So I decided to write a friendship fic for Sheldon and Penny, since I have always pushed the couple of Leonard and Penny so hard. I still am a hardcore Lenny, but I do not want my Sheldon-must-never-get-a-girl rants to give off the impression that I think that Sheldon and Penny in the same room together equals disaster. It is hilarious, and I felt obligated to acknowledge my love of that friendship. This is somewhat inspired by "The Gorilla Experiment," since Penny asks for Sheldon's help to do something for Leonard.

DISCLAIMER: everything, even the basic idea, belongs to CBS, and I so jealous.

"Nice motivational speech from our Experimental Physicist!"

Leonard lifted his head from the couch. "Sheldon, that wasn't a motivational speech! It was a rant of frustration. My career isn't going anywhere!"

The Theoretical Physicist didn't even bother to look up from his laptop. "It hasn't been for years, Leonard. Are you just discovering that now? You can't be surprised as to why you are accomplishing nothing, if you're always years behind the rest of us, or, more accurately, me."

"Sheldon…" Penny said, shaking her head at him.

"Well, you can't blame me for not dropping dead in shock at his statement," Sheldon said defensively.

"You're not helping," Leonard said, his hand on his forehead. Penny squeezed his arm, but he didn't look at her. "I just feel so useless!"

"You said it, not me," Howard added, glancing at Raj. The Indian smirked and gave his best friend a thumbs up.

"I don't even know why I bother trying to seek comfort from you people," he said, getting up and marching toward his room. "All you do is criticize my work, my life..."

"Leonard, wait," Sheldon said. "Remember when we were discussing Koothrapali's appearance in People, and you told me we have to consider that maybe that is all he'd ever achieve?" Raj frowned and held his palms up in questioning. "Well," Sheldon continued, "I am simply trying to keep your career potential, as nonexistent as it may be, in perspective for you. Isn't that, as they say 'what friends are for?'?"

His reasoning was just so Sheldon that Penny gave a quick little laugh, and Raj and Howard looked at each other and shook with silent appreciation for Sheldon's reasoning.

Leonard just glared. "Way to play Normal Human Being, Sheldon," he said, heading down the hall. Entering his room, he flopped down on the bed, landing in an uncomfortable position but not wanting to move. His friends were so goddang unsupportive of him!

"Leonard?"

The voice was quiet but clear, and he rolled over onto his back. "Hey, Penny."

She came over and sat next to him. "Sorry I laughed back there."

He opened his eyes and smiled up at her. "It wasn't you." He sighed. "They always…they always do this. When my mother came, when Barry taunted me…"

"They were just teasing you, Leonard. They're still your friends."

He sighed. "I know. What they don't understand is this isn't simple, one-time frustration. It's pent-up aggravation that's been plaguing me for years. It's like I'll never get anywhere…I'll never accomplish anything, and…that wound goes deeper than they think it does. They don't take my disappointment seriously."

"Aw, sweetie," she said, touching his nose with the tip of her finger.

He sighed. "They just don't understand." He knew he was sounding whiny and self-pitying, but the knife that was his disappointment was nearly impaling him, and all they were doing was grabbing hold of the handle and wiggling it around, making it hurt worse. It meant so much to him to be successful in his work-it was what all his education was for, wasn't it?

Penny bent down and kissed his forehead lightly, and then got up and headed back into the living room to find Sheldon alone. "Where are Raj and Howard?"

"They went to Pottery Barn."

"Without you?"

"I don't trust the two of you in this apartment alone. Howard told me what you were doing in my spot while I was helping keep Raj out of piracy."

"We-Sheldon!" She rolled her eyes. "Anyway, listen to me."

Sheldon looked up. "Is that not what I'm currently doing?"

She just looked at him until he broke her gaze. "My apologies; I believe that that was what you might classify as a 'smart-alec' remark?" She just nodded her head. "Fine," Sheldon said, "what do you want?"

Penny came closer to him. "Personal space, please," he said, backing up.

"I don't want Leonard to hear," she said in a low voice. "Just let me whisper in your ear."

"That is not sanitary. I have noticed that you frequently salivate when you talk, and I don't wish for that secretion to be shot into my ear canal." He looked slightly intimidated when she put her hands on her hips. "Okay, not in the ear, but you may stand closer than I have previously allowed you."

Penny sighed. "Thank you, Sheldon."

"But remember, as was your permission to go in my room, this privilege is temporary."

"I understand." Pausing a moment, she went up and stood next to him, speaking in a whisper. "You have to help me, Sheldon."

He looked up. "Narrow the area of 'help' down." She sighed. "Sorry." He said. "I'll be quiet."

"I want to do something for Leonard, something to show that he's appreciated."

"I was hoping this regarded your organizational skills, I have to confess. All right," Sheldon said. "If you want me to help you tell him that his work is amazing and original…"

"No," she told him. "Not in a work sense. I want him to know that we, as his friends, love him and like having him around."

"Oh, I'm sensing a please-act-happy-but-not-kill-Batman smile coming on," Sheldon said, turning back to his laptop.

"You don't enjoy Leonard's company? You've told him that he helps you fold your sheets, and drives you around…"

"Oh! You mean that aspect of Leonard's company!" Sheldon cocked his head, seeming deep in thought. "This certainly changes things." He nodded. "As today's youth would say, 'count me in'!"

Penny smiled. "Thank you, Sheldon."

"Now," he said, "All cleverly contrived plans-and since I'm involved this will be-have a meeting in which the participators discuss how to carry out said plan." He rested his arm on the desk. "When will this occur?"

"I want to plan it extensively out with you before involving Raj and Wolowitz," Penny said. "How about tomorrow?"

Sheldon sighed. "Tomorrow at what time?"

"I don't know…when Leonard goes to get the food?"

"I suppose that'll work, although I may be too hungry to think properly…"

Penny remembered a tactic Leonard had used to convince Sheldon to stay up all night to help her make her flower barrettes. She decided to use a similar strategy here. "But even while hunger-impaired, you will still be ten times the mind I am!"

"Only ten times the mind you are?"

"Oh, so you think it'd be more?" She cocked her head and put her hands on her hips. "Prove it."

Sheldon's face twitched. "Gladly."

I hope I don't do a horrible job and botch this, and I hope that both Lennys and Shennys can enjoy this story, since it's not going to really ship anyone (I mean, yes, it takes place in season 3 and L/P are together, but that quick kiss is basically as intense as it's going to get, so I hope you S/P shippers can enjoy this as well.) I'm not sure how many chapters this will be, probably 3-5, but I'm not sure yet. Review, please!