Caught Red Handed

Title: Caught Red Handed
Time Period: January 9, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Title says it all. Or does it?

Despite being the darkest parts of the night, there's some light on in the bedroom. The middle of the night, with the coals glowing in the fireplace, there's a couple candles lit over near the edge of the room where there's a chair. Rather than still being in bed, like he might normally be at this hour. Cas has apparently woken up first, well before dawn.

By the flickering light of the candle, he's wrapped in a blanket and leaning over the small book of poetry that he just recieved. She'd read some from it already for him, and he nearly fell asleep to it at the time, but this reading doesn't seem as stress free. His mouth works quietly in the shadows, and tension lines his forehead and and presses his lips tightly together when they're not moving.

Mariah only notices there's not another body in the bed when she stirs a little and shifts to be closer to him. She feels around a bit before sitting up to look around the room for him. Seeing him with the book, at first, gets a smile, but when she notices the frustration, her brow furrows.

She takes the sheet with her as she slides out of bed, wrapping it around her instead of finding a robe, and it trails behind her as she comes over to the chair, crouching down next to him. "Everything alright?" Her hand rests on his knee and she looks up at him with concern.

At her voice, Cas jumps rather suddenly, obviously surprised by it. He must have been too deep in thought to notice the subtle sounds of shifting about. The book snaps shut almost instantly, and he looks up at her startled. "I— yeah, everything's fine," he says, voice a little shaken, perhaps from the suddenness.

All in all, he's acting like someone who's been caught doing something he shouldn't.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you. I was— uh— just— I couldn't— sleep anymore."

"That's alright. You didn't wake me." Mariah glances over at the book, then at him again. "I know it's poetry, but I hope it's not terribly boring," she says with a gentle smile. "If you don't like it… I mean, that's okay…"

She's fishing, a bit, and trying not to seem disappointed at the idea that the content isn't to his taste. But her hand squeezes his leg, like the gesture could make her words seem more believable.

For a moment, Cas seems relieved, but that fades immediately into confusion and worry when it seems that she's bracing for something, and disappointed. He looks down at her hand and grips the book with the same hand that closed it. "No, it's— it's not that I don't like it, Mariah. I do— like it I mean. It's not— it's nothing like that. I just— " he trails off.

For a moment he seems rather nervous, embarassed, and even a little bit of something else. It reads much the same as the rest, but something about the way he avoids looking reads a little different. "I really do like it."

"Then what's the matter?" Mariah settles down on the floor next to his feet, which is apparently easier than finding a chair for herself. "You know there's nothing you can say that would… I mean, you can tell me anything."

There are very few people that can make her feel nervous, but he manages it. "I am glad you like it, though. I might have cried if you said you didn't," she says, teasing gently. Even if there is a bit of truth to it.

"Even if I didn't like poetry I would have liked it— I've never had a book before," Cas says quietly, looking down at it for a long time before he looks up at her. Despite her assurances, that expression isn't gone, just the avoidance of her eyes has left, granting the look a bit of hopefullness.

His lips press together and he opens up the book to the first page, where there's hand-written bits. And one of the few words he can actually recognize with little difficulty. His own name.

"I can't read," he finally says, almost in a rush, with the grimace and slumping shoulders finally giving name to the emotion. Shame.

Mariah watches him, staying quiet as he works out how to say what's troubling him. When it's finally out, though, she lifts her eyebrows in surprise. There's a pause for a moment, before she reaches over to take his hand. "I'm sorry. How inappropriate a gift. If I had known, I would ahve saved it for later."

She lifts up onto her knees to reach up to take his face in her hands. "You don't have to slump," she says softly, "It's nothing to be ashamed of, you know. If… I mean, would you like to learn?"

"No— no don't think that," Cas says, gripping her hand as he keeps an even firmer grip on the book, as if she might take it away from him if he lets it go. Even if it's to give to him later.

"I tried to learn a few years ago, but there— I wasn't able to get very far with it. I'm not sure I'd get very far with it now, either— " He still looks ashamed, despite her reassurances. "It's— just not something people in my profession need, I guess. My dad never bothered to teach me, cause… it doesn't matter. I never learned and when I tried I… didn't get very far. I was trying to…" He sighs, shaking his head.

There's a pause there before Mariah stands up and slides herself into his lap. Her arm drapes around his shoulders and she presses a kiss to his temple. "Well, if you're willing to try again… I can help. And if I can't, we have some people in town who can help. Teachers. I know we could arrange something."
The good news is, she doesn't seem to be planning on taking the book back, given that her hands wrap around him instead.

The movement into his lap ellicits a small sound in his throat and his arms spread out, still holding onto the book. There may no longer be a threat of her taking it away, but it's still a surprise that Cas suddenly finds her in his lap. With a slow inhale, he wraps his arms around her as well, pressing the now closed book against her side as he holds her.

"I guess. I'll try not to be too much of a brat of a student— " There's a small smile, before he shifts his head to kiss her back, on the nose. "Don't tell Luna I can't read. She already made fun of me enough because of my teeth… I'm sure she'd come up with all kinds of new insults if she found that out."

The kiss to her nose gets a chuckle and retaliates with one to his cheek, since kissing his nose would be quite cruel at the moment. "If you are, trust me that I have ways of making you regret it," she says, although her threat is mostly playful. Mostly.

"Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me. She won't — What about your teeth?" Mariah lifts an eyebrow there, and she leans back a little to look at him. "Your smile is my favorite thing."

There's a log pause as he carefully sets the book down at a side table next to the chair so that Cas can touch her more easily, running fingers over her hair while he rubs her back. The motion draws out what he needs to say. "I actually— met Luna before I cam here, to Dornie," he confesses quietly, in a whisper.

"It was… a long time ago. I was around eighteen, working in a stable down in Grimbsy— It was a port town, I think she said her dad was taking her around. I didn't remember much about it, it seemed so long ago…" He shakes his head a bit, grimacing.

"Anyway, she told me my teeth reminded her of a crazy rabbit, or something." He touches smiles with his teeth hidden for a moment, before he realizes it. "Anyway she was kind of a brat. The whole outburst that she had to apologize for happened cause— well, because of that. And she tried to take my bracelet in trade for some knickers she was sewing and I— definitely wasn't going to give— anyone knickers as a gift."

Mariah listens quietly, although she seems nervous again as he explains. Her brow furrows a bit, right up until the end, which does get a laugh. "Oh, Luna. So terribly inappropriate." But she seems more amused than truly disappointed in the girl. "To tell you the truth, she and I were both rather bratty when we were younger.

"For a second there, I thought you were going to tell me you and her… were a item or something." She chuckles again, but there's just that hint in her glance his way, like she's still expecting that particular bomb to drop.

For an instant, there's a pause. That might make her think there actually is a bomb to drop. It's the hesitation that makes it look particularly bad. After a moment Cas does speak, shaking his head a little, "No— I don't— I mean— she did kiss me. Or I kissed her— I really don't remember cause she gave me this… cigarette… thing. And I drank a little. It kinda made everything… blurry… But nothing else happened besides that."

There's a small laugh and he shakes his head. "I don't think I would have been ready for… that anyway. She actually saved me from being forced into it by the guys I worked with— they thought something did happen, and I wasn't about to correct them and get dragged out to prove I was a man again." There's a pause. "Or at least I avoided that for a couple more years."

And Mariah sits up during that pause, and she looks suspiciously like she might be upset. At least until he gets to the part about the cigarette.

"Oh, she — " She laughs, briefly and lightly, and her hand covers her face for a moment before she leans back against him. "I suppose that's alright, then." Her hand rests on his shoulder, and she looks up at his face with a crooked smile, "Well, hopefully they won't feel the need to make you prove it any more." Considering.

"I— I'm sure she was totally embarassed by it— having kissed someone who mucks out stables and all," Cas says in a self-degrading way, as he rubs his hands up and down her side as if trying to soothe her almost upset. "I certainly hope not, though— not about women. I'm sure some think I need to learn how to use a knife or a gun or punch people in the face until they're bloody, but— not with women."

There's a grin. "Helps that Goeff is bit of a talker. The rest of the stablehands will know by— hours ago probably." And it's not something he seems ashamed of. And now that she knows what that looks like, it would be easy to spot under all his usual emotions.

"She might've been. More the fool her, though." His touch does get her to smile, and she wraps her arms back around him. "People are never satisfied," she says with a crooked smile and a wry tone. "But I hope you don't mind that I plan on giving him plenty to talk about."

Her fingers slide up and into his hair, her touch soft as she leans in to give him a kiss. It's still careful, but she makes up for the timidity by drawing it out.

The timid kiss is returned and deeped as it's drawn out, Cas' hands pulling her up and somehow even closer to him, shifting her weight around. The blanket he'd had draped over his body is covering less as he moves her, and with the added warmth of her he probably doesn't notice.

Once the kiss breaks, he laughs softly against her mouth, smiling up at her as his hands move to her neck. "So how exactly are you planning to give him even more to talk about? I think he's already got quite a bit."

Mariah doesn't mind getting moved around, and there's even a gentle sigh as he deepens the kiss. Her hands take advantage of exposed skin, running down his back with a touch that's feather light.
When he laughs, she opens her eyes to look down at him, echoing the smile on his face with one of her own. "I'll get creative," she says with a laugh of her own.

There's that laugh again, that de-ages him quite a bit in sound alone, as he leans up to kiss her neck under the chin. "In that case, I look forward to seeing what you come up with— students have to pay attention, right?" Cas says against her skin with a smile that she can feel and hear more than see.
"And I need the practice if I'm going to be a good student."

Tilting her head just slightly for that kiss, Mariah's eyes close and she has to take in a long, steadying breath. Her smile widens at his words, until she eventually laughs and looks back down at him. Her arms fold across his chest and she leans in close as she nods to him. "And we did agree you were going to be an excellent student, I recall," she says with a suggestive tone that she doesn't actually tend to use around him.