Great Expectations

Disclaimer: I do not own The Seeker: The Dark is Rising or any of the characters portrayed in this fanfic. It was merely written for the entertainment of the writer and readers.

Plot: This story is based on what happened in the movie between Merriman and Ms. Greythorne while Will was "expressing himself".

"You are not without your own lessons to learn Merriman," Ms. Greythorne said sharply. "He came to you. Not for more warnings. He needed you simply to listen."

Merriman turned his attention back to the boy down in the yard screaming at the top of his lungs. Fire exploded all around him, destroying whatever was in its path. The first victims were a few of the nearby trees, followed by an old windmill that went up in smoke the moment Will looked its way. Seconds later a car went hurdling through the air, its back bumper and trunk engulfed with green and gold flames.

"He's destroying everything," Merriman growled. "The boy has no respect for other people's belongings. For god's sake Amelia, that was your car!"

"Will is only fourteen years old and still a boy," Ms. Greythorne replied, "It's not his fault. He is only a child, and children need to express themselves. In fact, if anyone's to blame for this, it's you."

Merriman scoffed at her. "Me?"

"Yes, you," Ms. Greythorne scowled, "Will needs guidance Merriman. He needs to know that there is someone in the world that understands him and accepts him for who he is despite his faults. His father lacks the emotion strength or stability needed to guide him, so he turned to you instead. He trusted you Merriman. He trusted you to listen and not judge."

"Why me?" Merriman demanded bitterly. "Why not Dawson, or George? They've experienced just as much I have. They know what to expect. Why does it have to be me?"

"You're afraid," she realized at once.

"I am not," Merriman denied.

He tried to turn and walk away but she grabbed his arm.

"Yes you are," she persisted, "Admit it Merriman. The boy frightens you."

"I don't have time for this," he grumbled.

He tried to remove her hand from his arm but she would have none of it. I could pry her fingers loose, he thought. But no matter how angry he was, Merriman would not risk hurting Ms. Greythorne. She was a woman after all, and his friend, though he'd always hoped she might one day be more.

"I am not frightened of a boy,' Merriman scowled, keeping his gaze to the floor. "I just…It's difficult, alright?"

"It's you…" she continued, "You're afraid of letting him down, aren't you?"

Merriman lowered his head. "Things were different when I was a boy. I was fat too busy learning how to wield a mace to worry about anything else. All this talk of girls and social acceptance…it's unnerving."

"Oh Merriman…"

Ms. Greythorne took his hand. "I know this is difficult for you, but Will is at that age when a boy needs constant reassurance. Growing up is never easy. You and I both know that. I'm sure if you just listen to what he has to say, you'll realize that the two of you are not as different as you might think."

"I hope you're right," he sighed.

A flash of bright light alerted them to Will's return and they were surprised to see Will's little sister Gwen cradling a kitten in her arms. Stunned, Merriman immediately turned to Ms. Greythorne.

"Go to them," she ordered.

Merriman inclined his head and hurried toward the door. Then he thought better of it. Ms. Greythorne seemed more than a little surprised when he reappeared, but Merriman was beyond caring. He leaned forward and kissed her quickly on the cheek before pulling back to watch her reaction. Ms. Greythorne was speechless. She blinked several times and lifted a hand to her face. The spot where his lips had touched her skin was still tingling when he uttered a soft "Thank you" and walked away.