Disclaimer: I do not own Ranger's Apprentice.

Book 7 spoilers.


It has been said that a watched pot never boils. Halt was proving that theory wrong… unless, of course, watching was considered different from glaring, in which case it should be known that a pot which Halt glares at does, in fact, boil.

Halt glared at the coffee, willing it to be done faster.

"More coffee, dear? This is your third pot today. I thought we agreed it would be healthier for you to cut back?" Lady Pauline inquired as she watched her husband. He looked less human and more of a sculpture. He stood, completely immobile, glaring at the coffee.

Halt shot an apologetic look towards his wife, then his eyes quickly darted back to the coffee. "I realize that, dear, but for some reason I am so tired today. I can't stop ya-ya-yaaaaaawning today." Halt tried to contain his yawn, but failed.

Lady Pauline gracefully hid her yawn. It was an art that she spent a whole day on with her apprentices. She found that when a single individual yawned, that yawn would travel through the rest of the crowd. Seeing as it was the responsibility of her students to be dignified, and represent people of importance wherever they went, it was important that they not yawn in the face of any dignitaries. Some cultures, specifically the Scandians, took that as an offence. "I don't know what to tell you, dear. Mayhaps you need more sleep."

Halt scoffed. "I have gotten five hours of sleep a night for the past twenty some years. It worked fine in the kings service, it should work fine in semi-retirement now." His eyes never left the coffee pot.

Lady Pauline sighed. Why did he have to be so difficult, "Then why don't you try a nice, lovely afternoon nap? I find that refreshes me for the evening."

"Nap? I don't need a nap. I'm not even all that tired. I would just like a nice cup of coffee." Halt yawned, providing evidence to the contrary.

"Halt, dear. I know you are great man, and I love you very much. With that in mind, realize I am being very honest and understand that when I say you are cranky and in need of sleep, I actually mean you are crabbier then a child kept up long after his bedtime with no nap during the day." Lady Pauline paused, enjoying the imagery in that sentence.

Halt grunted, still glaring at the coffee. Then, his face lit up in an uncharacteristic grin. He happily picked up the pot and poured the coffee into his waiting mug. "I understand what you are saying, darling, but in a few minutes, you will see that I'm just fine."

Lady Pauline opened her mouth to disagree, but paused at a knock on the door. She opened the door to find a figure similar to that of Halt. That meant it could only be one person. "Hello Will. What brings you here this fine afternoon?"

"My apologies for any interruption, Lady Pauline, but your presence is requested by Baron Arald and Lady Alyss."

"That is no problem Will. I believe Halt just finished a pot of coffee if you would…"

"I would love some coffee, Lady Pauline." Will grinned.

Lady Pauline sighed as she left the room. The way those two ingested coffee could not be healthy.

"Hello, Halt. Do you mind if I have some…"

"Yes." Halt interrupted, "but go ahead anyway. Never mind the amount of time and care it took for me to make the, make the, make theeeeeeeee…" Halt's sentence was interrupted by a large yawn.

"Not at all tired, are you Halt?" Will teased his mentor, "There is no need to YAWN." Will stressed the world, pulling it out to several syllables.

Halt yawned again, glaring at his past apprentice. "Will…"

"Wait Halt. I'm sure you are going to need to YAWN again."

Halt tried to hold in a yawn as it tried to escape his lungs. He didn't succeed, and his mouth was flung wide with the yawn. "Will…"

"It's astounding, Halt," the young man interrupted, "when you YAWN…"

Halt's mouth was thrown wide yet again. This time, however, he was ready. Under the cover of the yawn, his foot slipped up under the lip of Will's chair, and Halt pushed up, tipping his smirking, smart-mouthed apprentice over backwards. His lip twitched up at the look of surprise on Will's face as he tumbled backward; a twitch Will knew could be paired with hearty laughter in another man.

"Will. I will not tell you again. Stop using that word." Halt glared at the younger man.

Will could see the slight twinkle in one eye that indicated his mentor had not taken offence. "Which word?" He asked feigning innocence.

"You know what I'm talking about." Halt replied, adding a glare that would have had anyone else spilling the secrets that they could be killed for telling.

"I'm not completely sure what you might be referring to." Will replied, his face the picture of innocence.

"DO NOT USE THE WORD YAWN!" Halt bellowed, fed up. This was, much to Will's amusement, followed by the largest, noisiest yawn yet.

Figuring Halt had suffered enough, Will changed the topic. "So, Halt, why have you switched to decaf?"

"I haven't. What would the point of coffee be if it has no caffeine? It really doesn't taste that wonderful, nor is it cheap. It's the best drink for caffeine." Halt replied.

"Then why are you drinking decaf?" Will asked again.

"I'm not." Halt replied, certain his apprentice was pulling his leg again.

Will held out the bag that Halt had gotten his coffee grounds from.

Halt took it from his and read the words on the side. Decaf.

"Why would I buy decaf coffee? No one buys decaf coffee. It's a waste of money and good for nothing. Why did I waste money on it? Who buys it?" Halt ranted. His rant was cut short from a voice in the hallway.

"I bought decaf coffee." Lady Pauline stated.


A/N: I apologize if you yawned through the whole thing. I did when I wrote it. Please Reveiw! =)