Title: Reminders
Time Period: March 22, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Whether needed or not, reminders are nice.

With the nights coming later and later, the evening crowd has extra time to show up at the Dovetail. A handful of days after his late appearance in the house, Cas limps in the front door, a smile on his face and a bounce to his step— well as bouncy as someone limping can be, at least.

Whatever has preoccupied his mind makes him forget to knock upon the door of the room of the Dovetail he certainly spends most of his time. But he had an appointment. Again. Even if it was only a few nights after his last one.

"Hallo," he says with a cheerful voice that matches his smile and limpy bounce. The wounding on his face has healed to the point of being visible scraps on his forehead and eyebrow, and the limp is less than it was. And the clothes he wears are certainly an improvement. Half of it came from her gift of clothes. The blue scarf around his neck didn't, though.

True to her word, Mariah was all too glad to have him come by again, even with it being just a few days later. She may have had to make excuses to some militiaman, but she'll worry about fall out from such things later. When there isn't such an effective distraction about.

She isn't directly in sight when the door opens, but the sound of it has her leaning her head and a bare shoulder out from behind her dressing screen to greet him with a smile. "Hello, you," she says with affection before she lets her gaze sweep over him. "You look good. How're you feeling?" A glance is sent back to his face just once more before she leans back behind the screen again. Apparently, she wasn't ready quite yet.

"Oh— sorry, I— I forgot to knock," Cas says, pointing behind him at the door that's still standing open. At which point he quickly limps back to close and lock it. It's something he usually would leave to her, but he takes upon himself this time— with her not ready yet.

"Me? I'm fine! Well, little sore, but recovering," he explains, beginning to take off his coat. Once again he's wearing gloves with the fingers cut out— though this time they're red. And when he drops the coat where he usually does, he slides something into the pocket of his trousers as he sits to remove his boots.

"You don't have to knock," Mariah says with a chuckle from behind that screen, "especially not when I'm expecting you." And it isn't as if catching her mid-dress is really… an issue.

Where normally, she tends towards rich reds and golds as far as her clothes go in this room, when she steps out today, she's in a deep green. It's no less suggestive a cut of dress, but something of a different taste. Her taste. Her fingers still fiddle with buttons at her back, but it seems she's a little impatient to come over and press a kiss to his cheek. Although, not fast enough to catch the exchange between pockets.

"I'm glad. The leg must make work uncomfortable," she notes with a dip of her head toward it. "I like the gloves," she adds with a grin before she sits down next to him.

When she first appears in the green dress, Cas looks briefly stunned, surprised as he sits up to accept the kiss on the cheek. A moment later his smile appears, with a vengeance. The brief glance she might have had of him showed him smiling, somehow, it seems even brighter. "You're wearin' green," he exclaims, lifting his hands up to her arms, before pulling them back again so that she can sit beside him.

"Oh, yes, thank you— they're… nice. I like havin' my fingers free," he explains, wiggling said fingers. Now that it's getting warmer they don't get as cold. Much easier to pick apples with free fingers." And if he finds a tree worth picking that doesn't seem to be on a farm property, he'll climb up and steal a few fruits from the squirrels.

And hopefully avoid trolls.

"And the leg isn't too bad, really— I— " he waves a hand around. And is abrupt and anxious in his change of subjects, "Hey, do you still have the— what I gave you— the first night that I— that we— the necklace? The chain," he waves his hand at his neck as if she might not know hat a chain necklace is. With how he's rambling that could be the least of his issues.

Mariah's hands slide along the fabric of her dress when it's mentioned, momentarily nervous. But his smile makes it a fleeting feeling. Her hands cup his face for a moment, her touch warm. "I thought, perhaps, you wouldn't mind it," she says, her smile tilting crooked.

She hadn't gotten around to shoes herself, so her feet get pulled up onto the bed to curl against one side. It leaves her leaning a bit in his direction. By chance. "I suppose gloves would make picking a challenge. Not giving up on that pastime, ey?" That's a tease.

When he brings up the chain, she tilts her head curiously, but her smile softens some at the subject. "Of course." She's not wearing it, since another necklace from him is sitting there just now. But she glances back at her bedside table, the one with a visible lock on the drawer. "Couldn't trade that away."

Teasing aside, Cas keeps his bright smile, even if he reduced it a moment in his stuttering and explaining. "Oh good," he says, looking as if he's about to stand up— until he spots the visible lock on the drawer and sits back down with a soft thud.

That he likely regrets from the wince. But when he turns to look at her again that smile is firmly back.

"Would you mind— uh— getting it out? I just— n— need it for a minute." His eyebrows raise in a hint of innocence.

When he gets up and thuds back down again, Mariah's hands reach out to steady him there on the edge of the bed. "Easy there." But his request and that touch of innocence get a playfully suspicious look in return. However, she's standing a moment later, a smile curling on corner of her lips. "Alright. Hang on."

She walks over that way, but pauses to put her foot up against the bed's frame as her hands slide her skirts up enough to untie the key from a lacy garter around her thigh. That— isn't usually there, either. The key, at least. But it's only a moment before she's got the drawer unlocked and her fingers pull out the delicate chain without much need to search for where it is in there. The drawer is slid closed with a hip, but not locked again. And the key is simply placed on top of the table before she comes to sit next to him again.

"There you are. Good as new," she says as she passes it his way.

"Why— why do you have a key on— whatever that lacy thing is called," Cas asks quietly, pointing toward where the lacy thing disappeared to. And he certainly was paying too much attention to it. He'd intended to be polite and not look where she hid her key, but— lacy thing. On her thigh.

This time he does get to his feet, standing up as he takes the thin chain and twists around. Putting his back to her. It takes him a few moments of with his back as the shield to her vision, and then he turns back around with the chain dangling out of one of his closed hands. The chain unclasped.

"Garter. And I just… don't keep my keys in the same place all the time. Seems like that would make them easy to find." And really, only one other person apart from her was bound to find that particular hiding spot.

To her credit, Mariah doesn't try to peek when he turns his back to her, but her feet do tap out an uneven rhythm against her rug. There's a smile on her face when he turns around, but when her gaze flicks to the open chain, it dims. Her fingers come up to touch the cross hanging from her neck and she looks back up at him with a slightly less bright smile. Something rests behind it, a gentle regret she pushes down with a swallow. But she seems to be letting him lead the moment; her hand even drops back to her lap.

The smile falters for a moment as Cas looks at her, standing there with the open chain in his hand. A few moments ago he'd been holding onto some kind of confidence— a shaky one, but now it seems to have shattered. The closed hand raises a bit, and his other hand points at it. All the while he's trying to get words out. They come out in soft vowels mostly.

Only when he stops and takes a deep breath to settle himself can he get further. "I meant to do this— less bad," he explains. Fidgeting. As much as he can with a sore leg. "Uh. I thought— " Whatever he thought, it wasn't this, apparently. If he had a plan of what to say, it never happens.

Instead, he only manages a soft, "'ere," as he holds his hand out, opening his fingers. The chain dangles, but in his palm is a small pendant with a deep green stone the size of a fingernail wrapped in coppery colored wire.

Mariah tilts her head to the side as he fumbles through his words, her smile leaning back toward genuine as she watches. But when he holds the pendant out toward her, her expression flips again. Not unhappily this time. She opens her mouth to say something, but it closes again and she opts, instead, to slowly reach out toward it, her fingers brushing the stone and wire before she looks back up at him again.

"Cas. This is beautiful." But, instead of taking it right away, she stands up and steps closer to him. Her fingers brush his jaw first, but as she leans in to kiss him, they slide around the back of his neck instead. Even when she leans back, her fingers are reluctant to leave him, and she pulls them back at length. But she moves to pull his sister's necklace off and turns her back to him. Much like when he gave her the chain in the first place. She even pulls her hair out of the way.

The anxiety fades into relief, rather pure and simple. For a moment he'd almost looked afraid, but that doesn't last once her smile appears. Cas returns the kiss, eyes closing, seeming grateful for her relief. His eyes remain closed long enough after that it takes him a moment to realize what she's doing—

His eyes slide to his sister's necklace, letting out a breath, before he steps closer— to do what he did that first night all over again. This time with a pendant to hang in the front.

"It's a bloodstone, apparently," he says, as if he's not exactly sure. "Supposed to be… protective— I guess. But I remembered you said you liked green… And I meant to give it to you later tonight— but… you came out wearing a green dress and…" he trails off, eyes drating toward his sister's necklace, mouth opening a bit. Until he hesitates and closes it again.

"You did remember," Mariah says, her tone soft as her hand reaches up to touch the pendant again before she actually turns around again. "Thank you," she adds, and her gaze follows his to the jewelry in her hand. She reaches over to set it in his palm, her hand cupping his underneath. She watching the necklace rather than looking at him, her lips pressing together.

"I suppose I've kept this a bit too long. I'm sorry." Her fingers move to close his around it before she looks up to his face. "I dare say I like having a reminder of you about," she says, lightening her tone and smile. For his sake, likely.

"It has been a while hasn't it," Cas says quietly, voice soft and whispered as he looks down at his sister's necklace in his closed palm. When he looks up, he shakes his head. "It's fine— I didn't exactly… ask for it back. I— didn't want to til I…" he nods toward the necklace he just put on her.

A trade.

"Now you can have that to remind you," he offers, with a smile. "I— I understand liking a… reminder," he adds, almost too soft, hands reaching up first to remove the blue scarf, so he can lower his sister's necklace back on top of his clothes. A moment later he lifts the iron bee into sight, and starts to pull it over his head.

"You didn't… have to," Mariah says, even though she is taken by the gift. "I mean. That is yours, after all," is added with a crooked smile.

On the matter of this one being a reminder, she doesn't comment, but her smile widens enough to give the impression that she rather likes that. She watches as he puts his back on, but she looks nervous again when he starts to take the bee off. She hadn't thought about this much, it shows in an impulsive move of her hands to halt his before it gets too far off him. It shows in how her hands linger there, but she doesn't seem to know what to say right off.

It's a significant pause before her hands slide down to rest against his chest and she manages some sort of explanation. "Keep it. You don't have to… wear it, or anything," as if sharing the space with his sister's memory were somehow inappropriate, "but I'd like you to… have it. I like you having it." Her brow furrows and she looks up at him, a bit worried.

Taken by surprise by her impulsive motion, Cas stops trying to remove it and lets go of the string to let his hand drop as she settles her hands down against his chest. The iron bee rests under the cross, sharing space, but hanging just a bit lower on his chest. For a moment he smiles, and then seems to be trying to hold it back. As if he's unsure if it's appropriate to smile in this situation.

"Are— are you sure?" Maybe he fought down the smile because she might change her mind. "You— this— it's your momento— to remind you of your family— and you only gave it to me to keep me safe while I was cursed…" his voice trails off.

"As it turns out, I remember them well enough without it," Mariah says, her tone a gentle tease. But when she goes on, it all fades into a more serious one. "Well. Now I'm giving it to you for a whole other reason. And I am sure." A beat passes before her smile comes back and she adds, "As sure as I am of anything."

As light as she makes her tone, there's a layer of double meaning to that as her gaze turns to his face. It's just a little too… honest, the look in her eye. And she might sense it, because she looks down to the floor between them a moment later.

There's a moment when Cas opens his mouth, and looks about to question her— but it doesn't last. Either from his own hesitation, or his ability to notice her own, he opts for a shorter, simplier response. "A'right," he says with a smile, partially gloved hand moving up to clasp against hers on his chest, bare fingers curing around them.

That smile fades briefly into something more serious and almost deep for a few seconds, but then he breaks it when he shifts his stance in his expressive way as he says with a returned smile, "Very likely I'll need that protection anyway, yeah?"

Mariah lets out a gentle sigh when the question doesn't actually get spoken, and she looks back up to him with an amused, crooked smile. "Well. A troll did just drop a building on you, so." So yes.

Her gaze shifts to look at their hands, the curl of his fingers getting her smile to even out. He is going to be very bad for business. He's already bad for business. But Mariah looks back up at his face, her smile carefree in spite of that particular fact. "You know something?" But she doesn't seem to actually be needing an answer, because her pause lasts the length of a drawn in breath. "I'm glad you came by tonight."

The troll mention causes Cas to smile sheepishly, as he presses his lips together and looks embarassed. It doesn't last long— can't with her sentiment, even if her smile is carefree. The words themselves are deep. "Me too," he says sincerely.

"And I'm glad you liked it— the pendant. Had me worried there for a second— thought you didn't want it." His fingers squeeze her hand, as if to say he understands why she might have hesitated, in this case. "It looks great with the dress," he adds, looking down towards her dress— and the legs that are now covered.

When he looks back up he has a more mischevious grin, "So— have any other lacy things I 4don't know the name of?"

"Oh no. There was no question that I would love it," Mariah says, and she returns the squeeze, taking it as sign enough that she doesn't have to explain further. She looks down to her dress as well, her smile broadening. "It's just what I would pick for myself, actually." Instead of for the job, that is. But she leaves that bit out.

His words bring her attention back up, and an eyebrow up as well. "I do think," she says, her smile a sly, suggestive smirk in reply to that grin of his, "you'll just have to find out for yourself."