Hey everybody! This is my very first Big Bang Theory fanfiction, but I'm pretty excited about it! I'm really trying to get Sheldon's personality right, but as I'm sure many of you know, he's a complicated man! Let me know how I'm doing, please give any feedback you have to offer, whether it's in the form of a review, or a private message. Thanks!


Chapter One

"Whatcha doing, Shellybean?" Penny questioned, leaning over the physicist's shoulder as he focused intently on his computer screen.

Sheldon looked back at the blonde, then down at her hand, resting on his shoulder.

She followed his eyes, sighing before removing the hand.

"Sorry, Sweetie, ever since you gave me one of those very special Sheldon Cooper hugs, I just can't keep my hands off of you! Amy better watch out." She giggled, ruffling Sheldon's hair before standing back, grinning at Leonard, who was chuckling from the kitchen.

"Good Lord, do you even think before you defile my hair? Now, Mr. Denophrio does have my haircut records, but those records contain what my hair goes through in the average time span between haircuts. This is far from average, and I will have to remember to make a special request during my next appointment. Honestly, Leonard, how can you stand it?" He whined, looking first at a beaming Penny in disapproval, then at his roommate, who was struggling to open a jar of pickles.

Sheldon sighed.

How Leonard had been the one to win over Penny would forever mystify him, despite his working knowledge of the entire universe. He was short, lactose intolerant, frequently slowed the group down on account of his asthma, and couldn't understand how changing the thermostat up two degrees impacted the apartment over a four-hour time span.

Yet, there she was, leaning against the counter, holding the jar of pickles she had opened for him, smiling at him as he droned on in his nasally voice about his irrelevant studies in fields, re-answering questions that already had appropriate solutions.

He could hear his mother's voice in the back of his head.

Now, Shelly, you know the early bird always gets the worm. And we're aiming to get the front pew in Church this morning, so high-tail your little self into your room and get your Sunday suit on right now! Lord knows we need all the Jesus we can get.

In this instance, however, one of the highly coveted front pews was not the worm that Sheldon had set his sights on. Instead, it was the highly coveted beach-blonde neighbor. Granted, Penny belonged to Leonard, because he had called dibs. If nothing else, he had to respect the protocol of the 'dibs' concept. Sheldon's entire world was built off of 'dibs', and the small comforts he had in life because he had called dibs on them. Penny just wasn't one of them.

He snuck one last glance at her before returning to his work, his eyebrows furrowing as he read an equation that he couldn't get to cooperate. Not yet, anyway.

"Sheldon, the food's here." Leonard announced, breaking Sheldon's concentration as he continued to sketch out possible solutions to the very same formula, four hours later.

He looked up, glancing around at everyone who had gathered in their apartment, without him noticing.

He quickly shook off the sense of daze and stood up to greet his guests. After all, he was Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper. He was likely the most interesting person that any of them had the pleasure of knowing. The entire reason they gathered in apartment 4B was to hear his stimulating conversation, along with fun-facts relating to the topics at hand. Or trains. Sheldon did know a lot about trains.

"Hello everybody," he croaked, feeling his legs wobble from underneath him.

"Sheldon, we were all concerned about you. Why didn't you acknowledge our presence when we arrive? Social convention states that the head of a household is always to greet guests upon their arrival." Amy Farrah Fowler demanded, shocked at Sheldon's disregard for the social convention.

"Now, Amy, I know that in the whimsical field of Biology, you're free to come and go with your work, what with your office parties and group lunch breaks. However, I am a physicist. I study the universe. I am constantly looking for the correct answers and pairings within the universe. I believe knowledge precedes social protocol." He reminded her calmly, perching in his spot on the brown leather sofa, as Penny distributed the food.

Amy opened her mouth to argue the importance of biology, but Bernadette quickly cut in, realizing this was a touchy subject for the couple.

"So Leonard, tell us more about your trip." She squeaked.

The group's attention immediately shifted to Leonard, who had recently worked on one of Hawking's projects, aboard a ship for months.

Sheldon, however, kept his focus on Penny, who was still distributing the food.

She finally handed Sheldon his tangerine chicken, along with the special condiments he always requested.

"Thank you, Penny." He whispered, avoiding interrupting Leonard's never-ending story about barnacles getting into the test tubes.

Penny's green eyes widened slightly as a bright smile broke across her face. Sheldon usually interrogated the unfortunate server of his food about every detail involved. He then proceeded to whine that he was not getting tangerine chicken, but orange chicken instead. A simple thank you was highly out of character for him.

"Sure thing, Sweetie." She replied softly, patting his knee gently before walking over to sit with Leonard.

He nodded to himself before starting in on the chicken, wrinkling his nose as he took his first bite.

Yes, they were still passing off their soggy orange chicken as tangerine chicken. His mandarin lessons with Wolowitz would have to continue. His first confrontation with the owner of Szechuan Palace had not gone the way he had hoped it would.

In the meantime, he would continue eating his chicken, whatever the mysterious sauce happened to be. From his observation, he could see that Penny had appreciated him expressing gratitude over receiving his meal, even if it was incorrect.

"Oh come on, Leonard went on a boat for a little while! I went to space! How have you all forgotten that so easily?" Howard exclaimed as Sheldon looked over to meet Penny's eyes, attempting his koala smile as he did so. She smiled back uncertainly, before feigning an interest in Howard and Leonard's argument over whose trip was cooler.

Fascinating, Sheldon thought to himself.