“How did they even get past your armor?” Penny peeled Sheldon’s sodden shirt sleeve up his arm.
“Very precise aiming.” Sheldon miserably lifted his arms and allowed her to pull his outer t-shirt up and off. Once it was off, the contrast between the bright green splattered arms and pale gray body of his long-sleeved t-shirt was stark.
“I thought this paint was supposed to be water-soluble. It’s washed off every other time you’ve gotten it on you.”
Now Sheldon just looked angry. “Kripke,” he spat. “That... that weasel has had it in for me for a long time. He rigged the paintballs somehow.”
“Well, sweetie, maybe that’s because you filled his office with -- with that goop stuff.” Penny started easing Sheldon’s arms out of the longer sleeves, trying not to smear any more paint on his skin.
“He had it coming!”
“Uh-huh. Don’t tell me you’ve never learned anything about how prank wars escalate.” She had her hands up under his t-shirt now, struggling to get it over his head without smacking him in the face with one of the arms.
He just gave her a woebegone look as she wriggled the neck up over his face. “I hope you’ve remedied your deficiency of adhesive ducks,” he mumbled through the fabric.
“‘Thank you for letting me get your bathroom dirty instead of mine, Penny.’ ‘Oh, not at all, Sheldon, it’s fine if my bathroom gets covered in green crap that probably won’t come off.’“ Penny gave him a good glare as soon as she could see his face again. “Now get up and take your pants off.”
Penny just pointed silently at the fluorescent green paint marring the knees of Sheldon’s pants, and Sheldon stood up and shed them, wrapping his arms around himself and making a dramatic production out of shivering. Penny gathered them up and dumped them into the garbage bag with his other stained clothes before reaching out to turn on the shower.
Sheldon didn’t complain any further, just stepped under the spray and started scrubbing as Penny went across to 4A, explained to Leonard that Sheldon was (mostly) naked in her shower, helped Leonard clean up the coffee he’d spat everywhere, and then waited for Leonard to navigate Sheldon’s room to select fresh day-appropriate clothing.
When she got back to her own apartment the water was still running. Steam drifted from the bathroom, and Sheldon’s plaintive voice came with it.
“Penny, I can’t reach my back.”
“Can’t you just... let it wear off or something?”
Penny took a deep breath, counted backwards from ten, and then pulled her bikini out of its drawer.
Sheldon was looking a little less colorful by the time she got in with him and took her nail brush firmly out of his hand. He still had streaks and smears of paint here and there, but he no longer looked like a half-orc.
He turned away from her and leaned against the wall, but not before she got an eyeful of what he was sporting in his now very wet and clinging white underpants. Penny started scrubbing the trail of green that had trickled down his back from the copious quantities of paint in his hair, and told herself that she was not going to make any sort of move on him. That she’d only freak him out if she did, and that he was probably uncomfortable enough just having her do this.
He didn’t seem all that uncomfortable, though; he wasn’t even terribly tense as he leaned against the wall, although his spine did stiffen a little when she got closer to his butt with the brush.
Finally, she just had to ask.
“Sheldon, how come you’re not freaking out over showering with me?”
He looked back over his shoulder at her. “Because you’re getting me clean, Penny. I have less of an objection to this than I do to being covered in itchy green paint. You know I don’t like being dirty.”
Scrub, scrub, scrub.
“You know, Sheldon... some people might think this was a little... dirty.” She reinforced her point by slipping her fingers under the elastic of his underpants and dragging them down a little. Whatever Kripke had doctored the paintballs with, it made the paint not only a bitch to scrub off, but also insidiously runny.
“It’s a shower. The whole point is getting clean.”
The whole point, Penny thought with a sigh, was something that had passed Sheldon by entirely.