Chapter 15

Shadowed Hearts

The Sheriff gazed lazily at the courtyard from his balcony. Screams could be heard from the dieing mouths of his soldiers as an intruder efficiently made their way towards the front door. Soon the sounds of battle were echoing through the hallways and drifting up to meet his ears. Not long after the doors to his chamber swung upon and slammed against the walls. He didn't turn to face the intruder nor flinch at their violent entry.

"Those men are very expensive to replace," he said, and turned around to look at the doorway. "I hope at least some of them are alive." The intruder grinned, and the Sheriff was somewhat alarmed to find that even their teeth were splattered with blood.

"I wouldn't count on it," the intruder said, and lunged for the Sheriff.

…...

Two Weeks Prior

Guy was practically rabid. He was far from the amount of insane that sent Rayne into the spiral that became Shadow, but still a mad dog. Marion had broken him, with her death and betrayal. What fragile pieces of his life he had managed to pull together were then smashed by Rayne. Now he had at least half of Rayne to go after, the half that he was sure would keep control. He'd been following rumors and leads to where Shadow may have taken to hiding. It had led him to an abandoned shack on the outskirts of Nottingham. He was sure that she was living there. All that remained was to find a time to strike. Since his patience had left him long ago, he didn't wait long.

The rotten wooden door slammed back and nearly fell off its hinges from the force. As Guy took his first step inside the hovel he saw the figure leaning casually against the far wall. Shadow looked as dark as ever. The same face as Rayne yet far different. Guy paused.

"Have you finally decided to grant me my duel with you?" she asked, voice laced with venom that was not directed towards him. Guy could not speak right away, he had only seen and heard Shadow once. At the time she had been nothing more than a child in a woman's body. Albeit an extremely lethal and sadistic child, but one all the less. Now she spook with an intelligence that was easily seen. The predator was evolving.

"I intend to take you back to Locksley," Guy answered. Shadow smirked, a small quirk of her lips that sent shivers down Guy's spine. She pushed herself off of the wall she leaned on and gestured to a table set out of the way. Her daggers, bow, and quiver all set there.

"If you wish to accomplish that, then you will fight me without weapons. Then we will see who will be following whom." Shadow told him. Guy thought about her words for a span of seconds before removing his own weapons from his belt. As soon as the hilt of his sword left his hand Shadow was on him.

The woman kicked him in the stomach with enough force to break through a cell. He wheezed as the air was forced from him and stumbled back in a daze. Shadow refused to stop there. She followed up her attack with a jab to his prone spine which sent shocks of pain through Guy's body. Before he was sure of what was going on Shadow had retrieved a chair and broke it over his head. Miraculously he did not suffer any life threatening wounds from the blow.

Filled with adrenaline now Guy's hand snaked out to latch onto Shadow's ankle. With a roar he pulled her off her feet and she hit the ground hard. Wasting no time Guy straddled the woman and pinned her arms above her head. The fighting came to a halt. Shadow's eyes were clouded over like her mind was elsewhere as her chest heaved from the adrenaline of battle. Guy recognized how close they were, lips almost brushing each others. Suddenly his were crashing onto hers with a ferocity that was akin to an animals. Shadow was unresponsive for only a moment before she was mimicking his aggression. Her eyes were clear again, but Guy noticed absently that they continued to return to a distant place.

Guy found himself being rolled onto his back as Shadow forced herself to switch positions with him. She straddled him and his hand gripped her hips to keep her from leaving his site. They never broke their kiss. Then Guy found his head being slammed into the floor as Shadow stood quickly. He saw stars as she backed away quickly, rubbing her mouth with the back of her hand. When his vision cleared and he looked back at Shadow his breath hitched.

"Rayne?"

…..

Rayne wasn't sure what had happened. Shadow had been fighting Gisborne, then kissing him. She'd screamed at her other to stop, only to be pushed back and ignored. In retaliation she'd pushed back, fought against Shadow to stop what was happening. Then, as if by miracle, she was controlling everything once again. She promptly put an end to what Gisborne and Shadow had started. No sooner did she stand did everything begin to swirl and dim. Shadow was screaming in rage at the back of their shared mind. The other was trying to come back out.

Guy received no answer to his question, but he knew the answer. Rayne had come back, but she was dazed and confused. It was obvious she wasn't sure what had just taken place. He then watched as the woman doubled over in pain as a cry escaped her. Rayne straightened and lunged at him, taking them both to the ground. To Guy's surprise he no longer saw Rayne in the green eyes boring into him, but Shadow once more. He grinned at the revelation that Rayne's short appearance was over.

"We have business to attend to," she snarled, and stood up from her position on the ground. Guy watched her retrieve her weapons and stalk out of the hovel. After a few moments he did the same.

…...

One Day Prior

Robin Hood and his men had had a quiet few weeks. Shadow had practically disappeared after the death of Will. They were slowly falling back into the old habit of pulling off high risk robberies of the Sheriff's tax money. Since Gisborne had disappeared as well however, the coaches filled with gold were easy to ambush and loot. While the others were more or less thrilled to be rid of Shadow and Gisborne, Robin didn't feel right about it. It was a feeling in his gut that something was going to happen in Nottingham. So far such gut feelings had gotten him in and out of tight situations. He wasn't sure if he should ignore the feeling this time.

"Master, are you going to eat anything?" Much asked, snapping Robin out of his thoughts. Robin looked up to find that rabbits had been caught and cooked while his mind wandered. John was attacking a skewer already while Much was waiting less that patiently for Robin.

"Go ahead and eat," the outlaw told Much, "I will in a bit." Much looked like he was going to say something disapproving about how the food would then be too cold, but Friar Tuck came up to Robin at that moment.

"May I speak with you, Robin?" the Friar asked. Robin nodded and gestured for him to sit beside him. Tuck only stood and gave him a look. They were to talk elsewhere.

"Alright, Tuck, have it your way." Robin said, and stood to follow the Friar outside there concealed camp.

"You seem troubled," Tuck began, ever the consoling father figure.

"Something isn't right, Tuck." Robin admitted. "I can feel it." The Friar nodded in understanding.

"Yes, Nottingham has been too quite as of late. Its like the calm before the storm." Tuck agreed. Robin looked around the beauty of Sherwood, deep in thought. Shadow was gone, taking Rayne with her. He thought it was odd considering how ruthless Rayne's other half seemed. Tuck had theorized before that the childishness of Shadow would pass to lead to larger goals. Nottingham was the logical place to go after. Her father was the Sheriff, and Gisborne was now twisted around her finger.

Robin bolted past Tuck back into the concealed camp. His eyes alight with sudden realization. The other outlaws looked up from their meals in alarm as their leader came to them frantic.

"We need to get to Nottingham," Robin told them.

At dusk the outlaws came upon Locksley village only to find it under siege. What looked like a score of bandits and cutthroats were looting the village as homes burned. Robin looked around his home in horror. The other outlaws were frozen to the spot in shock. A voice came floating up to them from the heart of the attack, one that made Robin bare his teeth,

"Come on, hurry up already!" Gisborne shouted from somewhere. Robin looked at his outlaws and rushed headlong into the fray of bandits, his fellow outlaws following close behind. Robin wasted no time with the bandits but went straight for Gisborne. The man didn't even see him coming.

Robin slammed into him from behind and both of them went down. Abandoning the thought of their swords both men began throwing punches at each other. Robin did not hold back, aiming to cause as much pain to the man as possible. He partially blamed him for Rayne becoming what she now was in the first place.

"Where is she?" Robin snarled. He grabbed Gisborne's collar and pulled his face inches from Robin's. The man laughed at the outlaw leader as blood leaked from a split lip. A sharp pain came from Robin's side and he cried out in surprise. The outlaw rolled away from Gisborne and looked at his side to see a knife protruding from between his ribs. Hissing in pain he pulled in out as the bandit that had attacked him approached with a larger one. Even injured Robin dispatched the bandit easily because of his lack of combat prowess. The outlaw looked around for Gisborne only to be attacked by another of the multitude of bandits. With a growl Robin cut down a few more as they came at him as if smelling the blood flowing from his wound.

Arms encircled him from behind and held him back. Robin fought against the person keeping him back but found they had a tight hold on him. More bandits were stopping their onslaught to devote their full attentions to Robin. The outlaw looked around for his band, but only caught sight of Gisborne on his feet off to the side of the destruction.

"Gisborne!" Robin yelled, and the man grinned as blood continued to flow from his split lip until his teeth were stained red. Robin had known that Gisborne had wanted to be Sheriff and gain revenge against Robin since Marion's death. The fact that he was going to such extremes was surprising to him. Unless, of course, someone was whispering in his ear. As if his eyes were drawn to it, he spotted a figure watching the carnage unfold from a distance. The figure was wearing a black cloak that swirled around them as wind picked up for a storm. The form was unmistakably feminine. With a snarl Robin attempted to break free once more but the one holding him refused to give an inch. Instead Robin used the knife he had been wounded with and stabbed the leg of his attacker. With a yell he was released and Robin was running forwards to reach the observer in black. Gisborne intercepted him with his bandits with sword drawn.

"You are not going anywhere, Hood." Gisborne spat. "You die hear!"

"How many time have you said that, Gisborne? Yet I'm still here." Robin taunted and switched the knife to his other hand to draw his sword. Coming from no where a massive figure crashed through the ranks of the bandits to stand by Robin panting heavily. Little John nodded to Robin and held his thick staff before him as Allan and Much followed close behind. Gisborne regarded them with little fear and gave the command to attack.

Little John began swinging his staff in wide sweeps threatening to take the bandit's heads clean off. Many of them were rolling on the ground incapacitated before they even reached Robin and the others. Much and Allan took care of the bandits that made their way past Little John leaving Robin and Gisborne to their own brawl. Robin used the knife to even the odds with his already wounded side. He deafly blocked Gisborne's sword and pushed on with his own attacks. They traded blows back and forth until Robin's sword arm finally gave from the weakness caused by blood loss. Confused only for a moment Gisborne quickly realized that Robin was bleeding everywhere. The outlaw had become a sickly pale color and had sweat beading on his forehead. Gisborne took his chance and drove his sword forward for the killing blow. He stopped short by a few inches before going rigid and collapsing. Robin starred at the fallen form of his rival before looking up at Much who stood with John's staff. The large man was right behind him, equally shocked by what had just occurred.

Robin shook his head and looked around them. The bandits were retreating, obviously never truly committed to any fight. The sky was dark now, storm clouds blocking out the moon and stars. The tension charging the air was enough to make his hair stand on end. His head was spinning as he looked for the figure that had been watching the fight earlier. They were gone.

"We need to get to Nottingham," Robin said, slurring slightly. Tuck came rushing to him, checking the knife wound deep in his right side. The Friar began to attempt to slow the bleeding and looked at the outlaw leader. He knew that there was no possible way for him to make it to Nottingham at the moment. There was also no possible way he was going to be held back now.

…...

Shadow grinned as she darted from soldier to soldier without bothering with stealth. Their screams alerted others but they had no chance against her. Blood soaked her armor and was splattered across what skin was showing. Her green eyes were glowing with adrenaline and a predatory gleam as she carved her way to the front gates of Nottingham Castle. Above her a flash of lightning momentarily illuminated the main doors before her. Licking some blood from her lips she slipped through the doors and made her way up to the Sheriff's chambers. Wasting little time she threw open the doors with more force than necessary. The Sheriff stood by a balcony in his chambers, he didn't face her but appeared to be looking out at Nottingham.

"Those men are very expensive to replace," he said, and turned around to look at her finally. "I hope at least some of them are alive." Shadow grinned, showing bloodstained teeth from where she had torn out a soldier's throat.

"I wouldn't count on it," she said, and lunged for the Sheriff. Her blades were met with a sword to her surprise, but her composure never faulted. The Sheriff pulled back to swing at Shadow again with fire in his eyes. She used one of her daggers to stop the sword and the other to swipe at the Sheriff. The man backpedaled to avoid the deadly weapon and slammed into a wardrobe. The dark half of his daughter sprang forward with both daggers aimed for his chest. The Sheriff dropped to the ground at the last second and the daggers buried themselves deep into the wood. Shadow pulled at her daggers but found they were stuck as the Sheriff crawled away with his sword. With a snarl and a yank she ripped one of them free to block a cheap shot of the Sheriff. The other dagger followed soon after as the two danced around the room.

"You will die this time," the Sheriff spat at her as she advanced on him. Shadow laughed at this and kicked his chest. The Sheriff stumbled out into the hallway outside his chambers and Shadow followed close behind.

"You couldn't pull it off when Rayne was six," Shadow reminded him. "I doubt you could finish off myself now." The Sheriff scrambled to his feet and backed away from her, making sure to keep the sword always between himself and her.

"Ah yes, the dark half of my spawn." the Sheriff said. "I must admit that driving you insane was the single most brilliant idea I've had. Until you decided to kill me of course." Shadow moved towards the Sheriff in a crouched stance that resembled a predator stalking its prey. She matched his every step with one of her own and her attention never wavered. Soon they were moving out onto the battlements of Nottingham Castle as the clouds finally released the storm. Rain hit the stone in large drops in rapid succession as thunder and lightening added to the atmosphere. Shadow couldn't help but notice the irony of the romanticism behind everything. This was going to be their last meeting, she could feel it. Even Rayne had been silent. One of them was going to die, and Shadow knew that it wouldn't be her.

"It doesn't really matter what you did," Shadow told him, "I'm here regardless, and we're about to see who kills who." Shadow lunged for the Sheriff again, extending her daggers towards his exposed sides. He jumped back sliding on the wet battlements as Shadow regained her own balance. She moved to attack again, ready to strike the Sheriff when a voice called out to her.

"Rayne!" it yelled, the voiced strained. Shadow felt the presence of Rayne stir inside her as Robin was helped out onto the battlements by the outlaws. His skin was pale and his torso was tightly wrapped with bandages most likely from the diversion she had created in Locksley Village. Shadow narrowed her eyes and turned back to the Sheriff in time for his sword to go through her midsection. Pain shot through her body as he twisted the blade before slowly pulling in out again. Shadow hadn't experienced pain like it before, and she didn't want to be the one feeling it. Without a hint of remorse, she merged with Rayne once more.

When Rayne felt her control complete as it had once been it was accompanied by the pain of the fatal wound through her stomach. She looked at the Sheriff with her green eyes and her father retreated from her and the outlaws. With the last of her strength Rayne turned and locked eyes with Robin and fell to her knees.

"Rayne!" Robin yelled again, his voice more distressed now as he pulled away from Little John who had been supporting the outlaw leader. Rayne watched him rush to her side as if in a dream. Her usually bright eyes were dull and clouded over as Robin fell to his knees beside her.

"Robin," Rayne said, voice soft as her body went limp. Robin caught her and positioned them so that she was leaning on him. Her blood ran onto him and onto the water covered battlements. She gazed up at the outlaw and attempted a genuine smile. To Robin he thought it was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen save for the blood coming from her mouth.

"I'm sorry," Rayne told him, eyes filling with tears. Robin shook his head as tears of his own came unbidden. The outlaws had slowly approached the pair as they sat in the pouring Rayne that washed away the evidence of her draining life.

"Its not your fault," Robin consoled her. She gave him a look, and Robin found himself smiling through his tears. This was the Rayne he had known, the one he had lost for weeks on end to a dark half that should never have existed. He tucked some of her wet hair out of her face. Rayne felt cold as her body grew heavier and unresponsive.

"I'm sorry," Rayne repeated, "that I won't be able to see the Sheriff's face when the King returns." The outlaws smiled sadly as thoughts went to their first meetings with Rayne, and their agreement. Whether she had meant to uphold it or not, it seemed to not matter now.

"He will receive the justice he deserves," Robin swore.

"Robin," Rayne mumbled, voice barely audible and making him lean down to hear her better. "I love you." Robin pulled back to look at Rayne, but found that her eyes were blank and unblinking. They were beginning to fill with rainwater as Robin starred at her in silence. His body began to shake as sobs threatened to overtake his body. He gently closed Rayne's eyes and placed his lips to her wet hair. He closed his eyes against the fresh wave of stinging tears but could not keep them back. Rayne was gone. Just like Marion.

Sherwood seemed silent as morning light seeped in from the treetops. Robin Hood stood before a freshly filled gravesite covered with carefully arranged rocks that he had found and placed. The other outlaws stood in a semicircle around the grave solemnly. Not far from the fresh grave was another that belonged to Will. Robin knelt down and laid Rayne's twin daggers over the stones along with an arrangement of flowers the others had found in Sherwood. On the outlaws back was a gorgeously crafted black bow and quiver full of handcrafted black arrows. He stood and listened as Friar Tuck said a few words of prayer for the fallen. Much came up to Robin and gave his shoulder a squeeze. Allan watched on with bitterness and remorse towards the woman buried beside a man she had killed. Little John stood on Robin's other side.

"Her, I did like." the big man admitted. Robin looked at him, then back to the grave.

"So did I John, so did I."

Thank you for all of your reviews and support! I think I did well for my first fanfic, if I do say so myself. Also, PLEASE don't kill me for ending it the way I did. I thought it was very beautiful once you got past the depressing part. Hopefully I will begin another fanfic at some point, and I hope some of you might check it out. Also, look up a song called Just Like You by Three Days Grace. I think that it suits Rayne very well in a number of ways. As always, review the last chapter and feel free to send me a private message whenever you want. Thanks again- DODV