There was water slowly leaking out of every space in the rock wall, which meant that the water had risen above the top of the cave's mouth. It was a high-ceilinged cave, but Morgan and Guy were quickly running out of time. Much frowned. How did these things keep happening to them? He glanced over at Robin. The man was a magnet for trouble, and it just so happened that the people that had chosen to follow him into the woods were exactly the same.
It wasn't that they had bad luck. On the contrary, a large part of their survival could be attributed to the group's serendipity. No, they weren't an unlucky group, but they were constantly running into obstacles. Much liked to call the peculiar pattern "Much's Law." Anything that could go wrong would go wrong, but they'd somehow find a way out of it, usually unscathed. He looked at the cave.
Usually. They'd suffered losses before. They'd rescued two mothers and a baby, but lost Roy. They'd gotten the Pact, but they'd lost Edward. This situation was different. No matter what happened, they wouldn't gain anything. They only stood to lose Morgan.
Much felt his stomach flip. He thought back, trying to remember the last time that he'd spoken to Morgan. It had been at dinner the night before. He'd asked her to pass him the salt that they'd acquired in Nottingham earlier in the week. Rather than handing it to him, she had taken the pouch and thrown it across the camp, accidentally hitting Much in the side of the head.
Unfortunately, it had been a very trying day for Much, and being hit in the head with a pouch full of salt was the last straw. He'd yelled at her, ignoring her string of apologies until she had given up, crawling into bed without even finishing her dinner. Much adjusted his cap. He didn't know how he'd live with it if Morgan didn't make it, and the last words he'd said to her were "Are you aware of just how ridiculous you are sometimes?"
Much looked skyward, ignoring as the fat raindrops fell on his face. Dear Lord, he prayed, please, don't let Morgan die. I promise; I will never call her ridiculous again. Much paused, realizing that that might have been a hard promise to keep, as Morgan often did things that were a bit ridiculous, most of them involving childish arguments with Robin. I promise that I will never call her ridiculous unless she does something exceptionally ridiculous, he amended.
"Much!" Robin called, his tone telling the former manservant that Robin had been calling him for some time now.
"Yes, Master?" Much replied, looking over at Robin. Robin was shaking his head at the pouches of black powder, tied securely around the arrows in his hand.
"I can't shoot all four of them at once," he admitted, "The pouches make them too heavy in the front. I need you to take one. Will, take one." Robin hesitated, looking at the third arrow, knowing that he couldn't shoot both of them at once. He sighed.
"Allan, take it," he said, handing the arrow over. Allan gripped the shaft of the arrow, looking uncertainly at Robin. He was never sure where he stood with his former leader. He knew that there was a part of Robin that wanted him to die; he'd seen it the day that the gang had secured the Great Pact. But lately, especially after Allan had saved Will from the dungeon's torture chamber, there were moments where Allan almost felt like he was in the gang again, and the fact that Robin had entrusted him with a highly dangerous weapon seemed to back up this particular line of thinking.
Robin gave him a nod, notching his own arrow, aiming steadily at the center of the rock wall. The others followed, waiting for a signal to shoot.
"If you don't hit in the same area, it won't be enough to dislodge the rock," Djaq warned. Allan pulled the arrow back, nudging Will in the arm.
"No pressure, right?" he grinned, glad that Will returned the gesture.
"Morgan," Guy mumbled. Morgan had allowed herself to sink underwater a bit, allowing her arms and legs a much needed rest. Guy had taught her how to tread water and swim, but he'd neglected to tell her how physically taxing it was. Guy gave her another second before tapping her on the shoulder. "Morgan!"
"Yes?" Morgan asked, doing her best to keep her head above the water. For a moment, Guy merely stared at her, losing his resolve to tell her. He took a deep breath. If he was going to die, which would happen at any moment if Hood didn't hurry up, he wanted someone to hear the words that he'd avoided saying but felt so often.
"Morgan, I am afraid," he started slowly, checking for Morgan's reaction. She could tell that it was difficult for him to say what he was saying, so she kept quiet, allowing him to continue. "I'm afraid that I will never see her again. I'm afraid that, should we die here, she will not remember me. I've told her so many times how I feel, and she's never once returned the sentiment."
Morgan didn't know what to say. Guy was using the last few moments that they had left to talk about Marian. Of course, Morgan knew exactly how Guy felt about Marian. Unfortunately, she also knew exactly how Marian felt about Guy. She could've told Guy that he'd have a chance, if they were rescued in time, but she knew that it was a flat out lie. Marian was Robin's girl, through and through.
"Guy, don't talk like we're going to die here, because we're not. We're going to be rescued." It was clear from her tone that she believed every word, and she was implying that Guy should do the same. "Besides, I'm sure Marian will remember you. You're a hard person to forget."
"Why, because I terrorize the populace? Because I'm intimidating and reputably ruthless and cold?" Guy snapped. Morgan stared at his sudden aggression.
"I was going to say because of the leather," she corrected. Guy glared, not appreciating the light-heartedness that accompanied Morgan's concern. She was, as the Sheriff would describe, an insufferably happy person.
"Morgan, I'm being serious. I've never loved anyone like I love her. I don't want her to think of me like that," he snapped.
"Not being funny, Guy, but I know how you feel. I know what rejection feels like, and I know it hurts, but there's nothing that you can really do about it. You can't force someone to love you. You can only tell them how you feel, and hope that they don't break you." Morgan couldn't recall another occasion where she'd given such sincere sounding advice, but felt like dirt giving it. It was almost like she was sending Guy into battle without a sword. Technically, she hadn't told a lie. She'd been rejected before. Be that as it may, she couldn't help but think that giving Guy false hope about his chances with Marian was just as bad as any lie that she'd ever told.
"You're a terrible liar," Guy muttered, and for a second Morgan thought that he knew about Marian and Robin. He shook his head. "You've never been rejected before. Not the free-spirited, friendly Morgan Weaver." There was a bitter edge to his voice that Morgan almost resented. He noticed the look she was giving him and scoffed.
"What? It's true. You've always been the little social butterfly. People love you. Even the Sheriff thinks you're funny. Who in their right mind would reject you?" he asked.
"Plenty of people," she muttered, suddenly wanting to get away from Guy, to leave behind the conversation that had so quickly gone south. Unfortunately, there wasn't anywhere to go. The water was starting to overtake them, but they were already at the cave's ceiling.
"You still think that we'll be rescued?" Guy asked, breaking the momentary silence.
"Depends on how long we can hold our breath," Morgan replied, taking in a lungful of air before the water went over her head.
"Fire!" Djaq signaled, watching with bated breath as the four men released their arrows. They seemed to fly in slow motion, arching through the air below slamming into the center of the rock wall. They looked away at the intensity of the flash created by the explosion, backing up in case the dam broke.
There was the sound of rock moving, and soon enough a torrent of water poured forth, roaring as it rushed out of the cave, depositing a drenched Morgan and Guy onto the forest floor. Morgan stumbled to her feet, gasping in air, slightly agitated to find that it was no drier outside the cave than it was inside it. Guy remained on the ground, steadying his breathing, allowing his screaming muscles the chance to rest.
"What do we do about Gisborne?" Much asked.
"Nothing." The reply didn't come from Robin, which was what the gang expected, but from Morgan, who stumbled in front of Guy, sitting between him and the gang.
"Nothing?" Much asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Nothing," Morgan repeated. "Just let him go back to Locksley." The gang turned to Robin, who was staring at Morgan, not saying a word.
"He saved me life," Morgan pointed out. "He could've let me drown."
"He also tried to kill the king," Will countered, wondering if Morgan had gone completely out of her skull. "And us."
"Many times," Much tacked on under his breath, still waiting for Robin to say something.
"Let him go back to Locksley," Morgan pleaded. "Please?"
"Let him go," Robin quietly agreed. Much's jaw threatened to unhinge as he, along with the rest of the gang, stared at Robin, who started walking back to camp. Morgan turned around, getting to her feet and offering a hand to Guy. He pulled himself up, looking past Morgan as the rest of gang followed their leader, leaving them alone.
"That was foolish, Morgan," Guy reprimanded. "It would've been more beneficial for you to let them kill me."
"You're welcome," she muttered, giving him a quick hug before turning him in the general direction of Locksley, pushing him in the back. "Now, rabbit off." Guy rolled his eyes, walking back towards Locksley. As soon as he was out of sight, Morgan felt a hand on her shoulder. Had she not been absolutely exhausted, she would've jumped.
"Relax, Morgan. It's me." It exactly what Morgan needed to hear, and she turned on heel, throwing her arms around her fiancée. As tightly as Morgan was hugging him, Allan hugged tighter, resting his chin on the top of her head. He glanced down, noticing the stain on her ruined shirt.
"Morgan, are you alright?" he asked, stepping back to look her in the eyes. He was distracted by the large, violently purple bruise that circled around her left eye. He gently ran his thumb on the outer edge of the bruise, the startled look on his face speaking for him.
"I started it," Morgan answered before he could ask, resting her head against his chest, never wanted to let go of him again. "Allan, I was scared. I thought…"
"I thought I'd never see you again," Allan replied in a low voice. "Morgan, do you have plans for tonight?" Morgan frowned, shaking her head.
"Other than changing into some clothes that aren't soaking wet, not really," she responded with a grin, looking up at him.
"Well, Thornton will tell Guy that I'm out looking for him. So, I don't have to be back in Locksley until tomorrow morning," he muttered, placing his forehead on hers.
"Well, what's taking her?" Much asked. Both he and Djaq were waiting impatiently at the entrance of the camp. Much was eager to make sure that Morgan got something to eat, doubting that she'd had anything sustaining since dinner the night before. Djaq, on the other hand, had instantly noticed Morgan's injuries and wanted to make sure that they were properly tended to.
"Relax," Robin muttered, stretching out across his bedroll, staring into the fire.
"Relax? Morgan nearly died! How can you be so calm?" Much asked.
"Not to belittle Morgan's near death experience, but you also let Gisborne go," Will muttered.
"As much as I hate to admit it, Gisborne is the only thing keeping Marian safe from the Sheriff," Robin confessed. "When the king returns, he'll get what he deserves." There was a calm, collected air in his voice that convinced the rest of the gang.
"Still, that doesn't explain where Morgan is," Djaq reminded.
"She's with Allan," Robin explained flatly. "He said that he'd have her back by morning."
"How do you know that?" Little John asked.
"He told me," Robin replied calmly.
"Where is he taking her?" Much asked. Robin suddenly became very quiet, his eyes never leaving the fire. It wasn't his place to tell them that.
She was standing waist deep in the water, but it no longer worried her. She knew what her dream meant. Morgan had spent her whole life depending on other people to help her make decisions. Whether it was Michael or Robin or even Guy, she'd always looked to other people, afraid of assuming responsibility. As the water rose, Morgan began to swim.
She had made decisions in the past twenty four hours that had changed everything. She knew that she couldn't fall back on others to help her anymore. After all, she was a grown woman, and it was about time that she learned how to swim.
When Will woke up the next morning, Morgan was in her loft, sound asleep, her left arm hanging over the side. She'd returned late into the night, barely making it through the door before Djaq and Much were upon her, fussing over her injuries and the state of her clothes and the fact that she hadn't eaten. Other than answering their questions, she'd been very quiet, not talking about what had happened in the cave, or where she'd gone afterwards.
Robin had known, and Much had spent the rest of the night after Morgan had gone to sleep trying to wheedle an answer out of his best friend. Robin wouldn't budge, only saying that it wasn't his place to say anything. Of course, that only made Much more curious, but Robin was being particularly stubborn about the matter.
Will stifled a yawn, sitting up in his bed, hunched down so that he didn't hit his head, bringing himself about eye level to Morgan's hand. He squinted, thinking that maybe he was seeing things in his currently groggy state. Rubbing his eyes and taking a second look, he realized that he hadn't made a mistake at all. There was a new ring on Morgan's finger.
"Morning, Will," Much muttered, stirring the contents of the cooking pot, preparing breakfast. Will didn't reply, causing Much to look over at the carpenter, somewhat amused by the look of surprise on his face. "You alright?" In response, Will point at Morgan's hand, drawing attention to the new ring. Much's eyes widened and he looked at Will.
"Did she?" he started to asked.
"I think she did," Will replied. For a moment, Much was completely silent.
"I suppose we shall have to get her a toasting fork," he finally said.
The end! Hurray for shotgun weddings! I know; it was a very quick engagement, but I figured it would be okay.
Not really a lot to say about this one. It was mostly a really long introspection, but I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out, even though it took forever.
There'll be a definite gap between this fic and my next Morgan Story. I need to see the finale before I can really flesh the next story out properly, so it'll at least be Sunday before I post another new story.
I will, however, try to get the next chapter of "We're Outlaws, Not Wetnurses" (co-written with the amazing RixxiSpooks) up by Friday. However, I have to get my wisdom teeth out this week. So, in the event of a delay, you know what happened.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed! Thanks to DeanParker, Gwenyth Hunter, PetiteDiable, Soapy-Liedown, Stripysockz, RixxiSpooks, Mizco, Marian, Gewher, GlitteringEtiquette, PrincessinHiding, scorpiagirl93, Gilari, ZebraBlonde, and TheOutlawsPrincess for reviewing!