Soooo, this will be my last chapter for a few days. I am off to Dublin for the weekend, going to see Rihanna in concert (eeek excited!) :) So I wont be able to update this again until Monday. Sorry about that. Although at least im not leaving you hangjng with a cliffhanger like some people! (i'm looking at you Tensor!). Anyway, normally I would have updated it using my phone, to keep to my 'one update every two days' thing, but if I do that then I will have caught up with myself regarding how much I have written. I always like to stay at least two chapters ahead of you guys and since I wont be able to write over there then... well you get the idea. haha So yeah, enjoy this one and i'll see you again on Monday :)

Copper

"So sweetie, tell me, how did it go with the nurse today? You still look pretty sick." Penny said to Leonard through her laptop screen as she picked at the last of her food. She was sitting, cross legged on her bed, with her laptop sitting on the bed in front of her and her plate in her hands.

"It was alright. She told me that there is nothing stronger than Dramamine to give me so I just have to suffer through it." He replied on the other side, sitting at his desk. "She gave me some tips to help my body get used to it quicker, like going for walks on the deck, and keeping an eye on the horizon. She also gave me this wrist band," He held up his arm to show her. "It has a a small plastic bubble that apparently puts pressure on a certain point at the wrist, it's supposed to be an acupressure point that prevents seasickness." Leonard shrugged. "I'll have to give them a try. Hopefully it will work. The good thing is, i'm not the only one suffering. I was sitting with this girl while I was waiting to go in and she was sick too." He chuckled.

"Oh really?" Penny replied, unable to stop her face from falling at the mention of a girl.

"Yeah," He replied, not noticing the look on Penny's face. "Her name was Karina, she was Australian." He said with a little excitement. "I've never met an Australian before."

Penny forced herself to smile, "That's cool." She said with a nod as she put her plate of food on to her nightstand and picked up the laptop to sit on her lap.

Leonard smiled, then suddenly realized that spending the only time he get's to talk to his girlfriend, talking about some girl he had just met, probably wasn't the best idea. "So, how-" He began, before noticing that she was wearing his t-shirt. "Hey, you're in my t-shirt again." He couldn't stop the huge grin on his face.

"Mmhmm," She said with a grin. "I've worn it to bed the past few days. I did tell you that you aren't getting it back." She laughed.

"Hmm." Leonard smiled and nodded slowly as he stared at her. "It's nice on you." He said and she gave a small smile in return. Suddenly, all he could think about was how incredibly beautiful she was, even in the distorted picture. He tingled at the thought of her in bed each night, wrapped up in his clothes. It was a thought that he hadn't been able to remove from his head since he had learned she took them from his room.

"Leonard." Penny said raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah?" He asked, still in his little trance.

"Unless you wanna get your cute little tushy on the next flight back out to California, I suggest you stop looking at me like that." She said, biting down a grin.

"Uh, right, yeah." He cleared his throat and shook his head. "Um, yeah. So, uh, did you get anything nice when you were shopping?"

Penny grinned at how adorable he was when he was flustered, before looking to her shopping bags and remembering what she had bought. "I did. Here i'll show you!" She jumped off the bed, turned the laptop around and rummaged through her bags. She showed him the various tops, jeans, dresses and underwear she had purchased, before moving on to what she really wanted to show him.

"And I got something for you too!"

"I thought the underwear was for me?" He teased.

"No, the underwear was for me, you just get the benefits of it." She said with a grin, "These are for you." She pulled out a couple of t-shirts from a bag and held one up. "Do you like it?" She asked of the light blue t-shirt with the letters Cu in a box.

"I prefer the underwear." He joked as Penny tilted her head and glared at him. "I'm kidding, of course I like it. What is that on the front? The element sign for... copper?" He said as he strained to look through the pixels at the t-shirt on his screen.

"Yup." She grinned.

Leonard looked at the screen with a little confusion, "Cool... But, why copper? That's a little… I dunno, random." He chuckled.

"No it's not! Think about it for a second genius!" She giggled, "What is made from copper?"

Leonard sat back in his desk chair, "Um… Lots of things… Electromagnets, copper wire, transformer coils, printed circuit boards, gen-"

"Okay, something a little more common than those." She interrupted.

"They are pretty common."

"Leonnaarrd! You know what I mean!" She whined as she held the t-shirt up again. "Come on baby, you can get it."

"Alright." He sighed and thought for another second as he rested his elbow on his desk and his chin in his hand. "Um… Telephone cables... jewellery, pennies, roof gu-"

"Yes! Pennies!" Penny said excitedly pointing to the screen and then back to her. "Penny!"

"Ohh!" Leonard said with a laugh. "Alright I get it now… Kinda cheesy is it not?" He chuckled.

Penny laughed. "Well, it didn't seem like it at the time, and the girls were pretty insistent that I got it for you, but we were half bombed at the time." Penny shrugged, "Oh well, it's yours now anyway!"

"I love it." He smiled.

"I also got you this one." She said holding up a dark blue t-shirt. "It says, 'Keep Calm, I'm The Doctor.'" She said with a deep voice, then laughed, "It's a Doctor Who t-shirt, I got it before Amy could get it for Sheldon."

"Cool! I love the both of them."

Penny smiled and threw the t-shirts on her bed, then bent down to rummage through her bags again, as Leonard raised an eyebrow, unable to stop himself from admiring her body.

"But my favourite thing I got was this." She pulled out her 'Ernie' teddy, that had been done up with a pair of glasses, a green t-shirt and a dark hoodie, and stood up straight again.

Leonard cleared his dry throat and looked at what she was holding. "Oh my God is that an Ernie teddy?"

"Yup!" Penny smiled, "But not just any Ernie, this is Leonard Ernie. See, he has your glasses and clothes that are kinda like yours." She giggled, "We got a Bert one for Amy too, and made it up like Sheldon. We even got Bernadette a Smurf teddy with an astronaut outfit." Penny grinned and looked at her teddy and fiddled with his clothes, as she went to sit on her bed again, turning the laptop to face her in the process. "He's so cute isn't he? I think he will have to be my snuggle buddy for the next few months."

Leonard chuckled, "Oh great, I've been replaced by a teddy bear." He said sarcastically.

"Would you rather I replaced you with someone else?" Penny teased and Leonard frowned, "I'm joking sweetie, relax. Little Ernie here is the only one that I will be sharing my bed with." She said before giving the teddy a squeeze.

"Good." Leonard said then smiled, "As long as he doesn't try anything on, because if he does I will be putting a call out for those care bears to ambush his ass!"

Penny laughed and they spent the next hour and a half, talking away and making jokes, just like they would have had he been with her in person.

Despite the fact that it was the middle of the night in the North Sea, Leonard didn't show any signs of tiredness, making Penny completely forget that there was even a time difference between them at all. But the conversations inevitable end came, when Leonard couldn't hold back a yawn, and Penny was snapped back to the reality of what was soon to happen.

Soon, he would have to leave and retire to his bed, alone, and she would have to do the same a while after. She would try to hold it off. She would try and think up any excuse to get him to talk to her for just a little longer, simply to prolong the conversation and fend off the horrible goodbye.

The goodbye's always brought her to the edge of tears, but each time she managed to stop them, forcing herself not to cry in front of him, because she knew he would only worry for her, and he didn't need that sort of worry when he was supposed to be focusing on his work.

The end of their talks always ended the same way. Penny would tell him, reluctantly, that he should probably go, to either get back to work or go to sleep, because she knew he wouldn't be the one to say it, even although she hated to do it. He would agree and there would be a few seconds of sad silence, before one of them would say, 'I love you', only to have it instantly repeated back to them without a thought. They would say, 'I miss you', and although Leonard wasn't feeling that as deeply as she was as he went about his life on that boat, when they talked those feelings came to surface. It was only when he got the chance to stop and talk to her, that he realized just how much he missed having her around. It was then he would realize the small things he missed about her, like her smile, her laugh and her wit. And then they would say 'goodbye', and repeat the 'I love you' one more time before hanging up.

It was this little routine of words that stuck in Penny's head once he was gone from her screen, and it was this little sequence that Leonard thought about as he drifted off to sleep. He, of course, would think and re-think over everything. He would ponder every word of their conversation, overthinking every word as he thought about the meanings behind each one. He would wonder how much she really missed him and how much it was affecting her, because he could tell she was feeling it more than she was letting on. He would think over the 'I love you' that she said so freely and heartfelt, and his heart would almost burst, just like it did that very first time. She loved him, she was no longer afraid to say it and that would lead to him wondering what was next for them. When they would take the next step, and how long he would have to wait for her to be ready to ask him the question he had put in her hands, and if she ever would be.

She, on the other hand, simply repeated his voice in her head. She didn't think over what it all meant or how much he meant what he had said. She just replayed his words as she put away her purchases of the day. She hung up her newest dresses, jeans and tops. She put his t-shirts into her drawer and then put her new shoes on her shoe rack, as she thought about everything he had told her about his day. When she went to bed, she repeated his 'I love you' in her head as she closed her eyes, and held tightly on to the small foot-long Ernie teddy. She let a few tears fall onto her pillow as she longed for the day when she didn't have to look to cuddly toys for comfort, and could, once again, hold him instead.

It was crazy to think that the first week was almost over. She had gone five days without him and it wasn't getting any easier. She still had her brief moments of confusion when he wouldn't be where she expected him to. She still had a few moments when her door was rattled, by someone other than Sheldon, that she thought it could be him. She still woke up, in the middle of the night, reaching for the man she knew wasn't there, and each time she did these things, she cursed herself for being so idiotic. When she was hit with the horrible disappointment, she shook her head and hated the dependency she had put on him. She hated that doing certain things, like eating dinner in her own apartment, was weird because he wasn't doing it with her. That little routine that they had gotten into, and that she enjoyed so much, had become cause for so much hurt in her stomach that she would be turned off her food.

This was what she hated about love. She hated how much dependency it made her put on him and the vulnerability it gave her around him. The fact that at any moment he could do something that would rip her to shreds, was something that terrified her. Her heart was no longer safe inside its cage, it was in his hands and all he had to do was drop it and she would be in a state of ruin. She hated that. But it was only in moments like these, when she was all alone, that she had these thoughts, because when he was here, she didn't think about how much it would hurt if he ever left for good. She didn't think about how she would pick herself back up if he ever tore her down, she thought only of how good he made her feel. How happy she was around him and how content, safe and loved she felt in his arms. It was in those moments, that she knew she had finally trusted the right person with her fragile heart, and she only had to wait fifteen weeks for him to be back here with her, where he belonged.