Guy of Gisborne was not happy. He made sure that Michael's body was properly taken care of, buried beside the weaver's father. A part of him said that he should post guards. Morgan would surely try to visit the grave. He ignored the suggestion of his subconscious. There would be other times to try and catch Robin and his outlaws. Now was the time to grieve.
He seriously considered killing Allan, but Michael's annoyingly calm voice kept sounding in his head. Don't punish anyone. As soon as you are freed, go to Locksley. The directions told Guy several things. The first thing that it told him was that Michael could read him like a book. He had foreseen Guy's violent reaction, predicted the action which took all of Guy's willpower to stop. He wanted to hurt Allan. Allan had killed his friend. Allan had killed his brother.
Allan seemed to know what was flying through Guy's head. He kept a safe distance from the man, remaining uncharacteristically quiet. Without waiting for orders, he fetched the horses and readied them for the ride ahead. The second thing that Michael's directions told Guy was that he had planned his death. He had prepared himself to die to secure Guy's freedom. Guy shook his head. How did selfless people like that come to exist, and why did they always suffer so cruelly at the hands of fate?
Guy soon found himself heading back to Locksley. The Sheriff didn't seem interested in a hanging anymore. Guy assumed that his superior was shaken by the very-near-death experience that Michael had forced on him. Guy was grateful to be back in Locksley, even though he'd only been away for a day.
Thornton met him outside, handing him a letter without waiting for the harsh demand. He looked at Guy, the sympathy clear in his eyes. Despite his undying allegiance to Robin, Thornton couldn't help but think that beneath his cold, harsh exterior, Guy had the potential to be a good man. His friendship with Michael seemed to reinforce Thornton's hypothesis.
As it was, Thornton did not bristle when Guy rudely snatched the letter from his hands. Guy ripped the letter open, taking in the sloppy scrawl that he recognized as Michael's. For a moment, he stared at the parchment, his eyes roving over the words without actually reading them.
He stomped up to his room, slamming the door harder than he intended to, finding some comfort in the loud noise that the heavy oak produced as it swung shut. He sat down on his bed, gripping the letter with both hands, settling down to read it.
My dearest friend, do not blame Allan A Dale for what he has done. I asked him to commit the dark deed. You know me to be an honest man, brutally honest, as you have pointed out on several occasions.
As such, I had an obligation to tell King Richard about you, the Sheriff, and the Black Knights. This is something I could not do.
Even though I am loyal to King Richard as an Englishman, I am loyal to you as a man. You are my dearest friend, and I cannot live to speak against you. In doing so, I would not only betray you; I would betray who I am as a person.
In my death, I hope to save your life. I must be honest. I do not condone your actions. My hope for you is that you will soon realize that your quest for power is denying you of whom you truly are. Please, be the Guy of Gisborne that I once knew. My friend. My brother.
God bless you,
He scanned the letter over and over. It all made sense. Michael had told Allan to kill him so that he couldn't tell the Sheriff where his sister was, and so he couldn't tell King Richard of the Black Knights. He would not betray Morgan. He would not betray Guy. Despite his gratitude, Guy was still angry.
There had to be some other way. Who did Michael think he was, making such a noble sacrifice? Guy stood abruptly, flinging the letter across the room. Who did he think he was, deciding that his friend deserved to live more than he did?
"That wasn't fair, Michael," he muttered towards the ceiling. He felt that maybe, just maybe, if he glared at it long enough, it would open to the heavens and his friend would come back and explain himself. "That wasn't fair! You didn't deserve to die!"
"Are you saying that you do?" Guy swiveled on heel, turning to the doorway to face Allan. The usually mirthful shine was gone from the man's eyes. He stood in the doorway, his hands shoved into his pockets. "Do you think you deserved to die today?"
"Maybe," Guy replied with a sneer. "But I know that he didn't have to do that."
"I tried to talk him out of it," Allan remarked off-handedly. "I gave him other ways out. He wouldn't take them. Said that this was the only way to make sure that you kept your job and Morgan kept her head." If he was trying to make Guy feel better, he was doing a terrible job. The bottom line was that Michael was dead, and he was dead because he was protecting Guy. He looked up to yell at Allan, but the other man had already gone.
Guy took a deep breath, shutting the door once more. He locked it and sat on his bed. Then, he cried. It wasn't the uncontrolled, racking sobs that he knew Morgan would permit herself. It was controlled. A silent stream of tears running down his flushed cheeks. He hadn't cried since his parents died. It was a sign of weakness, he'd told himself. But he would allow himself to cry for Michael. For his friend. For his brother.
Will had made sure she didn't get caught in Nottingham. Djaq and Marian had helped her back to camp. Much had spoken at the funeral. Little John had comforted her in a moment of intense emotion. That much being the case, Morgan should've seen it coming.
She had gone to get berries. Will had insisted on doing it for her, but Morgan had refused. She understood that he was only trying to help, but she didn't want the special treatment. Special treatment only made her think of why she was receiving it, leading her back to Michael's death. Keeping busy helped.
He didn't offer to help her, for which she was glad. He simply leaned against a tree, chewing on the end of a piece of straw. Morgan tossed berries into a basket, contemplating the silence that had settled over them. She didn't feel as connected to Robin, even though he was the leader. She liked him well enough, and they were quick to joke with one another, but they never really had meaningful conversations. "Casual" probably best described their relationship.
"Lovely weather," he commented, causing Morgan to smirk. Heavy rain clouds hung overhead, blotting out the sun, casting a thick, clammy feel through the air.
"Lovely weather for a kip," she amended, shoving the baskets into his arms. "Hold this." He accepted the charge, discretely throwing out berries that he knew they shouldn't be eating. One day, he'd have to draw a chart for her.
"Have you always been so bossy?" he asked with a laugh. She rolled her eyes.
"Since the day I was born," she admitted sarcastically. "That's what Michael always…" Without realizing it, she'd stumbled across the subject that she'd been trying to avoid. She done a fine job of doing so, but with an off-handed comment Robin had managed to drop her right in the middle of it.
"He saved my life, you know," Robin mentioned. "At Acre."
"He told me that you'd been stabbed," Morgan sighed. Robin nodded.
"Much went to Michael after I told him to get help. He came right away. He was the last person I saw before I blacked out. Much said that he carried me all the way to the medical tent. There was always something about him that made people feel at ease," Robin said, shifting the straw in his mouth as he talked. "He was a good man."
"He was," Morgan agreed, "He spoke of you often. 'Robin's so strong.' 'Robin's such a good leader.' 'The best marksman I've ever seen.'" She smiled, noticing how Robin tried not to smile at the praise.
"He spoke of you, too. At night, when we were ready to go to sleep. The rest of us would talk about women back home. Wives. Fiancés. Sweethearts. Not Michael. He would talk about how proud he was of you. 'Me sister is a blacksmith.' 'Me sister can read and write like a noble.' 'Me sister can fight as well as anyone.'" Robin laughed at the peculiar shade of red that Morgan's cheeks had adopted.
"I miss him," she suddenly admitted. "I miss him, and it hurts." Robin nodded.
"As it should," he said plainly, giving her a firm pat on the shoulder.
"Thanks, Robin," she muttered quietly. Robin nodded, looking down at the basket of berries.
"Basket's full. I'll take it back to camp. Take your time," he almost ordered, heading back to the camp. Morgan waited until he was out of sight and made her way through the trees. She came upon the graveyard faster than she expected. She pulled her hood over her head, walking across the yard to the roughly hewn, wooden cross that she knew to be her father's.
Next to the older grave, the ground had been freshly disturbed. A small stone marker had been erected next to the cross. Morgan read her brother's name several times before her mind accepted the finality of the letters carved into the stone. She sat at the foot of the newly occupied grave.
"Hallo, Michael. I told you that I hated your plan," she said softly. Her body wanted to cry, but there were no more tears left in her. Her eyes fell on the piece of parchment at the base of the stone marker. She picked it up, noticing that her name was emblazoned across it.
She slowly opened the letter, considering the parchment for a moment before focusing on the actual words. It didn't help that her eyes were stinging with tears that wouldn't come. It didn't help that she was a slow reader. It didn't help that Michael's penmanship was atrocious.
I'm sorry that it had to be this way. What I did, I did to save Guy and yourself. Just as I would have inevitably betrayed Guy, so too would my unrelenting honesty betray you and Robin and the gang. Do not blame Allan. He was only doing as I asked him. He cares for you, as do I.
You must be strong, Morgan. You are left with the choice of saving Guy and saving the King. Hopefully, there is a way to do both. Whatever choice you make, you must remain true to yourself. Do not compromise who you are. Not for anything, or anyone.
Tell Robin that I am sorry that I did not tell him about my plans. I did not want him to feel obligated to rush in and help, nor did I want to force him to help Guy, a task which I do not believe he would delight in. Make sure that he knows that I did not doubt his abilities. England needs him, Morgan, as I'm sure people have told him.
Tell mum the true account of what happened. There will undoubtedly be rumors. Tell her that I love her, and I will watch over her in heaven. I will watch you too, Morgan, along with everyone else. Don't any of you join me too soon, or I'll not have time to warn everyone.
Stay strong. Stay honest. Stay safe. Face the flood.
I love you, Morgan.
Morgan folded the letter, staring at the stone marker. Face the flood.
"I'm going to Locksley," she said after a moment of silence.
Allan was aware that he was being watched. He had just lied down for a kip, closing his eyes as his head hit the pillow. He slowly opened an eye, exhaling as he took in Morgan, standing next to his bed. He didn't understand how she kept sneaking up on him like that.
She wasn't exceptionally graceful or quiet. On the contrary, she was a bit on the clumsy side. Still, she had snuck into his little cottage without him noticing, staring down at him. He couldn't read her expression, which concerned him. She was either very angry, or very upset. Or both. Whatever the case, he understood.
"We need to talk," he said before she could, sitting up, patting the bed beside him. She remained standing.
"You read the note," he said more than asked, standing. Morgan nodded. He took a deep breath. She wasn't talking, knowing that if she didn't, he would. Allan hated silence.
"I didn't mean it, Morgan. He would've gone through with it, even if I hadn't," he blurted out. "At least… At least he didn't suffer as much." Morgan continued to stare him down, making him uneasy.
"Morgan, I wouldn't have done it if I thought there was another way, I promise!" Still nothing. She had accepted his reasoning for stabbing Michael, but she still wasn't talking.
"This isn't about Michael?" he guessed. She raised an eyebrow, her hands moving to her hips. "This isn't about Michael." She shook her head.
"Morgan, help me out, here! I can't read your mind, especially not when you do this." Morgan gave him a questioning look, feigning innocence.
"Don't give me that. You know what I'm talking about. That… that woman thing that you do!" Allan gestured in frustration, frowning. "It's hardly fair, though, is it?" Morgan glanced out the window before looking back at him, sighing, but not speaking.
"You enjoy being difficult, don't you?" Allan asked in an accusatory tone. The way Morgan's eyes flashed told him that he was spot on.
"Why aren't you yelling at me?" Allan asked, nonplussed. If Morgan yelled at him, he'd know what to do. He'd throw it right back at her. She wasn't yelling, though. She had yet to say a single word. "Morgan, say something!"
"I don't blame you for Michael," she finally said. Allan stared at her.
"Is that it?" he asked. She stepped close to him, barely an inch of air separating them. She looked up at him, standing on her tiptoes, getting in his face. There were no heartfelt words. Allan didn't apologize for the night in the meadow. Morgan didn't confess that she's loved him since they were children. Allan didn't admit to feeling the same way. It wasn't necessary. They said everything with their eyes.
Allan slid his arms around her waist, pulling her close, kissing her. She hung her arms around his neck, pressing her body against his, returning the kiss.
"Not being funny, but if Robin or Guy find out, I don't think they'll be too happy," Allan commented as they momentarily parted. Morgan considered this for a moment, shrugging.
"I won't tell if you won't," she whispered playfully, pressing her lips to his once more. Allan grinned.
"Deal," he muttered, his words muffled through the kiss. Morgan wasn't sure that this was what Michael meant when he said "Face the flood," but she couldn't think of a better way to drown.
The end! Anyone want some chips to go with that cheese? XD So, yes. That's the end of this story. I hope you guys enjoyed it!
Thanks to Stripysockz, Marian66, Soapy-Liedown, PetiteDiable, Gewher, and RixxiSpooks for the reviews!
I have a few plot points to work out before I start my next story, but I'll try to write a few oneshots until then. If you have any requests for a oneshot, let me know, and I'll see if I can't write something for you!
Hope you guys enjoyed the story, and reviews are always welcome!