Jonas stretched out one hand. His fingers were just short of brushing the feathery bundle of trouble perched in front of him. If the bird could fly well enough to escape up a tree, why couldn’t they just set it free? More importantly, why did he have to be such a sucker that he agreed to climbing up the tree to get it back?
Carefully, Jonas scooted out a little farther. The branch he was perched on creaked and he froze. Slowly, he reminded himself, don’t let it break.
Taking a deep breath he reached out again. Success. He closed his hand gently around the bird and started to draw it back towards him, handling it carefully. Now he just had to get down so he could give Phoebe her bird.
Jonas looked instinctively towards Cory’s voice. He didn’t mean to shift his weight, but he must have done something wrong, because there was a sharp ‘CRACK’ from the branch under him, and the next thing he knew he was falling.
Things went black, then Jonas found himself blinking up at Cory. Strange. His vision was awfully fuzzy at the moment. And why did Cory look so concerned? His mind was taking its time getting back into gear.
“Are you okay?”
All Jonas could manage at the moment was a sort of “nagh” sound. His head hurt. His back hurt. He felt oddly disoriented. Cory was holding his hands.
Huh? Why was Cory holding his hands? Jonas watched as his hands were eased apart and Cory removed the bird that he had retrieved. With an almost detached thought, Jonas noted that it was a good thing that he had fallen on his back, otherwise the poor bird could have been squished.
The next moment Cory was gently prying him away from the ground and getting him to his feet, reassuring Phoebe that Jonas was going to be fine and she didn’t have to worry about him. Once Jonas’ brain had a minute to settle he realized that he could handle being upright just fine. He didn’t think he even needed Cory supporting him.
“You’re going to be okay, aren’t you Jonas?” It was suddenly hard to think all over again with Cory looking at him so expectantly.
“Head hurts,” Jonas mumbled, allowing himself to be escorted back into the hotel.
Cory led him into the dinning hall before finally letting him sit down. “I’ll go get you an ice pack,” he told Jonas, ruffling his hair.
“Ow.” Well, it had hurt a little, but Jonas thought he should be able to come up with a better comment than that. Now that the cheerful atmosphere that seemed to hang around Cory had dissipated, he was very aware of Phoebe watching him, hugging her bird.
“Is he okay?” Jonas indicated the shivering bundle of feathers. Phoebe nodded, and Jonas managed a smile. “You should get him back in his cage before he escapes again.”
Jonas reached down and squeezed Phoebe’s hand. She squeezed back before hurrying away. Jonas thought he had seen her smile, though. That somehow made falling out of the tree worth it.
There was cold pressure on the back of his head. Cory had returned with the ice pack.
“I wanted to show you this.” Cory sat down next to Jonas, pulling something out of his pocket. He picked up Jonas’ hand and pressed the thing into it.
It was a large coin. The shape fit perfectly in Jonas’ palm, and it’s cool, solid weight had an almost reassuring feel to it. There was a pair of dice on it, one showing a five, and the other a two. The words ‘extra luck’ stood out at the bottom. Yet another lucky charm.
“I just remembered about it.” As if he somehow sensed that Jonas was going to return it, Cory reached over and closed Jonas’ hand around the coin. “It couldn’t hurt.”
Jonas winced as the ice pack shifted. His head was still sore, in spite of slowly being numbed.
Cory moved his hand up to the ice pack to keep it in place, smiling at him. Jonas felt his face flushing and quickly looked down, away from Cory’s smile.
“I’m sorry for distracting you before.”
“It’s okay. It probably would have happened anyway.” Jonas didn’t really understand why Cory couldn’t just resign himself to the fact that he was going to be unlucky. It wasn’t Cory’s curse, after all. Though he had to admit it did feel nice to have someone trying to help.
“Jonas,” Cory called, putting a hand on his cheek and turning his face back.
Jonas tried not to jump. “What?” Why was Cory looking at him like that?
“Close your eyes.”
It didn’t seem like such a good idea, but Jonas’ eyes slid closed before he even had time to consider it. He felt Cory shift next to him, leaning a little closer. Cory’s hand was cupping his cheek, stroking it slowly with his thumb.
Realization hit Jonas and his mind froze. Cory was going to kiss him.
Jonas could feel Cory’s breath when he spoke. He could almost taste it. How was he supposed to move? He was having a hard enough time getting through the sudden haze around his brain so that he could remind himself to breathe. Rational thought was gone. Why couldn’t Cory have asked first? No, he was going to just do it, and Jonas didn’t know what to think, and he thought he might be going crazy because now he was leaning a little closer, and he was actually anticipating it, and any second now. . .
“Huh?” Jonas blinked his eyes open in confusion. He hadn’t felt anything. He didn’t miss it, did he? Honestly, if he was going to get kissed he would have to feel it, right?
“Didn’t want it to get in your eye,” Cory showed Jonas the eyelash he had just brushed off of his face. He looked so proud of himself, probably thinking he had made some small impact on Jonas’ condition.
Jonas didn’t have the heart to tell him, but he didn’t feel any better. He even felt a little worse for the experience.
“Don’t look so depressed. I’m going to figure out a cure for you.” Cory grinned and gave him a thumbs up.
Jonas forced himself to smile back, adjusting the ice pack. He tried to tell himself he hadn’t really wanted a kiss. Except. . . Falling out of trees, and breaking things, and having anything possible fall on him with no warning was something he was more or less used to by now. Today, for the first time in a long time, he really felt unlucky.