Will Scarlett had always hated Robin of Loxley. He had ever since his mother had told him the truth about his ancestry as she lay upon her deathbed. He had been barely 13 at the time. Fanny Little had helped support him during the first year, but the arrival of winter had added additional pressure to her, and her large brood, and Will had decided to try and make it on his own. A few weeks after that, a price had been placed on his head for the theft of a deer from Sherwood. It had been then when Will had packed up his meager belongings, closed the door, left a considerable portion of the deer beneath Fanny's windowsill, and had left Loxley, knowing in his heart that he would never return to the village that he had come to love.
He had made his way, alone, into the forest, armed with a small dagger that he had brought from his home. He had strode through the forest, until he had reached the camp of outlaws, led by John Little. John had watched as Will adapted to forest life, and then had begun to withdraw this attention, for, from his point of view, Will was old enough to care for himself. Will had been nearly 15 by the time he realized that, although he was surrounded by other men, he was effectively alone. That had affected him deeply. Although he, on the outside, appeared to be coping well, inside, he was screaming. None of the other outlaws knew that most nights, he awoke crying from some form of nightmare, before leaving the tiny little shelter he called his home, and walking to the river, and would sit for hours, as the water rushed by.
It was on that same river shore that, two and a half years later, Will first saw Robin of Loxley. Will felt his old hate bubble over as he repetitively encountered the man he had come to hate since his mothers death. Will longed to blame him, curse Robin for the things he had done, albeit unknowingly, but something within him stopped him. Will could easily recall the time when the hate was at its strongest, when he had tried to kill Robin, when Robin had shot him in the hand. Will remembered how Robin had ignored him for the long days that followed that had followed, until the battle. Everything of that battle in the forest had seemed a blur to Will. He remembered fighting, one continuous thought running through his head. 'I'll never get to tell Robin why I hate him so much; I'll never be able to tell him the truth.'
In the sheriff's dungeons, Will had felt angry with Robin again. Will could never recall why exactly he told volunteered to go and kill Robin. He knew it had been somehow linked to his anger, but, deep down, Will somehow felt that it was regret speaking. It was his heart letting him know that this was the time to tell Robin the truth, to save the rest of the outlaws that had been captures.
Will slowly returned to consciousness, blinking against the pain that swept from his arm and abdomen to the rest of his body in steady throbs. Felling a soft pillow against his head, Will inwardly frowned. How long had it been since he had awoken in such a comfortable bed. Wincing as he turned his stiff neck, he blinked in amazement as he beheld Robin, sleeping in a chair beside Will's bed, his head resting on the back of the chair. Memories flooded back to Will. How he had confronted Robin, and told him the truth upon his return from Nottingham, how Robin had embraced him, accepting him. How Robin had tried to keep him out of danger during the battle at Nottingham castle.
In the end, however, it had all been in vain. After Nottingham castle had been breeched, Robin had, quite rightly, gone to save Marian, while Will had stayed with the rest of the commoners fighting the guards. It had only one moment. Bull had yelled out for help, and Will had spun around hurling his knife, and only weapon, into the back of the guard whose axe was dangerously close to his friend. The guard fell to the ground, but Bull's eyes had not left Will.
"Will, look out!" Bull had cried as Will felt pain shoot from his side. Spinning around, he had seen the smirking guard whose sword was now stained red from Will's blood. The guard swung the sword, and Will had sucked his stomach in, jumping out of the way. The tip of the guard's sword had sliced through Will's skin, drawing blood. Will had almost stumbled and fallen, but regained his balance, in time to be cut deeply in the right arm by a second guard. With a roar, Bull had leapt forward, waving his sword, killing the first guard. At that moment, Little John had burst in and, having taken the situation in, had smashed the second guard in the head with his staff. Will remembered with a shudder the intense pain that had swarmed over his beaten body, and how he had struggled to keep fighting, hiding the true extent of his injuries from his friends.
Then, Robin had appeared, a weary smile on his face, bloody, but victorious. Azeem was with him, and Little John had approached them, telling them of the rest of the outlaw's victories. Will had then stumbled forward, his face even more pale than usual. Robin had known something was wrong, and he had leapt forward, embracing Will.
"Rob, I'm sorry" Will had whispered to Robin, before caving into the weakness that washed over him.
Will paused in his recollections. He couldn't remember anything that happened after that. A sudden thought came to him, unbidden. He hadn't fainted, had he? Will shuddered at the thought, wincing as his body protested against the movement. Gritting his teeth, Will tried to sit up, but he almost cried out as pain seared through him. Tears sprung into Wills eyes as the pain from the wounds stung through him. Will wiped at his eyes, angry at himself with his uninjured left arm. His movement causing Robin to stir. The older man blinked a couple of times, before glancing at Will.
"Will, you're awake! Thank God." Robin leant forward and gently laid his hand on Will's forehead.
"Robin, it hurts" Will whimpered, the pain he felt still incredibly intense.
"It'll be alright, Will. Azeem wanted you to be awake before he gave you drink of something that will help the pain." Robin promised. Will nodded.
"What happened too you?" he asked, noticing the cut on Robin's chin.
"The Sherriff gave me a parting gift, using our father's sword. He's gone now. It's all over"
"Good. What happens now?" Will asked, blinking his eyes. He was beginning to feel tired again. Although he didn't say anything, Will knew that Robin noticed the movement,
"Well, you stay here and get better. I'm not going anywhere, you can count on that. Little John and Fanny have gone back to Sherwood with most of the group so we can rebuild the village for those who want to stay there. Pretty much everyone is going home. Some have stayed here, Bull, Azeem, and Friar Tuck have all stayed, and Marian, of course"
"You don't have to stay here with me, Robin. I can look after myself" Will told him. Robin smiled.
"I know you can, but I don't think I could ever forgive myself if something happened, besides. You're my little brother; it's my job to look after you." Will smiled tiredly, breathing in deeply, and wincing in pain.
"I'm sorry, Robin"
"Whatever for, Will?"
"For not telling you about us being brothers, for getting caught, for almost getting killed…twice, for affecting your life so much. I'm sorry, for everything."
"Will," Robin climbed off his chair and crouched beside the bed so he was level with Will's eye level. "None of that was your fault. It wasn't your fault that you got hurt; you saved Bull, so it wasn't your fault. I don't blame you for anything. If anything, I blame myself"
"Why? It's not your fault that I got hurt."
"Firstly, I should have stayed with you, protected you instead of going after the sheriff"
"You were saving Marian!" Will interrupted, shocked.
"Secondly, if I had known, or if I found out, that you existed, I would never have driven away your mother. I figured it out, that the night I found out my father was with another woman, was the night after you were born. He was happy when he came home that night, and I told him what I knew, and that I forced him into leaving. I'm so sorry, Will. If only I had thought about why he was so happy. It was because of you, Will. He loved you, I know he did" As Robin spoke, tears begun to slide down Will's face, and by the time Robin was finished, Will was actually crying. Robin enfolded Will in his arms, careful of Will's wounds, rocking the younger man gently. Will quietly spoke.
"I wish I'd known him" he whimpered. Robin sighed.
"He was a good father. He cared very much about me, probably too much. I was a very spoilt youth, up until I went to the crusades. I think that shocked him, he didn't think I would care about the war, but when I went, he was against it, and I went anyway." Will quietly whispered to Will, who listened intently.
"He sounds like he loved you very much" Will whispered. Robin nodded.
"I think you're right, Will. I know he loved you, though. There was always moments when he would hint at your existence, but I was too stubborn and selfish to take any notice of them. He loved both of us, equally."
Will smiled up at Robin, resting his head against Robin's chest as he slowly fell asleep. Robin carefully shifted so Will was in a more comfortable position, before gazing down at his little brother. The similarities were so blatantly obvious now; Robin wondered why no-one had noticed them before.
Robin was so caught up in taking in the similarities of Will's features and his own that he did not hear someone tapping on the door, nor the creak of the door as it opened. Robin only looked up when he saw Azeem, Marian and Bull crossing the room. They all looked concerned as they surveyed the little scene. Robin, perched on Will's bed, with Will wrapped in his arms, while Will lay unmoving.
"He woke up" Robin said by way of explanation. Bull exhaled noisily.
"Thank the lord and Jesus Christ. He had us worried there" he muttered loudly, and Robin smiled a ghost of a smile. Azeem and Marian ignored the joke, approaching the bed. Marian stopped a meter away form the bed, while Azeem stepped closer.
"How was he?' the painted man asked.
"Weak, tired, and in a lot of pain. He was fairly upset about everything, so I sort've tried to calm him down."
"I have prepared a medicine for him to help with his pain and the wound's healing." Azeem told Robin, as he gently rolled up Will's shirt, exposing the wounds and bloody bandages. Robin and Marian both felt their hearts leap into their mouths as the wounds were uncovered. Will's abdomen and chest were covered in bruises of various shades, and the red line that showed where Will had been cut stood out. Robin winced as Azeem examined Will's stab wound, and the cut on his arm, which was the deepest of the injuries. Will whimpered slightly in his sleep as Azeem applied a greenish coloured paste to the wounds to clear any infections, before rebandaging the wounds. Azeem then withdrew a vial of liquid from his robes and looked at Robin.
"I need Will to be awake for this, Robin."
Robin nodded and gently shook Will awake. Will groaned and whimpered once more as he stirred, until he reached consciousness once more.
"Will, I need you to wake up for awhile. Is that alright?" Azeem asked as Will blinked his eyes sleepily. Will nodded, and Robin shifted so he could support his brother better from behind. Azeem uncorked the vial and, instructing Will to open his mouth, poured it into Will's mouth. Will instinctively gagged against the liquid, coughing harshly, causing his body to shudder. Will cried out in pain and grabbed his injured side as it seared with pain. Azeem quickly grabbed a goblet and carefully tipped it into Will's mouth, easing the coughing. Will lay on the bed, panting as he tried to regain his breath as Robin rubbed his uninjured arm, calming him down. Azeem watched the two men, marveling at how quickly Robin had adapted to feeling very brotherly towards Will.
As Will's haggard breathing cleared, he looked fearfully up at Azeem.
"That was it, wasn't it?" he asked, hopefully. Azeem nodded, and Will sighed in relief, leaning against Robin. Will glanced up at Bull and Marian and smiled weakly.
"Are you three okay?" he asked, directing the question towards Azeem as well.
"Yeah, nothing that a good nights sleep couldn't fix" Bull smiled, and will weakly nodded, frowning to himself.
"How long was I out for?"
"A little over a week" Marian told him. Wills eyebrows shot upwards.
"A week" he echoed, glancing at Robin and Azeem in disbelief.
"Yes, that was about the correct length of time" Azeem admitted.
"But, I never sleep that long, even when I'm sick"
"Will, you almost died," Robin quietly spoke, and Will turned his head to face Robin.
"Your wounds became infected, and you were too weak after you lost so much blood. There were many times when we thought you were about to die. It will take you a while to sufficiently recover" Azeem told Will, who paled.
"You had a bad fever that wouldn't break." Robin added, as Will instinctively drew closer to him.
"If you weren't so stubborn, I think you would've gone" Bull added, trying to break the solemn mood.
"It doesn't matter now. You're okay. That's all that matters" Robin whispered into Will's ear as Will started falling asleep again. Robin slid off the bed, and laid Will down gently upon the pillows, double checking the blankets were covering his little brother's small form. Bull quietly walked out of the room, and Marian and Azeem quietly observed as Robin rested his hand on Will's brow, checking once more for any sign of the fever that had almost claimed Will's life. Robin looked over his shoulder to where Azeem and Marian stood.
"His temperature is back to normal" Robin smiled, and Azeem returned the friendly gesture.
"Your brother will be quite alright, Christian. You can leave him now."
"What if he wakes up while I'm gone? I don't want him to think I've abandoned him"
"I will stay with him, Robin, don't worry for him" Azeem reassured Robin, who stood, glancing back down at Will
"Have a good sleep, Little brother. I will be back soon" he whispered, brushing wills hair from his face, before leading Marian from the room, glancing back once to see Azeem sit beside Will's bed, taking up Robin's constant watch over the younger man.
In his sleep, Will stirred restlessly, before returning into deep slumber, his mind filled with pleasant dreams for the first time in years.
A.N. This may be a one shot, or I might add a prequel chapter later on. Please R & R.