Kylee finished mucking out the stables and beelined it to the back porch. He hosed off in frigid water that smelled vaguely of iron, then stomped inside. He stopped in the small entryway just long enough to pull at the laces of his work boots with shivering fingers and kick them into a dirty pile.
Kim was in the kitchen, fixing dinner, and clearly taking advantage of Kylee’s extended absence to listen to his godawful country music while he worked. Kylee had out-stubborned Kim in this one battle: country music had been banned from his presence. He wore it as a badge of pride that he had banished the evil from the ranch.
Feeling magnanimous, he stopped himself from immediately pitching a fit over the sound of acoustic guitar. He could let it go just this once.
He turned, heading for the shower, then stopped in his tracks as the lyrics caught his attention.
Did he recognize this song?
He breathed warm air over his fingers as he listened, then he slipped quietly into the kitchen and leaned against the doorframe like he’d been standing there all along.
“Was that a Nine Inch Nails song?” He knew the answer, but he thrilled at the chance to make Kim admit it.
“Jesus!” Kim yelled, startled.
To be fair, Kim seemed more startled by the splash of boiling water that accompanied the jerk of his hand than by Kylee’s sudden appearance. Still, Kylee took it all in as his own accomplishment. Today was turning into a more beautiful day than he could have hoped.
“What?” The ring of anger in Kimrick’s question did nothing to subdue the wide grin on Kylee’s face.
“That song you were just listening to. It’s a Nine Inch Nails song. Very hardcore.” He stepped forward, pressing his advantage by moving into Kim’s space. “I must be rubbing off on you.”
That probably sounded like more of a come on than he meant it to, but Kylee was rolling with it.
“You ain’t rubbing off anythin’,” Kim said testily, putting the lid back on his pasta before he burned himself again. “That’s Cash.”
“No, that was ‘Hurt’ by Nine Inch Nails.” He wanted to move closer but remembered at the last second that he reeked of literal horse shit so he settled for leaning back against the wall and crossing his arms. “It was a different version, but it’s Nine Inch Nails.”
The noise Kimrick made in response was low and cranky enough to be a growl. Kim had spent too much time around his dogs, they seemed to be rubbing off on him too.
Kim paused his music and shuffled back a song. “Here.” He shoved his phone so close to Kylee’s face he went a little cross-eyed trying to see.
The screen said ‘Hurt – Johnny Cash.’
Oh, Cash was a person.
Kylee shrugged, and reached for the phone only to have Kim snatch it back aggressively.
“Whatever. It’s still a Nine Inch Nails song.”
“It’s…” Kim tapped at his phone, trying to look it up, but Kylee beat him to it, whipping his phone out of his pocket and opening a search.
“It’s a Nine Inch Nail song,” he declared proudly, “covered by your Johnny Cash.”
He sauntered out of the kitchen with a satisfied swing to his hips and smiled to himself as another growl followed him out of the room.
Kylee gloated for days, calling Kim a heavy metal enthusiast, and milking the Nine Inch Nails cover for all it was worth. He went so far as to quote the song while making idle chit chat around a blow job: a feat only Kylee could be capable of and one that drove Kimrick absolutely insane at the best of times.
Even Kylee had to admit, privately, and much later, that he had probably gone too far with that one. It had really worked Kim into a frenzy. But the lovely bruises lining his hips complimented his tattoos, dark black with mottled purple edges, so he couldn’t really regret it.
It wasn’t until the bruises had settled into a nasty yellow colour – when Kim had already retired for the night, leaving Kylee and Razorblade to their own devices, and Kylee had begun to wonder if there were any other metal-country hybrid songs – that he realized he had really gone too far.
It was suppertime and Kylee was nowhere in sight. Usually he just appeared when food was ready, materializing from the depths of the farmhouse the moment the smell hit his nostrils; but not today.
Kim checked Kylee’s usual perch on the back porch, but it was empty. So was the downstairs bathroom, and the living room couch.
He called “supper” up the stairs, and when there was no response he told himself to let it drop. The boy wouldn’t starve.
Then again, starving was never the worry with Kylee. Property damage or personal injury: those were the true worries.
Kim waffled at the bottom of the stairs for a few moments, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. Then Razorblade came shooting out of the dark of the upstairs hallway, careening down the stairs at top speeds and bouncing off the wall into the living room.
That settled that, Kim could only imagine the predicament Kylee got himself into this time. Maybe he finally succeeded in throwing himself off the roof like he’d been trying to do all summer.
Kim indulged himself in a drawn out sigh as he mounted the steps. He could hear a faint thumping as he climbed closer, a good sign that Kylee was still on this side of his window, at least.
He tried to mentally prepare himself for whatever it was going to be this time. Odds were on kicking something and breaking a toe, or accidentally strangling himself on one of his ridiculous getups.
There was a loud thump followed by the squeak of springs and a lot of frustrated groaning. Kim placed his forehead momentarily against the door: saints preserve them.
Then he heard another sound, Kim had to cock his head to pick it up properly, but it was unmistakable. Kylee was singing.
Kim paused, hand on the doorknob, forehead still pressed to the wood. He’d never heard Kylee’s singing voice before and it was… it was ok. It was quiet, and he carried the tune well. There was a forced roughness to it that must be a product of his hard-metal-thrasho-whatever he was always on about, and it was punctuated with punched out groans. Altogether, though, it was nice.
“I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane / Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame / So far I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change / I've always been crazy…”
Wait a minute… Kim knew this one.
Kim crept into the room while Kylee cycled around back to the middle of the song, irreverent of the fact that he had already finished it.
Kylee was on his back, legs unattractively sprawled into the air, pulling on the tightest of skinny jeans.
His song died off in a slow fade as Kim edged into view between his splayed legs. Kim’s wicked grin showed off the sharp edges of his teeth.
At first, Kylee seemed only to be embarrassed about his ridiculous, and compromising, position.
“Is that Waylon?” Kim drawled, his accent thick and teasing.
What had been a faint and attractive dusting of pink over Kylee’s cheeks turned dark and violent in a heartbeat.
Kylee rushed to sit himself up, never mind that his legs were still half-trapped in his jeans. “No,” he snapped.
Kim closed their distance in a single stride.
It only took one push to have Kylee back on his back. A knee over the bundled crotch of jeans pinned his legs. Kim crowded over Kylee and watched the blush creep down the neck of his black shirt.
Kylee tried to push Kim away. It didn’t work. It did, however, make Kim trap his arms at his sides.
Reflexively, Kylee arched his body up against Kim’s, then he fell back to the bed with a shudder.
“It was… something else.”
The brow over Kim’s good eye arched in disbelief.
He shifted his weight, putting more force on Kylee’s arms, letting the strong line of his thigh press close enough to feel the heat radiating off the small body beneath him.
“That was Waylon. And yer not foolin’ me it’s one-a yer metal songs, coz that song’s older’n the both of us.”
Kylee’s eyes watched the words drawl out of Kim’s lips, held only inches from his own, with a desperate sort of look.
He clenched his eyes shut for a moment, like he was about to fight the accusation, but then he relaxed under Kim like the wind had been knocked out of him.
“The lyrics are alright,” he said with a pronounced sulk.
Kim’s grin returned, sitting wide and predatory over his face.
He leaned fractionally closer; and at this distance, even a fraction made a world of distance. His breath ghosted over Kylee’s lips as he said in a low rasp, “That’s what I thought.”
Kylee made a small noise of interest and tried to rock his body upwards again, only to find himself suddenly cold and free.
Kim was already half-way out the door.
“Dinner’s ready, country boy,” Kim said with a wink before disappearing down the hall.
Kylee’s muffled, frustrated scream followed Kim all the way down the stairs, and he couldn’t even try to repress the laugh that bubbled out of him at the sound.
Finally, one up on the kid.