Relatively long A/N: So I've written FanFiction before (2 years ago, mostly for various animes and some Twilight) but I quit, deleted all my stories and changed my account name (seeing as you can't delete them) in case someone I knew found out, but now I'm back! (Yay) I decided that noone's going to find out and I really need the outlet for stress and creativity (though I'm lacking creativity lately due to the stress...so suggestions are most welcome!)

I'm starting this story at 00:08 of the 9th of June, in a shared bedroom, with no plot worked out and no plan for writing (who should I even write?) plus it's back to school (boooo) in two days, so forgive me if the story disappoints you. But I hope you enjoy it – I can promise decent spelling and grammar at the very least! :D x

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One barbecue bacon cheeseburger; barbecue, bacon and cheese on the side.

The Cheesecake Factory. Penny's one source of income, though she'd never admit it to herself. Penny was a born actress, destined to be insanely rich and famous, not catering to the whims of hungry whack-a-doodles like Sheldon. But she was, as yet, undiscovered talent, and it looked like she might never get the chance to be a star. Sigh.

"And everybody involved in handling my food wore gloves?"

"Yes, sweetie, I made sure."

"Thank you Penny." Sheldon flashed a rare non-creepy smile before turning back to the guys to explain the origins of gloves.

Despite her money worries and her worries for the future, Penny couldn't stop herself from grinning back at the lanky Texan. Sure, they clashed at times, but he was just too adorable to be mad at. And he always cheered her up.

She walked away from her friends' table to clear plates from another, brow furrowing once more as she allowed herself to sink deep into thought. Bills, bills, so many bills, and not enough money to pay them. She'd ask Leonard for another loan but he was pretty much living at the University this month, hoping for a chance to work with some big laser thingy. Probably sleeping with Leslie there, too. Hm. If the pair became a couple, that was bye-bye to any prospect of a loan from Leonard.

Bernadette was a no-no too; she and Howard were saving up for a honeymoon "anywhere at least fifty miles away from Howie's mother". And Raj would probably spontaneously combust before she had the chance to ask him. She was too embarrassed to ask her dad, and certainly didn't want to ask any of her snobbier friends in the city.

So that left Sheldon. Well, she couldn't ask him either. She already mooched food and internet from him, and spent pretty much every evening at his place to avoid gas and electric bills. Without Leonard there the past couple of weeks, she'd spent even more time over there, glad to have something close to 'alone time'. Well, that ruled out everyone, but at least she could avoid further bills by using some of the 'free' facilities that apartment 4A had to offer.

That left Penny with very few solutions.

Just past two in the morning, Penny squealed and jumped out of the shower, wrapping the nearest towel around her for warmth. Drat! They'd shut off her hot water! And she really needed a wash. Working an extra shift meant more money, but also sweatier Penny, not to mention the late-night drunkards who had managed to soak her with vomit and booze. Gross. Only one thing for it.

*Knock knock knock*
"Sheldon..." Adopting his signature knock, Penny stage-whispered Sheldon's name through the door. No answer, of course; he'd be deep in his REM cycle.

So she slipped silently into the flat (mis)using her spare key, then tiptoed her way to the bathroom at the end of the hall. No helping the telltale *click* of the light switch, but hopefully Sheldon was a deep sleeper.

Penny then proceeded to climb into the tub, discarding her towel on the spotless bathroom floor, and switch the shower on. There was no follow-up squeal; the boys' shower was always the perfect temperature. They had no problems paying their bills.

Fifteen minutes and a good, hearty cry later, the Nebraska girl was vomit- and sweat-free, smelling of Leonard's shampoo. Eyes now blurry and scratched, she reached blindly for her towel, taking extra care when exiting the tub (having learned her lesson about slippery tubs, though the adhesive ducks really did help). Finding it at last, she then raised her arms in search of the door. Sink...wall...face...wait, face? Penny shrieked, frantically rubbing her eyes and slowly backing away from the intruder.

"Penny! Stop that unnecessary sound at once!" The owner of the familiar voice grasped her wrists gently to prevent her from falling backwards, before quickly withdrawing his hands. Sheldon?

Penny squinted to see the tall figure. It was definitely Sheldon...watching her shower?

"Sheldon, what the HELL are you doing in here? I was showering!"

"Well, I could ask you the exact same thing! What on Earth are you doing, sobbing like that in my shower at three AM? I nearly called the FBI!"

He had a fair point. She had pretty much broken in, though she didn't realise she'd been crying so loud. "You're right, sweetie, I'm sorry. I just really needed a shower because I just got back from work like an hour ago and I have to go back at 9 and I stank of vomit and sweat and alcohol but they cut off my water because I couldn't pay my bills and I'm scared, Sheldon." At the end of the rant she broke down, collapsing in tears into Sheldon's torso. Though she was too distraught to notice, for the first time, Sheldon didn't push her away.

Instead, he panicked for a few moments about what to do with his body and then settled on awkwardly wrapping his arms around her, whispering "there, there" repeatedly into her wet hair. Penny did notice that this felt very nice, and so was reluctant to pull away after a short while.

"Sorry, sweetie, I'm getting you all wet," she laughed weakly,

"It's quite alright, Can I offer you a hot beverage?" Sheldon spoke after a moment's hesitation and a strange look on his face that Penny picked up on, but soon forgot.

"Actually, a hot beverage sounds fantastic." Worries temporarily forgotten, the woman beamed through gradually recovering eyes at her quirky scientist friend.