Title: "The Hofstader Nocturnal Inference"
Author: g_girl143 / gwendy Rating: PG-13 Chapters: A very long one shot.
Summary: A series of nightly observations leads Leonard to believe Sheldon is having sexual relations with Penny A/N: I've read only very few fics which feature Leonard's POV, possibly because it's hard to create a scenario with our minds so saturated w/ Sheldon and Penny. Anyway, I do hope I did a good job with Leonard's POV here. This comes after a few Season 3 spoilers so be on guard. And another thing, I noticed this ongoing theme between Sheldon/Penny/Leonard in Season 2. I just took it to a different level. Hints: "Friends with Benefits" and "You wanna catch me up?"
Oh, one last thing, I'm currently watching and re-watching midnightstormz's "Train wreck" Sheldon/Penny video. Watch it!
Major thanks to gemsile123 / Jessi for the beta ^_^

Three months in the cold, barren wasteland of the Arctic, and being thousands of miles away from Penny had made Leonard almost lose his sanity. Raj, like most of them, almost lost his from Sheldon's...well, Sheldonness, while Howard, aside from Sheldon's cuckoo ways, nearly lost his from abstinence. So it was really surprising they all came back alive, especially Sheldon. By some miracle, they'd managed to hold back the urge to kill him in his sleep.

Coming home to Pasadena had never been more exhilirating for Leonard, even more so with the 'Welcome Home' party Penny had thrown for them. Sheldon's mother, Mary, and his twin sister, Missy, were there to join the festivities, Raj's parents were live via webcam while Howard's mom was at home preparing only the best brisket for her little boy. Howard had spent a good amount of time on the phone screaming at her.

Despite Sheldon's verbal diatrabe about the impracticalities of parties, and his banters with Penny and Missy, the party was a hit. There'd been a lot of food to go around, but the best part was Penny's goodnight kiss at her apartment door. Months without it...heck, it was probably nearly a year, made Leonard realized exactly how much he missed her soft lips on his.

How much he missed her.

He'd attempted to further the kiss, but Penny had broken it off suddenly and slammed the door in his face.

That was perhaps the only weird thing he'd noticed. Things went back to normal after that; her serving them their usual orders in the Cheesecake Factory, her joining them for Halo Night or Rock Band, as well as Thai night.

Then, a week after they came back from the Arctic, Leonard noticed the change.

It had been one of those few unfortunate occasions where, in his exhausted state, he had failed to notice he had poured himself one tall glass of full cream milk instead of soy. He had spent the night making hourly trips to the bathroom, and that was when he saw something peculiar.

Sheldon's door was ajar, and one peek inside told Leonard it was empty. Then, in another trip to the bathroom, he heard the apartment door open and close. When he came out to check, he found Sheldon in his room, in that creepy Dracula position, as though he had always been there. His room was spic-and-span as always, nothing out of the ordinary.

It was one incident. Easy enough to push away.

Only, it recurred the next night. And the next.

Leonard made it a point to investigate after it happened eight nights in a row. He stayed up as late as he possibly could and found out Sheldon feigned lethargy at exactly 9:45PM, and after his usual before bed rituals, retired to his room at exactly 10:00PM. He used feigned, because frankly, Leonard had never seen Sheldon sleepy during a Star Trek marathon. Then, at 11:00PM, Sheldon would sneak out of his room and out of the apartment, and Leonard could hear his obsessive-compulsive knocks on Penny's door. There would be whispers before the door closed. Then, at precisely midnight, Sheldon would sneak back into the apartment and into his room.


Work days in the cafeteria were usually spent with Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard talking up a storm about comic books, videogames, movies, and whatever geek-formation they had acquired over the weekend.

But the last few days had been different. Sheldon had taken to nodding off to sleep during lunch. Raj and Howard were appreciative of the silence, but then they didn't have the same suspicions as Leonard. So one day, despite the protests of his friends, Leonard shook Sheldon awake.

"Danger! Danger!"

"Aw, great job, Leonard," Raj groaned. "Now we're never going to hear the end of it if we include him in the conversation."

Leonard ignored him, and gave Sheldon's shoulder one last shake. "Sheldon, you haven't been sleeping well." He said it as accusingly as possible, but Sheldon didn't seem to hear, and mumbled something incoherent until Howard spoke.

"You know, this is just like that time when Penny kept you up--"

"Penny's not keeping me up!" Sheldon suddenly retorted, making all the men in the table jump in their seats. "Why would you think Penny is keeping me up when she would have no reason to? She hasn't been playing Age of Conan, so what reason should she have of keeping me up?"

That statement sent alarm signals in Leonard's head. It wasn't just Sheldon's defensiveness. It was Age of Conan. Penny only played that game if she was sexually frustrated.

"She hasn't been playing Age of Conan..."

"Geez, Sheldon," Howard held up both hands, almost as if to protect himself. "I was just remembering the time--"

"Well, you remembered incorrectly." Sheldon grabbed his tray of food and stood up, his knuckles white enough for Leonard to notice. "Now, if you'll excuse me, men, I will be spending the rest of my lunch hour in my office."

Leonard watched him go, oblivious to the sighs of relief from Raj and Howard. He would've looked for an opportunity to confront Sheldon at this point, but another change disrupted him.

This time, it involved Penny.


Leonard was coming up the stairs with Sheldon, who rattled on about the scientific possibilities of acquiring super powers. If Leonard felt a sense of deja vu then, it was magnified to the power of ten when Penny came out of her apartment door, and Sheldon's eyes shot up to the ceiling.

That was deja vu number two. Deja vu number three came when he saw how uncomfortable Penny was, how she and a suddenly silent Sheldon wouldn't look at each other, and how she brushed off his offer to go out for coffee with him with the 'I'm busy' line before practically fleeing down the stairs.

Okay, that was deja vus four, five and six as well. Seven came with Sheldon fleeing to the safety of his room, and wouldn't open it even as Leonard knocked, asking for an explanation.

An explanation to what? Through the door, Sheldon had definitely shot him down as to what he could possibly be talking about.

Further investigation was needed, and Leonard turned his attention to a much easier target.



Penny usually came home from the Cheesecake Factory at around 5:00PM, and if it hadn't been for this particular investigation, Leonard would never have found out that the reason it took her a while to climb up the stairs was because she was conversing with Sheldon by the mailbox in hushed tones. Leonard snuck back up to his apartment and opened the door just a crack so he could still see them. He felt like some psychopath voyeur, but he needed to observe the subjects in their natural environment.

They were talking in front of the door, Sheldon's tall frame blocking Penny from view. He couldn't hear a word they were saying and wished he'd installed a bug somewhere...

Wait, did Penny just kiss Sheldon?

No, Sheldon was just kneeling to pick up something. Leonard got a momentary glance of Penny and saw her face flushed.

Wait, did Sheldon just kiss Penny?

Sheldon handed whatever it was to Penny, and they continued to whisper before Penny nodded her head towards the direction of her apartment. Leonard saw Sheldon step inside her door, then it was shut.

His stomach was doing somersaults, his heart banging against his ribcage while his brain ordered him to march into Penny's apartment. He didn't like what he'd seen, but reason kept him in place. This was Sheldon, for crying out loud! Asexual Sheldon? The one who hated human contact and was the bane of Penny's existence? Then again, Sheldon was still anatomically a man. If Leonard could think with his penis, biologically impossible as it may be, Sheldon could too.

He knew it must be jealousy talking, but it got him out of his apartment and pressing his ear against Penny's door. He could hear muffled conversations...was that laughter? He strained to hear, but couldn't, and he ended up waiting in the living room of 4A, chewing potato chips, and later, his fingernails.

It was nearly an hour before Sheldon came back in. The smug look on his face instantly disappeared the moment he saw Leonard, and after a stiff 'Hello', he retreated to his room.

Oh, yeah. Leonard was definitely gonna borrow some bugs from Wolowitz. Installing it in Penny's apartment though, was going to be tricky.

He decided on a ruse. He'd come over to Penny's and offer to cook for her. Simple at-home-date setting, and it made him smile. He'll get to date Penny AND install the bugs.

And so, on a Thursday afternoon, Leonard Hofstader strode to apartment 4B with an armful of groceries, whistling for all he was worth. He'd just dropped Sheldon off at the comic book store before shopping. He'd allotted two hours of his time for this date with Penny, and that was even more than enough to install the bugs. Then he could go pick up Sheldon.

Sadly, two hours was not enough time for him to have a make-out session Penny, but that could wait.

He switched from whistling 'Sing A Song' to 'Tomorrow' from Annie as he raised a fist to knock, but before he could even bring his hand to Penny's door, it opened, revealing a very annoyed, red-faced Sheldon.

"Dear God, Leonard! That's your second warning. Second warning," Sheldon thundered, vigorously wiggling a pinky in his ear, obviously unaware of Leonard's slacked jaw. "The moment you agreed to be my roommate was the moment you agreed never to make that...that god-awful, decibel-glutton blow from the lips. It's even written in the roommate contract, Article II section 7.A. No whistling under any circumstances. Any accidental whistling will still be subject to a thorough investigation and a jury of your peers."

Leonard was still too lost in the shock of Sheldon's presence in Penny's apartment, that he couldn't even point out the inconsistencies of the statement, mainly involving the fact that they weren't inside their apartment, and the only jury available was Sheldon himself.

"I'd have a good mind to give you a strike for this, but as it is, three warnings are needed for you to merit a strike and--"

"What the hell are you doing at Penny's?" Leonard demanded, finally finding his voice but had it coming out like a banshee's shriek. Sheldon blinked at him, then widened his eyes, as though finally realizing where he was.

He heard someone mutter, and out came Penny from behind Sheldon. She looked a little flushed herself, and Leonard didn't even want to look at the brightness in her eyes, despite her glaring at Sheldon. "Oh, hey Leonard, what's up? Sheldon was just...helping me clean my apartment. Weren't you, Sheldon?"

"I was?"

"Yes, you were."

"Yes, I was."

Leonard swallowed at the familiarity of it all. "But I...I dropped him off at the comic book store. How did he...how did you get here? And why?"

His voice was cracking, but Leonard could care less, as long as he got Sheldon cracking as well. And Sheldon was starting to fold, if the lip and eye-twitching were any indication.

"I ran into him in the comic book store," Penny answered, and Leonard felt his knees shake. "He wanted to wait for you, but I convinced him to come back with me."

Leonard narrowed his eyes. "And what would YOU be doing at the comic book store?"

"Oh...just...saying hi to Stuart..."

This time, Leonard knew, without looking, that it wasn't only his gaze that dropped to the floor. The awkward silence ended with Sheldon announcing he would be going back to his room, and started again after Penny ushered Leonard into her apartment.

The 'date' lasted only one hour. Installing the bugs took even less the time.


The hours ticked by with Leonard squatted on his bed and hunched over his laptop, the headset pressing tightly against his ears as he listened. He'd heard Penny washing the dishes, watching some TV shows and a few DVDs, heard her singing to herself, but thankfully, he had yet to hear Sheldon.

What disturbed him, however, was Penny's singing.

"And you said we wouldn't make it,
But look how faaaar we've come!
For so long my heart was breaking,
But now we're standing strong,
The things you say,
You make me fall haaaarder each daaaay!
You're a train wreck but I wouldn't love you if you chaaaaanged!"

Leonard cringed at the last note. Not that Penny's loud, off-key singing hadn't disturbed him before, but it was the lyrics, the content of the song that...

Knock! Knock! Knock! "Penny?"

Leonard's eyes darted towards the clock. 11:00PM. Sheldon was precise.

Two more knocks followed before Penny opened the door.

"Hey, Sheldon. Ready for tonight?"

"Ready as I'll ever be."

"Did you make sure Leonard's already asleep? I think he already suspects--"

"Penny, I've made detailed calculations as to the time I should sneak in to your apartment. You may be dating Leonard, but I've known him for far longer, and I can assured you from past experience that he is fast asleep."

Wait...what? Did Sheldon just acknowledge that Penny was dating him? Him, Leonard, him?

"But did you check?" Penny's voice.

"I should not need to. And why are you questioning my abilities at stealth, trickery and deceit?"

"I don't know. Maybe because you suck at lying?"

Leonard felt his brows rise to his hairline. Confirmation. They were lying to him. They had a secret.

"Was that sarcasm?"

"Get inside, Sheldon. We've already wasted five minutes talking. It's time to get busy."

"Actually, it's only been two minutes and..." Silence. "Oh, all right. You don't have to look at me like that."

"Come. Let me show you a little something..."

For once, Leonard heard nothing from Sheldon. Just a lot of rustling, and he swallowed at the image of clothes being discarded.

"No, no. Put it in like this..."

Penny's voice. With laughter in it. Then, Sheldon's loud and long "Oh!"

Silence. Then, Sheldon's words trailing off. "...it fits.."

What fits?

"It's a little big..." Penny's voice.

What's big?

Leonard pressed both hands on either side of his headset, and he imagined if he pressed any harder, he'd already have squashed his head.

A loud thud from the headset, and he almost fell off the bed. He shook his head and tried to listen again, but he was hearing a lot of static.

The bug at the coffee table must've fallen off. There were two others, but he'd installed them in the bedroom and the bathroom, so he could only make do with what the coffee table bug could pick up.

And he didn't like what he was hearing. His mind told him the conversation was just muffled, but it sounded a lot like moaning to him. His mind told him the thuds were just Sheldon and Penny walking around, possibly with the bug at their feet but he was imagining Sheldon, sprawled naked on top of Penny on the floor and just humping away...or the other way around with Penny taking the reins. That the thudding and moaning grew faster didn't help his imagination any.

Oh, God! What the hell were they doing in there?

Then, one thud, and by some miracle, he could hear them clearly again.

"Penny, I can't stay here for much longer. I--"

"Then we'll just make it quick, okay sweetie?"

"Quick? How can we make it quick when you seem to want to take your time?"

"Fine, then hurry up and...OH! You got it on me!"

"Well, you are entirely to blame. You wanted me to hurry."

"Yeah, but you didn't have to shoot me in the my face. This is sticky stuff."

"If it makes you feel any better, I happen to have gotten it on my hands as well."

Leonard felt his eyes widen until they practically hurt.

Oh. My. God.

"I have to go, Penny. I know it's early, but as you've explained, Leonard might be suspecting. I believe if we are to continue with this, I must devise a better cover up."

"Yeah, yeah. But make sure to clean yourself up before you go."

"Oh, Penny. Must you remind me? You of all people should know how I detest being mired. As much as I do enjoy engaging in this activity with you, it does leave me messy. I can't stand messy."

"What I meant to say was we can't have Leonard seeing that gunk on your hands. Now clean up!"

There were a few more mutters before Sheldon finally left Penny's apartment, but Leonard had long since taken off his headset, his eyes on the wall, staring at nothing in particular.


Leonard spent the next day holed up in his office, pacing and re-thinking his observations from the night before. That was just one observation, he thought. He couldn't very well acquire an accurate inference from one observation alone, could he? Granted, there had been other observations, mostly of a visual nature, but the investigation at hand was of the auditory kind.

He'd need to listen in again.

Leonard drove with Sheldon home in silence...well, relative silence anyway. Sheldon was humming, and this in itself was unsettling. Sheldon NEVER hummed as far as Leonard was aware of, and the tune he was humming...why did that sound so familiar?

Then, it clicked, and Leonard gripped the steering wheel hard. "Train wreck."

Sheldon stopped humming and turned to Leonard with furrowed brows. "Excuse me?"

"You're a train wreck!" Leonard spat, and Sheldon looked positively bewildered.

"Yes, that is part of the lyrics of the song I am humming, but I would hardly think 'train wreck' is as an appropriate adjective for me."

Leonard shook his head and continued to drive. He thought he heard Sheldon ask where he'd heard that song, but Leonard was too deep in his thoughts to acknowledge.

Hours later, Leonard was again squatting on his bed, his face almost glued to the laptop even though all he could see in the screen was his audio application. The air conditioner was on but he could feel himself sweat when he heard Sheldon's all too familiar knocks as clearly as though he were in Penny's apartment.

He'd re-installed the bug at the coffee table by pretending her mails had been misdelivered. An old trick, but effective.

"Evening Sheldon. Ready for tonight?"

"I'm always ready, but are you?"

"Of course. I can't wait! I'm really excited about this."

And she did sound excited, which made Leonard's stomach tie itself into knots, his eyes watching the green line in the software's monitor panel go up and down with Sheldon and Penny's voices. He should've installed a web cam instead, but that would be too conspicuous. And Howard didn't want to part with one of his more sensitive miniature cameras without a price. But perhaps it might've been worth his bat signal. Maybe then he didn't have to jump into conclusions like he was doing now.


Leonard blinked and increased the volume. Was that Sheldon? Why was he speaking in a lower register?


Leonard swallowed. He knew that tone. Sheldon and Penny were using it. Why the hell would they be using a bedroom voice?

"Penny, I know this is wrong, but I just can't help myself. I've been wanting to touch you since the first moment I saw you."

"And...do you still want to?"

"...more than anything..."

"Then touch me."

"I...I can't."

"I want you to touch me. Sheldon...look at me. You don't have to be afraid. It's just me. It's just me..."

Oh. My. God.

Rustling. Rustling. Oh, the damn rustling. If Leonard had been having doubts about his inferences, he certainly wasn't now.

"Oh...Oh, God, Sheldon!"

Moaning! Penny was moaning Sheldon's name!

There was a snort of derision. From Sheldon. "Penny, I thought we agreed no moaning?"

"Sorry Sheldon, heat of the moment you know." Penny sounded sheepish, but her next words were...flirty. "I didn't think you'd be really good at this."

Leonard was hit with an image of Penny winking at Sheldon. While Sheldon lay on top of her. Naked.

"Penny, you should've realized by now that being a theoretical physicist gives me a working knowledge of everything in the universe, even this."

"You never cease to amaze me, Sheldon."

"Don't I?"

Did Penny just compliment him?

"Okay." A loud breath from Sheldon. "Now where were we?"

Penny's drawl. "You were going to take me to bed?"

"Oh, that is correct, I--"

Leonard didn't listen in on the rest. He jumped off his bed and stormed out of his apartment before bringing a heavy fist on apartment 4B's locked door.


"Penny! Sheldon!"


"Penny! Sheldon!"


"Penny! Sheldon!"

He heard Sheldon's loud, "Oh dear God!" and some hushing and shuffling.

"I know you two are in there," Leonard added, feeling his neck muscles strain from the effort. He didn't dare open the door. He didn't want to see the mental picture he had of them to materialize before his eyes. "Open up!"

It took almost two minutes for the door to finally open, and when it did, he was faced with a guilty-looking Penny. She was in her bathrobe, and Sheldon, who stood behind her, was in his Friday pajamas, his eyes on his slippers.

Leonard saw Penny give a momentary glare at Sheldon, before turning to look sheepishly at him again. "Leonard...Sheldon was just--"

"No more lying, Penny," Leonard thundered. His voice hadn't cracked, but he wasn't proud. He wasn't looking for this confrontation at all, but it seemed there would be no avoiding it. "I'm not blind. Something's going on and I want to hear it straight from you. Now tell me what reason Dr. Sheldon Cooper would have to sneak in to your apartment night after night after night."

He watched Penny take a huge breath before quietly ushering him in. Leonard marched inside, appearing braver than he pretended to be. He turned and watched Sheldon and Penny look at each other.

This was it.

Penny sighed. "Sheldon, I think it's time we told Leonard the truth."

"Very well." Sheldon released his own sigh. "Despite the deterioration of my carefully laid out plans of deceit which took me hours to conceive of, by the way, if you believe now is an opportune moment to tell him, then so be it."

"Carefully laid out?" Penny rolled her eyes at Sheldon before turning to Leonard again. "Leonard...Sheldon has been--"

"I know, I know."

Penny cocked a brow. "You do?"

Leonard steeled himself. He might as well speak first. He'd lost all desire to hear it from Penny. His heart was already ripped into shreds as it was.

But it was Sheldon who spoke, or rather, yelled first. "That's impossible! My plan had been so intricately executed. And with your inferior intellect, you could not have deduced the reasons behind my nocturnal visits to Penny's apartment had been to assist her in her acting, financial and academic endeavors."

Leonard felt as though he had just been dumped by a bucket full of arctic sea water. "Acting? Financial? And...academic endeavors?"

"Yeah. Sheldon's been helping me with my studies," Penny filled in, a slow smile on her lips. "I actually took your advice a long time ago, and decided to start night school while you guys were away. I was having problem with Trigonometry, Statistics and Natural Science so I asked for Sheldon's help."

"You asked Sheldon for help?" Leonard stared at Penny incredulously. The pieces were starting to fill. "Why didn't you ask for my help?"

"I wanted to surprise you." Penny's smile was wide now. And genuinely happy. "I know how important it is for you that I finish college, and Sheldon's been helping me with it."

Somehow, that didn't sit right with Leonard. As though he had finally come to realize his giving her that application for night college was saying he'd never date someone without a degree.

"And Sheldon has also been helping me make Penny Blossoms so I could use the funds to help me through school."

"Penny blossoms?" Leonard turned towards Sheldon. "So that gunk on your hands..."

"An experimental glue I've been working on," Sheldon explained, and he had the usual pride in his nasal tone. "We've been using it as a bonding agent for the rhinestones, and it has proven far more effective than hot glue. Plus it saves on electricity. I'm thinking I might have it patented one of these days." Then, Sheldon frowned. "How did you know I once got it on my hands?"

Leonard ignored the question, and looked down to find a stack of scripts on the coffee table along with some Penny Blossoms.

The rhinestones on the Penny Blossoms were different. Bigger.

"...it fits.."

"It's a little big..."

The top page of one of the scripts read "Bed Scene."

"Penny, I know this is wrong, but I just can't help myself. I've been wanting to touch you since the first moment I saw you."

"And...do you still want to?"

"...more than anything..."

"Then touch me."

Leonard swallowed. It all made sense. "And...you've been helping Penny with her...acting as well? Rehearsing?"

"If she lands that part she has been auditioning for, she won't have to allot time just to make Penny Blossoms," Sheldon answered matter-of-factly. "With a stable income and free time, she can then concentrate on both her acting and her schooling. And I must say for someone of average intelligence, Penny is quite a fast learner. If society had not put such pressure for people to graduate, Penny wouldn't need a diploma to prove her intellect."

Leonard's eyes widened until they hurt. Wouldn't need...what the hell? Who was this man wearing Sheldon's face?

"Thanks, Sheldon." Penny smiled up gratefully at him. "That means a lot."

"I'm only stating a matter of fact."

"So you're saying it's the truth, right?"


"Then, that makes it even sweeter. Thank you Moon pie, I wouldn't be able to do this without you."

Moon pie. She called him Moon pie and Sheldon didn't even glare at her! And oh, Penny was looking at Sheldon the way she had never looked at him or any other man; and Sheldon was looking at Penny the way he had never looked at a woman...or a human being for that matter, and Leonard suddenly felt like an intruder.

Then, Penny reached out to rub the back of Sheldon's arm. Sheldon didn't flinch, and in fact, even smiled. Not the kill-Batman smile, but something else.

Leonard now believed, without a doubt, that Sheldon and Penny were NOT in a sexual relationship. But it was worse. And as he watched them stare at each other, the last part of the song...that song he had downloaded out of curiosity, played in his mind like some sappy romantic movie soundtrack...

"...I'm falling like I've never felt before.
It's funny you said we'd never make it And look how far we've come You're a train wreck but with you.
I'm in love..."


A/N: Haha! Hope you liked it guys! Damn fluff, wouldn't stop tickling me until I had to have it included. This is yet another fic I want to see as an episode one day. And damn, I seem to be in the habit of making episodal (if there's such a word) fics. I'd originally wanted this to be multi-chapter, but I didn't find the right 'breaks' in the scenes so I decided to post it as one. And give your love to midnightstormz of Colorless Skies Production for making such wonderful Sheldon/Penny videos! The song featured in this fic was the one she used for her S/P vid, "Train Wreck", and I thought it just so suited Sheldon and Penny! Here's the lyrics:


Train Wreck

You fled from medication 'coz it only causes pain You won't go to the doctor He is calling you insane You're lost even when you're going the right way You mean the world to me even though you might be crazy

And you said we wouldn't make it But look how far we've come For so long my heart was breaking But now we're standing strong The things you say You make me fall harder each day You're a train wreck but I wouldn't love you if you changed


I shook your hand and you pulled it right away Yeah You asked me to dance Instead I said no way Inside I was dying to give it a try And you begged me so I stayed I knew you were different From the way I came(?)



We were so different But opposites attract So my hope kept growing And I never looked back You're one of a kind No one can change this heart of mine, oh!


One more thing I thought I'd share with someone special I'm falling like I've never felt before It's funny you said we'd never make it And look how far we've come You're a train wreck but with you I'm in love


See? See? What did I tell you? The song's uber perfect! Whew. Now let me go and work on my other WIPs....