The sound of his own rapidly beating heart drummed loudly in Sheen's ears, blocking out all other noise. He vaguely remembered his destination amidst the torrent of thoughts spiraling inside of him.

Jimmy's house. I gotta get to Jimmy's house. Sheen continued to think as he raced against the sun setting over the quiet suburban neighborhood. Two blocks, a right turn, another three blocks, and a fence jump later, he collapsed on the welcome mat in front of Jimmy's backyard clubhouse, which doubled as the entrance to his underground laboratory.

He breathed the crisp evening air in large gulps to calm his heart rate back down to normal.


The black-haired boy clenched his fists involuntarily. He hated that word with a passion. Normal was ordinary. Normal was boring. Normal was eating an Atomic Choco Blast one bite at a time and actually using a spoon instead of your face!

Sheen took pride in always being himself, the very antithesis of normal. He liked being unique and one-of-a-kind almost as much as he liked Libby, which was definitely saying something. A part of him just wanted to go home, forget everything he'd heard, and stubbornly continue his "Sheen-ish" lifestyle, whatever that was.

That logical and self-preserving part was, of course, overruled by his feelings. There was no way he was leaving now, especially when there was a chance that he could make Libby happy and possibly even make her want to be his girlfriend. If anyone had the resources to help him, it was Jimmy.

"See ya later, Carl!" Jimmy's voice rang out as he walked around the side of his house headed for the lab.

Speak of the devil. Sheen thought. Better get this over with before I decide to chicken out...

He stood up quickly, brushing the dirt off the back of his jeans while waiting for his friend to notice him. Jimmy was slightly taken aback at seeing Sheen outside of his lab entrance, thinking he'd gone home after deciding not to go to the movies a few hours ago.

"Sheen? What's up?"

"Hey, Jimmy. Nothing much...just, y'know, wanted to see how you're doing." Sheen twisted his fingers absentmindedly and fixed his gaze at a point about six inches to the left of Jimmy's head.

The young genius sighed. It was almost funny that Sheen never realized he was one of the worst liars in town. "Sheen..."


"Stop it. What's wrong?"

Sheen closed his eyes. Man, he's good... he thought before taking a deep breath.

"Remember when we were leaving the Candy Bar and I accidentally dropped a quarter and said I'd catch up with you guys?"

Jimmy frowned slightly. "Yeah?"

"Well, it rolled under a booth and I had to crawl underneath to pick it up, but then I heard voices and—"



"You always hear voices." Jimmy smirked.

"No, not the voices in my head! I meant other voices!" said Sheen, crossing his arms over his chest indignantly.

"Okay, okay, continue."

"Anyway, the voices I heard turned out to be Cindy's and Libby's. They were talking"

"What were they talking about you for?"

Sheen sighed again. "Well, the general idea is that Libby seems to like me the same way I like her. Cindy asked her why, but Libby said she didn't know. Then she called me weird and said that she'd like me a lot better if I was normal for a change."

Jimmy's eyes widened a bit. "Ouch."

"Yeah...and that's where you come in." said Sheen resolutely.

"I don't understand."

"Can we go inside the lab or something? I'd rather not talk any more about this outside if that's okay."

"Sure, no problem." Jimmy said, looking around shiftily for a moment to ensure that no one was watching them. He stepped onto the welcome mat, plucked a hair from his head, and held it up to the DNA scanner built into the side panel of the clubhouse door.

"DNA match confirmed. Welcome, Jimmy Neutron..." VOX's computerized voice announced seconds later.

The doormat dropped out from beneath the two boys and they were dumped unceremoniously onto the laboratory floor after zooming feet-first down a long twisting chute. Luckily for them, Jimmy had remembered to leave the mattress under the entrance hole this time.

"Okay," said Jimmy after they had both dusted themselves off and sat down near VOX's main display screen. "What exactly did you mean by 'that's where you come in'?"

Sheen lowered his eyes and kicked at the leg of his chair. "I just...I don't know, I wanna make Libby happy. That means changing who I am, and that's why I came to you. You're the only one I know who's got the tools and smarts and techno-whatevers to change me."

"Let me get this straight. You want me to...alter your personality?" said Jimmy disbelievingly.

"I wouldn't have come if I didn't think you could do it, or if you weren't gonna help me. You'll do it, right, Jimmy?" Sheen implored, getting ready to use his patented puppy dog pout if necessary.

"I don't know about this, Sheen. I'm not exactly sure how long the effects will last, and who knows if it'll even work properly?"

"Come on, please?"

"You know the puppy dog pout only works on Libby, so don't even try it." Jimmy smirked.

Sheen snapped his fingers. "Darn, I thought I had you there."

"All right, Sheen, you know I'm your friend. I'll back you up no matter what, but do you really want to do this?" questioned Jimmy, still trying to talk him out of the whole thing.

Sheen's brow furrowed for a moment before he nodded. "Yeah."

Jimmy raised an eyebrow. "You really like her, don't you?"

The other boy stared back with a somber expression on his face. "More than Ultralord."

"Whoa." This was serious if Sheen was admitting that there was something (or someone) he liked even better than Ultralord himself. "Okay then. If you're absolutely sure, I need you to stand over there. I'll modify the Neutronic De-Dorkenator and bring it over." The young inventor pointed to an open area of the lab about ten feet away.

Sheen did as he was told, but an unnerving thought came to him after a few minutes of waiting. "Hey, it's not gonna hurt or anything, is it?"

Jimmy turned away from his adjustments and grinned wickedly. "Sheen, you're supposed to be a man! You can't take a little 20-minute session of writhing on the floor in unspeakable agony?"

Sheen's eyes widened in horror.

"Aw, calm down, I was just won't feel a thing, I promise." Jimmy snickered as he tinkered further with his creation.

"Don't do that! You know I'm sensitive to unspeakable agony!" Sheen pouted.

"All right, here we go," said Jimmy, walking over to where his friend stood. He carried what looked like a tuning fork with Christmas lights in his left hand.

"What the heck is that thing?"

"This is the Personality Alterna-tron 3000, which is basically a modified version of my Neutronic De-Dorkenator. All I have to do is program the personality traits you want into it, and bring it in close contact with your brain. I should probably expose the device to your beta brain waves too, since cognition is partially responsible for personality development. If all goes according to my calculations, the new traits will imprint themselves over your original traits, which are stored in your frontal lobes."

Sheen stared blankly at the boy genius. "Right. So…what the heck is that thing?"

Jimmy rolled his eyes and turned away to set the device. "Just stand there and look pretty, okay?"

"Oh, okay, cool." He missed the sarcasm in the other boy's voice.

Jimmy was about to initiate the modification when he remembered that Sheen never specifically said which personality traits he wanted. He put his device on pause mode, and turned back to see his strange friend striking a dramatic pose.

He's going to make a great runway model someday. Jimmy thought with a grin. "Pardon me, Mr. GQ, but which personality traits do you want?"

Sheen ignored the nickname and thought hard for a minute. Libby's words, though they still stung him, could actually be of some help now. Let's see. She said I was immature, hyper, and weird, so I guess I should become the opposites of those. Mature, calm, and normal. Man, this is so not me…but Libby's worth it, so I don't really have a choice. He set his jaw before meeting Jimmy's eyes again.


"I want to be mature, calm, and...normal." he stated firmly, although his right eye twitched on the word normal.

Jimmy's eyes grew wide at the boy's choice to become normal, but he programmed the necessary data into the Alterna-tron without another word and switched it into operational mode. "Are you ready?"

Sheen closed his dark eyes and drew a long, deep breath. "As I'll ever be…"

The young genius took that as a yes and proceeded to wave the Alterna-tron back and forth vertically across the top of Sheen's skull. After about a minute, Jimmy changed direction and dragged it slowly across Sheen's forehead, lightly touching each temple in turn. Jimmy finally switched off the gadget after another moment, set it down on a shelf, and turned back to look at his friend.

Sheen had been completely silent the entire time. He remained standing still with his eyes closed, prompting Jimmy to wonder why he hadn't opened them yet.

"Sheen? How are you feeling?"

No response. Jimmy grew concerned as the seconds ticked by. He shook Sheen's shoulder to make him snap out of his trance-like state. Much to his relief, the tall boy finally began to stir.

"Ugh..." he grunted, rubbing at his eyes.

"Jeez, Sheen, you scared me for a second there. Everything all right?" breathed Jimmy.


"Do you feel any different?"

Sheen stared at Jimmy unblinkingly, before he collapsed into an unconscious heap on the laboratory floor.


Much love to Tygrressatheart, my best buddy and beta reader. Reviews are always appreciated.