jadey36: (Default)
jadey36 ([personal profile] jadey36) wrote in [community profile] bbc_robinhood2013-07-17 09:27 am

A Different Life

Title: A Different Life
Author: [personal profile] jadey36
Prompt: #8 genius
Rating: pg
Character/s: Vaisey, Guy, Robin, Allan, John, Much, Will, Djaq
Warnings: none
Summary: The sheriff has a scheme, but Guy’s about to put a spanner in the works.
Word Count: 2,607
Disclaimer: Robin Hood belongs to Tiger Aspect and the BBC. No copyright infringement intended. All rights reserved.
Author's Note: First fic in the Outlaw Guy series.



A Different Life

“Guy, you’re a genius.” The sheriff skips around the room, clapping his hands and frightening his caged birds. “And there’s me thinking you’re good for nothing more than keeping the castle tanner in business.”

“I’m a fool, more like,” Guy says. “This will never work.”

“But you have gained the trust of Hood, yes?” The sheriff stops dancing about. He opens one of the bird’s cages and plucks a tiny fluttering thing from its perch.

“Yes, Hood believes I am on his side, that I have turned against you. I doubt he will take me to his camp, though.”

“Give it time, Gisborne, give it time.” The sheriff tosses the bird in Guy’s direction. “Catch.”

Guy cups his gloved hands, but the bird flies straight up to a rafter and sits there, flapping its wings.

“Aww,” the sheriff says, a mock-sad expression on his face. “Missed the pretty birdie – again.”

Guy spins on his heel and strides out the door. The sheriff’s oblique references to his failure to capture Marian’s heart never fail to irk him.

Two days later, he tells the sheriff that Hood is taking him to the outlaws’ camp that very afternoon.

“At last, Gisborne. Nearly time for the big kaboom.”

“You’re sure this black powder will obliterate them?” Guy asks.

“Yes, yes. I’ve seen it in action. They, and half their stupid forest, will be blown to smithereens.”

“Well, just make sure I’m well clear before you do it.”

“On your signal, dear boy. On your signal.”

Guy isn’t sure he trusts the sheriff, but what else can he do? He has come too far down this particular road to turn back now. With the outlaws dead he will stand a greater chance of attaining everything he desires including, he hopes, the Lady Marian, whom he is certain still carries a torch for her former betrothed, Robin of Locksley, the much-lauded Robin Hood.

~

Robin undoes the blindfold. Guy had expected that, of course. He looks around the camp. He’s impressed. He’d assumed they’d have some ramshackle affair with leaves for beds and the stars for a roof. Instead, he finds an amazing door that hides sturdy wooden bunks, tables and stools, buckets and barrels and all manner of creature comforts. No wonder Hood and his friends don’t mind living the forest. Hell, their beds look more comfortable than his one back at the castle.

“Welcome to the forest,” Robin says with a smile.

“Thank you,” Guy says, the words feeling foreign on his tongue.

“Let me introduce you to my gang.” Robin points. “That’s Will Scarlett. He’s the genius who built this camp.”

Will glances in Guy’s direction, nods without smiling and goes back to his whittling.

“Allan you know, of course.”

Allan grins at Guy. “Welcome to the other side. It’s not so bad here once you get used to it. Of course, the privies are a little on the draughty side. Be careful not to accidently use poison ivy ‘cos it hurts like buggery.”

“I will be careful,” Guy says.

“I believe you’ve met Djaq.” Robin crooks a finger at the short-haired woman in men's clothing, beckoning her to come closer.

Djaq fingers a small vial hanging between her neat little bosoms and beams at Guy. Guy’s lower arm tingles at the memory. Resisting the desire to scratch his arm, he nods curtly.

“John Little,” Robin says. “Or rather, Little John.”

John’s brown eyes bore into Guy as he grips his staff, his knuckles whitening. Guy decides he will keep as far away from the big man as possible.

“And last but not least, Much.”

Much is busy at his cooking pit and, on hearing his name, merely waves a spatula in Guy’s direction. Guy knows Robin’s snivelling manservant can talk for England if he feels like it and prays to God that he keeps all his dealings with Guy as terse.

“So,” Robin says. “Supper soon. Rest your legs. Make yourself at home.” He slides his bow off his shoulder, unbuckles his quiver and drops it to the ground, along with his sword belt.

“Can I wash up first?” Guy asks.

“Wash up?” Robin queries.

“Before supper, I mean.”

“Well, there’s the River Trent if you’re keen, but it’s a good three mile walk from here.”

Perhaps creature comforts is stretching it a bit, Guy thinks.

After some awkwardness over who is going to sit where, Much hands everyone a bowl of meat stew.

Djaq glances up at the trees and smiles.

“It is not squirrel, all right,” Much says, hands on hips.

“Did I say anything?” Djaq grins. “I was merely thinking how nice it would be to have a bit of greenery with our food now and then.”

Guy pushes the unidentifiable meat around his bowl, quietly agreeing with the Saracen woman.

The gang eat and talk. At first, they guard their conversation, their eyes constantly flicking to their newest recruit, but after Allan produces a keg of ale, their tongues loosen a little. Not enough to reveal their latest plans, but they are happy to include Guy in their banter. Guy struggles. He’s not used to making small talk. Whenever he eats with the sheriff, the only topics of conversation are of catching the outlaws, making money and, most of all, winning England.

Robin is witty and erudite, Djaq warm and friendly. Will says little, but when he does speak, it is with a quiet earnestness that Guy recognises of his younger self, long before he hooked up with Vaisey. Allan is Allan, little changed from when he was ‘Guy’s man’ at the castle. Much speaks whenever he can get a word in edgeways, often ribbed when he does so, but Guy notices Robin glance fondly at him whenever he thinks his manservant is not watching. John remains silent and aloof. The meal passes without incident.

When Robin yawns, stands and stretches, the gang take it as a signal that it is time to sleep and, after saying their goodnights, head for their respective bunks.

Feeling at a loss, Guy remains seated until only Robin remains.

“I’m not sure where to—”

“Will made a bed for you,” Robin says. “And Much found you some blankets and a pillow. The weather’s mild, so you’ll not be cold, but if you need more coverings there’s a chest containing some over there.” Robin points.

“Thank you,” Guy says. “That’s more than kind.”

“We’re a gang, a brotherhood,” Robin says. “We look after our own.”

“And am I your own, part of your brotherhood?” Guy asks.

“Let’s just say you’re on trial.” With that, Robin says goodnight.

On trial. Guy suspects it’ll be a while before the outlaws allow him come and go without a blindfold and ponders on how to overcome this particular obstacle. He is still pondering on it as he lies on his bunk, staring at the woven branches overhead and the scrap of night sky peeking through them.

An owl hoots and another answers. Leaves rustle. Much snorts and turns over in his sleep. The bed is as comfortable as it looks, but Guy can’t sleep. He sighs. It will take a while to get used to sleeping in a forest. Then he remembers he doesn’t have a while, that the outlaws will soon be dead and he, Guy, will return to the castle. The thought should make him happy, but, for some reason he can’t fathom, it doesn’t.

~

Guy wakes the next morning tired and ill at ease. He didn’t sleep well, tossing and turning all night as he relived the evening meal, the conversation, the feeling of love and warmth that seemed to flow around the circle of men and one woman.

Tousled-haired and wearing nothing but his smallclothes, Robin says good morning and makes a good-natured quip about Guy’s leather pyjamas. Guy’s hand moves involuntarily for his sword. Robin laughs and waves him away.

The smell of bacon and eggs wafts through the camp. Djaq is laughing, a high, feminine laugh. He can hear the sound of an axe on wood. Pleasant, homely sounds and smells. Guy smiles. Then he remembers the sheriff dancing around his chambers, grinning a gold-toothed grin, clapping his hands together and with every clap barking, “Kaboom!” His smile disappears.

Guy has every right to be nervous. He’s put his life on the line walking into the outlaws’ camp alone. Any one of them has good cause to slit his throat. Yet this morning Much hands him breakfast without screwing his face up in distaste and Allan points out a water barrel where he can wash. Will hesitantly hands Guy an outlaw tag, presumably the one he’d been carving last night. Guy stammers out a thank you and loops the tag over his neck, tucking it inside his leathers. Even John mumbles a belated welcome.

“So,” Guy says, after breakfast. “It is probably time for me to return to the castle to—”

“To what?” Robin asks.

“To spy, of course. Isn’t that why you want me here? I can find out the sheriff’s plans, tell them to you.”

“You can also tell the sheriff our plans,” Robin says. “No castle. You stay with us and prove your loyalty to our cause.”

Guy should have known it wouldn’t be that easy. “Very well,” he says. “What do you want me to do?”

~

Collecting herbs and edible fungi does not come naturally to Guy. Several times, he catches Djaq’s amused grin as he ferrets among the undergrowth. She clicks her tongue in sympathy, however, when Guy stings himself on a nettle.

“Here,” she says, handing him a dock leaf.

Guy holds the leaf between fingers and thumb, dangling it over his red-skinned, lumpy white wrist. “I don’t know what—”

“Give it to me,” Djaq says, whipping the dock leaf out of Guy’s hand. She lightly crushes it between her fingers and then places it, vein-side down, on top of the sting.

“Thank you,” Guy says.

“You’re welcome,” Djaq replies.

Back at the camp, Much serves the evening meal. This time, Guy sits closer to the outlaws and joins in with the conversation more readily. Robin is recounting his childhood in Locksley. Guy finds himself smiling and then actively contesting Robin about some of their antics, saying that Robin was the one who engendered many of their pranks and that he, Guy, had been the voice of reason. Once Guy realises that Robin is mostly pulling his leg, he relaxes and gives as good as he gets. Even John cracks a smile.

It’s a balmy evening and the ale flows. The forest is full of birdsong and the smells of earth and leaf and wood-smoke from Much’s cooking pit. In the castle, there is always a pervading damp, the fatty tang of the many tallow candles in the halls and a constant whiff of the sewers and garderobes. Guy had never really noticed until he came to the forest.

He goes to bed not expecting to sleep, his mind racing with ways to find a path back to Nottingham and on how to mark a trail that will lead the sheriff to the outlaws’ door. He awakes to a sliver of sunlight falling on his face and nothing in his head other than a warm curiosity about what he and the outlaws might do today.

After breakfast, Robin hands him a longbow with the words, “We’re going hunting.”

“We, as in all of us?” Guy asks.

“No. As in you and me. The others have the village drop offs to do and coin to hand out in Nottingham, it being market day.”

Guy thinks about asking Robin if he can go help hand out the coin. If he is clever, he could feign a limp and drag a booted foot on the ground so he can retrace his steps back to the camp. Once in Nottingham he could give the gang the slip, make for the castle and inform the sheriff that it is time for the big kaboom.

“Come on, then,” Robin calls, striding out of the camp. Guy has no choice but to follow.

I could put an arrow in Hood’s back, Guy thinks, weaving through the trees behind Robin. With him out of the way, the others will be easy to deal with. Guy raises the longbow and nocks an arrow.

“Much wants us to catch supper,” Robin says, turning to face Guy, “and I’m a little on the lean side.”

“I thought I saw a deer,” Guy says.

“Best we go catch it then.” Robin motions Guy to keep moving.

Robin knows I lied, Guy thinks, yet he lets me live. He expects to feel anger. Instead, all he feels is shame. He follows Robin through the trees, the bow dangling from his sword hand.

~

“Draw it all the way to the corner of your mouth, like this.” Robin nocks an arrow and pulls back the bowstring. He looses. The arrow hits the middle of the circle that Robin has carved onto the trunk of a great oak.

“I am not an archer,” Guy says.

“Let me teach you and you will be.”

Guy readies his bow.

“Wait.” Pressing into Guy’s back, Robin places a hand on the arrow, adjusts the angle slightly. “Now,” he says.

Guy looses the arrow. It hits the middle of the target. He whoops.

Robin picks up his Saracen bow, nocks and looses an arrow before Guy has time to blink. It splits Guy’s arrow in half.

“Now you’re just showing off,” Guy says.

Robin grins. “I said I’d teach you to be a good archer. I didn’t say you’d be the best.”

By the time he’s finished practising, Guy’s arm is hurting and his stomach is growling. When they see the deer, Robin suggests Guy puts his bow practice into good use.

~

Robin’s manservant just manages not to hug him as Guy drops the deer at Much’s feet.

“Supper,” Guy says. He reaches inside his leather doublet. “For you,” he says, handing Djaq a bunch of herbs and a handful of mushrooms.

When the deer is cooked, Djaq sprinkles it with herbs and scatters a few buttered mushrooms into each of the men’s bowls. She touches Guy lightly on the arm. “Thank you. That was very kind.”

For some inexplicable reason, Guy feels like crying. That’s when he realises the sheriff’s big kaboom is not going to happen, not if he can help it.

The next morning, Guy takes Robin aside and tells him about the Greek fire.

Robin laughs. “We’ve known about that for ages.”

“How?” Guy asks.

“Never you mind how. We have our ways.”

“If you knew from the start, why did you let me into your camp, risk the sheriff finding out where you live?”

“It was a gamble, I admit, but Marian assured me that if you spent enough time with us you might see there’s a different way of living, a better way.”

“How very astute of her.”

“Was she right?” Robin asks.

Guy nods.

“So,” Robin says. “What are you proposing to do now?”

Guy grins. “I think we should let the sheriff have his big kaboom. After all, I’m good with a bow now. I’m sure I can get a flaming arrow through one of the castle windows.”

Robin offers Guy a hand, smiles. “Welcome to the brotherhood.”

Guy shakes Robin’s hand, smiles back. Behind him, in the camp, Djaq laughs; the smell of egg and bacon wafts through the air; someone, Will mostly likely, is chopping wood. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Guy is finally on the winning side.
lonespark: (Djaq3)

[personal profile] lonespark 2013-07-17 12:40 pm (UTC)(link)
You made me cry. Happy tears.

I like that Marian is involved, but not the reason for Guy's change of heart. And that you left a lot of ships available. (I kind of ship Guy with everyone...some people call it gen, I call it keeping your options open.)

Group hug!
constynse4: (pic#6499941)

[personal profile] constynse4 2013-07-18 02:04 am (UTC)(link)
Nice to see Guy and Robin getting along. Really love the gang at the camp everyday moments
pepper: Sam Carter stick figure doing cartwheels (Sam cartwheel)

[personal profile] pepper 2013-07-18 07:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh! THIS. I want this ending (especially with Will and Djaq and Marian). Love Guy and Djaq bonding over greenery, and the gang winning him over by just showing Guy how to be happy. *clutches this fic close*
shinysparks: (Behind You!)

[personal profile] shinysparks 2013-07-20 12:51 am (UTC)(link)
OMG I loved it! YES! I knew Guy would give in, eventually. :D