Whatever Will Be Will Be

Title: Whatever Will Be Will Be
Time Period: July 21, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: "Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so." - David Grayson

Summertime leads itself to a lazy sun, the great star procrastinates along its path, like a child desperate to get those extra five minutes of wakefulness. But it's good for those dwelling below, particularly while Dornie has such diversions on hand.

Mariah wears another modest, yet light dress, a shawl hanging across her back, clinging to elbows instead of up on her shoulders where it should be. But it isn't cold enough to bother her, not just yet. It must not be too beloved a shawl, either, because there's only laughter when the animals in the fair's petting zoo try to turn it into a toy. Or dinner.

But she isn't put off. Probably because this collection of creatures are all so different from what they see around the isles. She crouches down to have a chance at a rather large monitor lizard. When it flicks its tongue out, she jumps a little, only to cover her face and the embarrassed blush growing there.

On these kinds of outings, Cas tries to dress up. The button up long sleeve shirt is his best one, even if he's wearing a leather coat to cover up most of it. Good thing too, cause the long sleeves would make ample chewing material for the animals if they decided to nibble.

It doesn't stop the young man from kneeling down and watching them, occassionally reaching out a hand toward the tortoise with an offer of leaves picked up off the ground. "If I didn't know better I'd think this guy was related to dragons," he says as he looks at the face, the way the hooked mouth looks around.

"Though it would be great of dragons were as slow as him," he says with a grin, looking over at Mariah with a smile that dimples one of his cheeks.

Turning toward him, Mariah glances at the tortoise with a crooked smile. "Who knows! Maybe he's their great-great grandfather." She reaches out to touch its shell as she leans in to whisper, "Have a talk with your kids, huh? Attitude problems."

She looks back up to Cas, his smile making hers grow a little before she leans over to press a kiss to his cheek somewhat impulsively. She'll blame the dimples later.

The kiss takes him by surprise, especially with the likelyhood that there's people who at least know her watching. Cas actually looks as if he might be about to blush, looking down at the tortoise and letting go of the leaf he's not exactly interested in right now. "Would be nice if they all had a good attitude— you know, I used to wonder if most animals could be tamed, eventually. But— I guess magical animals are different from these."

He runs his hand through his hair, not covered by the normal fingerless gloves he often wears as he straightens and stands. "Though that two headed snake back there made me wonder."

"I haven't ever heard of anyone trying to tame any magical creatures. Sort of a life or death hobby, it seems, yeah?" Mariah stands, too, brushing off her skirt as she does. "I always thought they were too smart for that sort of thing, but looking at a troll, maybe not."

she glances back toward where the snake was, even though she can't exactly see it from here, "That's a good point. How's a think get that way, if some kind of magic wasn't involved? Maybe it wandered too close to some spell." What she doesn't do is look around at the people. It's certain they've noticed, particularly ex-clients, but she is having too good a time with the fair's oddities to care much.

There's a moment when Cas opens his mouth, as if he's JUST ABOUT to say something— and then seems to decide otherwise. He dusts off his nicer trousers (hemmed by Sorcha) and starts to adjust his coat a little, as if he's suddenly concerned with it. "I'm not sure how something got like that— but it's definitely weird."

He looks over at the big lizard. "He's a little weird too. I saw the tongue startle you," he goes into a tease, moving closer to nudhe her with his elbow.

Mariah lifts an eyebrow when he closes his mouth without saying a thing, her head tilting questioningly. For her part, she looks torn on whether or not to pry, but just for a moment. "That looked like an interesting thought," she says with a light chuckle.

"What, me? Moi?" She can only feign ignorance for so long, though, and she gestures back toward the lizard. "Did you see that tongue? It was longer than my hand! It came out of nowhere! I was completely unprepared," she admits with a laugh that still sounds embarrassed.

"Moi?" Cas mouths silently, perhaps trying to make sure it means what he thinks it means. It seems to, cause he stops looking confused after a moment, smiling again. And looking at the lizard and his super tongue. It makes him laugh, all her words— and the fact that the tongue flicks out once again after a moment.

"You were really cute," he says simply, quietly, when he looks back at her, still smiling.

Since he works it out on his own, and since Mariah assumes him able to do so, she doesn't explain the foreign word, but smiles back at him. And when the tongue flicks out again, she points at the lizard as if that explains everything.

"Wherever that one came from, I'm not sure I ever want to go there. It makes one wonder just what it needs a tongue like that to scoop up." The mysteries of other lands. But his quiet comment distracts her, and she looks back at him, that blush returning to her cheeks. He still remains the one person to ever call her cute. Her arm slides around his low back as she tucks herself against his side. "Well. You're always really cute," she replies, tilting her head to smile over at him.

"I could think of a few things," Cas admits, looking back at the creature, but he doesn't elaborate as he squeezes his arm around her body. There's a moment when he glances around, though, as if to see who else may be watching them. It's an old habit, as he's still not sure that she should be seen with him—

He had to keep his last relationship strictly hidden. Old habits are hard to break. "Surely I'm not always cute. I'm sure there's a time or two, when I'm shoveling out a stall or carrying a pile of hay or…" he trails off. Other unsavory things, no doubt.

"Oh, I'm not sure I want to think about that. Giant mice?" Doesn't want to, but is anyway, apparently. Some people are watching, some with disapproval, even, although it's hard to say which one of them it's aimed at. Mariah follows his gaze for a moment before she gives him a little shake to get his attention back.

"No, you are. Maybe your setting isn't. But the artists just call that contrast," she says, her tone teasing now. Her smile fades just a little, though, and she nods her head toward the rest of the crowd, "Does it bother you?"

"I was more thinking bugs," Cas admits with a grin, still looking sheepish as his eyes fall to the ground, downcast and away from those who are staring. That alone probably answers her question. Though it might also appear to be cute, the way he's fidgetting beside her.

"It's not that I'm— I mean I'm not really— it doesn't exactly…" He stammers, wincing visibly as he actually kicks at the dirt again. "I guess a little. I'm not really used to being in public with…" He trails off.

Bugs was not what Mariah was thinking, but the idea has her making a face. But it disappears after a shake and she looks over in time to see him looking down.

After watching him for a few moments, she looks around the fair, but eventually her attention returns to him. "Then come on. Let's take a walk for a while. A break from the crowds, aye?" Her smile is soft enough to prove she isn't insulted by his uncertainty, at least.

"It doesn't bother you at all, does it?" Cas says with a kind of slouching of his shoulders, as he looks around at the animals they've just been spending so long looking at. The sun is low enough that they probably should consider going home, anyway, but he looks as if he's taking in one last lingering look.

And avoiding looking at the people staring.

"A'right— good for that walk now," he says when he's finished, looking at her shawl and the dress, biting back something that he wants to say. For the moment.

"Not in the least. But I've a lot of practice in not caring much what anyone thinks about what I do or don't do." A necessity in her old profession, and in leaving it for another. "Plus, I have this terrible habit of selfishly hoarding my good moment." Like now, being the implication.

"We can stay, if you'd rather another look over the animals. I just thought… it might be more comfortable out of such a large audience," she says to that look on his face, apparently assuming that's what he's stopping himself from speaking aloud.

"That's not— " Cas starts, before letting it trail off with a sigh, looking up towards the sky. Sometimes, it seems, it is still hard for him to express himself around her. Perhaps more than sometimes. "I'm okay with leaving, I just… want to remember it, I guess," he says with a shrug in his coat.

Scratching at his cheek with a finger, he hesitates a moment longer as he looks back at her. "What I was— I was worried you might be cold, but…" He trails off that thought.

"You know, you're a stronger person than me," he adds suddenly, looking away as he leads her along on that walk she was talking about.

"It'll be here a while yet," Mariah reassures, "They do come and go, but there'll be time to come back again." And with it set up fairly close to home, it's hard to forget that it's there. She smiles at his worry, and her arm tightens around him a little, "Not just now. Away from the excitement, though, chill seems to have an easier time settling in.

She leans back a bit to look over at him at those last words, seeming surprised at them. "I don't think that's so. More stubborn, maybe, but I don't think stronger." Even through that surprise, she follows him along easily enough.

The fact that he will get to see the animals again if he wants earns a dimpled smile and a nod, though Cas' mind is no doubt preoccupied by other things, right now. His arm stays around her as they move along, but he's careful to keep his eyes in front of them—

Even if they still are downcast a little.

"No, you are. It's not just that you don't care what people think, it's… you just are. Maybe stubborn is strong, cause at least it means you don't end up…" he trails off.

"Sorry," he says after a moment. "Did you want to stay longer? I can try being stubborn too."

"No," Mariah says to those last words, a small smile forming, "I just want to be with you." Her free hand comes up to fiddle with his jacket, her gaze falling somewhere on his chest instead of up at his face.

"It's easy for me, not to care about them. Most of them. But you know, back when everything went sideways, I was too scared to run away and make it somewhere on my own. Even with them staring at me all the time. And at the start, the Dovetail was even… comforting. I didn't have to show anyone anything real for the longest time. I could hide. You know? It takes a lot of practice now, to remember not to keep hiding. So. Whatever it is you're thinking up there," she says as she looks up at him, her smile crooked, "Don't be so hard on yourself, hmm? And I don't think you ended up so bad."

"I guess for you running away seems hard, but it's really not," Cas says with a shake of his head, releasing her a bit so that he can reach down and take her hand instead of hugging against her, intertwining their fingers together.

"You also aren't very good at taking compliments— but I'm not really good at it either," he admits with a laugh. "I still think you're strong, though. Don't think anything you're gonna say will change that for me."

"It does seem hard. Being completely alone out there," Mariah says with a wave for the wilderness beyond. "I was on my own, but never far from other people. I can't imagine the road all alone," she says, her fingers squeezing his hand briefly, but warmly.

"Am I? It must be all this modesty I'm learning," she teases, shaking her head. "I can live with that, as long as you can live with the reverse."

"I wasn't always alone," Cas says quietly, looking up towards the sky for a moment. There's a hint of hesitation, again. "Well, technically I was, but I had a horse for a couple weeks! He was a pretty good companion, but I traded him. And I'd stay in villages or farms I came across sometimes."

There's a pause. "It was pretty lonely. But you wouldn't have been alone! You'd have Masque," he adds on, with a grin. "I wouldn't want you travelling alone anyway, though— you're a girl." That seems to imply he thinks it would be harder for a girl to do what he did.

"Masque is grumpy company," Mariah says, her smile tilting crooked, "I think we might drive each other nuts, just the two of us." Despite her words, her tone holds affection for her moody badger.

His implication has her eyebrows lifting, but her smile is more indulgent than insulted. "Strong, but still fragile, is it?" Her shoulder bumps against his, lips curving into a smirk.

"That's— not what I meant! But… women are treated differently," Cas says with a distant look, as if he can imagine how she might have been treated if she was caught sleeping in someone's hayloft when it was too cold to sleep in a tree or on the ground.

"There's nothing wrong with that, though. I'm probably the same if you think I'm at all strong." Does he even know what fragile means? If he doesn't he's taking the context to figure it out.

"I suppose we are, particularly when we're without escort." Mariah says the last word with some irony, but she's not arguing the point. "Maybe I've just been settled too long to find running a comfortable idea." Nevermind that she stubbornly holds onto her English accent.

"I suppose everyone is in one way or another, yeah?" She looks over at him with a gentler smile this time. "An infinite series of contradiction. Strong and weak, light and dark, so on and so forth."

"So you think I'm all those things, too?" Cas says with a grin, still holding onto her hand, but pulling her closer again as they walk. The further they get, the more he seems to relax into the walk. Maybe because he knows there's less likely to be eyes on them.

And right now he's most definitely her escourt.

"I don't think you're weak, though. Not really. But you can be… soft." Soft is a better word, he seems to think.

"Somewhere! Maybe deep, deep down. Although, it is difficult to picture any darkness in you," Mariah says, her smile tilting. "You just seem so… like you see the best in everything." Her free hand reaches up to brush his cheek, just a brief, but affectionate gesture.

"Well. If I am that, I'm certain it's entirely your fault," she says, her expression softening as her hand drops back to her side and her gaze turns back to the path they're following.

"If it's my fault than it must have just been meeting me," Cas says with a smile, moving around and coming to a stop so that he can face her. She started it with touching his face like that, so he reaches up to return the motion.

And not only that, but he's leaning down to kiss her as well.

"Cause I think you've always had a soft side around me," he adds, in soft tones, against her lips. See, get him away from the crowds and it's easier on him to display his affection more.

Mariah comes to a stop, too, his comment getting a sidelong glance while she tries not to smile. But she doesn't seem to have an argument for that one. And luckily, she doesn't need to think one up, since returning his kiss becomes much more important.

Her hands take hold of his jacket and she leans into him; even when the kiss breaks, she lingers there. "I can't be held accountable for that," she claims, a smile slowly forming, "I think you must have caught me up in some spell." It's a tease that she follows with another kiss, if only briefly.

The kiss is distracting, even if she intended it to be brief, Cas leans in to draw it out again, pulling her hand up to press it against his chest as he keeps the other on her face. After a few moments, he pulls back, still resting his forehead against hers.

"I just think you weren't used to men only wanting a bath out of you," he says with a smile. That is sadly not magical. If it were, he probably wouldn't ever get into trouble.

When he draws the kiss out, Mariah makes a surprised noise, but sinks into it again easily. Even after the kiss, she leaves her eyes closed and turns her hand to hold onto his hand again.

She laughs gently at his words before she looks over at him again. "It did set you apart. But that's hardly all of it," she says, her voice warm as she smiles up at him.

"Mind if I ask what else there was?" Cas takes the next step, even if he's rather shy about it. In terms of avoiding eye contact and looking away for a moment.

It doesn't even take two breaths for him to quickly interupt any attempt she might be making to respond with a fast worded, "You don't have to though, really, it's okay."

Mariah lifts a finger to press against his lips when he interrupts and gives him an amused look. "You were shy about it all. And you treated me like I was any other woman, rather than someone you were… buying. And you're kind and thoughtful and always have a smile. You're such a good person."

She pauses there, to clear her throat a little before she brings up a smile to add playfully, "Plus you look good on a horse. And off one." Her finger leaves his lips and her expression sobers up some. "I've never met a single other person quite like you. And I'm afraid I've been falling in love with you from the beginning." She looks down there, like it's something she's not sure she ought to have said, or like she's not entirely sure how well it'll be received. "You must have noticed…"

Under the finger pressed against his lips, Cas starts to work his mouth as if he might just interupt her again. Good thing she held the finger up as long as she did, or he might have ruined all of her compliments. When it drops, though, he suddenly looks as if he has no breath to speak with, from the way he just stares at her.

And it's because of everything she says. All of it. Especially the last thing. From the stunned look across his face, maybe he didn't notice at all.

"I— " he starts once, then stops. And tries to start again. "I wasn't— I didn't— I mean— I— " None of them get any further and at that point he actually he actually pulls back and half turns away as he reaches up to press his hands against his head, heels of his hands on his forehead.

He turns away, and Mariah squeezes her eyes shut, like this wasn't at all how she pictured this moment going. Or, maybe, that it is exactly how she pictured this moment going. Hard to say. Her hands come up to cover her face, only to drag down it when her eyes open again.

She takes a step back herself, but still watches him as she does. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything. Sentimental," she notes, as if chiding herself for being so. When she turns to look down the path, it's only to hide a telltale glisten in her eyes until she can get it under control.

"No— I— " Cas starts again, letting the hands drop as she turns away to look down the path. His eyes had been shut as well, for a time, and maybe that glistening in the pale light is his own hint of something he just can't control. And possibly isn't even trying to.

"I— " He starts again, only to make a frustrated sound and clench his hands into fists. It's as if his body is trying to display the frustration that he feels at his own mouth's inability to speak right now.

"Don't," he finally manages. Taking in a slow breath before continuing. "Don't be sorry." That's the closest he can get to saying what he want, even as he rubs hands over his face again.

Through the false starts, Mariah looks down at her shoes, her head shaking a little. She doesn't speak up to cut him off, but she looks just about everywhere but at him. Until he gets it out, at least. When she looks at him, her expression is more flat, save the need to blink away the wetness.

"It isn't what you wanted to hear. I thought it might not be, but I said it regardless and— well. And here we are," she says, her hands shifting her shawl up over her shoulders as if she only now noticed a chill in the air. Or perhaps it's just for the general discomfort. "I'm— " Instead of speaking the sorry, though, she just lets out a sigh.

"No, I did— I— bloody hell," Cas says, waving his hands around as if the words would come easier from them. If he was better at what Colm spent so long teaching him, they probably would be. But he's not even sure how to say this with his hands, much less his mouth. "You're not— you're not the one who should be sorry, so just— stop. You're— I— " He bites back his words and rubs his face again, cheeks and eyes more than a little red.

"I can't— " There's that frustrated sound again, and he turns away. This time he is trying to hide from her. His voice is a little more hoarser and more forceful than before as he adds on, "This is why you're stronger than me."

"Are you joking? This is not me being strong, this is me being confused and pretty certain I just ruined everything," Mariah puts her hands on her hips as she lets out a heavy exhale. "Which isn't fair at all, you know. I just didn't have the luck to get interrupted by a pack of magical beasts," she says. It's an attempt at humor.

She presses her lips together and her gaze flicks away before she continues less firmly. "You hadn't noticed? I thought I had been… forward," she says, her lips forming a slight, crooked smile.

"Where's the dragons when you need them," Cas responds to that joke more easily than he's been able to form words before. It still makes him sigh, but at least some of the tension is lessening. Some of it. Well— he'd like to pretend it is. "You didn't ruin anything," he does manage to say, quietly.

Rubbing at his face again, he decides to remove his jacket, and hold it out to her. Despite how self-centered he was being for the moment, he noticed the shawl and how she moved her hands.

"I didn't— I'm not— I wasn't all those things that— that you said I was."

"Late, apparently." Mariah looks over at him with a nearly disbelieving expression when he tries to give a little reassurance. But instead of replying, she takes the jacket with a quiet thank you before hanging it over her shoulders.

"Yes, you were," she says to him, looking back his way, "And are." There's a bit of hesitation, a little rewriting of her words in her head before she adds, "I'm not sure how much I should add. I'd hate to frighten you off entirely." Her smile comes easier this time, the joke delivered better this time.

The colder air is probably helping him, cause he doesn't feel chilled by the whole situation. Cas feels extra warm, actually. His cheeks are flushed, and the lack of coat may help him recover some. Even if he's avoiding looking at her.

And shaking his head as if she doesn't understand.

"No— I wasn't," he says more firmly. "I was only— I— " he shakes his head again. Give him a few seconds. This time he doesn't try to restart until he's sure he will get the whole thought out. "I was only able to treat you like I did because you were— what you were— Because you couldn't be mine." It's easier to say now, somehow. He'd tried to say it to her so many times, really. "I didn't treat you like any other girl… I treated you like her."

Mariah opens her mouth, but it hangs there a moment before she gets a sound out. "Oh," she says in a quiet, shaky sort of voice. She wets her lips as she motions between the two of them, "I didn't realize we were just… But of course." She pushes up an attempt at a smile that ends up little more than half-hearted, "An ex-prostitute is hardly— " She breathes out a mirthless laugh before clearing her throat and looking away again.

"And here I've made a complete fool of myself, haven't I." Her hands run over her dress self-consciously while she pauses to focus on holding tears back. She hasn't cried in front of anyone in a air amount of time, and she's determined not to break her streak. But it does look like a very near thing.

"What— " Cas says, looking confused at the way she's taken what he's saying. It doesn't seem he thought she would draw that conclusion, and it doesn't seem to be the conclusions that he's trying to make on it. "Mariah you— this isn't— I can't say anything right!" he finishes in a frustrated voice.

She may be fighting back her tears, but he's not even trying. Other than wiping them away by rubbing his face every so often. Those definitely are tears on his flush cheeks, and in his eyes.

"That was then. That was…" This time it's his breathing that makes it hard to continue. Between raising his voice and the tears, he seems to be breathing as if he's been running. Or maybe he is fighting the desire to do just that.

His frustration has Mariah furrowing her forehead as she watches him, and she seems more than a little distressed. And not following very well. But she steps closer anyway, her fingers reaching up to brush away his tears herself, her touch soft.

"We're terrible at this," she says with a gentle smile before she lifts up on her toes to press a kiss against his forehead. "What if we sit down for a few, hmm? And try again?"

"I can't," Cas says quietly, eyes closing as he leans against her. He may have been pulling away not too long ago, but now his arms wrap around her and pull her into a hug, one where he buries his face in the shoulder of his own leather coat that she now wears.

The grip isn't helping them sit down, though, but it also isn't letting her pull away. Or him pull away.

And the reason he said I can't is whispered in a strained voice a few seconds later, "I can't sit out here… These are my good trousers." The way he says it seems so young. For someone who is technically older than her.

Mixed signals are a whole new experience for Mariah. Her experiences with men have always been far more straightforward. So she's a little slow to return the hug, and it ends up being a gesture to comfort him rather than to indulge in herself.

But when he explains further, she can't help but laugh and hug him a little tighter. She leans back, but only enough to pluck up a corner of her shawl. "I have a solution for that," she says with a smile that comes far more naturally, even if there are those hints of tears lingering.

"Oh, right," Cas says, pulling back from the hug some, so that he can rub at his eyes. It seems he genuinely didn't think of ways around it right now. It takes a few moments for him to be able to pull away from her entirely, though, eyes downcast and hair hanging in his face.

Sometimes he wishes his hair were longer, so he could hide behind it at times like this. "I don't deserve you," he says quietly, voice still strained from all the emotion. And he's sure somewhere close by Masque is agreeing with his words.

When he pulls away, Mariah steps off the path to lay out her shawl. It isn't really big enough for both of them, but she's not in her best dress anyway. When she turns back to Cas, she ushers toward it. Chivalrous.

She straightens at those words, though, genuinely surprised to hear them. "That isn't true at all," she says, her brow wrinkled in concern this time. "Cas, that really isn't true. It's the other way around, if it's any way at all. Woman without family, wealth or even as much as a decent reputation?" She shakes her head a little there, before she opts to sit down next to the shawl, rather than on it.

"Those things don't matter," Cas says quietly, as he settles down on the shawl, drawing his knees up to his body and hugging them. He should notice the fact she has no where to sit and at least offer her… something. But he doesn't right now. "And they have nothing to do with why I don't deserve you…"

He keeps his eyes down, even lowering his head against his knees. At least until he realizes he will be crying on his trousers. That might be why he suddenly straightens and wipes his face again.

"You… you weren't pretending with me at all. Even in the beginning… you… you were always sweet and gentle and… you."

"Cas," Mariah says, reaching over to put a hand on his cheek, damp though it is, "You don't need to worry about our beginnings. It's… My old job, it wasn't— " Even she doesn't seem to know how to word that part, so she takes a moment, filling it by shifting up to her knees and sitting on her legs. But facing him.

"It was a job. Exchange of goods and services. You were kind to me, and that doesn't change because you had to work through your past. It's sort of comes with the job." Her hands move to take his, and she tugs on him a little to get him to look her direction. "What matters is now. Right now. That's all."

"How can it not matter?" Cas asks, looking up at her with some confusion in his teary eyes. But at least he's looking at her again. It doesn't last too long, cause he looks down and away. "I— all those reasons that you gave— why you… What if…" he trails off again.

It takes a few moments, deep breaths that move his chest and shoulders under his nicest shirt. Afterwards, he looks back up at her. "What if you only— what if you only love me— because I was…" Try as he might, he doesn't finish that.

"Because," Mariah says with a lift of her shoulder, "If everything that happened in that room mattered, I think I would be a terribly troubled individual." It might not explain everything, but she is trying. "The Dovetail, places like it, it's all about fantasy. Living out something there you can't get somewhere else. Whatever that might be. I had men who would profess all sorts of things inside that room, but outside of it… that's reality. I learned early to cut a line between them. So no, it doesn't matter."

Her hands move to his face as he goes on, and she shakes her head a little. "I don't. I took notice of you because you were different. But I love you because you're Cas. I love that you're the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see before I go to sleep. I love the way you talk to the horses and the dimples on your cheeks and how much you talk and how it feels when you hug me. And I'm scared of the idea that saying so might scare you off, but at the same time, I'm scared of never telling you at all, too. I'm flipped completely upside down and turned every which way and it's your fault, and I wouldn't change a thing."

Instead of doing something romantic, like kissing him, right then, she sits back, letting out a heavy sigh as her hands drop to her lap.

This is possibly the time when Cas should feel inclined to say something in return. It would be easy now— she said it first. Well— technically he did. Months ago. But he's not even sure it counted. And she's better at saying the words, and there's no screams pulling them away and hobs kidnapping him into the night.

Instead, his response seems to be to look at her… and cry. Tears running down his cheeks and this time he doesn't even try to wipe them away. Or look away. As she sits back, he finally reaches up to wipe his eyes, taking in slow breaths and looking off into the distance for a moment.

"I— " As predicted the words don't seem to want to form properly. Again. He closes his eyes and takes in another slow breath. "Sorry," he says quietly, rubbing his face again. "I'm not— this— I mean— " He fidgets a little, looking at her as if hoping that she can somehow understand the words he's unable to say.

Mariah covers her mouth when he starts to cry, as that hadn't been her intention, either. So when he tries to get the words out again, but can't, she opts to take that moment to press a quick, soft kiss to his lips.

"It's okay. You don't have to say anything," she says, which probably means she isn't quite getting his meaning, "I'm doing this all wrong, anyway. But, it is just my first go at something like this, so hopefully you'll forgive me for blundering all over." She's done a good job of keeping her own tears back, but one manages to slip out, falling down her cheek as she reaches over to help wipe off his cheeks. "It's okay if you don't— you know." Her head tilts and one shoulder lifts in a sort of helpless gesture.

"You— " Cas starts, shaking his head again at her words. The new ones. He wasn't shaking his head at her confession, though. Perhaps that can be a sign. This, this he knows the handsign for. Though she won't know what he's doing with his fingers. Colm would, or Aislinn, if they were here.

"You're not… blundering anything. You're not." Implying that one of them is, and it's not her.

"No one. No one's ever said anything like that before. To me." The closest he can think of is in the books he's heard people read, or the few movies he's seen. But even then it… it wasn't to him. About him.

"I— " The words stop again. And he closes his eyes and finally lowers his head down against his knees. This time he's not crying, though. With his head lowered, he speaks toward his own knees (though it's intended for her), "Will you visit me… at the stables… soon. While I'm training Eclipse."

"I don't know, I've made you cry, I'm not sure that's meant to happen," Mariah says softly, but with a hint of playfulness on her tone. She shifts again, to sit next to him and slide her arm around him. "New experiences all around, then," she notes, her fingers moving to brush through his hair. "I mean every word, Cas," she adds in a softer whisper.

She leans against him when he bends, her hand rubbing his back as if he needed comforting. "Of course. I'll come any day you like. I'll bring lunch," she says, trying to make it sound more normal. "And a better blanket to sit on, aye?"

Once again, it looks as if Cas is about to try and say something, only to grimace and not finish— or even start this time. "A'right," is what he decides to settle on. It's easy, it's simple. And he can lean against her grasp and close his eyes for a moment.

"Soon, then…" he adds, still being vague on the exact day. Maybe he'll decide the morning before and tell her. Because a moment later he says, "Are you ready to go home now?"

"Soon," Mariah echoes as she gives him a reassuring squeeze. If she needs any reassurance herself, she's tucked it away for another time. She only pulls away at his words, and only to stand up and offer him a hand up.

"Absolutely. After this much emotional outpouring, I need a glass of wine and a comfortable bed." And both of those things are back at home, conveniently. "Are you alright?" The question seems to hold deeper levels than just his current state, but she's not elaborating.

"I— yeah," Cas says after a few moments. Maybe he's not sure why he should need to say them at all. He still looks very red in the face, warm despite his lack of coat, and looks visibly distraught. But he's alright.


"I'm just ready to go home… with you," he says in whispered tones, looking back up at her when he finishes that.

Those words seem to surprise her a little, in that she wasn't quite expecting them. But glad to hear them, certainly. "Come on, then. Let's go home," she says with a gentle smile. Luckily, it isn't too long a walk home from here, but it's likely she'll hold his hand the whole way anyway.