Missy had a reliance on credit cards from early on in her life. Before her days of retail therapy and updating her car lease every few months, she would fish their mother’s debit card from First Texas Trust and jimmy Sheldon’s bedroom door open.
Sheldon only figured out her diabolical methods years later. At the time, he had decided she was a hardened criminal capable of picking his lock. He had rigged an electro-static charge to shock anyone who poked the small opening in the doorknob.
So, when Missy slid open the door without the use of a bobby pin or bent-straight paperclip, Sheldon was too stunned and furious to do anything but gape as she pushed inside and snatched up the small, pink oven. Her pink oven, his half-finished robot. He sneered as she huffed out of the room with it in her clutches.
His displeasure was short-lived, however. Within minutes, his twin was shrieking at the loss of her eyebrows. He searched for a word to call out in victory, but was still too surprised at the turn of events to settle on anything worthwhile. He'd come up with something later on.
The prank hadn’t gone exactly as planned, but it would do until he stole it back and fixed the kinks. Once he got that robot working properly, getting a hold of a credit card would be the least of her concerns.
It seemed simple enough. Airborne rotational speed matches the rotational speed at the moment of separation. His tosses followed a spiral-like trajectory, where they snagged around the wire with an approximate 87% success rate.
That is, it had been simple enough until he got to the unmentionables. Grinding his teeth and weighing his options, he took a moment to scan the hanging array of bright, dampened clothing above his head. It would be troubling for his neighbor to catch sight of, but would it really make up for ruining Laundry Night?
The last time he’d missed Laundry Night was when he went back to Texas for his father’s funeral service. During which, he’d been more devastated over just such a disruption to his schedule than outdated ceremonial exercises in grief.
He stopped grating the back of his jaw. Bruxism had been hard enough for him to kick in the fifth grade and it wouldn’t do to need orthodontia, again, at this time in his life. So, he took a deep breath, set his jaw and let an eyebrow quirk up as he grabbed a fistful of Penny’s brassieres.
The leopard-printed caught on the first toss. Bazinga.
Leonard had become obsessed with Twitter. Sheldon scoffed - he’d been actively “tweeting” since October of last year. He’d been heckled for it, in fact.
Howard, Raj, and Leonard had all insisted that Sheldon would probably prefer communicating solely via text message and likely request them to do the same in return. So he had a written copy of all conversations without having to record his days’ interactions on recollection, instead.
Motivations for signing up, real or not, aside: Sheldon did not approve of Leonard’s sudden addiction to the social networking site. God save him, the day before Wolowitz had explained how easily he could link his phone to be updated through text messages.
Here at the North Pole, they were holed up in a room that was roughly the size of his and Leonard’s bedrooms, so hearing his room-mate’s iPhone make a muffled light saber whoosh alerting him of replies and updates was unavoidable. Alerts that grew along with his follow list and were soon popping-up nearly every minute or so. It was driving Sheldon rapidly towards insanity.
Leonard spent hours customizing his profile (when it was his hour on the broadband connection) and his phone’s settings. The texts continued to pop through with no delay, reception not being a problem it was with phone calls and internet access. How wondrous.
It just made things worse, for Sheldon.
Sheldon normally disapproved of hacking – but, his intention was merely to look out for his friend’s well-being. Leonard’s ability to function socially and intelligently was being worn slowly away with hash tags and trending topics. Plus Sheldon already knew Leonard’s password.
Changing most of his login codes to from ‘Kal-El’ to ‘Jor-El’ was really just asking for it.
Leonard may have figured out that it was Sheldon who turned the majority of his device updates off. But when Leonard switched them all back to ‘on,’ well that move had to be construed as either passive aggressive …or dreadfully naïve. When Sheldon felt the bunk hum slightly for the third time after an hour of sitting impatiently without sleep had crawled by, he hoped it was passive aggression. After all, if he were to flip out and harpoon Leonard in the jugular with the crossbow (which he knew all about it, since Howard was never one for proper discretion), he needed to be able to build a decent case in his defense for murder.
Although Sheldon had been the one commissioned to go to the North Pole, Leonard and the others had made themselves useful outside assisting just him with monopole calculations. Leonard managed to befriend an elderly agrophysicist who had been taking samples of ice and land at daybreak to study the effects of sun on the ecosystem. He enlisted Leonard’s help on the third week of their friendship.
While Sheldon had kept as close to his normal schedule as was possible, the others had taken advantage of their proximity to the testing sites (resulting in a mere two minute-long commute, by foot) and slept in until nearly nine each morning. Some days, no one left the cabin. Leonard’s promise to be up by seven was met with a no-nonsense evening that resulted in him turning in at barely nine o’clock - just to be safe.
The others were busy bickering in the living quarters over whether it was morally reprehensible to be lusting over the young women of the Constance Billard School. They were split exactly the way one would imagine Howard and Raj to be divided over the subject. Sheldon avoided the argument, since he counted himself as opposed to ‘lusting’ on principle, anyway.
While they squabbled over California and New York’s legal codes and Leonard was an hour into his REM cycle, Sheldon slipped his friend’s phone from where it lay on the edge of his bunk. Adjusting the sound, he moved it lie just to the left of Leonard’s face on his pillow.
When the other physicist was awoken by the persistent buzzing of fifty automated texts at three o’clock, he growled and moaned at his inability to fall back asleep. Now he knew the pain of being robbed of vital shuteye because of inane updates, now he would keep those updates set to ‘off’ permanently and limited to before nine and after seven, as Sheldon had requested.
“Bazinga?” Leonard huffed, muting his phone and getting up to make some instant coffee. “You’re such an ass.”
Sheldon snickered and grinned upwards from the bottom bunk.
When Howard took Sheldon’s criticism of his cologne personally, things went sour.
Penny was already laughing halfway into his response to Howard's groaning about never getting dates.
He had supposed that perhaps women are unsure if he was male or female given his longish hairstyle, exceedingly tight, bright-colored clothing, and the aforementioned acrid fragrance assaulting all of their olfactory senses.
Howard reached for his back pocket and for some illogical reason, Sheldon feared that Howard had a weapon – a gun, maybe – he had a flash of him stroking that crossbow he used to be so fond of when they were living together in the Arctic. He threw his arms up to lessen whatever type of blow was sure to follow.
His fear was confirmed when Howard sprayed him directly, at close-range with the repugnant cologne in question. Sheldon shrieked and fled, nostrils burning. Penny laughed even harder.
Later on, after his third shower, he had finally given up on getting the smell out of the skin of his forearms, even after several thorough scrubbings. Penny heard him cross from the bathroom to his bedroom and ambled down the hallway. She caught his eye just before he reached for the knob. He pulled his bathrobe’s belt a bit tighter and firmly pulled the door shut.
“Penny, I’m in a state of undress. Please respect my personal boundaries and allow me to change into my pajamas in privacy.”
“Okay, I will. But, Sheldon –”
“Well, I just wanted to say sorry. Okay? I didn’t think Wolowitz would do that and I think my giggling made things worse. You’ve been in the shower for, like, an hour – so I’m guessing you’re either pissed or upset. So, like I said, sorry.”
There was silence and Penny’s foot could be heard tapping on the hardwood just outside his door. When the noise stopped, he was intrigued enough to pull open the door and check if she was still waiting for a reply.
She had faint smile on her face and he was nearly certain she’d started and stopped tapping her foot just to draw him out. She was far more skilled at deception than him.
He cleared his throat and poked his head out of the small opening. “Thank you, Penny.”
She smiled. “You’re welcome, Sheldon.”
His gaze lingered before his eyes dropped to the ground and took in the fact that he was still wearing only a bathrobe. He promptly closed the door in her face.
She shook her head, but the smile remained. “For the record, it doesn’t smell nearly as bad on you.”
He sniffed at his wrist and frowned. She was clearly lying.
The next day, Howard drove his mother to her bridge game. Sheldon was bouncing on his heels as Penny was trying to open the Wolowitz’ back door with the spare key she’d lured out of Koothrapali. In tacit support of their cause, she claimed. Sheldon would rather not know her devious methods, so he decided against further questioning altogether.
The lock on the Wolowitz’ porch door was not as cooperative. “Perhaps it’s been changed? Proper lock maintenance calls for frequent updates of all keys, padlocks, and latches! Oh, no! They’ve changed the lock, we might as well leave – our plan is ruined!”
“Sheldon, shush! It’s just old and I think you have to jiggle it in the right--” She let out a shout of glee. “--way! Bazingo!”
“Bazing – whatever, let’s go!”
They crept across the shag carpet, towards Howard’s room. His door was unlocked and they slipped inside easily.
“No lock – so unsafe.”
“It’s a forty-year-old ranch-style in downtown Reseda, Sheldon. Unless people are planning on breaking in to steal cartons of cigarettes or comic books, they’re not going to find much worth taking.”
“There have been plenty of comic book thefts throughout history, Penny. You shouldn’t jest at people’s misfortune.” He shook his head, glumly.
“Hey! Stop going all soft on me! I need Solo, not Skywalker – got it?”
“Does that make you Chewbacca?”
“That’s the walking carpet guy, isn’t it?” She shook her head, shortly. “Please, buddy. I’m the Princess, or no dice.”
“But, that would mean-,” his explanation died off. He didn’t have the heart to make things awkward by explaining that Han Solo ended up with Leia. She’d only seen parts of the first film. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know their barely civil relationship turned romantic. He still didn’t understand that progression fully, to be truthful, so he certainly couldn’t blame her.
She smacked the back of his head and gave him a measured, hard look that still clearly hinted at the amusement she held just beneath the surface.
He snapped back from his meandering thoughts. Maybe she was a Princess Leia.
“Shooting first, questions later. Got it.” He moved to the vanity where Howard’s cosmetics bag sat on the middle shelf. Pulling out the small black case, he unzipped the cover and they both gasped at the dozen or so bottles strapped inside. “We’re going to need more time; I wasn’t prepared for this many options.”
“Nope, no extra time – we’ve just got to hustle. Get the dyes ready to go, partner!” She grabbed a handful out of the first row.
They were a pretty good team, it turned out. With her dumping and refilling, all he had to do was mimic the original tint with a few drops of food coloring. Within fifteen minutes they were sealing up the bag and sneaking back out the porch door and down the block to where Penny had parked.
It took Howard three and a half months and a series of elaborate tests to figure out their trickery. Still, though. Three and a half months of Howard without cologne was better than none. He’d actually gotten a few more dates than normal, so he didn’t flip out and press them with a conspiracy charge. Although, Sheldon kept a notarized affidavit ready and waiting, should they had ever actually require an alibi for that afternoon.
He decided to permanently keep his thoughts on Princess Leia and Han Solo ending up together to himself. That was another universe, involving very different partners-in-crime.
Apparently Raj’s parents didn’t know about Skype.
They were discussing the eligible female children they’d seen and given his number to at their neighbor’s Diwali celebration. They were upset that the prospective 'love connections' wouldn’t get to see his face, were they to speak on the phone. Also, excess long-distance charges limited their getting-to-know-one-another time.
They had apparently been utilizing NetMeeting. Clunky and obsolete, he was most surprised that Raj’s Mac even allowed it to properly interface. Sheldon suggested they switch to Skype.
Affordable and easy-to-use, it was the logical option. They could call daily, from multiple numbers or households for the rate they paid, now.
If looks could kill, Sheldon wouldn’t have been long for this world.
Raj left without a word. It was a normal occurrence, but the icy departing glare he gave Sheldon hinted that the stoicism was for other reasons that time.
In all honesty, that one was a total accident. Sheldon, for one, enjoyed catching up with his mother. How was he to know that not everyone was so warm and caring?
Leonard spit up a little dumpling and a lot of broccoli right into the broth left in his bowl in response. Sheldon rolled his eyes and called his mother. He spoke with her for twenty odd minutes while he finished what remained of his split pea. Leonard mumbled an apology - once he’d hung up - giving him a pat on the back.
Leonard breathed out sadly, leaning his chin into the palm of his hand. "Bazinga." He retired to his bedroom in silence.
Sheldon was fairly certain Raj never truly forgave him. His attempt to get back at Sheldon a few weeks later was proof enough.
Sheldon still shudders at the memory of the Care Bear Incident.
Raj’s parents consistently checked in with him, daily, for the next decade.
Everything had gone according to plan. The plan, however, did not call for Penny to burst into tears and stutter out, “Sheldon, this – I’m going to need some time, before – before I can forgive this. I’m sorry about Batman, I really am, but this is too much. I’ve had Miss Tenderheart since --,” she wheezed, “I can’t even remember when. I can’t even – oh, God -- please, just go.”
He’d not anticipated that the bear he stole would have such sentimental value to her. As someone who cherished his belongings, any harm that came to them usually brought out anger and a desire for revenge – from him. He had assumed kidnapping her Care Bear as the natural progression after the rainbow manicure that she’d added to his Dark Knight figurine.
This is why he normally researched and planned his moves only after tremendous scrutiny. Something about the way Penny tended to shoot from the hip left him making brash, sloppy mistakes.
Brash, sloppy mistakes such as leaving her Care Bear on his desk, where it was promptly gutted down the side by a still-angry Raj who’d thought it to be Sheldon’s.
Although his subsequent fight with Raj had proven his guilt, it only led back to being Sheldon’s fault for upsetting the other man, earlier that month. Everything was his fault.
His gut felt solid and writhed around in knots painfully enough for him to check for a fever, at one point.
He’d finally gotten up the will to bring it over to Penny, so that he could face her like an adult and be honest with her for his utter, heedless failure. And he made her cry.
He held the small doll, white fluffy stuffing peeking out, despite his efforts to tuck it in. She wouldn’t even look at it, too shocked and disbelieving that he’d taken it in the first place.
After a sufficient poring over of her moderately-sized collection, finding Miss Tenderheart to indeed be missing, she’d turned to look at him. It was the first time she’d done so since he’d been left standing, half in her apartment, with his back pressed against where her front door remained pulled fully open. He continued to tremble with fear and dread.
She’d taken one full look at the sidelong gash in the light brown bear and asked him to go. When he tried to delicately protest, she’d started crying and resorted to pushing him out.
The stuffed animal was still hanging pathetically from his right hand.
Feeling sick with guilt and empathy that he was not totally comfortable having rushing traitorously throughout his system, he sat on his bed. He sat and stared at the bear feeling a strange type of mourning for the plush toy, for a long moment.
He couldn’t remember ever upsetting someone that seriously. Not anyone who wasn’t asking for it, at the very least.
He’d been so focused on dummying up a fake ransom note, tilting the copy and pasted letters and adjusting the contrast to make the red ‘Z’ pop off the page, that he had been careless with her private property. It would be a shame to lose Penny as a sparring partner; she was the first person able to take the full brunt of his plotting and trickery. He’d grown almost fond of their ongoing tiffs and arguments.
They were intellectually stimulating, as all impromptu competitions that call for trying to out-do another person always manage to be. Few people had challenged him, throughout his years past grade school when physical intimidation was less of a factor – not non-existent, but less – and he had become more and more confident in his abilities.
Those same abilities barely left him on equal footing with his blonde neighbor. Trying to keep up with her was a more apt description of their back-and-forth. But, now he had blazed past the acceptable code of conduct in their unspoken agreement towards their bickering, not only going too far, but… He didn’t even know what to call this situation. He’d never been in this situation.
He was usually moved on before this point could be reached. Moved on to schools that were enticing him with grants and scholarships, or studying for his second doctorate, or busy exploring M-theory. He was staring at the wounded stuffed doll and sitting in the aftermath.
For most of his life, the relationships with his family and colleagues and acquaintances had all served to function as part of the bigger picture. He had only passing attachments with those he’d met over the years. He made an effort to remain distanced from people he’d only get to know and study with for just a summer, or semester. His family was a different story, but fighting and making up within his gene pool usually went hand in hand.
This, however. This was different. This was much different.
He’d fought with Leonard and the others countless times, but he’d never reached a place where the feud was based off something real, something important. Although the slain toy was hardly a serious subject, the feelings and history behind it certainly were. This wasn’t about egos or nitpicking, this was about him having committed a travesty and making his friend cry.
He’d opened up a part of himself to these fights, to better match the flippant style with which she approached the majority of their interaction. He could only win this game if he played on her level. For the life of him, he wasn’t sure if that was above or below his own. After the night he'd had, he was certainly forming much more solid conclusions towards the subject.
To reach that place - to play on her terms so that she’d play on his - he’d allowed himself to let his mind open up to unleash the kind of plotting and pranking the likes of his twin wouldn’t have been able to compete with, even at her worst moments. But, Penny could. Penny always could.
Except now, it appeared. He’d ruined the entire dynamic between them by having violated the rules he normally railed against neglecting. It made the bitter feeling of his betrayal and failure that much more pervasive.
He’d opened up, but was now being openly rejected. He was wracked with guilt. Everything was his fault. His careless, pathetic, inexcusable fault and he could do nothing about it.
Until it all hit him at once. Hit him like a Japanese bullet train – commonly referred to as shinkansen, by passengers - which averages out at nearly one hundred and sixty-some miles per hour. It was a painful realization, but an important one nonetheless. He valued this friendship, why just allow things to sour? He could fix this.
He finished sewing just in time to catch the 6:50 bus to the city mall. He rode to and from in determined silence, without bungee cords.
Within the last two hours, his plans had changed drastically, but he was confident that this was as good a peace offering as one could find given the time of day and applied emotional significance. He knocked three times and shifted the armful of objects, waiting for Penny to come and answer the door. After another four sets of triple-knocks, the weight of his knuckles becoming almost inaudible by the end. She wasn’t going to answer; she had no obligation to ever speak with him again, he figured. He’d hoped it wouldn’t be true, but he accepted it all the same.
Before going back into his and Leonard’s apartment, he hesitated and piled everything gently next to the edge of her door frame.
He had been prepared for this, knew he had to try regardless of her willingness to speak with him. They were rightfully her belongings, anyway.
Penny heard the other door latch and another door shut afterward, meaning Sheldon had left for either the bathroom or his bedroom. She poked her head out to find a re-stitched Miss Tenderheart sitting next to another small stuffed bear with two flowers and a golden coat of faux-fur. Next to both bears there was a small note-card. She gathered it all up and stepped back into her apartment.
The neat, hand-written card read:
She had already broken his wishes by the time she got to the post script. Hugging the yellow-orange bear (Doctor Friend, she christened it later on) against her stomach, she shook her head and forgave the idiot. Just as she was pretty sure she always would.
I remain deeply sorry for the wrongful capture and harm of your beloved childhood bear. Although the stitching is two shades closer to orange than medium brown, I hope you can take this repaired bear as a sign of good faith. I meant for no harm to come to your stuffed animal, so once again I regret that my actions allowed just that to occur.
In addition, I noted earlier that you were missing ‘Friend Bear’ from your collection of Care Bears. If this is in bad taste, given your disproval of my actions, please allow me to exchange it for a more suitable plush object of your liking. Anything of your liking, in fact, would be amenable. Once again, I apologize for my neglectful and reckless actions.
– Sheldon Cooper, PhD.PS. At least, don’t cry anymore. You can hate me, ignore me, or antagonize me forever. No more ‘bazingas’ ever, if that’s what is necessary. I don’t want you to cry again, not because of my actions. So, please don’t. Thank you.
“I’m not seven! What do I care about your stupid matching Care Bear dolls, or whatever? As if anyone still keeps them past the age of twelve anyhow, God! You’re so lame, Dad.”
The tiny blonde huffed from across the couch. Sheldon huffed in annoyance, himself. He had to be patient; twenty was still far too young to have a full grasp on reality.
“I’ll have you know that was a very romantic and kind gesture. One that I wasn’t planning to be kind and romantic, more just setting things right, but nonetheless…” His words trailed off. Her attention was glued to the touch screen in hand, completely ignoring anything he’d said. “So, how was the rest of your day?”
She looked up, both brows quirking upwards. “Like you even care.”
“I care, of course I care.” He peered over his copy of Applied Physics Quarterly and shook his head. “Who are you text messaging so fervently, might I ask? Is that what the gift comment was in reference to?”
“Joey Bishop and yes. Oh, my God, he’s gorgeous.” Running a hand through her wavy locks, she allowed a burst of nervous laughter to dribble out. “I think he may ask me out.”
“Ask you out? As in on a date?” Sheldon put down the magazine. “I don’t even know this person. That is unacceptable.”
“Unacceptable better get a new definition because if he texts me back with a date and time, that will make me girlfriend material. Girlfriend material to Joey Bishop, can you even imagine?”
At her wistful voice, Sheldon couldn’t even remain seated. “You are not getting asked out by someone via text message. That is horrifyingly inept and impersonal!”
“You’re horrifyingly inept and impersonal!”
“You take that back, right now!” Her phone beeped and she let out a snort at his words just before following with a shriek.
“Saturday at nine! Oh, my God we’re meeting at Serena’s party on Saturday at nine! This day will be epic, so epic. You have no idea.”
“Oh, I have quite an idea. You’re not cavorting about town with trolls who think the proper way to court a young woman is through electronic messaging. When I -,” he started, raising his chin.
“Yawn. I know this one, already. ‘When you were my age...’ you lived across the hall from Mom and you didn’t even date her for a whole bunch of years and you knocked on her door when you wanted to speak with her and blah, blah, blah, chocolate pudding and Care Bears and Star Wars and other lame stuff. Booooring.”
Sheldon’s jaw set. Boring? His offspring was calling into question the romanticism that brought herself and her two siblings into existence. Boring? What did one do in these situations?
Luckily Penny entered, hands covered in a mixture of tomato sauce splotches and flour she used to prepare the raviolis. He counted to ten - he wasn’t sure what he’d do without her there. He had no qualms relegating these battles to strictly her domain.
Penny grinned knowingly and took the phone. She scrolled back over the texts he was sputtering about, face remaining stoic. Sheldon took that chance to pull his laptop from the side of the couch, feigning logging in and checking his mail. The phone pinged while it was still in his wife’s hand.
“Oh, you have another message.” She handed it back to their daughter, glancing over at Sheldon and shaking her head shortly. His shoulders perked up a bit at her clearly being on his side.
“What?” Her face softened. “It says ‘nevermind, tty in class.’ I don’t get it! He just said -,” she trailed off. Her shoulders slumped and she wandered, crestfallen up to her bedroom.
“Well, that was certainly some good timing. Creep doesn’t even know how to call her up, or knock on a girl’s door? Leave a nice piece of cardstock, even? I don’t think so,” Penny said in a soft undertone, in case their eldest was still in earshot.
When she draped her legs over Sheldon’s, she noticed for the first time that his cool blue eyes were dancing.
“Sheldon?” He just stared back, a ghost of a smile on his lips. “Sheldon what did you do?”
“Bazinga?” He muttered innocently, his smile bursting into a full-blown grin.
“I cannot believe you! Our poor little girl, you broke her heart.”
“I did no such thing. I merely dummied a text to make her think the estimable Joey had cancelled their plans. This way, he’ll be forced to re-ask her in person. Just as most normal, intelligent human beings such as myself have been known to do from time to time. Have some guts, shoot first.”
“That’s still despicable.” She leaned into his side when she said this, somewhat undercutting her disapproval.
“No, that’s love.” Sheldon tilted his head downwards and knocked her forehead gently with his own. “What would Princess Leia think if Han Solo sent a vague text asking her to ‘maybe meet-up at Ser's kegger, next Saturday at nine?’ Honestly, perhaps chivalry really is dead.”
Penny snickered and gave him a mischievous smirk before following it with a few short kisses. “Can you send messages from Marie?” Sheldon’s eyes answered positively before words even escaped him. It was a good thing, since he couldn’t very well speak with her mouth attached to his.
After a short message saying ‘I don’t date guys who ask me out through txts. ~kthx, see you in class,’ they both laughed, Penny curling up closer to Sheldon’s side.
“We’re going to have to tell her about that, you know that, right?” He huffed and nodded. “She’s going to hate us even more. Also, I thought we retired ‘bazinga?’”
“No more bazingas directed towards you. Our progeny has never been off-limits.”
“Never? Have you been secretly pranking them? I will end you, buddy.” She gave him a look that let him know just how sure she was of that being a possible outcome.
“Of course not, but it’s still true. This situation called for another Classic Sheldon Prank, so I had to resort to a level of dastardliness that I usually reserved for you.”
“Oh, how sweet,” she grumbled, rolling her eyes.
“I just want to ensure that she and the others are as happy as we are. While I don’t expect people to follow precisely in my footsteps, there should be something better than meet-ups over instant messengers and cell-phones. It seems a bit crude, for anyone. She deserves the best, they all do.” His gaze wandered off, eyes focused in a way that let her know how sure and serious he was about the topic.
“You’re a good father. Crazy and diabolical –likely to get us both ignored until Christmas thanks to that little stunt - but all in all, you’re a good father. Great father, even.” She pressed another kiss to his lips and she pushed herself back off the couch to check on the pasta.
“I love you,” Sheldon called out, grinning, to her retreating form. They did this a lot and it never failed to make his insides turn. Somehow, even in this universe that was so twisted, where he’d hurt her and she’d hurt him, they’d struck the kind of balance that had kept them together for nearly three decades.
Penny grinned back. “I know.”
Somehow, even in this universe, Princess Leia got his Han Solo.