Title: The Android Investigation
Author: Deborah Peters
Pairings: Raj/Howard, Leonard/Penny, or Sheldon/Penny, depending on what goggles you've got on
Spoilers: Season 3
Note: Written for the March 15 Kink Meme, prompt below (to avoid spoilers).
Word count: 2637
Disclaimer: I don't own the Big Bang Theory, but I can play the theme song on guitar.
Summary: The gang plays "Never Have I Ever."
It was hot. Not run-of-the-mill, everyday-Southern-California isn't-this-nice hot. It was taking up the headlines, cranking up the air conditioners, and—evidently—causing a blackout hot.
Oddly enough, the only person not complaining about the oppressive heat was Sheldon.
"It's a simple matter of the mind to regulate one's own body temperature," he said, clicking away at his laptop in the candlelight. "As you can see, I've applied ice packs to my body's pressure points. I can remain comfortable like this for quite some time."
"Sheldon, how does that help us?" Leonard said, sweat causing his glasses to slip down his nose.
"It doesn't. But I certainly feel fine."
Penny, slumped in the armchair, gave up on fanning herself with her hand. She had decided some time ago that the second it got dark enough, she was going to take off her sweat-drenched tanktop, Howard's leering be damned. Howard, for his part, had already removed his dickie, and Raj was down one sweater vest.
Sheldon was still wearing two shirts that they could see.
"I'm bored," Howard said. "I thought you had a back-up generator?"
"We do," said Leonard, rolling his eyes, "but Sheldon has ruled that we are only in a Class C emergency."
Howard and Raj nodded, but Penny looked over to Leonard. "What does that mean?"
"It means he doesn't think we need the generator, and he won't tell me the combination on the lock."
"How come his laptop is still working?" Penny said, leaning over to her right to look over Sheldon's shoulder.
"I keep a stock of spare batteries," Sheldon said, not looking up from his screen. "And no, you may not use them. They are my spare batteries. And if you'd all paid proper attention to the In Case of a Blackout pamphlet I prepared for you when the heat first started to rise, you'd have all taken proper precautions to ensure that your electronics would remain accessible throughout the blackout." Penny opened her mouth, and Sheldon added, "And no, we will not be watching any movies on my laptop this evening. I need it to work."
Raj, who was seated at Sheldon's right, glanced at the screen. He turned to the right and whispered in Howard's ear. "Dude, are you playing FreeCell?" Howard repeated.
Sheldon closed his laptop. "No." His right eye twitched.
"Boys, boys," Penny said. "I happen to be an expert—"
"I doubt that," Sheldon interjected.
"—at things to do that don't require a computer, a television, or a Playstation." She grinned at them. "I suggest we play a little game."
Howard sat up. "I second the motion for strip poker."
"Ew." Penny shook her head. "No. I was thinking we could play…Never Have I Ever." She lifted both hands in front of her, fingers extended, and grinned at the boys encouragingly. Leonard smiled hesitantly and lifted his hands; Howard shot his up and leered at Penny, and Raj lifted his and nodded enthusiastically.
Sheldon didn't move.
"Come on, Sheldon," Penny said beseechingly. "It's no fun unless everybody plays."
"I'm not familiar with this game," Sheldon said. "If I offer my fingers, is it likely that they will be injured or wounded in some way?"
"What? No!" Penny looked horrified. "Why would you think that?"
"The last time I played a 'game' like this was with my older brother," Sheldon said. "A variation of the typical 'Mercy,' I believe it's called?"
"God, no, nothing like that," Penny said. "All it is, is we all take turns saying something we've never done. And if you have done it, then you put down a finger. The last person with fingers still up wins."
Sheldon nodded thoughtfully. "For the purpose of this game, do thumbs count as fingers?"
"All digits are involved," Leonard filled in.
"All right." Sheldon lifted and spread his ten long fingers.
Penny grinned. "Goody. I'll start. Something basic. Um." She bit her lower lip. "Aha. Never have I ever…had unprotected sex."
The boys all stared at each other expectantly. Nobody made a move. "Good," Penny said brightly. "Glad to see we're all practicing safe sex."
Leonard, who had been staring at Penny skeptically, slid toward the end of his chair. "Okay then. Never have I ever…had sex in a moving vehicle."
To Leonard's lack of surprise, Penny put down a finger. But then, so did Howard. Raj poked him in the side and made a "what gives?" gesture.
Howard pretended to be embarrassed. "Oh, it was on a cruise. I invited one of the waitresses up to my room for some coffee. Let's just say we never got to the coffee."
Raj leaned over and whispered in his ear. "Yes, it's true!" Howard snapped at him.
"Isn't anybody interested where mine was?" Penny asked.
"No," said Sheldon, at the same time Howard and Leonard said, "I am."
Penny grinned. "A hay ride."
"How down-homey," Sheldon said.
"Yee-haw," said Howard. "And now it's my turn. Never have I ever had sex with somebody watching."
Everyone watched Penny put down a finger. "As it turns out, we weren't the only people on that hay ride," she said in answer to the unspoken question.
They all turned to Raj, whose turn it was, when Howard jumped up and pointed a finger at him. "You did what?" he exclaimed.
Raj sheepishly held up just nine fingers. "Wow, go Raj!" Penny said, patting him on the knee.
"When did this happen?" Howard demanded. He sat down and Raj whispered into his ear. After a moment of silence, Howard said, "Oh. Sorry. I must have been drunk, because I didn't remember that at all."
"What the hell?" Leonard said, but Raj was already whispering something else into Howard's ear.
"Never had I ever had sex with the lights on," Howard repeated. Leonard and Penny each put down a finger.
"Really, Howard?" Penny said. "You've never had sex with the lights on?" She paused, taking in the sweat-soaked dickie on the floor. "Actually, I guess I should be less surprised."
"With play passing clockwise, I believe it is my turn," Sheldon said, smiling eerily over his ten extended fingers. "Never have I ever…eaten Thai food on a Saturday."
"What? No!" Penny shook her head. "You can't choose that."
"Why not?" Sheldon replied. "I never have."
"Sheldon, sweetie," Penny explained, "most people don't remember if they've ever had Thai food on a Saturday."
"I fail to see how that's my fault," Sheldon sniffed.
"That's not the point of the game," Leonard explained. "You're supposed to stick with sexy things. Or embarrassing things."
"Hopefully, a combination of the two," Howard added.
"Oh." Sheldon appeared to consider this. "Okay. Never have I ever…cried during coitus."
There was silence as every other person put down another finger. They all stared at each other.
"Let us never speak of this again," Howard said.
Penny nodded. "My turn." She looked around. She had only six fingers left, while Leonard and Raj were only two down each. "I can't believe I'm already losing," she said.
"I can," Sheldon said.
"Fine, then, smarty pants," Penny said. "Never have I ever given a speech about physics." She watched delightedly as Raj, Leonard, and Sheldon each put down a finger. "Hey!" she exclaimed, pointing at Howard. "Finger down, mister."
"As Sheldon is so often eager to point out, I have never given a physics lecture," he replied smugly.
Raj leaned across the coffee table to whisper in Leonard's ear. "Ooh, nice," Leonard said. "My turn. Never have I ever given an engineering lecture."
"Damn you," Howard said to Raj as he put down another finger. "Fine. Never have I ever had sex in complete silence."
Raj fumed, put down a finger, and then, to everyone's surprise, leaned over to Sheldon, who listened for a moment before repeating, "With my cousin? That's revolting."
Howard turned bright red and folded down a finger. Leonard snorted. "Looks like I'm winning," he said, waggling his seven fingers at his competitors.
"No, I am," Sheldon said. "Moreover, never have I ever engaged in coitus with a partner whose intention was international espionage." As Leonard folded down a finger, Sheldon smiled his Satisfied Sheldon Smile, and said, "There. Now you're all tied."
Penny, who was still staring open-mouthed at Howard, shook herself out of her horrified reverie. "Okay, then. Everybody is down four except…Sheldon." She smiled at him wickedly. "Okay. Never have I ever drunkenly serenaded a dining room full of people with songs from Fiddler on the Roof."
Sheldon scowled and put down a finger—but again, so did Raj. "When did that happen?" Penny asked him.
"Get a few grasshoppers in him and he does a mean 'Matchmaker,'" Howard replied.
"Wow." Leonard sat back in his chair. "Anyway, never have I ever been born in a K-Mart."
Sheldon put down a third finger, and Howard added, "Never have I ever sounded like a chipmunk on national radio."
Sheldon, whose face was entering "I'm going to blow you up with my mind" territory, nonetheless listened to Raj's submission. "Never have I ever been pantsed," Sheldon repeated, rolling his eyes and folding down another finger. Leonard good-naturedly put down a finger as well, and so did Howard.
"You don't regret missing out on an American education at all, do you?" he asked Raj flatly.
Sheldon frowned at his five remaining fingers. "This is hardly fair," he said.
"It's all within the rules, Sheldon," Penny said airily.
"Fine." Sheldon frowned, deep in thought. "Never have I ever engaged in physical intimacy with a member of the same quote-unquote 'sex.'"
Penny shrugged and put down a finger. And then Raj and Howard did, too. Penny's eyebrows practically disappeared into her hairline. "Okay, mine is from spin-the-bottle and making out with other drunk girls at bars," she said. "Do I even want to know about…?" Raj and Howard carefully avoided eye contact with her. "Oooookay," she said slowly. "Well. Never have I ever… gotten above a 1250 on the SAT." She smiled wickedly as all four boys put down a finger.
Leonard looked around the room. Penny had five fingers left; he and Sheldon each had four. Raj had three, and Howard was down to just two. "How does Penny have the lowest score?" he wondered aloud.
Penny rolled up her five remaining fingers into a fist. "Watch it, buddy," she said.
He gulped. "Right. Well. Never have I ever gotten a tattoo, um, below the belt." Penny sighed and folded down a finger—four left.
"Holy crap," Raj said suddenly, before he eeped and clapped his hand over his mouth.
"What?" Howard said. Raj pointed a shaking finger at Sheldon.
Who had only three fingers left.
"What is it?" he asked serenely.
Leonard scooted forward in his chair. "Sheldon, buddy," he said, "do you have something to tell us?"
Sheldon snorted. "The tattoo on my left buttock is hardly of interest."
"I think we beg to differ," Leonard said.
Sheldon rolled his eyes. "After my third, shall we say, childhood experiment gone awry, my mother had my blood type tattooed on my buttock, in the event that I should be hospitalized while rendered incoherent. It's a small 'B-.' That is all."
"Wow," said Penny. "And you said 'soup' was bad.'"
"What's wrong with b-minus?"
"For somebody who never got anything lower than an A-plus in his life?" Penny giggled. "Doesn't that just kill you?"
"It's not a grade," Sheldon protested. "I assure you, my left buttock merits at least an A-minus."
Raj clapped his hands over his eyes, and Howard shook his head rapidly as though trying to clear a mental etch-a-sketch.
"Okay, well, to satisfy my horrified curiosity," Howard said when he stilled, eyes remaining closed, "Never have I ever got a piercing below the belt."
He didn't have to open his eyes to know what Raj's sudden intake of breath meant. Sure enough; Sheldon was down to two fingers.
Raj leaned over, and Howard, wincing, repeated, "Never have I ever had a Prince Albert." They all breathed a sigh of relief when Sheldon's fingers stayed in position.
Penny leaned over. "Sheldon, sweetie," she said, "do you care to explain what you have pierced, um, below the belt?"
"No," Sheldon said calmly. "My turn. Never have I ever driven to work." He smiled as the other four each put down a finger.
Howard was now down to one finger, Sheldon and Raj each had two, and Penny and Leonard had three each. They eyed each other competitively.
"Never have I ever," Penny said, "gotten sick from eating cheesecake."
Even as he put down a finger, Leonard replied, "Never have I ever had my underwear strung up in public."
Penny put down a finger—and so did Raj. Howard stared at him. Raj leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "Not that kind of summer camp, I guess," Howard replied. Then he looked back and forth between Leonard and Penny, who still each had two fingers left, and said, "Never have I ever had sex with my neighbor."
Sheldon was the only one left with more than one finger. Raj tapped his chin carefully, and then leaned back to Howard, who happily repeated, "Never have I ever written a roommate agreement." Sheldon folded down a finger.
They all stared at each other over extended index fingers. "So," Sheldon intoned, "it is down to you, and it is down to me."
"Well, that's it," Penny said. "I guess Sheldon wins."
Sheldon frowned. "How exactly do I win?"
"We all just have one finger left, and it's your turn," she said. "And since there's something really obvious you can say to get us all out at once, I assume you'll do it."
Sheldon looked puzzled. "Penny, I think it would be rude to say I've never had an IQ below 180. Also, since I wasn't tested before the age of three, I cannot guarantee that to be true."
"No, Sheldon," she said kindly, "I mean you could just say you've never had sex."
Sheldon frowned again. "But I was under the impression we could only say things we've never done."
Penny blinked, open-mouthed. "You've what? With a human being?"
Sheldon suddenly smiled. "Oh, thank you for reminding me," he said. "Never have I ever been a secretly-replaced android version of myself." He looked around the room at the others' flabbergasted faces. "Well that's a relief," he said, sitting back happily.
Penny suddenly sat up, drumming her fingers together in ill-concealed glee. "Looks like it's my turn, boys," she gloated. Looking at each of them in turn, she smiled devilishly, and said, "Never have I ever had an unrequited crush."
Leonard instantly put his last finger down. Howard grinned self-deprecatingly and let his hands fall into his lap. Raj shrugged and followed suit. After another moment's hesitation, Sheldon folded his hands in his lap and looked at Penny. "Congratulations," he told her.
"Yay," she said, clearly forcing an enthusiasm. "I win."
The silence competed with the heat and rendered the room absolutely stifling. Leonard was looking askance at Howard and Raj, and Raj was trying not to look at the general direction of Sheldon's pants. "Well," Penny said at last, "I think I'll run to the corner and buy some popsicles. Sound good? Good." She snatched up her purse and scurried out the door.
"Well," said Leonard. "That was…fun."
"That was excruciating," Howard said. "Thanks for telling Penny about Jeannie, Raj."
"All's fair in love and war," Raj said. "What do you care, anyway? That was nothing compared to Sheldon's ass tattoo."
Howard shuddered. They all fell silent.
A drop of sweat rolled down Raj's nose.
"I was coitus-ing with you all about the piercing," Sheldon suddenly announced. "So really, I win." He smiled. "Bazinga."
"Cram it up your B-minus," Howard replied.
A/N: Written for the prompt: Penny cons the boys into a game of Never Have I Ever (You know, every time someone says something they have not done, anyone who has must put down a finger), and they all realize they didn't know each other quite as well as they thought.
Bonus Points for:
"Never have I ever gotten a tattoo or piercing below the belt." - Sheldon puts down a finger for each.
"Never have I ever had sex with someone watching." - Penny puts down a finger.
"Never have I ever cried during coitus." - Everyone except Sheldon puts down a finger.
Three points to Ravenclaw.