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14 August 2009 @ 11:39 am
The Starlite Ball Experiment [TBBT; Sheldon/Penny]  
TITLE: The Starlite Ball Experiment
CHAPTER 3: The Salmon Debacle
FANDOM: The Big Bang Theory
PAIRING: Sheldon/Penny
SPOILERS: Season two
SUMMARY: She slumped slightly in her seat, dreading what was on its way out of his mouth and wondering why the hell she ever agreed to this insanity in the first place.


Upon arriving at the university, Sheldon was immediately met by lukewarm greetings from the other three. Penny, meanwhile, was met with awkward glances from Leonard, pathetically overt ogling from Howard, and a very enthusiastic (and loud) hello from a very tipsy Raj. Not long afterward, Dr. Gablehauser made an announcement that dinner was to be served. As the two of them took their seats at their assigned table, Penny leaned toward Sheldon. "Dinner already?" she questioned in a hushed voice. "Isn't there a social hour first?"

Sheldon nearly chortled. "Social hour?" He shook his head. "Penny, Penny, Penny."

She slumped slightly in her seat, dreading what was on its way out of his mouth and wondering why the hell she ever agreed to this insanity in the first place. "What."

"We are scientists," he told her firmly. "We don't waste an hour socializing. Socializing is for a sorority mixer, or... perhaps a hoe-down. This is neither of those things."

Her eyebrow arched. "You know what a sorority mixer is?"

"Of course," he shrugged, placing his cloth napkin in his lap and rearranging his silverware into their proper order. "I did attend college. Though I was eleven at the time, and just starting to grow into my body... the point still stands."

"I see." She nodded slowly, eyebrows raised, and turned her eyes to the plate that had been placed in front of her. Her eyes practically twinkled. "Oooh, steak!"

"Yes." Sheldon poked at the pink slab on his own plate. "And what appears to be some sort of attempt at salmon."

The eye roll she emitted was affectionate. "Sweetie, remember this isn't a five-star catering service."

"Still. You'd think I'd be able to tell whether the fish is actually dead or not."

"Just take a bite."

"Do I have to?"

She huffed. "Seriously? How old are you right now?"

"Twenty-five, but I hardly see how that's relevant to the matter of questionable seafood."

"You're acting like a baby. Just eat."

Whatever he grumbled back at her skirted along the edges of her hearing, and he leaned down to take a bite of his salmon. Immediately, he began to gag, face contorting in an expression of disgust while his eyes started to water. Penny quickly held her napkin to his mouth. "Here! Here, spit it out."

He did so, taking the napkin from her and pressing it tightly to his lips, folding the discarded salmon in it when he was through and letting out a cough, eyes still watering. Without thought, Penny's hand reached out and stroked the back of his neck, toying with the close-cropped hair at the nape. "You okay, sweetie?" she asked softly as she rubbed his back in comforting circles, the look of confusion from Leonard going completely unnoticed.

Sheldon nodded, letting out one more weak cough before he cleared his throat into a closed fist. Finally, he found his voice long enough to reply, "Yes," and took a large gulp of water.

"Well! Nice move there, Doctor Dumbass!" a brash voice broke in from somewhere behind them.

In unison, Penny and Sheldon turned over their shoulders to spot Leslie Winkle approaching in a rather old and unflattering dress, complete with sneakers and dark socks. While Sheldon glared daggers at the wiry-haired brunette, she turned her eyes to Penny, feigning a smile. "And Barbie! So nice of you to make the trek all the way from Malibu."

Now it was Penny's turn to glare, tossing a faux smile right back at her. "Yeah, I figured - why not? Since you somehow made it all the way from Witch Mountain." She glimpsed quick at Sheldon, whose lips now adorned a smug smile.

Straightening in his chair, he inclined his head at Leslie. "I believe this would be the appropriate situation to enable use of the term 'booya.'" And he completed the insult with a small head swivel that caused Penny to hide a giggle against her shoulder.

She felt the glare as Leslie turned and stalked back to her table, before she turned back to Sheldon, still stifling her giggle. "Nicely done, Sheldon."

"I was about to say the same to you." He tipped his head in acknowledgement, then turned to his plate once more, pushing his vegetables around. "I must say, Penny, I was impressed by how you handled yourself."

She raised her brows. "Really?"

"Oh, yes. There aren't many that can go toe-to-toe with Leslie Winkle in a battle of wits and come out on top." To himself, he muttered, "No matter how hard I try."

Penny smiled and covered his hand with hers on the table, giving it a friendly squeeze. "Well I did that for you, sweetie." Narrowing her eyes slightly and smirking, she told him, "I can't stand her."

"Not many can, but for differing reasons."

"Well I can't speak for all the others, but personally, I just don't like the way she talks to you."

At that, he turned to look at her. "Really?"

"Yeah. I mean... you're way smarter than she is."

Sheldon let out a low snort. "A statement of the obvious, Penny, but thank you nonetheless."

She sighed, fighting the eye roll. "Right. You're welcome." Shaking her head, she went back to spearing at her vegetables with the fork in her free hand.

After a long moment, Sheldon called to her softly. "Penny?"

"Hmm?" She took a bite of asparagus and moaned her approval. "God, this asparagus is amazing. Have you tried it yet?"

"No. Penny..."

"Yeah, sweetie?"

When a moment went by in which he didn't respond, she looked up at him. "What?" she prompted.

He just stared at her for a moment before quietly informing her, "You're still holding my hand."

Upon glancing down and finding her left hand still joined with his right, Penny's brows flew up and she quickly retracted, mumbling a soft, "Sorry," and averting her gaze.

"It's alright." Again, something was off in his tone, something was very un-Sheldon-like but hard to pinpoint.

And she hadn't missed the way his hand turned, fingertips momentarily exchanging warmth before she pulled away.

Nervously, Penny tucked a few stray bangs behind her ear and went back to her vegetables, wondering why she was blushing...

Wondering why her fingertips were still tingling.


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{x-posted to sheldon_penny}
she_burns1: grr<3she_burns1 on August 14th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
I was so excited when I saw this had been updated. This is one of my favorite ungoing S/P fics right now. I adored when Penny shot down Leslie Winkle and then the hand holding! Yet again, can't wait for more! <3!
a.: sheldon/penny; helloregalish on August 17th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you're still enjoying this. Chapter four will be posted in just a few moments! :)
ruby_casparruby_caspar on August 14th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)

Great chapter - I loved Penny and Sheldon's interaction here, and of course Penny's insult to Leslie. Can't wait for more - let there be dancing!!
a.: sheldon/penny; walk this wayregalish on August 17th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much!

Chapter four will be posted shortly :)
Ex Astris, Scientia: Raj approves!mrsvc on August 14th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Penny wins over Leslie Winkle!

You win over life.
a.: penny; sweetheartregalish on August 17th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Penny absolutely wins over Leslie ;D

And thanks!! Next chapter will be up soon!
renisanz: pennyrenisanz on August 14th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yay! for another chapter. Loved Penny getting the best of Leslie. :)
a.: jim/kaley; kiss you on the cheekregalish on August 17th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked this chapter :)

Chapter four is coming up in a few minutes!
Taki Neko Valerie: :3 WISH bunnytakineko on August 14th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
So cute! I'm surprised at you Penny, holding his hand without realizing! It's all subconscious. Your brain is trying to tell you things.
a.: sheldon; knock three timesregalish on August 17th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! More soon :)
7gifts7gifts on August 15th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you updated, I'm liking where this is going.
a.: sheldon/penny; back at your doorregalish on August 17th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks much! Glad you're liking this.

I'm about to post chapter four :)