muir_wolf: (Default)
muir_wolf ([personal profile] muir_wolf) wrote2011-10-29 09:23 pm

FIC: & i'll find strength | bbt

Title: & i’ll find strength
Rating: PG-13 (some language)
Word Count: 1700
Disclaimer: BBT, isn’t mine, etc.
Summary: Friendship!fic. Sheldon tells her they can lie, if she wants. It’s one of those handful of times that she remembers that deep down (deep, deep down), he’s kind. But she doesn’t want to lie anymore.

A/N: Much much much love to [livejournal.com profile] juniperlane, who turned a messy collection of words into coherent, properly tensed sentences. Everything that's good about this is her doing ♥


& i’ll find strength



Penny is drunk when she leans into Sheldon’s side on the couch, her body warm against his, and tilts her head up until her mouth is inches from his ear. Sheldon just sits there stiffly, waiting, and she whispers, “Sheldon. Don’t tell Leonard, but I like girls.”

Penny has dated a lot of guys over the years, but she knows how ridiculously hard it is to make it in showbiz, and really, why make it harder than it already is? She’s already been pretending for, hell, all of her life (except for those few minutes in the girls’ changing room exchanging fervent kisses with Abigail Smitter, except for those dares by guys who never guessed how much she wanted to kiss that random girl in the bar with the red lips and those pretty green eyes). Penny has been pretending for so long, so why not pretend a little more?

Leonard is… nice. She’s not attracted to him, but being with him wasn’t terrible, and she always had the upper hand so it’s not like she had to have sex with him all the time, and… And then he said he loved her. She doesn’t think she’s ever run so fast from a relationship before.

She can’t imagine this stretching into always. She’s always thought that once she has enough success she could come out with the three page spread in People magazine of pictures of her holding her girlfriend’s hand, and fuck but that sounds good. Her girlfriend’s hand.

Penny likes women. She likes the curve of their necks and the lift of their shoulders and the way their hair tangles between her fingers. She likes the way the feminine form feels against hers, and the way female hands press against the small of her back.

Penny likes women and she doesn’t want to have to pretend anymore.

So when she leans in against safe, non-sexual, non-threatening Sheldon, and tells him, “I like girls,” it’s not just because she’s drunk, and it’s not just because his eyes, she thinks, are kind. Y’know, beneath the snarky, arrogant exterior. Way down there. Somewhere.

He pats her arm tentatively and says, “All right, Penny,” and eventually he’s the one that walks her back to her apartment and helps her change (eyes closed ever-so-chivalrously all the while) and insists she brushes her teeth (and ignores the way she half-hangs on to him in the process) and finally tucks her into bed.

“Don’t tell the others,” she says, catching his hand before he leaves, and he turns back to her, mouth set firmly, and nods.

“I won’t,” he says.





The next few days she waits for the other shoe to drop. Maybe, she thinks, maybe Sheldon thought she was joking. Maybe he’s finally become semi-decent at keeping secrets. Maybe she dreamt it all.

It’s the first time she’s ever come out to anyone out here, though, and she knows she didn’t imagine it. It’s easy to recall the way his shirt felt against her arm, the way he frowned a little in thought as he looked at her. It’s not that he suddenly hates her, either, because if anything he’s been nicer to her. He’s certainly been more inclusive, hounding her to the point of insanity to play Halo with them and texting her at least twice a day about random things. She rather thinks he’s keeping tabs on her, which is…sweet. Sweet and very much unexpected.

She doesn’t bring it up again. She’s not planning on suddenly allowing herself to get a girlfriend, and she’s not planning on telling anyone else, and really it’s a discussion that she emphatically Does Not Want to Have, so. Even though sometimes Sheldon looks at her as if he’s bursting with questions, he doesn’t say anything and neither does she.





It’s a few months later, in the middle of the night, that Sheldon wakes her up with a triple-knock on her bedroom door. He tells her (when she asks, breathless and clutching a baseball bat) that he used his spare key to get into her apartment because he didn’t want to wake Leonard up, which, she knows for a fact that Leonard doesn’t have super-spy-hearing, but whatever.

Sheldon is pacing back and forth, and there’s a new tension to his shoulders. He won’t stop, won’t look at her, for longer than she likes. It’s not until she finally half-yells, “What do you want, Sheldon?” that he stops.

“How did you k-know?” he asks. He’s a little breathless around the words, his eyes wide, and maybe there’s a million things he could be talking about, but she knows.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I’ve always kind of known. I mean, I’m attracted to women. That’s kind of all there is to it. I’m attracted to women and I’m not attracted to men, and. I don’t know, Sheldon, I just knew. Why?”

And maybe it’s stupid to ask why, because he starts pacing again, his back tight, his head bowed a little. This time, she sits on the couch and waits for him to speak. It’s a while before he tires himself out, before he collects himself enough, but finally he sits on the couch next to her. When he pauses, again, she takes his hand in hers and squeezes once.

“Penny,” he says. “Penny, don’t tell the others, but—”





She takes him to a gay bar.

Of course she takes him to a gay bar; there is no world in which she does not take him to a gay bar.

They drive two cities over; Penny’s hands are a little tight on the steering wheel, Sheldon protesting all the while that he’s not sure if they should do this.

Penny spends the first hour watching him. He’s awkward, of course, he’s always been awkward and he’s not suddenly going to become smooth. He stutters over words and insults two different guys and Penny has to rescue him once when a guy runs a hand down Sheldon’s chest and Sheldon blushes a bright red and freezes, but eventually a small group of guys adopts the two of them, and between their complimenting of Penny and their careful flirting with Sheldon, the night actually starts being a success.

There’s a singer on the stage, though, and her hair is a dark tumble down her shoulders and her eyes are smoky and grey and when she sings it makes the breath catch in Penny’s throat, and it thrums through her, this want.

Patrick, the guy that’s actually managed to make Sheldon laugh (twice!) at dirty jokes, watches her watch the singer, and finally he leans in and whispers, “You look like you want to eat her, and I swear that if you don’t go hit on her I’m going to go middle school on you and tell her you like her.”

Penny’s a blushing incoherent mess, but Sheldon (with those ever-so-occasionally kind eyes), smiles a half-smile and tells her he’ll be fine.

Patrick stage-whispers, “Hell, he’s already fine.

Penny’s unable to stop laughing, despite how stupid it was. Patrick tugs her shirt down a little in the front, and she’s still grinning when she walks up to the stage with two shots of Tequila.

She gets a phone number, so. It’s good to know that she’s still got game.





Penny and the singer, Aria, end up dating for a couple of weeks. Penny introduces her to everyone else as her friend, and eventually Aria gets sick of sneaking around and they break up amicably, even if Penny does hate herself a little.

Patrick drags Sheldon out every once and awhile, and even though Sheldon whines about it constantly to Penny, he always goes, and she knows he enjoys himself.

Maybe, she thinks, maybe this is going to work out, maybe she and Sheldon can go off and have fun and still keep it a secret. Maybe she can like girls and not have anyone else know, and maybe it’s all going to be all right.

And then Leonard asks her if she and Sheldon are dating.





Sheldon tells her they can lie, if she wants. It’s one of those handful of times that she remembers that deep down (deep, deep down), he’s kind.

But she doesn’t want to lie anymore.

Howard leers at Penny, which is expected, and Raj scoots a little closer to Sheldon, which is not. Leonard is practically mute, and while he assures the both of them that he’s happy for them, he radiates hurt. Bernadette wants to go to every gay club ever and maybe open up one of their own, and Amy looks entirely too excited for really anyone’s safety. (“Do you think—” she starts. “No.”)

And Sheldon and Penny don’t let go of each other, their hands a thin thread of comfort in the face of uncertainty.





Penny buys Sheldon a shirt that says I Like Boys and gives it to him for his birthday. He refuses to wear it, so eventually she saves up and convinces Stuart to help her and together they make him a shirt online with Apollo and Midnighter that says I Like Boys, and—

He wears it all the time.





Penny gets cast as a mother.

Specifically, the mother.

Her new castmate kisses her on the cheek and hugs her close when she tells him she thinks she doesn’t want to wait until she’s famous to come out.

So when she goes on Conan and he asks her about the mystery man she’s always seen with, she tells him about what an awful wingman Sheldon truly is, even if one time he did help her pick up that hot girl, and—

And Conan doesn’t miss a beat.

And that night, eating ice cream and watching her interview on TV, Sheldon holds her hand and doesn’t let her read the message boards and takes her phone away when her agent calls (again).

“Penny,” he says, “Penny, I’m proud of you, I am, but Penny. I’m an excellent wingman.”

She laughs until she cries.





The world doesn’t end.

Neil tells her a friend of his wants to meet Sheldon. Sheldon tells her (repeatedly) he doesn’t want to date a magician, and then the next informal party at Penny’s house, Sheldon follows Neil around for almost an hour trying to figure out his tricks. Neil’s friend turns out to be a writer. They disagree about everything. They date for over a month.

A picture of Penny and a “mystery woman” kissing hits the web after a late night out. Leonard cuts the picture out of Entertainment Weekly and hands it to her solemnly the next time he sees her, and she introduces him to one of the cute extras. Penny takes her mystery woman to the Emmy’s, and they hold hands on the red carpet.

Penny is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and loses out to Aubrey Plaza, which, hell, she is completely fucking all right with.

She and Sheldon watch too much television and he is often an arrogant idiot and they have far too much blackmail on each other to ever, in a million years, ever let each other go.


Finis




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