So this fic has spoilers for "The Wheaton Recurrence," and is based off of spoilers I read for the next new episode, too. Just the general idea of something inspired this fic-no real spoilers other than the fact that it inspired me.

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. Nothing. How sad.

Penny fished the phone out of her pocket and looked at the display: "Incoming Call-Leonard." She hesitated. Why was he calling her? He knew she had to work…he was too good of a person to call someone just to yell or guilt-trip, so Penny stepped into the back room, closed the door, and flipped the phone open. "Hello?"

"Hi. Penny. Hey, listen, are you busy?"

"I'm at work," she said, not knowing if she should be relieved that he wasn't yelling or worried at the anxious tone she detected in his voice. "But not really. I'm about to go on break. Why?" She closed her eyes, hoping he wasn't going to challenge her feelings yet again. She couldn't talk about everything, not yet, and certainly not over the phone.

"Sheldon's sick."

"And you're stuck taking care of him? How did he manage to get you to do that?"

"He came into my room at five in the morning wrapped up in his blanket. I had no warning."

"Oh." Well, that sucked. Penny switched the phone to her other ear. "Okay, well, did you make him his grilled cheese?"


"Gave him lots of fluids?"


"Rubbed the Vapo on his chest?"


Penny smiled to herself. That part was never fun. "Okay. Then what's the problem? If he's asking for it, his Green Lantern Lantern should be in the living room, next to the-"

"That's not the problem, Penny," Leonard said. "I'm getting there," she heard him say in a muffled voice.

"What's the problem, Leonard?" Penny felt a little agitated. She had a half an hour break, and she didn't want to spend it talking about taking care of Sheldon when she was sure Leonard was calling to ask her to do it later.

"Soft Kitty," Leonard said. "He needs Soft Kitty."

"You know the words, don't you?"

"Yes, but…he wants you to do it."

Penny sighed. "Leonard…"

"Come on, Penny. You know how he gets."

"Okay." She sighed, biting on a nail. "I'll be right there."

She knocked on the door, since she'd left her spare key over there days before. Leonard answered. "Hey," he said, looking slightly uncomfortable but managing a smile.

She returned it. "Hey." They looked at each other for a long moment, after which Penny broke the silence. "So…he's in his room?"

"Yes," Leonard nodded, stepping aside so she could come in. "I found your spare key," he added, taking it from his pocket.

She hesitated before taking it. "Are you sure?"

He shrugged, then nodded. "You had it before."

"Right." She took it from him and smiled again before heading toward Sheldon's room with Leonard behind her.

"Hey, Shelly," she said in her best soothing voice as she entered his room.

"Penny? I'm sick."

She could tell. Sheldon was lying under the covers, his nose red, his eyes dull and glassy, and his voice exhibited his congestion. "I see that, sweetie."

"Can…" Sheldon trailed off so he could shift his weight. "Can you sing Soft Kitty?"

Penny smiled and came over to the bed. Leonard came behind her and handed Sheldon a glass of water, which he took and drank. Penny sat on the edge of his bed and Leonard took an extra pillow over to help Sheldon elevate his head. "Comfy?" Penny asked. Sheldon nodded, and Penny took in a long breath. "Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur…" Sheldon closed his eyes. "Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr."

Sheldon sighed, his eyes still closed. "Thank you, Penny."

"No problem, sweetie."

"I'm sleepy now."

Ah, the 'Get Out Of My Room' hint. "Got it. See you later." Penny rose to go. Leonard held the door for her as they both left Sheldon's room. "He'll feel better once he sleeps."

"Yeah." They looked at each other again. "So…" Leonard dropped his eyes for a second, and then looked at her again. "How have you been?"

Penny shrugged. "Work, sleep…you know." She looked at the time. "My…break is…I should…"

"Oh!" Leonard moved toward the door. "Right. Of course." He opened the door for her.

"Thanks," Penny said, moving into the hall. She paused then. Thanks? Did they have to be so formal now? She turned around. Leonard was looking at her with an expression that she wished she hadn't seen. It weakened her. She moved toward him, put her hands on his and kissed him lightly on the cheek, making it last just a little bit longer than just-friends but not long enough to imply anything else. "I'll come back and help you with Sheldon later."

"Okay." Leonard nodded, and they smiled at each other. "See you later."