Title: The Relationship Complexities
Description: When blossoming Amy Farrah Fowler starts to become more comfortable with herself and the complex world around her, will Sheldon Cooper be able to hold on? Set in current season, featuring S/A, L/P and H/B pairings.
Author's Note: Alright… so I got this one up a lot faster than I'd originally thought! I need to warn everyone of - this chapter is angsty. I'm not a huge fan of angst but it was time for some – it can't all be rainbows and butterflies, I'm afraid. Such is life. Anyway – enjoy, read and review!
Disclaimer: I do not own The Big Bang Theory, or any of its related characters.

Chapter 18

After countless hours wandering about the convention center, viewing numerous exhibits and sitting through far too many tedious minutes of panels and interviews, the three girls decided it was time to call it quits. Reluctantly, Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj agreed; hunger quickly getting the better of them.

As they headed back across to the hotel and into the adjoining bar, Sheldon couldn't help but feel frustrated. Since seeing Amy that afternoon, he had struggled to maintain his focus, missing many important and intriguing aspects of his day at Comic Con. He had sat through multiple interviews with some of the world's most renowned comic icons, and yet his brain had seemed to be absent. Amy's darkened cat-like eyes, perfectly messy hair and feminine body kept creeping back into his head, distracting him. Who was he becoming? This was all her fault…

A set of dark fingers clicked in front of his face. "Yo, Sheldon? Hello? I think his system is malfunctioning, dude." Raj said, turning back to Howard and swinging his beer in his hand.

Howard took a seat on a bright orange ottoman, slipping his Batman mask off and taking a swig of his drink. "Nah, just hung up on Catwoman…"

Sheldon shot him a menacing glare and looked around. The hotel they were staying at featured an up-market restaurant and bar, both of which were decorated in a meticulously modern style. In the dim, ambient lighting, he could see Bernadette, Amy and Penny up at the bar; placing drinks onto a tray and laughing at the bartender's undoubtedly lame jokes. He looked over Amy's implausibly long legs – enhanced by her high-heeled boots - and frowned as the muscular bartender took her money with a far too friendly smile.

Leonard sniggered and pulled Sheldon into a nearby seat. "Relax, Sheldon, she'll be fine."

Sheldon ignored him and continued to watch her, seething. Penny handed him a drink and he absently took a sip, instantly spitting it back into the glass. "Penny – is this whisky?"

"And Coke, yep." She took a seat next to him on the lime green couch and gave him a look. "For God's sake, just drink it. You're going to need it."

Bernadette and Amy walked back across from the bar with the remainder of the drinks, receiving a hoot of whistles and jeers from a drunken table nearby. Bernadette shook her head and blushed, but Amy turned back and gave them a smile, sending Sheldon's aggravation through the roof.

Beside him, Penny chuckled. "She's just having fun, you're the only one she wants…"

Sheldon looked at her quizzically. "The one she wants?"

"Well, yeah," Penny said, taken aback, "wait – what are you confused about?"

"Never mind…" He grumbled, watching as Amy took a seat on an ottoman across from him next to Raj.

Grinning at her, Raj held up his glass. "Here's to the smartest Catwoman the world has ever seen!"

Amy laughed and clinked her glass with his, taking a long sip. "Oh," She said suddenly, reaching for her bag, "I almost forgot…"

She pulled out a black pointed mask and placed it across her eyes, shaking her hair back dramatically and giggling. Breathe, Sheldon thought, closing his eyes, it's only a mask…

Before long, the group were well on their way to intoxication, ordering more and more glasses of alcohol and plates of chips. Sheldon had managed to sip through a large glass of Cuba Libre, which he was now regretting – he felt slightly dizzy and had to contain himself from saying reckless things.

Penny, Bernadette, Howard and Raj had bounced off to dance on the tiny dance floor, and the two girls were now teaching the two left-footed boys how to do the Macarena. Leonard and Amy, despite the alcohol, were having a heated discussion regarding the possibilities of teaching a primate to learn such a dance.

"Leonard," Amy huffed, "you are well aware that my current studies focus on the results of addiction in primates, not learnt behaviour… besides, there are two perfectly healthy primates over on the dance floor demonstrating the findings…"

Leonard chuckled. "True, but I still maintain that it would be an intriguing study…"

Amy downed the last mouthful of her drink and glanced over at her dancing friends. They had drawn quite a crowd, the dance floor now cramped with bodies, many of them sporting costumes. Penny's laugh boomed over the music and she waved Amy over. "Come on!"

"Looks like I'm being beckoned…" She said, rising from her seat and squeezing past Sheldon, running a finger across his shoulder. It gave him a chill.

Pulling his mask over his head, he threw his head back and groaned. Leonard eyed him curiously. "She's driving you mad, isn't she?"

Sheldon's eyes shot to him, defensive. "What? No, not at all… think it's just the alcohol…"

Leonard raised an eyebrow at him. "Sure. That's why you're having trouble concentrating, unable to stop looking at her, feeling strange urges you've never felt before…" He nodded, "yeah… definitely the alcohol."

Sheldon glared at him and subconsciously took another large swig of his drink, feeling it burn in his throat. "You know I am in complete control of my baser urges –"

"Ah, so you don't deny it!" Leonard taunted, pointing at him accusingly.

"No – well – I –"

Leonard rolled his eyes and looked across to the dance floor. "Just admit it – Amy looks phenomenal." His eyes wandered to his girlfriend's fishnet clad legs and knee high boots. "Never thought I'd like fishnets until today…"

Sheldon looked at him, puzzled, and shook his head. He, too, turned toward the dance floor, watching Amy's movements as she danced up against Penny. "I don't know what to do…"

Snapping out of his trance, Leonard glanced at him. "What do you mean?"

Sheldon sighed, tearing his eyes away. "I'm torn, Leonard. I'm no longer in complete control of myself, and it is maddening. I feel like everything is spiraling out of control… and I'm afraid I'm going to lose her…"

Surprised by his sudden emotional confession, Leonard frowned. "You're not going to lose her…"

That very moment, Sheldon watched closely as one of the drunk hooligans from the nearby table asked her for a dance, looking at her like she was fresh meat. Politely – too politely for Sheldon's liking – Amy smiled at him and declined, resuming her dance with Penny. Sheldon turned to Leonard and pursed his lips. "Really?"

Leonard shrugged, unable to come up with the right words to comfort his friend. "Uh… I don't know Sheldon… just trust your instincts…"

The lure of Penny became too much for Leonard to handle, so he picked up his drink and jogged to the dance floor, grasping Penny around the waist for an awkward dance. Sheldon huffed. Great help, Hofstadter…

Amy continued to dance solo, until a familiar figure with his nose carefully bandaged popped up beside her, tapping on her shoulder. Sheldon was out of his seat instantly, racing to be by her side this time.

At the sight of Kripke, Amy backed away; fury and adrenaline racing back into her system. He held out his hands, indicating a truce. "I just wanted to apologise for earlier… what I did was uncalled for." He paused as she eyed him cautiously. "I also wanted to inform you that I like my women feisty –"

Unfortunately for Kripke, his final sentence was all Sheldon caught as he came to stand beside Amy. The anger boiled in his veins and he towered over Kripke. "I do not want to see you anywhere near my girlfriend ever again, do you understand me? How dare you touch her, and how dare you show your face around me again… you will stay far away from her, you filthy piece of –"

Amy grabbed his arm, sensing that he was ready to explode. "Sheldon, it's okay – he was apologizing –"

Sheldon wasn't done. "It sure as hell didn't sound like he was apologizing, I won't let him hurt you again –"

Kripke sniggered, ego surprisingly overinflated. "There you go Cooper, getting your woman to defend you again – what a loser…"

Sheldon's body twitched, and Amy tightened her grasp on his arm, feeling it attempt to fly forward. He shook her hand away angrily, and once again Kripke snickered. "And some relationship it is… you won't even let her touch you… oh, that's right – how is that whole mysophobia thing going for the two of you, anyway?"

Sheldon lunged at Kripke, missing him by inches and pulled back roughly by Leonard, who had luckily been watching the conflict. Kripke laughed and backed away from the commotion. "See you round, losers."

Furious, Sheldon pushed Leonard away and took a deep breath, trying desperately to regain control. This had never happened to him before, he had never become violent…

Amy reached out a hand to him, incredibly concerned. "Sheldon…?"

He looked back at her; into her piercing eyes. "Come on," He said, grabbing her hand and tugging her out of the bar.

"Sheldon, what are you doing –" She said as he pulled her into the lift and swiped their card, shooting up to their floor.

He didn't respond, simply dragged her into their hotel room. Letting go of her hand, he yanked off his gloves and uncharacteristically threw them across the room, plonking himself onto the edge of the bed. Amy stepped into the room, heart racing from their quick exit, and pulled off her mask and kicked off her boots. She had drunk too much; everything was spinning.

"I can't leave you alone with anyone, can I?" He said through a choked voice, head in his hands. "How am I supposed to be able to protect you when I can't even… I can't…"

Amy felt his angst, felt a thousand emotions bubbling up under his skin. She knelt in front of him, searching for his eyes. "Sheldon, it's okay…" She whispered, pulling his hands away from his face.

"It's not okay!" He responded angrily, eyes full of tears. "How can I do this? How can I keep pretending that everything is fine, that you're not going to find someone else who is whole; who isn't plagued by fear and self-doubt? Amy, I want to be able to give you so much but I can't… I just can't…"

Tilting his head up, Amy looked him in the eye. "No, Sheldon… you're the only one I want, with or without your flaws; we all have them. I don't care how slowly things develop in our relationship; I want you to be comfortable, Sheldon… in your own time, in your own space."

This was his everything, now. Her voice soothed him, calmed him, provided a comfort and security he had never known before. He felt his walls come crashing down around him; those he had spent so long building. How could one person cause so much chaos, some much turmoil, and yet bring so much happiness?

He looked up, meeting his eyes with her own once again. She was perfect; pointy ears skewed on her head, hair a teased curly mess, and red lips slightly parted. Gazing at her, he breathed. "You did this for me?"

Unsure, she nodded slowly and gave him a tiny smile. "Of course."

Slowly, steadily, he pressed his lips to hers, feeling every last gasp of air and hint of control escape his body. He felt her gasp against him as he deepened the kiss, skimming his tongue across her bottom lip, pleading for access. She snaked a hand around his neck, drawing him closer, and broke the kiss. Boldly, she trailed her lips along his neck lightly, and felt him shiver with nervous excitement. He pulled her up onto the bed, on top of him, and found her lips again, completely unsure, completely unskilled. Their kisses became more urgent, and – as he had only a week earlier – he ran a hand along her waist and over the mound of her breast, rubbing gently.

Amy pulled away and gasped, the contact far more confident than it had been. This time, she watched his eyes, fixed firmly with her own, and saw desire and uncertainty. She pushed her chest against his hand and his breathing hitched, eyes clouding with longing. He pushed up on his elbows and kissed her over and over, making her heart race. Sitting back, straddling him, she pulled her necklace over her neck, unclipped the belt and tugged the top half of her costume over her head slowly, revealing that damn black bra Sheldon had spotted in Salt Lake City…

He couldn't help but stare. Granted, he had seen women in bras before, even naked, but not like this. Not straddling his hips, not looking at him with eyes that could burn a hole straight through him and cat's ears atop her head. Not with a figure that reminded him of a Greek goddess. As his eyes swept over her torso, something purely primal surged in his veins, and he flipped her onto her back, lips crashing to hers once again, hands reaching to touch her bust, to feel her soft, velvety skin… What is happening to me?

Amy's world was spinning. She could feel her hands trailing along his chest, finding the base of his top and sneaking her hand inside to feel his chest, all muscle and softness. The touch of her fingers against his chest made Sheldon's heart race, and he instinctively ground against her, his hardness pressing against her. He moaned softly, a sound he had never heard come out of his mouth and Amy eyed him, shocked. Giving her a sheepish smile, his fingers delved into her bra and found her nipple, tweaking it gently. Amy cried out quietly. This is too fast…

Reluctantly, she pushed him away, and they faced each other, panting. Sheldon looked into her make-up smeared eyes, full of what appeared to be fear and hesitance, and his stomach turned. "Amy, I am so sorry, I don't know what came over me –"

She shook her head. "No, no… I just… I don't want it to be like this, I've had a lot to drink, and you've had a bit too…"

He nodded and felt his stomach turn again, and his heart began to race at an extraordinarily fast rate. Had he really lost control? Looking up at Amy, lost in a sea of pillows, almost completely bare chested, he began to feel faint and ran for the bathroom, locking the door behind him and resting his head over the toilet, sure he was going to throw up.

Seconds later, he heard a soft knock at the door. "Sheldon? Are you okay?"

Unable to vomit, he stood up and gripped the bathroom bench, looking at himself. He was pale, and looked scared. "I think I'm having a panic attack…"

Jiggling the doorknob, Amy sighed exasperatedly. "Let me in and I'll help you!"

He reached across and flicked the lock, and Amy burst in, rushing to him. Flipping the toilet seat down, she sat him on the edge of it, and knelt in front of him with wet a towel, dabbing his forehead. "Just try to relax…"

Sheldon looked down at her and was greeted with another eyeful of her cleavage. He groaned. "How do you expect me to relax if you won't put some more clothes on?"

Blushing, she wrapped an arm across her chest and helped him to his feet. "I think I might have a shower… I'll meet you out there when I'm done." Sheldon said, and she nodded, closing the bathroom door behind her.

Dreamily, Amy sat on the edge of her bed and reached for her phone to text Penny.

Oh my God, Penny – we almost engaged in coitus. Not kidding. She typed, and tucked the phone back into her bag. Standing in front of the mirror above their tiny kitchenette, she extracted the cat's ears from her wild hair and knotted it into a bun on top of her head. Then, she wiped every bit of make-up from her face, pulled off the rest of her costume and threw on her nightshirt. Hopping into bed, she heard her phone buzz and put on her glasses. It was Penny.

WHAT HAPPENED?

What Amy really wanted to say was 'not sure', but she refrained. It just sort of happened… I stopped it because it didn't feel like the right time, too drunk… will tell you more tomorrow, he's in the shower now.

The last hour was a wonderful blur, and she felt as though her skin was still on fire from his touch. Sheldon Cooper had made out with her, seen her in her bra, touched her breasts, and – if she hadn't stopped him – may have had sex with her… what was going on? Was she really affecting him this much?

Flopping back into the array of pillows, she huffed. The amount of pent up sexual frustration was almost painful; she needed some time to herself. Perhaps Sheldon had felt the same way…

She openly laughed at the thought and shook her head. Unlikely. Her phone vibrated again and she checked Penny's message.

Well we all know why he's in there! ;)

That stopped her laughter. Was Penny right? Had he really suggested he needed a shower for more sinister reasons? Amy blushed at the thought, dismissing it. Surely not…

Suddenly, she began to feel nervous. Where would they go from here? Would he return from his shower, return from this trip, and act like nothing ever happened? Like, once again, it was a mistake? Or was this yet another small step in the right direction for their complex relationship?

Amy sighed, sinking lower into the pillows and pulling up the covers. Moments later, Sheldon emerged from the bathroom, sporting his purple plaid pajamas and wet shaggy hair. He gave her a shy smile. "Hi…"

She looked at him apprehensively. "Hello."

Wandering around the bed to his side, he slipped in beside her, lying on his side to face her. They stared at each other for a moment, until Sheldon finally spoke.

"Amy, I…" He searched her eyes for something; anything. "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable…"

This wasn't him backing away; it was him being immensely unsure and completely out of his comfort zone. Amy looked back at him, serious as ever. "Sheldon, if circumstances had of been different – if I hadn't of been slightly drunk and you hadn't just attempted to accost Kripke – there's no doubt in my mind that I would have engaged in intercourse with you tonight."

Sheldon's stomach did a backflip and his breathing quickened. "I… um…"

She smiled at his loss for words and decided that she would confront him about his shower. "Why did you say you needed a shower?"

He gave her a baffled expression and leant up on his elbow. "What?"

"I mean – why did you say you needed a shower?" She repeated, tilting her head inquisitively.

Sheldon was beginning to catch-on, and had a guilty conscious to match. "I just needed some time to… cool off?"

Amy smirked, knowing the answer. "Can I ask… is that something you do often?"

Sheldon felt his face redden. He could not believe he was having this conversation. Oh well, he thought, why be embarrassed by a regular human function? "I never used to… perhaps occasionally when I was going through puberty but on the whole it didn't interest me. Not until you kissed me, that is."

Slightly ashamed by his confession, he bit his lip. There was definitely some alcohol still in his system…

"I found myself incredibly distracted by the memory of that night, distracted by you in general, actually. I found myself frustrated and unable to accomplish my work successfully… so occasionally, I would seek some sort of relief…" He explained, looking down at the covers.

Still a little tipsy, Amy giggled. "'Relief'. What a wonderful choice of word."

Sheldon glared at her and then felt uncomfortable again. The events of the previous hour were dragging him down, feeling like a heavy weight on his shoulders.

Amy stared at him, serious now. "What are we going to do now?"

He stared back, completely confused and uncertain. "I don't know… I never thought I'd have to deal with this. Ever." He paused, looking for the right words. "Amy… in the interest of full disclosure, there's something I need to tell you."

"Yes?"

He gulped and took a deep breath, wondering if he would regret this. "Engaging with coitus with you scares the living hell out of me. I find myself worried that my strong aversion to physical contact and germs will suddenly rear its ugly head… and I won't be able to go through with it." He breathed again. "Despite this, every single time I touch you, or kiss you, I don't feel disgusted, I don't feel all that frightened… instead, I often find myself wanting more…"

His comments made her breath catch in her chest, and she held it as he continued. "I don't know if we'll ever engage in coitus… but I do know that it's no longer an aspect of our relationship that I would turn down should the right moment come along…"

Amy didn't know what to say in response. Instead, she leant across and gently kissed him, and felt him kiss her back tenderly. She rolled over and felt him wrap his arms around her body, holding her close.


During the night, all hell broke loose.

Sheldon awoke to the sound of Amy crying out, thrashing in the sheets violently. She kicked and pushed his arms away, sobbing and backing herself up to the headboard.

"No, please, don't… don't do this… please, Dad, don't…"

Sheldon panicked, hearing those words coming from her. Not once throughout their entire relationship had Amy mentioned her father, and this did not sound good. In the pitch black of the night, he couldn't see her, and desperately felt about for her form, finding her legs, drawn up to her chest.

"Please, please, don't do this…"

He rubbed her leg, trying to calm her, and instead seemed to distress her further, kicking his hand away and toppling to the floor, backing up to the wall. Sheldon fumbled for the lamp, switching it on, and was instantly at her side.

"Amy? Amy? Are you alright?" She was awake now, attempting to find her bearings, squinting around the room. There was a small gash across her forehead, which was beginning to bleed, and Sheldon felt nauseous. "Oh my, you're bleeding…"

Rushing to the bathroom, he damped a cloth and returned to dab at it gently. Amy put her head back against the wall and closed her eyes, large, heavy tears falling from them. "I'm so sorry…" She whispered, bringing a shaky hand to her lips.

Sheldon didn't respond; he cleaned up her wound and tucked one hand under her knees and another behind her back, lifting her onto the bed. She protested instantly. "Don't lift me, I'm too heavy, you'll hurt yourself –"

"Stop it." He said simply, laying her back down. Running a hand through his hair, he began to feel anxious about the blood that could be on his hands, and raced to the bathroom to wash them. Walking back to the bed, he found Amy, curled up in the fetal position, more tears trickling down her face.

"I never wanted you to have to see that… I'm so sorry…" She choked, covering her eyes with her hand.

Sheldon sat beside her, pulling the blankets over both of them. He frowned. "I said, stop it." He absently ran a hand over her hair, smoothly down the fly aways. "Amy, there's been a lot that I've had to admit to you about myself over these past couple of months… you need to tell me what's going on with these night terrors. Now."

Slowly, she pushed herself up and sat across from him, cross-legged. Wiping away another tear, she shook her head. "I can't…"

"I heard your cries, Amy," he said softly, meeting her eyes, "you were begging him to stop…"

She closed her eyes, incredibly ashamed. "Sheldon, please…"

He gave her a stern look and sighed. "I've trusted you, you need to trust me, too."

Numbing herself to it, taking a deep breath, she looked up at him. "My father was not a very nice man. He was a manipulative, cruel man, who preyed on myself and my mother…" She trailed off, swallowing the pain. "He was abusive, both mentally and physically."

Sheldon felt the all-too-familiar rage return to him; in a wave so strong it almost knocked him flat. "Where is he now?"

Amy's eyes were glassy, cold. "He's gone." She breathed again, and gave him a tiny smile. "None of it matters now."

Sheldon could tell that was all she was going to reveal this evening. It was fascinating to him – he had never cared for other people's personal affairs throughout his entire existence, and yet he wanted to know Amy's every secret. "I'm sorry…" He said quietly, unsure of what else to say. She nodded and looked away, lost in her own thoughts.

Suddenly uncomfortable about the assertion of such feelings, he squirmed. "I could sing you Soft Kitty?"

Her face lit up; she had never heard Soft Kitty – she had only heard Penny talk about it. "I would love that."

He settled back down into the covers, and she lay beside him. Unsatisfied, he pulled her into a tight, nervous embrace, unwilling to let her go.

"Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur… happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr…"

Author's Note: Please do not forget to review - I am incredibly appreciative of the feedback, especially given the new revealations regarding Amy. Again - apologies for the angst - it was time for a little. Promise it won't happen much more! Review... or I won't write! =P