For JoAnn--The Dark is Rising

Will opened his eyes, and he knew that it was a dream because Merriman was standing before him, looking as old and wise and real as ever. Will wanted to cry, but he laughed instead because joy filled him and pushed away all the sadness.

"Merriman!" he cried out, and even though he was a grown man, even though he was an Old One, he rushed forward like a child, hugged this dream as tightly as he had ever hugged his father.

"How are you?" Merriman asked and Will had to force himself to be composed.

"Well enough," he said, then paused and the sadness crept back in. "Alone."

"Your time will come, Old One." Merriman smiled, sadly, down at him. "You will join us, then."

Will nodded. And he wished, just for a fleeting moment, that his watching was done.