Mending Fences

Title: Mending Fences
Time Period: January 9, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Some fences are mended and some are torn down.

Last night's snow has not yet melted from the roads, and so Iago's hooves are muffled on the approach to the Fairbairn farm; for one, it is not a horse and equestrian but instead the gelding pulls a small cart that Beisdean drives. Aside from the driver, it holds a pile of lumber.

There's fence mending to do, thanks to a visit from a dragon.

Pulling up to the gap in the fence caused by the uninvited guest the night before, Beisdean pulls the reins to get Iago to come to a stop, then climbs out to unload the two-by-fours he'd picked up in town earlier that morning.

Mairi's been working for some time now. While the weather's cold, she's been working hard enough that there's a bit of sweat on her brow and the bun that once held her hair out of her face has fallen into some kind of floppy knot at the nape of her neck. She blows hair out of her face, shovel in her hand as she clears the snow around the broken section of fence to make it easier for repairs.

"At this rate, my farm will keep anyone selling lumber in business for a lifetime," she says with the slightest hint of a laugh.

"Oi, what happened?" A voice suddenly calls out from not too far away. Cas has had some experience approaching this farm, day or night, though this time or the morning he usually isn't seen.

From the looks of him, he's already had a full day of work just by this time of the morning. Smells of horses and hay, but looks as if he's taken the time to wash up before heading over. Even if he missed a few spots.

"Morning," Beisdean says to Mairi, a sympathetic smile curving his lips as he surveys the damage before turning to unload the rest of the wood onto the snow. "Dragons must think you have the tastiest mutton in Dornie. Might be a compliment."

He pauses a beat — something sounds a little unintentionally offcolor there, but he's still waking up.

At Cas' shout, he turns to for the source, giving a nod of greeting but letting the widow tell the tale of last night's adventures. He moves to hitch the cart to the unbroken section of the fence, then begins to size the lumber, holding up a piece to the gap to see if it will do.

"Last time I was the mutton, so I don't know that it quite follows through. I'd have much rather ran into that thing on the road than on the farm," Mairi replies, but her gaze drifts over as Cas calls over. She chuckles, offering a quick wave as she moves to meet Cas as he approaches.

"You should've come over last night, you could've gotten the opportunity to see a Green Tail, face-to-face. Took one of the sheep and knocked down that fence there. Mister Skye got the fire out so there wasn't really much in the way of damage to the barn," Mairi shakes her head a little. "Clearly my life isn't exciting enough so dragons decide to invade. What are the odds, huh?"

"Really— more dragons? What is it with you, Mairi…" Cas says in genuine surprise and even worry, as he looks over her, the farm, and the barn where the horses are kept for damage. It doesn't look too bad, so he looks back at her and then at Mister Skye. "Thank you, Mister Skye— I'm kinda glad I wasn't there. Mairi would've had to see my great dragon response maneuver— which would be running away and hiding, most likely."

Now that she's closer it's easier to see that the shadows around his eyes aren't just shadows— but a bruise. A bruise that circles around his nose and favors one eye more than the other. Small healing cuts are visible on his nose as well. Apparently someone decided to break it, but it was set and seems to be healing without much in the way of swelling.

The widow's response that it was her last time makes Beisdean smirk and look away while Cas talks. "Good mutton," the taller man says quietly and with a solemn nod, having recovered from his immature moment only to amuse himself once again, but this time, if either Mairi or Cas find it suspicious, he has the perfect deadpan face, but for the slightest crinkle of mischief in his eyes.

To keep himself from getting into too much trouble, Beisdean reaches for the hammer and nails already waiting on the ground, and begins to hammer in a new board for the fence. "Wonder if there's any spell or something someone can do to keep you safer," he muses quietly.

The widow glances back to Beisdean for only the briefest of moments before she looks back to Cas. "I think it's sheer dumb luck," Mairi admits. "Though I'm less surprised by the attack here than I was when I was out on the road. That one was hurt and desperate, I think it was sick. This one was picking off whatever food it could get. It could have easily gone to any farm. I'm hoping they managed to track it down… I'd hate for it to decide to come back."

Another brief look is cast in Beisdean's general direction as the widow watches him work on the fence. "I don't know anyone that could cast some kind of magic spell for safety." Mairi pauses for a long moment, then takes a few steps closer to Cas to scrutinize his nose. "I'm starting to think, though, if there's a ward for protection you might need one too. Don't tell me you ran into a door, either."

"Not unless the door happened to be fist shaped," Cas says, touching his nose self consciously as he says that. The bruise is a deep shade of purple, but it will likely fade away even before the small cuts on his face do. He steps away from her toward Beisdean while she continues to scruitinize. "I'll be fine. Dragons are more dangerous, so you should look into that before me," he adds in an absent fashion.

"That's a nice horse you got there. He yours, Mister Skye?" he asks, tilting his head at the gelding in interest. Horses are an easy thing to distract himself with.

Beisdean looks up from his hammering, and back at Iago, who looks a bit irritated at being attached to the pile of wood on wheels. "Aye, and thanks, mate. He's a good one. Iago's his name, and you won't find a better one even in the Rowntree stables. By my book, anyway, though I'm sure your boss might argue with me."

Another couple of nails are hammered in, and Beisdean chuckles to himself to toss back over his shoulder, "Don't tell him I said that though. I'd rather not cross him if I can help it."

"I'm sure Cyrano and Tigerlily would object to Iago being called the best, but I can't say horses get offended or get big heads the way people do," Mairi says, taking a moment to reach back and unmuss her hair while she has the chance.

"I hope you're not going to brush off telling me why someone punched you in the nose, Cas." The widow's tone is chiding.

From the way Cas migrates to the horse instead of looking at the widow, it seems he would very much like to continue brushing that off. "He is lovely— seems to have quite a personality, too. But the only reason the Rowntree horses aren't better is cause I haven't gotten to train one yet, just you wait— If I ever get up the nerve to ask the boss to let me train a horse that one'll give Iago a right run for best— and your horses too, Mairi," he says, glancing back at the widow with an apologetic grin.

If horses don't have egos, their owners certainly do. "It really isn't a big problem, Mairi— I just… stuck my nose into someone's business and…" he trails off if he just realized something, but he hesitates and turns back to the horse instead. "Bet you wish Mairi owned a mule to handle this kind of load, don't you?" Yes, he's talking to the horse now.

Iago gives a snort as if to answer in adamant indignation, and Beisdean laughs, eyes back on hammering, this time another piece of wood to knit up the gap in the fence. "He's not a fan of carts, no, much prefers to ride with just me on him, but he'll have to suffer one more time yet, as the cart needs to go back to McDougal's when I'm done here."

He doesn't press Cas for more information on the state of his face; he recognizes the need for silence and keeping one's pride intact only too well himself. "He could probably use a bit of your hand, I imagine, but his faults seem to suit me, because I've got plenty of my own."

Beisdean surveys the fencework and raises a hand to shake it, testing its stability, before glancing at Mairi for her assessment. "A poet once said, 'Something there is that doesn't love a wall'… in this case it's a dragon."

"You're always quoting things," Mairi says, moving to put a hand on the fence, leaning against it and testing the weight. "You're quite the well-read man, Mister Skye. You also seem quite apt at mending fences." She smiles broadly before she peeks over at Cas and Iago. There's a small shake of her head, but she doesn't bring up the lovely pallet of colors on his nose.

Mairi lets her eyes focus on the sky. "There is something to be said, though, about surrounding yourself with creatures just as flawed as you."
"I think animals will always take on the personality of those who tend to them," Cas says, moving closer to stand in the sight of Iago, letting the horse smell the other horses on him, as well as the him underneath. He doesn't yet reach out to touch the horse, just watches him.

"I'm not actually sure I even understand what that poet or you is meaning— but you need to avoid those dragons. You might not be so lucky next time." With that he looks away from the horse. "You don't think it's cause of the skull you have, is it? Maybe that was it's… father or something and it was mad. Are there spells to protect against that sort of thing?" That last is directed at the poet quoter.

The gelding snuffles at Cas' hand, and Beisdean bends to pick up the hammer and nails, ready to bring them into the barn. "Oh, I wasn't trying to be deep as far as fences go. And I doubt it's the skull. There might be something to protect in general — I'm not sure, I haven't met anyone with that kind of skill, but I know that in this world, there are very few things I'd say are impossible."

He gives a small bow to Mairi, and a nod to Cas. "If you'll excuse me. I've got some work to do before I bring the cart back to town for Mister McDougal." He smiles at Mairi as he passes her — it's clear that he's leaving to let her pry a little into the other man's business, should she wish.

"Thanks for your help, Mister Skye," offers Mairi as she pushes on the fence a little again. She nods in his direction as he heads off before she looks back to Cas. "Certainly glad he's around to help out, it saves me the trouble of finding someone else to ask. I know of someone I could get to help, but… sometimes there are certain people you just don't want to bother too much."

The redhead leans against the newly repaired fence as she studies the younger man. It's a lot harder for him to be distracted without the horse there. "You aren't really the type to get into fights, so I'm a little surprised. Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?"

With a hand raised in a wave goodbye to the man, it's possible he's actually regretful of him leaving. If only to keep deflecting the talk he doesn't want to have. Cas grimaces a bit as it comes back up and lowers his hand with a small smile. "I— It wasn't really a fight. I got hit, I fell down, I stumbled away. That's not really a fight."

Stepping over to the fence, he puts hands into the pockets of his jacket, raising his shoulders in a kind of never ending shrug. "I don't want to cause any trouble, so… can we just leave it at that?"

Mairi studies Cas for a long while before she pushes off the fence, nodding slowly at him. "You got hit. The way you're talking, it doesn't sound like an accident." She pauses as she turns to face him fully. "But we can just leave it at that, if that's what you want. I just worry, Cas. You don't have to tell me the details… just promise you'll be alright with whatever it is. And I don't mean the nose."

"It's — I just don't want to cause trouble. Lady Aislinn somehow knew who it was without me even saying anything and she wants to get involved and— I don't want you to get involved too," Cas says with a frown, leaning his hands against the fence as he looks over at her. "The man doesn't exactly seem to be nice. I mean he hit me and… I'll be alright, I'm just worried, you know— that you'll get hurt."

He frowns off into the distance, where Mister Skye disappeared to do work. "At least Mister Skye looks like a nice guy," he mutters, as if that in particular means something.

Mairi raises an eyebrow, though she offers him a gentle smile. "I appreciate your concern, Cas, but I'm tougher than I look. I promise not to go hunt down some jerk that punched you, if that's what you're worried about. You've got nothing to worry about."

She nods in the direction Beisdean disappeared to. "Yes, he's very nice. It's nice to have an extra set of hands to help with things. I need to start asking for help more often."

For a long moment Cas falls back into his broody expression, as if he's trying to decide whether to believe her when she says she won't go after the guy. Maybe that's not what he's worried about, though. "I'm not sure it's the same guy, but— the size is about the same and he was dancing with… You mentioned another guy who helped you out here— "

This triggers another bout of hesitation, and when he looks at her again he almost whispers, as if worried he'll be overheard, "Could be a common name up in these parts… but the guy who punched me was Jain MacCrum— Something that started like that. You mentioned the other guy who was helping you was named Jain— At the dance."

"Jain…"

Mairi purses her lips as she looks to Cas. "Yes, that's the same Jain. He was the one who cut in before we danced. He's helped out on my farm before, for about a week. He did good work. He wanted some supplies for the Dovetail." She rubs the back of her neck a little. "I think I understand what you mean, though."

There's a snort that sounds almost like a laugh at the mention of the Dovetail. Cas shakes his head and moves away from the fence a bit. "Well, that explains why he acted like he owned the place. But it doesn't give him the right to treat people like that, no matter what he did— can't they pay for their own supplies?"

He shakes his head. "Is he still going to do work here? I told Lady Aislinn I'd avoid him, and I'd like to try to."

"They do pay for their own supplies. He kind of did it as a gift, I guess. He didn't want them to know he'd done work for them," Mairi admits. "So you aren't allowed to say anything either, now that you know." She folds her arms over her chest, but shakes her head a little.

"He doesn't work here regularly. With Mister Skye here, I don't really need his help and I wouldn't ask for it unless I really needed to." Her gaze turns downward, lips parted as if to speak but she lets things fall into silence.

Something about what she said seems to bother Cas even more, folding his arms a bit as if trying to shield himself, or hug himself. "I should go— I wasn't intending to stay long. On an errand, just happened to bring me by so I decided to stop in, see how you were." He looks at the newly repaired fence.

"I'm glad you have someone nice to help out here when you… only sorta need it." Rather than really? He manages a tight lipped smile, before he says, "Hopefully I'll be able to talk the boss into letting me train a horse soon. Might get a pay rise and not have to clean stables as often." His smile grows a bit more, as he starts to move away from the newly repaired fence.

Mairi watches Cas for a long moment, unfolding her eyes, one booted foot kicking at the snow. "Alright. If that's what you want. I'm glad you stopped by, though. It's nice to see you. Even with having Mister Skye around to do work, it still gets kinda lonely out here so another friendly face is nice." She pauses.

"Maybe I'll come bring you lunch again?"

"If you got the time, sure," Cas says, trying to transform back to his dimpled smile. It only half works. "And bring extra. I don't want the other stablehands getting too jealous— I can always share some left overs with them," he adds as he moves away a few more steps—

Until he spots the sign of the dragon who visited the farm and turns back to add, "Just leave the dragons at home, will ya?" he says with a grin, obviously teasing.

The widow's smile fades a touch as she nods slowly. "I'll be sure to bring plenty for everyone. Don't want anyone feeling left out, right?" She takes another moment to bend down and study the fence to ensure it is properly mended. Mairi glances towards Cas as he moves away.

"Don't worry, I'll keep the dragons to myself, they seem to like me better than anyone anyways. I'd get jealous if they off and attacked someone else."