Author's Notes: Get ready … get set … get excited! I have reclaimed my muse!
And … she is obsessed with the idea of pre-war Robin and Marian. I cannot WAIT to start writing about their (MANY) misadventures!
whistle for the choir
I love you!
The fire flicked merrily across the logs, twisting with air and smoke as it rose into the sky like a wispy tail. The outlaws' laughter braided in, too, looping around the heat and dispersing into the trees. Marian listened with her eyes closed, absorbing the sweet sound of wild, ill-controlled laughter and raucous cheers that were punctuated with toasting cups and stomping feet.
"I'm not being funny," Allan declared happily, "You are aptly named, Robin. They couldn't catch you with a thousand arrows, the way you fly!"
The Earl of Huntington arched his eyebrows, lips quirking up in an amused smile. Little John and Will cried, "Hear, Hear!" and leaned drunkenly on one another, raising their glasses in the air. Robin reached out to steady Much as the servant reached across the fire for more drink. "Careful, friend," he laughed. "I don't think Much roast would make too fine a dinner."
Much harrumphed good-naturedly, pouring himself more blueberry ale and proclaiming proudly, "You always have been a flighty thing, since the day I met you—better thief 'n anyone I know."
Allan sat up indignantly. "Oi, what about me?"
"You've been caught," Much pointed out. "Not my master. He's too quick."
Marian sat up, giggling behind her hand. Robin cast her an apprehensive glance and she grinned coyly. "He wasn't always so quick," she began, watching with relish as Robin's face twisted into a grimace.
"Aw, Marian . . ."
"What? I think they deserve to know the sort of man they're following," she teased. "They might decide to reconsider their loyalties when they learned about that time you—"
She fell backwards with a soft thump as he leapt at her, pressing one palm against her mouth and the other behind her head to prevent impact with the ground as she slipped off the log. He was grinning widely, eyes sparkling in a way she hadn't seen since before the war. "Don't even think about it," he warned lightly.
Marian laughed against his hand, lightly biting his finger until he pulled away. "Oh, come on, Robin. You can't still be embarrassed that all of Locksley saw you in your—" He covered her mouth again, this time careful to press only his palm near her teeth.
"I'm warning you," he cautioned teasingly, "If you tell them about that, then I'll be forced to explain about the summer when we had to learn about proper uses of cutlery."
She flushed crimson, hands covering her cheeks in horror. "You wouldn't!"
"I think she should," Will declared solemnly. "I should like to know about my leader's past. How do I know you weren't some kind of bandit?"
Little John nodded. "Yeah, God forbid I find out I'm in league with some sort of . . . of . . . outlaw!"
Allan pressed his hands to his heart. "Oh! I couldn't bear the thought."
Much smiled to himself. "You two were the death of the servants at Locksley," he laughed affectionately. "I had to spend hours listening to my mum complaining. Robin broke this and Marian ripped that and do you know what those scoundrels got up to today?"
Robin shifted, lifting his weight off of her and helping her resituate. "Ah, your mum loved us," Marian shot back cheerfully. "She'd leave little treats on my pillow every day."
Much frowned. "My Mum didn't believe in sweets," he said slowly.
Robin coughed. "Ah, actually . . . that was me," he muttered, turning his head away from his men. Unfortunately, Allan caught the words and laughed raucously, raising a hand high in the air and swinging it down to clap the other man's back.
"You're such a girl," he laughed. "Such a girl."
Robin punched back affably, pointing out, "This from the man who can't sleep without some sort of roof over his head." When he turned back, Marian was staring at him, her mouth hanging slightly open, lips working slightly but no sound. "What's wrong?"
She shook her head, smiling and suddenly pressing a kiss against his cheek (and ignoring the cheers that followed). "We made a good team, didn't we?" She asks softly, gently nudging his shoulder with hers.
He grinned, and gave her hand a little squeeze. "Still do, Maid Marian," he answered with a wink. "Still do."