Title: Anatomy of a Family
Pairings: W/D, R/M (mentioned), A/M (mentioned. And the M is not Marian, don't worry R/M shippers)
Spoilers: As long as you have seen up to episode 5 in season 2, you're fine for spoilers.
Notes: A very big thanks to everyone at the board who was so nice about my first fic. Also, huge thanks to Natasha who loaned me her character, Morgan, for this story. Natasha writes over at under the pen name I Am the Lev and has written a number of fantastic RH stories featuring her own OC, Morgan Elizabeth Weaver, one of the most well written OCs I have ever encountered. I cannot recommend her stories enough and suggest you follow this link to her author page if you would like to read some wonderful, well written RH fanfic with W/D, R/M, and A/M pairings: Quick background on Morgan. Morgan and Allan were friends growing up and are now in love and are together. She was a blacksmith at the castle but is now a member of the gang. Also, as I stubbornly refuse to acknowledge some things that have happened this season, Allan is still with the gang and not a traitor working for Gisborne.
Disclaimers: I own no one and nothing Robin Hood.
Anatomy of a Family
Will Scarlett had had a long morning and now all he wanted to do was find a nice quiet spot and relax. And he knew just the place. Smiling to himself, he walked through the woods to one of his favorite spots in the entire forest, a clearing by the river near the camp which he often visited in order to be alone with his thoughts. He was looking forward to visiting the peaceful spot and sitting by the river with only the sound of the gently flowing river to keep him company. However, when he reached the clearing, he found that he was not the only one seeking a quiet refuge.
As he came through the trees, he saw Djaq sitting on a log and staring out at the river, apparently lost in thought. He felt bad about disturbing her and was about to return to camp when her voice called to him. "Are you going to come and join me or are you spying on me again, Will Scarlett?" Will grinned, hearing the smile in Djaq's voice, and made his way over to where she sat, sitting down on the log beside her.
"So what are you doing out here?" Will asked.
"Well, we seemed to have a little down time at the moment, so I thought I would take the opportunity to just enjoy how peaceful the forest can sometimes be. When we are not fighting with the sheriff or collecting "donations" from rich travelers, it can be a wonderful place to think."
Will smiled. "Yes, it can. So, what were you thinking about?" Then, realizing how intrusive that could possibly sound, he hastened to add, "That is, if you want to talk about it. You don't have to if you don't want to. I mean, I could go…"
Djaq touched his arm lightly. "No, it is all right. I do not mind." She sighed as she pulled her hand back from Will's arm to rest on the log between them. "I was thinking about my family and about how much my life has changed since they were killed."
Will put a comforting hand on Djaq's shoulder for a moment and she looked up at him, smiling sadly at the empathy she saw in his eyes. "But of course you understand that."
"Something I wish we didn't have in common," Will said quietly.
Djaq nodded. "But what I have realized is that even though we have both lost people who were related to us through blood, we have not lost our families."
At Will's slightly puzzled expression, Djaq continued. "After I lost my father and my brother, I thought I would never care about anyone ever again," she explained. "I dedicated my life to fighting in my brother's name, avenging his death. As far as I was concerned, my family was gone. I thought that all that was left for me was fighting in their honor.
"But now, in a land thousands of miles from where I was raised, in a country that I first came to as a slave, Allah has once again blessed me with a family to love. I know that as long as I have the gang, I have a family. And I see each member of the gang is a different but equally important part of the family."
"Like what?" Will asked.
"Well, I see Little John as the bachelor uncle. He gets a bit overwhelmed at times by the children around him. But he is solid and dependable – always there when the children need him, ready with support and words of advice."
Will looked thoughtful a moment before nodding in agreement. "Okay, I can see that. What about the others? What about Morgan, for example?" he asked, naming the newest addition to the gang.
"Morgan is the older sister."
"Older sister?" Will questioned doubtfully, recalling some of the more spirited and ridiculous arguments Morgan had had with Much or Robin.
"All right, older sister with a streak of occasional immaturity," Djaq amended.
"Do you want me to continue?" Will looked properly chastened and nodded. "Thank you. As I was saying, Morgan is the older sister. She wears her heart on her sleeve and tells you the way things are, whether you want to hear it or not. She is loyal to and very protective of everyone in the family and you know she will always be there for you, no matter what the situation."
"Unless it involves Allan," Will added.
Djaq smiled. "Well, yes, it is generally a bad idea to try to get her to side with you against the man she loves. However, as we all know, Morgan is not above telling Allan off when he is being an idiot."
They shared a smile at that. "Which leads us to Allan," Will said.
"Which leads us to Allan," Djaq agreed. "Allan is the tormenting big brother. He has always teased you and picked on you – he probably pulled your hair or put frogs in your bed when you were both little. Even now you know you have to be careful because, more often than not, he can still get you into trouble. Still, he is a good man and you know he cares and that he would protect you from any harm you might face."
Will smiled affectionately at Djaq's description of the man he already considered to be his brother. It was pretty spot on, he admitted to himself. "What about Marian?"
"Marian is the cousin raised in an environment completely different from your own. When you were younger, you probably thought she was stuck up and the two of you did not get along at all. However, as you grew up, you realized she was not the weak, spoiled child you once thought her to be. You discovered she was a brave woman with a good heart and that you two actually had a lot more in common than you had realized."
Will heard the emotion in Djaq's voice and knew she was speaking from personal experience and how dramatically her opinion of the noblewoman had changed after Marian's close call with death. "And Much?" Will asked, trying to move the conversation in a lighter direction.
"I know this may sound strange, and do not tell him because I do not want to offend him, but Much reminds me somewhat of a grandfather."
Will grinned at her. "He does complain quite a lot."
Djaq smiled back. "That is true, but it was not where I was going with this. Much cares for each and every one of us and he takes care of us, most of the time without any appreciation or thanks from anyone. Much is the one who keeps the camp clean and keeps us all fed, and most of the time he gets nothing for his trouble but one of us complaining about the food. And despite all of that, Much continues to take care of us. He is a good man with a good heart and I believe he would sacrifice himself for any member of the group if it came down to it."
Will nodded his agreement. "What about Robin?" he asked. He was both curious to see how Djaq would describe their leader's role in the family as well as afraid to hear what she would say about his own part in it all.
"Robin is complicated," Djaq began. "He can be both older and younger brother, depending on the situation. He is like the oldest child in a family without parents in the way that he leads us and protects us. He is often willing to sacrifice his happiness or even his own life for the good of our family.
"And yet, at other times he is the immature younger brother who makes you want to throw your hands up in frustration. There are times when he is completely ruled by his heart and does away entirely with common sense – usually when Marian, Gisborne, or King Richard is involved. Sometimes he behaves completely irresponsibly by needlessly taunting the sheriff or showing off with his bow.
"Still, regardless of his behavior, you know that this gang is his family and that his family is the most important thing to him. I am including Marian in that family, of course," Djaq added as she saw Will open his mouth. Will closed his mouth and smiled at the way Djaq had seemed to read his thoughts.
The two sat silently for a moment and Will found himself growing more and more nervous as he wondered what Djaq thought his role in this family was.
"And what about me?" Will finally dared to ask.
"You? You are just…you. Will." Djaq smiled.
Will forced a smile. "That's all, huh?"
Djaq looked up at him, surprised at the pain she heard in his voice. "All? You do not understand what that means." Seeing the hurt in his beautiful eyes, she paused a moment to gather her courage before she spoke again.
"When I first came here, you were the one who made me welcome in camp, even after you knew that I was a woman. You do not coddle me or treat me differently because of my gender. But you are always there for me, watching over me, and I know I can always depend on you to be there if I need you.
"I say 'just' only because I cannot think of adequate words to describe the kindest, gentlest, cleverest man with the greatest heart of anyone I have ever known. Do you not understand? You are the most important part of this family to me. I-" She faltered a moment, then took a deep breath. She was brave, she reminded herself. She could do this. She would do this. "I do not know what I would do without you in my life," she finished in a whisper.
Now it was Djaq's turn to be nervous as the two sat there in the sudden silence. In her head, she laughed mirthlessly at herself. She had faced English Crusaders, Gisborne, and the Sheriff fearlessly and yet here she was, absolutely terrified of the quiet young man beside her. Technically, she wasn't afraid of him, she acknowledged to herself. Only of what he might say. Maybe she shouldn't have been so open with her feelings after all.
Her thoughts were cut short by a slight pressure on her hand. She looked down between them and saw Will's hand resting lightly atop her own.
"I'm not very good at this," Will said, ducking his head shyly. "But I just want you to know that my life is better for having you in it."
Djaq smiled and turned her hand over in Will's grasp so that their hands were clasped gently together. Will looked down at their joined hands and then back up to meet Djaq's eyes and she felt her mouth go dry as he slowly slid closer to her on the log.
Hesitantly, Will brought his hand up to rest gently on Djaq's cheek. She leaned into his touch, relishing the feel of his rough, work worn hand on her smooth skin. He bent his head down as she leaned forward to meet his lips with her own in a tender kiss.
A voice in her head told her this was wrong, that it was against everything she had been raised to be. She in no uncertain terms told that voice to be quiet. How could something possibly be wrong when love was involved?
Love? And in a moment of clarity, she knew. Just as she knew the sun would set in the evening and rise again in the morning, she knew with this same certainty that she loved Will Scarlett. She waited momentarily for the fear to come at this revelation of her feelings. But there was no fear. The feeling did not scare her. Instead, it settled itself comfortably in her, spreading out with a warmth that went to her very bones.
She gave herself over to the kiss completely then, reveling in the feeling of being in Will's arms. Her lips parted beneath his with a soft moan as she breathed in the smells of pine and earth and the masculine scent that was Will's alone.
Eventually, the two parted but Will kept his hand against Djaq's cheek. "I've wanted to do that for a long time," he admitted shyly, gently stroking her cheek with his thumb.
"Well, I am glad that you did," Djaq told him with a smile, leaning in so that their foreheads were pressed together. "Unfortunately, I think we should probably be getting back to camp before the others worry."
"You're probably right," Will admitted with a sigh, leaning in to press a quick kiss to Djaq's lips. He then stood and reached his hand down, helping her to her feet. The two walked back to camp in companionable silence, their hands joined between them.
Djaq couldn't remember the last time she had been so happy and could not keep the smile off of her face as she looked over at Will on the walk back. She loved him. Just admitting that to herself made her want to laugh out loud with joy. She wasn't ready to tell Will this, not yet. But she had a feeling the time was not far off. And until then, she knew he would not rush her into anything they weren't both ready for. Will turned and caught her eye, smiling back at her as he squeezed her hand gently. Things had definitely changed between the two outlaws and neither could have been happier.
They arrived back at camp to find only Much and Little John there. "Where are the others?" Djaq asked. Will marveled at how calm she sounded, as though it were any other day. He wasn't sure that he could trust his voice around the others yet. He was struck with a sudden fear that perhaps she was so calm because she hadn't really been affected by what they had just shared. This line of thought was immediately put to rest, however, as she looked over at him with a shy smile that did not go unnoticed by John.
"Robin and Marian have gone for a walk," Much told them. "And Allan and Morgan have gone to visit Morgan's mother."
Djaq nodded as she made her way to her bunk to store her cloak. Remembering what Djaq had said about the gang not appreciating Much nearly enough, Will walked over to where Much was stirring a stew over the fire. "That smells great, Much. Looks like we'll all eat well again tonight, thanks to you."
Much looked up sharply, trying to decide if Will was making fun of him. But the smile on the young carpenter's face seemed sincere and Much realized in surprise that the young man was actually paying him a compliment.
Pleased and a bit flustered, Much smiled as he turned the focus back to the two youngest members of the gang. "And where have you two been?" he asked.
"We were-" Djaq began.
"Collecting honey!" Will blurted out. "We were collecting honey."
Djaq shot Will a look that plainly said 'What?!' Will shrugged and smiled sheepishly at her behind Much's back.
"Did you find any?"
"No." On impulse Will boldly added, "We can go looking again tomorrow." He chanced a look over at Djaq and found to his relief that she was smiling at him.
"Pity. Always nice to have honey."
"Do not worry, Much. We will keep looking until we find some," Djaq assured him.
Much nodded distractedly as he stirred seasoning into the stew. "That would be lovely."
"I am sure it will be," responded Djaq as she and Will headed over to a corner of the camp away from the others.
A few moments later, Much was struck with a thought. "Does it usually take two people to collect honey?"
Little John looked over to where Will and Djaq sat talking, matching smiles on their faces and smiled fondly. "In this case, yes," John replied.
"What do you mean 'in this case?' Is there something different about the bees in Sherwood Forest? Is there something special about collecting honey out there?"
John chuckled at this. "What? What is so funny?" The older man only shook his head. "Fine. I'll just ask Robin when he and Marian get back from their walk."
John only laughed harder.