Author's Notes: I mean, really. How was I supposed to resist?
Djaq treads carefully, maneuvering herself around bushes and trees with a little smile, not chancing to glance back at Will less he notice how much she enjoys leading him through a practical wall of shrubbery.
He knows anyway, the sound of his muffled voice reaching her ears basted in light humor and exasperation. "You think this is funny, don't you?" He grumbles good-naturedly. "Lure the lumbering Englishman into in impenetrable thicket just to show off."
"Show off?" She asks, her words laced with laughter. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Will snorts, and she can imagine with startling clarity the way his fingers must be twitching towards his axe, eager and hungry to feel wood bending and chipping beneath them. "Yeah you do, you dirty liar. You just love proving how much quicker and bendier you are than me."
She does laugh at that as she slips through the last of the trees and into a clearing, one hand on her hip as she reaches for him with the other. "Bendier? Come now, Will, is that all you've got?"
He merely grins at her, taking her hand as he follows her into the open. She doesn't blush as he shrugs off his bag and comes toward her without ceremony; she's never been one for the rules and games of courting and Will, bless his soul, couldn't woo a woman if he spent years practicing. "Not all," he murmurs, laughing at her when her eyes widen slightly in shock.
"Is that—a dirty joke?" she asks, looping her arms lazily around his neck as he presses a kiss to her cheek. "It was! Granted, a pretty pathetic one, but still, I—"
He cuts her off with a firm kiss on her mouth, but she can feel his chest shuddering with repressed laughter. He starts to pull away but she stays latched to him, twisting a foot around his ankle and halting his movement so abruptly that he falls backwards, taking her with him.
They land with a light thump and he shakes his head, eyes dancing merrily in the midday light. "You planned that," he accuses, happily, and she can see in him then what drew her in the first place—solemn and fierce passion cooled by his cheeky smile and heavily lidded eyes. Unlike Robin, Will is rarely ruled by emotion alone; she derives strange pleasure from watching him think through every action and move with a coiled caution his leader would do well to imitate.
She pulls back to look at him, beaming up at her, expression unashamedly adoring. She isn't used to men being so open with their emotion and hasn't yet learned quite how to manage it.
"You know," Will murmurs contemplatively, brushing a stray hair out of her eyes, "one of these days Much is going to grow suspicious that we always come back from 'honey-hunting' empty handed."
Djaq just laughs, curling her hand into his and letting him gently kiss her wrist. She shivers; her mind flashes across the desert to her home, to her life before, to a face she hasn't seen in over three years. She has been engaged to this face since before she was born, but if anything can end such a union then perhaps it is war and slavery and—Will. "One of these days," she agrees with a quiet hum. "But not yet, I don't think."
With a glance at the sky, she allows for a tiny sigh, rolling off of the carpenter and climbing to her feet. "It's getting dark," she explains, offering a hand. He takes it and actually lets her help him up—another trait she's grown to love in Will; his refusal to treat her as an inferior simply because she is a woman.
They begin the trek back toward camp in silence; Djaq feels oddly nervous about the way Will keeps looking at her, shiftily, like there are words he isn't saying. She lets him take her hand as they walk, even lets him hold branches away from her face. "Wow," he murmurs, and the sound of his voice is a relief. "You're allowing me to be chivalrous. Do you feel all right?"
She punches his shoulder with a light scowl. "I feel—oh! Hello Robin, Marian."
The other couple looks up at the sound of her voice, Marian blushing a deep red and giving Robin a light shove so that he'll back away, but the outlaw chief just grins smugly, keeping his hand firmly around Marian's. "Find any honey today?" He asks jovially, as they fall in step beside Djaq and Will.
The carpenter shakes his head, faking disappointment. "Not good, I'm afraid. It seems the bees are being particularly selfish this time of year."
Marian laughs, shooting Djaq one of those looks that she's never quite mastered—that feminine, exasperated look that most women possess since birth but as always alluded the Saracen. "How was the walk?" she asks in a quiet voice, and Marian beams.
"Boring," she answers, in a voice loud enough for Robin to hear. "I'm afraid Robin is terrible company."
He glares in mock offense, spinning suddenly to sweep her into his arms and planting a firm kiss on her mouth. Both Djaq and Will shift uncomfortably, unclasping their hands and shifting slightly away from one another. Public displays of affection are not exactly familiar territory for them.
"Call that boring?" Robin demands, and Marian simply rolls her eyes at him, hitting him lightly and calling him a showoff as he lets her drop to her feet.
"We should be heading back," she says, indicating the camp with her head. "Djaq, would you like to walk with me?"
The Saracen nods once and matches her stride to the Englishwoman's. They walk in silence, and Djaq is grateful—she likes being able to listen to Will's sure steps behind her, his cloak whispering at her heels. She's never been romantic but there is something about him that makes her glad, for the first time in her life, to be a woman.
They step into camp with little pomp, simply sliding into seats around the fire as Much serves dinner. "Did you bring any honey back?" He asks, half-curiously and half-sarcastically.
Djaq grins across the fire at Will, who is looking at her with those eyes again, smiling slightly. "I'm afraid not," she answers with a laugh.
"Well, you'll have to go out tomorrow then," Robin says, tossing her the quickest wink. "Maybe you'll have better luck if you go in the morning, instead."
And she doesn't say it, but Djaq thinks she'd be lucky no matter what time of day.