Without You

Chapter One: Realizations

Summary: Sheldon Sands has always depended upon and loved his mother. But without her, what is he? In place of a once innocent boy will stand a troubled CIA agent that can not find his way aroundthe world. Here is his story, his love, and his loss.

Disclaimer: Lily (Fairy of Obsession) does not own Sheldon Sands. She does not own any part of Once Upon a Time in Mexico. But she does take credit for the plot of this story.

He loved her. He loved Laura Anne Sands, his mother, more than anyone or thing. But five-year old Sheldon Sands was not able to place a label on the emotions that he felt for his mother. She was a friend that he could confide in, a woman that he admired, and someone that he depended upon. She was his life, his love, his joy, his everything. She encompassed his every thought, moment, and fiber of energy. She was his equal and yet a goddess that he idolized. His only wish was to be in her presence. She was the only one that could shower him with affection and yet remain unscathed, and only she could weave herself so methodically into Sheldon's being. Sheldon knew that she was something special, but he couldn't recognize his love for him until one pleasant summer day.

The two were sitting amidst the beautiful flowers that existed in their expansive garden, eating warm chocolate chip cookies that had just come out of the oven. "My angel, look at this one. Isn't it beautiful?" Laura asked her five-year old son, using her fond name for him 'my angel', as she sniffed a nearby flower. Sheldon, still an innocent creature, craned his neck to view what she was talking about.

"What kind is it?" he asked curiously, taking a bite out of a large cookie, the chocolate oozing itself out of the baked dough that it was encased in.

"Mmmm….let me think. White petals with a pink center," Laura murmured to herself, breaking off a piece of cookie for herself as well. Bending closer to sniff the blossom again, she closed her eyes. "This, I believe, is a mistine orchid," she answered after a moment or two, with her eyes still closed. "Isn't it pretty?" she asked him. Sheldon, eager to please his mother, nodded vigorously.

"Why don't you put it in your hair?" he suggested and went ahead and plucked the flower off of its stem. Reaching up to his mother, he tucked it gently behind her ear so that its bloom blended into her soft brown strands, its splendor striking out even more. "Now it looks even prettier," the boy chirped, suddenly becoming more vivacious. The small and yet seemingly insignificant show of affection filled Laura's heart with joy. After losing so much in her life, her little angel had been able to give her hope. He was like a ray of sunshine when the only her world was painted in only shades of grey.

With contentment bubbling in her like a hot spring, a tranquil silence settled itself in and around and in between the two like a comforting blanket. Both of them spent a considerably long period of time like this, sitting quietly and eating the freshly baked cookies. Suddenly, Sands blurted, "Mom, can I ask you something?"

Laura had been lying down in the grass when he asked the question. Slowly sitting up, she tried not to seem alarmed. But in reality, she was. Sheldon usually didn't divulge his thoughts about anything, unless it had been bothering him for a long time. Smiling tenderly at her son, she consoled, "Go ahead, my little angel."

But Sheldon didn't start right away. He waited for a minute or two longer, trying to figure out his words. "I…I…I'm…it's…it's about school," he stuttered, unsure of where to start. "These kids…they keep bugging me. And I stay quiet. But then, eventually, the teacher picks on me."

"What do you mean by?" Laura asked, uncertain herself. She didn't want to discourage him, but she knew that she wouldn't be able to help him if he didn't clarify things for her.

"Like while the teacher's talking, one of them will throw stuff at me. I don't do anything for a long time. But when I actually do tell them to stop, the teacher puts me in time-out for talking," anger frothing within him like a boiling pot of soup. And with every word, another bubble grew to an immense size and then popped itself. Failing to contain his emotions, he glared into space and half-shouted, "She's stupid. I know I'm not supposed to say stupid. But she really is stupid."

A frown formed on Laura's face. But not because of her Sheldon's opinion of his teacher. "And she doesn't say anything to them?" she asked slowly, starting to feel angry herself. He nodded in affirmative. "Then…" she started, willing herself not to give him such advice. But if her son was being picked on, then she had to do something. "Then, why don't you fight back." Here, Sheldon's intense orbs peered into her own chocolate ones, wondering whether he was hearing her correctly. "Throw things back. I know it's not nice. But if you don't retaliate and you still get in trouble, then what's the point of staying quiet?"

"So you want me to throw things back?" he asked dubiously, wondering whether he was encountering some sort of hallucination instead of the mother that he knew.

"If it makes them stop annoying you, then yes," she told him. He thought about the idea for awhile then nodded, agreeing that it was a possible solution. Pulling him into her arms, her weakening arms, she hugged him tightly and kissed the mop of black hair that sat atop his head. "Just remember one thing and you can succeed," she whispered in his ear.

"What is that?" he asked.

"Remember that a wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends. Use your enemies to your advantage," she advised, continuing to whisper, her words coming out in a slow procession, a single tear falling from her eye. If she had it her way, then her arms would protect him from every harm in the world; from kids at school, from a cold, and from her cancer. Her cancer.

Another tear slipped past her wall of defense at the thought that she wouldn't always be there for him. And I haven't even told him yet she thought miserably. He's only five. He isn't ready to find out. But the real question was whether he would ever be ready to find out.

Sheldon, still thinking about what his mother had told him, suddenly realized that he loved her more than anything. He loved her more than the smell of the morning, more than chocolate chip cookies, more than his coloring book and toys. Grateful for her advice and acutely aware of the fact that without her, he would probably never be able to survive, he murmured softly into her hug, "I love you."

At the words, tears started to glide downward Laura's pale face. One last thought flitted through her mind before she fell into a state of mental despair; she thought dejectedly, I can't even protect him from me.