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: Making a Clean Slate
"I'm not stupid." Howard knew talking to himself wasn't precisely kosher. But some occasions cried out for verbal clarification.
To be fair, Sheldon never said he was stupid. Neither did Penny, Bernadette or Raj. Stupidity might be implied by Sheldon's quips regarding his lack of doctorate. But that was Sheldon. Compared to Sheldon nearly everyone was stupid. If you used a Sheldon-shaped filter, most of what he said was plain fact, stupidity wasn't even implied.
Howard smiled when he thought of Sheldon, and by extension, Penny. Whether Sheldon would admit it or not, Penny had mellowed Sheldon. She helped him interpret situations so he didn't always come up with the worst case scenario. She encouraged his emergency preparedness kits and explained the reasoning behind them to the rest of them. Since Sheldon had grown up where hurricane season meant possibly bi weekly evacuation it made sense that he would have those habits firmly ingrained. It was kinda nice actually. Sheldon had a kit for them all, Howard included, and updated them annually.
Howard frowned. Amy had openly scoffed at the emergency kits. Leonard always rolled his eyes and went along with them but Amy outright refused, saying that Sheldon should have outgrown the need for them along with myriad other quirks and hobbies she felt were childish.
Raj came in the office and threw himself into the visitor's chair, "I'm so sick of Amy. She purposely manipulates us all so that she's the center of attention. She doesn't even have the decency to make us feel better about it." He tugged at the waistband of his pants. "I'm stress eating more and more. I won't even mention what her toxic influence does to Penny."
"You noticed that too huh," Howard knew his voice was glum but he couldn't muster the energy to brighten up.
"Amy deliberately makes her feel stupid. Bernadette just goes along with it because she doesn't know how to stop it." Raj shook his head and filled Howard in on the girl's night and the way Amy had manipulated his feelings after hearing he'd been infatuated with Bernadette and Penny.
"That's cold man," Howard frowned. "I'm starting to think that online dating profile was a mistake. Things went downhill from there."
"No, it started with the Arctic," Raj disagreed. "Leonard began to act even more…arrogant after we all came back. That's when he started to treat Sheldon as if he were a giant toddler, because Sheldon didn't take any action against him, or us, after the can-opener incident."
Howard sighed and conceded the point. "Yeah, you're right. And when he and Penny got together, he started to manipulate her into pity sex. You know she never goes out on auditions anymore. He's got her into his stuff but she goes through wine by the gallon."
"So since the Arctic, we're all… well worse off in some ways. Though you've got Bernadette at least." Raj echoed Howard's sigh.
"Well I'm afraid the science of building a time machine is beyond me," Howard shook his head. "So how do we fix this?"
Raj frowned. "I have an idea, but we'd have to really…work at it." His dark eyes were both worried and hopeful as they stared at Howard.
"I'm open to anything at this point," Howard remembered how he'd felt coming into his office after meeting Leonard in the halls that morning. Furious, emotionally hungover and like someone had run over his puppy.
"We 'fess up," Raj began to explain.
The plan didn't address Amy but Howard talked with Bernadette. She would come up with a way for Howard to deal with Amy. However, Dr. Gablehauser was not amused by their confession.
Howard took a deep breath and began to explain Leonard's slow mental deterioration upon reaching the Arctic. The experimental physicist hadn't been prepared for the reality of the conditions and how difficult the work would be. "I mean, we knew it would be hard, harsh conditions, Sheldon isn't exactly easy to work with, but…" He paused.
Raj shook his head sadly, "Leonard was actually frightening he was so…angry… Angry all the time and frustrated. Sheldon was the focus." He looked at their boss and admitted frankly, "Sir, I admit, Leonard frightened me. I thought when the heat went out he would kill us all. And when he came up with the idea to use the can-opener to fake the results and make Sheldon happy, I was afraid to argue. We didn't know what he would do."
"He talked about locking Sheldon outside," Howard told Physics Head. "And afterwards," He looked down, nothing fake about his emotions. "I'm sorry sir, we were so ashamed. We've tried to make it up to Sheldon, tried to support him, but Leonard…"
"Leonard takes it as a triumph, as if he had won something by making Sheldon look like a fool." Raj said truthfully. "His behavior has grown worse and worse. Sheldon has…been nothing but good to me, if condescending. And we think it means he has forgiven us, but Leonard has only grown more obnoxious."
The results of the interview and their confession were what they'd expected. Letters of reprimand, stern warnings, and the potential of permanent black marks on their records if their behavior was anything less than impeccable for the next five years. It was better than they could have hoped for, though their funding would be closely scrutinized, they hadn't been summarily dismissed.
All of that was conditional upon Dr. Gablehauser's interview with Leonard and how he interpreted Leonard's behavior. That was where the second part of their plan came in.
"I don't understand," Sheldon was shaking his head, staring at Raj and Howard as if they could, for once, explain human behavior. "Why would he kill himself?"
"Leonard always reacted to pressure differently than the rest of us Sheldon, you know that." Howard exchanged a glance with Raj. "I think the idea that his…behavior in the Arctic would be found out, that he might lose everything because we came clean, I think he snapped."
Penny chose that moment to burst into the apartment crying. "Amy called and said that Leonard killed himself!" She threw herself on the couch and wept into Sheldon's shoulder much to the theoretical physicist's discomfort. Sheldon's displeasure at Amy's behavior was obvious as he patted Penny's back and made soothing noises. Even he knew better than to relay such news over the phone.
Howard and Raj exchanged grim looks and took turns explaining their interview with Gablehauser. And Leonard's probable reaction to it. The experimental laser lab would require extensive cleanup and Leslie Winkle would no doubt find it irksome to deal with additional safety precautions but when someone successfully managed to kill themselves inside a secure area some added protocols were to be expected.
Bernadette's arrival gave Sheldon some respite from Penny's crying though he did still pat her back and fetched them all hot beverages.
Howard sighed as he undid the last of the hacks he'd used on Leonard and Amy's computers. Leonard's journal of the Arctic and subsequent behavior had required very little editing, Howard had only added one entry dated the day of Gablehauser's request for a meeting regarding the Arctic.
Hacking the mainframe at Cal Tech hadn't been hard, neither was erasing the evidence that he'd altered the laser's trajectory to burn through Leonard's heart. With Bernadette's help he'd easily hacked Amy's computers and the results had been more than he'd hoped for.
Amy's fiancé was adamant. She could marry him within the next month or he would cut all her funding and apply to his father to have her subjected to the laws of Riyadh for her behavior with Sheldon while engaged to Faisal. Amy had summarily dumped Sheldon, explaining she had no wish to be stoned to death, and began preparing for her move to Riyadh.
Raj entered the office quietly and waited for Howard to finish typing before he spoke. "Sheldon is hoping we could go bowling tomorrow night. He wishes to do something that Penny excels at in order to comfort and distract her from her grief and alcohol consumption."
Howard grinned. "Well I wouldn't have predicted Sheldon packing up his and Penny's apartments in exchange for a house but I can't argue with the results. Penny deals with spiders and social situations, Sheldon deals with lists and finances and neither of them are alone. They've gotten even closer. He even lets Penny hug him daily."
The astrophysicist nodded happily. "He is hoping that our work this past year will be worth funding another expedition to the Arctic, to prove or disprove the existence of monopoles."
The engineer closed up his file and began to defrag the hard drive. "I was thinking I might go for my doctorate. Sheldon told me there was no reason not to. For him that's as good as an endorsement of my intelligence."
Raj tilted his head, "No regrets?"
Howard shook his head. "None whatsoever."
Author's Note: So I came in at exactly 1500 words this time. Not bad. And I decided Howard doesn't get nearly enough credit for being an evil genius.
Oh, and to the troll who told me to go kill myself, don't bother to review if you can't be constructive. I screen my reviews and I don't approve flames from people who are abusive. But Thanks? for reading anyway. You're at least boosting my story views.