It had been drizzling on and off all day and Heero wondered if the rest of the season would continue in the same vein. The wipers on his truck were on low and able to keep up with the steadier pattern of rain that had begun just moments ago.
He’d left work late, fully knowing that he should have made an attempt to leave early, but not wanting to deal with the aftermath of the argument he and Duo had that morning. Besides, the extra money would certainly be welcome.
Heero combed the fingers of his left hand through his bangs, sweeping the slightly damp hair up against the top of his head. He wasn’t even sure it had been an argument, only that Duo seemed to be hell bent on starting out the day with a pity party and Heero had rather adamantly refused to have a hand in it. He’d left the house in a hurry, making sure that Duo was in earshot of his less than gentle closing of the front storm door.
He wasn’t good at this sort of thing, dammit, even after all this time. He didn’t quite get why Duo was beating himself up over something that hadn’t been his fault to begin with or if Duo was merely looking for Heero to substantiate his frustrations. Heero had frustrations as well! With Duo out of work for the past 5 weeks, they’d been hard pressed to meet their bills and even with the small amount of overtime Heero had been able to get, they were still going to be late with the rent; again.
Duo’s medical bills had used up what little savings they’d had, and the stress of the situation was clearly taking its toll. They’d talked about this; several times and Heero didn’t know what else Duo expected him to say. It was something they would need to ride out and they’d be laughing about in a year or two. Heero was positive of it.
He turned off the main road and onto the narrow dirt road that lead to their house. It was small and what the real estate agent had called a ‘fixxer upper’, but they were both good with their hands and the rent was easily affordable. It was nice having the huge property as well, though it saddened Heero slightly to think about the farm having to be sold off, as it just wasn’t profitable any longer.
The sun was low on the horizon, barely lighting the overgrown grass of the north field. Heero could see the silhouettes of the three large oak trees whose leaves had turned a brilliant shade of red before falling just weeks ago.
Heero smiled. Duo loved this time of the year. Heero hadn’t seen the appeal of it his first year on Earth, but Duo had been more than happy to share the joys of it with him. They lit fires almost nightly, and while it certainly helped conserve heating costs, that was far from the reason they did it.
Nearing the house, Heero looked out onto the field again, slowing down slightly as something peculiar caught his eye. There was a structure of some sort just to the left of the large cluster of slender pines that Heero was sure hadn’t been there this morning. He squinted, barely able to make out what appeared to be a slim figure standing beside an inverted L shaped structure.
Heero’s heart began to pound in his chest and he hastily pulled his truck over to the side of the dirt road and sprinted from it. His mind was racing a mile a minute, making every effort to convince himself that what he was seeing was merely a bizarre manifestation of the sudden fear he was feeling. It wasn’t totally irrational, Heero admitted. Duo had been quite beside himself this morning, and Heero would have been a fool to believe that Duo wasn’t capable of doing himself harm.
The rain picked up a bit, easily soaking though Heero’s clothes as he ran through the knee-high grass toward what he could see now, was clearly a crudely made gallows. The fear was taking hold the closer he got, and last 100 yards were painful as the wind picked up, sending what Heero could easily define from this distance as Duo’s braid out into the chilled air.
Heero screamed, running faster and no longer trying to hold in the emotions that were overwhelming him. He screamed Duo’s name again, lunging forward and trying to grab at the slightly swaying figure.
“Hey!” Duo said, suddenly rising from his crouched position. “Like it?”
Stunned by the sound of Duo’s voice, Heero grabbed him, wrapping his both arms around Duo and squeezing him rather fiercely.
Duo laughed into Heero’s hair and enthusiastically returned the hug; unsure of what warranted such an enigmatic display of affection from his lover, but not passing up the opportunity to return the sentiment.
Heero glanced over at the scarecrow-like form Duo had created and shook his head from side to side. It was the beginning of October, after all, and Heero should have recalled that Halloween wasn’t that far off.
It did give him something to think about though, and perhaps his time would best be spent indulging Duo a little this evening. It would probably do them both a lot of good.
⇾ i am working on another short fic that follows directly after this story, and expect to have it done in the next week or so.