"Hey, Sniper...?" Scout said softly, leaning against a tree trunk in a large green pasture. Sniper, Who he had been addressing, pressed his back against the opposite side, his hat tipped down to shade his eyes from the bits of sunlight filtering through the leaves. These moments of peace in nature had become routine for them.
A few months ago, in the dead cold of winter, BLU had decided that it was time for their agents to move to a new base of operation. It was a mass of shouts, loud noises, and rushed packing. Well, most of those were from the soldier, but it was stressful all the same. Scout's things fit into a single suitcase, but he smiled as he realized that it felt a little heavier than when he had first stepped off the train at Well. The trip was drudging, but made a tiny bit more comfortable by the pair of warm mittens the Pyro had found time to make him. He was still wearing his brother's ruddy hand me down coat, but the soft warmth on his hands made him forget the slight chills that ran up the rest of his body.
The base they had moved too looked almost exactly the same, though it was a little more accommodating. The mess hall was much bigger and everyone got their own personal rooms. Scout chuckled to himself. It was the first time he had ever had a room to himself. Looking out the window of his new abode, his hot breath fogging up the chilly glass, he was charmed by the wide expanse of white that unfolded beyond the base. There were no buildings or signs of civilization. Only a single tall tree off in the distance. And as soon as the frost lifted from the ground, Scout claimed the place as his own. He was scaling the branches of "his" tree when a voice laced with a thick australian accent called out to him.
"Careful, kid. Ya look a bit unsteady." Sniper said in a chastising manner. Scout looked down at him and scowled, as he placed a foot on a higher branch and hoisted himself up with his arms.
"Don' worry about it." he replied. Though he tried to sound neutral Sniper could hear the hint of frustration in his voice. "I'm not big and fat like you guys, so I don't need to worry about breakin' through whatever I'm walkin' on."
To Scout's disappointment, Sniper didn't rise to the bait of the tactless insult. He simply continued to look up at scout, his head tilting to the side slightly. "Alroight. My mistake."
Content with him shutting up, Scout lifted himself again to a higher branch. He wobbled for a second, but caught himself by clutching a stray branch.
"See? I can handle myself." The young man said, laughing and taking his hands away from his crutch. "No hands- Wah!" The crunching sound of the branch and the sliding of his baseball cleats from underneath him caused him to fall backwards. Scout landed with a thud right into the Autralian's arms. He was indignant at being held like a princess, but for the moment too stunned to react, and only looked up at his savior in awe. The man was looking back down on him with a sly I-told-you-so smirk.
"We've nevah really talked before, 'ave we? I'm the Sniper."
That moment sparked a natural, easy friendship between them. In return for the few bruises Sniper had saved him, he allowed him to share the newfound space. He would usually just sit and read silently, sometimes humming softly to himself. Scout had never pegged him as a reader, so it spun many conversations for the two. Eventually Sniper wouldn't even bring a book anymore, and their afternoons would be filled with conversation, laughter, and sunlight. The peace it gave them was comforting.
The peace had continued to this summer afternoon, as Scout again called out the Sniper's name to stir him from his nap.
Finally, the man peeked out from beneath his hat. "Oy, wot is it?" He muttered, shifting to become more comfortable. Scout, happy to get his attention, turned his head to peek at his waking australian friend. His shades were falling down his face, revealing his steely gray eyes.
"Ya know, I was thinkin', once this is all over..." He began, twiddling his thumbs, "What will you do?"
The older man stared at him for a moment, pushing up on the bridge of his sunglasses to put them back in place. "When wots ovah, exactly?"
"The war, dumbass." He said, laughing. He took the opportunity to move a bit closer to the Australian, waiting for an answer.
His eyes moved to look contemplatively at the thick branches towering above them.
Scout, being the impatient boy he was, reached out to grip the man's shoulder. The sudden touch made the man at least 20 years his superior whirl around to face him. The Bostonian's youthful skin and blue eyes glittered in the diluted sunlight, while the shade casted pleasing shadows over his features. The sound of the wind and the subtle movements of the grass seemed to paint the background of a beautiful portrait for the boy. The pure image caused Sniper to pause again, dumbfounded by the strange feeling that overtook him. Noticing the man's sudden pause, a wide grin formed on his beautiful face.
"Whassa'matter?" he said, tugging on Sniper's cheek in a playful manner, "Cat got your tongue?"
It took him a moment to react, but eventually the man pushed Scout's hand away and grunted in digust. Humiliating him further, a burst of stifled giggles under wrapped hands followed.
Moments passed as Scout covered his face with his hands, overcome with laughter. When he finally removed his hands from his face, his smile faded. Sniper was looking somberly up again, ignoring Scout completely.
"D'you really think it'll evah end...?" He muttered darkly. When his question received no response, he continued. "Oive been stuck in this damn place for over ten years now, with no end in sight...Whetha we win or lose, nothin' changes..."
Scout hugged his knees and averted his eyes. He had signed on for a five year contract himself. He didn't reallt want to think about the possibility of being forced into another contract, which apparently happened to almost everyone who signed on to the war. He was happy holding on to the hope that soon the fighting would be over.
"But, bein' optimistic...What would ya do if it were over? Right now, let's say we're free to go wherever we please. What do ya do?"
A few moments passed, the only sounds being the whistling of the wind through the leaves. Finally, Sniper turned slightly to look at his younger counterpart and sighed softly. "Well...Oi guess I'd go back to my homeland. See my mum and dad...Maybe pick up my old job again."
Scout illicited no reaction to Sniper's answer. He simply blinked a few times and placed a finger to his lightly chapped lips. A smile formed on his lips again as he looked to the sky, relaxing his pose.
"I'll go with you."
The statement hung in the air, reverberated in his ears, swam in his head, and hit him like a train all at once.
"W-what?" He sputtered out.
The boy turned his head to look at the Australian, his face taking a more serious expression. "You heard me," he said, "I'm going with you."
It was still trickling into his consciousness.
"And don't try to get away from me, neither! I'm fast, so I'll catch up to you in no time..."
It took a moment for his words to trail off, as he noticed the Sniper looking wistfully at him. The older man coughed and fingered the brim of his hat.
"Can you...Sit closer to me, for just a moment?" He asked softly. The boy, confused but happy to be asked, nodded and scooted closer to the older man until their shoulders almost touched. He averted his eyes, but Sniper could see his cheeks flush involuntarily. This time it was Sniper's turn to smile. "You don't have'ta do that, you know."
"I-I want to!" Scout replied, almost shouting. "You're my best friend in the world! I'm not going to lose you because we come from different continents..." His voice died down to a whisper. "I don't want to be alone again."
The statement struck a chord with Sniper. Besides his parents, who hadn't been talking to him much anyways because they thought he was a "crazed gunman", he had never truly kept anyone close. But somehow the boy sitting beside him in that awkward manner had managed to slip past the arm's reach he held everyone at. And Sniper had hardly noticed. What would it be like to be alone again, he wondered. Did he even want to be?
The sound of the boy sniffling broke his train of thought. A stray tear hung in his eye, but he didn't appear to be on the verge of tears anymore than he was already. Sniper's rough hands removed the boy's cap to ruffle the soft, short hair underneath. Scout let out a short, awkward laugh to distract himself from his crying.
"Alroight, kiddo." He said in a parenting tone, "you can come with me. But I don't want to take you away from your family, y'know...Yer so young..."
The boy looked up at him in the sweetest way possible in response. His lip trembled, and cursing his vulnerability, he softly replied, "...Really?"
A sigh of relief escaped his lips as he laughed off the tension that hung in the air just a minute before.
"So we go together." Scout said simply.
The question was answered by a firm but sweet kiss placed on his lips, and a calloused hand wrapping around his own.
They stayed like that for hours, happy just to have each other.