Penny was sick. The explody, on fire kind of sick that left one completely incapacitated.
She knew Sheldon and Leondard were away at a conference, but Raj should be home. He would help her. Penny may be ill, but she could still send a text.
sos dead sick plz help
Thank God for autocorrect or that wouldn't have made any sense. Hopefully Raj would get there soon.
Raj, who felt he was close to a monumental discovery regarding the diamond planet 55 Cancri E (There might just be some form of life on it!) was currently at the observatory at CalTech. When he received Penny's text he felt bad, but couldn't afford to leave. He knew Sheldon and Leonard were away and that's probably why she'd asked him. It really seemed like the nerd quartet were all she had now.
Howard. Penny just texted me that she's sick and needs help. Sounds like code milky green, but surely she shouldn't be as bad a Sheldon. I'm stuck at the observatory. Can you go check on her for me?
Howard read Raj's text. Bernadette had to go in to work today to stop an outbreak of anthrax (It sounds scary, but should be fine. Don't be such a baby, Howie!) so he was free for most of the day.
Sure, I can stop by.
An hour after Penny sent her text, she was awoken by a knock at her door. She summoned enough energy and breath to somewhat shout, "It's open!"
As the door opened, she heard, "Hey Penny, it's Howard."
Penny would've rolled her eyes had it not been for her splitting headache. Ugh. Howard. Then, On the other hand, help.
"Raj told me you were sick," He peeked into her bedroom. "He's stuck at CalTech and asked me to come by. Anything I can get you?" It was clear he was trying to be helpful while at the same time trying to stay far enough away from her that he wouldn't catch whatever she had. She looked sad and pitiful and he was sorry for her, but he didn't wanna emulate her later.
Penny managed to croak out, "Water and tomato soup with crackers," and then took pity on him. "There's some Lysol, gloves, and masks under the sink." Sheldon had made her stock up just in case. It's a good thing he had. Howard looked extremely grateful.
"I'll get right on it."
Ten minutes later Howard sat the tray of soup and glass of water in her lap. Through his face mask he said, "I told Bernadette I was here. She said she'd come over when she could." He shivered a little and murmured, "I just hope she doesn't bring the anthrax with her." He started toward the bathroom, then hesitated. "Do you have Tylenol? It'll help with the ache as well as the fever."
Penny nodded and whispered, "Medicine cabinet. Second shelf."
Howard opened the cabinet and shook out two Tylenol onto his latex-gloved hand, then noticed some Mucinex and grabbed one of those, too.
"Here, take these. They'll help."
"Thank you, Howard," Penny muttered. "You're a good friend."
"Aw, it's the least I could do after..." after I tried to kiss you and you decked me, "Everything."
"Can you do one more thing for me?" she asked.
"Sure," he agreed. Puppy dog eyes from girls always got him.
"Can you call Sheldon?" her voice was so small he could barely hear her.
"Sheldon? Not Leonard?" he asked in confusion.
"Leondard doesn't know Soft Kitty."
Howard was confused, but since Penny was sick he just decided to humor her. He dialed Sheldon's number and waited for him to pick up.
"Dr. Sheldon Cooper."
"Hey Sheldon, it's Howard."
"Yes, I know. I have caller ID. What do you need?"
"Uh, Penny's sick and I'm kinda taking care of her. She asked me to call you. Something about a kitty? Didn't make a lotta sense to me, but I thought I'd humor her."
"You must mean Soft Kitty. It's a song my mother used to sing to me when I was sick. I taught it to her when I was sick and you, Leondard, and Koothrappali abandoned me. Very well. I assume she is too weak to hold the phone, as you are calling for her. Put me on speaker.
Soft kitty, warm kitty
Little ball of fur
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty
Purr purr purr."
In the strongest voice she could manage, Penny said, "Thank you, Sheldon."
"You're welcome, Penny. Now I must go. Leonard and I have a lecture to hear. Goodbye," click.
There was another knock at the door, signalling Bernadette's arrival. Howard closed Penny's bedroom door and opened the other.
"How's she feeling?" Bernadette asked as she set her purse on the couch. "And where did you get the mask and gloves?"
Howard related what had happened since he got there. "She's just got the flu, so she'll be fine with some Mucinex, Tylenol, and some Alka Seltzer before bed. I gave her some soup and water so she won't starve or dehydtrate." Then he smiled. "She said I was a good friend."
Bernadette grinned and ruffled his hair. "Well, you are the best man I know. I'll look in on her and then we can go."
She opened the bedroom door and spoke, "Hey, Penny. Feeling any better?"
Without opening her eyes, Penny responded, "A little. The fever's gone down a bit and my head doesn't feel like it's about to explode. I'm gonna go to sleep."
Bernadette grabbed her glass of water and plopped a couple Alka Seltzer tablets in. "Here, drink this then go to sleep. Howie and I are gonna go home, but you call us if you need anything, ok?"
Penny nodded and drank the water. Bernadette tucked her in and turned off the lamp and closed the door.
"She'll be fine," Bernadette told her husband. "I told her to call us if she needed anything. I need to go home and take an antibiotic. You should do the same, just in case."
As they were walking out the door, Howard got a text from Leonard.
Sheldon just told me Penny's sick. Is she alright? Why didn't anyone tell me?
I guess Penny didn't wanna bother you since she knew you were gone. She texted Raj, but he was busy so I came over.
But why did you call Sheldon and not me?
I wasn't gonna bother either of you, but she asked me to call Sheldon so he could sing her something.
She could've called me.
Apparently you don't know Soft Kitty.
Oh. Well, if she's alright I guess I'll get back to the lecture. Sheldon's giving me a disapproving look.
You do that.
Howard had a feeling that wasn't the only thing Penny went to Sheldon for rather than Leonard.
A/N: Out of some morbid curiosity I looked to see if there were any Penny/Howard fics on here. There weren't many. And there was only one really good actual Penny/Howard fic. So I took it upon myself to write a Penny/Howard friend!fic, cuz I just can't bring myself to write any romance between anyone but Shenny. And look! I somehow managed to turn this into a Shenny speculation. Geez. What is wrong with me? XD