Warnings: This contains light slash and extreme silliness. You have been warned. It was born from a debate in Science about string theory, and of course, I thought about the BBT crew!
Howard's been studying psychology.
It's not because he wanted to, or because it's important to his line of work. What would an engineer want to do with psychology? But he learned how to study body language and people's behaviours anyway, because Bernadette dragged him along to the classes, calling it their 'couples time'. (Howard had plenty of better ideas on how to spend couples time, but he didn't say anything.)
And he's begun to think something about his friends. It has to be one of the two, Howard decides, as he watches Sheldon and Leonard spar over yet another disagreement on a trivial matter. It's either Leonard has a massive inferiority complex, or Sheldon has a massive superiority complex. The clues lie in way they behave, the expressions they use, the language they employ. Howard rests his jaw in his hands, propped up against the table, and watches with rapt interest in the argument between his friends.
"For the last time, there is nothing wrong with challenging string theory occasionally! Much of it has only been formulated perturbatively, and-"
(Raised hands usually indicate an attempt to threaten the opponent, but in this instance he is being defensive, thus indicating an inferiority complex, Howard observes.)
"Oh, Leonard," Sheldon sighs, smiling and leaning back in his 'spot'. "Must I remind you that whenever you-"
"Yes, yes," Leonard snaps, "I guess much progress has been made in approximations, but-"
(Not a good move, Howard thinks, shaking his head slightly.)
Sheldon laughs; a breathy chuckle. "You are inept when it comes to the realms of imagination, Leonard."
(Arrogance suggests the superiority complex, Howard contemplates with a nod.)
Leonard almost screams. "What the hell? YOU, Sheldon Cooper, are saying I don't have any imagination? Is irony a struggle for you to grasp as much as sarcasm?"
"All I'm saying," Sheldon says, "is that it's typical of you to grab on to conclusions without thinking things through. I'm not surprised, judging by your academic records, your mother was very helpful in showing them to me."
Leonard bites his lip and says nothing.
(Howard is confused. Leonard has stopped defending his point, which shows he might have an inferiority complex, and Sheldon is just being his usual smug self, which might mean a superiority problem. Perhaps they are both afflicted with some sort of complex?)
Leonard finally speaks, pointing a finger in Sheldon's face. "You're... you're insane! Seriously! You're only happy when people are worshipping you and agreeing with your every word!"
(Aggression is a common trait of the neurosis, Howard notes.)
"I don't mean to cause offence," Sheldon says calmly. "I am merely trying to help you, seeing as you are unable to work anything out without my assistance."
(Even more egotism, Howard thinks, shaking his head.)
Leonard is still pointing an accusing finger in Sheldon's face, but his anger seems to have evaporated, replaced with mild distress. "I- you honestly think I can't solve anything without you?"
(Classic inferiority, Howard considers, trying not to chuckle. Bernadette would be proud of him, the way he was diagnosing his friend's neuroses.)
"Again, I do not mean to insult you," Sheldon says, in the most comforting tone of voice he can muster, which isn't really that comforting. "I apologise abundantly."
(Apologising? That's new. Maybe he doesn't have a complex after all, Howard frowns. Sheldon NEVER apologises.)
Leonard grips his housemate's shoulders and presses their lips together. The two raise up from their awkward position over the couch, locked in a kiss and bound in a desperate embrace, stumbling aimlessly across the room in a sudden moment of passion.
That's VERY new, Howard thinks with a gasp. Psychology class had not prepared him for that.
I've no idea what I've just written.