So, I just finished AmoL and was not overly happy with the ending. It was too open-ended for my tastes :/ So, the natural reaction was to find some fanfiction about it. And there was plenty, but after however many straight hours I just did, my brain is fried. Then, I thought, 'Well, I'll find some good WoT slash and read something mindless for a bit," but apparently there is a severe lack of WoT slash. So, I decided, 'Screw it, I'll write it myself!'

And, thus, this was born. Please, I am writing this on little sleep and a currently dead brain, so be kind, but still review! :) And this pre-series, so no spoilers! :D

Mat was bored out of his bloody mind. He just wanted to go down to the Winespring and maybe scare a couple of girls, but no. His so-called 'friends' were to bloody uptight to have any fun anymore. Perrin was with Master Luhhun doing... well, whatever it was he did. Blacksmithing. Whatever. It sounded so dull to Mat. Why work when you could play?

And Rand was off with Egwene. That sent a strange trill through his chest that he couldn't place and set his heart to beating like it did when he felt genuinely bad about something. He didn't like it, so he decided not to think about it. 'Why would he want to be with her anyways?,' he thought, despite having decided to not think about it. 'She's no fun. All she does it... um, well I don't actually know. But it's really boring! And she's as bad as my sisters about getting me into trouble!'

Mat frowned as his thoughts ran wild and that hurting in his chest got worse.

"Light burn it!" he said to himself, as there was no one else to hear him. "Doing chores is better than this!" And with that he stomped back to town, trying to think up something entertaining to do when he got back, but he couldn't. He sneaked into his father's barn, trying to as unnoticeable as possible. Really, when he actually got down to work, he could go pretty fast. The problem was, work was so much bloody work. The wisdom liked to tell him that if he would just put as much effort getting out of work as he did actually working, he could be an amazing worker. But Mat always tried to explain to her that it was more of a challenge to get out of work and far more entertaining. Then, he would quote her the old adage she liked to say, "A challenge to your mind, pays tenfold in the end." She didn't find it near as amusing as he did. Probably because she knew he was right and didn't like being wrong.

Mat sighed and picked up the pitchfork to turn the hay and distribute it into the horses' stables. He learned early on not to name or get overly attached to the horses. His father didn't actually own them; he was just a midpoint. He sold the horses. When Mat had been younger, he'd made the mistake of naming all the horses and getting really close to one. His name was Horsey, which Mat had found immensely creative at the ripe age of five. Then, one day, his father took Horsey and the other horses to Baerlon and only his father and their farm horse had come back. Mat had been devastated.

"Woah," Mat heard a voice behind him say. "Light blind me this can't be so! Matrim Cauthon. Working!" Mat felt his heart pick up at the sound of his best friend and his lips turned up into an uncontainable smile that he just didn't understand.

"Well, if some people weren't so boring, I wouldn't have to be working. Light, Rand, I'd think you were trying to kill me!"

"Oh, light forbid you have to do hard work," Rand said back with a smile.

"I thought you were with Egwene?" Mat asked, having trouble keeping his voice even when he said Egwene's name. Light! What's wrong with me!

"Oh, yeah," Rand said sheepishly. "I got tired of following the wisdom and Nyenaeve al'Meara around, so I, well, excused myself-"

"You ditched them!" Mat yelled excitedly. "You ditched them! Oh, I knew I was rubbing off on you!"

"Oh light protect us all..."

"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. Just that your a bad influence."

"Whatever," Mat said, blowing it off, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth. "Hey! Let's get out of here before they make us do something." Rand just laughed and rolled his eyes, but followed Mat out of the barn anyhow.

"So," Rand said after a bit, "you do realize how shifty it looks when you dart from shadow to shadow."

"Quiet you," Mat snapped. "I'm being sneaky."

"Of course you are," Rand murmured. But, still, they got out of town easily, not that Rand expected any trouble, and were soon wandering through the woods.

"Race you to the meadow!" Mat yelled, taking off.

"No fair!" Rand said. "You cheated!" But he was still laughing and running behind Mat. Mat couldn't see how it was cheating, though. Now, Rand's long legs, that was cheating. Rand stood a good head taller than all the other boys his age already and Mat just didn't think that was right. Mat wasn't short or small by any stretch of the imagination, but put him in between his two best friends, and he looked like a child.

Mat was out of breath by the time he managed to get to the meadow, a small empty place of grass in the forest and collapsed on his back, breathing heavily. However, apparently Rand didn't have the stunning grace that Mat possessed, and tripped, landing almost on top of Mat. Almost, only in that in managed to catch himself before he crushed his smaller friend, but still ended up mostly on top of him, with barely any weight not resting on his friend.

Mat suddenly found himself not minding Rand's height. In fact, it was quite enjoyable to have some this big on top of him, but not hurting him. It wasn't supposed to be this way, was it? Mat was supposed to like girls and being big and strong, but he found this inexplicable comfort in feeling like the protected even if only for a moment.

But, Rand wasn't moving either. Mat didn't do or say anything to change that, just looked up into his friend's strong grey eyes for a moment, before he looked away, blushing, not able to stand the intensity of his gaze.

Mat looked back at Rand and before he knew it, he'd leaned up and pressed his lips gently to Rand's, only for a moment before realizing what he'd done and jerking back. However, before he could frantically stutter out apologies, Rand took his lips in a kiss, thrusting his hips briefly against the smaller man's.

Mat couldn't tell if Rand was good or bad at kissing, all he knew was that everything seemed to be going too fast and surely there was something to this act than the repetitive movement of their lips. Rand drew back his head, shifting so he no longer had any of his weight pressed against Mat anymore, then sat up completely, running a hand through his red hair looking troubled.

Mat followed soon after and leaned against his friend. Friend? Still friend. Light burn it this is too complicated!

"So," Mat eventually said, breaking the painful silence, "better than Egwene?"

Rand let out a hysteric laugh. "Yeah, better than Egwene." He pulled Mat in closer and dropped a kiss on his dark hair and Mat found that one intimate that he figured would annoy him far more than anything comforting. "Way better. But no one can know."

Mat felt his mouth curve into his mischievous grin. "I'm bloody good at secrets."