August 30th, 2019

horse of power

Crack fic: Dean and a Horse, pt. 13

13.

They see the tower first, finally, out past the river and backed by the blinding morning sun. "So it does exist after all," Benny says, turning the horse's nose in that direction. It's going at a trot now, a painful, jolting gait that has Dean longing for solid ground, if not for his bare feet and the pressing threat of their pursuers.

Dean doesn't have a response to that, feels in the pit of his stomach that they're going to find that his princess is actually in another castle, so he just says "Guess so," and shifts the rabbit around so its claws will stop digging a hole in his collarbone. At least it's up and alert and looking around instead of trying to hide in his armpit.

The field they're crossing seems to exand out into infinity as they go, especially as the sun climbs higher above them, burning off the nighttime chill and beating down on them until Dean starts to wonder if melting might be a literal possibility in this place. The dark, heavy fabric of his doublet isn't helping any, nor is the furry warmth of the rabbit. The horse begins to sweat again as well, though it's more of a steady seeping instead of the foaming floods of earlier.

At some point Benny passes foward a canteen of skin-warm water; Dean takes a swallow, though he hasn't been thirsty even once on this little adventure--the one apparent flaw in an otherwise utterly convincing spell. But it's convenient at the moment, as it means that Dean's still functional long past the point where he should've keeled over of heatstroke, which is the only reason the rabbit doesn't manage to kill itself by leaping out of his arms when the distant sound of hounds baying drifts across the field.

Dean makes a grab for the rabbit, Benny makes a grab for Dean, and a second later they're off at a near-gallop again, though there's a stiffness to it this time that suggests the horse hasn't yet recovered from its earlier mad dash.

They're close enough now that the tower looms ahead of them, crook-shouldered and unwelcoming, with smaller, tumbled-down buildings clustered around its base. And just ahead of them is the river, much wider and wilder than it seemed during their approach. If not for the dogs behind them, Dean would be having serious second thoughts at the moment--but insead he just braces himself and the rabbit as best he can, and then they're down the bank and splashing out into the water.

To the horse's credit, it doesn't balk, just slows to a careful walk as the river deepens and the current catches at them. It comes high enough that Dean's feet are definitely wet by the time they're at the halfway mark. There's one breath-stopping moment where the horse loses its footing and it seems like they're all going to be swept away, but a second later they're on solid ground and moving forward again--though Dean has to check that he hasn't inadvertantly crushed the rabbit in his panic.

There's white showing all around its eyes, but it noses at his shoulder like he's the one who needs comforting, so at least that much out of this whole messed-up situation is still okay.


Home stretch, folks--two scenes after this, I think.