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15 August 2009 @ 12:14 am
The Keepsake Discovery [TBBT; Sheldon/Penny]  
TITLE: The Keepsake Discovery
FANDOM: The Big Bang Theory
PAIRING: Sheldon/Penny
SPOILERS: Series
RATING: PG
SUMMARY: You know you're not supposed to be in here, but you just can't help yourself.


*****

When you turn your key in the lock, you hope that nobody's home. Leonard's pining has been suffocating you lately, and you're not in the mood to hear Sheldon's voice this early in the morning. You shouldn't even be awake yet, but this was the best time. Leonard would be fast asleep from working nights, and Sheldon would be at the comic book store with Raj and Howard. You can just sneak in, grab Sheldon's expansion pack for Age of Conan, do a quickie install on your computer and then replace the disc and sneak back out. Stealth like a ninja.

But upon opening the door, you jump, spotting Leonard near the coffee table, grabbing his messenger bag and looking half-dead. "Leonard!"

"Hey, Penny." The exhaustion is beyond evident in his voice as he greets you wearily (though not without affection, which is precisely what you were hoping to avoid). Then, in a voice clogged with sleep, he squints in the sun-brightened room and asks, "What are you doing here?"

You shrug. "Oh, I just... needed to return something to Sheldon."

He looks you up and down and you shift uncomfortably. "Like what?"

It's then you realize you aren't holding anything but your computer. Crap. "Uhh..." Wincing slightly, hoping he'll buy it, you try, "My laptop?"

Another confused squint, then, "Why are you giving your laptop to Sheldon?"

"He's, uh... helping me with something."

"Ahh." Leonard nods. "Tech support?"

"Exactly!" you sigh brightly, almost in relief that he gave you a perfect excuse. So you gesture toward his room. "So I'm just gonna, y'know... leave it by his door."

As you brush past, Leonard's eyes follow you while he heads to the door and calls to you, "Okay, but don't go in his room! You've already got two strikes! I'll see you later, though, I've gotta get back to work. Lock up when you leave!"

"'Kay!" you call back, and wait for the sound of the door to shut. When you hear it, you toss a glance toward the door just to make sure.

You're about to set the laptop down in front of Sheldon's closed bedroom door when you bite down on your lip, contemplating. If Sheldon was at the comic book store, and truly was a creature of habit, he wouldn't be back for another half hour to an hour. And that one glimpse into his room a couple weeks ago left the curiosity bubbling just under the surface. At the thought of your two strikes, and a possibly-impending third, you finally huff, "Oh screw him!" and barge right in.

One look around his room leaves you feeling unsettled, despite your earlier resolve. You know you're not supposed to be in here, but you just can't help yourself. Sheldon, though an open book at times, is still quite often an enigma. Any glimpse you can get into his psyche, you'll take it.

Everything is in perfect order; comic books and graphic novels are all aligned and properly alphabetized, sorted by subject. Briefly, you consider taking out one of his Flash comics and sticking it between two random Green Lantern comics, but... you don't want to make his head explode. Plus, he can never find out that you've been in here.

On one shelf you spot a familiar-looking box and smile -- his letters from his 'Memaw' -- and contemplate reading those again. You really didn't get a good look the last time. But then a different box catches your eye. It's one that wasn't there the last time. And, oddly enough, it's adorned with flowers; a strange choice for any man, but for Sheldon especially. Curiosity having gotten the better of you, you take the box from the shelf and open it.

Sitting on top, folded neatly in a Ziploc bag, is a beige cloth napkin. You furrow your brows at it until you see a hint of writing on it and then you realize -- it's the napkin autographed by Spock himself, that you gave to Sheldon for Christmas.

"Oh! A napkin!" His look of mingling confusion and disapproval hadn't escaped you.

But you just smiled, knowing what was in store as you told him softly but excitedly, "Turn it over!"

You had giggled as you watched the realization slowly dawn, shock having taken over his features. In seconds, he had fallen against the arm of the chair, taken aback by what was in front of him. And then he read: "To Sheldon - 'Live Long and Prosper'..." and he'd looked up at Leonard, voice shaking as he had concluded in total awe, "...Leonard Nimoy."

"Yeah, he came into the restaurant. Sorry the napkin's dirty, he wiped his mouth with it," you had apologized, expecting a comment about how on Earth he would wash the soiled napkin.

But instead he had sprung to his feet, albeit on wobbly knees, voice still shaking. "I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy?!" His face had started to twitch and tic and crumple and you weren't sure if he was going to cry, scream, or pass out. His hands were shaking, for crying out loud.

"Well... yeah, yeah I guess, but - but look, he signed it!"

"Do you realize what this means?!" he had shrieked at you, and you thought for sure he would pass out at any moment. "All I need is a healthy ovum and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!"

"Okay... all I'm giving you is the napkin, Sheldon."

But apparently that napkin had meant more to Sheldon than you'd anticipated. He ran off to his room and returned no more than two minutes later with both arms full of gift baskets. "Sheldon!! What did you do?!"

"I know, it's not enough, is it? Here!" And then he had done something most unexpected, but... weirdly enough, it had been the best present you got that year. Sheldon ran over to you and, though tentatively at first, finally wrapped his arms around you and hugged you. A
good hug. And though you made a crack about it with Leonard, who had deemed it 'a Saturnalia miracle,' you wrapped your arms around Sheldon in return and squeezed him tight, a rush of affection overtaking you.

And that had been the first time you realized just how much you adored Sheldon.


Smiling, you shake your head at the napkin -- typical Sheldon, to preserve Spock's precious DNA in a Ziploc freezer bag. You take the bag out and set it gently on the bed, not wanting to disturb it in any way. Knowing him, he probably has each crease memorized. And he can't know you've been in here.

The next item in the box is a picture of the two of you on Valentine's Day. A day you never like to spend alone. And this year, despite not having a boyfriend or even a date, you didn't have to spend it alone. Leonard had wanted to take you out, granted, but you gently let him know that you weren't big on celebrating that particular holiday. Even though you love it. So instead, you spent the evening with all four of the guys (avoiding being near or alone with Howard at all times, of course). The picture had been an impromptu suggestion by a tipsy Raj, and agreed to by a compliant (secretly tipsy) Sheldon.

"Okay okay, so who's up for some 'Truth or Dare?'" Howard had suggested, waggling his eyebrows at you.

You had rolled your eyes, pressing your ruby-stained lips together and rising from your couch. "Who wants another drink?"

"Oh! I'll take another virgin Cuba Libre please, Penny!" Sheldon had called after you, holding up a glass.

"Sure thing, Sweetie! Coming right up." You had poured the Diet Coke, and then waited until he looked away to add a shot of Bacardi.

After he'd drained the last of it (and after Raj had finished off his third Grasshopper), they were suddenly feeling adventurous. "Let's take some wacky pictures!" Raj had suggested.

"Oooh, good idea. Penny?" Howard had practically slithered over to her, trying to put his arm around her.

It was at that point you threatened to punch him in the throat and he moved away, leaving you to sit by Sheldon. So you winked at him. "Whaddya say, Sweetie? Wanna take a picture with me?"

He had agreed thanks to the not-so-virgin Cuba Libres, and Leonard (still pouting that you didn't go out with him) grabbed the camera. You giggled, getting into a fun pose and planting an impromptu kiss on Sheldon's cheek when the camera flashed.


You smile down at the photo, remembering the moment clearly, but still enjoying seeing it in front of you in still form: your grinning red lips against Sheldon's cheek, fingers grabbing his chin to hold him still and one leg thrown playfully over his lap. The sight of his shy smile in the photo just makes your own widen, and you remember the feel of the blush hitting his cheeks, warming your lips momentarily before you pulled away, and the fleeting touch of his hand on your thigh, pushing your leg away once the photo had been taken.

Giggling to yourself, you remember the way he had glared at you for leaving a lipstick mark on his face, though you noticed he never tried to wipe it away. Sighing, you place the photo next to the Ziploc-preserved napkin, keeping the items in order so as to put everything back perfectly when you're done.

You can't help but wonder why he chose to save that particular photo of the two of you. The napkin's a no-brainer, sure. You're certain he'll eventually try to clone Leonard Nimoy. But to save a simple picture of the two of you? That's not like him at all.

What you find next is even more surprising than the napkin and the photo: one red Penny Blossom is the third item you pull from the box, and you look it over with a furrowed brow before setting it down. What use did Sheldon have for a hair clip?

Out comes a post-it note next, and you're surprised to find your handwriting scrawled across it: 'Hey Moonpie! Thanks for helping me set up my printer. I knew you'd always be the one I can count on.'

You smile, touched that he would hang on to that. Hell, you're still touched that he took notice of your distress over the whole new-neighbor situation, feeling as though you were being replaced. When all the other guys disappeared to fawn over Alicia, it was Sheldon that hung back, Sheldon that stuck with you. Granted, he probably wasn't so much 'sticking with you' as he was 'not caring one way or another,' but it had meant something to you all the same.

Several more post-its are stuck to the back of the first, and your surprise (and confusion) grows more and more as you realize each one is from you:

'Sheldor- You. Me. Age of Conan. Tonight at my place. Be there. -Queen Penelope (AFK)'

'Shel- Finished folding your socks for you. One of these days, I'll teach you to fold socks like a real man, don't worry. -Me'

'Hey, Sweetie. Sorry I took the milk - there's a new one in the fridge waiting for you. Luv, P'

'Sheldon Cooper, consider this a warning: TAKE MY LAUNDRY OUT OF THE MACHINE EARLY AGAIN AND I'LL PUNCH YOU IN THE THROAT WHETHER IT'S BEFORE 11 OR NOT. -Penny'

The last one makes you chuckle and shake your head, wondering why on Earth Sheldon would keep that particular one.

More items in the box point to you: a piece of eggshell, from the time you tried to teach Sheldon how to cook a Western omelette and his nagging caused you to lob a couple of eggs at him. Then there was the CD you burned for him so he could learn who Radiohead was, and a Batman keychain you bought for him at a gas station.

Finally, resting at the bottom of the box, is a wallet-sized copy of one of your head shots you'd given to him when he found it in your apartment and told you that the black-and-white made you look like a classic film star. You had been so surprised, you just automatically handed the photo over and told him he could keep it, expecting he would just dismiss it and pass it on to Leonard.

You had no idea he would hang on to it. Or any of this stuff, for that matter.

The more you look at all of this stuff spread out around you Sheldon's bed, each and every item pointing to you in one way or another, the more you find your stomach twisting into knots. And then it hits you like a ton of bricks:

Sheldon has a thing for you. Sheldon might just be a teensy bit infatuated with you.

What's worse is that you don't get the feeling of dread you got when you realized the same of Leonard. When you came to the decision that you had to let him down gently and tell him you were better off as friends.

No, now there's a completely new feeling brewing in the pit of your stomach. You don't feel nauseous (or nauseated as Sheldon would most certainly correct you if he were here right now), and you don't feel sad that you'll have to let him down.

You feel... nervous. But in a weirdly good way. You feel even a little bit excited, and another ton of bricks hits you:

You have a thing for Sheldon. You might just be a teensy bit infatuated with him, too.

But no, that can't be right. This is Sheldon. The man who continually corrects your grammar and kicks you out of 'his spot.' The man who forced you to sing him a song and care for him like a little baby when he was more than capable of taking care of himself. The man who constantly annoys you by knocking on your door in that stupid way and bugging you about inane things that he should know if he's so smart. The man who finds any chance he can to toss you a quick jab or insult, glaring at you with those sharp blue eyes like he's better than you.

But, then again... this is Sheldon. The man who knows you're built for better things than what you're doing now and just wants you to realize that, and who's a little set in his ways. The man who let his guard down enough to expose his vulnerability to you in a time he wasn't feeling well, and put his trust in you to help him feel better. The man who constantly comes to you for advice and knocks on your door in that endearing way and taps into your expertise about things in life he's unfamiliar with. The man who also has a way of sneaking you a compliment, looking straight into your heart with those sharp blue eyes like nobody else has ever been able to, and finding just the right way to drag your spirits up when they've been tamped down.

"Boy, I love him... but he is one serious whackadoodle."

And he is a whackadoodle. But... he's your whackadoodle. And you do love him. More than you realized up until today.

"Penny?"

His voice in your head sends your stomach tumbling again, and then you realize it's not in your head. He's behind you. You can feel the heat coming off his body as he stands at the foot of his bed, looking over your shoulder. "What are you doing in my room?"

You jump up from the bed, now standing in front of him, nearly toe-to-toe. You're close enough to spot every single emotion mingling in his eyes: confusion, irritation, and... maybe some affection?

"Sheldon..." Your heart's slamming in your chest, and you feel like you still haven't had enough time to process everything you've learned here this morning. About him. About yourself. About the two of you as a now suddenly-plausible 'us.'

"I repeat: what are you doing in my room?" His voice is high-pitched, a little squeaky as it so often gets when he's either nervous or highly confused, or... in this case, probably both.

"I, um..." You fold your hands behind your back and shift with him when he tries to look around you, as if that will hide the evidence of your intrusion spread all over the comforter. "I-I came to get the expansion pack for 'Age of Conan' and-"

"-Well why on Earth would you think I would keep it in there when it's clearly right here?" He moves away from you momentarily to grab the expansion pack sitting in plain view on his shelf.

"Oh!" You let out a nervous chuckle, smile weak. "Whaddya know? There it is!" Sheepishly, you throw a glance behind you at the now empty box of keepsakes on his bed. "I, uh, didn't see it there, so I thought it might be in-"

"-Oh, no, you looked in there?!" Hurriedly, he tries to gather all of the items you've spread all over, his brows knit together in a clearly panicked expression. "Penny, I-"

"Sheldon, really, you don't have to feel embarrassed!"

"You effectively broke into my room and rifled through my belongings, Penny! If anyone should feel embarrassed, it should be you for your lack of tact and respect of boundaries."

You duck your head, able to hear the hurt in his tone. And he's absolutely correct. You had no right to come into his room, and no right to open that box. A part of you wishes you never had opened the box -- might as well have been Pandora's box for the onslaught of confusion and conflicting emotion it brought on.

"You looked at all of this." His tone is low, almost hushed. You can't be certain if that was a question or a statement, so you just nod, head still ducked.

You watch him closely as he sighs, almost looking a little deflated. His shoulders sag just slightly and he tosses the Penny Blossom and eggshell back onto his bed. He now ducks his head and slips one hand into his pocket, shuffling his feet. It's excruciatingly silent in the room and right now you'd pay a full year's-worth of rent to know what he's thinking.

Then he looks up at you; searches your eyes. He opens his mouth as if to say something and then closes it just as quickly, his extensive vocabulary suddenly, seemingly, failing him. The two of you just stare at each other and your heart is still thudding wildly. You can feel the force of it so powerfully, you almost fear it's going to beat clear out of your chest.

Sheldon takes a couple steps toward you, tentative and unsure, and you mirror him to let him know it's okay to approach. Soon, the two of you have gone toe-to-toe with each other once again, still staring silently.

Your stomach is tied into such tight knots you almost feel your throat start to close up. You want to apologize for your wrong-doings, you want to tell him that what you've seen is okay, that you're not upset with him or disgusted or want to be just friends. There's so much you feel that you need to say to him and you have no idea how to put it into words, so you take another route.

You stretch up on your toes and plant one on him.

And Sheldon does just what you always expected he'd do in a situation such as this. He pushes you away and wipes his lips, looking extremely offended. More-so than he looked when he first came to the realization that you'd gone through his things.

But what he does next is highly unexpected. He steps toward you once again and leans down, capturing your lips. The surprised moan escapes before you can stop it, and as his trembling hands find your hips, yours slide up to his shoulders.

You hadn't even known that someone as asexual as Sheldon Cooper would know the mechanics of kissing. But he does. Boy does he ever. As the kiss continues to escalate, you draw your own conclusion that he must have researched kissing on the internet at one point or another. Because someone so admittedly inexperienced should not be so talented with their lips.

Or their tongue.

He walks you backwards, stance and grip more confident, but he miscalculates the distance to the bed, because your already wobbly knees buckle as soon as the backs hit the mattress. Before you know it, you've toppled backwards onto the bed and have dragged Sheldon along for the ride. He's sprawled on top of you and the weight of a male body against yours has never felt so good.

When the two of you shift to get more comfortable, you hear the crunch of the eggshell, breaking under your shoulder. The post-its are sticking to your hair and the Ziploc-encased napkin is getting wrinkled under your butt, but neither of you could care less right now.

He pulls away for just a moment, pressing his forearms into the mattress on either side of your head while he searches your eyes. He blinks once, twice, and exhales a slight, awed smile accompanied by a, "Wow," and you know exactly what he's thinking.

So you smile back. "Me too, Sweetie."

And it's several more hours before Sheldon lets you leave his bedroom.



FIN



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{x-posted to sheldon_penny}
 
 
 
7gifts7gifts on August 15th, 2009 11:43 am (UTC)
The sweetest thinng :)
a.: sheldon/penny; back at your doorregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! :)
qblackheartqblackheart on August 15th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Awww - this was really adorable! I LOVED the post-its!
a.: jim/kaley; super heroesregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked this :D
Lady Lionessevening_shadow on August 15th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
Very nicely done. I felt like a little hitch-hiker on Penny's shoulder. The last line is wonderful. Looking forward to more from you.
a.: penny; sweetheartregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked the 2nd person POV. I've always loved it for the exact reason you mention -- feeling like a little hitch-hiker on the character's shoulder. :)
ruby_casparruby_caspar on August 15th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
Oh god, the last line. THE LAST LINE.

I heart this fic a ridiculous amount - so sweet. I loved the post-it notes!
a.: robia; the most beautiful girlregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks! Glad you liked it. The post-it notes were my favorite to write :D
S.: bb theory; the ultimate paradoxartic_fox on August 15th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
Wow, indeed! I admit I'm usually wary of first or second person fics, but this blew me out of the water, and I think you did a wonderful job. I love how you had all the objects and the memories behind them, and then his reaction to finding her, and the eventual realisation. Great job!
a.: sheldon/penny; so closeregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed this POV.

I'm usually wary of first/second person fics too (I'm reading a novel right now that was written in 1st person and it's still kinda hard to adjust to), but second person is just such a fun challenge to write. You're basically just setting yourself directly in the character's shoes - thoughts, emotions et al - and pulling yourself that much further into the story.

Anyway. Thanks again!!
Ex Astris, Scientia: Raj approves!mrsvc on August 15th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Lovely. I adored that Sheldon keep a little box of secrets about Penny.
Great work.
a.: sheldon; septemberregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'm glad you liked this :)
jazzrose343 (fallen angel)jazzrose343 on August 15th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
This was so lovely and sweet!

I loved all the details you put in. Looking back over Penny's memories and all the keepsake that Sheldon had! The 'post it' notes were my favourite :)

The ending was perfect! I cannot wait to read more from you !!
a.: sheldon; knock three timesregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! This was such a fun story and POV to write, so I'm happy you enjoyed it. The post-it notes were my fave to write ;)
Taki Neko Valerie: Goku excitedtakineko on August 15th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
I think, more than anything, the eggshells were surprising haha, how sweet. Now all that stuff has even more sentimental value.. even though it's more or less destroid. XDD
a.: eric; viking manregalish on August 27th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
Haha, yes but it all was destroyed for a good reason ;)

Thanks so much for reading!!
renisanz: s/p kiss clrrenisanz on August 16th, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
Oh wow. I liked this a lot, especially Sheldon not-quite-mad-but-hurt reaction to Penny having gone through the contents of the box.

But, then again... this is Sheldon. The man who knows you're built for better things than what you're doing now and just wants you to realize that, and who's a little set in his ways. The man who let his guard down enough to expose his vulnerability to you in a time he wasn't feeling well, and put his trust in you to help him feel better. The man who constantly comes to you for advice and knocks on your door in that endearing way and taps into your expertise about things in life he's unfamiliar with. The man who also has a way of sneaking you a compliment, looking straight into your heart with those sharp blue eyes like nobody else has ever been able to, and finding just the right way to drag your spirits up when they've been tamped down.

Loved this, listing all the reason why Penny had come to love him. :)
a.: sheldon/penny; everyday i write the bookregalish on August 27th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much!! I so enjoyed writing this one, especially the evidence of the softer side of Sheldon, and Penny's slow realization that in spite of all his faults, or maybe because of them, she's grown to love him.

Thanks again!
chelsea_thomson on August 16th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
Stunning.
a.: giles/jenny; it's a dateregalish on August 27th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
Thank you!! :)
she_burns1: grr<3she_burns1 on August 17th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
Sheldon is so adorable in his secert crush! Loved the view-pointed, loved the story! :D
a.: sheldon/penny; everyday i write the bookregalish on August 27th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed this!
gemsile123gemsile123 on August 23rd, 2009 08:39 am (UTC)
I loved the imagery at the end, with the post-its :) Great job!
a.: jim/kaley; kiss you on the cheekregalish on August 27th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad you liked this fic :D
csiAngel: Torri smile concsiangel on January 7th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
Aww this is so sweet. And the first TBBT fic I've read :-) This would be a perfect way for them to get together.

I have decided (am now half way through s2) that Sheldon/Penny is my ship. Leonard kinda bugs me. But I love Sheldon :-D
нσω ∂σ уσυ нσℓ∂ α мσση вєαм ιη уσυʀ нαη∂?: {BBT} SP - Chemistry > Physicsfiddlings on March 9th, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This was adorable! I love it.

Also. You seriously need to get to working on those WIPs!! Pretty please? :)
jen4850 on June 3rd, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
Sounds like excellent fodder for a new keepsake to replace the eggshell.