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The Short Line

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It’s a blisteringly hot day, even by Pasadena standards, and even though they have the AC up as high as Sheldon will allow, Leonard swears that he can still feel the oppressive force of the late-spring heat pushing down on them, physical limitations be damned. Leonard toys with the idea of opening a window, then wonders if he has the physical strength to shove Howard out of said window. Probably not, but maybe if Raj helped they could--

“I said,” Sheldon repeats, with a tone of voice that grates on Leonard’s mind almost as much as when people call The Doctor “Doctor Who” as if it’s his name,  “do you want to be the boot, the thimble, or the wheelbarrow?”

This is it , Leonard thinks as he reaches out to take the metal thimble and set it on the Monopoly board, this is how I become a supervillain.

Because it had been a good plan, a great plan even: plan a board game day, convince Howard and Raj to cancel, and then have time alone with Sheldon. His only option, really, since he somehow managed to end up with a friend group where he’s the only one capable of lying. And that was it--it should have been two texts, feigning disappointment for no less than two solid minutes, and then suggesting that he and Sheldon just watch Netflix or something while Leonard uses the slower parts of whatever they’d end up watching to try and convince Sheldon to at least get one of his shirts off.  

“I’ll be banker,” Sheldon announces, as he arranges the board and the money to his liking on the table beside the couch.

Leonard watches Sheldon’s fingers as he divies up the colored money and the white cards, lets himself stare shamelessly where a month and a half ago (forty seven days, three hours, and some odd minutes--not that Leonard’s still counting, of course) he would have at least tried to be subtle about it. But by now he’s had fantasies about Sheldon’s hand on every single part of his anatomy, and even in a few places as well, and so subtly seems like a moot point.

Sheldon goes first, and by some sort of luck, or perhaps some sort of Texan divine intervention, lands on a railroad space. Sheldon’s face lights up and Leonard can feel his own face subconsciously mimicking Sheldon’s expression--a classic sign of attraction, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care.

“Oh goody, Reading Railroad! And I’ll buy it,” Sheldon narrates, before making a production out of selling himself the railroad. “Well that takes care of that. Leonard, it’s your turn.”

Sheldon passes the dice to Leonard, and all he can think is that if this is the most physical contact he will get with Sheldon all day, he will need to start investing in a black cape and a secret lair. Still, he dutifully thanks Sheldon, takes the dice and rolls snake eyes.

“Community Chest,” Leonard reads. He takes a card, flips it over, and sighs. “Doctor’s fees. Pay fifty dollars.”

He finds the appropriate bill in his pile while Sheldon holds out his hand expectantly.

“Snake eyes, huh? I guess that roll was a real hiss-take,” Howard says.

“Really?” asks Leonard as he gives Sheldon the money to file away. Barely five minutes into the game, and he’s already hating it.

If things had gone according to plan, he would be on the couch next to Sheldon, not stuck in this chair. Maybe they’d rewatch Firefly for the billionth time, and maybe Sheldon would even hold his hand again. He did, once, a week ago, when Leonard had explained the concept and Sheldon had made a face at it. Leonard had then re-explained the concept of relationships and compromises and so Sheldon had acquiesced to try.

#

“Oh no,” Sheldon had said, pulling his hand out from Leonard’s after a valiant, forty-two second attempt. “No, I don’t like this at all.”

And Leonard had been selfish, is always selfish really, and so he had said, “Why don’t you think about it like an experiment? You can test out different ways of holding my hand and figure out which one is more comfortable.”

Over the opening credits for Star Trek, Sheldon had hummed as he considered it. “Hmm. I hadn’t thought about it that way.”

He had sounded skeptical, but then Leonard was treated to two whole episodes worth of Sheldon testing out the best way to hold his hand. By the time he had finished, Sheldon had decided on the most comfortable position (hands cupped and balanced on Sheldon’s right thigh) and Leonard was too busy trying to will away his errection to properly congratulate Sheldon on his discovery.

#

“I don’t know,” Raj comments, taking the dice from Leonard to roll. “I thought Howard’s joke was hiss-terical.”

“You can’t do that.” It takes them all a moment to realize that Sheldon isn’t referring to Raj moving four spaces and landing on Income Tax, but instead his pun. “You can’t both pun off the word hiss; it doesn’t work.”

Raj pays Sheldon the two hundred dollars. “I guess. But how would one measure the success of a snake pun?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Howard asks. He rolls and ends up visiting jail. “You’d measure the success of a snake pun in inches.”

Leonard glares at Howard. He doesn’t want to ask why that’s the right measurement. Hell, he doesn't want Howard here at all.  

#

“So you want me and Raj to lie to Sheldon and say we can’t come?” Howard had asked over the phone earlier in the day. “Why?”

“No,” Leonard had clarified in a hushed whisper, lest Sheldon and his crazy bat ears hear. He’d gone over to Penny’s to make the call, but you could never be sure with Sheldon. “I want you to not come. I’ll lie to Sheldon. No offense, but I don’t exactly trust you to lie to Sheldon." 

“Hey! I’m a better liar than Sheldon is.”

“That’s not the point,” Leonard had replied, pacing back and forth across Penny’s livingroom. “The point is that I want alone time with Sheldon, and this way I don’t have to rearrange the calendar or submit a proposal.” At this point, Leonard had reached up, pushing his glasses so he could pinch the bridge of his nose. “Just let me have the afternoon alone with my boyfriend.”

Penny had cheered at that, but Leonard doubts Howard had heard it across the phone.

#

“I know I’m going to regret asking this,” Leonard says as Sheldon rolls, “but why exactly would one measure the success of a snake pun in inches?”

Howard screws up his face until he looks like a constipated Keebler elf; Leonard wonders if he has the physical strength to punch Howard. “Because,” Howard says, “snakes don’t have feet.”

Leonard groans, Raj laughs with Howard, and Sheldon shushes them all. He lands at St. Charles Place, buys it for himself, and puts down a little plastic house. And then Leonard, as if by fate, rolls the perfect combination to land himself on that same space.

“That will be fifty dollars, please.”

“How is it,” Leonard asks, “that we’ve hardly been playing for ten minutes and you already own property, whereas all Raj and I have done is pay you money?”

“Correction: you’ve paid both me and the Banker money. Raj has only paid money to the Banker.” He looks Leonard in the eye, and the sudden intensity of all of Sheldon’s focus is almost too much for Leonard. If this were a romantic movie, this is where Sheldon would say something cute or loving. Instead, all he does is smirk and tell Leonard, “Don’t hate the player; hate the game.”

The longer the game goes on, the easier it becomes to hate it.

Sheldon buys every property he can. Raj ends up in jail not once but three times. Leonard receives a Chance card that forces the Banker to give him fifty dollars. Howard buys every yellow property for what he’s calling his strategy .

The game drags on, the heat doesn’t abate, and every additional moment reminds him of the time he thought doing a marathon of the Star Wars prequel movies was a good idea.

His phone buzzes, and he takes it out of his pocket. It’s Penny. Of course it is, because anyone else who would text him is currently in this room. She’s supposed to be out with a boyfriend, but Leonard wonders how well it’s going considering that she has the time to text Leonard how is it going???? get laid yet!?!?

Leonard texts back a no and a frowning emoticon, but it’s all he has time to do before Sheldon practically shoves the dice at him.

“You can text Penny back after your turn. Roll.”

Leonard dutifully puts his phone away and rolls. Penny will understand, she’s good at that. Part of Leonard has always wondered if that intrinsic empathy is Penny-specific, or more of a Nebraska-wide thing. Someone should do a study.

And then it happens.

The thing is, Leonard knows he’s a genius. He has numerous pieces of paper, some of them rather impressively framed, telling him so. He’s a professional experimental physicist, for crying out loud. But what hits him in that moment is pure genius, or perhaps pure evil genius.

Leonard smiles as he counts out the number of spaces it takes to move from Marvin Gardens to the Short Line. He can feel the other three getting it, the tension in the room growing as if he just made a daring move in a chess match. He looks up and sees their eyes fixed on his thimble game piece.

Sheldon, who seems to have managed to go even paler than his usual complexion, gapes for a moment before he closes his mouth, then informs Leonard, “You can’t do that.”

“But I rolled a six,” Leonard explains calmly, gesturing to his co-conspirator dice. “See? Four and two make six, and six takes me from Marvin Gardens to--”

“The Short Line, yes, I know,” Sheldon cuts in. “What I mean is, you can’t buy it.”

Leonard looks directly at Howard.

#

“What I mean,” Howard had said when Leonard first told him, “is that I don’t buy it. There is no way you and Sheldon are, ugh, I can’t even say it.”

“Dating,” Leonard had said for him, and had even puffed up a little at the word. “Yes. Sheldon and I are now dating."

It had been the day after he and Sheldon had decided to become a couple officially. Leonard had toyed with the idea of a secret romance between himself and Sheldon, but any romantic pros were quickly outweighed by the one large con of whatever intricate lie Sheldon would have had to concoct for the plan to “work,” much less the guilt he would have shoved onto Leonard at being forced to lie.  

“And why would I lie about that?” he had asked. “What could I possibly gain from tricking you into thinking I was dating Sheldon?”

But ever the engineer, Howard had just shaken his head and told Leonard, “I don’t know, but I’ll only believe it when I see it.”

#

It’s why he hadn’t stayed home; Leonard’s sure of it. And it’s the heady combination of this certainty, his new position on the board, and his desire for Sheldon that leads Leonard to his next move. Briefly, he wonders if this is how Newton felt when the apple fell on his head. And so, still looking right at Howard (who himself looks a bit like a companion cornered by Daleks), Leonard says, “Well, railroads are fairly lucrative properties. I mean, they have the highest visitation frequency of any other type of space in the game.”

“And they also rank seventh out of ten in pay off percentage,” Raj chimes in. It takes him hardly a second to realize that his comment perhaps wasn’t as helpful as he meant it to be, and so he mumbles a, “Sorry,” and retreats behind his can of soda.

“Be that as it may,” Sheldon starts, but Leonard can see on his face that he’s struggling for a cogent argument. It’s become almost a game over the last month for Leonard, seeing how many of Sheldon’s looks he could commit to memory. The quirks had been easy--they had always affected him directly. But memorizing Sheldon’s bathroom schedule wasn’t as self-serving as memorizing his different types of smiles, or the way his eyes crinkled when he made them. “You can’t buy it because I want it.”

Leonard pushes his glasses up with his finger. “Is that so?”

“I’ll pay you.”

“How much?”

“You could always steal from the bank?” Raj suggests to Sheldon.

Sheldon counts his money again, and Leonard knows this must be important to him if he’s willing to go back and check something instead of relying on his memory. But even when Sheldon gives him a surprisingly fair offer, Leonard turns him down.

“But I have to have all of the railroads,” Sheldon whines. “That is the definition of a monopoly! And what’s the point of playing Monopoly if you cannot control a monopoly?”

And for a moment, the room is at an impasse. The sun is setting outside, throwing rays of chemically-induced pinks and oranges against the glass. It’s getting late, and they’ll be here even later finishing this game if Leonard’s plan doesn’t work.

Leonard shrugs. “Sorry Sheldon, but I can’t be bought.”

The thing is, this plan ultimately hinges on Sheldon and his habit of hyper-focusing on only the problem right in front of him. Leonard watches as Sheldon’s gaze narrows in concentration, and wishes he could see the mental steps Sheldon was taking to see if they were leading him toward the conclusion that Leonard wants. It’s less of an experiment than a gamble, but Leonard tries not to focus on that, and instead focuses on the look in Sheldon’s blue eyes as he thinks.

“If you let me buy the railroad, I’ll take my pants off.”

Judging from the chorus of “ What ?” that follows Sheldon’s offer, Leonard isn’t the only one alone in being utterly confused. (Though, ideally, he is the only one turned on by the idea.)

Sheldon makes the noise he does right before he’s about to explain a concept that he thinks the rest of the world should understand already. “I’m attempting to use any potential leverage I might have as your chosen romantic partner to get you to do what I want.”

Leonard’s body sings at Sheldon’s explanation: chosen romantic partner. But he thinks too of Sheldon spending the rest of the game pantsless and in his spot, dealing out fake money and raking it in every time someone lands on one of his railroads, and he can’t do that to Sheldon.

“Please don’t take your pants off, dude,” Raj pleads, and Howard nods along with him.

“Believe me now?” Leonard asks Howard, who just keeps nodding. Before anyone can say anything else, however, Leonard executes the final part of his plan. “Okay, Sheldon, how about this? You don’t have to take your pants off, but will you let me give you a blowjob later today?”

If Sheldon notices the stunned looks of silence on Raj and Howard’s face, he doesn’t let it bother him. But Leonard notices, and those looks only get worse when Sheldon asks, “Does it have to be today?”

“Yes.”

“Will I have to reciprocate?”

“No.”

“Will you brush your teeth beforehand?”

Leonard grins. If Sheldon’s asking that, it means he’s thinking through the logistics of it, treating the idea like an actual possibly and not a hypothetical anomaly. “I’ll even let you supervise.”

“Deal.”

Howard waits for only as long as it takes him to blink before demanding to know, “Okay, what the hell was that?”

Raj purses his lips, tilts his head, and shrugs. “I don’t know. I think it was kind of cute.”

“What you just witnessed,” Sheldon explains, because of course he wouldn’t pass up the chance to do one of his favorite things, “was me taking advantage of the relationship I have with Leonard to obtain the last railway, obviously.” He even laughs a little after he says it, the short staccato laugh that Leonard always thought should annoy him, but never did.

Leonard himself keeps quiet; he knows better than to correct Sheldon, and on this point why would he want to?

Half of Howard’s paper money has fallen off his lap and onto the apartment floor, but he hasn’t picked it up. Instead he keeps turning his head from Leonard to Sheldon and back again, like he’s following a game of Pong. “I still don’t understand.”

“Understand what?” Sheldon asks. “You’ll have to be more specific. The category of things you don’t know is rather large.”

Howard grabs the rest of the paper money in his lap with his fist and flicks it out over the table. “That’s it. I can’t take any more of this. Come on, Raj." 

“What? Why do I have to go, too?”

But Howard drags him out anyway, and it’s more beautiful than any season finale episode that Leonard has ever seen. After hours of slaving away over Monopoly when he wanted to be doing anything but, Leonard feels as though he can finally breath again. The apartment feels ten times bigger. But then again, so does the distance between him and Sheldon, who’s frowning and cleaning up the cards and sorting the money.

“There’s no point in continuing,” Sheldon explains, even though Leonard has said nothing. Instead, Sheldon rattles on about taxes and strategy and of course trains , and Leonard lets him because it’s beautiful to watch, especially now that he’s the only one who gets to. Leonard lives for these little performances, as much as he would never admit it out loud.

Leonard rubs his palms on the sides of his pants and tries not to think about how sweaty they are. “So,” he begins, going slow and trying not to spook Sheldon, “about that, uh, blowjob?” The word is suddenly harder to say a second time around--it sticks in his throat like cold honey. 

But Sheldon beats him to it. “Does the offer still stand even though the game ended prematurely?”

It’s there for a flash, but it’s there, that look on Sheldon's face, and Leonard reads it like it’s a glimpse into the Matrix: confusion, fear, hope. “You thought I wasn’t being serious?” Leonard asks, trying to wrap his mind around the possibility of there ever existing a universe where he didn’t want to do that. “I mean, yes,” Leonard adds quickly, nodding his head.

To emphasize his point, he stands, walks the step over into Sheldon’s space, and drops to his knees in between Sheldon’s skinny, splayed thighs. “Yes,” he repeats. He’s looking Sheldon dead in the eyes, and he’s rewarded with seeing the very moment Sheldon’s pupils dilate.

Sheldon’s hand twitches, and then his eyes twitch, and then he’s turned his head, and for one terrifying moment Leonard thinks that he’s caused Sheldon to short circuit. Finally, Sheldon seems to reboot and come back to his senses. “Did you do that,” he asks, “just so you could ask if you could perform oral sex on me?”

“Yes?” Leonard responds, but he doesn’t say it to Sheldon. Instead, he asks it to the floor in between Sheldon’s feet.

“But why ?”

Leonard thinks of all the honest reasons he could give: Because I didn’t know how else to ask. Because I’m attracted to you to the point where it’s affecting my daily life. Because I think I’m in love with you and I don’t want to scare you away, can’t have you leave me too. But honesty has never been his strong suit.

So instead he says, “Well, I guess you could say I had loco-motives?”

“Leonard,” Sheldon warns, “if you plan on brushing your teeth any time soon, you won’t make any more puns.”

It’s all the encouragement Leonard needs to get back on his feet and practically run to the bathroom. He brushes and, true to his word, Sheldon supervises. Or, to be more accurate, Sheldon oscillates between telling Leonard facts about how many germs live on each tooth in the human mouth and criticising Leonard’s toothbrush technique.

“Why do you even care if I brush my teeth?” Leonard asks as he puts his toothbrush away. It’s pointless to ask that to Sheldon of all people, but the mindless banter will eat away at the silence, the impending awkwardness of what they’re about to do.

They’re skipping steps, Leonard knows. Even porn doesn’t go from handholding to blow jobs--usually, at least. But he’s learned to take what he can get with Sheldon, just another compromise to add to the pile, another quirk, another--

Sheldon’s suddenly standing much closer to Leonard. He looks flushed under the florescent lights, and even seems to be breathing a little heavier than normal. “I care because I want to try kissing you, and I’m certainly not going to do it after you’ve finished...” Instead of finishing his sentence, Sheldon makes a vague hand gesture. But that’s not what Leonard focuses on.

“You want to kiss me?”

Given the fact that there’s hardly any space between himself and Sheldon for that question to go, Leonard writes it off as redundant and instead focuses on the way Sheldon’s tilting his head, the fact that Leonard has to tilt his head up and to the side, and then the slow, unavoidably awkward first press of his closed lips against Sheldon.

It’s not magical. Leonard doesn’t feel butterflies or see fireworks or whatever else the pop songs Penny plays go on about. Leonard’s not even sure it’s comfortable. But when Sheldon says, lips brushing against Leonard’s as he does, “Huh. That wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated,” Leonard gets it.

There’s something in that faint praise that makes Leonard reach out to touch Sheldon--his arm at first, and then the small of his back, and then they’re kissing again and Sheldon is touching him , one gorgeous hand splayed over Leonard’s clothed collar bone, the other on Leonard’s hip, and before long Sheldon has Leonard pressed up against the door frame, half in the hall  and half in the bathroom, with Leonard’s glasses pushed half-off his face. They kiss like they’re each other’s only source of oxygen on an alien planet, and soon Sheldon has a hand in Leonard’s hair and Leonard is struggling to hold back the whimpers, the soft moans, the symphony of noises his vocal cords want to make at the sheer enormity of Dr. Sheldon Cooper kissing him in the bathroom.

It’s Leonard who eventually pulls away, with one last, hard kiss on Sheldon’s lips. “We should,” he pants, voice hoarser, deeper, than he was expecting. “We should go somewhere else. Somewhere with a bed.”

“Well we’re certainly not going to use my bed.”

Leonard desperately wants to know how Sheldon can still have that tone, even when he still has his hand gripping Leonard’s hip, and even when his lips are red and swollen from kissing. But instead Leonard kisses Sheldon one more time before taking his hand, hands cupped of course, and leading Sheldon down the hall to his bedroom.

And then, once inside with the door closed, things begin to fall apart.

“I have to admit, I’m not exactly sure about the protocols here.”

Sheldon’s practically emanating awkwardness, and Leonard feels it too. They’ve been in each other’s rooms before, but never like this, never with these expectations, and Leonard can see Sheldon tugging on the hem of his shirt nervously. It’s as good a place to start as any.

“Why don’t you start by taking off your clothes and getting under the blanket? Yes, all of your clothes,” Leonard adds, when Sheldon asks. He turns, tries to give Sheldon privacy despite the obvious redundancy of this as well. While Sheldon undresses, Leonard slowly takes off his outermost jacket. Maybe , he thinks, if I take my clothes off really slowly, when I finally get to the last layer I’ll have abs and an actually nice body.

But by the time he gets to the last layer, Leonard’s naked top-half is the same as it’s always been: too white, a little squishy, and overall on the wrong side of the bell curve.

“Are you making me wait on purpose?” Sheldon complains, and when Leonard turns around he sees that Sheldon has already gotten undressed, folded his clothes, and gotten under the blankets right in the middle of the bed. “If so, I have to say I’m not a fan of this part, and so you can just skip it.”

Leonard laughs in spite of himself. “You won’t mind if I turn off the lights, will you?”

Sheldon spends a moment thinking about it before saying, “I see no reason to object.”

With the lights off, Leonard finishes undressing, nearly tripping in his rush to get his jeans off as quickly as possible. His erection had flagged earlier, in between the kissing and now, but the immediacy of the fact that Leonard is about to get into bed, naked, with Sheldon, who is also naked, for the express purpose of giving him a blowjob , is definitely doing its part to revive it. Leonard gives himself a few strokes to speed up the process slightly, not wanting to look like he’s disinterested.

“You’re stalling again, Leonard,” Sheldon complains, before actually lifting the blankets up to invite Leonard in.

So Leonard sets his glasses on the bedside table, gets into his bed, and lies down next to Sheldon. “Sorry,” he apologizes, swooping down to kiss Sheldon’s cheek before Sheldon can protest. “I’m just nervous.”

“You’re nervous?” Sheldon asks, scoffing. “How do you think I feel?" 

“Right, sorry, yeah, right.” Leonard knows he’s babbling, but he can’t stop. “I’ll, uh, just get to it, then.”

Even in the dark and without his glasses, Leonard swears he can see Sheldon roll his eyes, or at least feels the disturbance of it in the Force. But Leonard doesn’t dwell on it. Instead, he kisses Sheldon’s cheek again, then his jawline, then down his neck, biting and sucking gently just to hear the way it makes Sheldon’s breathing hitch.

“No marks.”

“No marks,” Leonard repeats. He kisses Sheldon’s neck a few more times for good measure before trailing his lips down to Sheldon’s collarbone. Leonard considers Sheldon’s nipples, dark and pebbled, and opts to skip them, instead kissing down the middle of Sheldon’s slim chest--maybe next time, if Sheldon will allow him a next time.

Sheldon’s hands are by his sides, clenched into fists as Leonard moves past Sheldon’s chest and down to his abdomen, careful not to tickle as he makes his way to Sheldon’s left hipbone. Leonard adjusts himself, mindful of the edge of the bed and the unforgiving nature of gravity, and when he’s sure he won’t fall he bites, albeit gently, on Sheldon’s protruding hipbone. Judging by the surprised moan Sheldon lets out, however, he’s not utterly opposed to it.

“H-hurry up, Leonard,” Sheldon whines, really whines, and how could Leonard say no to that?

He finally looks at Sheldon’s cock, and when he does he licks his lips. Sheldon hadn’t been kidding when he felt the need to inform everyone that his genitals were aesthetically pleasing, and now having not only Sheldon’s cock, but his hard cock, right in front of his mouth is enough to make Leonard lick his lips a second time.

He hasn’t done this since grad school, a few fumbling moments when he was finally old enough to understand what those feelings really meant, but before he came to the realization that a cello playing, comic book reading, cosplaying nerd named Leonard probably shouldn’t add bisexual to the list if he ever wanted to spend a moment without his head in a toilet.

Leonard tries to focus on what he remembers, what he’s seen from porn, and if there is any space in that strange venn diagram that overlaps. Probably not, so Leonard starts by just taking the tip of Sheldon in his mouth, trying to adjust to the taste and to the way it makes Sheldon squirm under him.

Sheldon doesn’t say anything, but he also doesn’t stop moving, and it encourages Leonard. He bobs his head down slightly lower, bringing up a hand to stroke what he knows he can’t take in his mouth. It’s hot under the blankets, too hot, and with his eyes closed Leonard’s whole world becomes sex and Sheldon : in his mouth, his nose, under his hand, everywhere.

The squirms gain musical accompaniment, breathy gasps that send sparks down the back of Leonard’s neck. He has to keep one hand for balance and so he sucks in a deep breath through his nose and tries to see how much of Sheldon he can swallow at once, as his hand moves down toward Sheldon’s balls.

Whatever other ideas Leonard might have had are obliterated when Sheldon’s entire body tenses, stiff as a bow. No further, then. Leonard doesn’t lose his rhythm, and instead counts his breathing and bobbing in quarter notes and tests the spontaneous hypothesis that all those years of cello lessons and working on his vibrato were worth something more.

He begins his ministrations adagio--slow, exploratory touches as Sheldon hesitantly begins to relax under his touch. Leonard soon learns the difference between the places that make Sheldon squirm versus the places that make him groan and plays them allegro in tandem with his mouth, back and forth until Leonard feels like he could get lost in it, despite the fact that his own cock is hanging heavy and neglected between his legs.

Then Sheldon mumbles something, and then something again, and then he has a hand down and in Leonard’s hair as he very nearly shouts, “ Leonard !” and comes without any other warning.

It’s sudden and unpleasant and Leonard can’t help but gag on it, but he does his best to swallow the bitter bodily fluid anyway, if only to try to save his sheets--despite the fact they’re most likely soaked in sweat by now. When Sheldon’s orgasm seems to have passed, Leonard pulls away slowly, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and then wiping his hand on the edge of the sheets. His body feels stiff and slimy, and his knees protest every movement it takes to wiggle back up to the top of the bed.

He fumbles for his glasses, slips them on, and then lies back next to Sheldon. “You okay?” he asks, words scratchy in his throat.

“I’m not sure,” Sheldon says after a moment.

Leonard allows himself a smug smile at that. With his glasses, he can see the color in Sheldon’s cheeks, the sweat on his nose, and the way his hair as spiked on top and matted in back from where he thrashed against the pillow. It’s a good look on him, a sexy look, but all Leonard replies with is, “I’m sorry?”

Sheldon shakes his head. “Don’t be. I just wasn’t expecting… I don’t know what I was expecting.” He makes a face at Leonard. “You should probably brush your teeth again.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” He sits up, rolls his neck, pushes the damp curls off his forehead. The air of the room is blessedly cool against his skin for the first time all day, but Leonard doesn’t want to leave the bed. He should though, at least to brush his teeth, maybe take a quick shower and finish himself off to the memories of, well, just now.

He’s barely out of bed when Sheldon chimes in with, “I think I’ll come with you and brush my teeth too.”

“Because you’re going to bed?” Leonard asks, trying to find where his underwear went.

“Because I’m rethinking my earlier stance vis-à-vis reciprocation.”

“Oh.” It takes Leonard a moment, and he blames it on the lack of blood in his brain that it takes him almost until he has his underwear mostly on that he realizes exactly what Sheldon is talking about. “ Oh .” He doesn’t know what else to say to that except, “Oh.”

So Sheldon narrows his gaze on Leonard. “I said I was thinking about it.”

And all Leonard can do is smile. “Of course, Sheldon."