"Three Successive Rounds" would've been my title for this character study.
A good study it was but it also had enough action to keep my attention. Starting with the recovery and not the fall was a good technique. While I prefer Cochise as female, I like to think that she went running home after the fall. Your story is good like that, leaving plenty of room for imagination.
Like I always imagined he would, Adam spent his time reviewing the situation and making adjustments accordingly. He may have lost his "customary and calm composure" (love that alliteration) momentarily but he quickly got it back. Keeping our boys in character is important to me.
"It was a comfortable arrangement born between the two of them out of sacrifice and survival; an unspoken, undeniable bond that could not be undone by mere hardship or inconvenience."
Gotta love that line. Your description of Joe's labored breathing after the fall was exceptional as I was taking every raspy breath with him. Adding a bit of humor with the joke concerning castration was welcome. Poor Joe, always the little brother whether he wanted to be or not. As a woman with three older brothers, I identify with those descriptions. I can also 'hear' the deep reassuring voice that Adam would have been using.
Personally, I like the way it reads and wouldn't make any changes. It works.Author's Response:
Thank you, Calamity. I agree with you - Three Successive Rounds woud also be a fine title. :)
Interestingly, I originally wrote Cochise as female, but I changed my mind later on. It's something I did wrestle with. Also, I'm happy you thought Adam and Joe remained in character. As tough as both of them are, Joe is the eternal youngster in his family's eyes. Adam isn't about to let anything happen to him on his watch, so to speak. If Adam has an Achilles' heel, it might be Joe.
I don;t have any brothers myself. From the standpoint of that experience, it's good to hear you think it works.
Thank you for commenting.