kegel84: (Robin - Marian hoods)
[personal profile] kegel84
Title: Better Days Will Come
By: Kegel
Fandom: Robin Hood BBC
Characters: Marian, Allan, Will, John, Djaq, 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: The Nightwatchman is on the go, and the question about Allan causes a fight in the gang.

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


Chapter 19: Arguments

Once she saw Robin riding away, Marian exited the house as well, knowing nobody would be trying to stop her no matter what Robin had argued earlier.

She didn't know what Djaq and Much would do, but she would go to the outlaws' camp. She could have followed Robin directly, but she figured it wouldn't help any of them if she got herself caught again so soon. Getting away from Locksley seemed to be the best course of action for now. She had nearly been caught here once; she didn't need to risk this a second time.

She breathed more calmly once she had reached the cover of the trees of Sherwood. It seemed ironic, considering the way she had felt when she had first fled to the woods a few days earlier.

She didn't hurry now. She wanted to go to Nottingham and see what was going on with Robin, but for now he was way ahead of her, and she would only be able to try and catch up with him later, when he would hopefully still be unharmed. As unharmed as he could be.

She was tired herself, which was another reason for her comparatively slow pace. She wondered if the rest of the gang would be at their camp, since they had not come to Locksley as Much and Djaq had. She wasn't quite sure if Robin had told them to stay put or if they had chosen to do so on their own.

She didn't plan to stay there, only intending to get the things she had left there before they went off to Nottingham to help Robin. She would need to find herself a place to stay soon, still thinking it a bad idea to stay at Locksley. If Robin and some of his men were at Locksley, there would be space for her at the camp, of course, but it felt wrong. They hadn't invited her to stay. Robin had asked her many times to join him in the forest, but Robin was at Locksley now.

She hadn't yet made it to camp, when she spotted another figure lurking about among the trees and bushes a little ahead. It wasn't difficult to recognize who it was, but it caused her confusion as to what he was doing.

Allan was moving back and forth, neither really going in one direction nor the other. She doubted he had forgotten where the camp lay, so his behaviour was mysterious to her.

She came closer to him, and Allan turned with a surprised expression on his face, apparently being startled by her arrival. She figured he had been in thought which might also explain erratic behaviour.

"I'm on my way to your camp," she said as an explanation, not planning to ask what he was doing.

"Robin's not there," Allan said after a moment of silence.

"I know. The others are there, aren't they?"

Allan shrugged. "Can't tell."

Marian grimaced slightly, figuring the outlaws, former outlaws that was, didn't really know what each of them was doing on any occasion.

"Are you coming?" she asked.

He hesitated for a moment, before he shook his head once.

She still didn't understand him, but decided to move on then. He stayed behind as she continued on her way, and it took her only a few more minutes to make it to the camp. As she entered, Will and John were on their feet immediately and they wore dark expressions on their faces.

If she hadn't known Robin and the others were safe for now, although Robin was already heading into potential trouble again, she would have been worried to see their demeanor.

"What is wrong?" she chose to ask, remembering Allan's behaviour, resolved now to find out what was going on.

Before Will even answered, a thought entered her mind, something she had told the very same man only a few days ago. That she thought Allan was a traitor. She hadn't accused Allan directly, but had told Will plainly that she thought there was a traitor and had hinted that she thought it to be Allan. The ideas seemed to come together now – Allan loitering about near the camp, John and Will's scowls.

"You were right," Will confirmed it. "There is a traitor in the gang." He glanced at John who looked around darkly.

"Was," the older men corrected.

Marian nodded once. She felt uncomfortable with the situation, no matter that her own suspicion had been confirmed. She wondered if Robin already knew.

"I'm just here to get my things," she explained then. "Much and Djaq are in Locksley."

"What about Robin?" Will frowned. "Have you seen him?"

Marian came to remember that Will and John didn't even known what had been going on with her, as they had last seen her on their way into Nottingham on a rescue mission. They hadn't asked about it so far, and she didn't mind that at all.

"He was at Locksley, but he's gone to Nottingham now."

"Again?" Will asked surprised.

She sighed. "Yes." She would have wished for him to stop, stop and rest just for a moment, but she knew just as well that he wouldn't. Sometimes she feared he would never rest until everything was exactly as he thought it should be, until the king was home, men like Vaysey and Gisborne gone, … She was tired herself, but she had to leave...

"You want to go after him," Will stated then matter-of-factly and she looked up at him surprised, having been in thoughts for a few moments.

The young man had seen through her and she had to smile at it. She could imagine that he didn't trust the sheriff's agreement, probably considered Robin's visit in Nottingham a potential trap, no matter that it didn't seem to make sense for Vaysey to first let Robin go, only to trap him again a day later.

"Yes." The Nightwatchman would.

Will didn't ask any more questions and she figured that he knew well enough that she would do what she wanted anyway. She wasn't dependent on any of them; even less so than Robin.

She had decided to conceal herself this time, unwilling to be seen as her real self again. The Nightwatchman was being hunted too, more so probably even than the Lady Marian was right now, but it still gave her a cover of anonymity. One that would hide her actions from being associated with her, an association she would never be able to get rid of if she was seen unconcealed. Even if the sheriff chose to forget about her having helped her father, allowed her to live untouched again, he wouldn't do so, if he knew what she had been doing as the Nightwatchman. And who could predict what she might have to do this coming night.

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Marian left about as quickly as she had come and Will didn't quite know what to make of the knowledge that she considered it necessary to follow Robin to Nottingham. Will didn't trust the sheriff, quite the opposite.

It was an odd feeling, to be alone with John at the camp, when the others had gone to maybe not return here. Will guessed that Djaq would come back sooner or later. If Robin had really gone off to Nottingham, he was apparently not too bad off, so that he would not need Djaq to take care of him.

Allan, they didn't want to come back. Will hadn't discussed the matter with John, after the both of them had marched off, but the man's grim expression spoke clearly enough of his feelings. Will wasn't in a more cheerful mood either.

John didn't have much reason for such anyway, Will figured. Robin and Much had gone to Locksley, Djaq had followed, Allan was a traitor, and what he, Will, would do, was uncertain. John had about as few places to go as Djaq had, or Allan now.

It still felt unreal, the idea, that they had been pardoned all of a sudden, by the sheriff he despised even more so. He surely had hoped for it to happen one day, though he hadn't built on it. He had wanted to see the sheriff gone, still wanted so, but there had always been the possibility for him to join his family in Scarborough. The possibility was still there, even now that his father was dead. He had sent Luke back there and joining his brother was something he still wished to do, if it didn't mean abandoning Robin and the others, and their common cause of seeing justice in Nottinghamshire.

John had started to go about preparing some food, and Will felt it somewhat more keenly that Much wasn't around, though this was far from the only time when they had been forced to take care of dinner on their own, even in recent times.

The soft sounds on the leaves on the trees around them alerted Will to the fact that it had started raining, the water coming down in heavier drops as the minutes moved on.

Will picked up a small hammer and moved onto his bunk, remembering the place where a nail had not fitted right into the wood, leaving a small gap right above his head. He hadn't actually been rained upon; he knew the camp was well enough protected against that, but he didn't want to leave any even small weakness in the construction, if he was able to repair it.

It took only a few movements till it was done. Once he was down on the ground again, Will noticed that John had stopped preparing dinner and was instead standing there, listening intently, a frown on his face.

"What-?" Will was about to ask, figuring he hadn't heard anything thanks to his hammering, but John motioned him to be quiet.

Once he stopped still and listened, he could at first hear only the rain falling, but then he nocited something else - the unmistakable sounds of someone approaching the camp. Will knew no one would be able to find it unless they knew it was there, as they had proven often enough when being chased though the woods.

Whoever it was wasn't coming with confident strides though, but carefully, like they did not want to be detected. If they didn't know the camp was here, they would have no reason to try and be undetected though.

Will glanced back at John and mouthed his suspicion almost silently.

"Allan."

After a moment, the big man nodded, grabbing his staff. Will felt slightly uncomfortable at the sight, but then the earlier anger returned. Now the traitor was trying to sneak back into the camp.

Will tightened his grip around the hammer he had been holding and moved forward a bit, away from where he had been working. From his new vantage point, he had a better view on the area outside the camp, and now he could make out the man who was approaching them as quietly as he could, apparently trying to determine if anyone was at the camp, or if he could get in unnoticed.

Allan didn't get much further though, as John stepped out of the camp at this moment.

Will saw the other's gaze go up, meeting John's.

"Look-," he started, rain dropping from him. Will didn't hear more. If this was because Allan didn't get to say more or because he didn't hear it, while he was hurrying outside to where the other two men were, Will didn't know. Once he came up next to John, the man had already lifted his staff, causing Allan to retreat.

"Traitor," John spat the word out, moving forward to either drive Allan away or actually hit him.

Will wasn't sure what Allan had expected. He surely couldn't think everything was over and forgotten by now.

"Get out of here," he said, not raising his voice, as he tried to contain his anger.

Allan scrambled backwards, but tried to catch Will's gaze. Will remembered the friendship be had tried to have with the man, the trust he had put into him. Even though he had known that Allan wasn't always trustworthy, he had still believed they shared fate, companionship. But the man had sold them out.

Allan stayed where he had retreated to, watching them. "Look, what I did was wrong. That was long ago, I've given it all up. Honest, I have. Nothing's changed; it's just that now you know..."

"It changes everything," Will argued. "What happened back in Nottingham, over in York...and you want us to trust you?"

"I didn't have anything to do with that," Allan shook his head. "I wouldn't hurt any of you, honest, I wouldn't. Just let me come back, I swear, it's over now."

Will didn't have any inclination to even think about the degree of truth in Allan's words. He had lied to them so often... "Get out of here, and don't come back."

This moment John moved forward again, but he didn't reach the other man, as Djaq came running out of the woodwork, just as wet as Allan was and as the other two were quickly getting.

"John."

The big man stopped in his tracks, turning to look at her.

Will's gaze was on her as well.

Djaq waited until it was apparent they had all stopped in whatever they were about to do, and then moved forward. "We can talk about this."

"There's nothing to talk about," Will shook his head. He didn't want to believe for a second she was trying to defend him.

John stood firm where he was. Will was comforted to know at least the man was backing him up on this.

"At least let him explain," Djaq offered.

"He did explain," John returned, reminding Will of the explanations Allan had given when he had first confessed the betrayal.

"Let us wait for Robin," Djaq suggested next.

"Is he coming?" Will asked her, frowning. Remembering what Marian had said, he doubted Robin would be here any time soon.

"Not now," she shook her head once. "But let us wait for him, before we decide anything."

"This isn't about Robin. It's about all of us," Will argued back.

"Will," Allan spoke up, but a glare from John silenced him.

"I do not want us to decide anything in anger," Djaq went on.

"Why are you defending him?" Will shook his head.

"Let us wait for Robin."

"Does Robin even know? Do you think he would react any differently, if he knew?" Will guessed the man would just be as angry as he himself was, even more so probably, considering everything he had risked for Allan, considering everything that had happened in Nottingham, and in York.

"I told him." Djaq looked at him insistently. "He does not think Allan will do any more harm."

Will stared at her, trying to make sense of her words. Was she telling him the truth, or was she just trying to defend Allan again?

"He has to go," John insisted, not looking at Allan any more.

After a glance at John, Djaq turned back to the younger man. "Will-"

"I don't understand you. Why are you defending him? He's a traitor. He sold us to Gisborne, got money for telling Gisborne things that could get all of us killed!"

"I don't-" Djaq shook her head, but Will turned away from her, heading back to camp, even as he saw from the corner of his eye that John was motioning, threatening, Allan once again to leave. Before he had fully made the way to the camp, Will stopped, swallowing down anger, and something that was more hurt than fury.

He turned to look back at the others, and saw that Djaq was talking quietly to Allan now, John watching from a few feet away, a dark expression on his face.

Will turned to the camp, and went inside without another look back.

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Robin didn't feel much better when he left the sheriff's quarter than when he had come. He had achieved what he had come for, but he had also left some of the silver the gang had robbed behind, enhancing the bitter feeling that was connected with the whole deal. And he was tired.

He tried to raise his spirits with thoughts of Locksley, and the reminder that Vaysey had promised to leave Marian unharmed, had made an announcement about this, muddling in some words about how everything had been a misunderstanding.

Robin knew he should be happy, but how could he be so, when he was still seeing what was happening in Nottingham? Once he left the castle behind, he was right back in the poverty that many of the town's people lived in. Several times he was asked for food, but the only thing he could give were a few coins he had left, and he knew people wouldn't be able to buy anything from it, if nothing could be bought, at least not if you were not working for the sheriff. It was why they had brought the supplies from York, but the little they were able to get to the shire could never be enough. It was a good thing that it was spring, as the summer promised fresh yields from the peasants. Robin resolved to check how these things were going in Locksley, once he was back there.

The visit with Vaysey hadn't made it clearer to him what the man was up to. Robin was pondering this fact, as he walked through the streets of Nottingham, still subconsciously keeping to the shadows with his hood pulled deep into his face, although it wasn't necessary anymore. It was another shadow that pulled him out of the thought.

The person was moving carefully along, carrying an apparently heavy sack. She had her face concealed, but for Robin there was naturally not a moment's doubt that it was Marian, though he wondered what she was doing.

He hurried, purposely taking caution to not draw attention now, as he approached her. She saw him then, and slowed down, drawing back deeper into the shadows of an alleyway though.

As he joined her, a smile crossed his face. Relief and happiness were coming now, as he saw her, as the sudden hopes that had come with what had happened really registered with him. He could go back to Locksley, Marian could stay there, they could try and do their best for the people without having to run to the forest for it.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, but the seriousness he had intended with his question was pushed aside by the sudden good mood he was feeling.

Marian pulled down the mask, giving him a view at her glowering expression that he hoped wasn't directed at him.

"The people need food. Haven't you seen it?"

He nodded. "I have." He looked down at the sack she had with her. "What's this?" he asked, though he already had a good idea.

"From the sheriff's storage," she admitted. "There's more we can get."

He nodded again, knowing he would be doing the same if they were back in the old situation.

"I understand that, but it's too dangerous."

She frowned. "I have been doing this for years; we have been doing this for years. Robin, the people need this." Her expression relaxed, as she laid an arm on his shoulder. "I don't believe you've forgotten that."

"Of course not." He could hardly have forgotten in the course of days, what with all the evidence clearly in front of his eyes as he walked through the town. But then he felt a kind of protectiveness when he looked at her, when he felt her touch, as she moved her hand around his neck and into his hair. He had come too close to losing her, and he didn't want her to risk her life anymore. Not when they had other chances. Not when they had been given a new chance, a fresh start.

He swallowed, remembering the paupers in the town, and his men that were still back in the forest, not trusting that the sheriff would keep his word. He couldn't forget his responsibility to any of them.

"Let us go to Locksley," he suggested, the earlier smile returning at the idea.

"Robin-," she was shaking her head.

"Vaysey promised me to let you go. There's nothing to worry about. We are free to do what we want."

"Not what we want," Marian emphasized.

Robin looked at her quietly.

"I will hand out what I have now," she said then. "It's not much."

He nodded. "I will help you."

He wondered briefly what the sheriff would say if he knew what they were doing. While Robin still worried what would happen if Vaysey were to find out about the Nightwatchman business, it was with curious interest that he thought about the idea of the sheriff learning that Robin was defying him again, at the same time needing him for his deal.

Marian pulled the mask back over her face, but Robin briefly saw the smile before it vanished from his sight.

Chapter 20

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