Circle of Magic: The Circle Opens fic. What could have happenened between Ben and Daja.
Disclaimer: Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens are the property of Tamora Pierce
Daja sat in a room, peering at her reflection in the glass. She was applying a deep rouge to her lips, as was the custom of Namornese women. She was in a room that was uniquely her own, similar to the one she had at Discipline, with her trunk and brass capped staff resting at the footboard of the bed, and the shrine to Oti bookkeeper and Trader Koma on the far side of the room. The room itself, the walls and the fireplace, betrayed that this was a Namornese home. The carvings on the walls held symbols for her craft, the emblems of the Traders Kisubo, and symbols for health, protection, and good fortune. Daja sat o a padded bench in front of the glass to the left of it was an ornate dressing table from whence she guessed the rouge came from. it was littered with hairbrushes, combs, jewelry, and tiny metallic pots filled with other facial pigments and creams. All of the items had a familiar feeling to them, and called to her as if they had been her own creations, although she couldn't remember handling any of them before. Slightly disturbed, she turned her attention back to her reflection in the mirror. What she saw surprised her, she was wearing a red dress with perfect seams, gliding gently, just off her shoulders in a 'V' on each side, accented with the slightest touch of gold embroidery, accenting her strong arms in a distinctively feminine manner. The neckline, too, fell in that perfect 'V', showing a teasing bit of hollow between her breasts. The gown swept to the ground, small bit of train in the back, and over it she wore a crimson over robe, edged in gold with a touch of purple in the quilting. On Daja's feet were a pair of slippers that matched the robe and on the upper of each was a purple rose made of ribbon with gold at it's tips. Needless to say , Daja was shocked, she would never spend the kind of money that these clothes would cost, she would never even ask her saati, Sandry, to craft something so frivolous. Daja had to admit that the dress was gorgeous despite being impractical as she admired it in her reflection. When she took her mind off the dress she immediately thought of her hair, she brought her attention to her hair and breathed a sigh of relief that it was not the bleach blonde of Namornese women. Her hair was styled in tiny braids curled into soft ringlets that were collected in a lose bun at the top of her head.
A knock sounded at the door of the room, startling Daja. She whipped her head around and looked at the door, she would have run, but she was frozen with panic.
"Daja, are you nearly ready?"
Whose voice was that? Daja's mind felt foggy as if she had just risen from a long sleep. She should know that voice, it sounded terribly familiar. Why was the sound of that voice making her chest feel tight and her eyes fill with tears.
The door slowly creaked open, and a familiar face peered around the edge of the door.
The tears fell now, and Daja felt like her voice box had crumpled and shrunken so that she could not emit a sound, and a vicious exhale wanted to force it's way through as a sorrowful sob.
Daja finally managed to whisper the name;
"Ben? . . ."
The man rushed over to her, kneeling before Daja, wiping away the tears from her face with his strong scarred hands.
"Daja, shh . . ., what's wrong? Why are you crying? Goddess, whatever has upset you?"
Her heart nearly broke to see him, she was so surprised, and confused, and upset, and happy.
Ben stared up at her from where he knelt, eyes pleading with her for some sign that she was still on the same astral plane.
Daja slowed her breathing loosening the tightness in her throat until it was only half a knot of vocal cords and paced herself, saying,
"It's alright Ben, It's just, I'm so glad you're alive."
Daja leaned forward and flung her arms around Ben's shoulders, sobbing against his neck. Bennat took her into his arms as he rose. supporting her smaller body with his own
He gently rubbed her back in small circles. He kissed her temple when the sobbing subsided, and released her. Ben kept a tentative hold on her arms to ensure she'd be alright.
"I'm sorry for crying like this, it's just . . ."
"Shh . . . why are you apologizing?"
Daja though about it, she didn't know, it wasn't for Ben; she was apologizing to herself, for crying over a man who . . . a man who . . .
But Ben's crimes didn't come to Daja's mind, she was distracted by Ben's movements, he was carefully cleaning the mussed make-up off her face, and applying it fresh.
Daja watched his movements with dedication, etching every gentle touch, smile, every aspect of him in her memory ; from his brad shoulders covered in the smoky grey of his tunic to the way his large clumsy fingers refused to touch her with anymore force than that reserved for caressing the delicate wing of a butterfly. She reveled in it all, in him, in his presence.
"Now my Viymese goddess.' Ben said as he put a final stroke of blush on her cheek, "are you well enough to to join the party, or might you enjoy staying up up here with my arms wrapped around you."
Ben smiled, teasing her.
Daja returned his smile, and the smallest wave of heat surged through her, just enough so that her cheeks might have singed you if you came within an inch of them.
Ben took her hand in his and led her out of the room.
The party was gorgeous, Frostpine, Kol, Matazi, Nia, Jory, Rosethorn, Briar, Evvy, Lark, Sandry, Pasco, Duke Vedris, Nico, Tris, Keth, Yazmin, Crane, Polyam, even Honored Moonstream and some others she couldn't place were there. The hall was decorated in banners of crimson and the light glowing baubles that Kethlun had crafted. Everyone was soo happy to see her, they all smiled and hugged, telling her how handsome the thought her dress was, and how she was glowing. The food was delicious, the savory treats were specialties of Namorn and the sweets were all Trader fare. It seemed as if the party was had been planned especially for her, even the music that played seemed to be all of her favorite melodies.
Throughout the entire party Bennat rarely left her side, her arm in his. Whenever he did leave her, Daja found herself searching for him, longing to feel his warm presence wrapped around her.
As the party was nearing it's close, the food had been eaten and the banners were sagging, Ben disappeared with Frostpine. When he returned he had a nervous smile on his face. Ben silenced everyone and said that he had an announcement to make. He approached Daja and knelt before her, the guests circled around.
"Daja, you have honored me in so many ways, with your presence, deeming me worthy of the bronze gloves which came directly from your magic, and fighting fires with me, side by side. We are steadfast and true friends, but I wish to become even more than that for you, my worthy goddess." Ben removed a flat, rectangular box from his grey and crimson over robe, opened it, and removed a delicate chain of white gold decorated with valances of chain, dotted with orbs of opal and in the center a heart of white gold. He fastened it around Daja's neck, Daja lifted the pendant and read it's inscription.
"May our love flame forever and never burn."
Ben knelt again.
"Would you do me the honor of allowing me to be your husband, Daja, may I have your hand in marriage?"
The room was tense and silent while everyone waited for Daja's answer.
She wanted to say yes, to the dress, and the room, and the party, and the necklace, and her Ben. But something was nagging at her, stopping her with little, barely audible questions, like:
He's too old for you.
What will everyone think?
What will your family think?
What would your Tsaw'ha family have thought?
Where would you live, Namorn or Emelan?
What about the widow Ladradun?
What about the hand Ben used to keep?
What about those things he did?
What about the fires?
She ignored all those tiny petitions and looked to her step brother and sisters for advice. they smiled at her, encouraging her to give an answer.
So she finally did.
"Yes" That was all she could say, all she could fight the protests in her mind to say. It was enough.
Ben took to his feet and wrapped his arms around Daja in a tender embrace and locked his eyes on hers, bright and shining with happiness. He bent down and stole a kiss, when their faces came apart, they were both smiling. The couple clasped hands as the guests applauded and shouted words of congratulations.
Daja felt sublimely happy as she looked at her fiancÃ©. Imagine, a fiancÃ©, her and Ben, getting married. As a trader child she always expected to marry another trader, a traditional arranged marriage, the groom chosen by her parents. Now she was free to choose her own husband and someone, someone she cared for so much, had asked to be her husband, it was amazing.
Briar, Tris, and Sandry came to her.
Briar kissed her cheek,
"Never thought you would be the first one taken away from us, Cinderella." Briar remarked, rubbing an imaginary bit of soot of Daja's nose.
Tris lifted the pendant from Daja's collarbone and inspected it.
"That's a bit of pretty right there, worth at least a gold maja."
Tris kissed Daja's other cheek,
"Maybe I can get Kethlun to craft something for the wedding."
The last was Sandry, who looked at Daja through tear-filled eyes, the two embraced in a fierce bear hug,
"I am so happy for you."
She whispered into Daja's ear. When the two reluctantly pulled away their faces were streaked with tears. Sandry quickly produced a handkerchief to wipe their eyes.
The other two had long since turned their attention to Bennat.
"So, he means to steal our sister away."
"It seems that's the case, I think a test of character may be in order."
"I wholeheartedly agree, we have to know that his intentions are pure."
Briar and Tris were plotting, which was definitely not a good thing. they innocently strode toward Bennat,
"So Ben . . ." Tris started.
"We were just wondering . . ." Briar continued.
"When is the wedding?" Rosethorn came to Ben's rescue just in the nick of time.
Briar touched her shoulder, opening the connection with his magic so that they could mindspeak.
You ruined our fun. We weren't going to do too much with him, we just wanted to see how much he could handle.
I'm sure your plan was most chivalrous, Rosethorn replied sarcastically, but you should let the man live long enough to see his wedding day.
Spoilsport. Briar dropped the connection.
Soon the newly engaged couple were anxious to leave the party, the elders waved them on their way, ensuring them that everyone would be just fine if they retired to have some alone time. Before they left Daja's siblings came and said farewell, giving Daja fond embraces and Ben hearty claps on the shoulder. The last thing they did before Ben and Daja left the party was to mindspeak
If he ever hurts you, we'll kill him.
That sent a shiver through Daja, scaring her for a reason she couldn't understand. she knew that her family just meant to protect her, but in her mind an image had flashed of a man tied to a stake on a gloomy winter morning.
Ben saw the shiver and secured an arm around her waist to comfort her.
"Darling, what's wrong?"
Daja grinned at the endearment.
She pulled Ben's arm more tightly around her waist.
Ben took Daja to her room.
They stood in the room facing each other, Daja's hands in Ben's.
"You've made me soo happy, it's impossible to believe I could be with someone so perfect, that I could have a second chance."
"Ben, you are an amazing man, more than I had ever hoped for, I must have some kind of zokin for Koma and Oti to award me such a gift as you." Daja responded shyly, punctuating it with a kiss to Ben's cheek.
They stared into each other's eyes for at least a full meditation, drunk with affection.
"I guess I should let you get some rest." Ben said awkwardly, moving towards the door.
"No, don't go yet." She pleaded gently, she suddenly had this intense fear that something awful would happen if Ben left.
Ben smiled at Daja indulgently as she led him to sit next to her on the bed.
Daja made the first move, pressing her lips to Ben's in an urgent kiss, straining to reach him. He was so much larger than her that she almost had to climb into his lap to reach his face, Ben responded to the kiss without hesitation and his hands quickly went to the task of sliding Daja's over robe off her shoulders.
Daja's mind was a blur in ecstasy, everything was moving so fast. There were no coherent thoughts, just feelings; like the feeling of velvet smoothness between her lips, in her mouth, so good she could almost taste the flavor of passion. Or the way Ben felt so solid under her . . . under her? She must have climbed into Ben's lap, when did that happen? oh, and the way his finger tips were caressing the skin from her shoulder to her nape. Wait, wasn't she wearing something over her shoulders? No time to think about that now, what was Ben's tongue doing to her's now, and she really needed to get closer to Ben, to feel the more of his weight and solidity against the force of her powerful body.
Daja had become an animal of pleasure in Ben's arms, so the one who still had a modicum of sanity had to level his head.
Ben took Daja's face in his hands and gently pulled her away from him.
Ben said, trying to sober her. Daja's face was currently the picture of bewilderment, er mouth was hanging half open, lips red and swollen, her face flushed to the color of her dress, and her eyes were heavy-lidded. She was deep in it this time, this was nothing like the days of her youth, her Winding Circle playmate who used to steal kisses between the forge and Discipline. This was a fiancÃ©, this was a lover, this was commitment, and Daja couldn't be happier. She looked into Ben's jewel eyes and smiled, freshly fallen in love, and dove toward his lips for another kiss. Luckily Ben kept a tight hold on Daja so that she couldn't distract him.
He looked into her eyes,
"Daja . . .," he started again, "Slow down, my darling, there is no need to be frenzied or offer yourself to me so soon. You have me, now and forever, body, mind, and soul. If you mean to do these things for my benefit, there is no need."
She smiled and tried to kiss him again.
"Daja, stop, we need to talk. I need to know that you are sure of what you're doing, that you won't regret it later."
Daja shook the dazed look from her face. She regarded Ben seriously, her face all business. That sent a shiver of excitement through Ben.
"I love you . . ." a quick kiss. That one made her quiver a little.
"I know what I'm doing . . ." another kiss.
"So don't worry." a third, just for good measure.
Daja looked at him sheepishly through her eyelashes. "Understand?"
Ben smiled a sweet, wistful smile at Daja and held her close, so tenderly, their bodies slowly melding together where they touched. Ben eased himself into the motions, slowly relaxing, he allowed Daja to undress him.
Under his clothes Ben's body was solid, his arms, chest, and legs were slightly muscular from his training and moonlighting as a firefighter, but the flesh over his muscles was soft, just a touch of vulnerability in some places that made him more real, more human. The softness betrayed his normal life, at a desk, in a fur factory, where the strength of a hero wasn't needed.
Her movements were a bit awkward and clumsy as she coerced Ben to lay back on the bed. She took to all fours, straddling Ben, and bowed her head to kiss him. Ben's fingers glided over her stomach, sides, and back, tickling her bare flesh, her dress had been discarded along with Ben's clothes. Daja's body tensed, bristled and jumped from Ben's caresses. Her body tingled all over with arousal. Heat and flame lapped at her nerves, the most intensity at her breasts, thighs, and crotch. Her lips reddened and her nipples puckered. Ben's body was slick and moist from the heat of Daja's body and her heat borrowed from the earth's core. Bennat slowly caressed her hips and thighs, letting her become comfortable with his touch before he moved to her entrance. Their movements were slow and awkward; slow, because they both wanted to savor it; awkward because Daja was learning it, feeling it for the first time and Ben was relearning it, the art of intimacy long forgotten in the wake of his wife's death. Ben entered her slowly, concerned for the pain of a first time. If Daja was in any pain she never showed it, the mage gasped and moaned exquisitely , washing Ben's face with kisses after the initial sensation faded.
Ben began to move in her, keeping the pace calm until they neared orgasm, when Daja began pumping herself furiously on him. It became fast and desperate, passionate and unbearably hot. Up and down, in and out, together and insane, heaven and /pijule fakol/, evil and immaculate, until it was enough. And the bud of flame blossomed and flourished and shone and died all in an instant that could never be captured, never relived perfectly in the same way. They were spasming and climaxing in each others arms, and then the flame faded away, leaving them with only a happy memory that would give them pleasant dreams. They pulled apart and then came back together softly and tenderly like molten metal, collapsing and blending, becoming better and stronger. And Daja fell asleep in Ben's strong arms.
She woke the next morning clothed in a plain shift, hot and perspiring in a tangle of bedclothes. There was no Ben, the sun streamed through her window. This was not Namorn, this was Emelan, her bedroom at Discipline in Winding Circle.
She remembered flashes of her wondrous dream and wept.
A/N. Thanks for reading the story, I got inspired after reading The Circle Opens quartet. I just fell in love with Daja and Ben, there was enough gossip about them and that awkward measuring situation that it might as well have just happened. This was a short departure from my fruitsbasket fanfiction. My first real (posted) lemon, so it might be a little stiff or rushed. I might be persuaded to continue this fic, either as a DajaxKethlun or DajaxSandry (i loves me femmeslash). Please review.