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the little twinkle in your eye

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It had been a number of days since they had somehow, some way, gotten Leonard back from the time stream, and Ray had quietly pulled himself away from the still celebrating team into the labs. It was not that he wasn’t happy to have the older man back, because he was. He was beyond thrilled, and he was a little too scared to examine his own feelings too closely.

So he had done what he did best and retreated.

It helped that he could see Leonard was getting a little frustrated about the hovering. The only one who he was comfortable with was, as always, Mick. And Ray once again refused to look too closely at how well he had learned to read the other man.

He was in the lab again, working on – if he was honest, he was working on nothing in particular. Just tinkering on a gadget he had asked Gideon to give him the specs for. Something to keep his hands busy. And something to keep him out of the way.

Ray did not expect the door to slide open and Leonard to stride in, the usually unflappable expression on his face hiding a little bit of tension. He cast a wide-eyed look at the older man, but did not say anything beyond a simple greeting. Turning back to his tinkering, he was not surprised when Leonard walked over to another one of the tables, fiddling with something there for a while. He was all too aware of the other man for the fifteen minutes he was in the lab before he put down whatever he had been holding and strode out without saying a word.

The tension in his shoulders loosened, and Ray cast a glance at the table Leonard had been by curiously. He frowned when he say the phone on it. Walking over, he picked it up, and turned to the door as it slid open again and Leonard stalked back in.

“Hey, you left your -” Ray looked down at the phone in his hands when the screen lit up and blinked in surprise. “I’m your lock screen?!”

“You weren’t supposed to see that.”

It was the fact that Leonard’s voice was soft rather than his usual drawl that had Ray looking back up at the man and finally, finally, meeting his eyes. Something warm bloomed in his chest at the look on Leonard’s face. At the openness and vulnerability, and the trust the older man was placing in him by letting him see all of it.

He smiled shyly, ducking his head, taking a step forward. “I’m glad I did.”

The other man started to smirk, but there was something less sharp in it, and Ray’s own grin widened in response. “I’m sure you are.” His drawl was teasing rather than pointed, and Ray took another step forward, waiting for Leonard to change his mind and stop him.

Leonard did not, instead taking a step forward to meet Ray in the middle.