After presenting Hawkeye with a fruitcake and Black Widow with beer at the door, Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard found themselves in a hoppin' party at one of Tony Stark's mansions.
“Wow,” Leonard said in awe.
“Dude, everyone’s here!” Raj said excitedly. “There’s Captain America at the bar! Let’s go there!”
Sheldon made a negative sound in his throat. “No, we’re here to make Iron Man our new friend, remember? Priorities, people!”
“You do what you want, but I’m putting the moves on that girl,” Howard said skeevily, gesturing to a tall woman with green eyes and dark hair who stood by herself.
“Why her?” Leonard asked, letting his curiosity get the better of him.
“Because she’s a 10 and she’s all alone. That apartness from the group, that bitter loneliness, is like blood in the water to a shark like me. I’m going in!” With a weird growl, Howard took off.
Leonard and Raj shook their heads but made sure to keep in listening range.
“Do you like engineering?” Howard was asking.
“No,” the woman rebuffed, barely looking down from where she towered over Howard.
“Do you like video games?”
“Do you like Mars?”
“Do you like magic?”
A pause. “Yes.”
Howard’s slumping shoulders shot up reenergized. He leaned up close to the woman, brushing his hand through her hair as he reached towards her ear and pulled something back that hadn’t been in his hand before. “Oh what’s that behind your ear?” He waggled his eyebrows. “Yep. It’s a condom.”
Howard had the woman’s full attention now, and it wasn’t good. She looked pissed. Before their eyes, the woman morphed into a man, the glare on her-now-his face still neatly in place.
“Uh oh,” Raj observed.
“Guys, I think Howard just hit on Loki.”
“We’ll just have to go on without him, then,” Sheldon declared, writing him off for the night – or possibly forever.
Leonard, Raj, and Sheldon stood awkwardly in the corner of the room talking to each other about the upcoming SCRFLRRI. This time, they’d keep Penny far, far away from Howard.
It was that moment that Howard turned up again, panting. “Oh. My. God,” he gasped. “I told him I was sorry like thirty times, but I can’t catch a break.” He paused and addressed Leonard. “I feel like you. Ugh.”
“Thanks, Howard,” Leonard snapped. “But you’re right. I can never catch a break.”
Raj dismissed them both. “Dudes, quit whining. Loki was hot as a woman.”
They scanned the party for a less lethal hot woman.
They passed right over Natasha and landed on Jane’s friend.
“What about her?”
Howard nodded. “Yeah, she has a nice rack. And she’s studying astrophysics now.”
“Really?” Raj perked up. “Dibs, dude.”
Howard groaned. “Ugh fine. As if she’d even look at you anyway—”
“Hey, you’re Rajesh, right?” Darcy broke in, suddenly right there and breaking into Raj’s personal space. “You study the stars, right? Me too. I’m drunk. Come dance with me and Jane until Thor gets out his hammer if you know what I mean.”
Raj glanced nervously at Howard as Dracy grabbed his hand and pulled him away.
“What the hell?” Howard complained. “He didn’t even have to get around his ‘I can’t talk to women’ thing! At least I’m—ow!” Howard yelped as a something stung his ass sharply. “Oh lord, if that’s a bee sting, I’ll need to go to the hospital, and I don’t even have my insurance card with me.”
Howard made an “eep!” sound as it happened again and rubbed his butt. “My tushy!” He searched the room with his eyes and landed on an angry-looking Norse god of mischief, whose magical staff was still aimed at Howard. “Oh come on, it was one grope!” Howard pleaded. Loki zapped him again and he started running.
Leonard laughed and called to Howard, “Run, Wolowizard!”
“He won’t get very far,” Sheldon stated. “Loki is a much more formidable character than Lucienda the Troll. I’m not sure Howard has the experience points to win or flee.”
Sheldon sighed and took another sip of his virgin rum and coke. So, just coke.
Leonard sipped his own rum and coke. Mostly rum. For being perpetually sober, Captain ‘Call me Steve’ America poured a mean drink. Leonard imbibed his courage then suggested, “Enough dithering. Let’s do what we came to do.”
“Make Iron Man our best friend as per our discussion that he is in fact the ideal candidate for such a position in our social group?”
Leonard emptied the rest of his glass and slammed it on the table. “Exactly!”
Sheldon gave him a disdainful look. “While I value your enthusiasm, I must remind you that this is by definition a friendly mission and not one requiring such aggression.”
Leonard winced and rubbed his sore hand. “Noted. I’ll curb my violent tendencies.”
“Mm, yes, like Dr. Banner over there,” Sheldon said, pointing to the couch where the doctor sat next to Black Window and Hawkeye, or Natasha and Clint as they’d been introduced. “He is the epitome of calm. I admire that.”
Leonard nodded but added excitedly, “Still, how cool would it be to say we were at a party with The Hulk?”
Sheldon considered it. “It would depend on whether we were still alive to tell the tale.”
“Fair point,” Leonard agreed. “But I bet Raj is wishing he brought his Incredible Hulk hand tonight!”
“I think you mean my Hulk hand,” Sheldon amended. “If only it would fit in my safety deposit box. Alas, it’s too big to contain.” Sheldon giggled. “That was a joke.”
“Yeah, yeah, big and green. I get it.”
“So where do you think Iron Man is right at this very minute? He seems curiously absent from his own party.”
Leonard pursed his lips. “You know,” he said thoughtfully, “I haven’t seen Pepper either.”
A hiccup behind him startled Leonard into turning around.
“Pepper Potts!” Raj chimed in tipsily, having joined them at the bar. “Bruce Banner! Always the first and last names with the same letter! Peter Parker! Victor Von Doom! Green Goblin!”
“Ugh, not this again. Raj, Stan Lee would have signed yours ‘my friend’ too if you hadn’t brought up that stupid letter naming thing!”
“Doesn’t mentioning the existence of Stan Lee poke a hole in this entire evening, just a little?”
“SHUTTUP, SHELDON,” Leonard and Raj yelled at the same time.
A while later found Leonard, Raj, and Sheldon huddling awkwardly and watching the Avengers having fun.
“I hate parties,” Raj grumbled. “I never know what to say.”
“You and Darcy seemed to be getting along okay on the dance floor.”
“Eh,” Raj said dismissively. “I just stood there while she dryhumped me for a few minutes. Then she had to pee.”
“Yeah.” Raj grinned. “Actually, it was pretty awesome.”
“Mortals,” Sheldon grumbled loudly, rolling his eyes.
Loki, appearing out of nowhere, nodded agreement at Sheldon. Then, he zinged Howard again.
Raj shook his emptied glass. “I wonder if I’m drunk enough to talk to her n—”
He was cut off by Jane suddenly pulling Raj by the elbow. “Darcy and I were looking everywhere for you! Come on!” She kissed him on the cheek.
“Uh, ok,” Raj stammered, letting himself be pulled away again.
Leonard gawked for a moment before spotting the man of the hour. “There’s Iron Man!”
A conspicuously rumpled Tony Stark had rejoined the party, sans Pepper. “Barkeep!” he called out.
“Ahoy, Sailor!” Steve answered in kind. Leonard figured it must be an inside joke and debated laughing along with them.
Tony slid onto a barstool and pointed to Steve. “Where’s Barton? I’m supposed to have a drinking match with him.”
“Dunno,” Steve said. “He’s probably watching us from somewhere.”
Sheldon giggled. “Bazinga.”
“Eh?” Steve prompted.
Pleased to elaborate, Sheldon explained, “Clint Barton’s codename is Hawkeye.”
Sheldon’s giggle turned to a glare. “Of course he’s watching us stealthily, he’s Hawkeye! Honestly, are you a super soldier or not?”
“Woah, hey!” Leonard interrupted, trying to keep the peace. “Steve, sooooo sorry. Sheldon, you’re not funny!”
Sheldon looked affronted. “I beg your pardon?”
“YOU’RE NOT FUNNY!” Leonard shouted.
Sheldon frowned. “Are you trying to sabotage this friendship mission, Leonard?”
Leonard backed down, remembering their audience. “No. Sorry. I’ll shut up if you will.”
“So Mr. Stark,” Sheldon immediately began, and Leonard buried his head in his hands. “Leonard and I are here to propose an overture of friendship between us.”
“Between me and you,” Tony repeated dubiously.
“Yes, well, to clarify, I mean the plural ‘you’ not the singular ‘you’. That’s ‘ya’ll’ as we say in the south.”
“Why should we be friends?”
“Don’t mind him,” Leonard interjected. “He’s new at the zoo.”
“We made a very persuasive list,” Sheldon said. “And I will recite it to you. You are wealthy, have a beach house in Malibu, share our love of technology, and – although this hardly matters to me, it matters to the others so I supposed I have to include it – you have many female acquaintances.”
“That all sounds like me, doesn’t it Cap’?”
“That it does.”
“So it’s settled,” Sheldon said decisively. “We’re friends now.”
“Okay,” Tony acquiesced with an easy shrug.
Leonard couldn’t hold back a “Yay!” Then he wondered aloud, “So what should we do now that we’re friends?”
“Well,” Tony started, “Pepper was hoping I’d slip away from the party again…”
“No!” Sheldon gasped, taken aback. “If anything is going to take you from this party, let it be SCIENCE!”
“SCIENCE!” Leonard repeated, raising his glass.
“TO SCIENCE!” Tony boomed, clinking their glasses together.
The three of them put down their drinks, rolled up their sleeves, and prepared to head down to the lab.
“Wait!” Sheldon shouted suddenly, nearly causing Leonard to crash into him.
“What?” Leonard whined.
Sheldon turned to Tony and asked solemnly, “Do you like trains?”
Tony blinked. “I love trains.”
Sheldon sighed a relieved sigh, then beamed happily.
“I’ve always wanted to build a train,” Tony mused as he tore off his bow tie and loosened his shirt.
“Well,” Sheldon pointed out, “given the repulsor technology from your Iron Man suit, there’s no reason to settle for a grounded train.”
Tony paused then shared a gleeful look with Sheldon. “Flying train!” they shouted at the same time.
Tony set up for a high five, but Sheldon ducked so Leonard gave him five instead. There was no need to explain Sheldon’s no-touchy rule – or any of his other idiosyncrasies – their new best friend just yet.
“Oh!” Tony exclaimed. “We can make the flying train just like—”
Tony and Sheldon finished together: “THE ONE FROM BACK TO THE FUTURE!”
The three of them nearly squealed with delight and started racing down the stairs to the lab.
“Hold on,” Leonard stopped them. He pointed to the far side of the room where Loki was chasing Howard, still shooting green sparks at his butt every few feet. “Should we do something about that?”
Sheldon snapped his fingers in Leonard’s face. “Get your priorities together, Leonard! Iron Man! Flying train! Focus!”
Leonard grinned. “You’re right.”
“I’m sure he’ll be fiiiine,” Tony assured unconvincingly.
Tony and Sheldon looked ready to bolt, but Leonard stopped them one more time. “What about Raj? I haven’t seen him.”
“Oh, he’s fine, too,” Sheldon insisted. “He is engaged in intercourse.”
“What?! With who?!”
“With whom,” Sheldon corrected.
“Okay, with whom?” Leonard asked.
Tony answered, “He’s in a foursome with Darcy, Jane, and Thor.”
Leonard furrowed his brow. “Oh.” He considered it for two and a half seconds before shrugging. “Okay then, let’s go!”
Having met all the social requirements for the evening, and with the prospect of FLYING TRAINS to be built, the three scientists leapt three stairs at time down to the lab.
But running down stairs was not Leonard’s strong suit, and he tripped. “Noooooo!” He tumbled after Sheldon and Tony, everything getting jostled and fragmented in his head.
Still yelling, Leonard woke up.
He fumbled for his glasses, slid them onto his face, then wailed at the discovery that he was alone in bed and not in fact at Iron Man’s house about to build a flying train. “Well that sucks,” he said aloud.
Three knocks sounded at the door.
“Leonard.” Knock, knock, knock.
“Leonard. “Knock, knock, knock.
“Leonard. “Knock, knock, knock.
Leonard threw a pillow over his head and went back to sleep.