Rated T for angst
Will is injured when on a routine mission, will he survive?
Will lay on the damp ground, all his senses seemed to have gone into overdrive.
He felt the soft damp ground beneath his back,
The smell of slowly decaying wood and leaves filled his nose,
The soft muted colours of the trees around him, the golden sun filtering through the branches,
Warm on his pale face,
And the agonizing pain roaring in his chest.
He closed his eyes, the pain was to much, all he wanted to do was sleep...
Halt stood by the cabin door an anxious frown creasing his forehead, Will should have been here hours ago, he shouldn't be late. He shot another quick glance at the sun. Noon, he was due to come before that.
'Where is he?'
Halt turned to look at Alyss who was stood next to him a anxious expression on her face.
'I don't know,' he responded trying to keep the worry from his voice.
'He'll be fine,' she said trying to sound confident, but her eyes told a different story.
Halt draped a reassuring arm around her shoulders, 'He will be fine,' he echoed but firmly, 'Will should turn up soon with the whole band of those robbers trussed up like chickens, don't you worry.'
Alyss tried to smile, but it came out slightly wobbly, she gently rested a hand on her swollen belly and Halt frowned, 'Go sit down,' he said gruffly, 'And try not to worry, it can't be doing your baby any good.'
Alyss gave a faint smile and slowly walked back into the cabin.
Of course he would be fine.
That was all Will could see.
Slowly he forced open his eyes, they seemed so heavy.
Will moaned as a wave of pain rushed over him as he gradually drifted back to full consciousness.
What had happened?
He glanced down at his chest.
Red with blood...
Will swallowed, aware of the rasping dryness of his throat.
Memories came flooding back, jumbled in his mind.
A knife flashing down towards him then pain and...nothing.
He closed his eyes, the darkness waiting to swallow him,
Will smiled, it would be nice just to lie here and sleep.
His eyes flew open.
He couldn't lie here, he had to get up, get back, get help,
Will dragged himself to his knees, moaning as waves of pain washed over his body,
'Tug,' he gasped, 'Where are you?'
Halt snapped, he couldn't wait any longer, Will hadn't come yet and time was dragging on, he said he should have been here long before now.
'Alyss,' he called into the cabin.
'Yes,' she responded coming to the door, her face drawn and pale.
'I'm going to see where Will is,' he said trying to smile reassuringly, 'Now, you stay here.'
Alyss opened her mouth to say something but was cut off by a new and familiar voice.
Horace came walking over to the cabin out of the trees that surrounded the small house, Kicker trotting loyally behind him; he noted the worried expressions on both his friends faces, 'What is it?' he asked his cheerful expression disappearing and becoming replaced with a serious one.
'Is Will at Redmont?' asked Alyss her eyes wide with anxiety.
'No,' he replied his expression starting to mirror those of the two people in front of him, 'I haven't seen him since he left to chase down that band of robbers.
Alyss swallowed and turned to Halt, 'I might just be overreacting,' she began, 'But...'
Halt nodded a frown on his face, 'I know.' The grizzled Ranger turned to Horace, 'I'm going to look for him.'
Horace nodded, his face echoing the worry of those gathered in the clearing, 'If you're not back in an hour I'm coming after you,' he said firmly.
Halt nodded once more before quickly swinging up onto Abelard and cantering out of the clearing. Alyss sat down on the steps of the veranda her eyes wide with fear, the tall warrior turned to her and sank down into a sitting position next to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders, 'Everything will be fine,' he whispered.
Tug gently carried his master down the forest track. He knew something was wrong and that Will needed help, help that only humans could give him.Tug gently carried his master down the forest track. He knew something was wrong and that Will needed help, help that only humans could give him.
The pony's ears twitched as the young man on his back let out a small groan and stirring a little before becoming silent once more.
If a horse could have frowned worriedly, Tug would have.
The shaggy pony sped up slightly, the sooner he got Will to safety the better.
Halt urged Abelard onwards worry etched in the craggy lines on his face.
He tried to keep any unpleasant thoughts of what might have happened to Will from his mind, but he couldn't help it...
Halt jumped slightly as Abelard let out a welcoming whinny, the sort of whinny his horse gave to other Ranger's horses.
The Ranger slowed his horse down to a trot, looking around for the other horse, suddenly he heard the dull thud of a horses hooves on the ground. A familiar shaggy pony came trotting round the trees.
A figure slumped on his back.
Halt swallowed hard, his heart leaping into his throat.
Horace and Alyss both looked up sharply as a person mounted on a horse galloped into the clearing. Horace stood up and went to meet him, recognising the man as a member of Baron Arald's team of messengers.
Alyss watched anxiously as the two men conversed; as the messenger tugged on his horse's reins and galloped back off she rose to her feet as Horace slowly turned to face her. His face was a pale white.
Alyss swallowed, placing a hand on her swollen belly, 'What is it?' she whispered huskily.
Will groaned as he slowly drifted back into consciousness,
He could feel hands, gentle hands pressing something over his wound.
Will could hear voices, but they were an indecipherable babble, body and mind seemed to exhausted to even try and decipher the words.
But one voice which kept on repeating itself was clear.
The Ranger opened his eyes a little, wincing at the light, a familiar, craggy face hovered over him, Halt's face was creased with lines of worry.
"Will, can you hear me?'
Will's mouth could barely form the words, it took to much out of him.
Another voice joined the first, a familiar low voice, but shot through with pain. Will forced his eyes open to see his wife.
Alyss stood sat at the side of his bed, her eyes wide and anxious, a single tear slipped out of her eye and trickled down her cheek.
She gently clasped her husband's hands in hers.
"Alyss,' whispered Will
She leaned forward, stroking his pale forehead.
With what felt like the greatest effort in his life Will reached out and placed a hand on her cheek, 'Take care of our child for me,' he gasped.
Another tear joined the first on Alyss' cheek, 'Don't speak like that,' she said her voice wobbling, 'You're going to live, you have to.'
Will let out a shuddering sigh and his eyes started to drift closed again.
Halt joined Alyss, taking Will's other hand, 'Your wife is right Will,' said the Ranger firmly, 'You will live,' Halt's hand squeezed Will's, 'Promise.'
Will stared at him out of partly-closed eyes then breathed, 'Yes,' and knew no more.
Four years later...
Alyss stood on the edge of the river, holding hands with a young boy who stood at her side sucking his thumb.
The diplomat smiled at him, gently running her other hand through his tousled brown hair.
He turned to look up at her with bright, brown eyes, 'Mummy?'
'Can I become a Ranger someday?'
Alyss smiled slightly, 'If that is what you want and you are chosen for then yes.' Will smiled contentedly, resting his head against his mother's leg.
Alyss turned to Will's twin sister and smiled at her, 'Yes Evanlyn?'
'Can I be a Ranger too?'
The woman laughed, 'If that is what you want then of course.'
Both children looked up suddenly as the sound of hooves pounding off grassy turf sounded behind them.
A man on a scruffy pony, with tousled brown hair and cheeky dark eyes, a boyish grin on his face rode towards them.
Will charged towards his father as he dismounted Tug and swept his child up into his arms, 'How's my little Ranger today then?' asked Will with a smile.
'I sneaked up on Evanlyn,' he whispered conspiratly to his father.
Evanlyn ran up behind Will squealing indignantly, 'I snuck up on him first!'
Will laughed and pulled Evanlyn up into a hug, dropping a kiss onto her ash blonde hair.
He looked up, his expression softening as Alyss walked over to him, the Ranger gently placed his children down on the ground and pulled his wife into an embrace, 'And how's the bump today then?'
Alyss placed a hand on her rounded belly, 'Kicking,' she said with a smile.
Will laughed and kissed her on the lips, 'He'll be a fighter that one...' he looked contentedly at his family, something that he had almost lost.
He would never come that close to loosing them again.