rohanson: (Laugh)
[personal profile] rohanson
As I drive up to the cabin, Giz is sitting on the deck as usual, waiting for me. There's a cat flap for him to use in the back door, but I think he hears the engine as I turn off the road and comes to meet me. It also pisses Ise off that he's the first to greet me, slinking round my ankles as I dig out my keys to open the door and let her out.

We've both been living here almost full time since Christmas Day. I've stayed at the warehouse on the odd night that I have to work late or early, but apart from that, I guess this has become our main home, and there's a reason for that.

His name is Cavalo.

And unlike the rest of our motley crew, he can't be stuck on the back seat of the truck and driven into town for a few nights when the fancy takes us. I know the guys that look after Leelu could easily do the same for him, but I want to get to know him, let him get to know me, build that bond that Éomer talked about.

Dave isn't home yet, so I feed the furballs and grab a quick shower to get the dust out of my hair. As soon as I emerge, Ise is waiting for me, already used to a routine which is still new, but feels right and we head off down to the stables, leaving Giz curled up on the couch.

There's a whicker as I leave the trees behind and walk down to the paddock. I love the way he does that when he sees me, and comes straight over to the fence, tossing his head. He's feisty, full of spirit and he's mine. I climb over the fence and he walks towards me, butting his head against my chest. I run my hand down his neck as he snuffles at my pockets looking for the apple slices I always carry now. That was one of Éomer's hints. And that reminds me. Dave isn't the only one to thank for finding Cavalo, although I think it'll be in a different way.

Laurelea comes to greet me too, and I slip her an apple slice, not wanting her to feel left out. And I wonder if Dave will follow me down when he gets in. Maybe we'll be able to take them out together. Cavalo follows me over to the gate, and I slip out to get his combs and brushes. As I work on his beautiful chestnut coat, I think back to Christmas …

It had been a quiet Christmas Eve. A few drinks, well, more than a few drinks and a game of Lord of the Rings Monopoly, courtesy of Auntie Eileen. Hers was the present we picked to open early, and it turned out to be a pile of Lord of the Rings boxed games which came with a note that said "Better get into practice, boys!!". That had me rolling my eyes at the thought of a visit, and Dave grinning far too widely for my liking. Risk and Trivial Pursuit were ignored and will probably end up in the big cupboard back at the warehouse, along with other dubious and unmentionable things, but we decided a game of Monopoly wouldn't hurt. Anyway, I was Aragorn, and Dave was Galadriel, which caused much snickering.

I managed to get my hands on all the steeds, which I think are stations in the original game, and the orange and red stuff, including Edoras and the like. Dave muttered something about channeling horseboys and promptly bought up Gondor. Strangely, neither of us bought Mordor and Mount Doom if we landed on them. Dave won after putting fortresses on Minas Tirith and Pelennor Fields and demanding my horses and an act I'm sure Tolkien would have disapproved of in payment since I didn’t have any cash left.

So I'm not exactly hungover when I crack my eyes open to greet Christmas Day, just a little muzzy and hungry and really grateful for the smells coming from the kitchen and the footsteps on the stairs which mean breakfast in bed.

Dave: “Good day, Aragorn. “ I flip my head as if I’ve got tresses to my waist, and slip into feminine mannerisms with an ease that’s almost unnerving. There’s way too much of Audrey still clinging to my brain! But, I have some fun with it. “Galadriel’s got your Golden Wood special right here, handsome.” I set the tray down across your legs, and drop languidly to stretch out beside you, batting my eyes so furiously I’m probably losing eyelashes. “Would the King like to be hand-fed this fine morning?”

Paris: I can't help laughing uncontrollably, and grab a pillow to bury my face in while it subsides. You're still grinning at me when I emerge from behind it, and I pull you to me for a quick kiss before examining my feast. "I think the King can feed himself this morning … my lady." I incline my head towards you with a serious look before my face crinkles into a grin. "Although that makes me sound more like Elvis than Aragorn!" I quirk my lip in a very bad impression of Mr Presley.

Dave: “Argh! Let’s leave the really awful impersonations to me!” The next half hour’s spent in a nice relaxed snuggle next to you while you eat, and we chat lazily, laughing about how silly last night was, until finally you tip back the last sip of your coffee and give a satisfied sigh. That’s when I smile mischievously and pick up the apple I’d casually set on the nightstand behind the alarm clock. It was in my pocket when I came upstairs, and while you were focused on the breakfast tray I’d made for you, I’d quietly put it there, ready for this moment. “Merry Christmas, Paris.” The apple perches on your tray, a ribbon tied to the stem. The ribbon trails off the tray, over the bed, down to the floor, and down the stairs.

Paris: I stare at the apple, and then back at you, smiling slowly. Setting the tray aside I pick it up, realising that the ribbon goes down the stairs, and when I look over the rail, follow it disappearing out of the door. I bite my lip, suddenly feel like a kid on Christmas morning again, excitement dancing in my eyes, and heart soaring at the knowledge that whatever is on the other end of the ribbon, you've taken the time to set up this surprise for me.

"I'm thinking clothes might be a good idea?" You don't nod, your smile just widens and I leap out of bed, pulling on jeans and socks and boots and reaching up to take the t-shirt you hold out to me. I pull you to me and kiss you before picking the apple up again and following the ribbon down the stairs with you hot on my heels. Untying the apple, I stuff it in my pocket, and gather up the ribbon as I go. I'm surprised that it leads down towards the stables and the beach, and the curiosity is nearly killing me, but every time I turn to look at you, I'm met with a smug grin. Emerging from the tree line and walking down past the paddock, I can see the end of the ribbon is tied to the spare stall door, and I can't think what you would have got me that would need to be stored in the stable …

By now we're standing in front of it, and my hand freezes halfway to the door. Turning back to you, my eyes are wide. "Dave …" The question dies on my lips at the sound of hooves on hay and a loud snort behind the wood, and I reach out and swing the top half of the door open to be greeted by a pair of huge brown eyes. He, I just know he's a he, looks at me for a moment then swings his head over the door and pushes his nose against my shoulder, snuffling in my hair. I reach out and run my hand down his neck and whisper, not even knowing if you'll hear me. "He's beautiful."

Dave: That’s all I needed to hear. I know how much joy Laurelea’s brought to my life, and how accepting she’s been of a clumsy guy who never could ride well. She taught me to relax, and just be friends at first. The confidence in riding came after. It looks to me like you’re already got a head start on that. The look on your face, and on Cavalo’s too, it tells me that Eomer really did an excellent job of it – he was careful to find a horse suiting your personality, and the flip side of that is naturally that you suit the horse, too. Just seeing the two of you together confirms to me that Cavalo was always meant to be yours. I’ll have to figure out some sort of way to thank Eomer for his guidance and advice. I walk up behind you and nuzzle the back of your neck. “Merry Christmas. His name’s Cavalo, and if he makes you a fraction as happy as you’ve made me, you’re in for a good ride.”

Paris: I run my hand down the perfect arch of his neck again, and half turn to look at you, twining our fingers together, my eyes bright. "He's amazing, love and so are you. I had no idea … " I can't stop grinning from ear to ear, words are just falling out of my mouth and I don't ever think I'll be able to thank you enough. "When did you …? He's gorgeous …"

Dave: It’s not often I successfully pull off a surprise as big as this one, but really, I didn’t do it alone. “I snuck off one afternoon while you were working. It took some help from friends, though. Karl agreed to keep the horse hidden at his place till Christmas, and well, a certain horseboy went with me. Éomer’s the one that thought Cavalo had the right personality to match yours, and it looks like he was right on the mark!”

Paris: “Éomer helped find him?” My grin widens. And Karl was in on it too. I’m touched that you went to the trouble of seeking Éomer out, and can see why he would have chosen Cavalo. I’m no expert, but he looks like he has more than a touch of the spirit of Rohan about him.

Cavalo sniffsnorts at my pocket, and I remember the apple. I squeeze your hand, and leave go so I can feed it to him, taking in every detail of the white blaze on his face as he takes it. And I want to see the rest of him, so slowly open the stall door, and take hold of his halter, leading him out towards the field. You open the gate, and I lead him in, let him go. He sniffs the air and trots off and I stand and watch the muscles rippling under his shining coat as he goes. I turn to smile at you and wander back to the fence, half watching him as I fumble in my other pocket for the small box wrapped in dark blue satin paper that’s been there since yesterday. "It seems a little um, small, considering … " It seems totally fucking inadequate, considering. "God, Dave, you've given me so much, and I'm not just talking about Cavalo."

Dave: I grin and tug you close enough to whisper in your ear. “Size doesn’t matter.” That gets you snickering along with me, and I nibble your earlobe. “Part of my present was seeing your reaction to meeting Cavalo. You give a lot back to me too, Paris, a lot more often than you realize. ”

I take the box from your fingertips and kiss your nose, before fumbling with the paper. I lift out the pendant I find inside, holding it up to catch the light. “Paris, it’s perfect. I… I’ve wanted something to wear every day. I feel odd without something around my neck, to be honest.”

There’s a small folded card in the bottom of the box, and I pull it open to read what it says. “This beautiful intertwined Double Twist Pendant has been carved in such a way that the two strands of the greenstone are separate. The Double Twist represents a bonding of friendship, two lives becoming one for all eternity. The greenstone is from the Haast area on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is hung on a plaited, waxed polyester cord and has a greenstone toggle at one end.”

“This is so perfect, Paris. Thank you. It’s…. “ I put the pendant on, and it rests perfectly against my skin. It feels just right. “It’s our version of a wedding ring, I think!” I bite my lip and grin at you, and wink. “And all I got you was a horse.”

Paris: "It looks good on you, looks right." I watch as you tie it on, smiling, and reach out, brushing my fingers over it and over your skin. Wedding ring. I like that idea. I'd noticed that you'd been wearing the one you got from Hugh less and less and then a few months back, you stopped wearing it altogether. Funny thing was, I'd kinda got used to seeing something sitting in the hollow of your throat, and as soon as that thought crossed my mind, I knew what I was gonna get you for Christmas. "Happy Christmas, babe." I pull you closer, kissing you softly.
Then I hear Cavalo walking up behind me, and feel his breath in my hair and grin. "Do you wanna saddle them up? Go for a ride along the beach before lunch?"

Dave: Ah, I love it when you play right into my hands. “Absolutely. Let’s get the horses set, and then let’s go get a few things. A blanket, and maybe the lunch I’ve got all ready to go that’s waiting in the refrigerator.” I wink and reach over your shoulder to pat Cavalo’s face. “We can have a Christmas picnic on the beach. It could be a new tradition!” You smile and grin madly at me, and I grab you in a hug, just as Cavalo nuzzles the back of your neck. I wink over your shoulder at the horse. He’s helped make this day as special as I’d hoped it would be.
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