Hollowstone my horse is amazing
Even when Grigori wasn't working, he would spend time with the horses. Obviously he sort of had to in order to visit his rescue horse. He couldn't just decide he was too sleepy and stay in bed for five, ten, thirty more minutes. Magic was his dearest companion, his most treasured friend. Some people might have said that was a rather lonely existence, but Grigori couldn't disagree with that sentiment more. Sure, the other stablehands would make sure she was fed watered and exercised and brushed if he didn't show up, but she would be upset if her owner didn't do those things for her. She loved attention, but she hated being brushed by anyone who wasn't Grigori. And he could never leave her alone like that! Come rain or shine, snow or hail or wind, he would drag himself out of bed to dote on this regal, mischievous beast for hours every day.

For whatever reason on this particular day, she didn't want to exercise in the paddock. Unusual for her; she often ran circles round him in the paddock, but something in there was making her anxious and ornery. A snake, maybe? Sometimes it was a snake... Or a fox? A raccoon? Whatever the case, Grigori failed to find whatever it was making her anxious and opted instead to take a ride around into Hollowstone with her. She liked those trips, getting pats and mints from the locals. Hopefully by the time they got back whatever it was upsetting her in the paddock would be gone.
The park was occassionally asking Nord to come over when they had problems with an animal because they valued his services. Noone else on their staff was able to eal with the mother ofva lion baby like he was while they had to take the baby to the vet. A stressed lion woukd cost them more.

After the job was finished Nord walked down to thebend of the treed parking lot from where trails led towards the nearby forest.
He was almost at his car when he spotted a guy on a horse. At the same moment a park visitor backed his car out of a parking spot and spooked the horse.
It wasn't a route Grigori would normally take with Magic. He'd always imagined that the safari park would make a horse nervous, so many unusual animal smells around, many of them large predators she would certainly be unfamiliar with. Why he'd chosen this path in particular on this specific day, he didn't know. It just felt like the right time to introduce her to something new, and if she reacted well and didn't plant her roots stubbornly at any point in the journey, maybe they could take a ride through more populated areas. She did so love the attention, even if she didn't quite enjoy noi--

The stablehand's quiet reverie was cut short incredibly abruptly - a car pulled out of the visitors' car park ahead as if the devil was on its tail and spooked the normally stoic Magic, causing her to rear up and turn sharply. Try as he might, leaning in towards her neck and gripping the reins, Grigori simply couldn't keep his balance and he went crashing to the ground, landing on his hip. Immediately the pain was immense, as though the bones had splintered and fractured all the way down his leg and up into his torso. He was winded, yipped harshly with the impact, gasped in agony, but still forced himself back onto his feet to soothe his horse, who was still turning this way and that as if she couldn't quite decide which direction to flee in.

"Whoa, now; calm, Magic," he tried, grasping onto the reins. Little by little, she slowed her movements but still she was clearly agitated.
Nord saw the car back out and almost run over the approaching horse in reverse. The animal was so spoked that it reared up and threw off the rider.
Instinctively Nord shouted at the driver that passed him. "Fuck*ng idiot. Didn't you see the horse?" The driver gave him the finger and drove off causing nord to kick the air after him.
The next moment he turned to see that the rider was trying to pick himself back up and calm the horse down. Instantly Nord ran over, ignoring the pain in his own healing leg and approached the beautiful animal from the front so he could see him and gently placed a palm on her neck. Briefly he threw his head up but then relaxed into his touch and calmed down in such a short amount of time that anyone must have known that the man now stroking the neck must have a special touch.
"Shhhh, calm, good boy, yeah, you're a good boy." Nord cooed in a low calming tone to hide his gift at least a little and make the suddenly stillness of the horse seem more normal.

The rider was a young man with dark hair and blue eyes who looked quite upset.
"That must have hurt. Are you okay?"
Grigori didn't really notice the man who'd yelled or the driver making offensive hand gestures, pain surging through his right side. There was no way he could ride Magic home like this; the movement would be agony and his pain would make her anxious and more susceptible to bolting or rearing again, which meant he was probably going to have to try to walk her home or call one of the other stablehands to come fetch them...

As the stranger came into view in front of his pacing horse, Grigori held a hand up in panic. What was he doing?! He was going to get hurt!

"No, don't! She doesn't like being handled by anyone but..."

As if by some kind of glorious spell, the mare settled back into her usual stoic state, still and placid at the stranger's touch.

"...me... Wow..."

That was rare. So rare and strange that it distracted him momentarily from the throbbing, stabbing, surging pain in his hip.

"Ah, yeah, I think so," he said, patting Magic gently, forgetting about the weirdness of this guy's command of this stubborn mare as the topic shifted to his fall. "I think I can walk, so... maybe nothing's broken." Maybe. He couldn't tell for sure.
"Oh, she's a girl, not a boy. Sorry." Nord laughed a bit about himself assuming that the wild horse had to be male.
He could feel the hightened emotion and focussed hard on calming the animal down, which would probably do the owner some good.
"I can hold her. Take a moment. Make sure nothing is broken. What hurts?"
The park ranger had dealt with enough injured people at work to know that the first shock might dull the pain of a broken bone.
Under normal circumstances he would have appreciated the correction and apology regarding his mare's gender (though, to be fair, he'd never asked her about it directly), but he was kind of in too much pain to worry about anything other than his mare, getting her home, and whether he would be able to ride or dance again. Gripping her reins tighter, he looked at the stranger with mild distrust. Nothing against him in particular, of course. But he really didn't trust many other people with Magic, let alone someone he'd only just met. Even if he was curiously good at keeping her calm.

"I think maybe my hip is bruised," he said, struggling to keep his weight off the sore side. "My leg maybe sprained in places. I don't know how we're getting home, honestly..."
"Take your time. See if you're alright. I'll stay and help you."
Nord offered and kept his hand on the mares neck to keep her calm.
"Lets get you out of the street. Can you walk?"
He would lead the horse away from.the tarmac to the small patch of grass on thecside of the parking spaces.
Out of the street... right; that was a sensible thing to suggest, and Grigori decided he ought to do just that, still gripping onto Magic's reins like they anchored him to the land of the living. Gingerly, he tried to put weight on his right foot and was rewarded with such severe agony he felt that the only way to continue on was to propel himself forward hard with his left leg and wobble on the left alternately, holding his breath as though it was halting the pain. A million panicked thoughts sped through his mind. Would he be able to care for Magic? To ride? To dance? To go grocery shopping? To get himself dressed in the morning? What if it was shattered?

The journey to the patch of grass seemed like it took an age, and though he was in total gripping agony throughout, his beloved mare's calmness didn't go unnoticed. "You work with horses?" he managed to gasp out, trying his hardest to stay steady on his good leg.
It wasn't hard to tell that the guy was in a lot of pain judging by the way he was avoiding one leg and grimacing and breathing hard. Nord knew exactly how he felt because he had been there only a few weeks ago. Yet the guy wasn't whining or crying or even asking for help, so Nord took it upon himself to get closed and reach his own arm under the other mans to support him on that side.
Looking around he spoted a cut of tree trunk a few steps away. "Let's sit you down...."
He helped him hop the three steps and then lowered him onto the stump.
His other hand was still in connection with the horse making sure that he stayed calm.
"I have worked with horses."

Just for a moment he looked at the beautiful animal who nuzzled him.
Then Nords' attention was back on the man. "I can call you an ambulance or even drive you to a doctor if you know someone who could come and pick up your horse."
At first he protested, not wanting to be far from Magic and certainly not wanting a stranger's arm around him, even if they were only trying to help, but it did soothe the ache a little as he hobbled over to the grass. Sitting down was what winded him, the pain in his hip bursting like fireworks in his bones. He swallowed down a yell of agony and looked up at his mare, who still seemed relaxed, quite unlike her in such a situation.

"I... I don't know if the stables can spare a body," he managed, gritting his teeth against the ache. "I can call them; give me a moment, please..."

He would have to remember this man's kindness through the haze of hurt, if he could.
It didn't take a genius to see that he was badly hurt. If his hip hurt that much after a fall, it might have gotten cracked.
"You should check for swelling and we'd better hurry up."
Then he remembered his box of painkillers in the middle console of his truck. "I'll be right back. Call them and see if they can pick up your horse. I could also bring her to the stables if you tell me how to get there...and if you trust me."
With that he went away to his truck to retrieve the medicine and a water bottle along with a blanket for the cold frozen ground.
A few minutes later he was back and the horse still stood close to his owner without making any attempts to stomp the foot or walk away. She was eriely calm.
"There you go. Tylenol. I recently injured my leg. Still had some in the car."
He handed the young man the bottle of water and the box. "Is anyone coming to pick up your horse?"
In all honesty, despite his magical way with the mare, Grigori did not trust the stranger at all. They had only just met, after all. He didn't even know the man's name. He would repay this kindness, certainly. But trust him with his horse? Accept medication from him? Not likely.

While the other went to grab various items from his truck, Grigori made his call to the stables and explained the situation. It took some negotiating, but eventually someone volunteered to come collect Magic. Now what of the stablehand?

"Ah? Oh. Yeah, someone's on their way," he groaned, unable to focus very hard on much of anything through the nausea that was beginning to mount. And still the mare stood there, relaxed and composed. He was faintly proud of the beast. "Thank you... I'm sorry; I didn't catch your name..."
"I'm Nord." He had forgotten to introduce himself."I'm a park ranger up in Graupel but occassionally help the folks at the zoo here with training their animals. " Hopefully that would set his mind at ease about the horse.
"What's your name?" He noticed that the guy didn't take any pain killers.
"I can call you an ambulance, if you prefer that."
Nord. It struck Grigori as an odd name, but then he couldn't really talk, could he? Actually, maybe he literally couldn't - sitting down seemed to make the pain more insistent. Maybe he shouldn't have moved at all. He resisted the urge to rock back and forth. It wasn't going to help to agitate the injury, as much as his body cried out for him to self-soothe in that familiar motion.

"Grigori," he breathed, looking down at the ground and trying to focus on anything else than the throbbing in his very bones. "I don't need an ambulance... thank you." The thanks was hastily appended to the end of his sentence and given with a gasp for breath. He was never going to dance again; he was sure of it!
It was very obvious that he was in a world of pain. Perhaps worse than when he hacked himself in the leg.
Nevertheless he refused to have Nord call an ambulance.
He did not want pain killers. "It's clear to see that you're injured but no painkillers, no ambulance?" Why? Did he not have a green card? Was he a masochist?
Nord rubbed his face and sighed.

The help from.the stables came in form of two younger girls on one horse who dismounted next to Grigori. They fuzzed over him, turned bright red like they had a crush on him and both offered to lead his horse home.
It seemed that Nord was judging his refusal of pain medication and ambulances, something that might have made him argumentative if he wasn't just trying to breathe through the pain. Wasn't it his own choice? This wasn't serious enough for an ambulance. If it was, there would be blood, much more serious agony, maybe being unconscious. He'd merely fallen from his horse; he was fine!

When the cavalry arrived, he was quite disappointed to note that it was not in the form of a horse trailer and one of his male colleagues who might be able to help him into a vehicle. Not that he thought the younger female staff wouldn't be capable... but he'd never know; they brought another horse instead? For some stupid reason? And he was fairly sure Magic didn't like being handled by either of them, so how were they supposed to get her back?

"Don't blame me if she does this to you," he snarled through gritted teeth, indicating his own injury. He'd never been quite so disappointed in his colleagues.
Nord was at a loss now. The young man didn't want painkillers or an amulbulance and didn't seem to trust that the others coukd ealk his horse home.
"Don't worry. I'm not riding her. I'll just walk her home.. What about you, though?"
Nord stood by his side and made one last attempt to help.
"I could drive you to a doctor...or would you prefer it that I leave."
He really didn't believe that their walk all the way back would be without complications. Magic was wont to cause mischief when Grisha wasn't there to keep her in check. Undoubtedly he would return to work to find these two covered in hoofprints and worse for wear than himself. But he had very little choice in the matter. He waved the two off and looked up at Nord, whom he still did not know, but who had been so kind to offer his help. It didn't feel right to impose on him. It didn't feel right to agree to go somewhere with him, alone, while he was injured.

But he knew he really should probably get himself checked out if he ever wanted to ride or dance again.

"If it's not too much trouble... I could use a ride," he muttered, embarrassed.
For a moment it looked like he would refuse the next offer as well. But he agreed to have his horse walked home and for Nord to give him a ride.

Once the beautiful animal was taken care of, he offered the young man a hand.

"C'mon. My car is over there." The wind had pucked up and was blowing mercilessly across the empty parking lot.
So Nord reached out to help.
"I know what it's like. I've had an accident not too longbago. Hacked myself in the thigh."

He opened the car and brought him around to the passenger side.
Being moved here and there was beginning to make him feel like his hip was ready to slough off, like it had turned pulpy and wet, shattered to dust settled in softened flesh. Of course that was melodramatic and pretty much impossible, but the knowledge that it was a ridiculous idea did nothing to stop it feeling like a real possibility to the dancer. Pulling himself into the stranger's vehicle as carefully as possible, he winced, biting back a cry of pain. The news that the man had done himself a recent injury did little to soothe his own, but he looked at Nord politely anyway.

"How did you manage that?" he groaned, stiffening up in a misguided attempt to shield his injury.
Once the man was in his truck, Nord motioned for the seat belts which probably wasn't his concern right now but still the law.
"Buckle up."
He then pulled backwards onto the road and followed it away from the zoo.
"I live up in the mountains and use wood for fire and to built stuff. I wasn't careful enough when I hacked some wood."
As soon as the got onto the main road evening traffic was fairly busy. So Nord concentrated on the other cars.
"I'll take you to the emergency room of the hospital I went to unless you know a better place. The doctor there was really nice."
Yes, she had been very nice and now that he talked about her, he remembered that he wanted to take her for a hike. Maybe now was his chance to ask her.
The seatbelt was difficult to navigate with his injury but he dutifully twisted, teeth gritted defiantly against his agony. The bland story of how the gentleman managed to injure himself didn't do anything to disqualify him from being a threat, but then perhaps if he was so careless with an axe, the likelihood of him being an axe murderer was low. That was how that worked, right?

"I don't really care which hospital," he breathed, gripping onto the door. "Wherever is close..."
"Alright." Nord drove towards the city center where most hospitals and doctors were located. He understood that the other man was in a lot of pain just judging by his careful movements and grimace. So he did his best to drive carefully and not jar the possibe broken bone.

Once they arrived at the emergency entrance of the next hospital, Nord rounded the care and helped Grigori inside until one of the staff took over.
He gave him a sympathetic smile.
"I hope you'll be okay. All the best!" For a moment he stood there wondering he could really leave him alone. But what else should he do? Wait? He barely knew the guy.
The rest of the journey was really a blur for Grigori. It must have been quiet, because he did not recall any pressure to talk and pretend to be okay. His saviour helped him into the hospital and bid him farewell. His only other thoughts as he was wheeled off to have an x-ray taken of his hip included finding this man to thank him, hoping his (incredibly basic) health insurance was good to cover this, and just seriously hoping that his dear mare was alright.

He focused on these thoughts so as not to slip into despair over the very real possibility of never being able to dance again.
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