The Wire Cutter
He kept to the shadows, sliding into the dark hidden spots of the barn, waiting… watching for the right moment to spring. The pungent aroma of the livestock that normally inhabited the stalls was strong, even after the boy had cleaned them. The smell of the hay - straw, he reminded himself - was sweet and natural.
The hidden one's target moved about surely on the loft, tossing pitch-forkfuls of straw to the stalls below. The afternoon sun heated the barn to where a thick sheen of sweat glistened on the boy's exposed flesh. Seemingly satisfied, he leaned the implement against the wall, and leapt from his perch, landing in the pile below.
Now, thought the other even as he moved. His swift quiet steps lead him up to the loft and positioned him over the unsuspecting one below. He watched grinning mischievously as his prey began to spread the straw around, leveling it out over the concrete floor. The boy had worked silently, making the watcher's job difficult though he liked the challenge.
As the boy bent over, knee deep in straw, the one above launched himself silently from the ledge. Whether instinct, or some faint noise was heard, the boy spun even as the watcher landed on top of him. The two went down, the watcher on top straddling his prey, laughter bubbling from his lips. When his fingers failed to elicit even a smile, he leaned close and planted a kiss on his nose. The other flipped his unresisting body off, and had him pinned to the floor, straw flying.
"What do you think you're doing, Duo? I could have killed you," the dark one demanded with a glowering expression.
The long-haired youth pulled his braid around, and plucking straw from it, he answered softly, "Ah, Heero, I thought you needed a laugh."
Heero sat back, releasing his friend. A bemused look in his eyes, he asked, "Why... why did you...?" His finger brushed his nose and, blushing, he stopped speaking.
Instead of replying directly, Duo sat up and gave his friend a contemplative look. "This morning the rancher and I went out to repair fences. Along one stretch, we found an antelope... it was young and had entangled itself in the wire. He looked like he'd been stuck there most of the night and some of the barbs had cut deep." The boy paused, remembering how he'd thought of his stoic companion while helping the animal. Heero's struggle against the invisible wire -- some of it barbed some of his own making -- wrapped tightly about him keeping him from feeling or acting with any freedom. "I thought his heart would quit before I could cut him free. But the more I touched him and talked to him, the calmer he became, and he let me free him."
Leaning forward smiling, Duo kissed the other boy's nose once more. At Heero's bemused expression, he added, "I'm a wire cutter."