Here's the last chapter in this particular story. I hoped you've all enjoyed it. Thanks to jeps, RixxiSpooks, Soapy-Liedown, and gatewatcher for reviewing! There'll probably be a few notes at the end of this chapter.
The celebration in the outlaw's camp lasted far into the night, carrying into the young hours of the next morning. Granted, they did have a lot to celebrate. In Morgan, they had a witness to the crimes committed by Guy of Gisborne, proof of his treachery. In Allan's contribution to Morgan's decidedly bizarre plan, they had hope that maybe Allan hadn't truly abandoned them. They'd successfully delivered Morgan's mother to a safe place up north. Yes, it had been a good day.
Robin laughed, noticing the way that the camp had become suddenly quiet. They'd all been laughing so loud and telling stories, only to suddenly start falling asleep, the adrenaline from just hours ago starting to wear off. Morgan was sitting on the floor, in the middle of everything, as if eager to throw herself into the outlaw lifestyle without any hesitation. She was hugging her knees to her chest, rocking backwards as she started to fall asleep, only to wake up with a start every time she fell back too far.
"Morgan, you don't have to sleep on the ground," Much noted, about to pass out himself. Morgan yawned, looking around the camp. There was an empty spot on a sort of loft, covered in a few blankets. She climbed into the space, stretching out across the loft and quickly falling asleep. As her eyes closed, she realized that she hadn't asked if she was taking someone's bed, but she was asleep before she could get the question out.
The outlaws didn't think it necessary to tell her that she was taking a kip in what had been Allan's favorite spot. It just seemed right.
"Morgan, you climb like a squirrel," Will commented. He had asked her if she could get a better look, and before he knew it, she had scampered up the tree. She was perched on one of the stronger branches, scouting out what used to be her home. Earlier in the day, it'd been crawling with soldiers, no doubt waiting for Morgan to do exactly what she was doing. Allan had been with them. Anticipating her return, he'd discretely moved all of her best tools into a trunk, placing it next to the door of her workshop.
"Bless you, Allan," she muttered, climbing down from the tree, landing with a thud next to Will. The carpenter waited for her to speak, and she was ready to oblige.
"Two guards, they keep walking in circles. All of my things are in that trunk in the doorway. We can run in, knock out the guards, grab the chest, and rabbit off before anyone else notices," Morgan said quickly, stepping forward. Will grabbed the back of her shirt, pulling her backwards.
"Hold on a minute. How do you know there isn't a trap in there?" he asked, trying to get the girl to settle down for a second and focus. Despite the fact that he was younger, Will had made it a personal responsibility to make sure Morgan learned the ropes of being an outlaw, and that included stopping before rushing at any place that had guards near it.
"Allan put the trunk there," Morgan stated matter-of-factly, like her statement explained everything. It didn't, and Will felt it was his duty to point that out to her.
"That doesn't mean that there isn't a trap. I know you and Allan are friends, but he is working for Gisborne now. Like it or not, your friendship doesn't mean that he won't try to pull anything," he said, keeping his calm. Morgan glanced back at her house.
"I know," she admitted. Will was surprised, expecting her to blindly take up for Allan, as she had before. "I mean, he's got to. If it looked like he wasn't really trying, Gisborne would throw two and two together, right? But there isn't a trap here, I know it."
She always spoke with such conviction that Will always found himself nodding, agreeing with her, before he even meant to. He caught himself, looking over at the old cottage.
"You're sure there are only two guards?"
"As sure as there's a sun," Morgan replied, satisfied to see the grin tugging at Will's lips.
"And if there's a trap?" he asked.
"There isn't," Morgan insisted.
"How can you be sure?"
"It's a matter of trust, Will," her reply was soft, without the cocky air of a few seconds ago. Will scoffed.
"Trust? Morgan, I'm sorry. I can't trust Allan," he said, his voice taking on something that he'd only shown twice before. Once in the camp, when the whole gang had argued about who the traitor was, and once when Morgan had tried to defend Allan. This outburst wasn't loud, but it made Morgan recoil as if he'd yelled at her. She wasn't upset about his comment about Allan, she'd come to expect them. She was upset because Will was upset. There was a hurt in his voice that just made her highly uncomfortable.
"I know you don't trust Allan, Will. He gave you a reason not to. But I haven't. Please, trust me," she asked gently. Will looked at her for a moment.
"You're sure there are only two guards?" He finally asked. Morgan smiled.
Robin heard a voice in the distance, knowing that it was Will and Morgan returning. The bit that surprised him was that it was Will doing the talking while Morgan smiled, almost smugly, carrying a trunk between the two of them. He'd never seen Will talking so much, and he wondered exactly what had happened to inspire this unusual behavior. As the two came closer, it became easier to make out what Will was going on about.
"—hurt just watching, I'm serious. It was the most amazing thing, Morgan," he said, and Robin had the feeling that he'd been saying the last phrase a lot, judging by the way Morgan was quickly nodding. And was she blushing, or was Robin imagining it? The pair entered the camp.
"Robin, you missed it. It was the most amazing thing ever," Will practically laughed, setting the trunk down and allowing Morgan to started looking through it. Robin crossed his arms over his chest, watching as Will made his way towards the stream, an uncharacteristic spring in his step. Morgan was holding her various tools up, inspecting them, trying to ignore the fact that Robin was looking curiously at her.
"Morgan, did you get Will drunk?" he asked, joking. Morgan grinned.
"Definitely not. Although if that's his 'happy' face, I don't think we should ever try," she commented. Robin stood for another moment and waited, noticing that Morgan was avoiding his gaze. Finally, she put her tools down and looked up at him.
"I stabbed one of the sheriff's men," she finally stated flatly, going back to sorting her tools. Robin frowned. There was no way that Will had gotten that excited about her stabbing one of the sheriff's men.
"And?" he asked. Morgan sighed, mumbling under her breath. The rest of the gang had come out to see what had Will so riled up. Morgan tried to ignore the curious gazes. Robin decided to start guessing, "Did you kill him?"
"No," Morgan answered, dragging the trunk over to her spot, trying to act as if nothing had happened, not wanting to tell the story. Fortunately, Will had returned from the stream, calmer than before, but a smile still curving his lips.
"Will, what happened?" Djaq asked. Will turned to Morgan, who was avoiding the situation. He looked back at Djaq.
"Morgan stabbed one of the sheriff's men in the foot," he announced, and it became painfully clear that he didn't have the same penchant for storytelling that most had. There was a pause in which everyone looked at the carpenter expectantly. "With a stick." The gang looked at Morgan. They looked at Will. They looked back at Morgan. Back at Will. Finally, Little John said just what everyone was thinking.
"What?" Will sighed, realizing that his story needed more details.
"We were fighting the guards. One of them tried to kick me in the back, so Morgan grabbed him by the boot. He couldn't pull away, so he slipped his foot out of the boot," Will explained. "Morgan lost her balance and fell, and he tried to stomp on her head. It happened really fast. She rolled to the side, grabbed a stick off of the ground and stabbed the man in the foot. And there was just this stick, poking out of the man's foot." Will tried to relay how amazed he was, emphasizing that there was an honest-to-God piece of tree sticking out of the guard's foot.
Morgan felt the gazes return to her.
"Wait, are you saying that she put a stick through a man's foot?" Djaq asked, making sure she had heard correctly. Will nodded. Djaq smiled in spite of herself.
"A pointed stick?" Little John asked. Will shook his head. "Wow." Morgan felt the burning red color creeping back into her cheeks, keeping her stare focused on the mallet in her hand.
"Morgan, is that right?" Robin asked, nudging her in the shoulder. She nodded slowly, turning to face him and surprised to find that he was smiling. Everyone was smiling. Well, everyone except Much, who looked a tad green.
"That… is revolting," he finally commented. Morgan bit back a laugh.
"Well, Will did say that he tried to step on me head, didn't he?" she threw out innocently. That seemed to satisfy the group, and they splintered off, leaving Morgan alone with Robin, who was still looking at her.
"Where'd you learn to fight, Morgan?" he asked. Morgan sighed, knowing that she'd have to explain herself.
"I didn't learn to use weapons until I started making them. Mind you, after me dad passed on, we didn't have the money to buy fancy swords or anything. Michael and Allan taught me, and we used what we had available," she reflected.
"Sticks?" Robin suggested. Morgan smiled slyly.
"Most of the time." Robin stared at her for a moment longer before shaking his head, chuckling.
"You're an odd one, Morgan Weaver," he commented, reaching into his pocket. He fished out a bit of wood, hanging on a piece of string. Morgan had seen it before, hanging proudly around Allan's neck.
"I don't get it, Allan. It's a bit of wood."
"No, Morgan, it's not just a bit of wood. I'd not sell this for all the gold in England."
"Alright, it's a fair cop, but that's not the point. It's more than a bit of wood. It's symbolic. It… it means that I belong. I'm part of something bigger."
Morgan put the tag around her neck, running over it with her thumb. She did feel guilty, wearing it when she knew that Allan had been cast out, ripped from something that he felt so strongly connected to. At the same time, he had been right. She felt like she belonged. She looked up at Robin, not trusting herself to talk, not wanting to choke up or cry. He understood, nodding and walking off, leaving her to her thoughts.
True, Allan had betrayed the group. They felt the repercussions of his actions. They were hurt. They were angry. Morgan understood that. She didn't feel it prudent to mention that Allan, in his own, peculiar way, also felt betrayed. People that he had trusted to accept his flaws had turned him away.
Morgan clutched the tag in her hand. She had no way of knowing whether or not the gang truly accepted her. She had no way of knowing that Allan wouldn't wind up hurting her one day. She had no way of knowing, and she didn't care.
"It's a matter of trust," she sighed to herself, going back to arranging her tools.
Whee! It's done! Just a few notes here about the ideas that went into this story.
Concerning the Weavers: I actually came up with the idea of Michael Weaver as soon as I saw the first two episodes of Robin Hood, with Morgan serving as a secondary character. As I continued to flesh their characters out, I decided to leave Michael in the Holy Land. My first ever Robin Hood fic started with his return from the Holy Land. In that draft, which will never see the light of day, he joins Robin's gang after Guy of Gisborne murders Morgan. I decided not to go that way because I really liked writing for Morgan, so I tweaked their backstories a bit, giving Morgan a more prominent role.
Concerning Allan A Dale: Allan A Dale has been my favorite character since the first episode, no lie. When I saw the first episode of season two, I knew exactly what was going to happen, and what that meant for poor Allan. Originally, the Weavers had little to do with Allan, but I wanted to do some introspection to his character, so I changed Morgan and Michael's backstory to include their friendship with the A Dale brothers. My goal with writing Morgan that way I did was to focus not on the fact that Allan had gone to the other side, but more on why. Besides, everyone loves a little "he's-my-best-friend-and-I'm-too-scared-to-tell-him-I-love-him" romance, right? - Okay, so that might have just been because I'm a hopeless romantic.
Concerning the rest of the gang: Wow! I really hope that it doesn't sound like I don't like the gang, because I love every one of them. I just wanted this particular story to focus on Allan, so I needed to have the gang act justifiably enraged. I know that I underplayed Djaq, Little John, and especially Marian. Promise that I'll include them more in my next story, which should be pretty interesting. At least, I hope it is.