"No. Just leave," she murmured as the thought of Briar again entered her mind, "One night without a thought of him is all I ask."

But the night would not abide her plea. Again she awoke with him on her mind. She remembered the way he looked in her dream. Briar was tall and slightly muscular like his usual self, with curly dark brown hair, wild green eyes, and a naughty, self-confident grin. Tris herself was shorter at 5' 5" and was slimming down from her childhood stockiness. Her tightly braided strawberry-blonde hair was slightly unruly from her sleep as she sat up and felt around the cottage with her magic.
She could sense Daja and Sandry upstairs in their bedrooms, sound asleep. Briar was in his room, but Tris felt his steady green magic as he checked out the shakkan perched on his windowsill.

Briar? She mind-called to him, knowing he was awake.

What? Briar grumbled, unhappy at himself for waking in the middle of the night.

Are you awake? She inquired.

No, Tris. I'm asleep. Yes I'm awake! What did you think?

Grumpy. I was just making sure. Come visit me.

I'm not grumpy! Okay, maybe a little... Why do you want me to visit you?

Because we're both awake, smart one. I'll call in a breeze for us to play with.

Really? I'm there. Briar began to extricate himself from his tangled sheets at the promise of something to do. He hastily pulled on a pair of crumpled pants, abandoned by the side of his bed, and made his way to Tris's room. When he knocked quietly, Tris pulled open the door wearing only her lacy shift that she slept in along with a pair of her un-dyed cotton underwear. She saw Briar's eyes on her chest and bit her lip to keep from grinning.

"Briar?" she questioned.

"Yeah." He quickly answered, pulling his eyes up to meet her stormy gray ones, "I thought you said we could play with the wind."

"You're right. I did," Tris said as she walked over to the window, pulled up the jamb, and brought in a tendril of the cool wind from outside into the stifling cottage.

Even in the spring the weather at Winding Circle was hot, but during the summer the heat became unbearable. The breeze was welcome in the stuffy cottage. Briar and Tris sat under the window, backs to the wall to prop themselves up. After sitting in silence for a few minutes, Briar began to fidget.

"Even as a seventeen year old he still acts like he's ten," Tris thought to herself, but to Briar, Tris said, "Why can't you fall asleep?"

"I keep having nightmares," Briar admitted, "Remember when my friend got the spots?" Briar asked, "Well, I keep seeing her, lying on the cot in the hospital with the cracking spots all over her, and grinning like she was delirious. She was delirious..." Tris put and arm around Briar's broad shoulders and squeezed, sensing that silence was the best thing she could offer. Briar leaned his head back against the wall and Tris knew he was trying to hold back his tears while he was in front of her.

"I think I know a way to keep your mind off it, if you'd like," Tris offered. Eager to get his mind off his nightmares, Briar quickly accepted.

"Lay down on your back and don't move, no matter what." Tris surprised herself with what she was about to do, but figured that if she didn't do something now another chance wouldn't present itself for quite a while. As Briar lay down, Tris stood up and walked over to him.

"Close your eyes," She said, anxious, as he cocked an eyebrow then did as she had said. Tris stood over Briar and straddled his hips, sitting down on his flat stomach. She knew he was wondering about what she was doing, but she grabbed one of his hands and began to massage it softly with her thumb and knuckles anyway. As she put it down and was picking up the other, she leaned in and softly kissed Briar, bringing her lips to his. He began to sit up but Tris put a hand to his chest to keep him down.

"Sit still." She picked up his other hand and did the same thing, again leaning in to kiss him, this time he kissed her back, making her put more force behind her gentle kiss. After his hands she moved down to his feet, rubbing the insides of his ankles. She could tell he liked this by the way a blush slowly spread over his cheeks at the bulge in his pants. He sat up but this time Tris did not protest.

He flipped her so that he was on top of her now, and he leaned down and kissed Tris gently on her forehead, moving down to her neck to make a trail from there to her lips. When he reached under her shift she shivered, her nipples growing hard at his touch. He caressed her breast, first one then the other, making circles into the center of her breast where he softly pinched her nipple. When she whimpered softly he knew she was enjoying herself. He was getting more excited by the minute.

He leaned in again to kiss her, wondering how she had never known he liked her so much. This time, Tris felt Briar's tongue at her lips, and she parted them to let him explore the inside of her mouth. When he drew away, she lightly bit his bottom lip, grazing it with her teeth. By now, it was impossible for her to ignore the tight lump she felt through the thin fabric of the shift on her stomach.

"Briar..." she said questioningly, working her way out from under him. She felt down into his pants where he was ready for her, and grabbed a hold of his hardness. She felt him shudder and knew that she was doing the right thing. She ran her finger along the bottom of him, then took her thumb and swirled it around the tip. He groaned, trying to stifle the sound in her shoulder so that the rest of the cottage's residents wouldn't hear them.

When she started to slowly rub up and down his length her shuddered and moaned again, and let his mouth drift to her neck where he softly nuzzled her. When she began to twist her hand around him, slowly then with more force, he cried out from the pleasure and had to bite his fist to stop himself from making any noise. He again bent down to kiss her and she tilted her head up to him. They exchanged another, more passionate, needy kiss. She knew what he wanted and when he lay down on top of her and began to lift up her dress, her thoughts were confirmed.

"No, Briar," she managed through the jolt she felt when his calloused, warm hand touched her bare skin and began to reach down to her opening. He looked at her with a question. "Not yet. Later, I promise. Maybe in a few days."

She saw the disappointment in his eyes, but wouldn't change her mind. She sat up, pushed her shift back down around her legs, and pulled him up with her when she stood. She walked over and lay down in her bed.

"Night," She said, but when he bent down to kiss her again and began to climb into bed with her, she didn't complain. With his warm body at her back and his arm, tight around her to hold them together, she quickly fell asleep.