Hallo! There are spoilers if you haven't seen up to series two, episode nine. I always forget to post spoiler alerts. I also forget disclaimers, but I trust that you all know I don't own Robin Hood.
"Not that I'm complaining, or anything," he muttered sarcastically. He was complaining, but he knew that Robin wasn't listening. It was quite the problem with the young Earl of Huntington lately, especially since Marian had chosen to return to the castle. He heard the snap of a bowstring and instinctively ducked, feeling the breeze of an arrow flying over his head.
Much had told Robin that the break-in was a bad idea, but Robin had stubbornly insisted. Much wouldn't go so far as to say that Robin was hiding his real motive, which was to see Marian. Much would say that his master was barely obscuring his obvious pining for the Lady of Knighton. He nodded as he ran. Yes, barely obscuring was far more accurate.
The gang peeled into the forest, splintering off to evade the Sheriff's men. Guy of Gisborne rode up and down the path with his men, searching the trees for any sign of the outlaws.
"You're getting sloppy, Hood!" he barked into the forest. "We've come to expect better!" He hoped that the taunt would at least prompt Robin to shoot at him, but in the back of his head he knew that Hood was a soldier, and a soldier knew better than to give away his position. Gisborne glowered at the surrounding trees, as if they offended him with their presence.
"Not being funny, Giz, but he's obviously scarpered," Allan pointed out, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He really had to work on his napping problem. Guy cringed at the sound of his nickname, though he wasn't quite sure when he'd told Allan that it was okay for him to call him "Giz." He was sure that he had never authorized such a thing, but the former outlaw didn't seem to care too much. Annoyingly enough, the Sheriff had also started calling him "Giz." Guy was sure that if he didn't half-way like Allan, he'd kill him.
"Obviously," he snarled under his breath. "Back to the castle, everyone!" The guards did as they were told. Gisborne was sure to be in a foul mood now. Allan stayed back as the guards filed out of the forest, taking it upon himself to hold up the rear. The move was strategic. The rear meant a greater distance between him and Guy, whose disposition was sure to be less than sunny at this point. The rear meant that he could have a slow, relaxed ride back to the castle.
He glanced up in a tree, squinting through the thick foliage. His reward came in the form of an apple, which he caught. There was a heart carved in its side, and Allan smiled up at the tree before clicking his tongue, urging his horse forward. As soon as he was out of sight, Much stepped out of his hiding spot in a nearby bush, signaling to the others that it was safe.
"Morgan, do I need to point out how risky that was?" Much asked, projecting his voice towards the overhanging tree branches where Morgan was skillfully climbing down. She jumped from the tree, landing next to Much, shaking her head.
"Gisborne was right, though," Djaq mentioned casually, burrowing out from under a pile of leaves. "That was a bit sloppy." Robin came from around a tree, not responding to the team's criticism of his plan. Instead, he glared after Gisborne and his men before storming back towards the camp, roughly pushing Will out of the way. He briefly considering doing the same to Little John, but, let's be honest, it was Little John. He stepped around Little John before resuming his brooding march back to the camp.
"Master, wait!" The whole group waited in the clearing as Much jogged after Robin, giving the friends much needed space. Much caught up to Robin, gently placing his hand on his shoulder. Robin turned around quickly, snapping at Much without saying anything, the angry glare on his face announcing his feelings for everyone to see.
"Master, I know you miss her" Robin's glare intensified, but Much put his hands on his hips, drawing himself up to his full height. He would not be intimidated.
"I know you miss her," he continued, stepping in front of Robin as he started to walk away, cutting him off in his tracks. He was going to listen, whether he wanted to or not. "But that is no reason to march on the castle with half of a plan, risk all of our lives, just so you can see her."
"That wasn't why!" Robin hissed back, though he knew Much knew better. In fact, the former manservant crossed his arms over his chest, raising an eyebrow at him, daring him to say otherwise.
"You're just mad because…" Robin clamped his mouth shut, reverting to the angry glares. Much waited for the rest of the comment.
"Because what? Because one of the guards nearly cut my head off? Because we were being shot at? Because I told you that this was a bad idea and you failed to listen to me again?" Much supplied, trying to keep his voice low, but ultimately failing.
"I always listen, Much!" Robin said in his defense. It did nothing to help his mood when Much took a giant step backward. "What are you doing?"
"Backing up before the lightning strikes," Much replied, his expression deadpan. "You never listen to me! Every time… every time that you do this, I try to talk you out of it! I point out the problems, the dangers, and you never listen! Sometimes, you don't even acknowledge me!" Robin shook his head. He didn't need this. He needed Marian. He needed to hold her, or at least know that she was safe.
"I always listen, Much. And if you feel otherwise, then prove me wrong!" he barked angrily, shoving Much as he had shoved Will, heading in a straight line back to the camp. The fact that he missed Much's next sentence was proof enough, but Much had the idea in his head, and he was going to run with it.
"Right," he said defiantly, marching back to the group. "I'll show him who's wrong."
Will waited as Much walked back over to them. The way he carried himself told the rest of the gang that he and Robin had had one of their infamous fights, which wasn't a good sign. Robin and Much were like bacon and eggs. They hardly fought. Sure, sometimes they'd have a meaningless like quarrel, but this appeared to be one of the rare occasions when they had had a proper row. Which meant that Much had tried to point out to Robin why it was dangerous to try and see Marian, and Robin had quite clearly stated that he didn't want to hear it.
"Right," Much repeated, stopping in front of the group. "We're going back to Nottingham." For a minute, they all stared at him, trying to discern how serious he was. Finally, Djaq spoke.
"Much, something is wrong. What's going on?" As it tended to do when asked the right questions, Much's dam broke. He quickly pulled off his cap and threw it onto the ground, giving the forest floor a good kick before walking in a small circle, letting off steam before sternly pointing after Robin.
"He's so stubborn! He never listens!" he declared, clearly agitated. Morgan opened her mouth, and Little John could hear her comment before she said it: Not being funny, Much, but that's a bit obvious. Given Much's rare mood, Little John preemptively clamped a hand over the girl's mouth, ignoring her protests, allowing Much to continue.
"He says that he does, and he says that if I think he doesn't, then I should prove him wrong! So! We're proving him wrong!" Much explained quickly, ending on a note of such determination that they knew they wouldn't talk him out of it. Morgan started to point out that he was being just as stubborn as he had accused Robin of being, but Little John still had a hand over her mouth.
"Do you have a plan?" Will asked, leaning against a tree. His tone wasn't a discouraging one. He wasn't trying to poke holes in Much's statement; he was merely asking what Much wanted done. Much glanced at the others, noting that Djaq gave him an accommodating nod, Little John was waiting for him to speak, and Morgan looked interested, despite the fact that she was trying to pull Little John's hand from her mouth.
"Yes, I have a plan. We're going to get captured!" As he expected, the looks of support and encouragement wavered slightly, but given the seeming insanity of his statement, he didn't mind.
"I really hope that there's more to the plan," Morgan mumbled, though it was so muffled by Little John's hand that she was sure no one could understand her. Much seemed to get the gist of it though, because he launched into full detail of his plan.
Little John walked back into camp with only Morgan following after him. This alone was enough to catch Robin's interest, and he stood, peeking around the woodsman.
"Where is everyone else?" he asked. Little John looked to Morgan. There was really only one reason that she was there. Much's plan required a lie. A big one. The association was simple. When Much thought of lies, he thought of Allan. When he thought of Allan, he thought of Morgan. She'd spent her whole life with Allan. Logically, she had picked up how to tell a lie, even if she didn't do it that often. Of course, Morgan probably would've resented the implications of Much's logic, so he simply told her that he needed Will and Djaq with him for the first leg of his plan.
"Will and Djaq went hunting. Much is talking a walk. Not being funny, Robin, but he's a bit sore about the little row you two had back there," she muttered, almost scolding Robin for his rash actions. Little John reflected on that, finding it funny that Morgan, who was notoriously impulsive herself, would use such a tone. It was like the blind leading the visually impaired.
"Let him be sore," Robin grumbled, though Little John spotted the concern immediately. "He said that I don't listen!" He gave the two members of his gang a "can you believe it?" look, hoping that they would side with him. Little John merely shrugged, sitting by the fire. Morgan bit her tongue, resisting the urge to point out that if Robin did listen, he would've already figured them out. She had said that Will and Djaq were hunting, but Much had announced that morning that the larder was full to the brim. Instead, she mirrored Little John's shrug, climbing into her loft and taking out a worn piece of parchment, pretending to read until it was time.
When Robin realized that they weren't going to take sides, he sighed, standing and grabbing his bow. He was about to step out when Morgan called from her loft.
"Fancy a game of cards?" she asked, pulling a deck of playing cards from under her pillow. Robin had planned on going hunting himself, though when he considered the mood he was in, he wasn't likely to catch anything. He nodded, sitting by the campfire as Morgan hopped down from her loft.
Djaq enjoyed the feel of Will's hand wrapping around hers. They were heavily calloused, but she didn't mind. His grip was strong and comforting, but gentle and soft at the same time, exemplified by how he lightly stroked her thumb with his own.
She thought about Much's plan, which was like a patchwork quilt of the adventures that they'd had in the past. It sounded simple enough, but like many of their plans, it depended on quite a few "what ifs." Perhaps that's why they were seeking his help. They waited for the guards to change, saw him saunter out, leaning lazily against a column.
"This would be a lot easier if we just sent Morgan," Will muttered. Much nodded in agreement.
"Yes, I suspect it would be, but she needs to be at the camp now," he whispered. "Who wants to go talk to him?" Will and Djaq exchanged glances. Neither one of them felt comfortable with the task. True, they both found that they couldn't hate him anymore. At the same time, he hadn't exactly redeemed himself. Much sensed their apprehension.
"Well, I could go," he shrugged," but he likes me the least." That was true. Even when he was in the gang, he and Much hadn't always seen eye to eye.
"I'll go," Will volunteered. He had some things that he needed to discuss with the former outlaw, anyway. Djaq gave his hand a light squeeze, and he felt more strongly about his decision as she smiled reassuringly at him. He waited until the man dozed off before he crept up to the post, clamping a hand over his mouth. There was an initial struggle, but the resistance died off as he recognized his attacker, prying Will's hand from his mouth.
"Will?" he asked uncertainly, looking around to make sure no one else was around. "What are you doing here?" He hadn't called out for help, and Will supposed that was a good thing. Still, he found a lump rising in his throat as he stared back, not responding right away. The man in front of him was… had been his best friend. He looked so different in the all-black uniform, but somehow the same.
"Allan," he finally mumbled as a greeting. "We need your help." Allan made another check around.
"What do you need?" he asked. Will wasn't sure if he was surprised by the ease of this encounter or not, but he didn't exactly have an abundance of time to figure things out.
"We need to get into the castle. We need to get captured. We need to get back out," he laid out the list of requests. Allan stared at him in the wide-eyed way that meant he was confused. It reminded Will of the old days, which nearly made him smile, but the fact that he had categorized those days as the "old days" stopped him.
"Not being funny, but isn't that what we— you usually try to avoid?" he asked. Will caught the correction, but ignored it for the moment. Focus, he reminded himself.
"Yes, but we have a plan. It's just me, Djaq, and Much. Can you help us or not?" he asked. Allan thought about it for a moment, nodding.
"Yeah, I can line that up. Just get caught," he instructed simply, glancing around nervously. "Now, get out of here before someone sees you."
"No," Allan gave him the same, surprised look. Will stared back, crossing his arms over his chest. He had to know for sure.
"What do you mean, 'no'?" Allan asked, peeking around again. "If someone sees you…" He didn't feel that he needed to tell Will what would happen.
"No. I have something to ask you," Will said stubbornly.
"Well, hurry up and ask," Allan muttered.
"Did you see him?" Will asked, staring Allan in the eye. In the year that Allan had spent in the woods, he'd told more lies that Will had heard in his whole life. Eventually, the carpenter had figured out how to tell the difference between a lie and the truth. It was all in Allan's eyes. So, Will watched like a hawk, waiting for an answer.
"What are you talking about?" Allan asked.
"The Fool. When he took your key. Did you see him?" Will repeated the question.
"Yes," Allan answered, "though, to be fair, he was under duress. It's hard to pick pockets when you're scared for your life." Will nodded, and without another word he left. Allan watched until Will was clear of the castle before he yawned and went back to sleep.
"What did he say?" Much asked as Will returned. Will simply nodded.
"All we have to do it get caught," he muttered distractedly.
"That won't be too hard," Much answered, a smile tugging at his lips, despite the fact that they were about to launch themselves into the heart of Nottingham's dungeons.
"Can we trust him?" Djaq asked, glancing back at Allan, slightly worried. Will looked back at Allan, thinking of the man's eyes. When Allan lied, he never looked a person quite in the eye. His words floated through Will's head. Yes, though, to be fair, he was under duress. It's hard to pick pockets when you're scared for your life. Allan had held his gaze the entire time, a ghost of his cheeky smile tugging at his lips. Will nodded.
"Yeah, I think we can."
Don't pretend! We all know that Allan let the Fool take the key!
Anyway, this'll be the next main story. There'll be lies and intrigue and familiar faces all around, maybe even a marriage. Maybe. Don't hold me to that.
Hope you guys enjoy! Please review!