The Affect Effect
Characters/Pairings: All main characters; sort of Sheldon/OFC, eventual Sheldon/Leonard, possibly others if you squint or look at it upside-down (latter not recommended).
Warnings: Mild sex references, mild language, strong graphic geekery.
Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine and nor are the many things I reference.
A/N: I don't usually read or write OC pairings but as I don't ship anyone in the BBT it seemed the only thing to do… then the whole thing was hijacked by my inner slash fan. Oh well.
1. The Convention Convention
Howard surveyed the crowd and smiled to himself as a couple of scantily-clad superheroes walked past. "Ah, conventions, how I love thee… The perfect excuse for nerdy women to walk about partially naked in a socially acceptable fashion." He was sidetracked from his deep philosophical thoughts by Raj tugging on his sleeve.
Unfortunately, due to the presence of so many women, Raj had practically been rendered mute for almost three days straight. Howard had got used to speaking for him, though there had been a few unfortunate misinterpretations of his rudimentary sign language. Raj tried to whisper something in Howard's ear but there was too much noise, so instead resorted to making slightly ridiculous hand gestures.
"Hey, I think he sees someone he knows. Come on." Howard looked at the others. "We'll be back before you can say Raxacoricofallipatorius."
"Raxacoricofallipatorius," came the immediate reply.
"Okay, so that works better on people who aren't Sheldon," said Howard, as he and Raj disappeared into the crowd.
Sheldon was about to make a disparaging remark on Howard's underdeveloped sense of the passage of time, when he was distracted by the sight of Leslie Winkle fast approaching them in a Wonderwoman outfit.
"You too. I thought you were going to be Cthulhu this year?"
"The tentacles wouldn't cooperate."
"I'm sorry to hear that. Ah, I see you're here with he of the superfluous dimensions."
Sheldon broke his self-imposed silence to respond. "I will have you know, every one of those dimensions is entirely necessary! Without them my theories would crumble."
"Yeah, and that would be such a pity with all that weight of empirical evidence behind them," said Leslie, her sarcasm turned up to eleven.
"Look guys, stop it." Leonard pushed his way between them. "We're here to have fun, not bicker about superstrings."
"Later, Sheldon. We only have one day left and then you can argue to your heart's content. Preferably when I'm not in the room. Just play nice, okay?"
Sheldon reluctantly gave in. He cast an eye over Leslie's costume. "Hm. Unoriginal though your outfit is, it is moderately well-constructed."
"Er, thanks. Who the hell are you meant to be?"
"Well, you know that Starbuck in the reimagined Battlestar is female, though the original character was male?"
"I decided that in order to have my own, unique outfit I would be River from the reimagined version of Firefly in the 2040s, when any faint suggestion of gender roles has become so abhorrent to society at large that the idea of a young woman being so dependent on her brother is no longer appropriate, thus forcing the new creators to write the character as male."
"Right. I should have guessed."
"Indeed you should have, but no matter. Of course, should Joss Whedon not live to see the new adaptation he'll be turning in his grave, but that will be mostly owing to the watered-down dialogue due to the insane political correctness legislation in the future, not to mention the mediocre overarching plotline, rather than any gender-swapping issues. It'll be lucky if it even makes it as many episodes as the original."
"Sure. You know, I think I'll catch up with you guys later." Leslie smiled at Leonard and walked off.
"Goodbye, Leslie," called Sheldon. "I hope you don't trip over on that unimaginative cape of yours."
Leonard sighed. "I don't understand why you and Leslie can't just put aside your differences and get along."
"Oh, Leonard. Every hero needs his arch-nemesis. Leslie is the Master to my Doctor, the Emperor Ming to my Flash Gordon, the Dr Horrible to my Captain Hammer. Our conflict pushes me to become stronger. It is only through her defeat that I shall gain true victory."
"You know, I think you have Dr Horrible and Captain Hammer the wrong way round there."
"But Captain Hammer is depicted as the traditional superhero, even though the viewer's sympathies are directed heavily towards-"
"Oh, look at my wrist; it's time to go to that panel. Come on, Sheldon."
"I hadn't finished my sentence."
"Raj and Wolowitz-"
"They'll catch up. We need to get good seats."
"Ah, at last you are catering to my needs."
"Only to avoid an interminable discussion of internet musical protagonists."
"Just pick a seat, Sheldon."
"Hm. The ideal seat appears to be taken."
"Well, then, go sit in the second-best one," said Leonard.
"You should know well by now that I rarely settle for second-best." Sheldon went up to the girl who was in his ideal seat.
"Excuse me, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind moving? It's just I rather had my eye on this seat."
"I'm sorry, but I can't." Sheldon's eyes grew exponentially wider.
Leonard rolled his eyes. "Come on Sheldon, just find another place to sit."
"Why exactly could you not move to another seat?" Sheldon asked, his voice becoming more and more high-pitched. "There are plenty around almost the same as this one."
The girl sighed. "This seat is far forward enough that I can see the panellists without possible eyestrain yet far back enough that I don't have to crane my neck. Due to the positioning of the speakers around the hall said panellists will be audible while not deafening. Furthermore, if they're projecting preview clips on the screen, sitting here will avoid any parallax issues. That is why I cannot move from this seat." She smiled at him. "Any questions?"
Sheldon pouted. "No. I understand perfectly." They sat next to her and he quietly sulked.
"Who's your outfit of?" the girl asked politely.
Sheldon didn't reply.
"Answer the nice girl's question," whispered Leonard.
"I'm River from the 2040s Firefly remake," replied Sheldon, still looking forwards.
"Where they've made her a guy?"
"You are quick on the uptake," said Sheldon.
She gave him an odd look. They sat in silence for a few moments, before she got up, leaving her coat on the seat. Sheldon stared at the offending garment.
"Don't even think about it," said Leonard. "She's as weirdly picky as you are. She'll notice if we all move up one." Sheldon continued to stare at her coat as if it had insulted him personally. "I'm surprised you two didn't get along better. She even seemed to understand your wacky outfit choice."
"It's not that strange. It's quite obvious who I am."
"To you, maybe. I didn't know who you were till you explained to Leslie."
"But you told me I looked great!"
"Well I thought you were some obscure superhero or something."
Sheldon briefly refrained from glaring at the coat in order to glare at Leonard. "If you recall, my original plan was to be Mothman but someone said that would be 'impractical'."
"You wouldn't have been able to sit down properly!" said Leonard, indignant.
"You could have said something before I'd painstakingly fashioned my wings."
Leonard sighed. "Anyway, you could at least be civil to that poor girl, given how she may be the only person in the world who understands you."
"Where did you get that preposterous hypothesis?"
"She shares your weird obsessions…"
"That's quite an extrapolation you've made. The evidence so far only shows-"
"I was under the impression you weren't such a stickler for empiricism," said Leonard, exasperated.
Sheldon gaped at him. "You've been letting that harpy of loop quantum gravity bend your ear again!"
"Look, Sheldon- Oh, sorry," he said as the girl tried to squeeze back past him, this time with a man who sat next to her.
"Leonard!" He turned to see Raj and Howard ambling over towards them. He was surprised when Howard warmly greeted the man who had just sat down. "You guys know each other?"
"Yeah, this is Wendell from Chemistry," said Howard.
The man introduced himself as Dr Calvin, and his friend as Lisa Thomson. "She's a grad student at Caltech."
Lisa nodded. "Astrophysics."
"Well, we might see you around, then," said Leonard. He nudged Sheldon, who was still ignoring everyone.
"I wasn't asleep. There was no need to poke me."
Leonard gave up and started to exchange pleasantries with their new acquaintances before the panel started and Sheldon finally perked up.
A/N: I am on Leslie's side. Just so you know.