A light knock sounded from Mare's bedroom door, just past one in the afternoon. The petite woman shifted her eyes from the television to the door but said nothing.
"Mare, can I come in?" The familiar voice of Morgead voiced from the other side. Mare's heart lurched, and she knew there was a reason, she just couldn't put her finger on it, exactly.
Not a word escaped Mare's lips as the dark oak door opened inwards with a soft squeak, and Morgead's head pushed through.
How rude, Mare thought.
I could have been changing. Or worse: naked! But she said nothing as the tall man stepped into the room, walked across the dark floor matching her door, onto the fluffy magenta rug and took a seat at the end of her bed.
Mare tightened the grasp of her arms around her legs, pulling her kneed closer to her chest, and rested her chin on top. Her eyes focused back on the small television that sat atop her dresser. The scene on the screen showed a rage-filled man chasing a young child down a street, through a heavy crowd of people. Mare wondered why no one intercepted the man.
"Mare?" His voice rose up again. He rested his large hand over one of her small, thin hands. She pulled it out of his grasp, and Morgead's hand fell back onto the bed, his face almost looking... disappointed. "Would you come outside for a moment? I need you for something."
Escaping hairs from her fiery, curly locks fell over her face as she turned it to face away from the handsome, dark haired man, resting her cheek upon her knees. She said nothing to him. Mare could almost feel his gaze locked on her.
He was quiet for almost a full minute before speaking up again. "It's important. To me." Mare continued her silence. Morgead sighed. "Well, if you won't do it for me, will you do it for Kat? I've spoken with her and she thinks it's a very good idea."
Mare thought for a moment, her eyes exploring the familiar contents of her room. The tall bookshelf that almost always required assistance from someone exceptionally taller than she to reach the higher shelves. A small pink floor lamp sat in the corner just beside the large window that took up half her wall and the window seat that held a soft dark magenta pillow seat that covered the lid to a secret holding compartment; but sadly, it was locked and Mare had no idea where she had hidden the key, so she never could find out what was inside. She completely forgot what was in there ever since her accident. The curiosity ate at her every day, not knowing what was in there.
"What's in that compartment? There, under the window seat." Mare extended her arm to point at what she was asking about.
Morgead's head lifted to look at what she was asking about. "Oh, that? I have not a single clue. You would never tell me." Even though she wasn't looking at him, Mare could tell that he was slightly smiling, from his tone of voice.
"Do you know where the key is?"
"No, but Kat does."
Mare sat up and nearly met Morgead's eyes, but panicked at the last moment and stared at his chin. "Can you have her come tell me?"
Morgead's hand found Mare's once again, but this time she didn't pull it away. His blood nearly raced with excitement, just a slight thing that let him know that maybe she still cared. He squeezed it lightly. "Maybe. But only if you come outside with me."
She pondered this for a moment, looking back at the compartment, hope sparking her answer. "Fine," she told him, but didn't move.
Morgead grinned, teeth showing and all. "Good! Come!" He stood up and tugged Mare's hand towards the door. She followed along quietly, not bothering to remove her hand from the man's grasp, too tired to really care that much.
Down the stairs, through the living room, and out the kitchen door, Morgead led Mare outside. She squinted her eyes at the bright sun that she was not adjusted to lately.
After a minute of fast walking, Mare called out. "Morgead! Where are we going?"
"Just a little farther, I promise."
And, as he promised, two minutes later, they stood outside the large round pen.
What stood inside was a big surprise.
A large, unfamiliar gelding stood in the middle of the heavy sand. His head lowered and ears down in relaxation. A minimal-painted bay tobiano. He was already tacked up with Mare's custom-ordered tack, since she was so small, but not small enough for a children's saddle. When the horse heard them approach, his head raised to look at them and a low nicker escaped his lips in a friendly greeting, stepping over to the edge of the pen, head easily reaching over the tall fence.
"Morgead... Who's damn horse is that?" Mare said, just slightly irritated.
Morgead smiled down at her, not catching her irritated tone of voice. "Yours. Since you were too frightened to ride the other horses, I bought a friendly and calm horse. He was pretty cheap since he wasn't being used my his previous owners."
"What the hell, Morgead!" Mare screeched. "Where'd you find the extra money for this, huh? We can barely bet by as it is! We don't need some useless horse!"
Morgead's smile faded, changing into a near sad look. "But-"
"And 'too frightened' to ride? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I'm just choosing not to ride because-" She stopped. She knew that she was going to contradict herself.
Morgead was quiet, looking down at the ground, hands in his pockets, looking like a child who had just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar before dinner. If Mare was correct, it almost looked like was going to cry.
Then he raised his head just enough to look her in the eye [which wasn't much, since she was so small]. "Mare," he said softly. "Everyone pitched in a little bit of their own, hard-earned money to buy this horse. I know the old owners, and I've known they had this horse. He was for their daughter, but she chose not to be a rider like her parents. He was unused, so I bought him. I knew was calm, so I thought... I thought that maybe you'd start riding again if you found a calm horse." His Adam's apple bounced as he swallowed hard.
Mare's anger slowly faded to just a low hum in the pit of her stomach. "Morgead, I don't want to ride again, I'm too-"
"Please, Mary-Lynn," Morgead begged, puppy eyes shining. "Please, just get up in the saddle once, then, after that, I won't force you back."
Silence rose between them as they stared at each other. Mare finally spoke up. "Fine."
The joy in Morgead's eyes was unmistakable. "Thank you!" Not even waiting a moment, he unlatched the door, holding it open to Mare could step in, then shutting and latching it behind her.
"Here," he said behind her. "I'll help you up."
"I don't need help," Mare snapped. She walked up to the horse, his ears pricked with interest, taking the reins and flipping them over his neck, his head lowered as if he knew exactly what was going on. Her hands just barely reached the ends of the saddle, getting ready to mount. But, her one problem was reaching the already adjusted, short stirrups.
She gasped as a warm, large body came up behind her, hands grabbing her sides and lifting her up into the saddle.
"Oh my god, your hands are cold!" She breathed.
Morgead chuckled. "Sorry." He patted the horse's shoulder. "His name is Sandestin 007, by the way, but we've all been calling him Destin.
Mare nodded in response as she kicked the horse's sides and he went into a smooth trot. "Good boy, Destin," she whispered.
She rode around the perimeter of the ring for a few minutes as Morgead stood in the middle, head always facing front, but just a little down, cautious, almost like a new rider.
"See? Not as bad as you thought," Morgead's deep voice came from the center.
He chucked. "Yeah-"
Suddenly, Destin jerked forwards suddenly. Not expecting it, Mare's figure was thrown forward slightly, her feet leaving the stirrups. "Oh my god!" she screamed. Her hands came all the way back, bit puling on the gelding's mouth as Mare attempted to make him stop, her eyes shut for just a moment.
"Mare!" Morgead yelled out. "It's okay, he just got a little excited, that's all!"
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no," she repeated, jumping down from the now still horse and running from it.
"Mary-Lynn!" Morgead shouted as his arm wrapped around the petite woman's waist to try and stop her from running off.
"No!" she screamed. Her small fist hit Morgead directly in the middle of his chest. Not expecting it, his grip faltered, allowing Mare to push his arm away and dive under the fence, not bothering to unlatch it, sprinting back to the house with tears in her eyes.
"Goddammit! Mary-Lynn! Come on, come back, please!" Morgead shouted at the top of his lungs. But it was no use, she was halfway to the house, either not listening to him, or not able to hear him; probably both.
Morgead sighed heavily, watching Mare's figure fade as the warm air from Destin's nostrils ticked his neck, almost as it to say 'I'm sorry for whatever I did.'
Another part of their story. I think I did okay on this one, thanks to =Pooz18
for the help on figuring out what to write.
I hope at least 1 person is a fan of Morgead and Mare.
Art, characters, and writing [c] =Jakedau