Title: The Best Gift
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Penny feels sorry for Sheldon when his toy transporter is broken...Spoilers for 05x20 The Transporter Malfunction.
A/N: This popped into my head right after the episode and I just had to write it down. Please review!
If Penny could have taken the gifts back, she would have. Leonard, like a boy, was bragging about his transporter, while Sheldon sat at his desk moping. He obviously tried not to listen to the plastic noises, but he almost seemed to be in pain. Just because his own transporter had broken down and he couldn't play himself. Naturally, Sheldon would never ask Leonard if they could play together. Such a question would have required a maturity neither of them possessed. All in all, it was frustrating for Penny. She'd only bought the toys, because she had wanted to do something nice for them. It was true how she used their internet connection and ate their food for free. Originally, Penny had only wanted to buy the toy for Sheldon. He was, after all, not her boyfriend. There was no reason whatsoever for him to pay any of her expenses. Yet, he always did. So she'd only bought one transporter. Stuart had told her how much Sheldon would love it, but what about Leonard? Until that moment, she hadn't considered Leonard's feelings. She told Stuart she already had another gift for him. She didn't tell him it was a label maker. But the way Stuart stared back at her made her realize she would never hear the end of it if she didn't buy the same toy for Leonard as well. And so she bought another one.
"Can you go play in your room!" Sheldon suddenly shouted. "I'm trying to work here. You know real work." He emphasized.
"You're just jealous." Leonard replied happily. Penny rolled her eyes from her spot on the couch. She considered sliding over into Sheldon's spot, because then he'd be distracted. But she didn't want to upset him even more.
"GUYS!" They both looked at Penny. Leonard was gloating; he could hardly suppress his smirk, which made Penny angry. Sheldon looked miserable. In a way, he had been mature, because he'd admitted –eventually – to trying to steal Leonard's toy. And he'd given it back. Not that she confessed her thoughts to either of them.
"Stop fighting over such a stupid toy!"
"It's not stupid, Penny, it's –" Sheldon began, but Penny wasn't in the mood for their childish behavior anymore. An idea was beginning to form in her mind and she wanted to follow her guts on this one.
"I don't care! Consider this the last time I ever gave you guys anything!" Penny screamed loudly. She wasn't as angry as she appeared to Leonard and Sheldon, but she wanted them to know how annoyed she was with them. She stormed out and slammed the door. Quickly, she fetched her purse from her apartment and went downstairs. Another trip to the comic book store was in order.
Leonard wouldn't leave the apartment, because he wanted to keep playing with his transporter. Sometimes he was more childish than Sheldon. Penny told him she'd take it away from him if he didn't go out for at least half an hour. He looked at her with big eyes, and then smiled sheepishly.
"I'll go get us something to eat. Chinese ok? Sheldon?"
"Don't care." Sheldon mumbled from his desk. He probably hadn't moved in hours.
"Why doesn't he have to go out, too?" Leonard wanted to know. Penny rattled her mind; she needed Leonard to leave them alone.
"Because he's working. Now go! I'm hungry." With a pout, Leonard finally left them alone. Sheldon quickly turned around in his chair, his eyes immediately landing on the now abandoned toy.
"But why not? No one's playing with it." Sheldon complained childishly.
"Because I have another gift for you."
"You do?" Suddenly, he was all eyes and ears. He could be so cute. In the past Penny had mentally compared him to a puppy, but eventually she'd realized that Leonard was much more like one. Needy and easy to train. Sheldon on the other hand... when he was cute, he was almost a normal man. Well, a normal boy.
"Yes, wait here a moment. And do not touch Leonard's toy." Penny looked at him, waited for a response. A few moments later, Sheldon finally nodded solemnly. Penny trusted him and left the apartment to get her bag. When she returned, Sheldon was still at his desk and his eyes fixed on the door. Simply waiting for her to return. Maybe he was like a puppy, too, after all.
"Here." Penny couldn't help but smile as she handed the small bag over to him. Sheldon looked inside and then stopped. His whole body froze up. His hands grasped the bag tightly.
"Sheldon? You ok?" Penny was worried; after all this mess, she would have thought he'd grab the new transporter, rip it open and just play with it. But now he just stared at it in the bag. She wondered if she'd broken Sheldon again.
"A new transporter." Sheldon finally said, still just looking into the bag.
"Yes. I felt bad when yours was broken. I mean the way Leonard kept rubbing it in."
"A new transporter." Sheldon repeated, obviously absent-minded.
"Sheldon, could you please pretend to listen? Pretend you're a normal human being?" The last word shook Sheldon apparently, because his face suddenly lifted and he was looking directly at her. Penny had never seen such an expression on his face. There was so much gratitude in his eyes and the smallest of smiles upon his lips. He looked as if he'd finally understood something important.
"Thank you, Penny." He said silently.
"You're welcome." Penny replied, grinning. The happiness spread inside of her like warm liquor. Seeing this look on Sheldon's face again was worth everything. It made her want to shower him with gifts every day.
"And now you are entitled to one of my rare hugs again."
Before Penny could even react, Sheldon had put the bag on his desk and left his chair. With his long, lanky arms he engulfed her and pressed her against him. Just because his hugs were so rare, she could recall each and every one of them. It had been a while since she'd last hugged him. Apparently being with Amy had taught him how to hug other human beings. There was no awkwardness this time; his hands, big and warm, were on her back. His face against hers, breathing quickly. The turmoil of emotions he made her feel, Penny tried to deny. She closed her eyes and just relished the feeling of his clean-smelling body against hers. She never knew when she'd get the chance again.
"What are you doing?" Leonard's voice from the door ended the hug quickly. Penny's face was flushed, but she hoped her boyfriend wouldn't notice. Why was he back already anyway? Hugging Sheldon, Penny had lost track of time. And everything else.
"Penny got me a new transporter." Sheldon exclaimed proudly.
"You did?" Leonard wanted to know. Bags with Chinese food were dangling from his arms, filling the apartment with a scent of sweetness.
"I couldn't very well watch you two fight over a stupid toy."
"Thanks again, Penny." Sheldon whispered and then finally took the new transporter out of its bag.
"You're welcome, sweetie."
The look on Sheldon's face when he delicately freed the toy from its box was priceless. Leonard watched with an expression of envy. Both sat down on the floor, each with their transporter and several action figures. Like two children.
"Mine's better than yours." Sheldon told Leonard.
"They're the same!" Leonard yelled.
"You know they're not. Mine's better."
Penny let them argue. She took the food out of the bag and dug in, watching them. Her eyes landed on Sheldon much more than they should have. The feeling of his arms around her still fresh in her memory.
The best gift ever.