Simple Pleasures

by Hombre

Main Characters: Vin and Chris

Notes: Hopefully this is a nice gentle piece with no swearing (well, a little cussing maybe) and no violence. What is wrong with me? Anyway enjoy! If you do, then I would love to know.

Chris hurried in from the yard to answer the persistently ringing phone. He nearly tripped over his feet in his haste to reach it and hurriedly put his hand out against the wall to keep himself upright.

"Larabee," he said breathlessly as he leaned against the chair while recovering his breath. I'm getting too old for running about, he thought to himself wryly.

"Hey cowboy. Can I come out to the ranch today?" Vin's voice asked tentatively.

"Sure ya can. What ya got planned?"

"Oh, nothing much. Just want some time on my own," Vin replied evasively.

The blond nodded. "Okay. See ya later then."

+ + + + + + +

Vin put down the phone and picked up his fishing pole bag and slung it over his shoulder. He walked down to the jeep and put the bag carefully in the back before climbing in the front. He didn't rush and took time to enjoy the sedate drive out to the ranch in the warm summer sun. He finally pulled into the yard and saw Chris mending a window at the front of the house. The sharpshooter hopped out of the vehicle and ambled over to his friend curiously.

"What happened, Chris?" he asked, as he drew upsides his friend.

The blond looked slightly embarrassed as he turned to face Vin. Chris'd hoped to complete the repair job before Vin had turned up. He shrugged, knowing he'd have to come clean and confess his stupidity. "I threw a stick for Arnie to catch but it hit the window instead. I was supposed to be throwing it away from the house at the time," he answered wryly.

"Didn't aim very well then, did ya?" Vin laughed, as he imagined the blond's wayward pitch.

"Nah, wouldn't have made the baseball team, that's for sure," the slender man agreed as he grinned broadly.

Vin patted his back sympathetically before going back to the jeep, pulling out the bag and locking the door. Why the hell I'm locking it I'll never know. Who the hell would wanna steal it anyway? he asked himself as he cast his eye over the battered vehicle.

"Goin' fishin'? Want some company?" Chris asked with a raised eyebrow as he spotted the sharpshooter's equipment.

Vin wriggled uncomfortably. "Um...Look Chris, I kinda wanna go alone. Do ya mind?"

The black-clad man shook his head and smiled, knowing Vin liked his own company. "No, 'course not. You knock yerself out but make sure you bring back somethin' to cook tonight. Just fancy a nice fish on the barbecue," Chris said as he rubbed his stomach hungrily at the very thought of food.

Vin grinned cagily before setting off toward the creek. He hated lying. It was only a little white lie, he told himself unconvincingly.

Chris watched him leave curiously because he sensed something was up. The sharpshooter had none of the paraphernalia that usually accompanied his fishing expeditions. He usually brought everything but the kitchen sink. The blond shrugged his shoulders lightly and turned back to finish mending the window.

Vin looked quickly over his shoulder and saw Chris turn away, so the long-haired man abruptly changed direction and ducked into the trees. He needed open spaces, but not water, for what he planned to do that day. He continued walking until he found what he hoped was the perfect spot for his purpose. He set his bag down and looked round furtively before squatting on the ground beside it. He opened it up and pulled out a kite, not a fishing pole. He'd made it himself and wanted to test it out in private. He assembled it carefully and when he'd finally finished untangling the knotted tail, he smiled in satisfaction at the end result. He held the kite in one hand and the string in the other as he stood up and moved away from the bag to give himself room to run.

"Hope there's enough wind," he muttered as he looked around again to make sure he wasn't being spied on. He felt slightly self-conscious even though no one was in sight.

He began running and let the kite go when he felt it tugging against his hand. He'd never flown a kite before and found it wasn't as easy as he'd thought. The kite dived straight back onto the ground with a thud without even getting past head height. Vin felt his heart drop in disappointment and he sighed at his lack of expertise. He felt he needed at least another set of hands to cope with everything.

He picked the toy up and walked back to his original starting point totally unaware that he was being watched. Chris had seen Vin's change of direction out the corner of his eye and his curiosity had eventually gotten the better of him. He needed to know what Vin was up to or die in the process and he couldn't have more surprised with what he discovered. He turned to walk away but then decided to stay for a while and watch his friend play. Vin was usually so guarded that it was a pleasure to see him relax and enjoy himself, although from the expression on the man's face at the moment, he didn't look all that happy.

Vin began running again on his second attempt at achieving lift-off, oblivious to Chris's presence. This time when he let go of the kite it started to rise into the air. It stayed up for all of half a minute before once again falling to earth.

"Oh, dammit," he said sadly as he dropped to his knees to make sure the kite was still in one piece.

Chris decided it was time to show himself, so he stepped out into the open and Vin stopped what he was doing immediately when he saw him.

"Hey Vin. Nice kite. Did ya make it yerself?" the blond asked interestedly, trying to put the man at ease.

The sharpshooter dropped his gaze and nodded in embarrassment. He knew Chris was probably wondering what a grown man was doing flying a kite.

"Done a good job, Vin," the blond praised as he knelt beside the younger man and examined his workmanship. "Need some help with it? How about I launch the kite while you hold the string, okay?" the man offered with a warm smile as he sensed his friend's continued embarrassment.

The younger man stared back at him with wide, innocent, blue eyes. "Why ain't ya laughing at me?"

"Why should I be?"

"Well, I'm twenty-five and I'm playing with a kite, for God's sake. Not a stunt kite, which might just pass muster, but a kite with bows on its tail."

"If you like it, why should I interfere? What's the difference between a kite and playing golf? Always thought that was a daft game. Hitting a little ball and then following it round all day in those silly short pants that the players wear."

Vin laughed but still felt he had to explain his reasons for what he was doing. "It's just I never had a kite as a kid, Chris. Always wanted one but living on the streets meant I missed out on a lot of things. So I guess I'm kinda making up for it now. Second childhood, if you like 'cause I missed it first time round."

"You don't have to explain, Vin. I understand, really I do," the man said softly as he patted Vin's shoulder gently. "I'd really like to see it in action. Are ya gonna try to get it going again?"

Vin smiled shyly. "Sure." He passed the kite to Chris and let out a bit of string as he backed away from his friend.

"Okay, when yer ready," the blond called and watched as Vin began running backwards awkwardly.

When Chris felt the time was right he launched the kite with all his might into the air. "Tug the string, Vin. Keep it up...Tug it," he yelled as he ran with a galloping stride after the younger man.

Vin did as he was told and saw the kite climb higher as a result. He tugged gently again and the kite kept going up and up. Once it had reached the end of the string, Vin slowed down to a walk and looked upwards with a look of pure pleasure on his features.

"Thanks Chris, that was great. Look at it fly, cowboy. It really works," Vin spluttered enthusiastically. He felt it dropping as he spoke so he began running to keep it airborne as he tugged the string persistently.

Chris watched his friend and smiled. Vin's eyes shone as he laughed and looked up happily at the kite high above him, gliding in the air like a soaring bird.

"Do ya wanna hold it, Chris?" the long-haired man asked when he saw Chris staring upward too.

"Okay." The blond walked forward and took the string from Vin's hand. He tipped back his head once more and stared upward at the brightly colored kite.

The kite's tail fluttered behind it as it dived from side to side like a snake. The blond took a few hurried steps backward as he tugged the string hard to keep it up. He looked back at Vin once he'd achieved his aim and handed the string back.

"Thanks, Vin. Simple pleasures are the best, ain't they?"

"Yeah, they sure are," the sharpshooter answered distractedly, his gaze fixed once more on his flying creation.

The two men flew the kite until the wind dropped, causing it to plummet to the ground. Vin rolled up the string and then dismantled the kite before packing it safely away. He sat on the grass with a contented sigh and lay back, staring up at the sky with his head cushioned on his interlaced fingers.

Chris joined him and crossed his legs at the ankle as he closed his eyes and enjoyed the feel of the sun on his cheek. There was absolute peace round about with only the occasional bird chirping in the trees. He lay listening to the silence and began to pick up noises that he would normally miss. He heard the lazy buzz of a bee as it flew past his ear and then the sound of the wind rustling the leaves on the trees, making them whisper softly. Next, the quiet trickling and burbling of water from the nearby creek reached his straining ears. All gentle, relaxing sounds that were good for the soul. The faint smell of flowers assaulted his nostrils and he inhaled deeply, taking pleasure in the wonderful scent. An airplane droned overhead and he listened until he could hear it no more. The blond felt himself drifting contentedly off to sleep as the sun's intensity increased.

"Rabbit," Vin said, waking the man up.

Chris opened his eyes and frowned. "What?"

"There's a rabbit."

Chris looked around but couldn't see the cuddly creature at all. All he saw was Arnie running to join them with large ears flopping and pink tongue lolling.


"Up there." Vin pointed to the sky.

Chris changed the direction of his gaze and squinted into the sky as he shaded his eyes against the sun. He pushed Arnie away when the dog unexpectedly planted a sloppy lick all over his cheek. He wiped his face on his sleeve before looking for Vin's elusive rabbit.

"That cloud, do you see?" Vin asked with a smile when he saw that Chris still didn't understand. "Two big ears and a puffball tail. Plain as day."

"Yeah, I see." The blond looked around the heavens and spotted another cloud picture. "That one looks like a three-legged hippo or maybe even Buck when he's had a bit too much to drink."

Vin laughed. "Yeah, it does but I ain't saying what the one over there resembles. Kinda rude from this angle if you ask me, cowboy."

Chris looked where Vin pointed and burst out laughing. "See what ya mean, Vin." The blond felt his troubles from the previous week drift away. It was a long time since he'd done so little on a Saturday and it had done him good. "Simple pleasures, cowboy. That just sums today up. Have to do this again, I reckon. I know you wanted time on yer own and I butted in but I've enjoyed it. Hope you didn't mind and thanks for sharing, Vin."

"Yer welcome. Just proves that ya don't need a load of sophisticated doodads to enjoy yerself, don't it?"

"Amen to that, as Josiah would say," Chris laughed.

The End

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