This is my first Secret Country book and I just want to make one thing clear, I am a serious Fence/Laura and Ruth/Randolph shipper. This is the only story in which I actually ship. Yeah. This one-shot is about Ruth and Randolph. I haven't read The Whim Of The Dragon completely yet, but I have to write this. Hehe.

Ruth looked at Randolph across the table. Ever after they had returned after the war, Randolph had stopped looking at her. It was strange, he was supposed to die and there she was, wishing she had died. She had begun having dreams about black silky ruffled hair, and dark maroon lips.

She had grown. Several years ago, she wouldn't even have thought of such things, now, it was all that plagued her. Not only mentally, she had grown physically. Now, she definitely knew she didn't want to marry Ted/King Edward. She had grown a few inches and her flat chest had swilled. She was now a woman… Her hips had also filled out and she no longer looked like a stick in a robe, but a gorgeous sorceress in a robe. She had also been accepted back to the Green Caves, this time, really.

But this isn't what made a difference. Randolph did. He had started talking to her, not the normal short, sometimes violent conversations they usually had, but true conversations, about his childhood, his home, his parents, his dreams and desires. She, in turn had opened up too, but now she wanted to be more then friends, only, she wasn't sure if he felt the same…

The feast was soon over, and after bidding her good night Randolph left his new best friend to her room and sleep. He wondered what was wrong with her. She had been acting all moony and fuzzy. It wasn't like her. He decided to go to her room and check on her.

She was sitting on a stool in her room, staring at the moon when there was a knock on the door. "who is it?" she asked in her 'royal' haughty voice.

"It's me, Randolph." Randolph replied.

"Oh, come in." she said, dropping the fake accent.

Randolph walked in, dressed in his regular hose and tunic. "Sit." She invited him. "isn't the moon beautiful?" she asked, gazing into the sky. Randolph closed the door and accepted her invitation. He sat beside her.

"Ruth, are you alright?" he asked, his voice tainted with concern.

"yes, why do you ask?" she replied, focusing her attention on him.

"because you seem so distracted all the time lately and I don't think it's you…" he said, but his voice carried no emotion, he was gazing into her eyes, lost…

"I don't know, I have strange…" they were moving closer together, "desires" and she was around 10 cm away from him, eyes still locked, "and feelings…" her voice droned on, but it wasn't necessary, she was 5 cm away from him, "and I keep wanting…" they were so close that they were sharing air and Randolph's hands were no longer in his lap, but supporting his body as he leaned forward, "to do things…" She could smell his candle-wax and spice scent, "I know I shouldn't…" and she leaned forward into the kiss she was now sharing with Randolph.

She could swear that she tasted cinnamon, that damn spice that she hated so much, but it might not be that bad after all, she thought. She felt something warm around her waist and saw Randolph's hands there, pulling her closer. All through that kiss, they had been leaning together. Now, still staring into his eyes, she moved herself closer. Unfortunately, she misjudged distance and landed so close to Randolph that her entire body was pressed against his.

He just smiled in that charming way that he had smiled in their stories. But no, these weren't stories anymore. This was her real life. But this was neither the time nor place to think about such things. So as she stayed nestled against Randolph's chest string at the moon, holding his calloused hand that caressed his cheek, she enjoyed herself, and felt at peace, as if she was safe, for the first time in The Secret Country…