Spoilers: Season 2 finale.
Characters: The whole gang!
Warnings: May induce hysterical bouts of laughter or tears. : )
A/N: Here's to hoping that Will and Djaq return in season 3. If not, here's to the next best thing, fanfiction! Reviews are balm to a heart sore at Marian's death and Will and Djaq leaving. ;-) Oh, a thousand apologies about the spacing. Fanfiction didn't accept my original spacing, so my personal editor had to go in and manually fix it. It's not perfect, but it was worse before. : )
"A letter!" Much burst into camp looking very self-important, "I've got a letter from Will and Djaq! All the way from the Holy Land!" He practically skipped across the room to where John and Allan were sitting.
The two men jumped to their feet, looks of surprise and delight filling their faces. They had not heard from the couple since the outlaws' return from the Holy Land, a few months before.
"Let me see!" Allan snatched the letter from Much's grasp.
"Hey! Give it back! You can't even read!"
"'Course I can read," Allan said indignantly, holding the letter out of Much's reach, "It says: Dear Gang, Hope all is well! We miss you all. We love each other, we love you all. Wish you were here! Love, Will and Djaq. " He looked up triumphantly.
"No, it doesn't! That's too few words!" Much rolled his eyes.
Little John sighed and shook his dark head in exasperation. Robin's timing saved the letter from being obliterated in an all-out war between Allan and Much. Whistling as he came, their fearless leader sauntered into the camp.
"My friends! What is the point of a secret camp if everyone can hear you squabbling like a bunch of old hens?" Allan and Much scowled, while John leaped to his feet.
John deftly reclaimed the letter. "Robin, letter from Will and Djaq!"
Robin took the letter. His face wrinkled in concentration and his fellow outlaws knew he, like them, was savoring the contact from their dear friends. He cleared his throat and began to read. As he did, his voice fell away, and they could hear the voices of Will and Djaq as clearly as if they were actually speaking.
Dear Robin, Much, Allan, and John, Our dear friends, we hope all is well there. We know you are good men and have kept to your promise to keep England safe. We, in turn, have done our best to negotiate peace here. It truly gets better every day. There is hope. Do not lose heart. We know that you will never lose heart and that you will fight the battle until the end. We will, too. We are Robin Hood!
John crowed. Much slapped him. "Shhh! What else do they say, Master?"
I am teaching Will how to speak my language. He is a quick and apt learner. He will soon speak as well as any Saracen! How can I not, with such a beautiful, wise—well, yes, that's enough of that—teacher?
Soft chuckles floated from the men reading the letter.
Will's skill as a carpenter are well used here. Bassam praises his skill and help daily. Not daily! Of course, Will is as humble as ever. I must take over, lest my wife continue on in this embarrassing manner. Djaq is well-loved by everyone here. Bassam dotes on her. He says—and I agree—no one is as good with the birds as she is. With them, she can fly. Djaq is blushing and now will continue with the letter.
Robin paused, seemingly deep in thought. The three other men had rather silly grins on their faces.
Allan voiced all their thoughts, "Marriage has been good them, hasn't it?
"It's one of the best things that can happen to a man—or a woman," Little John spoke softly, his voice slightly husky with emotion.
"Master? More?" Much broke into Robin's reverie.
"Much! A little patience!" Robin's grin belied the irritation of his words. He continued:
Robin-- We thought you should know—we visit Marian's grave once a month. We give her your love and place flowers on the grave. The King comes, too, sometimes, to pay his respects, he says, "To two of the greatest soldiers I ever knew—a woman who fought for her England, and a man who fought for his King."
There was silence for a moment. The mood was suddenly more somber than before and Robin had to draw a deep breath before continuing.
Much—Who knew that one could miss your cooking? The food here takes a bit of getting used to. Djaq still laughs when I try something new.
Much looked proud, until Allan commented dryly, "I bet they don't eat squirrel." Much sputtered and as Allan and John chuckled, only Robin's intervening for quiet stopped a fight. Grinning, Robin held up his hand for silence and once more began to read.
Allan—We hope you know we love you and that so do Much, Robin, and John. You made a mistake and you apologized. Please don't beat yourself up about it. No one is perfect. Don't let that big head of yours inflate too much.
Much guffawed, Robin grinned, and Allan turned his face away. When he turned back, it looked suspiciously wet.
John—I miss your gentle hands when I am out caring for the sick. I have delivered two children into this world since you left and every time, I wish you were there to soothe the mother, as you were with Rosa. You are one of the gentlest men we know. Never be sorry.
John swallowed hard.
We love you all and hope to see you again some day soon. Keep well and safe!
Will and Djaq Scarlett
There was silence as the letter finished, then a resounding sigh from all the men. For a few precious moments, it was as if Djaq and Will were back with them. They were missed terribly, even if the gang was happy for them. They had left a void behind them. The letter was the beginning of filling that void.
"Well!" Much bounced to his feet, "Time for supper!"
"As long as it isn't squirrel!" Allan replied, a grin splitting his face. The grin disappeared a second later as Much lobbed a pan at him. As Allan ran for his life, with an irate, pan-wielding Much trailing behind him, Robin laughed longer and harder than he had in a long, long time. John joined in. It was the happiest they had been since leaving the Holy Land.