A/N I know I shouldn't be posting another story since I am no where near finishing The Artificial Selection Occurrence but this kind of popped into my head one day and I have reached a snag in TASO (I know exactly what I want to happen, the problem is typing it up). This is probably only going to be like 5 or 6 chapters at the most. So tell me what you think!

Chapter One

How long had it been since she last went on a date? Nine, ten months? Longer still since she last had sex. Leonard had been the last and that was over a year ago. But between work and hanging out with the guys, she really hadn't had the time too. She supposed she could cut some of the time she spent at her neighbor's apartment down, although deep down she knew she wouldn't have it any other way. The four guys next door had become her closest friends, the tall lanky one probably more than the others. That had come as a surprise to her at first.

When they had first met, she had flirted with him just a little. (Yes, she could admit to it now and she wasn't ashamed too.) She backed off, though, when he opened his mouth and she saw how crazy he was. (No. Wait, his mother had him tested.). They had argued with each other, pranked each other and she had once kicked him out of her car.

Yet everything seemed to change when he found out that they had become friends. He had decided to keep her instead of Raj, something to this day she could not figure out why. Yes, they still fought and there was the occasional prank, but he had definitely shown her that he could be a good friend.

Example 1: He had loaned her money when she desperately needed it and asked for nothing back. Any other guy would have wanted her in their bed.

Example 2: He had driven a car for her. Sheldon Cooper absolutely didn't do driving and yet he had taken her to the hospital (A place he hated, by the way) when she had dislocated her shoulder in the shower.

She had always considered him a friend but after that night, he had became her best friend, even more so after her break-up with Leonard. It hadn't been a pretty break-up. She had run after Leonard had told her he loved her. What else could she do? She hadn't loved him, probably would never love him like that. Wasn't that a good enough reason to end it?

Leonard hadn't thought so and with that break-up, she lost the guys, all four of her closest friends. Then, one night, Sheldon had caught her in the hallway with grocery bags and his favorite spaghetti sauce perched on top and she had one of her friends back. Deep down, out of all the guys, she was glad it was him.

They had their laundry nights and Anything Can Happen Thursdays when the guys would bail on him to go to a non-Sheldon approved movie theater or a bar. They had Age of Conan and movie nights. (She had grown to love Star Trek, especially Spock.)

They had become each other's best friends and she was learning things about Sheldon Cooper that he would have never told her five years ago. He even comforted her in his own Sheldon way. Gone were the shoulder pats and the 'There, there. Sheldon's here', he now had upgraded to hugs and 'Tell me what's bothering you, Penny.' He was always there for her and she wasn't afraid to admit that she had grown to have feelings for him. She could probably say that she was in love.

There were days when they would hang out with each other, just the two of them- in her apartment, his apartment, laundry room, wherever- and he would tell her of his childhood in Texas(most were sad stories of bullies and chickens) and she would get this look from him. She couldn't really describe it, but it was like he was looking in her soul and he understood her. She would dream that he, too, had feelings for her and one day they would be able to have a relationship.

That was a fairy tale dream and this was Sheldon Lee Cooper. She, of all people, should know.

"Hello, earth to Penny." Someone snapped their fingers in her face and she pulled out of her trance.

"Yeah?" She turned to the person, a young waitress named Sydney.

"Table 3 wants their check and Table 6 needs refills." Sydney tried to look stern but couldn't help but crack a smile. Meanwhile, Penny finally realized where she was.

Her crappy waitressing job at The Cheesecake Factory.

"Oh, thanks, Syd." She hurried to the aforementioned tables, hoping that her negligence wouldn't hinder on any of her tips.

Lord knew she needed the money.

"So, who were you day dreaming about?" Syd sidled up to her after dropping off an order in the kitchen.

"What?" She looked away. "No one."

Syd elbowed her playfully in the ribs. "It's the tall skinny one, isn't it? The one who comes in here every Tuesday."

How had she known? She felt her face heat up.

"No need to answer that." She laughed. "The blush on your face says it all. Does he know?"

Defeated and found out, she sighed. "No. Even if he did nothing would come out of it, Sheldon doesn't do relationships. I'm completely happy with just being his best friend."

"No, you're not. Look, Pen, you deserve to be happy and if this boy makes you happy go for it." She sounded wise for her young age.

"Bu what if I scare him off? I don't know what I would do."

Yeah, she did. If he rejected her then she would move back to Omaha. There would be nothing else for her here.

"You won't know until you try, so go for it."

She nodded slowly, a smile creeping on her face. "Alright. I'll talk to him about it tonight."

Syd gave her a hug. "Good!" She squealed. "You HAVE to tell me how it goes!"

Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. Oh God, she hoped it went well.

On her break, halfway through her shift, she got a call from Sheldon. She answered with a smile, knowing he couldn't see it.

"Hey, sweetie!" She was rather cheerful and for no apparent reason either.

"Hello, Penny." He said in his clipped tone. "I have called to ask you a favor."

"Okay, what is it?" Inwardly she cringed. What did Sheldon what her to do for him now?

"It seems that Leonard, Raj and Howard have abandoned me at the University and I have no way of getting back to my apartment. Are you able to pick me up?"

Leonard did what? He left Sheldon at work? He never did that unless he was really angry at him. Oh God, what did he do now?

"I'm sorry, honey. I'm still at work."

"I see. Well, I guess I have no choice but to walk home then."

"Why don't you take the bus?"

"Penny." He sighed and she prepared herself for a lecture. "Since I was not prepared to be abandoned by my friends I did not think to pack my bus pants and I cannot ride the bus without them."

"Oh okay. Well then, be careful and I will see you when I get home." She glanced at the clock and saw that her break was almost up.

"I doubt it. I will probably be in bed by the time you return home. Walking home will become a disruption in my routine so I must accommodate for it and going to bed early will be the result."

"Alrighty then." She bit her lip. So much for talking to him tonight. "Goodnight, Sheldon."

"Goodnight, Penny."

Thank God, her shift was finally over and now she could relax. Pulling her keys out of her purse she heard her phone chirp with a text message.

She pulled it out and saw that it was from Sheldon.

Penny. That was all it said.

She scrunched her brow in confusion. What did that mean? She typed a quick reply.

Yes, Sheldon? Do u need me 2 sing you Soft Kitty?

Waiting for a reply, she shrugged when she didn't receive one and climbed in her car and began her drive home.

Bills, bills and more bills. She quickly rifled through her mail as she ascended the four flights of stairs to her apartment.

She stopped short when she saw a slumped figure leaning against the door of 4A. A closer look told her that it was Sheldon and an even closer look caused her to cry out.

"Oh my God, Sheldon!"

She immediately dropped her mail and rushed to his side. He looked bad. His whole face was black and blue, one eye swollen shut. Blood trickled from his nose and a cut on his lip were dripping down on his shirt. It was his red Flash shirt; his favorite. He held his left wrist in his hand and on a closer look she saw that it was swollen as well.

What the hell happened to him? She needed to call an ambulance.

She frantically dug her phone out her purse and tried to punch in the three numbers but her tears were blinding her.

Oh God, she should have picked him up. She should have told him to wait for her until she got off her shift. She should have-

"Penny." His voice was hoarse.

Only one eye could open fully and the blue intensity of it stood out from the bruises on his face. He tried smiling but his split lip caused him to wince.

"Sheldon." She wiped her tears away viscously. "I'm here, sweetie. I'm here."

"I'm tired, Penny, and I hurt. Sing me 'Soft Kitty.'" His voice was child-like and all she could do was sing as he requested.

Half-way through the song he slumped over in unconsciousness.

This time nothing could stop Penny from dialing 911.

A few hours earlier- Caltech cafeteria

"Leonard, may I speak with you privately, please."

Leonard scrunched his face in a confused look, eyebrows almost meeting at the bridge of his nose. Not only was it odd that Sheldon wished to speak with him privately, but he had also asked politely.

Something didn't seem right.

He pushed himself away from the table and the conversation he was having with Raj and Howard about the new Avengers movie.

"Um…sure, Sheldon."

"Very well. Follow me."

"Okay." He looked back at Howard and Raj, shrugged and followed the taller man out the doors of the cafeteria.

They hadn't gone far when Sheldon stopped and turned to face him. "I wish to ask you a question, Leonard."

He looked over the tops of his glasses at him. "Yes?"

"It has been over a year since Penny and you ended your ill-fated relationship, correct?"

Leonard could only nod and wonder what he was getting at.

"I believe that it is social protocol to ask one's best friend if he can begin a romantic relationship with said best friend's former paramour. In this case: Penny."

"Wait, are you telling me you want to date Penny?"

With his hands clasped behind his back, Sheldon nodded his head in the affirmative.

"Penny and I have spent an adequate amount of time with each other since your break-up and my extensive research on the matter has proven that I, indeed, have romantic feelings for her."

He was trying to date Penny and he was asking his permission to do so? Leonard knew he could be a good friend and tell Sheldon to go for it, but he still thought he had a chance to get back with her. Sheldon would just get in the way.

"No, you can't date, Penny." He stood up straighter.

Sheldon looked taken aback for a moment and then regained his composure.

"And why not?

"It's the guy code. You can't date your best friend's ex." Especially if one's best friend is trying to get back with said ex.

"I'm afraid I don't understand. The 'guy code', are these some kind of guidelines all men must read? Why haven't I seen them?"

"They're more like unwritten rules, Sheldon. So you can't date Penny." Like she would want to date you in the first place.

Their relationship probably wouldn't last a day and would probably end up with Penny killing Sheldon. He snickered at the thought.

"I find this quite unfair." His fists clenched at his sides. "You have had your chance with Penny; I would like to have mine."

In what universe did he think he could date her? "No, Sheldon. If you want to stay my friend you won't date her. I saw her first, so she's mine."

"She isn't an object to own, Leonard. She is a human being! But seeing as you are my friend I will put these thoughts behind me." Without another word he walked away.

Leonard walked back into the cafeteria and sat down with a heavy sigh.

"So what did Dr. Crazy want to talk to you about?" Howard asked.

So, Leonard told them.

"No way!" Howard exclaimed. "Like Penny would ever want to be involved with him."

"That's what I was thinking!" Leonard threw his arms in the air. "Sometimes I don't know about him. I didn't even think he had feelings."

"Hmm, you know what we should do? We should cut out of here early and go see the Avengers. It'll get your mind off the Tin Man and his quest for a heart."

"Dude, you've seen that like twice already." Raj finally spoke up.

Howard turned his best friend. "You can't tell me you don't want to see Scarlett Johansson and that skin-tight outfit again."

Raj thought a moment. "You're right. Let's go!"

He could not believe that they would just leave him. How was he to get home now?

He had informed Leonard earlier that he wished to stay over an extra hour, he felt that he was close to a break-through in his work and Leonard had told him that he was going to stay late as well. However, when he went to his office he found the door locked and no one answered his knocks. Raj and Howard were no where in sight and no one had answered his calls.

Was this a joke? If it was, it was not funny. He didn't even have his bus pants to ride the bus and a call to Penny had told him that he would not be getting a ride from her either, since she was still at work.

Walking it was.

He walked by a bar, just as three men were getting kicked out. He recognized one of them and a shot of fear went through out his body. He made sure his belt was cinched tightly, put his head down and tried to walk by without getting noticed.

It didn't work.

A meaty hand clamped down on his shoulder.

"Look, guys." The voice was deep and slurred with alcohol. "I think I know this geek."

He didn't remember much after that. He did remember trying to send Penny a text, but was unable to finish when everything went black.

He woke up in a dark, dirty alley and in so much pain. His head whirled, his left wrist throbbed and his legs were wobbly when he stood up. He knew he should call the police or an ambulance, or both, but all he wanted to do was get out this germ-infested alley and go home.

He barely had the strength to climb up four flights of stairs, but he did. He didn't have the strength to find his keys and opened the door, so he didn't. Instead, he slumped to the ground just outside of his door.

He didn't know how long he sat there, in a daze, fighting off unconsciousness. A cry got his attention and the scent of vanilla and strawberries invaded his senses.

The sight and smell of Penny had never been more welcomed.

He tried to smile; it hurt too much. So he requested to be sung 'Soft Kitty' and then everything went black.

A/N The tornado sirens are going off and I'm just sitting posting this story. So I am basically risking my life for this little bit of fan fiction :)