Disclaimer: For the last time, I regretfully inform you that I own nothing to do with Lord of the Rings, Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pirates of the Caribbean, or any of the other wonderful works of literature, television, and cinema that have made their way into this tale.
Sara stood at the end of the security line at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. The line stretched on forever and moved like molasses, and that was perfectly all right with her. London and adventure waited on the other end of that line, but she had some goodbyes to make first. And that was the tough part.
It had indeed been a perfect summer, filled with games and walks and movie nights, trips to the lake, mini-crises when They came to town, and always, always a feeling of love and of being loved. It was difficult to let go. Part of Sara never wanted the summer to end. Will she, nil she, August had come at last, and her friends began to slowly drift off on their separate ways.
Bernie had returned to her café two weeks ago, and Crenna left for Northwestern the week after that. To everyone's mild surprise, Elrohir and Elladan rented a place out in the country a half hour form her dorm and moved Pixie, Ink, and Shiva up there. Apparently, the area around Northwestern was riddled with orcs. Haldir and his brothers had said their goodbyes last night, promising to come visit around Michaelmas.
"It's been years since we did Shakespeare," Orophin had reflected, blue eyes dancing merrily.
"I think it's time for another revival of Hamlet," Haldir had added. He was still engaged to Bernice, and his brothers had even gotten accustomed to the idea.
"Nah. Not Hamlet," Rumil interjected. "Macbeth. You can get that dame of yours to play your Lady. She was born for the part."
Then again, perhaps acceptance was still quite a long way off.
As for the Winchesters, they had used Valerie's apartment as a crash pad all summer. The brothers would disappear for three days, a week, half a month, and then return to rest up, heal up, and get all the blood and other nasty gunk out of their clothing. Faith never came back, and Dean never mentioned her. Two days ago, San and Dean had taken off for upstate New York. Before they left, they stopped by to give Sara two bone-crushing hugs and Sam's Skype address.
Legolas had driven her to the airport and was circling the car around the terminals so her mother and brother could come in. That had been a painful farewell. The elf had embraced her and kissed her forehead, whispering a quiet "Navaer an si" with never so much as a term of endearment. They had learned to avoid those since the grand kidnapping debacle.
And so it had come down to her family and Finley. Sitting next to each other during Sky Captain had blossomed into one date, then two, then one every week. It took guts dating, what with all their friends looking on curiously and discussing the new relationship every time they left the room. If Bernie and Haldir could do it, however, then so could they. Now Finley was holding her hand, a new, rather pleasant habit that had developed in the last month.
"I'm going to miss you so much." Mrs. Gilley enveloped her daughter in a tight hug. Sara fought back tears. She really did love her mother, and it was going to be very difficult not talking to her. "John, hug your sister," Sara's mom ordered when they broke apart.
John did, awkwardly. "Too bad your cool friends won't hang around once you've gone," he mumbled.
"I wouldn't be so sure about that," Finley grinned.
The fifteen-year-old snorted. He still didn't get why someone cool like Finley would want to date his sister, but whatever. Just then, the security line suddenly started moving faster. In a minute, they would almost be up to the tape-separated lines.
"We'll see you for spring break, sweetie," Mrs. Gilley promised as she gave Sara another quick hug. "Come on, John. We'll wait for you at the car, Finley."
The girl watched them go, greatly appreciating her mother's tact, then turned to her boyfriend. Such a weird term, boyfriend. Even weirder when applied to Finley, in relation to herself. "Well?"
"Well." Finley lifted her carry-on bag and carried it easily as the line advanced forward.
Sara studied him as he moved. She liked Finley very much indeed, but they were not staying together while she was in England. He was twenty-seven; she was nineteen. As Bernie had reminded both of them forcefully and repeatedly, that was rather a large age difference, and they were still too young to be making any big decisions just yet. Sara's family was coming in March, and Legolas was considering flying to London for Christmas, but Finley had made no such plans. He had finally decided to sit down and write his dissertation, and that would be occupying the majority of his time. When she returned in June, they would see where things lay. If feeling and mutual attraction remained unchanged, they would pick up where they left off. If not, well, it had still been the perfect summer.
They talked about nothing in particular while the line moved, holding hands tightly to enjoy their last few moments together. Too soon, Sara was almost up to the security guard, and it was time for Finley to leave. He held her close for a moment, then kissed her gently – not on the forehead as Legolas had done, but right on the lips.
"You know what I thought, that first day when you and your Star Trek shirt wandered into the 'Cat?"
"What did you think?" Sara asked breathlessly.
"Here she comes, the quirky adventurer."
"Gospel truth." He kissed her again, and now it really was time to go. "Good luck and good-bye, my quirky adventurer."
She smiled back bravely. "TTFN."
"Ta ta for now," Finley finished. Squeezing her hand, he set the carry on at her feet, kissed her once more, and was gone.
"Next!" called the TSA agent.
Shouldering her bag, Sara stepped up to the desk.
"Passport and ticket, please."
"Here they are." She fished the identification out of her pocket and passed them over.
The TSA agent checked them carefully before handing them back. "Proceed."
Sara proceeded to the baggage scanner, never once looking back. It had been an amazing summer, but summer was over. Challenges and university lay ahead in London. She would meet them with her head held high, with an international calling card and Skype and a tin of Bernie's toffee to see her through the rough patches. After all, Sara Anne Gilley was the quirky adventurer. Life might be tough sometimes, but it was always interesting. And that was just the way she wanted it.
A/N: Thank you so much for taking the time to read this story all the way through. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
Farewell until the next tale,