Author Notes: This is the end! I know I said this would be up yesterday, but in all honesty, I forgot. Special thanks to Pog Mahon for your amazing reviews, and imaginative death scenarios and threats. I hope you all enjoy the ending!
They were back where they belonged. Where they all truly belonged. Will could not even remember the last time he had been able to think that. He picked tentatively at the new clothes Robin had given him to wear for the wedding, unable to quell the feeling of self consciousness. Gently, Azeem stopped him, giving him 'the look', and they returned to watch the ceremony.
The day was surreal, autumn painting their forest with a myriad of warming colours. Everyone had smiles on their faces, and for the first time in a long, long while, everyone was content. Everyone was safe. Marian looked beautiful, while Robin just looked deliriously happy while Friar Tuck recited the ceremony in their woodland chapel. Will smiled softly at his brother's expression.
Tuck smiled, coming to the end of his little book. Will had honestly had no idea weddings were this long, and did not pity the Friar one bit, "With the power vested in me, by God's holy church, I say let any man who has reason why these two should not be joined, let him speak now or forever hold his peace." Marian and Robin grinned. Will raised an eyebrow; considering how long it had taken them to get to this point, he'd bloody well hope not. "Then I now pronounce you-"
"Hold! I speak!" A strong voice rang through the forest, and Will had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Bloody typical. And then he tensed, gentle hoof beats thudding through the forest as the unknown speaker and other men came into view. One of the younger men seemed oddly familiar, but he could not place him.
"Richard!" Marian's voice held joy as King Richard dismounted and approached her.
Will did not bother to keep the absolute shock from his face, while whispers ran throughout the gathering, "It's the King!" Half still in shock, they all went to their knees, respectfully bowing their heads as the man passed. Only Marian and Azeem remained on their feet, and Will had to hide a smirk at the man's courage; as if he didn't stand out enough already.
"I will not allow this wedding to proceed."
Confusion rippled through the crowd, and Robin even stood up without instruction to rise. Will winced; he was pretty certain that was one big blunders you should never do in front of a king, "My lord!"
"Unless," He held his hand up, eyes dancing, "I am allowed to give the bride away. You look radiant, cousin."
Will smiled in relief as the King embraced the beautiful noblewoman, who acted as if she was used to this kind of thing, and took it all in her stride, as clapping rippled through the glade, "Oh, Richard!"
Robin, meanwhile, looked thoroughly relieved, but nevertheless acted like any good nobleman should, "We are deeply honoured, your Majesty."
The King smiled fondly, "It is I who am honoured, Lord Locksley. Thanks to you, I still have the throne." He nodded to Tuck, who was still kneeling, "Friar, proceed!"
Tuck came to himself with a "My liege..." and rose in time with the rest of the gathering who, although thrown slightly by this new turn of events, accepted it nonetheless. The Friar cleared his throat, and then continued from where he had left off, "...Husband, and wife! You may kiss the bride."
Robin smiled cheekily, "I know that!" Will resisted the urge to roll his eyes as Robin followed through with his comment, but soon found himself caught up in the joy of the crowds, cheering and clapping with the rest of them. He grinned at Azeem, who smiled in kind and embraced the younger man.
Doves were released and escaped into the air with their new found freedom, and an almost unfamiliar feeling of happiness coursed through the people. Will smiled, catching Robin's eye as the newly married man clasped an arm around his wife, and faced the King once more. All of a sudden, Will felt out of place, disjointed from the world around him. His brother was a true nobleman, married to the King's cousin - the King who was at their wedding! An overwhelming suffocating feeling surrounded him, and he quickly felt the need to get away. Azeem had been accosted by Tuck, and so did not see the youngest Locksley slip away from the crowds.
Night fell quickly, the night darker from the new moon, but the sky still alight with the fires burning in the nearby camp. He stepped surely, yet aimlessly, through Sherwood, and it was not until he dragged himself out of his flickering thoughts that he recognised where he was. He gave the trickling water a crooked smile, "Back again..." he murmured.
He stood on the bank of the pool, letting the rushing of the waterfall soak into the sounds of the forest. "Will?"
He jumped, dislodging some dirt into the water, causing his dim reflection to skip and dance. He smiled softly, "Shouldn't you be enjoying too much beer right now? I didn't think Marian controlled you that much already, but I see now that I was clearly mistaken."
Robin smiled in return, but did not rise to the friendly bait, or the attempt at a change in topic. "Where did you go after the wedding? We missed you. I had to ask Azeem where you might be."
"I don't like big celebrations like that." He tried not to grimace at the memory of the last one, where Fanny had almost died, "Besides, the King would have made me nervous."
Robin laughed, coming to stand next to his brother, "King Richard is staying in Nottingham tonight. Tomorrow, Marian and I will go and talk to him about the state of the country. "
Will snorted, "You'll be living in London by the end of the week."
Robin shuddered, "Not likely – Marian hates it for a start." Will smiled again, allowing the momentary silence to wash over him once more. Robin sighed, "I love this place."
Will nodded, "Me too."
Robin grinned knowingly; it was not too long ago that they would have done anything to disagree. "Come on. You can brave a few hours of a drunken Friar, can't you?" He threw his arms around his brother's shoulders, leading him away from the secluded place.
It was time to truly stand still. To finally stop running. Stop fighting.
Because for the first time in Will's life, there was nothing to run from.
Author Notes: -sniff- It's the end! Ho upsetting. Thank you to EVERYONE who read and/or reviewed this story! Your support is really appreciated. I'd love it if you could take the time to write just one more comment of this ending, or the story as a whole, and thanks!