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13 June 2012 @ 10:54 am
Five Senses of Freedom  

Title: Five Senses of Freedom
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3,169
Pairings: none (unless you count Blaine and his horse)

Warnings: Try to keep in mind that this is not smut.

Summary: Even though it is exam time at University, Blaine takes a weekend off to head home and regroup.

It was that time of year where seasons were somewhat meshed together; without the calendar date telling them so, one wouldn’t be able to tell if it were the end of spring or the beginning of summer. It was the time of year when all the leaves had burst forth from tiny little green buds, finally decorating the trees in the broad, bright green of which they had waited so patiently all winter long. The air was still fresh with the coolness of spring, but the sun had the power to warm one to a nearly uncomfortable temperature if they so permitted it. Blaine definitely permitted it. He loved to lie out in the sun and with the cool grass under his bare chest and the hot sun heating his back.

Today, though, he had less lazy intentions. With a rope halter and lead hung over his shoulder, Blaine marched out through the new grass of the vividly green pasture. The generations-old trees towered above him in the sparsely treed beginnings of the forest. The younger trees and forest-floor bushes were sparse as a result of the hoofed traffic that came through the area on a daily basis. Birds tweeted and sang overhead, their enthusiasm for the new summer obvious. A small breeze ruffled Blaine’s unruly mop of dark curls and brushed lightly against the exposed skin of his neck and arms. Blaine smiled and paused to close his eyes and enjoy the sensation before continuing on only a beat later.

He narrowed his eyes and jutted out his chin to search the trees with his eyes as he walked further from the barnyard and entered the lusher and true forest of the large quarter section of land the Anderson family’s band of horses called home. The spring breeze picked up and sang through the new leaves overhead building a rushing sound that bore similarities to that of a distant waterfall. Blaine wandered deeper into the trees, following a well-used horse trail into the depths of the forest.

At his feet on the edges of the trail were white and pink blossoms indicating potential for a tangy sweet harvest later in the summer. Blaine had always loved to pick the wild berries that grew low on the forest floor. They were preciously small but once placed upon his tongue, could fill his entire mouth with delicious pleasure. It was too early in the year for berries, so he continued on. He walked for another ten minutes, enjoying the sights and sounds of the forest; letting the peace of it fill his body and relax his muscles, and the familiarity of the forest to clear his mind.

It was then that he found himself stepping into a clearing near a small stream. A group of brown, black and grey bodies came into view. Blaine couldn’t keep from smiling. This was his paradise.

As he drew close to the herd, the buzz of flies and the grinding of molars reached his ears. It was coupled with the strong scent that was so inherently horse that it filled his very being and had him instinctively taking deeper breaths through his nostrils in order to keep the scent there. At his arrival, a few of the horses had lifted their heads from where they were grazing to take a look at him. As a child, Blaine liked to pretend the horses were feral and he Native American horseman come to capture one to gentle and ride. Blaine nearly laughed outright as he remembered his childhood game. Their domesticity was given away, when they went back to grazing without a care only moments later, even though a predator was causally approaching them. Blaine’s Uncle had told him to be careful with young or less-tame horses because they saw him as a threat being that his eyes were on the front of his face just like a predator. Blaine wasn’t sure if such domestic of animals really had a natural self-preservation instinct in their body, but as a child he had believed his Uncle whole-heartedly.

Some of the horses nearest him walked lazily away as he neared, not wishing to be the chosen ones. Blaine glanced around the equine bodies looking for the one he would catch. The pale chestnut gelding he planned to ride was, of course, standing furthest away. Blaine sidled through the group of horses, reaching out to trail a hand over a few as he went. The sun was shining optimistically bright in the clear blue sky overhead, shining down on the horse’s backs and highlighting the different tones of their coats. Blaine batted at a horsefly that buzzed near his face and let out a low growl of ‘hey’ at two horses who were laying their ears back at each other as if they were going to start a fight. The one backed of instantly at his voice, the other made is if to chase it. Blaine smacked it on the neck and its ears quickly perked forward before it turned to walk away.

Soon he was upon the horse he had set his sights on. It stood with its back to him but Blaine knew it was eyeing him cautiously where it pulled and tore fresh grass from the soft earth. The sun shone down on its light chestnut body, illuminating raised muscles and putting its divots and valleys in shadow. The horse was just taller than average for its breed with long, lanky legs that should have made it colt-like in appearance but its graceful movements gave it away as fully adult. It was a pale chestnut colour that looked like beach sand at sunset; a light, sandy brown with gold and fiery crimson undertones. When Blaine was upon it, approaching it at the shoulder, the horse finally raised his head to acknowledge him. The gelding eyed Blaine warily but did not flinch when he touched fingertips to its shoulder.

“Hello, my Prince,” said Blaine, softly.

He ran his hand over the gritty-soft coat, warm from the sun overhead and the living flesh underneath. He mapped out the large muscles of its shoulder and the side of its chest, up his lean neck to the side of its throat. A nicker grew in its throat but didn’t completely vocalize and instead ended in a heavy exhale through the nostrils. Blaine smiled to himself. He took the rope halter from his shoulder and set it over the bridge of the gelding’s nose before drawing the back of it to sit behind his ears. After tying it into place, Blaine took the lead in his hand and with a cluck of his tongue against the roof of his mouth, began to lead the horse away from the group and back to the trail he had arrived on.

The steady footfalls sounding behind him as the horse lazily followed, head lowered and at his side, were comforting in their familiarity. Blaine thanked the part of himself that had forced him to drive home that weekend. It had been a few agonizingly tough weeks of University and he had really needed the break. It had been so long since he had come home to the family farm, so long since he had walked through the soft forest, so long since he had spent time with his and the rest of the horses. He had told himself no, he didn’t have the time for such a frivolous trip home at the end of the academic year with so many final exams encroaching. Now, though, as he walked through the dappled sunlit forest, his horse following obediently at his side, he was so eternally grateful that his less responsible side had won out.

Though its head was submissively lowered and its footfalls lazy, the gelding’s ears were perked and constantly moving. Blaine kept glancing at the horse from the corner of his eye, wondering to himself if he could still make the leap onto the animal’s bare back. Finally, he stopped the horse, his mind determined to give it a try. One of the drawbacks to being so short and owning a horse just on the verge of too tall. Lead rope in his left hand, Blaine moved to the horse’s shoulder placing both hands on its slightly curved back. He took a deep breath and then leaped with all his weight moving to his arms as he pressed down on the horse. He managed to get himself balanced on the horse on his belly and then kicked a little ungracefully with his legs until he could get his right leg over and sit up. The horse lurched forward and Blaine quickly pulled on the lead rope to stop him. Once he was settled, Blaine pressed his heels lightly against the large ribcage he straddled and the horse moved ahead.

His balance wasn’t the same as it had been in his youth, but Blaine ached to run and so, after a few paces, pressed his heels into the horse’s hide yet again. The gelding lifted his head and picked up his pace, footfalls coming in a choppy, jarring motion called a trot. Blaine bumped on the horse’s back and fought to clench his thighs in a way that should have been familiar yet his softened muscles had forgotten. He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth and continued to press his heels into the gelding’s sides and the horse reluctantly moved into a loping canter that rocked him gently like a child’s rocking horse. Blaine exhaled and relaxed into the movements, letting the horse and him merge into one. They rocked together in one motion as the lazy three-beat gait lulled him into a sense of security.

He could feel the wind in his curls and the movements of large muscles so much firmer and stronger than his own beneath him. The strength he straddled excited him and he found himself asking for more. The horse jumped into a full-out gallop, his neck swing and head nodding forward with ever stretch of his front legs. Blaine bent his back, putting his face lower to the neck down and in front of him. He bent his elbows, clenched his fists around lead rope and handfuls of mane, hunched his shoulders and tightened his thighs. The speed at which they flew was not much compared to the modern machines and devices humans had created, probably somewhere between twenty and thirty miles an hour, but with the flesh moving beneath him and the thunderous footfalls beating against the earth and hammering against the base of his skull, it was power and freedom.

Tears built in the corners of Blaine’s eyes from the wind whipping against them and the forest around him turned into a Monet of greens, browns, and light. Blaine laughed out loud, his mind clear of everything except the repetitive 4-beat motion. His student financing, his worry of grades, his father’s every present and always judgmental question of what the hell he would do with his masters in music once he had attained it, his frustration with his one professor for giving him an unfairly low grade on his paper, his insecurities over approaching the attractive young man who often stood ahead of him in the coffee line in the mornings; everything was pushed from his mind. He felt nothing but the sheer joy and freedom of being able to unite with the beautifully powerful beast.

They thundered up the trail, the gelding tossing his head from time to time and grunting as he stretched himself forward as if devouring the space ahead of them; a striking juxtaposition against the serenity of the peaceful forest. Blaine’s hips and shoulders moved along with the thrusts of the horse, his torso remained strangely still and centered in the strange phenomenon that was horse-riding. They emerged from the depths of the forest and the trees thinned out into the open pasture. Blaine moved his weight backward to sit up straighter and pull the horse back to a walk. The horse slowed and soon was walking obediently, though there was more of a bounce to its step than before as its heart was still pounding and body thrumming with adrenaline from the impromptu gallop.

Blaine rode the gelding to the gate near the barn and then jumped down, landing with much less grace than in prior years when this was an almost daily occurrence. He unlatched the gate and led the horse through before closing it behind them. Then he turned to the barn to open the large, heavy back doors.

The barn was quiet and shadowy. The light that streamed in through an open window at the front illuminated floating dust bits, practically suspended in the air. The hollow clopping sounds echoed in the stagnant silence of the barn. The humid heat, though not as heavy as it would be later in the summer, increased the dusty scent of the hay and dander and sweet manure of the barn. A rustling from the open tack room caught both Blaine and the horse’s attention. Still moving partially in unison from the joining of their gallop, Blaine turned his head just as the horse flicked its ears toward the sound. A grin tugged at his already partially smiling lips when Blaine’s eyes landed on the barn cat that was jumping from saddle to saddle to reach him.

“Patches,” said Blaine as he smiled brightly at the thin calico.

She mewed at him and followed from the sidelines as Blaine led the gelding to a stall at the front of the barn. He tied the lead with a quick-release knot before pressing against the horse’s side to make him step out of his way so he could move out of the stall.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get you some grain, Prince,” assured Blaine lightheartedly as the horse stomped its front foot.

He moved to the feed room and opened the grain bit to scoop out a generous helping. He walked back to his horse with the grain. The gelding nickered to him, rocking its weight between its four legs in anticipation. Blaine chuckled softly and poured the grain into the small trough at the front of the stall. The grain was barely finished pouring from the bucket before the horse was greedily filling his mouth with it. Blaine returned the small bucket to the bin of grain, making sure the bin was properly closed before leaving the feed room in search of a brush.

The barn cat watched him from where she sat atop a stack of square hay bales towering up out of the grain room. Blaine could feel her feline eyes on him but paid her no heed as he grabbed a soft brush from the shelf and moved over to begin brushing his horse. He would give him a much more thorough brush-down after the ride, using the soft bristles to not only clean dust and sweat from the soft hair, but to press upon and massage muscles. For now, Blaine lightly went over the horse’s body with the brush to remove anything that might press and chafe between horse and saddle.

When he was happy with his work, Blaine set the brush aside and moved across the barn to grab a saddle and saddle blanket from the tack room. First, he placed the blanket over the horse’s back. Then he grabbed the saddle. The western-style saddle was heavy and Blaine struggled to carry it across the barn and heave it onto the horse’s back. He stroked a hand down the side of the horse’s ribcage and under the width of his barrel to grab the cinch hanging limply on the other side. He pulled it taut beneath the horse and lifted it to attach to the left side of the saddle where he stood. The soft leather pressed into the flesh of his fingers as he pulled it through the metal ring of the saddle and back through the ring of the cinch a few times before pulling it tight and tying it off.

He hummed musically to himself as he pulled up the back-cinch and buckled it into place. Then he moved back to the tack room to find the gelding’s bridle. It had a snaffle bit of soft, smooth metal, and the leather headstall was a dark red-brown that matched the colour of the saddle and stood out against the pale chestnut and white blaze of the gelding’s head. Blaine released the knot of the lead rope and backed his horse out of the stall. He wrapped the leather reins around the horse’s neck before untying the rope halter and letting it fall to the floor. He petted a hand over the white bridge of the horse’s now naked nose before taking the bit in the palm of his hand to press into the horse’s mouth. The long whiskers sticking out all directions from the gelding’s muzzle prickled against his hand before he touched against the velvet-soft skin.

The horse took the bit obediently and Blaine raised the headstall of the bridle to place over the horse’s ears and attach under his throat. He petted the large, circular cheekbone on the side of the horse’s face and considered where they would go riding while he cooed at the horse for taking the bit so good. Blaine quickly decided on the field just north of the barn. It had caught his attention as he had driven up the dusty back road early that morning. The side was still new in the sky and the morning shadows still long at the time. The field was covered in dew-covered grass and filled with gay dandelions, all bright and yellowy sunshine. He should like to ride through that small paradise.

With that thought, Blaine led his horse out of the barn and arranged the reins on either side of the horse’s graceful neck, their ends meetings together at the saddle. Leather-covered horn and reins in hand, Blaine set his boot in the left stirrup before swinging up into the saddle. It took more effort than it would have back when he was riding regularly, but he was proud to have swung up at first try and with only one hand on the saddle. Though he could feel the horse’s muscles all contract in anticipation, Blaine was impressed when his gelding stood patiently for him while he settled in the saddle. His gelding was probably just as rusty as him, considering it was his horse and his family knew enough not to try to impose upon the special bond between a one-rider horse and his master.

Once settled and reins sorted in his hand, Blaine clucked softly to his horse and they instantly trotted toward across the yard and toward the field Blaine had his sights set on. As they went, Blaine promised himself he would not wait so long to come out again, unsupportive parents be damned.