“This cannot possibly be safe,” Sungkyu mumbled, swallowing thickly and looking down the steep unmarked slope. Less than a mile from their cabins was a perfectly usable hill for skiing, fully equipped with the deadly black diamond run. This, however, was an uncharted step further and worth, he was sure, several black diamonds and a pound of caution tape warning off daring skiers. Anyone foolish enough to go down this slop was going to die before they reached the bottom.
“It’s not,” Woohyun agreed, grinning and bouncing on the balls of his feet as if he couldn’t possibly wait. In his hands he held a snowboard, blue and carefully cared for. “You did say you could ski,” Woohyun reminded him.
“Yes I can ski,” Sungkyu agreed, eyeing the hill. “But I only rarely do a black diamond run. We are going to hit a tree before we even get out of sight!”
“Naw,” Woohyun replied, then paused. “Well Sungyeol did hit a tree one year but that was probably because he was trying to go down the hill backwards.”
His mate was going to be no help to him in this, Sungkyu could tell. He could feel the eagerness coming off the other wolf in waves so thick he could nearly taste it on his tongue. Within his own body his Beast was interested but primarily because of the interest of their mate. That simply wasn’t enough to reassure him.
As distracted as he was he still felt the Alpha behind him before the man’s hand touched the back of his neck. “Sungkyu,” he said squeezing in gentle reassurance. “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but you are fully capable. You have quicker reflexes and much improved strength and control. Trust your Beast and you’ll be fine.”
“Alright,” he agreed knowing he didn’t really have a choice. For one thing he did want to be the only one left on top of the mountain. If that wasn’t enough, something in him couldn’t allow the wolves below him in the pack to do it and not himself. Perhaps it was some twisted sense of pride but it hardly mattered. He was going to have to eat pine tree just because he was too competitive now to say no.
“Equipment ready,” Tablo called, stepping away and stepping onto his own skis. The rest of the pack followed his lead in securing their feet in their equipment. Following their lead, Sungkyu slowly placed his skis on the ground and stepped onto them. He was surprised that his hands didn’t shake as he strapped the skis firmly onto his feet.
“See you at the bottom,” Tablo called to the wolves before he tipped over the edge of the hill and began his decent.
Most of the wolves were too eager to wait more than a moment after their Alpha had descended to follow him. Dongwoo, the last one off sent Sungkyu an apologetic look before following himself. It was now over never, Sungkyu knew. Any longer and he would lose his nerve all together. Biting his lip in apprehension he scooted himself forward.
He started slow, the decline gentle enough that he barely picked up any speed at first. That was fine with him since looming a few meters ahead was the edge of the tree line that only promised pain. Before he really knew what he was doing he was angling his body to slide smoothly around the first tree and already looking to the next. By the time he actually slid into the forest he had already seen several moves ahead and knew exactly what he was going to do.
Sungkyu was quickly picking up speed as he slipped through the trees but he suddenly realized it didn’t matter. They were built for speed and agility, he and his Beast and although this was a bit different then moving through the forest on paws built for that, it involved the same skills. The Beast in him knew how to move, what to do, and he fell into it, feeling himself beginning to let go of his worries for the trip down.
They broke from the trees with over half the mountain ahead of them, going much faster than he ever had dreamed of doing as a human. Yet he didn’t even have a passing thought of slowing down. If anything he found himself unconsciously pulling his body in tighter to increase his speed.
He hit an outcropping, a rock, or simply a mound of snow, he wasn’t certain which, but it sent him airborne, sailing rapidly into the sky. Grinning he twisted his body, flipping several times in the air before getting his feet beneath him and landing firmly still going nearly as fast as he had been. A second tree line came and went, a blur of green and brown that he moved easily around as if he were simply passing through the air. It was exhilarating, and he would have closed his eyes to enjoy the feeling of it, if didn’t know he needed his sight to keep his body free from the deadly wood.
Too soon he could feel the steepness declining, the edge of the mountain beginning to level off into a valley, slopping gently at the end. Sungkyu couldn’t believe that he had been afraid to try this, this was so freeing. Within him his Beast fully agreed.
Together they began to slow, carefully performing the zigzagging switch backs designed to decrease their speed. Their mate waited for them at the bottom of the mountain and they could feel his joy just as easily as they could see it in his face.
“What do you think!?” Woohyun called to him as soon as he was close enough to hear the other wolf.
“I think,” Sungkyu replied, throwing up a splattering of snow as he turned his skis and skidded to a stop beside his mate. “That was amazing!”
“I told you!” excitement was racing through the other wolf, pressing Sungkyu’s own excitement higher.
“And I think,” he continued reaching down to unbuckle his boots, “that I have to do that again!” He didn’t wait for Woohyun to reply as he bent and scooped up his skis, charging back up the way he had just come down. It would be a lengthy climb but he knew his body easily had the power within it to make it now.
“Wait for me!” Woohyun cried, and not a moment later he could hear his mate’s boots crunching on the snow behind him.
AN: I have actually never been downhill skiing and I think I spent more time on the ground then actually on my skis when I went cross country last time (don't ask me how that happened... ^^;) so I totally understand Sungkyu's hesitation here...