Chapter 36.

Giles did not look back as they passed though the doors into the soft light of dawn. He placed an arm over Ryan's shoulder. "What do you think will become of the complex? It would be a shame to have it go down the tubes." Ryan asked. "I mean a role play gaming complex is a good idea…"

"I'll look into it." Giles promised as they neared Ryan's car. He took Anne's hands in his own and kissed her cheek. "Meeting next week, my place. Ryan take care." He turned to Sarah, raised her hand and brought it to his lips. "Thank you for a most interesting evening. I'll see you at the meeting."

Sarah nodded. "I look forward to it, Giles. Good night,..er good day…oh whatever." She laughed as she seated herself in the back seat of Ryan's car.

Ryan gunned the engine. "Wow." He said as he pulled out of the parking lot. "Now that was an adventure."

Anne turned in her seat and looked back at Sarah. "And it's something we can't tell anyone about, right?"

"Who would believe it?" Sarah asked quietly. "I mean you could say something and get laughed at or put into a nut house."

"Your King is quite a man." Ryan said with a smile. "I really rather like him."

Sarah smiled. "Me too…"

Ryan pulled over to the curb in front of the Williams house. He stepped out from the drivers seat and came around the car to open the door for Sarah who was kissing Anne good bye. Ryan offered her his arm, and escorted her to the door. "Sarah, before you go in…I want to say something."

Honest emerald green eyes gazed into his dark eyes. "Yes, Ryan?"

"I'm very glad you consented to be part of the team, and not just because I wanted to win." He leaned back, hand on his sword hilt. "I have not always done justice to our friendship…I hope to do better in the future."

Sarah leaned forward and kissed her friend's cheek. "I value you and Anne both Ryan. I'll see you at school on Monday."

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Jareth was lounging in his throne, a cockeyed smile on his lips. He tapped his boot with his riding crop, keeping time to a tune he was humming as the Goblins danced merrily around the throne room. He stretched back, thinking of all the things that had happened. So deep in his thoughts was he that he had not noticed the Bard.

"You didn't mark her." Cairbre stated quietly. "Why was that?"

Jareth rolled his head in the direction of the voice. "Wrong timing."

Cairbre looked at Jareth; "You seem…different. More composed, no make that serene. What has brought about this change in you, boy?"

Jareth smoothed his gloves over his hands. "I don't see any change in me, Bard… Must be your vivid imagination."

"You had a good time." Cairbre snickered. "Playing games in the mortal world."

Jareth jumped to his feet. "I had a very good time!" He began to dance around the throne room with the Goblins. "So good that I need to dance!"

Cairbre watched for a moment, and muttered. "Ah to be young."

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Sarah had come quietly into the house. She crept up the stairs and went to Toby's room to check on him before going to her room. He was laying in the bed, having kicked off his blanket and tossed the bear out of the bed. Sarah picked up the bear, tucked it up under her brother's arm and pulled the blanket over him. Blowing a kiss, she walked quietly down the hall to her room. She slept all day Saturday and most of Sunday. She didn't dream, she just slept. When she awoke, Karen was tapping at her door. "Sarah, would you like some soup or something."

Sarah sat up in her bed, "Yes, please." She answered politely. "Thank you, Karen."

Her Stepmother brought a tray up to her. "Did you have a nice time?"

"It was fantastic." Sarah sipped her soup. "Good soup, Karen."

"Did you meet anyone interesting while you were there?" Karen asked quietly.

Sarah put her spoon down. "Well, I actually was sort of reacquainted with someone I'd met before."

"Oh…" Karen's eyes lit up. "Is he nice?"

"Sometimes." Sarah nodded.

Karen looked at her turning her head a bit; "Will we be seeing this young man?"

"He's a little bit older than I am." Sarah thought her answer out carefully. "He comes and goes….he's very busy. He's not in high school."

"Older is not always a bad thing," Karen started toward the door. "Your father is a bit older than I am. Think about it, Sarah."

Sarah smiled as her stepmother went into the hall. "I don't think Daddy is a couple of centuries older." She giggled.

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Sarah waved to Ryan and Anne as she stepped from her father's car on Monday morning. "Hi!" Quickly she turned to her father. "Thanks for the ride, Daddy. I'll see you tonight."

Ryan was the first to reach her, "All rested?

"I slept most of Saturday, what about you two?"

"I was so wired," Anne laughed. "I just spent a lot of time reading the scrolls."

Ryan laughed, "I slept like a rock." He walked a bit taller. "You should have seen my brother's face when he saw the shield. Nothing he or my dad could say could take away from the fact that I'm now a King's Paladin."

Sarah smiled. "I'm glad." She looked at Anne with a knowing smile.

Ryan went on, "Talked to Giles yesterday, seems the complex is going to be closed for renovations." He opened the door for the girls. "He seems to think someone is going to run it while Robin is..er.. away." He pointed toward the gym. "See you girls later."

Anne watched him go down the hall. "Does he seem…taller?"

"Yes, he does." Sarah smiled happily. "Come on Anne, time for class."

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Mr. Woodland smiled as the trio entered his class, "Nice weekend, all?" Ryan and Anne nodded. Sarah didn't say much as she headed for her desk. Mr. Woodland handed out the assignments. He winked at Sarah as he did. "Today we begin reading Midsummer's Night Dream, people. You are going to like this one." He placed a hand on Sarah's shoulder. "Pass the rest of these out would you, Miss Williams?"

Sarah looked at him, "Sure."

When the class ended Mr. Woodland watched them leave and smiled a quiet knowing smile.

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The hours turned into days, days into weeks and the weeks became a month. Giles held three meetings in that time, announcing the reopening of the Complex under new management. The new management offered the club a free night of gaming over the Thanksgiving weekend. Giles took reservations, the first three he took were from the Triad.

On the Friday evening following Thanksgiving, Sarah was dressed for the evening of LARPing. Ryan and Anne picked her up on their way to the Complex. Karen had whispered a hope to Sarah that her 'friend' might be there. Sarah saw Giles waiting outside the complex for them. She waved happily at him. "Look, there's Giles now."

Anne and Sarah greeted the Archer with a friendly hug. Ryan slapped his arm to the other man's. They were standing there speaking as a roaring motor cycle came speeding up the lot. One of the other girls from the club said. "Will you look at that hunk?"

The rider of the cycle was in tight black leather. He pulled the screaming bike to a halt, removed his helmet and shook his wild hair loose. Mismatched eyes scanned the crowd. Spotting Sarah he leapt from the bike, and moved like a cat toward her. "Hello, Baby."

"Hello yourself, Fancy pants." She held a hand out to him. "I'm surprised you're here. I would have thought this too tame for you now that Robin is out of the way." She teased.

Jareth pulled her into his arms for a friendly hug. "I would have said the same of you."

Giles cleared his throat. "Sire, nice to have you join us."

"Jareth." Ryan offered him his arm.

Jareth smiled with teeth gleaming. "I'm glad you're all here. Your King has a quest for you."

Giles and Ryan snapped into character. "Aye, Sire?" they said in unison.

Jareth slid his hand to Sarah's waist, clearly not intending to let go of her. "We've a problem back in the Kingdom, and I could use my Paladin, my Archer and my Scribe's aid."

"What am I? Chopped liver?" Sarah quipped.

"You're the floor show." The King teased back, then looked at his aides. "So care to go a questing?" He held out his left fist in front of them. Sarah placed hers on first, then Anne, then Ryan and lastly Giles. "Good, let's go….oh and by the by, Ryan…you can ride a dragon…can't you?"

As they vanished, a young male voice yelped out. "A What?"

An older voice said quietly. "The world is doomed, utterly doomed."

Two girls giggled.

Not the End…

Just

A

Beginning.