Djaq stood staring at the image of Dan Scarlet projected onto the rock long after everyone else had gone away. It seemed to mesmerize her. The sun was almost gone, and the image was fading slowly, but still she watched. He had been a good man, Dan Scarlet. He had been a lot like Will in many ways; the same burning desire for justice, and same intense personality.
At the thought of Will, many feelings bubbled up inside of her. She should be furious at Will for shoving her into a store room. He had locked her in. He hadn't trusted her.
And yet when she tried, she found that she couldn't be angry at him. She knew the ache of losing someone she loved. It made people do things they later regretted. It had made her join Saladin's army, and fight the English Invaders with everything she had. But killing did not ease the pain as she had thought it would. It only made her emptiness greater. It was only now, with Robin's gang, that she had begun to let the pain drain away.
She turned around. It was Will, standing with his hands in his pockets.
"Djaq…. I… wanted to apologize for my behaviour. I don't know what came over me." Will said. He looked straight into her eyes with his piercing gaze. Djaq thought that his eyes could look right into her soul.
She smiled softly. "I do. It was hate. Hate at the injustice of the world that you would have to loose someone who meant so much."
Will sniffed, trying to control his emotions.
"Doesn't matter. I broke your trust. I… hit you."
Djaq reflexively rubbed her upper arm, where the dark bruises formed the shape of Will's hands.
"I'm so ashamed of myself. I don't deserve to be in Robin's gang," Will said quietly.
He was close now. So close that if Djaq had so chosen, she could have reached out and touched him. She shook her head.
"You did the right thing in the end, Will. That is what matters."
Will cleared his throat, and turned his attention to where the last rays of the sun were catching the edge of his carving of his father.
"Looks like him, doesn't it?" he asked, his voice gruff with emotion.
Without thinking about the consequences of her actions, Djaq reached over and pulled Will into her arms, holding him tightly. He began to cry, and she felt his sobs wrack his entire body. Djaq let him cry, knowing it would do him good. She rubbed gentle soothing circles on his back.
"He was standing up for me," Will choked out, "He wouldn't have done it if I hadn't pushed him. It's all my fault."
"Oh, Will, no. It was the Sheriff's fault, and someday he will pay for his crimes."
Will leaned his cheek on the top of Djaq's head, and they held each other for a long moment.
"Did I ever tell you what happened to my brother?" Djaq asked suddenly, breaking the silence.
"He was killed in the war. You took his name and his place," Will said, although he did not move his head from hers.
"He died in front of me. Protecting me. I wanted to go out and fight, so I left our home. I made it as far as Jerusalem. He tracked me down. He was protecting me from an Englishman, who would take my honour and kill me. My brother killed him instead, but he was wounded so badly that he died in my arms. I went to war to avenge him, and to honour his memory."
"How did you cope?" Will asked.
Djaq tightened her arms around him, and breathed in the scent of Will. He smelled like pine needles, and leaves, and spicy soap. He calmed her as thoughts and emotions that she had long kept hidden began to rise to the surface once more.
"The same way you will. One awful day at a time." She answered
Djaq knew what he was going to say, and she wasn't sure that she was ready to hear it. She didn't want him to brush it off later as coming out of his distressed state.
"I know." She said simply.
From the safety of the trees, Allan watched as the girl he loved was held in the arms of another. He and Will had always been friends, but now he felt anger boil up inside of him. He balled his hands into a fist as Will kissed the top of Djaq's raven black, silky hair. The same hair he longed to run his fingers through. As they stood there, locked in each other's embrace, Allan slipped away back to camp. The guilt that had been building up inside of him at his treachery of Robin flowing away like raindrops off a leaf.