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17 August 2009 @ 03:49 pm
The Starlite Ball Experiment [TBBT; Sheldon/Penny]  
TITLE: The Starlite Ball Experiment
CHAPTER 4: The Wild Horses Paradigm Shift
FANDOM: The Big Bang Theory
PAIRING: Sheldon/Penny
SPOILERS: Season two
SUMMARY: Was she uncomfortable? Here she was, accompanying a man that was, for all intents and purposes, a sparring partner up until this point. She was in his arms, swaying slightly under-tempo to a favorite song of hers by The Sundays, and the slightest touch made her feel as if she'd stuck her finger in an electrical socket.


"So, you came to the ball with Sheldon! That's... that's great. So great."

Penny feigned a smile, directing it toward the physicist currently dancing with her -- Leonard. "Yeah. Well. He wasn't too excited about going, so I told him I'd come along to keep him company."

"Well, that's... that's great!" Leonard continued, false smile plastered wide across his face. "You guys must be really great friends for you to do that. Y'know, when you must have had several other options for spending a Saturday night, like..." he shrugged, "Going with me, for example."

"So where's Raj?" she broke in, wanting to steer the conversation away from where she was dreading it would go. "I haven't seen him since dinner."

"He's had his head in the toilet since he finished off his fourth Grasshopper."

Her lips slipped into a pout. "Awww. Should someone check on him?"

"Howard's in there with him." After a moment, he added, "Involuntarily. He's cleaning his shoes."

Penny furrowed her brows. "Cleaning his shoes?"

"Yeah, Raj kinda, um..." He winced slightly, trailing off, and Penny nodded her understanding.

"Missed the bowl?"

"Just a little bit, yeah."

She smiled, gently extracting herself from Leonard's tight grip as the song started to fade. "Well, thanks for the dance."

"Sure, no problem! And hey, if you wanna dance again, let me know."

She nodded, already backing toward her table, where Sheldon was still seated looking bored out of his mind. "Will do!" she called, and plopped down in the chair next to Sheldon.

"Back," she sighed.


Studying him a moment, taking stock of the boredom and slight despair in his expression, she leaned slightly toward him, ducking her head to capture his gaze. "Sweetie, are you sure you don't want to leave? I mean, we've been here for a couple hours already. Don't you think that would be enough time to put in?"

"If your boss were an intelligent and reasonable being, yes. With Gablehauser, I'm afraid not," he replied dully, twirling the straw sticking up out of his Diet Coke.

"Okay, well... how about a dance?" She tugged lightly on his arm. "C'mon, you've been sitting here like a lump all night."

"A lump of what?"

She sighed. "Just... come on." Standing up, she tugged on his hand, coaxing him to stand with her.

He did so but remain rooted to his spot. "Penny, I don't dance."

"Well, I'll teach you!" She smiled, hanging onto his right hand with both of hers as she started to back toward the dance floor.

His grip kept her in place, firm but still gentle. And for a moment she wondered if she was hallucinating or if Sheldon's thumb had truly just whispered across the back of her hand. She met his eyes, but the blues betrayed nothing.

"I never said I couldn't dance, Penny, I merely said that I don't."

"Well I do," she tossed back, and tugged him out onto the dance floor with her, "and I'm your date, so. We're dancing."

With that, she stepped into him and rested one hand on his shoulder, the other clasped in his left. They stood perfectly still, their only points of contact initiated by her, as she stared expectantly at him.

Finally, with a reluctant sigh, Sheldon placed his other hand on her waist and started to sway with her. "Fine."

Penny just smiled triumphantly up at him in the dim light of the dance floor while they turned in slow circles. And while Sheldon glanced everywhere in the room but at her, she took her time studying him. His posture was stiff, rigid, and he held her practically at arm's length. "Sheldon..."

"Yes, Penny," he replied just a little too quickly; too crisply.

Her smile turned soft, warm, as did her voice. "Relax."

As if obeying a command, she felt some of the tension leave his body, and his long fingers flexed against the small of her back briefly before splaying out once more. Penny sucked in her breath, some unknown feeling coursing through her -- as if hyper-sensitive to the slightest touch suddenly -- and she found herself taking a couple more steps into him.

He glanced down at her in concern before averting his gaze once more. She couldn't help but wonder if he was nervous dancing with a woman. "Sweetie, are you uncomfortable?"

"Can you be more specific?" He looked down at her as she came a little closer, her arm slipping around to his back, up his shoulder blade, until her hand was clasping his shoulder from the other direction. "Do you mean am I uncomfortable dancing? Uncomfortable being in such a nearly-intimate position with you, or just uncomfortable in general?"

She shrugged, angling her body toward him slightly, drifting minutely closer. "Any of them, I guess."

"Well then, no."

She furrowed her brows, not expecting that answer. "Are you sure? You look kinda uncomfortable."

"Penny, out of the two of us, I'm the only one who truly knows how I'm feeling and I just told you that I'm not feeling uncomfortable."

"Okay," she shrugged once more, dropping it. "Just... wanted to make sure." The feel of his arm slipping further around her caught her off guard, and she sucked in her breath.

"Are you?"

"What?" She looked up, finding his face entirely too close.


She shook her head and murmured, "No," though she continued to give his question thought as he resumed his surveying of the dance floor.

Was she uncomfortable? Here she was, accompanying a man that was, for all intents and purposes, a sparring partner up until this point. She was in his arms, swaying slightly under-tempo to a favorite song of hers by The Sundays, and the slightest touch made her feel as if she'd stuck her finger in an electrical socket.

Not to mention she was currently close enough to make out the beginnings of a five o'clock shadow on his face, even in the dim lighting, and close enough to catch a hint of his soap (something fresh and clean smelling, almost like rain). But... no. Surprisingly, she wasn't uncomfortable. Dancing with Sheldon felt almost... nice. In a weird way.

And then she couldn't help but wonder -- did Sheldon feel anything similar? Did strange bolts of electricity hit when she touched him? Suddenly she was dying to know. So slowly, she laid her head on his shoulder, drawing their clasped hands in until her palm rested just over his heart. And he didn't protest the new positioning, though she felt him tense up again.

Then she felt the shift.

His heartbeat, steady and strong under her fingertips, started to increase. Her hand felt like it was burning up and cold all at once, and she realized... his palms were sweating. "Honey?" She slowly lifted her head off his chest, brows lifting in concern when she saw the pure panic on his features.

"I'll be right back," he exhaled hastily, and then headed for the exit just as fast.

And Penny was left standing in the middle of the dance floor, staring after him and wondering what the hell had just happened.


Song referenced in this chapter: Wild Horses by The Sundays. [Click to play and/or download song] LINK HAS BEEN REMOVED, due to people taking advantage of the download without leaving a comment to the fic. Sorry about that to those of you that have actually reviewed!

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

{x-posted to sheldon_penny}
ruby_casparruby_caspar on August 17th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Okay, this right here if my fave chapter so far - I mean... it was PERFECT. So perfect. I loved Sheldon knowing how to dance but just not doing it... and Penny being comfortable with him, and the paradigm shift for both of them.

I loved it. So much. It was just so THEM.
a.: sheldon/penny; puttin' on the ritzregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Glad you're still enjoying :D

Chapter 5 has just been posted.
jazzrose343 (fallen angel)jazzrose343 on August 17th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)

That was just perfect!

It felt like I was right with them on the dance floor. The way you desribed Penny's feelings and the shift in Sheldon's reaction to Penny.

Cannot wait for the next chapter1
a.: sheldon; knock three timesregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks!

The next chapter is up :)
Taki Neko Valerie: ~sweat drop~takineko on August 17th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
D: No it can't end there!
Shelly had to go regain his senses didn't he?
a.: penny; sweetheartregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Hehe! Glad you enjoyed the abrupt little ending. But there's more to come!

And more is available now, actually. I've just posted chapter 5. :D
S.: bbtheory; jim/kaleyartic_fox on August 18th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I love this chapter, and the description of them dancing. I can't wait for more :D
a.: jim/kaley; kiss you on the cheekregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! More of the story has just been posted.
she_burns1: grr<3she_burns1 on August 18th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
*happy sighs* I can't really say much more - just romantic and so, so sweet! :D
a.: jim/kaley; super heroesregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
Awww, thank you! Glad you enjoyed this chapter!

Chapter 5 has just been posted.
babebubeboink99 on August 18th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
I will kill her if she doesn't run after him. She MUST! The transitions were wonderful, and the voices are more or less dead on. I like this version of Shelly.
a.: sookie; lonely girlregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad you liked it.

More of the story has been posted. :)
katscar: solid johnkatscar on August 18th, 2009 05:37 am (UTC)
"Okay, well... how about a dance?" She tugged lightly on his arm. "C'mon, you've been sitting here like a lump all night."

"A lump of what?"

I love that. So clever. I love this update and you ended at the perfect moment, because now I seriously want more. Can't wait.
a.: sheldon/penny; everyday i write the bookregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
Haha! Thanks for the comment! I love writing that Sheldon dialogue; he's a daunting character to attempt at first, but once you get going, it's hard to stop, he's so much fun.

And I'm glad you want more, because I have more for you to read! Chapter five has just been posted.
prepare4trouble: south parkprepare4trouble on August 18th, 2009 11:25 am (UTC)
I've just caught up on all the chapters, this is very cool. This last chapter especially, I loved the dancing! I also enjoyed Leonard's jealousy, but that's because I'm a bit mean!
a.: sheldon/penny; walk this wayregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying the story.

(And I like some Leonard jealousy too -- he's just so whiny!!)
7gifts7gifts on August 21st, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
This is my favourite chapter, the gradual build up was really good. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
a.: sheldon; just smileregalish on August 28th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! The next chapter has been posted :)