Horses & Libraries

Ireland | March 15, 1986

Paige had promised that she would plan the next outing since Ronan had planned so many already. She sent instructions to wear casual, but warm clothing and boots if he had them and to bring a change of clothes. He was supposed to meet her in the morning at her flat where they went by portkey to a small town outside Kilkenny in Ireland. Where they arrive is a small, but idyllic farm, covered currently in a light layer of snow. There are a few horses out in a pasture and an older woman standing outside the stable. “Paige!” She squeals as the pair arrives, heading over to them and embracing Paige in a warm hug. “I’m so glad you made it. And this must be your friend. Ronan was it?” She looks him over before nodding. “Yes. Henry will be perfect for you. Never been on a horse have you?” She speaks with a heavy Irish accent, but there is a warm smile on her lips. Paige returns the hug. “Yes! It’s been too long. I’m sorry I haven’t been by sooner. How is Raven?” She asks before looking to Ronan. “So we are going horseback riding if you haven’t figured it out yet,” she tells him with a grin. “This is Claire, the owner of this lovely place.”

Warm clothing, check. Boots, check. Change of clothes? Sure, ok! Ronan was generally up for anything and this time the promise of an overnight stay made it even more intriguing. He walks just behind Paige, taking in all the sights and smiling to himself. It has been a while since he was last in the motherland and it feels like home. When Paige hugs the older woman, he nods politely. "Yes, ma'am. Ronan. It's a pleasure to meet you," he replies with his equally Irish-as-hell accent. The mention of a horse evokes a brow furrow. OH. COOL. He glances at Paige from the corner of his eye and emits a nervous laugh. "Ah…no. I missed that part of my childhood, unfortunately." Goddamn horses. Thanks, Paige.

“Well come then. Let’s introduce you to Henry.” Claire isn’t one to hang around waiting. She beckons for the pair to follow her into the stable. Paige just grins at Ronan before following the other woman into the stable. Two horses stand in cross ties already. The first is a large bag horse with a white strip down his forehead. “Here is Henry. You’ll ride him,” Claire tells Ronan, patting Henry on the neck. “Come meet him. He’s very gentle.” Paige abandons Ronan completely to Claire, hurrying to the smaller black horse who she wraps her arms around, sniffling the horse and scratching its neck before pulling sugar cubes from her pocket as she murmurs to the horse she clearly knows.

Ronan shuffles over to Henry, knowing this is going to hurt. A lot. He stares up, right into the creature's eye and shakes his head slowly. "I don't trust anything that's taller than me." Which is saying a lot since the man is 6'3". Ronan turns to face the older woman with pleading eyes. "There's not like a charm or spell or anything? It's just pop right on and hope you don't die?" Where's Paige when he needs her- OH RIGHT, being a girl and nuzzling a horse.

Henry sticks his head out when Ronan looks at him, pushing his muzzle against the man’s face. He gives him a rather good shove too. “Here, put your hand here,” Claire tells him, grabbing his hand and setting it on the horse’s neck. She laughs at Ronan. “No. Just don’t let him feel your fear. Paige, dear, help your man friend here get his saddle on.” Paige already has a saddle on her horse, who she is still talking to. But she suddenly appears beside Ronan. “Henry is sweet, isn’t he?” She looks slightly amused as pats the horse in the neck, looking up at Ronan. “Here,” She reaches for his hand to bring him towards the tack so she can help him get Henry ready.

Ronan stumbles back in surprise when Henry comes at him. "Holy-" He straightens up and runs a hand through his hair. We good, we good. "Um," he clears his throat, "I think Henry hates me and I'd like another horse please." Yet there's Claire, putting his hand on the horse's neck. Ronan bares his teeth a bit but starts to pet the animal anyway. Once Paige is within earshot, he mutters under his breath. "I take you dancing and you want to me to die here." After another grumble, he puts on his big boy pants and starts to help with the saddle.

Paige seems to be enjoying Ronan’s reaction a bit too much. But she does push onto her toes to plant a kiss on his cheek. “I promise I will not let you die,” she tells him with a grin. “And he does not hate you.” She helps Ronan get the horse saddled before she shows him how to lead him outside. Claire is also back and she will help Ronan get into the saddle with a stepping stool. Paige is behind him on Raven, swinging easily into the saddle. She is wearing riding clothes as well, tall black books now on.

"Yeah, okay." Ronan smiles once he receives the kiss, but it quickly fades when he sees the stool. He takes a second to lean forward towards Henry's face. "Hear me out. We don't like each other, but we're going to make this work, got it?" Henry blinks at him. "Great." With a deep breath, he ascends the stool and pulls himself onto the saddle with a little help from Claire. Once seated, Ronan adjusts himself and rolls his shoulders. "Cool, now what?"

Claire gives Ronan a few instructions on how to hold the reins, what to do with his legs (don't squeeze too hard), to keep his head up, not panic, and mostly follow Paige. She also whispers something to the horse before moving out of the way. They have also of course been given helmets, because safety. Paige leads her mount over towards Ronan, grinning at him. "Ready? Or as much as you can be?" she teases. "We'll take it easy." She nudges Raven just lightly in the sides with her heels, though the movement isn't very visible. "Just let Henry walk beside Raven, he's used to it."

Ronan nods down at Claire, absorbing her instructions like his life depends on it. Well, it does, doesn't it? "Alright let's see…" he snaps the reins lightly and presses into Henry's sides. The horse starts to move forward slowly. "Well would you look at that." Ronan shakes his head, grinning like a fool. "I'm a natural, Paige." Or at least Henry has decided to have an easy day. The man adds another snap and puts the horse into a second gear trot. All too pleased, Ronan smirks at Paige as he bounces away.

"Oh definitely a natural," Paige laughs. "Nothing to do with the fact Henry is a sweetheart and very well trained," she teases him. "What, did you think I'd put you on a stallion that was just broken and ready to have his first rider?" She is still teasing, a bright smile at her lips. The woman looks incredibly at home on her horse, holding the reins with one hand as she lets Raven lead the way. The light dusting of snow means there is a soft crunch as the horses walk across the field. It's beautiful here. Wide open fields and hills dotted with other stables or cottages here and there. In the distance is a small castle which seems to be where they are heading as they chat. Once they're a bit closer, maybe thirty minutes later, she turns to Ronan to ask, "Want to go a bit faster?" she suggests with a grin.

"Henry's a what?" Ronan looks sidelong at his horse companion, faux heartbroken that he hasn't actually been doing great all by himself. "You lied to me Henry!" Grinning, he follows closely as they traverse the countryside chatting about this and that the whole way through. When she asks for the speed change, he winks back at her. "Tally ho!" he yells, kicking his horse. Henry, on the other hand, is not a fan of this kick. The animal rears back on its hind legs with a piercing whinny and bucks Ronan right off the saddle. The man tumbles backwards and hits the ground with a THUD then continues to roll into a snowy bush.

At the wink, Paige grins, ready to push Raven forward into a trot. Henry’s freak-out though snd Ronan’s subsequent tumble has her pulling up. “Oh fuck,” she hisses, reaching quickly for her wand. She casts a quick, silent charm on Henry who stops bolting and stands before she swings out of her own saddle and darts over to Ronan, sliding to her knees on the ground beside him. “Ronan? Are you okay? I am not very good at healing so you better be,” she says with a rather large note of concern, as she reaches for him.

Ronan grumbles a whole slew of non gentlemanly things before he attempts to sit up. "I'm alive, don't worry. My ass might be broken. Pride definitely is." It looks worse than it is as he's managed to fall off a damn horse relatively unscathed. He does have a scarlet scrape on his temple however, most likely from getting caught in the brambles. "Did I lose all my cool points?" he laughs sheepishly.

Paige offers him a hand to help him sit up if he needs it before chuckling softly. “Yeah. I’m sorry to say, but cool points are gone. You’re going to have to start from scratch building them back up,” she teases. She lifts a hand, rubbing her thumb just under the scratch, resting her hand briefly on the side of his face. “This I can fix though later,” she murmurs. She glances towards the horses and then back at Ronan. “Willing to try again?”(edited)

"All that hard work.." Ronan whines. He cuts the charade when he feels the touch and smiles. "It's not bad. Well I can't see it, but it doesn't hurt. Yet." His eyes dart back to his buddy Henry and he shakes his head. "Would you mind if we…walk? Not like I'm scared, but I think Henry needs a time out." Placing his palms on the ground, he pushes himself back up to his feet. With a quick dust off, Ronan is pretty much good as new.

“I have a feeling you’ll be able to regain your points,” Paige tells him with a playful wink. “I’ll clean it up for you when we get there.” An amused smile appears as he claims he’s not scared. “We can walk, sure.” She pushes herself back to her feet as well, dusting off the snow and going to get Henry. She gives him a few pats before leading him over and handing Ronan the reins. “Just don’t pinch him or anything and he should be okay,” she says with a smirk before going to get Raven, placing herself so they can walk beside each other, the horses on the outside.

Ronan hesitates for a split second before taking the reins. He eyes Henry again, holding out a stern finger to remind the horse exactly who is in charge (not Ronan, clearly). When Paige returns with Raven he reaches out and takes her hand, locking their fingers together. "I'll try not to piss him off any more, got it. So where are we headed?"

When Ronan reaches for her hand, Paige smiles, lacing her fingers with his. "You do seem to have an affinity for it though, pissing him off." She turns towards him, offering a sweet grin. "Oh! There," she says, pointing across the fields. The castle, which appeared to be a small castle is actually a rather big castle. "I used to ride here when I was a kid, the castle was still in disrepair then though. Once they got it refurbished they turned it into a hotel, I think maybe five years ago now? There are a ton of ruins around here though. I loved exploring them when I was a kid. Imagining what it would have been like to live then, or pretending I was a princess, or a knight," she tells him with a sheepish grin.

Ronan spots the castle and whistles. "Impressive!" He watches her, smiling as she talks about her imaginative childhood. "That sounds so much better that being on the same damn island your whole life. I would have lost my mind at a place like this. I bet you would have made a pretty awesome knight, too. The only thing I really did was pretend I was a kraken and always tried to capsize my mum's dinghy. Why a kraken and not a pirate? No idea." He nudges her shoulder playfully.

"A kraken?" Paige laughs. "Maybe pirates were too mainstream?" she suggests with a grin. "Or you weren't fond of eye patches? Or maybe it was because you secretly needed to be a massive creature able to destroying your family on the isaldn you were stuck with." She suggests this last bit with a teasing waggle of her eyebrows. It still takes them a while to actually reach the castle, but when they eventually do people come meet them to take the horses, putting them up for the night in a lovely stable. Henry gives Ronan an affectionate nudge, at least it seems that way. He could be planning to bite him also. The castle is beautiful and has been impeccably restored and decorated in a way that pays tribute to its original state while bringing in a modern twist. Paige arranged for them to eat dinner at the castle and after dinner they find themselves wandering the castle. Paige has changed out of her riding clothes as well, into black pants and a nice top paired with heels, since it is a castle after all. She pushes a large wooden door back, poking her head instead before pulling back and grinning at Ronan. After another shove the door opens revealing a large library with a self-serve drink cart set-up in the middle. "Well what do ya know, another library," she says with a laugh before stepping inside.

"Oh yeah definitely that last bit. Destruction is one of my strongest innate desires," Ronan adds matter-of-factly. When they reach the castle and Henry nudges him, Ronan quickly strokes the horse. "Bye, buddy. Don't kill anyone else today." After dinner, he's changed into nice black pants and a white buttoned shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He's added a piano key neck tie because it's the 80s after all and darn it if he wasn't going to act out in the castle. When Paige reveals the library, he looks around in wonder. "We always find the library, don't we?" He heads for one of the shelves to inspect some books.

"It must be calling to us," Paige giggles, heading to the drink cart. "After dinner drink?" she asks, already reaching for a whiskey bottle to fill two glasses. "Are you picking the book for tonight?" she asks, looking back at him with a very innocent smile, batting her eyelashes playfully at him.

Ronan turns around to face Paige, a sly smile forming at the corners of his lips. He lets out the smallest sigh and then turns his gaze back to the books. "Yep. What do you think, War and Peace? Maybe Doctor Zhivago." He holds up two gigantic novels and offers her an innocent face over his shoulder.

Paige is holding both drinks now, offering one to Ronan when he is ready. Though as he presents her with the book options she bursts out laughing. "Oh definitely War and Peace. Perfect bedtime reading." She takes a small sip of her whiskey, grinning almost shyly up at Ronan after a glance away. "I…booked one room," she says finally. "Well, first I booked two. Then my friend told me I was insane, so I cancelled one. But then I thought maybe that was not what you'd want? But then all the rooms were booked. And…um…is that okay?" She is definitely rambling. She peers up at him from under her eyelashes, quickly taking another sip of whiskey. "At least we have a book?" she tries to add less awkwardly.

Ronan replaces Doctor Zhivago and takes the glass handed to him. He takes a long sip, then sputters as Paige rambles. His expression is one of complete amusement as he watches her struggle through the moment. Instead of just saving her, he lets her finish. "Paige. It's fine." He chuckles softly and takes a few steps closer. "I appreciate the thought, but I'm no stranger to just reading, remember? I can sleep on the floor if I piss you off between now and then."(edited)

Paige takes another sip of whiskey before tilting her head back to look up at him when he steps closer. "Well, the floor seems a bit extreme," she finally says with a grin, allowing herself speak again after her rambling. "I just didn't want to…rush things? We…" She stops though, instead finishing her whiskey and just giving Ronan a sheepish smile. "So…War and Peace then?"

Ronan shakes his head, offering her a kinder smile. "I know. Nothing's being rushed. I swear I'm planning on reading you this entire thing. Russian accent and everything. Who knows, you might be the one falling asleep first this time. Let's see…" he places his drink on the cart and cracks open the book. "Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes—" he starts in a shitty accent that sounds more like Scottish for some reason, "But I warn you, if you don’t tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors…" he continues, not even stopping.

"Oh, an Irish-Russian accent, now I'm excited," Paige tells him, her own smile softening as she relaxes. She sets her empty glass aside as well and can't help but giggle as he actually starts reading. She lets him continue for a little before she actually does start to yawn. "Come on," she murmurs, reaching for his hand and dragging him off. It has gotten rather late. For good measure she grabs the whiskey and glasses to bring them back to the room where they can at least read more comfortably. Which they actually do, with much teasing and banter. Ronan was right though, this time it is Paige that dozes off, her head resting on his shoulder. It's sometime after midnight when she startles awake, that sort of moment where you realize you hadn't meant to be sleeping. She blinks a few times, gathering her sense. "Ronan," she whispers seeing if he is still awake.

Ronan meant what he said and read that dry novel up until chapter five where he lost Paige. He'd left the tome on the edge of the bed and fallen asleep himself. At least until Paige wakes him. "Yeah I'm up," he answers sleepily. "Nightmare? What happened?" He seems all too used to being jolted awake.

Paige grins a little, shaking her head. "No, I just didn't expect to be asleep. Did I miss it all?" She sits up, resting a hand on his chest. "I have an idea," she says suddenly, turning to slide out of the bed. "Put your shoes and coat on," she tells him, doing just that herself. "Come on, hurry up." The woman is suddenly very awake, an excited smile at her lips.

Ronan rubs the sleep out of his eyes and looks back at the book. "Nah, I mean, I can start over if you want." Please God let her say no. At the mention of getting up, he glances at his watch then shrugs like it matters anyway. "Should I be worried? Last time you surprised me, there was a horse." As if that had been ages ago. He slides off the bed and fumbles for his shoes and coat. "Where we going?"

"No horses," Paige promises, a bright look in her eyes. Once he's ready she reaches for his hand and drags him out the door, grabbing the key just before they close the door. She is quiet after that though, leading him out of the hotel and towards a small patch of woods nearby before stopping. She pulls him closer, murmuring, "Hold on," as she pulls out her wand to apparate them to a new location. They land in a denser forest, not too far from where they left, but it would have taken too long to walk here. She loosens her grip on him just a little before tugging on his hand to guide him through the trees. She has clearly been here before. After another few minutes she ducks under a mossy covered tree trunk, a blanket of forest moss dangling over it, which she pushes aside. Once they appear on the other side it opens up into a sort of clearing. On the other side is a waterfall, the water almost appearing to glow blue in the light of the night. The water tumbles down over rocks into a pool below, which can be reached by a small path down through the rocks and trees. Paige takes out her wand and gives it a flick sending sparkling blue lights into the air so that they hover throughout the clearing, dancing around to shed light across the area. She casts another charm and suddenly there is a warmth spreading through the air.(edited)

Ronan is bewildered the whole time, but takes it in stride. He lets Paige lead the adventure and when they arrive at the clearing he's expecting a unicorn to come galloping through. "Have you been here before? Actually, where are? This is still Ireland right?" With apparating, who knows.

"Yes, it's been a long time though," Paige explains. "I think I was dreaming about it. We aren't far away actually, just a bit easier and warmer to come by apparation." She gives his hand a squeeze before leading him down the path so they're near the water's edge. "It's not freezing water this time at least." And in fact there is a light steam coming off the water, which could very well be from her charm. "What do you say? Want to take a dip?"

"Ahh, well that makes sense." Ronan smiles at her as he takes in the sights. When they reach the water, he bends over it slightly to inspect it for leeches. These things are important. Once it seems clear enough, he shrugs. He pretends to think over her question very seriously. "Hmmm. I guess I could go for that." Without hesitation, he jumps right in- coat and all.

Paige grins, about to say something when he dives in, and she laughs. She sheds her jacket and shoes quickly before following him in. She resurfaces a few feet from where she dove in, wet hair clinging to her head. "Much better than the plunge," she tells him, swimming over towards where he surfaced and sending a wave of water at the man once she is close enough.

“Oh hell yeah much better. I’m never doing that again, by the way.” Ronan splashes her right back, laughing. They continue swimming and splashing for a while before the night moves on and they head back to the castle to dry off. And probably finish the rest of that riveting novel.


ArannahMithren Nilli

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