The Elevation Reaction

Sheldon stepped into the entrance lobby. Something was different; something in the air told him change had occurred.

He took a tentative step forward, then another. The lockers were the same. The rug, though thinning, had not altered either. What was it?

A tension. Something soft and dull. A noise.

Sheldon swung 172 degrees around (to his approximation) and searched with his eyes for the source of the faint buzz piercing through the hall way.

"The elevator," he whispered to himself. He moved closer to the cold closed doors and ran a hand around the edges gently, feeling for this new disturbance. Unintentional words escaped his lips again, to himself, "The elevator..."

"What about it?"

Sheldon leaped into the air in fright, flinging himself into the elevator doors. "Penny," he gasped as soon as his heart rate had returned to a more typical rhythm. "Good lord, do not sneak up on me when I am in the middle of hypothesising, it is the height of rudeness."

Penny stood framed in the entrance doorway, a well travelled gym bag slung over her shoulder, amused at the shock she had caused. "What about the elevator?" she repeated.

"Don't you see?"

Penny shrugged.

With a flicker of exasperation, Sheldon pointed to the elevator button. "The LED in the call button is lit. The elevator is fixed."

"Then why are you waiting? Come on then!" She bounded over to Sheldon and hit the button. "Let's try it out!"

The elevator doors slid uneasily apart. Penny hopped inside then, rather hesitantly, so did Sheldon. "I don't feel secure at all, this could still be a death trap for all we know. Has it been tested?"

"They wouldn't leave it open if hadn't been tested. Be more adventurous, Sheldon!" She pressed the button for their floor. As the doors shuddered shut again and the lazy elevator mechanism rumbled into life Sheldon's acute hearing caught a familiar sound.

"Was that Leonard?" he asked, raising his voice over the hum of the slowly ascending metal.

"Maybe," said Penny distantly.

"Was he asking us to hold the elev-?"

But before Sheldon could complete his thought, the world suddenly dropped. Sheldon staggered as the closet-sized elevator lurched to a dead stop. A bell rang in the darkness, and after a few seconds a faint blue light flickered on.

"Penny," said Sheldon with measured calm. "Penny, now don't be alarmed, but I think something's wrong with the elevator."

"No kidding, Professor."

Sheldon turned back to her after unsuccessfully prodding at the panel of buttons to make it start again, and he was surprised to see her grinning.

"I don't think they have fixed the problem."

"I know they haven't," explained Penny, "I tried it earlier and got stuck for twenty minutes."

Sheldon looked horrified. "Then why did you want us to take the lift?"

"So I could encourage you to be more adventurous."

And by the cool pale glow of the emergency light, alone for once, Penny slipped closer to Sheldon, and kissed him.

When they were finally released from the elevator, Sheldon wouldn't say what they did for a whole hour waiting to be rescued, no matter how much Leonard pried. All Leonard was left to do was conclude that Sheldon was not one to learn from his mistakes; the super was called out five more times that week to rescue Penny and Sheldon from that elevator.