It’s the start of February, and Stuart doesn’t yet know how he and Raj are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So while there’s a break between customers in the store he calls Penny.
“I don’t even know what I’m giving Leonard,” she says. “Do you guys do, I don’t know, jewelry?”
“Uh… I hadn’t thought about it.”
“You have all those stuffed toys at the store, give him one of those.”
“I did that for our six month anniversary.” And now Raj refuses to go to bed unless Twilight Sparkle is at least on the nightstand, if not in the bed with them.
“Hold on. Ames, what are you getting Sheldon for Valentine’s Day?” There’s a muffled reply in the background. When Penny comes back on the phone she sounds defeated and amused. “She’s getting him a subscription renewal for the American Journal of Physics.”
“And they say romance is dead.”
Penny laughs. “I’m sure you’ll think of something. Stuart?”
“What should I get for Leonard?”
In the end he makes a mixtape – mix playlist, actually – and the simple act of going through his mp3s and picking ones that fit the two of them is oddly soothing. He burns it to a CD and does the cover by hand, tracklist and all, drawing a hummingbird on the front simply because he can’t think of anything to draw that symbolizes their relationship aside from maybe a loveheart. He tries to think of a title, can’t, and eventually leaves a blank space where it should go; maybe he’ll think of something in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Stuart never thinks of a title, but it doesn’t matter, because Raj is too happy with his present to notice. He insists on playing it straight away and Stuart starts silently panicking a little about whether the songs are in the best possible order –
– and then Raj grabs him and twirls him and they’re dancing and it doesn’t matter anymore, not the order of the songs nor the fact that Raj is attempting to bossa nova to Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” (which, he can admit, could have been a less depressing song, except it had been on the store radio during that first kiss, and he associates it with the feel of Raj’s lips soft on his and the smell of citrus cleaner, and really, it could be weirder.)
(Besides, there’s part of him that relishes the reminder that he and Raj wouldn’t be together if Lucy hadn’t dumped Raj, if Raj hadn’t come around after closing time a few nights later, alcohol on his breath and sadness in his eyes; a part of him that loves the line we’re not broken, just bent and the fact that he is the one who has taught Raj to love again.)
“I feel like an idiot,” he says against Raj’s smooth brown throat, and Raj’s answering laugh rumbles through them both.
“I like it. It’s sweet.”
Stuart considers this. Usually when he’s heard the word “sweet”, it’s in the context of You’re really sweet but and preceded a breakup.
The way Raj is holding him, he doesn’t think that’s going to be the case this time.
When he turns his face up to Raj’s and feels the other man’s lips press on his, soft like the first time, warm like the first time, but sober and sane instead of drunk and messy, he knows it for sure.