Disclaimer: I own nothing of Lazy Town. But, as having been a small child enamered of older men this show is too good not to let my imagination play with it. A twenty year age difference sounds perfect to me. Besides, Sara will never get Grissom on CSI and Abby will never be paired with Gibbs on NCIS.

There is one tree left in the park, that will be explained in another story.

OONN WWIITTHH TTHHEE SSHHOOWW!

Stephanie was spending the summer with her Uncle Milford in Lazy Town. Normally, the weather was perfect to play outside. But, a heat wave had rolled in and the kids in Lazy Town weren't sure that they wanted to play in the heat.

The kids decided to stick with the routine that had developed over the summer and meet in the park during the afternoon to play. The sun was baking the Earth and all on it. The kids were exhausted, grumpy, and felt they were melting by the time they reached the park. Ziggy had brought saltwater taffy. He thought since it had water in the name it would keep him cool. Stephanie had brought a bottle of water to sip on. Trixie had a water mister with which she occasionally misted herself. Pixel had a miniature, high powered fan which his super watch controlled. Stingy had claimed the shade of the one remaining tree in the center of the park.

"It's mine!" Stingy yelled, collapsing on the ground and spreading out as much as his arms and legs could reach to keep the shade to himself. The the sun was just past midday, there wasn't much shade anyway.

Everyone else was so hot and tired they didn't even try to argue with him. They collapsed on the ground as close to the shade as they could get.

Stephanie really did want to play some games, but no one really wanted to run hard. They played games like Mother May I, and Red Light - Green Light. Even that little bit of exercise wore them out. Soon Stingy was back in the shade of the tree and everyone else clustered close to it, misting, fanning, and sipping. Except Ziggy.

Ziggy had eaten so much of the saltwater taffy, he was running mad through the park on a sugar high, and becoming dehydrated. For a while no one paid attention to him. But Stephanie became concerned and finally chased him down just as his sugar level crashed.

"Ziggy! What were thinking? All that sugar, and nothing to drink! You'll be lucky if you don't pass out! Here, sip some of my water!" Stephanie handed her bottle of water, which was still quite full, to Ziggy, while she tried to convince Stingy that Ziggy really needed some of the shade. Stingy still refused to share the tree. Stephanie was upset with Stingy. She turned back to Ziggy to see how he was doing. Ziggy was fine. Now that he had drained Stephanie's water bottle.

Stephanie's feelings were hurt. She now had no shade, no mister, no fan, and because of trying to help Ziggy, no water. After trying to get Stingy to share his shade with no luck, she was too tired to ask anyone else to share, and no one offered.

"I think I'll walk back home to Uncle Milford's. I'm thirsty. Maybe we can play this evening when it gets cooler?" Stephanie slowly asked.

She felt as if her tongue was made of molasses, thick and gooey. Talking was difficult. She was so upset she was trying to keep from crying.

"Maybe, " the others replied. Stephanie didn't think they sounded too positive.

Stephanie started walking slowly to Uncle Milford's house. She hadn't gone far when her legs began to feel like rubber. She had been squinting most of the way from the park because the sun was so bright it hurt her eyes. She hunched over because her body felt as if she were carrying bricks on her back. She was almost to the house when she shivered.

"What's wrong with me? It's too hot outside for me to be cold." Stephanie took two more steps and sank slowly to the ground. "I can't walk any farther, I'm so tired. Maybe just a minute or two of rest. Then I'll go." Stephanie shivered again and sighed.

Meanwhile, back at the park. Ziggy was beginning to feel bad about draining Stephanie's water bottle. He was getting thirsty and there was no more water. He thought about how Stephanie must have felt chasing him down and how concerned she was about him. She had shared her water and then ended up with none. He suddenly stood up and announced he was sorry to be as selfish as Stingy. Stingy was surprised. More than anything by how bad he felt. He had acted mean to Stephanie when all she was doing was wanting to help Ziggy. Pixel and Trixie were ashamed, too. Neither of them had offered to help either Stephanie or Ziggy. And, while it was quiet without Stephanie there pushing to play games, if anything happened, she would be the first one to help.

"I'm going to go apologize to Stephanie. I'll bet I hurt her feelings. She left here kind of quiet and sad looking. I don't think it was just because of the heat," Ziggy announced. He started on his way to Uncle Milford's house.

"Wait for us!" Pixel and Trixie yelled.

Stingy thought about leaving his shade. Then he thought about Stephanie's sad smile when she left, and how she helped Ziggy. "Me too!" Stingy hollered and ran to catch up.

The kids had almost caught up to Stephanie. She was sitting on the ground. Her eyes had grown too heavy to keep open and she felt very odd. Just before she passed out the kids reached her. Trixie caught Stephanie's head as it was about to hit the concrete. The kids were scared and didn't know what to think. Stephanie was never sick! They stood looking at her trying to decide what to do.

Almost instantly, Sportacus bounded over to the kids. He looked down. "Stephanie!" Sportacus exclaimed. He looked up at the bright sun beating down on all of them, Stephanie's flushed skin, the kids looking scared, and Trixie holding Stephanie's head off the concrete. "Let's get you into some shade." Sportacus asked the kids to go to Uncle Milford's house and get a few things ready for Stephanie. Each of them had a job and were eager to repay Stephanie with kindness this time.

Sportacus was suprised and concerned when he touched Stephahie's skin. It was cool and clammy. He slid one arm under Stephanie's knees and the other arm he slid under her back. He smoothly lifted Stephanie into his arms and held her close so her head rested just a little below his shoulder. As he carried her to her Uncle Milford's house, the look on his face changed gradually from one of concern to a slight smile. In her unconciousness she was comforted by the sound of Sportacus' heartbeat. Stephanie placed a hand flat against his chest to feel the beat, and slowly her breating became synchronized with the beat of his heart.

By the time Sportacus and Stephanie arrived at Uncle Milford's house, Ziggy had a big glass of cool water ready for Stephanie to sip. Trixie had turned down the covers on Stephanie's bed. Stingy had closed the curtains to darken the room. Pixel had a damp, washcloth ready to wipe her face and arms to clean her up and cool her down, if need be.

Sportacus carried Stephanie into her room and gently laid her onto her bed. He slipped off her shoes and pulled the covers up around her.

Sportacus looked at the kids and the completed jobs. "Good job guys! Thank you for getting everything ready. Stephanie will need to finish resting today, but knowing her, she should be back to normal in a day or two. I'm sure she is happy to have such good friends who take care of her."

Ziggy, lip trembling, spoke up. "But, we didn't take care of her. She took care of me! And now look at what happened to her because she did!"

Sportacus looked at each of them in turn. "But, you are taking care of her now. And, you know what each of you needs to do to keep from this happening again, and to anyone else. Make sure you have plenty of water, for everyone. Plenty of shade, for everyone, like big hats and sunglasses. And, you play outside in the morning or later evening when it is not so hot. Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, which is usually the afternoon." Sportacus leaned in toward Ziggy. "And, don't eat so much candy." Ziggy nodded his head, yes, vigorously. Sportacus smiled at the kids and they smiled back.

"Stephanie, are you here?" Uncle Milford was calling from downstairs. The kids looked at Sportacus and he waved them out the door. Sportacus could hear the kids telling Uncle Milford about Stephanie's adventure.

Sportacus heard a sigh and turned from the door back to Stephanie. Stephanie was trying to open her eyes and speak, but her tongue still felt like molasses. Sportacus sat by her side on the bed. Stephanie smacked her lips together a few times. Sportacus smiled and reached for the glass of water Ziggy had left at her bedside. Sportacus put a hand behind Stephanie's head and shoulders to hold her up while he lifted the glass to her lips. She sipped some of the water. Sportacus put the glass back at the bedside, then put a cool hand on Stephanie's forehead. She was beginning to get a fever. He took the washcloth and gently wiped the grit and grime from her face, neck, and arms. Stephanie felt much better. She tried to tell Sportacus, but her tongue still wasn't cooperating. This time she sighed in frustration. She grabbed one of his hands and held on. He looked suprised, first down at the hand holding his, then at the face looking frustrated. He leaned in close to her.

"I'm so tired. Thank you, Sportacus for taking care of all of us, " Stephanie thickly mumbled.

But Sportacus understood. With a wide grin, he started to sit back up, but Stephanie pulled him back long enough for a quick thank you kiss on his cheek. Then Sportacus sat back while Stephanie's eyes flickered shut. Sportacus sat for some time thinking about how that thank you was so different than others. So lost in his thoughts, it didn't register they were still holding hands on top of the covers. Both of them having a moment of comfort until the next person needed saving.

The End