A/N: Written for PoeticNonsenseNinjaStyle's request: pgs. 42-43 in WotE. I hope you like it and that I didn't disappoint!

Disclaimer: Tamora Pierce owns all rights, I just borrowed a few lines of dialogue.

"Things change…We sail with them. We sail before the wind. We become adults. As adults, we keep our minds and our secrets hidden, and our wounds. It's safer." -Daja, pg. 28, Will of the Empress

Everything was different now.

Four years ago, when Sandry had watched her foster brother and sisters embark on their journeys to lands she could only dream of seeing, she had plastered a smile on her face. "Go," she had told them. "Don't worry about me."

And they didn't.

Oh, Sandry didn't doubt they missed her. But they had their travels to attend to, their students, their studies…

And Sandry was at home, bound to the Duke's Citadel.

Not that she minded. Anything to keep her uncle from having another heart attack.

But sometimes, she would sit and stare at the blue, blue sky and wonder what her foster family was doing.

She missed them terribly.

They'll be back, she told herself. They'll be back and it'll be the same as before. We'll be happy. Whole. Together.

But everything had changed.

Sandry had been so lost in her fantasies that she didn't once consider that maybe Briar and Tris and even Daja wouldn't want her back in their minds.

That hurt.

Oh, they had seen things. She could only imagine what. But if she couldn't help with the pain, then who could?

Daja didn't expect to be unable to stay in her own home. What used to be her home, she corrected herself uneasily. She wasn't a child anymore, and though she
knew she would always be welcome at Discipline, Daja couldn't stay.

So she did what Frostpine had suggested, and found a house she liked well enough, with a smith's forge and enough room for the four of them (if Sandry ever decided to leave Duke's Citadel).

But it wasn't home.

Tris thought her situation was ironic. She was conceivably the most powerful out of her foster brother and sisters (not that she was happy about it), and she was the poorest.

When you were a weather witch, there was only one way to make good money. And Tris simply refused to kill somebody.

Sometimes it was tempting. The offer of riches, her own anger, the power swirling inside her… but in the end, she always fought it, always held it in.

She would not become a monster.

Briar refused to believe he was broken beyond repair. Broken meant the Yanjing emperor had won, and that was something that he just couldn't accept.

He was fine. He would be fine. The nightmares are nothing, he told himself.

He even disregarded Rosethorn's advice. There was no way he was going to see a soul-healer, and there was absolutely no way he was going to let the girls back into his mind. Especially Sandry.

He wasn't sure if he was protecting them or himself.

Sandry wasn't sure why she was so angry. Sure, Briar, Tris, and Daja were going to Namorn with her, but…

Maybe it was because her uncle had achieved what she could not.

Anger needed a release. And when Briar started provoking her, she snapped.

She glared at his retreating back, debating on whether to follow him or not. As her feet moved forward, almost unconsciously, she realized that she wanted to fight with him. Let him know how I feel, she growled.

Maybe if their connection was open, Briar would have noticed her standing at the doorway, watching him soothe his shakaans. Thinking about their closed-off connection only made Sandry angrier, as did Briar's next words: "And she won't take you anywhere anytime soon."

Well, then.

"Then why agree to come, if you didn't want to?" she demanded.

Briar didn't meet her eyes. Oh, this is going to be good, she thought.

"Because His Grace asked me to."

Sandry wasn't sure whether she wanted to scream or cry. So being together again wasn't good enough for him. The world was a whirlwind of red haze, burning fury.

She wasn't good enough for him.

"So if my uncle asked you to reopen our old connection, you'd do it for him, but not for us."

And when he finally turned to look at her, she knew she had finally gotten under his skin. Oh, was he angry now. She could see it in those green eyes of his, darkened with rage and a tinge of regret.

"Why does it always have to be so witless personal with you?"

"Personal?" She stepped closer, until their faces were only inches apart. Rising up on her toes, she could feel his hot, angry breath on her face.

She wasn't sure whether she wanted to kiss him or slap him.

The sudden flash of confusion in his eyes told her that he wondered the same.

Shaking off her silly "childishness," she shoved him back and stormed away.

Briar stared after her, feeling as if he had just been hit by a tornado.

Surprisingly, he felt good. The fight had cleared up the tension between them, and he knew that she wouldn't stay angry for long. Besides, it was good to see that Sandry was still stubborn, headstrong Sandry.

Some things never changed.