Even through the mat, the floor hurt. Her ankles hurt. Her muscles ached. Hot tears sprang behind her eyes. Rei sat up, her face growing hotter as the tears prickled. She rubbed her arm across her eyes, trying to ease the stinging with counter-pressure and clearing out the ones that had escaped.
"You right kiddo?" Zara's playful tone floated over from somewhere near the doorway. Rei sniffed again and looked up. Zara finished crossing the floor in her usual fashion and bobbed down on the ground. She touched her sunnies but the light was too bright for her and she left them where they were. "What's wrong?" Zara shifted to sit cross-legged, looking quite prepared to wait forever for an answer if she needed to.
Rei sniffled again, once more rubbing her hands across her eyes. "I can't do it," she mumbled.
"Can't do what?"
Zara's eyebrows attempted to meld with her hairline. "Well. It's not the easiest jump in the world."
"I have to be able to do it!" Rei wailed.
"Audition for WAAPA." For whatever reason, Zara seemed to understand these things like no one else in her family.
"Ah. Hm." Zara had her training face on. "Show me what you're doing?"
"My ankles hurt." Rei leaned back on her arms as Zara picked up each foot in turn and examined them. Zara rose smoothly and headed to the medkit, coming back with strapping. Mere momemts later she had expertly strapped both of Rei's ankles. Rei pointed and flexed her feet when she was done. She could still move well enough, and felt a bit better.
"You're good now. Off you go," Zara encouraged. Rei stood and walked to the middle of the floor. She ran through the routine in her head, and started a few steps back. Of course, she fell again. She wanted to cry again, but she wouldn't with Zara there. Zara was studying her with that critical look that meant she was going to correct a technique.
"Jump first, then do it," Zara said. "You're kind of trying to go straight into it, so you don't have the height." She demonstrated, seeming to float in the air for a couple of seconds before neatly landing.
Rei stared. "Did you use to do dance?"
Zara frowned slightly. "Gymnastics," she answered shortly.
"Wow! What level did you get to?" Rei enthused.
A small smile tugged on the corner of Zara's mouth, but it didn't look like a real one. "Seven," she answered, and then abruptly changed the subject. "Come on, let's see what you're doing."
A few more goes and some practice tuck jumps and she had more of an idea of what she was supposed to do, but it was still hard. She was tired after having practised for so long.
Then Zara showed her what she called the "dance variant".
She nailed it, and swept into the finishing pose. The crowd erupted. Rei held the finishing pose for a couple more seconds, catching her breath and scanning the crowd. She didn't take long to locate her family. Her parents were cheering and clapping like everyone else. Juan was just clapping with a big smile on his face. Zara, Dak, Taji and the twins were going nuts, jumping up and down and carrying on. It made her feel even more excited and proud of her achievement. Zara double victory punched the air and then flailed excitedly. Rei grinned back, and took a bow.
And then commenced her scholarship at WAAPA.
Last of the stag leap series! Decided to round off with Rei doing the variation with both legs bent (the "dance variant" as Zara calls it, although I don't think either of the are associated with specifically gymnastics or dance, Zara just did the straight leg variant).
I am semi-seriously contemplating streaming these things so I actually get them done in a timely fashion. This one actually ended up dragging out all day because I kept getting distracted and wandering off XD
This work by bek (ryivhnn) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.