jadey36: (guy long hair)
jadey36 ([personal profile] jadey36) wrote in [community profile] bbc_robinhood2014-03-19 02:20 pm

Trust

Title: Trust
Author: [personal profile] jadey36
Rating: pg-13
Characters: Guy, Vaisey, Robin, Djaq, Will, Little John, Allan, Much
Summary: Guy needs to regain the sheriff’s trust if he’s to spy for the outlaws; a task easier said than done.
Word Count: 5,620
Disclaimer: Robin Hood belongs to Tiger Aspect and the BBC. No copyright infringement intended. All rights reserved.
Author’s Note: Further fic in the Outlaw Guy series.

1 – A Different Life
2 – Fitting In
3 – Falling Apart
4 – Back to Black
5 - A Glimmer of Hope
6 – Trapped
7 – Blood, Wine and Promises
8 - A Way Back



Trust

Guy kept his promise; the one he made to Djaq. He ate and drank sensibly, minded his injured leg, slept when he could. He marked the days and nights, remembering Djaq’s words: meet Robin seven days hence, when the moon next wanes.

Every day, he anxiously anticipated the sheriff’s roar of Gisborne! echoing down the torch-lit passageway that led to his bedchamber; but apart from the plod of guards patrolling the castle, the odd burst of laughter, or a sneeze, cough or belch from whoever was standing watch outside his door, Guy heard nothing.

If anyone missed the guard Robin had bound and gagged and shoved on a cart headed for York, doubtless with accompanying threats, they were not making a noise about it.

By the fourth day, with still no sign of Vaisey, Guy began to feel hopeful, jubilant even. With any luck, he could escape the castle without anyone challenging him. Without the sheriff’s helmet-swiping, shin-kicking presence, the guards had become lazy and lax. His door was left unlocked and, mostly, unguarded. No doubt they deemed the sheriff’s wine-soused master-at-arms incapable of issuing commands or cautioning them on their lack of discipline.

Guy let them think this, keeping up the pretence of drunkenness while diligently pouring every wine jug delivered to his room into an empty chest. He let his beard grow too, giving off the air of a man who no longer cares about his appearance let alone anything else, though he did cave in and wash the ends of his long hair that had dipped into the pail he’d vomited in. That pail, along with his overfull chamberpot, had since been cleared away by a serving girl and later returned clean. Guy didn’t need the pail any more.

Curiosity finally overcame fear, and Guy limped about the castle, feigning disinterest in the comings and goings of folk, while secretly hoping to hear mention of the sheriff and his whereabouts.

Weary of being on tenterhooks from sunrise to sunset, he grabbed a serving boy’s arm one evening as he passed him outside the Great Hall and asked, “Where’s the sheriff?”

The boy stammered that he didn’t know, that no one had seen the sheriff or knew where he’d gone.

Guy checked the stables. The sheriff’s white mare was not in its stall. The sheriff’s groom did not know where his master had gone, or when he would be back.

Guy returned to his bedchamber, frustrated.

He spent the long, cheerless evenings fretting over the deal he’d made with Marian, wondering if it wouldn’t be easier simply to remain Vaisey’s dog and do his bidding. He could bide his time and then, when the sheriff’s plans for power and riches finally came to fruition, take his share and leave. He would run as fast and as far away as he could from everyone who knew or had heard of Guy of Gisborne, Sheriff Vaisey’s brutal henchman.

When he wasn’t agonising over whether to keep faith with Marian and the outlaws or turn back to the sheriff, he indulged in wild fantasies. He imagined the sheriff falling from his horse and breaking his neck, or a vengeful peasant whacking Vaisey in the head with a spade as the sheriff, giving the toiling man or woman a disdainful glance, rode by, or of him swallowing his fake, gold-shot tooth and choking on it.

At his lowest moments, he relived the day he saw Marian and Robin kissing, when they thought him asleep, safely tucked behind a shielding curtain; and he tortured himself with images of the blood on Djaq’s clothes and hands as he blundered backwards, sword in hand. At those times, it was hard not to give into temptation and drink himself into oblivion. To make certain he didn’t, he poured every wine jug immediately into the rapidly filling chest. He’d been pissing in it for the past four days.

To silence his moments of doubt and remind himself of happier times, he played with his outlaw tag, turning it over in his hands, running his fingers around its smooth edges and across the carved mark of Robin Hood’s gang. At night, he slept with the tag around his neck, pressing into his bare chest whenever he turned onto his front, or clutched in his hand; he hoped it might help him dream of sun-dappled glades and trees, of woodsmoke and laughter rather than the dark suffocating walls of the castle and Sheriff Vaisey’s malicious grin and rank breath.

~

He jerks awake. Someone is pounding on his bedchamber door.

“Sheriff wants to see you.”

Mouth chalk-dry, Guy throws back the coverlet. He glances at the horn-covered window. The sun is high in the sky. What day is it? the sixth day, the seventh? has he missed his meeting with Robin?

“Sir Guy. Are you awake? More banging on the door.

“Yes.” Guy swings his legs over the side of the bed, wincing as his bare feet touch the cold flagstones. “Tell the sheriff I’ll be with him shortly.”

“He’s in his bird room,” the man behind the door says. “I’ll tell him you’re on your way.”

Heart pounding, Guy fingers the outlaw tag resting on his bare chest. This is it. He hopes wherever the sheriff has been these past few days, it has put him in a good mood.

Looping the tag over his head, he shoves it under his pillow. He stands and takes a few unsteady steps towards a grimy-looking glass in the far corner of the room, careful not to put too much weight on his injured leg. He stares at his reflection. Despite the rinse, his hair remains tangled and greasy. His short beard makes him look older than his years and the dark circles under his eyes add to the effect. He touches the thin white scar on his cheek, a legacy of his flight through the forest as he ran to escape Robin’s wrath. Glancing down at his bare feet, he eyes the missing big toenail on his right foot, another consequence of his tearing hurry to avoid one of Robin’s arrows thudding into his back.

Fear clawing at his insides, wondering if he’ll need to use that pail after all, Guy puts on his leathers, their smell a guilt-ridden reminder of his days as the sheriff’s cruel and vicious master-at-arms. Whatever happens next, Guy is determined to see those days over.

Taking a deep steadying breath, he opens his bedchamber door and heads down the torch-lit passageway.

~

“Ah, my dear boy. Come in, come in.” The sheriff waves a ringed hand at Guy and then turns back to one of the many birdcages hanging by a chain from the wooden rafters crisscrossing the ceiling. Opening the cage door, he reaches inside, strokes the tiny bird’s head and then wraps a hand around its body, trapping the bird inside a fingered cage.

Guy steps across the threshold, shutting the door behind him.

He hates this room. He hates the musty seed smell and the whiff of bird droppings. And he hates the way the birds hop and flap around their cages, sticking their tiny beaks through the bars and endlessly chirping.

The sheriff eases the bird out the cage and turns to face Guy, appraising him. “Personal stylist on holiday, Gisborne?”

Gritting his teeth, Guy eyes the sheriff’s cupped hands, expecting him at any moment to say ‘catch’, tossing the bird at Guy. Guy will swipe and miss it, of course, whereupon the sheriff will make some oblique reference to Guy’s failure to capture a certain Marian bird.

“Perhaps you’ve been taking lessons from that shaggy monster in Hood’s gang...what’s his name?

“Little John,” Guy supplies, reminding himself that he needs to appear willing if he is to win back the sheriff’s trust.

“Yes, that’s right...Little John.” The sheriff jerks his cupped hands towards Guy. “Catch!”

Without thinking, Guy lunges to catch the feathered offering, a tingle of pain shooting through his injured leg.

Vaisey chortles, his hands still cupped around the tiny bird. “So gullible,” he says, shaking his head from side to side. “I’m not surprised those filthy outlaws convinced you to join them.”

Scowling, Guy folds his arms across his chest. “I did not join them...at least, I pretended to join them, of course, but I did not—”

“La di da di da.” The sheriff opens his hands and the bird flies up to a rafter and sits there, cocking its little head at Guy. “I knew you’d come crawling back, Gisborne. Had a falling out with Robin Hood, did you? Made fun of your hair, your clothes, the way you wash under your arms before you go to bed?”

“No, I—”

“What,” the sheriff barks, cutting across him, “did the outlaws offer you that I can’t?”

Friendship. “Nothing. They had nothing I wanted.”

The sheriff walks towards him. Guy tenses. When Vaisey is within arm’s reach, he jabs a finger into Guy’s chest, poking the slight depression where the wooden outlaw tag would normally rest.

“Who told Hood about those tax monies? Was it Marian? Is she the naughty little bird who twitters about our secrets?”

The sheriff stares unflinchingly into Guy’s eyes despite Guy towering over the shorter man.

“No,” Guy says, holding the sheriff’s gaze, remembering Marian’s earlier words. He thinks you were the one who told Robin about the tax monies. “No, it was me. I told Robin.”

The sheriff steps back a pace, his eyes never leaving Guy’s face. “Go on.”

“Hood mistrusted me.”

“I can’t possibly think why.”

“I thought,” Guy continues, ignoring the sheriff’s sarcasm, “that if I told him about the tax monies it would prove I was on his side. I took care not to kill any of your men, though one fool damn near killed me.”

“Of course he tried to kill you, you idiot. You were wearing outlaw clothes and brandishing a sword at him.”

“I told the guard I was playacting. I had to make it look good.”

The sheriff rubs his chin, doubtless trying to work out whether Guy is telling the truth or not.

“And did Hood trust you after your heroic efforts?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I tried to kill him.”

Crossing his arms, the sheriff gives Guy a withering look. “And let me guess...you failed.”

“One of his gang got in my way.”

“You tried to kill Robin Hood while his gang were about him. What, did you think they were just going to stand by and watch the entertainment? Gisborne, you’re more of an idiot than the most idiotic of village idiots.”

Guy feels the familiar flush of humiliation creeping hotly up his neck. “Hood was alone, except for his dim-witted manservant and the Saracen girl. It was too good an opportunity to miss.”

“So what happened? Hair got in your eyes. Tripped over a twig perhaps?”

“I underestimated the woman.”

Vaisey rolls his eyes. “Don’t you always, Gisborne.”

The bird on the rafter utters a shrill peep and drops a watery offering onto the toe of Guy’s boot.

The sheriff grins. “It’s female.”

Guy stares at the small, yellowy, paste-like turd, grinding his teeth together in fury. What he wouldn’t give to have his broadsword at his hip. An image of Vaisey’s disembodied head stuffed into one of his birdcages comes to mind. For now, he has to content himself with the satisfaction of flicking the bird poo onto the sheriff’s back, Vaisey having turned around to reach into an open sack of feed.

The sheriff whistles and throws a handful of seed into the offending bird’s empty cage. The bird immediately flits down and hops through the open door.

“See, Gisborne.” The sheriff shuts the cage door and turns to face Guy. “See how the poor creature returns to the safety of its cage, knowing it will be fed and watered, wanting for nothing, despite the fact it could have made a bid for freedom had it had the sense to fly out the open window.”

You always come crawling back, Gisborne.

Guy shifts uncomfortably.

“Of course,” the sheriff continues, “had it headed for the open skies it wouldn’t have lasted very long, not after all this time in captivity. Predators you see, Gisborne. With bigger beaks, sharper talons and doubtless more brain cells than this dependant little creature has.”

Guy balls his gloveless hands and forces them behind his back. As much as he’d like to smash the sheriff’s fake tooth through the back of his head, he must grin and bear the indignities and insults if he is to wheedle his way back into the sheriff’s good books so he can spy for the outlaws.

“Talking of escaping birdies,” the sheriff says, his mock-fatherly expression dropped for one of barely concealed rage. “It appears the leper bird has escaped her cage, along with her fart of a father. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about this, would you, Gisborne?”

“No, how could I? You had me locked in my room and no one has thought to tell me a thing, not even that you’d been away.”

At the mention of his absence from the castle, Vaisey’s anger dissipates and Guy suspects the sheriff’s expedition had been a profitable one.

“Did Hood help her? You know I’ve long suspected that she and the outlaw are in cahoots.”

“No,” Guy says, rather more brusquely than he intended. “That is, I doubt Hood would be willing to help the woman who turned her back on their childhood betrothal when she promised herself to me.”

“And remind me again, Gisborne, how that worked out for you.”

Guy’s cheek tingles at the memory of the large-stoned wedding ring smacking into it.

“That is beside the point,” he says tightly. “Marian thinks Hood a fool for becoming an outlaw when he could have kept his lands and title if he’d toed the line. The outlaw has nothing to offer her and, as much as Marian defends the peasants, I do not believe she wants to become one of them.”

“And this is where you come in, is it?”

“You promised me riches when we have achieved our aims. It is my hope that I might win back Marian’s affections by offering to rebuild Knighton Hall.”

“This would be the Knighton Hall that you burned down.” The sheriff flutters his fingers in imitation of flickering flames.

“Yes. I thought that if I gave her back her home, she might accept me.” Guy hates remembering the tears running down Marian’s face as she watched her childhood home go up in flames, but from the look on the sheriff’s face he thinks it is a convincing enough lie. Right now, he will say anything to distract the sheriff from thoughts of Marian being involved with the outlaws. Not that it will help if she insists on joining in with any of Robin’s risky schemes to rob the rich. Too often Guy has been at the wrong end of her cartwheeling, fist throwing prowess and knows she is unlikely to willingly sit in the camp doing her embroidery.

The sheriff crooks a finger at him, says, “Come with me.”

“Where are we—”

“Your flighty bird might be in luck, Gisborne, because if the deal I made in London these past few days comes to fruition, we shall be rolling in it, as they say.”

The sheriff strides out the door. Eyeing the slimy bird poo on his back and grinning at the prospect of learning sooner rather than later of the sheriff’s plans and schemes so he might pass them on to the outlaws, Guy follows.

~

They are in the map room, so called because of the enormous table in its centre upon which sits a raised map, the borders of England, Scotland and Wales carved into the painted wooden relief, along with flags denoting some of England’s larger castles, including Nottingham.

It’s a step up from the nose-wrinkling bird room, but still as uncomfortable, there being no decent chairs to sit on. By now, Guy’s injured leg is burning and throbbing and he would dearly love to rest it. However, it’s an aggravation he’s willing to endure if it means the sheriff is about to give him some juicy piece of information that he can impress Robin Hood with, as well as Marian and Djaq.

The sheriff saunters around the map table, while Guy shifts from leg to leg trying to curb his impatience and appear bored and uninterested. However, by Vaisey’s fifth circuit, he plants himself in the sheriff’s way and asks, “What deal did you make in London?”

The sheriff turns to the map table and runs a loving hand over Nottinghamshire and its surrounds.

“Let’s just say, Gisborne, that while you were capering about in the forest, trying to work out whether green suits you or not, our plans have a taken a leap forward.”

Guy eyes the map table. He imagines flipping it over, on top of the sheriff, flattening him. “You want England,” he’ll shout. “Well here it is!” But the table weighs too much and Guy recalls Prince John’s threat to raze Nottingham should the sheriff die an unnatural death.

“In what way, may I ask?”

“You may indeed ask, Gisborne.”

The sheriff resumes his strolling around the table. Guy masks his frustration by picking dirt out of his fingernails.

“Success!” the sheriff roars, making Guy almost jump out of his skin. The sheriff thumps the table making the little flags quiver.

“My lord?”

“Success!” the sheriff again bellows. “This time, Gisborne, we shall not fail because...”

“Because,” Guy prompts.

“Because this time—”

Three loud knocks on the door interrupt whatever the sheriff was about to say.

Guy takes up pacing himself, despite his aching leg, hoping the sheriff will quickly deal with the intrusion and get back to revealing his plans. He hears a few hurried whispers and then the sheriff turns back to Guy and says, “Sorry, Gisborne. I’m afraid I need to be elsewhere. We will return to this matter another time.”

With that, the sheriff leaves the room.

Guy thumps the map table, squashing Nottingham’s flag.

~

Today is the seventh day; the day he promised to meet Robin.

Expecting Marian to accompany the outlaw, Guy calls for a boy to scrape the beard from his face. He also filches a small knob of soap from the sheriff’s bath chamber and washes his long hair, combing it with his fingers to get rid of the tangles. It felt much nicer when Djaq ran her gentle fingers through it, but at least he’s presentable now. Doubtless his pallor will improve once he’s outside in the summer sun.

The sheriff is in the treasury, his desk covered in parchments.

“Bit busy, Gisborne.”

“Am I free to leave the castle?” Guy asks.

The sheriff carries on scratching black ink across the parchment in front of him. Guy is too far away to read what it says.

Thinking the sheriff hasn’t heard him, Guy repeats the question, adding, “I carelessly left my sword in the cave I was hiding in. I should like to go and fetch it, with your leave of course.”

“Can’t you go to the armourer and get another one?” The sheriff dips his quill in the inkwell, glancing at Guy as he does so.

“That one was perfectly balanced, the best sword I’ve ever possessed.”

“Not helped you catch Robin Hood, though, has it? Oh, go on then.” The sheriff waves a dismissive hand at Guy; fortunately, not the one holding the inky quill. “Fetch it if you must. Will you go alone?”

“Yes. I have no need for guards. The cave is a long way off Hood’s usual stamping ground. Why do you ask?”

“Because yesterday you looked like one of those foul drunken beggars who hang around outside the castle hoping for kitchen scraps and today you’re all preened and smelling of,” the sheriff sniffs, his eyes narrowing, “my soap.”

“I was unwell and locked in my room so my appearance was of no importance. But as I am to pass through the streets of Nottingham, I thought that—”

“Are you going to meet our escaped birdie?” the sheriff interrupts, his eyes narrowing further. “Is that why you’ve scrubbed yourself up?”

“No, I am not meeting Marian. I don’t even know where she is.” Guy thinks he sounds sufficiently aggrieved to allay the sheriff’s suspicions. By God, he is aggrieved; not because he doesn’t know where Marian is, but because he does.

The sheriff grins cruelly. “Perhaps she’s raking through the blackened remains of Knighton Hall, trying to work out what colour curtains she’d like.”

Resisting the temptation to snatch the quill out the sheriff’s hand and stab him in the eye with it, Guy again asks if he may leave the castle, adding a grovelling ‘my Lord Sheriff’ at the end.

“Very well. Boy!”

The sheriff’s page darts out from a shadowy corner of the room, startling Guy.

“Tell the stable master to ready Sir Guy’s big black brute of a horse, will you.”

The boy dips his head and hurries off.

“Wouldn’t want you walking with that bad leg of yours, now would we, Gisborne.”

“No. Thank you.” Guy lingers for a moment, hoping the sheriff might continue where he left off last evening, in the map room.

“Oh, and don’t get lost,” the sheriff says, dripping red sealing wax onto the folded parchment. “My men have got better things to do than go scouring the forest for you.”

“I will not get lost.”

The sheriff presses his seal to the parchment, lays it aside, and picks up a further scroll.

Realising he is dismissed, Guy turns and limps out the door.

~

“You’re alone?” Robin asks.

Guy stiffly dismounts. He spreads his arms. “As you see.” He takes a few paces towards Robin and his men.

Will sidles towards Djaq, until their arms are touching. Much bites his lip, looking from Guy to Robin. John, staff in hand, scowls. Allan stands at ease, arms loosely folded, but his keen eyes flick between the two men.

“Where’s Marian?” Guy asks.

“At the camp,” Robin says.

“Good. See to it she stays there. The sheriff has his suspicions about her and if he catches her with you lot you know what will happen to her.”

“Marian is her own woman. It’s not my place to tell her what to do or not to do.”

It is clear from the way Robin says it that he’s tried doing this before and failed.

“I agreed to take her place in the castle, be your spy, if she would leave. Fat lot of good that is if she insists on taking part in your hair-brained schemes and gets caught.”

“And are you going to be our spy?” Robin asks, ignoring the latter part of Guy’s remark.

Guy looks at Djaq, notices her encouraging nod. “Yes, I will your spy.”

“Hang on,” Allan says. “What’s to stop Guy from pretending to be our spy but really spying for the sheriff?”

“Exactly,” Much says, nodding enthusiastically. “I always said I didn’t believe he was really on our side.”

“Nah, you didn’t,” Allan says. “You said, and I quote: ‘At last, someone who appreciates my cooking’.”

“Well...that is. I really don’t think...” Much splutters into silence, clearly unable to offer up a suitable defence.

“Robin?” Will shoots a sideways glance at Djaq.

“Allan’s right,” Robin says at length. “Why should we trust you?”

“Because Marian is with you. You know I would not do anything that might endanger her life.”

“You mean the way you didn’t endanger Djaq’s life?”

“I didn’t mean to hurt her. You know that.”

Looking Guy straight in the eye, Robin says, “If you tell the sheriff where our camp is, I will kill you.”

Remembering the narrow escape he had in the cave, saved only by Marian’s timely intervention, Guy knows the outlaw means it.

“I have been in the castle for more than a week. If I wanted to betray you, wouldn’t I have done it by now?”

“Very well,” Robin says, conceding Guy’s point. “We’ll take it that you’re on our side.” With that, he turns and walks over to John, hand outstretched. Giving Robin a sour look, Little John reaches under his thick fur cloak and produces Guy’s broadsword.

Robin offers it to Guy, hilt first. “You might need this.”

Tentatively, Guy takes the sword. He sees the blade is clean and wonders who it was who wiped Djaq’s blood from it. “Thank you.” He slides it into his empty scabbard. At least he’ll be able to prove to the sheriff that he did indeed go to the forest to collect his sword.

“So,” Robin says. “Is there anything we need to know?”

Guy licks his lips, a small voice in his head telling him to turn around and forget the outlaws, take the easy way out. “If the sheriff finds out I’m aiding you he’ll hang me.”

“He won’t hear it from us,” Robin assures him.

“Stay here,” Djaq tells Will. She walks towards Guy, stopping an arm’s-length away. “You came to us,” she says, tilting her chin up so she can stare into his eyes, “and saw there is another way to live, a better way. If you help us defeat the sheriff, it can be that way again for you.”

“And if the sheriff finds out what I’m doing and sentences me to death?”

“Robin will come and save you. We all will.”

From the look on Robin’s face, Guy doubts that will happen.

He turns his attention back to Djaq, who is still staring up at him, her eyes silently pleading with him to do the right thing. He thinks of the time he spent with her in the forest, searching for edible herbs and fungi and medicinal plants; the things she taught him, the stories she told, the way she forgave him when he got things wrong because she knew he’d tried his best. Vaisey doesn’t forgive him when he gets things wrong. Vaisey smacks him around the head, or rants at him, often in front of others. He humiliates him. If the sheriff had been his father he would have hung the wet bed sheet – the one Djaq folded and carefully hid under his bed – out the castle window for the world to see, shaming him.

He snaps his attention back to Robin, decision made.

“The sheriff has been to London. Apparently, he made some sort of deal there. I do not know what it was or who it was with, but I will find out, and when I do I will tell you.” Guy turns to Allan. “We can use the same messaging system that you and I used.”

Allan shuffles his feet, clearly uncomfortable about that particular time in his life.

“Now,” Guy says. “I should get back to the castle before I am missed.” Not that anyone is going to miss me. The thought makes him sad. The thought that Marian is no longer at the castle also makes him sad, even though he is glad she is far away from the sheriff. When she was there, his life was bearable. Please God let the sheriff’s fall come soon.

Guy limps towards his horse. He is just about to climb into the saddle, when a hand grasps his wrist.

“You appear discomforted,” Djaq says. “Did you do everything I asked?”

Guy lets go of the pommel. “Yes. I kept the poultice on as you instructed me and rebound the leg with fresh cloth after I took it off.”

“And have you checked the wound since?”

“No. I did not think to.”

Djaq makes a small tutting noise and shakes her head in annoyance. “Men. You think you are invincible. I will look at it now.” Her tone of voice, as well as the tight grip she has on his wrist, tells Guy she will not take no for an answer.

Guy glances at the outlaws. He notices Robin’s restraining hand on Will’s arm.

“Over there in the trees if you are sensitive to them seeing your undergarments,” Djaq says, sotto voce, so the others cannot hear her.

Guy couldn’t care less whether Robin and his men see his undergarments, but he’d prefer to avoid the witticisms he is sure will come his way once his leathers are down around his ankles. “The trees would be preferable.” He nods towards the outlaws. “I can do without their smirks and idiotic jests.”

Djaq walks back to Robin and the others, explaining what she is about to do, saying they can return to the camp ahead of her if they wish. Will shakes his head, Robin too.

“I’m sure there’s no need for this,” Guy says as they make their way into the thick foliage at the side of the forest track. “I am aching because I have not ridden for many days.”

“You will not be much use as a spy if you end up losing your leg,” Djaq points out.

Guy pictures the sheriff grinning at him and saying, “Hop to it, Gisborne, hop to it.”

Once they are sufficiently out of both eye and earshot, Djaq tells Guy to pull down his breeches. He does so, feeling uncomfortable. From the look on Will’s face, it was clear the outlaw doesn’t like the idea of Djaq being alone with Guy. At any moment, Guy expects to see the angry young man burst through the trees.

Djaq lightly slaps the back of his hand. “Stay still.”

“I am not happy about standing around in Sherwood with my breeches down.”

“You need to relax. You’re on our side now, remember.” Djaq runs her fingers over the ugly stitches, the scabbed flesh. “It is healing well. No signs of infection.” She rewinds the binding around his thigh. “You will have a nasty scar, but at least it is not where it can be seen.” She comes to her feet, appraises him. “You’re a good-looking man. And if you become a good man then you will find there are plenty of women who would be happy to be your wife.”

“I do not want ‘plenty of women’. I want—”

Djaq touches her fingers to his lips. “You cannot have her, you know that. You must let her go, find another.”

Guy knocks her arm aside. “There can be no other. Are we done?”

Djaq nods and Guy pulls up his leathers, buckles his belt and sheathes his sword.

He takes no more than two steps when a shout goes up, quickly followed by more shouts and the metallic clash of sword meeting sword.

Djaq grabs Guy’s arm, her face filled with both alarm and accusation. “You lied. You did not come alone.” Drawing her blade, she pushes past him.

“Wait,” Guy hisses, grabbing her arm, yanking her into his chest. “I swear. I came alone.”

“Then you were followed.” She tries to shake out of his grasp. “Let go of me.”

Guy tightens his grip, jerking her down to the ground. “We mustn’t show ourselves. Not until we know what we’re dealing with.”

Djaq bites her lip and then nods in agreement. With Guy still holding her arm, they steal through the trees towards the spot where they left the outlaws. Crouching behind a thicket, they peer through a tangle of leaves and branches.

“Mercenaries,” Guy whispers. “They must have tracked me. I didn’t hear them. The sheriff’s fool guards could never have kept that quiet.”

Robin and his men are in a tight circle, arms raised, their weapons on the ground.

“I knew it!” Much exclaims. “I knew he would betray us. I bet his leg’s fine. He must have a soft spot for—ow!”

Kicking him in the shins, Robin tells his manservant to be quiet.

“We have to help them,” Djaq says, attempting to pull out of Guy’s powerful grip.

“No,” he says. “Not here, not now. There are too many of them. We’ll only end up prisoners as well. This is the sheriff’s doing. I thought I had gained his trust, but I was wrong.”

Arms bound behind their backs, the outlaws start walking in the direction of Nottingham. Each one has a mercenary, dagger in hand, at his back, with the exception of Robin, who has a man either side of him as well as one behind. At the rear of the group, a single mercenary leads Guy’s snorting, agitated destrier.

Several times, Will glances behind him, until his captor thumps him in the middle of his back, telling him to face forwards and keep moving, threatening to gouge his eyes out if he turns around again.

Guy gives Djaq a sideways glance. There are tears in her eyes. Letting go of her arm, he pushes through the undergrowth, Djaq closely behind him.

When they reach the forest track, she asks, “Why did they not search for you? The sheriff must have described you to them.”

He shrugs. “The sheriff doesn’t give a damn about me. It’s Hood’s head he wants on a spike.” Crouching, he runs a gloveless hand over the loose soil.

Tell the stable master to ready Sir Guy’s big black brute of a horse, will you.

“Marked hooves,” she says.

Standing, Guy nods miserably.

Djaq toes the scuffed earth, where the outlaws and the mercenaries had briefly fought. “We must go to the camp, tell Marian what has happened.”

Guy’s heart sinks. He has made another blunder and this time it won’t be Vaisey smacking him about the head.
meridian_rose: black sails, silver smiles (robinhood)

[personal profile] meridian_rose 2014-03-21 04:05 pm (UTC)(link)
"night, he slept with the tag around his neck, pressing into his bare chest whenever he turned onto his front, or clutched in his hand; he hoped it might help him dream of sun-dappled glades and trees, of woodsmoke and laughter rather than the dark suffocating walls of the castle and Sheriff Vaisey’s malicious grin and rank breath." Love this!

Oh noes! Guy unintentionally betraying the outlaws! Another twist I didn't see coming. Fantastic chapter :)