This is for Jislane35 who gave me the idea and told me to me run with it. How could I say no to Penny giving Sheldon a puppy? Any mistakes are my own. I don't own The Big Bang Theory or the characters.
Penny threw herself down on a bench wearily. She was tired, her feet hurt, and if one more person shoved her, she was going junior rodeo on this entire mall. Including the Santa! It was Dec. 23rd. Two days before Christmas, and she still hadn't found Sheldon's gift yet. Leonard was easy. She bought him a new hoodie and a collector's set of cards for Mystic Warlords of Ka'a. Howard was getting a belt buckle shaped like a triceratops. For Raj an new fondue set he had been hinting for. But Sheldon…..dammit, what could possibly top the napkin?
Penny sighed and stood up. Maybe she's stop by the comic store and ask Stuart for some advice. She hated to go that route though. Sheldon could and would buy his own comics. She wanted to get him something special. Something no one else would get him. Penny weaved her way through the other last minute shoppers and headed out the doors. She grabbed a couple of dollars from her pocket to toss into the bucket in front of Santa.
"Miss?" She looked around at the small tug on her jacket. A cute little boy of about 8 or 9, with huge brown eyes was standing beside her. Penny didn't recognize him, and he didn't look lost or scared.
"Yes?" Penny asked cautiously. The little boy smiled revealing a buck toothed grin. Penny melted a little bit. The kid tucked his hand in hers and pulled her over to the other side of Santa.
"Please?" he said winningly. "Can you take my last puppy home? Momma only let me keep one and if I don't find this one a home, she'll take it to the pound." A tiny tear formed in his eye as he spoke.
She knew she was being played. It wasn't a great performance. She was about to say no when she spotted the puppy. How was that even possible? Penny stared open mouthed for several seconds. Then she turned to the Santa. "I don't suppose you know where I can get some puppy supplies, do you?"
Step one of Project Sheldon's Pup was sneaking the chow/collie mix into the building without Dr. SLC MSc Ph.D. knowing about it. Step Two was keeping the puppy in her bedroom so no one could hear him yap. Step Three involved puppy pads and air freshener.
Luckily Penny had tomorrow off and the Cheesecake Factory was closed for Saturnalia. She smirked at herself for using Sheldon's term. Leonard had knocked on her door that evening but luckily the pup was asleep, having romped all over her room and ripped up one of her slippers.
Christmas eve was a breeze thanks to President Seibert. He had insisted the guys all attend the campus holiday dinner. There were donors present and he wasn't about to let the boys miss it. Leonard had asked her to attend, even though they weren't a couple anymore, but she had declined. It felt awkward for one thing. Besides, she had thought she would be working.
Penny played tug with the puppy (she couldn't wait for Sheldon to name him, even though she already knew what name he would chose) all evening long. She even did a bit of training to see how easy he took to it. By the time she went to bed, he was shaking paws like a pro.
Penny's alarm went off at 5:30am. She groaned as she rolled over. She knew Sheldon would be up soon and she wanted to be prepared. She showered and then snuck up on the sleeping bundle of fur. She had a bow around it's neck before it had even opened it's eyes. She giggled as it rolled across her bed trying to get it's little paws under the ribbon. Penny picked up the wicker basket and placed the pup inside. He immediately stuck his nose through the handle and whimpered. Penny rubbed the wet nose and he tried to lick her. She felt her heart melt a bit more.
She grabbed Leonard's gift and walked across her apartment and out the door. She placed her ear to the door of 4A and listened carefully. She could hear the shower running, so she used her spare key and let herself in. She placed the basket and gift box on the floor under the coffee table. Sheldon had completely refused to put up a tree this year, no matter how much she begged and threatened. She snuck past the bathroom and tiptoed to Leonard's room. She knocked quickly. Inside she could her Lenard moving around. Soon enough he was opening the door and peering up at her.
"Wha..?" Leonard slid on his glasses and yawned. "Penny? Why are you up so early?"
"Oh dear lord," came a stern voice behind them, "please don't tell me you two are about to engage in coitus!"
Penny spun around to see a damp, robed Sheldon staring at them in horror. Penny skipped over and threw her arms around Sheldon making him squeak and tremble.
She laughed mischievously as she sang out "Merry Christmas!" She reached back and grabbed Leonard's hand and tugged the two men down the hall to the living room. She ignored Sheldon's protests and Leonard's questions. She stopped in front of the desks and turned them both toward the couch.
"Now. Close your eyes and say 'Thank you, Penny. You're our greatest friend.' and I'll give you your presents," she said smugly.
Sheldon narrowed his eyes and opened his mouth to chastise her, but a soft whimper interrupted him. Penny's grin got wider when she saw the faint glimmer of wonder in Sheldon's eyes. He stared at her for several seconds, mouth hung open. Leonard was looking around the room trying to figure out where the noise was coming from.
Penny stepped backwards and turned around, She knelt down and pulled the presents from under the table. She handed Leonard his first and then held out the basket to Sheldon. She was surprised to see his hands trembling as he reached for it slowly. Had she miscalculated? Maybe he wouldn't like the puppy.
Sheldon drew the basket to his chest and closed his eyes tightly. Penny nervously bit her lip as he opened his eyes and unlatched the top of the basket. The puppy immediately poked him head up and yapped once. Penny gave a sigh of relief as Sheldon's face softened and he smiled. Not his usual Joker smile, or his koala smile either. A soft, tender smile she had never seen before.
Leonard grinned and reached up to rub the pup's head. "Aww, what a cute little guy." He moved to hug Penny. "Thanks for the hoodie, and the cards. They're great!." Penny hugged him back, eyes still locked on Sheldon, who had set the basket on his desk and reached inside to lift out the puppy.
Sheldon was stunned speechless for the third time in his life. He looked over at Penny, who was also responsible for the second time, which happened last Christmas. She was watching him warily, as if afraid. He looked back at the red/gold bundle in his hands that was currently licking his thumb. His eyes grew even wider when he saw the zig zag streak of white that raced across the puppy's belly.
Penny moved closer and reached out to scratch under the puppy's chin. "He's a Chow mostly, with some Border Collie mixed in. I have his shot record across the hall, along with some food, a toy and his bed." Penny looked at Sheldon cautiously. "Do you like him?"
Sheldon drew in a shaky breath. He held the pup close to his neck and nodded. "When I was 5, I wanted a puppy more than anything. Mommy said not then, maybe the next year when I was older. The next year Missy had found a stray cat and so Mommy said no to the puppy again. The year after that Mommy said no because George had some goat he was raising for 4H. I stopped asking because I knew it would be excuse after excuse. Mommy doesn't care for dogs." Sheldon looked up at Penny. "I never stopped wanting one, though."
Penny felt tears form in the corners of her eyes and quickly exited the room. She rushed over to her apartment and grabbed the puppy's belongings. She paused long enough to wipe her eyes on a tissue and walked back across the hall. Sheldon was sitting in his spot with the puppy on his lap. Leonard was sitting on the armchair making suggestions for names.
"What about Rusty, because of his color?" Leonard squinted his eyes. "Or maybe Krypto?"
Sheldon huffed with annoyance. "His name is Barry." Penny smiled and congratulated herself. Called it, she thought internally.
"Barry?" Leonard frowned. "What kind of name is Barry for a dog?"
Sheldon held the puppy up on it's hind legs, allowing Leonard to see for the first time the lightning bolt streak of white that ran vertically down the belly. "Barry," he said again firmly.
Leonard laughed and shook his head. He turned to Penny. "Once again you have given him the perfect gift."
Penny shrugged. "I got lucky. If I hadn't stopped to give a Santa money, I wouldn't have seen him."
Sheldon eased the puppy over into the middle seat and stood up. He walked back to his room and soon returned with a medium size box. He set it on the table and turned to her solomnly.
"Penny, nothing I give you will ever come close to Barry. I cannot thank you enough for this." Then he stepped closer and wrapped his long arms around her for a hug. She blushed at the whispered thank you in her ear. Then he moved back to his spot and began rubbing Barry's belly.
Penny opened the box carefully and gasped. Not one, not even two, but three pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes. Black heels, red heels and grey heeled boots. Penny clutched them to her and blew Sheldon a kiss. She knew better than to attempt another hug. He was already red as a beet. Leonard smiled and handed her his gift. She squealed when she saw the matching purse for the black heels inside. The sun was just peeking into the windows as they all sat down and watched Barry scamper around chasing the bow from Penny's box.