kegel84: (Robin and Marian - waiting)
[personal profile] kegel84
Title: Better Days Will Come
By: Kegel
Fandom: Robin Hood BBC
Characters: Robin, Marian, Much, Djaq, Vaysey
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 gets welcome visits in Locksley and Vaysey unwelcome in Nottingham.

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



Chapter 18: Questions

There had been many things that needed to be taken care of. It had felt very familiar to when he had first returned from the Holy Land and had come to Locksley. He never had had much time then to take care of the manor's business, as the confrontation with the sheriff and the impeding hanging of Will, Allan and the others had distracted him, before he had to run off into the forest himself.

Now he was still distracted, for once because he was still not feeling well, though better now than on the day before. Then there was Marian. Or rather, the question as to where she was.

Robin knew where all of his men were; either they had stayed in the forest, or had come with him, but he had not heard about Marian since he had left Nottingham behind. It was very well possible that the sheriff still held her, willing to have something in his hands that would force Robin to do what he desired. But if the sheriff really did have Marian, it made no sense for him to hide her. On the other hand, if he had killed her, it made sense for Vaysey to conceal that fact, as he would be able to guess that Robin would refuse to work with him any moment longer if such was the case.

The thought caused a lump in Robin's throat. Shaking his head briefly, he tried to focus again on the papers Thornton had presented him. They were estimations of taxes coming from Locksley, and the main reason Robin was looking at them was that he wanted to judge if the sheriff was really trying to come up with the ransom that was demanded for the king. Thornton had told him that even a new tax had been introduced for that purpose.

Robin scribbled down a note, the script awkward as he was trying to write with his left hand. Soon he shoved the papers side, unable to concentrate on them any longer.

It felt unreal, as he got up to walk around the room. He had lived here before, for many years, but still, now it felt like someone else's life that he had only heard about.

He figured that Much should be back soon. The man had offered to run an errand Robin himself had wanted to do, reminding himself that Much was no longer his servant, did not want him to be it any longer, especially now that they were free men again. Much had argued that Robin was too ill to run around outside, and so had fallen into old habits of taking care of Robin's business.

Robin knew he had to make a decision on the silver the gang had taken, but what Thornton had shown him had told him nothing. He still did not know if he was to believe the sheriff in this matter or not.

Then there was the question of Gisborne. Would the man return here? Was he lurking about, ready to try and kill the sheriff as Vaysey had claimed?

There were too many questions. As of now he did not know enough to make a decision. Free man or not, he was still in danger if he made the wrong choice. Any final decision would have to wait until he was certain what was going on.

The door was opened then, he could hear the sound of steps in the main hall. He decided to check if Much had returned and headed out into the hall.

Marian was standing there, looking around.

Then she saw who was coming over to her, taking her into his arms a moment later.

"I'm so glad to see you."

"Me too," she laughed.

"How did you get here? How did you get away from Nottingham?" Robin asked, still holding her.

"I fled," she said simply. "I wanted to go back for you, but then I heard that proclamation and saw you go free."

Robin grimaced.

"What is that about anyway?" she wondered.

"I'll tell you all about it," Robin promised. "Don't you need some rest? Some food? How long have you been up?" He grimaced again, smiling then, it still feeling odd to offer his home.

She shook her head. "I don't think I can stay long."

"What? Why?" he asked loudly, looking at her closely.

"The sheriff is still trying to find me. If his men find me here, he might decide to take you captive again." She shook her head.

"He is trying to find you? He pardoned me and all of my men."

"Well, I'm not one of your men, am I?" she mirrored his earlier expression. "He claims I killed his jailer when I tried to free my father." Robin could see the emotions this memory evoked in her, and couldn't believe she planned to leave again.

"I will talk to the sheriff," he insisted. "If he doesn't pardon you as well from whatever he claims you have done, this deal is over."

"I know Vaysey is despicable, but you'd throw away the chance for you and your men to be free again, to have Locksley back? Robin, the king might never come home."

"And what about you? Where will you go?" He shook his head. "The sheriff will listen to what I say, or his deal is over."

Remembering the whole way the agreement had come to be convinced Robin that Vaysey had to be desperate to even suggest such, so he also would have to agree to Robin's demand.

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

It had been with uncertain feelings that Djaq had left Allan behind. The man hadn't been ready to accompany her to Locksley and after some probing she had let him be and had made her way to the village alone.

She worried what was going to happen in the gang, now that the others knew about Allan's betrayal. Robin didn't know yet, she guessed, and he had many other matters on his mind, but she doubted that it would be a good idea to not tell him what had occurred.

The afternoon sun was setting in the west, when Djaq came into the village. She moved inconspicuously as usual, the cloak still over her head. She smiled when she saw Much making his way through the settlement. He seemed much more at home than she could ever feel here, and there was a hint of a smile on his face, too. He certainly was glad to be home, and she felt some sadness for him at the idea that this might not last long, as she neither trusted the sheriff's promises nor Robin's willingness to work together with the man for long.

She didn't want to call out to Much and draw any unwanted attention to herself, so she followed him quietly over to the manor, knowing she would find Robin there.

Then Much turned around and spotted her. He came to a stop and waited for her to come up to him.

"What is wrong?" he asked apprehensively, and Djaq wondered if it were just the unusual circumstances that made him, correctly, think something was wrong, or if he could read it in her face. She knew he could often read Robin like an open book, having spent so many years by the man's side, but she didn't think she was as easily readable for him.

"I want to look after Robin," she answered evasively, knowing this plan would agree with Much.

He nodded. "He is inside. I think." He frowned, as if wondering whether Robin was already up and about again.

Djaq doubted he would feel like it. She knew the effects his injuries could have, could imagine the fever that sapped his strength...

She nodded to Much and together they made their way to the house, Much leading the way around the building to enter through a side door.

They took a few steps into the building, Djaq following Much, before they suddenly found themselves opposite of who Djaq knew to be Thornton. The man looked at them with an expression that might be interpreted as concern, and she could imagine that he still had to get used to the present situation. After what she had heard of the man, he had been a loyal servant to Robin and was certainly glad to have his old master back.

"Master Robin is in the hall," the man said and Much nodded.

"So he's still here," Much told both Djaq and Thornton, as well as himself. "I thought he'd run off again," he grimaced.

"If you excuse me," Thornton said and turned to leave with a side glance at Djaq.

"Of course," Much frowned, and moved ahead, out into the hall.

Robin wasn't alone, and as far as Djaq could tell, he wasn't feeling all too bad, for he was busy arguing with Marian, who Djaq was somewhat surprised to see.

"You're hurt. You can't go to Nottingham like this," Marian said, while Robin was hefting his sword to his side.

"I'm going. And I will talk to the sheriff about this."

"Then I will come with you," Marian insisted.

"No, you stay here," Robin shook his head. "You said yourself that the sheriff's men were trying to catch you."

"I can't stay here," Marian returned, motioning to indicate the house. "If any of the sheriff's men see me here-"

"Where are they anyway?" Much interrupted the pair.

"Who?" Marian turned to him confused.

"Sheriff's men. There were two of them, spies, here, when we came," Much explained.

Djaq had just been glad and happy for Robin to see Marian, as they hadn't known where she was after they had lost contact with her during their first try to get into Nottingham a few days ago. Now Much's mentioning of spies caused a sting in her and she wondered how in all this mess it would be best to break Robin – and Much – the news about Allan.

"I sent them away," Robin said. "I don't need any of Vaysey's spies around here."

"Robin," Djaq intervened then. "Can we talk?"

After a moment he nodded. "You want to take a look at it?" he asked in a strained voice and with a glance at his right hand.

Djaq nodded.

Looking from her to Marian, Robin sighed in frustration, but motioned her to follow him. As Djaq did so, she could hear Much asking Marian, "What are you going to do?"

"I'll go to your camp. I left my things there."

Djaq wondered if Robin had heard the exchange as well, but closed the door behind her, before she got out the little bag she was carrying. Robin sat down and she carefully took his hand in hers, unwrapping the bandage she had made. She was met with reddened skin and she was certain that the injury was still hurting a good deal, but she also saw that the wound had closed and had not turned any of the shades Robin had feared.

"It's not bad," she said carefully, making sure to clean the wound attentively. She knew if nothing went wrong anymore, the injury would heal and Robin wouldn't be left with any remaining damage in his hand, but she also knew him well enough to guess that he might become reckless, careless, so she was careful with her words. "We have to keep it clean."

Robin nodded and she could see the concern in his expression.

"You have to be careful, but I think it will be alright," she was quick to add, telling him this despite the care she hoped he would take, unwilling to leave him in his worried state.

"There is something else, Robin."

He looked at her, frowning.

"About the others."

"What about them?"

"It is Allan."

Robin nodded grimly and she remembered his behaviour in York, the time before she, Will and John had left to take the acquired food back to Nottingham. He had been watching Allan in an odd manner then, and Allan had apparently been treading careful ground, maybe guessing that someone was suspecting him. Djaq had wondered, but she hadn't expected that it had been betrayal that had hung in the air between the two men.

As she looked at Robin, she was split for the next moment whether she actually wanted to say it, admit it, worried what he might do, but then she figured that the truth was already out and it only a matter of time before Robin would learn.

"Allan told us that he's been giving information to Gisborne," she said as calmly as she could.

Robin said nothing, but the grim expression remained. Then he nodded once. "I suspected it." He brought his left hand to his forehead, briefly rubbing it. "What is going on? Where are the others now?"

"Will and John have gone back to camp. They sent Allan away."

Robin listened to her explanation, but was silent.

"What are you going to do?"

Robin seemed to argue with himself, if about the question itself or about whether to tell her, she couldn't say.

"I have to go to Nottingham," he said then. "I don't think Allan can do any harm for now."

It wasn't quite the answer she wanted. Though she was curious what was going on with the sheriff and Robin, her main concern was with the gang right now. What would they do about Allan? Robin's focus seemed to be only if he could be any danger for now. Djaq wondered if that really was the man's only thought.

"Are you going to take the silver?"

"Some of it," Robin replied. "I can't take all of it, and I wouldn't want to. I first have to see what Vaysey is doing."

"Do you think he will give it to pay for the ransom for your king?"

He shrugged. "I can't tell." Shaking his head, he added, "I don't think he will. It doesn't make sense." He rubbed his forehead, and she could see the tiredness and the weariness in him. He needed rest to get well, she knew that, but just as well did she know that he would not stop now.

"Are you done here?" he nodded towards her work at his injury.

"Yes," she said. "But Robin... take care."

He smiled thinly. "Thanks for your help."

They went back to the others then and Djaq watched as Marian and Robin continued discussing with each other quietly for a little while longer, before Robin took her into his arms once more, Djaq still seeing the exhaustion in his posture, as he held her, saying quiet words the Saracen could not hear. He left then and Marian remained behind, though Djaq guessed from her expression that she still intended to do what she had told Much earlier.

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

All was quiet and peaceful. His surroundings were warm and soft, his breaths even. No sound disturbed the peace, save for a light, sweet chirping of his birds that drifted over to his ears from time to time.

Vaysey enjoyed this time of peace, careful not to let any stray thoughts interrupt it either. It was only when a sound reached his ears that was not one that belonged to the calm that he became aware that someone else was there in his chamber in these hours of the early morning.

He tensed, but remained as still as before for now, knowing he had to surprise the intruder if it was someone who wanted him harm. Gisborne, for example.

Listening intently, he moved his right arm inch by inch toward his waist where his dagger was. Still the sounds came through the room. The next moment Vaysey sat up, pulling out the dagger and holding it ready to strike, only he found himself opposite of Hood who was pointing his sword at him. Vaysey smiled. He would have expected the man to keep an arrow trained at him, if he intended to visit him here, but at the sight of the bandaged hand he remembered the injury the man had received and delighted in the thought that the archer might not be able to draw a bow anymore. It was certainly a matter one would be able to vex the man with.

"What is it, Hood?" he started. "Have you brought my silver?"

"The king's silver, if so," Robin replied testily, lowering his sword only when Vaysey put his dagger away.

"Of course, dear King Richard's silver," Vaysey smirked. The deal was sour, very sour, but the sheriff had decided than instead of having to be on guard against Gisborne all on his own, and having no way to regain the stolen treasure, it was better to find himself a new ally. And the more he thought about it, the more ingenious the idea seemed to him. He wanted Hood dead, yes, he very much did so. But more so did he want to stay in power. And if Hood was one of the men whose actions threatened this the most and could not be stopped, then it only made sense to get the outlaw on board. Now they would sink together, if they were to sink, Vaysey would make sure of that.

"I have part of it here," Robin went on then. "I will bring the rest, if we can come to an agreement on another matter."

"We already have our agreement, Hood... Locksley," the sheriff reminded him sourly. "Maybe we can sit down and have something to eat? I like so little to argue with anyone like you on an empty stomach."

Robin shrugged. "If you wish."

Vaysey called out to the guards that he knew to be standing outside of his door, no matter than none of them seemed to have noticed the intruder. They stepped into the chamber with expressions of alarm when they saw Locksley, who stood there with his arms crossed, waiting, but the sheriff merely ordered his breakfast and the men to leave again.

He sat down, but Hood remained standing there. Vaysey cared little either way. He was mildly curious as to what the man would demand. Less taxes? Bread for everyone? No more hangings? Whatever it was, Vaysey didn't intend to agree. He had given the man enough to make him willing to work with him. Locksley wanted to work for his king. The sheriff would leave him in the belief he was doing so. Of course, the man probably didn't quite trust Vaysey was actually doing so, but it wasn't hard to convince the other that he would do so under pressure.

"So what is it?" he wanted to know, after a servant had placed the first tray in front of him, enabling the sheriff to take a bite before dealing with Hood.

"Marian," Locksley replied simply, a glare on his face.

Vaysey sighed. Why was it always the leper? It had been the same with Gisborne.

"And I thought you had more than one love, Locksley. The poor peasants, the dear king... why always the leper?"

"Your guards wanted to arrest her yesterday," Robin went on.

"This is correct, my dear boy. She killed my jailer, so I intend to bring her to justice." Vaysey smiled. He so enjoyed doing this.

"She didn't kill your jailer. Gisborne did," Hood pointed out. "Besides, you said she would go free. It was part of our bargain."

Vaysey watched his own reflection in the spoon he was holding. "She did go free, didn't she? We couldn't find her anywhere in the dungeons."

"And your guards tried to catch her again."

Vaysey wondered for a moment where Marian actually was. From Hood's words he could deduce that the man knew, for he seemed to have talked to the leper. The sheriff actually cared little. As long as she was out of his sight, it didn't matter to him right now if she lived or died. But plaguing Robin was something he enjoyed.

"Look, Locksley. Even if she didn't kill that fool of a jailer, she broke out Daddy Dearest and went by that against the law."

"Your law. Edward never committed any crime."

"But Marian did." Vaysey smiled. He was actually delighting so much in this that the thought of catching the girl rose in his interest again.

"Our agreement was that any of my men are pardoned," Locksley shot back.

"She's one of your men? I didn't know that," Vaysey mocked.

"You will pardon her and make sure she is not bothered by your guards again, or this agreement is over." Hood had put his hands on the table that still held the sheriff's breakfast.

"If she is one of your men doesn't that mean she was in league with outlaws? That's a hanging offence, you know."

Hood only glared at him at this, and Vaysey knew that he had gone a little too far by now. While he had enjoyed the exchange, he didn't want Locksley to call off the agreement they had, though he didn't really think the man would do this, remembering the man's other loves, the poor and the king. In any way, maybe he could keep Hood busy enough with things like this, his concern about the leper, that he wouldn't have so much time to worry about the matters the sheriff really didn't want him to know.

"I will make a proclamation today," he agreed with a false smile.

"Now."

"I'm not even dressed yet."

Hood looked so tired and weary.

"Now."

"Oh, ladidadida. Relax."

This was one good cheese. The sheriff shook his head briefly with a smile, as he continued his breakfast.

Chapter 19
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March 2011

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