A/N: Hello, dear people! It is I, Jusmine, again! This is actually a bit of a birthday present for myself, because I'm finally going to be 15 tomorrow! *bows for applause*
Right. Well. Here's another chapter of utter randomness for your enjoyment, kindly looked over by Nyxelestia, who also gave me many ideas for this. Dunno if she remembers doing so, but she did, bless her little heart. lol.
This one's for Mad Mogg, Arithilim, and Nyxelestia. Because they're all really awesome people. ^_^
I apologize for Eagle. He just escaped and... mutated. Sorry.
Disclaimer: I do not own Alex Rider or Anthony Horowitz. I'm fairly sure that Anthony Horowitz owns both himself and Alex. ^_^
The second that Alex walked into the cabin, he knew that something was wrong. Something was very wrong. He stopped in the doorway, unwilling to step into a war zone.
"Keep walking," Wolf growled from behind him, poking Alex in the back to make him walk forward.
Alex took quick, darting steps backwards and toward the right instead of forward. Only once he'd reached a safe distance did he chance looking back towards Wolf. Wolf gave him a strange look, shook his head, and then marched through the door.
Alex winced and closed his eyes, not wanting to see the death and destruction that he was sure was coming.
He waited, but he didn't hear any shrieks or explosions.
Finally, after the longest thirty seconds of his life, he dared to look up again.
He didn't see any fire or even any smoke, and the cabin was still standing. That had to be a good sign.
Alex looked behind him to see if Fox and Snake had been stupid enough to go inside or not. They hadn't. Both of them were standing behind him, giving him and each other quizzical looks.
"You look like you're expecting a mushroom cloud, Cub," Fox observed.
"I am," Alex said, warily stepping up to the door and poking his head around the door frame.
"Why?" Snake asked, raising an eyebrow.
Alex was looking around the room, but he didn't see Wolf. Finally, he looked down at his feet.
With a sharp exclamation, Alex leaped backwards. Wolf was lying on the floor, practically under Alex's feet, in a dead faint.
"What is it?" Fox asked curiously.
"I think it's safe," Alex smirked. "Come on in, but watch your feet."
He carefully stepped over Wolf and into the cabin.
The other two men exchanged glances, and then walked to the door with no small amount of trepidation.
They stopped dead at the door, both looking down at their unit's leader with twin expressions of awe and mirth on their faces.
"How did you do this, Cub?" Fox asked, grinning.
Alex shrugged. "I didn't. Eagle did."
"Eagle? How could Eagle do this?" Snake asked. "He's still back in the mess hall, stuffing his face."
"If you'd step over Wolf and come in, you'll see," Alex laughed.
"Will anything happen to us?" Snake asked practically.
"Oh, I don't think it will hit you quite as hard as it did Wolf," Alex answered a little too mysteriously for the others' taste.
The two men carefully stepped over Wolf into the cabin.
"Oh god," Fox moaned.
"That's… beyond disturbing," Snake proclaimed, looking around the room in disgust.
"I know," Alex laughed. He heard a low moan coming from the doorway. "Least it didn't make you two faint," he said loudly.
"I didn't faint!" Wolf said, leaping up rather violently.
Alex just laughed.
"You're enjoying this too much," Fox said. "What's in it for you?"
"Wolf fainting just made my day," Alex smirked.
Wolf growled and lunged at Alex, but the spy neatly sidestepped the soldier's advances.
"Now Wolf, if you don't play nice, you'll have to sit in the corner!"
"Why did Eagle do this?" Fox interrupted just as Wolf growled again.
"The question is," Snake said, "what is this?"
"Yeah, what is it?" Wolf asked.
"You fainted without even knowing what this is?" Alex asked, staring at the older man in disbelief.
"I didn't faint," Wolf growled.
"Yeah you did," Snake rolled his eyes. "Now shut up. Cub's going to tell us what this is."
"Your families never took you to the library when you were small, did they?" Alex asked. Wolf and Snake both shook their heads.
"Oh god," Fox said, horror written all over his face. "Story hour!"
"Exactly," Alex nodded. "Though where he got the pink pillows, I'll never know," he continued. He peered around at the room again, carefully taking note of the piles of cushions arranged in a circle with bowls that held trail rations, snacks, Alex supposed, and torches.
"Let me get this straight," Snake said. "He brought all this stuff in so that we can have a reenactment of last night?"
Wolf looked like he was going to faint again. "What're we going to do?" he whispered, fear written on his face.
"Run for the hills?" Alex suggested.
"Run for the hills," the other three agreed, nodding. They all turned and made a dash for the open door. Just when they got there, however, Eagle sauntered in, licking his fingers.
"Hey, guys!" he greeted exuberantly. "D'you like it?"
All four of the other soldiers and spies screamed.
"It's Bloody Mary!" Wolf shrieked.
"I think you need a mirror for there to be a Bloody Mary," Snake mused while Eagle replied with, "My name's Eagle! Not Mary!"
"Close enough," Wolf said, shrugging.
"Guess what?" Eagle shrieked suddenly, forgetting the whole name thing. "We don't have anymore exercises tonight! We can have a story right now! Ready, Fox?"
"No way," Fox said, shaking his head. "I am not telling the story again!"
"Cub?" Eagle asked hopefully, giving him puppy eyes.
"Sorry," Alex did his best to look remorseful. "Everybody knows that spies can't tell stories. It's against our religion."
"Oh," Eagle said. "Okay. Wolf?"
Alex couldn't believe that his excuse had actually worked, but he breathed a sigh of relief anyway. Wolf, on the other hand, wasn't having much luck. He was blustering his way through some excuse.
"Well, you see, I have a sore throat, and talking that much will aggravate it," Wolf tried, but Eagle stood there tapping his foot, not buying it. "My voice might give out part way through, and then you'd never hear the end of the story! You wouldn't want that to happen, would you?" Wolf finished triumphantly as Eagle's face fell.
"No, I guess not…" Eagle turned and dragged his feet mournfully over to Snake, who looked positively terrified.
"Snake…?" It was said with the perfect mixture of sadness, hopefulness, and threat. Snake caved immediately.
"Fine," he sighed, then immediately looked regretful.
"Oh, goody!" Eagle said, perking up immediately. He skipped over and plopped down on the biggest, pinkest cushion in the cabin. Then he looked up at the rest of them. "Well, what are you waiting for?!" he shrilled. "Sit down!"
Alex was of the opinion that Eagle's mental state was very unstable. Who knows what the man might do? Alex opted to move slowly over to a cushion, and sit down, keeping his eyes on Eagle the whole time. The squishing sounds around him told him that the others were following his lead.
Eagle beamed around the circle, his face falling slightly when he saw that the others had very carefully arranged themselves so that no one was sitting closer than two pillows to Eagle. Then he smiled again when his eyes fell on Snake.
Alex was sure that he heard poor Snake gulp.
"We're ready!" Eagle trilled, still staring at Snake.
"How do I start?" Snake whispered to Fox.
"Just start with 'once upon a time'," Fox replied, looking less than thrilled that he was being consulted. "Tell your own damn story."
"Well, fine!" Snake sniffed. "I will! Without any help from local celebrities!" He then plunged headfirst into his tale…
"Once upon a time, there was - Wait a second! What story am I supposed to be telling?" he looked around at the others for suggestions.
"Cinderella?" Alex suggested, shrugging. It was the only name that he could remember at the moment.
"No," Wolf shook his head. "Little Red Riding Hood."
No one voiced a complaint, so Snake shrugged and re-started his tale.
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Little Red Riding Hood, but everybody just called him Cub.
Cub and his family lived in a little cabin in the middle of the "Hundred Acre Woods".
"The 'Hundred Acre Woods' is 'Winnie the Pooh Bear', Snake," Fox interrupted patiently.
"Same difference," Snake rolled his eyes. "Are you going to let me tell the story or not?"
Now Cub was quite a mean wee lad and he was often rather cruel to his younger sister, whose name was "Little Blue Jeans".
It was a rather strange custom of their family to name the children after a color and an article of clothing. Cub was just glad that his parents favored riding hoods - who ever decided to call a cape a "hood"? - over something even more embarrassing, like panties or, even worse, brassieres. And, come to think of it, it was also a good thing that his parents preferred red over hot pink, or something equally embarrassing. If they hadn't, he would probably have been named "Hot Pink Lingerie". Cub would probably have preferred never being born over having a name like that. Thankfully, though, he was just named after an old lady's cape.
"You're seriously having too much fun with that name," Alex commented, his face clearly showing his disgust at the mental image that said name brought up. Snake just grinned and continued with his story.
"Besides, pink is awesome!" Eagle said happily.
Snake gave Eagle a strange look and said, "Moving on…"
So anyway, it was a cold, rainy morning, and Cub was pissed off that his father hadn't taken him hunting that morning like he had promised that he would. Apparently, Cub's favored gun, an automatic something or other that Cub could never remember the name of, left nothing of the squirrels or rabbits to eat. And, again apparently, the family needed meat to survive. Cub wasn't sure why, though. Wasn't chocolate cake enough for everyone to live on?
Regardless of the reasons behind it, Cub's father hadn't taken him hunting, so he had nothing to do but bully his poor, defenseless little sister. Now, Little Blue Jeans (she hadn't a nickname aside from just shortening her full name to "Little Blue") was an adorable little girl of about six, a full four years younger than Cub. Little Blue had bright blue eyes, which was actually the reason that she had been named "Blue". Though, of course, that almost went without saying. What other color would you name a kid after if they popped out with huge, blue eyes staring up at you?
The thing that Cub liked best about his little sister (or, really, the only thing that Cub liked about her) was that after six full years of exposure to Cub, she had a very high tolerance to pain. Sometimes it would take hours of Cub pinching and discreetly kicking her before she would squeal. Of course, then one of their parents would tell Cub to stop, effectively ruining his fun. Not that he would stop for long, but it was the principle of the thing.
As previously stated, it was a dreary day, and Cub had nothing better to do than torment his sister. So by now, he had been happily doing so for at least two and a half hours. Cub was actually somewhat impressed by Little Blue's stubborn and stoic silence. However impressed he might be, though, he too was stubborn. He had started out to annoy her, and by golly, he would make her squeal, even if it took the whole damn day!
Finally, finally, the blessed shriek of one who has had it up to here with an impossible older brother rang out. Cub grinned triumphantly even as his mother's feather duster stung across the back of his head.
"Little Red Riding Hood!" she shrieked even as said lad cringed at the use of his horrible full name.
"At least it isn't "Little Hot Pink Lingerie," he consoled himself as best he could while his dear sweet mummy went into quite the terrifyingly long and angry rant.
"I have had it up to here!" she continued shrieking, illustrating her point by waving around her feather duster. Her face was beginning to resemble a cooked lobster. Cub began worrying about her blood pressure, and what his father would do to him if she had a heart attack while she was yelling at him. It wasn't like it would have been Cub's fault, but his father was consistently unfair like that.
He tuned back into what his mum was saying just as she uttered the most dreadful words in his private dictionary. The private dictionary which was tucked into the deep recesses of his brain so that his mother wouldn't see it and wash his mind out with soap.
"Go to your grandmother's house!" was the dreaded order, given in a high-pitched squeal much like that of the kettle.
Cub gaped at his mother. She couldn't be serious! Cub's grandmother was always hugging him. Or trying to, at any rate. And she was always saying how proud she was of him. Now the pride thing wouldn't have been so bad, except for how she was always proud of his accomplishments in school, or some other thing that Cub had no interest in. It was never any of his finer moments, like the time that he had let all of the chickens out of their house when he knew that some foxes had been hanging around, making eyes at the chickens.
For some reason, Cub was proud of himself for letting the poor creatures - the foxes, that is - have an almost free meal. Obviously, he didn't give the chickens to them on their best china plates (that didn't actually exist), but it was still a hell of a lot easier for the foxes to get the chickens as they ran in panicked circles through the woods, as opposed to panicked circles in the impregnable shed.
Come to think of it, though, Cub's pride was actually probably due to the fact that he had managed to frame Little Blue as the culprit in the Great Chicken Escape.
Cub was in such shock at his dreadful punishment (his father's belt was so much less painful!) that he didn't hardly resist even as his mother shoved a basket that was nearly the same size as Cub himself, just a little bit bigger, and completely stuffed with food.
His dulled senses sent off alarms in his mind as his mother dragged him to the door and quite literally shoved him out into the blinding sun.
"What?" Fox interrupted. "It wasn't sunny when you started the story!"
"Of course it wasn't. It's night time!" Eagle answered for Snake, trying to be helpful. Alex had to remind himself that it was the thought that counted.
"In the story, Eagle!" Fox said impatiently, and then turned a questioning look towards Snake.
"It was not!" Snake defended himself.
"Yes, it was!"
Alex felt his head turning back and forth between the two of them. He felt like he was back at Wimbledon watching the matches.
Eventually, Fox came up with a new game plan, saying "Was not!" when it was his turn, leaving Snake to automatically say, "Was too!"
When Fox started rolling around on the floor, Snake just looked puzzled.
"You agreed with me!" Fox gasped.
"What are you, a preschooler?" Snake asked in a tone of deepest disgust. "It was not raining earlier!"
This, of course, prompted the argument to begin anew.
Finally, Alex decided to play peacemaker. "Stop!" he said firmly, stepping between the two combatants, who looked as if the verbal argument was about to become physical. "Just shut up, okay?" Alex said calmly.
"He started it!" Fox laid false blame.
"I did not!"
"Shut up!" Alex roared, a little louder and deeper than usual. He looked around in surprise to see that Wolf had shouted with him.
"Regardless of what happened earlier, it's not raining now! Just get over it already!"
Alex turned away to walk back to his pillow. Behind him, Snake him walk away, calculating carefully. When he was sure that neither Alex or Wolf would be able to see, he quickly stuck his tongue out at Fox.
Then, very satisfied with his stunningly childlike act, he smugly continued his story.
Cub tried to force his feet to obey him and just dig into the floor and refuse to move, but alas, they had turned against him, and walked him obediently out the door. Cub screamed at the two offending body parts, calling them traitors, turn coats, cowards, and anything else that he could think of. And yet the cowardly traitors propelled the very reluctant lad to his grandmother's house.
"Be careful!" his mother yelled after him, sounding concerned about his safety. It was quite ironic, as his mother was sending him to his melodramatic fate. After a moment of thought, Cub chalked the concern up to her wanting the food to get to the grandmother's house safely and intact. Sure enough, she added,
"Don't eat any of the food! Your grandmother is sick, and she needs all of it."
Cub flipped her off, carefully concealing the offending digit behind the mammoth bulk of the basket.
Now, some people may believe in the power of positive thinking. Cub wasn't one of those people. No, he was a great believer in the power of negative ranting. So he decided to indulge himself a little, and he began to mutter outrageously at anything and everything beneath the trees. Hell, even everything under the sun, in one those mythical places where there are no trees, only meadows as far as the eye - or eyes, whatever the case may be - can see.
The way Cub figured it, ranting was very good for the body, and good for the soul. For one thing, it gave him something to vent his feelings on the matter of his imminent death by hugs and useless praise. For another, it helped him hone his self-proclaimed masterful prowess in the fine art of cursing.
He prided himself - or had delusions of grandeur, take your pick - that he could put a sailor to shame. Not that sailors were real or anything. Cub wasn't a baby anymore, and he knew that the things in his non-fiction books were not real.
No, he knew that science was just a big joke, and it didn't bother him a bit. He knew that magic was what kept things like the television and phones running, despite whatever his teachers at that dreadful place (school) may say.
And, of course, most of his favorite fiction series, "The Adventures of Cub, Boy Spy Extraordinaire", written by -
Snake appeared to be thinking of a name.
"Anthony Horowitz," he decided on finally, speaking loudly enough to be heard over Alex's near-hysterical laughter on the over-glamorized title of the series.
"Who's Anthony Horowitz?" Fox asked, frowning. "The name sounds familiar."
"It should," Snake replied, casually adding, "He was that kid we bullied in school."
"Snake, we didn't go to school together," Fox pointed out patiently, but with much rolling of the eyes.
"Then you just have awesome mind powers, and you read my mind, so it sounds familiar," Snake replied flippantly, before he plunged back into telling his epic story.
Anyway, the books were awesome, and Cub was happy that the main character was named after him. That way, it was easier to insert himself in the main character slot, instead of… the main character.
Sometimes Cub confused even himself. When those moments came along, he just glossed right over them in his memory, so he frequently surprised himself when a self-confusing moment came along, because he couldn't remember any previous self-confusing moments.
Shaking his head vigorously, Cub tried to erase any thoughts of erasing thoughts, but he ended up confusing himself even further. Thankfully, though, the wind must have shifted, and he smelled some distracting smell, as delicious fumes wafted out of the basket, saving him from the dangerous circling of his mind.
Now he had a new problem, though. A very delicious-smelling one at that. And what was this problem? Why, trying to find out what exactly that aroma was wafting from, of course!
Cub twisted around, meaning to put his nose in the basket of food strapped to his back. He was quite dismayed when the basket moved with him, remaining hidden behind his head. For a moment there, Cub was convinced that he was delusional, and that he must have dropped the basket at some point, but then he decided that it was still there, because that sucker was heavy, and it was pulling on his shoulders rather violently. And, of course, that smell had to be coming from somewhere, because even Cub didn't have good enough of an imagination to imagine something that smelled that good.
So, after a long and arduous thought process, Cub deduced that the basket was indeed still strapped to his back, and that one more turn should do it.
He gave another little turn.
The basket appeared to be clinging to the back of his head. Cub thought out the situation in a rather violent way, his mental ears taking much abuse from his mental mouth. Finally, he decided that the only way to get to it would be to shake it free.
And so he began turning. At first, the turns were slow, but after a few moments, Cub's frustration and the delicious smells wafting out of the offending basket were starting to get to him, and he started turning so fast that he was beginning to resemble a ballerina performing a pirouette.
Still, the basket clung to his back. Cub was beginning to wonder if his mother had accidentally put glue on it. Then he realized that if glue had indeed been applied, it would not have been accidental.
After several more scowling turns, he was forced to admit defeat. Perhaps there was some intentionally applied glue on there. No, that wouldn't be strong enough. Duct Tape, perhaps?
Either way, it was Cub was quickly realizing that this whole get-the-basket-off mission was futile. And he was beginning to get tired. The stupid basket was way too heavy in his opinion.
He collapsed onto the ground, gasping. Or, at least he tried to collapse onto the ground. He tried to collapse onto his back, but that obviously didn't turn out to well, due to the abnormally large abomination on his back. He grunted in surprise when the basket dug into his back when he fell on it, and he quickly waved his legs around in the air, trying to get it off of his back.
This is ridiculous! he thought furiously to himself. I look like a freakin' turtle!
Cub finally managed to flip himself over onto his stomach, where he lay, gasping for air, with the basket still torturing him with its weight as it pushed him into the ground.
"Well isn't that an interesting spectacle," a deep voice drawled from the edge of the path. "Though I have to admit that the spinning thing was better than the turtle impersonation."
A shadow detached itself from the shade of the trees. What the shadow was, Cub didn't know exactly. He had a slight suspicion, though. Perhaps it was the mythical Pink Panther!
The shadow seemed to be waiting for Cub to say something. After a moment of Cub just staring at him, though, the shadow heaved a sigh. "Would you like to say something?" he asked pointedly.
"What if I can't talk?" Cub asked. Even if he wasn't sure what exactly the Shadow was, he certainly was not going to tarnish his reputation of King of the Smartasses!
The Shadow actually seemed to consider this for a moment, before he burst out laughing. Well, more like burst out guffawing. "What if you can't talk - " the Shadow gasped out. "That's a good one! I'll have to remember it!" The Shadow lifted one of its four paws off of the ground to wipe its streaming eyes while its back end collapsed into a sitting position.
Cub grinned slightly, glad to see that someone could appreciate his particular brand of humor. Then the boy made the drastic mistake of trying to stand up. Instead of actually making it up into a vertical position, he switched from lying on his stomach to lying on his back - a most uncomfortable position when one was being held prisoner by a basket warden.
Even through Cub's great discomfort, he was still curious as to what the Shadow actually was. "Are you the Pink Panther?" he burst out, suddenly, even as his arms and legs were doing their best to get him to stand up.
The Shadow was watching Cub's flailing with great amusement. "Now that I think about it, I think the turtle impersonation actually is better than the twisting routine," it commented thoughtfully. Then it seemed as though it had just processed what Cub had asked. "Wait - what?" it asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Are you the Pink Panther?" Cub repeated dutifully. By now he had worked up enough momentum from going side to side that the basket was rocking along with him.
The Shadow giggled. "Another good one!" it declared.
"No, I'm being serious!" Cub whined. Maybe this Shadow creature didn't understand his humor as well as he'd thought if he couldn't tell a smartass remark from a serious question.
The Shadow stopped giggling and stared at him. "Pink Panther?" it asked disdainfully. "Do I look pink to you?"
Cub stopped moving for a moment, then quickly began moving again as soon as he realized that he had stopped. "Touché," he gasped out.
"'Touché'?" the Shadow repeated, momentarily distracted. "What does that mean?"
Cub thought for a bit. "I have no idea," he said finally. Great. Now he was going to be wondering what it meant all freakin' day!
"Huh," the Shadow said thoughtfully. "Do I look pink to you?" he asked again, and Cub took a moment to remember that that had been what they were talking about.
"Touché," he gasped out again.
"What does 'touché' mean?" the Shadow asked.
"I don't - Didn't we already go over this?" Cub demanded.
"Did we?" the Shadow sounded surprised. "I don't recall."
"Well, I do! And we're not going to go over it all again. Now, are you the Pink Panther?"
"Do I look pink to you?"
Cub almost answered "Touché" again, but he forced himself not to. "Then what are you?" he asked instead.
"I am a wolf," the Shadow declared.
"Now that we've gotten that cleared up, would you help me up already?" Cub said impatiently.
"Help. Me. Up!" Cub ground out, frustrated.
"Just help me up, Shadow!"
"Shadow?" the Shadow - the wolf - repeated, somewhat taken aback.
"Yes, Shadow! That's your name, isn't it?"
"Not as far as I know," the wolf replied, frowning.
"Oh," Cub paused. "So what is your name?"
"Here we go again," Wolf moaned dismally.
"Now that's an original name for you," Cub scoffed. "Well then, help me up, Wolfy!"
"Wolf, not Wolfy," Wolf corrected.
"Do I look like I care?" Cub asked. The basket was seriously beginning to gouge into his back. He would probably have scars for the rest of his life!
"I don't know what you would look like if you did care," Wolf said, frowning. "So how would I know if you look like you care or not?"
Cub carefully counted to ten before he replied. "Just help me stand up, and then we'll figure it out. Okay?" Cub held up his hand in anticipation of Wolf actually being helpful and helping him up.
To Cub's great surprise, Wolf did actually help him up. He sauntered over, gripped Cub's sleeve in his mouth, and pulled the lad up. Quite the strong wolf in Cub's opinion. Not that he had ever seen a weak wolf, but Wolf was quite strong by any comparison.
After he had dragged Cub into a standing position, Wolf took on a very thoughtful expression.
"What are you?" he asked.
"A human, of course!" Cub replied, offended that Wolf hadn't already known that.
"Huh. Well, you certainly taste good," Wolf muttered quietly, obviously not meaning for Cub to hear him.
"What is it with you SAS people wanting to eat me?" Alex objected violently. "Wait! Never mind. I don't want to know."
"You sure?" Fox grinned at him.
Alex nodded vehemently, regretting that he had ever brought the subject up in the first place. "Continue, Snake!" he ordered before any of the others could actually tell him.
"Right," Cub looked faintly grossed out by Wolf's comment. "I have to go…" Cub said, walking off towards the House of Horrors, a.k.a.: Grandmother's house.
"What's your name?" Wolf asked suddenly, bounding up to walk alongside Cub.
"Cub," Cub replied hesitantly. He couldn't figure out why the wolf was following him. What was that his mother had always said about telling strangers his names? He couldn't remember.
"Where're you going?" Wolf continued his interrogation.
"To my grandmother's house," Cub replied, walking faster, the basket weighing down heavily on his back. Speaking of the basket… he had never found out what that delicious smell was coming from, had he? Oh well, he couldn't investigate now, since he was a little too busy trying to lose the wolf shadow that he had somehow acquired.
"Why are you going there?"
"My mother told me to go there as punishment for bothering my sister."
"So you don't want to go there?"
Cub leveled a glare at Wolf. "If I wanted to go there, it wouldn't be a punishment, would it?"
"Oh," Wolf nodded slowly, before changing the subject. "Why do you have all of that food? And why aren't you eating it?"
"You ask a lot of questions, don't you?" Cub groaned. "My mother sent the food, and she told me that I wasn't allowed to eat any of it."
"So why aren't you eating it?"
"Because my mother told me not to," Cub answered slowly.
"So?" Wolf asked. "I would have already eaten it all."
"Grandmother knows that I'm bringing it, though," Cub said. Then he frowned. "I think she does, anyway."
"But does she know how much you're taking?"
"Probably not…" Cub said slowly.
"And you're still not going to eat any of it?" Wolf scoffed, shaking his head scornfully.
"I didn't say that," Cub protested. No way was he going to be seen as a goody two shoes!
"It smells really good," Wolf said matter of factly, and then he turned away and walked off of the path. "See you later!" he called over his shoulder.
Cub paused to heave a great sigh of relief as Wolf walked away. He started marching off on to his grandmother's house, but then he stopped.
"Why shouldn't I eat some?" he asked himself. Out loud, so that it didn't seem as lonely in the woods. Even though he hadn't known Wolf, he had made a good walking companion, and now Cub missed his presence.
"I think I will eat some of it!" he decided. Now he just had to figure out how to get the basket off of his back. None of his plans had exactly worked earlier.
Cub considered his dilemma for a moment. To maximize his thinking abilities, he scratched his head like he had seen his father do many times whenever he was confronted with a difficult task, like making the bed or washing dishes. It always worked, too, because eventually Cub's mother would march over, call him useless, and do the chore herself, usually ratcheting the entire time.
There was no mum here to get the basket off, though. If Cub wanted it off, he would have to do it himself.
Cub decided to try to rub the basket off on a tree. He picked a nice, large specimen of a tree as his designated basket rubber, and marched up to it, put his back to it, and proceeded with Project: Rub.
It was a long and frustrating process. A process that did not even end well! All that happened after rubbing and rubbing the basket against the tree was that a pine cone or something fell out of the tree and hit Cub in the head. Otherwise, there was no reward.
Cub once again referred to his Dictionary of Words That Are Majorly Unapproved of by Parents. He yelled at himself, trying to order himself to think of some course of action, but he couldn't think of anything. Finally, he was so angry that he started trying to murder his clothes, specifically his shirt.
He pulled at his shirt, ratcheting angrily at it. Then he pulled on something that wasn't the same material as his shirt. It was leather, not cotton, and it was shaped somewhat like the strap on a basket would be.
Cub shrugged, since he wasn't sure what the strap was. It wasn't as if he had a basket on his back, after all.
Then he stopped and frowned thoughtfully. He did have a basket on his back, didn't he? Cub examined the newly discovered strap curiously. Maybe this was why the basket wouldn't come off of his back! If that was true, though, then there would be another strap, or else the basket would have fallen off of this one shoulder long ago.
Cub quickly turned his head to his other shoulder, and sure enough, there was another little strap!
Cub tentatively tried to pull the straps off of his shoulders. He grinned victoriously as the basket slipped off of his shoulders and crashed to the ground.
He immediately opened said basket, and stuck his head into it so as to be able to smell around better. He searched around for the food that had emitted that absolutely delicious smell earlier, but he couldn't smell it anymore. He rummaged through everything, and he might have squished a pecan pie or two in the process. Just maybe, though.
It wasn't in there. Whatever had smelled so scrumptious was gone, missing, lost forever! Cub couldn't understand it. Where had it gone? Finally, he was forced to face the possibility that that Wolf creature must have taken his precious… whatever it was!
Cub was fairly sure that smoke was coming out of his ears, or, at the very least, out of his mouth.
He was very tempted to just sit there and rant and ratchet at the very thought of the wolf stealing his food, but he realized that time was rolling on, and he would have to hurry up if he didn't want to be forced to spend the night at his grandmother's house. That was always a good thing to avoid. It was bad enough just visiting for a few hours, let alone staying all night!
So he settled for just stuffing his face with the chocolate cake that was in there. He carefully inspected his face and hands for any signs of evidence, and found none. The one thing that everyone agreed on about Cub was that he was not a messy eater. Really, he was just too greedy to want to waste even a little bit.
Fortified, but still incredibly pissed off at the wolf, Cub marched diligently on towards Grandmother's, hoping that he would get there in time to escape before dark.
Cub approached the little cottage with no small amount of trepidation. His grandmother's abode was a small little gray brick house. It looked deceptively cozy. In reality, though, it was the house where many brave souls had lost their minds from the dreaded Hug Torture. Cub absolutely refused to fall! He would stand strong and emerge the victor!
Cub puffed out his chest, and started towards the cottage. He cut his eyes from side to side the entire march. She might be outside, just waiting to catch him by surprise and squeeze the life out of him!
He sternly coached himself to calm down. He'd heard somewhere that wild animals would attack you if they smelled fear, and he didn't want to risk it. She hugged him enough as it was!
Cub took the last remaining step towards the door. Inhaling deeply, he rapped his knuckles sharply against the door. He absolutely refused to use that damned pink flower knocker. If he ever touched that thing, he would have to cut off the poor hand that had been foolish enough to touch it. There couldn't be enough soap or psychologists in the world to help him recover if he ever did touch it.
The door was flung open. Cub didn't even blink. And they said he was eccentric! Anyone who'd ever said that about him had obviously never met his grandmother. If you looked up "Cub's Grandmother" in the dictionary, it would say "see eccentric". In Cub's own personal dictionary, however, it would tell you to go to quite the different word.
Anyway, the door was flung open, Cub didn't even blink, and the grandmother lady had immediately begun hobbling down the hallway to her kitchen without even greeting (hugging) Cub.
Happy day! Cub didn't know what had brought on this lack of hugs, but he was overjoyed by the lack of "praise".
He reckoned that he was supposed to be following Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet -
"It's me!" Eagle cheered excitedly. "It's me! It's me!"
"We've established the fact that it's you, Eagle," Alex said irritably.
"You're crabby, Cub!" Eagle turned to Snake. "He's crabby!" he said, pointing at Alex.
"Watch out," Wolf cautioned with a smirk. "Get too close and he might pinch you."
Eagle stared blankly. "What?"
"Get too close and - " Wolf began, then, "Never mind."
Eagle seemed about to ask again, maybe just to be annoying, but then his expression cleared. "It's me!" he cheered again.
Snake winced and continued diligently with the story.
- so with a resigned sigh, he did just that.
"Hurry up, dear boy!" Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet squawked from the kitchen in a voice that was even higher and squawkier than usual.
Cub cautiously entered the kitchen. It didn't look dangerous, but it was filled with foods that the Grandmother of the ridiculously long name deemed to be "healthy". Needless to say, a boy of Cub's great intellect didn't believe for a single minute that carrots and lettuce and various other rabbit foods were healthy! No, only chocolate, pizza, ice cream, cake, soda, and any possible combination of said foods deserved the term healthy.
Grandmother (still of the ridiculously long name) was standing at the sink with her back to Cub, washing her hands.
"Put the basket down," she ordered, still squawkier than usual.
"Yes, Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet," Cub said dutifully, placing the humongous basket on the table.
"Dear god!" the lady said, not turning around. "Is that my name?"
Cub noticed with interest that his grandmother's voice was quite suddenly very deep.
"I mean, good lad!" the woman continued, this time in her former Voice of Annoyance.
When she didn't turn around, or say anything else, Cub ventured hesitantly, "I think I'll head home now, Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet."
"Let's not be formal!" the grandmother said in what Cub assumed was supposed to be a jovial tone. It sounded very strained and harsh. "Call me Wolf - I mean, Eagle! Just call me Eagle!"
Well, that was certainly… interesting, Cub thought. Wolf… That sounded familiar… Hmm. It must have been in a book that he'd read sometime.
"Goodbye, Eagle," he said, deciding to humor the old bat.
"NO!" said old bat shrieked. "You're not allowed to go home!"
And she spun around, and grabbed Cub by the arm. Cub caught a quick glimpse of her face. "Wow, what big teeth you have!" he giggled hysterically. "And check out those ears! And what do you call that?! A full-facial beard?"
She didn't answer. Instead, she whirled him around, and flung him into the broom closet.
"What are you doing, you old hag?!" Cub shrieked, banging his fists on the door….
Huh. That's strange. "Why's the door soft?" Cub whispered to himself. "And wrinkly? Why's the door wrinkly? What strange dimension have I been sent to?! All alone on this desert island! I'll never sur - "
"Cut the drama!" a voice that greatly resembled his grandmother's non-sick voice said. "You're not hitting the door, you're hitting me! You're in a closet, not a 'strange dimension', and you're not all alone!"
"Who're you?" Cub whispered, shrinking back in fear. No! Not fear! A Cub never fears! He simply shrank back in caution.
"Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet, of course!" the Disembodied Voice retorted sharply.
"You can't be that old bat! She just threw me in here!"
"Old bat?" Disembodied Voice asked, tone silky, almost dangerous. Cub shrank even farther back in caution.
Cub abandoned all caution and bringing the worst word that he could possibly imagine out of his private dictionary, "No, that old fart!"
Disembodied Voice gasped… Or maybe there was a Disembodied Gasp in here as well? "What did you just call me?"
"Uh… Disembodied Voice?"
"What?" Now Disembodied Voice sounded taken aback. "Wait - never mind! I don't want to hear it! All I want to do is get us out of here!"
At that moment, the closet door opened sharply, and Cub fell back out of it. He'd done more shrinking back in caution than he'd thought.
"Ow," he said calmly, staring up at the face of the Wolf that he'd met earlier. Wolf was dressed quite differently now, though. Instead of his fur coat, he was wearing the same dress and bonnet that Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet had been wearing earlier.
"Hello," Cub greeted Wolf. "When did you get here?"
"I've been here the whole time!" Wolf cackled.
"How come I didn't see you before, then?"
Wolf stared down at him. "You are the most unobservant little Cub I have ever met," he commented.
"You've met other Cubs?" Cub leaped up. "Where? I'll kill them, the little identity thieves!" He spun around, making for the door to the outside so that he could escape, but found himself running in place instead of halfway back to his house.
"What?" he said, totally clueless.
"You're not going anywhere, morsel!" Wolf cackled rather evilly.
"Morsel?" Cub asked.
"Morsel?!" Alex demanded, cutting into the story. "You always want to eat me! Why does everybody want to eat me?!"
"Well, you are pretty hot," Eagle commented.
All the others stared at him, Alex looking rightfully horrified. Wolf coughed "Pedophile," into his hand.
"I mean, from a totally unbiased point of view! Just one totally straight guy to another!" Eagle blustered quickly.
"Right," Snake nodded, looking rather disturbed. "Continuing on…"
"Morsel?" Cub asked again when Wolf didn't answer him.
Wolf looked down at him again, blinking repeatedly, as if he'd forgotten what was happening. "What?" he asked dazedly.
"Why did you call me morsel?" Cub's disgust at the nickname was evident in every syllable.
"Did I?" Wolf asked vaguely, scratching his head. His finger - paw? - touched the bonnet that he was wearing, and his face was priceless as he realized what exactly it was that he was wearing. He ripped it off quickly, and threw it onto the ground.
"Where's my grandmother? Did you eat her?" Cub asked eagerly.
"No, you stupid boy!" came a very disgruntled voice. Cub looked behind him, where the voice was coming from.
Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet came out of the closet -
"Well that certainly sheds some new light on things," Alex muttered, obviously referring to the earlier, very scarring incident.
"Anything you want to tell us, Eagle?" Wolf asked, almost jovially. Alex could hear just the slightest hint of laughter in his voice.
"What?" Eagle asked blankly.
"You know," Alex smirked. "About your… preferences?"
"What are you talking about?" Eagle asked, his voice still clueless.
"He's asking if you're a fairy queen!" Wolf finally burst in, barely holding in the laughter now.
"Continuing on!" Snake announced over the chortling of his teammates and Eagle's pathetic requests for someone to tell him what the hell everyone was going on about.
Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet came out of the closet -
"Remember, Eagle," Alex cut in, seriously. "Closets are for clothes!"
The rest of the unit, everyone except for Eagle, that is, burst into laughter.
Alex watched, rather amused, as he realized that he'd successfully managed to reduce three quarters of a team of highly trained soldiers to a giggling mess. Maybe this tactic would work on some of his missions! Of course, there would always be one like Eagle, glaring mutinously at the troublemaker, Alex. And with his luck, that would be the one holding the gun.
After quite a while of hysterics and quoting each other, the men slowly calmed down. Eventually, Snake recovered enough to continue the story.
Anyway, she emerged from her closet, and poked a plump finger into Cub's chest. "Rude child!" she sniffed, then turned to Wolf. "Get out of my house!"
"Yes, ma'am!" Wolf saluted her and marched to the door. Just as he was about to step out of it, though, he got a funny look on his face, and he turned around.
"You won't get rid of me that easy!" he glowered at the old lady and her rebellious grandson.
"Well, it was worth a try," the old woman sighed.
"Snake," Fox cut in, with a bit of an edge to his voice. "Where am I?"
"You're in our cabin," Eagle said helpfully.
"I meant in the story!" Fox answered with a growl.
"You actually want to be in the story?" Wolf demanded, raising an eyebrow. "Why would you want to be in Little Red Riding Hood?"
"You're the one who suggested this story!" Alex said. "Stop whining."
"I feel left out!" Fox replied, almost pouting.
"What is this, caring and sharing time?" Alex grumbled.
"Now who's whining?" Wolf demanded, smirking at the young spy.
"Everybody just relax!" Snake was, for once, the voice of reason. "Fox, be patient. You're coming!"
Wolf and Alex somehow managed to snort in unison at that one.
Snake looked confused for a moment, but then his expression cleared. "Get your minds out of the gutter!" he snapped irritably.
"How are we going to get rid of him, Eagle?" Cub asked his grandmother.
The old woman turned to glare at him. "What did you call me?" she asked, lowly, almost dangerously.
"Um… Eagle?" Cub asked, backing away in caution.
"How dare you!" the old lady squawked indignantly. "You refer to me as Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet, and nothing less than that!"
"But you told me that I could call you Eagle!" Cub protested.
"Actually," Wolf butted in, raising a paw. "That was me."
"And you're a thieving little identity thief!" Grandmother Pink Eagle etc., etc. rounded on Wolf.
Cub was very confused. "When did you do that?"
"When I was impersonating your grandmother," Wolf explained, cringing back in fear when said grandmother glared at him.
"When was that?" Cub asked, still greatly confused. "Where was my grandmother?"
"In the closet, imbecile," Grandmother what'sherface replied, rolling her eyes. "What do you think?"
"You were the Disembodied Voice and the Disembodied Gasp?" Cub gasped.
"He really is quite dull, isn't he?" Wolf asked Grandmother conversationally.
"He's not the brightest crayon in the box," Grandmother agreed with a weary sigh. "He gets it from the other side of the family, of course."
"Of course," Wolf agreed smoothly.
"I'm not a crayon!" Cub wrinkled up his nose. "They taste like wax! Now glue on the other hand… Glue tastes good!"
"That explains it," Wolf and Grandmother said in unison.
"Glue does taste good," Eagle mused, and Alex could have sworn that he saw Wolf nodding in agreement.
Snake rolled his eyes and continued with his story.
Just then the door burst open and a man with a crazy gleam in his eyes burst into the room, holding an MP5.
"Crazy gleam? That has to be Fox," Alex said, grinning as Fox leaned over and hit him gently.
"Would you shut up and let me tell the story?!" Snake shrieked, finally running out of patience.
The man opened his insane eyes wider than any eyes should be able to widen, and brandished his gun around. "I've got you now, Wolf!" he shrieked.
"Not again," Wolf moaned, rolling his eyes to the heavens, as if asking the ceiling for patience.
"This time you won't escape!" The man paused, probably to let Wolf shriek in terror. When Wolf just looked at him with a bored expression on his face, Insane Man continued at a rather high pitch. "I'll make you into a bearskin rug!"
Wolf cocked his head to the side. "Now how do you plan to do that?" he inquired.
"I'll shoot you, then I'll skin you! How do you think?" Insane Man retorted. Cub was rather surprised that the man wasn't foaming at the mouth.
"Fox," Wolf said patiently. "You can't make a wolf into a bearskin rug."
Fox frowned. "Who said anything about making a wolf into a bearskin rug? I want to make you into one!"
Wolf sighed and patiently tried to explain. "I'm not a bear! I'm a wolf!"
"You are?" Fox blinked.
"Why do you think I'm called Wolf?!"
"I dunno," Fox shrugged. "I figured it was just a codename or something."
"Very clever, Snake," Wolf put in, rolling his eyes.
"Shut up," Snake sniffed, glaring at him.
"Wolf would make a stupid codename!" Cub piped up. "Now Cub on the other hand…"
Alex was laughing as he clung to Wolf's arm, trying to keep the older man from attacking Snake. Snake himself was too busy preening to participate in his own safety.
"You're really starting to annoy me, Cub," Wolf said, glaring at the boy.
"Me, too!" Fox said, not wanting to be left out.
"You just got here," Cub glared at Fox.
"You're still annoying us both," Wolf said, grinning for some unfathomable reason.
"You thinking what I'm thinking?" Fox asked Wolf, grinning.
Wolf's eyes lit up. "I believe so."
"What are you talking about?" Cub asked nervously.
Wolf didn't answer. Instead, he walked around Cub, eyeing him with a professional eye.
"Hmm… With the right seasoning, he just might do fine!" Wolf announced.
"Seasoning?" Cub asked, gulping.
"Yep," Wolf said. "I'm thinking some garlic, maybe…"
"Why do I need seasoning?"
"Well I'm certainly not going to eat plain Cub! How… barbaric!"
"I don't like this story," Alex said.
"Shut up," Snake said. "It gets better."
"Better for who?" Alex muttered, but he didn't say anything else.
Cub shrieked, and dashed over to his grandmother, and hugged her legs. "Don't let them eat me, Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet!" he begged, staring up at her face.
"Gentlemen!" the grandmother said. "You are not going to eat my grandson!"
Fox and Wolf looked at each other. Fox raised an eyebrow, and Wolf shrugged. Fox grinned, and then hit Grandmother Pink Eagle Feather Bonnet in the head with his gun.
The woman dropped like a stone.
"I'm with Cub," Eagle said.
Alex looked over at him with wide eyes. "No way!" he objected.
Fox just looked faintly disturbed.
"Cub, why didn't you tell us?" Wolf smirked. "Do we get an invitation to the wedding?"
Eagle's face held a priceless expression of confusion. Slowly, realization dawned. "Oh!" he said. "I mean, I agree with Cub! This story sucks."
"Opinion overruled," Fox said. "I like it.""You only like it because your character knocked mine out!" Eagle objected.
"Of course," Fox agreed, grinning. "Continue, Snake."
Cub backed slowly away. "What did you do that for?" he asked, frowning.
"He really is incredibly dull," Fox commented, staring at Cub in fascination. "How can someone operate with that little of a brain?"
"Search me," Wolf shrugged. "All I know is that he tastes good."
"Alright," Fox said. "I'll take care of grandma." He dragged Cub's grandmother back into her closet, and shut the door.
"Let's just use her kitchen," Wolf said. "Here, help me tie the Cub up."
"I thought you two were enemies!" Cub said, in an attempt to distract them.
Both the man and Wolf shrugged. "We aren't. We just use that sometimes. It's fun," Wolf said.
The last thing Cub saw of this world was Wolf happily bounding off to make sure that they had the cooking supplies that they'd need, and Fox's gun pointed at his head.
"At least I wasn't hugged," he consoled himself, then Fox pulled the trigger.
Snake sat back with a sigh. "It's finally over!" he rejoiced.
"You ate me again!" Alex shrieked. "Why do you always have to eat me?!"
"Because this is how you react," Snake sniggered. "It's a pity that we don't have a camera right now, isn't it?" he asked the others.
"Oh, I agree," Fox said. "I've never seen that shade of red on anyone before."
All four of the men collapsed laughing, while Alex stared at them.
"Never again!" Alex proclaimed. "You are never going to eat me in tomorrow's story, or any other night's as long as we're here!"
Eagle bounced around with glee. "We get a story every night! We get a story every night!"
Fox, Snake, and Wolf stopped laughing. "Cub!" they shouted in unison.
"Now we have to tell stories every night?" Fox groaned. "It's your fault, Cub!"
Snake and Wolf both nodded their agreement.
"Then maybe you shouldn't have eaten me!" Alex retorted angrily.
"It's your fault! You - " Wolf began.
"Guys!" Snake cut in. "Hold up," he sighed wearily. "We can't be fighting amongst ourselves. We have to unite against that," he said pointing at Eagle.
The four more or less sane people in the cabin stared at Eagle who was dancing around the room, holding an imaginary microphone, and singing.
"We get a story every night! We get a story every night!"
A/N: So... if people want to read more, I can write more, definitely. I found a huge list of fairy tales and such on Wikipedia, so I'm fairly sure I won't run out of ideas. So... tell me if you want to read more in a review, and voilà, there's a new chapter two months later! Okay, so this one took over four months, but that's because I didn't start it 'til December!
Everybody please keep in mind that every time a story is read and not reviewed, Alex cries! Plus, I would love some reviews for my birthday! ^_^