Leonard stormed back into the apartment, visibly upset and headed straight to the bedroom. Before Sheldon could say anything, he interrupted.
"I don't want to talk about it, Sheldon!" He slammed the bedroom door.
At first, Sheldon didn't pay much attention to it. As usual, he couldn't care less about Leonards love life and dating. But as the evening passed and turned into late night, Sheldon could feel her pain growing stronger in him. This wasn't just the usual banter Leonard had with Penny. This was worse. He could not explain it, but he had to do something. Penny was hurt and in desperate need of comfort.
Sheldon quickly put a kettle of water to the stove and let it boil. He put his tea filters on the counter and picked up a couple of her favourites. He neatly and symmetrically arranged it all on the tray, with additional sugar, bottle of honey and two tea spoons.
As soon as the water boiled, he put it on the tray and made his way to 4B.
He didn't bother to knock, Penny needed someone to get her through this.
"Here's some hot bev..." He froze and almost dropped his tray at the sight. Penny laid on her couch completely wasted. Empty bottles of strong alcohol displayed all over the coffee table. He quickly made his way to her and began to clean up the mess. One was on the floor by her right hand, hanging off the sofa.
He immediately took away all the bottles he could find and emptied the remaining liquor into the kitchen sink. He lifted her upwards and sat next to her. She could barely keep her head up.
"Oh Penny, what are you doing to yourself?" He wiped the drool from her chin with a napkin and almost felt ill by the stench of alcohol from her mouth.
"Come on now, let's get this poison out of you." He raised her on her feet and they slowly made their way to the bathroom.
Penny barely cooperated, she tried to move her feet with him. Only faint moans left her mouth, she was still too weak for anything more. He threw a folded towel on the floor to cushion her knees.
He was fighting with this phobias and not to be disgusted when she began to empty her stomach in the toilet bowl. He knew he had to do this. For her. She needed him, like many times before. Sheldon caressed and held her hair, he massaged her back and washed her lips and mouth each time.
"Everything is going to be fine." He kept repeating into her ear, over and over. Penny felt completely safe in his embrace, probably the only guy in California, who did not use the situation. Her hands were getting ice cold from the ceramic floor tiles and toilet, he rubbed her palms and shoulders to make her a bit more comfortable. They sat on the cold floor for a while, making sure she got rid most of it. It must have been at least an hour they spent there. His embrace and rubbing her back was keeping her somewhat warm. Although she didn't feel being cold, he did.
Sheldon took her back to the living room, his kettle of water cooled a while ago. He poured her one mug of cold water and gave it to her. Penny slowly began to come to her senses and took one sip with her tired hands.
"Sheldon..." was the first whisper. "I cannot believe..." She took another drink, pure water was all she needed right now.
Penny was slowly recovering. Her senses and memories were coming back. Together with the headache. She soon realised what Sheldon had just done for her, she burst into tears and hugged him dearly.
"You're my best friend..." She cried and sobbed into his collar.
"I'm here for you, Penny. Always." He simply patted her on the back. It only made her cry even harder. "Let it out, don't hold back." He didn't care for her tears or snot on his shirt, the only thing on his mind was to console her. Pouring out her bottled-up emotions, did her very good.
"Oh, I can't thank you enough for this. For being so supportive." She slowly parted the hug and took another sip of water from her mug. "Oh, I messed your shirt." She tried to laugh while wiping her cheeks.
"Penny, my shirt should the least of your concerns. How are you feeling?"
"Like my head's about to explode..." She put her head into her palms and tried to ease the pain.
"You need to sleep this over. You will feel much better tomorrow." He looked into her teary eyes. "Penny? Why are you doing this to yourself? Leonard is a very poor reason to get yourself so drunk. Three bottles, you need to stop doing this. I can't stand seeing you miserable and hurt like this."
"I know. Do you think I have a problem? I've never talked to anyone about this, but I know I can trust you. Should go and see someone?" She knew he could be trusted. Only Sheldon would remain serious about it.
"This is very brave of you. Let me help you first. I'll design some schedules and shopping lists to get your mind off this stuff. Also, if there's anything you need to talk about, let me know. We'll get through this." Penny kissed him on his cheeks, she has never met a guy so caring and thoughtful about her. Most of others only took advantage of her, only to later boast in front of their friends.
She drank the whole kettle of water herself. Sheldon filled it again and let it boil. After couple of minutes, he prepared her a delicious mug of hot tea with honey.
"Can I ask you something? How did you know?"
"I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I cannot explain it. With every drink you took down, it felt like I was getting intoxicated myself. Ever since I met you, I feel this... connection with you. I don't know what, how or why it is, but whatever you feel, I feel." He took her hands into his and continued.
"Penny. Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive, look, experience, examine, and for once; just once, understand. I know you feel it too."
She leaned into his embrace again. Tears filled her eyes again and made their way onto his shirt.
"I do." His hug muffled her words. "I kept convincing myself it can't be, but it is. We're meant to be together." She slowly raised her head and gently brushed his lower lip with hers...
A knock on the door, Leonard came over to apologise. Penny and Sheldon parted as he entered her apartment, but he caught their gentle kiss nonetheless.
"I'm so sorry, Penny. I was so stupid before..."
"No need to apologise Leonard. You made me see things the way they were always meant to be." She was a little blushed, she knew he saw them.
"Are you ok?"
"I will be." She nodded. Headache and dizziness were still killing her, but she was in good hands.
"So... This is it, then. You and Sheldon, huh?"
"Yes." She leaned onto his shoulder.
"Thanks." She smiled. Leonard accepted it without any fuss. He knew it was only a matter of time.
"Take good care of her, Sheldon. She's a special lady."
"Oh, you don't have to tell me." He looked at Penny smiling, he already knew all about it.
"I'll leave you two alone." Leonard turned around and headed out, head bowed down.
"Yes?" He turned to her at the doorway.
"Thank you. For understanding. Thank you both. You guys are the greatest. I love having both of you in my life. Leonard, you'll always remain one of my closest friends. Even though things didn't work out, I hope you'll remain my friend."
Leonard was upset, but there's no way he could say no to those beautiful green eyes, after what he said to her before.
"Always." In one way, he was glad the things turned out the way they did. Ever since he got her, he did not feel the same attraction to her as before. It was only the desire for unobtained, that kept pushing him towards her. Being friends certainly makes things easier for both of them.
After Leonard killed their mood, Sheldon soon helped Penny to her bed. With the voice of his Soft Kitty, she quickly drifted into her sweet dreams. Ones with kittens. And him. Because he laid by her side all night.