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08 October 2009 @ 09:09 pm
The Las Vegas Complication [TBBT; Sheldon/Penny]  
TITLE: The Las Vegas Complication
FANDOM: The Big Bang Theory
PAIRING: Sheldon/Penny
SPOILERS: Season three, none specific
SUMMARY: Driven to distraction, so part of the plan.


Trying hard to speak and fighting with my weak hand;
Driven to distraction, so part of the plan


Penny spends her first week as a married woman in her own apartment. Leonard stays over, though they refrain from sex. Leonard, unfortunately, is an absolute saint about the whole thing; he says nothing and doesn't push her, though she can tell he's confused. As long as he doesn't bring anything up, though, she just lets it go. She's got enough confusion of her own to grapple with, anyway.

It's not that she doesn't care for Leonard; she knows that she does. She loves him, even. Though, when she looks across the couch at him, and squints her eyes really hard, she still can't figure out if she loves him in a forever kind of way or in a this-is-good-enough-for-now kind of way. Which she knows is wrong. She so desperately wants to tell him he deserves better. He deserves a girl that didn't marry him drunkenly and who's not using their first week of marriage to try to sort out what the hell happened on their wedding night; he deserves a girl who didn't somehow end up sleeping with his roommate and is keeping a massive secret from him. He just... well, simply, he deserves better.

Frankly, she's glad that Beverly Hofstadter's welcome-to-the-family message had been less than lukewarm; had she been welcomed with open arms, Penny knows she'd be screwed. She doesn't want to hurt Leonard, but she doesn't know that this is what she wants out of life -- to be married to him. She just doesn't know.

Only pieces of that night have come back to her, and never in full technicolor detail. She remembers their next stop after the bar at the Bellagio -- it had been somewhere within Excalibur; they all did shots (and she vaguely remembers forcing Sheldon to down some). She remembers the club; dancing far too close to Howard for comfort -- she thinks she may have, at some point, used Leonard as a human shield. Or perhaps Raj.

She doesn't think Sheldon had been at the club, but she can't remember clearly enough. Then the rest are just hazy memories. Putting the fateful quarter into the slot on Leonard's machine and the sounds of the jackpot going off, along with Leonard excitedly kissing her (which she doesn't remember shying away from). She thinks they had walked along the Strip after their big win, trying to figure out what to do with the money. She's almost positive Sheldon brought up something about investing in low-yield bonds, because... well, why wouldn't he?

She remembers the Little White Wedding Chapel and excitedly grabbing someone's hand; dragging him behind her to run inside and look around. But when she closes her eyes and envisions that, when she looks over her shoulder, for some reason... it's always Sheldon's face that she sees. So how did she end up married to Leonard, but in bed with Sheldon?

Part of her hopes that Sheldon is experiencing at least a fraction of the confusion that she is right now.


I'm diving off the deep end, you become my best friend
I wanna love you but I don't know if I can


For a week, Sheldon feels as though he's walking on eggshells. As if he's waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like everything from that night will come screaming back to him in a colorful blaze and he'll be left to pick up the pieces. He has a feeling that whatever happened, it's changed him forever. And he doesn't think it's purely because of the night of obvious lust he experienced with Penny. If it can be called that.

What can it be called? He knows he cares for Penny far more than he ever wanted to. He always wished for her to just be the girl next door. And for almost a full year, she was. But then (and this is mostly Leonard's fault) they got closer. And closer. And closer to the point that she now can tell if he's had a bad day and then will try to cheer him up, or can notice him starting to get sick and then (privately) sing him a pre-emptive verse of 'Soft Kitty' to make him feel better. It's to the point where he can't refuse to take her phone calls when she bugs him incessantly about online gaming, or refuse to help her when she's had a poor excuse for a business idea. They've somehow become more to each other than what's acceptable. Hell, with everything Leonard's done to him recently, having practically plucked the Nobel Prize from his grasp, it's fairly safe to say that Penny is his best friend in the world.

And somehow, that best-friends relationship has been altered, though how he can't yet say for sure. Only portions of that night have returned to him, but never anything concrete, and nothing that he can string together to create an accurate picture of what went on. He remembers the jackpot win and Penny's crazy idea to, in her words, "buy a lot of hats" with the money. He remembers his brilliant investment idea and being blatantly ignored. He remembers the copious amounts of alcohol he'd consumed thanks to peer pressure (Penny) and he remembers wandering the Strip. He remembers something about a chapel and Penny dragging him inside... though he doesn't remember being there for long.

He remembers lots of the color white, but nothing more specific than that. Other, more tactile things have returned to him and he remembers the feel of Penny's lips sliding against his, the feel of her fluttering lashes on his skin and the softness of her cheek being marred by something that had hardened there. He remembers her warmth; something amazing he'd never felt before that made him more intoxicated than any of the alcohol in his system.

He remembers ice either beneath his feet or against his feet and a kiss that made the world rush up beneath him but beyond that... nothing.

Part of him wonders if Penny's having this hard of a time remembering.


You and me are floating on a tidal wave together
You and me are drifting into outer space


Into the second week, things are no better for Penny or for Sheldon. Things are still coming back in flashes; sometimes vague and hard-to-place, other times so vivid it's enough to incite a full-body flush.

"You know, I can't believe you of all people haven't noticed how crappy the paint job on this ceiling is." Penny sighs, shaking her head as she moves a paint roller along the ceiling. One hand, her left hand that still displays the reminder of her impromptu marriage, rests on the top of the ladder while she stands on tiptoe, the roller held high above her head. "But now I totally get why Leonard wanted to work late tonight."

"Penny, for God sakes, take another step up. You know, you're going to fall if you continue to stand so precariously."

"That your word-of-the-day?" she quips, lips pursed.

This has become a staple of their relationship now. Sheldon thinks perhaps he was correct in his assertion that things between them have changed. Since agreeing to keep their foray between the sheets a secret, since their return from Las Vegas, they've been at each other's throats a bit more than usual. It began innocently -- her doing her usual in-his-spot routine and him chastising her, forcing her to move down. But then it just morphed into... something else.

One night in particular, they'd gotten into a screaming match over... what, Sheldon could no longer remember. Perhaps something relating to food, or television. Their usual group had crowded around the TV for takeout and a movie. Sheldon remembered correcting Penny on something. She bit back, and before long, they were stomping around the apartment yelling at each other; he'd taken his food to the refrigerator and stored it, slamming the door. Penny had stomped after him and opened the microwave only to slam the door, sticking her tongue out at him childishly. There had been more yelling and finally Penny stomped off toward Leonard's room.

The other three (two, actually, as Raj had returned from his fourth trip to the bathroom during their skirmish) had stared, dumbfounded at what had just taken place. Leonard, his mouth opening and closing, trying repeatedly to find words, finally gave up and went to check on his wife. And Sheldon, for once not in the mood to bear the questions of the other two, went to his room to read comic books for the rest of the night.

"Penny, I will not play this game with you today," Sheldon tells her calmly now, sweeping his roller across his section of the ceiling.

"Why not?" she goads, one perfectly-contoured brow lifting. "Because it can't be played in Klingon?"

"Alright, that's quite enough," he huffs, and sets his roller in the paint tray, balancing it carefully on one hand and forearm as he comes down the ladder slowly, not missing the way Penny rolls her eyes at his (very necessary) safety precautions. "I believe you should tell me what's bothering you."

"And I believe you should bite me."

"Penny, I must say... you're not a very good secret-keeper."

"What?" she makes a face at him, her attention diverting from painting long enough to land a glob of paint on the dress shirt he'd allowed her to wear.

Sheldon sighs deeply, eyes closing for a moment while he mentally tabulates the dry-cleaning bill and what percentage of it he'll charge Penny, before he looks at her again. "You and I are supposed to be keeping a secret from Leonard, Howard and Raj. A very big secret, if you ask me. And with the way you're behaving, you may as well just shout it from the mountain-tops."

"Well what about you, huh?! You're not doing so hot yourself there, buster."

"Come again?"

"Oh please. You are being so obvious," she spits back at him. "I mean you might as well just pee all around me -- mark your territory, y'know, and - and then just tell Leonard," she gestures to herself, "'I totally tapped this. Bazinga!'"

His teeth clench together, and his sigh this time is so deep in his throat it's practically a growl. "First of all, Penny, that is the completely incorrect way to use the term 'Bazinga.' I save Bazinga for my hilarious and unexpected practical jokes."

The sight of her rolling her eyes just fuels his ire, and he steps closer to the ladder upon which she's perched. The entire room is warm and Sheldon feels as if his face is flushed; at the back of his mind, he wonders if this is what most people refer to as 'sexual tension' -- it certainly would explain what Raj has been trying to describe to him in regards to the relationship between Colonel Jack O'Neill and Major Samantha Carter. Though Raj typically calls that, 'roaring sexual tension.' Sheldon's fairly certain neither he nor Penny have roared.

"Further more--"

"Alright, stop! Just stop it!" Penny moves to come down fully off the ladder but as she does, her sneaker catches on the bottom wrung and she falls forward. Sheldon instinctively is there to keep her from hitting the floor, though they both tumble over the side table and the arm of the couch. Sheldon lands on his back, Penny on top of him and their legs stick over the end of the couch to the upward diagonal, the two of them on a slant.

A sudden flash hits him as Penny braces herself with her hands pushed into the couch cushions; in this particular flash it's Penny above him, without a stitch of clothing on her frame, hands pressed into the pillows on each side of his head and eyes heavy-lidded with lust as she leans down for a kiss.

When he comes out of it, he gets the distinct impression from Penny that she can see what he's seeing at that very moment. Several times their gaze bounces back and forth between lips and eyes, then back again. Finally, Penny pushes off of him and gets up in a huff, throwing him a dirty look.

Sheldon takes it in stride and doesn't push their conversation any further, despite Penny's provocation. He knows that something between them has broken; disconnected. And he wants desperately to get things back to how they were. Or at least get things to where they rightly should be at this point. Perhaps that missing night contained within it a turning point somewhere, and until they can put the pieces together, things will remain jumbled and disconnected.

I know something is broken and I'm trying to fix it
Trying to repair it any way I can


Loosely inspired by X & Y by Coldplay. [links now disabled due to people downloading and not bothering to review the fic. Sorry!]

Like what you've read? Why don't you watch or join the community?
{x-posted to sheldon_penny}
Jessicagalfridian on October 9th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Love the way that you write the Sheldon and Penny banter, particularly Sheldon's. :)
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really enjoy writing these two.

Chapter 3 has just been posted :)
untherapy: BBT: 8) ? :)untherapy on October 9th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
LOVing this story - I'm a little to giddy/drunk from the office wedding to be more coherent than that, but I love it, and I can't wait for more :D
a.: jim/pam; into the sunsetregalish on October 11th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm so glad you're enjoying this fic.

I'm a little to giddy/drunk from the office wedding to be more coherent than that, Haha, I hear ya. That was SUCH a lovely episode. :D

Chapter 3 is now up!
(Deleted comment)
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! Chapter 3 has now been posted :)
oneangredwarf90oneangredwarf90 on October 9th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
aww, im so happy you updated! i like that they cant remember and they're trying to figure it out. Cant wait for the next chapter!
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting, I appreciate it! Chapter 3 is up :D
Maura!: + bb: friends first hot sex laterfujiidom on October 9th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
This is exceedingly fun, both banter and plot-wise! Penny's got stronger will than I would've, given the chance at getting on top of Sheldon again and walking away AGAIN. Hee.
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you're still enjoying this story, because I'm enjoying telling it.

(And I agree, I would not have walked away if given such an opportunity with Sheldon, haha!)

Chapter 3 is up!
renisanz: s/p tangorenisanz on October 9th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
why do I have a feeling that it's Penny and Sheldon that are actually married, and Sheldon felt bad about it even in his drunken haze and put the ring on Leonard's finger so he wouldn't hurt his friend...?

Anyway, great writing. :)
babebubeboink99 on October 9th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)
I'm betting he was the best man. Sheldon couldn't stomach it so he ran out. Penny followed him and lo and behold, Bazinga.
renisanz: s/p tangorenisanz on October 9th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
Ah, but remember, Sheldon had the memory of Penny pulling him towards the chapel.
babebubeboink99 on October 9th, 2009 08:57 am (UTC)
Well that doesn't mean he's the one she married. Hmmm... What if Leonard stole that ring and is just messing with the two of them?
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
I have to say, it makes me so giddy that there's a mini-debate going on surrounding the plot. This is exactly what I was shooting for with the story -- confusion and guesswork until the very end, hahaha.

I'm glad you guys are enjoying this!
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Hehe! That's quite an intriguing hypothesis. You will just have to see where I bring these two :D

The third chapter has been posted!
S.: bbtheory; you got the wrong mustardartic_fox on October 9th, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
Another excellent chapter! I love that we're getting to see the aftermath, and you didn't go with the familiar trope of Sheldon and Penny being the ones who got married in Vegas. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the chapters :D
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that.

To be honest, I had an urge to go the familiar route, the whole they-got-married/are-going-to-get-it-annulled/fall-in-love-instead route, but it's done far too much in fics. In any fandom, really. This time I wanted to shoot for something different; something that would actually be a challenge to write.

I'm glad you're getting enjoyment out of this :D I've just posted chapter 3!
ruby_casparruby_caspar on October 9th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this chapter - it was great to see what was going on in their heads, and also the disjointed memories they were all experiencing.

This line had me loling: "First of all, Penny, that is the completely incorrect way to use the term 'Bazinga.' I save Bazinga for my hilarious and unexpected practical jokes."

That is SO Sheldon...

Also, thank you for this line:

he wonders if this is what most people refer to as 'sexual tension' -- it certainly would explain what Raj has been trying to describe to him in regards to the relationship between Colonel Jack O'Neill and Major Samantha Carter.

LLOL! Ah... I miss SG...
a.: sam/jack; head over heels in this liferegalish on October 11th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad you enjoyed this chapter!

And I HAD to toss in an SG-1 ref. Come on. As soon as they mentioned Stargate on the show, I knew I'd have to use a Jack/Sam reference somewhere, hahaha.

Chapter 3 has just been posted!
A lurking goblin marionette: funny: kiss a fishdanceinacircle on October 9th, 2009 10:51 am (UTC)
I think I see where you're going with this. Who knows though. :D Again with the not sleeping, eating, etc plz. :D :D :D This is awesome and I've been listening to Waking Up In Vegas for 2 days straight now, haha.
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
I think I see where you're going with this. Who knows though. Hee! Well I hope the ending I've written lives up to your expectations. I really appreciate the kind comment, and I'm glad you're enjoying the accompanying music :D

The third chapter has been posted!
thebullethebulle on October 9th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
I love this fic! Can't wait for the rest! :)
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, glad you're enjoying it! More has just been posted :D
~ Vejibra Momiji (Lady Padme Naberrie)vejibra on October 10th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
O.O the sensual tension xD I simply love this, more please? n_n XD is getting more and more interesing and so much IC. n_n
a.regalish on October 11th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad you liked this chapter :)

Chapter 3 is now up!