Disclaimer: I do not own Ranger's Apprentice or any of its characters

Halt's eyes snapped open. There was no immediate threat he saw as he looked around the small grove of trees. Sitting up, Halt felt his head spin and resisted the urge to throw up. Morning dew surrounded him and he felt that his clothes were a bit damp. Light spilled in through breaks in the tree leaves and dappled him while birds chirped in their trees. Why had he awoken if everything was fine? Getting an idea, Halt stood and looked until he spotted a lump a few feet away from where he had woken up. No, it wasn't Conlan. There was certainly something wrong, he could feel it, like somebody close to him was…

Halt took off out of the grove like an arrow, leaving Conlan behind. His head threatened to explode with each pounding footstep but he couldn't care less as he rushed across the bridge and up the stairs in the castle. He ran into several servants, shoving them away without a second thought when he did. By the time he burst into the infirmary, he was sweating and panting like a dog. Lucas was grabbing things from his cupboard and spun around at the crash of the door bouncing off the wall. Seeing Halt, he hurried to the Ranger who was making his way towards Pauline's door.

"You can't go in there," Lucas said, smelling the alcohol that surrounded Halt. Halt looked at the healer with his bloodshot eyes. If he had given anybody else that look, they would cower back but Lucas kept his hand against Halt's chest.

"If she's dead-"Halt started.

"She's not dead, Halt," Lucas answered calmly though he had a twinge of worry in his voice.

"She's about to," Halt raged in a quiet voice, picking up on Lucas's fault in voice. Lucas didn't answer. "Let me see her now," he demanded. Lucas shook his head.

"I can't Halt, not when you're like this. You smell like you've been drinking, it wouldn't be wise-"

Halt didn't wait for Lucas to finish, opting to shove the man out of the way as he grabbed the door handle and entered the room. And how he wished he hadn't done that.


Conlan opened his eyes at the sound of rushing feet. Quickly he rolled up into a crouching position, looking around his surroundings for a threat. There was none and he before he could settle back down; he emptied his stomach on the ground in front of him. Groaning with the pain of movement, for head and body, Conlan shuts his eyes tightly against the light. Everything seemed to be spinning, even with eyes closed. Eventually he hauled himself up into a sitting position, rubbing his eyes as he did so. Halt was gone he saw but didn't think much of it. Standing up, Conlan grabbed onto a tree at the sudden tilting feeling. Head feeling like it was being used as a battering ram; he made his way out of the grove. The morning sun illuminated the river, making it glisten. Pausing, Conlan took in the feel of everything.

Ignoring his pounding head, slight nausea and conflicting thoughts, it was nice. Peaceful even as the river rode on by on its own schedule. In the distance he could see fields being tended to and Wensley village coming to life as the minutes got closer to midmorning. The clouds streaked out and floated lazily above as birds twittered in their trees. It was all so nice, so perfect even. At least, it was for anybody else besides a select few. Those that came to mind were Jason's family. They would still be mourning, he knew they would. It was as sure as the sky was blue. And Pauline. She was up in the infirmary dying and possibly already dead for all he knew. Adding to the list of people, Conlan came up with Halt. There were so many reasons that today wasn't nice for him. One reason being him, Conlan. He had done the deed of making sure today wouldn't be nice. For the past five years Halt's days hadn't been good because of him in fact. He'd left, causing a chain reaction.

As he watched a fish flit by in the water, Conlan found himself wondering what would have happened if he'd stayed. Would he be a Ranger or a knight? Would he be a prisoner? Or maybe a diplomat. Maybe if he'd stayed, things would have gotten better with Halt. Would he ever regret not running away? Or would he be happy he didn't? Maybe he would have run off to a farming family and be working the fields now. Halt would have surely found him and brought him back home. Would he want that? Was it even possible he'd still be alive? With this last thought, he realized he shouldn't even have been alive now. Conlan was still confused as to why Halt wouldn't kill him. It'd be a blessing really. And not only for him. Maybe when he was dead, people whom he had harmed would finally have nice days. Would they? It might give them some feeling of rightness, having the one person who had caused so much havoc in their lives to be gone.

Fighting back a few tears, Conlan started towards the castle at a determined pace. Maybe it would be nicer if he were gone, he needed to see something first though. As he strode through the courtyard, Conlan spotted Crowley who caught sight of him as well. There was no sense in trying to avoid the commandant as he came towards Conlan.

"Why am I still a free man?" Conlan demanded in a harsh whisper that sent his head throbbing. Crowley fell into step beside him as they entered through a door in the castle's side.

"Because I know your type. You're just going to break out if we shove you in a cell and I don't feel like going through all that trouble. I know you're going to stick around though. Whether it be to kill Halt or see what happens to Pauline, I don't know. I don't know what you'll do after she lives or dies either but I know that you won't kill anybody else. You know that you can't try and stay and get everything back. You committed murder and you'll have to face the punishment someday. You're pretty limited with options and you're like Halt. I know Halt and so I know what you're going to do. Or so I hope," Crowley explained as they reached the infirmary door.

Conlan looked at Crowley with a bit of anger and a bit of curiosity. Was he really that much like Halt that his actions could be predicted from Halt's best friend?

"I'm nothing like Halt! The only thing we have in common is that nobody wants us anymore! Just stop comparing me to him and trying to connect my actions with his! You have no clue what I'm like! Maybe I am going to leave; maybe I will kill somebody else! You don't know because I'm nothing like Halt! If I was Halt, then I would have killed me!" Conlan raged angrily. He may not have wanted to kill Halt but he still didn't want to be connected with him in any way.

"If you're not like Halt then why are you here to see Pauline?" Crowley replied, unfazed by the youth's apparent anger. Not waiting for an answer, Crowley swung the door open and entered with Conlan at his heels, glaring all the way.

I think this will end in like two chapters maybe three or four. Please review:D