Leonard sat in the chair he was tied to and tried to understand what went wrong. His life had finally been going his way, after a lifetime of not being good enough he finally was. He could look in the mirror and know that even though his mother found him stupid and little more than a living psychology study, even though his siblings were both top of their fields while his work was belittled as being on the same level as a high school science fair, even though nothing ever seemed to be good enough, he had finally won. He got the girl.
Meeting Penny Queen had been a quirk of fate, one of those once in a lifetime meetings that mirrored the Hollywood ideal. She had been coming out of the bank when he was going in and they bumped into each other. He made a science joke about inertia and she had laughed and he could see in her eyes that she actually understood what he had said. In that moment he fell completely head over heels in love, and galvanized by the laughter of a beautiful girl that for once wasn’t mocking in nature, he asked her out to get coffee as an apology for nearly knocking her over. To his amazement she agreed, smiling at him and teasing him for being so brave to ask out a complete stranger.
Their coffee date ended with an exchange of numbers and when he called her two minutes later to check that she hadn’t faked him out she laughed again and told him how funny she thought he was. After the first week of back and forth phone calls she started coming around work on his lunch breaks and really listening to him when he explained his experiments, he was finally the guy on campus, Howard and Raj may have started out teasing him about her doing community service by seeing him but as the weeks wore on and she continued coming around his office they eventually moved on to awe inspired fist bumps and stunned silence every time she kissed him. He was the story that showed that sometimes nice guys did finish first.
After three months of mind blowing everything, she started talking about introducing him to her friends, with more emphasis on one friend in particular. Sheldon. That was all she ever said about him, his first name followed by how smart he was. She thought the two of them would get along great since they were both science minded academics, and he was looking forward to meeting everyone she mentioned. It sounded almost like this Sheldon guy ran a think tank with Penny as their personal cheerleader slash nanny figure. She talked about making sure everyone ate and slept well even on a binge that according to her could last for days on end. She talked about how they would collectively help each other with everything from experiments to papers to refuting any criticism that came later after being published. It sounded like heaven.
Meeting Sheldon had been strange at first, he was full of quirks and tics that made no sense to him, but once he saw his board he knew he was one of those eccentric genius types, at least his tics were confined to his work space for the most part. He was invited to take part in a new experiment they were starting up, finally a chance to work on something that hadn’t already been proven by someone else, a chance to impress his mother and show her that he could be just as great as his siblings could be. For the next six weeks he found himself absorbed into this new work, going from the university to the new labs and back without much else in between. He ended up going to Gablehauser for time off so he could really concentrate on his new project. At first his boss was reluctant, but once he explained the premise and that his name would be attached leading to a boost in awareness for not only him but his place of employment as well, he was granted a two month leave for research purposes.
That two months flew by with him practically living in the office space Sheldon had provided for him, before they took pity on him and offered him a room in the complex most of them lived in around the back of the building. The room itself was minimalistic but the surrounding common areas were filled with every form of entertainment he could ask for on his down time. Every type of video game no matter how retro or obscure alongside every form of DVD or board game a pop culture fanatic could dream of.
It wasn’t until his leave of absence was up that he realized he didn’t want to leave at all, he was accepted here and treated as an equal. He turned in his notice and moved out of his apartment to become a full resident of the complex, which came with a room upgrade. Howard and Raj both tried to talk him out of it, but he knew they were just jealous, his life was going so well and they were trapped in the same old rut as before bouncing from bar to bar trying to find happiness that eluded them. He had colleagues that helped him achieve his goals, he had a new home full of people who liked the same things he did and could talk to him about any one thing for hours at a time if given the chance, he even had a hot girlfriend who believed in him. Though he hadn’t seen Penny as much since he moved in, she had an apartment across town and he didn’t have the time to go see her as often as he did when he was still working for the university.
At first he was just sad about that fact, but he still got to see her when she came by to see Sheldon so it wasn’t like they never saw each other, but that was part of the problem, she was always coming to see Sheldon and never him. After six months though he saw her bringing some other guy to see Sheldon just like she brought him and while that guy was busy talking with everyone else he confronted her about cheating on him, why else would she bring him here after all. Their argument got a bit heated, until Sheldon got pulled in by their volume, he told Penny to leave while the two of them talked and to his amazement she did. The Penny he knew would have stood her ground and argued that the fight was about her, so she should be the one doing the fighting. What was going on here?
Sheldon then proceeded to lay out a few “home truths” for him. He told him that while he and Penny did have a relationship of sorts in the past they hadn’t really been together in months and she was free to pursue other company if she chose to. He told him that here at the complex they didn’t really adhere to labels and that while Penny had been with him for a short time she was never really his. He had gotten angry and started to scream at Sheldon that Penny was his, and that the two of them were leaving. Everything had been great between the two of them before he let science and the Complex get between them.
That argument was how he found himself here, tied to a chair in his boxers with Sheldon behind him and Penny in front of him. He wanted to cry. It had all been going so well and now it was all ruined.
“Look at her Leonard, do you still claim her as yours?” Sheldon wasn’t even really taunting him; he was asking him what sounded like a genuine question. Like he did every question he asked, like he not only truly wanted to hear your answer but was also curious about what that answer might turn out to be.
“Please just stop it.” He wanted to look away from the bed and the show being performed for him there, but he couldn’t.
After stripping him down and tying him up Sheldon had called Penny into the room with one of the other members Zack. When Leonard had first started getting to know people at the Complex Zack had surprised him, not being science minded like the rest. He had asked at the time why he was there and had been given a vague answer about him helping with the more hands on experiments, he wished now that he had asked more questions.
Sheldon had ordered Zack and Penny to have sex in front of them and the two had complied immediately, that was when the pit in his stomach had begun to grow. As the minutes dragged on and the two continued to perform as directed he could feel himself begin to break.
“Stop what Leonard? Stop teaching you? I’m sorry I can’t do that, not until you have learned your lesson. Have you learned your lesson Leonard?” He wanted to tell him he had, to tell him anything to get this to stop so he could leave and go back to the life he had abandoned for this, but he couldn’t squeeze the words past the burning lump in his throat.
“Sheldon.” The single word squeezed out of his burning throat was more a plea than the demand he wanted it to be.
“No I didn’t think you had. What should I tell them to do now? What will help you understand?” Not wanting any part of this, he held his tongue. He knew anything he said would be ignored anyway, he had been making the suggestion that it stop since it started.
“Oh I know. Zach, roll so Penny can ride you. Let Leonard see just how active a participant she is in this. Will that help you see Leonard?” As the two complied he looked to Penny hoping to see some level of compassion in her eyes. She had always been so kind to him, ever since they met, and he knew this wasn’t her idea. Instead what he found froze him to his core, she wasn’t looking at him with compassion, she wasn’t looking at him at all.
She was looking at Sheldon.
Her eyes were filled with worship for the man standing behind him and that’s when it all began to click into place in his mind.
“I see you’ve finally learned your lesson Leonard, that wasn’t so hard was it?” Shaking his head he let the tears continue to fall down his face. It was the hardest lesson he had ever learned in his life.
“Cheer up Leonard, she might be mine, but haven’t I always been so generous to share everything I have with you already. There’s no reason anything needs to change from how it’s been, you’ve been happy here haven’t you. Take part in our scientific discoveries, continue to build your life here, and when Penny is around if she’s not busy with other tasks feel free to be with her. Never forget though Leonard, for everything I have given you while it may all be in your life none of it is yours. It’s all mine.” Without another word Sheldon turned and left him tied to his little chair while Penny and Zack continued to pleasure each other.
After what seemed like hours, once Zack was spent, Penny came over to him and began to ride him as well all while whispering words of love and acceptance in his ear. She was right, this was his home now.