Disclaimer: Tamora Pierce owns these characters and etc.

This is a response to Tammy Drabbles #39 "Sir/lady, you're on fire!"

http: slash slash community dot livejournal dot com slash tammydrabbles slash

wordcount: 431

It had been a very long day as Frostpine and Daja worked on axles and iron steering pins. After the earthquake, nearly everything at Winding Circle and the nearby communities had been destroyed. A month of work, and the orders were still piled up beyond belief. Although she was exhausted, Daja reached for another piece of iron, pulling it directly out of the fire and bending it carefully before applying her hammer.

Frostpine grinned at her tiredly. The pair had not spoken for hours, and though they had worked steadily, the task list didn't seem to be getting any smaller. A new dedicate had arrived that morning, only to run away in fright after observing Frostpine grab a piece of red-hot metal bare-handed. It was a response they were used to, but under the circumstances, they could have used the help. Both were feeling the strain now, and that's why there was no discussion.

"I'm s – sorry, Frostpine," a quavering voice said. Daja and Frostpine looked up simultaneously. Dedicate Naro was back, his hands tucked humbly behind his back, his head bowed contritely. "I'd like to try again."

"Nothing's changed," Daja replied, a little more tartly than intended. "We still use our specialized magic to make the work go faster." This probably wasn't a necessary statement, given that she was, even now, clutching metal so hot that anyone without her gift would have been scarred for life.

Dedicate Naro nodded once very quickly, his eyes not lingering on her at all.

"We could use another pair of hands, gloved or not," Frostpine remarked. His tone was unusually soft and Daja eyed him worriedly. Instead of taking on help, they should probably be calling it a day. "We need to stoke the fire a little," Frostpine added as he hefted a large bit of iron into the forge.

"Of course!" Naro answered almost too enthusiastically. He added more fuel to the forge and rushed out the bellows. Daja felt puffs of warm air dance across her skin. Flames leapt and roared. Tired as she was, Daja felt almost rejuvenated by warmth that would have left almost anyone else terribly uncomfortable. She reached toward the golden fire and nearly laughed when she saw Frostpine do the same.

Naro reappeared in the doorway. "Gods! You're both on fire!" he exclaimed, before lunging for the water bucket, preparing to douse the pair.

"No! Stop!" Frostpine yelled, barely catching Naro in time. Water slopped over the edge of the bucket, but luckily did not hit the forge or either smith-mage. "We like fire, remember?"

"Oh, right."