kegel84: (Robin k.o.)
[personal profile] kegel84
Title: Better Days Will Come
By: Kegel
Fandom: Robin Hood BBC
Characters: Vaysey, Marian, Robin
Rating: T
Disclaimer: Anything that you recognize I do not own.
Summary: A twist of history and an unexpected offer give Robin new opportunities in his fight for both his people and country. It also brings new dilemmas, as he and the gang have to make hard choices to find their way when conflicts come to a head.
Spoilers: Till mid-season 2.

Chapter Summary: Vaysey wants to be feared, and Robin feels the situation is absurd.

Notes: Thanks to [ profile] emmithar for the beta!

Chapter 14: Offer

The first thing he felt was anger, a raging sensation in him to hurt whatever fell into his hands. Then followed cold dread. Dread, that Gisborne was lurking in the shadows, coming to stab him in the back, and take what was rightfully Vaysey's.

But then, the man was not even in Nottingham. As far as the sheriff knew. The man could not know that this had happened, or what the prince's letter had predicted might happen. Gisborne could not know that outlaws had taken the prince's silver on its way to Nottingham.

With this thought, the sheriff stopped, his gaze fixed out of the window of his chamber, seeing the forest in the far distance. How, on earth, had the outlaws even known?

The sheriff had long suspected that someone from the castle was feeding information to Hood and his gang. A considerable time ago, Gisborne had even laid a trap for that someone, then claiming he had detected that it was Marian who was betraying them to the outlaws, only to renounce the accusation soon after, right before announcing that he was to marry her.

The sheriff was thinking hard about this, and putting two and two together, he found a solution. The leper had actually been spying for the outlaws, Gisborne choosing to look away from the fact as he was to get her as his wife, just as he had looked away, helped her even when she had come and freed Sir Edward. Vaysey grabbed the silver cup on his table, throwing it against the wall with a loud bang.

But then he wondered that this could still not be everything. For the leper was not even at the castle anymore, so she had no chance to know that the silver was coming to Nottingham. How could the outlaws have known then, how could they have managed to take it? Now that he had even Hood in his grasp, his gang could still dance around on his nose, and he had not even an idea how they managed to do so.

The sheriff slumped down in his chair. Gisborne would come. The man Vaysey had given everything. Gisborne would kill him, with permission of, on wish of, the prince even. Then Gisborne would become sheriff.

Vaysey had to stop him. He had to stop the man, had to get the prince's treasure back, had to ensure that taxes were flowing so he could pay what John demanded. The day before he had sent off letters to the Black Knights, had informed them about the gravity of the situation, but he feared the traitors might rather turn away from him, if they knew how he really stood with the prince.

He would have to double his guards, make sure Gisborne would not be able to get near to him. Not that any precaution like that had helped back when that man of DeFortney's, his former Master-of-Arms, had been out to kill him. And Gisborne knew his habits. Vaysey hated to admit it even to himself, but he was afraid.

The only solution out of these undesirable emotions was to make someone else afraid, very afraid. Clenching his fists, Vaysey stormed out of his chamber, making his way downstairs. To get Hood to fear him was going to be a great pleasure. The man had already been more than a day down there, at the least. It was time to go and see to him...

As he came down into the dungeons, a guard approached him.

"My Lord Sheriff."

"What is it now?" Vaysey grimaced, already looking around for where Hood was.

"Last night we apprehended a woman. Some believe it is the Lady Marian," the man reported.

"The leper?" the sheriff was not sure if he was pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised. So Gisborne hadn't brought her, but she had ended up here anyway. The fool, Gisborne that was.

"You can see for yourself," the guard replied then. "She's down there, right next to the outlaw," he pointed in one direction.

"Right next to Hood? Now that is interesting," Vaysey mused. Hungry for a stress relief, the sheriff strode down to the indicated place. He purposefully kept to the shadows, wanting to see the proof for what he already knew to be true: Marian and Hood were in league with each other.

And then he could hear sweet music. It wasn't as sweet as it could have been, seeing that it came from the leper, but he could hear the anxiety, the worry in it, and that was what made it heavenly.

"Robin, you need to wake up," she called quietly, and Vaysey could see that she was huddled on the floor, looking through the bars to the cell on the other side where Hood was lying on the ground, unresponsive.

The sheriff could not see what was wrong with the man, but the idea that he was dead caused a strange excitement in him. No... this would have been far too easy a way to go for the outlaw.

"Robin," the leper called again, falling silent then, as the jailer stepped into view. The man had not noticed the sheriff either and Vaysey was enjoying himself to a great extend. Hood dying would always be a pleasant memory, no matter that his gang of outlaws would likely still keep annoying him, as he had experienced this very day.

"He needs help," Marian said suddenly, and Vaysey realised that she was speaking to the jailer, wondering in amusement why she would assume the man would even consider helping.

"Does he?" the jailer returned.

"He's running a fever," Marian explained. "He needs water. His wounds need to be cleaned." She glanced over to the outlaw again, and Vaysey could see her anguish. "Or he's going to die," she said then.

"You think so?" the jailer mused, opening the door to Hood's cell, and for a moment both Vaysey as well as apparently Marian thought that he was actually going to get help for the outlaw. But then the man removed a knife from his belt, looking at it with glee. "I wonder if this is going to be easier today. Pity he's so far removed from us, but he will notice when he wakes up."

"Don't touch him!" Marian cried, as the man moved closer to where the outlaw lay. "You bastard," she cursed as he lifted Hood's hand, that was bandaged, as Vaysey noticed.

"Now, now, now," the jailer smiled, as he pressed the outlaw's hand on the floor.

A second later there was a yelp of pain, and Vaysey was just as startled, as he could see the dagger sticking out of the man's torso. The leper had thrown it in one swift motion.

The jailer dragged himself out of the cell, barely managing to lock it again. Vaysey grimaced. And that was a man he had hired only recently. What a failure he was, no matter that he seemed to have a good taste for pain.

"Now wasn't that amusing," the sheriff said, as he stepped forward into the dim light.

Marian lifted her gaze from Robin to him.

"Lady Marian," he smiled. "No Gisborne here to save the day, hmm?"

Her face hardened.

"Are you going to ask me for help, too? Help, help, he needs water," he mocked, glancing around in the dungeons. He stepped closer to her then, also taking a good look at the outlaw. The man was still unconscious, not lying still anymore though, but shaking, if from cold, or fever, Vaysey could not determine, and had little inclination to. The only pity was that he would not see the man hang, if the fever took him.

"I'm feeling a little off myself today," he went on then. "And I think a good hanging might rectify that," he smirked at Marian. "Now Hood isn't in any state for that, and you know well enough that you've been on that path all along, my dear, don't you?"

He turned around. "Guards."

As the men came hurrying up to him, he faced the leper again. "Make sure she doesn't have any of those daggers on her anymore, unless you prefer to end up like the jailer. Prepare her for hanging."

A guard moved to the jailer that was sitting against a wall, panting heavily and holding a bleeding wound from that he had removed Marian's dagger. The guard retrieved the jailer's keys before moving to unlock the door, several more men following as he moved in.

Vaysey watched as Marian struggled against the guards for some moments, before her hands were successfully bound.

"Any last wishes?" he asked gleefully, and saw that she glanced into the outlaw's direction. "Help for Hood?" the sheriff prompted. "We can arrange that. Bring a bucket of water," he ordered one of the guards, and the man hurried off to follow the request.

Minutes later he returned, the other guards meanwhile having pulled Marian from her cell, waiting with her alongside the sheriff now.

"What am I to do with it?" the guard asked then.

"Just pour it over him," the sheriff replied, watching Marian as the guard did so. She winced, but didn't say anything. "Are we ready now?" he asked, motioning the men to take her outside.

Once they were on the castle yard, he could see how pale she really was. There was fear, great fear, no matter that she was trying to hide it. The sheriff had her wait while the guards prepared the gallows.

He enjoyed himself immensely, though also worry was creeping back into him. Gisborne would come. It was only a question of time, before he would come to finish him off. Now even more so, when he learned that Vaysey had the leper hanged.

The sheriff grimaced, fearing there was no one who would be able to protect him from Gisborne but himself. He wouldn't be able to ride out into the forest though and search every square foot for the outlaws and the treasure they had taken. It was all a hopeless endeavour, no matter how much he enjoyed the current scene.

He looked at Marian, saw the fright in her that she so much wanted him not to see. He thought of the man down in the dungeons, Hood, who he had in his hands. Marian cared for the outlaw, ridiculing once again the desires Gisborne had. Gisborne, who was a traitor.

As the guards led her up to the gallows, there was yet another image on the sheriff's mind. It was an idea, a crazy, outlandish one, but then he doubted his position could become much worse than it was now. Vaysey's mind was filled with a plan.

He looked at Marian, who was shivering slightly in the upcoming wind of this cold spring day, and smirked. He would have loved to see her dangle for a bit, cutting her down after a while, but then these were maybe games he could not allow himself anymore, if he wanted to survive, and hold his power. There were plans to be set in motion. He waved to the guards, telling them to stop and bring her down. The fear he had seen was still exquisite to remember, while he knew that he had to take matters into his hands.

>>>-------> >>>-------> >>>-------> >>>-------> >>>-------> >>>-------> >>>------->

When he woke up, he found himself on the ground, shivers going through him, as he could feel the hotness of his skin contrasting with the cold of the stone, and the wetness of his clothes, causing him confusion as to what had happened.

He sat up, pushing himself backwards, so he could sit with his back against the wall. He recognized the signs only too well. He had experienced a similar state in the Holy Land, then when he had taken fever there. He looked down at his hand that was throbbing in pain again, his gaze only landing at the makeshift bandage there that Marian had torn from her dress.

The thought made him look up, over to where she was, only to find her gone. The cell was empty and there was no sign of her. Anxiety rose in him at her disappearance. While he hoped she had managed to escape, he did not think she would have left him behind... but then, maybe he had been so far gone in his fever that she had thought she had no way to get him away. As much as he feared the alternative, Robin could not believe this had been the case, knowing that Marian would rather stay, stubborn as she was... What then had happened to her?

In his worried state, he hadn't noticed the presence of the man at first. He had been waiting for him to come down here at some point. He knew the sheriff wouldn't be able to resist flaunting his prize.

Robin did his best to move shakily to his feet, unwilling to have the other man now how badly off he really was, still leaning against the wall behind him. Vaysey watched him unmoved, almost as if he was some kind of exhibition. He was strangely quiet.

Robin tried to keep breathing evenly, as the blood seemed to rush to his head, questions and fears as to what had happened to Marian running through him even more so now that he saw the vicious man standing there, watching him.

"I think we can come to a... compromise," the man started then slowly.

"Let me guess," Robin replied sarcastically. "I tell you all of my secrets, and you'll give me a swift death?"

"Interesting concept, wish I'd thought of it," the sheriff replied. "No, I have a much more interesting proposition. A way in which we can help each other, and benefit."

"I can't imagine what that is going to be," Robin shook his head, bringing himself to set a smirk on his face.

"The king, as I am sure you know, is being held for ransom. We have to pay that ransom."

Robin lifted his eyebrows, having no idea what the man wanted to tell him by that. He was aware of the situation, but he could not imagine that the sheriff cared about the king's welfare.

"England cannot afford it," Robin told him sternly, even though he knew it had to be done. If there was any hope for the king to return, then he had to escape his confines. That freedom was granted in exchange for money. "Tell me why it is that you are so concerned for his welfare? I figured you would be ecstatic about these circumstances."

"England cannot afford it because there are not enough taxes," the sheriff replied, evading the question. Robin knew this to be only half the truth, figuring the people would never be able to pay enough of those to afford the ransom.

"So you want my blessing to raise the taxes again?" Robin proposed in an irritated amusement.

"Last night a transfer of money was to come to Nottingham, carried by royal servants, bringing treasure that was supposed to help pay for the king's ransom," Vaysey explained. "Your men took it."

Robin smiled. He believed one thing, that the gang had taken the money, but he didn't trust in the sheriff's word that it had been intended for the king.

"So you want us to give it back?" he assumed, shaking his head with a humourless smile. "And as you were talking about a compromise, you mean that you get the money, and I get to die quickly?"

Vaysey smirked.

"Or do you even mean to say that I would walk free?"

The sheriff had to know very well that Robin would not agree to any such offers. As of now, he estimated his chances of survival slim, what with lack of food and water, and the conditions down here, leaving him without strength to fight against the fever. But if he were to die, the gang at least would have enough treasure to help the people still, if one was to believe Vaysey's story.

"So you would rather let your king rot away in a dungeon in a foreign land?" the sheriff went on. "You, the king's personal favourite, a warrior in his private guard? What will the people here think of you?"

It struck a nerve, and it angered him. He knew there had to be a way found for the king to return to England. If that meant paying off every bit of ransom, then so be it. But he knew just as well, that the common people could not afford to pay for it, and even less so to pay for it and for the sheriff's desires as well.

"Oh, and there's more to it," the sheriff went on. "I do not know, if you are aware of it, seeing your... limited range of movement at the moment, but Gisborne is a traitor."

Robin let out a laugh. "A traitor of the traitors?"

"He is planning to kill me," Vaysey clarified testily.

Robin knew that the sheriff did not need to say more. He was well aware of the fact that Prince John threatened to have Nottingham destroyed should anything happen to Vaysey. Robin doubted though that he could help the man, even if he would have wanted to.

"I cannot help you with that," he replied.

"Nottingham will burn, if I die," the sheriff reminded him unnecessarily.

Robin watched him from where he stood. It didn't make sense, the whole conversation. The sheriff was sprouting off things that seemed obvious, at the same time causing confusion in him as to what the man actually planned. He had said he wanted the silver back... and he seemed to fear Gisborne... but Robin still could not make out what was going on in the man's mind. Maybe his own brain was too fuzzy at the moment...

"What do you want?" he asked, glancing over to the empty cell next to his again. He couldn't ask the man about Marian. He would only choose to taunt him yet more, and if she was alive still, it would not do her any good to have the sheriff learn that they were allies. "What is it you want me to do for you?" There was a sarcastic tone he added to his voice, for the sheriff had to know very well that Robin would not work for his favour in any way.

"You will give the treasure back and you'll help me do something about Gisborne."

Robin laughed softly, "How exactly am I to do that while in here?"

"You will be pardoned," the sheriff answered without pause. "For any and all wrongdoings. Seeing that Gisborne will not be returning to Locksley anytime soon, the lands will be restored to your name. Of course, you will be expected to collect the taxes as demanded, and you will uphold the law without question."

Robin smiled slowly. It seemed absurd... had the man really just offered what he believed to have heard? He frowned. Maybe he slowly started to understand what the other man wanted. "You mean to do your bidding without question. I fear, I cannot. I do not agree to those terms."

The sheriff merely shrugged his shoulders. "Then I'll just hang you."

"And still you find yourself in the same position as before."

Robin wasn't exactly sure what this position was, apart from the fact that Vaysey believed that Gisborne could be a danger for him, but if the man was desperate enough to make these kind of offers to Robin, there had to be more to it. He couldn't imagine otherwise that Vaysey would offer anything like that just to regain some undetermined amount of treasure and potential help against Gisborne.

He shook his head again, not intending to agree to any such thing that he could only assume to be either trap or cruel joke on the sheriff's part.

"Oh, and your men, they'll hang one by one, too. Don't worry about that," Vaysey added before he turned on his heels, leaving the dungeons without another word. Robin slipped down to the ground again, only wanting rest.

His head was starting to hurt now, it being no surprise with the absurdity that this situation was, and the worry that crept through him at the same time. Looking down at his throbbing hand, he feared that it was lost, would have to be taken just to spare his life, if that was even possible still, the jailer winning after all, having destroyed all of Robin's ability that he needed in his fight against the sheriff. Greater yet was the worry as to what had happened, where Marian was, what was going on with any of his men. Robin wanted to learn of any of this, not listen to any more of the sheriff's absurd talk.

Chapter 15

Date: 2010-05-31 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*chews finger nails in worry*

Date: 2010-06-01 07:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Re: accurate guesses ;)


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