Lark-Briar Crumbs in the Kitchen

Hi! I have no idea what to say here so I'll just try stream of thought. I'm in love with the Circle of Magic books and so here is my first fanfiction about them! I will write a chapter about each teacher and their interactions with each student at Discipline, for a total of at least sixteen chapters! Most of these will take place during the Circle's first year at Winding Circle. I will try to update as often as I can, though I warn you now, that this April and May will contain a horrific amount of schoolwork. (Reviews will inspire me *hint hint*!)

Wish me luck, and please enjoy!

Disclaimer: I own none of the Circle of Magic, nor any other part work of Tamora Pierce.

'He'd crept in at night, in the days after his arrival, when a full belly was still cause for excitement and he'd filled it as often as he could' –Briar Tris's Book

"When I got the wheezes, what the healers call asthma, I couldn't work as a tumbler anymore. The only place I could afford to live was the Mire." –Lark, Briar's Book

Rosie called it making her rounds, what Lark did on nights when memories kept her up. She didn't make noise. Not with the dreams she woke from. Slipping off her shoes to let bare toes kiss the wood, Lark would make her way through Discipline, touching the knick-knacks that had accumulated on the hearth, the table, the dishes stacked away for morning. Lark had built up a life in this house. She would feel that life until the pattern reminded her that this was hers; and no one would ever be able to take it away. Rosie didn't understand this side of her. Everything in her life had possessed some form of stability. Not like the Mire.

The Mire was a cold place, even when the sun stuck high and hot in the summer and the smell thickened into a fog. It was a never-enough place (never enough food to stop the gnawing turning her stomach inside out, never enough places to hide, never enough kindness, never enough air to get through her damaged throat.) Small wonder Lark still woke up with sweats, the smell of mold in her nose and the feeling that someone was behind her.

At least, that's what she told herself as she breathed in the meditation pattern, loosening her throat again. Rosie brewed medicine that made the wheezes hide –asthma, not wheezes, she knew how to talk like an educated person now- but Lark didn't want to take it so late at night. Right now, the worry she had was slightly lower than her airway.

After nearly a year in the Mire, coming to Winding Circle had been better than a dream come true. Meeting Rosie was even better. No more never-enoughs for the newly-christened Lark!

And yet… it was nights like these, when she could feel the hunger eating her insides through last night's meal, that Lark couldn't shake the feeling that it wouldn't last. Because anyone who'd lived in the Mire knew that it never lasted, nothing good ever lasted as long as this had been allowed to go on.

This time though she couldn't do the whole house. Niko had brought trouble home to Winding Circle. Two new visitors, both children; to Rosie's dismay. The boy had locked his door before he'd even had both feet over the threshold. The other one, a former Trader named Daja, had possessed better manners, though it was clear she didn't think much of living with kaqs.

There were crumbs in the kitchen. Someone had been at the breadbox. A shadow flickered by the door as she turned, Lark made sure not to look directly at it as she turned away. "That would taste better with milk, I think." She remarked quietly.

The boy, hidden in the shadows, choked on the roll. Coughing as he lurched to his feet, he lunged away from Lark, who was blocking his escape route.

He watched her warily. A bruise stood out on his golden brown cheek from the fight that had landed him at Discipline. Lark would have to get Rosie to look at that in the morning, if she could convince the boy to stay in the room long enough with the sharp-tongued woman. A thin chest heaved as he waited for her to make a move towards him. This boy, this Briar Moss, was half-starved, and ready to bolt. Inside Lark cried that a boy so young had known so many never-enoughs; on the outside she smiled at him, drawing out a look of incredulity.

"Milk, I said. Would you like some?" He blinked. Lark had startled him. Good, she hoped that meant he wouldn't use the knife he'd palmed while she'd looked him over. "Then come and sit at the table. I think I'll have some too."

Lark went to fetch the pitcher from the coldbox. Behind her, she heard the scrape of a chair and smiled. On her way back to the table, she fetched two more rolls to chase away the sharp angles on his body. He'd grown up in a place every bit as hard as the Mire, and she intended that he know his nightmare was over.

Mila knew Lark was starting to.

So there you have it folks! Please let me know what you think!