Hello, all! This is my first Big Bang Theory fanfiction. I'd love to know if you think I should continue. I have a few ideas-tell me if it's worth continuing! Reviews are always lovely, of course. I hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: I don't own The Big Bang Theory or any of the characters

Rating: T for child abuse, mature themes, and language

Chapter One: Blank

"Shelly, sweetie, eat your peas." Mary Cooper used her fork to push the peas towards a scowling eight-year-old Sheldon.

"Yeah, Shelly, eat your peas!" Missy chirped, proudly displaying her plate, clear of peas and ham. Sheldon shot her a glare while she giggled. Mary shushed her daughter before turning back to Sheldon.

"What's wrong? Don't you like what your mommy made for you?" Mary rested her head on her hand, smiling at her son. Her eyes sparkled, but everything around them was beaten down. Her hair was piled on top of her head and hidden in a shabby old hat. Her clothes were worn out—she hadn't bought new ones for years—and hidden behind her apron she wore when working at the supermarket. Her blue eyes—her dazzling blue eyes, which she saw so much in Sheldon—were tired and underneath them lay dark circles.

"Eat your peas, sweetie," Mary began again, but was cut off.

"Eat the damn peas, kid." The gruff voice cut through the kitchen like a knife. Missy stopped banging her fork against her empty plate and glanced at Sheldon worriedly, willing him to eat his peas, please, please eat his peas. Mary took her elbow off the table, looked at her husband angrily, and returned to her dinner.

"Mommy, do you want to hear what I did at school today?" Missy asked, shifting in her seat excitedly. "I was the best in my class in spelling today. I got a gold star. The teacher said I'm really good."

"That's wonderful, sweetheart," Mary said happily, but her voice was broken.

"And then we went out to recess, and Susie wanted to play with me! And then…"

"Mary." There was the knife-like voice, slicing through the kitchen once more. It was then that Sheldon finally forced himself to look at his father. He hated looking at him. He hated seeing that five o'clock shadow. The bloodshot eyes from drinking. The mean glint in his eyes, so different than the sparkle in his mother's. Sheldon hated the fear he felt rising in his stomach whenever he looked at his father, and hated himself for feeling that way.

"Yes, George," Mary said tightly, pushing around the food on her plate with a fork. George took a swig of beer before going on.

"I'll be out of town with the guys this weekend," He said sloppily, slapping the bottle back on the table. Sheldon jumped slightly at the harsh sound, and then felt blood rushing to his face. He felt Missy next to him, suddenly quiet. Not bubbly. Not charming.

"George, you know that I have work this weekend. Ten hour shifts, both Saturday and Sunday. You have to watch the kids."

"I said I'm going out of town this weekend," George repeated loudly.

"George," Mary brought her voice to a whisper. "George, you're staying here, you're taking Sheldon to his science fair…"

"Damn it, Mary, I'm NOT taking him to that!" George slammed his fist down on the table and the entire house seemed to shake. Mary jumped out of her seat, finally bringing her eyes to meet her husband's. Missy let out a small cry—milk had spilled all over her new floral dress. She ran up the stairs to wash it off, George sneering after her. Mary continued to protest, trying to get George to come to his senses—he'd think clearly once he sobered up a little—he didn't really mean that, Sheldon, of course he wants to take you—why can't you think of anyone else for a change?

Once George brought his fist down on the table again and stood up, Sheldon nearly toppled out of his chair and started to run, knowing the procedure for when he got like this—but before Sheldon could even untangle himself from his chair, George caught his arm and threw him to the ground. Sheldon let out a cry as he landed on his shoulder, tears stinging his eyes.

"George!" Mary gasped, making her way to Sheldon, but George caught her arm.

"I don't want to talk about this anymore, George!"

"You know damn well we're going to talk about this."

"George, Sheldon could be hurt!"

And Sheldon ran. He ran past the kitchen, past the dirty living room, up the stairs, into his room, into the corner of his closet, prepared to wait it out until his parents figured everything out. Of course they would. They always did. He settled in next to Missy, who was still wearing the stained dress. Sheldon unexpectedly felt a knot in his stomach tighten for her. Just that morning she came down the stairs, twirling around and around in that girly dress. Sheldon had rolled his eyes at her, crossing his arms over his ratty T-shirt. Together, they listened to their parents fight, George occasionally kicking the wall.

Sheldon felt his heart drop as he heard the car start—Mary was off to work, and that only left George. Missy tightened her grip on the material of Sheldon's jeans. Thinking quietly, quickly, Sheldon turned to Missy.

"He'll just fall asleep soon and watch football. It'll be fine."

"But Shelly…"

"If you're really worried, then just stay here. I'll go out and talk to him."

Missy's eyes grew wide with tears and her lip trembled.

"But Shelly…" She repeated, but Sheldon wouldn't have it. He wouldn't blush, he wouldn't cry, he wouldn't feel scared. He wouldn't feel anything. He got out of the closet and shut the door quietly behind him. And he stood at the edge of his room with his head against the door. And only then, as he heard his father's footsteps approaching, he started to cry.

Years later, Sheldon woke up from a deep sleep with a startled cry, heart pounding. He lay in bed, unable to move. His pulse was racing. He was shaking. He turned his head to the side, and saw his closet—normal, empty, blank. He got up slowly, swinging his shaking legs over the side of his bed. He quietly tiptoed across the room and into the bathroom, switching on a blinding light. He looked at himself in the mirror, almost expecting to see himself as eight-years-old again, with a bruise over his left eye and his shoulder throbbing. Instead, he simply saw Sheldon—tall and lanky, plain blue eyes, clear skin—normal, empty, blank.