Idealism And Sentimentality

Title: Idealism and Sentimentality
Time Period: May 12, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: They might have their place. Here and there.

The sun has come out for a few moments today, but even with the diffused sunlight shining through clouds, the ground is soggy from the rains of spring. The horse's hooves seem accustomed to it, though, even with the damp feathering, darkened with mud. "I'm going to have to brush his mane again," Cas admits as he runs his hands down the side of the horse's neck, standing near the fence that they often meet at.

The herd has moved on, all except this one, who doesn't spend all his time in this paddock anymore. There's training areas, a place in the stables, and other things for him now. The piebald wears both the saddle and the bridle today, and Cas had been upon the saddle for a time, before stepping down as he approached, and despite some twitching of muscles along certain parts, he seems more or less okay with it.

"So… how you doing?" he looks up at the young woman, a shyness in his voice and expression.

As always, Mariah seems to have enjoyed watching him work with the horse as she waited, perched up on the fence. She's forgotten her umbrella, and while she hit rain on the way, now her hair and skirts and jacket are just a bit damp, while her shoes carry signs of muddy ground much like the horse's feet do.

But she doesn't mind.

When they come over her way, she reaches out to rub the piebald's muzzle in a now-familiar sign of affection. The smell of apples hangs around her, mostly because she has one in her pocket. "His hair takes more looking after than mine," she comments with a grin as she looks over at Cas, "Can I help?"

His shyness brings a touch of nervousness to her, her gestures and glances showing a bit, though not enough to keep her from smiling his way. "I'm doing alright. How're… are you okay? I hope it's alright that I dropped by…"

The stallion has a good nose, from the look of things, he immediately tries to sniff at her pocket, only to be pulled away by Cas before his teeth start to nip at her clothes. "Of course you can, I started carrying everything for grooming in his saddle when I take him out— he's still learning how to walk— he doesn't know all the commands yet— it'll be a bit longer til he's suitable for riding."

Tilting his head to the side as she fidgets and stumbles over her words, he looks confused for a moment, "I'm… fine— I— Was there any reason to think I'm not okay?" That is said with hesitation, but voices his confusion.

Mariah presses her lips together as Cas has to pull the horse back, and she leans over to stage whisper to Cas, "I may have brought him a treat. When it's alright for him to have one." She may be a spoiling influence on the horse, but she is trying not to! At least not too badly.

"No, no, not any reason. Just… making sure. I worry about interrupting," she says, patting the horse a little as if there might be confusion as to what she would be interrupting. "Hopefully it's not too delicate a process, 'ey?"

From the knowing smile, Cas seemed to have guessed there would be. "When we're pulling any knots out of his mane later," he says in agreement, though the smile remains as she worries at him, about the horse and the effects stopping might have on his training.

"Oh, it's— not too delicate. No more than learning how to ride yourself. It's pretty similar, really— the first few times you're sore after just a few minutes and look forward to getting down. He looks forward to me getting down, but…"

There's a pause and then he smiles widely and moves closer. "I picked his name."

"I suppose I can sit on it till then," Mariah says, her smile turning crooked as she nudges him gently. Her hand drops from the horse, and reaches over to rest on his arm instead. "Well, I'm glad I can drop in and not wreck the whole process. I'm afraid it would be too difficult a task to stay away," she says, her hand slides down to curl her fingers around his hand.

"You picked a name?" She asks, her smile widening out again before she glances to the horse. "Well, are you going to introduce me?"

For a long moment, Cas seems distracted, watching her hand on his, to the point that he doesn't notice the piebald's teeth moving toward the hiding place of the apple this time. In fact he starts to rub lips against the pocket, as if he might try to take his teeth to it, before he notices.

Probably because he looks over at the idea of introducing him.

"No," he says to the stallion, firmly, and tugging gently against the bridle, until he's forced to raise his head back up and blink innocently with eyes that are pale.

"Yes, right, Mariah, this is Eclipse. Eclipse, Mariah," he says, doing the introduction both ways, even if only one of them can really understand what it means.

"He hasn't got used to his name yet, but that usually takes a bit of time in adult horses."

It's all quite distracting, because Mariah's slow to notice, too, but she does so with a laugh. She does try to stifle the sound as Cas gets firm with him, like one might around an amusing, but misbehaving child.

But when they're introduced, she brings her free hand up to rub the horse's neck, "It's wonderful to meet you, Eclipse. I think it's a fine name." The latter is more toward Cas, although she looks over only after speaking it. "Very fitting."

The relief on his face is obvious, as if her opinion of the name sealed it in his mind. Cas smiles warmly as he looks between the stallion and the young woman. "That's great— she likes your name. It's good too cause it wasn't too late to change it."

And before he got used to it it had been.

"But I— " he scratches his hair briefly. "I was afraid to name him for a while, but— you really think it's fitting?" the way he asks it, with his head slightly tilted down and to the side, he may wonder if she's telling the truth.

Eclipse uses the distraction to go for the pocket again, though.

"Oh no, don't change it," Mariah says, giving his hand a squeeze, "I like it. It's very evocative." She tugs a bit on his hand there, amused at his worry rather than offended by the idea that he might think her giving lip service. As it were.

"You know, a lot of people think the eclipse as an omen. But I once heard a better tale, one about how the sun and moon fell in love, but were destined to play out this dance that kept them apart. In the same sky, but too distant to meet, even. But then, one day, the dance brought them together. Close enough to touch. And it was so beautiful, the whole sky noticed. Even the stars looked their way. And while the dance tore them apart again, after all too brief an encounter, they live on, waiting for those moments when they're together again." She pauses there, apparently unaware that the horse is poking around at her pocket as she's a little busy looking Cas' way.

But she clears her throat and looks away after an indulgent moment, a hand lifting to wave as if to dismiss the tale after all. "Anyway. Sentimental, but I liked it. And I like the name. He will, too. He's a smart horse."

"Oh," Cas says, looking relieved, and even smiling his relief as she starts her story, explaining reasons why the name might be nice to him. It seems that's the first time he's heard the story, though, from the tilt of his head and the lessening of the smile as his expression goes from relieved to thoughtful. And something else.

Something that has distracted him to the point that, just as he opens his mouth as if to answer, he gets interupted.

By the sound of a wet crunch of a horse biting into an apple.

He looks down in surprise at the juicy horse-lips, some of it likely getting on her dress as he reaches out— then stops. "Apparently he's smart enough to use distraction to his advantage," he says with a nervous laugh, looking back up. "I— it's a beautiful story. I— haven't heard it. I just remembered someone talking about it before— it seemed like a nice world. And I knew it meant when the sun goes dark…"

His voice is nervous as he trails off, looking down at the munching horse.

Mariah turns to look, too, and can't help a laugh this time. "You're going to get us in trouble," she says, to the horse. But she does look more apologetic when she looks back to Cas. "Next time I'll have to keep the apples at a distance, I wager."

She slides along the fence, just a little closer to him. Which probably doesn't help the nervousness much. "The moon passes between the earth and the sun, that's why it looks like the sun goes dark. They're actually not very close at all, but I prefer the story, myself. But, that's a secret between us. Officially, I don't even know such stories," she says, teasing. Or maybe just half-teasing.

"Or I'll have to keep him away from your pockets— I hope he didn't ruin your dress," Cas says, looking down at it as if he's planning to take the blame if he did. But it looks like he just nudged and nipped at her pocket until it raised enough for him to get his teeth on.

Still got it damp, but at least he didn't tear the pocket to get it out.

"I— I didn't know much about what causes eclipses, but, I knew they happened." That's said in a sheepish form, but one that carries curiousity as she gets closer and he can't help but lean against her, even if only a little. "Why shouldn't you offically know stories like that? I— is there a reason you shouldn't? I mean— it's nice and— it seems like a strange thing to keep secret."

"No, no, it's fine," Mariah says before she even really looks. But her hand brushes over the pocket, so maybe she can tell from the touch. Her hand lifts to tilt his chin up, just a gentle tap of a fingertip under his chin. Just to smile at him. Her hand drops to her lap a moment later, although not without that smile brightening as he leans against her.

"My mother was insistent about education, even before we came to a town with an actual schoolhouse. Being a merchant's daughter gave me the distinct privilege of having books pass through my life frequently. If quickly. And we met a lot of people. And people love to tell their stories, I've found." She certainly does, at least to him anyway. "As for why I shouldn't know stories like that… I had a sort of mentor, she used to warn me that reading so many books would make me idealistic and… sentimental."

Apparently, these aren't totally useful traits in her line of work. But, she looks at Cas for a moment, smile softer. "She might have been right, after all. Although, I suppose there are worse things to be."

"I see," Cas says with a smile, one of his hands moving to touch her hip as he presses against her skirts even more, raising himself up as much as he can, but she'll likely still have to lean down to actually do what he's posturing for. He'd never be considered tall. But at least rarely considered short, either.

"I like that you're sentimental— it's something we have in common." In all the things they lack. "I'm pretty sentimental too, if you hadn't guessed— but now I wish I would have heard that story before I named him. Then the name would mean more than 'I thought it sounded good'," he says with a grin, and a small laugh.

It isn't hard to get Mariah to lean down, and it never takes much convincing for her to kiss him. Her hand ends up against his cheek, and while it's just a sweet kiss at the moment, she does linger in it for a time.

Even when she leans back, she doesn't go far and her hand only moves enough to slide into his hair. "I may have noticed a lean toward the sentimental, yes," she says softly, with a laugh to match. "I like it, too. And as far as his name, just take it to mean that you've good instincts, yeah?" She mirrors his grin, but just for a moment. He's put the idea in her head now, and he only gets the warning of a gentle flex of fingertips tangled in his hair as warning before she leans in to kiss him again.

The first kiss is break enough that Cas doesn't have much time to close his eyes and enjoy it, still smiling at her as she speaks and smiles down at him. Nearly matching in a few ways. It's only when she kisses him again that his hands lift up, to touch her neck lightly, to hold her close, deepening, growing.

And then suddenly a nose is shoved between them, pushing against them rather rudely, with a sniffing nose that blows against their clothes as he exhales.

"Eclipse," the young stablehand complains, pulling back even as he keeps a hand on her, to keep her from falling backwrds, likely. "Sorry… I— apparently he's jealous. Or looking for another apple. One or the other." He looks down at the horse's eyes as he pulls back, turning his head away as he does. Perhaps because he smells no apples.

"Uh— do you want to try riding him? I could take you back to town in style."

It's a groan first, when the horse breaks them up, but Mariah looks over at Eclipse with a crooked smile before she states, dryly, "This is the thanks I get for bringing you apples, is it?" But by her laugh, she's not truly upset. Maybe a touch disappointed, but perhaps not missing the fact that she'll be able to kiss him later, too. In an animal-free venue.

"Well, I can hardly blame him for being jealous," she says, her hands not leaving him, either. She trusts his hold to keep her upright, apparently. "A ride?" That part genuinely surprises her, but in a good way, judging by the way her smile widens as she looks between the two of them. "I'd love to. You're sure it's alright?" From her tone, she's more concerned for the horse's wellbeing and less so about her safety.

"Well, you'll be riding alone," Cas admits, glancing up at the saddle, which isn't made for two. It's one of the older saddles, well worn, but functional. "He's not used to enough weight yet to handle two— and you may have to get down and back on a few times during the trip, but…"

He trails off, as if he hadn't exactly thought through the offer when he made it, but then he grins. "I could at least take you as far as the tree. Then we can stop and brush his hair out."

"Do you think it'll hurt his feelings if I confess I'd rather walk with you?" Mariah slides down off the fence, her arm moving to slide around Cas' waist. "How about I ride him when I can ride with you? And we can ride off somewhere away from Dornie for a few hours. Just me and you," she says, her expression a bit questioning before it takes on a more wry tint when she adds, "And Eclipse, obviously.

"But I would like a walk out to the tree. And to help brushing him, even if he did sneak his snack early." There's a glance to the horse there, an eyebrow lifted. It's possible she's too used to Masque being able to actually understand her looks.

"I— " There's a hint of doubt and worry in his voice, and across his face, as if Cas is about to give some realistic answers as to why that may not be possible. There's probably a ton, that interfer with the idealism he might wish to have. It doesn't manage to get said, though, as he leans up again and draws her head down, to kiss her.

Again.

"All right," is what he finally says, agreeing to her idea. "Maybe we could… even take a longer trip. It's getting warmer and warmer, so… maybe we could camp out for a night. Though it won't be as comfortable as your bed it would… we could have fun."

Mariah's brow starts to furrow together as he starts; it's possible she already knows the hiccups in the plan, but with the way her hand comes to grip onto his shirt, she doesn't want the spell broken. At least not yet.

And it seems it isn't, as she meets him in another kiss, her hand tightening on his clothes as she returns it. And she's reluctant to let it break, so when it does, she stays close, her forehead resting against his.

When he speaks up, she lets out a soft, brief breath of a laugh before she opens her eyes to look at him. "We have fun wherever we end up, if I recall correctly."

"We seem to," Cas admits in a whispered voice, eyes closing as he rests where he is. There's a few small tugs on his sleeve, where the piebald's teeth catch the fabric and tug. It doesn't serve to pull them apart, this time, even the sounds the horse makes don't do it.

At least he doesn't nudge his nose between them this time.

It gives him a chance to linger there, hand moving against her neck. She can't possibly know he's making hand signs that only a select few people would even know.

There's a small laugh, as if he just thought of something, as he pulls back and says, "Let's go. Are you sure you don't want to ride— I don't mind walking beside you. It'll save your feet from getting muddy."

"Mmhmm," Mariah answers his whisper, letting her eyes close, too, in favor of leaning against him. It's true she doesn't know the hand signals are going on, but the movement is what gets her to open her eyes again to look at him.

"You know, my shoes are already muddy," she notes, kicking one up a bit to prove it. At least they seem to be rougher shoes, and not something the mud would have ruined. She moves to take his hand again, looking down at the two clasping together for a moment before she looks up at him again, her smile a hint at the corners of her lips at the moment.

"I'm sure. I'm happier right here, mud and all. No offense to Eclipse."

"I'm sure he doesn't mind," Cas says, even as the piebald pulls on his sleeve again. Most likely the horse is ready to get back to a place where this old saddle can get removed from his body and he can get brushed and left to eat oats.

"Well, not too much. Though we won't be able to stay this way forever… unless you want to help me take the saddle off. We can put it on the fence, brush him down, then carry it back." And let Eclipse have some time to himself.

"If you don't mind helping me out in all of that, at least."

"I suppose forever would be a bit extravagant," Mariah says with amusement on her tone. She's just barely not laughing, but it shows in her smile all the same. "And you know I don't mind helping out," she says, her smile turning crooked, "Actually, I dare say I even enjoy it."

She glances over at Eclipse and reaches over to rub his neck again with a grin as the horse tugs for Cas' attention. "Will you be able to come home with me tonight?" There's a small pause before she adds, "Just out of curiosity. You know." Because her favoritism isn't at all obvious yet. At all.

"Good," Cas says with a smile, reaching around to pull her down off the fence, held close against him. She said her shoes were already muddy, so that doesn't stop him from doing it— and perhaps he wants to look down at her as he kisses her this time.

Even if he pauses afterwards to add softly, "Yes— I can go home with you tonight." That pause may have a meaning behind it. But one he leaves unvoiced.

"But I will have to go to the stables and do my work tomorrow. Hopefully Masque won't mind walking me back."

Mariah laughs as he pulls her down, and from the way her arms wrap around him, she's not about to protest. And she returns that kiss, pressing it a bit deeper than the others. And her eyes even stay closed a bit after, nodding to his words before she bothers to look up at him again.

"I promise I won't keep you up too late, then. Just late enough. And Masque'll walk you, of course. I just have to promise him I'll be staying in." The familiar's still on the protective side, even if she's pretty much forgotten the need for it by now.

"Deal," Cas says with a smile, leading her around the side of the stallion. It will take some time before they get the horse brushed, and get back to her place, but they can take their time.

And even if he doesn't need protection, he's thankful for the company.

In all cases.