This is a plot bunny from the Paradox LJ community: what might happen if Leonard ever actually got a cat? Having just spent the last week suffering with cat dander, this struck home for me. :)
Spoilers: None, if you know about Leonard's cat thing
Disclaimer: TBBT is soooo not mine. Nor is 'It Happened One Night'. But I'm a fan of both.
"Dis was your doing!" Sheldon declared, pointing at her accusingly as she opened her door. The overall effect was hindered by the Kleenex covering the lower half of his face. He looked like Santa Claus the Outlaw.
Penny's eyes crossed slightly as she focused on the finger inches from her nose. "What?"
He sneezed loud enough to rattle pictures on the walls. "Id's all your fault! Whad's more galling is dat even at the dibe - SNIFF! - I dnew your laughably unequal liaison was doomed to failure! SNIFF! I was the Santa Susana Laboratory of your relationship with Leonard, forced to bear silent witness as dwo of - ACHOO! - you said, 'Hey, doesn't a sodium reactor sound like a really gread idea?!'" He paused for breath and wiped his streaming eyes.
"What the hell are you talking about, Sheldon?" Penny said, crossing her arms. He was interrupting her night of Classic Hollywood. She had her PJs on, popcorn popped, and pillows propped just so on the sofa. She, in short, was not amused.
"Whad am I dalking aboud? Whad am I dalking aboud?!"
Penny was tempted to repeat it a third time, just for sentiment's sake. But judging from the insane glitter in her friend's eyes, it was probably a bad time to joke. The whites of his eyes were bloodshot, making the irises look more piercing and crazier than usual. Sheldon Copper was clearly a man at the end of his rope. He blew his nose vigorously and sounded a little better.
"I'b talking about the feline interloper that has decided to make itself comfortable in my home, Penny!"
Eyebrows raised, she mouthed the words 'feline interloper' to herself. Again, what the hell was Sheldon talking about?
"A CAT, Penny! I'm talking about a cat!"
Wordlessly, she swung her apartment door wide.
"You know how Leonard gets after his relationships go predictably south," Sheldon complained, moving past her and making himself comfortable in "his" spot. "Although I disapprove of the use of spirits to quote, 'drown one's sorrows', someone needs to get that man a bottle of bourbon to cry into!" His twang was muffled under a pile of tissues. He sneezed again.
"Sheldon," Penny began, "I can't be held responsible for this. It's been six weeks! And Leonard is a grown man," she shuffled to the kitchen. "I guess everyone deals with breakups a little differently."
"I find it unlikely that anyone else mourns the inevitable end of an ill-conceived relationship by systematically poisoning their roommate."
Depends on the roommate, she thought. However, the words stayed firmly in her head. She and Sheldon had reached, as Sheldon put it, d'entente... Something. In English, they'd reached an understanding. A big part of that was just deciding to let the little things go. Not pretend that the other person didn't have faults, but be willing to accept them and move on.
Just as Sheldon was currently trying valiantly to accept the scatter of magazines and drying underwear that littered her living room. It seemed that the problem with the cat had overwhelmed him so much all he could do was twitch once in the direction of her red bustier.
Actually, once they'd both decided an 'accept and move on" policy was the way to go (and Sheldon had drawn up the necessary paperwork), it was like the tension had gone out of them both. Well, some of it. They wouldn't be them without a little bit of contention. But Penny now freely admitted she enjoyed having the lanky, opinionated Physicist around. "Do you want some tea, sweetie?"
Sheldon nodded miserably. "With honey, please."
"Why is Leonard getting a cat now?" Penny asked, putting the kettle on to boil, "I really thought he was fine with the whole not-dating-anymore thing. I mean, it was an amicable breakup." Penny took two mugs out of the cupboard. "Not a single dish was thrown. I didn't even swear."
"I don't know," he replied. "But when I returned home from the comic book shop yesterday, what should I discover sitting on the sofa but a small, fuzzy harbinger of my doom."
"Aren't you being a little dramatic?"
"Well, you would know." Penny's eyes narrowed. "You are an actress," he continued innocently.
"I thought you had one of the those roommate agreement thingies about pets? Why don't you just bring that up to Leonard, if this is going to be such a problem?"
Sheldon blew his nose loudly. "I did think of that, but unfortunately, the agreement was for no pets, with an exception to be made if they are purchased from a laboratory specializing in engineered hypoallergenic breeds."
The kettle whistled; Penny prepared the tea, measuring a precise amount of honey into the blue mug. "Ah. Hoist with your own petard."
He looked a little put out, beneath all the allergy-induced puffiness. "In my defense, Penny, I believed at the time that such a venture would be cost-prohibitive. Also, that they would at the very least live up to their claims of being hypoallergenic, which as you see they do not." He accepted the tea and took a gulp.
"Well," Penny said. She found her spot on the sofa (damn it, she had a "spot" on her own damn sofa), and folded her legs gracefully beneath her. "It's your apartment, too. You need to talk to Leonard about this. Maybe he can keep the cat in his bedroom."
"I agree. But I need to detoxify myself first. Every time I've attempted to speak to Leonard in the last twenty-four hours, I've been overcome with cat dander."
"Aw..." she reached over and gave him a comforting pat on the knee. He responded by giving her a bashful smile and sneezing in her face.
"Sorry," he muttered, blowing his nose yet again.
"Hey, y'know...what's a little spray between friends," she said, grimacing slightly. She grabbed a tissue from the coffee table and tried a surreptitious clean up.
"I haven't had an allergic reaction this bad since Uncle Beauregard decided to stash his pet mountain lion, Frisky, in the lean-to outside my bedroom window," Sheldon said. He gulped the rest of his tea down.
Penny looked at her miserable friend. She looked at her plans for the evening - her "acting homework", a stack of Claudette Colbert films and some microwave popcorn - and then back at Sheldon again. She felt a small spark of anger at Leonard. It didn't matter how crap he was feeling about his love life, how could he be thoughtless enough to do something that was literally hurting his friend?
Maybe she was being unfair. When someone was as finicky as Sheldon, it was hard to guess which of his little phobias really had any foundation. Leonard probably had no idea what a cat would do to Sheldon. He probably assumed Sheldon just didn't want a mess.
Leonard was a good friend; he'd do something about it. In the mean time, however...
"Honey," Penny drawled in her best Mae West - which, when it was good, was very good, "How'd you like to take a good long look at a real classy cat?"
Sheldon blew his nose with the now-familiar honk. "What?"
"Movies, Sheldon. Why don't you detox here and watch some movies with me? I just started 'It Happened One Night'."
"Can we make popcorn?"
She walked her fingers coyly up his arm. "Sure, and I'll make it so you'll never want anybody's popcorn but mine."
"Why are you talking like that?" he asked, eyeing her warily.
She blinked and removed her hand. "I don't know. Never mind. So, are you staying, or what?"
"It sounds like an acceptable plan. Thank you, Penny."
The cat, eventually, found a new home with a very grateful elderly owner. Leonard never again threatened to buy another one after his break ups - at least, not while he lived with Sheldon. And Sheldon eventually grew quite fond of Penny's Mae West imitations.