The Dawn Conundrum

Summary: **Part of the 'R.I.P. Buffy Summers' series** Will the geniuses survive when Dawn comes to live with her cousin, Penny? WARNING: some well-deserved Leonard-bashing.

Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way. Bad words that Dawn shouldn't be thinking/using…according to Buffy. Angry feelings towards Raj, Howard and especially Leonard.

Timeline: post-season 5 BtVS; beginning of season 3 The Big Bang Theory. This will make things go AU for TBBT if it goes more than a chapter.

A/N: Thought this would be a good place to start Dawn's new life with Penny and the guys. Not sure if this will be more than just a oneshot, though. For now I'll mark it complete, even though I gave this a 'Chapter 1'.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. TBBT characters belong to Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady and CBS. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Chapter 1: The Betrayal Equation

Penny's apartment

Dawn smiled at her cousin's excitement. Their summer together had been nice. Yeah, in a twisted way, she missed Sunnydale and the gang, but she was even more relieved to get away from that world. Knowing that Buffy was happy about her leaving made the decision infinitely easier. Maybe someday she'd go back and help fight, but right now she was going to graduate high school, possibly fall in love, and most importantly, heal from losing her mother and sister.

At the moment, Penny was being pretty entertaining as she babbled on about Leonard coming home from some scientific expedition in the arctic. Apparently her cuz had the realization over the past couple months that she liked the geek who lived across the hall. Dawn just hoped that she wouldn't have to witness any serious grope-fests. It might be a good idea to invest in a set of noise-canceling headphones; that, or ask Tara and Willow about soundproofing spells.

The utter look of disappointment on the guy's face when he found out that not only was Dawn present for his homecoming, but also lived with Penny now made Dawn smirk to herself. Then she frowned; he was kind of reminding her of Riley a little. Oh, not in looks… 'cause in that respect, they couldn't be more different. Leonard was more like that Jonathon guy who gave Buffy the award in high school. It was more of the feeling that he'd rather she wasn't around to get in the way of his smoochies – and other eww-worthy activities – with the woman he lusted after.

The fact he muttered, 'I can't catch a break,' under his breath when he saw her, and did it again when Penny explained why Dawn was there made her think he was even worse than Riley. Seriously…he was just told that her mother and sister died, and all he cares about is the fact she might hamper their sex? Yeah, that half-hearted, 'Sorry for your loss,' made her want to hit him.

Still, for the sake of her cousin, she grabbed her laptop to go out into the stairwell and finish up the last of her schoolwork from the previous year. With everything that happened, she had a few months' of work to catch up on if she didn't want to repeat a grade. Penny's grateful smile almost made it worth missing out on the satisfaction she'd feel from derailing Leonard's plans.

Her frown deepened when Leonard's roommate – she knew who he was from pictures Penny showed her – came storming out of their apartment and began knocking on Penny's door. She briefly smiled when he pointed out that whispering 'do not make a sound' was a sound itself. The frown was back in full force though, when she heard what Leonard and the other two did to him.

If it was really that bad, they should have left the research site. Hell, beating him up would have been preferable to what they did. But to use an electric can opener to mess with Sheldon's research and making him believe that he had discovered proof of string theory – which probably would have made him a shoo-in for the Noble Prize? Real scientists just didn't do stuff like that. Her stomach rolled when she heard Leonard give Penny some half-assed crap about feeling horrible when it was clear he didn't. All he felt was the urge to throw Penny down and have his way with her.

Ugh, where was Spike when you needed him?

Even just having him vamp out and make Leonard piss himself would be fun, although she was close to wishing the chip didn't work for five minutes.

Oh well, since Penny chased after Sheldon when Leonard didn't, there was no reason to stay in the stairwell.

"Now that you aren't going to be having sex any time soon, I think you can leave," she said bluntly. Anya would be so proud of her. "I have a lot of homework to catch up on."

Leonard tried smiling, despite feeling a distinct chill in the air. "That's okay, I can wait for Penny to get back."

That only made her glare more intense. "Actually, it's not okay. She's not here, and I don't feel comfortable with you being in the same room."

"You don't have anything to worry about with me; I'm harmless," he promised, surprised she felt threatened by him. If he could read her mind, he would have found out she wasn't scared of him, just revolted by his presence.

"Tell that to your best friend. I think he'd beg to differ. God, I'm sounding like Giles now! Get out before I start screaming. I've been told my screams could be considered a weapon," she warned, practically snarling at the Snyder-ish little man in front of her.

A little bit later, Penny walked into the apartment, glancing over her shoulder at 4A. "Dawn…what's the matter with Leonard? He was muttering something about me having a crazy relative."

Dawn bit back the urge to smile; guess the troll got the hint she didn't like him. "Oh, he just didn't like the fact I basically said he was a creep."

"Oh, Dawnie, he's not a creep. The guys were just annoyed with Sheldon and this was their idea of a prank," Penny tried to explain the way it was explained to her. "Leonard's actually a very sweet guy," she promised her little cousin. It was important to her that they got along.

"Yeah, whatever," Dawn replied dismissively. Her eyes narrowed in anger, and she needed to make her cousin understand how bad it was. "This wasn't simply a prank, Penny. This was like…the biggest betrayal they could have done to another scientist! They should have just killed him with the dog sled teams. That would have been kinder. Then he doesn't even care that he destroyed Sheldon's trust and reputation. All that mattered to him was getting in your pants."

It seemed like Penny still wasn't sure, 'cause she started to say, "Well-"

But Dawn cut her off, "Don't defend him!" She took a deep breath to calm down. "Okay, let's see if I can explain how horrible this was." She thought for a few minutes, then exclaimed, "Alright! Remember Buffy's 18th birthday, and everything that happened then?"

"Yeah, with Giles and the test?" Penny asked, remembering all too well. If it hadn't been for the fact she knew things were better between Buffy and Giles, she would have gone all Nebraska on his ass at the funeral.

"Exactly. Now imagine if the test hadn't been the Council's idea, but Giles'… because he was annoyed with her constantly talking about clothes, boys and music." When Penny looked like she was starting to understand, Dawn went in for the kill by adding, "Then imagine him telling Buffy that it wasn't a big deal and went back to making out with our mom – or some other female that he might be interested in."

"Holy crap on crackers!" Penny exclaimed, turning a little green as it sunk in. "I knew it was kind of a big deal, but that big of a deal? Oh geez, and I compared it to not getting the head cheerleader slot in high school," she admitted, feeling completely stupid.

Hugging her cousin in order to comfort her, Dawn allowed for the lapse in judgment, "Well, when you haven't dealt with betrayal on this big of a scale before, it's hard to know what to say. It's still nice that you tried to cheer him up."

Even though she wasn't sure what to do about Leonard, Penny knew she had to find some way to make things better with Sheldon. But how? "Hey! You wanna help me try again?"

Dawn shrugged; Sheldon didn't deserve what happened to him, and he sounded kind cool – in a science-y kind of way. "Sure, whatcha got in mind?"

Thinking for a little bit, Penny had an 'ah-ha' moment. "Sheldon missed Comic-Con and the release of the new Star Trek movie while they were gone. Maybe we could make him happy by doing something about one of those things," she suggested.

Because she heard about that kind of stuff from the geeks at school, Dawn knew all about Comic-Con. That's why she knew that one was a lost cause. "Well, we can't do anything about Comic-Con without going back in time, but maybe we can find a theatre that's still showing Star Trek."

"We have to make sure that it meets his exact requirements, too. Oh, and get there early enough so he can find the acoustic sweet spot," Penny tacked on, remembering the guys telling her about his list of movie quirks.

"He is a pill, isn't he?" Dawn asked, shaking her head in amusement. "Still, there must be something good about him, or you wouldn't be his friend, right?"

A soft smile graced Penny's face as she recalled some of the things her whackadoodle neighbor had done for her over the past couple years. "Sometimes he surprises me by helping me without really expecting anything in return. Not like when most guys help me, anyway."

A/N: Reading the recap of 'The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation' made me sooo angry at the guys, and I started to wonder how to explain just how horrible what they did was. Seriously, that episode pissed me off as much 'Dead Man's Party' and 'Empty Places'.