A/N Okay, I admit this might not be one of my greatest updates. I was in a hurry to finally get this chapter up and I may not have gotten Sheldon's character down. But I hope you all enjoy!
Oh, and another thing, the title has nothing to do with that thing people(scientists?) do with plants and animals where they breed them for certain desirable plants. Nothing to do AT ALL. Okay, okay. Read on!
I also do not own The Big Bang Theory or any of the characters, though having my very own Sheldon would be helpful once school starts ;).
"Honey, you need to stop doing this. This isn't healthy and you of all people should know that!" Those were the first words out of her mouth the moment Sheldon settled himself in the passenger seat.
This was the fourth time this week alone that Sheldon had not left the University until well after eleven. This was the second time she had to pick him up because Leonard was already in bed and the other two times was by Leonard. He had not been happy about it by the way.
"Whatever do you mean, Penny?"
She could tell he was trying for a nonchalant tone but the twitch in his eye gave him away. His very own lie detector. He knew exactly what she was talking about but he didn't want to admit it. Stubborn.
"You know you can't lie, sweetie." She smirked at him and hoped that she would get one of his infamous glares. It was fun most times to get him riled up and lately he hadn't been acting like himself so it would make her happy if he went off on a spiel about science this or that or something Sheldon-y.
She didn't get a glare, she didn't even get a glance. Instead his gaze was focused out the windshield, looking at nothing in particular. He was in his own head now, most likely thinking of an equation. It was doubtless he hadn't even heard what she had said.
Dammit, Whackadoodle, what's wrong with you?
He was getting more and more in his head nowadays. It had gotten to the point where she would come into his apartment, see him working at his whiteboard and sit in his spot. He wouldn't tell her to move. Some days, she thought, he probably didn't even know she was there. Well, until Leonard would come in the room see her there and instantly began talking to her.
She would slide out of his Spot then, feeling awkward talking to Leonard while she sat there.
And if the other guys noticed strange with him they didn't say anything about it.
Of course, she thought angrily. They probably don't care. If Sheldon is always in his own head he's not there to annoy them and be his normal condescending self. What kind of friends were they?
His voice broke her out of her thoughts. He was looking at her, actually looking at her, and not with the faraway glances she usually got. She sighed with relief.
"I would appreciate it if you would stop glancing over at me and keep your eyes on the road. I would rather not die in a fiery car crash."
Now that sounded more like him.
She rolled her eyes, playfully. "Just think of the loss to science." She joked.
His small voice startled her, but not as much as the words he said with it. "It would not be that large of a loss." He looked away from her and out his own window.
Immediately she yanked the steering wheel to the side, ignoring the way he was clutching the sides of his seat, and pulled off to the side of the road. Hastily she turned off the engine and looked at him, hoping that it was one of his 'Bazinga!'s.
"Penny, we have yet arrived at our apartment building. Why have you stopped?"
"I stopped because I'm in shock at what you just said! Something is definitely wrong with you, Sheldon, and we are not leaving until you tell me."
"Nothing's wrong, Penny." Twitch. "Can we please go home now? I have some work that I wish to do before bed."
"That's another thing!" She exclaimed as she unbuckled her seatbelt and moved her body to face him. "You're always working!"
She interrupted him and not caring about how much he hated it when someone did that to him.
"No, Sheldon. Last Saturday I did my laundry at 8:15, just like you do every Saturday, except you weren't there. Instead you were standing in front of your whiteboard in Science Land! Yesterday, you missed New Comic Day and Halo because you were working late at your office. I had to team up with Raj and we lost because he couldn't tell me when Howard was sneaking up behind me with a plasma grenade."
She knew she sounded angrier than she should be, but she remembered the indifference the guys had to Sheldon's absence.
"Oh, he's just working late, Penny. It's no big deal." Leonard had told her when she had asked where he was.
No big deal. She had wanted to scream at him. He never misses Halo night! Instead she didn't say anything and the topic of Sheldon was never brought up again.
Something was up and she was going to find out. But Sheldon was oddly silent in his seat.
"Tell me." She poked him hard in the shoulder.
He winced and rubbed the sore spot. "Penny, you know I bruise easily."
"Honey," she softened her voice. "I'm worried about you. Please tell me what's wrong. I won't tell the guys if that's what you want.
He looked at her, his blue eyes intense and…sad. She was wondering where the arrogant, smarter than you, Sheldon had gone. This was not him sitting in the seat next to her.
"Penny, how long has it been since Leonard, Howard, Raj and I returned from the Artic?"
Hmmm…it was the end of May now. They came back in…
He didn't give her a chance to answer.
"It has been eight months, two weeks and three days."
He probably could have even gotten it down to the minutes and even seconds since the moment they had landed in the U.S. But where was he going with all this?
"It has been eight months, two weeks and three days." He repeated. "Since my name and my work came into question. I was the laughingstock of the University for weeks."
He ignored her and continued, "That didn't bother me though. I was always laughed at for one thing or another. But my name lost all credibility. All my work, all my research up until that point had to be reviewed and looked over to see if there was any mistakes." He looked at her again. "Penny. I don't make mistakes."
She gave him a small smile. "I know, sweetie."
He continued. "My work since then has to be reviewed, not by one, but multiple other physicist to make sure nothing is wrong with it."
She could tell how much that was bothering him. Sheldon Lee Cooper, PhD, never made mistakes. Ever. And right now she could visibly see his anger. His jaw was clenched so tight it had to be painful.
Her hand hovered over his shoulder, wanting to be a comfort to him. But she just let it hover there like she had done that first day they had come back. She then clenched her fists in anger. All Leonard had done was try to get with her and when Sheldon had found out what they had done he didn't even seem to care. She was glad she had only given him a hug instead of that kiss she thought he had deserved. After seeing him treat his best friend like that all he had deserved was a slap in the face.
He was lucky she hadn't given it to him.
And then when Sheldon ran off to Texas they had been reluctant to get him. She had threatened to go all Junior Rodeo on their asses if they didn't leave within the hour. If they hadn't, though, she knew she would have. Living in that small apartment of hers seemed even duller if she didn't have her crazy neighbor always knocking on her door, after eleven of course.
She didn't know what to say, but she tried for reassuring. "Don't worry, Sheldon, I'm sure any day now they're going to realize that you actually don't make mistakes and you'll get your credibility back."
"It's not going to happen, Penny!" He all but exploded, some of his accent coming out. "It's not going to happen and that's unacceptable. I've worked so hard to get where I am and with one little incident, one little prank." He gritted the words out. "It's all wiped away. I had the Nobel Prize within my grasp, but now I fear that I will never get it."
"I've forgiven them for what they did."
"But not a day goes by when I don't wish that I had gone down to the Arctic myself."
He was now looking down at his lap, hands gripping his knees. He looked so sad and she hated seeing him like this.
"To answer your question, Penny, the reason why I have been working so much is because I what them to know I am serious about what I'm doing and I want them to trust my work again."
Germs, be damned!
She reached over the seat and hugged him as best as she could while he was still seat belted in.
He didn't stiffen or move away, but he didn't hug her back either.
"Penny," his voice was small now. Tired. "Can we go home? I want to go home."
She pulled away from and sat back in her seat ,offering him a watery smile. She hoped he didn't see the tears threatening to spill over in her eyes.
"Of course, sweetie."
A/N Sorry, if Sheldon seems a little to angsty but this is how I feel that he would have acted after the Arctic incident. Don't worry he's not going to be like this the whole story and things will be looking up for him soon. I hope you all enjoyed this and tell me so by leaving me a review ;) Pretty please?