Ever so slowly, and with a slight creak that had meant to be fixed weeks ago, the front door to the ShinRa family mansion opened. Little blue eyes peered inside cautiously, looking once to the left, and then shifting to the right. The coast was clear. Eight year old Grayson, with great attentiveness not to make too much noise, heaved his brand new skis through the front door. He had tried to bring his new skis inside two other times earlier in the day, only to be stopped by his father.
“Leave them alone until your next lesson,” Rufus would say sternly. “If you break these you’re done for the season.”
Each time he was caught and reprimanded he would stomp his feet, grumble, but obey. He knew better than to be insubordinate towards his father. The entire reason he had to get new skis was his fault—he had decided to attempt to cross country ski in the yard, hit a rock and cracked one of his last skis. Rufus apprehensively bought him a new pair, but not without warning. Be more careful.
But Grayson was too impatient to be careful. He had to try out his new skis—they were the latest model and something the pros would use, after all! His next lesson wasn’t for another week and that simply wouldn’t do. Finally, with goggles propped atop his head, and ski poles in his other hand, he was inside and alone. Or so he thought…
“What are you doing?” a timid little voice rang from the doorway leading into the study.
Grayson pivoted to face his little brother, who stood in the doorway with a book (most likely about animals) in his hands—his freckle riddled face staring at his older brother with the utmost confusion. “Nothing, Wes…”
“It doesn’t look like nothing. Why are you skis in here? I thought dad told you—”
Before the youngest could finish Grayson cut him off. “Shut up, Wesley, and keep watch for me.”
Wesley huffed, promptly sticking his tongue out in the direction of his bossy older brother. “No!”
“Fine,” Grayson started. He knew Wesley would refuse—he knew his brother too well. If it didn’t have to do with some sort of critter he wanted nothing to do with it. So, just like big brothers usually do, he used a little blackmail. “I guess I will have to tell mom and dad about that lizard you have living in a box under your bed. The one they told you several times to leave outside?”
“I wish I could trade you in for a chocobo, Grayson. You’re so mean.”
“What will Mr. Lizard do without you? Out in the cold…alone…”
“No one is coming….”
Grayson got his way, just like he always did with his easy-to-manipulate younger brother. Before proceeding to tiptoe up the stairs he looked around to reassure himself Wesley wasn’t lying to him. Score! No one in sight. Positioning himself at the top of the stairs was risky; Rufus’ office was just directly behind him, and though the doors were closed even the slightest flinch would alert his father of the shenanigans that were about to ensue.
After a minute of preparations he was ready for his new ski test run.
Goggles down? Check.
Boots locked in? Check.
“Grayson ShinRa, going for the gold.” He whispered to himself with an adrenaline fueled grin.
With a push from the ski poles he was mobile—
Thud thud thud…
“Watch out, Wes!”
Rufus knew exactly what had happened when the noise startled him from his work. He let out an exasperated sigh and got up from his desk. Had Grayson not been worried about attempting to free himself from a tangled mess of bent ski poles, a broken ski, and his brother, he would have heard his father throw open the door before exclaiming, “What in Shiva’s name are you doing?!”
He didn’t need an answer. The pitiful sight at the bottom of the stairs was enough of an answer. Wesley wiggled himself out from underneath his brother and slugged him in the arm, “That was stupid, Grayson!”
“Not as stupid as keeping a lizard under your bed!”
Rufus rubbed his temples as he descended down the stairs towards his now quarreling sons—yanking them off of each other.
“You.” He pointed to Grayson, “Your room. Now. You get to spend a little time figuring out how you’re going to continue your skiing lessons with two pairs of broken skis.”
“And you,” Wesley was next. “The lizard has to go. Maybe next time you’ll think twice about getting yourself involved in your brother’s mischiefs.”
After a few tears, a little protest, and a whole bucket full of broken pride, the boys sulked up to their rooms. Even the heirs to the ShinRa fortune weren’t exempt from being grounded.