Shaken

"Come across you lost and broken. You're coming to, but you're slow in waking. You start to shake. You still haven't spoken. What happened?" ~ Say When by The Fray

AN: I'm not sure if I blame this on not sleeping well, listening to Nine Inch Nails - "Closer" yesterday, or watching too much Skins lately. Maybe it's some combination of the three. :/ Or maybe my thyroid levels are just F'ed up again. _ This takes place at some point prior to season 3 (cause it's pre-relationship). Probably in season 1. I promise the first part is the worst! The story, I don't know if it gets better per se, but it definitely gets less dark and less graphic as it goes on.

Also, I am really sorry. More sorry than I was for my character death piece. :(

***

His tongue is rough. His teeth bite into your lip causing sharp pain, but you don't stop him. His hands are roaming, fingers starting to skitter around the hem of your shirt. He pushes you back. Starts leading you off the dance floor and towards the restroom. All the while, his mouth attacks yours, and you try desperately to keep up. Your back hits the door, and he shoves you through. He lifts you up on the counter and presses himself against you. You can feel his hardness bulging through, and you suddenly realize this has gone too far. You think to pull away, to make him stop, but he already has one hand on his zipper, the other sliding under your skirt. Before your mind can catch up, your underwear is around your feet and then he's inside you and it hurts, oh god, it hurts! He's got his face buried in your neck, biting and cursing. You can smell the cigarettes and alcohol on his breath. You clench your eyes shut, trying to keep the nausea at bay, and you wait.

Finally, it's over and he's zipping up his pants and exiting the bathroom with only a "Thanks for the fuck" as acknowledgment. Shaking, you pull up your underwear and manage to stand for a whole two seconds before you're rushing into the nearest stall and puking up probably every shot of vodka you did that night. When you're done, you sink to the ground, throat burning, tears streaming down your face.

Cheryl bounces in a minute later and finds you. Her giggles subside a bit when she sees your face. "Uh, oh, I think someone had a little too much." She grins and tugs you to your feet. You protest as she leads you back out into the noisy club, but she ignores you. You regroup with the rest of the girls and instantly an argument starts. It's clear you need to go home, but some of the girls still want to party. The group had decided not to split off at the beginning of the night so it was either everyone leaves or no one leaves. You don't care anymore and the shouting is pissing you off. Deciding you don't need them, you storm off to find your own way home. The girls yell after you, but you keep walking.

Not even thinking, you immediately turn left outside and head down the street. You have no idea where you're going, but you're feeling too numb at the moment to worry about that. The sounds of the city mesh together and surround you until everything just sounds like white noise. People push past you, heading in the opposite direction, but you don't see them. You just keep walking.

"I told you the movie would be a disappointment."

"What are you talking about? The effects were amazing!"

"Yes, but the science was rifled with inaccuracies. For example, hey!" the man exclaims as you accidentally bump his shoulder. "You know most people say 'Excuse me'!" You roll your eyes, but don't say anything.

"Penny?" The voice makes you pause. You turn around and find yourself facing your neighbor and his friends. Sheldon is frowning and rubbing his shoulder.

"What are you doing here?" Leonard asks. You just shrug. He looks you over, and you're sure he's figured out something bad has happened by his frown. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah. Fine." You force a smile. "Just getting ready to catch a taxi."

"But you have no jacket and no purse," Sheldon says. You look down and only just realize that your hands are empty.

"Oh," you mumble, "I must have left it behind." You gaze off in the direction of the club. Or what you think is the direction of the club.

"Left it behind where?" Leonard asks.

"With my friends."

"Where are they?" Leonard looks around.

"Um," you bite your lip. You honestly don't know anymore. You can't even remember the name of the club now. Tears spring up on their own accord. Frustrated you swipe at them. Leonard looks back at you, concern etched across his face.

"Well, it's okay. We can find them later." His voice is full of fake cheer, probably trying to reassure you. "Come on. We can take you home. My car is just another block." You nod because you don't have any other options and follow them down the sidewalk.

They're talking to you, well Howard and Leonard are talking to you, and you wish they wouldn't. It's hard to stay numb when someone is making you think and respond. All you really want is to be numb right now.

After what feels like an eternity, you reach the car. Howard and Raj slide into the backseat with you. As the car starts, you lean your head against the window and try to ignore the worried glances Leonard keeps shooting you.

Thankfully, the guys leave you alone on the drive home, and you're allowed to retreat back into yourself.

The trip seems to take less time than the one block walk because you zone out. You blink in surprise when Leonard puts the car into park. The guys are already piling out by the time you open the door.

Cigarette smoke from the building next door mingles with the outside air and your stomach churns. Seconds later you're crouched on the sidewalk gagging and tossing up whatever contents were still in your stomach.

You hear Leonard shout your name, and then he's down next to you, pulling back your hair and rubbing circles across your back. Your stomach clenches and you're still gagging even after there's nothing left. Your face is flushed and wet with tears that won't stop coming. You choke and struggle to catch your breath. Leonard murmurs soothing words trying to calm you down. You really wish he wasn't there. You don't want him to see you like this, but at the same time you're terrified of being alone right now.

Leonard pulls you to him when you finally stop retching. You cling to his jacket and sob because it feels like there's a giant chasm in your chest leading straight to your soul, and it hurts. It hurts a lot, and you're not sure if it will ever close up again. Leonard's arms tighten around you, and you must be saying something because he's answering you with "I know" and "It's going to be okay". You know he doesn't know, though, not really. Because while it's easy to say how much it hurts or that you hate it, you can't tell him exactly what happened earlier. The words get stuck in your throat.

You think it's better that way anyway. You don't want to explain how much of an idiot you have been or explain that it was a phone call from your parents this afternoon that prompted you to get so fucked up in the first place. You don't want to be known for such a cliché, the poster child for 'Daddy Issues'.

***

You open your eyes the next morning. You feel awful and have a splitting headache. Your mouth is dry and still tastes vaguely like puke from the night before. Slowly you make your way to the bathroom to get cleaned up.

After brushing your teeth and taking a long, scalding hot shower, you feel marginally better. You walk back into your bedroom and pull on some loose fitting sweat pants and a zip-up hoodie. There's a water bottle on your nightstand with some aspirin sitting next to it. As you reach for it, you knock over a piece of paper that was propped up against it. You pick up the paper and read:

Just remember, you are not alone.

Feel free to come find us when you're ready.

-Leonard

You frown down at the note. Clearly, you said more than you thought when you were crying last night. Fear and embarrassment shoot through you as you wonder just what exactly you admitted to him. You're scared to go over there in case Leonard tries to talk to you about it. But then you glance around your empty apartment, and the prospect of sitting alone with your thoughts is enough to overcome your hesitation and push you across the hall to knock on the guys' door.

Leonard answers the door after a moment. "Hey! Come on in."

"Thanks." You take a few, uncertain steps inside and look around. Howard and Raj are over, and Sheldon seems to be arguing with them about a video game.

Leonard shuts the door behind you. "Do you want to play?"

"What?" You weren't expecting that question.

He holds out a wheel-shaped controller. "We're playing Mario Kart. Do you want to join in?" You vaguely recall playing that game on your brother's Nintendo 64, but that was years ago.

You shake your head. "I don't really know how to play."

He sticks the controller in your hand anyway. "It's okay, I'll teach you. Besides there's no way you can be worse than Sheldon."

"Excuse me! But have you not been paying attention? The game is bugged!"

"Yeah, because bad coding placed that goomba in your path." Howard rolls his eyes as Sheldon protests.

Leonard grins. "Come on," he says, directing you to the far chair, "you can take my spot." You follow him, but you're confused. It can't really be this easy. Surely they're not actually letting last night go, are they?

You sit down in the chair, and he starts walking you through the controls. You can't really catch it all, but he claims you'll be able to figure it out as you go. Howard starts a new cup and soon your focus shifts to guiding Peach and her pink cart along some dirt road while dodging random banana peels. Leonard gives you tips and reminds you when you have an item, and soon you're getting the hang of it. In fact, you actually win the last race, placing you second in the overall rankings. Sheldon is peeved. The other three guys are in awe. None of them had ever placed before. Leonard's record was a 4th place finish. You think you might like this game.

Sheldon refuses to play anymore and storms off to his room. Leonard takes over the controller, and they start up another round. Shells and bombs are flying around the screen, prompting shouts and curses of varying degrees from the players in the room. You laugh when you manage to dodge a blue shell coming for Leonard and he nudges you causing your cart to swerve into a wall.

The back-and-forth and the teasing jabs carry on for the rest of the races. You realize you're having fun. In fact this almost feels normal. You almost feel normal. It makes you wonder if this is just another cover up for the wound, another method to avoid the pain. It's hard for you to accept that you might actually be safe with these guys.

Leonard goes to fetch drinks after the second cup finishes, and you follow him into the kitchen.

"Hey, Leonard." You stop because you have no idea what you should say. He pulls a water bottle out of the fridge and turns to you. You duck your head and chew on your lip.

"Do you want to talk?" he asks quietly. You shake your head and look into his eyes. His eyes that are only laced with concern for you. That have never judged you since the day you moved in. You take a deep breath.

"No." Your voice just as quiet as his. "Not yet." Because you think that one day you do want to talk to him. That it might be safe to tell him, and maybe he won't think badly of you. Just that day isn't today.

Not yet.