A/N: Because I'm trying to get back into the swing of fan fiction, and this quick idea was great for my muse and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it. No spoilers for the finale, but this takes place after the fan favorite "The Locomotive Manipulation".

This is for Sheps, Tensor, Georgie, and Ali.


Neuroscience Department, Caltech University – 1:02 PM

As Dr. Fowler analyzed the test data on her dual computer screens in her pristine laboratory, Betsy the Capuchin monkey sat lazily on her pampered rump and peered up at the silent human who continued to type furiously and scratch notes in a spiral journal. Suddenly, a buzzing distracted Betsy and she hobbled closer to the keyboard where Amy's iPhone had lit up, signaling an incoming call. The monkey's tiny, twig-like fingers ran across the surface of the neurobiologist's cell as it moved smoothly in a circle on top of a pile of paperwork, propelled by the vibrations.

Hearing the buzzing as well, Amy sighed and set down her pencil, using her other hand to rub her eyes beneath her glasses. After all of the lazy work and incorrect figures submitted by her temporary understudy for this new trial, Amy was far more behind than usual and it irked her to no end. She knew she would be lucky if she could be home by ten o'clock that evening.

She flexed her fingers that were cramped up from writing so much and peered at Betsy from over her pink-rimmed frames, unable to suppress her grin as the monkey studied the offending device with concerned fervor.

"I'll get it," Amy offered as she tugged the phone from Betsy's grasp and presented her with a constellation scratch on her protruding belly. "Hello?"

"Is this Dr. Fowler?"

She pulled the phone away from her ear to quickly check the caller I.D. and sighed outwardly when she read the familiar name: Caltech Infirmary.

"Yes," she answered, wedging the phone between her shoulder and ear as she popped a few keys to lock her computer screen. "What's wrong with him this time? Don't be afraid to employ the baby Motrin I signed off for if he needs a mild sedative."

The woman on the other end cleared her throat, clearly shocked by Amy's nonchalance. "No, actually, Dr. Cooper has refused an ambulance and is waiting for you to come take him to the emergency room."

Amy's heart stopped for a full second before she jumped up to her feet. The swiveling stool beneath her clattered to the floor and Betsy screeched indignantly. "What?"

"Yes," the nurse continued. "He broke his hand this afternoon."

"I'm on my way," Amy assured her and then hung up without asking another question. She turned and offered Betsy her hand. "To your room, Betsy-Mommy's gotta go." The tiny primate latched her fingers and swooped herself up to Amy's chest, who held her close before depositing her in her comfortable kennel.

Then she ripped off her lab coat, grabbed her purse, and with a flick of the lab lights, she was gone.


Caltech Cafeteria – 12:27 PM

Sheldon Cooper's mind often wandered when conversational topics were left to the devices of his three inferior-minded friends during their daily lunch hour.

When Howard had begun to moan about Bernadette's refusal to give him an advance on some baffling spousal allowance even after he had "taken her on the ride of her life" the night before, Sheldon was happy to be distracted by the unfamiliar trio of men settling at the table next to him: two men donning business-casual attire and one man, obviously the alpha of the group by show of his taking point, in a white lab coat.

"The attributes of the Capuchin subject far surpass my expectations," the lab coat said in a choppy, peculiar accent as they all sat down. Sheldon quickly assumed the brogue to be Australian rather than British as his dialect contained far more ah'sthan awh's.

And then it clicked; he had to be the foreign partner contracted in for Amy's new trial that had brought her to Caltech a few months ago. She had mentioned the understudy briefly, only disclosing to Sheldon that he was from Australia and had a very lax work ethic, something that troubled her daily. But she was happy to announce he was only there for one more week.

Sheldon looked off into the distance as a pleasant bubble that encased thoughts of his vixen girlfriend formed above his head. It happened far more often than he cared to admit—especially after his unprecedented behavior on Valentine's Day, kissing his girlfriend aboard that magnificent vintage train. Ah, what a fine, well-oiled machine—and once again, he allowed the Amy-shaped bubble to revolve around him.

But these days, it wasn't only the Valentine's Day fiasco that distracted Sheldon during working hours, or all hours of the day and night, for that matter. Amy Farah Fowler had somehow (in his weakest moment, he was sure) gotten Sheldon to agree to a mandatory make-out session at the end of every date night, like a couple of teenagers swapping spit under the bleachers at the big game. And these moments of their lips meeting had clouded his mind on a daily basis.

Now, Sheldon was not as dense as he came off sometimes. And he was not going to go as far as claiming to hate kissing Amy, because it was quite the opposite. Just the other night, his body had completely taken charge as pressing his lips to Amy's wasn't enough to satiate this newfound thirst. So he pressed his body against hers as well, until the obvious nudge of wanting that poked her belly button shocked them both and they pulled apart, breathing haggard and lips as ripe and red as fruit.

The bubble above Sheldon's head shimmered as he gulped and remembered Amy pushing away from him in shock, and how her hand accidentally brushed against his pants in the most casual way, and the subsequent days where Sheldon could barely look at her afterwards. But she had been kind not to bring it up since. Sheldon hoped that it would never be brought up again, until he had managed to figure out what it all meant.

Abruptly, the Amy-filled bubble popped and the imaginary contents splattered all over Sheldon as he overheard the Aussie at the next table say, "And the lead neurobiologist on the trial isn't rough to look at either, eh?"

"So I tell Bernie, 'That's not how my mom creases my shirt,' and she freaking loses her mind and wields the hot iron at me like she's gonna—"

"Howard, shut it," Sheldon snapped. He noticed that his grip on the sides of the table were so tight that his wrist was trembling. His spastic friend paused mid-story after a scoffed, "Ugh, rude," and Sheldon tilted his head towards the Aussie, waiting for more to be said.

"The one with the pony tail and glasses?" one of the nameless henchmen at his table asked.

"Yeh," Aussie McFancy Pants answered. "She's a bit of a dag, but I can see curves fit for driving beneath that coat of hers, if you know what I mean—"

Sheldon would have made The Flash proud with how quickly he went into action. He stood up so fast that his chair hardly made a noise and was at the table of the three men quicker than someone could say, 'Where'd you come from?'

"Gentlemen," he greeted tersely, joining his fists behind his back. "I'm Dr. Sheldon Cooper. I couldn't help but overhear your colorful conversation." He narrowed his eyes down at the lab coat and his upper lip curled. "And you are..?"

"Mickey Goforth," the lad answered with a generous smile, showing all of his teeth as he stared up at the towering Sheldon. The physicist leered internally; showing one's teeth is a sign of submission in primates. "What part of the convo did you find most interesting, mate?"

Sheldon cleared his throat. He had not expected this question. Heck—he had not expected his own knee-jerk reaction, but the way this baboon had spoken about Amy ignited something akin to fire inside of him and he had to do something. But what?

He quickly looked over his shoulder back at his table of friends, all three of who were staring right back at him, mouths agape and brows furrowed in confusion. Leonard shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head to the side. It was clear Sheldon was on his own. He turned back to the offending party.

"Not so much interesting as troubling," he finally said. "You see, Dr. Fowler, the brilliant neurobiologist you were referring to earlier, is your superior. It would be detrimental to your status here at Caltech if anyone were to report you straight to Human Resources for using such abhorrent language, Mr. Goforth."

Mickey smiled again easily. "Got a bit of a crush on the gal, don't we? Sorry 'bout that, Dr. Cooper. But I didn't see a wedding ring on her finger." He leaned forward as the two men beside him snickered. "So, may the best man win."

"She doesn't need a ring, we have an agreement," Sheldon blurted out over their chuckles, a little louder than he intended. The tips of his ears burned bright red like embers as the three men focused their stares on him once again. "I don't have a crush on her. She is my girlfriend. Hence the agreement."

"Agreement?"

"Relationship agreement."

Sheldon suddenly took interest in the floor beneath his feet, toeing the cracks between the tiles as he stared down. He only looked up again when Mickey barked out a loud, long laugh. He straightened his back and raised his chin before continuing. "So I suggest you keep your deviant thoughts to yourself. Dr. Fowler is spoken for. Good day, gentlemen." He swiftly pivoted away and took one long stride towards his friends before he heard a chair scrape the floor behind him.

Mickey rose from his seat and called out, "What's the matter, Dr. Cooper? Afraid of a little healthy competition? Why don't we let cute little Amy decide who'd she rather?"

It was like Sheldon's body took the form of a boomerang as he flashed back to the spot in front of Mickey Goforth and stared straight into his eyes, barely allowing an inch of air between them. He heard several noises at once—the scandalized whispers of the onlookers, the sound of Leonard suddenly appearing at his side and pleading for him to relax, the tiny chuckles coming from Mickey as he slid in one more snide remark about Amy.

And then Sheldon's vision went red.


The air smelled of tator tots and tension.

Three men stood in the center of the Caltech cafeteria during the lunch hour as Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh Koothrappali sat at a nearby table. Howard silently placed bets on who would escape the tiff unscathed, and who would remain, broken and bleeding on the floor like a chump. Raj watched with bated breath.

To the left stood Sheldon Cooper, all tall, lanky, and fists clenched at his sides while to the right stood one very tall and good-looking man in a lab coat that Howard had never seen before. And in the middle was Leonard Hofstadter, stupidly trying to defuse the situation. Grabbing his cell phone with one hand, Howard quickly detonated the recording app and fixed the lens on the nerd-off.

"Guys, come on," Leonard pleaded, both of his arms sticking out to physically separate Sheldon from the other scientist as tall as him. Howard never caught his name, but he took note of his muscles bulging from beneath his white lab coat. "We're grown men. How about everyone just walks away now?"

Howard tapped a few buttons on the screen as he continued to record so that the video would live-upload to YouTube.


Sheldon looked like he wanted to punch a hole through this Australian's face.

Leonard was bullied throughout his entire adolescence (and some very shameful recent years) and felt that overall, he could take a punch. Not that it was not something he preferred to happen. Although, if he had to pick any one out of five random guys in a room to hit him square on the nose, and one of those guys was Sheldon Cooper, well, he would have picked Sheldon to do it. The man could barely bench a Number 2 pencil without straining his neck-how hard could he hit?

As these thoughts circled in his mind, he heard the one named Mickey Goforth chuckle and slip in one more remark to rile Sheldon up.

"One night with me and she'd rip that agreement right up," his Australian accent promised.

Leonard reacted at the sight of a tiny explosion he saw in his roommate's round, blue eyes. Tiny pistons of rage and fury clouded Sheldon's orbs, fire so hot it only could have been summoned from the deepest, most evil genius-y pits of hell.

"Why, you-" was the only warning Sheldon gave before he reared back his elbow and prepared to strike.

So what did Leonard do? He can't be sure why…but he tried to step in front of Sheldon to reason with him, convince him that this guy wasn't worth the-

Smack!

Stars and lightning bolts exploded before his watery eyes as his spectacles went flying. But he had enough dignity not to crumple to the ground like a paper doll—instead, Leonard slowly knelt on the tiled floor of the cafeteria and lamely caught the blood pouring from his nose like a leaky faucet into his trembling hands.

Laughter and gasps swirled together and floated around his ringing head, accompanied by the tiny animated birds chirping in jest. But all the background noise was muffled by the howl going off to his left like fire truck siren racing to the scene.

"Leonard, what have you done?!" Sheldon crowed before collapsing into a plastic chair at the nearest table, cradling his hand to his chest.

"What have I done?" Leonard muttered, still low to the ground as the throbbing around his nose intensified. "You're the one who punched me, you crazy bastard!"

"Wow, Leonard," Mickey Goforth's buttery voice, for whom the punch was intended for, said from above. "Thanks for taking one for the team."

Leonard muttered incoherently as the tall and handsome bastard, tailed by his two-man entourage, strutted cockily out of the cafeteria, his sandy blonde waves of hair shaking as he laughed the whole way out.

"My hand, Leonard!" Sheldon continued to wail. "I think you broke it!"

If Leonard's glasses were still attached to his face, he would have narrowed his eyes into slits and focused directly on his best friend.

"This video has already got 30 views!" Howard announced happily, patting Sheldon good-naturedly on his back while showing him his cell phone.


Caltech Infirmary – 1:15 PM

Amy tried going over all the possibilities for Sheldon's injuries in her mind. Broke his hand? What could he have been doing?

She hustled as fast as her short legs could carry her to the infirmary and immediately saw Sheldon sitting down in the far left corner of the waiting room through the glass doors. His usually pale and smooth face was blotchy and flushed and his closely cropped hair was slightly askew. As she opened the door and entered the sterile, cool environment of the office, she frowned at the way Sheldon pitifully held his bandaged hand to his chest, like a wounded bird clutching his wing to his body. He blinked up at her lazily and to her surprise, a crooked smile appeared on his lips.

"Oh, Sheldon," she began, rushing to his side and taking the seat next to him. "What happened? And why did you refuse an ambulance? You need a doctor right away!"

She saw Sheldon swallow hard, his long neck barely concealing the bob of his Adam's apple as he took his time answering her. "You're my emergency contact, Amy. It's your responsibility to take action when I'm injured." Amy could hear the hint of a slur.

She figured trying to explain that an ambulance would have a far more reasonable action would be a hard bargain by now, so she stood up and offered her hand to him. "Come on, let's go. Quick, before your bones settle that way." When he stayed put, she studied his blotched face more carefully. He looked about three sheets to the wind. "Sheldon…are you drunk?"

"Baby Motrin," a familiar female voice suddenly said behind her. She turned and saw who she assumed was the nurse that called her earlier. "We gave him some to stop the crying."

"I s'not crying!" Sheldon protested loudly, followed by a badly concealed sniffle. "Watery eyes's a very natural reaction to…" He trailed off and Amy turned around to see what he was doing. He was studying her back, his eyes widening and narrowing quickly like a lens trying to focus in on an object. "Pain," he finally finished. "Say, Amy. You have a nice, round ass."

"Sheldon!" Amy cried in unstifled shock. She whirled around to look at the nurse again. "Just how much Motrin did you give him?"

The nurse just shrugged. "Not enough to kill him. And he was too crying. Loudly." And with that, she walked calmly out of the waiting area, leaving Amy to once again fend for herself with an inebriated Sheldon, a situation she was becoming extremely familiar with. She sighed in frustration and walked to her boyfriend, who studied her every move like a hungry animal. He even licked his bottom lip.

"Sheldon, give me your arm so I can help you up," she instructed, waiting for him to comply.

"Come on, Amy," he giggled instead. "Give us a twirl." He eagerly craned his neck, still clutching his bandaged hand to his chest, as he tried to take another gander at Amy's behind.

Usually, Amy would be delighted by his interest, but right now she was only confused and worried about his injury. She swatted at his good hand as he reached out and made a squeezing motion towards her rear, then gasped when he dirtily winked at her and said "Honk, honk."

"Hey, Ames."

She spun around at the sound of her best friend Penny's voice and her jaw dropped about three stories when she saw Leonard standing next to her, his nose bandaged and the spaces beneath his eyelids freshly bruised. He was gingerly touching his face and Amy looked to Penny for some sort of context.

"What the hell happened?" she exclaimed.

"Ask Rocky Balboa over there," Penny muttered evenly, one hand on her waist and the other around Leonard's back as she stared angrily at Sheldon. "You're lucky your girlfriend is here to save you, Sheldon. Sleep with one eye open."

"Penny, it was an accident," Leonard said softly before adding a little more loudly, "But yeah, Sheldon. Sleep with one eye open." The couple fled the infirmary, but not without Penny tossing one more scowl at Amy's boyfriend.

"Okay," Amy whispered as she turned to face Sheldon, who was busy fearfully eyeing Penny as she retreated. "Sheldon, we are leaving. And you're going to explain to me what is going on as soon as you've sobered up."


Huntington Hospital emergency room– 2:55 PM

It took about fifteen minutes of dragging her 6'2" significant other across campus to her car parked in the main lot and five additional minutes of trying to buckle him into the passenger seat while getting molested with his good hand—"Honk!"—but Amy finally got Sheldon to the emergency room. She declined to go join him in triage because she was afraid Sheldon might try to squeeze her rear again while the doctors tried to check him out. And furthermore, it was quite embarrassing being fondled by your delirious boyfriend in front of strangers.

A ping went off in her purse and she blindly snatched it off of the empty chair next to her, grabbing her phone inside and checking the screen. It was a text from Penny.

How's Dr. Muhammed Ali?

Amy frowned and texted back quickly.

- He's being treated now. Penny, why did the guys fight? Is Leonard okay? She almost hit send, but out of habit, added one more question. And are you mad at me?

Of course I'm not mad at you. It's kind of funny now that I've seen the video.

- Video?

Google "Nerds of Fury: Sheldon versus Leonard part 2". Later, Ames.

Amy's eyebrows furrowed together as she followed the instructions. She saw Howard's YouTube channel pop up as the first result in the search on her iPhone and clicked on it right away. Apparently there was a Sheldon versus Leonard part 1 from an academic conference six years ago that she would definitely have to watch at another time, but for now, she clicked on the video Penny told her to watch. It began with Sheldon towering over her understudy Mickey Goforth in the cafeteria.

Amy's heart fluttered.


Sheldon's head was pounding and his mouth was as dry as an abandoned watering hole. He trudged down the hospital hallway, attempting to make haste to the visitor's area where Amy was waiting for him, but the pain meds that the doctor had given him were far more debilitating than the Motrin. Resting against a wall for a moment, he tried to get his thoughts in order. One knee buckled and his leg locked, then his face was flush against the wall as he tried to regain his balance.

"Lord!" he cried, quickly regaining his composure once he realized that his skin was touching the germ-infested wallpaper. He sighed and smacked his lips together then continued to walk timidly before he finally arrived at the chairs where Amy was. His girlfriend sat with her back straight and hands in her lap. He stared down at her for a moment as she looked straight ahead, not acknowledging him.

He didn't remember much after the nurse at Caltech gave him a handful of pills, and a sudden onslaught of anxiety gripped his insides and squeezed as he wondered if he had said something to upset her. Sheldon tried to conjure glimpses of the last couple of hours but even his eidetic memory was severely hampered by the effects of drugs. He knew that everything would come rushing back later, when he sobered up, but for now, he was at the mercy of Amy. He studied her for a few moments more, waiting for her to talk. She didn't seem aloof or cold, only lost in thought.

"I'm ready to go, Amy," he finally said after a thirty full seconds of silence.

He watched her shoulders relax slightly and she looked up at him with a gooey grin. He shrank back defensively. What was that all about?

"How are you feeling, Sheldon?" she asked innocently, her throaty voice, an attractive quality he always secretly reveled, piercing the silence.

"I don't feel much of anything," he replied nonchalantly, sticking out his arm to show her the short cast that encased his knuckles and wrist. "But they warned me that I'll 'feel it in the morning'. I fractured my fourth and fifth metacarpal bones." He pouted before adding, "Luckily it wasn't my drawing hand, but typing is going to be quite a perilous feat. Perhaps Leonard will make himself useful these next few weeks of my recovery and make amends for this by typing up my proposals." He blinked heavily, unaware of his rambling, then motioned with his neck, a quick jerk to the double doors beneath an angry glowing 'EXIT' sign, that he was ready to go. "Let's scoot. My insides feel fuzzy."

"Okay," Amy agreed. She stood up and led the way out of the hospital, Sheldon following her with his head down. His shoulders were hunched slightly and when they made it outside, the warm breeze of the spring air hit him from all angles. Sheldon inhaled deeply and the pain throbbing in his casted fist suddenly dulled as he looked up and saw Amy stop walking, turn her neck slightly so that her chin was parallel with her shoulder, and smiled coyly at her boyfriend. Without another word, Amy turned back around and walked forward, her hips swaying beneath the layers of her wool sweater, and Sheldon continued to follow, his jaw slack, his eyes hazy, his stomach warm with a familiar caress along his lower abdomen.

By the time he sat inside her car, though, everything became comfortably blurred, and as sleep overcame him, his initial inhibitions started to fold under the weight of the Vicodin.


2311 N. Los Robles Avenue, Apartment 4A – 4:27 PM

Amy called Penny for help once they arrived at Sheldon's place. Her tall glass of Yoo-hoo had passed out fitfully in his seat on the ride home, Amy beaming the entire drive.

"Be down in a minute," Penny agreed grudgingly before she hung up.

Amy took the few minutes of silence mixed with the occasional deep breathing from Sheldon as they waited at the curb to try and swallow the pounding from her heart that had worked its way up to her throat. She studied her boyfriend's silhouette and replayed his ill-timed punch over and over in her head. She felt like a character in one of her fleeting romance novels or perhaps one of the women from the chick flicks that lined Penny's DVD collection; her knight in shining armor had established his dominance and acted out in aggression for his lady love.

As for his abhorrent behavior at the Caltech infirmary and ensuing grope-fest in the car on the way to the hospital, Amy was none too scandalized. She was no stranger to his extra "affection" once he was inebriated—how she had relished the memory of his playful smack on her on Thanksgiving—but what Amy was still reeling over was that look Sheldon returned after her best wanton glance that she threw over her shoulder. And she felt his eyes on her the entire time after she walked away.

She chewed on her bottom lip after the halting realization that Sheldon, like other times he had been drunk, would pretend to have little-to-no recollection of his actions and insist that they move on, refusing to talk about what had transpired between them.

Sort of like the other night, after a particularly passionate end-of-date-night kiss, when she felt and accidentally brushed her hand against his sudden erection and he had refused to bring it up ever since.

Amy let out a low sigh; she knew now that Sheldon was brave enough (or at least had the capacity for enough testosterone) for her to get jealous and swing at a stranger for her honor. But was he brave enough to finally admit what they both knew he felt for her?

Five minutes later, Penny and Amy half-dragged, half-carried Sheldon up two flights of stairs before he finally stirred and eyed both of them wildly.

"What is this?" he asked, slurring slightly. His sweet breath washed over the side of Amy's face. "Hi," he greeted her shyly.

"Hello, Sheldon," Amy replied with polite smile. "We are trying to take you up to your room. Do you think you can walk the rest of the way?"

"The elevator," Sheldon suggested before his eyes rolled up in their sockets, his body lazily succumbed to the haze, and he went under again.

"Oof!" Penny huffed as she took the brunt of Sheldon's weight on her shoulders. "Whatever they prescribed him at the hospital, I hope he brought enough to share with the class."

"Thanks again, Penny," Amy said, her voice muffled when Sheldon's head rolled to the side and she got a mouthful of his ear.

"That tickles, Amy, no," Sheldon whined before his chin fell down to his chest. Amy rolled her eyes when Penny giggled, and they continued their trek up the stairs.

After Penny helped Amy get Sheldon into bed, the two friends made their way down the hall to the living room where Leonard was standing, searching for the remote. Without his glasses, it was no easy task. Amy watched him squint as the two women came into view and her stomach flipped guiltily.

"Leonard, I am so sorry about what Sheldon did," she began, spreading her arms then letting them fall to her sides.

"So you saw the video, huh?" he shrugged good-naturedly. "It's okay. I would have done the same if I were in his position."

"Aww, sweetie," Penny cooed as she wrapped one arm around Leonard's waist and rested her head on his shoulder. "I would have punched out a guy for you, too." Leonard grinned and the purple beneath his eyelids were tinted with a delicate hint of pink.

Amy smiled meekly and swallowed back the bit of envy that crept up her throat. "Well, I'd better go. I'll come by in the morning once his drugs have worn off." She made her way to the exit when she heard Penny call her name, stopping her.

"You sure you don't want to hang out for a bit, Ames?" the blonde asked. "You don't have to run off so fast." Her eyes sparkled hopefully, but Amy wasn't in the mood for company. No, she would rather get back to her lab and finish her work, which would hopefully help her forget Sheldon's actions just like he would forget, too.

"Thanks, but I'm already going to have to work well into the night to finish up some stuff at the lab," she replied. "Just text me with any news." And with that, she fled.

But she had barely made it to the first floor before her phone pinged from an incoming text. She pulled out the iPhone and read the message from Penny.

Sheldon is calling for you. Like literally screeching. Come back.

Amy sighed and contemplated pretending she hadn't gotten the message. The last thing she wanted to do was walk back up four flights of steps to greet a drugged Sheldon and swat his groping hands away when she knew it would mean nothing to him tomorrow. But of course, she went to him.

When she got to his room, she knocked on the closed door.

"It's me," she called before turning the knob, not waiting for him to answer. She saw him sitting on the edge of his bed, both of his elbows braced on his knees and his head down. Amy closed the door behind her and when the latch clicked, Sheldon finally looked up and acknowledged her. His eyes were slightly out of focus again, but he seemed lucid after his pupils finally rested on her.

"I don't have much time," he grumbled, then swallowed hard. "I'm about to pass out again. These pills were a doozy. But I wanted to suggest something to you before I go back under for the remainder of the evening."

Amy's heart stuttered and started beating again when Sheldon beckoned her closer to him. "What is it, Sheldon?" she asked, taking a tentative step forward. She marveled at the severity and sureness of his voice even through his drug-riddled haze.

"We have a scheduled date night tomorrow and I won't be able to make it." He swallowed hard again and focused on Amy.

"That's okay," Amy murmured and tucked a lock of straight brown hair behind her ear. "Is that all?"

"No," Sheldon said as he stood up on shaky legs before his wobbly knees allowed him to take a step forward, bringing his body within an inch of hers. "I thought we may have our obligated date night kiss now."

"We don't have to—"

"I insist."

Amy took a deep breath, her chin lifted as she struggled to maintain eye contact with her much taller boyfriend. She felt panic well up and rain down on her as Sheldon placed his good hand on her hip to keep her steady and moved in close to kiss her. She arched her back away from him and quickly blurted out, "Sheldon, I know what you did for me today."

Her declaration was enough to stop Sheldon mid-pucker and his eyes bore down at her. "What I did for you?"

"Yes," Amy said with a quick nod, her spine still arched as she leaned back. "I saw the video of you punching Mickey…well, actually, of you punching Leonard, but because of what Mickey said, I know you felt like you were trying to defend my honor or something but I just want you to know that while I appreciate your heroic act, I take responsibility for your broken hand and the Vicodin and you don't have to do this, you don't have to kiss me just because your inhibitions are muted by your hormones every time you are inebriated, and you won't remember this tomorrow anyhow so let's just call it a night and get you back into bed."

When she finally shut herself up, Amy gazed up into Sheldon's slightly glossed over eyes and blinked a few times, wondering if maybe she had rambled him into a catatonic state.

"You're right," Sheldon finally whispered after a moment. "This is all of your fault."

Her heart wilted a little and she forced herself to look away. The only problem with trying to retreat was that her boyfriend held her true by her hip with his long fingers, not allowing her to go anywhere.

"It's your fault that I cannot stop thinking about kissing you since Valentine's Day. About doing more than kissing you every night since. And that the thought of Mickey Goforth, or any other man for that matter, talking about your body as if he knows it, as if he had any idea of the euphoric sensation of wrapping my fingers around the curves of your body beneath your ribs and tasting your minty bottom lip. It is your fault, Amy Farrah Fowler."

"Oh, Sheldon," Amy sighed, her eyes fluttering. She relaxed the arch in her back and allowed herself to lean into her boyfriend. This was real bravery. No punches thrown, no beating on his chest. He was more valiant than she had ever seen him. "You…you can kiss me now."

"Very well, because I'm about to black out in approximately 14 seconds."

"Make it a good one, then," Amy demanded before closing her eyes.

And so Sheldon kissed her on an unscheduled date night with enough heat to warm them both from head to toe, and something about the way he pulled her back in when she tried to break away for air assured Amy that though his injury was somewhat her fault, Sheldon forgave her.

But this time, he wouldn't forget.