A/N: So this is the expanded version of "Shenny Shorts 1". You can blame Darkly for this, she peer pressured me into expanding this into a full story.
Leonard walked up the stairs towards the apartment he shared with Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D, and general pain-in-the-ass. His neurotic neighbor was in the apartment waiting on him to return with supper, so he wasn't in any particular hurry. As he reached the fourth floor landing, he looked across the hall, and noticed a beautiful blonde standing in the middle of the other apartment, surrounded by moving boxes. Young, attractive, and looking lost; the perfect girl to get into his bed.
Leonard walked over, and lightly tapped on the doorframe. When she looked up, he said in his suavest voice, "Hi. My name's Leonard, I live across the hall."
"Hi. Penny. I just moved in," replied the blonde with a bright smile and a small wave.
"So, um, I was just returning with supper. Perhaps you'd like to come over, I've got plenty. My roommate's unfortunately there as well, but he's not too much of an annoyance, most of the time anyway" Leonard said, with a gesture towards the door of 4A.
"Sure, I'd love to," replied Penny chipperly.
Leonard opened the door to 4A and walked in, with Penny following behind him. Looking back at Penny, and gesturing towards his roommate, who was sitting on the couch, he said, "Penny, this is my roommate Sheldon." Briefly glancing at Sheldon, he continued, "Sheldon, this is our new neighbor, Penny." Turning back to Penny he said, "Sorry, I didn't get your last name."
Leonard turned and stared at Sheldon, completely bumfuzzled. How could his roommate know her last name? Had he already met her? That couldn't be, Sheldon had been in the apartment all day, and he never went outside if he could help it.
"Her last name is Cooper," Sheldon repeated from the couch. "Penelope. Queen. Cooper."
Leonard looked back and forth between their new neighbor and his roommate, who appeared to almost be in the middle of a stare-down. After a few unnerving seconds, Leonard cleared his throat.
"Um, so, Penny, how about some food?" he asked as he walked over to his chair and set the food bag down on the coffee table, trying to break the awkwardness, and drag Penny's attention away from his roommate.
After a second longer, she reassumed her cheery disposition and said, "Food sounds good," before moving to sit down in the spot next to Sheldon and reaching for the food bag.
Sheldon watched her warily out of the corner of his eye as she handed out the food.
The slight tension remained throughout supper, but given Sheldon's extreme neurosis, Leonard was just glad there was nothing worse than some slight tension between them. He chalked it up to the ultimate neat freak colliding with the happy-go-lucky extrovert that their new neighbor clearly was.
After they finished eating, Penny thanked Leonard for inviting her over to eat, but said she really had to get back to unpacking. As she got ready to leave, she leaned over and gave Sheldon a light peck on his lips, before standing up and walking to the door of 4A. With her hand on the doorknob, she turned back and looked at Sheldon, saying sternly, "Don't come clean my apartment in the middle of the night," before walking out and shutting the door behind her.
Leonard stared at Sheldon. "Want to catch me up?"
After a few more seconds of staring at the door, Sheldon turned to face Leonard. "No. I'd really rather not." He then stood up and walked back to his bedroom, closing the door behind him, leaving Leonard sitting in the living room in shock.
Leonard didn't see Sheldon again for the rest of the evening.
Much later that night, after Leonard had gone to bed, Sheldon snuck out of the apartment, and softly tapped on Penny's door.
knock knock knock "penny"
knock knock knock "penny"
knock knock knock "penny"
A few moments later, the door opened and Penny stood aside so he could come in. Once he was in the room, she shut the door behind her, and turned to face Sheldon, who was looking around the messy room with a slight look of horror on his face.
When he started twitching slightly she said, "No, you can't unpack everything and clean my apartment. Sit down, you can find your spot later."
After he grudgingly sat down on her teal couch, she moved and sat down in the other spot. Staring down at his hands, Sheldon asked, "How are you doing?"
"I'm good, sweetie," replied Penny, looking Sheldon in the face. "I just got transferred to Pacific branch, which is why I'm out here. My boss just told me out of the blue last week that he was transferring me over here, and gave me an apartment key and told me when I was moving in."
Sheldon just nodded his head, still not looking up at her.
"Sweetie," she said, putting her hand on his cheek and forcing him to look up at her, "I am really sorry about the way things went the last time we saw each other. It's been a really long three years. But I've never stopped loving you, or missing you, or wishing things had gone differently."
Looking back down at his lap, Sheldon responded, "I never thought I would see you again. And not a day has gone by that I haven't regretted the way we left things."
"Well, I'm back, and even when I have to move again, I'm never giving you up again, if you'll have me back," replied Penny softly, lightly stroking his cheek.
Sheldon finally looked up at Penny on his own for the first time. "I knew what your job was ever since we first met, but I wasn't willing to accept it when the time came, and I thought I'd lost you forever because of it. If you'll have me back, I promise I won't make that mistake again the next time you have to move."
Penny just wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him hard.
"So how has work been?" he asked when they broke apart.
"Oh, pretty much the same," Penny answered. "We went our separate ways three years ago when I was transferred from Langley to the Asia-Pacific branch in Japan, and you moved out here. Then a year and half ago I was transferred from there to the Western European branch. Where I was moving up the ranks until a week ago when my boss told me I was being transferred to the US Pacific branch in Pasadena. I don't even know what my position is yet until I show up for work Monday morning. When he told me I was being moved here, I knew you were out here somewhere, but I had no clue I'd end up across the hall from you. So my job was going well until a week ago, and now I have no clue. How about you, brilliant-mind genius?"
"I am still surrounded by idiots who don't comprehend the magnitude of my work. So the same as always."
They lapsed into silence for a few minutes, both of them wrapping their minds around the fact that they were back in each other's lives again.
"What are we going to do about us?" Sheldon finally asked.
Penny sighed, and played with the edge of her shirt for a minute, before replying, "I think we should still live apart for a while. I know we both still love each other, but we've clearly got some things to work out betweens us, hard feelings on both sides. So I think we need to work through those first before we start living together again."
Sheldon nodded his head, before asking, "So what about in the meantime?"
"Still want me?" she asked playfully, snuggling up next to him and batting her eyelashes at him.
Sheldon leaned down and captured her lips briefly, before pulling back and replying, "Of course."
Penny sat back from him, and turned to face him fully, pulling her legs up under her. "Then we start with that. Because I want you too. Believe me, it's been a long three years."
"You used to get irritable by the end of two week work trips away from me. I can't imagine what your coworkers have had to put up with for the last three years," replied Sheldon with a smirk.
Penny just swatted him, before saying, "I do think it's best we not tell anyone yet, though. We don't want everyone asking questions about why we aren't together before we have a chance to patch things up on our own, first. But as long as we're careful about it, we should be able to sneak around them. Although we probably won't be able to get too much in, what with your slut of a roommate trying to get me to sleep with him and not wanting you to ever be alone with me."
Sheldon cocked his eyebrows, and said, slightly surprised, "You noticed that too? I couldn't tell if he was that obvious about wanting to have coitus with you, or if I just know him too well from being roommates with him for the past three years."
"Oh, he thinks he's sly about it, but it's pretty obvious to anyone paying attention."
Sheldon nodded his head, and replied, "I still don't get why he always tries to keep me away from any girl he's trying to sleep with, since I've never once tried to steal any girl he's had his eye on, and he thinks I'm completely asexual. But he's jealous like that."
Penny smiled in agreement, before capturing his lips once more.
The next evening, Leonard was heading down the stairs on the way to pick up a pizza, when he saw Penny walking up the stairs.
"Hey Penny! I was just heading out to pick up a pizza. Care to join us for pizza and a movie?" he asked brightly.
Penny looked up at her chipper next-door neighbor. "Sure, Leonard. Is Sheldon in the apartment?"
"Um, yeah, but if you don't want to have to deal with Sheldon until I get back, you can just hang out in your apartment, and I'll come knock when the pizza's ready."
Penny just smiled and nodded her head, and began climbing up the stairs, saying, "See you in a few."
Leonard gave a quick, "See you," before continuing down the stairs.
When Penny got to the fourth floor, she ducked into her apartment real quick to change into something more comfortable, before heading back across the hall to 4A a minute later. Walking in without knocking, she saw Sheldon sitting on the couch, playing Halo. "Hey sweetie, Leonard invited me over for supper."
Without looking away from the tv screen, Sheldon responded, "Hi Penny, how was work?"
"It was fine, but I know you don't like chit chat, honey, so just give me a controller and let's shoot some bad guys," she replied as she ungracefully plopped down on the couch beside him.
Without a word, Sheldon paused the game he was playing, before standing up and walking back to his room. When he returned, he handed her a pink controller.
"You found it!" Penny exclaimed. "I was wondering where my controller had gotten off to. I never could find it after I left."
"It was wedged in the seat cushion of the couch. Is Halo fine, or would you prefer playing something different?"
"Oh, Halo's fine," replied Penny. "But I'm surprised to find you playing video games on movie night, even if you are waiting on your roommate to get back with supper."
"But it's not movie night," responded Sheldon, slightly confused. "It's pizza and Halo night."
"Oh." said Penny, surprised. "When I ran into Leonard on the way up, and he said you guys were going to be watching a movie tonight."
"Well, I have no clue why he said that, because tonight is pizza and Halo night."
Twenty minutes later, the door opened and Howard and Raj walked in, laughing about something. But as soon as they saw Penny sitting on the couch next to Sheldon, Howard froze in shock, and Raj let out a little "Eep!" Penny and Sheldon just ignored them, until they got to a stopping point. Then they both looked over at the two newcomers, who were still frozen in place.
"Would you mind shutting the door?" said Sheldon.
At this, Raj hurriedly closed the door behind him, before scurrying around to the kitchen. Howard simply tilted his head back and forth staring at Penny, as if he was trying to figure out if she was really there.
"Um, Hi guys," Penny said, with a small, awkward wave.
With a look of exasperation, Sheldon said, "Howard, Raj, this is our new next-door neighbor, Penny. Penny, that is Howard, the one who looks like he's never seen a human female before, and that is Raj, who has selective mutism, and can't talk to girls."
At that moment, Leonard walked in with the pizzas, and unceremoniously dumped them on the coffee table, earning a glare from Sheldon. He was about to turn and head across the hall to knock on Penny's door when he noticed she was sitting next to Sheldon on the couch. So instead, he headed towards the kitchen to get drinks. A few minutes later, they were all eating contentedly.
"So, when did you move in, Penny?" asked Howard.
"Yesterday afternoon," she replied. "So, what do you guys do for a living?" she asked towards Howard and Raj, hoping to steer the conversation away from herself, and any questions that might lead back to her knowing Sheldon.
"So, what movie should we watch tonight?" Leonard asked, once they were all done eating.
"Leonard, you know that tonight is Halo night, not movie night," reprimanded Sheldon. Penny wondered for a second if he was about to give Leonard a strike. Last time she asked, she had 42; though she wouldn't be surprised if leaving him for her job had added quite a few more. Although a few of those might have been removed after the previous night's 'activities', after they'd finished talking. It always used to be good for removing strikes, anyway; if so, they had removed quite a few strikes last night, Penny thought to herself with a smirk.
"I thought we could watch a movie tonight, instead of playing video games. In order to include Penny, you know," replied Leonard in his most wheedling voice.
"Afraid I'll kick your butt at Halo?" challenged Penny, before Sheldon could say anything.
Before Leonard could think of anything to respond with, Sheldon started handing out controllers, and said, "Penny and I will be on one team. You three will on the other team."
A few hours later, Leonard, Howard, and Raj had finally had enough. They hadn't managed to win a single game, and combined with the fact that Penny had all but ignored all of their advances, and in fact seemed to be paying more attention to Sheldon than to all of them combined, they were starting to get irritated. So they finally called it quits and Howard and Raj said they had to go home. Leonard walked with them down to the lobby of the building.
"She is smoking hot," said Howard, as soon as they had closed the door to 4A behind them.
"I know," replied Leonard dreamily. "I am totally working on hitting that. We are going to have such smart, beautiful babies one day. My smarts, her beauty, they'll be the greatest kids ever."
"You might need to explain that to clueless Sheldon, you know," said Howard, turning to look at his best friend. "He seemed to be pretty friendly with Penny tonight, and he probably doesn't realize that he's sabotaging your efforts by spending time with her. He's pretty ignorant about these things, you know."
As soon as Leonard walked back into 4A, he saw Sheldon working at his desk and the apartment otherwise empty, so he said, "Sheldon, I know you're not the best with social conventions, so I'm just going to spell it out for you. Stop spending so much time with Penny. I saw her first, so I have dibs on her. And I'm sure you aren't doing it intentionally, but you're sabotaging my time with Penny by hanging around her. So stop bothering her, because I saw her first."
Sheldon merely cocked an eyebrow at his roommate, before returning to his laptop.
Several weeks later, Leonard woke up in the middle of the night. He had been sleeping poorly lately, and it was all Sheldon's fault. Ever since that beautiful blonde had moved in across the hall, Sheldon had been sabotaging her time. Leonard had repeatedly tried to get his roommate out of the way, and had even repeated to his roommate multiple times that he'd seen her first, so he had dibs on her, but he'd yet to be able to get her alone. She only ever came over when Sheldon was there, and she'd even taken to some of his odd quirks, like Laundry Night. Every Saturday night at 8:15, they would both open their apartment doors, and head down to the laundry room in the basement. The few times he had managed to get rid of Sheldon and asked her to come over, or join him for a movie, she had always come up with some excuse not to.
As he walked back from the bathroom, contemplating new strategies to try to get her to sleep with him, he noticed that Sheldon's door wasn't entirely shut. Which was really odd, since he could have sworn it was completely closed when he'd gone to bed. He lightly pushed it open a tiny bit, and upon seeing Sheldon asleep in his typical vampire pose, he made to close the door. He had pulled the door closed, but had yet to release the doorknob, when it struck him.
It was impossible. It had to be a trick of the light. There was no way.
He carefully eased the door back open, and stuck his head through the crack. Well, he certainly hadn't imagined it. There was definitely another shape in Sheldon's bed. And if he didn't know better, it appeared to be a female shape with its arm across Sheldon's stomach, and its head on his chest.
As Leonard tried to lean forward to get a better look, he shuffled slightly and his toe hit the doorframe. His head jerked down, and with a muffled curse he stumbled slightly, and tried to catch himself against the wall; accidentally hitting the light switch in Sheldon's room. His head jerked back up, and he saw one very angry face and one irritated face looking at him from the bed.
"Penny!?" he said in shock.
She gave a low growl.
Leonard found his voice and turned savagely on his roommate, practically screaming at him. "You're sleeping with Penny!? You know I saw her first! I called dibs! You can't go around sleeping with the girl I love! Bro's before ho's!"
Breathing heavily, he glared at his neurotic roommate with a look he hoped could kill. During his roommate's tirade, Sheldon had gone from irritated to just bored; Penny, on the other hand, was still matching Leonard's glare perfectly.
Sheldon impassively met his short roommate's glare, and calmly said, "There's one slight problem with your claim on Penny. Well, besides the fact you can't 'claim' a girl in the first place. But I digress. You did not in fact see her first, like you claim. Penny is my wife. She has been since long before I met you."
Leonard froze in shock.
After a few moments, Penny got up and walked over to the door. Pushing Leonard's head gently back into the hallway, she closed the door and locked it. Returning to the bed, she said with a sigh, "We'll have hell to pay in the morning for this."
"Well, now at least you don't have to leave every morning before he wakes up."
The following morning, Penny woke up to the feeling of Sheldon running his hand through her hair. "Morning, sweetie," she mumbled into his chest as she snuggled up closer to him, refusing to open her eyes. Memories of the night before were beginning to flitter into her mind, and she wanted to avoid the ensuing storm for as long as possible.
A few minutes later, Sheldon said, "We really need to get up; we can't avoid Leonard forever."
"I know, I know," grumbled Penny. "What exactly are we planning on telling him?"
"Well, I wanted to discuss that with you, actually. I know this is still early, and we still haven't worked everything out between us, but I was wondering if I might be able to convince you that we try living together again. Hear me out before you say no. We are sleeping together every night, so we can obviously stand being around each other. We spend most evenings together eating and playing video games and such, so we spend most of our time together already. We are eventually going to have to try to live together again, so why not now?"
"Actually, I have been thinking about this same thing for a few days now," responded Penny. "We're not perfect, but I think we're as good as we can get without living together again and facing our remaining issues head-on. So I think we should start living together. The question that remains, is where?"
"Both," replied Sheldon, and Penny looked up at him in confusion. "We sleep in your apartment, at least for now, because Leonard will not appreciate us living here, even though it's my apartment, and not his. But during the day we live over here, because this is where all my stuff is, and your place is a complete mess, even if you were to let me clean it every once in a while."
"But what about your clothes and such?" asked Penny.
"I have enough clothes to have complete weekly sets in both apartments, as well as toiletries for both apartments."
A few minutes later, they entered the kitchen, and unsurprisingly found Leonard sitting on the couch, waiting on them. As soon as they entered, Leonard jumped up and stormed over to where they were standing in the kitchen getting breakfast ready.
"Why didn't you ever tell me you were married?" shouted Leonard.
"Firstly, when have you ever been interested in my personal life, except when a pretty girl was paying more attention to me than they were to you? And secondly, I did not know if I would ever see my wife again, so it wasn't exactly a topic I had much reason to bring up," replied Sheldon calmly.
"But Penny!?" Leonard whined in exasperation.
Sheldon just gave Leonard a look.
"Why don't you live together, then? Why didn't you ever say anything? I've spent the last several weeks trying to win Penny's heart, and you never said a thing!"
"No, you spent the last several weeks trying to get her to have coitus with you. If you had any actual interest in her, you would have talked to her enough to find out that she wasn't available. It's not my fault you chased after someone who isn't available without finding out if they were in fact available or not," replied Sheldon, as he pulled down a box of cereal, and grabbed a bowl out of the cabinet.
"As for why we haven't been living together," added Penny as she sipped her coffee, "we had a bit of a rough split whenever we last saw each other three years ago, so we've had a few issues to work through until we were ready to live together again. But we've decided that we're ready now, so we'll be living together again from now on."
Leonard just gaped at them for several minutes, as they continued getting breakfast. As Sheldon and Penny carried their bowls over to the couch and sat down, he finally choked out, "You two are actually serious!?"
Penny rolled her eyes, and placing her cereal bowl on the coffee table, stood up. "Is it still where you've always kept it?" she asked, looking down at Sheldon. When Sheldon nodded his head, she looked back up at Leonard, and said, "Give me one second," before walking across the hall to 4B. A minute later she re-entered 4A, and without stopping walked back to Sheldon's room. A few seconds later, she walked back out into the living room, and sat down in her spot on the couch. She held out her hand to Sheldon, and he carefully took one of the two rings. Penny took the other one, and they both slipped them on their fingers.
Leonard had finally seen enough, and shaking his head in stunned disbelief, grabbed his keys and walked out of 4A. When he got to the lobby, an idea struck him. Quickly pulling out his phone, he called the one person he knew he could get some answers from. After a couple of rings, she picked up.
"Hi Mrs. Cooper, sorry to bother you this early, but I had a question to ask you about Sheldon."
"Oh no, what has he done this time?" Mrs. Cooper asked.
"Well, a new girl moved into the apartment across the hall a few weeks ago, and Sheldon claims they're married," Leonard responded.
"Blonde, about your height, happy-go-lucky, the exact opposite of Sheldon in every way possible?"
"Uh…yeah," said Leonard in surprise.
"Yep, that's his wife. You said she moved into the apartment across the hall? How have they been around each other?" asked Mary.
"Well, fine," responded Leonard, still surprised by the turn this conversation had taken. He had expected Mrs. Cooper to be completely taken aback by his news, but that wasn't turning out to be the case. "Up until last night, they just seemed to be friends, but then last night I saw them sleeping together in Sheldon's room, and when I asked them about it this morning, they told me they were married and were going to start living together again." Perhaps hearing that they were sleeping together would get more of the reaction he was hoping for.
"Oh, good for them. I'm glad they're working things out. Both of them can be so stubborn, I was worried that even if they did find each other again, they'd both be too stubborn to work things out. Well, if there's nothing else, thanks for letting me know he finally found his Penny again, Meemaw will be really happy for them both, but I've really got to run."
As Leonard hung up the phone, he wasn't sure if he was more surprised that his roommate was married to the blonde across the hall, or that Sheldon's mother was fully aware of it, and supported it. After a moment, he just shook his head and continued on to his original destination, Casa de Wolowitz, for an emergency meeting of the trio.
When he arrived fifteen minutes later, he found Raj just arriving as well. Once he had Howard and Raj assembled, he told them about Sheldon and Penny being married, and how Sheldon's mom apparently knew all about it. Howard and Raj were both as stunned as he was.
"Wait. So why did they separate in the first place?" asked Howard finally.
Leonard mulled over the question for a few seconds, before realizing he didn't have a clue. When they realized they didn't have the first idea as to what really was going on, they immediately rushed back over to 4A.
Bursting through the door fifteen minutes later, they found Sheldon and Penny curled up on the couch together, watching SpongeBob.
"Why did you two separate?" demanded Howard as soon as he saw them.
Sheldon unhurriedly reached down and picked up the remote, and paused the tv. Sitting back up, he looked at the trio, and said, "Penny is an analyst for the CIA. She was stationed out of Langley when we first met, and for the first four years of our marriage. Then, three years ago, she was transferred to Japan. I refused to move to Japan, Penny refused to request to stay in the United States. We were both stubborn, so we went our separate ways, assuming the other person would cave. When neither of us did, we were too mad at each other for a long time to communicate, and then we both became busy in our new locations. After not talking for so long, we both became worried that the other person might have moved on, so we never worked up the courage to try to talk."
"Then a week ago, my boss transferred me from Europe to Pasadena, and told me I'd be living in 4B. Which until you [here she looked at Leonard] invited me over for lunch, I had no idea was across the hall from Sheldon. We've spent the last few weeks working things out between us, and as of today, we're back to living together," finished Penny.
Penny snuggled back into Sheldon's side as Sheldon unpaused the tv and put his arm around her shoulder, leaving the trio to come to terms with everything they had just heard.
A/N: Darkly, I hope this answers a few of your questions.