A/N: Hey all! So these are going to be predominantly Much/OC one-shots with hints of Robin/Marian and Djaq/Will. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update these but I've got a few planned already. There will be elements of Much/OC/PrinceJohn too but more about that later! Also, I WON'T be following the series exactly...Marian won't die because – let's face it – that was silly!
"Come on, Robin! It'll be good...we can all let our hair down and forget old troubles!" Allan pleaded to Robin whose mind was firmly focussed on other, and frankly more important, matters as he stared into the fire, planning, as the gang sat around him.
"You mean forget that you betrayed us?" Much piped up, bringing Allan crashing down to earth. Allan sighed.
"Listen, I'm sorry. I said I'm sorry, didn't I? I've made up for it, haven't I?"
"I suppose." Much said grouchily. Despite the world of difference between himself and Allan, Much had come to think of him as a friend and Allan's decision to join forces with Gisborne had hurt.
Allan sighed again. "C'mon, Robin! What d'you say, eh?"
Robin looked around the camp and at each member of his gang. They all seemed exhausted and drained and Robin included himself in that. Perhaps they could do with a night off before the next few months of danger began for them.
"Alright, Allan. Which tavern is she playing in?"
The gang arrived late at 'The Lion's Claw Inn' that evening, glad for the dusk that had fallen, leaving a pleasant, light heat in air. They took the back entrance to the tavern, wandering with their hoods up. Though as soon as they entered, they lowered their hoods, realising that the tavern was full of criminals and tax-dodgers. To Much's disgust, he realised this is now the sort of crowd they fitted into.
They found a small booth in the right corner, just tucked away enough to be private but not so distant from everyone else that they aroused suspicion. No sooner had they all sat down, Allan clapped his hands and said,
"Right! Who's for drinks, then?"
Four flagons of ale later, Much was feeling very mellow. Very nice, really. Why had he thought drinking was so bad in the first place? Actually, he gazed around at his surroundings, where was he?
"Robin? Where are we?"
The gang, who had all been gossiping about their fellow tavern members, erupted into laughter. Much was confused. Was it not ok to not know where he was?
"We're in 'The Lion's Claw' tavern, Much." Robin said, still chuckling.
"Are we really? Why are we in a tavern?"
"We're watching, Aoife sing remember?" Allan, chipped in, tearing his eyes away from the tavern girls. "Honestly, Much! We've only been here an hour and you're steaming! It's always the quiet ones."
Before Much could give him a response, there were loud cheers from the rowdy, muscular thugs at the front of the tavern. The gang craned their necks to see what they were cheering about. From behind them, Aoife emerged, grinning as she winked at them and clambered onto the small wooden stage at the end of the tavern.
"Hello, everyone!" She called as several men as climbed up with her, all clutching instruments. "Thank you so much for coming to see me. You know I love trying out my new songs here before I perform them to a bigger crowd and you lot always treat me right."
There was more raucous cheers from the men at the front and Aoife laughed.
Suddenly, Much felt very indignant. How dare they leer at her like that? She was a woman! She was a talented, pretty woman who, frankly, didn't deserve thuggish men leering at her. Much stood up so quickly, his chair clattered to the floor. Everyone around him looked at him, confused but the men carried on cheering and exchanging banter with an enthusiastic Aoife.
"STOP!" Much bellowed. Everyone in the tavern fell quiet and looked at him. Aoife's eyes widened, she hadn't noticed them sat in the corner.
"STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!" Much continued, his hands in the air. Will tugged on Much's tunic, attempting to pull him back into his seat but to no avail. "THIS HAS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH!" He gestured to the men, who were all glaring at him, angry that Aoife's show had been disturbed. "YOU...YOU...YOU THUGS HAVE TO BE STOPPED! YOU ARE BEING VERY DISRESPECTFUL!"
The man stood the front stepped forward, muscles bulging under his shirt. "I don't see Aoife complaining."
Aoife tried to cool things down. "Much, really, it's fine! All of the tavern shows are like this! It's fun! Really – "
"NO!" Much continued to bellow. "NO IT IS WRONG! YOU BRUTES NEED TO BE STOPPED!"
"Brutes?" The man repeated, his eyes narrowing. "Thugs?" He strode over to Much and the gang hastily stood up to protect him. The man glared at them. "Fine. I'll leave him. But if he says one more word..." He looked at each of them in the eye before backing off.
"Swine." Much mumbled as the gang sat back down. The man froze before tearing back towards Much, grabbing him by the shirt and hurling him against the wall. Much fell against it with a thump and said, "Frankly, you're merely proving my point about you and your cohort being thugs." Just then, a large fist crashed into his stomach and Much was winded. Another crashed into his face before Little John managed to heave the man off him and the man returned to his friends, glaring at Much as he went.
"Right! Out! All of you: OUT!" The tavern owner bellowed. "OUT! We're closed!"
"Oh, Much! You're a fool! A loveable fool but still a fool." Aoife said as she dabbed Much's split lip with some wet cloth. He winced as the fabric made his lip sting.
"Sorry." He said, thickly. "I was just..." He trailed off, too tired to finish the sentence and still under the influence of the ale.
Aoife just laughed and Robin heaved Much back onto his feet as he and the gang lingered on the edge of Sherwood Forest. "Come on then, Much my drunken old friend. Bed for you, I think."
They all turned to leave except Will who said, "Sorry we ruined your performance, Aoife."
She waved his apology away. "Oh, it's fine. Stuff like this happens all the time!"
He nodded and bade her farewell, following the others into the forest.
Aoife made her way back along the path until she came to her family home. Just as she was about to enter, she saw something move out of the corner of her eye. A man stepped into view, shirtless and grinning. She sighed.
"You shouldn't have done that, Jim. He's a friend who just had too much, that's all."
He shrugged, not bothered. It was just another night for him. "So...what are you doing now your show's been ruined."
She badly contained a smile, knowing what he meant. "Not sure. What were you thinking?"
He gazed at the Grattan family home. "I see you mother and father have gone to bed."
She hesitated for only a second before saying, "I suppose you could stay as long as you're quiet."
She began leading the way up the path before he grabbed her hips and whispered in her ear, "Only if you are."
She shivered and her pace quickened, desperate for them both to get inside. But even she climbed the stairs, Jim's firm body behind her, her mind kept flicking back to the servant who had tried to help her, despite being outnumbered and outmuscled.
I hope that was fun to read! Please leave a review...they encourage me to write more!