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Exhaustion failed to even begin to describe how he felt, Jim thought as he gratefully sank into the comfortable couch. Allowing his head to drop backward to rest against the cushion, he closed his eyes, taking comfort in the sounds of dinner cooking and the low mumble of the television.
A whistling sound by his ear jerked him awake and into full alert mode. His eyes traveled back along the path the projectile had taken. In one fluid motion, he drew an arrow from his quiver, knocked it, pulled back and let it fly, knowing without watching it would find its mark.
Scanning the area around him with eyes and ears, he could hear at four unfamiliar heartbeats approaching. As he rose to a crouch, he sought out the location of his fellow travelers. He could only wonder how he had gotten mixed up with such an unusual crew.
The first travelers he found were the hobbits Blair and Megan. He hushed them as they woke, knowing their tendency was to talk while they were awake. Motioning toward the wood around them, the Halflings nodded their understanding.
Leaving the Hobbits to collect their things and prepare to move, he walked over and quickly woke the two Rangers. Henri and Rafe woke instantly and easily read the message of danger in Jim’s eyes. Rising from their reclined position, they quickly gathered their things and drew their swords.
Leaving the two Rangers to guard the camp, he moved over to where the wizard Simon rested with his apprentice Daryl. Simon awoke at Jim’s silent approach and nodded his understanding. He carefully woke Daryl as Jim moved to wake the dwarf, Joel.
Jim woke the dwarf and jumped back as he was greeted with a swinging axe.
“Elf,” the dwarf, complained, glaring at the one who dared awaken him.
Jim just grinned at the sleepy dwarf. He knew that Joel would be up and ready momentarily.
Turning he saw the rest of their group already gathered. Indicating direction with his head, Jim found the swiftest path away from danger.
They had been walking for several hours when Blair called out, “Jim!”
Spinning on the ball of his feet, the elf looked to the young Halfling. “No, Blair! We don’t have time for breakfast yet, first, second or otherwise,” he growled.
“Jim!” Blair called again.
Ellison awoke with a jerk, and blinked at his surroundings. There was no forest. He was in the apartment with Blair. “Uh, yeah,” Jim greeted, reaching up to rub his eyes. As he did so, he glanced at the television and noted “The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Rings” was playing.
“Dinner time,” Sandburg informed, a puzzled look on his face.
Pushing off the couch cushion, Jim suppressed a groan as he stretched and headed toward the table. Sitting down, he inhaled the wonderful smells of home-cooked food and let out a sigh.
“So what was that about no first or second breakfast for me?” Blair asked, a smile playing on his lips as Jim's face flushed pink.
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