Summary: brother story set after the end of the film. Robin says something thoughtlessly cruel to Will, who runs away into the forest. But someone is on his trail, someone with a score to settle against his family-someone dangerous. It is a race between Robin and this deadly stranger to find Will, who is dealing with problems of his own.
As you can probably tell from the title, this story is about Will Scarlett, the best character in the film and one who I always thought should have had more attention and screen time. Many people have mentioned that there aren't enough brother stories about Will and Robin-hopefully this can help set that right! Set just after the end of the film, so Robin and Marian are married-this will be a brother fic! It will be a multi-chapter story of I would estimate at this point about ten chapters. Rated T because there will be some torture in later chapters I think. I hope you like it!
Will Scarlett still found it difficult to believe that things could be this simple.
Sure, he had not changed much. It was more like his world had spun wildly on its axis around him, leaving him reeling. He had a brother, and a newly-married one at that. And he no longer had to fear the sheriff or even other nobles who in the past might have hanged him for poaching, if they had caught him. Though people had rarely tended to catch Will. He was too fast, too good. But now he no longer even had to poach, did not even have to steal.
The little forest settlement of the Merry Men had remained-at least, what they had been able to salvage from the last raid had remained. Robin had remained-Will had half-expected him to return to his manor and his lands, but neither he nor Marian had done so. Somehow, the freedom and hardship of this lifestyle in the wilds that Will had always known was something that both of the nobles had found themselves unwilling to leave. They existed in harmony with the nearby villages-in peace.
Will had never known peace. After his mother had died of a fever when he had been only eight years old, ten years ago now, he had gone wild himself. It had been the kind of a fever that nobles easily recovered from, with warmth and comfort and rest, and good food, none of which his mother had been able to enjoy-and all because that treacherous devil-worshipper Locksley had thrown her out. Will had been able to trace the blame even further back-to Robin. Right then the hatred had flowered in his heart and begun to explode outwards. He had barely cared what he did so long as it aggravated a noble, preferably Locksley-barely even cared, at first, if he lived or died.
Finding Fanny and John had saved him from that. Both rough, kindly people, finding the starving, bitter, furious young boy curled up and waiting for slow death from the cold in the middle of a winter nearly two years after his mother had passed away, they had taken him in, certainly saved his life. Fanny had raised seven children all in all-what she did not make a fuss of, in tacit respect for Will's pride, was that one of them had been him. He had been wild, angry, untamed, wary-but under their care he had found the will to live. A born survivor, his natural fierceness for life had been rejuvenated, a dying flame flaring up anew, and he had never looked back. Fanny and her family became, somehow, if not his own family, people he would give his life for, and the Sheriff became his enemy. He had been forced to flee to the forest at the age of fifteen, after stealing one of the Sheriff's deer and calling the man something-rather unsavoury-when he had been discovered. He had ended up ceding the deer-it had been the only way he could have escaped, though still now the memory of having had to run away grated on his pride.
Things had been…hard, but normal. Safe, in a savage, dangerous way, because he understood them. Until Robin of Locksley had come blowing out of the woods, resurrecting all Will's former hatred for that entire stinking family; Robin of Locksley with his false nobility and his arrogance and his risking of their lives for his own personal glory. And so maybe it had been cowardly and stupid to try and stab him in the back that time, but Will had been so angry…his reason clouded by a haze of rage and vengeance. And he had suffered for it-he still had the livid scar on his hand as a souvenir of that reckless act. The fact that Robin was his half-brother had only made it worse-a connection Will could never break and never fully deny to this man he hated more than any other who walked this world.
But somehow it had been all right. When Will had come stumbling back towards their camp after agreeing to turn traitor for the Sheriff, he had not known whose side he was on, if he would betray Robin or stand by him. Not known himself whether his tentative belief in what Robin was fighting for, in the possibility that he had changed, was stronger than his hatred.
And now-peace. Harmony. Safety. A family.
He did not know how to deal with it, was not used to it. He knew danger so well, knew war so well that now-he was at a loose end. For days now he had felt the frustration bottling up inside him, the need to run, fight, do something powerful. Robin's over-protectiveness did not help. Back when they had still been chasing the last few of Nottingham's soldiers out of the forest he had tried to stop Will even going on the raids-not that he had succeeded-and when, a few days ago, a newly-built treetop shelter had caved in, trapping one of Fanny's children on a narrow beam, Robin had physically tackled Will to stop him climbing the next tree and reaching out to drag the child to safety. It had been a bad moment-Will had made it to the tree and begun to climb, the little girl's terrified face metres above pleading with him, when Robin had dragged him bodily from the trunk with a shout: "It's too dangerous, Will!" and begun the climb himself. Will shuddered with momentary fury at the memory, then tried to push the anger away.
He seemed to have been pushing away a lot of his emotions lately.
Will was striding back into camp with the weight of several dead rabbits in a sack in one hand and his two trademark knives in his belt. Robin was the best bowman anyone knew, but even he could not match Will at knife-throwing. Robin was a good ten years older, too, but while he had his own skills he simply had not grown up as Will had, and was not as woodwise, as quick, or as cautious as his younger brother. Now he came ducking out of the shelter he had taken to sharing with Marian and turned to greet the youth heading towards him.
"Good hunting, huh?"
Sometimes it was still hard to believe that he actually did care about Will. What was even harder for Will to accept was the realisation that he actually did believe it.
Will hefted the sack. "Yeah. Do I want to know what you've been doing while I was gone?" As if to illustrate his meaning, Marian came out of the shelter after Robin at that moment, smoothing her hair; she shot Will a smile, not having heard him, then bent to take her own bow from beside the shelter's entrance.
"Aren't you coming to prove you're still better than me?" she asked Robin with a challenge in her eyes. He grinned ruefully.
"Do I have a choice? I'll see you by the river in a few minutes." He bent down and started buckling his boot as Will brushed past him into the dim, smoky interior of the shelter itself to deposit his burden.
"I was thinking it might be worth going out to the edge of Lord Chevron's lands," he called back to Robin. "I heard tell in the village he might be gathering soldiers, there's a chance he could be planning to strike at us. We know he was a friend of Nottingham's."
"Don't worry," Robin's voice floated back. "I spoke with him weeks ago, just in case. He was very friendly after I revealed what Nottingham had actually been trying to do."
Will set down the bloody bag of rabbits and shoved back a lock of fair hair that had fallen over his forehead. "Are you sure you can trust him? He is a noble, after all…" There was a mocking note to his voice, but he was only half-joking. Robin was one thing. But the entire lot of them? So maybe he had got past his unquenchable hatred for their entire class-that didn't mean that they weren't a bunch of arrogant, selfish, money-grubbing spoilt children at heart.
Robin poked his head into the shelter. "Oh come on, Will. We're not all that bad."
"Not all of you," Will muttered darkly. "Still. I might go and check him out."
"You can't spy on a friend, Will," Robin returned, looking a little annoyed.
"Oh, he's a friend now?" The old quick reckless anger was rising inside him-he barely knew why. It was like a defence mechanism he had developed over the years of fighting alone, of surviving, and not as easily pushed away. He struggled to control himself-Robin wasn't even antagonising him this time.
"He's not an enemy. For God's sake, Will. Just because you grew up fighting every man who looked at you wrong because of some stupid grievances doesn't mean Lord Chevron is a threat! Leave him alone, all right? It's the honourable thing to do."
Will's temper broke, the floodgates opening and releasing a torrent of repressed anger he was powerless to control. "Stupid grievances? You mean like you and your saintly father throwing my mother out to die?" His voice had risen to a shout and his fists were clenched-he was ready to spring at Robin, to kill him. "And I guess you don't think a pathetic peasant like me has any sense of honour, don't you? Just 'cause you grew up with servants running to pick up your handkerchiefs and a father stupid enough to do anything for you, you nobles still think you're the only ones who know what the word fair means!"
"I didn't say that, Will." Robin had come fully into the shelter and stood in the shadows before his younger brother. He was looking angry too, now. Shoot you in the hand angry. Kill Nottingham angry. Dangerous angry. Maybe it was a family trait. "For God's sake, didn't we get past this?"
"Apparently, you didn't learn anything!"
Rage flashed in Robin's eyes. "Don't you tell me what I did and didn't learn, Will Scarlett. And don't you insult my father. Your prejudices get in the way of everything you do or say and you're the one that can't seem to learn. And for God's sake you can't go running out there antagonising the nobles now, it's far too dangerous and completely unnecessary."
"Too dangerous?" Will yelled. He was suddenly standing nose-to-nose with Robin, reading the tightly suppressed fury in his brother's eyes and glorying in it. He felt, bizarrely, freer than he had in weeks. "Too damn dangerous? You still think I'm a fool, right, you hypocrite? You don't give a damn till it turns out I'm your brother and then you decide to try and rule my life? I've survived on my own for years without you! What do you know of danger?"
"I fought in the Crusades," Robin said, very quietly. "I watched good men die for a cause they barely understood."
"You didn't grow up having to kill to survive when you were ten years old because your father had betrayed your mother and left her to die!"
Robin lunged forwards, suddenly, shoving Will up against the wall of the shelter, taking him by surprise. "Don't you dare insult my father's memory," he hissed. "Don't you dare blame him for my mistakes. For once in your life can't you shut your mouth, show some respect and accept that you're wrong? You're acting just like that pathetic little peasant, you know that, Will? Damn it-" And he flung himself away, striding fast out of the shelter. Will did not see Robin put his head in his hands outside, did not see his expression of horror and self-hatred as he realised what exactly he had said to his impetuous, bitter little brother. He only saw the past: his mother's dead face, Robin's self-satisfied smirk as he started taking control of the camp right in the beginning. He saw decades of wrongness and hatred and pain he would never be able to defeat, saw a life he would never be able to conform to, a gulf between brothers far too wide to ever bridge.
He could not take this any longer.
He turned away and exited the shelter by the other door, his ragged cloak swinging about his shoulders, hands clenched, eyes blinded by stinging tears of rage and anguish. If he stayed he would kill Robin. If he stayed he would begin to believe that he should kill Robin. If he stayed he would go insane. Robin was just like all the others, a smug, stupid, arrogant fool who just didn't know what it was like for your entire life to have been a fight for survival. And Will had been insane to think that there could ever be a place for him in a world where he was Robin's brother.
He had to leave.
He strode away into the twilight through the forest, silent and shaking, fierce with emotion. He looked back, just once, at the camp, the faint firelight, the low murmur of voices. He flicked his unruly blond hair out of his eyes and took a shuddering breath. And then he turned back to the shadows of the future and began to run.
Okay-so I don't like Robin very much. I'm a Will girl myself…but I am going to try so hard to make Robin a good guy in this story anyway. I promise! I don't know how old they're meant to be…I just see them as about 18 and 28, and if it was mentioned in the film or something then I didn't notice…I really hope you liked the story and I would love it if you'd leave me a review, of any kind, good or bad, just whatever you think. If anyone's interested then I will continue the story, so I really appreciate hearing whatever you can say about this. So please review!
Thanks for reading!