated the seating options. He simply didn't have time to analyze the fine points of each location. Now that he was here, he needed to get this over with. He sat in the chair. At least there would be less risk of touching. Penny was positively touchy-feely sometimes.
"I need your advice on how to initiate coitus with Amy."
There was a sudden crash in the kitchen as the glass of iced tea that Penny was holding slipped from her fingers, splashing tea across the floor as ice cubes bounced wildly about. Sheldon watched, fascinated, as one cube bounced multiple times, finally landing on the far side of Penny's small dining table beside the window. He knew that the path the cube took, as well as the distance it travelled, could be predicted mathematically given the weight and shape of the cube, as well as the composition of the various surfaces on which it bounced. Still, it was surprising how far the thing had gone.
He considered getting up to help Penny deal with the spilled tea, but noticed that she was ignoring the mess, moving quickly into the room to sit as close to him as possible on the sofa.
"Sheldon? Did I hear you correctly?"
Sheldon truly despaired sometimes for Penny's ability to comprehend the simplest statements. Or perhaps it was her hearing that was faulty? He sighed.
"Penny," he began patiently, "It was you who asked me just last week if I would ever have sex with Amy. Or, in your parlance, "sleep" with her. A euphemism I find incomprehensible in the extreme given that sleep is typically the last thing people are thinking about when they employ it."
Sheldon realized he was digressing again and refocused his thoughts on the purpose of his visit. "As I told you, quite clearly, I thought, it is a possibility. And, as I also said, I'm quite fond of Amy. It only makes sense that I should, at some point, endeavor to bless the human race with my progeny. Given her own intelligence, Amy is the logical choice with whom I should collaborate in that endeavor. And while I am a highly educated man with a number of degrees, biology has never been a field that captures my interest. I confess I am unsure as to how I should proceed."
Sheldon paused, expecting Penny to begin educating him on this most confusing of subjects. But instructions were not forthcoming. Penny sat, staring at Sheldon, her mouth fixed in a wide O. He noticed that one hand was tightly gripping the sofa arm as if she might otherwise slip off into some unknown oblivion. He decided further explanation might be helpful.
"Of course, I assumed that at some point we would employ modern in vitro techniques and a surrogate, but your comment regarding Amy's apparent desire for a physical relationship led me to think perhaps we should begin our attempts the "old fashioned" way as one might put it, if only for the scientific insight such activity might provide."
Penny's mouth was now closed; her lips compressed in a thin line as she mutely shook her head.
"Penny," he repeated, "Given your vast experience in this area, and your recent comments, I don't understand your apparent reluctance."
He paused, waiting again, but Penny remained mute.
"Indeed, last week you seemed quite anxious that Amy and I begin a physical relationship, and quite pleased with our discussion. Yet now you seem, if not downright opposed to the idea, at least certainly not willing to assist."
Sheldon stood up.
"Perhaps I should talk to Leonard, after all."
He turned to the door when suddenly Penny shot up from the sofa, a hand reaching out to clutch the long sleeve of his shirt.
"Wait, Sheldon. Come back and sit down," she said, pulling him back and gently shoving him back into the chair. "I…you just surprised me a bit, that's all. When I asked you about… you know… last week, I didn't think you would be doing anything so soon."
Penny's expression morphed into what Sheldon was sure was a sarcastic smirk.
"I figured Leonard and I would be married with grandchildren before you and I would have to have 'The Talk'".
After seeing Sheldon safely back into his seat, Penny sat back down, then jumped up again and strode into the kitchen, carefully avoiding the spilled tea.
"I do think I need a little something to clear my head, though." She reached for a wine glass and a bottle. "It's a bit early, I know," she said, turning back to the sofa as she poured her wine, "But, as they say, 'It's after five somewhere in the world!'"
She sat back down and, after swallowing a generous portion of the contents of her wine glass, she leaned over the arm of the sofa, getting entirely too close for Sheldon's comfort. He leaned far back in an effort to maximize the space between them.
"Ok, Sheldon, spill. What's got your motor running all of a sudden?"
"Motor, what motor? Penny, you know I don't own a car. And what would a vehicle have to do with the current discussion?"
Penny grinned. "C'mon, Sheldon, you're not fooling me. I know you like to pretend that you don't comprehend slang when the subject makes you nervous. But you've been around long enough to know what I'm referring to. What's got you all hot and bothered? Why the sudden rush to jump into the sack? We both know you've moved this romance along so slow it would have gone faster backwards, so what's the deal?"
Sheldon sighed again, this was going to be even more difficult than he feared. "As I explained, Penny," his tone was becoming pedantic, but he didn't care. Now he was truly questioning his decision to consult Penny on this matter, and if he annoyed her again, then that simply meant his original misgivings were well founded and he should consult on the problem elsewhere. "It would be selfish of me to withhold from the world the possible wonder my offspring will be. Initially, I despaired of finding a woman - a female 'Homo Novus' - who would be, if not my equal, at least intellectually compatible enough to provide a better than average possibility of passing on my superior characteristics to any fruit of the union of our genetic material. I believe that, in Amy, I have found such a woman. Our discussion of last week reminds me, however, that while I will be able to produce the necessary biological elements well into advanced years, the shelf-life of the female reproductive system is much more finite. To put it into the vernacular, Amy's biological clock is ticking and I need to get crackin'!"
Penny sat back in her seat and swallowed another gulp of wine.
"So this is all about having children as superior and annoying as you are?"
"Yes." Sheldon snapped his head to stare at Penny. "No! Our children will be superior and also very well behaved. I, myself was a model child."
Penny snorted, "You forget, Sheldon, I've met your mother. You were a holy terror as a child!" She laughed and poured more wine. "Let me get this straight. After a year of being girl-slash-friend-slash-boy-slash-friend, you finally get up the nerve to ask Amy to be your girlfriend; prompted, I might add, by a green monster brought on by Amy's date with a certain comic-book-store-owning geek. Another two years passes and you're finally willing to admit you're 'quite fond' of Amy, and might even get physical – someday. And now all of a sudden, just one week later you're all fired up to do the horizontal mambo just because you hear Amy's biological clock about to buzz?"
Penny downed the contents of her glass and put it on the table. "I don't buy it, Shelly-bean. Don't forget you're talkin' to a Nebraska girl and I didn't fall off the turnip truck last night. If you want my advice, you need to be honest with me. What's really buzzing up in that head of yours? Or is it, maybe, about 3 feet further down?"
Sheldon was feeling distinctly uncomfortable. It was true he was not always as clueless as he let on. He knew Penny wanted him to admit to feelings and desires to which, just a few weeks ago, he would have sworn he was immune. Now, he could admit to himself, he wasn't so sure about that. But while he was feeling some very unfamiliar emotions with regard to Amy, not to mention some very unfamiliar sensations, as Penny put it, 'about 3 feet further down', if he was himself not clear about them, how could he be expected to expound on them? As a scientist, it would be irresponsible for him to publish a hypothesis that was unsupported by any tangible evidence. Like his study of string theory, he needed to ponder these concepts further before making a public announcement. Still, given this was outside of his normal field, perhaps it made sense to work in collaboration with an expert. Certainly if there were a Nobel Prize for interpersonal relationships - well, no, Penny wouldn't be in the running, not considering the vast number of failures she had to date. But at least he knew she was an experienced practitioner of the art. Perhaps he could learn from her mistakes. It would only make sense to share all his theories and hypotheses with a collaborator.
"I think… that is… I may be… in love with Amy."
"Hallelujah!" Penny threw up her arms and brought them down across the space between them to wrap them around Sheldon in a hug, made thankfully loose by the fact that her arms were barely long enough to cross the distance between the sofa and the chair.
"Oh, Sweetie," she continued, gushing, "You know, the first step is to admit it, I'm so proud of you!" She brought one hand up from around his back and pinched his cheek. "Don't you worry. With my help, you and Amy will be bumping uglies before you know it!"
Sheldon suddenly had a terrifying thought, "You won't tell her, will you?"
Penny stared at him, an indignant expression on her face. "Of course not! I know how to keep a secret!"
It was Sheldon's turn to smirk.
Seeing his reaction, Penny looked a bit chagrined, but continued. "I swear, Sheldon," she held up her right hand, "On a stack of Bibles, I will NOT tell Amy your little secret." She lowered her hand and reached over to pour yet another glass of wine. "But YOU will."
I know, I know. I ended this on a mild cliffhanger and some of you want more. ;-) I'm not sure I'm up for going into details of "The Talk" between Penny and Sheldon, or what sort of advice Penny might give him. I only hope she is wiser in the ways of love than I am, and will guide Sheldon so that he and Amy can have the happiness they deserve.
And I hope you enjoyed my vignette. Go ahead, start writing in the little box down there. You know you want to! :-)