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11 October 2009 @ 11:43 am
The Las Vegas Complication [TBBT; Sheldon/Penny]  
TITLE: The Las Vegas Complication
CHAPTER 3: World Spins Madly On
FANDOM: The Big Bang Theory
PAIRING: Sheldon/Penny
SPOILERS: Season three
RATING: Mild R
SUMMARY: I lay motionless in bed; I thought of you and where you'd gone.


*****

Woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head


*****

Penny is now into week three as Mrs. Hofstadter. She knows that Leonard is aware the marriage won't last; he's told her he should've taken the fact that they were married by an Elvis impersonator as a bad sign. He's surprisingly supportive about the whole thing and not at all whiny, and it just makes Penny hate herself even more for including him in this mindfuck of a hangover.

Every day she wakes up with a headache, still trying to piece everything together. She now has a fairly good idea of what went on, though getting from section A to B to C is still a little hazy in places. When she's alone, sometimes she just lays in bed with eyes closed, watching the pieces she does remember play out in front of her like a choppy, poorly-edited student film.

"Leonard, come on! I already put the quarter in, so just pull it! Just pull it!"

"Mm, that's what he said," Howard chimed in, leaning toward her.

Penny shot him a look over her shoulder, threatening, "Say that again and I'll feed you to that pack of steroid-enhanced frat guys over there by the Pai Gow table."

"Lord, Leonard, would you please just pull the lever so we can get on with our evening? I'm certain there's some episode of Battlestar Galactica I'm missing up in my hotel room at this very moment!" Sheldon exclaimed, looking down at his watch.

"Fine, fine!" So Leonard had pulled, and as if they were watching in slow motion, up came triple cherries. Lights started flashing, music started playing, and the machine started spitting out coins as if it were emptying its entire stock.

She had screamed and leapt into Leonard's arms joyously, intent on a hug, but Leonard had misread her intentions. Instead, he clumsily kissed her lips and, though she didn't immediately shy away, she did gently push him back after a moment, patting his shoulders and congratulating him again. She remembered wanting Sheldon to be happy too. She may have even hugged and chastely kissed him. Raj too, but she knows she steered clear of Howard.

They'd all gone with Leonard up to the desk to claim his winnings. Penny had bounced excitedly on the balls of her feet, her arm looped through Sheldon's as they all watched Leonard. She remembered feeling giddy that Sheldon didn't fight the affection. Instead, he bent his arm and let her hang on as long as she wanted. She even remembered taking his hand at one point and Sheldon not letting go right away. And so ended part A.

Part B began somewhere near the Bellagio; the fountains to be more precise. Penny had pointed them out and, while Leonard, Raj and Howard were anxious to find something to do with the winnings, Penny wanted to stay back and watch the lights. Sheldon offered to hang back and they stood there for what felt like hours watching the dancing spray and the luminous lights. She remembered looking over to see the expression of pure wonder on Sheldon's face combined with a childlike expression of peace and serenity. Penny had taken his hand again and he hadn't shied away.

And though he was still smiling at the fountain, he asked her, "You're taking advantage of my somewhat-intoxicated state, aren't you, Penny? You know I would never show affection under normal circumstances."

"No, of course not," she teased. She leaned against him, making sure the side of her breast brushed his arm and reveled in his surprised gasp. When he looked down at her, she gave him a smoldering look through her lashes and flirted, "When I take advantage of you, Doctor Cooper? You'll know it." Then, she started walking, "Come on!" and gave a tug on his arm.

They joined up with the guys at the bar and Penny ordered two martinis, insisting that Sheldon try one. Things got a little hazy until the point they all (including a now-inebriated Sheldon) decided to do jello shots. Penny remembered giggling at Sheldon's expense as he tried to choke them back; before long, they were all too drunk to stand on their own. Penny ended up sandwiched between Sheldon and Leonard as the five of them stumbled down the Strip. Penny wanted to shop, and that was right about where part B came to an end.

Part C is both the toughest and easiest to recall; easiest in the amount of detail, and toughest in the amount of emotion it always stirred. The first of that part that Penny remembers is running; and it being unbelievably hard to do so being both drunk and wearing heels. She had run onto an elevator, collapsing against the back wall in tears. She pressed a bouquet of flowers to her face and shook her head back and forth, something laying heavily in the pit of her stomach. As if something had gone horribly wrong and needed to be righted again.

She remembers getting off on the wrong floor and running into Sheldon in his PJs at the ice machine. She scared him and he dropped the bucket of ice, shooting her a look that quickly withered when he saw the kind of shape she was in. She thinks she told him what had happened, though she can't remember what was said. All she can hear him say in regards to the matter, simply, was that he couldn't watch. She asked him time and time again what he meant, but she never found out.

In the back of her mind, she remembered registering that something was off, something was different about him, about her, about the way they were talking to each other and interacting, that may not have necessarily been the alcohol. It had seemed different than the alcohol-induced encounters with Leonard. She remembers the thought of Leonard bringing on another onslaught of tears. So there by the ice machine, Sheldon calmed her down. She'd stepped into his arms, heels crunching and slipping on the small cubes of ice that had fallen at their feet, and he didn't let go or shy away. In fact, she remembers now that his arms had wound tight around her waist and he'd dropped his chin into the crook of her neck.

She cried against him, ran her fingers through his hair, and when she pulled back to look at him, the tears had dried. Her arms were looped around his neck, crossed over one another she was so close, and the sides of their noses were touching while they just stared at one another; a silent game of chicken in play and at a dead heat. Penny leaned first, and was surprised when Sheldon didn't put up a fight. Their lips touched once, twice, then they pulled back; searched each other's eyes again before falling together once more. Soon it was too obvious where this would head. But instead of Sheldon having to be the typical male and ask if she was sure... this time it was Penny that had to ask. She knew Sheldon's history, or lack thereof, and though she cared for him and wanted him so badly at the moment, she didn't want him to regret anything the next day.

But he was sure. And whether that was the alcohol talking or him didn't matter. Penny just accepted the yes and they went down to the hotel gift shop as quickly as they could to buy protection before hustling back onto the elevator. At that time of night, the elevator car was oddly deserted; they had it to themselves, and Penny remembered giggling, stretching up on her toes as her arms slid along his and up around his shoulders.

The clothing removal once they'd reached his room was a little hazy. She would never be able to remember the order in which everything came off. All she remembered was his pajama bottoms and top landing in completely opposite directions in the room, and her dress ending up a rumpled mess in the corner. Before long, they'd fallen into bed together, hands linked and his lips heading for her neck. She'd asked him if he wanted to go slow, mindful of his inexperience. He'd told her that he wasn't certain; that he would leave it up to biology to decide, which is exactly what he did. She doesn't remember how long that first time lasted or whether it was good or bad; all of their romps from that night seemed to roll into one another until it became this amalgam of passion. And it had felt weirdly, wonderfully, inexplicably right.


And now, into week three, Penny Hofstadter is left to realize her big mistake, in not becoming Penny Cooper instead. Everything since her big revelation feels different now. The days continue to pass, the world continues to turn on its axis and people continue to live their lives, just as it's always been, but everything feels different. And it's bad enough that she can't talk to Leonard about this, though she knows he would lend an ear if she needed him to; but what's worse is that, for some reason, she feels like she can't talk to Sheldon about it, either -- the one person she wants to talk to.

She looks over at the man beside her -- Leonard, her husband -- sleeping soundly and trusting her with his life, content in his utter cluenessness of the thoughts that plague her. Thoughts about his roommate. About one of their best friends.

She can't stand the silence in the room anymore and has to get up. She has to get out. But instead of going to the kitchen to fix a quick bowl of cereal, she instead finds herself going across the hall, sneaking her way inside with her spare key.


*****

I watch the stars from my window sill
The whole world is moving and I'm standing still


*****

Three weeks in to the highly illogical union of Leonard and Penny, and Sheldon is only marginally closer to figuring out everything that had gone on that night. Every day, he wakes up with a headache, having spent the better portion of the previous night running over the Vegas trip in his mind, wondering where everything linked up and the reasoning behind every touch, every smile, every glance, and every feeling. The one thing he's been able to glean from the repeated mind's-eye viewings of that night is the one thing that he can't bring himself to admit aloud; so instead he buries it -- lets everything play over and over again as if the more he sees it, the less it will affect him.

"Well done, Leonard, triple cherries! Other than looking more aesthetically pleasing than the random lineup of sevens and cherries, I believe, in gambling, this is considered a good thing." He patted his roommate on the back before Leonard stood to sweep Penny into his arms, planting quite the kiss on her. Quite the kiss that Penny didn't seem to reciprocate, though Sheldon kept mum.

Any time Leonard failed with their next door neighbor, it secretly thrilled him, though he could never quite pinpoint why. Next there had been a discussion of what to do with the money.

"I know! Let's buy a lotta hats!" a very tipsy Penny had suggested, giggling quite obnoxiously thereafter.

"Or go to the moon and drive around in one of those little moon cars!" had been Raj's suggestion.

Howard suggested spending the bulk of the money on strippers. Or perhaps hookers, but then again, Sheldon had never been able to ascertain much of a difference. Leonard said no to all of those, so Sheldon figured he might as well bring up the investment idea. A good low-yield bond could give him the better return on his funds than just blowing it frivolously, but Leonard was not fond of that idea, either. Nor did he seem to want to store his winnings in the buttocks of one of their superhero action figures at home.

They were still bouncing around ideas when they followed Leonard up to the desk, where he was to collect his winnings. Penny had grabbed a hold of his arm as they kept an eye on Leonard, and Sheldon didn't have the heart to shrug her off. She was his friend and she was having a good time; who was he to destroy this particular moment of happiness, however fleeting it may be? Besides, she looked so lovely in her jeans and tanktop, only the very top layer of hair pulled back, poufed up a bit and accented with one yellow Penny Blossom. The rest of her blonde hair fell down her back in large shiny curls that he, for the strangest reason, wanted to run his fingers through.

Luckily, Wolowitz handed him another drink and he was able to take his mind off of Penny's hair. Soon they were out on the Strip; Penny was still clinging to him by the hand and none of the other guys had taken notice -- even Leonard. When they passed the Bellagio, Penny had tugged on his arm to hold him back; he'd called out to the other three to wait for them but they either didn't hear or didn't care, Sheldon wasn't sure. Penny wanted to watch the light show at the Bellagio fountain, and he wouldn't have felt right leaving her there by herself. So he stayed.

And for some reason, Sheldon found himself more mesmerized by the look of childlike awe and happiness on Penny's face than by anything the fountain was doing. Just watching the luminous fountain lights bouncing off her skin was enough to hold him captive; he couldn't help but wonder why he'd never noticed before just how pretty she was. Every time he felt her turning to look at him, he made sure to look away so as not to get caught. Before long, he felt her reaching over to take his hand again, their fingers threading together. It was the lightest Sheldon had felt in a long time. And, despite logic and science giving him a million different reasons as to why he was suddenly feeling that way, he ignored them all, and twined his fingers more tightly through Penny's, smiling at her and leading her into the Bellagio.

Inside the bar was where things got a little fuzzy. He remembered Penny pushing the martini into his hand; and he also remembered having to send it back, with Penny needing to correct the waiter about having ordered a
vodka martini, not gin. Sheldon remembered that first martini tasting a little like pine needles. Or what he assumed pine needles tasted like, anyway.

There had been mention of jello shots, though that part he didn't remember. The next thing he recalled was walking through the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace, trying to keep his balance with a drunken Penny dragging him by the hand into different stores; flirting with him about bringing him into the dressing room while she tried things on. And though he wasn't certain why Penny was suddenly being so flirtatious with him, Sheldon didn't recall putting up a fuss.

He remembered stumbling back out to meet up with the guys while Penny continued to take her time shopping. He remembered Leonard's jealousy over his closeness with Penny, and Howard and Raj making a bet over which one of them would "win" the girl.

Leonard won. That much could be deduced from their present circumstances, but no. Both fortunately and unfortunately, there was more.

Sheldon remembered going into one particular boutique with everyone, and Leonard telling Penny to pick out a white dress. When she'd asked why, that was the point that Sheldon started to feel queasy. Leonard had done some big, poetic speech, and stood up on one of the window displays, professing his undying love for Penny and then popping the question. Penny, he remembered, looked a mix of shocked and embarrassed, and quickly looked around to get all the reactions. Raj and Howard were already exchanging money, and when Penny's eyes met his, Sheldon just stood there, unable to think of anything to say... unable to even bring an expression to his face to clue her in.

So he'd looked away. And that was when Penny accepted Leonard's proposal. And Sheldon felt his heart shatter. Feelings were coming at him. Feelings that could have been attributed to the mass quantities of alcohol coursing through his veins, though he wasn't completely certain. So as the shopping continued, he thought things through. When Penny bought the white sundress, he decided he was attracted to her. When they stopped by a florist and grabbed a quickly-made bridal bouquet, Sheldon thought that perhaps he was infatuated with her. When he and the guys were dragged into a jewelry store to watch Leonard and Penny pick out rings, Sheldon had an inkling that he was possibly a little too attached to her. And by the time they reached the Little White Wedding Chapel and he felt his throat closing off, he was almost certain... he was in love with Penny.

His memory was spotty around the time Leonard and Penny would have been signing their marriage license and Leonard was getting in place at the altar. What he did remember clearly was that Howard and Raj had already taken their seats and Penny had turned over her shoulder to ask him how she looked. Sheldon had just smiled, his heart up in his throat, and told her she looked "nice," though the words 'radiant' and 'angelic' floated through his alcohol-laden stream of consciousness somewhere.

He had watched her begin her walk down the aisle from the back of the chapel. And before she could reach the altar, he was out on the street and heading back for the hotel. He couldn't watch it. He
wouldn't watch it. Instead, he got up to the room and changed into his pajamas, immediately turning the television to an old episode of Stargate SG-1. After deciding against room service for the night, he went to get a glass of ice water only to realize he had run out of ice.

He remembered grabbing the bucket and heading to the ice machine on his floor, only to find that it was out of order, and that the same was true for the next two floors down. When he finally found a working one, he had to wait in line behind a gaggle of teenagers who seemed to find his pajama choice for the evening funny. After deeming them half-wits and staring them down until they were gone, Sheldon went about his business filling the bucket. It was almost full to the brim when he was startled out of his skin. He wheeled around to see Penny standing in front of him, still looking radiant though slightly disheveled. Ice cubes began to melt against his feet as he took her in.

She confronted him, wanting to know where he'd gone. He skirted around an answer, avoiding that question like the plague in the hopes that she'd give up. But Penny being Penny, she didn't. They began to snipe at each other, though somehow... it was different than normal. Something about her, about him, about the two of them together, was just... different that night. It was silly to even think such an irrational, unscientific thing, but there was something almost electric in the air. So they bickered. Sheldon dug into her about Leonard and she reiterated what had happened, though whatever was still soundless -- not yet recovered. Eventually she had dissolved into tears.

Somehow, she ended up in his arms, and he didn't let her go despite every bit of him screaming that he should do so. He just held her tight and let her cry, pulling his head up when he felt her lean back. They were close; so close the sides of their noses were touching, and when Penny leaned in, Sheldon instinctively leaned to meet her. Their lips touched once, twice, before they pulled back and searched each other's eyes again. Within moments, they'd fallen together once more, lips bruising against each other, moans dodging tongues and teeth. Despite his inexperience, Sheldon had a pretty good idea of where they was headed.

Penny obviously did, as well, for he remembered her pulling back to ask him if he was sure. And he was. He'd never wanted anything like that before, but he wanted it then. And only with her. So they stopped off at the gift shop in the lobby to buy the proper protection (which he hoped Penny knew how to use, since he certainly didn't) before jumping on the elevator to go back up to his room. Penny had smiled at him; beamed, rather, and slid her arms along his, up and around his shoulders while searching his eyes. They kissed again and he felt the entire world shift upward beneath his feet; or perhaps that was just the elevator. Soon they were on his floor... at his door.

Once inside, it was a frenetic race to get their clothes off, or at least it started that way. He distinctly remembered at one point slowing Penny down; he remembered sliding the spaghetti straps of her dress off her shoulders and down her arms, placing kisses to every inch of skin he uncovered as he gently pushed the dress down. He placed a lingering kiss at the curve of her hip as the dress dropped to the floor, and she had kicked off her heels while he helped her step out of the pool of white she was standing in.

When they were completely undressed, Sheldon pulled back the covers on the bed and let her slide in first, slithering up to her after. His hands had been shaky as they traveled over her, wanting to touch everywhere he possibly could. Finally, when they both had seemingly had enough, Penny just had to utter one simple word: "Please..." and Sheldon was ready.

He remembered being amazed at what it felt like, to be inside her. To watch her head loll back, deep into the pillows, hear his name escape her lips on a breath as her warmth surrounded him. She had asked him if he wanted to go slow, and he told her he would leave it up to biology. And if he had properly interpreted the cues from biology, fast was the way to go. Soon, they were moving against each other frantically, the head board bumping the wall rhythmically, in time with Penny's chants of "Yes," and his thrusts. Occasionally he changed up his rhythm and she would gasp her agreement or groan his name, a sound that made him shudder.

He's not entirely certain how long that first time lasted; some nights when he thinks back, it seems like it lasted forever. Others, it seems like it just blended with the other times they were together that night. Whichever it was, the whole thing had felt oddly, strangely, inexplicably right.


And now, it seems that Leonard and Penny are too deep into their farce of a marriage to pull out of it now. He thinks Penny may have feelings for both he and Leonard, though she hasn't said anything. They never talk about it. They just fight more, and try to treat each other as though nothing has changed; as though three weeks ago they weren't as close as two people could possibly be, and just act like they're content in their denial. What a crock.

Sheldon is sick of denying. He's sick of pretending he hasn't developed feelings for Penny -- hell, that he isn't in love with her -- and he's sick of watching this sham marriage continue to crawl along, running on fumes. Trouble is, he can't talk to Leonard about this. And for some reason, he feels too disconnected from Penny right now to talk to her, though she's the one person he does want to talk to about this.

Perhaps a mug of warm milk will calm him down, he decides, and gets out of bed, heading into the kitchen.

He stops dead at the end of the hallway, two eyes staring back at him. The two eyes he's been longing to see. He just stands there, staring at her curiously, whispering for some unknown reason -- Leonard sleeps at Penny's now, so his volume shouldn't matter. "Penny?"

"Sheldon," she breathes back, and he can't decide if he's hallucinating or if she actually seems to be breathing harder now that he's taken a few steps closer.

Before he can question what she's doing in the apartment so late, when he knows that her husband is over at her apartment, she takes four long, quick strides to him and practically crushes her body against his, arms tight around him. Sheldon inhales sharply as his arms reflexively hold her tight in return. Somehow, this feels a little like adultery. They're not kissing and not tearing each other's clothes off, and yet it feels more like adultery than their hazy night together does. He feels guilty and he doesn't want to hurt Leonard in all of this, but that doesn't seem to diminish how right this feels, to be holding Penny so tight. How powerful and intense it is.

Their energy swirls around his head and makes it swim. When they pull away, their foreheads touch and their eyes close; he feels ridiculous thinking it, but he can't help but feel as if they're defying the laws of physics in this moment.

For though they are still, while they cling to each other, their entire world tilts on its axis and everything around them spins.


The night is here and the day is gone,
And the world spins madly on.




TBC

Loosely inspired by World Spins Madly On by The Weepies. [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}
 
 
 
A lurking goblin marionette: tbbt: kaleydanceinacircle on October 11th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
The Weepies is right - I'll admit it, I teared up. This is SO GOOD SERIOUSLY. Gahhhh.
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks! So glad you liked it! Chapter 4 is up :)
defyprobability: JimParsonsdefyprobability on October 11th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 <3 <3

Love it! :D

Update soon, please!
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Thank you! I've just updated with the fourth chapter :)
S.: bb theory; ken + barbieartic_fox on October 11th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
Once again, a truly fantastic chapter! I'm loving this fic!
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad you're still enjoying this :)

Chapter 4 is up!
(Deleted comment)
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was anxious to get the backstory in there so everyone had a better picture of what went on (sorta, ha).

Fourth chapter's just been posted :D
thebullethebulle on October 11th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
OMG I LOVE THIS FIC SOOOOOOOO FREAKIN MUCH!!! :) Thank you so much!
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much! I appreciate that. I've just posted chapter four. :)
(Deleted comment)
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Haha, glad you got a kick out of the proposal ;D

Thanks so much for commenting, it's always appreciated! Fourth chapter is now up :)
ruby_casparruby_caspar on October 11th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
Ooh. That is a CRUEL place to end it.
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Heee. What can I say? I'm a cruel, cruel person. :D

Fourth chapter's up now, though, so you can put any torches or pitchforks down. ;)
oneangredwarf90oneangredwarf90 on October 11th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
this fic= AWESOME
-liz
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks, Liz! Glad you're still liking this. I've just put up the fourth chapter!
Maura!: + bb: another universe another sheldonfujiidom on October 11th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
This just gets more and more fun! Poor Sheldon, left spinning and overwhelmed. I hope they all resolve this peacefully, for friendship's sake. Then there can be some guilt-free returns to the bedroom! \o/ ;)
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Hee, thanks! Glad you liked! Fourth chapter is now up.
Michele: OMG Sheldondark_spidey on October 11th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
Amazing!

I loved to progression of Sheldon's feelings for Penny by each thing that they got for the wedding and then by the time they got to the Chapel. Poor Sheldon!

God the ending of this chapter!! I loved how you wrote it! Just...guh!

I want to read the next chapter!
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that! I'm really enjoying writing this, so I'm glad you're getting enjoyment out of it too.

The fourth chapter has just been posted :)
~ Vejibra Momiji (Lady Padme Naberrie): sparrabethvejibra on October 12th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
So good! and the same time I feel sad T_T so much conflict! n_n moreeee please?.
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! More has just been posted!
babebubeboink99 on October 12th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)
This is exactly the kind of brilliant angst that makes me so weak in the knees.
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks! I'm a sucker for angst sometimes :)

Chapter four's up!
akitron: jessiesgardenakitron on October 12th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
ahhhh i love thissssss.
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! :D
jazzrose343 (fallen angel): :Djazzrose343 on October 12th, 2009 07:26 am (UTC)
Another wonderful chapter.

I love how you incorperated all Penny and Sheldon's thoughts and feelings.

The path you led through their memories and the time in Vegas was so well written.

I is needing MOAR soon.
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
Aww thank you! I appreciate the warm comments :)

I've just posted more -- chapter 4's ready :D

(Also: ICON LOVE! Awww Emoticon!Sheldon)
babebubeboink99 on October 12th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
*sniffle* I just had to read it again. I love how meticulous you are about the details.
a.regalish on October 13th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
Heee! Thank you so much! I'm a stickler for details. :)