A/N Takes place during Season 3 episode 10 The Gorilla Experiment. This is a response to a prompt given to me by Charlie who left an awesome comment on another of my drabbles. I had intended to wait til this weekend to do it, but the idea grew and if I have any hope of sleeping tonight, I have to get it out there. :D

If you haven't seen this episode in a while, you might want to before reading this as I don't repeat anything that happens in it.

This was written in 20 minutes and has not been beta'd.

Shenny friendship, Lenny is implied cause it's a cannon missing scene.

The Gorilla Experiment

"Oh, balls!" Penny muttered with a groan as Sheldon began his Ancient Greece soliloquy for the third time.

She glared down at her poor attempt at note taking as he droned on. A real tear slipped from her eye and she jumped to her feet.

"Oh just forget it, Sheldon. I'm a lost cause, I always have been when it comes to this stuff," she said, gesturing to the white board covered in scribbles that made no sense to her no matter how hard she tried.

"Penny, wait."

She turned to look at him with her hand on the door knob.

"Would you like me to help you clean your apartment?"

An hour later Penny sat in her bed sipping a glass of wine while Sheldon emptied every single one of her dresser drawers, refolded and reorganized everything in it.

He worked and she drank in a comfortable silence for several minutes.

"Penny you graduated high school, correct?" He asked, suddenly.

"Uh, yes."

"And, you must have had somewhat decent of a GPA to be accepted in a community college?" He prompted as he folded her underwear.

"I guess," Penny said with a shrug.

"Well, that proves that you can learn some things. How did you do it back then?"

Penny thought for moment.

"There was this geeky girl that used to tape record all of the lectures then go home and type up her notes. She would print a copy for me if I let her sit at my lunch table. The night before the tests I would just memorize her notes."

Sheldon turned to look at her in astonishment.

"You mean to tell me that you can memorize enough notes to pass tests but I constantly have to remind you to put cheese on my burger?" He demanded.

Penny sent him a dirty look but didn't say anything. She didn't want to do anything that would stop him from cleaning.

"Well, it was important to me that I pass those tests and graduate so I could get outta that freaking town and into the real world," she explained.

Sheldon continued to stare at her silently as he digested her words. Then he shrugged and turned back to her clothes.

"I supposed acting requires a good deal of memorization as well?"

"Yep," Penny said with nod and another sip.

Sheldon froze and tilted his head to the side.

"Hmm, now there's a thought."

"What?" Penny asked, feigning interest.

He turned to face her again, eyes twinkling with his superiority.

"I'm not a 'sucky' teacher. You just don't care about the subject matter. If you did, you wouldn't have to struggle so hard to understand."

"But I am interested-" Penny began.

"In Leonard. You're interest is solely in pleasing Leonard. You don't care if you understand this stuff or not as long as it impresses him," Sheldon pointed out smugly.

At first Penny wanted to argue, but the more she thought about it the more she realized he was right. She had no interest in being a scientist. What would she do with a basic understanding of physics? Nothing.

"You're right Sheldon. The whole reason I wanted to do this was because I saw how pleased Leonard was when he could talk to Bernadette about his work. It made me realize that other women could do things for him that I can't and... I guess I got jealous," Penny admitted.

"It's true that Bernadette's IQ and grasp of the sciences are far superior to your own, Penny, but you have your own strengths that make you an appealing mate," Sheldon said.

"Like what?" Penny asked, bracing herself for another Sheldon Cooper back-handed compliment.

"I don't need to tell you that you're aesthetically pleasing. You are also street smart, you take care of your friends even when you don't understand them. You compromise even when it means you end up watching an eight hour marathon of a television show you don't really like. And most importantly, when you felt threatened in your relationship you didn't get angry or petty, you attempted to better yourself. Even though it didn't work out very well this time, I still admire your willingness to learn. You 'try' Penny. There aren't a lot of people who really do."

Penny stared at him, stunned.

"Sheldon, that was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me," she said, eyes pricking with tears.

"Well, I'm a nice guy," he said as if that was something she should know.

He shook his head and turned back to her clothes for a few minutes before freezing as another idea hit him.

"Penny? Are you a good actress?"

Penny opened her mouth to confirm, but doubt made her pause.

"I think I am. Though I guess if I really was I would have gotten a paid role by now," she admitted finally.

"It's all basically memorization, right? You know you can do that," he said.

"What are you getting at, Sheldon?"

"How about I type you up some notes to memorize and you can recite them tomorrow night when we have dinner with everyone."

Penny sat her wineglass down on her nightstand and lunged forward to give him a hug. He stiffened.

"Thank you, so much Sheldon! You are the best!" She squealed and could feel him relax slightly for a moment before he pushed her away and straightened his shirt.

"Of course I am."

Thanks for reading! I am still open for prompts, so send 'em my way. ;D