Disclaimer: Characters from the Robin Hood Universe belong to the BBC and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.
Author's Notes: Set after episode 2.01 and the drabble Bruises. Betad by the wonderful mayalaen.
This story contains SLASH so if you do not like it - or don't know what it is - then DO NOT READ. Thanks :o)
The evening sun was sliding below the horizon, and the forest was sprouting shadows, the mellow umber of the autumnal leaves fading into shades of grey. A slight breeze rustled through the trees and the soft scent of the dying fire drifted over to where Will was sprawled, head resting back against the trunk of a gnarled old oak tree.
He heard the soft scrunch of footsteps approaching, and his fingers slid subtly onto the dagger tucked into his belt as he cracked one eye open. When he saw who it was, he relaxed fractionally and took his hand off the knife.
"Will?" Allan said softly. "You awake?"
Will took a moment before opening his eyes and looking at the other man. "Yeah."
Allan gave him an awkward smile and gestured to the ground by Will. "All right if I…?"
Will shrugged. "Sit where you like."
Apparently taking him at his word, Allan walked the few steps so he was at Will's side, and he slid to the ground beside the younger man. He leaned back against the tree and sniffed, rubbing the back of his sleeve against his nose, inspecting it in what little light there was left. He dropped his arm to his side and glanced at Will.
"I'm sorry," he said finally.
"Yeah, for earlier… at the fire."
"Doesn't matter," Will lied, thankful the light was dim enough now that Allan would have trouble seeing his expression.
"Bloody hell, mate, 'course it matters." Allan nudged him playfully with his elbow. "We're mates, ain't we?"
Will sometimes wondered. "Yeah, mates," he repeated, with no conviction behind the words.
Allan must have sensed his reticence because he leaned closer, their shoulders touching.
"Aren't you worried they'll see?" Will couldn't help himself, the words were out before he could stop them, and Allan flinched away,
"I said I was sorry," he said.
"I know." Irritated, Will pushed himself to his feet, one hand against the tree trunk. "Look, it's late, and I'm tired. I'll see you in the morning."
As he began to turn away, he was startled when Allan reached out and grabbed his hand. "Will, wait," he said, and his fingers tightened around Will's wrist. "I…"
Will didn't move, stood silent, waiting.
"Stuff's happened," Allan said finally. "Things. It's bad, Will."
"What do you mean?" He frowned into the darkness, wishing he could see Allan's face, but all he could make out was the silhouette of his dipped head. The fingers fell away, but Will didn't move. He was good at waiting.
"I've done something stupid, mate. Something that'll get me killed, or worse."
Worse? Will crouched down. "What have you done?"
"I can't… I can't tell you."
It was like trying to get blood out of a stone. Sometimes Will wondered why he bothered; it was so much easier talking to Much. At least he blurted out everything on his mind. Allan was complicated: the cocky swagger hid many sides that the others didn't see, but Will saw everything, and everyone, not just Allan. They all hid things. Even he had secrets.
His biggest secret still had his head bowed, fingers tracing patterns in the dirt floor. Will reached out a hand and stayed the sweeping fingers. "Allan, what's happened?"
"I'm sorry, Will." The words were whispered, and Allan looked up, the moon streaking a strand of light through the trees and capturing his fierce gaze. He slid roughened fingers up the side of Will's right hand and encircled his wrist in a light grip, thumb tracing a pattern on the throbbing pulse point. Allan's other hand reached up, sliding around the back of the younger man's neck, and pulled his head down.
Will resisted, holding back. "Allan, if you want to talk about it…"
"I can't, all right?" Allan said, tightening his grip, painfully digging his fingers into Will's skin. "Let me have this, eh? We might not get another chance."
"What do you mean?" Will was frowning. "If this is about Robin finding out… I think he already-"
"No, no. 'S not Robin." Allan shook his head. He exhaled a puff of irritated breath that Will felt against his cheek. "Will, mate, just shut the bloody 'ell up." With a surprising amount of force he tugged again, and Will, distracted in his confusion, was pulled down, his lips captured by Allan's in a bruising kiss.
There was desperation in Allan's touch, and an uncharacteristic roughness, but Will ignored it and returned the kiss, savouring the heat between their bodies, the tension thrumming in the air.
With one hand still trapped, Will had to place his other on Allan's thigh for balance. The older man shifted under his grip, a soft groan swallowed by Will's mouth as Will slid the hand between Allan's thighs and dragged it roughly over the rough material of his breeches to press against the swelling at Allan's groin.
His own trousers were uncomfortably tight, and he shuffled forwards on his knees, the vaguest notion of straddling Allan flickering in the only part of his brain still functioning. They were panting now, tongues fighting a war of their own. Neither heard the voice calling until it was almost upon them.
"Allan? Will? Are you there?" Much called out, a muffled curse as he tripped over a fallen branch.
The two men darted apart; Will stumbling to his feet and turning away from Much's approach, trying to hide his arousal. Allan had drawn his knees to his chest, and looked less dishevelled, the pall of moonlight hiding the flush on his skin.
It was obvious from Much's erratic path that he wasn't aware they were beside the tree. So when Allan said, "We're over here," Much let out a shriek of fright.
"Allan? That you?"
"Yeah," Allan said. "Will's here too."
Much followed the sound of his voice and peered at the two of them suspiciously, making out Will's awkward stance in the dim light. "What were you two up to?" he asked.
"Nuthin'," Allan said abruptly. "We was just having a chat. What do you want?"
Much was clearly unconvinced, but he let it drop. "Robin's having a meeting. He wants you to attend."
"Yeah," Allan muttered, pushing himself to his feet. "And whatever 'is Lordship wants, he gets."
"Eh?" Much said. Will, too, was surprised by Allan's words. He turned around and stared at the standing figure.
"Never mind. Tell 'im we'll be there in a minute, all right?"
"Fine." Much sounded aggrieved, but he complied with Allan's request. Muttering under his breath, he headed back towards the camp.
"Allan?" Will said, blinking in the darkness. "What-?"
"Just leave it, Will, just…" The words trailed off. "We'd better go." A soft sigh, and Allan pushed away from the tree, setting off after Much.
A tight knot of foreboding formed in the pit of Will's stomach as he listened to his friend - his lover - walk away from him into the darkness.
He took a deep breath, readjusted his breeches, and followed.