Comfort and Joy
"Hold!" Much called, aiming his bow. The woman on the horse, who already looked like she was about to fall off, let out a yelp as the mare whinnied and reared up, sending her tumbling to the forest floor. Much winced. It didn't look like a particularly pleasant fall. The woman stood, brushing snow from the dark green fabric of her dress. Much blushed, noticing that the dress didn't leave much to the imagination.
"I don't want to hurt you," he warned, "but I would like it if you would hand over a tenth of your gold."
"Much, have you gone completely mad?" The woman asked, throwing back her hood to reveal long, raven hair and forest green eyes that were narrowed with annoyance.
"Morgan?" Much asked, lowering his weapon. "What happened to you?" He pointed up and down to indicate her out-of-character attire. Morgan smirked.
"Hollis happened to me. He bought me a dress for Christmas," she explained dryly, picking her satchel from the horse's saddle, walking over to Much. The horse started trotting back to wherever Morgan had acquired it. "Don't quite understand the practicality of it, but maybe we could use it as a disguise to get into the castle." Much understood exactly why Hollis had bought Morgan that dress, but he felt it wise to keep his mouth shut, nodding to agree with her suggestion.
"Have I missed it?" Morgan asked, changing the subject as they picked their way back to camp, stumbling over the hem of her dress.
"No. We were going to exchange gifts at the camp first," Much noted, watching Morgan out of the corner of his eye, grinning as she became frustrated, hiking up the dress so that she could walk. "Having trouble?"
"I'm fine," she muttered stubbornly, though she was itching to get back to camp and change into her normal clothes.
"Who are you, and what have you done with our Morgan?" Will joked as Much and Morgan stumbled into the camp. "That's a gift from Allan, then?"
"Allan knows better than to buy me a dress," Morgan replied with a grin. "It's from Hollis. He sends his love, and my mum says thank you." With that out of the way, she went to the camp's most private area, drawing the curtain across as she struggled out of the form fitting dress. The rest of the outlaws gathered around the roaring fire, presents in tow. They waited just long enough for Morgan, back in her outlaw clothes, to sit down before Robin began.
"I would like to start off our celebrations by giving this gift to Much," he grinned, handing Much a present, wrapped in cloth and tied off with a bow. That much told the gang that Robin had gone to Marian for help. Much pulled the cloth from his present, revealing a clumsily knitted… something. "Happy Christmas!"
"Thank you, Master!" Much said, holding the whatever-it-was up, his brow knitting together in concentration. "What is it?" There was a distinctly red tinge to Robin's face. He wasn't used to being bad at things, but apparently knitting was not among his natural talents.
"It's a cap." Much could tell that Robin was extremely embarrassed and quickly shoved the cap onto his head, grinning. He shot the others a glare that would've made the Sheriff cry, cutting off any laughter that was on the way. Much held up his own gift, marching proudly around the circle, flaunting his new cap. He handed the present over.
"Happy Christmas, Little John," he announced grandly, setting the relatively large parcel in the woodsman's outstretched arms. John surveyed the present before opening, grinning as a new pair of boots tumbled out. The boots he had on his feet had seen better days, and the soles were actually starting to separate.
"These, I like. Thank you, Much," he laughed heartily, pulling the boots on his feet and extracting a present from behind the table. It was a perfect cube of notable size, whatever it was, and everyone watched with interest as he strode back to the group, standing in front of Will.
"Happy Christmas, Will," Will took the gift, his eyes lighting up as soon as he held it, a look of knowing to his features. He tore the wrappings away from the gift, his eyes gleaming as he took in the flawless block of wood, ideas flying through his head already.
"Eastern cedar," he grinned. "Thanks, Little John." Little John nodded, accepting the gratitude, holding back his comment. He would never embarrass Will and say it out loud, but he glanced over at Morgan and Much, knowing that they knew what he was thinking. It's not a problem, Will. We know how much you like things from the East. Little John sat back down, and none of the gang was surprised when Will retrieved his own gift, handing it over to Djaq.
"Happy Christmas," he muttered softly. Djaq carefully unwrapped the gift, taking in the beautifully carved box, equipped with separate compartments for her various herbs and medicines. She planted a quick kiss on his cheek in thanks.
"It's very thoughtful, Will," she smiled. Will nodded, saying nothing. He couldn't imagine what she would say later, when she opened the compartments and found the earrings that he managed to obtain. Well, in all fairness, Morgan had obtained them from God-only-knows-where, and Will hadn't asked questions. Djaq tossed her present to Morgan, who tore through the wrapping paper like a small child, mumbling in return when Djaq wished her a "Happy Christmas."
"Djaq! You're amazing!" Morgan squealed, absolutely delighted. Much scooted away from her, just in case she exploded with joy. He peeked curiously at the box in Morgan's hands, wondering what it was that Djaq had gotten her.
"It's a rock," he announced flatly. Morgan managed to look highly affronted while maintaining her giddy persona.
"This," she started, holding the smooth, rectangular rock up, "is no mere rock. This is a whetstone of the finest quality!"
"So, I did get the right kind?" Djaq asked. Morgan nodded.
"It's perfect. My other one was wearing down quite a bit. Thank you, Djaq," she grinned, safely sequestering her gift in her loft before turning heel to face Robin, handing him a gift. "Happy Christmas, fearless leader."
Robin opened the gift, staring in awe as he pulled out a new sword. It was curved, styled like a Saracen blade, but it was far lighter than any sword that he'd ever held before. He glanced over at Morgan, who cleared her throat.
"That is from all of us," she clarified. "Much's idea. Djaq and John found the necessary material. Will and I put it together."
"The blade is a variation of Damascus steel," Djaq pointed out excitedly. "So it's light weight, but strong."
"Well, let's go and try it out," Robin suggested, standing and smiling. "Someone grab the chest."
Guy had been in the castle all day, kept busy by the large, yuletide celebration that the Sheriff was still hosting. If one thing could be said about the Sheriff, it was that he knew how to throw a party. Guy raised an eyebrow at the thought. Actually, if people had to pick one thing to say about the Sheriff, they were likely to bring up the bit where he was a sadistic, horrible man. Still, one couldn't deny the man's prowess when it came to throwing opulent feasts. This particular feast had been in progress for a week now.
He glanced up and down the hallway, wishing that Allan hadn't drank himself stupid the night before. The man was probably still in bed, which is precisely where Guy wanted to be at the moment. He rubbed at his temple, annoyed that he could still hear the festivities from out in the hall. Suddenly, as if the whole of the universe was conspiring against him, a guard ran up to him, panting heavily.
"Outlaws! Taking supplies!" he breathed, pointing at the main gate. Guy drew his sword, running out to the portcullis where the rest of the guards were trying to stop Robin Hood and his gang.
"Gisborne, so glad that you could join us!" Robin called, a large chest tucked under his arm. In response, Guy let out a yell, taking a swing at Robin, managing to at least knock the chest from his grip. At that point, however, it was too late to stop the outlaws from escaping, closing the portcullis behind them. Morgan lingered at the gate a moment, grinning.
"Happy Christmas, Guy!" she whispered before dashing off. Guy rolled his eyes, picking up the chest. The Sheriff's name was carved into the top. Guy assumed that it was a gift meant for the Sheriff, and he supposed that he would deliver it.
"Another gift?" The Sheriff grinned greedily, snatching the present from Guy.
"Hood was trying to steal it," Guy informed, noticing that the Sheriff's gleeful smile flickered at the news of Hood's escape. Still, he had his present, and, as it was Christmas, he supposed that it would do. Rubbing his hands together, he flung open the chest, only to let out a scream of surprise as dozens of furry creatures scampered out of it, tearing across the Great Hall, causing chaos in their wake as the nobles screamed and rushed to get away from the small animals.
"Squirrels?" The Sheriff shouted angrily, "Guards! Catch those little rats!" Guy noticed the parchment in the bottom of the trunk and instantly felt his headache intensify. The Sheriff snatched the parchment up, growing angrier and angrier as he read the short note.
If you're reading this, than Gisborne has delivered your Christmas present. Hope you enjoy it. We figured that you'd want to spend time with your kin during this Christmas season, but we couldn't find any rats.
Guy heaved a sigh, watching the guards haplessly trying to apprehend the woodland critters. He ignored it as the Sheriff yelled at him for incompetence, inefficiency, and whatever else came to mind. Guy clung to the happiest thought in his head. It's Christmas. It's Christmas. It's Christmas…
The end! This is the last of my Christmas oneshots for this year.
I really liked the idea of the gang doing something of a "secret Santa," but as Santa didn't exist back then, I didn't call it that. Still, that was the general idea behind the gift exchange with them.
I can't remember who, but someone suggested a oneshot where the outlaws send the Sheriff a present. So, to whomever that lovely person was, here you go!
Hope you all enjoyed! Thanks to everyone who has reviewed!
Have a happy Christmas, everyone!