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“The More Things Change”

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“Leonard, I have a question.”

 

Leonard punched the mute button on the remote, silencing Princess Leia. He sighed as he looked over at Sheldon, who had turned away from his computer and was gazing at him expectantly. “I already explained it to you, Sheldon. Raj is mad because you cut in on his date with Lalita. Guys don't do that to their friends.” The fact that Raj was still miffed was why they weren't playing Halo, even though it was their usual gaming night. Instead, he and Howard had opted to go out to a bar, ostensibly to research whether other forms of alcohol besides Penny's grasshoppers would serve to loosen Raj's tongue.

 

Sheldon's brow raised in the Spock-like quirk that suggested he thought the rest of the human race was both extremely illogical and somehow beneath him. “Given that I have absolutely no carnal intentions toward Lalita, I still don't understand his objection, but that's not what I was going to ask.”

 

This was obviously going to take awhile. Leonard shut the DVD player off. “So then what is your question?”

 

“What did Raj's mother mean when she said that we were like Haroun and Tanweer?”

 

Taken by surprise, Leonard's soda went down the wrong way, and he started coughing. He was actually rather grateful that he choked. It gave him a moment to come up with a reply. “She meant that Haroun and Tanweer are more than roommates,” he said, finally.

 

“I see.” Sheldon turned back to his computer, eyes staring at the screen, back ramrod straight.

 

Leonard knew that posture. For all that Sheldon wanted to be the emotionless Vulcan, it wasn't hard to tell when he was hurt. Unfortunately, it was considerably more difficult to determine precisely what the source of that hurt was. “What, Sheldon?”

 

Sheldon didn't turn, but Leonard could hear the note of accusation in his voice. “You told Mrs. Koothrappali that we're not like Haroun and Tanweer...”

 

“We're not--”

 

Sheldon continued speaking over him. “I thought that we were also more than roommates. I was under the impression that we were friends. Apparently I was mistaken.”

 

Leonard groaned. For someone who's IQ was nearly off the charts, Sheldon could be incredibly dense. “That's not what I meant. Haroun and Tanweer aren't friends...” Leonard hesitated. “Well, maybe they are friends, too, but that's not what Mrs. Koothrappali was talking about. Haroun and Tanweer are a couple.” He saw that Sheldon still seemed perplexed. “Romantic partners.”

 

“Oh.” Sheldon frowned. “Haroun and Tanweer are both men.”

 

“Yes, I believe they are.” What he couldn't believe was that they were having this conversation.

 

“Well, that would certainly explain why they decided to adopt.”

 

Leonard watched as Sheldon mulled that over, the wheels in his head almost visibly turning. He considered turning the movie back on, but knew from experience that there would be more questions coming. It didn't take long. “Mrs. Koothrappali seemed very accepting of their relationship, did she not?”

 

Leonard shrugged. “Most people today don't have a big problem with same-sex relationships.”

 

Sheldon snorted. “It would appear that you're not familiar with south Texas religious fundamentalists.”

 

“No, I can't say that I am.”

 

Sheldon went back to his computer. Leonard picked up the television remote. As his thumb brushed the DVD button, Sheldon spoke again. “Would you consider it?”

 

Leonard punched the button again. Apparently Han Solo and Princess Leia would have to wait for another night. “Consider what?”

 

“A same-sex relationship.”

 

“What?” Oh hell. Just how had he gotten himself into this, anyhow?

 

Sheldon sighed and started again, speaking slowly as if he thought that Leonard simply couldn't follow the conversation. “I asked if you would consider participating in a same-sex relationship.”

 

“With who?” Leonard asked, to buy himself some time.

 

“With whom,” came the automatic correction from Sheldon. “With myself, of course.”

 

This was all moving way too fast. “I thought you were above all that? That you weren't interested in human contact--with anyone?”

 

“I find some women to be aesthetically pleasing in the same sense that a work of art or a photograph might be, however I have never experienced any desire to perform carnal acts with them. I have always assumed that made me asexual. Given my upbringing, I never considered that there might be other options.”

 

“And now that you've realized there are?”

 

“I find the idea intrigues me. At the very least, I think it's worthy of experimentation.”

 

“You want to experiment on me.” How very Sheldon.

 

“Actually, I want to experiment with you. I believe there is a difference.”

 

There was, but Leonard wasn't sure whether that made the idea more or less uncomfortable. “Why me? Why not Raj or Howard, maybe?” In truth, Leonard had always wondered about their two friends, whether there was more between them than simple friendship.

 

“Raj is not currently speaking to me, and Howard is, as Penny would put it, a pig. There is also the fact that I am not attracted to either of them.”

 

While he might not have Sheldon's intelligence, Leonard could add two and two well enough to fill in what Sheldon wasn't saying. Sheldon found him attractive.

 

Leonard considered it. He had long ago accepted that, while he usually preferred women, there was some part of his psyche that wasn't opposed to the concept of a relationship with another man. He did, at times, feel a certain attraction to the male body. Beyond a bit of inexperienced, clumsy groping during his first year of college, he had never pursued it. Now, Sheldon, his roommate—his friend—was suggesting that they become more than that.

 

It was probably a bad idea. Sheldon was so far beyond quirky that quirky wasn't even on the same map. Leonard had no doubt that having Sheldon as a boyfriend would drive him totally insane. But, Sheldon did have one redeeming quality. Leonard was absolutely certain that Sheldon would never cheat on him or intentionally hurt him. And that, Leonard knew, was far more than he could say about most of the women he had dated.

 

“Alright,” he agreed, before he could change his mind.

 

Sheldon smiled one of his less creepy smiles, with what might have been genuine happiness. “Very good. I'll get right to work.” He turned back to his computer and began tapping keys.

 

“Work?” Leonard asked, confused.

 

“Yes. I'm sure you realize this is going to require some major changes to the roommate agreement.”

 

Leonard sighed. Some things would never change.