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, chapter 23 is here. I won't say much in the author's note up here, but there will be a big one at the end, so please – read, enjoy and review!
Also – please be sure to check out the lovely Atabey Alfonso's 'Cowgirls & Indians', a beautifully written one-shot based around the Missy and Raj relationship from my earlier chapters. It is fantastic – thank you, Atabey!
Disclaimer: I do not own The Big Bang Theory, or any of its related characters.

Chapter 32

Five large pair of eyes looked up at Sheldon and Amy from the couch in their apartment, waiting anxiously for an explanation after being forced together for an emergency group gathering late in the evening. Amy had done a quick ring-around, insisting that everyone meet at their apartment for some 'urgent news'.

Penny, who was sitting on the edge of the armchair, squeezed next to Leonard, looked nervous. "Ames… what's going on?" Her tone was suggestive, and her eyes slid across to Bernadette, who stared wide-eyed back.

"Yes, Amy, what is going on?" Bernadette pressed, blinking at her. "Is this to do with the appointment we attended yesterday?"

Leonard frowned, looking between the two blondes. "What appointment?"

Taking a large sip of wine and sinking into a computer seat, Raj cocked his head. "Oh… is this about what Howard was saying yesterday, something about having a bun in the – ow!" Howard had promptly trodden on his foot, glaring at him. "A bun on his plate… for lunch… yesterday…"

Sheldon, who was towering over all of them, scrunched his nose up in confusion. "What on earth are you talking about –"

Howard cut him off, averting the conversation to Amy. "Whatever it is, Amy, it's important enough for you to drag us over here, sit us down and give us all a glass of celebratory wine – which I can see you are also drinking…"

Amy swished the golden liquid in her glass and nodded slowly, aware of their concern. "For the record, our very urgent and important news has nothing to do with the occupancy of my uterus – I am not pregnant, I merely had a nasty case of food poisoning."

There was a universal sigh of relief from the group, and Penny raised her glass. "Well – that's enough to toast to –"

"No," Sheldon interrupted, a smirk tugging at his lips, "whilst it is… fortunate… that Amy is not with child – and I'll thank you all for being nosey Rosies on the matter – I have news that I believe you will all find… interesting…"

The physicist held out his nomination letter at arm's length, chest protruding proudly and a haughty look painted across his face. From the armchair, Leonard leant forward and squinted, pushing his glasses up his nose, and then leapt out of his seat, snatching the paper from Sheldon's grasp. "Oh, my God, you've nominated for Nobel Prize?"

Howard and Raj were quickly out of their own seats, peering wide-eyed and jaw-dropped over Leonard's shoulder. Howard shook his head, eyes scanning over the paperwork. "No way…"

"You have got to be kidding…" Raj breathed, shaking his head.

"That's right fellas; Dr. Sheldon Cooper has finally been nominated for a well overdue and highly deserved Nobel Prize!" He beamed from ear to ear, voice loud. Pointing around at his three colleagues, who were still gaping at the letter in Leonard's hands, he laughed. "And none of you have!"

"Sheldon, be nice…" Amy warned, and he pouted at her. "It's not their fault that they don't match up to your brilliance…"

Penny had tossed her arms around Sheldon's neck, who stiffened and patted her awkwardly on the shoulder. "Oh, Sheldon this is wonderful! Congratulations! I know how much this Nobel Peace Prize is to you and –"

Sheldon pursed his lips and cut her off. "No, Penny, not Nobel Peace Prize – I have been nominated for a Nobel Prize in Physics –"

She pushed him away and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah… still, congratulations."

"Thank you." He said brightly, smiling across at Amy.

Bernadette took the letter from Leonard's hands and glanced over it, smiling happily. "Sheldon, this is really something… how incredible! Congratulations!" She glared at Howard, who had his lips pursed. "Howie, don't be sore - shake the man's hand and tell him congratulations!"

Somewhat reluctantly, Howard shook Sheldon's hand. "Congratulations, Sheldon. Though remember – I'm still an astronaut…"

"You too, sunshine." Bernadette snapped at Raj, ushering him forward.

The astrophysicist nodded solemnly and held out his hand. "Congratulations… and I hope that should our work that we did together be mentioned that you will make mention of my name…"

"Unlikely, but thank you!" Sheldon chirped, smiling at his now sulking friend.

Leonard took a deep breath and looked at Sheldon. "Well, I suppose congratulations are in order…"

"They most certainly are…" Sheldon added arrogantly.

Leonard shook his hand tightly, slapping him on his arm and giving him a warm smile. "Congratulations, buddy, you earned it."

Whilst pleased at his friends' wishes, Sheldon frowned. "That's it? No tears over my victorious defeat? No challenges of my intellect or suggestions that I may be undeserving? Which I most certainly am not…"

Howard flopped back onto the couch, giving him a half smile. "Nope… Leonard's right, you earned it."

"You did, Sheldon," Penny confirmed, smiling, "you deserve this more than anyone."

Sheldon nodded. "I know. I just wasn't expecting such a warm response…"

"I say we order pizza." Raj said abruptly, extracting his phone from his pocket. "I haven't had pizza in so long…"

Leonard grinned and held up his wine glass. "To Sheldon!"

The group clinked their glasses, bar Sheldon who was having his standard Diet Coke, and chatted happily, excited for their friend's achievement. Before long, pizza was delivered and the group sat around the coffee table chewing quietly.

"I still cannot believe you were nominated…" Raj mused airily, swinging from side to side on his seat.

"Think about this Sheldon – in a little over a year you could be at that awards ceremony in Stockholm…" Leonard said excitedly.

Sheldon tilted his head, the idea more overwhelming than he had expected. "Yes…"

"Don't you boys go getting Sheldon's hopes up just yet, there are many, many nominees and –" Bernadette began, setting her plate down.

"Getting my hopes up? Oh, Bernadette, I do not need hope." Sheldon said confidently, taking a bite out of his pizza.

Amy shook her head and raised her eyebrows at the strawberry blonde microbiologist. "His head may not fit through the door though…"

"Hey!" Sheldon said with a grin, poking her in the leg. "Don't you be mean…"

She poked her tongue out at him flirtatiously and he smirked, playful blue eyes averting to his dinner plate.

Penny chewed up a large mouthful and swallowed, looking around at her friends. "Well, I also have an announcement…"

"Oh, is it about the wedding? Do you want me to be the Maid of Honour? I know I did such a brilliant job at Bernie's wedding…" Amy gushed, shuffling to the edge of her seat.

Laughing at her eager friend, Penny shook her head. "No, this isn't about the wedding - and Ames, you know Bernadette is going to be the Maid of Honour at my wedding and I'll be the Maid of Honour at yours; that was the deal –" Amy glared at the side of Bernadette's head, huffing. "- anyway, my news is very exciting, and I'm sure that both Sheldon and Raj will be very pleased…"

Sheldon's head snapped up and he looked at Penny, skeptical. "Why…?"

Raj was silent, watching uncertainly. Penny grinned and sat up straighter in her spot. "Just this afternoon, I got Missy a job at The Cheesecake Factory!"

Amy and Bernadette were instantly gushing with excitement. "No way! That's great!"

Sheldon looked across at Penny, puzzled. "Why would Missy want to work at The Cheesecake Factory…?"

"She's moving to Pasadena!" Penny finished excitedly, only to be enveloped in a big hug by Raj, who was beaming.

"Really? Oh my cow! This is amazing! Has she found an apartment yet, because she can always stay with me –"

"Hold on," Sheldon said irritably, "my sister simply cannot move to Pasadena, the social repercussions of having a family member who is also friends with people within my own social group living within a five mile radius is –"

"Awesome!" Raj jumped in. "Face it, Cooper – your sister has a big crush on me and you can't do anything about it!"

Penny suppressed a chuckle. "No, Raj, she hasn't… and she was planning on asking Sheldon and Amy if she could stay with them until she found something suitable but I think she may have decided that would be a bad idea…"

"Oh, I would have loved for Missy to stay –" Amy began, looking disappointed.

"No, you wouldn't." Sheldon interrupted flatly.

"So," Penny continued, "Missy was thinking that perhaps she could stay with you…"

Raj was already out of his chair and heading for the hallway, phone in hand. "I am going to call her right now!"

The door slammed shut and the apartment was quiet, the remainder of the group waiting for an explosion from Sheldon. Instead, he stared intently at the nomination letter placed carefully on the side table next to him, took a deep breath and a bite out of his pizza.

Amy glanced across at Bernadette and Howard, who were suppressing smiles themselves. Leonard cleared his throat and reached for another piece of pizza. "Well, that's great Penny – I'm sure Missy is very appreciative!"

"Oh, yeah, my boss was real happy I found someone; she's going to take over some of my shifts so I can work on finding some more auditions… isn't that right, honey?" Penny looked across sweetly at Leonard, who grinned back.

"Oh, well this will be lovely… we four girls can go out and dance and drink and have fun…" Bernadette cooed. "It will be great!"

"Maybe I can be the Maid of Honour at her wedding…" Amy grumbled, and was shot a glare by both Penny and Sheldon.

Raj burst back through the door. "In three weeks from now, I'm going to have the stunning, seductive Missy Cooper living in my apartment – how cool is that? I will cook her dinner, and we will play Scrabble and watch old Hollywood movies… and perhaps things will get a little spicy, if you know what I mean…"

"The only thing that's going to get 'spicy' is one of your ridiculous Mexican taco recipes… and there is no universe in which my sister can play Scrabble…" Sheldon grumbled, glaring at him.

Howard grinned at his best friend and glanced at Sheldon, eager to get a rise out of him. "That's awesome, Raj, but where on earth are you going to have her sleep? You only have one bedroom, and you can't sleep on the couch for what could possibly be weeks, months…"

"Maybe after a little while we could share…" Raj said, cracking a cheeky smile.

Sheldon looked between the two men and glared, jaw clenched. "Alright, that's it – out!"

With that, he was out of his chair and ushering his guests out the door, Leonard and Penny included. "Take your pizza and go to Leonard and Penny's." He demanded.

"Oh, come on Sheldon, we were just joking –"

"We didn't mean anything by it –"

"Sheldon, you're the one who invited us over here –"

"Out!" He ordered, and slammed the door behind them, leaning up against it.

Amy watched from the couch, eyebrow raised. "A little overdramatic, don't you think?"

His eyes shot to her and suddenly his face was unreadable. Crossing the room faster than she could process, he grabbed her hand and tugged her up. "Not at all."

"Sheldon, what are you –" He pulled her down the hallway and into their room, catching her lips as he pushed the door shut. He kissed her fiercely, urgently, yanking his t-shirt over his slender torso and tossing it aside.

Breaking away from her, he began to untuck her blouse from the top of her skirt, hastily. "Showing you how happy I am about my nomination…"

Flicking open each button, he growled at the final stud which was proving difficult to undo, and instead tore it impatiently. He pushed the light fabric off her shoulders and dotted her neck with tingling kisses, and she shivered beneath his touch, taken by his fervor. Continuing the trail along her collarbone, he snaked his hand around her and unsnapped her bra strap with the flick of his wrist and tapped her back onto the bed behind them.

She smirked up at him, wearing nothing but her skirt and underwear. "You've been practicing."

His pants were already over his hips and he crawled over her, boyish grin gracing his features. "I may have been…"

Bending his neck to her once again, he pressed his lips to hers, and she felt her breath escape her all over again, rendering her near useless. With one hand planted beside her head and the other bunching her skirt around her waist, he ground his hips against her deliberately. Pulling away, he brought his mouth to her ear. "I believe I owe you a favour."

Amy's eyes shot open wide as he slid down her naked chest, nipping at her flesh as he went. Finally, he reached the bundle of fabric at her waist and hooked his long fingers under the edge, shimmying the skirt over her hips, capturing her panties with it. His every touch was suddenly electric; hands grazing the outline of her calf and dainty ankles as he knelt on the hardwood floor in front of her.

Pushing up on her elbows, she looked at him as his eyes wandered the length of her naked, vulnerable body, and she bit her lip nervously, drawing her knees together bashfully. He tilted his head and pried them apart gently, and she exhaled deeply, anxiously as she felt his eyes on her. "Are you sure, Sheldon?" She whispered, frightened that it would be too much, too difficult.

Tearing his gaze away, he settled his focus on her, blue eyes dark. He sucked in a long breath and licked his lower lip, making her heart skip a tiny beat. Descending his head toward her aching centre, he ran the palms of his hands across her stomach and along the outside of her thigh, settling them underneath her knees. Sliding her body closer to him, he gently pecked the soft skin of her inner thigh, and she felt her heart race as she felt his warm breath against her. "I owe you." He repeated.

Tantalizingly slowly, he drew one long finger down the swell of her lips, slipping it inside her and curling it gently, and she gasped, eyes rolling back in her head. Gently, he teased her with his hands, flicking his thumb across her sensitive bud, as he so expertly knew how, making her moan for more. And then suddenly, the movement stopped. Amy exhaled, momentarily relieved and taking the opportunity to catch her breath, but he was not done. In one swift movement, she felt his lips press against her wet heat, and she cried out, grasping the sheets between her fingers.

Softly, delicately, he kissed her in the most intimate of ways; touching her like no one else had, no one else would. Lips, tongue, fingers… every movement he made elicited a moan, a wriggle of her hips, and she ran a hand through his tousled hair. Each flick of his tongue, each stroke became more eager, and she could feel herself nearing the brink, so agonizingly close. Ever-so-softly, he groaned against her in pleasure, the vibrations tingling up her spine and sending her over the edge. Clenching around him, she reached her own climax, crying his name.

As her breathing stabilized and she came down from her high, he pulled away and looked up at her, face flushed and lips swollen. "Was that satisfactory?"

It was one of the most erotic things Amy had ever seen, and she found herself unable to speak, nodding her head instead. Pushing up, she pulled him on top of her, clawing at his briefs, tearing them from his perfect form. "Amy –"

"Shhh…" She insisted, and rolled him onto his back, straddling his hips. Flesh to flesh, she gazed down at his surprised face, and felt his erection move against her. Smirking, she leant down to kiss his puffy, moist lips, without a care in the world. "I want to congratulate you on your nomination, Dr. Cooper."

His heavy-lidded eyes clouded with lust at her tempting words, and he raised his hips, pressing against her. She grinned and shook her head, lifting her weight off his slightly. Groaning, he rolled his eyes at her torture, tracing the space between her breasts and down her stomach with his hands. A tiny smirk crossed his lips. "Why, thank you, Dr. Fowler."

Raising an eyebrow at him, she swayed her hips across him, teasing him. Sheldon gasped at the contact. "Amy." He said sternly, placing both hands firmly on her hips.

The tension in the air suddenly heightened, the desperation increasing, and she relented, lowering herself onto him slowly, torturously. Sheldon moaned beneath her, drowning in her heat, her allure. The pleasure was immense, indescribable, and she gasped as he filled her completely. "Sheldon…"

His eyes bore into her, taking in her writhing body, the subtle bounce of her chest as she rolled her hips. Her ministrations became faster, needier, sliding herself along his shaft, puffing as she worked against him. Sitting up, he nibbled at her neck, kneading her breasts with one hand while the other caressed the curve of her rear. "Please, Amy."

He drew both hands back to her hips, guiding her, making her work faster, harder. Wrapping her arms loosely around his neck, she gasped as she felt his fingers dig painfully into her flesh, and was certain they would leave bruises. He was so close, she could tell, and it wouldn't take much to tip him over the edge. She drew her lips to his ear, whispering. "Come for me, Sheldon."

Grunting, he bucked his hips beneath her and came, pouring every last ounce of emotion and passion into her, gripping her tightly. The climax rocked his body, and she felt him shudder against her naked chest. Burying his head into the crook of her neck, he planted kisses across her collarbone, whispering her name over and over into her skin. "Thank you…"

The next morning, Sheldon dragged Amy out of bed early, demanding that she shower, dress, eat and accompany him to an undisclosed location for lunch. The tall physicist was jittery with what seemed to be nervous energy as he instructed Amy exactly where to park her car in the outskirts of Pasadena.

"Here will do nicely, we will have to get out and walk the remainder of the distance." He commented, swinging open the car door and stepping onto the pavement. "Come on, Amy, we don't have very much time…"

She sighed and clambered out of her car, handbag strapped over her shoulder. "Very much time until what, Sheldon?"

"I told you, that information is undisclosed, but if you must know, we do not have very much time until I wish to arrive at the secret location. Now, come here…" He waved her over and she joined him on the sidewalk, watching him curiously as he rummaged around in his bag.

"This is ridiculous – if you would just tell me where we are going then we wouldn't have to park so far away and – Sheldon, what are you doing?" She said as he spun her around, her back now to him.

"Just give me one moment…" He muttered, and she sighed, casting her gaze down the busy street, traffic noisy and people bustling. Before she could take in any more of her surroundings, a plain piece of black fabric was drawn over her eyes, obstructing her view and she felt it being secured at the back of her head.

"Sheldon, I am not going to wear a blindfold down the street, think about the imminent dangers of such a task -" She argued, suddenly defenseless and grasping for his arm. The man had done his homework – the blindfold was doing the job perfectly.

Sheldon sighed, and she could hear the exasperation dripping from him voice as he took her hand. "Amy, as you have told me countless times before, you need to trust me. Besides, I have calculated the root to our location to include as little intersections as possible; in fact, according to my study of Google Earth this morning, there shouldn't be any need to cross a road between here and the final destination."

Humming apprehensively, she teetered alongside him, gripping to his arm. "Fine, but please do not allow me to fall over or walk into anything – I'd rather arrive in one piece, thank you."

She heard him chuckle lightly, that chuckle she loved so much and she found herself smiling. "How long is it going to take us to walk there?"

"Around… ten minutes." He replied, lacing his fingers through her own.

The information did not satisfy her and she huffed. "Sheldon, tell me where we're going!"

"No." He said simply, tugging her up the side walk.

"You know I hate surprises, and I know you hate surprises, and having to lie about anything –"

"Amy," he said gruffly, "stop asking questions and just walk."

They continued on up the street and Amy quietened, listening to the sounds of screeching children and chirping birds and blaring horns. She could feel Sheldon tense beside her, and heard him exhale deeply – something was making him anxious.

Before long, he instructed her to stop and she heard the distinct sound of a door being swung open. "Sheldon, where –"

"Take one regular sized step up please." He directed, holding what she assumed was the door for her. Huffing once again, she did so, and instantly the thick aroma of coffee filled her nostrils. Clasping her hand once again, he slowly led her forward a few more steps, directing her once again to stop.

"Are we in a café, because I can smell coffee, and you know neither of us drink coffee and –"

The screeching sound of a chair being slid across the floor cut her short. "Please, take a seat."

She sat down hesitantly, resting her arms on the table in front of her. Sheldon had not moved from his position behind her, and was fiddling with the tie of her blindfold. The dark fabric fell away from her face and her eyes shot open, taking in the scene before her. "May I buy you a beverage?" He asked her quietly, smirking.

Faded mustard walls lined with mahogany shelving graced her eyes, vibrantly coloured coffee machines and packaging stacked neatly along them. A counter with an outdated cash register sitting atop it and a chalk board with scribbled with menu options sat right in front of her, case filled with freshly baked cakes and pastries. She smiled widely, overwhelmed and attempted to reply with matching cheek. "Tepid water, please."

He brushed her shoulder lightly as he passed her, making his way to the counter. Propping her chin up against her hand, she glanced down at the small silver sign on their table – 'Reserved'. Delicately, she trailed a finger across the top of the cool steel of the sign, and bit her lip, smiling.

Sheldon reappeared, placing a glass of water on the table and slipping into his seat across from her. "Our lunch will be coming shortly."

"Sheldon…" Amy said slowly, watching him with wide eyes, "this is just… just…"

He smiled, a little bashfully, dipping his head. "I've wanted to bring you here for quite some time, but just wanted it to be the right time…"

Amy cocked her head, puzzled. "What's so right about now?"

A dark haired woman swung over to their table, slim arm balancing a tray of sandwiches. "Here you go, darlin'…" The waitress placed a plate in front of each of them, and gave them a tight-lipped smile, blood red lipstick straining. "Anything else I can get you?"

Sheldon gave her a curt nod and false smile. "No, thank you."

The waitress sauntered away, tray under her arm. Amy looked up from her sandwich. "Well… what's so right about now?"

Taking a sip of his iced tea, he blinked at her and shuffled. "Amy… almost three years ago I was blackmailed into this café, into meeting a woman who a poorly structured jumble of algorithms was stating was my perfect mate, and I fully expected to walk straight back out the door as I had entered – haughty, triumphant and as brilliant as ever."

She watched as his blue eyes faltered, glancing toward the door. He chewed the inside of his lower lip softly, and continued. "Now, whilst I am still of the opinion that dating sites are a load of hokum, I most definitely did not walk out of here in the same state that I entered." He swallowed, hard, and reached for her hand, brawny fingers wrapping around her own. "Amy… from the moment you spoke to me, I was stunned; I was fascinated by you. Your intellect, your values, they astounded me, and for the first time in my entire life I related to someone, and felt like they related to me in return. Something changed that day, and I walked out that door feeling flabbergasted and tingly… and happier than I had in a very long time."

Amy was holding her breath, gazing into his twinkling blue eyes, hanging on his every word. He swiped the pad of his thumb across the back of her hand softly and smirked. "It didn't take long before Penny had scooped you up under her wing and began poisoning your mind with her unorthodox Nebraskan ways, fueling your baser urges and indulging in the frivolous ways of her lifestyle…" The smirk transformed into a grin, and he shook his head. "But I didn't truly mind, there was something… appealing about this new Amy, because she wasn't so new at all – she was who she wanted to be, and that didn't affect her brilliance one bit…"

She smiled, widely, and squeezed his hand. "Sheldon, I –"

"I'm not finished." He cut in snappily, giving her a tiny glare. "There was a small part of me that witnessed your progression into 'normalcy' and noted that everything I loved you for, everything you defined yourself by, went unchanged. Throughout my entire life, I had been so sure that drawing myself down to the level of others would diminish my superior qualities - turn me into a somewhat 'regular' being – and yet, there you were, living proof that this was not the case."

There was a moment of silence while Sheldon stared at the back of her hand, stroking it somewhat absently. Finally, he locked eyes with her and spoke unsteadily. "I was afraid that in becoming intimate with you, in loving you, I would lose myself – my passion for science, my devotion to bettering my mind, my beliefs that I'd held for so long…" He sucked in a breath, pausing. "But I didn't. I didn't lose a thing – in fact, I gained so much; trust, intimacy, confidence, happiness. I am a better version of myself, because of you, Amy.

Amy felt emotion wash over her and she ducked her head, reaching for her water and taking a tiny sip. All she had ever wanted was for Sheldon to be happy; for him to understand that loving another human being did not deduct from the brilliant man he was, and he saw that now, because of her.

Sheldon's eyes followed her lowered head, and she knew it was evident that her eyes were glistening with tears. He squeezed her hand, very gently. "I brought you here today because I wanted to thank you, Amy."

A tiny, choked sob slipped from Amy, and she smiled at him, unable to stop. He frowned and clutched her hand in both of his own, tugging her forward slightly. "Oh, no, please don't cry – that was not my intention, I did not mean to upset you! Can I buy you a hot beverage? Perhaps a hot chocolate? With marshmallows? It is a month with the letter 'R' in it, I could have one with you… or cake, we could have cake, I believe they have an excellent selection –"

Amy cut him off, laughing through a mess of tears. "Sheldon, stop – it's okay, I'm okay. I'm just very touched by this whole thing… the café, your words…"

"Oh," Sheldon said softly, and then smiled sheepishly, "happy tears then?"

"Yes," She agreed, dabbing her handkerchief against her eyes gently, "happy tears."

He shifted in his seat, letting go of her hand and reaching for a drink. "Well, if it makes you feel any better… the next thing I was planning on doing was reviewing our current situation… would you like me to proceed?"

She grinned at his methodical reasoning. "Of course, please go on."

He took a deep breath and leant forward. "What I was going to say was that I find myself astonished when I think about where we are now… watching our friends get married, receiving a Nobel Prize nomination, successfully endeavouring a physical relationship, living together, discussing marriage and children and…" He shook his head, a little overwhelmed by the reflection, and exhaled raggedly. "I never thought that this would be my life. Ever."

"Are you happy, Sheldon?" Amy asked softly, the words spilling out of her before she could consider them further.

He tilted his head, looking at her curiously. "Amy, I've never been happier in my entire life."

The response was so matter-of-a-fact, so certain, and Amy beamed at him. "That's all I wanted."

Giving her a tiny lop-sided smile, he pushed her plate toward her. "Eat up, we need to get going soon."

She picked up the sandwich and took a large bite, mumbling through a mouth-full. "Why? What's the rush?"

He gave her a scornful look. "Don't eat with your mouth full. No rush, I would just like to get back to the apartment before the sun sets; there is much to be done."

"Like what?" She asked quizzically, watching him closely as he polished off his sandwich.

"Nothing you need concern yourself with." He replied dismissively, waving his hand.

Smirking, she returned her attention to her own lunch and sighed, contented. The whirr of a coffee machine buzzed from behind the counter, people bustling in and out, placing orders and chatting cheerfully. Looking toward the doorway, she swore she could still see, still hear her Sheldon Cooper walk through that entrance, greeting her with her full name, shoulders hunched and two comrades behind him. And yet, there he was in front of her, holding her hand once again and thanking her for making him what he was that very day.

The couple arrived back home to their apartment late that afternoon, after Sheldon announced that stopping by the local train store was an urgent necessity; the long-awaited 1920's era vintage train set he had ordered had finally arrived in store and it was 'of the utmost importance' that it was collected that afternoon.

After what felt like an endless conversation with the owner of the small, cluttered store, Amy dragged Sheldon out the door and they made their way home. Upon arrival, Sheldon had slinked away to the 'rumpus room' to investigate his new purchase. He could hear the faint rustling of Amy in the kitchen, presumably arranging a home-cooked meal for their dinner – something he had not had on a regular basis since he lived with his mother.

Taking a seat on Amy's small mustard couch, Sheldon gingerly pried open the faded brown box, gazing at the worn image across the front. The branding was cracked and tired, and a young boy's vivid smile was masked by a tear in the cardboard; only his perfectly combed blonde hair and oversized eyes stared back at him. Carefully, he shuffled the lid off the box and took in the musty, stale scent of the antique, grinning happily at his purchase.

A set of rusted tracks were bundled up together with a piece of string, and beside them were the engine, observation car and two passenger cars, laid out neatly alongside one another. Each were a deep olive green with a golden trim, kept in immaculate condition. He picked up one of the passenger cars and rolled it in his fingers, looking at the insignia on the base and rotating the wheels softly. The set was perfect; he had been hunting for one for months in such wonderful condition.

Placing the passenger car back into the packaging of the box, he replaced the lid and slipped the box into a vacuum sealable bag, zipping the lock shut and reaching for his small vacuum cleaner, sucking the air from the bag. The plastic molded to the shape of the box quickly, and Sheldon placed it high on the shelf, tucked behind a row of his comic books. He desperately wanted to remove the set from its packaging and display it proudly, but he would have to resist temptation.

This set was going to wait until he had another little one to share it with.

Flicking off the light, he made his way back out into the kitchen, which was rapidly filling with a smell that made his stomach growl in protest. The apartment was relatively dim, and he leant against the side of the refrigerator as he watched the back of his girlfriend attending to the hot food on the stove. With one hand rested weightily on the counter and the other swirling in the pot, she looked tired.

"What are you cooking?" He asked quietly, and she jumped, lost in thought. "Sorry, I didn't mean to give you a fright…"

She swished her long hair over her shoulder and smiled at him, flushed from the heat of the cook top. "Tonight I am cooking spaghetti – assuming that fits with your schedule, otherwise I will be having spaghetti and you will be ordering take-out."

That's what smelt good. Perhaps he could interrupt his schedule for that. "With little pieces of hot dog cut up in it?"

Amy smirked and turned down the heat, allowing the sauce to simmer. "No, Sheldon, no little pieces of hot dog – we didn't have any."

"Oh," he said, folding his arms across his chest and pouting slightly, "well perhaps I should call Penny and Leonard and see if they have some, or we could go down to the store…"

She turned around and raised an eyebrow at him. "Sheldon…"

"Fine." He said, a tiny smirk on his lips. "I suppose I can alter the schedule for your spaghetti…"

"Good!" She replied brightly, and drained the pasta into a colander in the sink. For a woman in the middle of cooking dinner, Amy was spotless and as was their kitchen, cans and jars lined up neatly and dishes washed as they were used. A white apron was slung around her neck, still crisp and clean, and he watched intently as she buzzed about the kitchen preparing for their meal.

Biting his lip, he clasped his hands together in front of him and felt his heart rate increase. "Amy?"


He had to talk to her about this, or he feared he may explode. "I've been thinking about my Nobel Prize nomination…"

She looked up from grating cheese onto the chopping board, cocking her head. "What about it?"

Inhaling deeply, he moved away from the fridge and leant against the counter, adjacent to her. He could have sworn she could feel the nervous energy radiating from his body, and stared at the speckled counter. "When I win – and I know that I will – I want you to come to Stockholm with me…"

Amy chewed on the inside of her lip, putting down the grater and rinsing her hands in the sink. "Sheldon… I hope this doesn't come across in the wrong light but I'd sort of already assumed that I would be coming with you…"

He huffed, exasperated with her slight impatience. "Amy, I wasn't finished. Of course you will be coming with me." Clearing his throat, he went on. "You see, when we travel to the awards ceremony I…"

Trailing off, he pursed his lips. This shouldn't be that hard. Her emerald eyes pierced him and she tilted her head, tea towel rolling between her damp hands. "You…?"

Fixed on the red checked towel scrunched in her fingers, Sheldon exhaled deliberately and reached behind her for the tie of her apron, tugging the neat bow and allowing the strings to fall to her sides. He snatched the tea towel from her hands and slipped the apron over her neck, tossing both onto the counter. She looked at him quizzically. "Sheldon, what –"

Grasping her hand, Sheldon led her toward the front door, and she instantly protested. "Dinner is almost ready, Sheldon, where are we going –"

"Dinner can wait; you can reheat it when we return." He snapped, dragging her up the next flight of stairs and toward the eerie incandescent green light of the roof exit sign.

"You hate reheated food; you have informed me many a time before that it can affect the hygiene of the food –"

Ignoring her, Sheldon burst through the heavy door and out onto the roof, drawing in the brisk night air in one huge gasp. Amy huffed beside him. "Sheldon, why are we on the roof?"

"I needed some fresh air." He said quickly, tugging her across to the edge of the worn building. Tipping his head back, he admired the starry sky, clear and sparkling.

Beside him, fingers laced through his own, Amy followed his gaze, craning her neck. He cold feel her eyes sliding over to observe him, and his heart skipped yet another beat. "When do you need fresh air?" She asked skeptically.

Tearing his focus from the glittering stars, he looked down at her and took another cool breath. "We all need a good dose of fresh air in our lungs every now and then, Amy, you know that…"

"Sheldon…" She warned, certain he was stalling. "When we travel to the awards ceremony, you…?"

Drat. "Alright, look – I haven't planned any of this, it's just sort of fallen into place and it was only this afternoon that I decided that it was what I wanted to do and I don't have a ring or –"

Amy's face paled and she cut off his incessant babbling. "A ring?"

Sheldon clenched his teeth, heart racing, and took her hands in his. "Yes, a ring." He paused, running his thumb over her naked ring finger. "When we travel to the awards ceremony, when I win, I want my wife to be at my side."

He heard Amy audibly gasp, mouth agape and glassy eyes wide. She didn't move an inch, didn't breathe. Every hair on his body was surely standing on end, and he knew his voice quaked with emotion. "So, Amy, even though I don't have a ring and I refuse to get down on one knee on this filthy pavement, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"

The words glided out of his mouth so much smoother, so much more naturally, than he had expected, and he found himself smiling coyly in anticipation, glancing down at their clasped hands. He knew his breathing was shallow and his palms were sweaty with nerves, but he didn't care. Every day, every hour, since receiving his nomination, Sheldon had contemplated this move, and knew that it was right.

Dragging his eyes away from her hands, he felt his stomach drop as he watched her shocked face, green eyes blinking back shiny tears and chewing her bottom lip. She pulled her right hand away and dabbed her eyes with the sleeve of her cardigan, catching the tears that insisted on falling. "Amy?" He whispered, now nervous.

A strangled laugh came out of her and she pressed the fabric against her opposing eye. "You're asking me to marry you?"

What a stupid question. "Yes, I am asking you to marry me."

The uncertainty and shock seemed to melt off her face in that moment, and she threw her arms around his neck, almost knocking him flat. Instantly, she was jabbering in his ear. "I knew when we went to the café today there was something going on, and you'd been so quiet and nervous all day – I can't believe you've been hiding that! And now you're asking me, sincerely, to be your wife? This is just incredible – I have to tell Penny –"

Sheldon cleared his throat, interrupting her. "Amy… you haven't given me an answer."

There was a moment of deafening silence as his words hung in the night air; traffic, people, everything seemed to stop around them. Amy pulled away, catching his lips in a whisper of a kiss and breathed her answer. "Yes."

The word echoed in his head, over and over, and he stared at her, amazed. "Really?

She smirked and raised an eyebrow. "Oh, come on, Dr. Cooper – where's all that confidence?"

Pursing his lips and shifting his own smirk from side to side, he tilted his neck haughtily. "I was just ensuring that I heard you correctly… of course, who wouldn't want to marry the Sheldon Cooper…"

"That's more like it." She replied, beaming up at him. "What made you change your mind?"

The question threw him. "What do you mean?"

"Well… you've gone from telling your own mother than we will live together in sin, with no immediate intention of marrying me, to announcing in a drunken state that you feel marriage would be a good idea, to… well, this!" She burst, shaking her head. "It seems awfully… spontaneous of you."

Folding his arms across his chest, Sheldon sighed. "Amy, nothing I do is ever 'spontaneous'. From the day you proposed we move in together this has been playing on my mind, however it wasn't until more recent times that I seriously considered it."

"Oh?" She pressed, leaning her hip against the cold concrete.

"When I received my well overdue nomination in the mail just the other day, all I could think about was the awards ceremony – it has been a dream of mine to be in Stockholm at the ceremony since I was a child. I had never imagined that I would attend such an event with a 'plus one'... I always thought it would be just me, and perhaps Leonard, ready and willing to carry my bags and straighten my tie before my acceptance speech." He paused, smiling at the daydream he had visited so many times before. "However, my plus one is now my girlfriend, and I started to think… 'would the great Dr. Sheldon Cooper have a girlfriend, or would he have a wife?"

Amy's gaze dropped to the weather beaten building, and she traced a slender finger across a crack in the concrete, biting down a smile. "And what did you think?"

He shrugged, smirking. "I thought that when the great Dr. Sheldon Cooper heads up to the podium to accept his award, when thousands of people are watching on in absolute awe, he would want his wife to straighten his tie, and he would want to tell the world that she is his."

It was Amy's turn to feel stunned; snapping her eyes up from the street below. "Really?"

Sheldon grinned mockingly. "Oh, come on, Dr. Fowler – where's all that confidence?" She rolled her eyes and poked him in the chest, to which he flinched and rubbed the aching spot just below his heart. "Ouch."

"Well," she began airily, emotions catching her, "my only question for the great, potential Nobel Prize winner would be this - does he want a wife or need a wife?"

"Potential?" He sighed, exasperated. "My imminent victory is so strong that you could simply dub me a Nobel Prize winner in advance, it's quite clear –"

"Sheldon." Amy growled, narrowing her eyes at her the physicist.

Huffing, Sheldon conceded. "Amy, marrying you is not a necessity – when I first contemplated asking for your hand I saw it as a pointless venture; we were already living together, already physically intimate, already somewhat bound together by a single-paged agreement…" He trailed off, his bravado fading. "I want to marry you, Amy."

He expected her to burst into tears, to throw her arms back around his neck and sob, to tell him that he'd made all of her dreams come true. But she didn't. A wide, breath-taking smile crossed her features and she swayed giddily, a tiny giggle escaping her lips. "I knew I'd break you some day." She said softly, teasingly.

In the next moment, she had grabbed his hand and was pulling him back into the building hastily. He chuckled. "Where are we going?"

Stopping him in the doorway, she spun around and kissed him, light and carefree and simple. When she finally broke away, he felt jittery and faint, grinning like a smitten teenager. "We," she began confidently, "are going to announce our engagement to our friends, and then I am going get together with my besties to brag about my fiancé and you are going to head out and do some late-night ring shopping. Are we clear?"

Sheldon Cooper didn't like being given direction, yet he found himself powerless. "Crystal."

As she tugged him through the doorway and down the stairs, he studied her in awe; fair face bright with excitement, green eyes glowing for him and voice chirping excitedly, speaking of plans for the future. She was happy; he had made her happy, just by loving her.

In that moment, he knew that they were entering a whole new chapter in their lives; travelling to Stockholm, marriage, perhaps even children. They were together; fulfilling one another, taking this journey together. There would be so much more to see, so much more to do, but in that moment everything was right. Everything was perfect.

Author's Note: Yes, my lovelies, that is the end… for now! There are many, many things I would like to say; however I will probably write myself a whole new story in addressing them all, so I won't go on forever.

Firstly, regarding the long wait for this chapter – my sincerest apologies. Unfortunately, I have had a tragedy in my life in the past week, and I have put in my all to even finish this chapter… it has been a good distraction from some truly woeful things I have had to go through.

Secondly, despite the setbacks of the past couple of weeks, this story was always destined to finish here – please do not think that because of my absence I have cut the story off short; this is not the case.

Following into that, thirdly, it has always been my desire to leave Sheldon and Amy at this point – bringing them together and having them make one another happy was always my intention; I am not about Shamy babies and weddings – however, one day I may pick up the next chapter in their lives as it now stands. This story is also based upon the Shamy relationship that existed over half a season ago, and I know we can all agree that it has grown in leaps and bounds since – this is where I am setting my sights next; on the Shamy we know now, so please be on the lookout for my new story, which is currently in the works.

Finally, thank you all so much for reading, it has been a pleasure – please remember to review, even if this is your first time reading. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you all again for my next piece.