I know I should write another one-shot in my series of Red inspired fics, but I just got this idea and I knew I had to write it. I really loved how this turned out, and I hope you do too.
Now, I know what you're going to say: But Bernadette doesn't like kids! Well, I still would love if one of the couples had a baby, but if it the baby in this story was Leonard and Penny's the plot would make no sense, and we all know that there's no way Sheldon's knocking Amy up anytime soon, which just leaves HB. I personally think they'd make great parents – Howard always wanted kids and would always make sure he was a better father than his own, while I pegged Bernadette for the motherly type early and, remember, she said she knew how to deal with stubborn children, plus right now they're the only couple who are currently in the right position to take that step into parenthood (not saying, people have to be married to have kids, but Penny only recently told Leonard she loved him, and Sheldon and Amy are so…well, Sheldon and Amy, neither of them are ready yet.) So, when Bernadette said she didn't like kids on the show, I was upset, because now I'm probably not getting the Big Bang Theory baby I always wanted. Point is, in my headcanon, someday in the future something will cause Bernadette to change to her opinion about children and she and Howard will have a baby Wolowitz or two. And this explanation was much longer than I intended…Apparently I'm more passionate about the subject than I realized.
DISCLAIMER: The only thing I own is Rebekah. I didn't get the rights to The Big Bang Theory this Christmas. Oh well, there's always next year, right?
"Do you want kids?"
Penny looked over to Leonard as he randomly spoke those words. They'd been married for about a year now (yes, she was finally Mrs. Hofstadter) but they hadn't discussed the topic of children in length – okay, not at all. So, when Leonard asked her in the middle of the episode of Sex and the City she was forcing him to watch, it caught her off guard.
"I don't know," Penny responded. "Do you?"
Leonard gave a small shrug that was fooling nobody. "I guess," 'I guess' her ass.
"I'm just not sure if I'm ready for the responsibility," Penny admitted, putting the TV on mute. "I've never really taken care of babies before,"
Her husband thought about this for a second. "You know, I have an idea," Leonard said eventually. "What if we babysit Rebekah for the weekend?"
Rebekah was Howard and Bernadette's daughter. Although Bernadette had obviously not wanted kids at first, she'd eventually changed her mind, and Rebekah Kate had joined the social circle five months ago, bringing sleepless nights, diaper bags and lots of love along with her.
While she adored her duties as Aunt Penny and loved Rebekah, Penny wasn't sure if she could handle taking care of Rebekah alone – well, not alone, with Leonard, but still, he didn't have much more experienced than she did. "A whole weekend?" She asked. "Leonard, are you sure?"
"Why not?" He replied. "I bet Howard and Bernadette would love a day or two to themselves, it's been a while since they had one of those,"
"Exactly!" Penny said. "How do we even know they'll be willing to spend a weekend away from Rebekah?"
"Well, there's only one way to find out," Leonard said, picking up his phone and dialing.
When Leonard offered them to babysit Rebekah, Howard and Bernadette had thanked him and agreed. Penny sighed. It seemed that this weekend it would just be her, Leonard and a baby.
She didn't know if she should be excited or terrified.
"Alright, so all her favorite toys are in the bag – she's teething so she likes to chew on things. She still needs two naps a day, one in the morning and one after lunch. She'll normally go to sleep after her bath, but if she doesn't singing will probably help. She really likes music –"
Penny was kind of zoning out as Bernadette went over Rebekah's schedule to Leonard. She perked up when Howard walked into the room with a certain baby. "Gimme, gimme!" She cried instinctively, and everyone laughed. Penny smiled at her "niece" as she picked her up, kissing her chubby little cheek. "Hi Becky! How's my favorite little girl?" Rebekah only babbled in response and gave Penny's hair a good, hard tug.
"Okay, and finally, just make sure to keep an eye on her, because she just started crawling," Bernadette finished, dropping Rebekah's bag on the counter and walking over to Howard.
Penny frowned involuntarily. She was crawling already? Wasn't it a little early for that? Leave it to Howard and Bernadette to have an intelligent baby…
"We should probably get going," Howard said. He gave Rebekah a kiss. "Love you; see you in a bit, baby girl!"
Bernadette sighed, and followed suit. "Be good for Uncle Leonard and Aunt Penny, Bek!"
"Don't worry about a thing; we've got it under control!" Leonard said, ushering the two parents out the door. "Have fun during your romantic weekend!"
"But not too much fun!" Penny teased, following them towards the door. "One baby is enough!"
"PENNY!" Three different voices cried at once – although some of them (namely Leonard and Howard) were laughing when they said it.
Penny smirked. "Come on, you guys better go or you'll be late," She picked up Rebekah's little hand and moved it back and forth, as if the baby was waving. "Say bye to Mommy and Daddy!" Penny told her in a baby voice. Howard and Bernadette smiled and waved back as they left, the latter blowing Rebekah a kiss.
"Alright," Leonard said once they were gone. "So what should we do –"
Rebekah cut him off when she looked up at Penny, her blue eyes wide, and immediately burst into loud, frantic wails.
"Oh, no! It's okay, Becky, your mommy and daddy will be home in a few days, Aunt Penny's got ya –" Rebekah only cried harder.
Penny knew then this was going to be a long weekend…
Rebekah had never been a colicky baby, at least from what Penny had seen. But, for the first time her parents had left her for more than a few hours, and she wouldn't stop screaming.
Penny tried everything – she bopped her up and down, she held her in a variety of different positions, she let her suck on her finger, she changed her diaper, she tried to feed her but she wouldn't eat. Finally, Penny caved and had Leonard Google "how to sooth a crying baby". They ended up turning on Penny's hair dryer, and the white noise put Rebekah to sleep.
"Thank God," Penny sighed, collapsing onto the couch next to Leonard. "I was beginning to think she'd never stop crying,"
"I know," Leonard agreed. "But the good thing is she stopped now,"
At his words, a cry pierced the air.
Leonard frowned. "Whoops,"
"Way to go, genius," Penny groaned. She covered her face with a pillow. "Your turn!"
While Leonard managed to get Rebekah to sleep Friday night, Penny was left alone to put her down for her afternoon nap on Saturday after Leonard went to work. After changing Rebekah into a pair of butterfly footie pajamas (because Penny just loved putting her in cute outfits), she read her one of the bedtime stories Bernadette had left. When she finished, Penny was about to put Rebekah down when she realized two big, blue, baby eyes were still staring up at her. "Oh, hey, kid," She said quietly. "You're not tired yet, huh? Do you want me to read you another story?" Rebekah just blinked. "No? Um, do you want me to put the hair dryer on again?" Another blink. "A song? Do you want me to sing a song?" Here, Rebekah gave a small yawn. Penny took that as a yes. "Damn," She murmured, even though she knew she was in the presence of innocent little ears. "Uh, now, what songs do I know that won't scar you for life…" Penny trailed off, and bit her lip, thinking. Rebekah was staring up at her, almost as if she was waiting. Her face scrunched up, and Penny immediately began singing the first song that came to mind, because there was no way she would be able to calm Rebekah down if she started crying again.
Soft kitty, warm kitty,
Little ball of fur,
Penny paused. Rebekah's eyelid began to droop, and so Penny continued. You know, She thought. She's really damn cute when she's not screaming…
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty,
Purr, purr, purr.
Penny sighed in relief as Rebekah fell asleep in her arms. She dropped a kiss to her head and then placed her down gently, making sure not to arouse her. So, what would she do while Rebekah slept?
Penny glanced back into the hallway. She smiled to herself. Nap, She thought as she walked back to her and Leonard's room.
Penny stirred in bed and stretched. She hadn't slept that good this whole weekend…She glanced over at the clock, which was flashing 5:45, and immediately sat up in bed. "Shit!" She cussed loudly. "Someone took the baby!" Penny jumped out of bed and immediately ran into the living room, where her and Leonard had set up Rebekah's travel crib. It was empty. This was not good, not good at all…
Penny raced over to the phone and picked it up, dialing Leonard's number. "Hello, this is Leonard Hofstadter," Penny let out a breath. "Leonard! Thank God! I lost –" "I can't come to the phone right now, but leave your name, the time and brief message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Kay, thanks, bye." Penny groaned and hung up. Of course her husband had to have his phone turned off right now. "I can't believe I'm doing this…" She said to herself before dialing another number and lifting the phone up to her ear.
"Hey, bestie," Amy answered. "What's –"
"Ames, can you please get that pain in the ass fiancé of yours and come over to Leonard and I's place as soon as possible?" Penny cut her off. "It's an emergency,"
"Of course," Amy said. "We'll be there in a little bit, you hold it together you gorgeous woman!"
Penny let out a sigh of relief. "Thank you! I'll see you soon!"
After hanging up with Amy, Penny dialed one other number. It took two rings for Raj to pick up. "Hey, Penny, what's going on?"
"Raj, I need you to come over here right now, okay?" Penny told him.
"Yeah, okay, what's wrong?"
"I'll explain later, just come over here, please!"
Raj sighed. "Alright, see you in a bit."
"Thank you!" Penny breathed. "Bye, Raj,"
Penny hung up yet again and put the phone back in its cradle. …Cradle…damn it…She just wished her friends would get over there soon.
Less than ten minutes later, Penny opened the door and found Sheldon, Amy and Raj all standing in her doorway. Before any of them could say anything, Penny spoke hysterically. "I lost the baby!" She cried.
"You lost Rebekah?" Raj echoed.
"Bestie," Amy said. "How could you possibly lose a baby?"
"I took a nap and when I woke up she was gone!" Penny replied. "Oh my God, how could I have been this irresponsible? I'd make a terrible mother…"
"Penny, you wouldn't be a terrible mother," All three of them said at the same time.
"You guys really think so?" Penny asked sadly.
"Penny," Sheldon answered. "While Howard and Bernadette's progeny may be the product of only one PhD, the combined IQ of her parents is much greater than the combination of yours and Leonard's, therefore when you and Leonard do eventually procreate, your offspring will not be as intelligent as Rebekah, and you will not have to deal with taking care of a superior being,"
Penny rolled her eyes and shook her head. Even in a situation of emergency, Sheldon was still so…Sheldon-y. "Can you guys just help me find Rebekah?"
"She has to be here somewhere," Raj said. "She just can't get up and walk away,"
Penny gulped, and Raj and Amy both stared at her. "She can't just get up and walk away, right?" Raj asked.
"Well…Bernadette did mention she was beginning to crawl," Penny admitted.
"Alright," Amy sighed. "Why don't we look around here and see if she got into anything here, because while Rebekah can crawl I highly doubt she can open the door –"
They were cut off by the ringing of the phone. Sheldon, being the closest to it, picked it up. "Hofstadter residence," He said into the receiver.
Everyone watched him as the person on the other end of the phone spoke. "Oh, hello Howard!" Sheldon said.
Penny frowned. Howard? Crap, he was probably going to ask about the baby. What the Hell was she supposed to say? 'Hey, sorry Howard, but I kind of lost your daughter! Whoops!'
Sheldon continued to talk. "Uh-huh," A pause. "Alright. I see. Well, we'll see you then," And then he hung up.
"'See you then?'" Penny repeated, shocked.
"Oh, Howard said he and Bernadette were having separation anxiety," Sheldon informed them. "They're still on the road now, but they think they'll be here in about ten minutes,"
"What?" Penny, Amy and Raj all cried at once.
"Shit!" Penny cursed, beginning to pace back and forth. "Crap on a cracker! Damn it! Good God!"
"Calm down, bestie," Amy said, trying to comfort her. "We'll find her eventually and –"
"Found her!" Raj interrupted, pointing to the door. Leonard was standing there, a grocery bag in one hand and Rebekah in the other. Penny sighed with relief.
"Leonard! Thank God! I don't think I've ever been this happy to see you in my life!"
Leonard frowned as he dropped his keys into the key bowl. "Love you too, honey," He said sarcastically.
Penny scooped up Rebekah, ignoring her husband. "And boy, am I happy to see you, Becky!" She cried. Rebekah gurgled as Penny kissed her all over her face.
"What are they doing here?" Leonard asked, gesturing to Sheldon, Amy and Raj. "No offense,"
"Eh, some taken," Raj said with a shrug.
"I asked them to come over," Penny admitted. She lowered her voice for the next part in embarrassment. "Because I thought I lost the baby…"
Leonard still heard her apparently and he laughed. "You thought you lost Rebekah?"
"Well, I woke up and she wasn't here, what was I supposed to think?"
"Sorry!" Leonard said. "I came home from work and didn't want to wake you, so I just took Rebekah with me to the grocery store."
"Well, like I said, I'm just glad you're here," Penny sighed, kissing him on the cheek. "Because Howard and Bernadette are going to be here –" She was interrupted by a knock at the door. "- Oh, right about now,"
Leonard looked confused as he made his way towards the door. "Really? Why?"
"Ah," Leonard nodded before he opened the door. "Hey, guys, you're back-"
"Hey, hey!" Bernadette interrupted, excitedly taking Rebekah from Penny. "Hi baby girl! Mommy and Daddy are home!" Rebekah gurgled in response.
Howard smiled at the sight. "She was good for you guys, right?" He asked Leonard and Penny.
Penny suddenly felt four pairs of eyes looking at her in amusement. She turned to Howard and Bernadette and forced a smile. "It was like she wasn't even here,"
"Do you still want kids?"
Penny randomly asked Leonard this that night after everyone had gone, Rebekah with her parents, while they were watching another episode of Sex and the City.
"Yeah," He admitted. "I just think right now –"
"-We're not ready," Penny finished for him. "I feel the same way. When we were watching Rebekah, I felt like I wasn't ready for the responsibility, but, I know now that I do want children, eventually,"
Leonard perked up. "You do?"
Penny nodded. "I never really thought about just how much Howard and Bernadette love Rebekah before. I mean, they can't even handle being away from her for a day. I just want that unconditional love, someday. I want that motherly look,"
"That motherly look would be pretty hot on you," Leonard complimented, closing the gap between them.
"Oh, really?" Penny replied, scooting closer, Sex and the City forgotten. "Cause I think that fatherly look would be even hotter on you,"
"Well, why don't we just agree that we'd both make awesome parents and that someday we'll have lots of babies?" Leonard asked.
"Lots of smart and beautiful babies," Penny corrected.
At this, Leonard kissed her on the lips. Penny kissed him back hard. "But you know," He said when they pulled apart. "Just because we're not ready to have a baby now doesn't mean we can't have lots of fun practicing,"
Penny grinned. "I was hoping you'd say that,"