“Take a deep break,” Iolaus quietly urged.
“I can’t! I’m scared!”
“It’ll be okay. Don’t you trust me?” Iolaus smiled his most charming smile.
She looked down at the ground so far away. “We’ll fall,” she whimpered.
“No, we won’t,” Iolaus soothingly calmed her. “I won’t let you fall.” He grinned again. “And I won’t let me fall either.”
“Hunter’s promise,” Iolaus grinned. “That’s the best kind, you know.”
“Hey, Herc! Over here!” Iolaus yelled.
Hercules followed the voice. “Where?”
Hercules suddenly looked up and blanched. “For Zeus’ sake! What are you...”
“Hey! A hero does what a hero’s got to do,” Iolaus loftily interrupted. “Here! Catch!”
Startled, Hercules automatically caught a furry ball that dropped from the tree. “Ouch!” He grasped the kitten by the scruff of its neck before it could scratch him again.
“Come on,” Iolaus urged as he bent down.
Hercules watched as his best friend slowly climbed down the tall tree, the small figure clinging to his back. He held his breath, watching in awe as Iolaus seemed to find handholds in a seemingly smooth tree trunk. Only when his friend and his daughter were safely on the ground did he relax.
“Ilea, what were you doing up there?” Hercules sternly asked.
“Rescuing kitty,” his daughter engagingly smiled.
“Yeah, rescuing kitty,” Iolaus cheerfully echoed. He grinned as Hercules sourly regarded the spitting kitten in his grasp.
Ilea hugged Iolaus’ neck and wetly kissed his cheek.
“Thank you, Uncle Eye-o-lus,” she chanted.
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