Author's Notes: O-kay, this is my attempt at something fluffy. I hope it works… :) In case you're wondering about my other fic, I'll have to say that I am re-thinking my plans for it. But I haven't given up on that one yet…
Plug-in: I'm shameless, I know, but I thought you might want to *hint, hint!* visit my website. It contains all of my fics, and some wallpapers. I've yet to include TLW things, but be sure that I will, in the future! It's at http://www.geocities.com/pipermae14/index.html
Disclaimer: Still don't own anything related to 'The Lost World'.
Caught in the Middle
George Challenger was enjoying a very rare, very quiet afternoon. He was in his lonesome that day; Veronica had gone to visit Assai in the Zanga village, Malone had gone out and followed her, and Roxton and Marguerite were out hunting for fresh raptor meat. There was always something to be treasured in days like this; days when he could think, analyze and create whilst his only companions were the hum of the active forest and, of course, his vigorous imagination.
"Ah." He said to himself as he took a small sip of his prized rum. He looked at his new invention critically, trying to figure out if he had made all the necessary adjustments on all corners and if he was correct in using all the materials that he utilized in creating it. Challenger cocked his head to one side. It was a small box that, he hoped, could generate enough cold air to make ice. It was his most difficult creation yet, having to content himself with using indigenous materials to create a contraption that could create and trap cold air in while keeping warm air out. He placed his glass of rum to the side and he stood up, his brows knitted together, very deep in thought.
He was reaching for his make-shift screwdriver when his illusion of a perfect afternoon was effectively ruined when he heard it. That darn annoying sound.
The elevator made its usual creaks as it made its ascent into the tree-house. And then…
"Why don't you just find yourself some river and drown yourself in it!"
Challenger sighed. From the high shrill of Marguerite's voice, he could tell that she and Roxton were back. And from the anger he detected from her sharp words, he didn't have to be the wise man that he is to figure out that the two were having one hell of an argument.
He stepped out of his room to find Marguerite sitting on one of the chairs by the table, her arms folded on her chest and her face darkened with an almost frightening amount of fury. Challenger looked around, trying to find where Roxton was at, when he heard…
"Damn it, Marguerite, don't you dare lock that elevator up there!"
Curious, Challenger went out to the balcony and looked down to find Roxton staring up at the tree-house, his eyes squinted against the sun and his face twisted with anger almost equaling the amount on Marguerite's face. But what concerned him the most was the ragged situation the younger man was in. His blue shirt had holes in it, and both it and his pants had big streaks of mud on them. "Roxton!" He muttered in surprise. "What in God's name happened to you?"
"Challenger!" Roxton said, ignoring his question. "Can you please bring the elevator down? I am cold and exhausted and hungry and all I want to do is retire in my room for the rest of the day… and that woman was too kind to ruin all my plans for me!"
"Well, of course, of course." Challenger muttered. He turned around and almost yelled in surprise when he found Marguerite standing stonily behind him. "No, he will not!" she said loudly. Though she was looking at Challenger with venom in her eyes, apparently she was talking to the man who stood below their home.
And apparently, that man heard her words. "What do you mean, he will not?" He demanded. He talked so loudly that he might as well be shouting to anyone who listened to him. "Of course he will! Challenger!"
Marguerite went out of Challenger's path and stood on the balcony, her hands gripping the railing until her knuckles were white. She stared down at the poor Lord with what could be considered as contempt. "Oh, don't you dare bring Challenger in this!" she shouted back. "This is between you and me, and when I say you will stay down there and sleep with your kin then so be it!"
"My kin?! What the hell do you mean by that?"
"What's the matter, dear Lord Roxton? Did you fail your ABC's that badly that you don't know the meaning of the word?"
"Damn it, woman!" Roxton swore. "Bring that elevator down here at once! Or else I'll—"
"Or else what?" Marguerite taunted. "I'm not one of your servants who have nothing better to do but wait for your every command! I will not bring that blasted elevator down there even if this tree-house was on fire!"
Challenger brought his hand on his forehead and rubbed his temples. He was beginning to have a migraine from having to listen to this two berate at each other.
"Don't make me climb this tree to get you, Marguerite!"
"Oh, by all means, climb this tree, Lord John Roxton!" Marguerite said with a heavy dose of sarcasm. "I've been meaning to see a monkey like you do that all my life! I'll be eternally grateful if you do!"
Roxton stomped his foot down on the ground. "Bloody hell! You are the most annoying person on this plateau! I will count to three and by then I would want to have the elevator by my side! I'm not joking, Marguerite! ONE, TWO—"
"Count even to one million for all I care! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!"
"You disgusting little—"
"All right, STOP THIS, AT ONCE!"
Marguerite and Roxton stopped their ranting at the sound and sheer intensity of Challenger's voice. Marguerite even jumped in surprise when he suddenly spoke. The usually calm and composed scientist was now red with rage. "You two are just impossible, impossible I dare say!" He said. Challenger fixed Marguerite a deadly stare that the woman just had to turn away. "Now you, Marguerite, will get that thing down there this instant!"
Marguerite looked at him pleadingly. "But Challenger—"
"But nothing!" The old scientist barked.
Marguerite bit her lip and then did as she was told.
Roxton almost shouted with glee from his position below. He heard how Challenger had easily stopped Marguerite's plans of leaving him there. "Thanks, Challenger!" He shouted. "I owe you—"
But Challenger wasn't quite finished yet. He stormed towards the balcony to glare down at him. "And you—" he said. "You will come up here and explain to me what this is all about, do you hear?"
Roxton frowned. "But Challenger—"
"But nothing!" The old scientist barked. And then he disappeared from Roxton's view.
Roxton heard the elevator make its almost unwilling descent to where he was at. He reluctantly dragged his feet and stepped inside, already fearing what the scientist would do to him once he got inside the tree-house.
He found Marguerite waiting for him. "This is all your fault!" She whispered fiercely. "If you hadn't—"
"My fault?!" Roxton said, disbelievingly. "If you hadn't—"
"SILENCE!" Challenger shouted at them. This time, both Marguerite and Roxton jumped at his voice. They turned around to find him seated by the table, his face angered beyond words. "Now explain to me what in bloody hell this argument is all about."
Roxton and Marguerite both went to him, and he 'accidentally' nudged her by the shoulder. "Did you see that, George?!" Marguerite cried. "This man just—"
She was immediately silenced when Challenger focused his attention on her.
"Now," Challenger said with an almost eerie calm, "explain yourselves."
Marguerite looked at Roxton and Roxton looked at Marguerite.
Nobody spoke for the entire duration of a full minute.
"I want an explanation and I want it NOW!" Challenger said loudly.
Roxton sighed and then began talking. "Well, we were out hunting for raptor's meat—"
"—without my consent, of course." Marguerite muttered to herself.
"Ahem. I believe it is my turn to speak?"
Marguerite made a gesture with her hand. "By all means."
"Anyway, we were out hunting for a raptor when suddenly this T-rex appeared out of nowhere. It began to advance towards us, and so I did the most logical thing to do: create a diversion." Roxton glanced at Marguerite to find her gaze on anything but him. "So I grabbed one of her precious mineral rocks—"
"—which I had risked a Triceratops's fury just to get my hands on it—"
"—and I hurled it over to the T-rex's head, just to the other side. Apparently, the gleam of that rock caught his attention, and he ran towards it. When the dinosaur was gone we went out and decided that it was time to call it a day and we went home."
Challenger pointed at Roxton's situation. "So where did that came from?" he asked, indicating the mud streaks on the younger man.
This time it was Marguerite who spoke. "That ruby is worth thousands in London," she began. "So I asked John—"
"—more like demanded to me." Roxton muttered to himself.
Marguerite rolled her eyes. "So I asked John if he could find it, since he was so kind to lose it."
"Marguerite, I was trying to save our lives!" Roxton reasoned out. "If it weren't for me we'll both be tumbling inside that T-rex's insides right now!"
She deliberately ignored him. "After looking for it, we finally found my precious ruby." Marguerite continued. "But it was inside a mud pit. So, again, I asked John—"
"Pushed, Marguerite, the word is pushed!" Roxton turned disbelieving eyes on Challenger. "She pushed me down the mud pit so that I could get her her jewel!"
"I did not!" She defended herself. "You fell in yourself!"
"Fell?!" Roxton exploded. "That's it. That's the last time I'm going to save your as—"
"Whoever told you that I need saving?! I could take care of myself very well on my own!" Marguerite shouted.
Finally forgetting that Challenger was there, the two of them went on their separate ways and marched straight to their rooms, and Challenger distinctly heard their doors slam shut after a few seconds.
There were curses, and then… there was silence.
Challenger sighed in defeat.
Then the elevator came up and in came a very infuriated Veronica. "I am so not talking to you, NED MALONE!" she shrieked.
"VERONICA!" That cry came from below the tree-house, "we need to talk! Get that bloody elevator down here this minute!"
"Oh, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!" Challenger yelled, causing Veronica to jump in surprise. "Don't you FOUR have anything better to do than fight?!" He muttered.
Then he walked towards his own room and slammed it shut.