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Vulnerable

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“Leonard?”

Leonard turned around, entangling himself further in the sheets to gaze upon his boyfriend. His short dark hair was mussed in all directions and his pale cheeks were still flushed from their love making just minutes ago. His eyes, even in the darkness of his room, looked unsure and saddened. “Yeah, buddy?”

Sheldon didn’t answer right away, Leonard felt him shuffle about and sit up to turn on his bedside lamp. Leonard, in turn, reached for his glasses and placed them on his nose so he could see his partner better. He was a glorious specimen, Sheldon Cooper. Once an annoyance in his life, Leonard soon found himself intrigued by the tall man. For years, Leonard had considered himself straight. He had only ever had sex with women and while women had a unique attraction to the, he found himself magnetized to Sheldon. He had kept his feelings hidden, for the most part, assuming Sheldon was not only asexual but also aromantic and unable to feel any romance towards anyone.

That was, however, until last year.

“Leonard?” Calling out his name seemed to be a common start to a conversation with Sheldon. Usually, Sheldon’s voice came out strong and confident, but this time it was anything but. Turning in his desk chair, he found that Sheldon’s lips were in a tight frown and he was averting Leonard’s own stare. It was clear that Sheldon had something important to talk about, but was unsure of how to go about it.

“Is everything okay?”

“I suppose,” Sheldon shrugged. He was already in his pajamas— blue and green flannel for Tuesday— and his hair was still damp from the shower he had taken, “I would however like some advice.”

Leonard’s eyes narrowed. Sheldon never asked for advice, and if he did, it was usually a set up for Sheldon to correct the advice-giver. Being a friend that he was, Leonard took the bait, “About what?”

“Relationships.”

“Oh?” Leonard’s eyes blinked and he straightened himself out in his chair.

“Who?”

“I’d rather not say,” Sheldon’s pale cheeks reddened.

His curiosity had been piqued, “Penny?”

Sheldon grimaced again, “Why would I have an interest in Penny?!”

“Just throwing it out there,” Leonard reasoned with a soft shrug. Penny, now his ex-girlfriend after two attempts, was now a close friend, and only a close friend. While he loved her, it was more of a platonic love. It was a hard road in trying to forget their potential future together (“Our babies will be smart and beautiful”,) but he managed and took their break-ups in stride. He had Sheldon to lean on and surprisingly, Sheldon had taken the duty of best friend seriously for the months that followed. And that was the beginning of a friendship turned romantic.

It didn’t happen right away. Leonard didn’t simply replace Penny with Sheldon; it was gradual as all love went. It was rarely sudden, but always consuming. It started out as innocent thoughts and desires like a hug or wanting to lean his head against the taller man’s shoulders. It then grew and festered, distracting him and causing him sleepless nights as he lay deep in thought and arousal. Leonard never denied being bisexual— the thought had crossed his mind a few times in adolescence. Being near Sheldon however, confirmed that he was very much bisexual.

‘Was he coming out?’ Leonard thought to himself but quickly pushed aside the thought. This was Sheldon. If  anything he was using the term ‘relationship’ non-romantically. Maybe he needed help with an annoying co-worker.

“Well then, who is it?”

“Again,” Sheldon tilted his head downward, “I don’t want to say.”

“Then describe them.”

“Fine,” Sheldon took a deep breath, “They’re short.”

Leonard nodded as if saying, ‘I’m short…’

“And they have brown hair,” Sheldon brought his hand up to the back of his neck and he looked at Leonard, directly into his eyes.

‘I have brown hair…’

“And they have glasses….”

Leonard’s heart pounded hard in his chest, so much so that he felt the pitter-patter against his stern, ‘I have glasses…’

At first, he felt a flash of hope but it soon dimmed. There was no way Sheldon was talking about him. A year ago, he had met a woman named Amy Farrah Fowler, a woman he quickly became best friends with. Could it be about her? “Is it Amy?”

“Amy?” Sheldon’s nose twitched upward, but not in disgust. Rather, it was as if Leonard was far off the mark, “No. Amy and I are colleagues and she actually has a fascination with Koothrappali.”

“Oh…” Leonard’s lip pouted outward, “But, then who are you—”

“You!”

“What?”

“It’s you,” Sheldon said with utmost certainty. His cheeks were now redder than Leonard had ever seen them and Sheldon’s features contorted as if he were in agony or distress, “I’m… I’m talking about you.”

“Oh…” It was Leonard’s turn to blush, “What about me?”

The hand that Sheldon had placed on the back of his neck dropped and he sighed, “I— I don’t know. You make me,” he fluttered both of his hands about, “feel things that I’m not sure of. I don’t know how to react or… or if this is normal. What if—”

Leonard remained quiet. Not that he didn’t want to say something— he did— but he had no idea what to say. That was a lie… he did. He wanted to stand up and tell Sheldon that his feelings, the fluttering in his stomach, the pounding of his heart when Leonard walks into view is mutual. He wanted to wrap his arms around him and stare into those blue eyes…

Sheldon was still in the midst of a panic, he combed his fingers through his hair as he spoke, but Leonard had shut out the noise. His heart raced, his stomach twisted and his nerves were on fire. He stood up from his desk chair and walking over to his panicked roommate. He grabbed him by the shoulders and before he lost his nerve, he kissed Sheldon squarely on the lips.

Silence. Frozen. The kiss had obviously quieted Sheldon, but Leonard feared pulling away. Not that Sheldon would start up again, though there was that. It was because Leonard feared what Sheldon’s reaction could be. True Sheldon had said he had feelings for him, but it didn’t quite mean that he’d willing kiss Leonard back or fall into Leonard’s arms. Unfortunately, he’d have to pull away eventually… but… wait…

Was he feeling Sheldon’s hands? On his waist? His lips, surprisingly soft against his own, pressed back against him and he couldn’t stop a soft moan from escaping.

When he was forced to pull away, he expected Sheldon to tell him to not kiss him without his permission, or leave to wash his mouth. But he stayed, his hands staying firm on his waist.

That was a year ago and to this day, he had a hard time believing that he had a boyfriend. And not just that, a stable and healthy relationship with said boyfriend. Whether it was the fact that his past relationships had been with women, or if he simply rushed things, he wasn’t sure. He and Sheldon had their fights; every couple did, but it wasn’t slamming doors and yelling at each other like it had been with him and Penny.

Leonard was happy. Genuinely so.

“Leonard?” Sheldon whimpered and Leonard had to shake his head to regain focus.

“Oh, sorry.” He blushed, it was hard not to with his boyfriend being well... Sheldon. Despite his tendencies and quirks, his boyfriend was all alpha male. A force to be reckoned with, in spirit and in body. It was common for Leonard to become flustered around him, “What’s up?”

“Why me?”

Leonard’s smile disappeared, “Why you what?”

“You know,” Sheldon struggled a bit and Leonard found himself admiring his body. For someone rarely worked out, he was surprisingly toned. Not like a bodybuilder, no. There was no six-pack or defined obliques. But he had muscle. Leonard didn’t think he could appreciate the male form until Sheldon, “Why me? Why did you…”

It was clear he was having trouble getting the words out, and Leonard sat up along with him. There were moments— while rare— where Sheldon felt insecure. This was his first relationship, after all. He had no idea how to go about things. Leonard seemed to be the only one to understand him, and while he exuded confidence in public, he learned that Sheldon was just as vulnerable and prone to insecurity as everyone else.

“Why’d I give you a blow job when you got home?” Leonard tilted his head.

“No.” Sheldon’s cheeks and neck turned red, “though that was certainly a welcome surprise.” Leonard smiled softly at that.

“Then what is it?” He coaxed.

“Why’d you…” Sheldon’s shoulders slouched, “pick me?”

“Why’d I pick you?”

“Yes,” Sheldon shifted in bed to face him without turning his head, “for as long as we’ve been friends, you’ve only shown an interest in women… why’d that change with me?”

“Sexuality’s complicated,” Leonard explained, “I didn’t really, you know, think about being with a man before us. I mean, I’ve had curiosities when I was younger but—”

“But why did you choose that man to be me?” Sheldon’s lower lip pouted outward. His lip was still a little swollen from Leonard biting and sucking on it.

“I didn’t choose you,” Leonard said before quickly adding, “Love doesn’t work that way, you know that.”

“But you always used to complain about me,” Sheldon countered, “you made me feel like I’m the hardest person to get along with.”

Leonard’s frown deepened and he scooted closer to him. He placed a hand against Sheldon’s cheek and ran his thumb over the patch of stubble along his cheek, “Listen to me, that was, what I said was before this. Before I even had romantic feelings for you. You still drive me crazy at times, but that’s what boyfriends do.” Leonard reassured.

“Really?”

“Of course,” Leonard nodded and leaned over to kiss Sheldon softly on the lips. Sheldon quickly returned it and Leonard felt his lips twitch in a soft smile. When they pulled away, Leonard whispered, “Besides, I drive you crazy, too.”

Sheldon rolled his eyes, but his smile remained, “That you do.”

“You know…” Leonard moved to sit on Sheldon’s lap and was delighted to feel his boyfriend hard for him beneath the blanket, “I can show you how I feel about you.”

“I’m well aware,” Sheldon’s voice deepened and Leonard moved to kiss and suckle at his neck. He ran his tongue over his jugular vein and Sheldon moaned softly into his ear and Leonard chuckled against his skin. His kisses stopped. While he wanted to have Sheldon inside of him again, he knew their conversation wasn’t done.

“Sheldon,” he pulled away from his neck, “I want you to know that I love you, completely. I picked you because you have this hidden sweetness to you. You may be an arrogant ass half the time, but your intentions are good. I love you, and I need you.”

“I love you too,” Sheldon smiled and Leonard felt himself become putty at the sight of a sexed-up, smiling Sheldon. His smile, however, gave way to seriousness, “I need you, too… more than you know.” His arms wrapped around him tight and he pulled Leonard flush against his body.

“I know, buddy,” he kissed Sheldon’s cheek and rested his head against his shoulder. They needed each other. It was a realization that Leonard had come to before. Both he and Sheldon had come to each other broken and helpless. There was an irreplaceable connection between them since day one. “And just know that I’ll always love you.”

They were still broken, but less so. They were ceramic that had been repaired gold. The cracks and imperfections were on display, but the 24 karat gold created art between the broken pieces caused by life. “No matter what?”

“No matter what.”