Repetition 7pm

Title: Repetition 7pm
Time Period: February 2, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Mairi's good name and honor are defended by someone that doesn't know the stuff he's made of.

If you had told Mairi several months ago that she would be taking care of an injured man in the height of winter, she would have laughed at you. While the widow's hospitality isn't something she hides, an earlier Mairi would have scoffed at her house being a place for rehabilitation. But things change, and Mairi's changed as well. While Jain MacCruimein might not be high on anyone's list of people to care for, the widow surprisingly offered.

Perhaps that's what loneliness will do to you.

His presence for the last week had not slowed down the stubborn woman, who continued to press on and do her work. With the extra help around the farm provided by Beisdean Skye, it didn't make it so hard for her to find the time to care for the man's injuries. She was no expert in medicine, but you don't run a farm without knowing how to patch up an injury or two. God knows she'd taken care of her Ian when he'd fallen ill more than once.

Returning to her home, Mairi shakes off the freshly fallen snow on her coat and her boots before stepping fully inside, basket tucked under one arm with the last of the ingredients she needs to make dinner. Up in the cross-beams of the house, the kestrel has made his home for nearly a week, refusing to give up the stalwart watching of Jain.

Stalwart has gone largely ignored. Aware of his presence, thanks to Traa-dy-Liooar, Jain has kept his temper and anger in check. He hasn't said much in the days when he's been awake, or the nights when he actually stays awake to talk to the widow. All around, he's been gracious, if quiet, and when Mairi steps through the door, he is sitting at the table with a disassembled pot in front of him. The handle was jiggly and for some reason it bothered the soldier whenever Mairi burned herself.

Shirtless but wrapped up at the torso with an over abundance of bandages, Jain has found a comfortable position to stoop over the bits of metal. The screw driver lays nearby, as does a small hammer. He looks up at the woman and gives her a ghost of a smile before looking down at the pot again. He's seen a lot of them but he's never actually put one back together and he's having a little trouble.

"I might need to replace it completely," he admits instead of greeting her properly. He's grown a little bit comfortable with having her around more than not.

A look of concern washes over Mairi's face as she notices him out of bed. It would happen eventually, but she's not the most gifted of doctors and with injuries like his, she's not sure how soon he should be up and about. Given that he doesn't seem uncomfortable or in pain from his injuries, she doesn't shoo him back to bed and instead shuts the door behind her to keep out the cold. The basket's set on a side table while she removes her coat and hangs it up before the wicker is re-captured and Mairi makes her way over to the table.

"A noble effort," she says, nodding in the pot's direction. "I guess we're lucky I'm not cooking anything that needs it tonight. Hope you have an appetite, I've got a chicken to roast. I figured you could use something a little hardier."

When Jain gets up, his torso tenses quite visibly from the pain. He masks it with a weak attempt at a smile, the broken ribs are slow to heal, the wound on his neck scabbed over and scarred at the edges, but the bruises are nothing but a faint memory. Leaning heavily on the table, he hobbles toward Mairi and places his arms around her for support just as much as a proper greeting.

The soldier has lost his own scent and has adopted Mairi's, except with a bit of a masculine edge. Whispers in from his pillow complain about it every night, after he's put the widow to sleep. Today he shaved, which is something a little different from the usual.

Nuzzling his face into her neck, the sandpapery feel of his cheek and chin is relieved by his lips. "I've had naught all day," he murmurs, "while a good meal would be welcome, I’m not in a particular mood to enjoy it. You’ve been gone."

There's a small laugh from the widow and her usual blush. In spite of everything, there's always that little piece of her mind that likes a game of pretend and she never wants to know where the lines blur. The blush is just enough to keep her on the side of fantasy rather than reality. Jain's compliments and lines help with that too. Mairi smiles, arms encircling him for the moment, taking advantage of the fact that he's much warmer than her at the moment. Regardless of how long she works outside, she always gets cold so easily and the continued presence of a warm body has been a welcome addition to the house.

"I have to be gone all day, you're well enough that I can leave you alone and I have work to do. I can't leave it all for Mister Skye to do, don't pay him enough for that," she murmurs. "But it's good to be home. And you'll be eating chicken, not crust. You need your strength."

"Mister Skye'll do whatever you tell him to do and like it," Jain grumbles, pulling back a little to look Mairi in the face and then give her a light kiss on the lips, "else I'll have to pay him a visit. Aye?" Even though he's not in tip top shape, the highlander still has a rather intimidating physique. "You tell him to do what you need and don't worry that pretty head over the smaller details."

Jain's visits haven't been known to end as well for everyone as they do for Mairi.

Letting his arms drop from her shoulders, he grunts as he makes his way back to the table. It takes him twice as long to sit as it did to get up and by the tensing of his jaw and the hiss through his teeth, he's not having an easy time of it.

"Easy," Mairi says, following him to the table to offer her assistance in easing him into the chair. "I'll not have you making yourself worse by thinking you're already much better." When he's settled in his chair again, the widow moves back to the basket to carry it over to the hearth. She's got chicken to prepare.

"I've never had a problem with Mister Skye. He's not the worker you were, it's not exactly as if he were trained for this, but he does a good job and he does what's required. Besides, I enjoy my work," she says, her few spices carefully snatched to add to the chicken. "No one can do it as well as I can and I take pride in that. That being said," she pauses. "I don't see why I can't have Mister Skye do a little more so I can be home earlier."

"Aye well, let's not talk of Mister Skye any longer, he leaves a rotten taste in my mouth." Jain's usually cheerful disposition when he's around the widow takes a nosedive whenever she defends the actions of other men. A few in particular. Over the past week, they've carefully skirted the subject of Jorn, the man Jain considers responsible for his injuries. One of Mairi's friends.

Taking the screwdriver, he begins fastening a twisted piece of metal into one of the holes. "I never realized how lonely it is out here," he says in subject change. "Do you ever find yourself in want of more permanent company?"

The question is one Mairi's long thought of, so the answer comes easy. "Yes," the widow murmurs, barely looking up from the preparation of her chicken. "I suppose living out here would have been easier if Ian and I had a child, but that never happened out of seven years of marriage. I don't think it needs to be said that you don't look particularly appealing to most interested in a family if you haven't born a child out of a marriage that long."

Mairi frowns, just slightly. "I have thought quite frequently how nice it would be to have someone out here. The opportunity hasn't arisen and has certainly turned its face from me once or twice."

When Mairi's back is turned a dark look is sent up to the kestrel hiding in the rafters along with a narrow eyed smirk. "Well you have one caller," Jain argues, his tone sounding sincere, even without the aid of his hands and lips to help her mind along to process his meaning. "And I'm not concerned with children," aside from putting a crimp in his lifestyle, his familiar might become a little jealous if he shared that much of himself with another woman.

A knock on the door has him casting a frown toward it before he glances toward Mairi. "And here you said you were lonely," even though it's the first visitor she's had since he's been staying. Slowly, he moves to a stand, fully intending on greeting the intruder himself.

This intruder, as he has been called, doesn't seem to be intruding so much as knocking. Through the shifting curtain a young face is briefly visible, but he's not trying to look inside, really. Cas Blackburn may not have visited the farm in the past week, but he's not exactly a stranger. To either of them. Broken nose mostly healed, only the slightest sign of cuts on his face tell it had ever been there.

But they'd both seen it before— and know whose fist had been the cause.

Still, there's no force in his manner this day. He doesn't try to bust in the door, or even open it, knocking in a polite and infrequent way. His voice can even be heard through the door, questioning and with his distinct southern tones, "Mairi? You home?"

"Cas," Mairi mutters, letting out a heavy sigh. Of all the times to decide to visit, now was one of the worst. Her eyes go to Jain as he rises from the chair. "You shouldn't stand, you're injured. I'll let him know it's a bad time to visit." Because really, she doesn't want Jain at that door any more than Cas likely will. He may, unfortunately, get there first as she ties the chicken's legs together with twine and neatly cuts the end with a knife. Standing, she sets the whole lot of it, chicken, twine, and knife on the table as she moves to hurry towards the door.

"I'm home," she calls, her voice a touch tense.

Jain doesn't recognize the name as much as the face in the window and something of a glare is pointed in the general direction of Mairi and the chicken before he snaps an answer. "No, I'll open it."

Not showing any pain, he walks straight and tall, though his jaw is clenched and teeth ground by the time the door swings open. Now Cas is the recipient of the glare. "You." The soldier's knuckles whiten from his grip on the doorknob before he gives the other man a tight smile and steps aside to allow him entry. "Mairi, you have a caller."

Of all the people to open the door, Cas was not expecting Jain if his eyes are any indication. They widen and he nearly drops the burlap tucked under his arm as he steps back away from the door and lets his knocking hand drop. "What— ?" he asks an unfinished question, in that same surprised manner, before he looks past him and into the door, seeking out a red head.

For a a flicker of emotion goes across the surprise on his face. Not anger, but definitely tense. It takes afew seconds of his mouth working before he can speak, "Are— are you busy? I can— I should go, I think." And little else, he backs away from the door back into the snow.

Mairi winces slightly at Jain's words as she looks between the two. "He's not interested," she says, flatly. There might be something else in the tone, but whatever that is, it's unclear as she goes to deal with the situation. She clears her throat, moving to Jain's side as she watches Cas take a few steps backwards. "Now would be a bad time to visit, I'm afraid. I'm sorry you came all the way out here in the cold." Her apologies sound sincere, even if they are a little tense. Seems there's a bit of that going around.

"Nonsense," Jain dismisses the tense words from both Cas and Mairi as he reaches out the door to guide Cas inside. "He can be the first to congratulate us on our new living arrangements, aye?" For Cas' benefit the highlander lowers his voice and murmurs explanation in his ear. "I'm about to ask Mairi to consider me a proper suitor. You'll not ruin it for me, eh boy?" That hand tightens a little, as much as it causes himself pain.

"Mairi, why don't you prepare something warm for the young man to drink? I'm sure he's caught a deathly chill."

There's a shove to Cas' back instead of a proper showing to the table. Pot and parts are put away to make room for the guest and his burlap. "Now then, Cas, what is it you have for my Mairi then? You carried that all the way out here, let's have at it, shall we?"

The sack is fairly thick, by the looks of it, but Cas is decidedly manhandled and pulled and pushed around until he finds himself against the table with a startled look on his face. The expression he casts Mairi is again, more than shock and something still not quite anger. But being shoved around has certainly made his jaw tighten more, making the look closer to anger.

"I'd rather not. Stay. This sounds like something— something between the two of you. I shouldn't interrupt," he says, voice tense, before he looks down at the burlap bag that he nearly dropped again getting pushed around.

With a sigh, he overturns the sack and lets the contents dump out. A colorful wool blanket, with a simple design. "It's nothing, just a blanket." A fairly well made and very colorful blanket. Much like the layers of scarves he has around his neck. But from the look he can't help but cast at Jain, one he's wishing he hadn't gotten now. He doesn't want her to share the blanket with him.

Mairi knows well that Cas and Jain have some history of a physical sort. Well, at least in the nose-punching variety, but the tension between the two is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The gift, however, does cause a warm smile from Mairi. "Thank you," she murmurs. "It's getting much colder out here and I appreciate it." She says no more on it, given that the topic of warmth is likely not a good one. "Oh, I'm sure Cas was probably only here to drop that off. He's quite busy most of the time so I'm sure he's too busy to stay." Still, she moves to the kettle to put it on anyways. She'll need a cup of tea herself to keep her wits about her afterwards, she's sure.

A blanket.

It's a gift that Jain would only give to people he planned on sharing it with, thus the natural assumption when it comes to the relationship between Cas and Mairi. "We'll put it to good use," he says through clenched teeth, maneuvering himself to the space at the table between the other man and the door. His knuckles go white with the force he presses them against the hard wood. Then, in a lower voice that only Cas can hear he smiles and narrows his eyes catlike. "Perhaps Mariah would like me to bring it when I pay her another visit."

Bait.

"Mairi, I didn't know that you and Cas were such good friends," Jain says in a somewhat louder tone. There's another voice though, on that can only be heard by the soldier and overheard by the kestrel, and it cautions him to silence.

Sometimes, a blanket is just a thoughtful gift. Or maybe Cas just didn't consider the possible connotations when he made the purchase. It could be anything from the way he can't help but smile at Mairi as she thanks him. The smile slips at Jain's clenched words, causing his neck to tense up as he turns to look at the man.

This helps him better hear the words that he whispers, too softly for Mairi to pick up. Words that clench his fists. Bait indeed.

The voice's caution came too late. "You fucking wanker," he growls, suddenly doing something that goes against everything he normally tries to do.

He throws the first punch, up at Jain's face. It may land, but a girl could probably have hit him harder, to be honest. If Jain wasn't previously injured…

"Cas and I are just-"

But Mairi never gets to finish her sentence. Her jaw drops as it's the smaller one who throws the first punch. That was not one she expected. "Cas!" She hisses through her teeth, nearly burning herself on the kettle as she abruptly returns to her feet. "What is the meaning of this?" Because, of course, when a fight breaks out, deriving the meaning in a punch is always the first thing to determine.

It lands and Jain stumbles backward, aggravating his already painful injuries. He's quick to recover and quicker to make a grab at Cas' throat with both hands, mostly to silence the other man. "I think it's time for you to take your leave, Cas." He utters through clenched teeth.

Black eyes peek out from under a cupboard and the ugly nose of a shrew sniffs at the air, careful to keep out of the sight of the kestrel above. She remains quiet, though, the life or death of Cas Blackburn not meaning anything to her at all. He is, after all, just one more bag of flesh that can't hear her.

The hands clutching throat dislodges his many layers of colorful scarves as well as silences any words that may have come out. Cas makes choking noises, trying to breath as he kicks his feet and reaches out to defend himself, shoving at the other man's bare chest, kicking at his legs. The struggling pulls free something else. A leather thong.

With a dragon's tooth tied around it.

A gift, a good luck charm. One he actually did wear, and often. It bounces around as he struggles, trying to free himself, face beginning to turn colors as air can't find it's way in. The other man is stronger and has a significant height advantage.

"Jain!" It's Mairi's turn to be chiding the other man now. Although by the sound of her voice, this is more than just chiding. "Stop it, you'll kill him!" Fighting is one thing. Men do that all the time, ending up with bruised egos and battered ribs but no worse for wear in the long run. Death is (usually) a permanent thing. It's now that the widow has moved towards the fight and tries to push her way between Cas and Jain and at least get the latter to remove his hands from the former.

Each touch to his ribs receives a wince and grunt of pain in response but Jain doesn't let up on his hold. At least with both hands. One juts out to shove Mairi back so she isn't in the way, hard enough to send her stumbling but not through maliciousness.

He turns with Cas in hand, in order to back him toward the door. If he's not going to kill the other man, he'll send him out of the house at least. "Killing him wouldn't be the worst thing," he growls in answer to the woman he's just asked to board with, bed with, and sent with a shove of his hand across the room.

The shoving of Mairi lights up a new anger in Cas' eyes. Usually the non-violent sort, something about this man seems to have brought out the worst in him. The coward originally, and now a different kind of feral response.

With a rumble in his throat under the single hand, he switches to grab onto the man's arm with both his hands, planting his feet on the floor instead of attempting to kick out.

The only reason he can manage to move him is by using the man's momentum against him. As he pushes Cas toward the door, he twists so that the taller man ends up going in a different direction all together.

Toward a large skull that has found a place in this home. A skull belonging to a deadly creature of teeth and brutality.

The skull of the greentail. More commonly called a dragon.

Being shoved out of the way was exactly what Mairi expected, so when she stumbles into one of the chairs and nearly knocks it over, she's able to keep herself from falling to the ground, though the same can't be said about the chair. It's amazing what a save can happen when you're mostly prepared for something. She grabs the side of the table to keep herself upright, then turns to face the two with only a split second to look on in horror as she sees Cas, Jain, and the dragon skull all in a row. "Oh God! No!"

Mairi's scream receives Jain's full attention and his hold of Cas' neck loosens enough to allow him a breath. His concentration is split from the other man long enough that when he focuses on the task at hand again, all he sees is the skull coming down.

A wet crunch and the flop of a body with a bone head too large is the stablehand's reward.

From under the cupboard a black dog springs out. Easily the size of a man when standing on its hind legs, it propels itself onto Cas, its momentum carrying the both of them to the other side of the room and away from the dead man.

Taking the screwdriver, he begins fastening a twisted piece of metal into one of the holes. "I never realized how lonely it is out here," he says in subject change. “How often is it that you see the stable boy?” As far as Jain should know, there’s no connection between the farmer and the other man. Still, the question is posed so nonchalantly, that it’s nearly impossible to detect the bitterness behind the words. “And are you expecting a visit from him tonight?”

A glance over toward the bottom of the cupboard sees a small shrew scurrying through a hole in the wall toward the outside. Mairi’s house doesn’t normally have drafts but exceptions have to be made now.

I’ll take care of this.

Furrowing his brow, Jain sets back to work on the pot, suddenly feeling the need to finish it sooner rather than later.