"Penny, I may not have long left. Please fetch a pen and paper and dictate the following..."
Penny refused to do any such thing. Sheldon was putting her own acting abilities to shame with his melodramatic response to this current predicament. Even predicament seemed too strong a word. What was the big deal? So she had pushed him in the snow without appropriate arctic survival equipment. They were on the doorstep of the frickin' chalet, for god's sake. Looking at him now, she wished she had pushed him in face first.
This was supposed to be fun; well, for her at least. She had tagged along with the guys to a conference in Aspen, hoping to make the most of the après-ski (minus the whole skiing bit) while the boys did their physics thing during the day. The one day that Sheldon was not presenting a paper, she had suggested that they go for a walk through the snow. Sheldon had huffed and puffed and Penny had lost patience. By the time he had made it outside, she was so bored, she had thrown herself to the ground and begun to make a snow angel. He had looked horrified. So she had stood up, grabbed his hand and dragged him down with her. It was supposed to be fun; not - as Sheldon insisted on reminding her - attempted homicide.
And now Sheldon was wrapped in a blanket back inside the chalet, the fire roaring and a cup of camomile tea by his side that she still didn't know why she had bothered to make him, and yet still death by hypothermia (or death by Penny) appeared imminent. He sniffed and shivered and Penny was convinced that she had never seen him look more pathetic, which she used to think would really take some doing.
"The last will and testament of Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper..." He sneezed once then added weakly, "PhD."
"I'm not writing this down for you. You can do it yourself as soon as you stop acting like such a prima donna."
He glared at her. Penny folded her arms over her chest and glared back.
"I would have thought that there would have been some improvement in your basic literacy skills after taking down so many orders at work. Or do you normally resort to crudely drawn pictures?"
"That's it, Sheldon!" She snatched the blanket from around him, to which he looked aghast. "I'm not pandering to your bullshit for a second longer. Either man up and shut up or face having your ass kicked by a barely literate Nebraskan girl with a mean right hook."
"You would threaten me with physical violence?"
"Worked before," she said, arms back under her chest and a look of challenge on her face. "You have your methods. I have mine."
"I would hardly call them methods," he said and reached for his cup of tea. He took one sip then looked back up at her. "You forgot the honey." When he saw her expression, he added hurriedly, "Not that I think it is essential this time."
"Forget it, Sheldon." Penny dropped her arms and headed towards the large staircase in the centre of the room.
"Where are you going?"
"You've sucked all the enjoyment out of the snow for me," she said, without looking back. "Think I might see if I can at least enjoy the jacuzzi."
Penny was beginning to enjoy the jacuzzi. She had a glass of wine in one hand, sweet contemporary pop music in her ears, and a picturesque view of the rest of the resort before her, postcard-perfect snow-covered mountains peering up in the background. She was even beginning to forget why she had been so annoyed in the first place.
The spell was quickly broken by a familiarly rhythmic sound.
Tap tap tap. "Penny."
Tap tap tap. "Penny."
Tap tap tap...
"Jesus H Christ on a snowboard!" She snatched the earphones out and glared at Sheldon's silhouette through the balcony door. "I'm not getting out just to put honey in your stupid tea!"
Sheldon pulled back the door slightly and peered around the edge. "I was wondering..." He pulled the door back the rest of the way to reveal himself in a bathrobe. "Could I join you?"
"What?" Penny's mouth remained slightly open for several moments after speaking.
"I was hoping that the jacuzzi might provide an adequate means to warm up."
That line from anyone else would have been an invitation to get busy in a hot tub. From Sheldon, it sounded like the beginnings of a scientific experiment.
"Sure," Penny said, almost feeling slightly sorry for him. Almost. The alcohol had worn her previous irritation down to the level of glum resignation.
Sheldon awkwardly removed his robe and folded it neatly, before placing it on the back of a chair. Penny feigned disinterest but she could not ignore the fact that Sheldon Lee Cooper, PhD was down to a pair of black Speedos. She should not have been particularly surprised, having already been witness to his tighty whities. But what a strange body he had; which was to say, how strangely incongruous. Penny would never have imagined in the few short years that she had known him that she would ever be tempted to discreetly check him out.
"Nice bathing suit," she said as he tentatively placed a toe in the water.
Sheldon bristled but did not appear particularly embarrassed, glancing over quickly at what he could make out of her bikini through the constant bubbles. "I am afraid that I can offer no kind of informed opinion with regards to your own." He sat down fully at the opposite side of the tub from Penny then said, "This is pleasantly warm."
"Yep." Penny took another drink from her glass. She thought about how they had both seen each other in various states of undress without any underlying sexual tension before then wondered why right now should be any different. She stretched out her legs and felt one foot catch Sheldon's shin. "Sorry," she said then pulled her legs quickly back.
"Please refrain from making any kind of advance towards me. I am simply here to restore my core body temperature to a barely viable ninety-nine degrees."
The term sexual tension and Sheldon really didn't belong in the same sentence.
"I wasn't coming on to you," Penny snapped.
"Just try to keep your limbs to yourself."
"Consider it done."
Penny really wanted to crawl over to the other side of the tub and wrap her legs around him, just to see what his reaction would be.
I bet you wouldn't be cold then, Dr Popsicle.
Sheldon closed his eyes and Penny watched him. She downed the rest of her glass of wine. There were only a few feet of space between them. It could all be so easy.
"What now?" he said, eyes still closed.
Penny closed the short distance and deposited herself in Sheldon's lap. She felt his body stiffen beneath her (though not the normal bit of anatomy that she was used to) and smiled to herself.
"Warmer?" she said, placing her arms around his neck and a soft kiss on his mouth.
His eyes shot open and he studied her curiously. Penny wiped the lingering gloss from his lips with the pad of her thumb, before placing his arms around her waist and settling against his back.
"What about now?"
Sheldon's hands twitched beneath her fingers. His breath ghosted along the side of her face.
"Adequate," he said.
Her smile broadened. "A girl can only hope for adequate."
Looking back out across the resort, Penny decided that the view really was much better from Sheldon's side of the tub. She shuffled slightly and what d'ya know? It looked like Mr Reluctant Snow Angel was finally pleased to see her.