A/N: And it's up! Read, Read, READ!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the computer.
"No, you pinch right here, then bend their fingers back… Like that, there you've got it!" Briar leaned against the door frame watching as Sandry adjusted a young maid's hand. The maid was hesitant but flush with excitement as Sandry's grip broke from her wrist. The other girls clustered around gave a cheer and immediately paired up to try themselves.
Shaking his head Briar rubbed his own fingers, which were bruised and pinched from hours as a practice dummy. It had been three weeks since he and Sandry had said their tearful goodbyes to Kellen, Ben, and the other tavern workers (Sandry was sad to leave her friends, Briar's tears were for emptying his purse on damage repairs). With assurances that they would visit soon, the two made their way back to Emalen.
Sandry was a bit quiet on the return home, though not really out of sadness she had assured him. She was just unsure how she would fit back into the life of a lady. But Sandry, being Sandry, would not make the transition complete or permanent.
It was quite an emotional reunion when she and Briar finally reached Summersea (more tears to Briar's dismay). To Sandry's surprise, her uncle embraced her warmly, and, furthering her shock, she found her shoulder suspiciously damp when he released her. Lark on the other hand, had no qualms about showing her emotions. She clung to Sandry for a good five minutes, sobbing and smoothing her hair and clucking after her like a mother hen till Rosethorn managed to pull her away with a nod of welcome to Sandry.
Finally, Sandry had looked up at Tris and Daja, who had hung back a bit, faces emotionless. Bracing herself, she stepped up to them, not seeing Briar's easy smile. That was why she was completely caught off guard when two pairs of arms encircled her. Briar came up behind her, adding his own arms to the mix, and at last the gaping hole they all had felt was filled.
Sandry closed her eyes and smiled, silent tears streaming down her faces. She was home.
After a few days—in which the four were completely and totally inseperable—Sandry began to pick up her old life again. However, the Court would be disappointed. After two years of living as one of her people, Sandry had come back filled with a determination to change things. One project she had started in Summersea (and was hoping to expand to all Emalen cities) was self-defense classes for young women and girls. Briar was suspicious as to the inspiration to this idea, and was furious when she finally told him. However, his righteous fury was quenched when Sandry's newly acquired self-defense skills successfully prevented him from starting a mass man-hunt for her drunken attacker.
Sandry looked up from her student and saw Briar watching her. Her smile turned to a smirk as she beckoned him over to her. Briar shuddered, flexing his hands to enjoy his last moments of mobility.
See, Sandry had been perfectly pleasant to him since the day he—er—apologized to her. Because of this, Briar had been blissfully unaware of the fact that she still held a tiny grudge.
Unfortunately he'd had no idea what helping Sandry with the self-defense class would entail when he had agreed.
So every day, three bells after lunch, he stood in this room as he was pinched, poked, hit, and kicked. And that was a good day.
Of course, afterwards Sandry would always reward him, applying balm to the bruises and nicks on his hands and administering… attentions to him. Briar smiled. It made his beatings a little easier to bare, not to mention mended his pride a bit.
Briar wrapped his arms around Sandry's waist, drawing her towards him. Yes, they definitely made up for it.
His grin turned to a grimace as Sandry slammed her heel on his toe and jammed back his little finger.
The End (for real!!!)
A/N: Aww! I'm done. Again. Sorry it took way too long, again, but it has been a crazy spring, and I had a really hard time finding a way to wrap this thing up just right. But I love Sandry's payback for Briar, how about you? And I wanted Sandry to be a little changed from the experience. So let me know how I did!