THIS, was why Cain didn't do friends. He was trapped in the bosses office, glaring at Adam's table as the blonde complained on and on how he'd helped Cain through a whole bunch of crap, and couldn't Cain hold off on the barn wide pissing match until the holidays were over. Quite honestly, Cain was getting ready to throttle the American, his eyes picking out all the spots Adam couldn't defend an attack while he was throwing his hands, filled with bits of paper, around to accent his frustration with Cain's 'behavior'. Cain honestly wondered, if he hadn't admitted to almost breaking Josef's ribcage in, if Adam could have believed it was really Daymian at fault.

"We have visitor at the Farm Cain! People who are going to return to New York and report that we're a bunch of Neanderthals who resolve conflict by fighting." Adam railed. Somehow Cain doubt that. Yes, Lion Ridge was housing a visitor for the winter, but over the course of a clinic in New York and three days in England Daymian had managed to charm her into understanding what happened at Lion Ridge, stayed at Lion Ridge.

"Think of what that does for the farm image! My families coming over for Christmas and if you start anything in front of Rachel I will fire you. And my families certainly not going to understand why I haven't already." Adam continued, Cain's eyes trailed across the floor. He really did feel like a scolded child. And yet, it wasn't his fault. For once. Indeed, the Russian was at fault. He was the one who'd grabbed Josef and tossed him around for a bit before Cain had pulled him off. A little too late, Ian's new female friend from New York had seen him completely lose it, but Cain guessed, in the end, it didn't matter. She was brave enough to stay. But Cain had made an instantaneous decision after that, Ian wasn't going to get blamed for this one. So that morning when he'd been called into Adam's office like a little kid going to the principals, he didn't tell the truth. He lied through his teeth. And people believed him. It did help that he got into a couple fights late last night and ended up lookinglike he was the one a fault, but sometimes he really did wonder what people saw when they looked at him.

Ian was waiting for him outside the office, leaning against the wall, fiddling with something in his hands. The moment Cain stormed out of the room he was on his feet which turned out to be a good thing. Cain's steel toed boot connected with the wall inches from where his head had just been as the man growled out a stream of guttural French profanities that made Daymian flinch.

"Cain-" Ian tried but Cain threw up his hand waving Daymian off. After a few seconds of standing there Cain let out a low breath and turned, brushing past Ian towards the front door. Ian followed. There was some snow on the ground and Cain trudged through it with a grim determination. Ian caught up with him and two two walked side by side to the barn. When they got there the only person in the barn was the girl from New York. Domani. She opened her mouth, took on look and the two men and shut it.

Cain and Ian worked in utter silence. Despite no long owning a horse of his own, Cain still had use of Swag, Adam's retrained thoroughbred. The horse was doing spectacularly and seemed to love his new job but hated Daymian's Andalusian stallion with a passion. So instead of riding Kadar, Ian rode Killa whenever Swag was around. Ian quietly flicked the mare off and pulled the Spanish bridle over her head, leading her into the arena where Domani was working her horse.

Cain was done seconds later, and bareback and in a snaffle bridle, climbed up onto the thoroughbred and clattered out of the barn. Daymian sighed and followed after Swag's flashing tail. Cain galloped Swag along the trail that cut into the Wheldrake woods. It wound through the countryside until hitting a loosely forested area and then went back around to the moors. Swag slowed to a walk and Daymian and Domani caught up with the thoroughbred stallion. Cain walked the horse in silence, ignore the two riders behind him, focusing more on not running into anything in front. The snow had began falling shortly after they left and it trailed down like confetti in the late morning sun and the white was blinding.

The continued down the trail walking where it was deep and slippery, trotting where the could. All three were bareback, using the heat generated by their horses to keep warm. Two hours later however, they sky had turned dark grey and the wind had started howling a foreboding tune. Daymian, long used to Russian's weather storms recognized it as what it was: a snow storm.

"We should turn back." Ian said as he pushed Killa into a trot to catch up with Swag's long stride. Cain ignored him, pressing Swag into a trot to get away. Minutes later he regretted the decision. The sky had darkened, the clouds had rolled in the and snow came down on icy flake after another, so cold it was like raining fire. The wind tugged a hair and manes and Cain constantly had to battle his long dreadlocks interfering with his vision. Killa and Daymian trudged patiently behind him, the mare's quiet breath lost in the snow. Behind Daymian. Domani and Russian jigged, the little horse as eager to go as when they left.

Something caught Cain's eye and his head whipped around. Nothing. Propelling Swag into a canter he ran alongside the

Cain looked up through the snow to see a horse, dainty and perfect. The creature seemed to be made of snow, it's dished face and mane where the shade of the ground, and as it wheeled underneath the tree and cantered off, the snow seemed to swallow it whole. For a second he considered sending Swag after it, but then the snowflakes flurried and he remembered it was an illusion, and he was cold and needed out of the weather. So instead of following he halted the stallion and watched the place where the ghost creature had disappeared.

"There's a shelter a few miles up the trail. If we move fast we can make it there before we freeze." Cain said, pushing Swag back into a canter. The party of six rode hard to the shelter and arrived steaming and drenched. By the time they'd untacked the horses and led them into the small shack the world had turned into a treacherous white blanket.


Adam waited nervously by the window, warily watching the gathering snow. it had not escaped his attention that Cain had taken his horse out and hadn't returned since. That was at the forefront of his mind. Other concerns included, his families imminent arrival at the farm, the visitor from VOS farms and how her stay went, Carmen's sudden and inexplicable decision to walk out on everyone, the fact that before she'd left she'd given Adam a packet with the ads for two retired race horses, and the lawyers who were dealing with collecting recompense for Shy's death. And those were just the top five. Adam paced around his office, staring at the clock on the wall.

"Adam, if you don't sit down and finish transferring the payment for that breeding I'm going to chain you to your desk." Anne said from the door. Adam sighed.

"Anne, there are people, our people, out there in that snow. i have no way of contacting them, no way of ensure their home in their beds tonight. Tell me to chill and I'll stick you outside." Adam said, rubbing his face. Anne smiled slightly, a humorless fleeting expression that only slightly thawed her steel grey eyes.

"Adam, you know you can't fix the world. So stop insisting on trying." She chastised, handing him a folder filled with paper. "That's for Manuel when you next see him. That new mare of his is paid and done for."

"Stallion?" Adam said arching a brow and opening the folder. Anne smiled and rubbed her hands together like a kid on Christmas.

"That gorgeous wild bay Polish Arab." Anne grinned. Adam almost smacked her upside the head.

"Really Anne, you should have kids. They would be the most beautifully lined babies on earth." Adam teased. Anne frowned and huffed, turning on her heel to leave. On her way out she almost ran into Yin, who was slipping into the office as Anne left. Adam glanced at her and sort of crumpled into his chair.

"What am I doing Yin? I can't even protect myself, what on earth am I doing trying to do this?" He asked, gesturing at the farm, the house, her. Yin just gave Adam a smile, a happy gentle thing that Adam often related to a butterfly, so easily battered and broken in a storm.

"You do it because you love them Adam. And you love me. And you won't give up on any of us. Even when we lose ourselves." She said simply, walking over to stand behind him so she could dig her small fingers into the knots in his shoulders. He relaxed in the chair, still staring at the wall of white flake from the window, but ever slightly more hopeful.