He wouldn't have missed today for the world. Penny and an assortment of other attractive women could have stood in front of Penny's door, beckoning him with a siren call to come and spend the entire day pleasuring and being pleasured, and he would have walked right by them, right down the stairs, keys jingling and a small skip to his step.
It was the text from Howard that had been the warning, promising to publicly humiliate Sheldon. Leonard could have been on his death bed, and he still would have had someone carry him to the university. His best friend had been too loud on the drive over, obviously attempting to distract himself from whatever Howard had put him up to. Leonard hadn't missed the box either, but Sheldon had simply referred to it as the due Howard expected him to pay before skimming on by, not giving it any attention and not allowing Leonard's to linger.
The lunch rush was in full swing, but Leonard heard the conversations start to die down, everyone going quiet, and his eyes rose from where he'd been chasing a pea with a fork to where Sheldon stood, shoulders forced straight, head held high. In a French maid costume. The frills of the skirt skated the top of his thighs, twitching as Sheldon moved, and his hands – Leonard couldn't miss them, the way they clutched the feather duster, fingers moving against the solid object, giving him some outlet for his nerves.
He looked around the room, at once like a terrified rabbit and yet still holding onto his haughty composure. Demanded, "What are you all staring at?"
Leonard swallowed thickly, unable to not notice the way Sheldon refused to look their way. He was most likely avoiding Howard – who had his cellphone out and clicking away to get the perfect shot for future blackmail – but Leonard wondered if it might also not be him. Leonard had been prying. Leonard was who he was going to have to live with for the rest of the day, the rest of however long he stayed in the apartment.
He selfishly wanted it to be him that Sheldon was avoiding, that Sheldon would be self conscious about what Leonard thought about this, where he dared to let his mind wander.
His tongue peeked out and ran over his lips, wetting them as Sheldon continued to try and deflect the attention. "Hey, Leonard, buddy," Howard began, pulling his attention only away for a moment. "Take a picture, it'll last longer." Leonard glared before forcing his eyes back to Sheldon. "Nevermind. I'll send you the ones I took."
"Don't," he said halfheartedly as his phone chimed with the first of many notifications.
Sheldon finally chanced a look their way, meek in comparison to his usual self, and Howard gave a quick wave. Sheldon pulled away immediately, headed down the hall to his office. Leonard stood, looking after him. Raj sighed, "Don't bother with him. It's no less than he deserves – I thought we all agreed on that."
"I certainly do," Howard chimed in.
Leonard mumbled a quiet 'yeah', but he didn't sit down. "Hey, take care of my tray, okay?"
"What?" Howard scoffed, "Why?"
"Just do it, or Raj, or leave it for the janitors; whatever." He followed after Sheldon, walking briskly and breaking out into a more hurried pace once he was out of the cafeteria.
Sheldon's new office door was closed and the lights were turned off, but Leonard knew Sheldon had to be in there. The bathroom would be too open of a space, too public and too unprotected. He didn't know what possessed him to knock quickly, informing him, "Sheldon, it's Leonard." He should leave, let the man suffer alone, but he was grateful for his effort as the door cracked open, a sliver of the hallway light revealing Sheldon's red face, the flush spreading to the low neckline of the costume.
"This is very unprofessional." His voice strained against the words like it didn't want to form them.
Gently, Leonard said, "I know. Can I come in?"
Sheldon hesitated before nodding, standing to the side and pulling the door open enough to admit Leonard before he closed it again, leaving them both in the dark. Leonard fidgeted with his own hands, somehow resisting the temptation to touch Sheldon. To comfort him, not to- Jesus.
"You gonna get changed?"
"Not while you're in here."
The fact that Sheldon wanted Leonard near more than he wanted out of the costume spoke volumes. The heels Howard had insisted on made Sheldon tower over him even moreso than usual, and Leonard wanted to offer at least that comfort, to get out of them. "You have a pair of emergency socks, right?"
Sheldon scoffed, "Of course. They're a necessity the likes of which-"
Leonard rolled his eyes, ignored his rambling, and went to Sheldon's desk. His system of organization was consistent throughout. Where the socks were located in Sheldon's dresser – the closest approximate position they'd be in his desk. Pulling them out, he held them up. "Do you want out of the heels?"
Sheldon's voice quieted, and he nodded, again meek in a way Leonard had rarely seen before. He almost felt bad for indulging in Sheldon's humiliation. "Emergency socks work for now?"
Sheldon huffed, "They are for emergencies."
"I didn't know if this qualified."
"Of course it does. Every peer and peon in this university has seen or will have seen me in this stupid costume before the day's up." Sheldon leaned back against the desk, fingers gripping it as Leonard came back around to him and knelt. Sheldon kicked the heels away, and it was only this close that Leonard noticed another detail that hadn't struck him at the initial look: Sheldon was wearing tights. Stockings. Complete with garter belt keeping them from sliding down his long legs.
A little higher, and his vision was obscured by the white ruffles of the skirt, hiding his crotch from view, and Leonard shook his head as if he could physically dislodge the urge to push that fabric to the side and see everything Sheldon had to offer.
"Want out of the stockings?"
"I want out of all of it."
"Do you want my help with them?" His eyes snapped up to Sheldon's face to see that flush again, reddening his skin as he bit his lip, looked away, nodded.
Whispered, "If you wouldn't mind."
Leonard was mildly surprised to find that he didn't. He reached up and unhooked the stockings, rolling them down one at a time, and, in the process, he had to push the costume out of the way. He hadn't realized he'd stopped moving until Sheldon made a noise, embarrassed and ashamed as Leonard stared up his skirt. At Sheldon's dick, where it was trapped against the front of his underwear, straining forward, erect and unashamed of itself.
"Leonard," Sheldon muttered angrily, batting his hands away and pushing the skirt back down to cover himself, to preserve some measure of modesty as Leonard removed the second stocking and replaced it with a sock. He pulled back and got to his feet, dusting needlessly at his jeans before he peered up at Sheldon who had, at some point, ripped the ridiculous hat off his head. "What," he demanded, arms crossed, defensive.
And yeah, he sorta had that alpha test relationship thing with Penny happening, and Sheldon was with Amy, and Sheldon was so vulnerable, but maybe that was what made him act, had him sidling close in Sheldon's space, his hand landing on Sheldon's arm, rubbing gently up until he could feel the rough tickle of cheap lace.
"I know you think I'm making fun of you, but I'm not."
"Yes you are. Wolowitz told you. You were excited all morning."
"He didn't tell me this. And even if he had- Sheldon, it's not weird to like this. I mean, people like way weirder stuff."
"Are you pointlessly telling me something I already know or are you being tedious and talking to yourself?" Yet Leonard couldn't help but notice that Sheldon wasn't pulling away, wasn't retreating.
"A little from Column A and maybe some from Column B."
Sheldon's eyes widened at the implications, and Leonard took a risk. Stood up on his toes and pressed a gentle kiss against Sheldon's mouth. Sheldon made another embarrassed sound, and Leonard kissed him again, longer, just a chaste press of their lips as he rubbed Sheldon's arm.
"Let me help you," he whispered, eyes open to see Sheldon's looking back at him, hooded and dark as he bobbed his head, the smallest nod. Leonard's hand was pushing up the skirt not a moment later, crowding his space and sacrificing comfort for convenience. His own cock was aching for attention, but he gave Sheldon it first, massaging him through his underwear before he pushed the waistband down, fished inside and pulled it into his fist, stroking him slowly, exploring.
Sheldon's hands fell back to the desk, gripping even as his hips twitched into Leonard's touch and he breathed out a quiet 'dear lord' in the still room. Leonard's free hand tore at his own fly, pushed his jeans and underwear down, and he arched at the first whisper of lace over the sensitive head. Could only imagine what Sheldon had been feeling with it ghosting against him ever since he'd put the costume on.
Leonard kissed him again, slowly, allowing Sheldon to adjust to the foreign sensations as he jacked him off, brought him closer to a quick orgasm with every calculated stroke. Until he had Sheldon bucking against him, the skirt swishing and making them both stifle moans at the added stimulation.
Sheldon breathed hard, his breath warm on Leonard's lips before he arched forward against him, came against the skirt and on Leonard's hand. Kissed Leonard of his own volition, a lazy press of his lips that explored the possibilities as much as it was simple reciprocation. Leonard came against the ruffles himself, leaning forward into Sheldon until his legs felt sturdy enough for him to walk to get tissues and clean them both up.
Sheldon watched him, his frantic fight-or-flight energy slowed to to something more lethargic and easy, if still a little nervous. "Thank you, Leonard."
Leonard smiled himself, too wide, as he said, offered, "Anytime."
Sheldon flushed again, eyes wide and honed in on him. Trying to read him, and that. That was what Leonard had been looking for earlier. It felt as good as he'd imagined it would. After a measured silence and both of them pulling their underwear up and Leonard getting the rest of his clothes in order, Sheldon theorized, "I highly doubt Wolowitz will want this costume back."
It was Leonard's turn to wonder, and for a moment, they were in a standoff, both trying to read, both reaching for conclusions based on not enough evidence or communication. Sheldon smiled first, almost meek but more like he was preening under Leonard's unwavering attention.
Leonard flushed this time, heat warming his face. And knew, suddenly, without asking, that his brilliant roommate had a revelation to share with him in his own time. "Try not to let the rest of them get to you, all right?"
Sheldon assured him easily, with a smile on his face that meant he'd found a piece of a particularly irritating puzzle that fit neatly into place, "Oh, I won't."