Everyone had just settled into place, food in hand, when Sheldon returned from the bathroom. Howard, Raj, Amy, Penny, and Leonard were quiet as they ate Thai, but it wasn't a brittle silence, as it was occasionally broken by a soft hum of appreciation.
"This won't do."
"You haven't even touched your food yet Sheldon! What could they have gotten wrong?"
"Leonard I wasn't speaking of the food, though hopefully by now you are competent enough to get my order right since I order the same thing every week." He pointed to where Amy sat on the couch. "She's sitting in Penny's spot."
Penny froze, her laden fork halfway to her mouth. "Uh Sheldon, unlike you I don't have a spot."
"Au contraire, as the French say, Penny. For the last four years six months fourteen days and five hours, you've appropriated the middle cushion on the couch eighty-seven point five percent of the time. You only give up the seat and sit on Leonard's chair when you are feeling guilty for Raj sitting on the floor, or when you're trying to entice Leonard into snuggling with you. The wooden chair is usually where you sit when you're feeling superior or playing a game with us and you feel you need to see the board. Right now none of these reasons apply to the situation."
Amy's face underwent a strange transformation as she listened to her newly minted boyfriend reel off a series of facts about his beautiful neighbor. He loomed over Penny's current spot, lanky body stiff as he reproached her, his attention completely absorbed by her.
"Sheldon, this is the first meal we've all shared with your girlfriend, so I thought it would be nice if she, you know, sat next to her boyfriend."
"Yes, Penny, Amy is my both my friend and a girl who has entered into a relationship contract with me, I am aware. I don't understand why that's salient to this situation of her sitting in your spot. I don't let anyone else sit in my spot, so why would you think I would let anyone sit in yours?"
Penny dropped her food back into its container with a sighed, "Oh Moonpie," and turned to Leonard in supplication. She was normally the one who would explain the seemingly incomprehensible social rules to Sheldon, and yet she couldn't find the words to explain why.
Sheldon glared at her use of his Meemaw's nickname, but didn't refute it aloud because he knew it was a losing cause. Penny would continue to call him that regardless of his objections.
Leonard sighed at yet another of Sheldon's idiosyncrasies and briefly wondered how long Amy would last while being subjected to his autocratic power. He really had no desire to enter into the fracas, except Penny turned her baby blues on him and despite everything, he couldn't deny his ex-girlfriend's look.
"Sheldon, Amy is your girlfriend and usually that means you sit next to her whenever possible. Think of it as a non-optional social convention."
"When you and Penny dated, you didn't always sit next to her. In fact, I sat next to her more often than you did, unless you were cuddling on the couch."
Leonard's mouth gaped open as he clearly fought to find something to say. Sheldon huffed when it became clear he wasn't going to continue.
Amy knew it was up to her to stop this farce before it got too out of hand; or, Sheldon became too intractable and whipped out the white boards as he was fond of doing while lecturing.
"In interest of not stalling our dinner any longer, I propose Penny and I switch so Sheldon will sit and start eating as well."
Penny had no desire to get into the middle of whatever this was, but also couldn't fault Amy's direction. At the rate they were going now, the food would go cold and then Sheldon would have another thing to complain about. She looked at Howard seated to Amy's right and grimaced at his predatory smile. Since the introduction of Bernadette, he was better about coming onto her, thought his leers went up several percentage points whenever she wasn't around.
"Fine, fine, I'll sit there," she groused as the two women changed spots. "Happy now, Sheldon?"
The physicist looked at her blankly. 'This isn't about my happiness, Penny. Why should it matter to me where you sit?"
A/N: This is a little drabble that popped into my head since I've been mainlining TBBT lately.