A.N. - Hello BBT fans, I'm new to this particular community but I truly love the show! So I watched Thursday night's episode, "The Scavenger Vortex", and was laughing so hard my sides hurt. I'm a big fan of the Sheldon/Penny pairing, so as a fair warning, it's those two who will end up together in this story. I tried to make everyone as in character as possible, though I probably made the ending a tad fluffier than it should be. I just couldn't help myself! This will be a one-shot because I have other stories that I've been remiss on updating (stupid writer's block), and figured this would help shake up the cobwebs. I hope everyone enjoys!

P.S. - I'm really surprised (and frustrated) that I have yet to see any Shenny stories revolving around the new season. I really hope someone besides me will get around to doing that. :D

The Neil Diamond Outcome

Penny huffed and scooted past Sheldon, who was still grinning like an idiot, and for the life of her, she couldn't help the small smirk that began to lift at the corners of her mouth. Guess I wasn't a liability after all, huh, Sheldon? She almost missed the smile he sent her way as she went to her apartment. The familiar sensation of butterflies swarmed in her stomach and she cursed to herself. She hated the reaction he always seemed to provoke within her. She wasn't supposed to feel this way about him. He was her best friend and her boyfriend's roommate for crying out loud! Yet the thoughts that ran amok in her head, such as the fact that when he smiled at her she was filled with love for him, the fact that she adored singing "Soft Kitty" to him when he was sick, or that she often found herself staring at his long, elegant fingers, wondering how they would feel on her skin, thoughts like these made her feel like she was truly going crazy. Even crazier yet was the moment in her car when he'd yelled out how his brain was better than everyone's, she'd wanted to kiss him so badly, she'd had to dig her fingernails into her thighs to prevent herself from ruining everything. And it would ruin everything; her friendship with Sheldon, her, whatever she had with Leonard, and Amy's friendship would be shot too. So Penny just shoved her feelings aside, like she always had, and moved forward. Life would go on and all that nonsense. Besides, she loved Leonard. You're just not in love with him, are you? She quickly squelched the thought as she turned on her TV.

Leonard was trying to calm down, looking at his emails and funny things on Youtube. He wondered, as he often did, whether he was truly happy in his life. He told himself that he had everything he could want in his life, at this moment. His career was at an all-time high, he had great friends, and the girl of his dreams. And yet, it was that last one that always niggled in his mind. He'd pursued Penny for years, but now that he finally had her, he wasn't so sure anymore. Sure, she was the epitome of what every guy wanted in a girl, but sometimes, Leonard found himself wishing for more. He wanted to spend long nights with a romantic partner laying in bed, talking about the universe and how it worked, and on various subjects they shared an interest in. He also wished that she had been able to tell him that she loved him sooner than she had, but she was so afraid of commitment, that she'd shot him down both times he'd proposed to her. And not for the first time, he wondered if whether her lack of commitment to him wasn't due to the fact that she wasn't sure she wanted him. He also wondered when she'd realize her long-standing crush on his crazy roommate. His thoughts were derailed when he came across a video titled "Couple crazy for Neil Diamond". "Oh my God!" he cried out as he recognized the two people featured. "Bernadette, look at this!"

Bernadette came over and her eyes bugged out as she said, "That's Howie! What on earth is he doing?"

"It looks like he's singing karaoke with Amy."

"Well let's go get them!"

"What? Why me?"

"Because I don't have a car, moron!"

And as she shoved Leonard out the door, he snapped at her, "I thought the game was over! Stop being so mean!" Still, he went with her.

Sheldon hadn't been paying to the conversation much as he'd still been on cloud nine for winning the game. Penny should be celebrating with me, he thought. He'd underestimated her abilities greatly, and felt that he owed her some sort of apology for that. The thought of her beaming at him when he praised her efforts made him grin even more. She'd been his constant source of comfort over the summer when Leonard had been gone, as both of them had missed the small physicist, but it was more than that. She was always there when he needed someone to help him out with human experiences and emotions he didn't quite understand. Amy would often get frustrated at him and either hang up or go home if she didn't want to face his particular thought processes. Not Penny. Despite the fact that Sheldon had the inkling Penny would like to go "junior rodeo" on his ass many a time, she still had the patience to stick by him. He might give her a hard time about, well, just about everything in her life, but she was still the most loyal friend he had. And then there were the other sensations Penny made him feel that he was still trying to grasp, such as the fact that he secretly hoped she would hug him more often, that seeing her smile at him brightened his day considerably, and that whenever they would get in each other's faces during a fight, he wondered how it would feel to wrap her in his arms and kiss her. At first, these thoughts had triggered a panic response within him and he'd tried to avoid her for a whole week. But Penny had done what she does best, invade his life when he'd least wanted her company. Strangely, he hadn't gone insane and his work had even improved during that week. He'd begun to wonder if his burgeoning feelings for her were helping his brain activity. He wanted to experiment with the possibilities, but even Sheldon Cooper knew that it would be beyond against protocol to pursue his roommate's girlfriend, especially while he himself was in a relationship. He knew that at some point soon, he would have to let Amy know that he didn't wish to take their romance any further. He cared for Amy, he really did. She was smart, and she had helped him realize that it was okay for him to be human once in a while. And yet, it was not Amy who he fantasized about when he was alone in his bedroom. From what Sheldon had learned over the years, he'd gathered that you couldn't have a relationship if there wasn't chemistry.

The object of his fascination walked through the door right then. "Hey Sheldon," she greeted, all smiles. "Did the others tell you what Raj did?"

"No, I'm afraid they've all left."

"Oh? Where did they go?"

"Apparently, Howard and Amy are enjoying a rousing night of karaoke, so Leonard and Bernadette went to go get them." Sheldon may not have been paying much attention, but he had still heard the conversation.

"Are you serious?!" she squeaked, giggling. "We so have to go!"

"Alright," Sheldon answered as she grabbed his arm, pulling him to the door. His arm tingled where she had a hold of him and Sheldon found himself pondering how he could create an experiment that would duplicate the results of her contact.

When Leonard and Bernadette arrived at the establishment, there was a large crowd gathered. "Geez, they're pretty popular," Leonard commented. "And they're good, too."

Bernadette narrowed her eyes, replying, "I don't care how good or popular they are, I'm furious that Howard didn't tell me where he was!"

She yelled out at the top of her lungs for Howard, and both the music and crowd went quiet. "Bernie?" Howard questioned as he moved towards her.

"Don't Bernie me, mister!" she growled. "I had no idea where you were until I saw the video of you and Amy on Youtube!" Her eyes teared up and her voice became softer then. "What if something had happened to you? I wouldn't know about it and I'd be worried sick!"

"Aww Bernie, I'm so sorry. I just got caught up in Neil Diamond. I didn't mean to make you worried. Let's go home, okay?"

As the couple left, Amy's face fell. For one, shining moment, she'd had a crowd routing for her. Leonard saw her and felt pity, so he decided to comfort her. "You were really great up there," he smiled.

"You think so?" she replied, her smile returning.

"Well yeah. I mean, you were belting out Neil Diamond perfectly."

"You like him too?"

"He's not my favorite, but yeah, he's alright. Howard played all of his songs once when I first knew him."

"Maybe you and I could share some of our favorite songs sometime."

"I'd like that."

"I wish Sheldon would share things like that with me."

Leonard fidgeted, wondering if he should say what he was thinking. Finally, he decided to go for it. What was the worst that could happen? "You know, Amy, I don't think you're treated as well as you should be."

"What do you mean by that?" she asked, and though there was a slightly defensive tone to it, Leonard could also tell that deep down, she knew what he meant.

"What I mean is that love shouldn't be forced. You deserve someone who will want to sweep you into his arms and make love to you without abandon. And you need someone who will listen to what you have to say and not just expect it to be a one-way street."

Tears filled Amy's eyes and Leonard thought that perhaps he'd said too much. But then, she threw herself into his arms and sobbed out, "You're right. You're so right! I never should have pushed Sheldon into trying to be in a relationship with me, but I thought that we were perfect for each other."

"You were, for a while. You were more than good enough friends, because you had similar thinking patterns. But sometimes, relationships just grow apart."

"Like you and Penny?"

"Yeah," he breathed, and for the first time, he realized that he was rather fond of Amy. God, how blind had he been? He felt ashamed. Here was a woman who fit everything that he'd been wanting. And sure, she was a little strange sometimes, but then again, so was he. "You know that you're beautiful, right?" he asked.

She blushed and replied, "I never told Penny, but I always found you handsome."

They didn't need to say anything more to each other, they just leaned in and kissed. Leonard couldn't remember a time when a simple kiss felt more right. "Holy crap on a cracker!" Leonard and Amy broke apart suddenly as they heard Penny's voice. To both of their chagrins, she was not alone. Sheldon also stood there, looking gobsmacked. "Are you freakin' kidding me?!" Penny continued. "Both of you should be ashamed! How could you do this to Sheldon?!" Tears began to flow down Penny's cheeks. She couldn't believe it. Sure, she knew that Leonard would find someone else eventually and she was more than prepared for that day. But Amy?! "How could you do this to him?!" She repeated, practically screaming at them now, but she was so angry she couldn't help it. "Leonard, I had a feeling that we'd grow apart soon, but you've just hurt the man you claim is your friend. And Amy, you've been trying to get more intimate with Sheldon for months, yet here you are, making out with his roommate? I can't believe you two!" She was shaking with anger now and realized she'd probably better leave before she did something foolish.

Meanwhile, Sheldon stood there, staring at his former girlfriend and his roommate, formulating how to best proceed. He glanced at Leonard, who was looking at him pleadingly. Later, Sheldon would deny that anything strange had happened, citing the bond that he and Leonard had cultivated over the years as to the reason why they'd been able to communicate without words. Yet that is exactly what happened. It was as if they were able to read each other's minds and an understanding was reached. As Penny moved to leave, Sheldon grabbed her by the arm. She turned back towards him, shock clearly registering on her face that he would willingly touch her. He smiled at her and said, "Penny, though I am touched at your concern over my well-being, there's no need for theatrics."

"But-" she began.

He cut her off by saying, "And while I respect your need to be a 'big ol' five', my mother taught me that it is the gentleman who is supposed to make his intentions clear." Upon that statement, he pulled Penny to him and kissed her gently, because he was still rather inexperienced.

"Oh!" both Amy and Penny said, though Penny's was rather muffled by Sheldon's lips. Soon, though, Penny snaked her arms around Sheldon's neck and began to kiss him back just as gently. She couldn't believe this was happening, but she also didn't want to scare Sheldon off. When the kiss ended, she glanced back at Leonard and Amy who were grinning ear to ear at her and Sheldon.

"I always thought there was something between you guys, but I didn't think that you'd ever act on it," Leonard commented.

"Yes," Sheldon coughed, "well, I suppose kissing isn't as bad as I've always thought it to be." Penny pinched Sheldon slightly, but couldn't help the grin that was spreading across her face. She noticed that he glanced down at her and that the corners of his mouth twitched. Yeah, you liked it, she thought at him, smiling even more. "Does this mean everyone is still friends?" Sheldon asked hopefully.

Penny, Leonard, and Amy all looked at each other, then nodded, replying, "Yes."

"Good, because I'd hate to have to find new friends. My schedule would be a disaster for months."

"What he means is that he'd miss you guys," Penny translated.

"Yeah, they'll be good for each other," Leonard commented, mostly to himself, but Amy heard him and agreed.

"You know, perhaps we should congratulate Rajesh," Amy said.

"Why's that?"

"Well, earlier today, he said he wanted to mix things up. Things just got more mixed up than even he could have planned for." They all laughed at that and left to go back to the apartment.

"Howard and Bernadette are sure gonna have a big surprise when we get home!" Penny chuckled, and she couldn't help but squeeze Sheldon's butt as he walked out the door in front of her.

"Penny!" he cried out, turning around to face her. "I did not give you permission to fondle my person in any way."

"Aww, but you have such a cute ass, I couldn't help it."

He blinked at her, a blush crossing his cheeks. She bit her lip to keep from laughing, and then he said something completely unexpected. "Very well, if you do it again, I will just have to retaliate in kind!" Oh she was definitely going to have to do it again now! She could practically see the calculations spinning in his head and she couldn't wait to find out what punishment he had in mind. And by the smirk on his face, he knew that she wouldn't be able to back down from his challenge. Game on, Sheldon.