A/N: Ever write a story and wonder 'who's it for?' This is a friendship!fiction so that leaves out the romantic Shennys. None of the core Canon couples survive so Shamys, Lennys or Howardettes need not apply. Even more dastardly, this takes place in season 8 so that leaves Nostalgics and Sheldon Purists running for the hills.
So why write it?
Devilbk and I were chatting at thebigbangtheoryHQ about a scenario that looked at the mess the show had become square in the face and how one would go about 'repairing' it. The Sheldon that we all knew in the early seasons is gone and in his place is a redneck toddler who can't work a revolving door. So if the writers suddenly had an epiphany that they've been writing crap since season 5 and want to Right the Ship as it were they'd have many obstacles in their path—especially the biggest of all: the 'Ships. How would they deal with them in such a way that doesn't dismiss later Canon as a four season dream sequence and yet worked to bring some dignity back to the characters?
How would they return things to when The Big Bang Theory ship sailed true?
This is a reminder that this story is NOT Canon-friendly. I side with the Toad of Truth when I say that the show went downhill the moment Bernadette and Amy came into the picture as romantic interests. This story rectifies that. You have been warned. *Lynn
Thanks to Devilbk for looking this over. I learned a lot.
Each day is separated by a xTBBTx. Note that the days are NOT consecutive.
Events happening on the same day are separated by a XxX.
Of course I don't own The Big Bang Theory. I just like to play in their world.
Reference to: 'The Locomotion Interruption'; 'The Commitment Determination'; 'The Jerusalem Duality'; 'The Occupation Recalibration'; 'The Spoiler Alert Segmentation'; 'The Love Spell Potential'
"So they even got your wallet, huh?" asked Leonard as Sheldon and he drove through the streets of Pasadena towards home.
"Everything. My wallet, my phone, my IPAD and, as you know, my pants," Sheldon replied as he watched the scenery out his side window. "What these hoodlums plan to do with one sock, however, is beyond me."
"Maybe they needed an emergency sock puppet?"
"Sorry buddy." Leonard signaled and moved into the left lane. "So, did you sort out what you needed to?"
"More or less. Despite my reservations at you having suggested the topic I've decided to forego string theory for dark matter research," said Sheldon.
"What if the university says no?"
"Then I go to another university."
"What about Amy?" Leonard glanced at his roommate.
"I'll talk it over with her. I'd rather not leave California as the commute to see her would be murder." Sheldon paused. "Although it would mean a lot of train travel."
"Sounds serious. I mean you and Amy." Sheldon turned to Leonard.
"She's my girlfriend. Of course it's serious."
"Just checking," Leonard replied diplomatically. "I mean it's hard to tell sometimes with the two of you."
"What we have is not something I'm prepared to discuss," Sheldon said crisply.
"And don't worry because it sure is something I don't want to hear." Leonard moved into the turn lane.
"Speaking of deep commitments, I've made a decision about the two of us," said Sheldon as the car turned onto Los Robles Ave.
"Granted it will be on a trial basis only, but I've decided that you could have sleepovers at Penny's apartment twice a week and she can stay at our place once a week."
"Really?" Leonard said, surprised. "What caused this bout of benevolence?"
"Well Penny and you are engaged. And you made it quite clear that you're putting your needs over mine so I had to come up with the least objectionable way of separating," Sheldon shrugged.
"Still, that's big of you."
"It is, isn't it?"
Leonard rolled his eyes as he signalled and pulled into the parking lot at their apartment building. The pair got out and proceeded through the lobby door and up the stairs.
"I'll also need new keys cut," said Sheldon. "They were in my pants." He shook his head. "Why would they take my pants? And don't say so the sock puppet can have something to wear."
"Some mysteries of the universe aren't meant to be solved," said Leonard as he opened the apartment door and stepped inside. "Here's Sheldon!"
"Hey honey, how are you?" asked Penny as she got out of Leonard's chair.
"You cut your hair!" Sheldon gasped as he took in Penny's shorn locks. "More change! I can't—" He turned and dashed down the stairs.
"Told you to wear a hat," sighed Leonard before going after his roommate.
Penny sat back in the chair and turned to Amy, who sat quietly on the couch.
"Are you sure this is the right time?" she asked. "I mean you can see Sheldon's a flight risk."
"He made mention of coming to certain decisions," Amy replied evenly. "It's best we get this sorted out now before things are made concrete."
Penny wanted to speak further but refrained as she heard Leonard's soothing voice in the stairwell.
"It'll grow," he said.
"It's change," Sheldon countered. "Why would she pick now of all times to cut her hair? There was no consultation, no appeals process—" He halted at the door and stared at Penny, who gave him a warm smile. With a deep sigh Sheldon came into the apartment.
"Hello Sheldon," said Amy as she stood. "I'm glad to see you're safe."
"Thank you Amy," he replied with a bit of a frown and the beginning of a blush as he realized his disheveled condition. "I hadn't expected you to be here."
"Why wouldn't I be? I'm your girlfriend. I care about you."
"I suppose," Sheldon said as he quickly averted his eyes from her. "I really do need a shower."
"I'll wait," said Amy. Sheldon nodded and departed to his room.
Penny looked to her friend. "Want us to stay or—"
"It's not necessary."
"Come on, Leonard," said Penny as she got up.
"But Sheldon just got home," replied her fiancé.
"I'll tell you later," shushed Penny as she grabbed his arm and dragged him from the apartment.
Amy waited patiently with her hands lightly clasping her knees. It had been over a month since she'd last seen Sheldon. One month of quiet away from his stressing about his career and Leonard's move out date and her suggesting they move in together. At first the quiet had been disconcerting but as the days turned into weeks she'd been able to figure out her position on things.
She concluded that things had to change.
Sheldon came into the living room wearing fresh clothes, his hair still damp from the shower.
"Are you going to fix yourself something to eat?" asked Amy.
"No, Leonard and I stopped in for something on the way back," said Sheldon as he came to the couch and sat in his spot. He closed his eyes and Amy could see the pure joy on his face as he settled his buttocks on the cushion.
Never once did she make him look like that when they were together.
"I hate to take you away from your moment of serenity but we have some things to discuss," she said bitterly.
"Alright." With a last sigh of contentment Sheldon opened his eyes to regard his girlfriend.
"First of all, you're well physically?" she asked.
"Perhaps a bit bloated from eating train station hot dogs but otherwise, yes," Sheldon replied.
"Good." Amy's hands tugged the hem of her wool skirt. "And you've come to some conclusions regarding your professional and personal life?"
"I have. I'm abandoning string theory for dark matter research," he replied. "I want my work to mean something and string theory is a dead end." While he was on the train a memory of Dennis Kim came to mind where the North Korean wunderkind had told him that his string theory research was a dead end. Sheldon had shooed Dennis from his office but in hindsight he should have listened further. Instead that was six more years wasted when he could have worked with David Underhill on dark matter.
Amy nodded before taking up a pillow and whacking Sheldon repeatedly.
"You are a jerk!" she growled. "You just took off without saying anything. If Leonard and Penny hadn't found you at the station when were you going to call me?"
"I had to get away," Sheldon replied as he did his best to block her blows. "I would have called you—"
"I'm your girlfriend—not that it means anything." Amy slammed the pillow down between them. "I might as well be dating a sack of rice with how affectionate you are and how little you care about my feelings." She stood and turned to face him. "I'm tired of always having to fight with you to get what I—what's right," she said icily. "Like physical intimacy for instance. I'm ready for it. I've been ready for it for years. You're not and frankly I'm tired of you finding the loopholes in our relationship agreement to try to avoid physical contact."
"I told you that I hadn't ruled out the possibility of having coitus."
"I don't want 'coitus'!" Amy shrieked. "I want sex. Glorious lovemaking." She pursed her lips. "I'm tired of being the one to push for it. You never listen to what I want. We only do what you want to do or else I have to put up with your constant whining."
Sheldon was speechless.
"I don't like the way we communicate," she continued. "You're arrogant. Condescending—"
"But I'm always arrogant and condescending," Sheldon said, confused.
"Which is why I want to dissolve our relationship agreement."
"I don't understand," Sheldon gasped.
"We're at an impasse," she said crisply. "You don't get it that I'm the best girlfriend you're ever going to have. Instead you fight me every time I try to fix you up into someone better than you are."
"How am I—I mean, the dating site and our friends think we're completely compatible. Granted they're subpar so as to be an accurate judge of our qualities but still there has to be something said for consensus," Sheldon said in a panicky voice.
"The Sheldon I'm compatible with is the one you could be if you weren't such a selfish, childish ass."
"But I love you," Sheldon said with hurt and sincerity in his voice.
Amy went to the door before turning around. "I love you, too, Sheldon, I just don't respect you. And with the way you are good luck finding another girlfriend who would." She stepped out of the apartment and closed the door behind her.
Sheldon was still as his eidetic memory went over what had just transpired. Amy wanted coitus and now she's dissolved the relationship agreement. He was prepared to do his duty as her boyfriend. Amy said she loves me but she doesn't respect me. He said he loved her. She left.
The apartment door opened and Penny and Leonard came in, their whole demeanor somber.
"Hey Sheldon," said Leonard delicately. "How are you doing?"
"I believe I`m in need of an additional antacid as I`ve developed digestive distress," Sheldon replied as he sat staring straight ahead. "Leonard, I`d like to catch up on Halo this weekend. Perhaps a trip to the—" a flash of Stuart`s burned out comic store came to mind.
"I`ll see what I can do," said Leonard as both Penny and he sat by Sheldon. "But Penny and I are going out with Bernadette and Howard this Saturday."
"Fair enough," Sheldon nodded. "I`m deviating off schedule and it`s not Anything Can Happen Thursday so I understand if you can`t accommodate me." Sheldon swallowed visibly. "In fact I`ve neglected my DC comic books message board. And tomorrow is Laundry Night."
Penny put a hand on Sheldon`s thigh.
"Sheldon, are you okay?" she asked.
He blinked hard and then got off the couch.
"Why wouldn't I be?" he said with a twitchy mouth as he went to the refrigerator for a bottled water.
"I don't know, because your girlfriend just broke up with you?" Leonard said in an exasperated tone.
"Leonard," Sheldon said derisively. "Before Amy and I altered our paradigm we were friends. That we are no longer 'seeing each other'"—he made air quotes with his fingers—"doesn't mean we're no longer friends." With a shake of the head Sheldon went down the hall to his room.
As he'd already showered and eaten Sheldon decided to go to bed. His digestive troubles seemed to have increased as he talked with Leonard and Penny so an early bedtime should help alleviate his symptoms. After changing into his pajamas he popped a couple of Tums and got into bed. As per routine he texted Amy goodnight although this time he didn't add the extra 'xxx' that she had insisted upon. He never particularly liked adding the 'kisses' as they looked more like strikes—and to his mind in the early days kissing was most definitely a strike-able offense.
Sheldon lay back in bed and put on his sleep mask. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Immediately thoughts of Amy's dandruff sitting on her shoulder came to mind. The way she wiped the jelly from the corner of his mouth with her thumb. How she tasted like brownies when he—
With a sigh Sheldon raised his sleep mask to his forehead.
"I'm being silly," he said aloud. "Amy is a girl/friend not my girlfriend. Aside from eliminating the romantic gestures she insisted upon everything else remains the same."
Now that he had more free time he could focus on attaining his Nobel Prize or at the very least continue with perfecting his three-person chess which he could play with Leonard and either Raj or Howard. Sheldon paused.
"More likely Raj since Howard's otherwise occupied with his marriage." A frown creased his brow. "Then again, Leonard's engaged so he'll be busy too. Still, it'll only be a matter of time before Raj screws up his relationship with Emily." Sheldon put the sleep mask over his eyes. Obviously he'd have to get Stuart into chess.
That settled it for him. Like Data, Sheldon had purged the relationship protocols from his interactions with Amy and would continue as before. No harm no foul.
He closed his eyes but sleep never came.
"So the Shamy hit a reef," whistled Leonard as Penny and he snuggled in her bed. "Can't believe it's over." He snorted. "Of course I couldn't believe when it started, either."
"Yeah, Amy sprung it on me when you were getting Sheldon. I asked if she was sure and she said she'd been thinking about it for a while."
"Too bad they couldn't talk over their problems. I mean look at us, we have problems, we talk. A healthy relationship. Well, except when you quit the Cheesecake Factory without discussing it with me. That was kind of a surprise."
"I need to concentrate on my acting," Penny said as she settled her head on Leonard's shoulder.
"Of course you do and I support you all the way. Although any time you want to give this up and go after more schooling or another job I'm totally okay with that, too," Leonard said after a slight pause.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, coach," Penny said flatly.
"I'm not doubting you," soothed Leonard. "It's just that I know that the acting profession is hard to get into and a lot of people have been acting from a very young age and"—he could feel Penny's glare as she slid away from him.
"Let's just backtrack to 'I'm not doubting you'," she growled.
"Backtracking's good. See? We communicate. Problem solved."
Leonard kissed her cheek and then got comfortable.
Penny lay beside him trying to forget what he said.