It's A Horse

Title: It's a Horse
Time Period: May 3, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: After almost a month of training, Cas finally feels confident enough to introduce the horse they're going to train to Colm.

Though no one could say Cas Blackburn's signing lessons have gone great, he had learned enough over the last few months to make the required gestures to ask Colm to meet him after he finished cleaning up by one of the fenced off areas, where the trained horses are sometimes allowed to pasture. From the way his hands were shaking, the gestures carried the emotion that his voice probably would have.

If the boy could have heard it. The smile might have been doing that, too. The last few weeks he's been working harder than the first few months, as if trying to finish up his work early— Even though he'd sometimes come back well after dark to actually sleep.

Some might blame a woman for it, but…

Standing against a small wooden storage building, the young man watches for the boy, glancing looking as if he's resting from an excited pace. The sun's lowering in the spring sky, thankfully the sky has only had clouds and very little rain today— but the earth of the sheltered heath still has soggy areas, from rain of the days before.

Colm hasn't exactly shot up in the months that Cas has known him, but he's taller than he was when the older man first arrived in Dornie, and his jaw marginally more square. Another year or two and he'll be into his middling teens, big enough to cause Edmund grief if he so desired — if he does, he hasn't given Cas any reason to suspect he might he harbouring some sort of grudge against their employer.

If the stories that Cas has heard murmured around Dornie are true, however, there's a chance he might feel differently toward their employer's brother.

He appears at the treeline where the pasture meets the fence, and hauls himself up and over the structure, coming back down on the other side with enough force to make the mud squelch under his boots.

Though not one to normally listen to seek out gossip, some gossip is difficult to miss, especially when people find out who he works for and where he works. And what he did hear certainly explained why Cas thought the boy needed to smile more often.

At the sight of him, his own smile blooms on his face, dimpling his cheeks as he steps away from the small out building and moving closer. "Colm! Glad you could make it," he says outloud, moving his hands in the same awkward but excited fashion. Though his hands say something slightly different, basically that he sees him. He tries though.

"I've been doing something kind of— secret the last month, and…" He doesn't know many of the signs for his words here, secret and month and something are rather muddled wavings of his hands. "Come this way," he says with simple gestures, ones anyone could understand.

The older man leads around the small building, his boots sinking and splashing as he hurries along.

Cas isn't the first person to make an effort of communicating with Colm using the signs taught to him by his mother. He's an expert at inferring what other people mean, and he isn't bad when it comes to reading lips either. His long, coltish legs carry him after Cas, coat drawn tight against his broadening frame to ward off the chill in the air out of habit rather than discomfort. Winter has come and gone, and the boy spends most of his time outside regardless of the weather.

The mild spring does not bother him.

Hurrying around, Cas spins so that he will be able to see when the boy makes his way around the corner of the building, so that he will see the look on the boy's face. The nervousness is in his every motion, and he glances back and forth from the boy to his surprise.

Which is tied up to a hitch post next to the out building.

Well muscled, the horse stands in the a dry area, not straining the lead rope as he chews on the new green growth. The black and white piebald sports a long shaggy mane, recently brushed, that sports both colors where the patches of black and white meet on his head. At the appearance of a newcomer, he looks up, eyes half hidden by the dark mane, though eyes blue paler and ears erect and calm. The abundance of muddy feathering hides his hooves and gives away his cold-er nature.


Cas looks between Cas and the horse, uncertainty written in his scrunching brow and in the wrinkles that appear around the corners of his eyes. Mirth, maybe.

It's a horse, he signs, and there's no mistaking what he means. Of all the words Aislinn has taught Cas, horse is one that get used the most around the stables. Colm does not need to spell it out to him using the finger alphabet.

Are you trying to impress Edmund? he asks, then.

The smile doesn't fade, but Cas stops bouncing at the question, probably trying his best to figure out the words. Some are easier than others— His mouth opens, as if he's going to start answering, but then he stops trying to speak and raises his hands up, palms covered with gloves, but the fingers still visible.

Little, he signs honestly, such a simple symbol.

There's a pause, fingers folding in as he holds his hands up.

I do… I think… you and… us… Each pause is punctuated by his fingers folding in, unsure. Remember? You… spoke me… to… There's a frustrated motion with his hands, that could have meant something.

"You know, you told me to ask him about training a horse— he said I could on my freetime and even said I could pick one from a herd and I picked this one. I thought we could try to figure out how to teach a horse to understand signs then… train a horse on it exclusively? But I want you to help me." Some of that has help in signs. Some of it just in excited motions of his hands.

Colm divides his attention between Cas' face and his hands. It's hard for him not to feel some sympathy on his behalf, and like Cas is always telling him to, he offers him a small — if rueful — smile.

Edmund is hard to impress, he signs, almost an apology as if feeling partially responsible for getting Cas' hopes up.

It will be harder to teach the horse, he adds. You can't sign to it while you're on its back.

"Can't all be as easy to impress as me," Cas says outloud, with his smile, trying to keep up with the signing, but it's mostly when he's using the same words he's just seeing again. He wonders if it's weird he thinks he can read the boy's hands better than he can a piece of paper, despite trying to learn both.

"Actually, I'd been thinking about that— you won't have to use signs when you're in the saddle at all. That's what reins are for, and pats on the neck and your legs, right? It's when you're not on the saddle that it might be important. And this one's a bad one for it really, he's… I mean his eyes are half covered." The gestures are fewer and further between, only when he knows the simplist words. Maybe not helping— but he's at least remembering to talk slower—

Even if he is caught speeding up occassionally.

"Even if we don't teach him much of the signs, I'd still like you to help me. It'd have to be on your free time, and all, but— if you wanted to, at least."

Who's to say how much free time Colm has? His life is work, but he must not value what little time he has off the job more than he values his budding friendship with Cas. I do want to, he signs back, and to emphasize his point he mouths the words in addition to making the appropriate gestures with his muddied hands.

Does the horse have a name?

From the excited gesture, fingers folded in, the boy doesn't even have to hear or read his lips to know that Cas is excited by the answer. Likely, he knows how little freetime the boy has— But he's still glad to have the agreement.

No, he signs simply, knowing that word quite well.

"I was thinking I could ask your mom for help. From what I know of horses this breed's Irish, at least mostly— Irish Cobs are what they're called. Or Gypsy Cobs, sometimes. I thought maybe… your mom could help me name him. Unless you know a good Irish name."

The piebald is used to the young man's voice, by the way his ears twitch around, but he seems to have decided to go back to the greenary along the edge of the building, tail twitching against his back.

His name should be your choice, Colm informs Cas, and he has to be mindful to slow down too. He isn't signing with his mother. The more complicated the word, the more precise he has to be so their meaning isn't lost in communication. It's the foundation, which he fingerspells, of your relationship. You want to build from something that belongs to both of you. Not to the horse and my mother.

She named hers Thunder, he adds, because he's not opposed to giving Cas some inspiration. She said it was the sound the foal's hooves would make when it was grown.

And the longer the word he has to spell out, the more it seems that Cas has to consentrate on it. But he seems to understand enough, to nod slowly. "Guess that's true. I mean— that— the boss did say that I might be able to trade for him, and I certainly plan to save up for it." For part of it, he looks away from the boy, which may make reading his lips hard, but that's what the hand gestures are for.

Though what his hands say is simply, He could be mine.

"My dad used to say it was bad luck to name a mule before riding him— I'm not sure it works for horses too, but— maybe once we get him ready to ride the first time a name'll come to me," he says with a smile. And some of the gestures were there, too. "I've already got him halter trained, and gotten him used to the bridle, and he's had the saddle on once, with no one in it. If you got some time tonight, we could do that. Might be safest if you were here. You know, if I get thrown off. Someone to go running for your mom." His tone would give away the joke in his voice.

But his hands try to do it by adding, while he grins, Think we can handle him.