A/N: Ooh, angst! How exciting! :D

Disclaimer: I don't own Ranger's Apprentice or the song Vanilla Twilight.

Will sat on the porch of his cabin, staring up at the stars – cold, otherworldly watchers, who didn't give a fig about the people beneath them – and sighed. It was his first night back in Seacliff, and he didn't like it one bit. Oh, it wasn't fact that he was in Seacliff that got to him – he was fine with that. It was the fact that he was so far away from Alyss, when it seemed like mere days since Keren broke his hold on her.

The stars lean down to kiss you
And I lie awake and miss you
Pour me a heavy dose of atmosphere
'Cause I'll doze off safe and soundly
But I'll miss your arms around me
I'd send a postcard to you, dear
'Cause I wish you were here

If only, he thought. If only Alyss had had more time to recover. If only he had gotten to her sooner. If only he hadn't taken so long to get up the tower. If only Keren hadn't had a chance to hypnotize her. If only it hadn't taken so long to prepare for the siege. If only, if only, if only...

I'll watch the night turn light blue
But it's not the same without you
Because it takes two to whisper quietly
The silence isn't so bad
'Til I look at my hands and feel sad
'Cause the spaces between my fingers
Are right where yours fit perfectly

He was never going to see her again. At least, that's what he thought in his current depressed state. He was never going to see her again, and she was going to forget him, and she would meet someone closer to Redmont, and she would...But no. No, that would never happen. Right? At the moment, he wasn't so sure. With surprise, he realized that his cheeks were wet. He waited for her voice to ask him what was wrong, but it never came. He stared through the curtain of tears at his hand. It looked so...empty. It looked empty because Alyss wasn't near enough to reach out and take it.

I'll find repose in new ways
Though I haven't slept in two days
'Cause cold nostalgia
Chills me to the bone
But drenched in vanilla twilight
I'll sit on the front porch all night
Waist-deep in thought because
When I think of you, I don't feel so alone

He was exhausted; he hadn't slept since he left Alyss and Horace on the trail – Alyss especially. The relative silence of the forest pressed on his ears, a tangible presence. Alyss was much too far away for his liking. In short, he was miserable. It hadn't been so bad on the trail, when he could glance over and see her sleeping form, or quiet his thoughts and hear her gentle breathing. He closed his eyes, still crying, and pictured her face. He imagined talking with her, laughing with her. Some time later, he realized that the pain of loneliness in his heart had lessened considerably.

I don't feel so alone

I don't feel so alone

How about that, Will thought. He smiled ever so slightly and leaned his head back, resting it on the back of his chair, still thinking about Alyss. Some small part of his brain told him to go inside and go to bed, but the larger part refused to do so – reluctant to break the spell of Alyss' remembered presence.

As many times as I blink
I'll think of you tonight

Will decided that if he did go inside, he would keep the vision of Alyss in the front of his mind no matter what.

I'll think of you tonight

Would he ever feel...well, alive? Maybe that was too strong a word, but in his current state of despair, it seemed appropriate. Whatever the word, he doubted it, unless he got transferred to Redmont or Alyss was moved to Seacliff. Both were about as likely as Skandians refusing ale.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
And I'll forget the world that I knew
But I swear I won't forget you
Oh, if my voice could reach
Back through the past
I'd whisper in your ear

As he climbed into bed that night, he murmured, as if Alyss could hear him,

"Oh darling, I wish you were here."

He fell asleep with tears on his cheeks.

A/N: Aww, poor Will! One of the very few sad endings I've ever written. Did I mess it up too badly? Tell me! Was it the most beautiful thing you've ever read? Tell me! Are you somewhere in between? Please, tell me! But if I totally screwed it up, please say as much nicely. :)

Just to clarify, this takes place before Will goes back to Redmont, and therefore before he gets Alyss' letter.