Those in the market place that day described it as the most inspirational hanging they'd ever had the fortune to see, though "fortune" was perhaps not the best word to use. They were barely aware of the existence of the little freedom fighter, and just as they had come to adore her, she was gone.

They led her out to the gallows. No, they did not lead her, for that implies that she followed them. She followed no one. She held her head high, her steady stride quickly overtaking the grim shuffle of the guards. The truth was, they had come to like her in her short time in the dungeons.

Her hands were bound tightly behind her back, but the way that she held herself made it look like she had simply decided to hold them there. There was nothing restrained about her movement. The crowd that had gathered vaguely recognized her as one of Robin Hood's gang.

"Let it be known throughout the lands and realms of Richard, his majesty, king of England, that on this, the 20th day of February, in the year of our Lord 1194, this woman, having been tried under law and found guilty, Morgan Elizabeth Weaver of Rochdale, has been sentenced to hang by a rope, until she is dead," Guy of Gisborne read, struggling through the last part of the proclamation. No one knew why; he'd overseen countless executions before, carried them out, even.

When he was done reading, he stared up at the girl, who merely winked at him. The action nearly brought the man to tears. She was forgiving him for what he had just done, forgiving him without sparing him the public humiliation. Beside him, the Sheriff bounced on his heels, clearly bored with the proceedings. They must've caught Morgan a dozen times before, and she had never been so quiet.

"Quiet" had never been applied to a description of her character. On previous occasions, she'd threatened to tear the Sheriff's lungs out with her bare hands, set a building on fire and lock him inside it, and, this was the Sheriff's favorite, rip off one of his arms and bludgeon him to death with it. But today, there was nothing.

On those previous occasions, she had allowed herself to be captured. There was a certain level of arrogance to her threats, because she always knew she would escape. But today, there was nothing. When Gisborne finally forced himself to look the young woman in the eyes, he saw none of the blazing defiance that he expected. There was only resignation, acceptance of her fate.

"This is how I go," she said, her words slicing across the anticipatory silence like a knife. The Sheriff had intended to drag the process out, wanting to see the troublesome outlaw twist in the breeze, before and after the hanging. This was not as fun as he thought it would be. Still, she seemed ready to deliver a speech. Speeches often ending with yelling, and yelling always ended with rioting, which was the main reason that the Sheriff had allowed her to continue.

"I have lived my life as I wanted to, and this is where it got me. I support King Richard, Robin Hood, and England; it got me a noose. I had a good life. I had a steady job and a home. But then I rabbitted off with Robin Hood, and now I'm going to hang for it." The crowd around her began to murmur. Was she telling them that it was a waste, this rebellion against the Sheriff? Was she telling them to give up the good fight? Surely, not one of Robin Hood's gang. The Sheriff was staring, too, the look on his face mirroring the confusion of the crowd.

"I have been shot and stabbed and burned and nearly drowned, and now I'm going to suffocate. It's not something that I look forward to," she admitted, glancing up at the rope that ran around her neck, taunting her. Suddenly, she looked calmly down at the crowd. "But I can honestly say that I would gladly relive this life a thousand times and not change a thing. Can you say that, people of Nottingham?"

Those were the last words she uttered. The Sheriff had become bored with her seemingly meaningless dribble and had given the signal to the hangman, who quickly shoved a hood over her head and pulled the lever. The people of Nottingham had seen hangings before, seen grown men kick their legs in a futile attempt to escape the force of gravity, seen them twitch as the last remnants of life were slowly squeezed out of them.

Her neck had broken immediately. There was no suffocation, no fight to free herself, no twitching. Her body simply hung there, motionless.

O-u-t-l-a-w-s

Much quickly sat up, wiping the sweat from his brow. He glanced over at the loft, half-expecting it to be empty. He sighed in relief, seeing that Morgan was lying there, awake, leaning over the side, talking to Will. The carpenter had discretely put his pillow over his head, so she pulled herself back onto the loft, lying on her stomach.

"Didn't know you were still up, Much," she smiled, sitting up and climbing out of the loft, walking over to him and sitting on the edge of his bed. "Want to talk?"

"Do you?" he asked, staring at the dark, circular bruise that looked like a necklace around her throat. She seemed to notice, because her hand moved to her neck, gently tracing the edges of the ring.

"Not much to say, really," she shrugged. "I nearly died. It's nothing new."

"You weren't scared." Much wasn't asking a question. "You were more calm than I have ever seen you. You gave a speech!" It was a fact that inspired both admiration and concern.

"Well, not much use fighting when you've already got the noose around your neck," she pointed out flatly.

"I had a dream," he dropped his voice, so that no one else could hear. "Of what would've happened had we not gotten there in time." Morgan didn't say anything, politely waiting for him to finish. "What would've happened if Allan hadn't run out and fetched us. We would've thought that you were still visiting your mother. You would've been…"

"I would've been dead," Morgan completed the thought that Much hadn't wanted to say. "Would have been, but I'm not." She put a hand on Much's shoulder, managing half a smile, which, in Much's opinion, was half a smile too much.

"How can you say that so casually? How can you smile when you were dangling from a rope just a few hours ago?" he asked, a blend of annoyance and anger in his voice.

"Much, are you alright?" she replied. It was the question that Much had needed to hear. He shook his head.

"No. I am not alright. This isn't the first time that I've had this dream. I have them all the time, only it's not just you on the scaffold. Sometimes it's Will. Sometimes it's Djaq. Or Little John. Or Marian. Or…" Not matter how many times he'd seen it play out in his dreams, he could never admit it out loud. Robin could never die. That's just the way things had to be. If he didn't admit that he had seen it, then he hadn't really seen it. If he hadn't seen it, it wasn't possible. If it wasn't possible, it couldn't happen.

"Much, please don't be sad," Morgan pleaded, hugging him. "It won't happen. He can't go because you're always there to protect him. As long as you're there, he'll live. And you'll always be there because we'll protect you. And we'll always be there because he protects us." Morgan spoke very fast, as she normally did when she was trying to console someone, but Much caught the gist of it. She began to sniffle, and Much felt a tear or two hit his shoulder. He gently patted her on the back.

"Hey, now. I thought I was supposed to be the sad one here," he joked, glad when he heard the laugh escape her lips. He felt better. He could still see the haunting image of the rope becoming taut as she dangled beneath it, but he pushed the thought from his mind. She was right. None of them would die, because they were a gang. And in a gang, you watched out for each other. That's how it had always been, and that's how it would always be.

O-u-t-l-a-w-s

The end! This started out as part of my original story line for Morgan, in which she dies and her brother, Michael, joins up with Robin and the gang.

Obviously, I've changed paths since then, but I really liked how this bit read, so I modified it. I don't want to say that I haven't done a lot with Much, because I have, but I've not done a lot of serious stuff with him, so I decided to use the old scene as a nightmare of his.

This allowed me to sort of develop the serious side of his friendship with Morgan, but it also let me write about how much I think Much worries about the gang.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed! Please review!