Disclaimer: I do not own The Big Bang theory, or any of the characters, except Olive. And Stan.

A/N: I thought it would be interesting to explore Sheldon's teenage years a little, and I got wondering if there was a specific reason, some kind of event in his life, which meant that he wouldn't really be in any kind of relationship on the show. This was what I came up with. Oh, and I'll be continuing my other story, Sheldon's Deal, also.

Chapter One: The Genius Boy

It is a warm evening. The sun still shines, in spite of the moon which has settled into its place in the sky ready for the coming night. Olive lies in the long tufts of grass, reading John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids and thinking about nothing in particular.

It is the first day of summer, but for most of the little kids the end-of-school high has worn off already, so Olive is pretty much alone in the park, except for a small group of guys playing soccer and a tall boy with long limbs, who is sitting on the roundabout reading some kind of textbook.

She's wearing a loose t-shirt and a pair of shorts, and she did have converse but now they are lying beside her in the grass. She stretches out her long pale toes. Wonders how long it's been since she was this relaxed. Her chestnut brown hair is tied in two plaits, and a white hair band is keeping her long fringe out of her eyes.

She finishes her book, and closes it contentedly. It was a good read, a little freaky in places but Olive likes that in a book. She looks around, not quite ready to go back to the trailer park she is required to call home, but not willing to simply sit here by herself either. Decision made, she stands up and wanders towards the tall boy.

"Hi," she says, smiling, looking as friendly as she can.

"Hello." He glances at her, doesn't really sound as if he wants to talk. But Olive has never really been one for subtlety.

"I'm Olive Morrison," she tells him, sitting down on the roundabout on his left, "my friends call me Liv."

"Sheldon Cooper," the boy says, almost grudgingly, "but I'm afraid I'm very busy."

"Why? What are you doing?" She glances over his shoulder. "Physics? That looks a ton more complicated than anything we've done at school."

"Of course you haven't. You're in high school, I'm doing graduate studies." His tone is slightly condescending. This annoys Olive somewhat, but she continues blithely on.

"Oh, so what age are you? You must be older than you look."

"I'm fifteen," he informs her, a tad proudly. Noticing her surprised expression, he adds smugly, "I'm told I have an IQ of 187, but I maintain that it cannot be accurately measured by any IQ test."

"That's really impressive," Olive says sincerely, leaning back on the roundabout, "I haven't seen you around here before."

"I don't like parks," Sheldon's eyes cloud with anger, "my dad made me get out of the house for some fresh air."

"I don't mean here here," Olive elaborates, "I mean, I haven't seen you around town."

"I've lived here for as long as I can remember," Sheldon looks thoughtful, "although I have been in Germany recently. Visiting professor."

Olive is pretty sure she's never met a genius before. And if this guy isn't one, he's sure close. He's straight back into his physics book the minute she falls silent, a look of careful concentration gracing his features. Watching him, Olive decides that he is kind of cute. She checks her watch. It's about seven pm. She notices that he is wearing a Flash t-shirt.

"Hey, Sheldon, do you want to come to the comic book store with me? I heard the new Flash is out."

Sheldon looks up at her, really looks at her, and wonders if this is normal behavior. Strangers introducing themselves, striking up casual conversations, going places together? He dismisses the thought – he never has been good at figuring people out – and considers her proposition. On one hand, she could be a serial killer. He doubted it, but it was a possibility. On the other hand, he desperately wanted the new Flash. And she has a book, which suggests at least mild intelligence.

"Alright," he says finally, closing his book and tucking it under his arm.

"Well great!" Olive says cheerfully, standing up and starting to walk away, clutching her own book to her chest.

"Um, Olive? I believe you need your shoes." He gestures to her converse, which are lying abandoned in the grass. She blushes.

"Of course." She drops to the ground and laces them up.

The comic book store is nearly empty when Sheldon and Olive cross the threshold. Sheldon smells in the familiar, delicious scent. He hasn't been here since he got back from Germany. Her fingers brush the rows of comic books and he smiles, as though greeting old friends.

"Hey Stan," Olive grins at the guy behind the counter, who nods a greeting at her, "this is my new friend Sheldon."

"Ah, Stan and I are well acquainted already," Sheldon says.

"Yes we are!" Stan stands up and reaches across to shake Sheldon's hand. "This guy's my best customer. Welcome back, buddy."

"Well, we were just looking for the new Flash," Olive says, looking around, "you got it in yet?"

"'Fraid not," Stan shakes his head ruefully, "mail strike. All my shipments are late this week." Sheldon visibly deflates. Olive can't blame him; she's disappointed herself. She wanders over to a box of old comic books and starts trawling through it while Stan and Sheldon converse about something or other. Sheldon seems like a nice enough guy. On the way over here she found out that he lives in the same trailer park as her. Just a few doors away, actually. If Olive believed in signs, she would think that was one. Sure, he's said a lot of stuff she doesn't understand, but he'll definitely be able to help her with that physics project. She is roused from her thoughts by an old Batman comic book. Could it be…? Yes, it is! It's the missing piece that she needs for her Robin collection!

"Stan!" She calls. "I'll take this." She drops the comic book on the counter and searches the pockets of her shorts for some money. She only comes out with a few coins. Nowhere near enough. She sighs. Starts to tell Stan to forget it, but Sheldon puts his hand over hers and drops a handful of coins into it.

"Sheldon, you don't have to."

"But I'm not buying any comic books. Just pay me back when you can." He looks totally sincere. He is pretty much a stranger, but the funny thing is, Olive feels at ease around him.

"Thank you," she says, meaningfully.

Sheldon watches her pay and wonders what has gotten into him. He doesn't really have friends, per say. He has acquaintances, colleagues, allies. Not friends. But Olive seems like a nice girl. Nothing like his obnoxious sister Missy. And maybe having a friend wouldn't be so bad…

As long as she didn't whistle.