M.P.O.: Reading the Ranger's Apprentice series and had, as usual, a plot bunny hop into existence and take up residence in my brain. I swear I come up with the weirdest crossovers, but hey, most of em are damn good when I get the kinks worked out... if I do say so myself. :) Then again, I think I might just leave that up to you guys. Please enjoy, and review!

Prologue: Life and Death

Green eyes narrowed in concentration, raw magic forming a small, crackling ball of white energy between his palms. Voldemort chuckled darkly, clearing his sword of blood with a quick swipe to the side.

"You think a little magic is going to stop me, Potter?" He shook his head, crimson eyes narrowing slightly at the defiance in Harry's posture. "Pity. I could have had so much fun with this. But alas, it grows dark and I do think I would like a spot of dinner soon. Goodbye Harry Potter." The Dark Lord gave a brief, maniacal grin, and darted forward, sword arching in from the side to deal a deadly blow. Harry yelled in fury, determined not to loose, and ran forward, his own blade forgotten as he ignored the weapon in favor of slamming the ball of raw magic directly into Voldemort's chest. A second later, white hot pain drove him to his knees as the sword sliced cleanly into his side, the thin blade slipping easily between his ribs and cutting open a lung like a hot knife through butter. He screamed, dropping to his knees, barely aware that Voldemort was writhing in agony, his skin bubbling like some of Snape's foulest potions, and steam issuing from his mouth and eyes.

Finally, with a last screech of pure fury and pain, Voldemort disintegrated, his bloodied robes dropping in a gooey pile. Harry, lying on his good side with both hands pressed to his wound, smiled faintly, summoning the energy to spit on said robes before closing his eyes and letting it all go.

Will yelled, jumping in front of Horace as the boar charged, his bow already swinging up with an arrow in place. A swift hiss as the arrow released, then a roar of pain as it struck, sticking in the mad animal's side. Unfortunately, the arrow hadn't gone deep enough to kill, and the enraged beast kept coming, bowling into the young boy with a scream of animalistic fury. Halt, seeing the failed shot, aimed, drew and shot, all in the space of two seconds. His arrow sung true, smacking into the soft spot at the base of the boar's neck and stopping its scream all in one smooth move. The animal dropped, twitching as it's nerves sent confused signals to a brain that no longer recognized them. The other hunters roared their approval, clapping each other on the back and celebrating the kill of two such huge beasts, while Halt swung down from Abelard and made his way to the dead beast, then stopped in shock.

Lying under the dead boar, his face pale and smeared with blood, was Will. The boy's breath was shallow and strained, his eyes closed, either in pain or unconsciousness Halt wasn't sure. Giving a shout of warning, Halt crouched, bracing his shoulder against the boar's side and shoving roughly. Realizing the situation, Baron Arald darted over, dropping his pike to help pull the small boy out from under the huge beast, shouting orders.

"Will..." Hart murmured, cradling the boy's head in his lap. One of the men, a healer, sent with them to help with any serious wounds gained during the hunt, crouched next to them, his face pale as he worked. Will's neck was bloody, his throat gored open by one of the boar's tusks. Luckily, the sharp horn had missed his jugular by centimeters, cutting instead through his skin and muscle, clipping his voice box and his windpipe. The healer worked as fast as he could, cleaning and then binding the wound as best as he could.

"We need to get back to the castle now." Halt growled, lifting his apprentice, cradling his head carefully so as not to shift the bandage around his neck too much. Already, the white fabric was staining red in small spots. Arald nodded, taking Will while Halt swung up onto Abelard's saddle, then handed the frail boy back to the gruff looking man. Halt nodded his thanks and without saying a word, touched his heels to the horses flanks. Abelard, snorting in worry, launched into a smooth gallop, tearing past the hunting party and heading for Castle Redmont, Will's own horse, Tug, following just as quickly. "Hold on Will..."

The infirmary was busy, healers running to and fro, calling orders and scuttling about like ants. In a corner, Halt sat quietly, hood drawn up to hide his face in shadow. Gray eyes darted around the room, watching, assessing each movement as the men and women worked to save the life of a small boy with no family name. He caught snatches of conversation, dread filling his heart with every new snippet of information.

'Damn...can't stop...still bleeding.' 'needs air...' 'heart racing...' Halt, normally stoic and unmoveable, even in the most dire of situations, allowed his head to fall, burying his face in his hands as he listened with mounting fear. Then, the worst possible words he could have ever heard. '...stopped breathing...'

Memories rushed at him, laughter, pain, blood, life, death, battle, magic. They ran through his mind in flashes of color and sound, making his head spin. Faintly, he heard frantic voices before another tidal wave of memory swept him away.

Halt started in surprise when Will arched off the bed, crackling blue energy surrounding his lithe form. The boy's eyes flew open, once brown irises a deep emerald green that glittered with pain and anguish. A golden glow surrounded his torn throat like a collar, muscle and skin melting back together seamlessly. Then, with a last crackle, the odd energy disappeared, green eyes fading back to brown, though there were still tiny flecks of emerald mixed in. He fell back against the bed, limp, but alive, and deep asleep. The healers were stunned. They didn't know what to think. Even Halt was standing, wide eyed, with his mouth open wide in shock at the scene. Then he snapped his jaw shut and glared.

"Is he alright?" One healer snapped out of his daze and sprang forward, examining Will intently.

"His vitals are great. The wound is gone... it looks like everything's fine." The man related, perplexed...

M.P.O.: Aren't I just the worst? Lol. Now, please review. Never done one like this before and I wanna see what you guys think before I start really getting into it. Do you WANT me to continue? Or do you think I should drop it here and now? Cuz otherwise it's going to consume my brain...