Chapter 12

Seattle, 8 November 20xx, 15:22

Winterhawk was awakened from his light sleep by the sound of knocking on his door. “Yes?”

Ocelot’s voice came through the closed door. “You got a visitor, ‘Hawk.”

The mage wasn’t really feeling up to receiving visitors, but he didn’t have the energy to argue. “All right, send him in.”

The door opened, and Winterhawk’s eyes widened: Aubrey stood there in the doorway, dressed in rumpled traveling clothes, his cap in his hand.

Aubrey stopped as he saw his employer, his kindly face creasing with worry and shock. “Oh, Alastair,” he said very softly, “What have you done to yourself?”

Winterhawk looked around for Ocelot, but he had disappeared, closing the door behind him. He sighed. “I suppose you won’t believe that I got hit by a truck, will you?”

The old man hurried over and sat down on the edge of the bed, taking the mage’s hand in both of his. “Sir, what happened to you? When Terry called, I thought surely you were dead--”

“Terry called you?” Winterhawk cut him off.

Aubrey nodded. “Yes, sir. Yesterday. I came as soon as I could. When I heard his voice, the first thing I said was, ‘My God, he’s dead, isn’t he?’”

Winterhawk smiled a little. “Well, I’m not dead. Though I’ve felt better.” He took a deep breath, his eyes glittering. “I’m so very glad to see you, Aubrey...” he said with an odd gentleness in his tone. He squeezed the old man’s hand, reassuring himself that his friend was alive and well and whole.

“I’m glad to see you too, sir,” Aubrey told him in the same tone. Then, briskly: “Now--what can I do to help you feel better? Are you hungry?”

The mage chuckled at Aubrey’s characteristic first response to anyone in need of care, then winced. “Don’t make me laugh, Aubrey--it hurts.” But he continued to smile.

“I’m sorry, sir,” Aubrey said. He looked at his employer with concern. “Sir, I’ve come to take you home, as soon as you’re strong enough to travel. Please tell me you’re ready to give this all up now and come home to stay.”

For a long moment, Winterhawk didn’t answer. Then, slowly, he nodded. “Yes, I think I am, Aubrey. I really do, this time. I’m getting quite too old to be doing this.”

Aubrey smiled, his own eyes glistening. “You don’t know how glad I am to hear you say that, sir. I’ll see to it that you have the best care waiting when we return home, and Roger--”

“Roger?” Winterhawk broke in. “You mean he’s all right?”

Aubrey nodded. “He was looking a bit under the weather a few days ago, but he wouldn’t tell me why. He’s back teaching your classes for you. I imagine he’ll need to be doing that for awhile, from the look of things.”

Winterhawk shook his head. “No, I’ll be up and about sooner than you think, Aubrey. I hate convalescing. You know that.”

Aubrey just nodded happily. “Yes, sir. I know that, sir.” He knew Dr. Stone was right.

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Copyright ©1996 R. King-Nitschke. The Shadowrun universe is the property of FASA Corporation.
No part of this story may be reproduced without permission from the author.