Guess who's returned with more slashy goodness? Yeah, I couldn't resist. I just seriously can't get over what an adorable couple these two make :P

This is before Bernadette was introduced, by the way.

I hope you enjoy! :)

Howard massages his throbbing cheek as he watches the slender brunette walk swiftly away. He isn't sure where exactly he crossed the line this time. All he did was compliment her on her lovely eyes, her gorgeous physique, and maybe tried to feel her breasts while she wasn't looking.

Whatever the case, he is definitely not giving up. He and Raj have come to this nightclub exclusively to pick up a date, and he'll be damned if he's going to spend another night alone. Besides, eighth time's the charm, right?

The nerdy bachelor scans the diverse collection of double x chromosomes and his eyes stop at one particular redhead who is standing alone. Bingo.

He struts over to the young bombshell and wastes no time working his "charm."

"Bonjour, madamoiselle. What do you say we use my lever to shift your centre of mass?"

She frowns at him. "Excuse me?"

Howard grins, and tucks a lock of copper hair behind her ear. "Is your name Google? Because you have everything I've been searching for."

She grits her teeth, and yanks his arm off. "Get your hands off me, freak!"

"Actually, the name's Wolowitz," Howard clarifies, still smiling confidently. "Howard Wolowitz."

Suddenly, her eyes widen. "Did you say HowardWolowitz?"

"So we've met. When we were making sweet and sexy love, did I mention that your beauty rivals the graphics of Call of Duty?"

She gives him an icy glare. "No. And as a matter of fact, we never did make love. Wanna know why?" She doesn't give him a chance to answer the question, albeit rhetorical, and says, "My friend slept with you. Vanessa, remember her?"

Howard furrows his brows and stares off into space for a minute. "Was she the one with the tongue piercing or the turtleneck?"

She scoffs. "I'm not surprised. You men are all alike. You know, Vanessa told me all about you. She told me who you are, how you treat people like her. And I was appalled. Sickly appalled, because I can see now that you are the most repulsive person—no, rat, on the face of the Earth."

Howard's smile vanishes into thin air.

"You are the most pathetic creature it has now been my displeasure to meet," she snarls. "First of all, you are a grown man who still lives with his mother. That's pathetic.

"Second, have you even looked at yourself? Your hair looks like it belongs in the sixties, your clothes couldn't be tackier, and my God, I've seen middle schoolers who were taller than you!

"On top of that you are completely delusional. You seem to have this absurd idea that acting like a narcissistic jerk is somehow going to get you laid. Well, guess what? Women are not cheap bimbos, you douche! But what would you know? After all, you can't even recognize a woman's name.

"Speaking of which, remember Vanessa? She told me about your little group of friends. I feel sorry for them. Having to put up with you. But honestly, I'm surprised you even have any friends. They're all better off without you.

"But look at me. Wasting my time and energy with the likes of you. People like you disgust me. I hope you die alone, you sick, ugly bastard!"

She twirls and with a click of her heels, saunters away.

Howard stands there, frozen and motionless. He feels like he's been struck by a meteor. His hands and legs are trembling. His throat feels dry. His bottom lip quivers.


His mind barely registers the voice of his best friend and confidant, standing right behind him. He feels Raj lay a hand on his shoulder, and twitches slightly, but otherwise doesn't move another muscle.



"Howard, it's not true."

Howard sniffles. He then locks gazes with the compassionate eyes of his best friend. Raj gives a sympathetic look and murmurs, "What she said about you, none of it is true. You're not pathetic. You're beautiful."

Howard shakes his head. "Save it, Raj. I don't need your pity." He's looking away now, but he is almost certain Raj must look hurt.

"Howard, listen to me. You are perfect to me. I don't care about what others see. I just like you for what I see. And you shouldn't let anybody get to you like that."

Howard stares back at him. He lets out a shuddering breath when he sees the glittering sparkles coating Raj's dark, mysterious eyes. He's never quite noticed how beautifully intriguing those eyes are. Along with the rest of his visage. But hold it. Since when has he ever been attracted to other guys? What was the point of coming here and being surrounded by all these hot, attractive—and out of his league—women, if all he's going to do is start fantasizing about Raj's face?

Raj's fair, youthful, compelling, angelic, exotic, and altogether aesthetically pleasing face.

Get a grip, Wolowitz.

"No, you don't understand, Raj," Howard says, snapping out of his unusual reverie. "She was right. I am pathetic. I'm stupid, worthless, and I deserve to be alone. So why are you still here?"

"Because I care about you!" Raj insists.

Howard scoffs bitterly. "Yeah, right. Go on, you're better off without me. Go and find someone better."

Raj isn't having any of it. "I don't want someone better!" Then, softening his voice, "I love you, Howard."

This gets Howard's attention. "Beg pardon?" he deadpans.

Raj pales, and looks at his feet. He sighs, realizing that there is no way out of this one, and clears his throat.

"For starters, I don't think it's pathetic that you live with your mother. I think it's very sweet, since it shows you really care about her. Even if she creeps the hell out of me.

"I don't think your looks are terrible either. They're very unique. Yes, maybe the hairstyle is a little outdated, but it suits you. All of it suits you. It wouldn't be the same if you decided to change.

"She had some nerve calling you a douche. I know you're a good person, Howard. I've seen the gentle, caring side of you before. And it's a shame that most women can't.

"I've always loved you since the day we met. You made me feel something I had never felt before. But I was always too weak and shy to tell you. Until now, that is. I admire you. You're always so confident and brave. I don't care if most people think you're a creep, I know you're much better than that.

"I hate that bitch's guts, but you know what? I'm glad she said all those rude things to you. Because otherwise, I would have never been able to reveal my true feelings towards you. It was the perfect catalyst for me to admit how much I desire you. I don't expect you to return my feelings, of course, but there's no point hiding my emotions anymore. I love you, Howard Wolowitz."

Howard is speechless. No one has ever stuck up for him like that before. For someone who can barely look at women in the eye, let alone speak to them, Raj sure can be astonishingly eloquent. He's touched, to say the least. And also stunned. Really, it shouldn't come as too big a shock that Raj loves him. He has, after all, been rumoured to be gay—despite how fiercely he argues the contrary. But who is Howard to talk? After all, he'd been mistaken for being in a freaking relationship with the guy! Though, now that he thinks about it, maybe dating Raj doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

What am I saying?

"Raj," he finally speaks. "I … I don't know what to s-" Howard is cut off when Raj suddenly brings their lips together. Howard's eyes widen, and if he weren't smacked against Raj's mouth, he surely would have gasped. He knows his first impulse should be to push Raj away, yet he finds himself somehow … enjoying the feel of his friend's warm, fragile lips against his own. It's unlike any time he ever kissed a woman. This feels much more intimate. Tender. And somehow soothing. Suddenly, Raj's hands are wrapped around his face, and Howard finds himself cradling the skinny body pressed against him, as the burning passion within his heart explodes throughout his body. His eyes are shut, and his pulse is racing. He imagines his pending ecstasy is echoed by Raj, whose hands have now slid down to Howard's shoulders, gripping them viciously and yet coupled with his trademark tenderness. Howard becomes so absorbed in the kiss that he completely drowns out the sounds of the packed club, including the few whistles and hoots from some amused bystanders. At that moment, Howard could care less where he is, just as long as Raj is with him.

At last, when they're out of breath, they part. For a seemingly infinite amount of time, they remain silent, only looking at each other breathlessly. Howard's heart is pounding. He has still not recovered from the heated, unexpected kiss they've both just shared. The emotional juxtaposition of shock and euphoric bliss dissolves into a warm, electric shiver that travels down his spine, and he finds himself unable to think or speak properly. Finally, Raj breaks the silence. "Now do you believe me?"

Howard can't seem to find any words. He continues to stare, dumbfounded, at Raj.

Unfortunately, the astrophysicist doesn't take this as a good sign. His cheeks flush scarlet, and he looks away. "I'm sorry. That was foolish and inconsiderate of me, I shouldn't have done that."

"No!" Howard cries immediately, finally finding his voice, and surprises himself with the next words that pour out of his lips. "I liked it."

Raj looks back curiously at Howard.

"It was … nice," Howard admits sheepishly, giving the floor his undivided attention. He can't believe he just said that. But he did mean it. If anything, it was an understatement.

However, that is all Raj needed to hear. "Dude!" he grins, and Howard can't help adore the way he said that. Come to think of it, everything about Raj seems wonderfully captivating during that moment.

"Come on, let's go," Howard says. Their fingers interlock as they exit the crowded club.

"Hey, Raj?"



"For what?"

"For being there."

Raj stops walking, and although he's smiling, his eyes are solemn. "I've always been there, Howard," he says. "Always."

That evening, while the five of them are dining at Sheldon and Leonard's apartment, Howard can't help but notice how Penny's eyes keep uncertainly flickering towards him, as if surprised the distracted engineer hasn't tried to get into her pants yet. Truthfully, the idea of trying his moves on the blonde for the umpteenth time hasn't even crossed Howard's mind. Then again, he hasn't exactly been focused on the ones from Venus after that enchanting kiss with Raj earlier, not to mention the even more intimate moment they shared in bed upon arriving at his apartment.

Howard drifts into another region of his enigmatic mind. He thinks about how amazing it felt to stroke Raj's smooth, tan skin, to glide his fingers through his divine, silky hair, and the waves of pleasure that radiated through his veins when said man touched him and licked him and whispered his name, so softly and delicately, providing a quality of satisfaction unparalleled by any physical contact he'd ever experienced with the opposite sex.

Ironically, the one person who isn't immune to Howard's notorious romantic gestures is the one who was there all along.

Soon, Raj broke Howard's thoughts and whispers into his ear. Unlike most times, however, his comment is completely uninfluenced by the others around him. And Howard couldn't be any happier about that.

The shorter man smiles, and murmurs just loud enough for only Raj to hear, "I love you too."

The way Raj's eyes unmistakably light up like a firefly warms Howard's heart, and he knows that accepting his love is the best choice he's ever made.

After all, most women are a dime-a-dozen, but Rajesh Koothrappali is truly one of a kind.