kegel84: (Robin - frown)
[personal profile] kegel84
Title: Better Days Will Come
By: Kegel
Fandom: Robin Hood BBC
Characters: Robin, Much, Will, John, Djaq, Allan
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: Robin goes to Locksley, and Allan confesses.

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

Chapter 17: Truth

When Robin next woke, he realised that more time had passed than he had planned. He was getting nervous about going to Locksley now. It was a strange feeling to imagine returning home, now, after all that had taken place. Then there was the other reason that he felt the need to show the sheriff that he intended to honour their agreement, no matter how sour it felt in his mouth to admit to it. If the man still had Marian in his hands, as Robin feared, he had to play along.

Then there were the reasons for it that Robin had failed to explain to the gang so far. He had tried, but had seen that they did not understand the importance the deal might have for the king. Robin had used to imagine that the king would return home, that he would be pardoned then, would return to Locksley, marry Marian...he shook his head. He had not imagined that Vaysey would offer him such a deal, even more so as the king was kept from coming back to England being held captive in a foreign land.

Taking care not to use his injured and still painfully throbbing hand, he moved from his cot, having to steady himself as he did so. The fresh leaves of the trees were dancing above him, the sunlight streaming in through the cracks of the canopy in a confusing pattern and Robin felt a bitter taste in his mouth that he wanted nothing more than to wash away with water. So he stepped forward shakily, going for his flask.

Then it was handed to him, as John stepped silently towards him. Robin nodded gratefully and took large gulps of water, failing to wash away the taste in his mouth, but at least it wet his throat.

"You need rest," John said, but Robin shook his head.

"Where are the others?" He looked around in the nearly empty camp. "I have to go to Locksley."

"Robin," John was shaking his head as well. "Will and Allan have gone hunting. Much is here, somewhere, as is Djaq."

Robin nodded, frustrated, sitting down as he worried he might fall over just where he was. He wasn't getting better. He looked down at his right hand, the flask still held in the other. He clenched his fists, feeling the sharp paid that added to the duller, constant one as he did so.

"The jailer wanted to cut off fingers," he said then, not quite certain why he was telling John this.

The big man looked down at him silently.

"He didn't manage it," Robin went on. "But now Djaq's going to have to take the whole hand. I've seen it happen at war. The wound becomes infected. Later the limb turns black. If it is not cut off, you die." He clenched his fist again, taking care to feel the pain it caused. His head was now hurting, too, just as it had down in the sheriff's dungeons when the man had made his ridiculous proposal.

"Robin," John said again, shaking his head once.

"What am I when I can't draw a bow, John?"

The other man sat down next to him. "We need you alive and with a clear head, Robin." Robin looked ahead to the trees outside the camp. "Let Djaq take care of it. She knows what she is doing." Robin nodded, wondering if he was grateful or not for the fact that John had not pretended that all would be well, even if he were to lose the hand.

"I have to go to Locksley," Robin started again then.

John didn't argue about it, but this could just as well have been because Will and Allan came back to the camp at this point, followed by Djaq and Much. The first two were carrying their prey. They'd gone hunting, poaching, as if nothing had changed.

"Will you come with me to Locksley?" Robin asked them.

The men stopped, exchanging glances.

Will finally spoke. "We follow you, Robin, but we don't trust the sheriff."

Robin nodded once at this. He had expected them to react this way. He would have preferred for them all to go to Locksley, no matter that for some of them it would be yet stranger than for him. But then, this arrangement had advantages, too.

"Maybe it is better for you to stay in the forest for now. You are right; we cannot trust Vaysey." It might be safer for them all, if his men stayed here for now, hidden from the sheriff's men. He would deal with them, if need would arise, but he did not want his men to risk their necks in a potential trap of the sheriff's. The man had let him go, so Robin doubted that he wanted him dead for the moment, unless he only planned to lure the gang out. This Robin had to hinder, if it was the sheriff's plan.

"What about the silver?" Djaq asked. "You said we have to give it back."

Robin nodded. He knew the others were still against it. "I will go to Locksley, see if the sheriff is honouring our agreement so far. And I have to find Marian." He looked at John. "Where did you take the silver?"

John crossed his arms. "It's at the same place as the food that we still have to hand out."

Robin took this in, not even having known that the gang had brought more food they could distribute. "When Much and I go to Locksley, we can take some of the food. You can take the rest to the other villages." He turned to Much. "You still want to come?"

"Yes, of course," Much said plainly. "There is something I forgot earlier." He reached around to his bunk, bringing up Robin's bow then. "I brought this from York. I thought you would like to have it back."

Robin reached out with his left hand. "Thanks." He put the bow aside quickly, unwilling to think now about whether he would even be able to use it again. As he got ready to leave the camp though, he took it up again, somewhat arduously fitting it on his back along with his quiver. He knew the weapon was useless for now, but it felt wrong to not take it.

Much and he left the camp at the same time as the rest of the gang who were heading to distribute the rest of the food they had brought from York. He was still shivering as they made their way through the underbrush, but he focused on breathing evenly. The fever would pass, he was sure of it.

It felt farther to Locksley than it usually did. Maybe it was because he was not feeling well, or because of the anticipation of what awaited him there. They took care not to be seen when they slipped into the village. It was odd maybe, considering he intended to stay, if things worked out as planned.

"What are we going to do? Do you plan to just knock at the front door?" Much wondered, as they sneaked around a corner of the house.

"We have to be careful," Robin returned. "I don't know where Gisborne is. He could still be here, no matter that the sheriff told me otherwise."

"So you think it's a trap?" Much came to a stop behind him.

"No, not like that," Robin gave a short shake of his head. "It wouldn't make sense to let me go just to catch me again. And we haven't given him the silver yet." Thinking of that, it was certainly not a good idea to hand the treasure over, Robin could only agree with the gang on that matter, but he still knew it had to be done. For the king. And for Marian.

"So if Gisborne's still here, you think he will just hand over Locksley like he did when we came from the Holy Lands?"

Robin smiled. "Of course not."

He spied around the corner that would lead them to the front door, the same place he had met Thornton at in the winter, that day when he had schlepped through the snow.

Making a decision, Robin moved to the door, and opened it carefully, leaving his sword at his side and the useless bow on his back.

The hall was empty, emptier even than he last seen it, less furniture there than he remembered. It was not his first concern though, Gisborne was, and any of his men.

As Robin moved through the room, with Much on his heels, a man entered from the other side, followed by two more.

Robin froze, looking at Thornton, waiting for a reaction from him or any of the two men to determine if it was wise to speak in friendly tones.

"Master Robin," Thornton nodded towards him, a smile on his face, and Robin knew it was safe, although he did not recognise the other men. "The sheriff sent message that you would come." The man was smiling still, though there was also wonder in his tone, and Robin did not have to ask why.

"Can I talk to you alone?" he asked with a glance at the other two men.

Thornton glanced at the men briefly as well. "Of course."

"Much, you come, too," Robin whispered quickly, as Thornton opened the door to an adjoining room. They followed him, leaving the other two men behind who had given him a short polite nod, before he walked away.

"What happened here?" he wanted to know, turning to Thornton as soon as Much had closed the door behind them. "And who are these men? I don't recognize them. Gisborne never had them around."

Thornton gave a quiet nod first, before he started slowly, "Sir Edward and Lady Marian appeared here one night. They were on the run from the sheriff and Sir Guy was offering them shelter."

"He did what?" Much spoke up in surprise, but Robin nodded.

"Marian told me. I saw her in Nottingham." He didn't mention the circumstances under that he had seen her, in the dungeons.

"You know Sir Edward is dead then?" Thornton questioned.

Robin nodded again. "What happened after Marian left here? What did Gisborne do?"

"He left as well, very soon after. He has not returned, but sheriff's men arrived here to search the house not long after he had left." The man showed his annoyance. "They destroyed a few of your as well as Sir Guy's belongings. We cleaned up as best we could."

Robin frowned.

"Those men out there are sheriff's men, too," Thornton went on. "They brought the message of your pardon and are here, so they say, to assist you with your business."

Robin didn't like this one bit. It seemed the sheriff was keen on fulfilling his side of the deal for now, but wanted to keep Robin under scrutiny at the same time.

"Have you seen or heard of Marian since she left?"

Thornton shook his head, not asking the obvious question as to why Robin did not know, seeing that he had been talking to her in Nottingham as he had claimed earlier. "Letters arrived for her, but I have not seen her." The man then looked at Robin closely, also observing the other's hand. "What happened?"

Robin looked at it. It was still painful, though not so bad that he was not able to shove it to the back of his mind when he was distracted by other things. He grimaced, moving his hand instinctively to his chest as if that would somehow protect it. "An incident," he stuttered a moment later. "It is nothing."

"Nothing?" Much cried, looking at him. "Don't tell me that it's nothing, the jailer nearly cut your fingers off."

Robin frowned, avoiding the gaze of either man. It was uncomfortable to talk about it, and he certainly didn't want to do so in front of his servant, no matter that he trusted Thornton. He wasn't even really willing to talk to Much about it. It was odd maybe, as he had done so with Little John earlier, but somehow he didn't feel like he wanted to share it with Much, maybe afraid of the man's open words.

"Maybe you could introduce me to these men out there," he suggested with a hint of sarcasm, knowing he would have to keep them around for now, not willing to risk opposing the sheriff in this deal as long as he did not know if the man still held Marian in his grasp.

He would get this over with, would then maybe be able to rest. He could feel the weakness coming up in him again, the tiredness that threatened to overcome him any moment these days.

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

Allan watched as Will handed out the last of the sacks of grain they had brought from York a few days ago. It hadn't been the only thing they had managed to do in York. He, and Much in a way, had found out where Robin had been taken, enabling them to come back to Nottingham and rescue him. Well, if Allan was honest it was also in York where Robin had been captured in the first place and the gang had not exactly managed to free him either. No, Robin had managed to make an odd deal with the sheriff.

Allan wondered if he should even still have that bad feeling in the back of his mind about his own agreement with Gisborne. He hadn't harmed anyone; and it was over now.

Still, Marian had almost been on to him, Allan had felt it when the gang had encountered her at the camp. She knew something, knew maybe that he had been giving information to Gisborne. Who knew really what Gisborne was telling her, what she coaxed out of him. But then she was not completely certain, or else she would have told the others, he guessed. Or maybe she wanted to wait with it till they had saved Robin. Or tell it to Robin himself for that matter.

Yet they didn't even know where Marian was now. Robin didn't seem to know either.

Allan observed the expression of the others, as they said their goodbyes to the villagers they had handed the food to. None of them were watching him suspiciously. Robin hadn't hinted anything about it either. Of course, the man had been feeling off and was certainly distracted. Maybe the man simply didn't care about the matter anymore, now that he had Locksley back. The deal still sounded fishy to Allan. He wondered as well why they had to remain in the forest if Robin and Much were to go to Locksley. Robin had said something about not trusting Vaysey, but then he seemed to not trust the gang either. After all he rather wanted them back in the forest than in his own house where they would be able to defend him against the sheriff should that deal not work out.

It was odd actually that Robin would certainly be angry, more than angry, if he ever learned of Allan's deal with Gisborne, but that he himself was ready to jump in any deal with the sheriff, if it meant he got his lands back.

They were walking into the forest, as Allan asked, "What now? Do we just go back to camp?"

John nodded.

"So we just wait until Robin decides to remember there are more than just he and Much?" He looked from Will to Djaq. "The sheriff had us pardoned too. We can go wherever we want, no matter what Robin says."

Will looked at him with a deep frown.

"Not all of us have another place to go to," Djaq pointed out.

"Well yeah," Allan agreed. "Always knew it would end like this. Robin gets his land back, has a home, gets the girl-"

"Robin doesn't even know where Marian is," Will intervened, Djaq glancing at him as if she wanted to say something.

"That's what he says," Allan murmured, knowing it wouldn't come over well.

"You don't trust Robin?" Will flared up, taking a step towards Allan. "Maybe we shouldn't trust you."

"Will," Djaq emphasized, and John gave him a look. Allan didn't like John's expression as he looked at him then.

Allan's next words were stuck in his throat, knowing that Will was right. They shouldn't trust him, shouldn't have trusted him in the past. He felt that they could do so now, he knew now that it had been a mistake to sell them out to Gisborne, but he also knew that Robin wouldn't look past this so easily, if he knew.

"We can go to Locksley," Djaq said. "I want to look after Robin's injury. Come, too. I think it will be safe."

Allan frowned, wondering about her willingness to go against Robin's order. But then the man had been worried about his hand, so he surely would not mind Djaq coming. He shook his head once. Maybe his friends would forgive more easily than Robin probably would.

"I think there is something Allan wants to tell us," Will said in a flat tone.

"Will," Djaq cautioned him again, shaking her head in a way that seemed to say that it was not the right time.

"Don't know what you're talking about," Allan murmured, but he guessed that Will was on to him. He didn't know why the man was demanding it now, but Allan's earlier words seemed to have angered him.

Will glanced at Djaq, but nodded then towards Allan. "Tell us. Or I'm going to." His tone indicated that he didn't expect to like what he was about to hear. This and Djaq's warning tone let Allan hesitate and he wondered if he shouldn't come up with some other story to tell instead of what Will expected to hear and wanted him to confess.

But John nodded as well. "Tell us."

Allan looked from the big man to Will, and decided that he had to confess or else Will would tell them, and he might never get the chance to show his friends the circumstances that had led to it all.

"Do you remember back when the sheriff's sister, what was her name, laid a trap in Nottingham and got Robin caught?"

Will nodded.

"I was at the inn that day, and there Gisborne got me."

"He caught you?" Will clarified.

"Got me down into the dungeons, tortured me..."

"Why didn't you tell us before?" John wanted to know. Allan looked at Djaq and he didn't see wonder in her expression, but pain instead.

"He said he'd let me go, if... I tell him something about Robin and all."

"You didn't tell him where the camp is, did you?" Will shot out, shaking his head then. "No, Gisborne would already have been here, long ago."

"No, I told him nothing, really. I mean, I had to tell him something at least, so he'd let me go, but nothing really, I swear."

John nodded. "You should have told Robin, should have told us."

Allan grimaced, remembering also the question why none of the outlaws had come for him back then. "I know. And I'm really sorry. But that's not everything."

"You betrayed us to Gisborne, didn't you? He offered you money and you sold us out," Will said suddenly, and Allan wondered if Will generally thought so bad of him that he had guessed the truth so easily, or if he had already learned about it before. Marian might have tipped him off. Allan had already guessed that she had known.

"I didn't tell him anything that would hurt any of you," Allan assured them quickly. "I told him that I wouldn't help him with that."

"So what about last fall, when we were all nearly hanged, when the sheriff exposed Robin in Nottingham?" How much did Gisborne pay you for that?" Will asked furiously.

"I didn't have anything to do with that, I swear. I mean, they got me, too, didn't they do? I was nearly hanged there as well."

John shook his head.

"You made your choice," Will stated, more evenly, but Allan could feel the contained anger.

Will looked at the Saracen. "Djaq?"

"Will, I do not think..."

"What?" Allan asked, uncertain, but worried as to what was going on in the others' minds.

"You can take this up with Robin, but I don't think you should come back to camp," Will voiced it.

"What? Please, I swear, it's over. I'm not working for him anymore."

"Who?" John asked coldly. "Gisborne or Robin?" He then turned and marched away silently. Will followed him a moment later.

"Hey!" Allan called after them. They didn't stop and he looked at Djaq. "What about you?"

"I will go to Locksley," she said simply. "Will you come with me?"

Allan stared at her, puzzled by this suggestion. What did she expect him to do? Would she tell Robin what he had just confessed? Surely she would and then he would have to deal with the man, too.

Chapter 18
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