The Climbing Bet

BA Canon: Yes

Timeline: After The Golden Touch

Dean snorted. “No way.”

Sam glared up at him. “Seriously? You doubt me? After I saved your sorry ass from being a statue.” He shook his head mournfully with a smirk hiding in the corner of his lips.

Dean cocked an eyebrow at the bookshelf. “Sure, but you climbed a tree back there. I’m betting there’s a few more handholds on a tree than a shelf. The thing’s pretty much a cliff.”

Sam jabbed his hook at Dean. “If I can climb it, I get control over the television for a week.”

Dean’s eyes narrowed. “Deal.” He stuck a hand out.

Sam grinned confidently as he let Dean cautiously shake his much smaller arm between two fingers. “You’ll be eating your words,” he shot back at his big brother as the older hunter stood and stepped back.

“Better put your money where your mouth is, pint-size,” Dean said as he leaned against the wall. Standing, he was just as tall as the shelves he’d challenged Sam to climb. “Or I’ll be in charge of the TV for the week.”

Sam uncoiled his fishing line, the clear rope ready in his hands. He ignored the looming shadow of the older Winchester, knowing Dean wouldn’t interfere unless Sam slipped. For once, he actually had a safety net as he climbed. Normally, he was on his own when he tried foolhardy stunts like this. Walt would always lecture him, but he’d always do it again. He was one of the best climbers around, after all.

The first shelf was easy. An easy toss got the hook snagged on a vase. Sam tugged on the line, judging how solid the catch was. Only when he was certain that it wouldn’t shake free did he start climbing up.

The line he used was smooth, hard to climb directly up most days. After years of practice, his hands were becoming as callused as Dean’s, but for completely different reasons. The calluses gave him a better grip on his line, letting him haul his body up with nothing more than his hands.

He clambered up the first shelf, eyeing up his surroundings. Beyond the vase and a discarded Bible, he could see Dean’s knees, the thick legs crossed while he leaned against the wall. Sam couldn’t help a smile at the thought of using Dean to climb the rest of the way up, but pushed that thought away. Besides being an easy out, Dean would probably declare that ‘cheating.’

Sam flicked his line, releasing the hook from its snug fit. He held it at the ready, staring up at the shelf above. This time, the game would be interesting. The shelves were all even, so there was no way for him to reach the next one up without leaning out into the open air.

A careful examination of his surroundings revealed a bracket above, used to set the shelves into the wall. There were holes interspaced on the brackets, and one of them might be just far enough out for him to be able to use it to climb up. With a rush of confidence, Sam tossed his hook at the bracket.

And missed.

He growled as he pulled the line back. Dean leaned down with a smirk. “Need a hand?” he goaded Sam.

Sam ignored him, trying the shot again. At least in this case, there was no hurry, and no danger from the human nearby. No danger past the teasing and jokes, at least.

The second toss did it. He tugged on the line, then began climbing again. This time, his line didn’t make it all the way to the shelf, but he was able to grip the metal bracket, scaling up the last few inches. He unhooked his fishhook on the way, attaching it to the pocket Walt had made for a time just like this.

The grin wouldn’t leave his face after that level. The end of a blanket draped down from the shelf above, so he didn’t even need to get his hook back out to get to the third shelf, putting him at chest height for Dean and one shelf away from his goal. He caught his hook on the bracket on his first toss. Barely two minutes later, and he hauled himself up to the top, swaggering over to Dean’s surprised face with a knowing grin.

“So,” Sam smirked. “Who’s up for some Star Wars this week?”

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