Guy put the necklace into his pocket as he walked up to the door of Locksley Manor. He wasn't very patient, and couldn't wait to have Ellen as his own. He would give her the small gift to claim her as his own.
Ellen had been sitting in the main room thinking when there was a knock on the door. She stood up and walked slowly and carefully to go and answer it. At the door stood Sir Guy. What on earth could he want now, she thought. She smiled at him, stepping aside and letting him into her home. "Sir Guy," she stated plainly in her tone. She was filled with caution, what could he possibly want.
"Lady Ellen," he replied, something off in his tone. He took in her appearance. A light blue dress with her brown hair pulled behind her. He looked up and down her body, taking in every piece of her, knowing that she'd soon belong to him. "I have brought you a gift to thank you and your father for accepting my request to court you," he stated, as he was about to pull out the necklace.

Ellen stood there, shocked. Court? Is that what he had said? No, it couldn't be possible, she refused to believe it. "My father would never consent to a courtship without speaking to me first."

Guy looked at her, and took her hand in his own, drawing her body closer to his. "Lady Ellen, I assure you, this is for your safety and your safety alone. I can take care of you, and provide for you. You will not be threatened by your brother or the other outlaws that he has been seen with," Guy stated, moving another step closer to her. Ellen just looked at him as he pulled the necklace out of his pocket. He made her turn around and he fastened the small chain onto her neck. On it was a small ruby and she looked down from it, and back up at him.
Her necklace felt like a collar. It was his way of showing that he owned her. She was his property now; no more than a pet. "I can't accept this, Sir Guy. A woman shouldn't get such jewelry from anyone but her husband," she replied, moving her fingers up to take it off, only he stopped her by taking her hands away from it and looking into her eyes.
"That day will come soon enough, Ellen," he stated, almost smirking. She was his property now. She belonged to him and no one else.

Before Ellen could say anything, Robert looked into the room, seeing Guy standing next to his daughter and the look in her eyes. He knew that she had been told. He cursed the younger man under his breath. Was the man so anxious to have his daughter that he would not wait a day for him to explain things to her? "Sir Guy," Robert stated. "I see you have acknowledged the courtship." Ellen looked at her father for some sort of answer but found none. Was her father really going to let this monster court her? She knew it was only a matter of time until he decided that it was time to move off of courting and onto the
engagement. She didn't want to think about it. She didn't want to marry him.
"Just thanking you both," he said with a smirk.

The fingers of his right hand drummed absentmindedly against his staff. Things were definitely changing around the camp, and he wasn't sure if he liked it. Robin seemed like a good enough man, but he worried about Marian. He was aware of their betrothal and her subsequent heart ache when he left. His knuckles popped as he gripped his staff roughly. He better have honorable intentions towards the young woman or he would have a lot to answer for.

He also worried that the young man had his eyes on more than just Marian Fitzwalter. Robin Locksley was a trained soldier used to taking orders from no one but the King of England. Could he really take orders from his ex-fiancée or would he try to take over the gang?

If it were just the problem of Robin he would not be overly distressed, but Much had the twins worked up. Diana could be out right ruthless when she was angry, and Eve seemed to have a dangerous side that she kept hidden. He shook his head. Getting those two upset was a recipe for disaster. Someone was going to have to let the little man know that he could not toy with their hearts.

Then there was Djaq. She could be as strong as stone, but he knew there was a more vulnerable side to her. She seemed uncomfortable in her own skin. He did not think that young Will would do anything inappropriate, but it still would be best to speak with the lad.

He sighed to himself. He always thought that Allan was going to be the trouble maker.

Djaq felt uncomfortable in the silence of the camp. Usually it didn't bother her but today it felt like everyone was deep in thought. Just standing close by felt intrusive. Marian and Diana had taken Eve to the market to buy food leaving her with all of the men. Looking around the camp she couldn't pinpoint exactly what made her feel so anxious. Maybe it was the addition of Much and Robin. She still did not know them well, and was not sure how to react around them. She brushed dirt and leaf litter from her trousers as she stood. "I am going to gather herbs," she told the group.

Will looked up from a piece of wood that he had been whittling, "I'll join you."

"Will, you stay," John said gruffly. "Allan, why don't you help Djaq?"

"Oi," Allan looked up from the comfortable log he had been resting on. "I don't see why I should have to go if Will volunteered."

Djaq rolled her eyes, "I am perfectly capable of picking herbs and the like on my own."

"Allan would be glad to accompany you," John gave him a threatening look.

He grumbled in annoyance as he got up from his resting place, "course I would."

Will looked dejected but quickly returned to his work. What was John's problem, he thought to himself.

John stood slowly, feeling his old muscles protest. Once to his full height he cleared his throat to get the men's attention. He was usually a man of few words and saw no reason to repeat his speech three times if it weren't necessary. He watched as three sets of eyes focused on him. "I only plan on saying this once," his voice was gruff. "You lads," he nodded towards Much and Robin, "have been off to war, and I am sure that in that time you met with women for less than respectable pursuits." He noticed a slight blush to Much's cheeks, but Robin remained calm. "You should know that I will not tolerate any advances towards the women. You will keep your hands to yourselves."

Will stared at his feet while Much stammered incoherently and Robin laughed hysterically.

"I am not joking Locksley," he tossed his staff from hand to hand threateningly. "You will respect Marian, and follow her orders, or you can leave this gang." He turned, "and you Much, will not pit the twins against one another, and Will… just be careful with Djaq."

Will wished the ground would open up and devour him. How did John know that he had feelings for Djaq? He had been so careful. He tried not to watch her too closely. He treated everyone the same… for the most part. He sighed, when would this end?

Much was scared to death, "I… I am not pitting Diana and Eve against one another. They… we… I…"

"What my friend is trying to say," Robin smiled cheekily, "is that we have the utmost respect for the women and would not dream of disgracing them in such a manner."

John didn't appreciate his cheeky behavior and took a menacing step towards him.

Marian bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing. She had over heard the entire conversation. Deciding it was time to save the boys from a little of their embarrassment she stepped forward making her way to John. "Now, now, papa bear," she laughed melodically, "play nice with the little boys."

Diana wrapped an arm around John, "yeah dad, poor Will looks like he might make a run for it."

Eve looked around, "he didn't scare you too much did he?"

"Nah," John shrugged, "we were just coming to an understanding.

Ellen ran through the forest feeling the branches and vines scrape her skin and snag her dress. She had never felt so caged, so trapped. She had escaped to Sherwood in a wild attempt to feel free. She needed Marian. She needed to be held, and told that everything would be okay. She needed her best friend's assurance. Her lungs heaved with labored breathing and her sides hurt. Normally she could run for miles without a problem. She and Marian had trained themselves strenuously before becoming the Night Watchman, but as fear gripped her she found herself desperate for air.

Allan's head jerked up as he heard someone tearing through the forest. Never a good sound, he thought to himself as he pulled his sword and readied for a fight. He felt a lump form in his throat at the sight before him. Lady Ellen burst through the foliage, gripping her sides, and falling to the floor. Immediately he dropped his sword and ran towards her. Dropping to his knees he wrapped his arms around her. Propriety be damned! He rocked her gently and smoothed his fingers through her soft locks. "Ellen, what's wrong," he finally asked. "Are your parents alright?" He had never seen her so scared.

"I can't…" she started clawing at the necklace around her throat. "I can't breathe." She felt as though the simple chain were choking her.

Quickly, he gathered her hair in one hand and moved it from the base of her neck before removing the jewelry. That small touch, the barest hint of his fingers touching the smooth skin of her neck took his breath away.

As soon as the necklace was off she collapsed into his arms and wept. Had she any strength at all she would have been humiliated. She hated to appear weak in front of anyone, and she had always been so careful to appear strong and confident around Allan. She wasn't sure why, but she wanted to be at her best when she was near him.

He was shocked and worried and pissed. He wanted to hunt down whoever was responsible for her sobs and make them pay. A surge of protectiveness filled him as he pulled her onto his lap and tucked her head into the nape of his neck. He rocked her for a long time before her tears began to slow. "Ellen," he whispered into her hair, "what happened?"

His breath against her skin made her shiver. She gripped his shirt tightly, "my father… he has consented to Guy's request for courtship."

Hopelessness filled him with that simple sentence. He tried to force the emotion away. Logically he knew that his feelings for Ellen could never be reciprocated. She was a noble woman. She would marry some fancy lord and have fancy noble babies. Still he had always hoped that she looked at him with the same longing. "It is just a courtship."

"For now," she said angrily, "but all too soon he will want more." She shivered in his arms and couldn't help the feeling of warmth she felt when he wrapped his arms around her.

"You don't have to say yes," his eyes were pleading.

She thought about what he said, "it is not so simple."

"Then come to the forest like Marian," he seemed so hopeful. If she were an outlaw too, maybe, just maybe he'd have a chance.

A sad laugh escaped her lips, "and if I do that how long do you think the sheriff would wait to assassinate my parents?" She crawled out of his arms and stood with her back to him. "I am just some pretty ornament destined to be on some man's arm." She shivered at how cold her voice sounded. A hard smile tugged at her lips, "only the poor marry for love."

"Whoa," he walked up to her, "no one said anything about marriage yet. It is just a courtship, and any gentleman knows that he should wait at least a year before proposing. If Gizzy tries to speed things up just reminded him of that little bit."

She turned to him and laughed sadly, "do you really think that will work? Do you think that I do not know what kind of a man he is? He'll take whatever he wants, and kill anyone who stands in the way. He's picked me," her bottom lip trembled in fear, "and he'll have me."

Allan couldn't take it anymore. Placing a hand on her shoulder he spun her around to face him and wrapped his arms around her once more. "I will never let that man touch you." Just the thought of Guy taking Ellen on their wedding night made his blood boil. "I will never let anyone hurt you."

She tried to melt into his embrace. She knew that she would never feel this safe with Guy. Hell, Guy would never care enough to hold her when she was scared. He would just take what he wanted from her and leave her as no more than a shell. "And why do you even care?"

His chest felt tight as she looked up with blood shot eyes. Her face was tear stained and flushed, but to him she had never looked lovelier. "Because... because I love you," he whispered.

She couldn't have heard him right. Allan, the ladies man and trickster and con artist, could not love her. "No you don't."

"Pardon," he nearly choked.

She moved from his arms, "you don't love me."

"I can't believe it you daft woman," he ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. "Here I am, standing before you telling you how I feel and all you can do is argue with me! You know you and Marian are far too alike."

Her cheeks became hot with anger, "oh and that is a bad thing. Heaven forbid that a woman think and speak for herself!"

"You foolish, ill-tempered, beautiful," his fingers tangled in her hair moments before his lips crashed into hers. It was dumb of him and he knew it, but he couldn't help himself. She had consumed his thoughts and dreams since he met her. He knew that they had no future. There was no way she felt the same for him. He was after all, a nobody.

She was completely shocked. This wonderful, beautiful man was kissing her, and more surprisingly she was kissing him back in a very unladylike fashion. Her hands were roaming roughly over his back and shoulders. His body was better than she had ever imagined, not that she had been imagining him of course. That would be terribly improper. Excitement built in her as she felt taunt, coiled muscles under her fingertips. She pressed her body shamefully close to his, needing to lose everything in the feeling of him. She moaned into his kiss and her eyes shot open as she felt his tongue slide into her mouth. Her shock and fear were quickly replaced by warmth. She was relying completely on him to hold her up. Her bones had somehow melted away the moment his lips met hers.

He could tell that she was new at this, but God did she learn fast. A low groan escaped as he felt her hips shift against his body. This woman was doing terribly, amazing things to him. Her tongue darted and danced with his for a moment before she began nibbling and sucking on his lower lip. He had always heard the rumor that noble women lacked passion and fire. Whoever said that had never met Ellen. Everything about the woman in his arms was fierce and untamed.

So Mira and I really hoped you like it, but the only way we can know for sure is if you review. We are already brewing up some scathingly brilliant ideas.