Ch.1: The Price of War
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the BBT characters or the plots of any kind. This is purely for fun.
Author's Note: Sorry for the delay, my dears; my laptop has been an incessant nurf and I've had to get a new laptop. Don't last too long. Anyway, here's the first chapter of the sequel to Damnable Affair; those who are just reading ought to read that first—it's humorous and romantic, trust me. Ask the reviewers.
Kate helped Sheldon to his feet; he took her hand and with some unguided strength, he stood. While Kripke, having been shot point blank between the eyes, and suffering from his blatant injury (whimpering like a little girl), held his face, squirming.
"Don't worry, Kripke," cooed Kate with the malice of a cat that had just watched a dog get taken in by the pound, "you won't be blind...for long." With an evil grin, the light in her eyes gleaming, Kate walked from him. Sheldon followed her, a little alarmed by her malice.
"Kate," implored Sheldon.
She stopped and turned to him.
"I believe there's a line figuratively drawn on the playing field where one can step over it and cause irreparable harm, such harm that I can't even have pass." Sheldon stated.
"What are you saying?"
"Take a look at the fallen enemy so he doesn't lose his eyesight," Sheldon beseeched.
Kate, having seen that Sheldon, despite Kripke's frequent name-calling and his mockery, was still a bit remorseful for Kripke's pained gasps and cursing. She merely smiled at him, finding his empathy impressive; she handed him the gun she held that had blown away several of the geologists; the casualties were numerous. Kate knelt to Kripke's side.
"Take your hands off your face, you crybaby," said Kate coolly. She pulled his hands off his face and glanced at his forehead.
"What are you doing?"
"Making sure you're okay, despite your incessant flirting," said Kate curtly. She looked at him for a moment and said finally, "You're fine; I don't know why you're complaining. At the most, it'll only be a bruise."
"That's not comforting," Kripke told her, already easing from the shot in the head. He gave her a look, at which Kate returned.
"You're lucky it was just a paint pellet, and not a real bullet."
"You wouldn't have shot me ewen if it was a buwwet."
Kate frowned, saying, "Perhaps. But that would mean the circumstances would have been changed, and you would be lying dead on the ground." She straightened to her height and walked away from him.
Sheldon, who had watched the disturbing conversation unfold gave her the gun back and Kate accepted it with a smile. The two turned to see that Penny was in shock; Leonard had a ring out, prompting his earlier question: "So, what do you say?"
"Yes," breathed Penny.
Leonard looked surprised, saying, "Really?"
"Yes," Penny said again.
"Oh. Cool, thanks."
Penny laughed, merely because Leonard thanked her for the answer. Penny was blushing, her eyes nearly watering as Leonard placed the ring on her wedding finger. When Penny admired her ring, Leonard added pointedly, "You know if you said that bout five years ago, we'd be celebrating our fifth anniversary..."
She gave him a look which made Leonard say, "Unless you want to change your mind..."
"No," Penny stated. She hugged him and kissed his lips saying, "I want to be with you."
"Me too...with you, not me wanting to be with myself, but me with you," Leonard said, twisting his hands as he began feeling awkward, which made Penny laugh again.
"You know, I believe it's the girl that's supposed to be inarticulate," Howard pointed out, meeting them while holding Bernadette's hand.
"Well—I—It-shut up, Howard," Leonard replied, looking at Penny with a hint of embarrassment.
As Kate and Sheldon joined them, Penny turned to Kate and held out her left hand, wiggling her fingers, saying, "Look, Kate! Leonard proposed!"
Kate smiled at her, saying, "Yeah, I heard." She lowered her gun and embraced Penny tightly.
Penny, who'd never been hugged by Kate, although she'd initiated it several times in the past, was a bit shocked. It was like being hugged by Sheldon, except Kate had a few ideas about how long the hug lasted or the tightness, neither was she awkward. Still, Penny glanced at Leonard happily and she put her arms around Kate in return.
"I'm happy for you," Kate enthused, grinning broadly. She took Penny's left hand in hers and looked at the ring. "Is it a real diamond?"
"Yeah," Leonard voiced from behind Penny.
"You had it checked?" Kate remarked.
"Yeah," said Leonard.
"By a jeweler?"
"Yes," said Leonard. He gave Kate an annoyed look and said, "Why does it matter if it's a real..."
"Uh, heh heh, Leonard," said Howard, butting into the conversation, "you may not want to ask that; see, the diamond, as one would understand, is a symbol of true beauty and the colors refracted from the stone resemble one's love for the other person. Therefore, one can assume the diamond in its rare beautiful form is the same love..."
"Bullcrap," Kate called. She still held Penny's hand and to Leonard, she said, "Girls like jewelry that's real. I was asking if it was cubic zirconia, the synthetic diamond, normally a substitute."
"It was at a pawn shop," admitted Leonard.
Bernadette gave Howard a look and said, "You really think that a diamond symbolizes love between two people?"
Howard glanced at Leonard and Sheldon before saying to Bernadette in a slow but (to Kate, unconvincing) sincere tone, "Yes, of course, sweetheart."
Bernadette grinned happily and kissed him on the cheek with a serenity.
"FYI, diamonds lose their value when the karat size is reduced," Sheldon interjected. He glanced to Penny's ring indicatively, saying, "That small karat, by the way, would be estimated at 500 dollars."
"Just five-hundred?" Penny posed, glancing at the ring.
Kate released her hand, realizing she still held it. Sheldon turned to Penny, a reaction to her skeptical inquiry.
"Are you doubting my math?" asked Sheldon.
"No," Penny said immediately.
"You can check my work," Sheldon persisted.
"No," responded Penny, if not a little quicker. Leonard and Howard gazed at Penny with admiration, and appreciation. Kate, on the other hand, turned to Sheldon.
"You know the value of jewelry?" asked Kate.
Sheldon gave her a look, indicating his sudden annoyance in her questioning of his mathematics and overall knowledge of the given situation. In turn, he said with a logical stance, "Are you implying that, by knowing Penny's ring symbolizing matrimony, you're inferring the curiosity of the sobriquet I'd given you?"
Kate touched her collar bone, over the top of her paintball armor instinctively; it was the same place under which her Evenstar lied, which Sheldon had given her as a symbol of his feelings for her. Kate had accepted it happily, knowing that this was the closest way that Sheldon would ever say he had true affection and feelings for her, not the regarded symposium that he and Kate were just dating; it'd taken their relationship to a different level, although Kate half-doubted Sheldon understood that level. In return to his implication, Kate merely smiled.
"I'm not interested," said Kate in a sweet tone.
"I am," Leonard said, stepping into the circle. "Sheldon's putting thoughts into Penny's mind about what can be bought with the selling of the ring, so I'm curious—" Leonard turned to Sheldon—"What's the value of that necklace you gave her during the black-out? It's just a replica of all the other Evenstar necklaces, I bet."
"Wrong," Sheldon said.
"Really? What's the value of it then?" Leonard interrogated.
"Really, Leonard, it's not that important," Penny besought, glancing at Leonard, who was pressing, and Sheldon, who obviously didn't see the need in conjuring the numbers to state just how much he spent on giving Kate the Evenstar, a trinket that, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, had been given to Aragorn from Arwen to remind him of her love while he was at war. Not only had Sheldon given it to her, he'd exchanged the words with her in Elvish, making Kate's girlish hormones react incredibly.
"It's not important to me," Penny continued.
"Hold on to that thought," Leonard said, putting his hand up to her. Slightly offended, Penny glanced at Kate with eyebrows raised.
"It's just a replica," Leonard insisted, crossing his arms in what looked to be victory. Sheldon, on the other hand, stared at Leonard with obvious incredulity.
"It's not a replica," said Sheldon.
"It has to be," Leonard stated strongly. "You're telling me you bought the original Evenstar that was worn by Liv Tyler in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; you have to be frickin' kidding me!"
Sheldon gave him a pointed look. No, he was serious. Kate, who saw the look and understood his meaning, put her hand inside her jacket and pulled out the Evenstar; it glittered in the sunlight, producing a silver, refracted light, colors to dance, on Leonard's sleeve.
"Hold on," said Howard breathlessly. He stepped towards them all, looking taken aback, but equally shocked. "Sheldon, are you saying you gave Kate the original, the Evenstar of the set?"
Sheldon shrugged dismissively and said, "Originally, I was going to give her the One Ring but,"-he gave Leonard an off-handed glare—"A certain experimental physicist kept it out of my reach."
Leonard glared at him and Sheldon added, "FYI, I'm talking about you."
"I know who you were talking about," returned Leonard, slightly annoyed.
Kate glanced down at the jewel in her hand. This was the real deal, the real thing; it was a piece that Liv Tyler, the amazing actress that had worn the trinket, while on set, said the words to Aragorn. To put it even better, Kate wore the same necklace that Aragorn had worn. Her breath hitched.
"How much did you pay for that?" asked Howard.
"Why is everyone so intent on finding the price?" Sheldon demanded. "Isn't the adage 'It's the thought that counts' ever applicable to this situation?"
"I call 'bull crap'," Bernadette piped.
Howard, Kate, Sheldon, and Leonard, who hardly ever heard Bernadette curse, turned to her startled.
"Yeah," Penny said, "you've even made Bernadette curious. I'm curious too. What'd you pay for that?"
Sheldon rolled his eyes, saying, "Does it really matter?"
"Yeah," Howard, Leonard, Penny, and Bernadette insisted. While Howard continued: "You're going to end up telling one of us anyway and we'll tell each other, so out with it. You've obviously had to pay a fortune for that Evenstar; honestly, it was part of the set, part of the movie!"
Kate shook her head ; this had gone far enough. She stepped in, placing her hand on Sheldon's arm and said gently, "You're right, honey; it's the thought that counts. The price is irrelevant."
"Bullcrap," Bernadette and Penny chimed.
"Well," said Kate. "Let's see what Raj thinks."
They glanced around but it became apparent that Rajesh was no where near or around them. Howard inquired his absence but Kate could see from afar that Rajesh was on the ground, looking dead. Kate smiled and said aloud, "I know where he is."
She pointed. The gang glanced and saw that Rajesh was the partaker in the battle; he was shot in the chest several times. Kate, who bounded towards him, saw that he was also asleep. The Indian boy had gone to sleep after being massacred by wet paint. After nudging his shoulder, he came to and smiled up at Penny and Kate, who stood over him. Penny smirked and she held out her hand, showing off her small diamond ring. Rajesh, who was not drunk, only smiled and squeaked then ran away.
"He says 'congratulations'," translated Howard, as Penny gave he and Kate a puzzled look.
Leonard and Penny gave each other looks; they were grinning broadly. Penny then hugged him again and said, "Honestly, I wish I'd said 'yes' when you first asked me." Leonard kissed her on the lips, and she returned it.
Kate heard a shout and saw that Kripke had finally recovered, although the bruise, of which she predicted, remained in between his eyes, giving him the disposition of a weird man with three eyes. He stepped towards Kate, but Sheldon, who cocked the rifle in his hands pointed the weapon at him, standing slightly in front of Kate, protectively.
"State your business or prepare to be slaughtered," stated Sheldon in the tone of a body guard.
"Oh get a grip on weality, Cooper," Kripke stated, shaking his head. He looked past him at Kate but then gazed at Sheldon, clearly annoyed. "I want a wematch."
"So I can kick your sorry ass again?" Kate remarked from behind her boyfriend, clearly unaffected by his challenging tone.
"That was the wuck of a dw-aw," Kripke claimed. He shrugged and said, "Like Cooper and his fwiends underestimated my kiwwer wobot, I've underestimated you at paintball."
"Damn right," Howard remarked, standing alongside Sheldon. "That was the vengeance of M.O.N.T.E."
Kate furrowed her eyes in puzzlement and said inquiringly, "Monte?"
"No, M.O.N.T.E," corrected Howard.
Kate glanced between Howard and Sheldon and said again only declarative, "Yeah, Monte."
Sheldon's voice answered Kate, although his eyes and rifle remained on Kripke, "It's an acronym, Kate; it's the name we'd given our killer robot."
Kate merely replied to him a sweet, endearing tone, "Honey, that brings up more questions than answers."
"I'll tell you later," said Sheldon venomously. He narrowed eyes at Kripke saying, "You fail to admit your defeat, Kripke, and now, you only have the option of acceptance or another fail. Admit defeat now, and walk away."
Kripke gave Sheldon a look and said to Kate while pointing to him, "What do you see in this guy?"
Kate touched her on the rifle and lowered it, resulting in Sheldon's perplexed gaze. Despite his befuddlement, Kate stepped forward and held out her hand, at which Kripke gave a strange look. He hadn't expected the hand shake of a truce, but despite her full intent, he only frowned.
"Weally? You want a twuce?"
"Better that than another massacre," Kate said.
"I'll make a twuce with you, but I can't guarantee it with him," said Kripke, pointing at Sheldon. "He's a wacko."
"I'm not crazy; my mother had me tested," Sheldon stated.
"Obviously not tested by the wight psychiatrists; they missed one," Kripke goaded.
"Alright," Kate muttered. She took Sheldon's rifle and aimed at Kripke. "One more insult and I'll blind you—"
"Okay," Leonard intervened and pulled Sheldon's rifle out of her hands. "Kripke, get out of here. You might be dead by the end of the day."
Kripke shook his head but when Kate threatened Leonard to blinding him if he didn't give her the gun, Kripke was no stupid head and he began to retreat back to his team. Penny and Bernadette who'd been watching the situation unfold with alarmed, but entertained, eyes merely grinned when Kate looked at Sheldon. Although Sheldon had become ignorant to her look as he and Leonard were in another bout of arguing the price about the trinket Kate wore, the girls saw the look. There was no doubt in their minds that Kate had more feelings for Sheldon than the sobriquet around her neck even symbolized.