My first FF on TBBT and also the first story published by me... I'm soo excited! :D I hope you'll enjoy reading it and you won't think that anyone is too much OOC! And I'm no native speaker but I hope there won't be too many mistakes :(

The Love Algorithm

.Knock. Knock. Knock.

"Penny?"

.Knock. Knock. Knock.

"Penny?"

.Knock. Knock. Knock.

"Penny?"

The young waitress sighed when she heard her neighbor knocking but she knew that simply ignoring him would not have any effect. She slowly walked towards the door to open it, only to have a reproachful Sheldon staring at her.

What's wrong?" He asked and Penny gave him a confused look.

"Excuse me?"

"Well, usually it takes you approx.8 seconds to open the door when someone is knocking at it. Today it was 13.5 seconds." The physicist explained so fast that Penny almost could not follow. She felt the urge to tell him that he was lucky she even opened it for him but after all these years she knew better than arguing with the eccentric person in front of her.

"I'm sorry, Sheldon!" she sighed. "How can I help you?"

"Well," Sheldon began hesitantly, "As you know, I have an IQ of 187… I'm a genius, I went to College when I was 11, and I've become a PhD when I was 16…" Penny coughed slightly. "… Nevertheless I have to admit that I'm lacking experience when it comes to social interactions. So I decided to- and I never thought that my superior self would have to say that once in a lifetime- ask you, Penny, for help."

Silence. Said blonde woman stared at the genius while two opposing feelings arose inside her. On the one hand, she felt superior to Sheldon for the first time, she had the triumph of him needing her help. One the other hand, she saw him plucking at his trousers. He was nervous. Very nervous in fact. The usually self-confident man had to have a serious problem.

"Come inside and take a seat, Sweetie" she said in a soft voice. "I promise I'll try my best." The scientist thanked her with a shy smile and sat down the chair he considered to be the optimal spot. "What is your question about?" Sheldon looked at her as if he was now regretting his visit. He remained silent until Penny asked him a second time.

"Recently I started to notice a change in my behavior and my feelings towards a certain person. Unlike in my normal interactions with this person, there is now a certain… nervousness. So I did my research on the internet and I might have found a plausible explanation for the conundrum."

Penny suppressed a squeak. She felt a smile blooming on her face and tried hard not to voice her thoughts but the situation was so… unexpected that she simply had to say it: "You are in love, Sheldon." Addressed man yanked his head up. "How did you know? It took me weeks to come to this conclusion!"

"Sweetie… This is what you came here for, isn't it? I know about these things better than you do! But what's more important: WHO IS IT?" the blond waitress asked, suddenly very excited about the whole conversation. Even though her neighbor was not always easy to deal with, he had become a dear friend to her whom she would not want to miss.

Sheldon gave her a disapproving look. He could not understand her excitement since his discovery had driven him somewhat depressed. "Do you really think, I'm going to tell you? - Of course not! Anyways, I'm here to have a final test. It is not as easy as one might think to find reasonable scientific reports on the feeling of love and the approximately 42 quizzes I took- mostly from magazines for teenage girls or immature women- were no help either." Penny chuckled at the thought of Sheldon reading the Teen Magazine. The scientist continued unwaveringly. "But I managed to prepare a list of symptoms and I want you to put them in the right order, starting with the most important one: nervousness when talking to the object of one's secret affections, enjoying the moments when being alone with or in the center of attention of said person, not wanting to change the partner but willingly accepting his faults, feeling the urge to touch or be touched by the one you love, having butterflies in.." "Sheldon?" Penny interrupted him softly. She had gotten a sneak peek on the list, seeing it was very long. The physicist obviously not only wanted to put the "symptoms" in the right order but afterwards grade them from 1 for "Less marked" to 5 "Intensively marked". "If you feel all those symptoms, no matter how strong they are- which can differ from time to time- you are definitely in love, Sweetie."

Sheldon sighed desperately. "… But love is only a chemical imbalance in the brain, Penny!"

He did not even convince himself by saying that and they both knew it. "There is nothing wrong with being in love, Sheldon! And think about the symptoms! Think about how happy you are when being with your love! It's not only chemistry, Sweetie, and you know it.. Why don't you allow yourself to be happy?" the blonde asked in a tone which was slightly sad. "But I was happy!" The scientist insisted. "Being in love is difficult. And I had a very good time living without it." "You'll have an even better one when being in a relationship with your love, Swee…!" "NO, I WON'T! THIS IS RIDICULOUS, PENNY! HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK MY LOVE WILL BE REQUITED! IT WON'T BE, SO JUST HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND AND THEN GET RID OF IT!"

Sheldon's unusual temper tantrum made his friend and neighbor cringe. Sheldon usually didn't even notice if someone was upset. He had never yelled at anyone before. The physicist breathed heavily, suddenly looking embarrassed and guilty. "I'm very sorry, Penny! Even I know it's impolite to ask you for help and then yell at you!" Then silence. It was the first time Penny saw Sheldon cry.

2 hours later when the scientist left the apartment and walked across the hallway, he looked more confident than anyone had ever seen him. While Penny had comforted him, the name of his secret love had slipped out. Penny had shrieked for about 2 minutes but then they developed an infallible strategy. The friendship algorithm had not really worked but Sheldon decided that Kripke did not count. The love algorithm was perfect and the physicist was willing to effectuate it. "Shelly, where have you been?" Leonard asked when he entered. "You've been absent for almost 3 hours, I was worried about you!" Sheldon smiled happily. Leonard cared for him. Step 1 of the plan was accomplished. "You'll find out soon!"

Although Sheldon considered all sorts of germs to be extremely disgusting and dangerous, he decided to take care of his roommate when Leonard caught a cold. Penny had told him that he needed to show his love how much he cared about him. So the scientist brewed tea, made chicken soup and sang "Soft Kitty" as often as it was necessary to make his roommate feel better. He had called Dr. Gablehouser and was allowed to stay at home and take care of Leonard. Sheldon decided to look after him because his friend showed a dangerous tendency to ignore his fever which had lead to a collapse. They spent a week full of video games, laughter and even after all this time, there were new character traits and hobbies to discover. Both of them were almost a little depressed when Leonard had recovered.

"Leonard?" Sheldon asked on their next ride to work. "Yes, Sheldon?" "How about skipping Halo Night this Wednesday? I carefully considered the options and I would rather prefer to spend some time with you in private!" The smaller scientist almost overlooked a red traffic light, causing Sheldon to give him a harangue. Leonard did not catch a single word of it. No Halo Night on Wednesday? Had his roommate probably also caught a cold and gotten fever? Sheldon never changed his habits. Never. He always insisted on them. "But Shelly, I thought Wednesday is always Halo Night?" Said scientist sighed, obviously annoyed, even though Leonard slightly noticed another emotion that he could not really define. "You always say that I should be more spontaneous! Now I do as you please and you are still complaining! Seriously, Leonard, I will not allow you to call me difficult ever again!"

It was Wednesday evening. For the first time in his life, Sheldon felt the urge to whistle happily but he reminded himself of the "No-Whistling-Clause" in the Roommate Agreement. If he broke it… Holy Spock, it would lead to pure anarchy! Leonard had finally agreed to go out instead of playing Halo with Howard and Raj. Their friends had both been what Sheldon assumed to be surprised. But since he never cared about other people's feelings or emotions in general, he simply ignored their questions and ended the calls. He was confronted with a more serious problem than two pushy, bored geeks having no other plans on a Wednesday night than playing Halo. What was he supposed to wear? A Green Lantern Shirt? A Flash Shirt? They both looked casual, not too overdressed, not too obvious. On the other hand, this was a very special night. Sheldon picked out his shirts, carefully putting them onto his bed, sorted by color, cut, overprint and how they were matching with his favorite trousers. After 1 hour, 36 minutes and 43 seconds the scientist finally decided to were a plain grey suit pants and a blue shirt which matched with the color of his eyes. It took him another 16 minutes and 59 seconds to critically check every aspect of his appearance. He took a deep breath, watching himself in the mirror. If he had not been so nervous, he might have shaken his head in disbelief. He was behaving so much unlike his usual controlled, disinterested, solitary self. Sheldon had always known that the chemical imbalance called 'love' made people do the most unreasonable things. But he never even considered this to happen to him and he never thought it would be this… The genius could not find a word to describe how he felt. He was so torn between happiness, fear, disbelief and longing. He knew that his behavior was foolish but- Spock damn it- this was the most important evening in his… "Sheldon? Are you ready to leave? We reserved a table for 9 p.m.!" Another deep breath. The sketch of the love algorithm appeared in front of his inner eye.

They spent a marvelous evening at a Thai restaurant, followed by a stop at the cinema to watch the new Batman movie. Sheldon lived through the week when Leonard had been ill and they had grown together in a way that the physicist never expected. He had already known his roommate for seven years but those seven days caused a never before seen change in their relationship. He sometimes caught himself not listening to Leonard's words but simply staring at his soft lips or admiring his appearance. Sheldon had never paid attention to anyone's clothes, not even to Leonard's but tonight his friend was so gorgeous that it sometimes took his breath away. Every time he laughed or accidentally touched his hand, the genius could feel his pulse quicken. Even a supersonic flight could not beat the acceleration he felt in his chest.

When they returned home, Leonard plunked down into his chair. He looked tired but his face showed a bright smile. "Thank you, Sheldon! Replacing Halo night by an activity two by two was certainly one of you best ideas! Have you noticed that even though we spent every evening of the week- ever since we were roommates- together, we never spent a night out without Raj and Howard? Tonight's atmosphere was so different from any other I ever felt during a night out." Said scientist was standing in the kitchen, smiling at the bottle of expensive red wine in his hand. He felt pure happiness growing in his heart, releasing a heat that expanded throughout his whole body. "I agree with your perception, Leonard. I also hold this evening in the highest regards." He heard Leonard chuckle. Sheldon took two wineglasses and went to the couch to sit down at his spot. The physicist was aware of his problems with responsible drinking but he knew that he needed a large amount of courage for the next and penultimate step of his love algorithm.

"Well, Leonard…" "Sheldon, what is the wine for?" "To drink, of course!" Sheldon sighed before starting a new attempt. "As I just said, I Already noticed a certain…" "Sheldon, I know, we're at home, but you also know that you shouldn't drink. You have a low tolerance for alcohol." "Don't worry, Leonard. What I was trying to say…" "Sheldon, seriously! Your hands are already trembling and…" The taller man put the bottle on the table, causing a noise that emphasized his anger. Leonard noticed it, quickly mumbled an apology and sipped at the wine he was given.

Sheldon felt his pulse quicken again when he looked right into Leonard's curious eyes. Penultimate Step: Confess your feelings. "What I was trying to say, Leonard, was that I also noticed a change in our relationship, mostly tracing back to the amount of time we spent together when you had caught a cold. I have to admit that I enjoyed these days and this evening in a way I have not experienced before. I keep them in my memory as some of the… happiest…moments in my whole lifetime." Leonard was stunned. Not only that Sheldon never revealed his thoughts about their friendship, the smaller scientist also heard his usually robotic, disinterested roommate talking about his feelings for the first time. Sheldon had already been happy when he found a rare comic book or when Leonard had given him the Batman cookie jar but this "happy "was different. The expression on his dialog partner's face told Leonard that this happiness came from the depth of Sheldon's heart.

"However," Sheldon continued after gulping down the glass of wine, "to me… this change is not only restricted to said period of time." Leonard suddenly sat up straight. What was his friend aiming at? "I have noticed another change in our interactions and after doing some research and asking Penny for help…" The smaller man was stunned for the second time this evening. Sheldon would never ask anyone for help. Leonard remembered his roommate's reaction to not knowing something and he had never seen Sheldon asking for help in seven years, simply because he was so convinced of his superiority. The idea of Sheldon asking PENNY for help, Penny- whom his roommate had always criticized for her educational level and behavior, was simply too unreal. Leonard was lost in thought but Sheldon's voice brought him back to reality. "… I came to a conclusion, Leonard." Sheldon took another deep breath. This was the moment, the key moment. "You know, I do not have much experience when it comes to feelings, Leonard, so to put it in a nutshell… After carefully studying the changes in our social interactions and my behavior, I have come to the conclusion that I… love you. I love you, Leonard."

Then it happened. Of all the possible reactions that Sheldon had included in his scenarios, the worst one occurred. Leonard laughed. Sheldon could proverbially feel his heart break into thousands of little, sharp pieces which cut him. He had silently apprehended that his feelings were a kind of ridiculous, but he had somehow managed to believe that his algorithm would work. Instead, he found himself sitting in front of Leonard with tear-dimmed eyes. He had never understood anyone's narrations about lovesickness. He could never see why people would lose their grip simply because their relationship had ended. He considered it to be exaggerated, an excuse for their failure. But now he knew better than that. Now he knew better.

Meanwhile, Leonard had calmed down. The whole scene was so totally absurd that he could not refrain from laughing. "You know, buddy! You really shouldn't drink anymore! We are both aware of the fact that you don't know anything about emotions, Shelly! You-in love- with me! BAZINGA! Assuming that you will remember your confession tomorrow morning, you will sure be more embarrassed than you were the morning after the Chancellor's Awarding…" Leonard stood up and grabbed the bottle to carry it off. "Come on, buddy! Let me take this! You should really go to bed now!" The smaller physicist placed a kiss on Sheldon's head, not seeing the tears in his friend's eyes. "Nevertheless, I'm glad you enjoyed the progress in our friendship as well! ... Goodnight, Shelly!" And with that, Leonard left to go to his bedroom.

When he heard his friend closing the bedroom door, Sheldon wept freely.

TBC? (Well, only if you want it :))