Howard and Raj waited in the living room for a while to make sure another fight wasn't going to break out.
"How long should we wait?" Raj whispered.
"How should I know? I don't usually have to break up nerd fights. I usually just make some popcorn and enjoy the show."
"Why is Leonard being such a douche about all of this?"
"Maybe he has a thing for Sheldon," Howard offered with a shrug.
"No way! Leonard can't be gay, he's been chasing Penny for years."
"Sexuality is a continuum, Raj! Everyone is a little gay," when Raj looked dubious, Howard grabbed a dry erase marker and drew a line on Leonard's white board.
"On one end," Howard explained, "you have Ru Paul, on the other end you have my cousin Moische from Boston who won't look at his own penis 'cause he ain't no quee-ah'. Everyone else falls somewhere in between. On one side you've got guys who like guys but have done a girl like Sheldon and on the other side you've got guys like me who like girls but have done..."
"A Sheldon?" Raj added helpfully.
Howard glared but let it go, "Who knows where Leonard falls on the spectrum? Where do you fall?"
The question was casual but Raj's stomach clenched. He was grateful for the distraction of the very distinct noise of a headboard hitting a wall. Repeatedly.
The friends turned to each other, eyes huge, and then nearly fell over each other trying to get out of the apartment. Apparently, Sheldon and Leonard had made up.
Sheldon jerked awake. He was in a strange bed and he reeked of dried sweat. Why on earth had he gone to bed without taking a shower...
He was in Leonard's bed. Naked. With Leonard. Naked Leonard.
He'd wanted to take a shower but Leonard had wanted to talk.
However, Sheldon hadn't been ready for that conversation and Leonard was easy to distract. In fact, Leonard had found a far better use for his mouth as he trailed kisses down Sheldon's chest and stomach and settled between his legs.
Sheldon remembered whimpering and wrapping his fingers in curly dark hair and even though he was given ample warning, Leonard kept his mouth right where it was until Sheldon let out a strangled cry and...
Apparently fell asleep. One didn't need to be experienced in the ways of coitus to know that was poor form. Perhaps he should buy Leonard some flowers.
He'd google the protocol later. First he needed a shower. It was time to get ready for work.
Leonard was not overly surprised to wake up alone. It probably didn't mean anything.
He was still relieved to hear Sheldon's impatient "Let's go!" when he wasn't in the bathroom at his assigned time. Things were normal. Not normal but when you lived with Sheldon, normal was a relative term.
Raj and Howard where in Leonard's office eating breakfast and waiting for him when he got to work.
Howard threw his hands in the air, "Mazol Tov!"
Leonard hung his head, "I'm not ready to be harassed about this, guys."
"Who's harassing?" asked Howard, "I hooked up with Sheldon, you hooked up with Sheldon, that means Raj is on deck."
Howard fixed his merry eyes on his Indian friend who glared back.
"If Sheldon's mother knew how often Sheldon made me kiss his ass at work, she'd be marching us down the aisle with a shot gun."
"I forgot about his mom!" Leonard wailed as he dropped into his chair.
"How could you forget Mrs. Cooper?" Howard asked, visibly appalled, "She is a total Miiiiilf!"
"She's going to hate me when she finds out. I don't want Mrs. Cooper to hate me."
"Not to mention the possibility that Sheldon could die during the ensuing exorcism," added Raj.
"You're not being helpful," snapped Leonard.
"I'm not trying to be helpful. All you jackasses are having sex with each other and now I'm the only one not getting laid."
"I don't get why you're freaking out, Leonard. You and Sheldon have been married for years. Who's going to notice a difference? Unless getting some action has mellowed Sheldon out..." offered Howard.
The three men contemplated a mellow Sheldon and burst out laughing.
Raj was sitting at the lunch table alone. Sheldon had chased him out of the office insisting he could hear Raj "moping".
He sadly pushed the food around on his plate. A week ago they'd all been dateless losers. Now Sheldon and Leonard were probably pair-bonded for life (Sheldon wasn't big on change) and Howard was a bi-sexual swinger. That left Raj alone.
And a little confused.
He felt a little better when Howard arrived.
"Slop on a rock day in the cafeteria. Yum," Howard announced sarcastically as he put down his tray.
"Why is it called 'slop on a rock' when it's chicken stew on a biscuit?"
"Seriously, you need that explained?"
Raj looked at Howard's plate, "No. I guess I can see it now."
"What's wrong? You look so sad and pathetic... and it's not even Friday night yet."
"Joking! Joking! What's wrong? Is Sheldon being... Sheldon?"
"No. He's actually able to work again. Apparently having sex with Leonard fixed whatever you did to his brain."
"I don't know if that's a compliment or an affront to my sexual prowess."
"Based on all the previous data collected, I'm going with the former."
Howard threw a pea at him.
During the car ride home, Sheldon gave Leonard a lecture about melanoma. Leonard had no one to blame but himself. He'd been the one to say, "Nice day."
They ran into Penny as they walked up the stairs. She was in sweat pants with her hair in curlers. Leonard assumed she was going to check her mail and not heading outside. Even on laundry day Penny usually left the curlers at home.
"Hey, guys! Did you kiss and make up?"
Sheldon's eyes widened incredulously.
"Penny, how on Earth are you already aware of the paradigm..."
"Shhhh...eldon, Penny was utilizing a popular colloquialism not suggesting actual osculation."
Sheldon nodded his understanding. Penny shook her head in confusion.
"Leonard was just explaining your terminology to avoid a social blunder on my part." Sheldon made the statement with confidence but he immediately looked to Leonard to confirm its correctness.
Leonard gave a tight smile and nodded, "See ya later, Penny."
He was halfway up the flight of stairs before he realized Sheldon wasn't following him. He was talking.
"It's an amusing mistake as we did ultimately 'make up' and then kiss."
Penny's jaw was as close to the floor as it could be while remaining attached to her face. Leonard didn't have to be psychic to anticipate Penny's next statement.
"Leonard, can we talk?"
Penny's head was spinning. She could have misunderstood Sheldon's words, he was often hard to understand, but the look he had given Leonard's receding back was crystal clear. Sheldon Cooper had gotten his coitus on.
There were so many questions in her head but she chose the most important and pressing one to lead.
"What the frack?"
Leonard collapsed on to her couch and started tugging at his hair, "Ummm..."
"No meditation crap, I have a date in an hour. Spill!"
"It's a complicated story. It started with Sheldon running his mouth to the FBI about Howard..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that part, skip to the kiss and make up part."
"Fine," Leonard snapped, "I'll skip the part where Sheldon and Howard had sex..."
"Oh, now you want the back story? As I was saying..."
Leonard brought her up to date up to and including his admission to Sheldon of a long felt attraction.
"He kissed me."
He rolled his eyes, "You can guess the rest."
"Since this is Sheldon we're talking about, no I can't, but we'll let that slide for now. Another thing I'm going to let slide for the moment is the fact you wanted to sleep with your roommate the whole time we were together. First, we'll focus on why you are pulling your hair out." She sat next to him and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"I'm not pulling my hair.." he looked at his hands, "Oh my god, I'm pulling my hair out! I haven't done that since junior high."
"Why are you so anxious? Is it the gay thing?"
"No! Well... No. Yes, partially but no. Maybe... It's not something I've totally come to terms with but..."
"You're pulling your hair again, sweetie."
Sheldon took off his jacket and hung up his messenger bag. He washed his hands. He turned on his lap top. Perhaps Leonard hadn't wanted to tell Penny about their relationship entering a carnal stage.
He pulled up the paper he was currently working on. Penny wanted to talk to Leonard about his new relationship. It was not uncommon among friends to discuss such matters.
He had a paper to finish.
Leonard leaned against the bathroom door while Penny pulled the curlers out of her hair.
"Sheldon doesn't want to talk about it. Sheldon! He wants to talk about everything under the sun. The whole way home he talked about the sun! When I tried to talk about it last night he kept interrupting me and... distracting me."
Penny raised her eyebrows and covered herself in a cloud of perfume.
"Is it that he won't talk about his feelings? Because he's not really a feelings guy..."
"He said he's pretty sure he loves me," Leonard smiled at the memory.
Leonard averted his eyes as she slipped into her slinky dress.
"I'm not sure it really counts."
"Was it during sex?"
Leonard thought for a moment, "Yes."
"Why did you have to think about it? What were you doing?"
"Well, he was in the post-coital stage but I was still pre-coital..."
"Did you go down on him?"
"No, well later I did and that was a whole other weird thing but i hadn't yet... Does it matter?"
"Does oral sex really have anything to do with whether or not he meant it when he said he loved me?"
"Why did you ask if I 'went down on' Sheldon?"
"I'm nosy. What was weird when you went down on him?'
"Are you just probing for salacious details?"
"If that means do I want to hear the dirty deets? Then yes."
Leonard thought about it. He wasn't especially comfortable discussing sexual details with anyone much less an ex but on the other hand...
"He fell asleep. Immediately!"
"He left you hanging?"
"So to speak..."
"Tell that bastard he owes you flowers."
"Why won't he talk about us being in a relationship?"
"Did you guys, you know...?" She made an illustrative and very obscene gesture.
"That's a yes. And were you..." another obscene gesture.
"So you were..."
She gave him a slap on the back, "Good for you."
"Why doesn't Sheldon want to talk about us... are you just being nosey again?"
"Yeah, and honestly, I'm kind of getting ramped up for my date."
"Don't look at me like that! You wouldn't want to hear about it if I hooked up with another girl?"
"Well, yeah but you're a girl and me and Sheldon are... Me and Sheldon."
Penny gave him a lascivious eyebrow wiggle, "It's so wrong it's right. Don't blush. You're my new gay best friend. Come help me pick out shoes and tell me intimate details about your sex life."
"I still don't know anything about shoes."
Penny looked at his outfit, "I guess it doesn't happen over night."
Leonard returned from Penny's nearly an hour later. He smelled of perfume, his cheeks were flushed, his hair was mussed and there was lipstick on his cheek. Sheldon kept working. Leonard took a shower before they met Raj and Howard for dinner. It was anything can happen Thursday.
Howard was eying a pretty red head at a table across the room. She was way out of his league but he couldn't help thinking that if he had just the right opening line...
"Howard, back me up! You're an engineer. Tell Sheldon if you did put a time travel device in a sports car..."
He was barely listening to Raj as he spoke. He was busy staring at his friend's full lips. His eyes were almost black as though he were perpetually aroused. He really was a delicious caramel.
"The flux capacitor is why I became an engineer. I'm not going to argue against it's feasibility."
Raj looked wounded. Howard had a sudden urge to kiss him, taste those lips...
He turned back to the red head and watched her cross her long bare legs.
Sheldon took his evening shower and prepared a warm cup of milk. Leonard came into the kitchen tugging on the sleeves of his robe. Sheldon was given to understand that was a sign of nervousness in his long time friend. He waited for Leonard to speak but the shorter man remained silent as he watched Sheldon drink his milk. When he began to wash the cup out, Leonard came up behind him and wrapped his arms around Sheldon's waist.
"Do you want to..." Leonard's voice trailed off mid-question.
"Do I want to what?'
Leonard remained quiet and just as Sheldon was about to repeat his question, he felt Leonard's hand straying below his waist.
His roommate was suggesting sexual intercourse. Sheldon sighed in relief.
"Let me brush my teeth and I'll meet you in your bedroom. I assume you've changed the sheets?"
Leonard sat on his bed and waited for Sheldon to join him. Sheldon wanted to continue the sexual relationship so that was one less thing to be worried about. Except if things didn't work out, he would lose his boyfriend, best friend and roommate in one fell swoop... He was pulling his hair out again.
Sheldon was standing in his doorway, his hands in the pockets of his robe looking pensive.
"What's up, buddy?"
Sheldon made an unhappy face, "We need a protocol."
"We need to draw up a protocol or perhaps create an algorithm for these encounters."
"You don't need a protocol for sex."
"Maybe you don't. Should I take my clothes off? All of them? Just my robe? Should I get on the bed with you or is it customary to wait for an invitation..."
"Wow! Sheldon, you really think way too much!"
"What kind of talk is that for a physicist?"
Leonard was panting beneath him. He no longer seemed to be in any condition to give advice beyond moaning "yes" and "Sheldon".
Sheldon still had questions. Leonard had divested both of them of their clothes except for his boxer shorts. Did he want to keep them on or was it Sheldon's responsibility to take off his partner's underwear? He wondered if Penny would be able to offer him advice. She was oddly sensitive when it came to discussing her vast sexual experience and expertise.
Sheldon stroked the inside of Leonard's thigh while he kissed his strong jawline. He'd always been attracted to that jaw. It bordered on heroic.
When his fingers slide beneath the material of the cotton boxer shorts, his roommate shuddered. Surely that was a good sign. He ghosted his hand over the engorged genitals causing Leonard to buck his hips, forcing a stronger contact.
"Patience is a virtue."
Leonard growled and used his hand to wrap Sheldon's around his shaft.
It was barely a whisper but it rang in Sheldon's ears. He thought of the mauve lipstick on Leonard's cheek and began to move his hand in earnest.
"Oh, Sheldon. Oh... I'm going to come..."
Leonard grimaced as his seed spilled over Sheldon's hand. Leonard offered to get him a baby wipe and while he was touched by the thoughtfulness of the gesture, he was a man on a mission. He moved his hand to that tight ring of muscle. Leonard's eyes were wide but he spread his legs slightly.
He spent ten minutes preparing Leonard to be penetrated for roughly 50 seconds of intercourse. The sensation was too strong, Leonard was too tight and too beautiful and Sheldon was too inexperienced. Leonard remained wide eyed through out and whispered, "that was amazing" when it was over.
The second attempt was much more successful.
Raj was unhappy about how well he was getting to know Sheldon. He immediately saw the tension in Sheldon's shoulders. Asking Sheldon a question was always a dangerous proposition, one that might lead you to spend the rest of your day being lectured.
"What's wrong, Sheldon?"
"I think our anticipated gravity might be..."
"Not with the formula. What's wrong with you? You look upset."
Sheldon grimaced, he hated talking about feelings. He hated having feelings.
"I've been... At what point in a relationship does one address the issue of monogamy?"
"Dude, I am so not the guy to help you with that," Raj laughed, a little more bitterly than he'd intended, "I think you can just assume Leonard's not going to be sleeping with anyone else."
"You think he's going to sleep with someone else?"
Another, slightly different grimace.
"You think he's already slept with someone else? When? This morning? Yesterday?"
Raj was joking but he saw the sudden droop in Sheldon's shoulders. No two people who weren't married should know each other this well.
"Leonard has sex like twice a year, why would you think he was hooking up with someone at the same time as he was hooking up with you? Who do you think..."
"He went to Penny's apartment yesterday after I inadvertently revealed Leonard and I had entered into a sexual relationship."
"She had used a colloquialism that led me..."
"Not important. Leonard and Penny talk all the time! That's nothing to be worried about."
"He returned an hour later smelling like perfume, with lipstick on his cheek and he immediately took a shower."
"Leonard did not have sex with Penny, that's..." he wanted to say impossible, "improbable."
Sheldon never picked up on social cues but he picked up on Raj's pause. His shoulders were so tight Raj was surprised he could still move his arm to write.
"We'll ask him and he'll tell us we're crazy," Sheldon did not look convinced, "Worst case scenario, you tell him you want a monogamous relationship starting now."
Raj excused himself and practically ran to Howard's office. The department was turning into Melrose Place.
"Dude, Sheldon thinks Leonard hooked up with Penny last night! What is happening to us? We never used to have sex!"
"You still aren't having sex," Howard pointed out, unnecessarily.
Raj felt disproportionately wounded by the statement. He really was on the outside now.
Howard looked concerned and patted his arm, "I'm kidding! We're all still losers! Now let's go talk to Leonard."
Howard put his hand on Raj's back and steered him down the hall. Raj didn't remember the last time he'd actually gotten work done. Even at times like this, when he felt lonely and different, he loved living in America.
Leonard was in the middle of tedious data entry and happy to be distracted.
"Did you have sex with Penny yesterday?" Howard asked without preamble.
"Sheldon thinks you're already screwing around on him," Raj added accusingly.
Leonard's laugh died in his throat, "Wait, are you guys serious?"
Raj and Howard exchanged a look, Raj continued in a conciliatory tone, "We knew you didn't but there's been so much drama lately and Sheldon is having sex... I don't know what to believe any more."
Raj filled Leonard in on Sheldon's concerns. Leonard pulled out his phone and sent Sheldon a text.
Penny was getting ready for a date with some other guy. She asked me a bunch of inappropriate questions and kissed me on the cheek on her way out.
He hit send.
I don't want anyone but you.
He hit send before he could chicken out.
Howard was shamelessly leaning over Leonard's shoulder and reading every word.
"Leonard, you are so gay."
When his phone beeped, Leonard was careful to hide the screen from prying green eyes as he read the incoming text. Whatever it said, it made Leonard smile.
Raj walked Howard back to his office.
"So we've saved the Shelnard," Howard announced grandly.
"Dr. Shellen Leeleakey Hofstooper, " Raj announced in an authoritative tone.
"I will give you ten bucks to use that in front of Sheldon," Howard promised, his green eyes lit up with laughter. He had such startling green eyes.
Raj tried to reply but his voice caught in his throat. Without a word, he scuttled back to his office to find a relaxed Sheldon shooting marshmallows into his mouth as he studied their whiteboard.