This story takes place a few months after The Body Snatcher Conundrum

The Non-Coincident Theorem

Prologue: The Thai Night Debacle

Monday Evening

Penny left her apartment and headed over to Apartment 4A for an evening of Thai food with her friends. She opened the door without knocking and walked in expecting to find them all waiting for her. The only one she found was Leonard.

"Where is everyone?"

"Oh yeah. They're running a little late. I worked at home today and I guess it threw them a bit off. Sheldon is riding with Howard and Raj and they're picking Bernadette up and then the food. I guess they're trying to save gas or something."

Leonard knew they'd be late. Sheldon had called to tell him and asked that he inform Penny. Since Leonard and Penny were rarely alone with each other since Penny had started whatever it was she was doing with Sheldon he had decided to create an opportunity.

"Damn. I was ready for a nice relaxing dinner with you guys. I'm having a really hard time with the script I'm working on. It's left me pretty tense."

"You know that if you ever want to relieve some tension I'm right here, if you know what I mean."

"Oh, he hadn't just gone there. Again." Penny thought.

"Um, Leonard, You're not that subtle. Especially when you're talking about sex. And I think I've been pretty clear about you and me and coitus and how it ain't ever gonna happen again!"

"Yes, Penny. You were clear. I just remember that you have certain needs and I used to satisfy those needs pretty well. And we did used to be in love."

"I thought we were done with this crap, Leonard. Okay, buddy, looks like you need a little refresher course. First, we were never in love. You were in love with the idea of loving me and after a while I convinced myself that I was in love with you. You just wanted to get laid and I made a mistake, a series of mistakes. Whatever it was we had, it wasn't ever love. Do you know how I know that? Because I am in love with your roommate. And he's in love with me. And it's not like anything I've ever felt before. It's incredible."

"Come on. You haven't even had sex and I know how important sex is to you."

"Leonard, you do not now nor have you ever understood what's important to me. Not that it's really any of your business, but to be blunt, yeah, Sheldon and I haven't fucked yet. But I know that when we're both ready and we do it is going to be amazing. And even without sex he rocks my world."

"I remember when I used to rock your world. Sometimes more than once a night."

"Leonard, I really don't enjoy these conversations with you. I was hoping that after a few months you'd get used to the fact that we aren't together and won't ever be again. I really would like us to be friends again. I really treasure that friendship. I miss it. But here's the thing. You aren't that good. You did some interesting things that I found surprising and, yes, educational. But most of the time, not so much."

"That's not what I remember. I remember some very loud expressions of approval. And I bet Sheldon remembers them too."

"Leonard, that was crude. Please grow the fuck up. I'm going back over to my apartment. When the food gets here please ask Sheldon to come get me."

Halfway out the door Penny turned around.

"And one last thing that you ought to think about. I'm an actress. And some of the very best acting I've ever done was in your bed!"

Penny slammed the door to 4A behind her and then punctuated in by slamming her own door.

Why did she let him push her buttons like that? She could feel the tears begin to fall.

Her relationship with Sheldon was great. It had really progressed over the past few months. And she didn't actually need to convince herself of that. It was pretty amazing. They really did love each other. They completed each other. So what if they hadn't had sex yet. They'd get there. Things were moving along. And they kissed. A lot. Sheldon really liked kissing. It was kind of a surprise considering all of the germs, but kissing Penny didn't seem to bother him at all. Even first thing in the morning. Penny didn't even need to initiate it any more. It was second nature. The first thing Sheldon did whenever he saw Penny was walk up to her and kiss her. On the lips. Even in public. In private the kissing was even better and after a month or so he even started using his tongue.

When they first got together Penny realized a couple of things about being with Sheldon. One was that she'd have to dial back from being a big ol' five and let him take the lead, at least until he was more comfortable with her doing it. The second thing was that when Sheldon was finally ready to do something he would be freaking amazing at it. She learned that with their kissing, which was some of the best she had ever experienced. Of course there were some bumps along the road. A couple of times early on Sheldon just completely forgot that he needed to breathe and blacked out on her. At first she freaked out and thought she'd killed him. But then he came to with the most incredible smile on his face and wanted to get right back to it. She had to give him a couple of lessons in pacing. Imagine that, Penny was teaching Sheldon to slow down.

There was another thing. It had been over a year since she'd had a drink. She had come to realize that virtually all of her sexual experiences had been accompanied by alcohol. Oh, she enjoyed sex all right. She just used to think it was the only thing she was really good at, especially with her acting going nowhere, and the alcohol helped her find guys that would give her the validation she needed. Once she stopped drinking and started discovering that there were other things she was actually good at, like writing, she just didn't have the constant need for sexual validation.

And Sheldon gave her so much more. They loved each other's company. They talked all the time. About everything. She didn't always understand what he was saying but she knew that if she stopped him and asked, he'd explain, and not in a condescending way.

"Penny, you're not stupid," he'd say, "You just lack a formal education, especially in the sciences. As a physicist I have an understanding of the universe and everything in it. Since we are in a relationship it is incumbent upon me to share that knowledge with you at a pace you can handle. I can never expect to become as socially adept or aware of popular culture as you but I know you will teach me what you can. And both of us will be better for the learning. And we will forever fill each other's empty spaces. As an example, I now very much enjoy Radiohead."

Physically, aside form the kissing and handholding, which was kind of recent but really, really welcome, they were moving at a glacial pace, but they were moving. And he could surprise her. Boy could he surprise her. She thought back to the previous Anything-Can-Happen Thursday.

One of the things they discovered they enjoyed doing was reading to each other, mainly fiction. Penny couldn't think of anything more boring than reading one of Sheldon's physics books out loud and Sheldon had no interest in hearing tales of Brad and Angelina, whoever they were. So they'd hunt around for a book of fiction that would interest the two of them and take turns reading chapters aloud. Now finding a book that worked for both of them wasn't the easiest thing to do. Their taste in fiction did not really intersect a lot. Sheldon had a preference for science fiction. Penny preferred trashy romance novels and best sellers. So there weren't a lot of places where those two preferences meshed. Then they discovered historical fiction, which they both seemed to like. So what they did was share a historical fiction novel, then some science fiction, another historical fiction novel and then a trashy romance. Penny especially liked hearing Sheldon read a trashy romance out loud. They usually did this late at night in bed. And that was another thing Penny liked about the activity.

Technically, Sheldon and Penny were not, in the usual sense, sleeping together. Yes, they were in the same bed, hers, and yes they did eventually sleep, who thought Sheldon could be such a cuddler, but they were both dressed in their bedclothes and, except for a kiss goodnight which was often the highpoint of their day, nothing else happened.

When they spent the night together Sheldon always stayed over at Penny's. Penny never stayed over at 4A. They both thought that it would be too cruel to Leonard to do that. Sheldon reminded Penny that Leonard had never been so thoughtful about his feelings. And Penny felt really guilty about what Sheldon had been forced to listen to when she was dating Leonard, especially when he finally revealed that he had been in love with her from the moment they met but wasn't comfortable saying anything and really didn't see a place in his life of science for any other relationship until he started dating Amy Farrah Fowler. Sheldon felt a little better but also a bit sad when Penny revealed to him that most of what he heard was her acting as though she was enjoying herself. He also felt a little sorry that she had been with Leonard so long and had to do that. In any case, things with Leonard were difficult enough without throwing their happiness in his face.

So anyway, the previous Anything-Can-Happen Thursday, Penny and Sheldon were on her bed reading to each other fully clothed. It was still early and they were both enjoying their latest novel, deciding to make an entire evening of it. They had read three chapters each and Penny was starting to drift off. Sheldon reached across Penny to turn off her light when he accidentally brushed her left breast. And stopped. Penny immediately woke up but didn't say or do anything. Sheldon had an intent gaze of concentration on his face. He placed his hand on her breast very lightly and squeezed. Penny made a little whimpering sound. Sheldon squeezed again a little harder. She whimpered again. He began slowly kneading her breast. Very slowly. Penny could feel everything through her camisole, though her bra. Sheldon made no effort to remove any of her clothing or to go under her shirt. As Penny felt her nipple harden, Sheldon was there, feeling for it through her clothes, pinching it between two fingers. Except for an occasional whimper from Penny this was happening in complete silence. Sheldon kept on massaging and kneading and pinching. It seemed to go on forever and Penny was getting more and more excited by it. She could even feel herself getting wet. Knowing Sheldon she realized that it was likely that this was as far as it was going and she was determined to enjoy the moment and not overthink it. Penny started moaning, even writhing a little but Sheldon maintained his focus on her left breast. And then she shuddered. And then she came. It was the first orgasm that Sheldon had ever given her and boy was it a good one. It took her a few minutes to pull herself back together to say something.

"Thank you, sweetie."

Sheldon's face turned red.

"Penny, I think I'll sleep in my bed tonight."

"Sheldon, you didn't do anything wrong. I really enjoyed that."

"I realize that, Penny. I also enjoyed doing that and further appreciate that it gave you pleasure. There is actually an appropriate term for my activity."

"Sure there is, Moonpie. It's called copping a feel."

"No Penny. Nothing so crass. There is a mathematical term. It's called isolating the variable."

"Well, Shelly, you can isolate my variables whenever you please."

Sheldon got an exasperated and somewhat embarrassed look on his face.

"Penny!?"

And then he stiffened, looked her in the eyes and said: "But I realize that I have some things I need to take care of at home before I can go to sleep so I'll say good night."

He gave her a nice good night kiss and headed out of her bedroom and through her front door. Penny couldn't help but notice that Sheldon seemed to have an erection and then realized exactly what he had to take care of at home. She would have preferred to help him out but, baby steps. If this was a hint of what she could look forward to "Holy crap on a cracker!" she thought, it was so going to be worth the wait. She was really looking forward to the next Anything-Can-Happen Thursday.

Monday night Sheldon came over to collect Penny when the group arrived with the Thai food. He noticed that Penny's eyes were red.

"Penny, are you all right? Have you been crying?"

"No sweetie. It's these damn allergies. Let's go have dinner."

Dinner went nicely enough. Amy had been unable to join them because one of her experiments was running late. Penny and Sheldon were both happy that Amy Farrah Fowler had remained their friend despite the various changes in relationship statuses. When Amy saw Sheldon and Penny kiss at The Cheesecake Factory she saw everything that was missing from her relationship with Sheldon and completely understood the depth of feeling the physicist and the actress-waitress-writer had for each other. She sent Sheldon an email terminating their Relationship Contract with "no hard feelings" and said she wished them luck and would see them soon. She stepped back from socializing with them for a couple of weeks to let them have time to figure out what was going on between them and after a Girls Night with Penny and Bernadette rejoined the various group activities while leaving herself a little free time to find, as she put it, "her own honey."

However, Sheldon did notice during dinner that Penny and Leonard avoided each other's glances the entire evening. He had his suspicions but decided not to say anything in front of the group since Penny hadn't said anything to him. After dinner Howard, Bernadette and Raj left and Sheldon accompanied Penny to her apartment.

"Penny, what did Leonard do this time?"

"Nothing, Sheldon. Leave it alone."

"Penny, for years all of you repeatedly said I was oblivious to social cues and you were for the most part correct. Ever since we started growing closer I have endeavored to become more sensitive to such things, especially where they concern you. You must realize that expanding my powers of observation to include this was not easy and ran counter to lifetime habits. Please do not make me think that it was a waste of effort. You are upset. And you are upset with Leonard. Why?"

Penny related her conversation with Leonard earlier.

"I'm going to speak with him. That behavior is unacceptable."

"Sheldon, don't. You'll just make it worse."

"Penny, this is not the first time. He has continually intimated that you are just waiting for the right opportunity to have coitus with him and that all he has to do is wait you out. That is insulting to you and it is insulting to me. I will not allow it to continue. He must be made to understand that his continued habitation in Apartment 4A is dependant on your happiness and mine. If he cannot accept that perhaps it is time to change our habitation paradigm."

"Sheldon, are you saying that you might want to live with me?"

"Penny, by now you must understand that you are the only person I will ever want to share a romantic relationship with. I understand that such a relationship often leads to cohabitation and I am certain that at some point that will happen for us. I would prefer that we come to that decision in our own time but since I believe it is inevitable I am not averse to it happening earlier. I would just rather it not be because my homunculus roommate forced us to."

"Okay, sweetie. Y'know that may be the most romantic thing you've ever said to me. You're the only one for me, too. Go ahead and talk to the homunculus and put him in his place. By the way, if you need some ammunition, you can tell him that the orgasm you gave me last Thursday put everything he ever did with me during the entire time we were together to shame."

"Penny, you know me well enough to know that I would never share such an intimate detail of our life, especially with Leonard!" Sheldon huffed. "But it is heartening to learn that I satisfied you sexually."

"Moonpie, I was very, very satisfied. And I would really appreciate the opportunity to return the favor."

Penny knew she might be pushing things a bit here.

Sheldon turned red.

"All in good time, Penny. All in good time."

Sheldon kissed her good night and headed over to deal with Leonard.

Remembering it was Monday, Penny looked over at the clock and realized it wasn't too late to call her Mom in Nebraska.

"Hi Mom."

"Hi, honey. How's it going?"

"Pretty good. I'm having some trouble with a new script I'm writing."

"Well, don't get angry but I'm doing something based on all that stuff that happened with Paul Hernly but don't worry, I'm changing a lot of it and you're not in it at all and there isn't even a character based on you. It's going to be the story of a waitress who wants to be a writer who gets taken advantage of by a Hollywood producer and then her friends come to the rescue. The only characters that are like anyone we know are the waitress and the evil producer. All the others are completely different from the people we know. It's actually a comedy. I ran the idea by the network and they like it and they want to see it when I'm done."

"Well, dear, I trust that you'll do the right thing."

"So how are things going with you Mom? And Dad?"

"Well I'm still living with your aunt and I'm working at the diner a few days a week and weekends when they need me. It keeps me busy and I can use the money. Your dad has been coming by to say hi and I let him know when my meal breaks are so he comes in around then and we sit together and talk. It's nice. In fact a couple of weeks ago he started doing something you'll think is pretty funny."

"Oh, what's that, Mom?"

"Well, I have to tell you something else first. I know that you always work on Tuesday nights so that you can serve the gang their Tuesday dinner. When they set up my schedule at the diner I asked them to give me Tuesday nights so I knew that the two of us were doing the same thing at almost the same time."

"Aw, Mom, that's sweet."

"Here's the funny part. Three weeks ago your father comes in on Tuesday night and asks to be seated in my section."

"Okay?"

"So I go over to say hi and take his order and guess what he asks for."

"What?"

"Barbecue bacon cheeseburger and a lemonade."

"You're kidding!"

"Nope."

"The next week he comes in and orders the same thing."

"No!"

"Last week he comes in and I go over to take his order. You know what he says?"

"What?"

"He says "My usual.""

"He isn't ordering everything on the side is he?"

"No, but close enough, isn't it?"

"Um, spooky."

"So anyway, last week after he orders his "usual" I decided to ask him out on a date."

"You're kidding. What did he say?"

"He said "yes" of course. I'm a real catch."

"Yes you are, Mom. So what did you do."

"Well, a couple of days later I took him to the movies. I let him buy the popcorn and pop and we sat up in the balcony. It felt like we were back in high school again."

"Oh, that's nice. How did it go?"

"Well, we were enjoying the movie, it was the new one with Sandra Bullock, and the he put his arm around me and, um, Penny, your father copped a feel."

"Mom! I've never heard you talk like that. And I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it."

"Penny dear, you are the only one who knows everything about what happened out there. I mean, I've told your dad and we're working through it with the pastor. Thank you by the way. But, really honey, you are the only one I can talk to about this stuff. Your sister is useless."

"Okay. Wait. What night did you go to the movies?"

"Thursday."

"Thursday night Sheldon did the same thing."

"Sheldon took you to the movies?"

"No. Sheldon copped a feel. I mean, it was kind of more than that, but essentially that's what he did."

"That's very strange. Wyatt and Sheldon doing the same things at the same time. You don't think they're in touch, do you?"

"No, Sheldon would have said something. It must just be a coincidence. A big coincidence."

"By the way, didn't I tell you about that young man? I'm very happy that you're dating."

"I am too, Mom. I don't think I've ever been this happy. Tonight he said the most wonderful thing. He said I'm the only person he'll ever want to share a romantic relationship with and implied that we'd probably be living together soon."

"You know, honey, if any other man said that it would come with a ring."

"This is Sheldon, Mom. I'm perfectly fine going along at whatever pace is comfortable for him. And he's making steady progress. We'll get there and I won't do anything to scare him off."

"Penny, dear, at this point I don't think you could scare that young man off you're your dad's shotgun."

"And, Penny, I told your father about Leonard and some of the things he said to you while I was there. I'd recommend Leonard not come anywhere near Omaha for a very long time. You dad feels very badly about what happened when Leonard visited. He thinks it was his fault."

"Please tell Dad that I forgave him for that a long time ago and that all he needs to do is keep working on himself and going to his meetings. I can handle Leonard and Sheldon's got my back. Actually, you don't need to tell Dad. I'll call him tomorrow and tell him myself. Maybe I'll call when he's in the diner having his cheeseburger."

"That would be very nice, dear. Well. It's getting late. Good night, sweetie."

"Good night, Mom."

Penny thought "The cheeseburger and copping a feel, that had to be a coincidence, didn't it?"

Wyatt and Sheldon actually were in touch, mainly via email. When Sheldon and Penny decided that they were going to be involved with each other in an undefined but exclusive relationship Sheldon decided that he'd better do it right. He also knew that for some reason Penny's dad had bonded with Leonard and had determined that they were a good match. Sheldon was very nervous about having to compete with Leonard in Wyatt's eyes. Even though Penny had chosen him, Sheldon knew that her dad had a lot of influence over her, positive and negative.

So Sheldon crafted a letter, with beautiful handwritten calligraphy requesting Wyatt's permission to court Penny. Wyatt was touched. Leonard had never made any effort like that. And then Wyatt heard from his never-to-be-ex-wife some of the things that Leonard had said to and about Penny. He was ready to jump on a plane right then, fly to California and kick Leonard's butt way out into the Pacific Ocean. Wyatt was assured his wife that the situation was being handled and that he didn't need to worry. From that moment on he was firmly on Team Shenny.

Wyatt and Sheldon traded emails weekly. Nothing deep, but enough so that they were a presence in each other's lives. Neither thought to mention it to anyone else. The day Wyatt first showed up at the diner and asked for a barbecue bacon cheeseburger and lemonade it was because Sheldon had mentioned that he was going to do that same thing that night and Wyatt was hungry. He kept ordering it because it tasted good and he liked barbecue bacon cheeseburgers and lemonade. Sheldon and Wyatt both copping feels that Thursday night, that was entirely coincidence.

Before Sheldon opened the door to Apartment 4A he quickly sent Wyatt an email asking a favor. Then he walked though the door.

"Leonard. We need to talk."

"What do you want Sheldon?"

"What did you say to Penny?"

"I said a lot of things to Penny."

"Did you offer to relieve her sexual tension earlier this evening?"

"I was joking, Sheldon."

"Did Penny laugh?"

"No."

"Than I would posit that it was not a joke. And based upon some of the other remarks you have made to her and our other friends over the past few months I would propose that you actually believe that there is a possibility that you and Penny will reconcile at some point."

"We've gotten back together before, Sheldon."

"That proves nothing."

"Sheldon, I don't know what kind of relationship you think you're having with Penny but I think the two of you are living in some kind of fantasy world."

"How so?"

"First of all, you two haven't even had sex, um, coitus to use your term."

"What does that prove?"

"One thing I know is that Penny loves coitus. She's a big ol' five, to use her own words. She can't get enough. We used to do it all the time. Everywhere. I don't see her giving that up for anything or anyone. Especially not for you. It's who she is. If she's not getting it from you I'm sure she'll get it from someone. Why not me?"

"Really, Leonard. Since you claim to know Penny so well, did you ever notice that Penny was drinking to excess while you were doing it "everywhere?" Did you notice that she was an alcoholic? Did you notice how incredibly unhappy she was? I did. Her other friends did. And every one of us saw that you either didn't see it or you just didn't care."

"We were in love Sheldon. I believe we still are and just hit a bump in the road. A bump in the road with an IQ of 187."

"Love, Leonard? To paraphrase The Princess Bride, a wonderful film, I do not think that word means what you think it means."

"Well Sheldon, I disagree. And you know who else disagrees? Penny's dad. He loves me and he believes Penny and I belong together. We are very tight."

"It's very nice to hear you say that, Leonard. I know what high regard you hold Penny's father in. Might I suggest you check your email?"

"Why?"

"Just check it."

Leonard took out his phone and saw that he had an email from Wyatt that had arrived not five minutes earlier.

"Wyatt sent me an email. He's probably coming to visit and wants to get together with me because we had such a good time when I visited him."

"Why don't you open the email, Leonard?"

Leonard read the email. It was in all capital letters, as though Wyatt was yelling. He probably didn't realize the caps lock was on.

"LEONARD…

STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM PENNY AND MY FAMILY AND GO FUCK YOURSELF!

SINCERELY,

WYATT"

"What did you tell him, Sheldon?"

"Leonard, even though Wyatt and I communicate on a regular basis, you have never come up in conversation, either written or verbal. If Wyatt knows anything of your recent behavior, he learned it from Penny's mother or from Penny or both. I had nothing to do with it."

"Why do you communicate with Wyatt at all?"

"Though it is truly none of your business, because you were once my best friend and are formerly Penny's paramour I will tell you. When Penny and I first decided to change our relationship paradigm I requested Wyatt's permission to court her. And he gave it. This is how things are done in polite society in Texas and Nebraska. I'm not certain how things are done in New Jersey."

"Does Penny know that you went behind her back and did this? You know she doesn't like stuff like that. You're gonna be in big trouble, Sheldon."

"I know about it now. And I think it's romantic. Come give me a kiss, Shelly."

Penny was standing in the doorway.

"You two must realize that you're yelling. I bet Howard and Bernadette can hear you from their place across town."

"Sorry, Penny," Sheldon said before he gave Penny a peck on the cheek.

Leonard just glared.

"Before I let Sheldon continue, there are a couple of things you should know, Leonard. One, Sheldon and I are absolutely in love with each other. Head over heels, bluebirds flying around our heads love. And we intend to be together for the rest of our lives so if you intend to wait until we split up be prepared for a very long wait and then add a few thousand years to that."

"Penny at that point there won't be anything to split up."

"Shut up, Moonpie. I'm on a roll."

"And Leonard, me fucking you all the time, it wasn't so wonderful. Not for me. It was a symptom of a problem. Not that you ever thought I might have a problem. Not with sex. Not with my drinking. What was going on in my head never entered your mind. Leonard, your nearsightedness extends way beyond needing glasses."

"One last thing, and you may want to think about it. You're right. Sheldon and I haven't had sex. We don't know when we will, but we will and I know one thing. It will be fan-fucking-tastic. It will be the best sex I ever have in my life and it will keep getting better and better and better. Do you know how I know that? Well, I'll tell you a little story. Moonpie, you might want to cover your ears for this. Last week Sheldon on the spur of the moment decided to cop a feel. Sheldon, right? Well he did. One hand. One tit. Nothing else. And I was still dressed. His hand was on top of my clothes. Our skin didn't even touch. And you know what? He made me cum. I had an orgasm because he touched my tit the right way. And it was really good. It was a better orgasm than I ever had with you the entire time we were together. So Leonard, time to walk away from the fantasy that we will ever be together again. Sheldon and I have been really sensitive to your feelings for months now. We kept to my apartment most of the time so that you wouldn't have to deal with us as a couple but it's time you accepted reality. Sheldon and I are together. Get past it. Live your own life. And please, for God's sake, get some therapy. And if you're already getting it, change therapists because you're going to the wrong one."

"Sheldon, I'm going to bed. It's your turn to read so don't be too long."

"Allright, Penny. I'll be over soon."

Penny went back over to 4B.

"And now let's talk about what to do about you, Leonard. I don't believe awarding strikes is appropriate any longer."

"Nothing I've done or said violates the Roommate Agreement, Sheldon."

"True."

Sheldon went over to his desk and pulled out the Roommate Agreement. He opened it and tore out a page.

"Okay Sheldon, which part of the agreement are you removing?"

"Oh, Leonard, you're mistaken. I'm not removing this part. This is the part I'm retaining. I'm discarding the rest of it. I am only retaining the page that requires me to give you 30 days notice before I claim the entire apartment as my own. Consider notice given."

"Penny isn't going to move in with you, Sheldon."

"Leonard, Penny and I have already discussed this though we hadn't set a date. She and I have already concluded that we will cohabitate. It may be 30 days from now or 30 years from now but it will happen. And when it does I would prefer that the stench of your bitterness be entirely erased from our home. I believe that will likely take a great deal of cleaning."

"C'mon, Sheldon. We've been friends for a long time. Best friends. You don't want to end it over this. Over Penny."

"Leonard, we haven't been best friends since the Electric Can Opener Incident. And our friendship has been on shaky ground since I became aware of the disgusting things you've said in public about Penny. As far as I am concerned we are acquaintances, and believe me you are not even a treasured one. Since I have affection for our past relationship I will allow you to continue to be my roommate for another thirty days. After that, any relationship you have with myself or Penny will be entirely based upon your behavior. Our other friends can make their own decisions regarding you but I must tell you, both Howard and Raj have expressed surprise that I have let things progress as far as they have without, as Howard put it, kicking you to the curb. Your future place in our circle of friends is entirely up to you. Consider that."

"Good night, Leonard. Penny is waiting for me and I will not keep the woman I love waiting."

Sheldon returned to Apartment 4B. He was visibly upset. Penny walked over and hugged him.

"Sheldon, what happened."

"I have discarded the Roommate Agreement and given Leonard thirty days to vacate our apartment. I can see that at this point he has no intention of adjusting his attitude toward our changed relationship paradigm and I cannot accept his ongoing disrespect for you."

"Sheldon, I know this is big for you and I'm not even going to try to change your mind about it right now. I do think we should maybe consider a less drastic solution but let's wait until we're both a little calmer and a little more rational."

"Penny, I am always rational but I accept your premise that perhaps we should discuss this further at another time, perhaps in the morning."

"Good idea, Shelly. Now I kinda have something else I need to know. First, I'm not angry at all, just curious, but what the heck is going on between my dad and you?"

"Penny, let me go back a bit, since the proverbial genie is now out of the bottle. I'm sure you recall our kiss at The Cheesecake Factory following our victory over Paul Hernly."

"Of course. That was a pretty good kiss."

"For you I hope it was. But for me it was life changing and not only because it meant that we should be together. That kiss made everything I have ever done, everything I will ever do, every thought I have ever or will ever have make sense."

"Sheldon, if you thought a kiss did that…"

"Penny, you don't understand. Let me try to explain. Do you recall when I corrected you in your understanding of the term "light years"?

"Sure, you told me light years aren't about time, they're about distance."

"Correct. Well, at least I thought I was correct at the time. When we kissed I felt as though I left my body. I could see everything. I could see string theory, all of the work I have done, all of the work I will ever do. I saw history, not just our history but the history of everything. I suddenly understood how everything works. I understood why things are broken. I saw the whole universe and all of the other universes. I saw all of the Sheldons and all of the Pennys in all of those universes. And every single one of them was dancing. Even the clown made of candy."

"Sheldon, I don't understand. It was just a kiss."

"Penny, until that moment I lived my life for science. It was my reason for breathing, eating, everything. I was single-minded in my dedication. Even my relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler was an aspect of that dedication."

"Sheldon, that's one of the things I love about you."

"Penny, in that moment I understood something at the core that I have never understood before. That I never even thought to try to understand. I found the meaning of my life. I found the meaning of the universe. I found the 0,0,0,0 of everything."

"Penny, it's you. You make my life make sense. Without you all I am is a series of theories and facts. You are my reason. You are everything to me."

Penny stood there with in jaw-dropping amazement. Sheldon had never spoken like this. Ever. She liked it. She loved it.

"One kiss, huh?" was all she could say.

She hugged him again and started feeling around for his on/off switch. She wanted to make sure it stayed in the "on" position.

"Sheldon, have you been body-snatched? Did you take some kind of romance pill? And what does this have to do with my father?"

"Penny, I came to realize that my ongoing quest to prove String Theory, my eventual Nobel Prize, my life itself would mean nothing at all without you in it. I decided that I needed to make absolutely sure that we would spend eternity together. That was why I asked your father for permission to court you and commenced an ongoing email communication. That and another, baser, reason."

"What reason, Sheldon?"

"Leonard made me aware that your father believed him to be an appropriate mate for you and supported his courting you. He pointed this out many times, most especially after you terminated your relationship the first time. When you recommenced your relationship your father made a congratulatory phone call and left a message. Leonard saved and replayed that message a lot. While I am certain that your romantic relationship with Leonard has reached its ultimate conclusion and I believe that you care deeply for me I needed to be certain that your father no longer pined for your pair-bond with Leonard."

"Sheldon, you need to understand that I know that what we have is special, maybe a whole lot more special than I though it was before you said all that, but special. And whatever happened between Leonard and me is in the past. It's over and he's having a whole lot of trouble processing that. And we both know that it's much more about him than it is about me. He has a problem, well, lots of problems. And for a long time he thought he was the most well-adjusted one in our group of friends, the one who could most easily fit in with non-geniuses. I can tell you from first-hand experience, he was deluding himself. All of you, even Raj, have found more satisfying things in your lives than you even considered when I first met you. You've all grown. Except for Leonard. While he might have made progress in sciencey stuff he still wants the same thing he wanted the first day I moved in. Me. And he can't accept that it isn't going to happen because if he did he'd start seeing all the other stuff that's wrong with him that needs fixing."

"And I love my father but he has no control over how I live my life or the choices I make. I appreciate it when he approves but his disapproval wouldn't stop me. And while I know he thought Leonard and I a good match, I also know that he really didn't know Leonard at all. He knew out-in-public Leonard. He didn't know the possessive, snarky, jealous jerk that Leonard can be. It seems to me that the only difference between Leonard and Kurt or most of my other old boyfriends is a couple of college degrees."

"Sheldon, you don't need to worry about me and you. It doesn't matter what Leonard thinks. It doesn't matter what my father thinks. I love you and I want us to be together. And by the way, you're wrong."

"No way am I the 0,0,0,0 of your universe. We are. Unless it's "we" the universe doesn't mean anything."

"You are absolutely correct. How could I not see that?"

"Because you need me to see it. And I need you."

"Penny, I'm starting to believe that in some areas you are the one who is a genius."

"I think you always knew that, Moonpie."

So you're officially courting me, huh? Y'know if that's the case you're falling a little short in the flowers and chocolates department. Better fix that. Pronto. Other areas though, I wouldn't worry. You're doing I do still want to know, exactly what are my dad and you discussing. And what did you say to him last week especially about what you did with me Thursday night."

"Your father and generally discuss events in our daily lives, the weather, work, meals. We share nothing intimate about you and I."

"So it was just a coincidence."

"What was a coincidence?"

"Nothing, Moonpie. Nothing important."

"Penny, I'm worried about Leonard. If what you propose is correct perhaps casting him adrift at this time might not be the wisest course of action. His actions of late may not have been very positive…"

"He's been an ass, Sheldon."

"Of course. But perhaps we can find another solution that will minimize his interference in our relationship but not ostracize him from the group."

"I know you, Sheldon. You've already thought of something, haven't you?"

"Penny, you understand how important it is to both of us that we not rush things in our relationship."

"Where are you going with this, Sheldon?"

"Penny, what if you were to move into the apartment with me. Leonard could then move to your apartment. We would have our privacy and Leonard would not be constantly underfoot."

"Sheldon, I know this is a big step for you even proposing this, but us living together. I don't know if I'm ready for that yet."

"I do not believe we are yet ready to share a bedroom permanently so you could have Leonard's room. We could be more than roommates but it would be a bit less than cohabitating."

"Sheldon, I know you said this morning that you expected this to happen at some point but I…"

"Penny, consider it. I am loath to make this momentous a change in our living situation purely for Leonard's benefit, especially considering his behavior. It would almost be as though we were rewarding him. If we are to do this, it must be because we want to. Any benefit for Leonard must be considered as an additional factor and not the primary reason for the change. My proposal requires further thought and discussion before we present it to Leonard. It is also entirely possible that Leonard will relish to opportunity for geographical distance from us."

"O..okay. I'll think about it. Now I believe you were going to read to me."

"Yes, I believe that the chapter I am scheduled to read aloud contains a number of torn bodices."

"Oh boy. Your pj's are in the bathroom. I'll get ready for bed out here while you do. Let me know when you're ready for us to brush our teeth."

Sheldon changed and was about to call Penny in so they could brush their teeth before bed when he heard her phone ring. He heard it stop ringing so he assumed Penny picked it up. Even with his Vulcan hearing he couldn't actually determine what was being said but it didn't sound good. He came out of the bathroom, through her bedroom and found Penny still dressed and putting on her jacket. She looked, in a term she would use, "freaked out."

"What's wrong, Penny?"

"Sheldon, that was my manager at work. The Cheesecake Factory is on fire. Get dressed. We need to go."