"Well, I need to get back to work. My career isn't going to rise from the ashes by itself! By the way, thanks again, guys."
"Ouch," Raj responded as Howard walked away, "I don't think he's forgiven us."
"I don't understand why he's being so difficult. When the three of you tampered with my data..." Sheldon began.
"We didn't tamper with your data," interjected Leonard, "We tampered with you."
"And if you had run the data before announcing the findings to the entire university..." added Raj before being interrupted by Sheldon.
"WHY would I have to run the data when I had observed the readings with my own eyes?"
"Because you are not a computer! " Leonard snapped, "Now that's I've said it out loud, I admit that was a faulty argument and I withdraw my statement."
Sheldon looked disappointed, "You need to think BEFORE you speak, Leonard. I'm starting to think you will die alone if you can't improve your social skills."
"My point is, if you had run the data before making the announcement, there would have been no affect on your career..." was Raj's second attempt.
"I do not accept the premise that the three of you, my closest friends, are denied culpability because you somehow did not know I would announce my findings as soon as I..."
"We're scientists! We have a protocol to follow..." began Leonard (knowing full well he was running face first into a brick wall).
"Excuse me," Sheldon said as he tapped the shoulder of a female stranger at the next table, "Hi. My name is Dr. Sheldon Cooper. I'm a theoretical physicist here at Caltech. Perhaps you've heard of me by reputation?"
"Reputation and youtube," was her affirmative reply. She looked a little starstruck.
"Based on what you know of me, do you imagine I need to run a 5-way ANOVA to interpret data that I have seen with my own two eyes?"
She hesitated, "I'm sure you don't think you need to..."
"Thank you for confirming my point. Not that I should have needed further validation. Are you aware that you have not one but three forms of potato on your plate? Even if you are preparing for a marathon..."
Leonard pulled Sheldon back to face his friends. He tried to smile apologetically to the potato eater but she was already pulling out her cell phone. Probably twittering away about meeting the "chocolate rain" of the physics world. Sheldon never let his fans down.
"Regardless," Raj continued doggedly, "Howard and I risked our lives coming to Texas to bring you back."
"I was there, too," interjected Leonard, "in fact, I was driving!"
"Dude, first of all, you were driving with your penis because you were thinking about Penny. Second, Texas is a lot less scary for white guys."
"We are getting off topic, gentlemen! The point is, I graciously accepted your apologies and let by gone be by gones."
Sheldon watched his friends silently storm away. He tried to imagine what he had said this time to upset them. Then he decided he couldn't be bothered. He could only focus on one irrationally needy and demanding person at a time and right now, that was Wolowitz.
Howard had already accepted Sheldon's apology for accidentally letting it slip to the FBI that Howard had crashed the Mars rover in order to impress a girl. Howard had understood the significance of being given Sheldon's "spot" on the couch. Of course, when Sheldon demanded his space back, Howard withdrew his forgiveness. Sheldon had given and taken back the most important thing he had to offer. Now he was more at a loss than ever. One of the many qualities Leonard offered as a friend and roommate was his willingness to simply tell Sheldon what he should do and feel. Howard offered no such assistance. He simply stayed angry.
When he asked Leonard for advice, Leonard's enigmatic reply was, "If you really want to show Howard you're his friend, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable for more than say, 94 seconds."
It was one am and Sheldon was contemplating his white board. He had written a list of Howard's "likes". Then he went through the list and found everything that made Sheldon uncomfortable. Babylon 5. Leslie Winkle. Sex. Prostitutes. Pornography. Turtlenecks. Dickys.
He could have a dicky made with Babylon 5 characters in compromising positions. That would be both horrible for Sheldon and a pleasant surprise for Howard.
Leonard said "no" and "you're not getting the point of self-sacrifice."
Sheldon could pay Leslie Winkle to have sex with Howard.
"Leslie Winkle is promiscuous, not a whore!"
"I don't know where to find a real prostitute. I'm sure Leslie would understand my situation..."
Sheldon was starting to regret waking Leonard. He seemed irritable.
As he considered the remaining items on the board, the answer became painfully obvious.
"I'll have to have sex with Howard myself."
Leonard spit his water across the room. Disgusting. Sheldon had the patience of a saint with Leonard and yet no one seemed to see it.
"Tell me you are joking!"
"This is not a bazinga, Leonard, this is important. You would know if it were a bazinga. Because I would have said 'bazinga'. Howard Wolowitz is one of my closest friends and it disturbs me to imagine him withdrawing that friendship. I blame you, Leonard."
"Of course you do. May I ask why?" Leonard was being sarcastic. Or Sardonic. Or perhaps completely sincere. It was hard to see his face under his floppy bed head curls.
"If you hadn't insisted on being my friend and then including me in your time spent with Raj and Howard, I wouldn't be in this situation."
"You wouldn't have any friends at all."
"Exactly! I'd probably have a Nobel Prize by now instead of a cushion tainted with someone else's butt print."
Leonard touched Sheldon's shoulder briefly. It was something Leonard frequently did before he said something unpleasant. It seemed to be some kind of training technique but Sheldon had yet to uncover the point.
"Buddy, let's role play this. I'll be you and you be Howard."
"Very well, Leonard. You begin."
"Howard, I would like to offer sexual favors in exchange for your forgiveness."
"I accept your offer. Let's negotiate our terms."
"That is not what Howard would say!"
Sheldon was baffled as per usual. It was the only reasonable response, what else could Howard say? Leonard and Sheldon reversed roles.
Sheldon, playing the role of Sheldon, said, "Howard, I regret that I was forced to renege on the offer of 'my spot' but I would like to make a new proposition..."
"Why should I trust you? How do I know you won't back out of this next offer?"
"I understand your misgivings but I assure you, I intend to keep my word."
"You intend to but what about when it comes time to follow through and you have to share bodily fluids..."
"I haven't told you what I'm offering yet!"
"What are you offering?" Leonard looked annoyed, as though it was Sheldon who had thrown the integrity of the role play out the window.
"I am offering the sexual favor of your choice at a time and place of your choosing."
"I want to put my tongue in your mouth. I want to put my penis, which I pee with!, in your mouth... Sit down, Sheldon."
Leonard gently guided Sheldon to his spot. The room swam in front of the Texan's eyes.
Leonard kept his hand on Sheldon's shoulder. To hold him up or was this part of the training?
"You'd better go back to the drawing board."
"Howard, what do you want most in the world?"
Leonard slouched down in his seat at the lunch table as soon as Sheldon opened his mouth.
Leonard was pouting because Sheldon was right. Ha.
"Then I have a proposition for you..."
"Whey-huh!" interjected Leonard with his usual eloquence, "Howard wants sex with Bernadette. Not just any person."
"Bernadette dumped me again. I went to her house to make her dinner."
"Why would she dump you? That sounds like a lovely gesture," inquired Raj.
"Well, I was naked and apparently her mother has a key..."
"So, Howard would like to have sex with a beautiful woman. Not just anyone," continued Leonard apparently just to be obstinate.
"Or an ugly girl. Or a really realistic doll..."
"How about..." Sheldon began.
"Sheldon! I sneezed on your keyboard!"
He knew Leonard was lying. He was trying to keep Sheldon from propositioning Howard. Unfortunately, his roommate of seven years had an uncanny talent for picking up on Sheldon's weaknesses. Sheldon left the table to disinfect his keyboard.
"WTF, guys?" asked Raj as soon as Sheldon was out of ear shot.
"Sheldon feels really bad that he hasn't made things right with Howard."
Howard looked sheepish, "I'll talk to him. I've just been upset about Bernadette. And I like tormenting Sheldon."
"You should talk to him really soon. Like, right away and DO NOT let him talk to you first!"
"Why?" Howard's green eyes suddenly lit up, "Is he planning to get me a prostitute?"
"Sheldon doesn't know how to find a hooker in LA. He was going to try to pay Leslie Winkle..." Howard looked interested, "but I said no."
"Of course you did."
"So what is Sheldon planning to do?" asked Raj.
"He's going to offer Howard sex. With him. Sheldon sex."
The three men shuddered at the thought of what Sheldon sex might entail.
Howard was in a better mood than he'd been in weeks. The idea of his gangly, neurotic, asexual, "treasured acquaintance" offering himself as a sacrificial virgin more than melted his residual anger. It was pretty impressive really. Sheldon wasn't much for sacrifice, or discomfort, or apologizing, or caring what other people thought, or noticing that other people had feelings...
It was an endearing gesture. And that's why only a total asshat would use the situation to torture Sheldon.
Too bad for Sheldon, all his friends are total asshats.
Howard and Raj thoroughly destroyed Leonard and Sheldon at Halo III. They were too busy bickering to use any real strategy. They occasionally had those breakdowns.
After some post-game gloating, Raj said his goodbyes. Then Leonard feigned sudden and overwhelming exhaustion and went to "hit the hay" leaving Howard alone with Sheldon.
Howard looked forward to dragging things out and watching Sheldon squirm. However, Sheldon just came right out with it.
"Howard, to demonstrate once and for all how sorry I am for my slip up and how much I value your friendship, I would like to make a proffer of sexual activity."
"Okay. I want anal, no rubbers. I like to feel it when I have sex."
Sheldon's face was so horrified, Howard almost gave up the game right then but that's when Leonard popped in.
"What's going on here?" he asked with exaggerated confusion.
"Sheldon and I are about to have pretty rough bare back sex so if you wouldn't mind..."
"Wait just a minute!" bellowed Sheldon indignantly, wrapping his arms around himself protectively, "I did not agree to sex without prophylactics and certainly not in the living room!"
"But, Sheldon, you can't expect Howard to wear a rubber. He won't be able to feel anything."
"That is axiomatically untrue. Howard will certainly have enough feeling through the latex sheath to achieve orgasm."
"Well, if you're going to talk filth, I'll go back to my bedroom."
"Leonard!" Howard called to his friend's retreating back, "we're sorry. You can come back. You can watch."
Leonard turned around. Howard began removing his sweater slowly. Once he was just in his slacks and a sporty dicky, he started gyrating his hips in front of Sheldon while rubbing his pale and wiry chest.
"I am not comfortable with Leonard watching. I am apologizing to you, not him."
"You fed me bugs for a month! And again last week!"
"Fine, I'll have apology sex with you tomorrow, Leonard! Just go to your room and put on my noise canceling headphones."
"So I have permission to go into your bedroom..."
Leonard sulked his way down the hall.
Without Leonard as a knowing audience, Howard suddenly felt awkward. He was only used to grinding half naked in front of women. And to be honest, he didn't get that much grinding in on a regular basis. He was about to spill the beans when he realized Sheldon was taking off his shoes. He was really going to go through with it. He was actually going to swap bodily fluids with another person just to maintain a friendship.
Howard put his hand on Sheldon's shoulder and smirked when Sheldon jumped away. Great plan, Sheldon.
"I'm yanking your chain, Sheldon! Leonard told me what you were planning to do so we decided to mess with you a little bit."
Sheldon's face was blank and his hands remained frozen at his shoe laces.
"I'm not mad at you, anymore, okay? We're all good."
"You don't want the coitus?"
"No one wants 'the coitus'. That sounds like something my mother warned me I'd catch from public toilets," Howard continued bellowing in his mother's voice, "Always hover over the seat or you'll get a case of the coitus!"
Sheldon began to retie his shoe while Howard put his sweater back on. He had to ask. He didn't want to know but he had to ask.
"Why? Why did this seem like something you should do? I know Leonard didn't approve."
"No. And I can see that he was correct. My offer was ill-conceived."
Sheldon constantly made Howard's life difficult. He was demanding, insulting and inflexible but (like a brain tumor) he had grown on Howard (and damaged his brain).
Howard sat down next to Sheldon and tried to look friendly.
"I would have given you your spot back. I just wanted to see if you were serious."
"I was serious."
"You didn't last two minutes!"
Sheldon's blue eyes were woeful.
"How can this, " Howard gestured between himself and Sheldon, "be less uncomfortable than letting me sit in your spot on a couch?"
"Coitus is a finite act. Eventually it would be over matter how uncomfortable."
"Wow. When you put it that way it makes perfect sense. By the way, just FYI, we're both guys, Sheldon!"
Sheldon scrunched up his face like he was smelling something terrible.
"Oh, Sheldon, are you gay?"
"I wouldn't characterize myself as such," Sheldon stated primly, "But I imagine others might."
"I'm sorry, I didn't think... Whatever, you know? That's cool I just didn't expect... Have you, you know, with a guy?"
Sheldon gave a quick, negative head shake.
"With a girl?"
"No way! Who? When?"
That earned Howard a glare. Sorry genitals, he doesn't want to talk about it.
"Never mind. Have you told Leonard?" Howard really would kick Leonard in the ovaries if he'd been sitting on this little piece of info.
"About the new Harry Potter movie... About you being into guys!"
"No, I have reason to believe it would be detrimental to our friendship."
"Why? It's not like Leonard's going to give you a swirly for being gay. He a modern guy, he's not going to think just because you're gay you want to hook up with him... Oh. You want to hook up with Leonard. I can't believe this conversation actually got weirder."
Sheldon twitched and fidgeted, unable to get comfortable even in his "spot". Howard put a friendly hand on Sheldon's arm and pretended not to notice the way Sheldon leaned his entire body away from the touch.
"For what it's worth, if you really want to have sex with Leonard, he'll knuckle under eventually. That's his nature. It's kind of the bedrock of your friendship."
Sheldon looked appropriately horrified. Howard was torn between his loyalty to Leonard and his sympathy for a guy who couldn't tell the difference between lust and indigestion. How could Sheldon possibly put the moves on someone? In the end, sex was to Howard as the left side of the couch was to Sheldon. Howard Wolowitz could also remember a time, years and years ago, when he'd been awkward and sexually inexperienced. Before he'd figured out where to find hookers in LA.
"C'mere. All you need to do is make the first couple of moves and Leonard will take it from there. Kiss me."
He was prepared for an argument but Sheldon screwed his eyes shut and pressed his tightly clenched lips to Howard's.
"Good try. Now, this time, try not to look disgusted by the idea of physical contact."
Sheldon shot him a baleful look. It was a lot to ask. This time Howard kissed Sheldon. He pressed his lips gently to the stone wall that was Sheldon's mouth. Eventually, the lanky physicist began to relax. Howard nibbled at his lips and stroked his jaw until Sheldon opened his mouth. Surprisingly, he allowed Howard's tongue access and even caressed the invading tongue with his own.
Howard felt sure that anyone walking in the room two minutes ago when he started kissing Sheldon would think, 'Why is that short man teaching that tall man how to kiss? Is that tall man an alien?" Now that they were playing tonsil hockey, they might actually look like a couple of guys making out.
It was time to decide how weird he wanted this to get. Then Sheldon made the decision by dragging Howard into his lap so he was on his knees straddling Sheldon's legs. It worked a lot better with the height difference so, well done, Sheldon.
Sheldon's hair was amazingly soft. He had a really healthy head of hair. His lips were soft. Sheldon's commitment to lip balm with sun screen was paying off. And that big erection pressing against Howard seemed pretty damn healthy as well.
Could Howard really do this? Do him? Of all his male friends, Sheldon is the last guy... Yeah, the last guy. Even Captain Sweatpants seemed a more likely candidate. Lonely Larry would be so grateful for the human contact... but Sheldon? Howard was the reason Sheldon implemented the friendship refresher course, and later made it available for download. Did Howard even like the man he was nearly dry humping on a couch?
In Sheldon's spot. That had potential.
Howard moved his lips along Sheldon's jaw and was surprised to hear a gasp from his strange friend. Who would have thought Sheldon Cooper got horny? He worked his way down the slim neck as he slid his hand between their bodies. He hesitated over Sheldon's crotch. The odds were probably 50/50 that Sheldon would balk and leave Howard hanging as soon as they got into anything serious. Sheldon pulled Howard's hand the rest of the way until he was holding the taller man's erection through his plaid trousers. Sheldon rested his forehead against Howard's chest and held Howard's hand still.
"Why are you whispering?"
"If Leonard was in on your plan to 'mess with me' then it's unlikely that he is wearing my noise-canceling headphones. He, in fact, might walk out here at any time in an effort to..."
Howard silenced him with another deep kiss. Humping and groaning and petting aside, once Sheldon started talking he was... well, he was Sheldon and that was not going to work.
He gave Sheldon a gentle squeeze. Sheldon moaned but he was still thinking clearly enough to pull out his cell phone. He was sending a text message. Howard wondered what Sheldon could possibly be texting to Leonard. Probably "Engaging in coitus, more info to follow" or "In re: the roommate agreement article 57 paragraph..."
Sheldon put his phone back in his pocket and placed his long fingered hands on Howard's thighs. He worked them up incrementally at a painfully slow pace. Once he was almost where Howard needed him, Howard's conscience kicked in. Son of a brisket.
"Sheldon, you get that you've already been forgiven and I don't expect you to put out."
"Yes, you made that clear," Sheldon answered, his hands frozen on Howard's thighs.
"Are you sure you want to do this? With me? I don't want you to feel..."
"And you claim that I talk too much."
"Fine, have it your way."
Howard kissed Sheldon deeply and pressed his erection to Sheldon's. Long fingers gripped his legs as Sheldon began thrusting himself into the contact. Wow, what a horn dog. You think you know someone.
Howard heard his cell phone beep. He would bet even money that Leonard had just forwarded him Sheldon's text.
Now that they were on the same page and Howard was on Sheldon, he wasn't sure how to proceed. As the experienced member of this little duo, he should be taking the lead. Instead, he was getting tossed around and humped. He finally knew how his Alf doll felt when the neighbor dog got ahold of him. He felt amazing!
Sheldon moved his hands to Howard's backside, squeezing and kneading and pulling Howard's crotch tightly to his own. Howard knew what to do.
He unbuttoned his own pants first, hoping Sheldon would follow his lead. Instead, Sheldon just stared at Howard's exposed member with a charming amount of awe. Howard wrestled with the other man's trousers but eventually, he had a heaping handful of Sheldon. He reminded Sheldon to breath and the physicist gasped and shook his head.
"I've never experienced a sensation of arousal so over-whelming."
"Aw shucks, " snorted Howard as he wrapped his hand around himself and Sheldon, "I bet you say that to all the boys."
"What- gah- boys? I -oh- already informed you..."
Howard silenced him with his tongue. While Leonard has never expressed a desire to have sex with another man, he had frequently and volubly longed for a way to shut up Sheldon. Maybe Howard was doing them both a favor.
He gently worked their erections, trying to drag things out but Sheldon was getting- surprise- demanding. He kept squirming and thrusting up at Howard and moaning into his mouth. He had one hand tangled in Howard's hair while the other had a vice like grip on Howard's tush. As Howard increased his speed, Sheldon pulled away from the kiss and held Howard's forehead tightly to his own. He let out a small whimper before spilling his seed all over Howard's hand. Howard was about to finish himself off when Sheldon more or less tossed him onto the couch and took Howard in his mouth. Howard almost came at the first touch of those lips but after thinking about everything Sheldon had ever done to piss him off, he was able to relax for a moment. Sheldon held Howard's hips firmly in place while he licked up and down his erection. Howard watched in amazement and found himself looking into Sheldon's questioning eyes. They were still dilated, barely a trace of blue around his pupils. His cheeks were flushed, there was sweat on his hairline.
"Holy fuck, Sheldon. You look hot."
Sheldon gave him a look of friendly befuddlement and took Howard's cock so far down his throat that Howard lost his mind.
He came in Sheldon's mouth.
Sheldon was sitting up in his spot, tucking himself back into his pants.
Howard was on his back, not an inch of him touching Sheldon's precious cushion.
"So... I hope that was helpful. I'll just be getting on my hog and..."
"In your experience, does a first kiss typically end in coitus?"
"It does with hookers."
Sheldon went fetal.
"I'm kidding! Well, not really but it's different for guys."
"I don't know. It just is. Guys can do stuff with each other and it doesn't have to be a big thing."
"On what evidence are you basing your conclusion?"
"Porn. Maxim. Having a penis. So just say that we're good and I'll be on my way and you can... decide what you want to do."
Sheldon looked at Howard thoughtfully, "Thank you, Howard. I have underestimated the value of your friendship in the past. It is a mistake I don't intend to repeat."
"Thanks. Your friendship is important to me, too," replied Howard as he cleaned his hands off with a baby wipe from Sheldon. He couldn't help feeling the scene would have been more bromantic if he had his penis inside his pants. Then again, you can't go around waiting for perfect opportunities. Otherwise you ended up losing your girlfriend because of a creepy dude posing as a hot troll or buying noise-canceling headphones so you don't have to hear the man you love banging the girl next door.
"Howard, I hate to bring this up..."
"Say what you need to say, Sheldon. I'm listening."
"This," he said pointing at his own mouth, "is strike three. You'll need to take the class again."
"Go brush your teeth with bleach. I'll see you at lunch tomorrow."
Sheldon was off the couch and in the bathroom before Howard finished his sentence.
On his way to his scooter, he checked his text message. It was a forward from Leonard.
"Tier one friendship request. Please stay in your room."