A/N: I recommend you read The Unrequited Love Paradox and The Hand-Holding Continuation before reading this or it won't make a lot of sense in regards to the finale.
Ever since Leonard had proposed to Penny they had been fighting more and more. Howard and Bernadette's wedding had brought them together for a short while, but that quickly went south when Leonard had "burned" her. The next day was much the same. It started off well enough. They had all said tearfull (on Bernadette's and Raj's parts) goodbyes to Howard the night before and were still feeling some of the melancholy that morning. They all went to work and everything was good. Then they watched the launch and they held hands in pairs. Sheldon went to bed and everyone else went home. Penny stayed, still holding Leonard's hand.
"I hope he'll be okay up there," Penny whispered.
Leonard squeezed her hand. "He'll be fine. He might wet his pants a few times on the way, but once he gets there and looks at his wedding picture everything will be alright."
Penny smiled. "It was a sweet ceremony, wasn't it?"
"You mean, aside from Raj being unable to talk, Sheldon speaking in Klingon, and Amy mostly focussing on herself?" Leonard chuckled.
"Don't forget your little barb in there about me," Penny scowled slightly.
"Hey," Leonard bristled, defensive. "Everything I said was true."
"Yeah," Penny countered, hands on her hips. "And directed toward me. Even Sheldon caught that." Sheldon. Sheldon had held hands with Amy. And hadn't freaked straight for his sanitizer. It must be getting serious between them. Penny, distracted by these thoughts, missed Leonard's attempt at an apology. He noticed.
"Penny, I'm trying to apologize here, are you even listenting to me?"
Penny came to her senses. "I'm sorry, Leonard. I can't do this anymore." She got up and turned to walk to the door, but turned back just as quickly. Leonard didn't know what to do. It was the bowling alley all over again. Penny hugged him hard and whispered, "I'm so sorry. I can't. I thought I could. I didn't wanna be alone, and you're just such a nice guy, except when you're a total jerk, but I thought I could get passed that, but I can't, and I'm sorry." She was crying by now, so Leonard did the only thing he could think of - he put his arms around her and patted her back. It was far from ideal, but deep down he had seen this coming. Ever since he proposed in bed, he knew it was only a matter of time. Just like when he dropped the "L" bomb.
She knew it was irrational, that just because Sheldon and Amy's relationship seemed to be progressing she would give up on finding love altogether, but she just couldn't stand to see him with Amy. And she couldn't stand Leonard's jabs at her anymore just because she wouldn't marry him. Couldn't he see she was in love with someone else? But of course not. No one could. She hid it too well. I need to get away. Maybe I can find a cheaper apartment somewhere else? I'll come back when Howard does, but I can't be around Leonard and Sheldon any longer. It hurts too much. She whispered "I'm sorry Leonard" one more time and ran for the door.
A/N2: Hang in there, Shenny fans! I WILL GET SHENNY OUT OF THIS FINALE IF IT KILLS ME.
Inspired somewhat by Love Hurts by Incubus.
I was doing dishes when I heard the line Without love I won't survive. Somehow this came from that. Don't ask.