Summary: One Shot: Much isn't feeling very Christmassy at all. Much/OC
Characters: Much, Allan, Robin, Little John, Will, Djaq, Aoife (OC)
Just a quick note to say that this is a one-shot but I'm considering doing a few more Much/Aoife one shots if this one is received well so please write a review if you can – it would be most appreciated! P.S: Aoife is pronounced Ee-fa. Thanks!
Too Much Christmas Spirit
Robin chuckled as he approached the camp. He could hear Aoife singing Christmas carols from here. It wasn't that she was a bad singer it was merely the volume at which she sang that annoyed everyone. Well not everyone. Just Much, really. As he reached the group, he could already hear Much's loud complaints and Allan's even louder retaliation – telling Much that, if wanted to be miserable, that was his choice but the others wanted to get into the spirit of Christmas Eve.
'How?' said Much, scowling as he prodded the roasting rabbit. 'How are we supposed to get into the Christmas spirit when we're here?'
'How about lightning up, eh?' Allan answered.
Much opened his mouth to argue but Will cut across him.
'I could make some decorations if you want.' He looked at Robin for approval who nodded not seeing the harm in it. Will turned to Djaq, asking her if she wanted to help but she shook her head telling him that her religion didn't celebrate Christmas. He looked puzzled at this news but hid it well as he began working. Aoife ceased singing and began humming to herself instead. She loved Christmas, particularly Christmas Eve. From the side of her makeshift bed, she pulled out a wad of papers. She leafed through them and pulled out the song she was in the middle of writing. She was famous in many cities and counties for her writing and singing but, with her family's background in performing, it was hardly a surprise. People paid her to write songs for them and, even before singing, writing was her passion. Writing and men. They were her passions. She knew it was wrong but she blamed her father. He had a reputation when it came to liaisons and he had handed it on to his daughter and, to a certain extent, his son – Aoife's brother. She sighed, not really concentrating on her work, and heaved herself off her bed pushing her chestnut curls out of her face.
'Djaq! Seen as you're not doing anything, you can help me with this washing.'
Djaq feigned a look of joy and Aoife laughed, equally detesting the task at hand.
'Why are we doing this again?' Djaq asked loudly, knowing the consequences of the question and its reply.
'We're doing this,' Aoife caught on, a mischievous glint in her eye. 'because we're women.'
Robin, Allan, Will and Little John rolled their eyes but Much stared at them aghast.
'No! No, not at all! You're doing the washing because we all have jobs to do!'
'Really?' Aoife was finding it hard to contain her amusement. 'Then why can't Allan or Little John do this while I do their jobs?'
'Because…because…' Much was floundering. 'Because all the jobs had been taken before you arrived.'
'Ah. Right.' Aoife turned away slowly, pretending not to believe him.
'It's true!' Much exclaimed, rising from his log-seat by the fire. He seemed so agitated that Aoife began to feel guilty for winding him up so much. 'Master! Master, tell her!'
Robin grinned and shrugged as though he couldn't do anything and resumed polishing his boots. Much turned around to try and consolidate his point but the two women had already left and were heading towards the lake at the heart of the forest.
'Its is true!' he called after them.
He heard Aoife laugh and she waved, not even bothering to turn around.
Half an hour later, the men at the camp were finishing off their share of the rabbit. Much looked around anxiously.
'Should we take some down to Aoife and Djaq?'
'Wha' for?' came Allan's muffled reply.
'Well if we don't, it might be cold by the time they get back. And its dark already!'
Before anyone could answer, Djaq came striding into view clutching half the clothes that went down to the lake.
'Where's Aoife?' Much asked, staring into the darkness behind her.
'Why? Are you missing her?' At this, Much glowed red and Djaq smiled.
'She's still down there. She'll be here once she finished the rest of the washing.'
There was a silence broken only by the sound of everyone eating. Once he had finished, Much stood and began to rifle through his things before he pulled out a tunic. They all watched him stride purposefully towards the door of their secret camp.
'I…er…this tunic.' He waved it in the air. 'It needs washing. I had better take it down. I – er – never know when I might need it.'
With that, he darted out into the night.
As he got nearer and nearer to the lake, his pace slowed until he was hardly moving at all. What would he say when he got there? He hoped she wasn't offended at their earlier disagreement. As he approached, he could hear her humming and singing softly to herself as she dipped the clothes into the cool water and place them back into the basket. He cleared his throat and she started. Her head whipped up but she instantly relaxed when she saw him.
'Oh, thank God!' she exclaimed, her hand on her heart in shock. 'Thank God its only you, Much.'
Much felt his heart warm and he wasn't sure why. He cleared his throat again, he mouth suddenly dry seeing her in the semi darkness with the moonlight caressing her hair, making her skin glow and her eyes sparkle.
'I – um – I brought this as well.'
'Ah.' Now she looked less jovial. She took a little too roughly from his hands and dunked it into the water, the ripples covering the end of her dress. She swore loudly and Much winced at her vulgar language.
'I also… I also…'
She glanced up impatiently. 'Yes? You also…?'
'I also came to see if you needed any help.'
'Oh.' Her expression immediately softened. 'Oh. Well, I'm almost done now.'
'Ah…do you need me carry anything?'
'No. Thank you, Much.' She gave him a genuine smile – something she didn't do very often. He nodded and gave her one last look before marching back to camp.
She watched him go, bit her lip and smiled.
'Here he is.' Much heard John say as he slid back into camp. They'd obviously been talking about him.
'We thought you'd be gone for hours.' Allan said, grinning and raising his eyebrows making it obvious (even to Much) what he was on about. He made a face and tried to act as though he didn't care but his scarlet face betrayed him.
'You…' he began, sounding disgusted. 'You are revolting! As if I…as if she would…'
Allan guffawed. 'She would. She's got a reputation. You're a dark horse, you are.'
Much was so red he almost purple. 'A dark horse? I would never…'
'Then you don't know what you're missing. Does he, Aoife?'
Much swiveled around to see Aoife now returning to camp with a basket of washed clothes which she was now placing by the fire to dry.
'What?' she asked. 'What's Much missing out on?'
'Fun.' Replied Allan, a sparkle in his eye. 'Fun before marriage.'
At this, Aoife laughed heartily and nodded. 'He certainly is. I tried to get him to indulge in some just now but no avail.'
At this, Much spluttered, Djaq and Will gasped, Little John snorted and Robin tried suppress a grin. Allan, however, roared.
Much dithered to life. 'I…never…you – you didn't…'
Aoife laughed, clearly not embarrassed by the conversation. She stroked Much's face affectionately.
'I know. I'm sorry, Much. You're just so easy to wind up.'
He flushed once more only this time due to the feel of her skin on his. She finished hanging up the clothes and sat down to eat at last. Allan smirked and pushed a bottle under her nose. She looked at it, then back at him while she was chewing her food. He was still grinning. It was a bit unnerving, actually. She looked at him one last time before taking it and sniffing it gingerly.
'Oh my God!' she choked. 'Is that what I think it is?'
'Oh, yes. Stole it today off Gisborne. Makes it even sweeter. Have a swig.'
Much pulled a face as Aoife gluged from the bottle and whimpered with pleasure.
'What is it?' he asked, knowing that he wouldn't trust anything that came from Allan A Dale.
'That, my friend, is Bifrid's Ale. The best ale there has ever been.'
Allan and Aoife had a lot in common. Far too much for Aoife's liking if she was honest. Both of them enjoyed the luxuries in life and often tended to flitter their money away on liquor and expensive food. They'd spent many evenings discussing the best beers, ales and wines they could think of. Bifrid's had been top of both their lists.
'My God.' Aoife interrupted, staring at the bottle lovingly. 'I'd forgotten how good that is. Shame there's no more.'
'That's where you're wrong!' Allan triumphantly rolled out two barrels full from underneath his bed. Aoife clapped her hands and cackled with excitement. 'Well I just thought that it being Christmas and all…well. Just thought it'd get us into the Christmas spirit. Might even rope Much in.'
Much shook his head. 'Oh, no. I don't drink. You're not getting me drunk like some tavern mongrel. No, no, no.'
'Oh, come on , Much!' Will said, glugging down his first cup. 'That is good!'
'Much, what harm can one glass do?' Robin inquired as Allan poured him a cup.
'Master! Not you as well! I once saw a Lord – an honorable member of society - try to attack his own shadow and then vomit all up the tavern wall due to over indulgence of ale. Can't you see that liquor turns even the most sensible man into a drunken hooligan?'
Aoife scoffed. 'So?'
'No, no, no, no. Its definitely better if you have presents.' Much said two hours and eight cups of ale later. He hiccupped loudly.
'Christmas is good no matter if you have presents or not.' Will argued half-heartedly. 'Presents are just a bonus.'
'I think,' Aoife piped up suddenly. 'that we all should have a present tomorrow.'
Robin looked over her, baffled. 'From who?'
She waved a hand. 'That doesn't matter. We should just have one.'
There was a pause as they all nodded and took another swig of ale. Little John raised his cup, only one eye open.
They all laughed and raised their glasses too.
Djaq groaned. 'That's it! I don't even celebrate Christmas and I know that we have all got enough Christmas spirit for one night.'
'Allan get up. Allan!'
Allan was slumped on a log by the fire, his head on Aoife's shoulder. She jiggled it but he still slept.
'He's such a lightweight.' She murmured as she stood up and Allan crashed to the floor. Much chuckled and swayed over to his bed. They all clambered into bed, Allan last – groaning and rubbing his head.
'Night.' Djaq called as she blew out the last candle and they were all plunged into darkness.
Aoife jolted awake. God, it was cold. She pulled the blankets around her and realised it must have only been an hour or so since she had fallen asleep. Her brain was till very foggy and she couldn't quite remember how she had actually got into bed. It was far too cold to go back to sleep and the fire had gone out. She peered through the darkness at her friends surrounding her. She couldn't just clamber into bed with Djaq could she? No, there wasn't much to Djaq – she wouldn't provide much warmth. Ditto Robin. Little John, well, there wasn't enough room in Little John's bed to contain him let alone anyone else. Will was definitely out as it was obvious that he and Djaq were completely in love with each other and she didn't want to be accused of causing a rift even though it certainly wasn't her intention. Allan was also out. She didn't want to think what he'd do if he found her in his bed; he was someone who couldn't keep his hands to himself. So that left Much.
Poor Much was now sleeping like a baby after finally being cajoled into having some ale. Then there was no stopping him as he drank cup after cup. She pulled the blankets around her and tiptoed over to his bed. She slid telling herself that this was merely a practical solution and had nothing to with Much himself. She didn't like men like Much, she reminded herself. Much was far too innocent and boyish for her. Yes. Definitely. She almost groaned with delight. He was warm. Really warm. She stretched beside him, her limbs aching with pleasure. He stirred and she swore under her breath. His eyes open blearily and fixed on her face.
'Aoife. What are you doing here?' he croaked so quietly that she had to lean closer to him to hear and consequentially brushed against his bare forearm. She shivered and convinced herself it was because of the cold.
'I was freezing over there. I needed something warm. You're the warmest thing I could find.'
He nodded looking a little awkward. She hesitated,
'If you rather I go back I'm sure…'
He swallowed. 'No, no. Its fine.'
She curled against his chest and he automatically put his arm around her and flushed red again. He closed his eyes and felt her body heat blend with his. They remained silent for a couple of minutes before Much spoke,
'Is it Christmas Day, yet?'
Aoife smiled. 'Yes. I think so.'
Thanks for reading and please review if you can. Thanks!
Have a great Christmas