Lost And Found

Title: Lost And Found
Time Period: May 19, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Cas has a stop to make when he returns to Dornie.

By all logical accounts, Cas Blackburn should probably be in front of the apothecary. Or somewhere close to the local healer, getting his leg looked at, getting advice on what to do about his weakened condition. Possibly even back at the stables, where his boss can tell him if he's lost his job or not.

Instead, after a few words exchanged between him and the only ablebodied man in the wagon, he gets dropped off outside the Dovetail, after making a promise to the hob to get him his promised hat—

And telling him where to find him. Surely the little hob knows of the stables!

Limping up to the door of the Dovetail, he ends up sitting down heavily right outside it. His body hasn't regained it's strength yet. But there's someone he wants to see. It just may take him a few minutes to get there.

Or it would if one of the Doves hadn't spotted him.

Things like surprised visits from missing persons seep through the Dovetail pretty quickly, and while Mariah has been pretty much telling the girls to leave her be for a few days, there's at least one name drop that can get her to pay attention.

And given that the door opens not too long after he's sat down, it's clear the Doves are paying attention. And probably still are when Mariah comes forward to drop down and wrap him in a hug from behind. Faces peek through windows and curtains, but Mariah hangs onto him all the same. Words will probably come along later.

"Oh— hey," Cas says, reaching an arm up to press over her own. Very likely he doesn't smell great, or look great, still dressed in the same clothes from their date under the tree before he got taken away. While she's wordless, he's not, immediately saying as he weekly returns the hug with his one arm, "Baze saved me. So now I owe him even more— maybe I should offer to groom his horse or something," he says with a laugh, that seems weaker than his usual ones.

Besides dirty, he looks tired, but the wound on his leg has been cleaned and bandaged, cared for by whoever took him. And he's also holding a broken puppet against his body. A wooden one. With no strings.

"You think you could help me get up to your room?"

"Hey," Mariah says shakily against his neck, but other than that, she just hangs onto him as he talks. she nods at least, though, to prove that she's listening. Only at the question does she let him go, although her hands never really leave him for long, even as she moves to better help him up.

"I think I can manage that," she says with a wide smile. Her eyes are a wet, but she's managing not to cry while there are people watching. "I thought you— Don't do that to me," is also said with a smile, gentle teasing to bury more sincere emotions under.

"Sorry," Cas says in a softened voice, looking up at her face and lifting his hand gently to rub fingers against her cheeks. She may be managing not to cry, but— it seems he's not so fortunate on that. It's not really visible under hair that needs a cut, and a beard that's had a little extra growth on it that he probably wouldn't have normally.

With her words, he starts to get to his feet. "I don't think I'll get kidnapped by hobs anymore at least— and…" He looks down at his leg. "I don't think what I saw before was a Black Dog now— But I think they were being… controlled. So I don't think the omen counts. You're okay— I'm okay— " There's a pause.

"Though not everyone's okay, so… Maybe it still counted. Just not for us." After a moment he shakes his head. "Sorry. I haven't been able to talk really for a while."

Mariah leans into to the touch against her cheek, and her eyes close for just a moment before she helps him to his feet. "Not kidnapped is best. Not visited by black dogs is better," she says, her arm squeezing around his waist as she leads him back through the door and toward the stairs. "You weren't able to talk? I mean— Do you want to talk about this?" Curious, of course, but willing to go uninformed if he'd rather not revisit it all. There's a glance to the puppet as well, seeing as it's a piece of the puzzle that just doesn't fit, but questions are kept to the look in her eye for the moment.

"We're okay. That's what matters right now. We can mourn the lost after we've celebrated those that made it. One, especially." The other women, those that are around anyway, do watch as the pair make their way through the house, but perhaps wisely keep comments to themselves until they've passed by.

"Maybe later," Cas says in response to her curiousity. There's always later. "Right now I'd like to get out of these clothes and into a bath— get clean. Shave." There's a pause at that, before he reaches up with his non-puppet weighted down hand and scratches at the scruff. "Unless you like me beard."

It's said with a smile that still manages to dimple his cheek, even with the scraggly hair growing in over the last few days. If he were gone longer it would likely be thicker, but the times he's been gone is evident.

"Oh, and food. Baze got us some food, but… there were more than me, and most had been there longer. I wonder if we didn't really have to eat when we were…" he trails off. "It doesn't matter, I would like something to eat— I can give you a trade later to cover it." An offer he no doubt expects her to refuse.

"Later then," she says softly, her smile turning more to the empathetic. She leans back when he mentions the beard, as if needing to judge before she answers. "You know, I do like it. I like you without, too, but maybe we can just give it a trim until you're tired of it."

When she opens her bedroom door, she lets him enter first, but she's not much more than a step behind until she stops to close and lock it. "A bath, food, a haircut. And some rest. Aye? I think we can get it all sorted. And don't you dare think about a trade. You're— I'm going to take care of it." Predictable, she may be. "And of you."

Getting up the stairs was the hard part, but once he's in her room Cas relaxes and begins to pull of the clothes he'd worn for far too long. It reminds him of his long travels— only worse. Even then he'd usually have a change of clothes and he could wash the old ones in a stream and hang them up for the night…

"Should be me taking care of you sometime," he says in a whisper, as he peals off his fingerless gloves. A piece of fabric stuck in one falls out. He doesn't seem to notice, as he continues to take off clothes, taking the most care at his chewed blood trousers and the bandage on his leg.

"You have done," Mariah says while she comes to help him get undressed, "Plenty of times. And I suspect will do in the future if our luck stays this way." She smiles at him there, and leans over to nuzzle against his cheek. Just a moment's indulgence.

But as she's helping, it's her that notices the piece of fabric fluttering to the floor. And she pauses in helping to crouch down and pick it up. It is… familiar, after all. And since they're not talking about it all until later, she's left just sort of looking at it, and then him, a smile just hinting at the corners of her lips.

When he notices the scrap of her dress, Cas freezes, looking at the piece in her hand. His mouth opens, then closes. It's as if he's about to say something, then doesn't quite get it out. There's also a twitch of his hand— a hint he wants to reach out and take it back.

After a few moments, once he gets his trousers all the way off, he looks at it again. "I— the hobs were the ones who bandaged me, I think. And one of them had held onto that. I— I sort of asked for it and he gave it to me. To hold onto and…" he trails off.

"That hob ended up helping me a lot, too. I promised him a hat. So I'm gonna get a hat made for him— maybe one of those knit stocking hats, or— maybe if I can find someone who makes straw hats. Probably gonna throw in a scarf too."

As he talks, Mariah is quiet, head tilted a bit as she listens to him explaining things. But there at the end, she reaches over to touch his face, her hand holding the fabric hunting for his to hold as she leans in again. But this time, it's for a proper kiss that's just a little driven and emotional, considering.

And drawn out. But she ends it with a sniff and glances down before she looks at him again. "I think a scarf is a great idea," she says, as if there wasn't just a hitch in the conversation at all. "I'm glad there was one of them with a bit of sense there, aye?"

A proper kiss, that has the virtue of being with the one person who could make him forget he hasn't had his daily teeth scrub in a while. It keeps him from pulling back before she does, or leaning away when it breaks. And also seems to wipe away the words he might have wanted to say after.

It takes a moment before he opens his eyes to look up at her again, and smile. "Oh— yes. They were forced into it, though. I think there was magic involved, like they were told to do things and had to. But seems he at least had some control over himself. Let me hold onto that, tries to help me escape. Then I think he led Baze to us, too, when the escape failed."

Fingers brush against his cheek, Mariah seeming reluctant to let go of him again. "I suppose it would be bad form to hold a grudge, then," she says, words playful even if her expression isn't quite. "Be sure to tell him thanks from me, too."

She lingers just a bit longer before her hand on his tugs him along with her toward the little room with the tub. It isn't ready like it usually is when he comes by, but she just pulls a stool over for him to sit on while she starts getting it all prepared. "I missed you," ends up getting spoken to the cabinet where she keeps the shaving supplies, but the glance his way probably means she intended it for him and not the bit of woodwork.

The puppet is added to his pile of dirty clothes, seated on top, leaving him with nothing on except the two necklaces that he wears. Cas may have been more modest the first time he'd been in this room, but with her alone it seems to have faded. Limping into the tub area, he settles down on the stool and spends a few long moments looking at the bandages, as if wondering what to do with them.

At her words, he looks back up, brown eyes widening a little. Though they probably shouldn't be. "I missed you too," he responds in kind, but his tone slightly whispered, almost breathless. And not because of the walk into the room.

When she brings over the tray to set out next to the tub, she reaches down to brush fingers through the water, just making sure it's a tolerable temperature before she steps over to him again. "Did you?" It's a rhetorical question, though, especially since she'd already guessed that with the strip of her skirt he was holding onto and all. "Glad to hear it. I was beginning to suspect it was all an elaborate plan to get out of picnics," she says, not at all truthfully.

She takes a step back to start getting the bandage off his leg— gently, of course. "Water's not as warm as it could be, but I think it'll be okay." She offers a hand there, to help him over the edge.

"Nooooooo," Cas says, strongly exaggerating the vowel sound so that she knows he's not taking it the least bit as more than a joke. Even if he reaches over to touch her nose and cheek with his now free hands, distracting her work with the bandage, "I like the picnics. There's food. And really good company. And trust me, I know bad company pretty well, and the only person I had to talk to before Baze showed up was terrible company."

While that hints to uncomfortable things he may not want to talk about til later, he continues with a smile. "Even the hob was better at conversation than him, and all he could do was…" he makes a strange jittery sound in imitation of the sounds the hob made at him.

The smile remains, as he glances toward the tub, "It doesn't have to be hot. Just wet. With soap. Better than washing in a stream." And he speaks from experience there.

Mariah can't help a laugh at the distractions, and she gives him a playful look before she tosses the bandaging and comes to step in close to him again. "Well, we'll make sure you've no bad company again for a while. And maybe not that bad ever, yeah?" She takes a moment to kiss him again, shorter this time, but no less affectionate.

"It's better than a stream, I can promise that much," she says, her smile tipping crooked, "And there is definitely soap. A plethora of, even. Endless soap. Come on. A soak'll do you well. Not that I don't enjoy the view right now." There's a tease there, too, doing a fair job of covering her concern.

"Sounds great, really," Cas says quietly, still sounding breathless. The kiss may be at fault this time, as he settles into the tub, careful of his leg even as he does. The deeper he sinks, the more he looks like he's relaxing into it, letting out a slow breath until his eyes open again.

"I was afraid I wasn't gonna see you again," he says softly, reaching out to take her hand. She'll still have one to help him wash with, but right now he seems to want to squeeze his fingers around hers. "I mean after the whole… failed escape and… But I'm really glad you weren't taken too."

Mariah just sinks enough to perch on the edge of the tub, not seeming to mind him taking up one of her hands. But then, she doesn't start washing him up just yet, either. Not with the conversation turning to the more serious.

Her free hand reaches to brush the hair away from his face, coming to rest at the back of his neck before she leans in to touch her forehead against his. "I was, too. Afraid. And I'm so sorry, Cas. I'm sorry I couldn't stop them taking you." Her eyes close, but not in time to stop a tear sliding down her cheek.

"No, don't— it's not your fault at all, Mariah," Cas says specifically, taking her hand over to press it against his chest, almost as if he's trying to hug her there. "You could have gotten hurt, or they could have taken you too, and— that would have been worse, okay?" he explains, as his other hand reaches up to brush at the tear with his now damp knuckle.

"You probably helped get me out of there somehow, right? By asking Baze's help. Unless my— unless a ghost made him do it— that's possible." He'd not really had the chance to comfirm much during the wagon ride. "I— I just— I'm wasn't trying to make you feel bad… I— I'm just glad that— You know— that I'm seeing you again."

The brush gets her eyes open, and Mariah looks his way, "No, I know you weren't. I feel bad all on my own." She lets out a quiet, breathy laugh, her head shaking just a little. "I bothered just about everyone who'd listen," she says, exaggerating just a bit, "Between Colm and I, I think Dornie'll be glad you're back."

Her hand moves to run through his hair again, and she presses a kiss against his forehead this time. "I'm glad I'm seeing you again, too. You've no idea how frantic I was over you being gone. But don't listen to the rumors, I handled it all very… gracefully," she says, her smile giving away that that probably isn't very true.

"Colm, really?" Cas says with a smile that he can't help but have. Even if the boss' … sorta step-son isn't going to necessarily save his job, it should at least get the boss' wife on his side. And hopefully if the boss sends people out to raid the house it will cover any loss of his work, plus some.

Or he could just take it out of the price of the horse he's training…

They'll have to work that out. But for the moment… "I don't listen to rumors," he says with a smile, lifting her hand up to kiss her fingers instead. "No need to be frantic over me anymore."

"Really. Aislinn ended up finding where you were. And the hob. And Beisdean went on from that." The details of how Aislinn did, she doesn't get into just now. Later. Mariah smiles at the kiss, and she smiles warmly as she looks down at him. "No, not so much frantic now. I'll settle for being thrilled to have you here and moderately lustful until you get clothes on. Maybe even after that." Her hand squeezes his, that gesture affectionate while her gaze takes on something more playful.

The stablehand laughs at the playful affection from the woman, pulling her hand down to his chest to hold it in place there again, at least until Cas lets go of her. "You're lucky I don't think I'll ever be too exhausted for that— cause I'm pretty exhausted right now," he says in a matter of fact tone, even if he grins up at her as he does it.

"I'm glad that you all worked so hard to find me. I'll have to make it up to Colm— and Lady Aislinn. Somehow. Probably just offer to do some of his work. So he can spend more time with Eclipse or his mom. Whichever works." As he says that, he begins to wash, with those many soaps she promised. But he definitely seems to welcome her assistance.

Mariah smiles wider at his reaction, and she follows her hand toward him just long enough to kiss him again. "I am lucky. Most definitely lucky." When she leans back, she pushes her sleeves up her arm and grabs some soap herself to help out. Much like the early days, with her still clothed and everything.

"So there was a little something I wanted… your opinion on," she says, tone light enough to prove that it's nothing bad, at least. Although, she does seem a bit nervous all the same. "Um. While you were gone, Sorcha offered me a job at her shop. Working and learning seamstressing. I'd have to quit here, of course," she says, watching him a little, "But I've been thinking about it."

Welcoming her help, Cas occassionally gets in the way of her hand, but it seems all on purpose. Even as she goes into her questioning. But as she finishes her statement, implying her desire for his opinion, he shifts in the tub to turn around and face her, head tilted to the side, surprised, a little confused.

"I— guess you could help me make the scarf for my hob-friend," he offers, but there's something too cautious in his tone. Almost as if he's not sure how to say what he wants, or maybe he's trying to be careful about his feelings.

"I— uh— where would you live? I guess you wouldn't be allowed to stay here still…" There's definite worry hiding in the caution, too.

"I don't know yet," Mariah says, as far as where she'd live, "Not here, though, no. I'd find a room, I'm sure. I just— " She pauses, her hands moving to brace on the edge, "I can't imagine that I'll be working at the Dovetail my whole life. And how often does someone offer something like this? To someone like me, no less."

Tilting her head, Mariah presses her lips together as she tries to gauge his reaction. "And I think— Well, I haven't really been… pulling my weight around here lately, anyway. Do you— I mean, there's only just this one person I like being with and I guess I've gotten a taste for not having men in my bed I don't actually want there. If you can imagine," she says, breaking the more serious conversation with a teasing smile there.

"Makes sense— everyone needs clothes, so it's not like it's a job that'll go away anytime soon," Cas says with a smile, trying to get rid of the awkward caution. Not quite doing that, but he seems to be trying to push it aside. "If it's what you want then— you should. I'm sure there's a couple places that'll trade you a room for some work."

There's a hint of that worry there, again, as he adds the next part. "Too bad I don't got a place to offer you," he tries to cover up that worry and other emotion with a laugh, though she knows him well enough to sense it's forced.

"Right, exactly." Of course, people will probably always need hookers, too, but that's beside the point. "That's what I was thinking. A room for some housework or something. I haven't asked around, but I will do."

Mariah reaches over, her hand cupping his cheek gently. And damply. "I wish you did. But wherever I end up staying, you can always— " She doesn't quite finish that thought, but her brow furrows as she looks him over. "What's got you worried?"

"I— sorry, I just…" Cas looks down at the tub water instead of her face, despite her hands. He even shakes his head, though not enough to pull out of the grasp. After a long moment of paying far too much attention to washing his knee, he looks back up at her.

"Don't worry about it, really. It's… not…" he trails off. The longer he looks into her eyes, the more difficult it seems shruging it off is.

Some of the tension falls, most noticable in his shoulders. "It's not just because of me, right? You … you want to leave and… work as a seamstress?"

That particular worry makes her chuckle just a little, and her hand shifts to rest on his shoulder instead. "I know I'm a bit sentimental, but I rather think I'm too practical for that much of a romantic gesture. To be honest, leaving's been on my mind for quite a while. It isn't like I ever wanted to do this. I just never thought anyone would really want a former prostitute on the payroll. So I never tried.

"A few seasons ago, one of the ladies here, she had a fall. Died. She was… we were close. And that's what started it, just a little worm of an idea that I didn't want to be doing this for the rest of my life. And then Luna started talking about finding a way to become a proper lady." Mariah shakes her head there, an amused laugh exhaled as she leans back to sit up straighter. "Anyway, I've been thinking about it. But I can say that it's true that I'd rather you here than any of the others. But leaving is something I feel like I should be doing. For me."

"It wasn't that I thought…" Cas starts to explain in a softened sound, sinking down into the tub a bit as her hand rests on his shoulder. "I'm sorry a friend of yours died," he says instead, voice still a whisper as he looks off toward a spot in the distance. If he were actually looking at the wall that may be where his eyes are pointed— but he seems to be seeing somewhere further away— or nothing at all, really.

"I— I didn't think less of you for being a prostitute. But I know other people… probably did. I know I'd rather be more than a stable hand sometimes…" Shaking his head, he reaches up to touch the hand on his shoulder, with his own quite soapy one. As his fingers wrap around her palm, he takes in a slow breath, as if trying to breathe out his worry when he releases it.

Shifting around to look at her again, he asks, "So is there anything I need to do? Besides not get … " he looks away as if trying to think of the word and settles of a grin as he says, "Man-napped again?"

"I'm sorry, too," Mariah says with a sad little smile, "I miss her often." She glances off in the direction he lets his gaze drift to, but his words bring her back around. "I know you didn't. And I— It means a lot to me, that you can see past the profession."

Her fingers wrap around his as well, soap and all, and her other reaches across the water to brace on the opposite edge, leaving her leaning over the water, but closer to him. "You know, I quite like that you're a stablehand. I like watching you with the horses. I think you've a gift. But if you ever want to try for more… I mean, I'd be right at your back."

The question gets a wider smile from her and she leans in a bit closer. "Well. Along with that, you just have to let me keep taking you on picnics and to the movies and— all that." She may have initially planned on finishing with something else, but seems to opt for a less risque wording.

"I'm not sure how much else I'd be able to do— Dornie already has a horse-lord," Cas says with a soft seriousness to his voice, as he squeezes her hand with his soapy fingers. But he's sitting back up now. "I wouldn't really want to do anything else— except maybe breed horses— or mules, maybe. But I wouldn't want to compete with the boss. I think he'd win."

The words are soft, but honest.

"We should do the picnic again— without the man-napping interuptions. I think the monster attacks should be over, at the very least— no more trolls or Black Dogs or kelpies or any of that." From his smile, he seems hopeful— but it's not quite as wide as it could be. His mind may still be elsewhere.

There's a pause before he adds, "And I haven't seen all the movies yet."

"Well, you don't have to compete with him. You could end up being his favorite horse trainer one day. Or something." She's less aware of how the rankings go in his profession.

Mariah's smile softens as he answers her, though. "I dare say it would be far safer now. Once you're up for trying again, we can try it again. The book even survived. Little mud stained on the cover," she says, a bit sheepish there, "but the pages are alright."

Her head tilts, a more quizzical expression falling across her features. Her hand squeezes his, as if trying to get his attention, "Are you alright? You need anything?"

"I don't know if he likes me enough for that," Cas says sheepishly, as he reaches up to finger at his hair. Hair that has seen better days and could use a cut. "I— I don't really know if I'm alright. It's… I don't know, don't worry about it," he says again. For a moment he just seems confused.

Confusion that he tries to shake off, as he reaches to reach for what he will need to wash his hair with. "Maybe you can read to me tonight. You'll probably have to go back a few pages, I— don't really remember where we were." He'd been distracted, whether he says that outloud or not.

"Of course I'm going to worry about it," Mariah says as she reaches up to play with his hair a little, too. "I worry about you. So you tell me if there's anything that will help you feel more settled, yeah?" And when she leans in, her lips press against his forehead in a gesture that's more sweet than anything else.

"I admit, I'm a bit hazy on it, too. We'll just back up a little," she says, as far as reading goes, "I don't think I mind repeating myself, in this case."

"I think I'm just— a little on edge from everything that happened. Could be shock, I guess," Cas says with a tired kind of laugh, even as his eyes slide shut. The kiss on his forehead likely still feels warm. "I'm not sure what you could do— I just need to stop thinking about things, maybe," he says, trying to explain it.

But he doesn't sound sure about it, even then.

"After I eat and everything I— maybe you could put me to sleep. With your magic. After reading some— I mean. Up to a good stopping point."

"Understandable. You were just kidnapped and all. Man-napped. Stolen," she eventually settles on that one. Her fingers come to brush wetly along his cheek and she smiles more softly down at him. "Just— if anything comes up. I'm here."

Mariah nods at the request, sitting up to take the soap herself to work on his hair. "I can do that. Make sure you have a decent night's sleep at the very least. And I'll walk you home tomorrow. I know Masque is good company, but— " But she's maybe a little protective. And been missing him. And worried.

"Masque is okay," Cas says with a smile, looking relieved that his request is being taken in stride— and that she seems to understand what he barely does. Relieved enough to lather up his hair with the soap for a few moments, before he reaches out and smears some of the foam on her own nose.

"But your company is better. Besides— I kinda want to be able to talk to a person. No offense to hero-hobs and toy soldiers, but… I want to hear your voice more."

Mariah blinks and looks down at her nose for a moment before she eyes him through a gentle, but amused laugh, and her fingers dip into the water just enough to flick a splash his way. Never mind that he's already wet.

"Well, I'm glad to rank above them," she says, her smile tilting teasingly crooked. But those last words sober her expression some, turning it from playful to touched. And ironically, she seems to be a touch speechless.

But it only lasts a second or two before she leans in again to whisper into his ear. "I've missed you." She's said it already, but she doesn't have a problem with repeating herself there, either.

Soapy hands lower into the water, the foam drifting to the surface as he tilts his head at her— which probably looks funny all lathered up. Cas continues to smile softly, opening his mouth to respond to the repeated sentiment. "I…" That's as far as he gets, before he hesitates.

"I— I should finish washing before I get all prunie," is what finally comes out. Probably not what he was going to say.

But based on his hands he may have missed out on that goal.

Mariah presses a kiss to his cheek before she straightens up, his words getting a chuckle, "Might be a good idea. Can't let you bathe the night away when there's meant to be food and a book and a haircut and all."

She stands up then, but she doesn't go far. Just to grab a towel and the fluffy robe she keeps around for just such an occasion. If she noticed he meant to say something else, she's letting it go for now. Not the time to prod just now. "Not to mention, it wouldn't do to linger in there until it's cold enough to pass for your stream," she says with another tilted smile.