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Can I...?

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Sheldon was fretting.

It wasn't that unusual, truth be told. Sheldon fretted almost every minute of every day. He covered it up with orders, with abrasive behavior, to hide the anxiety that constantly plagued him.

Leonard was used to it, as much as anyone could be. He had his own version to deal with, after all, and he was used to navigating with Sheldon around the minefields that they lived in together.

Imagine his surprise when Sheldon turned his way with a determined look and asked, without preamble, "Can I kiss you?"

It probably spoke volumes that Leonard's first response was: "Shouldn't it be 'may'?"

"No," Sheldon said airily. "If I wanted to ask if you would allow me, I would."

"So what you're asking is if you're physically able." Leonard raised an eyebrow.

"Or mentally," Sheldon said as if this were a perfectly normal conversation to be having mid-afternoon on a Sunday.

"Well," Leonard flushed. "I don't know if you can. That's kinda... your deal, buddy." He fidgeted with his hands. "Why're you asking?"

"Missy asked me."

"Missy asked if you could kiss me?"

"Missy asked if I could kiss anyone." His expression soured, darkened.

"And you care?" It came out more surprised than Leonard meant for it to which earned him a sharp glare before Sheldon looked away, shifting in his seat, pressing back against the couch as if he could sink into it.

"I care," he said, voice softer.

"Oh... kay..." Leonard might have been staring. "Why?"

"The idea of being limited by my..." Sheldon's eyes darted, breath catching.

All the diagnoses in the world didn't make mental illnesses or developmental disabilities easier to deal with. Sheldon's ego swung perilously from the idea that he was the next stage of human evolution, better than everyone who should then follow in his steps. That his experiences had already been labeled and written off before he'd ever been born; that he was considered lesser because of them – confronted with that reality, Sheldon didn't know how to respond.

Leonard spoke gently, "You don't want to be limited. Right?"

"Yes," he huffed. "I don't want there to be something I can't do."

"Only something you won't, because you choose not to."

Some of the tension eased from Sheldon's shoulders, and he gave a quick nod. "Precisely."

"So... why me?"

Sheldon looked at him with his big, blue eyes. "I trust you."

And well, really, how was he supposed to say 'no' to that?

"And I can monitor your dental hygiene beforehand to make sure there's little-to-no risk of transferring unwanted germs and bacteria to me."

Not as flattering, but Leonard chose to focus on the first part.

It felt surreal, going through the motions of cleaning his mouth with Sheldon hovering over his shoulder, visibly anxious and not at all trying to hide it when apparently his ability to do anything was on the line. But Leonard did. Brushed and rinsed and turned to his roommate with his hands twisting together.


Sheldon gave a jerky nod, leaning down, and Leonard rocked forward and up, pressing a chaste kiss to his lips before pulling back.

Sheldon's cheeks flushed pretty and pink, and Leonard tried his hardest not to smile smugly at the sight of it. "You did it," he said unnecessarily when Sheldon pulled away, eyes darting again as he tried to reroute what he'd apparently thought of himself, of Leonard, of the two of them together.

Leonard didn't make it to the bathroom door before Sheldon called out, "Leonard?"

"Yeah, Sheldon?" He turned to glance at him.

"May I kiss you again?"

His heart gave a giddy leap, smile widening into a grin. "Yes."