“Tell me you haven’t been buying movie props on Ebay again, Leonard.”
Sheldon’s eyes were wide with shock as he stood dumfounded in the hallway of the apartment building’s ground floor. Beside him, the shorter physicist’s amazed gaze was also transfixed on the giant blue structure unexplainably in the way of their mail slots. Retrieving their junk mail was the farthest thing from either scientist’s mind as they stared at the iconic vehicle.
“N-no. I haven’t,” Leonard replied faintly.
Sheldon took a slow step forward, circling the box with caution. “There is a TARDIS in our apartment building, Leonard,” he managed to get out. Hyperventilating seemed like a logical option at the moment, but that would only take time away from inspecting the time-traveling craft. Sheldon fought the excited panic and moved closer to the deceivingly titled ‘police box’.
“Yes, there is.” Strangely, Leonard’s previous wonder had faded, and he regarded Sheldon with serious eyes.
“I wonder what it is doing here. We should take a look inside.” Sheldon could barely contain himself. Even if the box turned out to be a vacant prop, the fact that they had come home to a TARDIS in their apartment was going to make for a very interesting Captain’s Log later that night.
“As you wish, Doctor Cooper,” Leonard murmured stiffly. Sheldon’s brow furrowed and he glanced at his roommate. Of all the times for Leonard to act peculiar! Strike that, Leonard was peculiar a good eighty-five percent of the time, but Sheldon would have expected his best friend to be just as excited as him about this strange turn of events.
Dismissing his friend’s behavior from his mind, Sheldon reached to open the contraption, but as soon as he laid a hand on the door, Leonard’s ringtone trilled loudly, ruining the dramatic moment.
“Hello?” Leonard answered the phone, ignoring Sheldon’s glare. “Really? What happened? Mmhmm… mmhmm… ok. I’ll do that. Thanks for calling, I appreciate it.”
Ending the call, Leonard replaced his phone in his pocket, meeting Sheldon’s gaze with the same oddly blank expression he had gained only minutes before.
“Wolowitz has been in an accident,” Leonard began carefully. “You know how he was staying late tonight to work on his project for the Robotic Alliance committee? Well, something went wrong, and he… he’s lost a few limbs. Don’t worry,” Leonard added hastily, “they gave him some prosthetic appendages. So now he’s kinda robotic himself.”
Staring at Leonard in shock, Sheldon opened his mouth to reply, but just then, the door burst open.
“Doctor Cooper! Leonard!” A breathless Raj stumbled into the building, clutching a small cage that banged against the door. Something inside rattled.
“Did you hear what happened to Howard? Isn’t it awful? I went by the pet store to get him a present to cheer him up… what do you think, isn’t he cute?” Raj held up the cage proudly.
Stepping back, Sheldon stared at the metallic creature inside. The cybermat’s antennae twitched as it fixed a crystalline eye on the tall physicist.
“Oh no! Wolowitz must be turning into a cyberman,” Sheldon breathed. “To say that we must stop him is an understatement.”
Leonard smiled up at him serenely, but Raj only appeared confused.
“Whatever you say, Doctor.” Leonard replied calmly.
“Ok, here’s the plan,” Sheldon began….
“I’m glad the threat has finally been neutralized,” Sheldon spoke wearily, pushing the door to the apartment building open. The creature that had formerly been Wolowitz had put up quite a fight, but Sheldon’s brilliance had won in the end. The TARDIS was thankfully still there, though the physicist’s excitement had dwindled considerably.
“Me too,” Leonard spoke up behind him. “Although it’s a pity we had to get rid of Raj as well.”
“He was much too attached to the cybermat…” Sheldon stated firmly. “Well, at least now I’ll be able to get a look at the inside of the TARDIS… Where in time and space shall we go, Leonard?”
Nudging the door open, the taller scientist took a reverent step inside the craft, eyes ready to bypass the vast expansion of rooms in favor of the control center. Before his eyes could adjust, however, Sheldon found himself being pulled down by insistent hands.
As Leonard’s lips pressed against his own, Sheldon gasped, but the smaller man did not let up. It was a chaste kiss, the pressure tolerable, but then Leonard was doing something with his tongue that made Sheldon shudder and jerk away…
Gasping, Sheldon sat straight up in bed, clutching at the suddenly heavy blankets. Disoriented, he stared around his room as his mind processed his environment and made sense of the logical progression of events. Waiting until his heart rate had returned to normal, Sheldon pushed the covers away and slid his feet into his slippers.
Knock knock knock. “Leonard...”
Knock knock knock. “Leonard....”
Knock knock knock. “Leonard!”
On the other side of the door, Leonard stirred with a groan, slowly rolling over on his side to squint at his clock. An hour and a half. He had an hour and a half of sleep left until he had to get up for work. Ninety minutes. Fifty-four hundred seconds. And Sheldon was about to take up every one of those precious seconds. Leonard just knew it.
“What is it?” he growled out, resisting the urge to pull his covers over his head.
The door immediately swung open, Sheldon’s tall form hesitating for a moment at the threshold. Taking advantage of his friend’s silence, Sheldon pressed on, hovering near Leonard’s bed.
“Leonard, I had bad dreams. Well, I suppose ‘bad’ is an inadequate description. They weren’t nightmares, per se. In fact, I was experiencing pleasant images derived from REM sleep, but they took an unsettling turn towards the end.”
The former part of Sheldon’s statement was undoubtedly true. Had nightmares invaded Sheldon’s mind, Leonard would have been woken by the too-familiar screams of panic. Instead, Sheldon was calm enough to wake his friend without yelling. At the moment, Leonard was too sleepy to appreciate the difference.
“What were your dreams about?” Leonard mumbled into his pillow, knowing fully well that Sheldon did not need his prompting, but feeling compelled to participate in this unwanted conversation.
“I found a TARDIS.” Leonard felt the bed dip and briefly opened an eye to squint up at his roommate.
“Good for you, buddy.”
“That wasn’t the unsettling part,” Sheldon chided. “Apparently I was the next regeneration of the Doctor, but that wasn’t bad either.”
“Always knew you were an alien,” Leonard smiled slightly, sensing Sheldon’s indignant stare.
“You were my companion,” Sheldon continued, “and we had to destroy Wolowitz because he was slowly becoming a Cyberman.”
“I’m having a dream right now, and you aren’t faring too well in it either,” Leonard replied.
“We enlisted Penny’s help in securing nail varnish remover.”
Leonard let out a strangled laugh, fumbling for his glasses. Able to see clearly now, the shorter physicist sat up, observing Sheldon’s rumpled state by the light of the hallway. No matter how long he lived with his roommate, it never got old seeing the other man in this unusual state of disarray. The odd tuffs of short hair sticking every which way were endearing, as were Sheldon’s eyes, always bright with thought, but currently diluted with sleep.
“Ok, buddy. So was it the murder of a friend that upset you, or the fact that you had to ask Penny for help?” Leonard asked gently.
“Neither,” came the dismissive reply. “As you know, the Doctor does not entertain romantic overtones with possible mates, especially within the structure of the TARDIS.”
Leonard nodded, wondering where Sheldon was heading with that statement.
“You kissed me.” Sheldon stared pointedly at his friend, a frown on his face. “You kissed me in the TARDIS, Leonard. Why do you have no regard for established canon?”
Leonard gaped at Sheldon, stunned for a moment at his friend’s accusation. “E-excuse me?! You woke me up in order to blame me for something I did in your dreams? There was no TARDIS! There was no kiss!”
For a moment, silence enveloped the room. Leonard struggled to wrap his mind around his friend’s words. It took a while to notice that Sheldon was staring at the wall, fingers methodically tracing the stripes on his pajama bottoms as he did when he was uncomfortable or nervous.
“I’m… sorry,” Leonard mumbled.
“Apology accepted,” Sheldon replied stiffly. “Should I assume your strong reaction was due to a perceived offensive nature of the act?”
Leonard stared at Sheldon’s profile, confused for a moment. “What? Um, no. I was offended that you would blame me for something I didn’t actually do. Are you saying… you didn’t mind the kiss? You’re the one who said it was unsettling!” Leonard protested.
“The fact that you kissed me in the TARDIS was unsettling. I never did get to see the inside of it because you distracted me,” Sheldon replied matter-of-factly.
“Oh,” Leonard replied brilliantly. “Are you sure there wasn’t mind-altering substances or mistletoe involved?”
Turning back to face the shorter physicist, Sheldon shot Leonard a look of derision. “Quite sure.”
Rubbing his eyes, Leonard glanced at his clock, heaving a sigh at the displayed time. No use even pretending to go back to sleep now. Slowly leaning forward as not to startle Sheldon, Leonard drew closer to his friend.
“I’m sorry I made you miss the opportunity to pilot the TARDIS, Sheldon. Forgive me?” Leonard murmured, pressing his lips against the other man’s forehead. Drawing back, Leonard observed the parade of strangled emotions darting across Sheldon’s face. Uncertainty, contentment and wariness fought for dominance, but Leonard waited patiently. At last, the familiar calculating eyes were back, and Sheldon met his friend’s gaze steadily.
“Forehead kisses are not traditionally romantic in nature. In any case, this reality and my dreams are too dissimilar for me to reach an adequate conclusion.”
Gamely, Leonard tilted his head, bestowing a quick kiss on Sheldon’s temple, and then another against his cheek.
“Conclusion?” Leonard asked helpfully, watching Sheldon swallow.
“Satisfactory. You’re forgiven,” Sheldon announced. He suddenly noticed Leonard’s hand inching towards his own and rose to his feet. Unfortunately, Leonard was quicker, and before Sheldon knew what was happening, their fingers were laced together.
“You’re forgiven,” Sheldon repeated, eyeing down at his friend warily. “But I sincerely hope you do not compromise any of my dreams in the future.”
Snorting, Leonard rolled his eyes before pulling Sheldon’s hand closer to his face.
“Whatever you say, Doctor,” he replied, giving the lithe fingers entwined with his own a squeeze before pressing his lips against the pale skin. “Whatever you say…”