Cleaning Up

The knocking on the door, woke Leonard up from his sound sleep, the knocking seeming to get louder and louder as the time went on. Leonard was really surprised Sheldon hadn't answered it by now or at least burst into his room to complain and to tell him to answer it. It was that thought that made Leonard get up, knowing that Sheldon would be complaining all night if he didn't do something and Leonard appreciated his sleep whenever Sheldon was around.

Leonard padded to the door, past Sheldon's closed bedroom door, which made him wonder again why the big baby was not raising hell with him at that very moment. Leonard was a timid fellow, his small size long ago making him realize he was no match for a normal sized man, his skinny fragile roommate even less of a threat as he got winded even lifting even a heavy book. So Leonard looked through the peep hole to see who it was knocking at this hour before opening the door.

Leonard quickly stepped back from the peep hole after seeing the uniformed police officers and quickly opened the door to see what they wanted, "Is something wrong?" he asked after the door was fully opened. It was then he saw more police and people over at Penny's apartment and the sudden fear came over him that somehow one of her dates or a stranger had harmed her.

"Are you Dr Leonard Hofstadter?" one of the police officers asked.

"Yes" again a terrible feeling consuming him.

"Can you come with us." the other officer said and Leonard realized it wasn't a question, so he just nodded.

They took him to a man in a suit, a badge hanging from his pocket, then the one officer told this new man 'This is him' receiving a nod from the plainclothes officer who then looked at Leonard.

Again he was asked, "Are you Dr Leonard Hofstadter?" to which Leonard nodded, then "Do you live with Dr Sheldon Cooper?" the question surprised Leonard but he still answered, "Yes, is there something wrong concerning him?" Leonard had lived long enough with Sheldon to know he did some real crazy things, and somehow he knew now that Sheldon had to be in the middle of all this. He now ruled out Penny was sexually assaulted, but anything else could be the cause of this disturbance if Sheldon was involved. He even expected to see his roommate being lead out in handcuffs, there were so many police around.

The crying suddenly got Leonard's attention and he turned to the source, seeing Penny in a robe and pajamas sitting on the stairs to the fifth floor crying while a police woman sat with her talking. Her eyes were red and puffy with seemed to mean she had been crying for a while and although he felt sorry for her that she was so upset, the very fact that she seemed physically unhurt made his feel much better. However now he wondered what Sheldon had done and he turned his attention back to the officer that was looking at him.

"Do you know that young woman?" he asked, it was now Leonard realized the man was a detective, by his line of questioning.

"Yes she is my neighbor." Leonard thought that was obvious and wondered why the man was even asking.

"Are you two in a romantic relationship?" he then asked.

Leonard looked at Penny again, he wished he was in a romantic relationship with her instead of just wishing things could be different between them, it was depressing even now. He looked back at the detective. "Seriously do you think someone like her would give me a second look." Leonard told him being brutally honest about himself.

The detective looked at him for a moment and nodded. "Was your roommate in a romantic relationship with her?"

Leonard was confused by these types of questions, and why the detective was asking them, "No, not that I know of, Sheldon doesn't like girls."

"Oh." the detective said.

"No that is not what I mean, we are two heterosexual men with two separate bedrooms. What I meant is Sheldon doesn't date, he doesn't feel the need to and he devotes his time to his work."

The detective nodded, "So you would say he is a workaholic."

It was as good a description as any and much better then telling the man that Sheldon was just crazy. "Yeah that would describe him."

"So why would he be in your neighbors apartment?" the detective now asked.

'Crap' Leonard thought, Sheldon had complained all day and night about how Penny's apartment was a mess and needed to be cleaned, he now wondered if he actually sneaked over there and got caught. They probably had him locked up already and he would end up spending the whole night trying to get him bailed out. Penny's crying was probably because he scared her to death and now she wouldn't want anything to do with them because of his crazy roommate. "I really don't know." really he didn't know until he got more information, Sheldon could have broken into Penny's apartment for any crazy man reasons.

The detective looked at him for a moment, then said "Okay, I need you to follow me."

Leonard was led into the apartment and to the part of the apartment that was behind Penny's couch between the couch and her bedroom door. The scene he saw there almost made Leonard faint, the only thing keeping him from throwing up was that he was looking at his roommate laying there. Sheldon eyes stared up at him, but there was doubt to Leonard that he was dead, his head was caved in on the left side and it laid in a large pool of blood. The shock had Leonard frozen in place, he had never seen anyone killed and especially someone he knew well and had lived with for a couple of years.

"Dr Hofstadter, can you verify that this is your roommate Dr Sheldon Cooper?" the detective asked as he looked at Leonard. The man knew he needed to get the short man out of there soon, he was turning green and looked like he would be sick soon.

Leonard looked at the detective in shock, "Yes that is him."

The detective grabbed Leonard's arm and lead him back out of the apartment, noticing that Leonard started to breath heavily like he couldn't get enough air. "Dr Hofstadter are you alright?"

"My inhaler" Leonard barely got out as he started wheezing.

"Where is it?" and Leonard pointed to his apartment now not able to talk. The detective rushed him into his apartment and sat Leonard down on the couch. "Where?" Leonard pointed to the bathroom and the detective quickly went there finding a device in the medicine cabinet.

It was a couple minutes and inhaler puffs later, that Leonard had calmed down a little, "Thanks." he said looking at the detective.

The extreme reaction to his roommates death, had the detective believing this man had nothing to do with it, this short man seemed to be unable to hurt a fly, but the young woman across the hall was still a suspect. "Dr Hofstadter, has there been any altercations or bad blood between you and your roommate and the woman across the hall?"

Leonard shook his head, "No, she has actually been a very nice neighbor, friendly and all. She has even eaten here before."

The Detective wrote that in his pad like everything else Leonard told him. "So you really have no idea why Dr Cooper would break into your neighbor's apartment?"

Leonard again thought more about it, he had a good idea, after that afternoon complaining, Sheldon probably did go in there to clean, but he just shook his head no. "Who killed him?"

"Your neighbor caved in his skull with a baseball bat." the detective tried to make it seem cruel just in case this man was trying to protect the pretty girl. "Doesn't it seem strange that Dr Cooper would break into an apartment if he didn't like girls."

Leonard looked at the man, strange was the perfect way to describe Sheldon and if the man understood Sheldon as he did, he would not ask such a question. Leonard now worried a little about Penny, the officer seemed to trying to find a motive for her attack on Sheldon, so if Leonard stated his guess that Sheldon wanted to clean, they may deem Penny's reaction excessive and arrest her. But if they didn't know why, she would probably be given the benefit of the doubt and they would deem her actions justified. Sheldon couldn't be helped anymore and he shouldn't have done what he did, and Leonard thought he sort of brought it on himself, so why should Penny suffer for Sheldon's actions. "Sheldon has done some weird crazy things in the past."

The detectives eyes lit up. "Really, please explain."

"He is a germaphobe, he wears bus pants if I can't drive him, he won't shake hands, like I said he doesn't seem to like girls, he collects comic books and action figures, he keeps calling himself Homo Novus and things like that." Leonard purposely left out he did some of those things too. "If you ask people at the university, they can probably tell you more weird things he has done." Leonard added as he talked to the man.

"Homo Novus?" the detective looked at Leonard for some kind of explanation.

"He thinks, I mean thought, he was a superior human being, above the rest of us." Leonard explained.

The detective nodded, "Do you think this feeling of superiority could have translated to assaulting your neighbor?"

Leonard looked at him, "I don't know. I have never seen Sheldon break into an apartment before, so I have no idea why he would do it." Leonard was being honest, he didn't really know for sure if Sheldon broke into to clean or not, so what he said was the truth.

The detective nodded. "I guess that is most of all I have to ask for now, but I would like to talk to you again tomorrow afternoon at the station." the detective handed Leonard a card.

"Okay, I will get off." Leonard then looked at the man, "What will happen with Sheldon?"

The detective looked at Leonard, the way he was talking he knew it hadn't sunk in for the short man that his friend was dead and was no more than a body now. "Your friend will be taken to morgue and there will have to be an autopsy since this case is still under investigation. We will also have to call his next of kin."

Leonard sadly nodded, then looked at the detective again, "I'm his next of kin in California."

The information was actually a relief for the detective, he hated telling loved ones their relative was killed. "Does he have any family?"

Leonard nodded again, and sighed, "Mom, Grandmother and siblings. I will call them and let them know."

The detective nodded, this took a big task off his back and would allow him to quickly complete his investigation. "Okay, give them my information and then after the corner releases him one of you can take him home." the detective was now being kind, this man who was helping him deserved it.

"Thank you." Leonard softly said.

The detective nodded and then spoke again. "We will have to take Dr Cooper's phone and Computer, plus look at his room."

Leonard just nodded and pointed to Sheldon's room, "Its that one."

The detective nodded and pulled out plastic gloves as he walked to the room looking back to see Leonard go to his own room. "I still may need to talk to you after I check out the room."

"I just want to get my phone and call Sheldon's mother." Leonard told him and the detective nodded to let him know it was okay.

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It had been two weeks, of helping Sheldon's mother and getting things settled before Sheldon was on his way home to be buried. The first week had been horrible, Sheldon's mother was devastated and Leonard tried to help as much as possible, but it was still hard and wore him out. The big question everyone asked was why, why did Sheldon break into Penny's apartment, and Leonard didn't have the heart to even suggest that he probably just wanted to clean, at this point it wouldn't help the people who were alive now. They even took the police tape off the apartment a couple of days ago after Leonard had heard Penny was not charged because they didn't know what Sheldon had wanted, when he broke in, or if he had intended to harm her, so it was ruled self-defense.

So that Saturday morning, while Leonard sat in his apartment, watching TV, he almost jumped when he heard the knocking on his door. He took a quick look through the peep hole and then quickly opened the door to a waiting Penny. "Hi."

Penny's eyes were a little red and he saw tears in the corners as she looked at him, "I'm so sorry Leonard."

Leonard felt sorry for her, "Come in." he then stepped away from the door so she could enter, which she did, going directly to the couch.

She then looked at him, with pleading eyes, "Why Leonard, why did he break into my apartment at night. I heard the noise and I saw this dark shadow moving around my apartment, I was so scared…I was so scared." Penny looked at her hands, "I killed Sheldon." Penny started crying in earnest now.

Leonard was not use to crying women, especially beautiful crying woman, but he somehow found courage in himself and moved next to her, taking her in his arms as she cried and patting her back. "There, there."

The stayed that way for almost a half hour until Penny stopped crying and then lifted off his shoulder. "Leonard can I ask you a favor."

Leonard nodded, "Sure, anything."

Penny gave him a small strained smile, "You really are my white knight." she looked at him for a minute more, then spoke again. "They told me I can get my stuff out now, but I'm afraid to go in there alone. Could you come with me until I can get some things packed?"

Leonard nodded, "Sure whatever you want."

They were in her apartment for a couple of hours, as Penny filled every suitcase she had with almost everything piece of clothes she owned. It was then Leonard found out she was going back to Nebraska for a while, she needed to be around family, but she promised she would contact him and take him to dinner if she ever came back. It was almost dinner time when Leonard had finished helping her put everything into her car, she then gave him a big hug before he watched her drive away. Leonard suddenly felt very alone, more alone than he had felt for years and he knew it wasn't because of Sheldon, but was because of the nice girl that had just left his life.

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During the next year Leonard worked almost all the time, he came up with some new theories that had been getting some good reviews. It kept him busy and made it so he didn't think about that blonde girl that once lived across the hall. So it was a surprise to him when one afternoon at work he got a call from an unknown number with an area code he never heard of before.

"Hello Leonard?" the woman's voice said.

Leonard was not use to being called by women so he was confused at first. "Yess."

There was a small giggle, "Its me Penny, remember from across the hall."

"Penny!" Leonard exclaimed, of course he remembered her.

There was another small giggle, "Well I got back to California yesterday and got temporarily settled, so I thought I would treat you to that dinner I promised." she told him.

Leonard was completely surprised that she remembered that promise. "Umm…okay."

"So here is the thing, I have been gone so long, I guess you need to tell me a good place to eat and where to go." she stated.

"How about I pick you up." Leonard suggested.

"That would be great." Penny then told Leonard the motel she was staying at and told him what time to come over.

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The dinner was really nice and they seemed to talk easily to each other. They even talked a little about Sheldon, Penny telling him it took her about six months of therapy to finally be able to live with what happened. She also told him she was back to try again to be an actress, the therapist convincing her that she needed to move on with her life, that life was for the living and she had a lot of life to still live. So she saved up some money and was back, she needed to now get a job and a place to live.

Leonard looked at her, "I have an empty bedroom you could use for a little while."

Penny looked at him, "I wouldn't want to impose, and honestly I don't think I could sleep in Sheldon's room."

"The empty room is my old room and it is filled with your old bed and dresser." Leonard told her.

Penny's eyes went wide, "My old bed?"

"Yeah, remember when you left, you said I could have any of the furniture you left behind." Penny nodded. "Well Mrs. Cooper and Missy took everything Sheldon owned, even everything in his bedroom, so since I had an empty room, I took your bedroom furniture. I also took the small tall dinning table and chairs you had by your window and put in next to mine. Any way a few months ago, I finally decided that the ghosts were gone and moved my bedroom into Sheldon's old room, it was bigger and nicer than mine. I set your old bedroom stuff up in my old room, you could stay there for a while until you find a good place for yourself and save motel costs."

Penny looked at him, what he was suggesting would save her money and she always trusted him since the first time she saw him. It was really a great idea, she would have her own bedroom, it would even have her old comfortable bed. What did she have to loose, "Okay, we could try it out for a little bit."

Leonard gave her a small smile and nodded, "okay."

Penny never left Leonard's apartment, a year turned into two, and even after Penny got a recurring part on a TV sitcom, giving her more than enough money to move she didn't. Penny liked living where she was and especially liked her roommate, finding herself missing him whenever he wasn't around. Penny's show soon got awards and Penny got to walk the red carpet, with Leonard at her side, she thought he looked like James Bond dressed in a Tuxedo and she couldn't keep her hands off of him each time they went out. Eventually they shared 'I love you's' and their relationship turned really serious, Penny even admitting publicly in her interviews that Leonard was the love of her life.

So it was a quiet night as Penny lay awake, her Sweetie sleeping peacefully along side her that Penny reviewed her life so far. The hotel they were in was along the Waikiki beach in Hawaii, and the sound of the soothing waves hitting the beach kept trying to lull her to sleep. But she was just too excited, being on her honeymoon with her best friend and soul mate, and she realized she would have probably never been with him if it wasn't for that night long ago. She would always feel bad about what she did to that crazy wack-a-doddle, but as she lay awake she said a prayer for him and thanked him for his sacrifice that resulted in her finding the man who laid sleeping next to her. Penny finished her prayer then turned and cuddled against her new husband and gave him a small kiss as she quickly fell asleep.