A/N: This is my first TBBT fanfic. I have always loved the idea of Shenny and after the last episode I just had to address it. *Spoilers for seasons 1-5 (current)*
I will keep updating frequently as I am getting into this story. It might be a little slow at first, but I promise lots of good stuff for all the characters on the show. And please review!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Big Bang Theory. Just borrowing it for the time being.
"Hey guys!" Penny called into the empty living room of apartment 4A.
Pulling an oversized suit case behind him, Leonard began to rush out of his bedroom with an annoyed expression on his face that looked pleading to his neighbor and ex-girlfriend. It was not an expression that Penny was unfamiliar with. Leonard only ever had two pleading expressions, one for her that was all puppy eyes and one for her that nearly spoke the words 'Sheldon is at it again'.
Puzzled, Penny asked in a slightly worried tone "everything alright Leonard? Ooh that bag is huge, watch out before you nock something over!" and hurried to help Leonard avoid hitting the corner of the chair in the living room lest Sheldon begin to accuse him of yet another unfounded fault. Wondering what was up with the guys she has grown so close to over the past six years she began to open her mouth to ask before Sheldon poked his head out of the hallway.
"Leonard, really. Surely you can't be so inept as to need Penny's help with our baggage, even if she is undeniably brawny."
"It isn't our baggage Sheldon. Just because I own the case doesn't mean I have any ownership of all the stuff you crammed into it. Really, do you think you need all of these books in Vegas? Surely you could relax just a little after the convention and let us have a good time."
Penny was used to this, used to Sheldon leaving no room for fun when it came to conventions and his work. Last time, she actually got to come along as Amy's plus-one. It had been a disaster of a panel, degenerating into free-form purge of all the relationship frustrations of her geeky group of friends. She never really felt too bad about it, especially since she was a participant airing her problems with Leonard's proclamation that Raj interrupted them getting back together. Sure, she was going to sleep with him and did miss that connection on some level, but she was not headed for girlfriend ally. The next night she did feel a tad guilty though, as Sheldon seemed even less pleased than usual with the ill-success of the panel.
Briefly she wondered out loud "What are the books for? Just to escape us all?"
Sheldon nearly grimaced his reply. "It's not books, its extra copies of my presentation I took the liberty to print up. Lest I take further risks in my career, I have backups on my person as well."
Penny knew that look, that slight fall of the corner of Sheldon's usually sardonic tone and the downward tug of the corner of his mouth. It only ever happened when Sheldon mentioned his career ever since the prank the guys played in the Artic. She came to think of it as his body's own invention: the Arctic tic.
She was worried for a slight second but reminded herself, this was Sheldon and he seemed to overall have forgiven his friends for their antics, even if it had hit him in the only place he felt anything- his career. So, she began to let the worry in her chest drop and attempt a change in subject but Leonard just had to interject.
"Oh come off it Sheldon! You are already making the whole week about you anyhow, can't you just let us wait for Raj, Howard and the girls to get here so we can go through your inane orientation for the trip and set off on the least enjoyable Vegas trip we are ever gonna have?"
Leonard crossed his arms defensively, obviously waiting for some sort of witty retort from his roommate. But all he got was a brief "very well" from Sheldon who slowly spun on his heel and returned to his bedroom with a slam of his door.
Had Raj and Howard not just opened the door before Sheldon's storming off, Penny probably would have just stood there with her mouth open, trying to figure out what went up everyone's ass all of a sudden. And truly she did wonder what all that was about. But knowing Sheldon's display was witnessed but the others made her almost defensive of her wack-a-doodle neighbor.
'Sure, he can be a lot to handle sometimes, but do these guys even try to figure it all out?' She thought. 'Sometimes I wonder if Leonard just tries to push his buttons on purpose or if it just gets to him- living with Sheldon.'
Somewhere during her pause into thought she realized all three of her guys were staring at her, as if looking to her to take the bullet and go after Sheldon. This too, she was used to. Over the years she took care of Sheldon when he was sick, even singing 'Soft Kitty' to him. And she was the one to try to comfort him when he cried after the can-opener incident was revealed. But he had taken care of her too like when she fell in the shower (even though he took a peek) and when he loaned her money with no thought on the matter whatsoever. Before she knew it, she was standing just inside of Sheldon's room closing the door softly behind her.
"People can't be in my room, Penny."
"I know sweetie, but you have to talk to me." She sighed. "What's the matter? Why are you so worried?"
"Surely even you can see why. I am about to present my brilliant research which is as close as anyone has ever come to proving string theory and yet again I am surrounded by everyone-and Amy. I just miss the science, Penny." He took his turn to sigh, though nearly condescendingly. "And don't call me sweetie."
Sheldon, who was sitting on his bed flopped his upper body down onto his pillows, leaving his legs hanging off the bed at an awkward angle. He heaved a giant sigh that Penny knew was one controlled breath away from tears.
To give herself a minute to address the first part of his little revelation about the trip, Penny decided to attack his last comment first. "Why can't I call you sweetie anymore, Dr. Whack-a-doodle?"
"Do whatever you want, Penny." He sighed. "It doesn't mean anything anyhow."
Penny reached to touch his shoulder but before she could even say 'huh?' at his last statement, Amy poked her head in.
"Hey bestie. Leonard said Sheldon was upset about something." Amy nearly sighed, but was also a little too chipper. "According to page 13, paragraph 3 or our relationship agreement, all emotional or psychological consoling is my responsibility. I will take it from here."
Penny found herself on the other side of Sheldon's door, just sort of staring at it. She couldn't figure out what felt so off about the whole little five-minute adventure she just had in this apartment.
'Sometimes,' she mused, "its like my second home here. So why do I feel so displaced all of a sudden?'
It wasn't until she got back into the living room, where everyone was waiting- Raj, Leonard, Howard, Bernadette, herself- everyone other than Amy, that she realized what was so off. She was used to being the one to console the fragile ego of Dr. Cooper.