Those of you who know me are probably thinking "Whoa what are you writing you crazy lady" and well yeah I've become a BBT fan. Now, that's not to say I'm a die-hard like some of you may be - meaning I'm apologizing in advance for any mistakes or OOCness. I am a recreational BBT user and die-hard Shenny shipper (I do what I want). So here's a small story. Hopefully writing this will help me figure out what the hell I'm doing with my other fics, because I've been suffering from serious writer's block.
They need to invent viagra for authors.
Anywho, here's a story yay. I hope BBT fans (and others if you've graced this story with your lovely little eyes) do enjoy this.
It had been so menial an argument that Leonard and the gang had hardly noticed it. Oh, but Sheldon and Penny had noticed it—positively explosive is what it was. It was Friday, thus the plan was Chinese food and vintage games. Preparations were made accordingly, and when Penny had invited herself after her own plans had fallen through, it was all Sheldon could do to grit his teeth and acquiesce to her request. Leonard had been moderately eager, though he knew the chances of yet another rekindling with the blonde somewhat-actress were meager at best. The friendship Leonard and Penny shared was rocky since the last break up, but essential to the fabric of their overall group infrastructure, and so Sheldon had ensured they would keep up some semblance of correspondence in order to keep the rest of them from feeling awkward.
Penny, for her part, was a gracious guest. In the beginning. She'd made her modifications to the menu, which were checked and re-checked by Sheldon a few times before being revised and, eventually, approved. She'd taken her spot next to the genius, who was mostly quiet that evening. She wasn't sure if it rattled her, and she longed to hear him speak in order to confirm he held no grudge toward her presence that night after her failed plans. A quick glance at him showed him to be no more neurotic than usual, a good sign in her mind, and she went on eating and listening to the discussions of the other friends around her.
However, things quickly fell downhill when it came time for gaming. Sheldon started up the humming old console and revealed the game of choice to be Zork. She was interested at first in the name, but after a quick explanation from Howard as to the text-based adventure aspects of the game (boring!) she was fast to vocalize her disinterest and suggest something she thought to be better.
An eye twitch was thrown in her general direction, the tall genius swiveling to look at her. "Absolutely not."
"Well, I just think," she continued on, gesturing widely to the men seated around her, "that maybe Mario would be better for all of us."
Now, Sheldon would not generally stand for such things, and she knew that. Penny had no problem with testing his patience and rubbing him the wrong way. At times, it could even be…what was a word he'd approve of? Gratifying to throw him so off-balance.
But something was different this time. Sheldon had been struggling at work, stuck with something particularly puzzling and also becoming moderately agitated with what he deemed as a lack of respect from the college boards—specifically, their recent tight budgets. He'd clamored that they were restricting all of his scientific work and that the future needed him to work with the amount of money he'd been receiving, if not more (Sheldon was not a subtle hinter). Being shot down in such an unfilial manner after his rather reasonable set of suggestions and guidelines had been put forth gave him an ample amount of agitation as of late.
This, though—this impudent behavior on his neighbor's part—was the absolute last straw. "Perhaps Mario would be better suited for you, Penny," he began harshly, lilting tone an octave higher than usual in his overall state of complete mental and partially emotional distress. "However, it is not better for the people who were actually planned for."
She could cope with that jibe easily enough, and only offered a scoff, "Well you didn't have to say yes to me joining you!"
The gang looked back to Sheldon in what they were sure was to become another verbal tennis-match, necks craning to view him as he drew himself up to his full height, blood boiling with indignant fire. His cheeks flushed only slightly with the uncharacteristic, albeit internalized, rage he felt.
"And had I refused your presence, would that have stopped you from joining us anyway?"
She faltered. Penny wanted to lie, to say yes, but she knew she would have crept over immediately after the refusal and staked claim of her spot on the couch either way. His agreement had just made it easier for her to do so. She knew the people watching her, awaiting a response, would see straight through the lie.
And anyway, this wasn't a real argument or anything. Well, it was, but come on, it was just Sheldon. All would be well soon.
"Well, no, but…" She paused in search of a suitable rebuttal, standing up to be on somewhat even ground with the giant before her. He shuffled forward just a bit to reinstate a greater height difference.
"Exactly! I knew this because your previous catalogued behavior has led me to the conclusion that, invited or not, I can expect you to come here and pester me!"
Again, she could take that. Just Sheldon. She furrowed her brows a bit deeper, the adrenaline of their fight finally hitting her. "Yeah, I do! And would have!" She didn't really have a further argument, so she resorted to her usual, "But you need to loosen up a little!"
"On the contrary, it bothers me deeply!" He stuck a finger in the air, his argument coming to a crest. Reaching his (metaphorical, of course) boiling point, Sheldon continued on, words clear in the air but rushed. "It bothers me deeply that someone out there, whom is not wanted nor needed in this apartment as it is, can so flippantly disregard all of my guidelines, all of my personal beliefs!"
"I…" she faltered again.
"You bother me, Penny!" he continued despite her small interjection. "I did not want you here when you first arrived, and have not wanted you here since, but have been quite accommodating despite that!" It was harsh, even a small part of him could acknowledge this.
Okay, she couldn't take that one. Any retorts she'd had died immediately, falling backward into her throat and choking her. The tears stung with shame, and Penny bit her lip. His words were enforced with a look of clear sincerity and coldness in those blue eyes, and well, a) it was that time of the month and b) Sheldon hadn't ever really said anything that mean to her. Sure, he insulted her intelligence and on occasion made too close a reference to her promiscuous background, but he'd never outright expressed anger at her existence in his life.
Yet now he had, and it hurt.
He was good at being "mean," but it was always inadvertent and consequence of his inability to truly express his thoughts and feelings in terms she would fully understand. Thus, in his attempt to stoop to her vernacular, he would become vocally clumsy and misspeak in ways that often left her open-mouthed and teary-eyed. This instance was no different, however this time he was not quick to restate and offer a rather insincere apology. Instead he stood stoic and still as she took in his words.
While Sheldon, in his own way, had simply meant that he'd been making a sacrifice since he'd first met her and thusly was entitled to the right to choose Zork over Mario on this particular occasion, Penny took his words to mean what they sounded like: he didn't like her, never had, and didn't want her around. She thought briefly back on those times—hugging her, helping her with her dislocated arm, singing Soft Kitty to her. And though they indicated otherwise, looking at the whack-a-doodle only confirmed her belief that she was neither liked nor wanted around here.
So she left. Drawn up into herself and sincerely confused by the amount of pain this whole thing had caused her, Penny turned and walked out the door she apparently walked in through all too frequently. Though an angry part of her urged her to slam it so hard the landlord felt it, she instead turned to look at her friends with watery eyes and shut it slowly, deliberately.
There was silence in the still room. The group was shell-shocked, a little angry on Penny's behalf, but absolutely unable to express that in the wake of Sheldon's outburst. Penny's leaving immediately broke him into another terrible eye-twitch, followed by a slight tremor of the left hand and snarl of the upper lip. No, things were not looking good for Dr. Cooper.
Before Leonard could sufficiently force past the shock enough to berate his horribly-smart-yet-awfully-dense roommate, Sheldon had retreated to his room. Vintage Game night was unofficially canceled, as its host never returned. Not that any of the other players would have been willing to participate, had he emerged from his hiding.
Raj and Howard had made it clear, through their sudden scarcity, that they didn't wish to get involved. Leonard, at the same time, took it upon himself to take a vow of silence when in Sheldon's presence. Upon Sheldon's queries into his friend's sudden case of laconism, Leonard would only proffer the young genius a pointed glance to the door of their apartment and, by extension, the other door across the hall.
Penny, too, made herself rare. These things severely impaired Sheldon's schedule, which was agitating in its own right. Trying to plan his routine with so many gaps was just frustrating, and he found himself being forced to use Amy as a fill-in for Penny, which simply didn't do; especially not after their coldly calculated and rather recent break up. It had been a quiet affair, something both parties appreciated, as she'd said the words. He understood her point that the intimacy simply wasn't to a level she'd expected and, though the scientist in her attempted to wait it out for him to become comfortable, the woman in her knew he never would. His twitching, his flinching, his snarls and his stiffness all indicated that he was still not even comfortable with something as simple as holding hands—so, though he was understanding and even relieved by the news, it provided that any social interactions between just the two of them were fairly awkward. That, and calling on Amy was difficult as well. The girl, though still soft for Sheldon and willing to easily forgive him for his transgressions against her 'bestie,' was often found across the hall in the apartment Sheldon dared not call upon.
He'd suddenly become everyone's second place, and he simply didn't like it. It had turned into "Team Penny" and "Team Sheldon" with no one in his corner. Though Sheldon liked his solitude just fine, readjusting his routine to encompass only himself and still be satisfying was a lot of hard work that he simply didn't want to bother himself with.
His pride held out exactly two weeks, and finally, after another pointed glance from Leonard, Sheldon did something that left himself incredulous as he looked back on it—he put his half-eaten cereal down and left directly in the middle of Doctor Who. "Before eleven throat-punch rule" be damned, he was going to get to the bottom of this conundrum and possibly make that strange weight in his chest go away.
His heart jumped inside his chest when he spotted the door across the hall, something he chalked up to an adrenaline release due to Penny's classic conditioning of him to avoid knocking on that door before the designated time, similar to Pavlov and his dogs.
The thought of Penny being Pavlov and him being the obedient dog startled him, and he shook it away almost violently. His hands trembled as he brought them both upward—the left rested softly on the doorframe and the right hesitated in the air above her door.
Knock knock knock, "Penny?"
Knock knock knock, "Penny?"
Knock knock knock, "Penny?"
He waited a few moments, hearing shuffling. The door opened and the lights switched off at the same moment, but the woman he was looking at was precisely not the woman he wanted to see at all. "Amy?" he asked in bewilderment. "Why are you in Penny's apartment?" His question was almost accusatory in nature.
She looked startled by his appearance. "Sheldon, I hadn't expected you to come over here."
The tall man peeked around her into the darkened room, searching for a hint of movement from the one he was actually looking for. "Where is Penny?" he questioned. "Why are you in Penny's apartment?" he repeated, on edge.
"I am watching it for her," was the terse reply—not unkind, but not particularly forthcoming. His patience dwindled.
"Why would you need to do that? Her shifts only last six to fourteen hours—surely the apartment can stand to be empty for that long. Unless, has she recently acquired a pet?"
Amy licked her lips and shook her head. "No, she has not." Again, he suspected she was not telling him a complete truth; not well versed in lying, even by omission, Amy's face was scrunched and her eyes were frantic, never staying on his face for very long. Her face was so indicative of her lie that even Sheldon, horribly ignorant of most human kinesiology, was able to tell she was hiding something.
He rounded back to his original question which was, ultimately, the meat of why he was here. "Where is Penny?"
Stuck now and unwilling to lie to him, Amy sighed. "She's gone away for a while, Sheldon—you've upset her terribly and now she's left for a brief time."
His voice cracked, not completely uncharacteristic but still unexpected, "She what? Left? But that's—that's…" Not often speechless, Sheldon's mind took three different tracks here: he wondered why such a thing made him unable to come up with a response while simultaneously trying to produce a suitable reply to what she'd told him. However, taking precedence over both of those things was the one thought that answered both questions: "Where did she go?"
"I'm not sure, but she is sure to text me regularly to prove she's alive and well, as per our agreement."
"When did she leave?" He was still utterly flabbergasted, and thus persisted even though Amy was shuffling around in the doorway, making it apparent that she was rather uncomfortable. He didn't notice, too stunned to notice much of anything, hanging on the words she was saying.
"Yesterday afternoon," Amy replied. "She texted me every six hours, barring the time she took to sleep, and is supposed to do so from now until she returns."
"Well this is just preposterous!" he exclaimed, finally managing to fall back into his usual lilting tone and speak like himself—though he truly didn't feel much like himself, another disconcerting discovery. He felt like he'd just been punched in the gut, a feeling he was all too familiar with from grade school.
He didn't much like the fact that her leaving was akin to a physical blow, and that only caused him to become irritated at her for causing such a reaction, as well as concerned. Truly something had to be wrong for his thoracic and abdominal cavity to ache in such a way, and the tightening of his throat surely didn't help matters.
"My throat is constricting," he began, "much like an adverse allergic reaction…" he contemplated this for a moment before dipping his head back toward the darkened room as he realized what he might be allergic to. "Are you sure she hasn't recently gotten any new pets; a cat, perhaps?"