Daine grinned to herself while Onua waggled her eyebrows suggestively at her from over the horse she was grooming. Daine felt heat burn in her cheeks and buried her face in Spots' mane, who she was grooming herself. The horse took slow steps away from her. Don't get me involved, Spots said curtly. Daine still couldn't stop blushing.

Onua, Alanna, and Thayet had made good sport of teasing her about her new relationship with Numair, and they weren't letting up one bit after the three had caught them in the stable together. What made it worse was that the second Numair had seen the trio he had turned invisible, even though they had already seen him. Still, it left Daine wide open to smug and shocked faces, while Thayet started to giggle helplessly.

Her mind wandered to Numair and she wondered what he might be doing now. Probably in the library, reading a book or learning a new spell. Onua put her hands on Spunk's nose. Spunk seemed to not agree with her stopping his grooming session, but he was all ears anyway.

"You won't have a moment's peace in your stable, Spunk," she told him. "Especially not with Master Salmalín using his tongue in inap-."

"Onua!" Daine yelped, pressing her hands to her burning cheeks. She didn't want Onua discussing with her friends what she and Numair did. She shook her head out at the mere thought of it. Onua laughing wickedly and Spunk turned a lazy eye to her. The Stork-man will not be moving into my stable, will he? Spunk asked her.

"I should say not!" Daine answered fretfully. Onua was beside herself laughing. Daine put her hands on her hips. "If you're quite finished!" she said. Onua silenced herself a bit, wiping tears away from her eyes.

"I'm sorry Daine, but it's just too easy to tease you love birds. He reacts just the same as you, except it's much funnier to see a grown man blushing like a virgin bride," she said. Daine felt a grin trying to twist its way onto her face.

"Well, I wonder how hard you laugh when you tease him then," she said, turning back to Spots. She got lost in though and slowed the brush going through his mane. She had to admit that when she thought of her teacher and friend of three years, it was hard to imagine him doing anything with his tongue besides eating and soothing chapped lips. She then thought of the night before when he had slipped out of a corner and dragged her out of the palace social event, and they had stumbled their way through the hallways for an… enjoyable walk in the gardens. She felt warmth roiling in her stomach as she remembered small details. Her eyes slipped closed as she re-experienced his hand sliding from under her arm down to her hip.

Spots shook his mane out in protest, demanding that she finish brushing his mane so he could go outside again.

"Oh, my, looks like Daine's lost in thought. Maybe we should leave her alone, boys?" Onua asked the horses, smiling at Daine. Daine was about to protest when she felt arms wrap around her waist and lips touch her neck.

"Hello, sweet," Numair whispered into her hair. She closed her eyes and smiled, leaning back against him.

"Hullo," she answered. He spun her around by the waist and pressed her against the stable wall, touching his lips to hers.

"By the Goddess, wait until I'm out!" Onua begged.

"Good afternoon, Onua," Numair said, licking his lips. Daine ran her teeth over her own bottom lip, not taking her eyes off of him. "If you insist on teasing me and my poor lover," he put his hand under Daine's chin and tilted her head up for a moment, then released it again. "Then you'll simply have to endure watching us profess our love for each other wherever we go."

"You would do that even if we didn't tease you," Onua said. "Let's go, boys! We'll finish you some other time." She stalked to the back stable door, but sent a grin Daine's way as she left. The horses left more slowly. The Stork-man is taking my stable, Spunk said ruefully. Daine didn't have a chance to answer him as Numair leaned himself against her again.

"I've missed you today," he whispered to her. She shivered at the tone in his voice. After all, when a courtship is just starting out, isn't it painful to be apart for even a few hours?

"I'm sure I missed you more," she answered. He didn't argue with her, based on her latest experience with Onua. He just pressed his lips to hers again. She wound her fingers into his hair and deepened the kiss. Daine and Numair hardly ever shared just one kiss, which was delightful for them, and sickeningly-sort-of-sweet to everyone else. Daine could hear the horses outside saying that they were 'frolicking in the hay again'. She chose to ignore them as Numair dipped his head down and trailed the tip of his tongue up to her jaw, where he traced kisses up to her mouth again. She suddenly remembered what Master Salmalín's tongue was capable of, and decided that chapped lips would just have to wait their turn to have his attention.