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"Lemme see. We can transport around the planet, send messages halfway across the galaxy with no real time lag, cure most diseases and fix most injuries..." Corry paused there to lean on the rake handle, wiping his forehead off with with his sleeve. "But I'm still stuck raking leaves."

Scott grinned to himself, tongue-in-cheek, as he worked on building his own pile of leaves. The property was somewhat less rocky and tree-covered than a lot of those on West Side Road, but there were still enough trees to keep the both of them busy for a few hours. It wasn't exactly a volunteer situation -- they had been planning on going and kicking around Boothbay Harbor, and maybe trying to pick up a couple dates for the evening -- but then Cor's dad had handed them a pair of rakes, smiling, and that was that.

Corry had been complaining about it since then, albeit without a whole lot of real bite. "Coulda gone out, maybe picked up some late-season tourist girls, but noooo."

Going over to Boothbay Harbor with Cor was a guaranteed good time. Not because there was anything there Scotty wanted to do, exactly, except maybe pick up girls. But because it was funny watching Corry do his thing. Cor made no distinctions on what region or planet they came from; he'd turn on the charm and smile in a winning manner, and before the hour was out, he'd usually have at least a few interested in a dinner-and-dancing date.

But it was when Cor tried to pick up a local girl that the real humor started. Apparently he had a reputation in the area, all the way from his native South Bristol, to New Harbor, to Boothbay Harbor and even some whispers that people as far away as Portland knew what to make of his romantic overtures. And even with him having been gone for two years, and his four years in Starfleet before that, the reputation had yet to fade.

After getting shot down by a local lady, Cor would almost inevitably sigh, "Just because you kept your options open in high school..."

He never finished the statement, but he didn't really need to. Then he would shake off the rejection and move onto another prospect, usually targeting someone wearing a t-shirt that only a tourist would wear. They, unlike the girls of Midcoast Maine, didn't know of his apparently open-optioned past. Plus, they were completely taken with his so-called local color, a projection of the region that Corry helped along by throwing a bit of 'Mainuh' into his voice.

"Playah," Scotty had said, with a smirk, after one of those girls had walked away giggling with a couple companions, having made a date to meet Corry at the local dance hall in another two hours.

Corry had rolled his eyes. "I'm not a player. I'm just... uh, giving them an authentic experience."

Scott crossed his arms, raising an eyebrow. "Authentic, ayuh. Take 'em out, have a lobstah..." He notched up the smirk there. "...or a wicked whoopie."

"I hate you."

The scene was pretty common, near so much that it was almost a tradition now. The hunt, the rejection by eligible local girls, the acceptance by tourist girls that would be gone in a day or a week, then a date where Corry was a gentleman the entire time, though not without being open to the hopes that maybe she'd like him enough that he wouldn't have to be gentlemanly after the dancing ended. Scotty figured it was just one of a number of ways that Corry was trying to get back into the swing of his own life -- reminding himself that he was still himself.

Scotty usually ended up on the sidelines, and was pretty content there; sometimes he managed to get a girl interested enough that he could stumble around on the dance floor with her, but he wasn't sure that the anxiety he felt anytime that happened was worth the distinction of actually having a date.

So, as amusing as going to Boothbay Harbor was, he didn't really mind being given chores by Corry's dad. There was something kind of relaxing about raking leaves, even this many of them.

"How can you be smiling at a time like this?" Cor asked, dragging Scotty back to the present and immediate world, though it was still not all that biting. "Perfectly good Sunday, a few tourist girls still around, and you're happy raking leaves."

"Why not?" Scott asked back, eying his leaf-pile for a moment. It was pretty impressive, and he'd been careful shaping it to get the maximum height possible while maintaining as much stability as he could. Well, given that it was a giant pile of dry leaves, anyway; there was only so much structure you could get out of such a building material.

"Didn't you get sick of this growing up?"

"Didn't do it growin' up." He hadn't had any chores, except when he was staying with his uncles; everything he had done while growing up in Aberdeen had been necessity, nothing more or less.

Corry looked like he was about to comment on that, but then he didn't. He just went back to raking, a thoughtful expression on his face. Since Scotty wasn't sure what to make of that expression, he went back to raking himself. They were about half done with the yard, though the occasional gust of cool wind was enough to set them back a little bit.

He didn't mind it. It was a warm, clear day after a cold, crisp night and color was everywhere, in nearly everything. And while he would have to head back to Augusta either late tonight or absurdly early tomorrow, in order to get back into orbit for work, he was in no hurry to do anything but this now.

"I realized something," Corry said, after another ten minutes or so of quiet, where the only sounds were dry rustling and steady raking.

Scotty glanced over. "Aye?"

Cor dropped the rake next to his own, rather haphazard pile of leaves. "Yeah. If you've never raked leaves before, then you've never jumped in a leaf pile before."

Scotty blinked.

"I mean, that's the only real reason to rake leaves." Cor tilted his head, and there was a bit of a predatory gleam in his eyes. "Sure, they make good compost and it's unsightly to leave them laying all over the yard, but the real reason to rake is to jump in the pile."

After a slightly alarmed look at the large, reasonably well-structured leaf pile that he'd built, Scott looked back again. "Not a chance."

Corry made a show of stretching his arms and legs out, a somewhat dramatic gesture. "Oh yeah. That's the perfect pile for it, too."

"If ye wanna jump in leaves, jump in yer own," Scott replied, tossing his rake aside and getting ready to stop the inevitable assault that was about to take place on his hard work and careful construction. "I didn't go to all this effort just to have ye--"

Cor didn't seem to think any more arguing would change the basic facts. Scotty cut himself off when Corry made a dash towards the structure that Scott was perfectly willing to use his own body to shield. He just turned a shoulder into the attack, knowing that even if he couldn't stop his best friend from wrecking the leaf pile, he could at least make it (hopefully harmlessly) punishing.

They collided with a startling amount of ferocity and an equally surprising lack of real pain, both of them checking at the last second so they wouldn't really hurt each other, and both of them flying through the air for a split second before crashing into the pile of leaves and sending up a veritable cloud of them to sway and spin to land again in a less structured manner.

Corry was the first to speak, laughing, "Yep. Perfect pile."

"Bastard," Scott replied, without the least bit of insult, brushing a few stray leaves off of his face and sitting up to look around at the mess that had been made. "Ye know, this took me hours--"

"--just two!"

"--and ye destroyed it in two seconds!"

Corry put his arms behind his head, grinning up at the half-empty trees above. "That was the point!"

Scotty sighed, shaking his head, not exactly sure why he could feel a smile creeping up on him; looked at the mess, all the bright bits of color scattered without pattern in a radius around what was left of the original pile. Looked at his best friend, grinning contentedly at having made a mess of things, even though it meant they would have to rake it all up again, and that they wouldn't make it to Boothbay Harbor tonight for Corry to pick up a date.

Hours of diligent work, for a moment of relative insanity, in a total disregard for structure and pattern.

Scotty took a deep breath, then let it out with a chuckle and fell back to mirror Corry's pose, looking up at the bright sunlight filtering through what was left of the leaves on the trees.

Maybe that really was the point.

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