Title: The Assassin
Notes: Please be kind with comments as this is my first Robin Hood fic. I hope I did it justice.
Robin ran through Sherwood. He dared not chance a glance behind him. He knew an assassin sent by the Sheriff of Nottingham was following him. He knew he had to lead the man away from the camp where his friends were and he didn't care that the knife wound in his back was bleeding heavily.
Right now all that mattered was that everyone he knew and loved was safe. Much, Allan, Little John, Will, and Djaq. As long as he knew they were all right, Robin could die a happy man.
He stopped beside a tree for a moment, attempting to catch his breath, listening carefully to the sounds of the forest. What made him nervous was the fact that he could no longer hear anything, not even the assassin.
Where had the man gone?
Suddenly, Robin sensed something, but before he could even move, he felt the familiar tip of a knife blade at his back. "I have decided it would be more fun to leave you bleeding to death. Oh, and I will take your hooded coat. I need proof, after all."
Robin winced as the man yanked it off him and was shoved to the ground. "Are you through?" Robin asked, irritated at the fact that the man had yet again gotten the best of him.
The man just grinned and tied Robin to the tree. Once he was finished he went around to face his adversary. "It's been fun, Locksley, but it's now time for a nap."
The last thing Robin saw was the hilt of the knife coming at him.
Much looked up from the fire when he heard the urgent footsteps of a horse coming towards camp. He saw the others quickly grabbing their weapons. By the time he had found his, Marian was calling out to let them know it was her.
"Is Robin here?" she asked, a worried expression on her face.
"We've not seen him since midday," Allan replied.
Djaq noticed Marian's pale complexion. "Something has happened."
Marian took a deep breath. "I am hoping nothing has happened yet, but the Sheriff has sent an assassin after Robin. There are rumors that Robin's been injured."
"Will, stay here in case Robin returns," Little John said. "The rest of us will search the forest."
"I will come with you," Marian said.
Djaq shook her head. "You should get back to Knighton Hall in case Robin goes there."
"Very well. The moment you hear from him please let me know!"
"Of course," Allan replied. She nodded and headed back home. "I supposed Djaq and I will go towards the west."
Little John nodded. "Much, we're going east. We'll meet back here at dark."
"He'll probably be here before we get back, lying down and laughing about how he scared us," Much muttered as they left camp.
Marian decided to make a quick stop at Locksley village to make certain Robin wasn't hiding from his assassin there. Upon arrival, the Sheriff and Sir Guy were in the middle of the people, who seemed angry and upset over something.
Alice Little saw her before them and rushed to pull her off to the side. "Lady Marian, it is a sad day for us all."
Fear settled in the pit of Marian's stomach. "What do you mean?" she asked.
"An assassin has killed Robin Hood."
Alice glanced over at the crowd. They were occupied enough for the two of them to slip into the Little's home. Once inside, Alice had Marian sit down, rushing to get some water.
Marian just sat in stunned silence. She shook her head after a few moments. "No! I need proof! Robin cannot be dead!"
"But the Sheriff does have proof," Alice replied, looking out the window. The Sheriff and his men were gone. "It's outside."
Marian joined Alice at the window, but couldn't see anything because of the people surrounding the pole. She rushed outside and wanted to scream when the people parted. Hanging on the pole was Robin's green hooded shirt tinged with dark red blood.
Robin woke up with a pounding headache. Things were blurry for a few moments, but he was finally able to began work on removing the rope that had him tied to the tree. He couldn't wait to see the look on the Sheriff and Gisborne's faces when he strolled into Nottingham.
Although, it might be a bit of time before he strolled anywhere if he couldn't get the rope untied. Just when he didn't think he had any energy left, the rope snapped in two.
Robin ignored the pain emanating from his back. The same area where the King's would be assassin hurt him. Robin winced at the sudden flare of pain. He wasn't certain how much blood he lost, but he could feel himself slowly slipping away. He had to get back to the camp. Djaq would be there and she would know how to help him.
Taking a deep breath, Robin stood, holding onto the tree for support. As he walked he thought of Marian, her sweet face and beautiful spirit. How he longed to hold her in his arms again. It was such a long time ago that they were together.
Robin heard voices and footsteps coming towards him and hid behind some brush. He sighed in relief when he saw Little John and Much heading in his direction.
"Shut up," Much said.
"What did I say?" Little John asked.
"Robin is alive. He would not let something like an assassin get the better of him."
The pair turned at the sound of a cough and soon Robin was standing before them. "I wish that were true, Much," he replied.
Before Robin could tell them of his injuries, Much ran up to him in excitement. "Master, it is wonderful to see you alive!" Robin groaned in pain, dropping to his knees. "What? What did I do?" Much asked worriedly. He glanced down, noticing blood on his hands.
"Robin?" John asked.
John immediately rushed over to his friend's side. "Much, help me. We need to get him back to Djaq!"
Marian arrived at the camp to see Allan and Djaq had returned, but there was no sign of John or Much. Will noticed the expression in her eyes. He moved closed to her as she dismounted. She was clinging tightly to a green piece of cloth.
"It is Robin's," she replied, swallowing around the lump in her throat. "The Sheriff had it in Locksley and he was celebrating his death."
"I'm not being funny, but since when do we believe anything the Sheriff has to say?"
Before anyone could reply, the others appeared, John carrying Robin. "Djaq!" Much exclaimed. "We need your help!"
Will and Marian immediately prepared a comfortable spot for Robin. Djaq noticed his pale features. "Ease him to the ground, John," she said. "Robin, can you hear me?"
"Yes. The wound has stopped bleeding, but I noticed you have lost much. You may seem tired for a few days. I will close the wound, but it will hurt."
Robin nodded. "Just do it quickly then. I trust you."
Much woke up to sound of Robin crying out. He glanced at the others to see they were stirring as well. He moved over to his Master's side, watching as Djaq placed a wet rag on Robin's forehead.
"He's taken a fever, hasn't he?"
Djaq nodded. "The wound has become infected. I do not have the proper medicines to help him."
Much glanced over at Marian, who was warming water for tea, and whispered, "Perhaps we should ask Sir Edward if he'd be willing to help."
"Are you sure that's wise, Much?" Will asked. "That would be putting all of them in danger and you know more than any of us that Robin would not want us to purposely put Marian in that position."
Robin's eyes blinked open at that moment. They were bright with fever, but he regarded each of his friends with the same intensity as always. "Do not bring me to Knighton Hall," he told them. "That is an order!"
"No, Much. Please!"
Robin tried to sit up, but pain flared throughout his back. "Do not excite yourself, Robin," Djaq reprimanded. "You must rest. We will not take you to Knighton Hall if you feel so strongly about it."
Marian heard the exchange, though, and moved to kneel next to Robin, taking his hand. "I will ask my Father. Although I appreciate your concern for our safety, it is not healthy for you to remain out here while you are healing. Just close your eyes and rest for now, we will speak of this later."
"I will speak to my Father immediately," she told them. "I have a feeling he will agree to this so gather what you need, Djaq. I will be back within the hour."
When Robin woke up again he was in a familiar room. It was one of the many in Knighton Hall. What he wanted to do was yell at someone and run off but he barely had energy to keep his eyes open and was soon drifting off again.
He was running as fast as he could through the forest, hoping he would make it on time. By the time Robin reached Nottingham, he was too late. Everyone he cared about was gone.
Robin moved slowly towards the gallows. He could hear the Sheriff taunting and teasing him. Sir Edward appeared in front of him. "It is your fault Marian is dead. It would have been better if you had never returned!"
"No, Sir Edward! Forgive me, please! Had I know..."
"You would have, what, Robin? You speak of never wanting bloodshed, but everyone who has died within the past year has been because of you! Because of this... game that you are playing with the Sheriff."
Robin merely stared at Edward in stunned silence. He didn't want to believe any of the words the man was saying even though he knew Edward was right. Robin took a few steps back. As he took the last step, he felt something around his neck and then he was falling...
Marian's voice had cried out as he did once his back slammed onto the hard floor, pain emanating down his back. His eyes blinked open and he was looking up at her.
"Are you all right?" she asked, moving to help him back into bed.
Robin winced. "I've been better."
"That must have been a horrible dream," she said as she checked his wound. She was happy to see it wasn't bleeding.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Robin looked away from her. He definitely did not want to talk about that dream. He just wanted to forget it ever happened. He wanted to forget everything that happened since returning to England.
"Robin," Marian said, placing a hand on his face. He did not face her. "I will not pretend to know what you're feeling right now, but how can you go on if you're unable to talk about it?"
A knock at the door startled Marian. "Come in."
"Marian," Will said, "Gisborne is on his way here. We need to get Robin back to Sherwood."
"But he is still far too weak to travel, let alone in the cold night air!" she protested. "Even Djaq told us as much."
Will shook his head as John and Allan gathered Robin's things and helped the man to his feet. Djaq came in a few minutes later, making certain any remnants of their stay were taken with them.
"Marian, Robin would never forgive any of us if something were to happen to you or your Father. We did not respect his wishes before about coming here, we must protect you both now for him."
She nodded slowly, worried that she would never see him alive again, but knowing Djaq was right. Marian joined them at the window. "Be safe, Robin. I love you," she told him, kissing him softly on the lips.
They had all dropped to the ground by the time Gisborne and his men arrived. Marian quickly made the bed and rushed to her room to freshen up. Before opening her door, she took a deep breath and smiled.
"Sir Guy," she said. "To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?"
"Do not play games with me, Marian, there have been reports of activity around Knighton Hall."
Marian was about to reply when her Father entered the room. "What is the meaning of this, Sir Guy?" he asked.
"Sir Edward, I believe your daughter has been consorting with outlaws. An assassin was sent after Robin Hood and I have eyewitnesses placing his men near your home. We will search your property for any sign of them."
Edward wasn't happy about that, but remained quiet because he knew the man would not be dissuaded until the home was thoroughly searched. That and he did not want his daughter harmed in anyway.
Marian stood next to her Father, holding his hand tightly. She just wanted to leave and make certain Robin was all right, but she knew she would be followed the instant she left the house. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, silently offering a prayer up to God for Robin and his friend's safety. When she opened them again, Gisborne was staring at her curiously.
"Are you all right, Marian?" he asked.
If Marian didn't know him, she would almost believe Gisborne to be sincere. "You are tearing up my house looking for outlaws who are not here, do you really think I am all right, Sir Guy?"
By the time they reached camp, Robin's fever had returned with a vengeance. "More water, please," Djaq said.
"Much, sterilize this needle. I will have to close the wound again."
Robin was trying to sit up. "The King! Much, we have to save the King!"
"John, please come and help hold him down! I do not want to hurt him any more than necessary. Much!"
Much ran back to Djaq, handing her the needle. "Master, it's all right," he said. "You defeated the assassin, the King is safe."
Robin calmed down upon hearing Much's voice. "Nicely done," Will commented.
"Thank you," he replied, breathing heavily. Much's nerves were shot and he felt ready to fall over so he sat down, holding onto Robin's hand.
Once Djaq was finally finished, she glanced at Robin. He had lost consciousness as she began closing the wound. Djaq applied some ointments around the infected area, silently praying to Allah that he continued to live.
Robin was different from the other Englishmen she had met while fighting the war. He had a much kinder soul than even those of her country. If the world had more Robin Hoods, it would be a better place.
Allan walked over. "Think one of us should get Marian... I mean..."
"Allan's right," Will replied. "As much as we all want to believe Robin will get through this, we have to face the fact that he may not. And Marian will want to be here for him."
"I agree, but how do we know Gisborne doesn't have Knighton Hall under surveillance?" Much asked.
"We do not," said John, "but one of us will go."
Will arrived back to Knighton Hall just as Gisborne was leaving. Being careful as to not attract attention, he entered the house through the servant's entrance. He spoke quickly with one of them to make certain no one remained before entering the main room.
"Will!" Marian said. "Is Robin all right?"
Will shook his head. "We fear the worst," he told her. "Djaq had to close the wound again."
She looked over at her Father, who nodded. "Go to him, Marian, but be careful."
"I will," she replied, hugging him. "Let's go, Will."
The pair arrived back to the camp in record time. Marian rushed to Robin's side, heart thundering in her chest. "Djaq?"
"He is a little better, Marian. His fever has gone down although he is still having horrible dreams. We have heard your name many times. Now that you are here, we hope your voice will bring Robin out of those dreams."
She nodded and took his hand into hers. "Robin, it is Marian. Please come back to us. Your friends need you desperately. I need you."
Marian laid her head on his chest, listening to the beating of his heart. She heard the other's muffled voices as she drifted off to sleep, praying.
As the sunlight drifted through the trees early the next morning, Robin opened his eyes. He felt something heavy on his chest and realized that Marian's head was resting on him. A glance around the camp showed his friends asleep nearby.
He looked back at Marian, brushing the hair from her face and causing her to stir. A beautiful smile graced her lips.
"Robin," she whispered softly, about to lift her head.
"Wait," he said. "How long have I been out of it?"
"Nearly two weeks. Your men have been keeping up as best they could, but they are tired. None of us have slept much these days." She paused. "Except the Sheriff. We've been keeping up the pretense that you were no longer on this Earth."
Robin grinned. "I look forward to being resurrected then."
"That will be a day to remember," Marian replied. "The Sheriff has set up an archery tournament this afternoon to... celebrate your death. The winner receives 25 silver pieces."
"And he knows the people will go for it if only to win money for food."
"That is true enough."
With Marian's help, Robin sat up. "All right you lot!" he exclaimed with a shout. Marian laughed as everyone bolted from their restful sleep. "Lounging about I see. Some people have it dead easy."
"Robin," Marian chided.
"Well, what are you all waiting for then? We go to Nottingham!"
Robin stood in the archer's line quietly, not wishing to attract any attention yet. He saw his men placed around various points within the city. Marian gave him a small smile as she and her Father took their seats.
The Sheriff took a sip of his wine and began laughing. "Ha! Wonderful day indeed, eh, Sir Edward?"
Edward merely nodded, but Marian spoke up. "A man is dead, my Lord, I would hardly call it wonderful."
"What's this? Concern for an outlaw? Hood was nothing but trouble." The Sheriff stood and began to address the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Archery Tournament of the century!
"This will be a day to remember! It will be the first tournament where we don't have to worry about that insidious outlaw Robin Hood. As many of you know he has finally met his Maker. So, without further ado, let us celebrate and begin the tournament!"
Much shook his head in disgust. "That man is revolting," he whispered to John.
"Him I do not like."
Marian watched as Robin, the last archer it seemed, stepped in front of the target. Robin pulled back and everyone watched as the arrow flew effortlessly through the air and smacked into the bullseye.
The crowds cheered as the Sheriff and Gisborne came down the stairs to greet the winner. "It seems you could have given Robin Hood a run for his money if he were alive," Gisborne said, handing him the bag of coins.
"You have no idea," he replied.
Robin took a few steps away from the two men. "Are you leaving so soon?" the Sheriff asked. "We still have much celebrating to do."
"That we do," Robin replied, turning to shoot at the target again. This time, he split the arrow.
Glancing back at the Sheriff, realization dawned on the man. "Locksley!" he growled in anger.
Robin removed his cloak. "What's the matter, Sheriff? You look like you've seen a ghost! Sorry to win and dash, but my men are waiting for me. We have much to celebrate as well."
"Get after him, Gisborne!" he exclaimed, shoving the man towards Robin.
Robin was about to jump into the crowd when Gisborne slammed into his back. Robin hear the Sheriff shouting at Gisborne's incompetence as arms grab at him, pulling him away.
Once they were out of the castle grounds, the outlaws made their way into the forest. They were happy to note that none of the soldiers followed them. "Robin," Djaq said.
"I'm fine, although I think I'm bleeding again."
The young woman knelt next to him. "You and your wonderful ideas," she replied with a sigh. "Lets go back to camp so I can fix you up properly."
He smiled. "Marian."
"Quite an entertaining afternoon. The poor Sheriff seems to be rather upset."
"Oh, my heart is breaking," he said taking Marian's hand. "Lets go. Much and the others should have arrived at camp by now and are getting ready for our feast. Of course it's only stew, but that's all right."
Marian nodded. "Because you're alive."