CHALLENGE: Pick a novel (or book), preferably one of more than 100 pages in length, and take the first (full) sentence off of the top of page; 10, 20, 30, 40 & ect. Until you have ten (or thereabouts) quotes. Take said ten (or so) quotes and write drabbles based on them. You can use the whole quote, or just a section, even a word – all that matters is that you stay faithful to the first sentence part of the challenge.
The challenge has grown to epic proportions. This is the first of nine oneshots in the Overqualified series.
10. "Motherfucker," I tell him.
The first time anyone ever hit Sheldon, he was five. He had been sitting in the playground in his spot next to the cheese box. It was the ideal spot: not in direct sunlight but not shaded enough to be too cool, sheltered from the Texan wind but allowed enough of a breeze to keep him from overheating. He had a notebook in his lap, trying to figure out a mathematical formula his maths teacher had told him was for high school and not for little boys.
Three older, bigger boys came over and yanked the notebook right out of his tiny hands, ripping out the pages and tossing them in the air. They yelled at him to 'get the hell out' of their spot. Sheldon only frowned and told them that it was illogical to both destroy scientific research and to claim a spot they had never visited to be theirs.
He doesn't remember much of what really happened next, but the blond, airheaded teacher told him later that they beat him up, or in her words, 'retaliated', after he 'gave 'em sass'. They got sent into time out and he got sent to the nurse for a black eye and a split lip. She told him that he needed to 'wise up and watch his mouth' or to 'man up'. He didn't understand what that meant but she turned and left the room before he could ask.
He kept sitting in his spot, they kept returning. He kept getting hurt.
The first time a sibling hit him, he was six. He had sat down in his space on the left side of the couch next to his brother and watched him work on his physics homework. Sheldon peered him with wide eyes, intrigued by the question at hand. His brother's brows were knitted in concentration and after five minutes, during which time Sheldon had solved the equation and the four that came next, he tossed his arms in the air and loudly gave up.
Sheldon simply rolled his eyes and leaned over, picking up the discarded pencil in his brothers lap and started scribbling down the answer. "You see, you need to get the square root of this before you could even dream of-"
A large, tanned hand grabbed his thin, frail wrist in a vice-like grip. Sheldon turned to look his brother in the eyes with a question on his lips.
"What the hell do you think I am, boy? Some kinda stupid? I ain't dumb. Don't you dare think you can tell me what to do."
Sheldon blinked in confusion. He was simply showing him how to answer the question that was clearly too difficult for him to comprehend. And it wasn't 'some kinda stupid', it was 'do you think I am stupid'. And it's 'am not', not 'ain't'.
Ten minutes later, he was sitting on the floor in the kitchen with his sister holding a bag of frozen peas to his jaw, listening to his mother screaming at his brother while his father screamed at her. His face hurt, and he could feel a tooth coming loose, and there was blood on his tongue.
Missy just frowned and ran her fingers through his hair and pretended she couldn't see the tears welling up in his eyes. A slamming door made her jump and she put extra pressure on the frozen peas. Sheldon couldn't stop the whimper than fell from his lips.
His twin fussed and hushed and leaned over and gave him a big kiss right between his eyes. "Oh, Shelly," she whispered, "please don't do stupid stuff like that. And when you do, try to keep 'em from hitting you so much. Fight back or somethin'."
He didn't try to correct her grammar and blinked his eyes twice and she smiled and kissed him again because she knew it meant he'd try, though he did feel a pang of hurt at the inevitability in her statement. They curled up together on the cool linoleum floor while daddy got his shotgun out and climbed to the roof to start shooting plates.
Sheldon stopped correcting Jason's homework, Jason kept hitting him, and Sheldon slowly started trying to make him stop.
The first time his father hit him, Sheldon was eight and he was conducting experiments on the height of stairs. He was sitting in the shady corner of the landing of the staircase in Meemaw's house with a clipboard and pen clutched against his chest. He had been waiting eagerly for this moment. He'd had to wait to conduct the experiment here because their trailer didn't have steps. Or rather, didn't have steps that mattered. He needed steps that were even, uniform. Trailer steps were not scientific research material. He'd been forced to wait until daddy agreed to go over to Meemaw's for Sunday dinner.
He had sanded one of the center stairs on the top flight down precisely one millimetre, and Missy had flounced upstairs without notice. He filed it down to two millimetres and waited for his next subject. He deduced that if a step on a staircase is 2 millimetres off or more a person is likely to trip when his father lurched and came flying down the steps headfirst.
When his father hit the landing, he rammed into Sheldon, and somehow managed to round the corner before continuing to fall. At the very bottom, he lay sprawled on his back, cursing and swearing. Momma was on him in a second, helping him up while screaming at him for taking the Lords name in vain. Missy poked her head out the door to her room and Jason yelled for everyone to shut up. Meemaw walked out of the kitchen with a frown on her pretty, wrinkled face and Daddy made Sheldon come down and stand in front of him.
Sheldon tried to block the first slap, because he'd been trying to block everything that tried to hit him lately. It only made his mother gasp and his siblings wince and his father to spit out a second curse.
When his father's fist came in contact with his cheek, he fell back and hit the wooden staircase with enough force to break his humerus in two places.
They told everyone Daddy tripped on the stairs and fell on him. The nurse didn't believe them, slipping Sheldon a pamphlet labelled 'Child Abuse and How to Get Help' in big block letters when she thought no one was looking, and Meemaw refused to speak to Daddy for six months.
Sheldon avoided doing experiments that could potentially include his father, his father never forgot what Sheldon did to him, and Meemaw never forgot what his father did to Sheldon. He never tried to fight back against his father again. He never tried to fight again.
He realized at eight, that his sister was right to believe that him getting hurt was inevitable and that for some reason, people just liked to hit him and he accepted that and moved on. He told everyone else that they must be jealous of his superior intellect but deep down he figured he must have done something to deserve it.
When Missy called him at three in the morning to tell him he needed to get his skinny little ass back home to Texas because Dad was in the hospital, Sheldon actually laughed. He laughed loud enough that he woke Leonard in the next room. He was on the next flight.
His father looked pathetic and yellow, swaddled in hospital blankets, dosed up with morphine. Sheldon felt a twinge of something he couldn't describe in his belly and he wasn't sure if he wanted to cry or laugh or vomit. He settled with squelching down his emotions and staring blankly around the room with a look of haughty superiority on his face.
"Sheldon," his father said, reaching out his pale, yellowed hand, "Sheldon, come here boy."
Sheldon twitched because he wasn't a dog but came anyways because that was what he had always done. He reached out with one slender hand to grasp his fathers, mindful of the various tubes sticking out of his arm at odd angles.
"Sheldon, Shelly, I'm sorry." His father had an odd expression on his face and Sheldon really wanted to tell him not to call him Shelly but for once he caught and understood the look on Missy's face, which told him to keep his mouth firmly shut. "Sheldon, my boy, forgive me."
The ambient temperature of the hospital was a little too cool and his father's hands must be infected with trillions of germs and he became acutely aware of the two dull throbs of pain in his humerus that told him there was going to be thunder and lightning sometime in the very near future.
Sheldon kept his mouth shut and let go of his father's hand and stepped back so he was standing next to his Meemaw, comforted by the subtle scent of her faded perfume and the soft heat radiating from her body.
The doctor that Sheldon hadn't noticed earlier looked scandalized. "What are your last words to your dying father going to be? Aren't you going to forgive him for whatever it is he did?"
Sheldon studied the room for a second before focusing on his father's face. For a long moment, he thought about all the things he wanted to say. He wanted to yell at him for everything that happened when he was a kid, he wanted to thank him for making him into the superior being he was today, he wanted to cry and tell him that it was because of him that he gave up on fighting, it was because of him he consented to being ridiculed all his life.
"Well?" The doctor prompted in an irritated, nasal voice.
Sheldon looked his father right in the eyes.
"Motherfucker," he tried to tell him, but the words stuck in his throat. He bit his tongue and the silence of the room made him ache.
He turned on his heel and left.
A/N:And yes, that's right, I changed the ending. It didn't sit well with me. Sue me.
What was originally meant to be a quick, lighthearted challenge with nine short drabbles has evolved into a huge 'verse, each based on quotes from Overqualified by Joey Comeau.
No word yet on when the others will be finished. They will not always be in order, they will not always be Sheldon!centric, and they will not always be quick. They will, however, have a lot of run on sentences, odd phrasing, and will all be in the same 'verse. Anyone interested in seeing more?
And of course, my first foray into TBBT fic had to be rambling, depressing, and OOC. Your welcome.
Feedback is more than welcome, constructive criticism is also appreciated.