“Thanks for letting me stay over while my aunts are in town. I just can’t handle more than one postmenopausal harpy at time with their cries of ‘When are you getting married already? You’ll end up a shriveled old maid…’ Howard unbuttoned his shirt, letting it hang open against his blue turtleneck. “And dinner at Antonio’s Bistro… wow, I didn’t even think you could get a table there on a Friday night without reservations.”
“Thought you might like to go somewhere nice since it was just us.”
“Thanks Raj, it was really nice.” He smiled again, shouldering off the shirt. It was almost unnerving to see him actually seeming sincere. “You, uh… you mind if I take a shower before the movie?”
Raj waved his hand dismissively as he ducked into his bedroom, then as an afterthought added, “Rule fourteen still applies.”
Howard grumbled loudly, “I couldn’t possibly masturbate in your shower; I’d bash my head in when my knees gave out.”
“Just making sure, dude. A man’s shower is sacred.” Raj grinned, kicking off his shoes and sitting on the bed to doff his sweater vest.
“So is his cow.” Howard retorted over the shower’s gentle spray before closing the door.
Raj chuckled softly and shook his head. Everything was going delightfully well and as far as he was concerned only one person deserved thanks. He opened up the messenger app on his cell phone and tapped out an IM to his newest buddy - IMYente. “Thank you so much IMYente! I did just as you told me to & he is falling into my trap.” He took off his pants, neatly folding them onto the edge of the bed.
His phone buzzed, flashing the IM response. “Very good. Are you wearing the pheromone spray? And don’t forget the candle. Just one or he will be uncomfortable.”
Raj nodded to himself eagerly. “Yes. And I will let him be the aggressor but will be very suggestive.”
Sheldon let out an evil laugh, easily drawing Leonard’s attention from his board. For a moment, Leonard tried to ignore it, but ultimately the promise of something that may or may not be entertaining won over the theory that it was not. “What sort of evil genius hijinks are you up to now?”
Sheldon flashed a thin smile, looking over his shoulder as Leonard approached. “No hijinks, just a brief social experiment.”
“What have I told you about experimenting with society?”
“I know, I lack the advanced social skills to ensure empathy induced ethical treatment of my subjects, but I assure you this is perfectly harmless… If anything they’ll benefit greatly even if the outcome is contrary to my hypothesis - which it will not be.” He turned back to his computer, reading his newest IM. “You poor deluded fool…”
“Okay, you should probably stop whatever you’re… who is IMYente?” Leonard squinted at the messages, reading back over the conversation.
“My clever ruse as an investigator to manipulate the relationship variable. I think it’s catchy.”
“You? Mister Scares-Off-Women is giving dating advice?”
“Not dating, Leonard. Please, I wouldn’t lend my intellect to something as pedestrian as human courtship rituals.” He started typing a response. “I’m examining overtly homoerotic relationships crossing the socially fashioned boundaries of what is not typically considered desirable in our heterosexually dominated culture. “Go, before he gets the impression you’re not interested in his needs. You should wear something stimulating but not provocative.”
“Did you just tell… oh my god that’s Koothrappali, you aren’t…”
“To answer your initial question, yes I did tell him not to dress with the obvious implication of intercourse. He’d frighten Wolowitz if he is too forward. Howard’s social conditioning is to behave as a dominant male despite clearly being of a more submissive nature. I believe my research speaks for itself.”
“This is just… wrong.” Leonard pulled over the stool and sat down to watch anyway. “And they have no idea?”
“I sent out a mass forward three weeks ago laced with subliminal buzz words and catchy phrases that indicated IMYente is the answer for all relationship problems - predictably it wasn’t even read by most recipients but Koothrappali sent his first message four days later.” He paused, opening a file and hitting print before quickly closing it again. “This, of course, is to be held in the highest confidence. I’m only telling you because I can’t imagine successfully keeping my work secret. Sign this, please.”
“I have a generic nondisclosure agreement on file.” Leonard whined, signing anyway. “Does Howard know about any of this?”
“Well, as has been pointed out by… well, everyone really, they have formed a somewhat sexless marriage.” He paused a moment and smiled. “I suppose you could say this is marriage counseling encouraging romance with the theoretical goal of intimacy leading to intercourse.”
“Right, you’re a regular Dr. Ruth. So, you really think this’ll work out?” Leonard shook his head. “You don’t know the first thing about relating to actual humans in the context of a relationship.”
“Leonard, give me some credit. The thought was already there long before I began my research. I’m simply assisting Koothrappali in the basic mating ritual with concessions made for conflicts of sexual identity. It’s nothing but philosophy and tact from here.”
“Tact. Right, so they’re pretty doomed?” Leonard let himself glance over Sheldon’s open browser window. “How to get your man, girlfriend? Gay sex for dummies?”
“Homosexual culture is fascinating from a purely sociological perspective. Do you think Wolowitz is more of a top or a bottom?”
Leonard’s voice cracked as he tried to wipe the thought from his mind. “Do I really have to answer that question?”
“Well you are part of the experiment now; if you don’t plan on contributing you’re merely a creepy accomplice.”
Raj had taken IMYente’s advice and changed into his softest pair of flannel pajamas, not provocative but most definitely a touch magnet. When the shower stopped, he lit a candle - sandalwood as IMYente had said it would heighten sexual excitement by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. The movie was already in the player, and he forced himself to relax on his couch. The concept of seduction wasn’t new to him, but there was a totally different level involved when he had been so close to Howard for so long and it seemed like the only natural step.
After several long moments, Howard emerged from the bathroom wearing a too short red silk bathrobe hanging open over black silk boxers. It was looking pretty good. “Drink?”
“Yes, please.” Raj smiled, watching the hem of the bouncy robe brushing against Howard’s thighs as he retrieved a pair of sodas. It was endearing that Howard was so comfortable in his place… he’d been contemplating asking him to move in before things got sort of strange. Unexpectedly, Howard sat on the floor between Raj’s feet and left his damp towel still hanging over his head. “Thank you.”
“What’s on for tonight?” Howard dried his hair slowly, working the water out. “Please don’t say more Firefly, I just watched Serenity last night and can’t take another dose of Joss so soon.”
“No.” Raj grinned, watching the fingers against the towel. “Something a little different.”
“Porno?” Howard finally dropped the towel into his lap, tilting his head back with a lopsided smile. His voice dropped into a somewhat more husky hushed tone. “Freaky transsexual porno?”
Raj forced back a giggle and dug his bare foot against Howard’s thigh - flipping it on. “I’m thinking Bollywood.”
“Ooooh, exotic skin and pulsing percussion - I’ll take it.” Howard’s grin widened and he rocked his shoulders again Raj’s knees, not looking away as the film started. IMYente hadn’t actually given suggestions for what to do during the film, so Raj was left to his own devices. Howard lifted his head back up to watch as the opening dance number ended, letting out a soft “ooh” when Raj’s fingers gently plowed through his nearly dry hair, massaging his scalp. “Mmmm, Raj…” he groaned quietly, pushing back against the tender massage and hopefully not noticing the very obvious shift in his friend’s pajamas. “Oh god, don’t stop.”
“Well, we haven’t heard anything in almost two hours; that’s a good sign, right?” Leonard looked up from the chair where he’d been mostly zoned out watching In & Out under Sheldon’s insistence that it was for research.
Sheldon was still caught up in the film. “This is a terrible research tool, nothing but bad stereotypes and Tom Selleck.”
“Funny though.” Leonard shrugged.
“Derivative, but I suppose you would like it. To answer your question, they are watching a movie. I am sending a message in five minutes for a status update, but the seed should be well planted by now.”
“What if Howard isn’t interested, Sheldon?” Leonard flipped off the movie. “Raj is pretty emotionally fragile… He can probably handle the rejection, but Howard is his best friend.”
“Oh… I hadn’t thought of that.” Sheldon sighed.
“Bazinga?” Leonard rolled his eyes, seeing IMYente’s IM window flash.
“Of course. They have a mutual physical attraction and nothing to gain by denial of intercourse.”
“Do I even want to know how you know that?” Leonard stood up and leaned in close to Sheldon to read the IM. “We are so couch snuggling!” “Aww, that’s sort of cute… in a really kind of uncomfortable way.”
“Despite contested empirical evidence that human sexuality is a continuum, most people are quite uncomfortable with the concept of relations outside of socially acceptable parameters.” Sheldon tapped out his response as he spoke. “Comic Con 2004, 2005, and 2006 have all yielded encounters between the pair of an increasingly intimate nature, culminating in simulated coitus during the otherwise ill-fated North Pole expedition.”
Leonard blushed, forcing back the memory for more than one reason. “Come on, everyone knows con sex doesn’t count, you do all kinds of things you’d never do at home. And the night we lost heat, even you said we did what we had to do… it wasn’t a sex thing.”
“Say what you will, but don’t drag me into the base debauchery; for your information I have never done anything at Comic Con I wouldn’t do at home.” He made a show of hitting the send button. “Whatever you do, don’t make the first move. Let him think it is his idea.” He looked at Leonard, his own cheeks just the slightest bit pink. “And I wasn’t talking about the thing we are not ever supposed to talk about.” He lifted an eyebrow as though punctuating the remark. “I was referring to Day 19, 16:48 hours, when Wolowitz had instigated a particularly fervent bout of frottage that we were all supposed to have slept through, and apparently you were the only one who actually did.”
“Who’re you chatting with?” Howard smiled, stretching out on his back across the couch with his head in Raj’s lap quite casually.
Raj felt panic rising in the pit of his stomach, but pushed it back down. “Nobody special, just a new friend on IM.”
“Ooh, a new friend.” Howard wiggled, rubbing the back of his neck against the soft flannel of Raj’s pant leg. “Would they happen to be of the sexy nymphomaniac, up for a threesome variety?”
After an unexpected chuckle, Raj responded; “No, more the old Jewish spinster variety.”
“Ugh.” Howard grimaced. “Not my type, I’ve got enough of those. Laying out some Jew bait, eh?”
“No! No…” Raj forced a nervous laugh. “She’s just helping me with some of my problems.” He flashed a wide smile, hoping Howard wouldn’t call him on it and just let the conversation drop. After an uncomfortable pause, Raj absently let his palm stroke over Howard’s hair, the sensation quite calming.
“You, uh, want something drink? Maybe something a little harder than Mountain Dew?” Howard’s eyes slid closed, contrary to his question’s implication he’d be getting up.
“The movie is almost over, thinking about going to bed after.” Raj smiled, sliding his fingers once more on Howard’s scalp in hopes of another moan. “I have some beer if you’d like some.”
“Mmmhmmm.” Howard barely shook his head, the tip of his tongue darting out between his lips. “Gonna need to change my shorts if you keep that up.”
Raj grinned wider, forcing back another giggle without stopping his gentle massage. “Do you want me to stop?”
Howard rocked his hips slightly, his silk robe falling open to reveal the unmistakable lump in his boxers. It was far from the first time Raj had seen it, but it was a good deal more exciting to know he was the cause. “I… I wouldn’t say that.” Howard’s voice dropped to a soft, mewling tone.
Raj grinned even wider, sure that he looked like an absolute idiot but not particularly caring as his conquest was almost purring like a fluffy little kitty with each hard stroke through his hair. The movie was almost over and the sandalwood scented wax had melted considerably in the thick glass jar on his coffee table. His plan was actually going much further than he had expected.
Howard whimpered softly, wiggling and digging his head back into Raj’s thigh until he managed to push himself fully into his friend’s lap. With a sleepy looking smile, he pulled himself up with Raj’s shoulders, opening his eyes halfway. “Do you want to stop?”
Raj’s first attempt to answer only closed his throat tight with fear. He’d understood all along that the plan was to let Howard take control, but with the smaller man actually sitting in his lap, holding each other quite easily… the whole idea of a plan sort of faded away. He grasped the silk robe with both hands and kissed Howard hard.
Doing nothing to protest, Howard instead let his arms wrap around his friend’s shoulders, pulling himself in as close as he could. When the kiss broke, his face was deep pink and he muttered; “Damn you’re hard.”
The panic was back; this time it won out over arousal. “Sorry…” Raj pushed Howard out of his lap and managed to stumble off the sofa to his room - slamming the door behind him. His cell phone was already active and in his palm before he threw himself into bed. “I can’t do this, Yente… he hates me, I’m such an idiot.”
“Uh-oh.” Sheldon bit into his lower lip a second before adding, “Leonard, I need your assistance… now.” Koothrappali’s IMs came quickly, something about a kiss and an erection and apparently a panic attack. “I have reasons to believe there has been an unexpected aberration in my experiment.”
“Abnormality would indicate it wasn’t flawed to begin with.” Leonard didn’t look up from his laptop.
“My methodology is as flawless as it possibly could be given the circumstances and the nature of human subjects.” He paused as another message popped up. “Help me, help me.” “Koothrappali is having an anxiety episode.”
Leonard groaned. “I’m only helping you because they’re my friends. For the record, I think this is creepy, disturbing, and completely insane.”
“I don’t care. You’re the only one here who has had anything resembling a healthy sexual relationship.”
“That’s comforting.” Leonard closed his laptop and approached the computer, briefly skimming the messages. “Wow, he types really fast.” Not really pausing to mull over the information in his already disturbed mind, Leonard reached across Sheldon and typed out a reply. “If you don’t, you’ll never know.”
Sheldon looked at Leonard incredulously. “You touched my computer.”
“You’re welcome.” Leonard went back to the sofa. “Now I feel dirty.”
“He isn’t responding… not a positive indication.” Sheldon clicked several times.
“Unless it is a really good indication… for them. I really don’t want to think about that.”
“I’m going to cam. You never thought I’d need the emergency cameras I installed years ago. Who’s a fool now?”
“Do I really have to answer that?” Leonard closed his eyes, thankful there at least wasn’t any audio.
Suddenly Howard’s voice poured out of Sheldon’s speakers. “Hey, we should probably talk about this.”
“Oh boy. There’s audio.”
Raj read over the short response several times, then set aside the phone when Howard opened the door. “Hey, we should probably talk about this,” he spoke calmly, like he’d really been thinking about it, as he approached the bed.
“I’m sorry, Howard.” Raj sighed, shaking his head before turning on the bedside lamp for better visibility. “I shouldn’t have seduced you. It was wrong.”
“Come on.” Howard groaned loudly, climbing up onto the bed to sit close beside his friend. “Do you really think I didn’t know you were trying to run game on me?”
“I… I don’t…”
“You took me out for an expensive dinner, oysters, wine, dark chocolate mousse for dessert.”
“It was really tasty…”
“Sandalwood candle, pheromone cologne… personally, I would have picked a film with more homoerotic subtext but I assume you were working under the premise that my attraction would cause some sort of sexual identity panic.”
“So wait, you’re gay?” Raj shook his head slightly. “I suppose it makes sense when you think about it…”
“I’m not gay.” Howard rolled his eyes, setting his hand gently on Raj’s knee. “Why does it always have to be one or the other? I mean, we’ve got a good thing going on here… it doesn’t have to be a gay thing, just because we’re both guys.”
“It kind of does, dude.” Raj sighed, all the more confused.
Howard groaned, “How about we just try it out and if everything makes it past being awkward and needy sex then it can be something else. Right now can’t it just be two people who happen to be us fulfilling our physical and emotional needs until things change?”
Raj didn’t respond at first, simply processed Howard’s logic - which wasn’t always an easy task. After a long pause, he grinned and nodded. “Just like Sheldon and Leonard.”
“Eww.” They winced in unison.
“Hey!” Sheldon shouted indignantly, standing up from his desk chair. “That is most certainly not like us, is it?”
“No.” Leonard swallowed hard, forcing a somewhat sheepish looking smile. “Look, we should probably turn this off. I’m pretty sure they’re going to have sex.”
“Undoubtedly, I’ve already declared the experiment a success.” He sat back down. “Now I have to know what they’re saying about me.”
“I’m pretty sure this is illegal.”
“They both have generic waivers on file.”
“I don’t want to talk about them right now.” Howard smiled softly, almost looking innocent if not for his palm stroking over Raj’s inner thigh. “Where were we?”
Raj finally let the offending giggle slip, the excitement of the moment returning once more as Howard rolled onto his knees, straddling Raj’s lap and facing him head on for another warm kiss. Everything seemed to move with practiced ease, as though they’d been doing it all along. Howard’s kisses came as slow, warm tenderness as his fingers opened each button of Raj’s pajama top. Once more, Raj reverted back to what he already knew worked and stroked both hands through Howard’s soft hair. “It feels good.” Raj grinned in between warm kisses, enjoying the sensation of skin and silk against his chest. “I like this.”
“Mmmm…” Howard panted softly, pressing a trail of kisses from Raj’s mouth to the bared collarbone, pushing off his shirt. “It gets better.” He gently nipped at the soft brown flesh under his lips.
It was tough to imagine something feeling better than the delightfully buzzy sensation shooting directly from his throat to his cock, but Raj was positive it existed. “Oh my…” He moaned much louder than expected in the small room.
“Lay down.” Howard ordered, smiling when Raj complied without hesitation, leaving him crouched on all fours atop his close friend. Letting out a low, predatory growl he once more kissed his lover’s soft lips, this time trailing the kisses down his chin and throat to his chest.
Raj whimpered, pushing up against each little kiss as Howard’s mouth moved quickly over his skin. “What do I do with my hands?”
Howard chuckled, adding a quick lick of his tongue against an unsuspecting nipple, eliciting a happy groan. “Take off your pants.”
“You realize its Friday night. I could be out having sex right now.” Leonard grumbled loudly, holding a mug of tea in both hands to avoid accidently – on purpose – strangling Sheldon. “Instead I’m here, pretending we aren’t watching Howard and Raj have sex.”
“It’s fascinating, isn’t it? I had assumed that Koothrappali would play the masculine role, but look how Wolowitz has completely taken control of the situation. The dynamic is quite intriguing, don’t you think?” Sheldon enlarged the view to full screen, giving an even larger perspective of what was clearly happening despite the low lighting.
“Oh god, Howard!” Koothrappali moaned loudly, the other man enveloping his cock with his mouth even before the blue flannel PJs had been haphazardly kicked off.
“He’s like a leopard, Leonard… It’s beautiful.” Sheldon grinned.
Leonard stood up off his stool and moved in closer. “You’re not right, there’s something seriously twisted going on up there…”
“Of course I’m right, Leonard. Just look, see… Koothrappali just reached orgasm after only 1.6 minutes of what I can only classify as vigorous oral stimulation. While that could potentially be classified as premature ejaculation, Wolowitz seems perfectly content to be kissing him again.”
“You timed it?”
“I may need additional data in my findings report.” Sheldon looked at him as though he were even more of an idiot than he usually seemed to think Leonard was. “Oh, and it looks as though he will be reciprocating in a similar fashion.”
“Sheldon.” Leonard sighed, and then quickly turned his head to face him, tilting Sheldon’s chin upwards and kissing him as quickly as possible. Sheldon didn’t fight, surprisingly, merely sat there with his lips still. Leonard ran his tongue along Sheldon’s lower lip, opening his mouth just enough to taste tangerine chicken. When he broke away, Sheldon quietly turned back to the streaming video. “Aren’t you going to ask me why I kissed you?”
“I assume it’s because you’ve drawn some correlation between Friday night and sexual congress. I do not share your delusion and see no reason to further yours.” Sheldon’s cheeks were a slight pink all the same.
“Still Sheldon.” Leonard shook his head. “I’m going to bed.”
“I’ll send you an email with what you missed in the morning.”
“I take it you will be masturbating prior to sleep.” Sheldon didn’t turn to look at his friend.
“Not now, I won’t.”
“Oh, I see.”
“I’ve… I’ve never done this before.” Raj giggled again, obviously trying to push it back as he lay out on his belly between Howard’s thighs.
“It’s okay, just don’t think about it. Do what comes naturally.” Howard smiled reassuringly. “I’ll let you know if something bad happens.”
“Right.” Raj laughed under his breath, inhaling deep and then exhaling slowly, calming his nerves before kissing the inside of Howard’s thigh, pushing up the black silk of his boxers to kiss even higher.
“Off?” Howard asked, parting his knees wider for easy access.
Raj shook his head and quietly responded “No.” Feeling a little more relaxed with each kiss, he mirrored the soft kisses on Howard’s opposite thigh before rubbing his full face against the warm silk, inhaling the unfamiliar but exquisite scent that he imagined was exclusive to only Howard.
“Feels nice.” Howard let out a nervous sounding chuckle, gently grinding his covered cock against Raj’s cheek. “Tease.”
With a low groan, Raj gently kissed at the silk, teasing his tongue over the hardness. “You smell good.”
“Uh, thanks.” Howard couldn’t help but grin. “Nobody’s ever complimented my smell before. Though, usually by this point there’s giggling and words like ‘cute’.”
Raj nodded slightly, letting the silk stroke over his face before lowering the boxers down Howard’s narrow hips. He knew Howard was embarrassed about his size, but in the long run it didn’t really matter… it was kind of cute. “I won’t giggle.”
“I know.” Howard’s body warmed, his cheeks flushed pink even in the dim light. He seemed about to say something else, but instead only moaned low and loud as he felt Raj’s mouth suddenly warm and wet on his length.
Raj knew enough from his own limited experience and exposure to significant amounts of pornography and badly executed cybersex to have at least some idea of what he was doing. He gently stroked his tongue over the shaft, offering a soft swallow that drew out a long, shuddering moan.
Howard closed his eyes tight in pleasure, clearly trying to hold himself back as his hips lifted up against his lover. His knees buckled suddenly, the all too familiar sensation hitting him hard and fast. “Oh God… I’m…”
He swallowed again, pushing the palm of one hand gently against Howard’s pelvis to steady the unexpected upward thrusts. Determined to match Howard’s intensity, he pushed harder - feeling the muscles clench and pulse under his palm as Howard’s voice floated through his mind.
“Very interesting…” Sheldon raised an eyebrow, comparing the events with his own notes on technique; it had been closer to the depictions than he anticipated it would be considering their lack of expertise in the matter. Realizing Leonard would obviously not be responding to him, he made additional case notes silently.
“I’m sorry…” Wolowitz panted, wrapping his arms and legs around Koothrappali as he lay out beside him. “I’m usually better at giving than receiving…”
“Don’t be sorry.” Koothrappali sighed, kissing him again. It was endearing, really. “It was good.”
“Good? Not just okay, or ‘let’s never talk about this again’?” Wolowitz rested his head against Koothrappali’s shoulder, clearly quite relaxed.
“Different, but good.” Koothrappali laughed, rubbing his hands over Wolowitz’s shoulder; giving the impression of protecting him. How very peculiar indeed; Sheldon noted the shift of apparent dominance in his notes.
“Oh.” Wolowitz nodded against his lover, smiling and rather lewdly groping at his buttocks. “I guess it would be pretty different for you, huh?”
They were silent several minutes before Koothrappali asked, “Where did you learn to do that thing with your tongue?”
“At math camp my nickname was Nesicha.”
“Very interesting…” Sheldon murmured to himself, shutting down the streaming connection before finishing off his email to Beverly. “The experiment was ultimately successful; however I do find many of the variables make it difficult to reach an empirical conclusion. As you predicted the experiment did appear to trigger Leonard’s latent homosexual desires. Should I continue with the second stage of the experiment?”