Yeah, I know, Wild Kratts is a kids' show...but I just couldn't help it. I've been obsessed with this show ever since I caught sight of it two weeks ago, and it's made me fall in love with the Kratt Bros all over again! I have no shame, haha.
At first, I wasn't sure whether I was going to post this or not, but after a while I thought what could it hurt? I doubt many people are even going to look at it anyway, but the series sorely needed more fanfiction...heehee. Anyway, I wrote this because I was kind of hoping they would do a little more with Chris's temporary fear of heights in 'Flight of the Draco'. So when they didn't, my head came up with this. Don't know if it's any good or not, though; I kind of played around with the episode's ending, but got stuck with how to end the story because of it...
But enough out of me. Enjoy!
Even infused with the Draco lizard powers, Chris still found himself hesitating. And it forced him to admit, no matter how much he hated to, that he was still a little scared.
Certainly he had been able to climb the tree, inspired by the baby Dracos' instincts after their hatching. But jumping out of it, even to test the gliding ability, was a different matter entirely. After all, the worst thing about heights wasn't going up; it was falling down. And, as he discovered, this particular disc wasn't programmed with the Draco lizard's natural instincts. So his own human drive for self-preservation kept him frozen on the branch.
Unfortunately, gliding was the fastest way through the thick forest…And the easiest way to search for Martin. Fear or not, he had to do this. There were no other options.
He took a deep breath to calm his nerves before looking out over the forest. "Time to find my bro," he announced, more to himself than the baby lizard. "Let's glide!"
The baby Draco took off first, and he jumped after it before he could change his mind. His rib wings opened, and he let out a loud whoop to release the tense energy that followed his heart leaping into his throat. He did his best to avoid looking at how high off the ground he was by speaking to himself, concentrating more on the Draco features until he needed to land.
Except, he soon realized, without the Draco's instincts, he had no idea how to land. Images of missing his mark, of falling, of hitting the ground again suddenly flooded his mind, throwing him into a panic. His limbs flailed, and even the rib fans fluttered fast in terror, slowing him down enough so that when he hit the tree he was trying to land on, it didn't hurt as much.
Still, knocking into the tree rattled his head and resurfaced the pain he felt after his fall, and he clung to the tree almost desperately before gravity could pull him down. He took shallow gulps of air, keeping in time with the furious drumming of his heart. Trying his best to calm down, he instead tried to focus on watching the baby Draco take off again, making note of the way it landed so he could mimic its actions.
Though his mind tried to protest, he ignored his doubts and pulled himself up onto the branch, ready to try again. No matter how difficult this was, he had to do it if he was going to find Martin.
Because the only thing worse than the thought of falling and getting hurt, was the thought that the same thing could've happened to his brother.
It had been a rather successful day; not only was Martin found safe and sound, but they had freed the Draco lizards and stopped Donita from selling them as living jewelry. And with the Dracos once again living free and in the wild, the Kratt brothers decided to celebrate. So the brothers sat on one of the Tortuga's thrusters preparing to try the new gliding sport they came up with, which gave Martin the opportunity to try the Draco powers himself.
And, he decided, it was also the perfect chance to talk to his brother.
"Yo, Chris?" he said after a few moments of silence.
"Yeah?" came the distracted reply as Chris kept his attention on what he was doing…a little more than necessary, Martin thought.
"You doing okay, Bro?" he asked.
Pausing from his work, Chris looked up at his older brother curiously. "Of course I am," he replied. "Why wouldn't I be?"
Martin hesitated for a moment. If Chris was really all right, he'd hate to bring it up again. But his big brother instincts demanded he make absolutely certain. "Aviva told me about what happened…after you fell."
"Oh…that…" With a shrug, Chris went back to work adjusting the rope he held. "I'm fine…"
Martin watched his brother's shaky hands with concern. "You sure?"
"Yeah," Chris insisted. But soon his resolve seemed to crumble. "…I guess…" Then he sighed and placed the rope down. "I don't know. I think I'm okay…mostly."
"Mostly?" Martin questioned.
"I don't know," Chris repeated. He turned away, avoiding looking over the edge as he did so. "I want to like climbing again, but I keep thinking about what might happen if I fall. And I can't help but be afraid of getting hurt again." He shook his head. "I know it sounds stupid…"
"No it doesn't," Martin assured him. "You've never fallen like that before. Of course you're gonna be a little unnerved after that." He waited for a moment, and when Chris didn't say anything else, he asked the question he'd been wondering about. "If you're still afraid of heights, though, how were you able to get up high enough to glide?"
"I…" Chris rubbed the back of his head. "I just tried to think about something else, I guess."
"So why don't you just think about that whenever you climb?"
Chris grimaced. "Uh…I don't think that'll work." He didn't like the idea of imagining Martin in trouble every time he had to climb. Running a hand through his hair, he sighed. "What am I gonna do? What if I never get over this? What if I can never really climb again?"
Martin frowned as he watched his brother. He could understand Chris's concerns a bit. After all, it was all part of their Creature Adventuring; if an animal was found in high places, then they couldn't get to it if Chris couldn't climb. And not being able to see or help animals was just too hard to imagine.
Still, he had a feeling that things weren't as bad as they seemed. "C'mon, Chris," he said, placing a comforting hand on his brother's slumped shoulder. "Even if you're still scared of heights, it doesn't mean you can't climb."
Chris glanced at him curiously.
"I mean, you were able to climb earlier, right? It doesn't matter how you did it, you just did it."
"I guess," Chris conceded, though it still didn't seem to make him feel better.
"Look, I know it's weird, you being afraid of heights. But if you can learn to fear heights, then you can learn to not fear heights."
The younger man's brow rose. "You think so?"
"Sure. The more you climb, the less scared you'll be, and eventually you won't be scared anymore. You just need to take it slow for a while and kinda ease back into it. There's no hurry." Martin grinned. "You even managed to glide today despite being afraid, so just go from there and take it one more step at a time. You'll get back up there when you're ready."
Contemplating all of Martin's words for a moment, Chris then returned the smile. "Okay…Thanks." Then, picking up the rope again, he rose to his feet. "Speaking of ready, are we gonna do this or what?"
"You sure you still want to?" Martin asked as he stood. "You know you don't have to…"
Carefully, Chris looked down at the trees they were passing over; his stomach still did a flip. But even so, he gave a determined nod. "You said one step at a time, right?"
"This wasn't exactly what I had in mind…"
"Well, I gotta start somewhere. So let's go!"
With a nod from Martin, the two brothers leapt from the thruster, opening their lizard wings to catch the air as they were pulled through the evening sky.
"Lizard gliding!" Chris called to the questioning Aviva and Koki at the Tortuga's head. "It's the height of adventure! Did I mention I love heights?"
And he was pleased to discover that his rushed assertion wasn't actually that far from the truth; his voice wasn't too panicked when he said it, and his grip on the rope wasn't as tight as he thought it would be. Plus he was pretty sure that it wasn't entirely anxiety that made his heart pound so rapidly. Maybe…maybe he could get past this after all.
It might take a while, but he wouldn't let fear keep him down forever.