Oh, my goodness, I haven't done this in so long! But I just re-read Realms of the Gods and got inspired… I hope you enjoy! Everything is Tamora Pierce's, I own nothing!

"You mean you haven't-"

"Onua!" Daine chided, laughing as she cut her friend off from saying something that would make both of them blush even more than they already were. Onua narrowed her eyes and paused, leaning forward against the pitchfork she'd been using.

"You mean you haven't bedded him yet?" She lowered her voice, pushing the words our in a rush before her young friend could interrupt her again. Daine sighed and set her own pitchfork down, lowering her yes to the fresh hay she'd been spreading. Her breath puffed in front of her face while she pondered how she'd respond. While the stables were certainly warmer than other places around the castle grounds, there was only so much that horse bodies and warming spells could do to stave off the bitter winter's chill.

She sighed again and lifted eyes rimmed in long, dark lashes.

"I told you we were taking things slowly," she said. Onua's face wrinkled into confusion and her mouth quirked up in a small, teasing smile.

"Yes, you said you were moving slowly, Daine," she said, lifting her fork once more to shovel more hay. "I didn't think you meant that you were waiting for the next war to come around before you let him into your bed!"

Dain frowned and stabbed at the hay harder than necessary.

"We're just letting things take their course," she muttered, silently praying that this conversation would finish. She couldn't blame Onua for her curiosity, of course. Ever since their returned from the Divine Realms, their friends had been fascinated by the new developments in Daine and Numair's relationship. Usually they could keep their friends at bay with some vague words about courting or getting to know each other in a new way…But today with the snow falling down and little work to be done, Onua had cornered Daine in the stables and demanded to know details.

"Ah, yes. Like the course of a glacier," Onua chortled. She wiped her forehead and looked over at Daine, whose cheeks were red. Onua shoveled one last forkful of hay into a stall and leaned her pitchfork against the wood. "I'm just teasing, Daine. We all just assumed…"

Daine snapped. She propped her own tool against the stall door and faced her friend, hands on hips. "Yes, I know what you 'all just assumed,' Onua. He's not rushing me into anything, he's not seducing me. He's in love with me. He's the perfect gentleman! All these court gossips have been running around since I was thirteen saying that I could hardly pick up a book with all the 'teaching' he was giving me between the sheets. And now that we've finally gotten together, everyone assumes the same thing! It's not wrong that we're taking things slowly. He's not ravaging me every night, that's not what our relationship is about! If anything-"

"Whoa, whoa!" Onua's eyes widened and she held her hands up. "That's not what I meant."

Daine raised her eyebrows.

"Ok," Onua relented. "Ok, that's part of it. We've known Numair for a long time and we know how he is with women. BUT," she rushed on as Daine opened her mouth to argue. "But. We also see the two of you together. Ever since this started up months ago, we see that it works. You fit together so well, we all assumed that you'd already…" She trailed off, shrugging. Daine sighed.

"I'm sorry. It's just all a bit touchy. We're just starting to get to know each other this way. We're best friends, Onua. The romantic bit just sneaked up on us…well, sneaked up on me, anyways. We've got a long time to do all of that. We're letting things take their course," she repeated, rubbing her hands together against the cold. Onua nodded.

"But, Daine. It's been months… You're telling me that nothing has happened…?" she asked. Daine's blush suddenly deepened and she began to back out of the stables, stuffing her hands in her coat pockets.

"Well, I didn't say nothing, now did I?" She winked mischievously at her friends and turned on her heel to rush out of the stables, Onua's hearty laughter following after her.

Daine ducked her head deeper into her chest against the cold, rushing as quickly as she dared across the frozen path to the castle. As she walked into her rooms and called for a hot (very very hot, if you please) bath to be sent up, she flipped what Onua had said around in her head.

She and Numair were perfectly happy and they were letting things develop at their own pace. But lately…lately Daine had been feeling like something was missing in their physical interactions. Her heart sped up as she slipped out of her thick wool clothes and prepared for her bath, thinking of his long, ink-stained fingers on her skin, sliding up her body, into her body…

Recently, even when he drove her to release with that mind-numbing, merciless friction he could create inside her, she found herself gasping for more, her hips driving into his even harder than before. Each time she'd caught herself wanting more, she'd forced herself to stop. To let things take their course, she thought, laughing bitterly as she sank into the hot tub.

Well, that was getting harder. Even after one or two or Gods three orgasms, she'd had to fight herself from begging him for more. He didn't seem to notice. Mostly because to divert attention from the ache between her legs, she'd started giving him pleasure, instead. She moaned slightly, closing her eyes and remembering the first time several weeks ago when he'd made that sound in the back of his throat and erupted in her hand. She'd almost come right along with him, watching his eyes roll back in his head. She couldn't remember him ever looking so sexy…

Maybe things had taken their course… She thought, sinking even lower in the tub. If she allowed her body what it wanted, she'd have bedded him weeks ago. She was ready, she knew, thinking on it a bit more. She felt a familiar tingling between her thighs as she thought of Numair between them. Oh, yes am I ready. She smiled to herself.