Disclaimers: Unfortunately, none of these characters belong to me. Just borrowing them- I'm making NO money off of this story, don't think you'd get any if you tried to sue me!
Antea Roberts july 2001

A "thank you" to Dotty, from helping me to revise this at least 3 times! It was much appreciated! :)

GROUNDHOG DAY

It was a dark, rainy day- the third in a row- and the members of the treehouse were getting annoyed with the rather cumbersome weather. Challenger had planned to explore another part of the plateau which they seemed to have overlooked- God knows how. Veronica wanted to pay a visit to the Zanga village and the others just wanted to get the hell out.

"I can't take one more bloody day of this." Marguerite complained to no one in particular as she made her way into the eating area.

"You and me both." Veronica grumbled as she shoved more cantaloupe into her mouth.

"Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the hammock this morning." she mumbled back.

One by one, each person made their way out, murmuring their "mornings". Suddenly, the rain came to a complete stop and the sun shined brightly.

"Oh, thank God! I'm getting out of here!" Marguerite exclaimed, grabbing her gun holster and quickly rushing to the elevator.

"Wait! Wait! I'm coming!" Malone blurted out, reaching for his rifle and running over to Marguerite. Everyone else did the same.

As soon as they reached the jungle floor, thick, heavy clouds quickly blanketed the sun and it started pouring again.

"Ohhhh!" Marguerite moaned, tilting her head to the skies and stomping her feet exasperatingly.

Out of nowhere, a bolt of lightening came screeching through the sky, hitting one of the posts of the electric fence and sending sparks flying into the air. Everyone flinched, but ducked and covered their heads. Next, there was silence. Not a chirp, squeal or howl from the surrounding jungle. Nothing. Everyone got up wearily, brushed themselves off, and looked around.

"Well, what was that?" Roxton questioned, helping Marguerite to her feet.

"Another wonderful day on this God forsaken plateau." she mumbled.

Roxton heard a branch crack. He motioned everyone to stay where they were. Carefully, he slipped his rifle off his shoulder and stood listening to the sounds of the jungle. Suddenly, five men jumped out of the bushes with their knives drawn. The explorers struggled to protect themselves, fighting the men that posed a threat to their lives. Soon, only two men were left. One lunged themselves at Roxton and the other at Marguerite. Roxton knocked his man out easily, and ran to help Marguerite, who was still struggling with the stranger. He had caught her by her hair, flung her to the ground, and positioned himself on top of her, knife held to the ready. Roxton ran to free her as the other's looked on with astonishment, but he was too late. The knife plunged into her struggling body and she lay limp. The man stood up with a look of triumph, only to have Challenger shoot him in the back. His body fell to the ground with a thud that shook the whole jungle. Roxton ran over to Marguerite and took her head in his lap.

"Marguerite. Marguerite speak to me. Don't go like this. Please." he whispered, stroking her head. Her eyes fluttered open.

"John. Is everyone all right?" she whispered.

"Yes, love. But you've suffered a major injury. We're going to get you to the treehouse. Don't move." tears started forming in his eyes as the others, who finally composed themselves after their battle, picked up their weapons and walked to the treehouse, which was only a few feet away. All wore dismal looks.

When Marguerite was bandaged up as well as Summerlee could manage, Roxton pulled a chair up alongside their bed and clutched his beloved's hand in his own. The other explorers waited outside of the doorway.

"The wound is very bad. Possibly fatal I'm afraid." Summerlee said, sitting himself at the dining room table. He took his glasses off, wiped his eyes, and placed them back on his face.

Challenger let out a deep, wrenching sigh "This is horrible. I can't believe this is happening. I feel like I'm going to wake up any second and this will all have been a dream." he motioned around with his hand and pulled up a chair.

"This is going to be the hardest on Roxton. They were going to get married once we all got back to London." Malone said, pacing back and forth.

~~~~~~~~~
An hour had passed and Marguerite was looking paler than ever. Roxton was also starting to look ashen, but with a green tinge. *This is all my fault. I could've helped her. I just stood there like a dumb- struck idiot. She's going to die and it's all my fault.* he thought to himself, as tears started rolling down his face. He gave Marguerite a kiss on her cheek and brushed a few tendrils of hair from her face. Then he got into bed beside her and gently wrapped his arms around her waist, to wait with her for the inevitable.

~~~~~~~~
"He's been in there a long time. Maybe we should check on the boy." Summerlee said, getting up from his chair.

"Guess you're right." Malone agreed, following behind him. The other's trailed in a straight line.

When they got into the room, Roxton was sitting in the chair beside the bed, his face in his hands, crying uncontrollably. The other's felt a little awkward- Roxton was always the strong, manly force in the expedition. He wore his heart on his sleeve, but never had he shown so much emotion. No one knew what to say.

He looked up at his friends with tear stained cheeks "She's gone." then he ran out of the room.

~~~~~~~~~~
It was a long night. After walking through the jungle for hours on end, letting the past events settle in, Roxton eventually returned to the treehouse and threw himself in bed. He kept tossing and turning- visions of Marguerite filled his head. She was dead and all he could do was blame himself. He would never recover from his loss. He did not look forward to the morning. It would only bring more pain.

Roxton woke up in a grumpy mood. It was raining again. He didn't have the energy to drag himself out of bed- not when he knew he would never see Marguerite's face again.

It was a dark, rainy day- the third in a row- and the members of the treehouse were getting annoyed with the rather cumbersome weather. Challenger had planned to explore another part of the plateau which they seemed to have overlooked- God knows how. Veronica wanted to pay a visit to the Zanga village and the others just wanted to get the hell out.

"I can't take one more bloody day of this." Marguerite complained to no one in particular as she made her way into the eating area.

"You and me both." Veronica grumbled as she shoved more cantaloupe into his mouth.

"Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the hammock this morning." she mumbled back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Roxton finally decided to make his way out into the common room. He'd grab something to eat and sit with Marguerite's body before the funeral that afternoon. He was in absolute shock to see Marguerite's grumpy face at the breakfast table. He ran over to her and threw his arms around her waist, his head resting on her shoulder.

"Why Lord Roxton! What are you doing? You seem to be the only one in great spirits this morning." she said glancing down at his odd display of emotions with a pleased smirk on her face.

"What are you talking about?! You were dead last night! Don't you remember?!" he declared, lifting his head from her shoulder and grasping her face with his hands.

"John! You must have had some sort of nightmare. I have NO clue what you're talking about." Marguerite said, taking his hands in her own. Suddenly, the rain stopped and the clouds swiftly fell away from the sun.

"Oh, thank God! I'm getting out of here!" Marguerite exclaimed, grabbing her gun holster and quickly rushing to the elevator.

"Wait! Wait! I'm coming!" Malone blurted out, reaching for his rifle and running over to Marguerite. Everyone else did the same.

Roxton's head was spinning. This all seemed so familiar. What was going on?

As soon as they reached the jungle floor, thick, heavy clouds quickly blanketed the sun and it started pouring again.

"Ohhhh!" Marguerite moaned, tilting her head to the skies and stomping her feet exasperatingly.

Out of nowhere, a bolt of lightening came screeching through the sky, hitting one of the posts of the electric fence and sending sparks flying into the air. Everyone flinched, but ducked and covered their heads. Then, there was silence. Not a chirp, squeal or howl from the surrounding jungle. Nothing. Everyone got up wearily, brushed themselves off, and looked around.

Finally, Roxton remembered why this all seemed so familiar-

"Wait! I see what's happening! We're going to be ambushed everyone- keep your guard up!" he said, looking around cautiously.

"John. What has gotten into you? First you believe I was dead, and now you're positive we're going to be ambushed." Marguerite stated giving him a confused stare.

"Please. Believe me." Roxton said just as five men jumped out of the bushes, each one holding a knife. It was a long and strenuous battle, but eventually there were only two men left. One went for Roxton and the other, after Challenger. The other's stared on in disbelief. Roxton knocked his man out easily, and hurried to help his colleague. *Please, please don't let this happen again* he kept repeating in his mind. The man had thrown Challenger on the ground and held a knife over his body. The motion was swift and exact. No one had time to react.

"NOOOOO!" Roxton screamed as Challenger's form lay limp on the ground. He ran over to his friend's side as Veronica quickly pulled out the knife from her boot and threw it into the savage's body. He fell to the ground as well.

*This is happening all over again! I was given a second chance and I blew it. I should have stopped them all from going outside but I was too stupid to figure it out* Roxton though as the group carried Challenger up to the treehouse.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Roxton sat by Challenger's bed with his head in his hands. Marguerite knocked softly on the open door and let herself in.

"John? How is he?" she whispered.

"He's dying. I promised Challenger that I'd follow him to hell and back- I didn't keep my word." he said in a daze.

"John. It's not your fault. If anything, it's everyone else's fault. We were the ones that stood there in bewilderment while that man attacked Challenger. We were the ones that could've stopped him." she said, taking his hand with her own.

"I promised to protect him just like I promised to protect William. Now they're both dead and it's all my fault." Marguerite kissed the top of Roxton's head and slowly left the room. The best thing she could do was to leave him alone for a little while.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Roxton slept just as badly as he did the night before. He was haunted with nightmares of Marguerite and Challenger's death- each one on his head. What would he find when he'd wake up the next morning? He finally fell asleep in the early hours of the morning, only after going through the horrible events of the day in his mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
When Roxton finally rolled out of bed that dreary morning, he realized what he had to do. He just hoped it wasn't too late.

It was a dark, rainy day- the third in a row- and the members of the treehouse were getting annoyed with the rather cumbersome weather. Challenger had planned to explore another part of the plateau which they seemed to have overlooked- God knows how. Veronica wanted to pay a visit to the Zanga village and the others just wanted to get the hell out.

"I can't take one more bloody day of this." Marguerite complained to no one in particular as she made her way into the eating area.

"You and me both." Veronica grumbled as she shoved more cantaloupe into her mouth.

"Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the hammock this morning." she mumbled back.

Roxton was too happy to see the thoroughly grouchy Challenger at the table and gave him a hearty smack on the back as he made his way into the common room. Challenger, not expecting this warm greeting, doubled over, his beard coming close to dunking itself in his drink.

"Well. Someone is in rather good spirits on such a rainy day." Challenger stated, checking his beard for juice.

Suddenly, the rain came to a complete stop and the sun shined brightly.

"Oh, thank God! I'm getting out of here!" Marguerite exclaimed, grabbing her gun holster and quickly rushing to the elevator.

"Wait! Wait! I'm coming!" Malone blurted out, reaching for his rifle and running over to Marguerite.

*Damn! What am I supposed to do this morning? I can't keep living my life as if it were yesterday. I need to figure out a plan and fast* Roxton thought as everyone rushed to the elevator.

"Wait! Stop Marguerite! Don't you dare touch that lever or I assure you, you will be VERY sorry." Roxton commanded, hurrying over to everyone and helping Marguerite out of the elevator.

"John. Are you Ok?" she asked, trying to loosen his grip from around her arm.

"I'm fine- I just mean- How do you know that the rain has stopped for good? As soon as we get out there, it could start pouring again." he said.

"Well, I think I'd like to take that chance." she replied, climbing back into the elevator. The others followed suit.

"Marguerite- Everyone. Please, listen to me. Look. I'll go down in the elevator by myself. If it doesn't start to rain after I'm down there for five minutes, you can all come down. All right?"

Seeing the absolute terror in his face and not understanding his motives, everyone complied and let Roxton make his way down to the jungle floor.

"Well, that was a little odd, wasn't it?" Marguerite said, her brow furrowed.

"I'll say. I wonder what's gotten into him?" Challenger stated. Suddenly, a flaming arrow was seen shooting up towards the treehouse, burying itself into the roof. More followed. The group tried in vain to extinguish the flames as Roxton's voice could be heard screaming for them to get down.

*Oh, God! God, no! Not like this! What the hell do I have to do?! How do I save them?!* Roxton thought as he saw the same five men from two days before shoot fire arrows into the sky, hitting their target- the treehouse. They ignored him- and though he tried to stop their deed, it was no use for he had forgotten his rifle. Roxton could hear the muffled screams of his friends- see their faces from the balcony- he called to them, shouting their name's

out. Then he turned and ran. Ran till his lungs felt like they'd burst and his legs were too tired to carry him. He couldn't bare to hear their cries.

Roxton found a cave about 5 miles from the treehouse and he collapsed inside the opening, not caring if he had mistakenly stumbled into the lair of a creature. At this point, he didn't care if he lived or died. Nothing mattered. Now they were all dead and he couldn't save them. It was too late.

Roxton woke up with a creak in his neck and lazily got himself up and out of the cave. Voices could be heard not too far away and he ran to some bushes, crouching low and cocking his rifle. The head of his beloved Marguerite suddenly appeared from out of the jungle, and he jumped up from the bushes, shouting his friends' names.

"OH! Marguerite! Challenger! Malone, Veronica, Summerlee! Oh, thank God!" he screamed as his friends looked at him with bewildered expressions.

"John! What ARE you doing out here? You were supposed to be home from hunting two days ago- we were worried and came looking for you. What's the matter?" Marguerite exclaimed as Roxton ran to her, encircled his arms about her waist, and spun her around and around.

"All right, all right! Put me down or you'll be seeing what we had for breakfast in a minute!" she said, trying to shake him off.

Roxton went around to the other members of the group- his friends- his family that he thought he had lost the previous day.

"Oh, you guys do not know what I went through! Oh no! What if it happens again? Well, I don't know how it could, we're not even at the treehouse- unless those savages torched it! Well, at least everyone's safe." he said, more to himself than anyone else, but they all looked at him like he was crazy.

"Maybe you should eat something and get some rest, John." Marguerite said, clutching his arm and leading him back to the treehouse.

"Yes, of course. But let me go on ahead. All right?" he answered, stroking Marguerite's cheek and looking around at everyone.

"Sure old boy. If it'll make you feel better." Challenger said, shrugging his shoulders. The other's followed in a straight line.

~~~~~~~~~~~
Roxton was happy to find the treehouse wasn't a pile of ashes. There were no savages, no storms- it was a beautiful day.

*Why did that day keep repeating? Was it trying to teach me a lesson?* Roxton questioned himself as they all made their way into the elevator. *All I felt was depression- losing these people that have become my family- we depend on each other. If I didn't hurt that one savage, he might've gone for Veronica. If Marguerite didn't listen to me about not going down to the jungle floor, maybe I would've been killed in that fire instead of her. We all played a part in saving each other's lives. I'm not the only one who saves lives around here. I have to remember that everyday.*

"John, are you all right?" Marguerite asked, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Yes, love, I'm fine." and for the first time in days, it was the truth.