Disclaimer: I own the OC's- which include Trish- and I don't think much more than her. I own the plot too.

Author's Note: Happy Veteran's Day! :D And yes, this marks my return. Plus: This is set sometime before Sheldon deals with his fear of birds. And the mansion is neither of the ones from the games.

Winston knew that it was going to be an interesting day when, moments after buzzing in a taxicab full of American's that were not friends or relatives of Lady Lara Croft's coworkers, he opened the door to have a tall, beanpole of a man run by screaming, "There are birds out here!"

Three sheepish men overburdened with luggage followed him, all profusely apologizing.

"Sorry about that. He's got a fear of birds. And nets. And, evidently, pilots named Claus." The only bespectacled man told him, avoiding eye-contact.

Winston sighed. This could get worse than having Kurtis Trent running around screaming, "My freakin' eyebrows are on fire!" He thought to himself.

"Plus, he was forced to eat Indian food, then Thai." The man who wore too-tight pants told him.

Yes, it is going to be way worse. Like, "Zip's quit", worse.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper ran into the mansion with a frenzied cry, sprinted past a wrinkly butler whose brow met his nose from Sheldon's angle, and ran for a quickly-opening door.

"For the last time, Kurtis- she has piranhas in the swimming pool. There is no way you can host a romantic- wh- hey!" He didn't expect the two people to be on the other side- one a scowling, barefoot, brown-haired male who wore jeans that had seen better days and a men's tank top, the other a young woman who had a familiar Texas drawl and wore a black knit dress with sky-high heels- to be acting as a human wall.

The trio fell back, a strange tangle of limbs, curses in two languages- English and Greek- and a clatter of weapons, before Sheldon realized that he had really done it.

He had found proof that Lara Croft was most definitely not an Amazonian warrior, like Wonder Woman.

And that her boyfriend needed a breath mint.

"Oh dear Kirk," Howard groaned as the group listened to Sheldon collide with something very humanoid. "Either you guys have one of the most intelligent security systems in the world-"

At the butler's scowl, all three of them took a step back.

"-Or Sheldon just rudely introduced himself to several other members of the house- possibly Lara Croft herself." He muttered the last part to Raj, who nodded.

"Or he proved that she does keep aliens in her basement. Or all three." Raj added.

"Lady Croft does not keep aliens here." The butler announced. "And please, do come in."

"Oh… Thank you." Leonard said, entering the mansion first.

A chorus of clunks, thunks, and clangs sounded as their luggage hit the floor, all staring in awe at a nearby sword embedded in a stone.

"Oh my gosh, I think this is real." Howard said, stepping close to the "artifact". "You think it's the same one she showed off at Cambridge last year?"

"I- I don't think so. Look, it doesn't have that glowing green ability the other one had." Leonard said, leaning close to the sword.

"Maybe there's more than one Excalibur." Raj added, shrugging, but having the common sense to stay away from the sword. He wondered what it did when it felt threatened.

"Here, take a picture of me. I've got to show this to Bernadette when I get home." Howard said, handing Leonard his phone before gripping the sword and contorting his face to look as if he was struggling to pull the sword free.

"I wouldn't do that, if I were you."

Lara quirked her eyebrow as two of the three men in the entryway of her mansion yelped in fear, the skinny one pulling the phony Excalibur free while the third froze and stared at her as she appeared from a secret passageway nearby.

"That's not really any Excalibur, but it is a real sword." She warned the one holding the phony Excalibur.

Winston sighed and shut the door. "Lady Croft, these are three of your four guests. The fourth-"

"Do you know who I am?"

The fourth appeared, being dragged along by a cranky Kurtis Trent with a rumpled Trish Saes behind them, her arms laden with books.

"I am Dr. Sheldon Cooper. PhD-"

"I don't care if you're the guy who invented Swiss cheese- you ran into me and my friend and are an intruder." Kurtis said, marching past the other guys with a casual, "Hey honey," at Lara as Winston opened the door.

"No, don't!" The other three shouted as Sheldon began screaming uncontrollably, clinging to Kurtis like a child.

Kurtis' Caribbean-blue eyes opened so wide one would think he was wearing those glasses with fake eyes.

As the man sobbed into Kurtis' shoulder, which made Kurtis cringe, he signaled for Winston to shut the door.

"Well… This is awkward…" The man, who still held phony Excalibur, said.

"Why is he holding that? I thought you needed it to get sent to the lab to be tested to see if Genghis Khan truly did use it." Trish asked, breaking the awkward silence.

Everyone looked at Lara for verification. She sighed. "I sent it, and no, he did not use it."

"Aw…" Two of the men said. The third one snapped his fingers and looked downcast, but still said nothing.

"Blackbeard did."

That started a whole new round of picture taking. Even Kurtis' new friend/enemy joined in.

"So, let me go over this one more time." Howard said an hour later after the four got to inspect the reason they were there: The true Excalibur. They now got a chance to ask various questions. "You work with your boyfriend, a random guy who you first hired to help you steal something from your ex-mentor, the butler whose family has always worked for you family, your boyfriend- Who is a superhero- And a random Texan whose great aunt's home you used to live across from."

Lara, who was slumped behind a mahogany with a tumbler of brandy nearby, nodded. "You said boyfriend twice." She added.

"Plus there is her former assistant." Leonard added before another awkward silence filled the room.

"Yes, Alistair." Trish said from nearby where she worked on a thesis paper for her college work. "We've got pictures if you would like to see him."

They all stared at her before Howard shook his head. "No thank you. Why would we want to see him?"

Trish shrugged. "Lara once started an adventure with a trip to a nearby home and garden center where a partially-hollow flowerpot held the key to-" Lara's glare cut her off.

"To where?" Leonard asked though.

"…To the home and garden center's stockrooms." Trish said, avoiding eye contact and looking at her watch. "Oh look at the time I really must be going." She said, jumping to her feet. "I need to…" She stopped again as Lara glared at her. "…Refill my… Car's gas tank… For that… Yeah." She left, muttering about nosy rocket scientists.

"I resent that, you know. I am not a rocket scientist." Sheldon blurted out a second after the door closed. "Plus, you really should rethink having her as your assistant." He added, shaking his head. "She doesn't carry a train of thought all that well."

Leonard groaned as Lara quirked her eyebrow, yet again, and Kurtis added a mostly-grunted, "Yep!" from nearby.

"I resent all the secrecy here. You think Trish is a robot?" Howard muttered to Raj.

The Indian man shrugged, his terrified eyes on Lara.

"Has he taken a vow of silence or did he loose his ability to speak to the Tunsian Orbunda virus?" Lara asked, taking her booted feet off her desk.

All but Sheldon stared at her in confusion. "The Tunsian what now?" Howard asked her.

"Oh that's just a load of blarney that members of the W.H.O. tell adventurers before they go traveling to tiny specks of Islands off the Ivory Coast." Sheldon said. "In all actuality, a type of parasite in the water there is to blame for the loss of speech, not the famed the virus."

"…I'm gonna need more booze if I have to keep listening to this." Kurtis groaned from a nearby leather couch.

"How can you be so sure, Mr. Cooper, that the virus does not exist?" Lara asked him, leaning forward onto her desk. "I myself have suffered from the virus- so has Trish and Winston. It really is quite distressing, you know, to loose you ability to make sound completely. If left untreated, you may also loose your hearing and sight."

There was a comical moment when Raj covered his ears, Howard covered his eyes with a groan of frustration, and Leonard covered his mouth.

"Where's that bottle of Scotch Trish hides in here? She thinks I don't know about it, but I do, believe me." Kurtis said, climbing to his feet and wandering over to a stack of books. "One of these is a fake." He added before starting his search for the hidden, alleged, bottle of Scotch.

By the time night fell, Winston and Kurtis both had resorted to liquor as their means of escape from the craziness that had befallen the household.

Leonard and Howard had done the same thing. Raj, deciding it was best not to get drunk and possibly hit on Lara- With or without Kurtis around- Abstained from drink. And Sheldon was just Sheldon.

It was only the saving grace that was the artifact room that kept them all from having to hear a lengthy argument between Sheldon and Lara about Thor's Hammer, Helheim, and all that.

"What's this do?" Howard slurred as he slumped against the display case holding the meteorite fragments that had caused so much trouble with Sophia Leigh.

"Nothing, really, unless you resort to some pretty drastic measures." Zip, who had returned to the mansion from a day at the farmer's market- where Trish hid out too after escaping the mansion- said.

"Define… Drastic." Howard said, his eyes growing wide.

Raj nodded next to him, stopped, looked more terrified, and then whispered in his ear.

Howard sighed. "Man, Raj, you sound just like my mother!" He said, stomping his foot, the display case wobbling.

Kurtis and Zip both started for it, freezing when it didn't tip over, and then returned to neutral, arms-crossed, stances.

"It's always, 'Howahd!'" Howard broke into a voice mimicking his mother, Kurtis wincing and plugging one ear. "'Fix the radio! My show's gunna be on soon! Howahd! Clean your room. Howahd! Bring your sexy doctah friend over!' All the freaking time!"

"He behaves like that all the time or your mother?" Kurtis asked, trying to clarify Howard's confusing words.

"Hey, you," Howard stumbled over to him and poked him in the chest, "you… Tall… Handsome… Muscley-built man." Howard said, swaying. Kurtis raised his eyebrow as he continued. "…Leave my mother, and my friend, and my brother, out of this!" He hissed.

"You didn't mention your brother." Zip said.

"Oh didn't I now?" Howard yelled. "Ugh. I feel sick."

That line cause a whole new round of chaos as Howard attempted to vomit in the case holding the Iris.

Ending the world through booze was not a good idea.

The next four days were full of moments like that.

Sheldon stayed locked away in the mansion, running tests on various artifacts since Excalibur, he decided, was boring. When he wasn't running tests, he was pestering Kurtis about his abilities.

By the last day, Kurtis had actually convinced Sheldon that Kurtis could steal memories.

How that happened was anybody's guess.

Raj, after a strange evening with him getting drunk and playing Go Fish with Trish- which kept him laughing for hours since there was that rhyme- and attempting to use Lara's obstacle course, decided that the most adventurous thing he was going to try was cooking with Zip.

He actually was quite good at it, and could give Zip quite a few pointers on his cooking- particularly his homemade jellies.

Howard acted like a tourist and had a million pictures taken of him and practically all the artifacts in the manor.

Everyone was pretty sure he did that just to give Bernadette proof he wasn't cheating on her and his mother proof that he wasn't secretly still in town.

Leonard kept Penny apprised of, well, everything. Aside from that, he attempted to pick up random British women, visited a handful of museums, and had a rather relaxing time.

Until he spotted Raj's sister, Priya. Then he spent the rest of the trip brooding.

The fifth morning, after a hasty breakfast involving tacos and whatever else a hungover Kurtis could make, since Zip had locked himself in his room, the guys were escorted outside to a cab.

"We hope you enjoyed your stay," Trish chirped, acting surprisingly perky for someone who had spent the whole time lying, badly, about her every move. "Please, do come back and visit."

"Just… Give us some time to find some new artifacts… Some less dangerous ones… 'Kay?" Kurtis asked, his sunglasses nearly opaque.

"Of course." Leonard said, smiling.

There was an awkward silence again. The whole trip had been full of those too.

"Oh, yeah, I need to get one of these," Howard said, scrambling forward suddenly. He stopped in front of Trish and Kurtis, held up his phone, said, "Smile!" and took a picture of him with those two before looking at the phone.

Kurtis' eyes somehow blazed through his sunglasses, and in the background something demonic-looking pressed its nose to a window.

"Okay then, I think I've officially seen everything," he said, showing the picture to Raj as he scrambled into the cab.

"Thank you so much for letting us stay here… Sorry about the glass case for the Scion…." Leonard said, fidgeting nervously. "Sheldon didn't mean to break it-"

"Hah!" Came the barked retort from Raj.

"-I think." Leonard finished with. "Send the bill to our lab. They'll cover it."

The pair nodded, and after all the luggage was in the trunk, Trish shut the cab door.

"Bye!" Trish shouted, waving after them.

"You think they'll be back?" Kurtis asked her.

"Oh I'd count on it. They kept saying they needed to bring Leonard's ex-girlfriend Penny, Howard's fiancée Bernadette, and Sheldon's… Female friend, Amy Farrah Fowler, next time." Trish said.

"Huh." Kurtis said. "You think that Amy is Sheldon's girlfriend?"

"Doubt it."

"Man. That was one heck of a working vacation." Leonard said. "I don't think I've ever seen that many antiques in one place."

"You mean outside of your grandmother's house?" Raj asked him innocently.

"Yeah, after there." Leonard said. "Does anyone else feel we forgot something?"

They all were quiet for several moments. It was the driver who broke their line of thought.

"Perhaps you feel the loss of leaving." He suggested.

"Yeah, that's probably it." Raj agreed.

"No," Leonard said, starting to feel really nervous about what they might've left behind. "I think it was more than that."

Howard shrugged. "I'm sure they can mail it to us. Meanwhile, I was wrong about the alien charges." He said, showing Leonard the picture on his phone.

"What is that?" Leonard asked him.

"Gentlemen, we are looking at proof that Lady Lara Croft builds monsters in her basement." Howard said, dead serious.

Raj and Leonard exchanged looks, and then they shrugged.

"Yeah, I can see that being true." Leonard said wearily.

A night blacker than obsidian fell that night, heat lightning flashing every now and again, as Lara slept fitfully.

"No- No- No, I won't let you- The mice will rule the world…" Her muttered words continued as the door to her room opened silently.

A figure crept forward, the lightning flashes narrowly avoiding revealing who they were, until they stepped on a loose floorboard.

Lara screamed as she sat up, one hand slapping a button at the base of the light on her nightstand, the other throwing a paperweight at the figure, who she missed.

She stared at them, and they stared back.

"Sheldon? What the devil are you still doing here?" She asked him. "And what's wrong with your face?"

Sheldon's face, which was painted with various colors of war paint, blinked. "You need to label your jars of war paint with a warning that these don't come off with just soap and water."

Lara sighed, covered her face with her hand, and fell backwards.

Looks like Lara didn't build monsters in her basement.