Raj bent his head once more and kissed Howard, softly, gently, deeply; exhilarated and frightened by the new feelings which had awoken. The darkness of the room enclosed them and here at the heart, Raj could only see Howard, pale skin shining like a candle. The poetry of the night, with the rain lashing down the windows and the luminous body shining in his arms overwhelmed him and he half sobbed, deep in his throat.
Howard looked up, the irrepressible half smile still in place and a question in his eyes.
Raj swept the hair back from Howard's face. 'You're the brightest thing in this room', he vowed. His new found love stared at him as if he had two heads.
'The clock display is backlit and, uh, there's a panel on the microwave too...' Howard craned his neck, trying to pick out other brightly lit objects in the dark room. Raj kissed him again, running one hand down his back with increasing urgency.
'I didn't mean that', he murmured. 'Light, but not bright...'
'You're saying the microwave is out of my league?'
Raj gave up and laughed, pulling his friend into a tight hug. 'Oh, Howard, Howard...'
Howard laughed with him and curled closer. A distant memory came to mind and he traced a pattern on Raj's chest. 'You are altogether beautiful', he murmured, trying to remember the words, 'you whom I love.'
The words took Raj's breath away. He sat immobile, arms wrapped around Howard's warm body, lost in happiness.
Howard poked him in the chest. 'Breathe, Raj', he hissed.
Raj took a deep breath. The world seemed vastly unfamiliar to him, but there was one great space which they had always held in common.
'I meant', he said slowly, 'that you are beautiful like a star.'
'You can study me', Howard whispered seductively.
'Oh, I already have.'
Howard slid off the couch and offered a hand to Raj. 'Let's go to bed', he suggested. He leaned down over Raj and added softly: 'there may be an exam afterwards.'
Raj took his hand and stood. Before he could take a step toward the bedroom, he suddenly found himself unable to move. Howard had wrapped both hands around his waist, holding him tightly, an intense hawk-like expression on his shadowed face. Raj melted into his grasp.
Howard gazed up at him for a moment, eyes piercing and bright. 'Like Saturn', he whispered. He hesitated for a second. 'The dark one. Isn't that right? Saturnine. Dark.' He ran a hand through Raj's black hair. 'You, Raj', he declared, 'are my dark one. Saturn. The best of planets '
'The last of the planetary bodies which can be seen with the naked eye', Raj said automatically.
'You bet it's gonna be.'
'And how about you?' Raj took Howard's hands and unwrapped himself from the tight hold. He leaned back slightly, feeling Howard's weight against his own. 'Will you be my star?'
Howard laughed and swung to the side, forcing Raj to turn to follow him. 'Well, since I can run rings around you – '
Raj laughed and shook his head.
'– and since I'm totally in your orbit – '
Raj stumbled slightly, surprised by the sincere trust in Howard's voice.
Howard tightened his grasp on Raj's hand and swung himself close again, straight back into Raj's arms.
'– I'd better be Saturn's rings.'
Enclosed completely by Howard's arms, Raj lowered his head and kissed him. 'That's the most romantic thing that anybody has ever said to me.'
Howard grinned. 'Besides', he added, 'you know you always need me around.'
Raj considered this and decided it was true. He nodded. Howard tugged him toward the bedroom.
'If we can be Saturn together', he murmured, 'shall we go and rearrange the universe?'