Characters: Mary, Sheldon and George, Jr.
Word Count: 2418
Author's Note: My plot bunnies attack when I'm in the shower. They know I'm vulnerable in there.
Disclaimer: The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, and is produced by them along with Steve Molaro. It is a Warner Brothers production and airs on CBS. All characters, plots and creative elements derived from the source material belong exclusively to their respective owners. I, the author of the fan fiction, do not, in any way, profit monetarily from the story.

"You fart a lot."

A 15-year-old Sheldon had been home for only two days from his stint as a visiting professor in Germany, and he was already longing to go back. He turned to his brother, who was seated next to him on the couch, with the look of malice that was quickly becoming the only way he ever looked at the older teen.

"I do not," Sheldon said.

George took a whiff at the air and waved his hand in front of his scrunched-up face. "Actually you do, dude. You just let a monster one rip right now."

"Well, to use the juvenile vernacular you seem so fond of, 'The one who smelt it dealt it.'"

"Actually, that doesn't even make any sense."

"Of course it does, Junior," Sheldon said, shutting the composition notebook that was on his lap. "Deflection is a very common deception technique used by individuals who seek to draw attention away from the reality of a situation in order to give another impression entirely. In physics, this is referred to as the Coriolis effect, although in that case it largely refers to the deflection of moving objects in relation to—"

"Yeah, you still stink," George said, and turned the channel.

"I was watching that!" Sheldon protested.

"Who watches Jeopardy?" George said. "Nobody."

"I do," Sheldon insisted.

"Yeah, like I said," George replied. He finally settled on Baywatch.

"HELP ME LORD JESUS CHRIST!" came a cry from the back of the house. When Mary called on the Lord by his full name, it meant somebody was in big trouble, and since George, Sr. wasn't home, the next likely culprit was George, Jr.

"Look," George said, "let's get our story straight right now."

"We don't even know what the charges are," Sheldon said.

"Doesn't matter. Whatever she says happened—you did it." He flipped the channel back to Jeopardy.

Seconds later, Mary came sauntering out, her gate slow and her hands behind her back. Both boys turned around.

"I was just now cleaning you boys' room," Mary said, her voice cool and calm. Too calm.

"Thank you, Mom," Sheldon said. "That is very kind of you."

"Save the sweet talk till the end, Shelly."

He shut his mouth, tucking his head down.

"Now like I was saying, I was just now cleaning you boys' room and—while I was dusting, vacuuming, and stripping the sheets—it came to my mind to check under the mattresses."

George's face went as white as paper, and his heart could practically be heard beating from his chest.

"Shelly put 'em there," he said frantically, pointing to his brother. "Trust me; I didn't have nothing to do with it. I told him about them magazines, but he don't listen to me." Sheldon was about to point out the fact that George's protestations were, once again, all but an admission of guilt when Mary spoke.

"Junior, I am already aware that they are Shelly's," she said. George and Sheldon turned around, both stunned, but in different ways. George, more than anything else, looked relieved.

"I'm glad you see that, Mom. It's a shame, but—"

"Shut up, Junior," Mary said.

"Yes, ma'am," he said and turned back around.

"What did I do?" Sheldon said, baffled.

Mary pulled her hand from behind her back and held up three copies of The Big Bang Theory Magazine. Sheldon froze.

"I was thumbing through these fascinating journals," Mary said, beginning to thumb through them once again, "and stumbled upon this passage." She cleared her throat. "The belief that some fantastical being in the sky 'created' humans in the last 10,000 years is the rankest malarkey that has lingered with the feeble-minded and plagued humankind."

Sheldon looked at her, his eyes big as golf balls. "Those are George's," he said, then turned away, muttering. "That's a lie."

"So you want to add lying to your crimes?" she asked.

George spoke up. "If you need me to hold him down for a whooping—"

"Junior," she said, her temper rising, "you're on thin ice. I haven't even got to your magazines yet."

George froze with terror, breathing hard.

"Now, Shelly," she said. "I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that you don't seriously believe this and that you just got these magazines for the pictures and not for the articles."

George's face registered the irony.

Sheldon looked his mother dead in the eye. He started trembling, his lip start twitching. His hands felt clammy and he could feel beads of sweat forming on his brow.

"I'm waiting," she said.

"Peep," is all he said, and he ran to the front door like a bolt of lightning, slamming the door behind him.

"He'll be back," Mary said.

"What a dummy," George muttered with a chuckle.

"Speaking of dummies," Mary said, her arms crossed. "Your turn."

Pastor Evans sat across from George on the couch (that they only used for company). Mary stood nearby.

"So the carnal desire of sex is natural but the fulfillment of it this way—"

Just then the front door opened. All heads turned. Sheldon was standing there. Mary just looked down at her watch.

"It's 10:03, Shelly," she said. "So now, on top of everything else, you missed curfew. You really go all out when you mess up, don't you?"

"I considered running away forever," Sheldon said, his voice somewhere in the whistle register, "but then I realized that I had failed to pack my toothbrush… or anything at all. I'll just collect a few things and then I'll be on my way."

"You aren't going anywhere," Mary said. She walked over and grabbed his ear and yanked him over to the couch next to the pastor. "You're gonna sit there and let Pastor Evans get the demons out of you."

"I don't believe there are any demons in him," Pastor Evans said. "He's just experiencing something of a crisis of faith. It's common for persons of his age."

"I love the Lord," Missy said, suddenly wandering into the room, sucking on a popsicle.

"He ain't the only one you've been loving," Mary said. "If I were you, I'd quit while I was ahead."

Taking the hint, Missy left.

"Now, Sheldon," the pastor begin, his voice warm. "Why did you feel the need to run away from home?"

"Because if my mother finds out the truth about what I believe I think she might hog tie me and hang me from the butcher's hook out back in the shed."

"Your mother would never do that, now would you Mary?" the pastor said, turning to her.

She cleared her throat. "Depends on what he believes," she said.

"Mary," the pastor said, his voice growing grave.

"Of course not," she said, turning her head and rubbing her neck. "Of course not."

"See," the pastor said. "This is your home, your sanctuary, a safe place where you can be open and honest about your feelings."

"It's not my feelings," Sheldon said, suddenly flaring up. "It's the truth."

"What's the truth?" the pastor asked.

"Evolution," Sheldon said firmly. "God didn't make life, or even the Universe."

Mary charged Sheldon with her index finger. "You take that back, Shelly, or as God as my witness, I will—"

The Pastor hopped up, pulling her away. "If you can't get control of yourself, Mary, I will have to ask you to leave."

Mary took a deep breath, fighting to regain her composure. "No worries, Pastor," she said, collapsing into a chair on the opposite side of the room. She placed her hand on her chest. "Junior," she said. "Go bring me my chamomile tea." She turned to the pastor. "Chamomile is caffeine and nicotine free," she said, smiling.

"Why would tea have nicotine?" the pastor said.

"It wouldn't," she said. "I don't smoke. I quit, remember? Let that go years ago." She turned back to George, whispering. "Hurry with the tea." He took off.

"Now Sheldon, God has blessed you with a great mind, and that mind has brought you great opportunities and great pride to your community. But don't let that strength turn into to a weakness."

"That's preposterous," Sheldon said. "How could my mind ever be weak?"

"Whenever someone has a gift, there is a risk they could lose their humility."

"I'm humble," Sheldon said. "It's one of my most superlative qualities, if I do say so myself."

Mary rolled her eyes.

"That may be true," the pastor said, "but that same humility is what makes me believe in God. Instead of looking to myself and my fellow humans for all the answers, I look to Him."

"And I guess he talks back?" Sheldon said incredulously.

"You sure do," Mary muttered.

"He does, in a way," the pastor said. "When I see the might and majesty of the ocean, I see God's power. When I see the way it rains on the righteous on the evil alike, I see God's mercy. When I see a mother, with tears in her eyes, cradling her newborn child, I see God's love. I see him other ways, also, that are very personal and profound."

"The universe is not personal," Sheldon said. "The entire observable cosmos came from a series of impersonal, astounding events that unfolded in a way that can be systematically reconstructed through the quantitative and qualitative analysis of empirical evidence that does not require faith or belief of any kind. This is the very essence of science."

"Then how would you explain elements that are scientifically counterintuitive or have no scientific explanation at all, like art or the altruism of humanity?"

"I do not profess to have every answer, Pastor, but my choice of profession as a scientist attests to the fact that I plan on pursuing my investigation using the tenets of the Scientific Method—a proven methodology of academic acquisition." He turned up his nose. "Besides, Biology is gross."

"I guess this boils down to approach, then," the pastor said.

"I guess it does," Sheldon conceded reluctantly.

"Very well then," Pastor Evans said, rising. "Nice meeting with you, Sheldon." He held out his hand. Sheldon winced.

"I don't shake hands," he said.

"Of course, I'd forgotten." Pastor Evans picked up his Bible from the couch and headed for the door. "We hope to see you at the annual food drive."

"I plan to make an appearance," Sheldon said, rising as well and following behind. "I have some suggestions for this year that I think—"

"Now hold on one minute!" Mary screamed, rising to her feet. "You can't leave, Pastor."

"Why not?" he asked.

"Because that boy is just as headstrong as he was when you got here. I didn't bring you here to plan a canned food drive. I brought you here to knock some sense into Shelly."

"Mary," the pastor said. "My calling is to assist those who are seeking to commune with Christ, not to force myself on those who don't want it. Perhaps Sheldon will come back to the teachings of his youth, but regardless, God made us all free to think as we wish."

Mary glared at Sheldon, then at the Pastor. Both of their faces were calm.

"Well, that is just stupid," Mary said, and with a firm hand pushed the pastor out of the door and slammed it behind him.

"That was rude," Sheldon said.

"Now you've added sassing to the list. You're grounded for a month buddy, and since you're on Christmas break, you can't leave the house for anything, not work, not school, and not the comic book store. Are we clear?"

"What about church?"

"GO!" she yelled, pointing.

Sheldon ran off to his room.

Sheldon was deep in sleep when he suddenly awoke to the sight of two eyes looking over him. He starting yelling and flailing furiously, which in turn made the person that the eyes belonged to start flailing and screaming as well.

"Shelly!" his mother said, "What is wrong with you?"

"Wrong with me?" Sheldon yelled. "How else was I to respond to two eyes crouching over me in the middle of the night?"

"Shelly," George said from the top bunk. "If you feel anything dripping on you, that's lemonade."

Sheldon scrambled from the bed and stood up. Since returning from Germany, he was taller than his mom, and it was taking him a while to get used to it.

"I just got off the phone with the pastor," she explained. "I shouldn't have sent him off like that. I didn't even offer him any of my famous pumpkin pie. I felt just awful."

"Did he forgive you?"

"Of course he did," Mary said. "He's the pastor."

"Oh," Sheldon said, rubbing at his eye, and finally feeling his heart rate get back to normal. "That's nice." He was about to get back in bed, then thought about the "lemonade" and grabbed his pillow from the bed. It looked like he was going to spend a night on the floor.

"I want to apologize to you, too," she said.

"For believing in Creationism?"

"Of course not," she said, disgusted. "For yelling at you and making you feel like you couldn't be honest with me. The bond we share is very important to me and I would hate to break that, no matter what."

"Does this mean I'm your favorite child?" Sheldon said.

"No. I love all my children," Mary said.

"Can you make me a pumpkin pie?" he asked bashfully.

"Of course, baby."

"And can I get off punishment?"

"Nope," she answered. "You still sassed me, lied, and missed curfew. If anything I should add days." She smiled a little. "But you can go to church if you want."

Sheldon rolled his eyes. In his mind. He didn't want to press his luck.

"Now come over here and give your mama a hug," she said. Sheldon walked over and bent down to embrace his mom. "And just because you're taller than me," she said, "doesn't mean I won't put you over my knee and spank the fear of God into you if I see fit."

Sheldon smiled. "I love you, Mom," he said.

"I love you, too, baby."

"Can I get a hug too?" George called.

"Not until you get that 'lemonade' up," she said, opening the door. "I want those sheets clean, now." She shook her head. "I swear, it's like he was raised in a barn," she said, and walked off to her bedroom.


ENDNOTE: I ran this through the Lio machine, so it contains 25 percent more awesome-for FREE! Thanks for reading and leaving a review for the muses. They like that sort of thing.