It wasn’t often that a carnival rolled into town, but when ever it Scout absolutely had to go visit it.
He had to go take in the sights, the sounds, and especially the smells and tastes. Nothing reminded him more of his childhood than eating too many funnel cakes and pieces of cotton candy. The prizes and games, and sometimes even the rides, were just bonuses to him when compared to the food and memories you could get out of a place like this.
That’s why he had to go. If no one would take him, he’d walk, risk of heatstroke and all. A freshly-made funnel cake was definitely worth a possible brush with death.
Sniper, however, didn’t see it that way.
That’s why he found himself standing outside the entrance, looking in to the swarms of people and tents that lay just a few hundred feet ahead.
It wasn’t too late to get back into truck, was it? It was just right behind him. He could tell Scout that he forgot his sunglasses, even though they were right on his face, and he could disappear into the cab for a quick nap.
But a smaller hand slipping into his, tugging him forward to the ticket gate. Sniper was buying two tickets before he even realized that his wallet was out, and he was pulled into carnival before he could even think to say “no” or “wait”.
He looked down the rows of booths, games and food as far as his eyes could see, and then beyond to the rickety rides sitting in the distance.
Maybe this whole thing wouldn’t be so bad after all. He could do this.
“Where do you wanna go first? ” He asked Scout. Damned if he knew what people did at these places. Stand in line a lot in front of places from the looks of things. Exciting.
“Ride stuff first, eat second,” Scout said, “Don’t wanna do it the other way first.”
“Easier on an empty stomach?”
“Oh yeah. Definitely.” Scout said, looking around to scope out his options, “What do you wanna ride? I’m thinking that coaster riiiiiight over there would be a good place to start.”
Sniper tried to steel himself before he turned to look at the possible monstrosity Scout was pointing at.
He did turn though. And what he saw was worse than he imagined. A speeding car raced down a wooden track that wouldn’t possibly be able to withstand the numerous rides it would have to bear today. He wasn’t even sure it would survive the next one.
“You, ah, so sure about that?” Sniper asked slowly, sincerely hoping the answer was no.
“Yes!” Scout said, and they were off again. The Boston boy easily slipped through the crowds, years of practice showing, while Sniper was just pulled along behind, trying to stay on his toes so he could dodge the other folks before he crashed into any of them. Luckily, they were able to make it to the coaster without any casualties.
“Doesn’t it look like the best ride ever?” Scout said, bouncing on his toes as the line moved up a whole foot.
“Uh...Yeah,” Sniper said slowly, trying, and failing, to put some sort of smile on his face, “Listen, do you really want me to ride this with you?”
“Yeah, Sni-” Scout paused, looking up at the man, “Do you not wanna ride it?”
“I-...” Sniper wanted to say yes. He really wanted to say yes. He wanted to say that he’d be delighted to join Scout on the small wooden box car of death, to be strapped into a shipping crate on wheels and sent barreling down a toothpick track, that upchucking into the nearest bin after the ordeal and that feeling ill for the rest of the day would be worth the two and a half minute ride with Scout. But he just couldn’t.
“Yeah, nah,” Sniper said with a shake of his head.
“Nah?” Scout asked, just to be sure.
“Yeah, nah.” Sniper confirmed, “But I’m willing ta’ wait in the line with ya’.”
“Okay,” Scout said, satisfied, “Let’s wait.”
In just a few minutes, Scout was seated and racing down the track, and Sniper was safely on the ground watching the car and hoping that it stayed on the track. Thankfully, it did.
Soon after Scout was laughing by his side, asking if Sniper had seen him waving and oh wow that drop was so cool and fast he swore that his stomach he flown up into his throat and he was gonna puke so bad and maybe he should even ride it again except the line was really super long and he wanted to ride more stuff and-
“Whoa, whoa, take a breath,” Sniper said with a laugh, lightly putting a hand on the bouncy boy’s shoulder, “You wanna ride it again?”
“I-, uh, nah,” Scout said, suddenly calming down, “Let’s go find something else to ride."
“Alright, what do you wanna ride now?”
“I don’t know,” Scout said with a shrug, looking around the park, “What do you wanna ride? You like scramblers? Scramblers are fun.”
“What’s a scrambler? That like a brekkie?” Sniper asked, “You ready to eat already?”
“What? No, no,” Scout said, “It’s a thing that goes around and ‘round like ‘nyoom’ pretty easy. You might like that.”
“...’Round and ‘round like nyoom’, huh?” Sniper asked, “Alright, I’ll give it a try, I guess. For you.”
Scout soon located a “scrambler” and Sniper’s first thought was that it didn’t look that bad. Sit down and slowly spin around in a chair? He could do that.
And it was fun. A little dizzying, yes, and he almost lost his hat, but it was a good ride. Even with Scout repeatedly sliding into him, pulling away back to his side, and then slamming back against him, it was a decent ride.
After that, Scout seemed bent on finding things that Sniper thought were “decent rides”, spending the rest of the morning dashing from one ride to the next. After asking about what Sniper thought was a torture device for throwing sitting people up in the air on a tube, a Ferris wheel seemed like the much more perfect option.
“You like the view from up here?” Scout asked, pressing his face against the window.
“I do like looking at people from up above. Part of m’job, Scout,” Sniper reminded him.
“Yeah, but you’re not shooting ‘em.” Scout said, taking a seat next to Sniper.
“Scout, I’m an assassin, not a crazed gunman,” Sniper said.
“You are a good kisser.” Scout said, leaning closer, “Wanna kiss me right now? Plop a wet one on me?”
Sniper looked down at Scout over his glasses and froze, taking a moment to think. Then something lower told him that maybe he should stop thinking so much for once. Slowly, he leaned over, moving closer to Scout.
“Oh! A balloon!” Scout was up again, leaving Sniper to fight for his balance, watching a balloon fly up into the sky, “Did you see that? I should go get a balloon when we get off of here. For Pyro.”
“I’m sure it’ll be for Pyro,” Sniper said with a huff.
“You ever had funnel cake?” Scout asked, his excitement teetering on infectious to Sniper.
“Yeah...? Maybe a few times. Not for a couple years,” Sniper admitted, “You want one when we get offa’ here?”
“Yeah. We should get cotton candy too.”
“...You all eat cotton?” Sniper asked, “Do you American folk deep-fry it first?”
“Deep-fry cotton? I don’t even think they do that in Texas,” Scout said, noticing the ride was slowing down, “...I wonder if it’d taste good?”
“Believe that’s the thought process behind most carnival food.”
“Hey, you should have some deep fried ice cream and then keep talking like that.”
“How the hell do you deep fry ice cream!?”
“I don’t know, but it tastes good,” Scout said, stepping out of their car now that it was at the bottom, “Probably with, I don’t know, American willpower?”
“Now you sound like Solly.” Sniper pointed out, stepping out right after him, “Stop that.”
“Alright, that I will stop. For you,” Scout said, “You should try a deep-fried Oreo.”
“You blokes deep fried a cookie? And ice cream?” Sniper said, “Was it really that silly for me to assume you fried cotton?”
“Yeah. No one eats cotton. Except for maybe Soldier, when we told him it was American cotton, but he’s kinda off anyway.” Scout said, “Can we go get a funnel cake now?”
“Thought you wanted a balloon,” Sniper said with a laugh, “Or do you all not deep fry those here?”
“Aw, shut up,” Scout said, playfully swatting at the older man.
“You hit me,” Sniper said, trying to fake a pout.
”Buy me food and I’ll apologize,” Scout said.
“That’s not how apologizing is supposed to work, mate,” Sniper said, trying to hide his smile.
“Do you want me to apologize or not?”
“Depends,” Sniper said, already walking towards the row of booths, “Is your apology going to come deep fried or not?”
“It’ll come with a side of smooches,” Scout told him.
“...What if I get you two?”
“You get a buncha’ wet ones,” Scout said, trying to be as seductive as he could be.
“I’m getting you only one then,” Sniper said, already turning away to go find the booth he needed. He left a Scout wondering where his seduction technique, complete with a waggling eyebrow of sexiness, had gone so wrong.
When Sniper came back to the table that Scout had found, he had three funnel cakes in hand, and balanced on his arm.
“One for you,” He said as he placed a paper plate down in front of Scout, “And another one for you. I expect many a wet one when we’re back at the base... This one’s mine though, so hands off.”
Scout’s mouth was watering at the sight, and so he gave a drowning thanks to Sniper before digging in to the hot mess of a snack. It was soft, and crunchy, in the right ways, with the powdered sugar plastered to his fingers, face, and clothes, making him a sticky mess, His talking had been silenced down to hums of contentment as the sugared dough filled his mouth and stomach.
Strangely, out of all the words Sniper would use to describe Scout, beautiful wouldn’t have been his first choice. Cute, adorable, hyper, energetic, squirrel-like, sexy, powdered-sugar-covered, sure, but beautiful?
That words was sitting on the tip of his tongue as he watched happiness light up Scout’s eyes, the smile dot his lips. God, Sniper wanted to lick every bit of powdered sugar off of Scout’s face right now. But instead of using his tongue on Scout, he used it to talk to the boy instead.
“You like that, huh?” Sniper asked, watching his partner eat, “S’good?”
Scout gave a happy nod, a sticky smile on his lips, his mouth too full to properly speak. In just a moment, he spoke, finally gulping down the mouthful.
“Uh huh, it tastes so good,” He said, a wistful look growing on his face, “My mom always got me a funnel cake when we hit the carnival. We didn’t much, but she always got me one. It’s as good as those.”
“What else did you do at carnivals when you were a kid?” Sniper asked, finishing off the last of his funnel cake.
“Well, we rode some stuff, and the food. Food was always a big part of it,” Scout said, “And the booth games. Like, we sucked at them, don’t think we won much, but those were always fun too.”
“What other food you want?”
“Well, no matter what, we gotta’ get you some cotton candy.” Scout said, pointing towards the booth that sold it.
“Yeah, fine if you...that’s fucking fairy floss,” Sniper said, taking a good look at the booth, “Made it sound like it’s some special, but all it is is fairy floss.”
“You still gonna get some?” Scout asked.
“Yeah, alright,” Sniper said, “Anything else?”
That question opened up a small flood of snack requests, from churros to pretzels to the mystical deep fried Oreos and ice cream. Once Scout’s stomach seemed to have relived, and digested, enough of the past to sate it - which Sniper didn’t mind indulging, it was just one day - the Aussie’s attention was turned to the booths.
“What prize you want?” Sniper asked.
“What?” Scout asked, sipping at the end of a soda.
“I’m going to win you something,” Sniper said decidedly, “What do you like?”
“Snipes, you just got me a buffet of food, you don’t need to win me something-”
“Scout, I am going to win you something,” Sniper said, determined to fill that one hole in Scout’s childhood, “Do you like stuffed animals? I can win you some by shooting, I can do that.”
“Uh, sure,” Scout said, a bit confused, “I like that orange cat over there in the shooty booth. You sure you can do it that close though? Don’tcha need to step back a couple hundred feet.”
Orange cat? And all Sniper had to do was shoot some targets? This was going to be the easiest job he had ever taken, no matter the distance.
Slapping some money down on the counter, Sniper was handed a gun and the task of shooting ten moving targets in a minute and a half. He popped ten targets before the counter had hit forty seconds, wasting ten seconds because the reload function on the toy gun had gotten stuck.
Scout watched with amusement how Sniper’s pose had changed the minute the gun was in his hand, and how serious he was about shooting fake targets with fake shots to win a fake cat for him. Aside from the Ferris wheel, this looked to be the most fun that Sniper had had all day.
A warm feeling bubbled inside the boy. Probably indigestion. Whatever it was was swiftly replaced by a feeling of mischief.
Scout stepped forward, placing a twenty on the counter, turning to look up at Sniper.
“Bet’cha can’t win them all,” He said simply. With those words, a challenge was born, and it was one that Sniper was happy to take on.
The pile of large stuffed animals grew and grew. Scout had to opt to place the items at his feet because in less than five minutes there were too many for him to hold. Bright colorful cats, hamsters, and pigs, among other items, were added to the stack. As the pile grew, so did Scout’s excitement.
There was just something about watching the Aussie absolutely decimate the challenge placed before him that was getting Scout riled.
The professional aura surrounding the lanky man as he stood his ground and shot over wooden targets with fake bullets with the seriousness of an actual kill was intoxicating.
The way his red shirt showed off the developed muscles in his arms, and the way his pants clung to his lower half as he took a practiced stance, was attractive beyond belief.
That smirk lighting up his face as he added another item to the prize pool, a smile that showed that he was damned proud of himself for something as juvenile as this if only, and only, because Scout was rooting for him was beautiful.
Beautiful wasn’t a word that Scout thought he would ever use to describe Sniper. Hot, sexy, kissable, fuckable, now those were words that Scout would use when thinking about his date. But beautiful was the only one he could think to use even as florescent lights were the only thing shining down on him.
And, as Scout’s mom said, if you looked good in florescent lights, then you would look good anywhere.
Scout was starting to think that Sniper would look really good on top of him.
Finally, finally, finally, the last stuffed animal was won, and Sniper looked back at Scout with that proud smile on his face and a puffed up chest, like a man waiting for some sort applause or congratulations for a job well done. Like a kid who had cleaned their room and met their mom’s approval. Like a man who had put the toilet seat down without being asked.
Scout longed to tackle the man to the ground right now, and stick his tongue as far down Sniper’s throat as far as it would go. To give the man a kiss on the face cheek and a good squeeze on the ass one. But he didn’t. Instead he made a different sort of announcement.
“You won too many and now I’m stuck.”
“Oh, are you now?” Sniper asked, “Since you asked me to win all of them, I think it’s fair to leave you in the middle of them.”
“Don’t mess around, man, it’s getting late.”
“Guess I’m just leave you there then.” Sniper said, leaning back against the counter.
“How are you gonna get all those back?” Sniper asked, “We can’t. Just going to have to leave you.”
“Don’t you dare!” Scout said, swatting the toys out of his way. A man in his life had left before, and he’d be damned if he let it happen again.
“You all want the toys back?” Sniper asked the booth attendant.
“I was told the minute we sold out I could close early,” The man said, hanging up a sign, “They are all yours to keep. Have a good day, or night, rather.”
“Pick up as many as ya’ can, we’re gonna try giving them away,” Sniper said, “Unless the moms and dads don’t like strange men giving out toys.”
Unsurprisingly, most parents objected to two men handing out toys to children, so they had ended up carrying most of the toys back to the truck, jamming them in the back and tying down the clothed fluff as best they could.
“If nothing else, Pyro‘ll like them,” Sniper had decided, “To hold or to burn, whatever they want.”
“I can keep the orange cat, right?” Scout asked quietly.
“You can keep whatever you want from it, Scout,” Sniper told him, buckling in and getting ready for the dark drive back, “They’re all yours, technically.”
“I want to keep the orange cat,” Scout said stubbornly, “And, uh, Sniper?”
“Yeah?” The man asked, pausing as he adjusted the radio, looking for a late night game for Scout.
“Thanks for taking me here, and buying me stuff, and riding the stuff, and winning me stuff, it was really really great and it was the best night I’ve had in a long long time and when we get back to the base can we do the makeout stuff and fuck in your trailer?”
“Tha cat’s not going to watch, is he?”
“Nah.” Scout said, he can face the other way.”
“We can kiss now, if you want,” Sniper said as he leaned over, peering over his lenses at Scout.
“I want.” Scout said as he scooted closer.
Sniper’s hand pulled Scout’s head closer as their lips met. Scout attempted to jam his tongue into Sniper’s mouth straight away, but the Aussie denied him, teasing the boy and making him wait as he kept him mouth shut.
Scout somehow had ended up in Sniper’s lap, and the horn honked briefly as he leaned back against it. Finally giving in, Scout let Sniper dominate the kiss, moaning quietly as the other’s tongue explored his sugar-coated mouth.
It seemed like a small eternity of bliss had passed, but instead it was only a minute before Sniper broke the kiss.
“We need to get back to the base,” He told Scout quietly, “We can continue this there.”
“But we can continue now too,” Scout helpfully pointed out.
“Offa’ m’lap,“ Sniper told him, “Sit there with your cat and see if you can find something to listen to, alright? Sooner we get back, the sooner we can get a bed.”
“Well, when you put it that way-...” Scout murmured, crawling off of Sniper and back into his own seat, “Get driving, Snipes.”
“Wasn’t planning on just sitting here,” Sniper told him, pulling out of the carnival’s lot, “We get back, we get in bed, we get it done.”
“My thoughts ‘xactly,” Scout said as a hand snaked into Sniper’s lap. It was immediately swatted away.
“You keep that up and you’re going to make this hard.”
“That was kinda the point,” Scout said with a pout.
“Just think of a name for your cat, alright?” Sniper said, “Or find a song. Just keep yourself busy. It’s only a half hour drive.”
“Yes, only, so simmer down,” Sniper said, “Just talk to me, okay? What was your favorite part of today?”
“I have to pick one part?”
“Nah, tell me all of them,” Sniper said. The sooner Scout was focused on talking, the easier this trip would be for the both of them.
Scout was soon prattling away, talking about everything they had done today, and it was easy for Sniper to lend the boy half an ear as he drove back to the base.
Today had been fun. It had been fun to make the boy smile, at least, and to be a part, some part, of Scout’s memories.
And maybe, just maybe, Sniper thought as he listened to Scout recount their day together, the carnival wasn’t actually so bad after.