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Saints and Cynics

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Watching Sheldon give his Chancellor's Award speech, you could see that he was getting drunker by the minute. His words getting more slurred, his gesticulations becoming wilder. All that hastily consumed alcohol gradually catching up to him. Leonard had been glued to his seat, praying for diminishing returns. He sent a similar prayer to Dionysus now.
 
"Please don't let me get any drunker than I am right now."
 
Apparently, he said it out loud because Sheldon turned around.
 
"I've already taken the bottle from you."
 
Sheldon returned to his "strongly worded e-mail". Leonard tried to imagine what Sheldon could be writing.
 
Dear Beverly,
 
Why did you have sex with me and then tell me to get your son drunk and have sex with him?
 
love always,
 
Sheldon

 
Of course, it was Sheldon so it would take him an hour to get to that point but...
 
"Hey!"
 
"Yes, Leonard?"
 
"Where... Did you... Where did you guys..."
 
"Copulate?"
 
"Where?"
 
Sheldon looked woefully at the couch. The couch Leonard was sitting on. The place where he was about to eat spaghetti before Sheldon's bombshell. And Leonard was still sitting there.
 
Leonard jumped up and all but leapt at Sheldon, roughly grabbing him by the Green Lantern tee-shirt.
 
"Why?" he roared, "You have a bedroom! What if I had gotten up for a glass of water?"
 
Sheldon tried to gently pry his shirt from Leonard's fingers.
 
"I am just as disturbed as you. As I mentioned, I had no part in the decision making. I was asleep when it started and when I suggested the venue was not appropriate, your mother climbed on top of me and then... coitus."
 
What's worse than your mother having sex with your best friend? Your only tall friend? In your living room? On your couch? Nothing! Nothing is worse than that!
 
"There are plenty of worse things..."
 
"Quit listening to my thoughts, you bastard!"
 
"But you are thinking aloud and it's difficult to tell..."
 
"Shuuuuuut uuuuuuup!"
 
Sheldon sniffed and went back to his e-mail.
 
Leonard flopped back onto the couch. Then remembered and jumped back up. Then he sat back down because it was really the only comfortable place to sit.
 
"I'm sorry I yelled at you, Sheldon."
 
"Your distress is understandable. I myself am not impervious. I have been feeling... disturbed."
 
Of course he was disturbed. This wasn't Wolowitz. Sheldon didn't like hugging beautiful women like Penny. He didn't want Amy Farrah Fowler's saliva to touch his skin. He preferred not to feel the disease ridden breath of his friends on his skin.
 
"Sheldon? Buddy? Can we talk?"
 
"We are talking. Out loud. How long will you remain inebriated?"
 
"Come over here and talk to me."
 
"I haven't finished my message."
 
"We can talk about that."
 
Sheldon saved 'as draft' and hesitantly moved to the couch, nervously patting his tee-shirt that had been so callously stretched by Leonard.
 
"Shelly, why... um. No what... Hmmm. Okay, what did YOU think would happen when you gave me wine and told me you wanted to engage in sexual relations with me?"
 
"You and only you."
 
"Yes, me because I'm so special. Got it. I know my mother enjoys manipulating the weaknesses of others but what were YOU hoping to accomplish?"
 
Sheldon looked confused and wary, like he was anticipating a trap.
 
Leonard tried again, "What did you hope to accomplish by following my mother's fucked up advice?"
 
"Coitus?"
 
"Are you answering the question or asking a question?"
 
Sheldon put on his "thinking hard" face.
 
"I was hoping to engage in coitus with you, Leonard," answered Sheldon with confidence before quickly adding, "With you and only you."
 
"But you have no interest in sex."
 
"What on Earth would make you think I have no interest in sex?"
 
He seemed honestly and genuinely surprised.
 
"EVERYTHING you have ever said and done for the last eight years! Every conversation, every social interaction... You think sex is disgusting and unsanitary!"
 
"Eating Big Bran is disgusting but I did that this morning.  So I could have a healthy bowel movement. Which was also disgusting. And unsanitary."
 
"But sex with another man would serve no biological, no LOGICAL purpose. You don't let me touch your food."
 
"I hate having other people touch my food but I eat at least one meal a day that was prepared by a stranger who has not been properly vetted with regards to lifelong hygiene practices. I realized long ago that controlling my food intake would require either learning to cook well or learning to endure my abysmal cooking. I have no time for the former and lack the gastrointestinal fortitude for the later so I eat food prepared by strangers."
 
Leonard was hypnotized by the fervor in those blue eyes. As per usual, Sheldon was making no sense but he seemed so passionate.
 
"Maybe it's the wine, Buddy, but I don't know what the fuck you are talking about."
 
"I like the taste of a burger from the Cheesecake Factory even though it's been touched by God knows who and Penny puts her fingers all over the plate. It's better than the burger I could make for myself."
 
Leonard took off his glasses and tried to clean them. His fingers seemed unusually large and he kept getting new finger prints on the lenses. It took a while, but it started to make sense. Beverly had... served Sheldon a burger that was better than the... burgers he'd been making for himself since puberty. So if Sheldon wanted to try another (Leonard was giving up In-n-Out for good) burger, Leonard was the most logical choice except...
 
"Why don't you give Amy's burger a try?"
 
"She does have access to her mother's Foreman grill which apparently locks in the flavor but none of the fat but I think you are getting confused, Leonard. We are talking about sex. The burgers are purely tangential."
 
"Why don't you have sex with Amy? I kinda think she might be up for it."
 
Still fingerprints on the lens. He breathed on his glasses again and wiped them with his shirt for the fourth time.
 
"She's not my girlfriend! She's a girl who..."
 
"She would be your girlfriend if you had sex. Or at least a friend with benefits."
 
"I'm not attracted to Amy."
 
"Why not? She's cute... Are you gay?" Leonard heard how loud and shocked his voice sounded and tried again in an exaggeratedly deep and soothing voice. "Are you gay?"
 
"I don't think so. I find Penny attractive."
 
Leonard kind of knew that already.
 
"Any other women?"
 
"Your mother."
 
Leonard slapped Sheldon's hand, "Bad Sheldon!"
 
Sheldon glared but he was gentle as he pried Leonard's glasses from his fumbling hands.
 
"May I get back to my e-mail?"
 
"In Mom's defense, she probably didn't intend for you to tell me 'Leonard, your mom gave me the best advice for getting you in the sack'!" Leonard laughed because it really was kind of funny. Like when he asked Stephanie if Leonard had "satisfied" her. It was mortifying at the time but he and Stephanie had often laughed about it later. Sheldon's ingenuousness, ingenuousity, ingenuo...
 
"Sheldon, what's the noun form of ingenuous?"
 
"Ingenuousness."
 
Sheldon's ingenuousness was both his finest and most irritating quality.
 
Sheldon placed Leonard's glasses back on the bridge of his nose, adding a few gentle taps to the frames to make sure they were perfectly even.
 
His fingers were long and agile. There was a softness in those blue eyes. Leonard felt the heat in his cheeks and batted Sheldon's hands away.
 
Sheldon gave a prissy huff and went back to his laptop.
 
He could just let it end there. He could order Sheldon never to bring it up again and never ever tell anyone else. Especially Howard. And Raj. And Penny. And everyone. But there was still a question.
 
"Are you attracted to me?"
 
Sheldon spun his chair around to glare at Leonard.
 
"I could throw my arms up in exasperation talking to you."
 
Then he threw his arms up in exasperation to drive the point home.
 
"That doesn't answer my question."
 
"Of course I am attracted to you. Why else would I wish to engage in coitus with you? Do you listen to yourself when you speak or do you just hear white noise emanating from your vocal chords."
 
"When did you start... feeling that way."
 
"I have always found you attractive.  Well, that's an overstatement. I have been attracted to you since I met you. Before that, I didn't know you existed much less whether or not you were attractive."
 
"Are there other guys you find attractive?" asked Leonard, plunging headfirst down the rabbit hole.
 
"Raj."
 
"Raj?"
 
"But I find him less attractive than you. And less attractive than Penny. I sometimes wonder how proximity enters into this equation. I am most attracted to you, then Penny, then Raj."
 
"What about Howard?"
 
"Not at all but he lives a good distance away. And Amy Farrah Fowler lives way on the other side of town as does Leslie Winkle."
 
"Could it be that your attraction to a person is a direct correlate of how much said person is willing to tolerate your nonsense?"
 
Sheldon tilted his head.
 
"That's a valid hypothesis as well."
 
Sheldon stared at the laptop screen but was not typing.
 
"Are you done reaming my mom out?"
 
"I object strongly to Beverly's apparent intentions in giving me such faulty advice but she can not be held responsible for how I misinterpreted her meaning."
 
Sheldon looked so sad, Leonard stumbled from the couch to give him an awkward pat on the back.
 
"I still don't understand, what did you think she trying to tell you?" he asked gently.
 
"I thought she had observed a mutual attraction and was offering advice to facilitate... expressing myself in a way that would not be... overly jarring."
 
Leonard stroked his friend's short soft hair. He was such a big kid sometimes. Leonard was sometimes jealous of Sheldon's particular brilliance: the way his mind moved so quickly and without the inhibitions of self-doubt. Leonard pulled Sheldon's head to his stomach in an awkward hug. He felt so full of drunken affection for the man who made Leonard Leakey Hofstader look socially adept.
 
"Leonard..."
 
"We're having a moment, Sheldon, don't ruin it."
 
Leonard released Sheldon and smoothed his hair back into place.
 
"If you really want to... give that a try. We can try. We can give it a shot."
 
Sheldon turned back to his laptop, clearly shaken. His long fingers flew across the keyboard as he brought up and printed a document.
 
"What's that you're printing?" Leonard asked, knowing the mood was about to be seriously ruined.
 
"It's a list of sexual acts I am willing to participate it," Sheldon explained grabbing the first page off of the printer and holding it up. It was a short list.
 
"A list of acts I am willing to consider under the right circumstances," he added, holding up a slightly longer list.
 
"And that giant pile still on the printer?"
 
"That is the 'not a Snowball's chance in a CAT scanner' pile."