(A/N) : Ok, so my mom and I went Christmas shopping the other day, and I found The Will of the Empress at one of the stores. I, of course, bought it, my mom took it and said that it was going to be a Christmas present, so I can't read it until Christmas! AHHHH! Now time is going to go soooo slow, and I know I still have like 5 other books that I need to read before that one, but I still want the book NOW. LOL. Thanks for letting me rant like that. Just for that, I'm going to give you the long-awaited Sandry/Briar moment of truth. (I don't suppose that Sandry and Briar end up together in TWE, do they? NO… don't tell me anything about it… I don't want to know until I read it. I seriously doubt it will happen, but I can dream, can't I?) Well, here you go…

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Chapter 6: No Longer Friends

Sandry couldn't put up with the noblemen in that ballroom any longer and decided she just had to get away as soon as she had the chance. Finally there was a break in the music so that the band could rest. Sandry crept behind a nearby statue and wove a spell of invisibility around her and quietly left the ballroom. She walked to her room in the main building of the citadel and changed from her elegant ball gown into a simple cotton dress; she could only stand to wear those outfits for so long. She then left the citadel entirely and stole her horse out of the stables. Quickly and carefully, she saddled her horse and rode out through the front gate, making it invisible before she reached where the guards stood watch.

Briar was looking out a front window when he saw a glow moving toward the front gate. He recognized the glow as Sandry's magic. Sandry? He asked through their magical bond, Where are you going?

Briar felt surprise coming from Sandry before she answered, To Discipline With that she cut off the bond. Briar immediately left the ballroom, unnoticed, and went to the stables to follow Sandry.

Briar looked around the cottage before it became apparent that Sandry, after tying her horse up on the front fence, had gone straight to the roof. Briar took off the cloak that Sandry had made for him in the attic and climbed up on the roof.

"I should've known you would follow me," Sandry said without turning around.

Briar came to sit beside her. "Why did you leave? You looked like you were enjoying yourself."

Sandry continued to stare at the dark sky and scoffed. "I couldn't stand those nobles any longer. All they know how to talk about is their money and their properties."

Briar stared at her. In the moonlight, she looked unearthly beautiful, even dressed in such a simple outfit. She had said 'nobles' like the word made her ill. He shook his head and lay back, arms behind his head. Maybe I was just hearing things. They sat in silence for a long while, both just gazing up at the flickering stars. Finally Briar spoke, "What happened, exactly, while we were gone?"

Sandry's gaze faltered and she looked down. She was silent for a moment longer. Sighing, she told him everything that had happened, not leaving out a single detail. By the end of her tale she was crying and Briar sat up again. He pulled her into his arms and let her cry. He hated to see Sandry crying, but he knew, knowing Sandry, that she had not allowed herself to cry at all during that time, and he thought she just needed to cry for a while. When Sandry stopped crying, it was an hour later, and almost midnight. "I'm sorry. I didn't expect to break down like that," she said, wiping her eyes and nose on her handkerchief.

"It's ok," Briar said gently, his arms still around Sandry. He brushed her hair away from her face so he could see her eyes. "It's alright to cry sometimes. No one will think any less of you."

Sandry gave him a watery smile. "Thank you."

"For what?"

Sandry hugged him. "For being here, for being you."

Briar hugged her back, loving how she felt in his arms. He pulled back to look at her more closely. Her eyes were red from crying, but she still looked as beautiful as ever. He looked into her eyes for a moment before his gaze slid down to her mouth. He looked up at her again to see her watching him, her eyes twinkling. That was all he needed. He closed the space between them and touched his lips to hers. Sandry wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, deepening the kiss. Briar ran his tongue along her bottom lip, asking permission to enter, and she opened her mouth for him. He pulled her closer and broke the kiss.

"Wow." Sandry said, eyes still closed and lips slightly parted.

Briar, unable to speak for once in his life, just nodded and dropped his forehead to hers.

She opened her eyes, blue meeting grey-green, and asked, "So what does this mean?"

Briar swallowed hard. "I think I'm in love with you."

Sandry smiled and said, "Me too. I mean-" She was cut off by Briar kissing her again. Their first kiss was slow and exploratory, but this one was hard and passionate. Suddenly, a very loud noise made them both jump. "Boomstones?" Sandry asked, remembering the new weapons the pirates had used in their attack.

"No," Briar said, "they're called fireworks. Some mages somewhere modified some boomstones left from the pirate attack. I've never seen them before, but I've heard stories about them." Another loud crack sounded in the distance and was followed by a multicolored display of sparks in the sky. Briar moved so that his back was against the chimney, and so that he could see the show better, and pulled Sandry in front of him, wrapping his arms around her tightly, nuzzling her neck. Sandry and Briar no longer thought of each other as just friends or foster-siblings; they knew now that they were in love.

(A/N): So… So..? So? How was it? I changed it A LOT from the original, and it is most definitely better, which I guess doesn't say much about what I had written in the first place. LOL. Please review! I REALLY want to know what you thought about this chapter.