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In Pari Delicto

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in the park

"Sheldon, you were the one who wanted to go to the park in the first place!"

"It looked like a nice day. How was I supposed to know it was going to rain?"

"Ah ha!" Penny pointed with a shaky hand, still shivering in her soaked-through cardigan and shorts. "So you admit this is your fault."

"I didn't say that. I simply did not foresee rain."

She pulled her hand back to her torso and glared at him. "That's about the closest I'm going to get to an apology from you, aren't I?"

"As I have done nothing that merits an apology, yes."

"It was a rhetorical question!" She sneezed and cursed.

on the train

"Sheldon, I promise we're going in the right direction."

"You didn't even look to make sure we got on the right platform."

"Would you trust me for about five seconds? I know how to use a train. It's Amtrak, not rocket science."

"Actually, most of the science applied to rockets started in trains. Aerodynamics, power, speed - it's all there."

She eyed him skeptically. "I thought most of rocketeering started with the Bernoulli principle?"

"You...know what that is?"

"Hey, I'm smarter than I look, you know." She huffed and crossed her arms across her chest. "Besides, I read October Sky in high school. I picked up stuff."

"The Homer Hickam memoir?" Sheldon paused to consider this. "You are correct. Bernoulli and his principles made flight possible, which served as the basis for rocketeering. But trains were the first great transportation system."

"What about ships?"

"What about ships?"

"Lots of people traveled on those, you know."

"Yes, but they were very slow. And dangerous. And slow. Train were infinitely faster."

"You just love trains."

"Who could possibly hate trains?!"

on an elevator

"You broke it."

"Penny, I did not break the elevator. That would require skill and means that I did not and do not have. I may have them in the future, but at the present? I lack them. So, no, this is not my fault."

"This is totally your fault."

"How? How is this my fault, as you put it?"

"You just had to press the button a little too hard and now look where we are."

"Stuck in an elevator between the third and fourth floor?"

"Exactly! And all because you had to be a little impatient. And this elevator just got fixed, too." She pouted and leaned against one of the walls of the lift, hair in a sloppy bun and tank top riding a little high.

Sheldon ignored this. "Well it's not like I jumped up and down in here." He paused, hand flexing on the strap of his bag. "Which I doubt would have done any good, anyway. That only works in the movies."

Penny just glared at him.

Sheldon fidgeted uncomfortably. "Did you know that if the cable snapped, we'd experience flotation for a few seconds before the crash?"

Penny turned away and stared resolutely at the ceiling.

Sheldon continued talking. "We couldn't jump at the last minute. That solution is a myth. Unsupported by physics."

"Thanks for that, Sheldon." She sighed and inspected her nails. "How long do you think we'll be stuck in here?"

"Given that neither of us has cell signal in here and that most of the building is unaccustomed to using the elevator after two years of disuse, my hypothesis puts our discovery within 4 hours and 4 days."

Penny shut her eyes and curled her hands into fists. "How long until I'm forced to bash your head in?"

"I'm assuming that's sarcasm?"

"Oh, it's something, all right," she muttered.

Sheldon was quiet for a moment. Then, carefully, he folded his long frame and sat down. "You should sit down," he stated calmly, laying his bag on his lap.

She cracked one eye open. "Wait, you can sit down? In here?"

Sheldon blinked up at her blankly. "This is the social protocol for situations such as these."

"You've been trapped in an elevator before?"

"No, but this is what one does when one is trapped in a small confined space for an indefinite period of time." When her expression didn't shift, he added, "It's what everyone does in the movies."

"Don't people also jump up and down in elevators in the movies?" With a breath, she lowered herself to the ground, folding her legs under her. "What makes this different?"

"It isn't logical to jump up and down in an elevator." He shrugged loosely.

"Oh. Okay." She picked at a stray thread on her shirt.

"Penny?"

"Yes, Sheldon?"

"Why do you think we argue so often?"

"I don't know, Sheldon."

There was a grinding noise and the elevator resumed moving. Sheldon stood after a few moments, dusting himself off. Then, he reached out and offered Penny a hand up.

She grasped his hand tightly and pulled herself to standing. They released at the same time, and she also dusted off her shorts. "Thanks," she said quietly, not really looking at him.

"Any time," he replied.

The bell dinged and the doors opened with a rumble.

in a subway (the shop)

"Honestly, Penny, I don't know how you can eat here."

She shot him a dark look and then rose to her tiptoes, feet arching in her flip flops.

He continued, unperturbed. "The food out in the open like this, and the lack of proper refrigeration? Not to mention that none of these people are wearing hair nets. Penny, this is one health code violation shy of a hovel."

The clerk behind the counter glared at Sheldon, gloved hand reaching for the lettuce.

"Sorry," Sheldon offered shortly. "Also, there's a fly in the tomatoes."

"Sheldon why do you have to ruin everything?" She turned to face him full on, leaning against the glass enclosure, one hand on her hip.

"I do not ruin everything," he retorted hotly.

"You really do." She counted out the change for her foot-long and thanked the cashier. "Come on, we're going to the comic book store next."

Dutifully, he followed her out of the sandwich shop, adjusting the strap of his bag on his shoulder.

When they were on the road, Sheldon broke the silence. "I do not ruin everything," he repeated calmly.

Penny rolled her eyes.

"I just want things the way I want them."

"Don't I know it," she muttered, eyes focused on the traffic.

He ignored her. "But I..." He paused and stared at his clasped hands. "I want all of my friends to be safe." There was another pause. "Do you know how much bacteria each common housefly carries? Everyone worries about mosquitoes, but horseflies?" He shuddered.

She glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes and sighed softly. "Ketchup has flies in it," she supplied, voice carefully neutral. "Cinnamon has ants."

"So does chocolate, and many cultures consider grasshoppers a delicacy. I don't see where you're going with this."

"Never mind, Sheldon."

his living room

As "Age of Aquarius" played in the background, Penny lowered the volume down and turned to face him. "What did you think?"

"Frivolous, banal, and utterly ridiculous."

"You didn't think it was funny?"

"Why would I have thought it was funny?"

"I picked The 40-Year-Old Virgin because I thought you'd like it. Come on, it's about a guy that's into all of the same things you guys are." She ran a hand through her loose hair.

"That is incorrect. He expresses no interest in the physical or mathematical sciences. Indeed, he expresses no interest in science whatsoever."

"Sheldon, I meant the comic book geeky stuff."

"While I did admire his commitment to keeping collectible action figures in their original packaging, I have to disagree with the overall message of the film."

"English, Sheldon?"

He sighed. "The movie postulates that so-called nerdy people are inherently sad and unfulfilled in their lives, especially sexually. In order to be happy, then, the main character had to give up his passion for collectors' items and use his monetary gains from selling said items in order to open up his own store."

"Sheldon--"

"As you implied, I am in many ways akin to the main character. I enjoy things that most of our society considers to be quote-unquote 'geeky' though they are simply non-mainstream.

"However, I am happy. I have the largest social network that I have ever had, my work progresses, and I see no need for a romantic entanglement, sexual or otherwise. My needs are fulfilled. By the markers of this society, and in the words of Mary Poppins, I am practically perfect in every way."

Penny blinked blankly at Sheldon. "Practically...perfect?"

He nodded. "In every way."

"As long as you're happy." She shrugged loosely. "What do you want to watch now?"

"Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan?"

"Why don't we ever watch the first movie?"

"Because the second is far superior," he said decisively, and pressed the disc into the player. "Now shhh - it's starting."