Bold = someone else's thoughtsItalic=Dom's thoughtsItalic Underlined= Ata's thoughts
Disclaimer: I own nothing! J. K. Rowling is the best!
Chapter Three ~~ Camping!
It took the four of them almost five hours in the car to reach the mountains, then another two to get to the trailhead to their selected camping site. As they started to unload the car, it started to rain. Well, it was more like pouring. And storming. Lightning flashed, and thunder crashed overhead, the sound rolling out from the mountains.
"Ohhh….pretty!" Ata cried.
"You won't think that it's so pretty when you have to walk in it for a good four miles," Alec told her dryly.
She just smiled wickedly at him. Try me, she thought, twirling around randomly, singing bits and pieces of different songs. The three boys just shook their heads, and proceeded to ignore her antics.
They managed to get everything into the backpacks reasonably dry, and Dom was sent to go and collect his sister. He finally located her on the other side of the large empty lot, and dragged her back to the car. She, meanwhile, was high on nature, and deliriously happy. Dom shook his head in mock sadness, but understood the feeling of freedom that they both felt, surrounded by the natural world.
Alec merely rolled his eyes and handed the two kids their backpacks. Slinging them on their backs, they proceeded to hold a race over to the trail head, before waiting impatiently for Jon and Alec to catch up.
Once they were there, the four of them started on the trail.
It was hard. Their hats kept the rain out of their eyes, to a degree. The pouring rain drenched their hair, their clothes, and their bags, turning everything into something that was almost physically painful to drag around. Then on top of that, the trail was up hill, which meant that the water from the rain was flowing down at them, so it was almost like trying to wade upstream in a fairly strong river.
The twins thought that it was fun; the two brothers thought that it was cruel and unusual punishment.
It took them an hour to go almost two miles, and the storm was getting worse by the minute. However, despite how bad everything was, Jon didn't even consider turning back until lightning struck a tree not even half a mile away from them. At that, he wanted to turn back.
"No! It's only lightning, not the end of the world! Please? Can we keep going?"
"We are all going to die! We have to go back!"
"ALEC!" All three of the younger kids turned to face him. He growled under his breath and glared at the lot of them. Why did they have to do this to him? It wasn't fair for him to have to make the decision, and even if he did, it was a tie. There was four of them! How was he supposed to do this?
Alec sighed. "Lets just keep going. Driving home will be just as hard as this, and at least we are away from Madre right now." He tried for a smile, failed, and so just turned around and kept going up the hill.
Grumbling, Jon followed, the twins taking up the rear, looking around eagerly.
Ohmygod, have you seen any tree that tall before? Ata asked Dom, staring at what had to be a hundred and fifty foot tree, but looked higher.
No, but then, there are some really big trees some places. He told her absently, twisting to see what she was talking about.
Oh, Jon, it's not the end of the world. Look at us, this is fun!
HE CAN'T HEAR YOU, YOU IDIOT!
Oh, shut up Dom. I wasn't talking to you.
Oh you weren't, were you?
She sniffed in distain, deciding to ignore him. To do this, she bounded forward to walk next to Jon. He looked down at her, slightly amused despite his bad mood, at the sight of the little five year old bounding around in the rain. She smiled at him.
"You are plodding," she told him. "That's why it's so hard for you to move. Try to move faster, not to step so heavily. It'll help." She skipped ahead of him, going to catch up with Alec, just to prove her point. Jon could hear her giving his brother the same advice. He hesitantly tried it, moving a little faster, not stomping, but stepping lightly. It worked! Jon was nothing short of stunned, and started going even faster, only to stop dead at the sound of a low laugh from behind him. Jon twisted around.
Dom grinned at him. "Didn't believe her?" he asked, lightly. Jon grinned slightly and shook his head.
"Idiot. We are always right. Always. Something that annoys our mother to no end."
Ata dashed back to them. "Hurry up you two, Alec thinks that he can see the campsite!"
"Oh, thank god!" Jon breathed, breaking into a run.
Dam laughed at him. Ata flashed a smile at him. Race you, she said, and promptly took off.
Dom swore and bolted after her. He flashed by Jon, who stuttered to a halt in shock, and started to slowly gain on his sister. She had the disadvantage of running around all day, whereas he had not. Sometimes the little things were all that mattered. Catching sight of the campsite, Dom growled to himself and picked up the pace, determined to win. He managed to catch up to her on the very edge, and they tied on the very edge of camp. Ten minutes later, when Jonathon arrived, tired and ready to drop, they were still arguing about who had won. The camp was somewhat set up around them, and there was a fire going under a sheltered overhanging, and the twins were sitting across from the fire, arguing. Alec was leaning against the tree that was in the middle of the only tent up, grinning as he watched them. Jon looked over at his brother.
"Oh, yes. They are amazingly vocal, too. I don't think that they have repeated themselves once yet. It's a good thing that they don't have their wands yet, but I am a bit worried about accidental magic."
Accidental magic? Oh, please. We mastered that at the age of two. Honestly.
"Not on your life! I was so ahead of you!"
Still, no one else knows that. They all think that we are normal.
Only because we let them think that. Can you imagine anyone's reaction if they found out that we are quite good at controlled magic already?
Madre would most likely have a heart attack, then mutter some comment that we can't make out, then start teaching us even more then we already know.
Isn't Madre wonderful? Still, I want this to be a surprise.
Yeah, me too. Ideas?
I've been thinking about becoming Animagi. You know, the ability to transform into animals. That would be perfect. Thoughts?
I know what Animagi are. You are such an annoying twit, you know that? And you are right, that is definitely perfect.
"Nu-uh! Give it up! I won, you idiot!"
Ata screamed. "SHUT UP!"
Dom took one look at her face and fell over on his side, laughing his head off. Ata smiled, then she started laughing too, and they both ended up in hysterics, falling on their sides and trying to breathe.
"You know, that is the first time that I have seen you act your age," Alec told them, before moving over to Jon and starting to help him pitch his tent. The twins only laughed harder, wheezing for breath.
It took a full hour for the twins to recover fully. By that time the camp was entirely set up, and the fire was hot enough to cook dinner on, so dinner was dutifully being made. The twin had calmed down by then, and were busy playing with the food. Alec was actually making dinner, and Jon was double checking the camp. The last thing that they wanted was to find a leak in the middle of the night, and get soaked, and have everything ruined.
Dinner was noodles, cooked simply over the campfire. It was good; simple, and good. Afterwards, Ata yawned and curled up beside Dom, under his arm. "Isn't now the time for scary stories?" she asked sleepily.
Jon laughed. "Thunder, lightning, pouring rain, out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, in tents…Yes, now would be the traditional time for scary stories."
"Once upon a time…" Dom drawled. "Oh, come on Ata. We are all tired. We can tell scary stories tomorrow. Ata?" Ata?
Dom looked down at his sister in disbelief. "She is asleep. She asks for scary stories, then falls asleep as soon as she asked. What am I going to do with her?"
"No idea, kid, this one is all yours. But she's right, we should get to sleep." With that said, Alexander got up, stretched, and wandered off. Jon got lazily to his feet, and staggered off. Dom rolled his eyes at their retreating backs, then picked his sister up and stood in one smooth movement.
Carrying Argenta over to their tent, he laid her down and rolled her up inside her sleeping bag. She made a small sound and rolled over, murmuring something under her breath. Dom leaned closer.
Ata didn't even remember asking for scary stories the next morning, and didn't understand why the boys all rolled their eyes at one another when she asked how they had slept. She looked suspiciously at her brother. He smiled innocently. She snorted. You, innocent? I think not.
His smile widened into a full blown grin. That hurts.
You will survive. Somehow, I am sure.
Ata bounced around the camp, helping to pack up everything that they would need for the hike today. The skies overhead were just as gloomy and dark as they had been yesterday, but that didn't seem to stop her from being exceedingly happy, nor did it seem to dampen Dom's spirits either. Unfortunately. Thunder boomed in the distance, and Dom started laughing. Picking up her things, Ata stared at one of the taller tree's speculatively.
"Don't even think about it," Alec warned her. She grinned at him, then moved over to stand next to Dom, still looking at the trees.
The four of them were going on a seven mile hike to a waterfall, up the mountains. The fact that the weather was refusing to cooperate meant that it was likely to take even longer than it would have otherwise. The twins were as excited then as they had been the day before, causing the two older boys to sigh and roll their eyes. They exchanged long suffering glances, then proceeded to ignore the twins.
They were happy and excited, they would dart off, come back, exchange looks, then run off again. The other two almost never noticed, simply ignoring the twins. It wasn't until they had been going for about three hours that Alec broke. He swung around, searching the trees for the twins. After a second, they both slid out of the woods. Dom raised an eyebrow.
"Could one of you climb a tree to see if you can spot the waterfall? I am sick and tired of walking with no product."
Both five year olds grinned and bolted for trees, disappearing up them in seconds. Jon and Alec waited impatiently, looking up, trying to find them in the treetops. There was nothing that they could see, so instead up looking, the older boys listened. For a minute there was nothing, then,
"You're looking in the wrong direction, Ata," they heard Dom tell his sister. They heard a thud, then, "Hey! Don't throw things at me! That isn't nice!"
Ata scoffed. "I'm never nice, darling, get used to it." There was another long silence.
"There!" Ata said suddenly.
"Yeah, there it is," Dom agreed.
"Race you down," Ata offered.
There was a series of thuds, which took Jon a few moments to place.
"They're jumping from branch to branch," he said, astonished.
Alec groaned. "Great," he muttered. "Just what I need. Not."
Jon grinned. There were two muted thuds, and then the twins were there.
"It isn't too far ahead," Dom assured them. "Just another half hour, maybe…Ata, what did you think?"
"Yeah, at most. Come on," she said brightly, dancing forward.
"Race you," Dom told the other boys. They just grinned at him before taking off in dead sprints. Dom bolted after them, and Ata groaned and followed after.
The older boys didn't run that long—what with the weather, they just didn't feel like it. But in the end, it only took something along the lines of twenty minutes before they arrived at the waterfall.
It was gorgeous. The towering falls somehow managed to glitter, even though the sunlight was…minimal, at best. They could hear the roar of the water from ten minutes away, it was so loud. There were even rainbows, though how, no one would ever know.
"Wow…" Jon whispered.
"I know…" Alec said.
"Can I jump in?"
"ARE YOU CRAZY?!"
"ATA, YOU LUNITIC!"
"ARE YOU CRAZY?!"
"ATA, YOU LUNITIC!"
"Fine! Be that way!" She proceeded to ignore them, but she also couldn't stop giggling.
"Girls," Jon said in disgust.
"Oh! Look, there's a path to the top!" Ata said suddenly, pointing over to a winding trail to the left of the falls. Everyone looked over eagerly. They all looked at each other. Alec grinned.
"Oh, come on, let's go then, if you're so eager," he teased, heading over to the trail himself.
The trail was littered in things that other climbers had dropped, so there were plenty of things to catch their interest.
"A lighter, by a waterfall?" Jon asked, amused. He bent down to pick the little item up, flicking the lid. The little flame sputtered, then went out. "Almost out, then," he said absently to himself.
It took them twenty minutes to get to the top, not counting when they stopped to look at the things on the ground. The view from the top was even better than the view from the ground.
"This is amazing," Jon stated.
Alec was busy rummaging in his bag, and after a minute he pulled a camera out triumphantly. Everyone laughed.
Several pictures and an hour latter, the four kids finally started back up the trail to their camp. The hike back was much like the hike to the falls, with the twins going in and out of the woods, and the brothers just going steadily along the trail. They got back to the camp around dark, made a very fast dinner of sandwiches, then fell into bed.
"Only one more day…" Jon muttered. "Only…one…more…" he fell asleep in the middle of his sentence, followed not long after by his brother.
'Only one more day, isn't that sad?" Ata said quietly, staring up at the ceiling of the tent that the twins were sharing.
"Yeah…But this was fun, and we can always go on our own, you know."
"True, but this was so much fun. It went so fast. I just can't believe that it is almost over, you know?"
"Go to sleep, Ata." Dom told her. He promptly took his own advice, turning over and falling asleep. She sighed, but followed suit.
The next morning came—surprise surprise—just as bleak and gray as the two days before it.
"We couldn't have picked a worse weekend to go camping, could we?" Jon growled.
"Probably not," Alec admitted. "But I still had a good time. Jon, it wasn't that bad."
"No, it wasn't, but some sunshine wouldn't have been bad, either," Jon grumbled.
A yawn announced the presence of Dom, who was coming over lazily and dropping to the ground by the fire. He looked up at the two older boys. "Hi." He told them, then yawned again.
"Morning," they both said. "We're having bacon, sausage, and eggs," Alec told him. "We thought that we should eat them, after all. We did bring them to eat them."
The young boy nodded.
"Go get your sister, will you?" Alec added. "The food's ready." With another nod, Dom got back up and disappeared back into the tent that he had come out of. There was a quiet wait, and then both of them came out of the tent. Alec and Jon exchanged confused glances. They hadn't heard anything, so how had he gotten her up? Ata smiled sleepily at them, and they decided that it really didn't matter, after all.
"Here," Alec said, handing out the loaded plates. The smells coming from the food were enough to make anyone hungry, let alone a group of campers who had been running around all weekend. They fell on the food, scarfing it down.
"So, where to today?" Dom asked finally, when they were all done eating and were just lounging around.
"Hmm…I don't know. There are a lot of trails around, all of which have their own perks. What do you want to see?" Alec asked, his face thoughtful. All four of them thought for a minute.
"How about just trying to get as high as possible, for the view, if nothing else," Ata suggested. The three boys looked at each other.
"That sounds good," Jon finally said.
"Yeah. Let's go for it," Alec decided. "Let's pack up first, though. After all, we are leaving tonight. We aren't sleeping here anymore, remember?"
"Oh, no, it's the end of the world," Jon deadpanned.
"Oh, shut up," Alec growled, stomping off to take down his tent. Ata and Dom went over and took their tent down, Dom doing the 'grunt work', and Ata packing up their belongings from inside the tent. Jon started to take the cooking tent apart, sighing. Why, oh why, was he surrounded by lunatics?
It took the group almost two hours to dissemble the camp, and every couple of minutes an argument would break out, delaying them even more. Still, they were out and moving by ten in the morning.
The trail twisted around the mountains, always going up, but the scenery was too beautiful for anyone, even Jon, to complain. The towering trees, gentle flowers, and open glades, were captivating. The four of them kept looking around, passing the camera around and taking pictures. They went leisurely, so it took them several hours to get to the height that they were going four. Somewhere around three in the afternoon, they came to a cliff, overlooking the mountain range.
"Damn…." Jon exclaimed.
"Watch your language, Jon," Alec told him sharply. "Madre would kill us both if she heard that. But I know what you mean," he continued, his voice more gentle. "Breathtaking, isn't it?"
"Incredibly," Argenta whispered.
The towering cliff overlooked a plunging gorge, with sheer, craggy walls. A glittering silver river poured down the bottom, and they could see a waterfall in the distance. Even from up at their height, they could hear the roar of the river, and even the waterfall in the distance could be heard.
Dom kept silent, simply taking photo after photo. "Let's stop here and have a snack," he suggested, turning away from the view, reluctantly.
They stayed there for half an hour, relaxing, playing games, and teasing each other. That is, until Alec looked at his watch and let out a shout.
"Good lord, it's almost four! We have to get back to the car before dark, load it, and get home before midnight, or Madre is going to panic!"
They all jumped up and quickly packed everything up, before hurrying back down the trail. The sun was, in fact, going down very quickly, and within four hours, it was quite dark. They all got out their flash-lights before hurrying on. It was close to eight when they finally got back to the car, and it was nearly nine before they were on the road. They all groaned.
"Seven more hours…Madre is going to murder us," Alec moaned. Jon was muttering franticly under his breath; from what the twins could tell, he was trying to come up with a good excuse. Somehow, they didn't think that getting attacked by a rabid bear was going to cut it.
Do you want to hurry us up, or shall I? Dom asked his sister silently.
I'll do it...you might make us go too fast. Purposefully.
Tell me that it isn't true.
Ata flicked her fingers. There was a pause, then a jolt. The car was suddenly going much faster.
Yeah…I would be the one to make us go too fast… Dom smirked. Ata scowled at him, glaring daggers. Then they both sat back and waited for Alec to notice that they were going at about two hundred miles an hour. It took a good fifteen minutes, and then Alec glanced down at the dashboard and frantically hit the breaks, which didn't work, while shouting unintelligibly.
Dom and Ata both burst out laughing- they couldn't help it. The look of utter shock on Alec's face was priceless.
"Don't worry, it's fine," Dom finally managed to get out. "We have it under control. Just keep going, we'll get there so much faster."
Which was true. It was only around one in the morning when Alec pulled the car, now back to its real speed, back into his garage.
They all got out silently, and unloaded the car. Inside the house, they dumped everything in the laundry room before heading up to their bedrooms, drop dead exhausted.
"Well, we're in for it in the morning, so try and get plenty of sleep," Alec advised them, before vanishing into his own room to take his own advice.
The other three kids exchanged looks before dropping into their own beds. They were asleep in seconds.
Ok people, I know that I said that I was trying to update every two weeks, and I am, but let's face it, I AM HOPELESS! I have almost no time to work, so they are all going to be long breaks between updates. I am so sorry!
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