Penny sighed contentedly. There were already so many good things about the day: it was Saturday, she had slept until noon, she was still in her pajamas, she was on her second cup of coffee she didn't have to make, and she had the boys' remote control and TV all to herself.

Best of all, Penny thought guiltily, Leonard was working on some project for the past few nights. The machine he was using began with a P …or an I. Or something like that. But the result was that she had a few nights to herself, some pure Penny-Alone time instead of Penny-and-Leonard time, which meant she was able to indulge in six fantastic hours of Age of Conan with Sheldon before dozing on the couch watching X-Files DVDs. She had made Sheldon watch the ones where it was totally obvious Scully and Mulder would hook up (despite his complaints, which she countered with the argument that at least they were watching X-Files). Wriggling deeper into Sheldon's spot on the couch, she settled on a rerun of America's Top Model and prepared to laze the day away.

"You're in my spot," Sheldon complained, emerging from his bedroom. He was spending the morning reorganizing his comic collection in anticipation of a rare issue he had won on eBay.

"Do you even want to sit?"

"No." He paused. "You're in my spot."

"Yeah, yeah." With a flourish, Penny put her feet up on the coffee table. "Not moving, Sheldon."

Fishing his key out of the ceramic bowl, Sheldon opened the door. "If my package has arrived, I will expect you to vacate my cushion. However, you may continue to watch whatever tripe your diminutive attention span has settled upon, as I will be engrossed in the vintage adventures of the original X-Men."

"Generous, Sheldon."

"Yes, I am." The door shut behind him before Penny could finish sticking her tongue out.

But Penny was in a pleasant mood, and she decided to slurp her coffee instead of maliciously licking everything that Sheldon would touch in the next few minutes (including the couch), even if the thought did cross her mind. As a result of this good behavior, when Sheldon's cell phone rang she decided to garner the automatic strike and picked it up.

The screen blinked "Evil Twin" as it played the theme from Psycho. "Missy! What up? It's Penny!"


" … Hey?"

"Penny!" Missy's voice broke off on a sob. "Penny-girl, where's Shelley?"

Penny put down her coffee and returned to the couch. "He just went downstairs for a minute. Missy, what's wrong? Are you OK?"

"No!" she cried. "Penny, Momma was in an accident. There was a drunk driver, and she was standing by her car, and – she's dead. And I don't know how I'm going to tell Shelley-"

"Oh, no." Penny immediately burst into tears, and the two women cried long-distance for the next few seconds.

The apartment door opened. "Now, let's see if this Joseph from Portland followed my shipping instructions and properly - Penny, is that my phone? I assume you do know answering my phone is an automatic strike." She whipped around to face him, wiping the tears off her face with the back of her hand. Sheldon stood warily in the doorway, a thin cardboard box in his hand. "Penny, is something distressing you?"

A thin wail erupted from the phone in Penny's hand. "Sheldon," she said, sniffling, "It's Missy."

Missy didn't wait long enough for Sheldon to cross the room and put the phone to his ear, but Sheldon's weird Vulcan hearing nonetheless enabled him to hear her. "Shelley, it's Mom. She was hit by a drunk driver and … and…" Missy sobbed.

Sheldon froze with his arm outstretched. His eyes grew huge and he swayed before toppling over.

"Sheldon!" Penny screamed. She dropped the phone and dove forward, bruising her knees but catching him before his head slammed into the coffee table. She rolled him over, and he lay staring blankly at the ceiling. "Sheldon, can you hear me?" Groping around under the couch for the phone, she said, "Missy! I'm going to call you back! Sheldon's passed out, or something, and I've got to call the guys for help."

"Take care of him, Penny, please," Missy begged. "Call me back soon."

"I promise." Penny hung up and searched for a phone number she recognized. She assumed the listing "Creepy Semi-Skilled Laborer" was for his phone. She wasn't sure about any of the other numbers. ("Symbiotic Moron" may have been Leonard, but she wasn't sure enough to try.)

"Hello?" Howard's greasy voice answered.

"Howard? It's Penny. I need you to come here right now!" she said, before wincing and wishing she had phrased that some other way.

"Is it a sexual emergency? And if it is, why are you using Sheldon's phone? Because I'm really not into that sort of thing unless it involves two women instead of two men."

"NO!" she screamed, rising to her knees. "I need help. Sheldon's mom-" she choked off. She couldn't say the word, not with Sheldon's big blue eyes staring so vacantly at her. "Something's happened to her, and Sheldon's on the floor, and I can't move him."

"I'll get Koothrappali. We'll be there in fifteen- no, ten." Penny had never heard Howard sound so serious. "Hang on, Penny."

She hung up and sat back down on the floor, weeping onto a prone Sheldon. She shifted the coffee table away and tried to lift him from his armpits. "Sheldon, honey, I just want to get you on the couch. It'll be more comfortable. Can you hear me?" He turned his head upward to look at her, but didn't speak.

The door slammed. "Penny! I'm home!" Leonard's bag dropped to the floor. "Penny, are you OK? Why are you crying?" He rushed forward, stepping on one of Sheldon's hands in the process. Sheldon didn't even respond. "Sorry, Sheldon. What's his problem? Was his comic book late or something?"

Something within Penny snapped. Perhaps it was his single-minded, stifling solicitousness, or maybe it was just the darkening red mark on Sheldon's hand from Leonard's heel. Penny flung off Leonard's stroking hands and screamed in frustration. "Three strikes, Hofstadter! Get out! GET OUT!"

Leonard looked stunned. "What's wrong, Penny? Why is Sheldon on the floor?"

Irrational beyond all hope, Penny pointed to the door. "Banished! Get out!" she shrieked.

"But … this is my apartment!" He sounded so hurt.

"I don't care! Out!" she cried, before throwing herself onto the floor next to Sheldon, sobbing uncontrollably.

Leonard's footsteps moved toward the door. Quietly, he pulled his keys from the bowl. "Do you need me to call anyone? Koothrappali? 911?" Even after being kicked out of his own home, Leonard was such a good guy.

Penny shook her head. "Howard and Raj are coming." Arranging Sheldon's arms in a more comfortable position, Penny briefly regretted banishing Leonard before asking him to help lift Sheldon onto the couch. Shifting Sheldon's head into her lap, she stroked his short hair and tried not to let her tears fall directly onto his face. "Soft kitty, warm kitty," she shakily began to sing.

The door clicked quietly shut behind Leonard.

Whoa. It has been almost 10 years since I've used to publish a story. I'm still figuring out the new system- it's hard!

Like I said, 10 years has passed since I've tried to write anything at all. I'd appreciate any reviews and especially concrit. I love the Big Bang Theory, and this kept circling in my head until I started writing. I've got the next chapter written, but I want to finish chapter 3 before I post any more.