This was inspired by the episode summary for 3.10, and the absolutely delicious episode still of Sheldon in a tie from 3.09. More of a P/S friendship fic, rather than a romance. But, I'd like to imagine, there is romance to come.
I basically wrote this in an hour. and I have no beta, so I hope there aren't that many glaring errors. I just wanted to get it out there! It is awfully late now, and I ought to go to bed.
If this is how 3.10 goes, I will be so happy.
Leonard was concerned about Sheldon.
Maybe it was just his imagination, or some unforeseen side effect from that cursed pot-cookie, but Sheldon had been acting strange since the aberrant camping trip. Leonard briefly considered making a list on his whiteboard, wherever it had went, but decided discretion was the better part of valor (or in this case, sheer cowardice) when it came to Sheldon. (He ended up using PowerPoint. Sheldon loved PowerPoint. If, God forbid, Dr. Whackadoodle ever found this list, maybe the utilization of such a program would mitigate the 200+ strikes that would be levied upon him.)
Point 1: His normally reclusive roommate was more often out of the apartment than in it, which was an oddity in itself.
Point 2: Sheldon was missing meals. Or, if he was eating, he wasn't sticking to his anal-retentive schedule. Example: his cashew chicken had sat uneaten in the fridge for days until Leonard had given in to late night munchies and eaten the damn thing.
Point 2.5: Sheldon hadn't noticed, even though Leonard had been in the process of eating said cashew chicken when Sheldon had quietly slipped back into the apartment at 11:45 PM. On a Thursday night.
Point 3: When interrogated about his absence, Sheldon's face began to twitch alarmingly. Not a good sign, ever.
And Points 4 and 5, currently in progress as Leonard typed: Sheldon was smiling again, for no apparent reason. Instead of his usual outfit, he wore an awfully nice button down shirt and tie, and carried a copy of Elementary Physics. It defied all reason.
"Goodbye, Leonard," Sheldon said abruptly. Leonard hastily tried to cover his laptop screen (and incriminating bullet points) with his elbow, but Sheldon didn't even spare a glance at his friend as he breezed out the door, letting it slam behind him.
Leonard leaned back in his desk chair, letting out a little breath of relief … until he heard the tell-tale sound through the thin apartment walls.
Knock knock knock. "Penny." Knock knock knock. "Penny." Knock knock-
"Ooh, sweetie, you're wearing the tie," she crooned, her voice fading as she stepped back into her apartment.
"As you insisted," Sheldon's voice replied, a little testily. "I'm not sure why you claim it 'sets the mood,' but, rather than spend precious moments arguing with you, I have decided to be the bigger man and concede to your foolish demands with a bare minimum of condescension."
"Whatever you say, Wall-E. Just hurry up and come in, professor, so we can get our thang on."
Penny's door shut, and locked, though Leonard could hardly hear the bolt slide home over the angry pounding of blood in his ears.
Leonard was concerned about Penny.
This time, Leonard made a pink PowerPoint with the Penny Blossom images he had used on her ill-fated website. He had time to spare, since both Sheldon and Penny were holed up in her apartment, and had been for the last three hours.
Point 1: Penny hadn't been available for dates, dinners, or staying over for the last two weeks. Sure, she had taken a few extra shifts at the Cheesecake factory to pay for her emergency room bill. This did not, however, explain the fact that she hadn't spent more than 15 minutes alone with him since Leonard had stumbled back into the apartment, dusty and exhausted (and still slightly high) from the desert.
Point 2: Penny had "claimed" she was busy this evening, explaining that she needed to call a good friend in Nebraska whom she hadn't talked to in a while. Clearly, this was a lie.
Point 3: Since when did Penny and Sheldon spend so much time alone together?
At this point, Leonard went back to his first PowerPoint page and edited the title from "Leonard is concerned about Penny" to "Leonard is concerned about Penny and Leonard," and then finally to "Leonard is concerned about Penny and Leonard, and Penny and Sheldon."
Thirty-six bullet points later, Leonard rather violently shut his laptop and put his head in his hands. "Shit."
Leonard was concerned about his sanity.
PowerPoint, its virtues and faults aside, was simply not cutting it this time. Instead, Leonard chose to abandon his neat, organized lists in favor of crouching in front of Penny's apartment with his ear pressed to the door (and his emergency key in his pocket).
He listened to the muffled giggles and groans, each one stabbing a needle of jealousy a little deeper into his aching heart.
This was pathetic. Telling himself to man up, Leonard shook himself like a dog and purposefully pulled out his key. Quickly unlocking the door, he threw it open, making an audible bang when it hit the wall on the other side.
Penny screamed bloody murder from the couch, where Sheldon crouched protectively over her like a large cat, his hands hovering over her breasts. "Danger, danger!" he bellowed over her piercing screech.
"Just what is going on here?" Leonard shouted, waving his arms in the air.
"What is wrong with you?" Penny shrieked. She smacked Sheldon in the arm, hard, and he instantly stopped his 'danger' routine with a scowl. "What are you doing in here?"
"What are you doing in here?" Leonard retorted, but most of his bravado had been spent, and his voice ended with a little whine that sounded weak and wretched even to him. "This looks awfully cozy. Care to let your boyfriend in on it?"
Sheldon leaned a little closer to Penny; Leonard wanted to rip his eyes out. "Sarcasm?" Sheldon asked, very quietly.
She patted his hand. "Well, sorta." Penny threw her shoulders back, and dumped the book in her lap onto the cluttered coffee table. With a start, Leonard realized it was Sheldon's copy of Elementary Physics, and that Sheldon's hands were not poised over Penny's chest but the piece of notebook paper she held in her hand.
Oh, he was beginning to have a bad feeling about this.
"So, Leonard," Penny began sugar-sweetly, her nose wrinkled with distate, "is there a good reason why you burst in here like a jealous Neanderthal with a gigantic dino-lizard up his ass?"
Leonard was concerned about Leonard.
Having both Penny and Sheldon rage at him was physically and emotionally exhausting. When one would run out of steam, the other would pick right back up where the other had left off. So basically Leonard had to penitently sit through a solid hour of listening to his shortcomings.
Their combined list was much more impressive than his little PowerPoint schemes, he had to admit. With a steely glare at Leonard, Sheldon even wrote the most important points on a whiteboard (Leonard's whiteboard, that's where it had gone) for future reference.
Finally, Penny had burst into tears and fled to her bedroom. With great dignity, Sheldon meticulously gathered up the scattered papers, pencils, and his textbook, stacking them on the edge of the coffee table. Leonard lingered awkwardly by the door, watching.
"You should leave," Sheldon said, stiffly.
Leonard gave a littleshrug. "Probably." He opened the door and took a couple of steps. "Are you coming?"
"No. I'm going to talk to Penny."
"Why?" His suspicion, squashed flat by the sheer hostility directed at him by both Sheldon and Penny, began to rear its ugly, stupid little head again.
Sheldon loosened his tie with slow, deliberate motions. "Because that is what best friends do."
"But I'm her boyfriend," Leonard pointed out. "And besides," he added, a little hesitantly, because Sheldon never had heart-to-hearts about such things, "I thought I was your best friend."
Sheldon's patience was clearly at its end. Stalking over to Leonard, Sheldon loomed over the shorter man and glared down, two angry spots of red on his cheeks. "It appears you are wrong on both counts," he hissed, before slamming the door in Leonard's face.
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