Summary: (AU) - A running track and a weed whacker.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the boys. All characters belong to respective copyrights.
Notes: So, I say to theinsaneeraser that Matt Cohen is gorgeous. This, in her mind, somehow translates to her needing some Mattsha/Marksha fic. Me, being the RPS whore I am, I spark a plot immediately. A plot which is Canon RPS (I mean, as canon as such a thing could be), and yet.... this happens. I don't... know what... it is?
The air was hot, as it always was, heating the grass and the dirt and the mud until it cracked. The track was worn and dusty, imprints of running shoes marring the thin layer of sand that'd settled over it. The grass was long in all the wrong places, and the bleachers were covered in a thick blanket of leaves. It didn't matter, though, not to Matt, not anymore. Because this was his home, as far as his ex-girlfriend was concerned. 'You spend every spare moment on that goddamn track, Matt.'
He had, it was true, and would always be true, he supposed. He loved the smell of the air, the chill of the breeze, the familiar scratch of sand under his feet. He relished the burn, the sudden, searing pain that would shoot up his calves as he'd beat down on the track. It'd dull down eventually, into a comfortable, victorious reminder of the miles he'd just swallowed, tallying them up as individual trophies in his mind.
It was late August now, not yet time for school to let back in. He was in his final year. Or, at least, he would be... once the season started.
He'd hit the school track four times a week, every week, since summer began. It was a habit he'd developed in his very first year, finding that although the cheerleaders would slide lipstick-written numbers his way, and the teachers would eat up his every word and whim, this was all that really mattered. No popularity contests, no grades, no dates, just him, his Nike's, and... and Mister Pellegrino.
"Good morning, Matt," the lawn keeper drawled out in perfect time, brushing his hair away from his eyes. It was longer in the summer, always, Matt noted. He'd grow it out, let it tangle under the sun. Because in the summer months, he had no one to pretend for. No suits over his shoulder, or principals tracking his moves. He didn't need to be Mister Pellegrino. Not while the sun was warm and the air was soft. He was just the man with the mower, and the long and tangled hair. Mark, Matt called him.
Until the start of September.
"Morning," Matt echoed back easily, pulling the laces on his runners tight, as he watched Mark wipe a red rag over his forehead, which was already beading with sweat under the almost violent heat of the early morning sun.
Words weren't needed after that, as Matt would stretch out his legs, while Mark would clean off the blades on his weedwhacker. Things were said, of course, but not with words, maybe not even gestures. Matt didn't know how it worked, couldn't tell you if you asked. But there was something. They were something. And now... now it was time to do something.
Matt steadied his breath for a moment of calm, as he tensed his legs, while relaxing his shoulders. One foot flew forward easily, in perfect time with the monstrous roar of the whacker powering up. It was the soundtrack of his summer, that rumble. The strong, powerful growl of machinery chewing up the grass, as his feet would pound equally hard against the clay track beneath him.
He'd circle Mark easily, once, twice, five times, ten, as the overgrown ring in the centre of the track would subside into the conformist of a lawn that the school had always wanted it to be. Mark's hair would quickly follow the same procedure, short and straight as he'd show up for work in September. Matt's would too, more often than not, trimmed by the barber who'd gone to grade school with his grandfather.
It'd begun to hurt by the time Mark's mower made it to the center of the lawn, the last three-foot radius of rebellious grass, that would buckle and explode, a firework of greenery, as Matt would slow to catch his breath.
His internal soundtrack would continue for a time unmeasured, the phantom sounds of a Cheap Trick song echoing through his mind as Mark wiped off his blades, and Matt wiped down his chest. They'd stand in silence for a second, a minute, until the sun slipped in the sky, looking back on a job well done, before finally exchanging goodnights.
It was the last time Matt would see him this year, before the suits and the slicks, the books and the chicks. It was a moment that always dragged on forever, as Matt would head back to his duffel at the gate, and Mark would pack up, heading home, wherever that was.
It didn't matter though, not really, as Matt would pull his sweater on over his head, feeling the darkening sky chill the air, the grass, the mud. Because he'd always remember the shake and the roar, the pound and the pain. He'd remember Cheap Trick and dirty laces, three circular miles, and vibrant green fireworks. He'd go home happy, and needless to explain why.
Because Matt would remember Mark, when his hair was long and tangled.