I don't own The Big Bang Theory.
This story has been sitting in a notebook for about 10 months. It was the very first thing I ever tried to write about TBBT. I've re-wrote a tiny bit, such as correcting a bit of wrong history, but 90% of it is in it's original form. While I see the mistakes and OOC bits, I like it enough personally to leave it mostly unchanged.
It's not hard to overlook habit. It just becomes something you have become accustomed to. Something you do always and never pay much attention to. Like strumming a pencil on the desk, or playing with your keys. But when it is a person, a friend you start to overlook, well, sometimes things can get out of hand and you run the risk of losing it all.
The music was soft, the food was good, and the company was pleasant. Yet Sheldon was perturbed. Something wasn't right. It was as if there was something missing. He looked around carefully. Leonard and Priya were eating. Howard and Bernadette were laughing over a shared joke. He and Amy were discussing her recent paper. So what was wrong?
"Sheldon? Are you okay?" Leonard had seen his frown. He watched Sheldon look around the restaurant slowly. "Something bothering you?"
Sheldon shook his head. "Not exactly, Leonard. I just feel as if I'm missing something. Like there is some bit of information I have overlooked."
Everyone looked at each other. They hadn't noticed anything unusual, but they all knew that a mystery was one thing Sheldon would not be able to leave alone and the comfort of their evening may be thrown out if he got too diverted by it.
"I heard there was a new dance hall opening up just around the corner from here," Bernadette said. "It might be fun to go, if no one has any other plans."
Sheldon opened his mouth to veto the suggestion, but Amy was quicker. "That sounds like a good idea, Bestie. I have always wanted to try dancing in a club. I would like to go."
Priya nodded with a smile. "Oh, that does sound good! I have not been dancing in a very long time!"
Sheldon looked disgruntled, but knew it was only good manners to escort his date to the place she wanted to go. Howard and Leonard were more enthusiastic. So, the guys paid the bill, and they decided to walk around the block since the club was so close. They heard the music before they even reached the door. A line stretched down the block a bit, but the bouncer took a shine to the exotic Priya and waved the party in.
Sheldon grimaced in distaste. The music was loud, the room was crowded and he was not even going to think about the bathroom cleanliness. They found an empty booth and sat down. A waitress appeared and took their drink orders. They looked around curiously.
"Oh my!" Everyone turned to Priya at her exclamation. She looked a bit shocked so they all followed her gaze. Leonard and Howard stood to get a better view. Sheldon went rigid. The girls looked with interest.
The crowd shifted and blocked their view for a moment, but then opened up again. Raj and Penny. Dancing.
He watched her smile up at Raj over her shoulder. Raj smirked down into her eyes. His hands slid down her waist to her hips, drawing her back against him. Penny swept her hair back and ground against him to the beat.
He watched her arch her back and whisper into Raj's ear. He felt a sharp pain in his hands, and looked down. He was clenching his hands into fists and his nails were digging into his palms. He glanced at the others to see if they had noticed. Everyone's eyes were glued to the spectacle on the dance floor. He looked back and felt his jaw tighten.
Penny spun in Raj's arms. He dipped her down and she slid one knee up his leg for balance. Raj grinned at her surprise. He enjoyed surprising her. It made her laugh, and she did little enough of that anymore. The song ended and he straightened her up. Arm in arm they made their way back to their little table. They gulped down their drinks, a cranberry juice for her and a club soda for him. She grabbed his arm and looked at his watch.
"Sweetie, we should probably get out of here. We both have work tomorrow." Penny smoothed her dress down as she stood. Raj was still for a moment. She turned, but before she could see where he was looking, he shook his head.
He leaned in close. "One more dance, Penny. Then we can go. Okay?"
She smiled and nodded. She liked these evenings with Raj. He had come so far in just a few months. He was still unable to talk to other women without alcohol, but their increased exposure to each other had finally gotten him over it with her.
Another song started up, so they hit the dance floor. She laughed as Raj twirled her around. He was such a great dancer and, she was honest enough to admit, she sometimes had trouble keeping up. At the moment Raj was putting all his moves out there. He kept her almost flush against him as they moved to the beat. By the time the song ended, Penny was short of breath. But it had been a good night, so she didn't complain. Raj smiled down at her and they made their way to the door. Raj slipped a hand around her waist to edge her around a group of frat boys and they walked out into the cool night air.