Summer just waits, one hand lightly on the door handle in case she needs to grab for something to hang on to. After a few minutes of his quiet enouragements, she offers, diffidently, “We could walk from here, couldn’t we? I don’t want you to rip out the bottom of your car.”

Neh, he can handle it.” Stiles concludes after a few seconds and one possibly nail-biting moment where it seems like he’s going to send his poor Jeep fishtailing sideways down a small embankment. “He’s seen worse. I just gotta encourage him sometimes. Here. This is the best clearing I know, so if this isn’t good, we’re kinda out of luck. Not driving to the Nemeton. I try to avoid that thing when at all humanly possible.” It creeps him out.

She stares at him for a second, shocked that he would even consider going over there enough to rule it out. “I don’t want to be anywhere near that thing. I don’t know what it might do to me.” She climbs out, gazing around, then turns west to look at the fading glow of the sunset behind the trees. The last golden light turns her hair flaming red and makes her skin seem almost luminescent. “This is perfect.”

Whirling back around, she flashes a smile at Stiles and opens the back of the Jeep, hauling out the telescope, blanket, and snacks cheerfully. Darkness closes in quickly, and she ensconces herself on the blanket to wait for the stars to come out.

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