Sarah set her laundry basket on the floor outside Toby's door to see what was so entertaining to him that she heard him laugh downstairs. At his age, there was no telling.
"Hey, Tobe," she said.
He ignored her, continuing to laugh as if she hadn't said anything. That shouldn't surprise her; she was that way at his age, too. Or so her dad said.
He was on the floor by his closet, so was probably playing with something he wasn't supposed to have.
"What do you have, squirt?"
He looked at her finally, but said nothing. Instead, he held a perfectly round crystal out to her with one hand. Her heart thudded in her chest at the sight of it knowing full well what it was. And what it meant.
Here. First day home on break from college in her grubby clothes, not having showered yet.
"No," she whispered, squatting next to Toby to take the crystal from him. She looked at it, seeing nothing but Toby on the other side. A Toby who was rather distorted looking. No strikingly handsome yet sinister goblin king.
"Where'd you find this?"
He pointed to the closet, which was empty. She knew, though, that the others were experienced at making things appear differently than they actually were.
"Hoggle?" she asked.
She heard a soft laugh in response this time.
It was not Hoggle. She could tell by her reaction, excitement and defensiveness. Only one person brought those feelings out in her at the same time just by being nearby.
"Sarah," he said.
"Toby, go see Mommy," she said, handing him the crystal blocking his view of the closet.
"At last, my dear," he said, stepping out from within the closet. "We meet again."