Disclaimer: I do not own "Big Bang Theory" that honour belongs to Chuck Lorre. I'm just borrowing the characters for a little while.

The Hero Complex

Sheldon walked home from getting some Thai food in an extraordinarily good mood. Howard and Bernadette were out making plans for their upcoming nuptials, Leonard was out hitting the bars with Raj and Amy had an emergency in her lab, which required her immediate attention. That meant that Sheldon was left on his own, something that he relished.

He was just thinking about all the varied and interesting things that he could do with his evening alone when suddenly he heard a high-pitched sound that seemed familiar. The sound was coming from the alley way just behind him and despite his better judgement, Sheldon decided to investigate.

There in the alley he saw a large man pushing a woman up against the brick wall forcefully. To Sheldon's eye, he seemed to be trying to elicit coitus and yet the female was not complying. Normally Sheldon would have continued on his way knowing that being the hero was never a strong attribute of his considering his small lanky frame but when the woman moved slightly and her blonde hair fell away to reveal a familiar face, he knew that he would have to do something.

"Penny?" he asked as he clutched his bag of food to his chest. "Penny...do you need assistance?"

"Sheldon?" Penny asked in a fearful voice as she glanced past the man who had her pinned to the wall and looked to the man who over the past five years had become one of her dearest friends. "Sheldon...help me..."

"Help?" asked Sheldon rather worriedly.

"Buddy if you know what's good for you, you'll leave."

Sheldon looked with wide eyes from Penny to the man who was assaulting her and before he could really think about what he was saying Doctor Sheldon Cooper spoke up. "No."

The large man laughed. "You've got to be kidding me."

"Sheldon," Penny amended in a slightly panicked voice. "Never mind. Don't listen to me. Just go."

Now it was Sheldon's turn to look perplexed. "But a hero never leaves a damsel when she's in distress."

The man laughed. "You really think that you're the hero in this story geek-a-zoid?" he asked as he pushed Penny to the dirty alley floor. "Well come on then, be the hero."

Sheldon stood there looking like a deer caught in the headlights. The man made a move to take a swing at Sheldon but Penny whacked him on the head with a garbage can lid. However, that action only served to make the man angry and with one swift move he decked Penny and sent her crashing once more to the ground.

Seeing Penny lying there with blood running down her face made something snap within Sheldon. Without really knowing what he was doing he balled his hand into a fist and then took a swing at the man. Sheldon wasn't sure whether it was the surge of adrenaline or the fact that he caught the bigger man by surprise, but Doctor Sheldon Cooper knocked the man out— though his hand did seem to pay for it.

After clenching his fist a couple times to make sure that he hadn't broken any fingers Sheldon went to Penny's side. She was just starting to come around and while the rational part of his mind knew that he should take her to a hospital, the more neurotic part of him wouldn't be caught dead in one. And so, doing the best that he could, Sheldon took Penny up to his apartment.

After taking one look at the couch Sheldon realized that putting Penny there to recover would not do her any good and he also knew that he could not place her in Leonard's room and so he found himself with an unbelievable situation— Penny in his bed. Once she was settled he did some quick research on the internet and knew that he was going to have to make sure that she was awake and stayed awake if she wanted to avoid a concussion.

Sheldon wandered back into his room, with a cup of herbal tea in his hand and sat beside Penny. "Penny?" he inquired hesitantly as he poked her shoulder. "Penny you've got to get up now."

"Mmm..." she murmured as she tried to roll over.

"Penny," Sheldon began. "You must get up now."

Penny opened her eyes and Sheldon could see how confused she was. She looked around his room and then back to him. "What's going on?" she asked as she struggled to sit up. "Why am I in your room?"

"You were hurt," Sheldon explained.

"The guy?" Penny asked suddenly. "What did he, where did he...?"

"I successfully managed to incapacitate him." Sheldon answered feeling quite proud of his accomplishment.

"Incapacitate him?"

Sheldon nodded. "For the first time in my life I was able to take down a bully who was much larger than me. I rather wish that you hadn't been unconscious. The others will not believe that I was able to do such a thing."

Penny looked sceptical herself, but as she sat up in Sheldon's bed she realized that there was no way that she would be there unless Sheldon did something miraculous. "Well I'll back you up sweetie," she promised as she looked gratefully at him. "After all you probably saved my life."

"Did I?" Sheldon asked in a surprised voice. "Really?"

Penny nodded. "By all appearances," she told him as she swung her feet over the side of his bed.

"Penny where do you think you're going?"

"To the hospital sweetie,"

"But you are hurt."

"I know," Penny stated as she stood up. "Which is why I'm going."

Sheldon shook his head. "You are in no shape to drive yourself."

As Penny swayed on the spot, her head hurting more with every passing moment she realized that he was right. "You might be right... but Sheldon," she continued as she sat back down on his bed. "What do you suggest? My head is killing me, I'm pretty sure that I've got a concussion. I need to go to the hospital."

Sheldon looked at Penny and sighed. "Then I guess I am going to have to take you again, aren't I."

Penny gave him a grateful smile. "Yes please."

Sheldon sighed. "Very well," he said as he held out his hand so that she could use him as a crutch. "Let us depart."

...

Hours later, and a somewhat wasted trip to the hospital. Penny and Sheldon returned with the orders that Penny had to stay up for the next twelve hours. "What do you intend on doing all night?" Sheldon asked as he helped Penny into her apartment. "Watch episodes of Sex in the City or whatever drivel you watch."

Penny shook her head. "I actually had to sell them to help me make last month's rent."

Sheldon just looked at Penny. "You know that you can come to me at any time for money, interest free."

"I know that," Penny said as she sat down on her couch. "But I don't want things to be weird between us if I wasn't able to pay you back."

"Penny I have very little concern for monetary things."

Penny sighed. "I know that. But I still sold my Dvd's."

"So what do you intend on doing?"

Penny shrugged. "I don't know..." she paused and looked up at Sheldon rather shyly. "...I don't supposed you'd like to stay up with me and talk, would you?"

Sheldon looked at Penny and sighed. "Is it a non-optional social convention?"

"Yes," Penny told him quickly. "Yes it is."

Sheldon shrugged and put down his bag before sitting down beside Penny. "So what would you like to talk about?"

At first Penny wasn't sure that she and Sheldon would be able to talk about anything, but before they knew it they were trading stories about when they were younger. They both stayed away from moments that had been particularly painful and instead focused on all the good memories. By the time dawn broke they found themselves in hysterics.

"Oh Sheldon," Penny laughed as she brushed the tears away from her eyes. "That is too funny."

"It wasn't funny at the time," Sheldon admitted. "But looking back on it I do see the humour in it."

Penny smiled and then glanced at her watch. "Oh god... I've got an early shift to get to."

Sheldon looked at his own watch and nodded in agreement. "I too have to get to work."

Penny stood at the same time Sheldon did and they found themselves toe to toe and their faces mere inches apart. For a moment Sheldon had a fleeting thought that Penny was going to kiss him but then she stepped back looking rather flustered.

"Thank you so much Sheldon," she said with a smile as she walked to her door and opened it. "I don't think I would have been able to stay awake without you."

Sheldon merely nodded in return as he followed her to the door. "I am quite surprised that conversation with you would have been so stimulating. You are quite an adept storyteller Penny."

Penny grinned and leaned against the doorframe. "I think there was a compliment in there."

"There was," Sheldon confirmed. "You're learning."

Sheldon walked past Penny and when he was halfway across the hallway he stopped because all of a sudden Penny had wrapped her arms around him in a rather right embrace.

"Penny?" he inquired feeling rather distressed.

"Thank you Sheldon," she whispered as she let him go. "Thank you for being my hero."

Sheldon just stood there feeling rather unsure as what to do and by the time he turned around Penny's door was closed. He just stared at the piece of wood and sighed. "Anytime Penny," he whispered to the empty hallway. "Anytime."

END

Author's Note: So there you have it dear readers, my first foray into the Sheldon / Penny fandom. I know that it wasn't totally romantic but I do feel like I got the undercurrent of tension just about right. Please feel free to leave a review, I would love to know what you think!