Fandom: The Big Bang Theory
Pairing: Sheldon Cooper / Leonard Hofstadter
Rating: T, to be sure.
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Angst
Disclaimer: I do not own The Big Bang Theory or the characters, script or anything else related to it.
A/N: The events of this story overlap with the episode three of the first season, The Fuzzy Boots Corollary. Excerpts from the script are also from the aforementioned episode. Furthermore, this is my first published fanfic here, so try to be nice. Comments and feedback are generously appreciated!

Part I

"Please don't tell me that your hopeless infatuation is devolving into pointless jealousy."
"No, I'm not jealous, I'm just a little concerned for her. I didn't like the look of the guy that she was with."
"Because he looked better than you?"
"Yeah. He was kinda…dreamy."

For Howard and Raj, who were hanging out in their apartment and trying to recover from the 97-hour online gaming session which Sheldon had effectively and abruptly brought to an end just a moment before, Leonard's words had merely gone in one ear and out of the other.

Sheldon sighed emphatically. Leonard's words sounded precisely the kind of unnecessary chitchat he would already expect his roommate's seemingly sluggish and inattentive mind-set to produce. But Sheldon himself knew precisely what Leonard's brain was working on when he was depicting Penny's alleged partner as dreamy.

Nevertheless, that was not the main contributory factor in Leonard's utterance upsetting Sheldon so thoroughly. Obviously, he knew that Leonard was not being serious; his roommate was not into the type of men Penny favoured for her primitive social intentions – intimidatingly tall, physically well-built and horrendously uneducated creatures who would not take interest in an elementary-level physics textbook even if it sneaked up on them and playfully tickled them in the groin (something he personally liked to execute on Leonard; he obviously liked it, so why wouldn't he?).

However, he was, in fact, the only person to whom Leonard had ever entrusted his most well-kept secret – his hidden fondness for men, which Leonard himself regarded as another shameful imperfection in his despicable existence. During all the years spent living under the same roof in accordance with the strict principles defined in magnificent Roommate Agreement, which Sheldon had carefully fashioned when Leonard was moving in, he had learnt to know his best friend in ways other people were not aware of.

And now Leonard was not only babbling on about the blonde next door, whose recent appearance in their dwelling place had only wreaked unnecessary emotional havoc, but also about her dreamy male companion as well! That was bothering him. The sudden and unexpected surge of emotional turmoil in the endearingly inattentive mind of his roommate, evoked by the recent arrival of Penny the actress-slash-waitress, made Sheldon feel very uncomfortable. Not only was it completely superfluous to more important matters at hand, but also intimidating.

He felt threatened. His ideal and well-crafted relationship with his closest friend was at stake here.

At night, when darkness had already fallen over 2311 Los Robles, Pasadena, Sheldon lay in his bed awake. Despite his strict and well-planned bedtime schedule, he was not able to fall sleep.

His eidetic memory kept tormenting him with vivid and persistent memories of all the nightly moments he had shared with Leonard in his room on the other side of the wall – lying together beneath the cobalt blue sheets of his bed, holding Leonard close in his arms while Leonard's tears fell down on his bare chest as he slowly and quietly cried himself to sleep. Maybe another woman had turned him down, perhaps another date with one had once again gone down in flames or he was possibly anguished of not having either a woman or a date – it didn't matter; he was there for him. Always.

The nearness of his naked body against his, the innocent look of his dark tear-shedding eyes, the warmth of his teardrops against his skin… Just the thought of losing those precious intimate moments sent shivers down his spine.

In spite of possessing an IQ of 187, Sheldon was still a human being, no matter how much he insisted on constantly objecting to it. Occasionally, he too longed for the comfort and intimacy of fundamental human interaction, and experiencing it with his closest friend was, unquestionably, the only reasonable option for him.

"I have noticed that Lesley Winkle recently started shaving her legs. Now, given that winter is coming one can only assume that she is signalling sexual availability."

The pleasant images of mind were shot down by a comment he had offered to Leonard earlier in the day. Sheldon berated himself for making such a petty remark of Leslie Winkle's suggestive behaviour, which he had only committed in order to take part in the conversation provoked by Howard and Raj – he hated it when he was about to be left out on a topic even if it was about interpreting human behaviour (which certainly was not among his strongest areas), especially with Howard and Raj. Nevertheless, that had obviously been a crucial mistake – he had only galvanised Leonard into asking Winkle-the-wannabe-physicist for a date in the future. "Why on Earth did I have to suggest him that? This might even lead to appalling consequences of its own."

"Well, at least now you can retrieve the black box from the twisted smouldering wreckage that was once your fantasy of dating her, and analyse the data so that you don't crash into geek mountain again."

He did not even believe in his own words anymore. At this rate, he would be the one to undergo a complete friendship meltdown with his beloved roommate and experience an exponentially strengthening wave of unbearable agony while evaluating the data of his own black box as the questionable basis for continuing his existence without the support of Leonard.

Suddenly, Sheldon became distracted as he heard quiet sobbing from the other side of the wall.