Rating: NC-17 for language and sexytimes
Word Count: 4,919
Spoilers: General Season 3
Disclaimer: Rub it in, why don't you.
Summary: Written for the Paradox Kink Meme for the prompt "Telepathy. Go."
Penny trudged up the stairs to the fourth floor, blowing strands of hair out of her face and muttering obscenities under her breath. She had just finished an absolutely hellish shift at the Cheesecake Factory; honestly, she didn’t understand how people how people could be so freakin’ rude. Lately it seemed like every time she turned her back a customer was saying something catty about her appearance or her waitressing skills. And the men! Apparently they had all recently moved on from making whispered comments to their friends and then sniggering like schoolboys – now they all just blatantly commented on her ass like they were at a strip club or something. The things she’d been hearing people say were like the meanest, most judgmental things she thought in her head but would never, ever say out loud.
Things had been a little crazy ever since she had slipped in the shower that night a few weeks ago. Her head felt fuzzy and unfocused at times; she wondered if she had gotten a concussion or something, but she couldn’t afford to go back to the hospital to get checked out again even though it seemed to be getting worse. Leonard had been patient and solicitous, constantly asking her if she was okay, and how she felt today, and if he could get her anything. She had put up with it at first – he really was a sweet guy, and he was trying so hard – but eventually it really started to chap her ass.
It all came to a head one night a couple weeks ago when she was over at 4A for Halo night. Howard started talking about some hot new blond secretary at the school who was supposedly “easier to nail than a piece of plywood.” Although Penny had her head deep in the fridge, checking to see if she had left any Diet Cokes in the back, she distinctly heard Leonard say, “What, did they hire Penny and I didn’t know about it?”
Penny straightened up slowly and turned to the living room. “Excuse me?”
The boys looked up from untangling the controllers with surprise; clueless as they usually were, they could hear the anger in her voice and looked frightened already. Raj let out a quiet whimper; Sheldon stared at her with round eyes from his spot on the couch but kept his mouth shut for once. She trained a death glare on Leonard and he visibly blanched, then stood up and started carefully shuffling towards her sideways, like a nervous crab. “Penny?” he said in what she assumed was supposed to be a placating voice. “What’s wrong?”
“What’s WRONG?!” she shrieked. “Seriously? God, Leonard, you’re supposed to be my boyfriend! How DARE you say something like that about me? I don’t care if it was just a joke - that was really mean! I can’t believe you’d be such a jackass!” There was a weird buzzing inside her head; it felt like there was a swarm of honey bees flying around in there.
Leonard looked shocked; his mouth hung open and he seemed unable to process what Penny was saying. Eventually he stammered, “B-b-but, Penny, I didn’t say anything! I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“God, now you’re trying to DENY it? I HEARD you, Leonard!”
“Heard what? Howard was the one who was talking! I didn’t say anything about you!”
Things had gone downhill from there. Raj and Howard had mumbled excuses and bolted while Sheldon fled to his room and locked the door. Penny kept accusing Leonard of calling her easy; Leonard insisted that he hadn’t said anything. Penny had seen the tiny flashes of guilt that kept crossing his face, though, and wouldn’t back down. After shouting at each other for what seemed like hours, they eventually ran out of steam and she flopped down on the couch. Leonard tentatively sat down next to her.
Penny turned her head to look at Leonard; he tried to meet her eyes but kept looking away. “This isn’t going to work, sweetie.”
“I know,” Leonard mumbled. “It’s just not quite right, is it?”
“No, it isn’t,” Penny sighed. “And I don’t think it ever will be.”
And that was that. Things had been awkward as hell at first, but Penny forced herself to keep going over to the boys’ apartment no matter how uncomfortable it made her. She wasn’t going to lose two of her best friends just because she had slept with one of them and then dumped him for calling her a slut. She was made of sterner stuff than that.
Approximately sixty seconds after entering her apartment, Penny was sprawled on her couch with a glass of white wine in one hand and the DVD remote in the other. After the day she’d had, she figured that she deserved some alcohol and The Lake House. She felt like this was the first real quiet time she’d had in weeks, and it felt like bliss.
Penny groaned and rolled off the couch, pulling herself up to go answer the door.
Sheldon was standing on her doorstep, all long, lanky limbs and twitches and pursed lips. “Hello, Penny.”
“Hey, Sheldon. What’s up?”
“Leonard has forced me to come over and invite you to join us for a Doctor Who marathon.”
Penny rolled her eyes. “Leonard forced you? Gee, hon, you sure know how to make a girl feel special.” She ignored the twinge of hurt his words caused.
Sheldon blinked and then acknowledged the sarcasm with a slight nod. “While I do, at times, find your company to be pleasant enough, Penny, your current relationship with Leonard would be categorized as strained at best. The resulting tension may upset my own viewing experience.” He paused. “Plus, you talk too much.”
Penny was indignant. “I do not talk too much!”
“Well, obviously the term ‘too much’ is relative, but I have calculated that, depending on the program, you speak thirty-nine to fifty-five percent of the time. Why, just the other day we were watching Battlestar Galactica and you rambled on for ten minutes straight about Captain Adama and his towel in the scene with – “
“Okay, okay, I get the point,” Penny said hurriedly. She rubbed her temples; that awful buzzing sound was coming back. “You know what, I’d really just like to be on my own tonight. Thanks anyway, though.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll inform Leonard of your decision to forgo our hospitality for the evening. Goodnight, Penny.” He turned abruptly and crossed the hallway back towards his own apartment. Penny shook her head and started closing her door, the buzzing already starting to fade.
(I wish she would join us.)
Penny stopped just short of closing the door and swung it back open. “Sheldon? Did you say something, sweetie?”
Sheldon looked startled. “No, I did not.” He slipped into his apartment and quickly shut the door behind him.
Penny stared at the closed door for a moment. She could’ve sworn she heard….she shook her head. Obviously she needed to lay off the wine.
It was two o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, and Penny was in her bed with the covers over her head and the curtains drawn. She hadn’t left the apartment in over three days.
She had attempted to go to the grocery store on Sunday. She only made it halfway down the first aisle before she abandoned her cart and took off running for the exit, holding her hands over her ears in a desperate attempt to keep out the noise. The buzzing sound she’d been hearing lately had suddenly, terrifyingly resolved itself into a babble of voices coming from all around her.
(…five bucks for a jar of tomato sauce? They’ve gotta be kidding! Back in my day it was only…)
(…wish she would just SHUT UP SHUT UP for two fucking seconds…)
(…maybe I should buy the wet food, Mister Peebles doesn’t seem to like the dry anymore…)
(…I swear, if one more customer argues with me about the goddamn coupons, I’m so quitting…)
Penny had driven straight home, shaking violently the whole way. She flew up the stairs, managed to unlock her door with trembling hands and then slammed it shut behind her. She collapsed on her bed and stared at the ceiling with wide, unblinking eyes. “Okay, Penny, get it together,” she muttered to herself. “Do not freak out. DO NOT FREAK OUT.”
The way she figured it, there were three explanations for what was going on with her head:
1.) She was insane. (She didn’t feel insane, but isn’t that what insane people always said?)
2.) She had finally pickled her brain with too much alcohol. Now she was hearing voices and it was all thanks to one too many G&Ts and Tequila Sunrises.
3.) The blow to her head when she’d fallen in the shower and had dislodged something upstairs. She could now hear the thoughts of those around her. What was it called? Telekiwhatsis? No, telepathy. That was it.
Penny fought a bubble of hysterical laughter as it rose up in her throat. Crazy as it seemed, she was leaning toward door number three. It would explain all of the rude comments that she thought the customers at work were making, and why her head almost exploded at the grocery store from all of the snippets of sentences getting lodged in her brain. Even if she was insane, she couldn’t make up half the shit she’d been hearing.
And it would explain what you thought you heard Sheldon say a few days ago, her own voice whispered inside her head. She ignored it.
A few minutes later, her cell phone trilled with the sound of an incoming message. She reached a hand out from under the covers and groped around on her bedside table until she grabbed her phone and pulled it back into her little cocoon.
*Hello Penny. This is Sheldon Cooper. You were not at work last night. I was subjected to poor service from an inferior waitress who simply could not comprehend the intricacies of my order. In the future, please notify me in writing at least 48 hours in advance if you choose to shirk your professional duties so that I may make alternate arrangements.*
Whoops. Penny had managed to call in sick to work, claiming she had pinkeye and couldn’t touch peoples’ food, but she had completely forgotten to mention it to the boys. In fact, she hadn’t spoken to any of them at all since she had seen Sheldon on Saturday night.
*Sorry sweetie, been sick.*
There, that should scare him away.
*If you are sufficiently recovered and past the stage of contagion, we would be amenable to you joining us for Thai food and Halo tonight.*
Penny sighed. She couldn’t hide in her bedroom forever, although the idea was appealing.
*Very well. We shall expect you at 8 o’clock sharp.*
Penny gingerly opened the door of 4A and poked her head into the room. The boys were in their usual spots, distributing the food and chatting about the new comic books they’d gotten earlier. She stepped into the room, closed the door behind her, and braced herself.
Howard cried, “Ah, the fair Penelope is among us once more!” (She really is hot, why can’t I get a girl that hot? I think it’s Ladies Night at that Western bar tomorrow, Raj and I should go. Penny would look hot in cowboy boots. Penny would look even hotter in nothing BUT cowboy boots.)
Raj bobbed his head at her and gave her a half-smile before staring fixedly at a point on the floor. (Dude, you are SO pathetic. Maybe Howard will want to go to that Ladies Night tomorrow, I can drink Grasshoppers and flirt with wild abandon with women of whom my parents would never approve.)
Leonard stood up from his chair and smiled at her uncertainly, his eyes crinkling at the corners in his genuine delight at seeing her. “Hey, Penny, glad you could make it.” (She looks tired. She hasn’t met someone new already, has she? Probably another stupid meathead. I treated her so much better than them.)
Sheldon looked up and narrowed his blue eyes at her. “Oh look, Penny has decided to grace us with her presence tonight. How generous of her!” (…infernal-woman-virtual-particles-p
Penny gritted her teeth and took up her customary spot on the couch next to Sheldon. “Can we please just start the game?” She was hoping that once the boys were focused on the Halo action, their mental processes would shut up so she wouldn’t have to hear their weird boy thoughts.
And it worked. Kind of. For a while, anyway.
When the gaming was over, though, their thoughts came flooding back in. Howard’s thoughts were basically the script of a low-budget Cinemax soft-core porn; Raj interspersed snippets of Bollywood tunes with resentful diatribes against his parents. Leonard was all whine, whine, whine about Penny and women in general. And Sheldon? Sheldon’s thoughts were a barrage of theories and neuroses and random facts, overlapping and running together as his freakish brain whirred through subjects at the speed of light. It was a wonder that his head didn’t explode. How could one person think so much all at once?
Penny sat huddled on the couch, trying to focus on the actual conversation instead of the unspoken ones that only she could hear. Every once in a while Howard, Leonard or even Raj would think something gross about her and she’d shoot a glare at them - first they’d look surprised, then guilty, then confused. Penny’s headache grew worse and worse until she couldn’t take it anymore and she decided she had to get out of there. She stood up abruptly and announced that she was going to bed.
(You want any company?) Howard, of course.
(Oh good, now I can tell that awesome gynecologist joke I heard earlier.) Raj. Ew. No thanks.
(Well, that didn’t go too badly. I think this friends thing may work out okay after all.) Aww, Leonard really was a sweetheart under all that passive-agressiveness.
Penny spun around and stared at Sheldon with narrowed eyes. He continued to work on getting a spot out of the rug and didn’t even look at her.
Exasperated, Penny threw her hands up in the air. “You’re all crazy!” she yelled and stomped out the apartment, leaving four confused pairs of eyes following her out the door.
Minutes later, Penny was huddled on her couch, wrapped in a blanket and soothing her headache with a big glass of wine. If she was hearing voices because of her drinking instead of trauma-induced telepathy, it was just too damn bad, because sometimes a girl just really, really needed some alcohol.
Jesus Christ on toast, she really, really didn’t need this right now. She dragged herself off the couch and over to the door, opening it just a crack and glaring through the gap.
“What is it, Sheldon?”
He cleared his throat. “Once again, I have been elected as an emissary to ascertain your wellbeing and enquire as to whether you’re ‘okay.’” He used his fingers to make air quotes.
“I’m fine,” Penny said dryly. “Thanks so much for your concern.”
“Oh, I wasn’t concerned. It was mostly Leonard.”
Penny huffed and started to shut the door. “Great. Thanks. Goodnight.”
She paused and then reopened the door, this time the whole way. “Sheldon?”
“Why weren’t you concerned?” She crossed her arms and stared at him, willing him to tell her the truth.
“Your moods and insignificant hardships are beneath my attention, obviously.”
“Well, that’s rude!” She wasn’t sure if she was referring to what he said or that fact that, according to his own thoughts, he didn’t really mean it and was lying to her. She decided to test him. “Is that really what you think of me? That I’m beneath you? That I’m not as good as you?”
He stood motionless before her, his eyes on the ceiling and his lips pressed tightly together.
“Answer me, dammit!”
A beat of silence.
“Of course that’s what I think, Penny.”
And then -
Penny took a step forward and kissed him.
The kiss was so short it could barely qualify as a kiss. More of a peck, really. Penny stepped back and mentally braced herself for the inevitable sonic boom of thoughts that was sure to come flying out of his brain. Any second now. Aaaaaany second…
“Wow,” Penny breathed.
Sheldon was standing completely still. His eyes were wide and his breath was coming in short bursts.
“Sheldon?” She waved a hand in front of his face. “Sweetie?” Oh God, had she broken him?
Penny prodded him sharply in the chest.
“For God’s sake, Sheldon, you’re not dying! I only kissed you, it’s not a big deal!”
Sheldon snapped up to his full height and peered down at her indignantly. “Excuse me, Penny, but I would argue that someone being assaulted against his will is indeed a ‘big deal!’”
Assaulted?! Penny narrowed her eyes at him. Oh, she was going to make him pay for that one.
She reached up and pulled the elastic out of her hair, shaking her head until blond tendrils curled against her shoulders. She stared Sheldon straight in the eye, licked her lips and pushed them out in a pout. “Against your will, huh?” She slid closer to him until she was standing a hairsbreadth away from his quivering body, peering up at him through fluttering lashes. “Against your will?”
Sheldon stared down at her. (…she-knows-how-could-she-possibly-k
“But I didn’t - mmphh!”
Penny pressed her lips to his for a second time.
Penny drew back and grabbed Sheldon’s head in her hands. “Sheldon. Sheldon! Look at me.”
His eyes darted around, looking everywhere but at her face. She waited, and eventually his gaze settled on her own.
“Listen to me. There is nothing wrong with this. I want this, and I think you do too. Do you understand?”
Sheldon snorted. “Well, of course I understand, Penny. There is very little that someone with my elevated IQ could not comprehend.”
Penny rolled her eyes. “Great, I’m glad we settled that. Now, why don’t you just come sit on the couch with me.” She took his hand and drew him over to the sofa, tugging him down next to her. He sat gingerly, shifting his position again and again until he finally settled in, half-turned toward Penny and looking at her with bright eyes. He looked jumpy and his thoughts were an anxious humming that ran through Penny’s head like electricity through a power line.
She smiled weakly at him as she was struck by a sudden wave of indecision. How was she supposed to do this? It was Sheldon! She couldn’t just jump his bones! God, if only she could know what he wanted, what he was thinking…
“Sheldon, I know this is all new to you, and it may be making you a little nervous. I want you to try something for me, okay? It’s, um…a visualization technique. That I learned in one of my acting classes.”
Sheldon cocked his head and looked at her consideringly. “Very well. What are the rules?”
“The rules are that you have to close your eyes, and, uh…you have to imagine yourself. And me. Us. Together. And, um, the sort of things that would…interest you.” Her cheeks burned. “Sexually.”
“Very well.” He closed his eyes.
(Penny, grinningly impishly at him from his spot. Her hair on the back of her neck as he followed her to the car. Her tearstained face as she sat on the floor outside her door. The line of her neck as she threw her head back to laugh. The way her shorts rode up as she reached for a margarita glass in her cupboard. The soft, yielding weight of her breast in his hand. The feel of her lips on his own…)
She reached out and gently touched his shoulder. “Sheldon?”
He opened his eyes and gave her a frustrated look, then stared down at his lap, where his fingers were twisting themselves together in agitation. “I fear that my inexperience in these matters prevents me from completing the exercise.”
Well, so much for that idea.
Penny decided that she was just going to have to do this the old-fashioned way - by trial and error. Except, you know, painfully slow. And careful. Very, very careful.
She reached out cupped her hand under Sheldon’s chin, tipping his head up so he was looking at her. “Sweetie, here’s the thing,” she said gently. “I don’t think even one of your questionnaires could explain why I like you so much. But I do.” She watched as his pupils dilated and almost went back to the jumping-his-bones plan right then and there. “And I’d like to, um, physically manifest that liking. By having sex. With you.”
Sheldon’s blue, blue eyes narrowed in on her green ones. “I believe that is a very reasonable request. If you shall instruct me on how to proceed, I would be more than happy to comply.”
“Oh. Okay.” There didn’t seem to be much going on in Sheldon’s head at the moment - surprise, surprise, he actually was like other guys, in one way at least - but she did keep getting flashes of their kisses. “Well, why don’t you start by kissing me.”
“Very well.” He studied her face for a moment as if he was calculating the best approach angle and then leaned over and placed his mouth on hers. After a few awkward, motionless seconds, instinct seemed to kick in and his lips began to move. Tentative at first, he quickly became bolder as he nibbled his way across Penny’s bottom lip. He gave a start of surprise when her tongue gently slipped into his mouth, but he recovered admirably and mirrored her action, eventually deepening the kiss and bringing a long-fingered hand up to brush the hair away from her face. He made a low sound in the back of his throat.
Penny broke away, flushed and panting. His eyes popped open and he regarded her warily.
“Sheldon? Is this okay so far?”
“That’s good enough for me,” she told him. He had only a second to look confused before she flung herself at him,. Her momentum knocked Sheldon sideways and he fell against the arm of the couch with Penny sprawled on top of him. She grabbed the collar of his T-shirt and pulled herself up his body, ducking her head to press kisses against the side of his neck. She bit down gently on his left earlobe and he sucked in air through clenched teeth, shuddering as she delicately licked inside the shell of his ear.
Sheldon’s hands were roaming her body, fluttering away and coming to land in unexpected places. He swept a palm across the small of her back and delicately slid a hand underneath her tank top, brushing his fingers against her bare skin and causing Penny to let out a quiet moan. He seemed encouraged by this and added his other hand to her back, moving both palms upward until they cradled her shoulder blades and then gripping tightly as Penny suddenly sucked hard on his collarbone.
“Oh!” he exclaimed, squeezing his eyes closed. “Penny, I…I want…”
She put her lips back to his ear and murmured, “What? What do you want?”
His jaw clenched. “I…I don’t know!” he said helplessly. “I just feel - I feel so…I want more.”
Penny rolled sideways off the couch and stood up. She reached out a hand and yanked Sheldon up, then led him toward the bedroom. “Oh, there’s definitely more.”
Penny pulled him into her bedroom and turned to face him. He loomed over her in the dark, his wide eyes reflecting the dim light coming in from the window. His thoughts were a mix of anxiety and desire.
She reached up and curled a hand around the back of Sheldon’s head, caressing the short, soft hair at the nape of his neck. He shuddered and closed his eyes. Penny stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips softly against his, skimming her hand down his torso to his waist. She tugged his shirts up over his head and let them drop to the floor, then pulled off her tank top. She slid her shorts down her legs and stepped out of them, straightening up to stand before him completely bare.
Penny smiled. Sheldon’s hands shot out and grabbed her shoulders.
He pushed her backward and they tumbled onto the bed in a tangle of limbs. His lips fastened onto hers, possessive and demanding. His hands were everywhere; grasping her upper thigh, palming her breasts, sliding underneath her to cup her buttocks and pull her into him. She could feel his hardness and writhed beneath him, struggling to reach the waistband of his pants. She flicked the button open and pulled the zipper down in one deft movement, then slid her hand inside and laid it against his rigid cock. He sucked in a breath and went still.
Penny seized the moment and rolled until she was on top of him. Wriggling down his body, she tugged at his pants and underwear until they slid to his ankles. Yanking off his shoes, she pulled everything off and tossed it to the floor. She kneeled at his feet for a moment and then stretched forward until her hair brushed his inner thigh. She slowly trailed a hand up his leg, moving it up over his stomach and back down the other side. She made lazy circles around his groin until he started whimpering. Finally she reached out and wrapped a hand around the base of his cock, simultaneously giving the head a delicate lick.
Sheldon almost came off the bed, but she held her other hand firm on his hip and he eventually subsided, eyes gleaming at her wildly from the head of the bed. She took him into her mouth, swirling around the tip with her tongue while gently stroking the seam between his testicles with her little finger. He made a guttural sound and his head thrashed back and forth, hands clenching in the sheets.
Penny released him from her mouth and moved up to straddle him, his twitching cock pressed against her wetness. She leaned forward to feather her mouth across his neck, sliding her hands up his chest. She dragged her nails across his nipples and he gave a startled moan.
She reached down and grasped him once more, positioning him at her entrance. She pushed her hips down and he filled her, filled her so suddenly and completely that she almost screamed. Sheldon bucked against her but she ground herself down on him, stilling his movements as he panted and groaned. She let herself bask in the feeling for just a moment, and then she began to move.
Her hips began a slow rocking movement, gradually gaining speed as Sheldon started thrusting up to meet her. She could feel the warmth begin to build and she moved faster as the tingling spread over her entire body. Oh God, she was going to come, she could feel it, she was going to come right -
As she threw her head back and her walls tightened around him, Sheldon gasped and squeezed his eyes shut. His entire body stiffened and he cried out wordlessly, hands fisting in Penny’s hair as he came.
And just like that, a kaleidoscope of images exploded into her head.
(Penny curled up in his lap in their spot Penny wearing nothing but his Flash T-shirt Penny drawing hearts on his whiteboard Penny kissing him under the mistletoe Penny crawling towards him in his bed Penny sitting at the dinner table at his mother’s house Penny beaming at him with tears in her eyes as he slides a ring on her finger Penny walking toward him in a white dress Penny baking him a lopsided birthday cake Penny crooning softly to their baby Penny teaching their daughter to play baseball Penny at their son’s college graduation Penny with soft lines on her face and gray in her hair looking beautiful beautiful beautiful)
They lay side by side in her bed, Penny curled up against him while he traced the Greek alphabet on her back with a precise finger. She raised her head and propped it on her hand, smiling at the small smirk upon his lips.
She rubbed a few counterclockwise circles on his chest. “Did you ever think that this would happen? You and me, I mean?”
(Oh how I hoped it would.)
He snorted. “No, I did not. The statistical probability of two individuals with personalities as different as ours ever forming an attachment is very low.”
She grinned and snuggled down against his side. What a liar.
She was so glad.