Disclaimer: I do not own Ranger's Apprentice

A/N: This will be my last chapter. I'm so happy it's over.


Will stretched slowly feeling the scar tingle across his back. It had been nearly a year, but the star shaped scar still ached in the cold morning air. Everything was finally getting back to normal. Halt and Will had finally finished building their new home and to Will's disappointment Halt had celebrated by immediately picking up the intense routine of training and chores. Will had come to the conclusion that this was more to keep Halt from pining for the castle and it's inhabitants (especially a certain Lady Pauline), than to actually increase the stamina of his apprentice. After a year Will was almost at 100% but he still had his bad days.

"Will!" Halt's voice called from the house and he jogged down the small hill towards the cabin, marveling at how the new coat of white paint blended into the fresh snow.

He walked into the ante room, not bothering to hang his cloak- he knew that Halt would be sending him out again soon.

"Yes, Halt." He said as he entered the room, "Did you need something?"

"You have the day off."

Will blinked, "Excuse me?"

"Take the day off. You've worked hard these last few weeks and I think we both need a break from chores."

"Are... you feeling alright?"

"Yes." Halt said, "Now I don't know if you've noticed but there is snow on the ground which means that sooner or later Christmas will be here."

"Yes. I've noticed that that happens. What's this all about?"

"Well Crowley's been saying that if I don't use some more of my allotted budget he's going to come up here and force me to have fun. And we can't have that." Halt stared deeply into fire, more to hide the smile that was playing at the corners of his mouth than anything else.

Will was wondering what was going on.

"Anyway," Halt said turning to face Will. He threw a jingling bag toward Will who barely caught it before it hit his face, "Here's some of that budget. I've talked to Rodney and he's letting Horace off for the day as well. Go out and buy something for those girls that you are sweet on."

Will felt his face burn like fire. "Sir I-"

"There is no arguing. Girls are frivolous creatures. Now try to find something that is not too tacky."

"I... I...thank-"

"Will there is no need to thank me. It's Crowley's money. Now go before I change my mind."

Will backed up slowly, clutching the small purse and wondering if he was dreaming.

"Well... I mean... alright..." He turned and opened the door. With a flash or inspiration that spread into a grin he said, "He Halt... would you like me to pick out something for Lady Pauline or;"

"GET OUT!" Halt yelled behind him and Will only made it out of the door before bursting out laughing.

"Well I didn't think he would ever leave." Gilan said stepping out of Will's new bedroom.

Halt sighed, "I think I may be too hard on him- he seemed genuinely surprised by kindness."

"I don't think it was the kindness, but the perceptiveness."

"Hmmm..." Halt said once again turning to the fire.

"Well I've been waiting all year to crack this out and I'm not going to wait much longer."

He pulled a flask out of his bag and got down two shot glasses from a hidden cabinet in the wall.

Will took his glass, downing a bit of the burning liquid.

"So explain to me again why you don't want Will to try alcohol here?"

"I don't want to risk it."

"But he's a young man, he's going to get it somewhere. Wouldn't it be better to be there the first time he gets drunk."

"It didn't work out too well for you." Halt said, remembering the horrible hangover he had after the first time he had introduced whiskey to his apprentice.

"Well. I actually have a confession. It wasn't my first time to drink. I had been to the tavern once or twice with a few guys from the battle school."

Halt stared at him, "So you drank all of that whiskey. You had me drink all of that whiskey, when you already knew how it would be?"

"Pretty much," Gilan said, downing his shot in one swallow.

"Humph" Halt downed his as well, "Anyway I don't think Will would be as irresponsible as you. Ever since last year he hasn't showed any interest in anything but food."

They were silent for a while, watching the crackling of the flames.

Gilan finally spoke "So... Lady Pauline?"

Halt's scream of fury could be heard all the way through the snowy woods.

Finished, Skoncil, Faerdig, Terminant, Terminee, Fertig, Fardiga, Finito, terminado- DONE!

I'm so glad that it's over. I've been procrastinating so much on this that it's a relief not to have to keep anyone waiting.

Well now that we're finished I would like to say a big special thank you to everyone who's read even one word that I've written. So THANK YOU!