Ducking into Penny’s apartment that evening, Leonard rationalizes to himself, was necessary to his own continued survival. With another rendition of the Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler Show going on in his living room, it was just good sense to be anywhere but there, and Penny’s apartment has always been a good escape from his roommate. Well, maybe not always, but most times. Sheldon could be pretty tenacious in his wants after all.
He’s not entirely sure what it was that he was expecting when she shouted for him to come in instead of answering the door– maybe some pretty lingerie just for him?– but it is certainly not what he got.
There is a half naked man sitting on her couch with his back to the door.
More importantly, to Leonard at least, Penny is sitting directly behind him and doing something to his back. The spark of jealousy that sears through him doesn’t fade even when she turns around to wave him in. “Were you planning on standing in the doorway all night? Come in, Leonard!”
The stranger makes an attempt to turn at look at him, but that’s about as far as he gets before Penny slaps him upside the head. “Don’t move or I’ll pull something.”
“You should have been a nurse,” the stranger grumbles in a pain roughened voice; and now that Leonard has stepped around the couch he can see the reason why. Penny is very carefully cleaning a line of stitches that hold together the rough edges of what looks like a stab wound that hasn’t even begun to heal, and the scientist finally takes in more of the man than just the fact that he’s half naked.
He is the very picture of exhaustion. His blood shot eyes are sunken into a sallow face, and a three day beard grows in patches along his chin, though he appears to have at least made the effort to shave his neck if the nicks and cuts along it are anything to go by. His jeans are ratty and a size too large, sliding down his hips even while sitting; he almost looks like he’s not used to wearing them. His Captain America boxers peek out over his belt, and Leonard finds that just a dash more creepy than it used to be because Captain America is real.
Actually, this guy seems to have a real Captain America fetish going on. Leonard is 100% certain that Penny doesn’t own the Captain America dufflebag at the end of the couch, or the replica 1940s bomber jacket with “Rogers” on the sleeve. It’s at about this point that Leonard realizes that he’s been staring for a bit longer than is strictly polite and starts stuttering out a long winded apology.
Penny leans over and smiles as she lays her hand over his mouth. “Relax Leonard. This is my brother Philip. Phil, this is Leonard.”
“Wait, the drug dealer brother?”
Phil looks far more amused by that than a man with a knife wound through his back– and Holy Batman does it come right out the front? How is this man alive?!– has any right to be. “I didn’t deal drugs. I made chemical compounds.”
“You made crystal meth,” Penny rolls her eyes. “Stop trying to make it sound impressive.”
(And that was how Leonard Hofstadter met Penny’s older brother Phil Coulson.)