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28 July 2009 @ 11:15 pm
The Starlite Ball Experiment [TBBT; Sheldon/Penny]  
TITLE: The Starlite Ball Experiment
CHAPTER 1: The Invitation Conundrum
FANDOM: The Big Bang Theory
PAIRING: Sheldon/Penny
SPOILERS: Season two
SUMMARY: "As if mandatory attendance for CalTech staff weren't bad enough, they completely misspelled 'starlight' on the flyers."


Three knocks sounded. "Penny..."

Another three knocks. "Penny..."

And then three more. "Penny..."

Finally, the door swung open, slightly wide and irate green eyes staring back at him. "What, Sheldon?"

Sheldon shifted on his feet, gaze shyly ducking downward for a mere split-second before he met her gaze. "Hello, Penny."

A smile, forgiving though not altogether sincere, touched her lips and she echoed the greeting before enquiring, "What's up?"

"W-well... many things. The sky for one, as a sort of all-encompassing..." He trailed off upon catching the look on her face. "You weren't being literal, were you?"

"No, honey."

"Ah. Well, at least I've gotten the hang of sarcasm."

Penny sighed. "What's going on, Sheldon?"

Tilting his head and clasping his hands behind his back, Sheldon shifted his weight nervously once more, tone overtly casual. "I just came by to inform you that this weekend is the university's first annual Starlite Ball."

She raised her eyebrows. "Starlite Ball?"

And he nodded. "Yes. As if mandatory attendance for CalTech staff weren't bad enough, they completely misspelled 'starlight' on the flyers." Aside, almost to himself, he muttered, "Imagine -- a science university completely lacking in comprehension of basic spelling and grammar."

She smiled indulgently, folding her arms across her chest. "So the university's having a ball!" she grinned. "How fun."

"I'm not sure 'fun' would be a word I would use to describe the forthcoming event, Penny. In comparison, I would think a full rectal exam would better qualify for use of the word," he spouted off, the grimace on her face going completely unnoticed.

"And you're telling me this because..." She leaned forward slightly, sensing the conversation would drag for several more minutes (hours possibly, if Sheldon was truly on top of his game this morning) unless she steered him toward the point.

"Oh! Yes." He smiled. "Leonard would like to ask you to the ball."

At this bit of information, not a total shock to her, she raised her eyebrows. "And he sent you over here to ask me for him?"

Sheldon practically chortled, a small smirk twitching at his lips. "Good Lord, no! I am neither a messenger owl from Hogwarts nor am I a participant in juvenile note-passing."

"So then... why are you... telling me?" Despite all the sleep garnered the night before, mornings spent talking with Sheldon Cooper often resulted in a migraine, one that she felt beginning at the top of her head.

"I don't think you should accept."

"Me neither."

"Good, so then we're in agreement."

"Guess so," she shrugged, and jerked a thumb over her shoulder. "Can I go back to my cereal now?"

"Not just yet, Penny."

She groaned, leaning her head against the edge of the door, whining his name. "Sheldonnn..."

"Well if you're going to decline Leonard's inevitable invitation, I think it's necessary to devise an excuse for why you cannot attend with him." Before she could respond, he held up a finger to stop her. "I've got it: why don't you tell him that you need to wash your hair?"

Penny couldn't help but chuckle. "What?"

He just shrugged, innocence hugging his boyish features. "What? I've come to understand that it takes females an unusually long time to wash their hair."

"Where did you get that idea?"

"The few times I was weak enough to indulge in the farcical tradition known as dating, I often found that was a stumbling block. I always had the unfortunate coincidence of asking a girl for a date on a night she had planned to spend washing her hair."

At that, Penny's shoulders sagged just a little and she tilted her head at the physicist, sympathy in her gaze. His naiveté at times was downright painful. "Aww," she pouted, reaching out to pat his cheek. "Honey."

Another shrug rolled off his lanky frame. "What?"

She sighed and shook her head. "Nevermind."

"So that's a no on the hair-washing scenario I'm assuming? Let's try another. Are there any physical ailments you can think of that would render you unable to accompany Leonard, Wolowitz, or Koothrappali to this ball? Would you be completely opposed to faking explosive diarrhea?"

"Howard and Raj want to ask me too?" Fixing him with a look, she added, "And that's a big fat no on the diarrhea, by the way."

"Just thought I'd offer it as an option." After a pause, he responded to her former remark. "Well obviously Raj will be rendered unable to ask you, and Howard is still mildly afraid that you might punch him again."

"Awww, is he really?"


She giggled to herself, bouncing girlishly on her feet. "Good." She gestured to him. "Well... what about you?"

"I'm not afraid of you. I have a good sixty IQ points on you, and I'm taller than you by a head."

She rolled her eyes. "I meant... you aren't going to ask me to the ball?"

Sheldon frowned. "Why would you think I would ask you?"

Penny's mouth opened and closed on unformed words, a response somehow missing as she was torn between indifference over his not bothering to ask, and feeling slightly hurt that it didn't even cross his mind. "Well... uh... I don't know. Because the others were going to?"

"In case you haven't noticed, Penny, I don't always do what the others do."

Her eyes widened slightly and she turned away, heading back into her apartment. "Believe me, I've noticed."

Predictably, he followed her in, closing the door behind him as she turned to face him. "So do you have a date to this thing then?" she asked next.

"Penny, I'm already deeply reluctant about attending. What makes you think I would drag an unwilling second party to this event?"

She shrugged, the offer rolling off her tongue before she could stop herself. "How about I go with you?"

That caught his attention. He quirked his head, studying her contemplatively with narrowed eyes. "Why?"

"Because that will be my excuse for Leonard," she concluded with a definitive nod, taking a seat on the arm of her couch while he sat down on the far left side -- what was fastly becoming 'his spot' in her apartment. "I can't go with him because you already asked me."


She made a face. "No?!"

"Leonard would never accept the idea of me asking you."

Penny sighed. "Okay, then... if he asks, just tell him that the ball came up in conversation and I offered to go with you."


Gritting her teeth and fixing him with a hard glare, she silently counted to five before asking him, "Why not?"

In the same tone as his previous remark, he replied, "Leonard would never accept the idea of me willingly engaging you in conversation."

"Then make something up, okay?" With that, she rose to her feet and headed over to his end of the couch, nudging him up and pushing him toward the door. "You'll have me there to save you from boredom, and I'll be saved from dealing with any more awkward Leonard stuff. So we'll both win."

Once in the doorway, having passed the threshold into the hall, he turned to face her, a quizzical look on his features. "Were we playing a game?"

She rolled her eyes, hand already swinging the door closed, "Goodbye, Sheldon!" and reveling in the sound it made when it slammed.

No more than two seconds later, his frenetic knocking and calling of her name sounded once again, and she huffed, going back to the door and yanking it open. "What?!"

Smiling sweetly and with a bit of a pompous air, he told her matter-of-factly, "The ball starts at seven so you should be ready by no later than six o'clock sharp. Don't wear stiletto heels, don't spray on obnoxious amounts of cloying perfume, and please make sure the dress you choose is no shorter than four inches above the knee."

She just stared...

"See you then!" he called with another chipper grin, and turned to head back to his apartment.

Watching him go, Penny slumped against the door and closed her eyes, shaking her head. "Oh God, I'm gonna regret this so hard."


Like what you've read? Why don't you watch or join the community?

{x-posted to sheldon_penny}
something holy used to love me: Toshhyacinthian on July 29th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)

Wanna look sane? Surround yourself with LOONSich_faultier on July 30th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Why hello there stranger :D
(no subject) - regalish on August 4th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
private dick extraordinaire: penny sheldonalliterations on July 29th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
I was giggling like a maniac though this whole thing. Can't wait for more!
a.: sheldon/penny; everyday i write the bookregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Glad you liked this first part :D
len_again: ShelPenPhotoBoothlen_again on July 29th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
YAY! A Formal Fic! They own a small, fuzzy piece of my heart. I loved that Sheldon was so obstinant about not taking anyone else to suffer through it. I also wonder why he thought Penny shoud say no to Leonard? Hmm...I can't wait for part 2!
a.: penny; sweetheartregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I've got a soft spot for the formal-fic plots too :D
renisanz: j/t ewwrenisanz on July 29th, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
*hee* I loved the banter between them. :) Interesting that Sheldon would go over just to tell Penny that Leonard was going to ask her and that she should decline his offer. :)
a.: sheldon/penny; helloregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed this!
Demelza: SP - By Your Siderightxhere on July 29th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)

Oh my, I LOVE IT! So cannot wait for more :) :)
a.: sheldon/penny; subtextregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! More shall be posted soon :)
i'm incendiary too, man: [Bang] look // enfermiera_chanallthingsholy on July 29th, 2009 07:22 am (UTC)
it's that thing they say about great minds
FOR THE RECORD, this was really cute.

ALSO FOR THE RECORD, I have over 8000 words of a "Sheldon and Penny dress up and go on a fake-date to a formal" fic on this laptop. It is nothing like this (so far), but I just wanted to mention it.

Ahem. Do continue.
a.: sheldon/penny; back at your doorregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Re: it's that thing they say about great minds
Hehe! Why thank you!

And great minds truly do think alike ;D I can't wait to see your formal-fic!
Christina: Ship Itpandoraandbox on July 29th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Awww, there's so much adorable in this fic! I can't wait to see where it goes.
a.: penny; sweetheartregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you're enjoying it :D
gemsile123gemsile123 on July 29th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
aw very cute! Keep crossposting please!
a.: sheldon; just smileregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
Thanks much! More to come soon! :)
Taki Neko Valerie: :3 WISH bunnytakineko on July 29th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
D'awww you really brought out his more adorable qualities, teehee!
a.: jim/kaley; super heroesregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
Hehe, thank you so much! I just love all the cutesy little things Sheldon does, so of course I had to bring them out to play in this fic :D
(Anonymous) on July 29th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Wow! Great writing! I hate a lot of fan fiction, but this is actually really well-written. You've really captured the spirit of the characters and made the idea of Penny and Sheldon going on a date completely plausible. Congratulations. I wish the writers of the show would take a few leaves out of your book. Better yet they could just hire you. You seem to have a better grasp on where the show should go than they do.
a.: phoebe; one girl revolutionregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much! That truly means a lot to me. I always get nervous about characterization when writing for a new fandom/pairing (especially since I'm such a stickler about it when I'm reading fics), so I'm very happy you think I was able to capture them okay :D

(Also, I'd LOVE it if they hired me, haha!)

More soon!
Wanna look sane? Surround yourself with LOONSich_faultier on July 30th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
This is seriously adorable. If it was anyone else who went to Penny's door and said all of that then it was really the ancient art form of fishing for a date; yet here's Sheldon Cooper, who had to be coerced :D

I'd hate to Mosby you but I think I am little in love with this...
a.: barney/robin; troubleregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'm so glad you liked this!

I'd hate to Mosby you - ahahahah! Another HIMYM fan, yessss! Gotta love crazy Mosby.
jazzrose343 (fallen angel)jazzrose343 on July 30th, 2009 07:45 am (UTC)
This was awesome.

I really enjoyed the fact that Sheldon told Prnnu to decline his offer :)

Keep cross posting! I cannot wait to read the next part.
a.: jen; flower childregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Thank you!! I hope to post more very soon :)
magyarchick: captain tightpantsmagyarchick on July 31st, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this story. Such a potentially fun premise. I like the way that Sheldon didn't ask Penny to go with him.
Would you be completely opposed to faking explosive diarrhea?" This made me LOL so loud, I scared the crap out of my cat. Also, I loved the whole hair washing exchange. And now have, "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair" stuck in my head. Thanks a lot :)
a.: buffy; melt my heart to stoneregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:29 am (UTC)
Haha, thanks much! Glad you liked their banter :D

Sorry about getting that song stuck in your head, though ;)

More soon!
intergalactic super geek: evil pizzaphantmgreeneyes on August 1st, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
/grins More please!!
a.: giles/jenny; see youregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! Part two will be up soon! :)
phil_urichphil_urich on August 2nd, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
heh, Sheldon giving Penny orders on how to dress for the ball was funny. Looks like this will be a fun story to read.
a.: blake; american girlregalish on August 4th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I hope to have more of this ready to post soon :)