It was a lovely, sunny day in Pasadena, but that did not matter at all to the protagonists of our story. Why, you may wonder? Well, they happen to be dyed-in-the-wool nerds, notoriously preferring indoors to out and online to off. This tale begins on a Thursday evening—Pizza Night. This Pizza Night was far from ordinary, however.
Howard and Raj arrived promptly at six, not wanting to face the rage of the Sheldon. It was Leonard who let them into 4A, however, and a very bemused Leonard at that. "He's in his room," he replied to the unspoken question, shoving up his glasses and glancing around furtively. "He's been kind of weird all day, I don't know."
At that instant, Sheldon emerged, his regularly immaculate hair somewhat mussed and his eyes bright. Howard groaned quietly. "What fresh hell does he have planned?" he muttered. Raj appeared to be choking on his own liver.
"Gentlemen," Sheldon said smugly, "I present my case."
"What case?" Raj asked curiously. Howard elbowed him.
"You're encouraging him," he said under his breath, rolling his eyes in an exasperated fashion. Raj held up his hands in surrender. All of this went unnoticed by Sheldon, who was embarking on his "case". He crossed to the blackboard; the three companions followed him, taking their seats and watching, wide-eyed.
"Exhibit A," he announced, holding up a blue flyer in one long-fingered hand. Leonard squinted, and read aloud.
"Harry Potter costume party...with contest...groups welcome...eight p.m. at the comic book store."
"Precisely," Sheldon said, drawing the word out and setting the flyer down on his desk as if it was a precious gem. "Gentlemen, we have attended every party function at that comic book store since we became a cohesive group."
"Except for that all-girls party," Raj put in glumly. "Stuart saw through our clever disguises and turned us away at the door."
There was a collective sigh for what might have been.
"Guys, there were only two girls that showed up," Leonard said, grinning slightly.
"That leaves one half of a girl for each of us. The ratios have been worse," Sheldon said, frowning.
"I know which half I'd want," Howard muttered, raising his thick eyebrows.
"Additionally, their costumes were horrendous, so I'm sure that we would have won the contest if Stuart hadn't insisted upon being a misandrist," Sheldon sniffed. "However, I digress. My objective was merely to inform you that we will be attending this Harry Potter costume party."
"Why are they even having a Harry Potter party? It's a comic book store," Raj wondered aloud.
"I guess so people would actually show up," Leonard said. "I mean, it's pretty popular..."
"So are we doing group costumes? I want the one with the most fangirls," Howard mused, stroking an imaginary beard. Raj snickered.
"I think that'd make you Draco Malfoy, dude."
He thought for a second. "Yeah, I could pull that off."
"Excellent question, Wolowitz," Sheldon said loudly, in a rehearsed tone. "I created a chart of organized data ranking the characters in relation to our physical resemblance to them, their in-story relations to each other, desirability of costume, and ease of creating said costume, as the party is only a little over a week away. I arrived at the conclusion that we should be..."
He paused for dramatic effect. The three looked at each other and began to hum dramatic music, louder and louder and—
"Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs."
"The Marauders?" Howard asked, somewhat incredulously. "We get to be the Marauders?"
"They were never referred to as such in canon, but yes. We get to be the Marauders." A rare smile crossed Sheldon's face. He had obviously hoped for a pleasant reaction.
Raj whooped. Leonard looked a little dark. "Have you already assigned the characters?" he asked, knowing the answer.
"Yes. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, Prongs." Sheldon pointed at each of them in turn, Howard, Raj, Leonard, and finally himself. "I trust that I do not have to explain my reasons."
"I don't really want to know your reasons," Leonard said, "but why do you get to be James?"
"Yeah, James is this total ladykiller. I mean, no offense, but I think I'd be better," Howard began.
"You?" Raj shrieked. "Excuse me, but I am the exotic, good-looking one! I'm also the only one who's athletic, and James was the star Chaser!"
"James is tall," Sheldon said over their argument. They paused and looked at him. "Tall and thin, which describes my build rather well."
"But he wears glasses—" Leonard tried.
"Irrelevant. I am capable of wearing glasses, but you are not capable of increasing your height in a realistic manner. The same goes for Howard, and Raj, James is described as being fairly pale." Sheldon crossed his arms in a childish gesture.
They all knew it was pointless to argue with him.
It was the next night, which happened to be Chinese Food and Vintage Video Game Night, when Howard suggested it. He was losing horribly at Dr. Mario when he turned to Raj and said, "You know, this Marauder thing would be considerably cooler if we had a Lily."
Raj nodded. "We could ask Penny."
"That's a great idea!" Leonard said enthusiastically.
Sheldon considered, resting his head on the palm of his hand. "Certainly it would increase our chances of winning the contest, but I do see one problem."
"What problem?" challenged Howard, shifting his hips and cocking his head into what he deemed a fighting stance.
"Who's going to ask her?"
Slowly, all eyes turned to Leonard.
Penny opened the door, all bright eyes and booty shorts. She tossed her blonde hair, and Leonard nearly turned around. He steeled himself, however, as she said, "Leonard! What a surprise! What do you want?"
"What makes you think that I want anything?" he asked, affronted.
She gave him a Look with a capital L. He cleared his throat. "We wanted to know if you would do us the honor of being our Lily Evans for the Harry Potter costume party next Friday at eight p.m.," Leonard recited, his eyes betraying his nerves.
Penny pursed her lips and hemmed. "Sweetie, it's not that I don't want to—"
"No, I have a feeling that's exactly what it is," he said quietly, looking down.
"—but some of us have, you know...lives, and work and stuff. You know, where I have to act like a normal human being." He couldn't pretend that didn't hurt.
"So you have work?"
"No...but Friday is Penny's Party Night! Have fun," she told him, closing the door gently. He groaned.
The remaining three looked up as he re-entered 4A. "Ah, Leonard. I suppose you failed?" Sheldon said pleasantly, tapping his fingers. Leonard let his glare serve for a response. "I expected as much. Howard, you're next."
"Oh please, like any woman can say no to this," he said with confidence, popping his collar. Raj's lips twitched.
They waited less than a minute for Howard's return. He slumped back into the room, pouting. "She slammed the door in my face!"
"Mm, also as expected," Sheldon said. "Raj?"
Raj looked around, then nodded. His breathing was noticeably heavier as he left the room. It took even less time for him to return than it had for Howard.
"Dude! I can't talk to women!"
"We know," they answered simultaneously.
"What did she say to you?" Howard's wounded pride inquired.
Raj shrugged. "Mostly she just pinched me on the cheek and told me I was 'such a cutie'." His friend swore under his breath.
Sheldon rose from his spot, looking up at the ceiling as if about to make a heroic sacrifice. "I knew it would come to this. I may be a while. Penny is a tough negotiator." He stalked dramatically to the door. The other three exchanged glances and sighs before turning on the television. It really might take a while.
Knock knock knock. "Penny."
Knock knock knock. "Penny."
Knock knock knock. "Pen—"
She opened the door. "Ny," he finished, hand still held in a knocking position. Penny's mouth smiled.
"I think I can guess what this is about," she said dryly.
"Oh, good. I may skip my preface." Sheldon made his way into the apartment. "If you agree to participate...I will be willing to buy you shoes."
"Are you...bribing me?" she asked, mouth dropping.
"It is not bribery, it is payment," he corrected, staring her down. The tension was palpable. "Would that be sufficient compensation?"
Penny took a seat on the couch, patting the space next to her. He sat cautiously. "Let's talk business, babe."
Fifteen minutes later, he opened the door to 4A. "Ah, the sweet taste of success." He scooted back into his spot, not noticing the shocked stares of his three friends.
"How—how did you—" Raj managed, blinking furiously.
"I'm sorry, I'm not at liberty to discuss that with you," Sheldon replied, smirking.
Howard made a noise that could only be described as a giggle. "These thoughts I'm having are so wrong. But so, so right."
"Seriously, what did you do?" Leonard said, pressing his lips together so tightly that they nearly turned white.
Sheldon only sighed and changed the channel.
That Sunday afternoon, the Supreme Overlord declared an official meeting of their cosplay team. He also banished Leonard from the living room until the meeting's commencement, so he was as surprised as everybody else to discover the pile of costume pieces covering the couch.
"This is almost messy," Howard said with awe. "Isn't that against, like, the Church of Sheldon?"
He huffed. "It is not messy, it was simply the easiest way to organize this. Robes take up a lot of room, you know."
Penny made her entrance a couple of minutes later, and began to paw through her stack. Sheldon had thought of everything, it seemed, and she was visibly creeped out that everything seemed to be the right size. "Hey, what is this?" she asked suddenly, holding up a bottle.
Sheldon, who was attempting to explain to them the difference between the canon uniforms and those used in the non-canonical movies, paused. "It is a bottle of hair dye. Surely you are familiar with the concept?"
"Why is there a bottle of hair dye in my stuff?"
Raj cringed. Leonard became very well acquainted with the floor. Howard whistled.
"Because you are required to dye your hair. We can't have a blonde Lily Evans. That would be silly." He sent her a look that could only be described as "insufferable".
"I'm not dyeing my hair." Penny crossed her arms.
He glared at her. She glared right back.
"Leonard, Wolowitz, Koothrappali...we need a minute," Sheldon said, his eyes still locked on Penny in a sort of eternal death glare. The three left quickly, afraid for their lives.
"You are going to dye your hair," he said, almost chanting.
She set her jaw. "Oh really? And what would persuade me to do that?"
Sheldon's eye twitched. "What are your conditions?"
"Will you accept them?" she challenged, tossing her hair deliberately.
"I never said that. Tell me your conditions first."
Penny looked him up and down slowly. He swallowed. "You," she said carefully, a smile flitting around her lips, "you will let me take you shopping. You will buy me shoes like we talked about and then...and then...you'll buy at least three outfits for yourself that I pick out. And you will wear them."
Sheldon balked, drawing himself up to an even fuller height. "Oh, come on, I'm a grown m—"
"You will wear them," she pronounced once more.
His lips trembled with rage, but he took a deep, calming breath. "And you will dye your hair, wear the clothes that I chose, and be nothing short of jubilant to be our Lily."
They shook on it.
"What do you think they're doing in there?" Raj whispered, his voice betraying a mix of eagerness and anxiety. Leonard glanced at him.
"I dunno. He's probably discussing the terms of the contract or whatever. However he got her to agree to do this." He scratched his stubble with one finger.
"You wanna know what I think they're doing in there?" Howard asked in a lascivious tone.
The door swung open, and the three friends cringed guiltily back. "We have reconciled our differences. Penny has agreed to color her hair."
They filed back into 4A like schoolboys. Penny was sitting on the middle seat of the couch, refolding a pair of slacks. Her eyes were terribly triumphant for somebody who had supposedly lost the battle.
"Okay, guys," she said, spreading her hands wide. "Tell me everything. I'm gonna be the best Lily Evans you've ever seen."
Raj, Howard, and Leonard exchanged looks of import. Sheldon sat down primly next to the suddenly enthusiastic woman. Leonard found his way into the armchair. "Well, okay, you're very bright..."
"Kind of feisty," Howard put in.
"Yeah, you've got a temper."
"Ooh, excellent," Penny breathed, leaning forward in her seat. "Okay, what else?"
"You're Muggleborn. That means—"
"Thank you, Sheldon, I've seen some of the movies, I know what a Muggle is. So I'm the only magic one in my family?"
They nodded. "And what's, you know, my relationship to each of you?" she asked, reaching for the notepad Sheldon offered her. "I mean, we go to school together, right?"
"Yeah. Um, well, a lot of it isn't really established much in canon—" Leonard began.
"Just give me your best guesses." Penny tucked the pen behind her ear. Sheldon averted his eyes pointedly.
"Okay...well, you and Remus get along really well, that's pretty much established," Leonard said, looking at Howard. Penny scribbled something. "You guys are probably friends at this point, or at least you don't, you know, hate him. Uh...there's not really much said about your relationship with Sirius—that's me, by the way—but I'm guessing that you just kind of deal with each other. Same deal with Peter, probably. You might feel a little sorry for him, too."
"And James?" she asked, through the pen in her mouth. Sheldon looked even more disgusted.
"You think that he's an arrogant toerag?"
Penny grinned suddenly. "Oh, you guys. Typecasting isn't nice." She wrote for a few more seconds, and then capped the pen. "Okay, that'll do for now." She sashayed out of the apartment. Sheldon began tidying up the stacks of clothes.
"Dude," Raj said quietly, "do you think she knows that they get married?"
Leonard turned very pale.