Will Scarlet was at the edge of the outlaw's camp, the camp that he himself had built and he was focusing intently on a rope pulley that held the door open at the entrance. Only once did he glance across to the centre of the camp around the fire where the rest of the outlaws were drinking some kind of hot tea-like concoction that Djaq had brewed up. Luke was with them laughing and joking, probably about something that Much had done; possibly something to do with the squirrels. Will envied Luke, he could forget, only temporarily, about their father's death and enjoy the evening. The elder sibling didn't have that luxury; all he could think of was the moment his father fell to his knees in Nottingham town, the moment he lost the only parent he had left.
He had already decided what he would do. Luke was leaving for Scarborough the following morning and Will was going to go with him, he couldn't leave his younger brother to travel all that way himself and when he finally reached the relatives he had there he would probably be stay Will couldn't think of a crueller thing to do than make Luke tell them what had happened in Nottingham and leave him without any direct family. Will would have to leave the outlaws to protect his younger brother although leaving the camp would break his heart.
Luke looked across at Djaq, still hardly believing she lived with five men in the middle of the forest and stayed sane, she wasn't involved in the revelry at that precise moment; she was gazing towards the edge of the camp. Luke followed her gaze and saw Will intent on the mechanics of the hidden camp; suddenly he was overcome with the memories of the day as his father's death came to the forefront of his mind.
Djaq noticed the change in his mood and passed him her own blanket and leaned into his ear.
"My sleeping area is in that far corner," she whispered gesturing towards the mound of leaves at the far side of the camp, "You may have it tonight, you will need the sleep." Luke smiled weakly and accepted the blanket before slipping quietly away. Little John's attention strayed from Robin, Much and Allan's banter and was the only one to notice Luke's exit. He nodded at her and gave a grim smile.
"The boy has had a lot to deal with," he said and returned to the conversation around the fire.
"And so has Will," she murmured quietly.
Will was just staring at the complex arrangement of knots now; none of his previous enthusiasm was apparent. And when a hand touched gently on his shoulder he flinched and twisted round, his eyes wide and damp. Djaq smiled kindly and gestured towards the entrance mechanism.
"We know it's a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, Will, you don't need to stay with it all the time," she smiled, hoping for a return, there was none. "We're going to need to close up soon anyway, there's a storm coming from the north and you need to come in," she lightly touched his arm, "you're freezing! I…"
"…I'm going for a walk," he said, interrupting and abruptly let the mechanism lower the great door but quickly ducking outside before it closed with a deep clunk. Djaq was left staring at a wall of leaves where a teary-eyed Will had been standing the moment before.
About five minutes outside of the camp Will was hit by an icy wind coming from the north, so Djaq was right about the storm… of course she was right, she was always right.
He slumped down in the shelter of a large oak facing away from the direction of the camp. His head dropped onto his hands and he let out a choked sob; this was the most dreadful day of his life and he just couldn't cope with seeing everyone so… normal. At least they gave Luke a chance to forget for a few hours, but Will couldn't forget, and he never thought he would.
Only the cruelty of this world could force a man to lose his father and his friends on the same day. Will was huddled up against the rough bark, hugging his knees to his chest for warmth and at least some comfort when he heard light footsteps behind the tree. A moment later Djaq appeared with a rather forlorn expression on her face, Will didn't look up, and he just let his legs fall, wiping his eyes.
But then Djaq did something Will would have never really expected; she knelt down next to him, put her arms around him and held him tight. Will just sobbed into her shoulder as she stroked his hair and realised, with a pain, that he could never leave her.