A/N: So guess what I spent my New Years doing? ... Rereading all of Tamora Pierce's books. The Tortall ones, at least. ALL OF DEM. And of course, Immortals is still my favorite. What I'm trying to say is... Expect a bunch more TP fic from me, especially Daine/Numair! It's been years since I had this many ideas - I hope some of my old followers are still around the site!

Anything, this is just a little 'ol thing. Friendshippy fluff during Wolf-Speaker. But I have bigger stuff in the works, too - not a whole story, but a some longer pieces and more serious oneshots, too. So enjoy, and please review!

Words: 498
Characters: Daine, Numair
Time: Wolfspeaker
Genre: Friendship

Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to Tamora Pierce, not me.

"Ack! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I said I was sorry! Mithros, Mynoss, and Shakith, it was an accident. Daine, can you call him off? Please?"

Daine looked up from Brokefang, with whom she'd been conversing in mind-speak. A small but no less fierce hawk was cawing angrily and scouring Numair's shoulders with his talons and beak. Smiling at Numair's plight, Daine directed her thoughts at his attacker. Leave him be, wing-brother. He's a good sort, as two-leggers go.

The hawk stopped his clawing, but he replied stubbornly to Daine, He attacked my nest.

"You attacked his nest?" Daine said out loud to Numair, startled. Numair wouldn't do something like that.

"No!" the man replied. "I was walking, and my head hit the branch and just jostled it around a bit. That's all. I told you I didn't mean to disturb you," he said to the hawk, with a glare. This time the hawk got him in the face with his sharp beak. "Ouch! I'm sorry, I didn't mean it!"

I'll let him go because you asked me to, the hawk said, but he had better not threaten my nest again.

Of course, Daine said kindly, and the bird took off. Numair collapsed next to Daine and Brokefang, wincing. His shoulder appeared to be bleeding, though Daine could only see shallow cuts on his collar. "You're that tall, are you, knocking birds' nests out of trees?"

"I'm not that tall. It's the trees that are too short here. Maybe it's the cold. And I didn't knock it over, it barely even moved." He sighed and touched his shoulder. "He really got me, the little pest."

"Don't call him a pest," Daine said as she motioned him to come nearer. "Those cuts do need looking at, though. I brought the balm in my pack."

He looked at her with pleading in his dark eyes. "Do I have to?"

"Yes, you do," she said briskly. "Shirt off, please, Master Numair. And I'll have no complaints from you."

With a dramatic sigh like a Player at work, Numair consented, tugging off his shirt one-handed as he waited patiently for Daine to prepare the balm. There was one cut on his shoulder that was a little deeper than the rest, so Daine washed it clean with a spare rag first then covered it in balm, watching it begin to scab over immediately. The palace's healing supplies really were the finest. Next she proceeded with a thin layer over his other scratches, which extended well around his collar and back, and even a couple on his face. His muscles were strong and his skin warm under her fingers, especially his cheeks, when his lips pushed them back into a smile.

"Thanks, magelet," he said, mussing her hair. "What would I do without you to take care of me?"

"Die, probably," she said with a grin as she patted his cheek and handed him his shirt.