A/N: I had just came back from rock climbing, and though my arms felt like jelly, I got this idea while we were helping my honorary little brother climb up, so I decided to type it up. Besides, I needed something to post – I've been posting something every year, right on my birthday, and I'm not about to stop now. This year's just late because the Document Manager wouldn't work. :( But it's here now!
Sorry for any mistakes – this was un-beta'd (yes, Jusmine, feel free to send me the list of my mistakes), but hopefully it'll still pass for decent.
"C'mon, Cub!" Wolf yelled up at him from the ground, well over fifty meters below. "Next ledge up! Use your legs!"
Alex fought the urge to let go out of spite, forcing Wolf to catch him, and pushed up with his legs, grabbing on to the ledge, and wincing in annoyance at his ear. As they were well apart, they had ear mounted communication sets, but Wolf seemed to still feel the need to yell.
And why, why, why did the entire Mountain Troop have to be gone?! He would've much rather learned from them than Wolf. Especially when they were on a stupid cliff like this one, out on the edge of Brecon Beacons.
He sighed and launched himself up at another ledge-
-and missed, taking his whole body with him.
For a moment, he tensed, waiting for Wolf to catch him, via the rope they were connected by…
…and panicking when Wolf didn't.
As he kept falling, Alex felt pure, blinding terror…and an odd sense of peace, making him think back, in that 'life flashing before your eyes' kind of way…way back…
"All right, Alex, you're doing wonderfully!" Ian yelled up at him.
The five year old bit his lip and looked up at the next hold just beyond his finger tips, and wondering what the song was. Great thing about indoor climbing walls: much shorter than the cliffs Ian had shown him, and food, drinks, and music.
"Come on, Alex, you can do it! I know you can," Ian yelled up at him, smiling.
Alex looked down, taking reassurance in the rope connecting him to Ian, both of them wearing harnesses, and his uncle on the ground, a careful grip on the rope as he smiled up at Alex.
"I can't reach the next hold!" Alex yelled.
"Yes, you can," Ian said firmly. "Just jump for it, a touch."
Alex looked at the thin, black line on the wall, tracing his eyes to look for the number, and he was…fifteen meters up! That was more than ten of him!
Gulping, he looked at the next hold up above. "Okay, okay," he mumbled to himself, reaching his hands into the small bag on his hip and coating some chalk on his hands. "I can do this…I can do this…I can do this…"
"Remember to use your legs, Alex," Ian called up, his voice measured and even. "Don't pull up with your arms – push up with your legs."
"Got it," Alex yelled down, not looking down again. Looking up at his target hold, a bright blue stone, he bunched his heels and launched himself up at the rock…
…and panicked as it brushed his finger tips, scrabbling for a hold and shoving up against the hold under his foot and he really, really, really didn't want to fall, and grabbing, grabbing blindly and pulling anyway-
He breathed a sigh of relief when his fingers fell into the jut of rock, and gripped tightly.
"You got it, Alex!" Ian yelled cheerfully. "See, what did I tell you? I knew you could do it!"
Alex grinned as he held on tightly, looking up at his next target hold, letting go with his lower hand and reaching up for the piece of brightly colored fake rock…
But at that moment, his foot slipped, and bumped the other one. And that left him hanging by one hand. One weak, slippery hand.
Alex yelped as he fell, and waited for the harness to tighten as Ian grabbed the rope...and nearly screamed when it didn't.
He clasped the rope tightly as he fell, wondering what it would feel like to go splat against the blue carpet below-
"Oof!" His breath drove out as the harness suddenly jerked and he stopped spontaneously, curling up in his harness, whimpering slightly, heart pounding and blood rushing at the near death hit, eyes scrunched shut in post-terror fear.
He took in a sharp breath and his eyes flew open when he felt a gentle hand brushing his hair, to see his uncle smiling down at him, wrapping his arms around the still-suspended boy.
Looking down, he saw he was only about a little over a meter up from the ground.
He looked back up to his uncle's smiling face, pushing against Ian's arm to press closer to the man's shoulder.
"You didn't really think I'd let you drop, did you?" he asked.
Swallowing – more like gulping, Alex shook his head. "No."
Ian laughed. "C'mon – you did well. Let's go get some food, shall we? Pizza sound good?"
Alex smiled and nodded, as Ian stepped back and lowered him to the ground.
"Don't worry, Alex – I promise…I'll never drop you. I've always got you. Always."
Alex had felt his fall slow down, but hadn't made anything of it, too focused on the mind-numbing terror as he fell to certain death.
His face scrunched up as he felt what had to be his spine snapping in half, and took several deep breaths, before opening his eyes at the distant sound of Wolf's laughter.
Looking down, he saw he was about five meters off the ground.
Looking back up at Wolf, the man, still laughing, lowered Alex a bit closer to the ground, saying loudly (and thankfully not through the earpiece), "Bloody hell, you should've seen the look on the your face…ah, too bad you didn't scream."
He smirked at Alex's glare, stopping the teen spy's descent when he was about a meter off the ground. "Oh, c'mon, Cub – you didn't really think I'd let you drop, did you?"
Alex, however, heard that said in another voice – his uncle's. And swallowing, he gave the same response he did back then: "No."
Wolf laughed, lowering Alex to the ground completely. "C'mon – water break, then we'll try again."
Rolling his eyes and smiling, Alex smirked as Wolf said, "I've got your back, Cub – I mean it."
Alex, oddly enough, couldn't find it in himself to doubt that at all.
A/N: Y'know, reviews make for great birthday presents…