Heh, just an idea I've had going through my head. You know, what would have happened if Numair had stopped angsting about Daine for a few minutes and tried to do something. Set about 4 years after the immortals war, making Daine about twenty...giving Numair plenty of time to angst before this fic..anyway, here goes, attempt number one.

disclaimer: not mine

Numair Salmalin paced his study, running his hands through his now thoroughly dishevelled mane of black hair. Normally, when the great black robed mage of Tortall put his mind to something he would be wholly confident in his choice, or at least have the composure to look confident. This, however, was entirely different. He had decided, after years of hiding it and agonizing over his feelings, to tell Daine that he was helplessly in love with her. Well, maybe not quite, but to at least tell her he had feelings for her, best not to scare her off right away. The decision in itself had been trying enough, now he had to actually go through with it and he hadn't the slightest clue as to how. Sighing heavily he sat back into an armchair and leaned back. He could do this, for gods sake she was twenty now! He had spent the last four years of his life agonizing over his love for her and they had been through more together than most lovers and he had shared everything else with her, why not this? He took a couple more deep breathes before standing up, steadying himself, he would simply tell her. All he had to do was ask to speak with her, and then he could simply tell her, entirely simple. Before he could think of a reason not to he walked determinately from his study and into the palace to find the girl in question.

In truth what the man did next was not so much looking for said girl but merely moving prior activity of pacing into a larger area. After making about six laps of the academic wing he started to consider the possibility that he should perhaps go down to the stables or better yet, to his room, for a nice drink. Perhaps today wasn't a good day really, he hadn't seen her, and maybe she was in a bad mood? Perhaps she was busy? As he walked down the hallway towards his chambers he heard a decidedly cheery voice form behind him.

"Numair! I'm so glad I found you!" Daine jogged up to him, looking slightly out of breath and smiled.

"Magelet, are you busy by any chance?" He asked, smiling back and taking in her appearance. It looked as though she had just come from the stables, if only he had thought to check there a voice in the back of his head stated.

"No, not at all, I was just coming to see if you would like to get some lunch with me." She looked up at him, with her hands on her hips, waiting for a reply.

"Actually, um" He trailed off, he could do it now, no problem right? He reached out and gently grabbed her arm pulling her into a nearby alcove for the sake of at least the allusion of privacy as she looked at him quizzically. "Could we talk for a moment? There is something I wish to, uh, discuss with you."

"Of course Numair, what's going on?" She smiled at him though her eyes were searching his, trying to sort out what he was getting at.

"Well, you see Magelet, I'm really not certain as how to go about this but I figured it was best to just" His throat caught and he had to stop to clear it but just as he was about to clear it a pair of court ladies walked by giggling. He made to ignore there presence but they, apparently, had no such similar courtesy.

"Why, look, seems it's time for a midday lesson." One whispered, loudly, to the other, her true meaning quite clear and Numair clenched his fist and glanced at Daine's reddening features. He hated it when such brazen comments were made in front of Daine, either he would confront the accuser, many times laughing it off, or simply ignore it as Daine always did. In the particular instance he chose the latter as he was anxious to get back to the conversation at hand. Daine, however, seemed to have other ideas. Apparently, she had had enough of those particular comments. The young brunette brazenly stepped into the corridor and called out. "Excuse me, Lady." She added an admirable amount of venom to the word 'lady'.

The two women turned slowly, an amused smile playing across the taller ones features.

"Yes?" Said the amused one, raising an eyebrow.

"Do you have something to say to either myself or Master Salmalin?"

"Why, I have no idea what you are talking about." She said innocently, fluttering her eyelashes.

"Don't play games with me." Daine said this with enough cold fury for the women's smile to falter. "I do believe you owe Master Salmalin an apology. You may say all you wish about me but don't you dare insult his integrity. He would never stoop so low as to view me as his plaything or take advantage of me in any way. He is much too honourable for that and you have absolutely no right to insinuate the existence of anything more than friendship between us, he would never ask for more than that from me and for you to make such comments about a man who has risked his life more times that you can count to protect your way of life, ladies, well I think it's clear that you have far overstepped your boundaries." Numair stood, almost as shocked as the two women over her outburst, in utter silence. He had never seen his Magelet so commanding. The women quickly turned and scurried down the halls as Daine turned back to the mage and gave him a half smile.

"Guess I kind of overdid it." She said sheepishly, walking up to him. "I just hate it when people insinuate you are after me in that was, it's fair ridiculous! I mean, really, is it so hard to believe that a man and a woman can be friends?" He stared at her for a moment, entirely unsure as to how to proceed from there. "Anyway, what did you want to tell me?"

Numair laughed nervously. "You know, in all the excitement I've fair forgotten. What do you say we go get lunch?" Perhaps now was not the best time to tell her after all.

"Alright, would you like to go into Corus? We could stop at the bookstore you like." She had begun walking down the hall as she spoke and he had to hurry to catch up. Maybe he would try again tomorrow.