Author's Note: Bear with me, this is my first published TBBT fic and I hope it won't be the last. I think I've fulfilled all the rules but feel free to tell me if I've messed up in some way. I won't improve without constructive criticism after all.
1. Sheldon/Penny – They can be platonic, romantic, smutty, Super Heroes/Villains, etc.
2. Leonard/Amy's death MAY occur anytime from the Pilot thru Season 9
3. The death must be completed in a single chapter, although you are welcome to contribute as many different forms of death as you like as long as they are a chapter each.
4. The story must be no more than 1,500 words long.
5. Deadline is October 31, 2015.
100 Ways To Kill a Doctor: Spanish Flu
She didn't care for progression of events or the implications. There was a lot she'd tolerate. Tolerating rude sexist behavior from a woman, yes. Reminding her husband of certain boundaries, yes. Watching someone grind a friend's self esteem into dust. No. As in Hell to the No.
The problem was easy to diagnose. When Howard had finally confessed about the Arctic and the stunt they'd pulled there she'd nearly left him. Only the fact that he was telling her because he was sorry, and Raj got drunk enough to tell her the truth (without turning into a sleazebag) stayed her immediate impulse.
Suddenly a lot of things made sense. Sheldon was irritating but apparently he'd gotten worse after the Arctic. But his behavior was just a symptom. The disease was staring her right in the face, all four, lactose intolerant, myopic, feet of him. He was a big part of the reason a sometimes silly, but loyal and good friend was turning into a drunk who'd given up on pursuing her dreams. Why a brilliant physicist's career had been derailed and ridiculed.
She hadn't decided on a course of action, analyzing her own actions and taking her share of the blame, with a silent promise to do better, until she heard Amy and Leonard colluding in the stairwell. Raj and Howard looked on the verge of speech but her expression was enough to keep them quiet.
Amy and Leonard discussing how they could best manipulate Sheldon and Penny into what they considered appropriate behavior. Sheldon's toys and hobbies should be curbed and controlled and Penny needed to come to the realization that without Leonard she was nothing. But the main crux being that Sheldon and Penny should be kept separate. Apparently skills learned from behavioral studies in monkeys and a cold, manipulative parent could be put to uses besides scientific.
When the duplicitous duo's discussion started dying down Bernadette asked Howard in her normal voice if he'd remembered the extra mustard she'd wanted Penny to try. Her husband, being no dummy, instantly replied in his most cheerful voice that he had and Raj piped up about his own contribution.
The two upstairs immediately began walking and the three one floor below them continued their friendly debate on condiments as they progressed up to 4B.
The decision to kill someone wasn't really a difficult one. Deciding on a method that would not lead directly to her implication and eventual conviction was a bit more difficult.
In 1918 the Spanish flu decimated nearly five percent of the world's population. When flu season came around, at Bernadette's behest, everyone got inoculated. No one knew better than a microbiologist how deadly the flu could be.
When Bernadette got sick, Howard stayed home and took care of her for the three days she was incapacitated. When he caught the same flu, she did the same for him when he came home from work proclaiming that he was deathly ill. He didn't see the little smile on her face as he lamented that he'd started sneezing and coughing in the cafeteria at lunch.
It was really no surprise when the rest of their circle got sick. Penny and Sheldon seemed hardest hit. Penny's immune system eroded by constant fatigue and Sheldon's seemed nonexistent.
Raj surprised them all by insisting on taking care of them both, installing them in 4B and sending Leonard to Raj's own apartment so he wouldn't get re-exposed. "It is the least I can do," he insisted when Penny tried to argue. "I have not been such a good person that karma would not make me an ant in my next life."
Sheldon didn't argue, not when Raj simply looked at him and said 'can opener' in such a way that reminded the theoretical physicist of Raj's culpability.
Everyone thought the danger was over when Penny and Sheldon's fevers broke. Raj suggested that he make some soup and invite everyone over for the meal. Penny nodded slowly, "We could tell Leonard to come home now. And call Amy to visit. Sheldon's getting better too, and we're not feverish so that means we're not contagious."
"I'll get started on the soup. Will you call Amy? I'll run down to the market." Raj, as usual, was enthusiastic about entertaining, even if it was in someone else's house and in celebration of everyone recuperating from the flu.
Penny grinned at him weakly. "Thanks sweetie. You're awesome."
Raj shrugged in modestly. "Once I get the groceries and get the soup started I'll swing by my apartment and pick up some wine."
"I dunno if I should be drinking wine with my stomach still feeling so touchy." Penny hesitated.
Raj shook his head. "No, ginger ale for you and Sheldon still. Nothing to tax your liver or kidneys. The wine is for the rest of us."
Penny looked at Sheldon as he emerged from his room, clad in his green lantern teeshirt and khakis and looking far better than he had in a week. "Actually, I saw a thing on TV that said me not drinking for a while would be helpful. D'you guys think that'd be a good idea?"
Raj nodded enthusiastically, echoing Sheldon's movements. "Honestly Penny, I do not think alcohol has been a friend to you for some time. If you wish to embrace a dry lifestyle I will support you one hundred percent."
"As will I." Sheldon nodded. "As you know, I am uncomfortable with the consumption of alcohol to begin with. Additionally I do not like what it has done to you."
"You don't seem as happy now as when we first met." Raj observed daringly.
"Yeah, well, I'm not really." Penny sighed and sat down in her spot on the couch. "I love you guys but I just... feel like I've gotten off track, in my whole life."
"Then we will help you get back on track." Sheldon told her firmly. "While Raj is at the store, you and I will make a plan of action for your life. Beginning with finances."
"I'll start making a list of what we'll need for tonight," Raj said happily.
"And as it is that time, I will watch Dr. Who." Sheldon sat down with a smile of pleasure.
"Cool," Penny grinned. "I'm gonna pop over to my place and have a shower."
"Oh, Penny, I took the liberty of purchasing a one time cleaning service for you. I did not want you exposed to more germs." Raj told her as she left and was given a blink of surprise and a quiet, heartfelt, thank you.
"Amy's not picking up the phone and neither is Leonard," Penny announced as she returned to 4B.
"I'm still going to my apartment after I start the soup, I can see if he's there." Raj offered. "Maybe he's had a relapse."
"Thanks sweetie." Penny sat next to Sheldon and sighed tiredly. "Who knew having a shower and getting dressed could be so exhausting."
"Just rest and I'll be back soon," Raj advised cheerfully.
Bernadette chivied Howard up the stairs and into 4B, and immediately hugged Penny, to Penny's surprise. "Wha... What's going on? Bernadette are you okay?"
Howard took a seat in the armchair and looked at Penny and Sheldon. "Raj told us to come over. Leonard must have had a relapse, he... Raj found Leonard, on the bathroom floor, he..." The engineer took a deep breath. "I'm sorry Penny, Sheldon, Leonard's dead."
Bernadette looked at Howard tearfully, "You may as well tell them the rest."
"Since Raj mentioned Amy wasn't answering her phone, the cops went over to her place. Same thing. She must have gotten so sick she couldn't dial 911." Howard sighed heavily. "Apparently this isn't abnormal for flu season."
Penny stared at them for a moment and began sobbing, Sheldon's arms went around her, patting her back as he absorbed the information and shook his head, "I'm...unsure of what to do now."
"We'll help you, you two take care of each other," Bernadette told them in her firmest, not quite mother, voice. "Neither of you should be alone."
"I agree." Sheldon looked down at Penny, "You will stay here with me. It will save you money on rent and we can support each other."
Howard smiled slightly, "Raj would love to live in 4A. He's been talking about getting a new apartment. And that way you could carpool with him Sheldon."
Bernadette kept her smile little and tinged with sorrow as she listened to the three of them discuss the best way to handle the move. Things were finally lining up the way they should be. Really, she could have handled the other stupidity but the last straw had been the plan to keep Sheldon and Penny apart. Anyone with half a brain could see they were far better together.
And soon all would be as it should.
Author's Note addendum: So what did you think? I came in at 1482 words.
Additional addendum: And I got my first review... basically calling me a moron for killing off Leonard and Amy, that I'm disgusting and I should just kill myself instead because I'm a waste of space. This was of course a guest so I can't respond to him/her/it. Thankfully I screen my reviews so I won't be posting it. But seriously?