The Livin' Isn't So Easy
Summary: Fill for the hc_bingo challenge, prompts "Hostile Climate" and "Motion Sickness". It's not one of Vic's better days.
Author's Note: …Loooongmire fiction. Yay. :D
Disclaimer: I don't own Longmire. It belongs to Craig Johnson and A&E. The title comes from (or rather, is a reference to) the song "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald.
Vic is having a damn awful day, and it's not even eleven o' clock yet.
The weathermen are goddamn liars, because there's no way it's ninety-five degrees out. It feels a lot more like one-hundred-five, and of course, the already crappy air conditioning in the truck is choosing today of all days to completely cut out on them. Maybe her memory's fuzzy, but she doesn't recall Philadelphia in July ever feeling this hot.
Walt, the model of composure and endurance that he is, does not seem to be bothered. Hell, from the looks of it, he's not even sweating that much. For a time, Vic had relaxed off of her theory that Walt is some kind of Martian with the ability to withstand any and all difficult conditions thrown at him (and that by association, Cady is some kind of mutant half-alien child), but now it's starting to look plausible again.
They're heading out to a house dangerously close to the edge of the reservation, because apparently Mr. and Mrs. Coalbrook have snapped from the heat and started pitching heavy, blunt objects at each other, leaving their seventeen year-old son and his three younger sisters a bit concerned for their parents' (and their own) safety.
"They have a habit of doing this?" Vic had inquired back at the station when neither Walt nor Branch seemed even remotely surprised by the call. Durant may be small, but Vic still has yet to learn all the names like they have.
"Let's just say they're a couple that doesn't believe in repressing their negative feelings for one another." Branch had said dryly.
"That's one way of putting it." Walt had mumbled with a soft snort.
Vic didn't eat breakfast, and this kind of weather on an empty stomach (not to mention she left her water bottle at the station) is a bad combination. The movement of the truck, particularly the parts where they run over potholes is the worst; Absaroka County apparently does not have adequate funding to fill a few damn holes in the road, and last winter was bad enough that quite a few have formed. Every jolt makes the truck bounce, and every bounce sends her stomach rolling sharply.
Vic always, always knows when she's absolutely going to throw up. She always knows when it's going to be that one time where she can't just push through it and wait until the nausea goes away. And damn it, right now feels like it's becoming one of those times. The last thing she wants is to puke in front of a co-worker, though Walt is admittedly the lesser of the three evils: The Ferg would get nervous and stuttery and talk too much, and Branch would worry a bit in the moment and then poke 'fun' at her later. At least with Walt, it could happen and they'd never speak of it again.
Do not throw up. Do not throw up. Wait until you get to the Coalbrook's, let Walt go on ahead, and then throw up in the bushes or something.
Vic wipes her forehead, and grimaces when her palm comes away wet. Her sleeves are rolled up, but every part of her body is still wet with sweat. This day sucks, and will probably continue to suck whether she pukes or not- Given her luck as it stands right now, Vic would not be surprised if, when they get to the Coalbrook home, she gets brained with a flying hammer.
You would think that the window being open would help, but you would be wrong: The humid wind has a funny way of blowing against her neck, and that somehow exacerbates the nausea. She wants to roll the window up, but that would make the heat beyond unbearable, and given the combination of problems Vic seriously thinks she might pass out.
It's too hot, and the car is bumping way too much way too quickly, and just the knowledge that soon they're going to have to get out and do something about the Coalbrooks, something that may potentially end with them needing to restrain and or handcuff someone, and oh crap, there's the feeling she was worried about-
Vic presses the back of her hand over her mouth. "Walt."
Walt glances at her, and then does a double-take. He must know a sick person when he sees one, because he doesn't even ask what's wrong before slowing down and pulling the truck over to the side of the road. Vic's already retching by the time she manages to shove the door open, and she almost take a tumble when she steps out and finds that the road is slightly elevated above the grass beside it.
I fucking hate Wyoming.
The last time she'd gotten sick like this, Vic had a nasty stomach virus that kept her out of work for a week. It almost feels like that, and she sincerely hopes it's just the heat and the truck. And outside the truck, standing still in the stagnant, humid air without fifty-five miles per hour's worth of (admittedly warm) wind, the heat is so much worse. By the time Vic loses the immediate urge to turn her stomach inside out again, she is positively drenched in sweat. And she thought it was bad before.
She takes a few seconds to stay where she is, trying to decide if it's safe to get back up or if that might trigger more nausea. She's feeling lightheaded, but not quite in danger of passing out- yet. Throwing up is bad enough; she really doesn't want to add a hospital trip as a cherry on top of her shit-sundae for the day.
Then Vic feels a hand on her back. "Do you need to go back to town?" True to form, Walt retains that quiet composure that initially took her some getting used to, but Vic does detect some concern. She shakes her head. "You certain about that?"
"Yeah." She's not at a hundred percent (Hell, she's not even sure she's hit fifty) but it's manageable. She'll live at least long enough to make sure Mr. and Mrs. Coalbrook don't kill each other. Vic slowly rises to her feet, and while her stomach is not entirely settled, it's manageable. She wobbles her way back over to the truck and climbs in, trying not to move any more than is absolutely necessary. Walt follows behind and shuts the door once she's inside.
Vic clutches the door handle on the chance that the motion of the truck will set her off again, but it doesn't. Walt seems to be driving a little more slowly now, as well- before he was going a bit over the speed-limit in the hopes of arriving at their destination as quickly as possible (the keywords here were 'kids' and 'domestic dispute').
"You certain you're all right?"
"I'll live." Vic grunts. She glances into the rearview and does a double-take when she sees just how bad she looks (almost as bad as she feels). The Coalbrooks had better be cooperative; else she might be inclined to do something she'll regret later.
"You were feeling sick before?" Vic nods, shutting her eyes. "Why didn't you say something?"
"Would you?" She fires back. Walt doesn't say anything, so she's guessing the answer is 'No'. There's silence for a time before Walt speaks again.
"Don't do it again."
"I don't want you dying on me." She thinks he might be trying to be funny (Or Walt-Funny, anyway), but after a moment of examination she finds not a hint of humor in his tone. And while they haven't known each other for very long, Vic thinks that she has developed a pretty solid grasp on Walt's 'kidding' voice.
Hm. He must like her better than she thought he did.
"Well, unfortunately for you, I'll be sticking around a good, long time. I haven't yet begun to make your life hell." Vic remarks lightly.
"Sure you haven't." The concern is almost totally gone, and she mostly just hears a fine saturation of sarcasm. The brief tension caused by Walt's concern is gone, and the remainder of the trip to the Coalbrook household (all of seven minutes) passes in silence. Vic feels much better.
…Right up until they pull up into the driveway and hear glass smashing from inside the house.
"Sounds like Mr. and Mrs. Coalbrook's moods haven't improved." Walt mutters ruefully, and Vic sees him reaching for his pistol before he even has the door open. Vic's expression darkens as she hops from the truck and reaches for her own.
"Just another day in paradise."