DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
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SERIES: Follows Winter Wonderland.

Spring is in the Air
By Athena


Part 1: Legolas

Helena leaned against the fence, watching Mina. The girl was making good progress which pleased her immensely. She had harbored a slight fear that Mina would not enjoy riding, once she tried it. After all she was still a little girl, and horses were large and somewhat intimidating animals. To her delight Mina enjoyed her lessons and she listened intently to Stephanie and never objected, or showed fear. Helena was very proud of her. She watched the girl on the pony for a little while longer before going back inside.

Helena was brushing Majeed when Mina came skipping inside. Helena turned and smiled at her.

"Hello sweetheart. How was your lesson?"

"It was so much fun! I wish I could ride every day," she said and laughed. She looked up at Helena with a big grin. Then suddenly she stumbled and fell against Helena. She laughed and looked up at the horse who had just nudged her. "You are a bad horsie today, but it's okay since you're not feeling well," she said and touched his muzzle.

Helena frowned. What was the girl talking about? She kneeled by her side and cupped her chin.

"Mina darling, there's nothing wrong with Majeed. Why do you think he's not feeling well?"

"Because he isn't," she said and chewed on her lip. She put her hand on his chest. "He's hurting here."

Helena suddenly felt a cold hand grip her heart. "How is he hurting?"

Mina shook her head. "I don't know. It's like it's moving. I think it's something in his blood."

Helena stared at her and then gently put her hand on Majeed's neck. The horse rested his head on her shoulder as if comforted by her touch.

"I guess I should call the vet then," she said lightly, not to frighten Mina. She looked down when she felt Mina take her hand.

"It's okay Helena. He'll be fine. You don't have to worry."

Helena chuckled. This child really was unusual. "Thank you darling. I'm glad to hear that. Now my little horse whisperer, let's put him back in his box so I can call the vet."

Mina had been right. Majeed had an infection. The vet was amazed that they had caught it so early. There wasn't much he could do, more than give the horse an injection and tell Helena not to ride Majeed for a few days. Helena sighed, relieved at the good news.

"Thank you. I was so worried that it might be something serious."

"It could easily have become something much worse, left untreated. I don't know how you knew, but I'm glad you called me," he smiled at her. "It never ceases to amaze me how horse owners in particular seem to be so in tune with their animals that they know instinctively when something is wrong."

She smiled and nodded. "I know. It's a strong bond developed through love."

He nodded. "Well, that's all I can do for now. Please keep an eye on him over the next couple of days. I'll be by Friday again to check on him. Call me immediately if anything changes or if he stops eating."

Helena nodded. "I'll tell Stephanie to watch him. She's the one who feeds him."

"Good. Don't worry Helena. He'll be fine in a couple of days."

Majeed's condition turned a little worse before he started to get better. He was wheezing and hanging his head, looking absolutely miserable. Helena just stayed with him, often spending hours in a corner of his box, reading or writing. Finally after about ten days he seemed to have his old spark back and was nudging her and bothering her every few seconds until she laughed and put her book down.

"All right handsome, I get the message. Let's go for a walk." She attached the long leash and led him out of the barn. They walked around the property and finally stopped in the green field behind the house. Majeed rested his head on her shoulder and she absentmindedly stroked his neck.

"Thank you my friend for fighting this," she whispered. "I was so worried for a while. Thank you for sticking by me and not leaving me."

He whinnied softly and shook his head up and down. She laughed. It almost seemed like he was rolling his eyes at her for worrying.

"I wish I knew what you're trying to tell me," she said and smiled at him. She sat down on a rock and watched him graze. The early May sun was warm on her back and she realized that she should have worn her hat to protect her skin. She shaded her eyes when she heard someone calling her name. Myka was walking across the field in their direction.

"Hello darling," she said and kissed her.

"Hi," Myka said softly. She grinned at Helena. "You look so beautiful out here."

Helena smiled and kissed her again. "Thank you. It's very peaceful here. I treasure the little quiet moments."

Myka nodded. "I'm sorry to have to disturb the peace, but we need to leave. Claudia got a ping and we're booked for Texas in just a couple of hours."

Helena sighed and nodded. "I guess the peace couldn't last forever." She took Myka's hand and they walked back inside together.

"What are you doing?" Mina asked as she climbed up on the chair next to Helena.

"I'm looking at horses. I want to buy another horse," she said and turned the screen so Mina could see.

"He's pretty."

"He is. He's also a good jumper and sweet tempered."

"Why do you need another horse?" Mina asked confused.

Helena chuckled and caressed her cheek. "I don't really. I'm looking for a companion for Majeed. Someone to keep him company when we travel and when he's outside."

Mina smiled. "Like a friend."

"Exactly. And it has to be someone that is calm since Majeed is a little bit nervous."

Mina nodded. Helena tilted her head and smiled at her.

"Do you think you could help me with the new horse?" she asked her.

Mina's eyebrows furrowed. "What do you mean?"

"It will be difficult for me to find time to ride two horses every day."

Mina nodded excitedly. "I'll ride him. If he's not too big."

Helena grinned. "This, darling, is a pony. It might not seem like it in the picture, but it is."

Mina gaped. "You're buying a pony?"

Helena smiled and nodded. "I sure am."

Mina jumped off the chair and galloped around the table. "We're getting a pony! We're getting a pony!" She ran out in the hall and Helena could hear her chant it over and over all the way to the kitchen. She shook her head and laughed. How she wished that everyone could look at the world with the eyes of a child.

"Excellent," Helena said to the person on the other end. "Saturday is perfect. I'll see you then."

"What's happening Saturday?" Myka asked as she sat down across from Helena at the table.

"I'm going to look at a horse. Would you like to come with me? I'm taking Mina too this time."

Myka smiled. "I'd love to."

"Fantastic. It's a two hour drive from here so we need to get started early. Sorry about that. I know how you love to sleep in on Saturdays darling."

"That's okay. I guess we need to get some DVDs for our backseat passenger or she might get bored. Four hours in the car is a lot for a four year old," Myka said and grinned.

"Claudia is working on it as we speak," Helena said and winked at her. "Something about cats and dogs I think, and something else I can't remember."

Myka nodded. "Great. I'm going to make some tea. Would you like some?"

"I'd love a cup darling. Thank you so much," she said and gave her a quick kiss before turning back to the computer. Myka smiled and got up. She glanced at Helena's dark head, bent in concentration as she was reading. She really hoped that this horse would work out. It would be the fourth horse they went to see. None of the others had passed Helena's tough scrutiny.

"Are we there yet?" Mina asked for the tenth time in as many minutes. Helena pressed her lips together and gripped the steering wheel a bit tighter. Myka chuckled in the seat next to her.

"Not yet sweetheart," Helena said and smiled at her in the mirror. "But we'll stop for lunch soon."

Mina sighed and nodded. Myka turned in her seat.

"Why don't you tell me about your riding lessons?" she said and smiled at the girl.

They stopped at a restaurant just off the main road to have lunch. Per Myka's recommendation they picked a place that was child friendly. Helena had to almost pry Mina off of the playground when they were ready to leave. Luckily they were only about twenty minutes away from the place according to the GPS.

"Greetings," a tall woman said cheerfully. "Am I guessing correctly that you're here to look at one of my horses?"

"I'm Helena," Helena said and smiled at her as she shook her hand. "We spoke on the phone, about the Dartmoor pony."

The woman smiled and shook Helena's hand. "I'm Angie. Welcome to Willowtree Farm, Helena." Angie gave Helena an appreciative look that made Myka smirk. She chewed on her lip as she turned to help Mina out of the car.

Angie looked at Helena, then at Myka and Mina, as if trying to add things together.

"Are you looking for a pony for your daughter?" she asked and smiled at Helena. "I thought you said you needed a companion animal."

Helena chuckled. "I do. Mina is not my daughter."

"My apologies," Angie said and smiled. "I assumed…" she gestured at Mina and Myka.

"Sweetie," Myka said and smiled at Helena. "Why don't you go ahead and look at the horse? Mina needs to go to the bathroom," she explained.

Helena smiled at her. "Of course darling."

The barn owner grinned and nodded at Myka. "The bathroom is immediately to the left when you enter the barn. We'll be out in the back yard." She pointed in the direction.

"Thanks. We'll be right there."

Helena and Angie watched the two as they walked off in the direction of the barn.

"So Helena, I assume that she's your partner."

"You assume correctly," Helena said and chuckled.

"You make a beautiful couple. I would've guessed that you were a family."

Helena nodded and looked out over the paddocks. "I had a daughter. She died several years ago. Mina is the daughter of a friend of ours," she said sadly.

"I'm so sorry. Please forgive me for bringing it up."

Helena nodded silently.

"Let's go and have a look at my man Legolas," Angie said and smiled at her.

Helena ran her hand down the pony's legs, checking his hooves. She was getting more and more excited. This horse was excellent. He was mild tempered and in excellent health. He had been very affectionate from the start, nudging her and rubbing his face against her. She turned around, her hand still on the horse's back, when she heard Myka and Mina approach.

"Helena!" Mina exclaimed. "He looks just like Majeed."

Helena chuckled. "He does sweetheart. Without the star of course. Come here."

Mina nodded and walked over. She held up her hand to the pony and he pushed his muzzle against it. She giggled and petted his face.

"He's nice, and he's funny," she said and giggled.

Helena folded her arms just watching the two.

"She's very perceptive," Angie said softly to Helena. "If it's possible for a horse to have a sense of humor, this one certainly has. He's full of it at times."

"That she is," Helena agreed.

"Helena, can I ride him?"

Helena looked at Angie who nodded. "Let me lift you up. You need to hold on tight now since you're not wearing your helmet."

Angie led the pony around the yard with Mina on its bare back. Helena watched the two carefully. She could almost feel the bond develop. She knew Leena would give her a long lecture later, but damn it, she was getting this horse. She looked at Angie and nodded.

"I'll take him."

Angie smiled. "You got yourself a pony Helena."

"Yay!" Mina cheered as Angie helped her down. "Can I walk him?" Angie smiled and handed over the leash to her.

"Just around the yard. And no running. That goes for both of you," she said sternly and winked at Mina. Mina giggled and skipped off.

"You heard, no running," Helena said after her.

"I'm not running. I'm skipping," she said cheerfully.

"No skipping either!" Helena shook her head and sighed.

Part 2

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