The other side
Here's a RajXHoward-oneshot. I figured there's way too few of those out there, and most of them stop where the interesting part begins ;) Anyway, this one won't.
Usual disclaimers: Love the show, though I obviously don't own it, only what my perverted mind does to its poor characters. Contains slash and a good bunch of homoerotic fluffyness, but I tried to keep it T. As always, don't like, don't read – and if like, then please review ;)
„I would be very happy if you would accompany me to friday's gala," Howard had said, simply and short, and he had been looking down to the floor while doing so.
„What gala?" Raj had asked back.
„Oh, it's not a big deal, just a little party for the staff who worked and developed the parts of the ISS, and as you know-" the smaller man had shrugged his shoulders, tilting his head to the side and leaving the sentence unfinished. „Of course we can bring a plus-one, so I wanted to ask you. What do you say? Anything else planned for friday night?"
The indian had raised an eyebrow. „Do I really need to answer that question? Of course I'd love to go with you." And he had smiled.
Raj hurried to the entrance door of his small apartment as he heard the ring of the doorbell. As he expected, Howard was waiting outside in the hallway, wearing a dark blue suit and black tie. A bit less colorful than his usual outfits, but nonetheless, it suited him pretty well.
With a smile and a short wave of his hand, the indian man invited him to the living room and shut the door behind the smaller one.
Howard's eyes tracked his body, from the tips of his hair to his shoes and back. „Now that's some delicious caramel," he mumbled.
Raj grinned, flatttered. „Thank you." He checked his outfit once again. Black suit, black shirt, red tie. Definitely a sharp dressed man. As his gaze fell back onto the brunette jew in front of him, he noticed that Howard's eyes were fixed onto his hair. He hadn't done it yet.
„But we need to do something about your hair... you got some hair wax?"
„Yeah, sure," Raj answered, leading the way to the bathroom, grabbing the small box from atop the shelf to hand it to his friend.
Howard lay his hands on both of the other one's shoulders and turned him around so that the two men looked directly into each other's eyes. After spreading a bit of the hair wax onto his palms, Howard reached upwards to let his hands run through the curly brown hair of the indian. It looked a bit more tamed now, but on the other hand, also one hell of a lot hotter. Howard nuzzled a few strands, placing them a bit out of order here and there, until he was contented with his work.
„Perfect. Check it out!" he announced happily.
Raj took a look at the mirror and smiled momentarily. „Oh yes, awesome. Thanks, buddy! Ready to go now?"
„Totally!" Howard strode towards the door, followed by Raj who shut down the lights on his way. Halfway through the room, the brunette stopped and turned around, though his gaze was fixed on the floor and he stepped uneasily from one foot onto the other. „You should wear that suit more often, Raj. It looks just gorgeous."
Without shooting him another glare, Howard turned back around out the door. Raj couldn't suppress a big grin that spread all over his face. And a faint blush, hardly notable on his „delicious caramel" complexion.
Four hours later...
„Oh man, that was tedious," Howard let himself fall down on the sofa.
„You tell me, man," Raj let himself fall down beside him.
„Not that the party was bad, but... I'm exhausted. And I didn't even manage to hit on a girl."
„Obviously... Not that you didn't try," Raj mocked him.
„Well, yes, at least I tried! And I even thought I was pretty good tonight, at least a few girls talked to me and seemed even interested... until I heard 'Oh, it's so applaudable of you to bring your partner/boyfriend tonight, I admire that you're openly acknowledging your relationship' etc. for the twentieth time..." Howard rolled his eyes and looked over to his friend.
Raj was staring a hole into the floor if he could. „Yeah..." he said, still staring into space.
„Wait, you don't mind?"
„Well, it wasn't worse than the label Leonard's mother gave our relationship. And – on your side - if I had to choose between 'Loser-who-cannot-get-a-girlfriend-or-wife-and-therefore-brings-his-best-friend-to-the-party' and 'Living-in-an-openly-acknowledged-gay-relationship' – I'd rather go with the second option, honestly." His eyes finally met his friend's again. „Though, of course, that's not the way it is in reality. I'm just saying," he added quickly.
Now it was Howard's turn to stare into space. He chose the ceiling.
„Point for you. Although, considering what Leonard's mum said-"
„No need to repeat it."
„-yeah, sure. Although, considering what Leonard's mum said, there are a few points of a relationship missing with us. Mostly cuddling, kissing and having sex."
Raj had sunk in his seat and to the side, his shoulder leaning against Howard's small frame while his head rested at the jew's shoulder. Realizing that Howard had leaned back with both arms up on the seat back of the couch, Raj silently crossed „cuddling" out of the list.
Howard had apparently the same thought. „Well, kissing and having sex at least."
„Are we seriously talking about this?" The indian man shook his head in disbelief.
„Man, we really need to get laid."
His friend still stared at the ceiling. „Won't work if everybody thinks we're gay-"
„You shouldn't speak it out."
There was a short beat as both let their mind wander.
„137 days," Howard finally said.
„204," Raj answered.
„Wow," Howard had absently begun to let his fingers run over Raj's soft, woolen vest.
Another beat, but not of the unpleasant kind. Raj had sunk down even deeper, as had Howard, and the former's head was now rested on the latter's belly. „Do you think we're really desperate if I actually wonder what it's like to kiss a man?"
Howard's fingers now had found their way to Raj's curly hair, playing around with the short hair strands. „Kind of," he answered, looking down at his friend. „Physically speaking, it shouldn't be that much of a difference. Lips are lips in the end."
Raj lifted his upper body, prepping his elbows on the armrest. He realized Howard was damn near, which made him increasingly flustered. He watched the indian man carefully, but he didn't withdraw. For a long moment, they just looked into each other's eyes. Then, very slowly and not without a bit of a whimper, Howard closed his eyes, waiting. If Raj just leaned it, it would happen and never be forgotten. They could ruin their friendship with this. And later cursing themselves for that pathetic move, that purely just happened out of desperation.
Nonetheless, Raj bent forward while tilting his head to the side. His lips were almost touching Howard's as he stopped. „I can't do this," he whispered. He never thought that he could get that nervous.
Howard didn't open his eyes. All Raj felt was the other one's hand, running up his back to rest in his neck – and pull him softly towards his friend. Then, everything was just kissing and being kissed, teasing and trying, and mostly simply enjoying. He hadn't kissed since his last one-night-stand. And point to Howard: first, he wasn't that bad of a kisser and second, he was right about lips just being lips. It was just the person they belonged to that made the difference. Indeed, Howard made a difference, judged by his heart that pounded way too fast and his stomach, which felt turned upside down. And the wave of happiness almost swept him away.
As Raj broke the kiss after countless minutes, he couldn't help but smile all over his face. Howard glowed like a teenager in love as the indian's hand ruffled through his usual cute hairdo.
Though as their eyes met again, the first thing Raj said was: „Dude, weird." But he grinned.
„Yeah, totally, but I-" Howard cleared his throat, „I had to lie if I said I didn't like it."
Raj gave him another short peck on his mouth. „We should go to bed."
„Yes, we should. I should get the couch a bit tidier, otherwise I won't find a place to sleep here-"
„I hope you're kidding me, buddy," the indian man got to his feet.
„So you meant: We are going to bed?"
„Of course I did."
Howard gratefully accepted the hand that was offered to him and let himself being dragged into the bathroom. Raj was gleaming. Howard had no explanation for that, but he neither had for the fluffy feeling in the pit of stomach, which occurred whenever he looked at his friend.
Luckily, Raj owned a king-size bed – for whatever he needed it on every other night – so they had plenty of space. But as soon as they had lain down, Raj's arms had found their way around his friend's waist. Howard whimpered, not with discomfort, but...
„Listen, Raj... I'm not gay. Just to clarify."
„Neither am I."
„Mhm." Howard waited, and didn't know what he was waiting for.
Raj pressed his mouth to the smaller one's neck. „But I have to admit, the kissing part wasn't that bad," he mumbled.
His friend simply turned around and kissed him again, passionately. They silently agreed in throwing all concerns off the cliff. It was already too late. For both their friendship, which would never be the same again, and his conscious.
And they both knew.
A knock at the door made Leonard jump to his feet. They had brought the take-out food to the apartment almost half an hour ago. Though he reminded Raj and Howard to come over several times by texting to both, they still were late.
„What's up, wouldn't your mum let you go out of the house after 7 p. m.?" Leonard teased as both entered the room.
„This time it wasn't my mother who was responsible for our delayed arrival," Howard grinned and sat down on the couch beside Sheldon, while Raj greeted everyone with a smile and a short wave to the others – Penny had already arrived as well.
„So, what instead?"
„Naaaah," Howard mumbled, shooting a look at Raj, who just opened his food box. Their eyes met for a brief moment. He looked simply happy, which the jew could perfectly understand. Though, he didn't know how to tell the others.
„Oh, please," Sheldon focused on the two, „don't pretend you're not intending to explain the situation to us when you already started it by yourself with an imprecise statement at the very beginning of the dialogue. I'll never get the hang of that custom."
Raj and Howard exchanged another glare, smirking impishly at each other. Howard still couldn't put it to words. Luckily, Penny came to their rescue, though not the classy way. „Don't you see that they clearly had sex last night?" she asked with tandorine chicken in her mouth.
Leonard shot them a respectful glare. „Wow, guys, so you hooked up with some girls at the gala?"
„Stop, stop, Leonard, no no no no – no. Not what I meant," Penny interrupted, waving her chopsticks from Howard to Raj and back. „With each other."
„What?" Leonard and Sheldon asked simultaneously.
„Right," Raj managed to answer, though still looking at his food.
„What?" Leonard, Sheldon and Penny asked simultaneously.
Raj bent over to Howard to whisper something into his ear. „He said he had to tell you because I obviously failed in doing so," Howard repeated, blushing slightly.
„So, you're a couple now?" Leonard asked, still stunned.
Howard grabbed Raj's hand and pulled him in for a short peck on his mouth.
Leonard drew his mouth to a disgusted expression.
„Come on, Leonard, it's not that different from the way our relationship recently turned out," Sheldon commented dryly, which resulted in a facepalm by his roommate.
Okay, the end was just because I wanted a bit of LeonardXSheldon in here, although I'm not nearly as eloquent as it takes to write Sheldon-based dialogue. Way out of my league, so I hope it turned out well and you liked it. Let me know if you did so, please :)