And if you're curious, this one was inspired by my own day so far. I'm not over-stating the weather situation in the least! It's too freakin' hot! ::wipes the sweat off her forehead::
A "Life at the Lair" Story
The day had been too hot to do much of anything. All anyone had the energy for was to lay around the Lair, thankful its underground properties kept it a fairly even temperature. One that was still too hot to be comfortable, granted, but better than the baking oven it had become outside.
"We need to get some air conditioning down here," Jack (or was it MacGyver?) commented, at the height of the afternoon heatwave.
Card-carrying desert-dweller, Daniel Jackson tore an eye away from his book to look pityingly down upon them. He watched as O'Neill (Mac?) peeled himself free of his leather chair -- thoughtfully given to him in deference to his supposedly bad knees -- to fetch a beer, and raised his cup of ouzo in a toast.
"Wimps," he smirked, then ducked the resultant projectiles.
But that had been hours ago. As night finally fell, so too had the temperature. Feeling drained despite their lack of activity, the group nevertheless trooped outdoors to enjoy a few hours of blessed cool relief before retiring for the night.
"And how is everyone tonight?" Kitt asked jovially when he saw them, red scanner light tracking merrily in greeting.
The response was less than enthusiastic.
"Ah, shut up!"
"Think I'll do that instead," Vespurrs whimpered, staggering past the cars to lean bonelessly against a tree. She did position herself with a good view of the AIs, though, since ogling them would pretty much take up all the energy she had to spare.
"Well!" Kitt huffed, insulted. "Of all the ungrateful... Some of you could have joined us in our cabins, you know. Both Karr and I are fully equipped with temperature controls. We'd have been glad to turn on the air conditioning for you."
"Speak for yourself," Karr grumbled.
Michael went to flop onto his partner's hood, touched a single finger to the scorching-hot black paint, and abruptly changed his mind. "It was too hot to think, too hot to move... the thought never even crossed our minds," he pacified.
"Might be an idea, though," Nick suggested, his usually efficient brain emerging from the puddle of goo it had melted into. "Be worth it see if we can figure out if its possible for Kitt and Karr to somehow pump in cool air until Moon can get the central air system installed."
"Mmmgah," Moon grunted, waving her hand in something that might have been confirmation or denial, but was probably just exhaustion. She stumbled over to the meadow beside the driveway and collapsed upon the grass. Several others soon joined her.
"Somebody should probably go unchain Tomy and Nutty," Shady prompted, sprawling beside Moon.
"And let the critters out to feed," Vin added, not opening his eyes.
"Mmmm..," they agreed. But nobody moved.
A minute passed.
"We could have been there and back by now," Angel noted, a hint of guilt tingeing his tone.
Spike snorted derisively. "Then you go do it, deadboy. I'm not movin' for nothin'."
Angel dragged himself to his feet. "Big surprise there," he muttered, managing to accidentally kick his Childe as he headed back into the Lair.
"Bite me," Spike said pleasantly, drifting off to sleep.
Unlike the rest of the Lair's residents and guests, you see, Nutty and Tomy -- as honoured slaves -- had been granted use of the few fans Moon had on hand. Their sole purpose at the Lair was to write and entertain its visitors. They couldn't very well do that if they were withered by the heat, could they? So they, the lucky bastards, stayed cool while everyone else cooked.
Oh, the sacrifices to be made in the name of good fic! ;P
Angel was back only moments later, leading the pair of hyper fic authors behind him. Vin had eventually bitten the bullet and gone to release the animals from the unfinished garage. It was only fair, since his horse, afterall, was one of its occupants. Panther and Wolf, the metaphysical spirit animals of the Sentinel and his Guide, had long since vanished to their preferred jungle habitat where they had the power to adapt the weather however they pleased.
No one had seen Pheral or her feline friend in a few days, though Nutty supposed the wild pair had gone hunting unsuspecting campers. Red Wolf, who'd popped over from Sydney via the transport rings in order to check out the Lair (only to find it too unbearably hot for her tastes and quickly retreat back home), expressed an interest in their activities and offered a few pointers.
Spike had listened attentively, nodding occasionally, and looked fascinated. Everyone had given him a wide berth for while afterwards.
(No one had noticed one of their number -- Jack? or was it MacGyver? who could tell, anyway?! -- was missing from the head count.)
"Hey, nice horse!" Tomy said, bypassing the lazy sods littering the meadow in favor of the magnificent black gelding trotting amiably about the field.
Peso, vain bastard that he was, of course recognized he was the focus of someone's attention and immediately began showing off. His tossed his mane, snorted, half-reared, then broke into a rolling canter that perfectly displayed his muscled shoulders, powerful hindquarters, smooth gait, and glossy coat.
Tomy was suitably impressed, and oohed and awwed accordingly. "Aren't you a pretty thing," she cooed, holding out a hand to beckon the horse over.
"I'd be careful iff'n I was you, ma'am," Vin cautioned. "Peso's a right ornery beast. He can be a bit testy with strangers."
"Or friends," Nick added, resisting the urge to rub a certain part of his anatomy in remembrance.
"Or anything, with or without a pulse," Karr sniped as well, recalling his own unfortunate encounters with the annoying equine.
"Care to make a wager about that?" Vin's teammate, Ezra Standish, inquired. His gambling-inclined senses were always on the look-out for a possible money-making venture.
Moon raised a hand in the air. "Five bucks on Tomy!"
"Ten!" called Shady. She didn't even bother to raise her head to look, her faith in her friend enough to make her confident.
"I'll see that bet," Nick said, a tiny smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.
Michael glanced between his friend and the horse, then studied Tomy's innocent expression. "Sorry, hun," he smiled guiltily, "but my money's on the horse."
Tomy quirked an eyebrow at him. "Traitor," she sniffed.
Kitt rolled forward a few inches, widening the distance between himself and his driver, showing his allegiance more keenly than if he'd spoken.
"Thank you, Kitt," Tomy approved, nodding gratefully. Vespurrs, too, threw in her support and suddenly everyone was calling out their bets for one side or another. Good-natured taunts and jeering soon followed, and the pack of once-weary people became slightly-more energized with the promise of competition coursing through their veins.
Peso watched the goings-on with a puzzled eye, ears twitching, but he stayed out in the center of the field.
Tomy ignored their antics, standing perfectly still with her arm out-stretched, leaving the decision to approach up to the horse. Peso circled the field once before his curiosity overcame him and he trotted closer to investigate. Tomy smiled smugly when he calmly let her stroke him along the neck, and down his thick white blaze.
"Well I'll be damned!" Vin whistled appreciatively, watching his stubborn mule turn into a big ol' puppy dog as he snuffled at Tomy's hair. Tomy laughed and tickled his soft fuzzy muzzle as he lipped her fingers.
The audience erupted into applause -- some cheering, some groaning, but all praising -- and Ezra distributed the winnings. Tomy collected her share with smile, and accepted the accolades as her due.
Fanning the bills in front of her face, Tomy waltzed over to a grumbling Michael. Peso followed placidly on her heels, oblivious to the source of everyone's amusement. "What do you have say for yourself now, Mr. Knight?" she grinned brightly.
Michael smiled, tipped his head in respect, and bowed gallantly as he passed her his portion of the bet. "Well done, my lady," he congratulated.
Tomy accepted his money, and a hug. "Thank you, Sir Mi," she giggled, and gracefully forgave him.
"Oh, bloody hell..." Spike scoffed in disgust, and stomped off into the darkness.
I think the next major project at the Lair ought to be the installation of a swimming pool -- or at least the discovery of an underground aquafer. :D