Chapter 1

I do not own Ranger's Apprentice, sue me alright?

Dreams…what are dreams? Are they meant to be pursued, fulfilled? Or are they meant to die, deemed false like smoke and mirrors? What is their purpose? Why do we see them? Questions that flow through Will Treaty's mind as he trudges through his latest dream; he walks down the hallways, confident, brash, and bold like he always is. He was the star of the Meadow Ridge Football Team, class president, and so-called 'heartbreak kid' to every throbbing heart of any girl whose eyes fall upon him. Girls next to football, was his greatest aspect. He had a way of stealing their breath with every word he speaks. Except for when it came to this one girl. Alyss Mainwaring, one of the most gorgeous girls in the eyes of Will. She unlike him was not as popular. She held a 'good-girl' type of reputation: always doing her work, associating with people who don't get in trouble on a daily basis. She too was shy; her heart beat whenever Will passed by and his eyes had fallen upon her gaze. He approached her, a confident smile upon her face. He spoke silent words, words that the dreaming Will could not hear or comprehend. But as he watched his dreamed self place an adoring smile on Alyss' face. He watched Alyss speak in a muted tone; a tone that frustrated the sleeping spectator. Will watched himself say a few words and made out response Alyss had made. 'Okay'; what was she accepting? But what was this dream? Was it a message? Or was it just a desire gnawing at Will's wandering mind? Darkness began to engulf the scene, swallowing everything and everyone. And in a split second, a shove in Will's side jolted him awake. His breathing sped up as he tried to understand what he had just seen. It was always that same dream, that same dream that haunted him night after night. He rolled out of bed sluggishly and trudged across the hall and into the bathroom. Will admired himself in the reflection. But as the thought of Alyss passed through his head, Will's heart did a couple somersaults. She was the only girl Will was ever shy around as he was constantly reminded by his friends. He never knew why, it was just every time that he approached her, an apprehensive feeling would prevent any words that might escape his mouth. Or at least any sound that might project any sort of confidence in Will. The only thing he could ever say around her was 'hi' which was always followed by a nervous 'uhhh….' or 'ummm…' He felt his heart swelling at the thought of her, beating as if it were panic stricken. Will discarded it and took his shower. After he bathed and dressed himself, he spent the rest of the morning waiting for his friends Horace and George to get to his house so they could ride to school. He fed his dog Ebony and made fleeted attempts to finish his math homework; mainly to distract himself from the thought of Alyss. A knock on the door spoiled his last minute efforts however. Will replaced his belongings back into his book bag and answered the door, allowing Horace and George into his house. They drove to the school, discussing the arriving first football game. Will was a running back, George was a corner, and Horace was a linebacker. As they pulled into 'student parking', they shifted their topic from the next football season to Will's shyness of Alyss.

"So, brash, bold, valiant Will Treaty, the man responsible for the game winning touchdown which won us regional championship last year, the desire of nearly every girl in the school, is still shy about approaching Alyss," Horace said. "For a guy like you, do you know how stupid that sounds?"

"A girl whose name is not as hot as Ashley or Cassandra," George added. "What is it about Alyss?" Will couldn't explain his attraction to her; she was to him, the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He also couldn't explain his shyness whenever he was around her for it was still a mystery to him. They met their friends Jenny, Malcolm, Cassandra, and Crowley. They to the whole grade were probably the popular crowd. They didn't belittle people as they went along, but they didn't associate themselves with weird people. They patrolled the hallways of the school, teasing Will of his shyness towards Alyss. Will would discard it; no matter how hard he had tried, he just couldn't get over it. As they rounded a corner, Will's eyes fell upon a tall, grey-eyed blonde girl carrying her books in her chest. His heart was doing somersaults as he saw her; the last thing he had ever thought had been wiped away from his mind. Horace looked at Will and nudged him.

"There she is," he informed him. The rest of the group heard Horace's comment and turned to sneak a look at Alyss and then at Will, who was practically swaying on the spot. Horace nudged Will in the arm.

"What?" Will asked, dumbstruck. Horace stared at Will, a broad grin spreading across his face. Will regarded everyone who was watching him, expressions of expectancy looming on their faces. "Why are you staring at me?"

"Why don't you go talk to her?" Horace suggested. "Don't you think your shy streak should end?" Will opened his mouth to argue, but considered Horace's statement. He wanted more than anything to talk to Alyss, to just say a few words and not trip over them. Will inhaled deeply as if he thought the air would smell much sweeter when Alyss had passed by. He then shoved his book bag into Horace's gut, who grunted in surprise.

"Wh-where are you going?" he asked, gagging.

"To do what you said: to break my shy streak with Alyss!" Will told him as he hurried after Alyss. He quickly caught up to her. Alyss regarded him, her warm gray eyes staring back at him.

"Hi, Alyss," Will greeted, almost forcing her name out of his mouth. He opened his mouth again and faltered. Alyss smiled at him, admiring his failed words.

"Hey Will," she greeted back, brightly. Her voice was soft, friendly and warm.

"I uh….um," Will faltered. Alyss' smile did not dare fade from her face. "So, uh, where are you off to?"

"Chemistry, ugh," she replied. "It's rather boring, but I have to get through it, so…you know." Will followed her words. He breathed, sedating his nerves as if they were a wild animal.

"Do you mind if I walk with you?" Will offered. This question seemed particularly painful to ask. Alyss stopped and stared at him. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. The heartbreak of the school, the hero of the football team, Will Treaty was offering to walk with a girl like her.

"Yes!" she answered quickly, but enthusiastically. She caught herself before she allowed her excitement overcome her. "I mean, if you want to." Will thought about their upcoming first game against Miller, a team who has always had the biggest chance of beating them. They walked up the stairs together, occasionally sneaking glances at one another.

"So uh, what classes do you take?" Will asked her. He was kicking himself for asking; this question would surely make him like a stalker. Unknown to him, Alyss didn't perceive it that way.

"Advanced Chemistry, Trigonometry, Orchestra, German III, then I have lunch, then I go to History, Human Psychology, and English," Alyss recited so that Will could make a mental note in his head.

"You take Psychology?" Will asked her, curiously. It was way too obvious that he was trying to create small talk.

"Yeah, I really want to be a therapist," Alyss told him. "I like helping people get through their problems."

"Oh, that's cool," Will said.

"What classes are you taking?" Alyss asked him. "I mean, I know that that you're in my History class."
"Well, I've got English, Chemistry, Gym, Creative Writing, lunch," Will began. Alyss smiled at him.

"Lunch isn't a class," she said in a joking manner. Will laughed lightly.

"You know what I mean," Will said. Alyss smiled heavily and nodded. Will ceased laughing, trying to remember where he had left off. "Oh yeah, I've History with you, French III, and Intro to Trigonometry." Alyss' eyes lit up when she heard that Will was taking French and Creative Writing.

"You take French?" she asked him. Will's heart was pounding. He couldn't believe that he had finally gotten this far in a conversation with her.

"Yeah, I'm like number one in the class," Will replied. Alyss smiled deeply at him.

"Say something in French for me," she requested. Will thought he heard the sound of crashing cars in his brain. He thought hard for a compliment that she surely would not understand.

"Tu es plus belle fille dans le monde entire pour moi," Will spoke. Alyss looked at him expectantly. "I guess you want a translation."

"It would help," Alyss remarked. Will didn't know how he was to lie and cover up what he had said. He had called her the most beautiful girl in the world and she had no idea.

"It means that you are looking really nice today," Will lied. Alyss blushed at his lie. She opened her mouth to say something in return, but her voice was drowned out by the sound of ringing bell. She looked disappointed, wishful that the bell didn't have to ring.

"Hey, I've got to go, I'm going to be late for first period," Alyss said in a disappointed tone. Will's heart sank as she finished her sentence. "I'll talk to you later Will." She stared at him as if she wanted to give him a hug goodbye, but resisted the impulse.

"I guess I'll see you in History," Will said in the same disappointed tone. "Bye."

"Bye Will," she bade wistfully. She turned strode into the nearest classroom, occasionally looking over shoulder back at Will, who stood there dumbstruck. He couldn't believe that he had finally had a full conversation with Alyss Mainwaring. A warm feeling filled his insides; he felt like bursting into song, but then again, he'd be late too if he did. He felt a smile on his face, a smile that he had never once worn, a smile of true admiration.

Review Please! I really need some ideas for Will and Alyss and how to overcome his shyness.