A/N: This is just a quick short story that I wanted to write. It does link into my 'The Crossroads' fic but it's not essential that crossroads is read before this one.
Gisborne couldn't help but allow a devious grin escape onto his features as he stood in the shadows watching Lady Marian cross the castle court yard. She was heading towards the stable yard and Gisborne knew exactly what she was about to do.
Unaware of her watcher Marian quickly saddled her horse, all the time she was listening out for a sign that might indicated the return of the guards, but none came.
Marian knew that she had very little time to carry out her escape; the change of watch took only a few minuets and as she led the animal out towards the stable gates that led into Nottingham city Marian could hear the guards approaching.
Pulling the gates wide and mounting the horse Marian emerged onto the streets as the calls of the guards faded into the distance.
'Hold your places!' Guy called as he finally emerged out of the shadows startling the men as they attempted to rush after what they thought to be a horse thief 'Let her go'
After several tricky moments traversing the streets and people inside the city's confines Marian finally emerged into countryside. Kicking the horse into a run she headed straight towards Sherwood Forest as she pulled her cape around her shoulders and the mask of the night watchman up over her face.
Finally she was free, the wind felt fresh and exhilarating as it swept past her and Marian couldn't help but smile as she entered the forest and neared the place that she knew Robin's invisible camp lay.
'If you wish to pass through this forest then you must pay the toll' the voice of Robin called as Marian's horse spooked slightly at the noise, looking above her Marian could see Robin perched on the braches of a tree, his wide smile showing that he was obviously pleased to see her.
'Have you come for good this time?' Robin asked as he dropped down in front of her, spooking Marian's horse again.
'You know that I can't, my father…' Marian said but left the sentence unfinished as Robin took hold of her horse's reins, He knew that she could never leave her father, Edward was ill and he needed Marian. Robin hated the fact that he was second in Marian's affections, but being second was better then nothing and so Robin was willing to settle for these snatched moments with the woman he loved.
Marian lowered herself from the horse, in doing so she slid into Robin's arms and the pair's eyes met. A silence grew between them and slowly Robin drew closer for a kiss.
'Lady Marian!' the voice of Much called through the forest, Robin and Marian quickly drew apart their lips barely touching. Marian smiled as Robin rolled his head and groaned, he was going to kill the manservant!
'Much!' Marian called the name cheerfully as she greeted Robin's oldest friend 'I've come bearing gifts-' Marian drew a large brown package from her satchel and handed it to Much.
'Bacon!' Much called eagerly as he smelled the package
'And I've brought you something as well' Marian said as she turned back to Robin, there was no smile in her features now 'Gisborne is planning on taking your lands as his own permanently. He's sending a chest of gold to King John as payment to secure the lands of Locksley as his own. Even King Richard can not take the lands if John approves Gisborne as the rightful land owner without paying Gisborne compensation. You'll never be able to recover Locksley if Gisborne gets John's seal'
Robin looked astounded as Marian's words hit him like a wave. Robin had never given up hope that he would once more be the master of Locksley, but if John acknowledged Gisborne as the rightful owner, and John was ruling England by his brother's request, then John's seal became as powerful as Richard's. Richard was the only one that could overrule his brother's seal but like Marian has said, Gisborne would have to be compensated.
'So our petition was for nothing?' Robin said as he remembered the scribed letter that Friar Tuck had written and that the son's of Thomas D'bernard had pledged to carry to the holy lands. Robin doubted that the letter had even reached half way by now.
'It wasn't for nothing' Marian said 'because I know exactly when and were Gisborne's gold wagon will be leaving. I over head him telling the guards'
The sky had turned pitch black as Marian re-entered the castle and crept back into her suite of rooms. She stopped once to check in on her father, but he was sleeping soundlessly and Marian didn't want to disturb him.
'You shouldn't be walking around the castle this late' the voice of Gisborne said as Marian closed the door on her father
'I-I was just checking to see if my father he was ok' Marian said truthfully, she saw Gisborne raise an eyebrow at her words as his brow furrowed.
'You still shouldn't be out after dark; I'll escort you back to your room'
Hidden by the shadows of trees Robin waited as he watched Gisborne's strong box, heavily guarded by men make its way through the forest. It was the most direct route out of Nottingham and in Robin's eyes the most foolish. But Robin doubted that Gisborne had the brains to realise this.
His ambush had been set and Robin waited for the most opportune moment before he called out the signal.
'If you wish to pass through this forest then you must pay the toll' Robin called remembering Marian's face as he last used these words
'And unfortunately for you the price of passage is that strong box and it's contents' Much called as he emerged out of the trees on the opposite side to Robin
'Now we can do this the easy way' John said as he appeared on Robin's right
'Or the hard way' Allen said as he emerged onto Robin's left. Gisborne's guards looked to one another and then as one they charged.
'The hard way it is!' Robin laughed as he ducked a swipe from one man and then jabbed the end of his bow into the stomach of another as the man fell to his feet.
'Get the chest!' John called as Will and Djaq rushed from the trees and climbed onto the wagon that held the strong box.
'My gang to me!' Robin called as he punched another man and saw that Will and Djaq were now safely on their way with the strong box.
It didn't take long for Robin and his gang to arrive back at their camp, all were laughing and Robin smiled even more as he saw that Will, Djaq and the strong box was waiting from them.
'Did you see me punch that big one?!' Much said gleefully but Robin ignored him, he only had eyes for Gisborne's chest. If Marian's information was correct then the box's contents could feed the whole of Nottingham for an entire winter.
Will handed Robin his axe as he allowed Robin to do the honours, cleaving the lock Robin couldn't help but grin as he pulled back the chest's lid. But as his eyes fell on the contents his smile faded.
The box contained two things, a large pile of stones and on top of these was a small hand written note:
Better luck next time!
That afternoon Guy had been beckoned to the sheriff's private chambers, the room was dark, the blinds and curtains drawn; the Sheriff was still in mourning for his sister. But despite this the sheriff wore a wide grin.
'A messenger has just brought this, it's addressed to you' the Sheriff said as he indicated the man that looked like a tramp who was standing directly behind the Sheriff's chair. But Guy didn't care about the messenger he only had eyes for the packet that the Sheriff now handed over, it bore King John's seal.
'How does it feel to have finally outwitted Hood?' the Sheriff said smiling, Guy merely grinned.
'Well done' Gisborne said that evening as he tossed Allen A dale a single golden coin. Both men were stood in the ally behind the trip to Jerusalem inn, but Allen didn't make a move to catch the coin
'What about Marian?' Allen asked but his words were unanswered as Gisborne walked away.
A/N: Awwww, isn't it great that the Baddies finally got one up on the 'Outlaws' hence 'Gotcha' as the title. Hope you all enjoyed.