Title: Seasons Change
Fandom: Robin of Sherwood
Pairing: Will Scarlet/Robin Hood (Robert of Huntingdon)
Notes: Set in the same universe as 'Herne's Son', 'Wanting', 'Picking up the Pieces' and Gunbunny's 'Not Blind'.
He kept his head lowered as the Sheriff's men sauntered by, waited until they had passed him before gifting their backs with a caustic, disgusted, stare.
Then continued on his way to meet Robin.
Here they were, Robin Hood and Will Scarlet, walking freely in Nottingham, right under the noses of the Sheriff's men. All of whom would've laughed in the face of anyone who tried to turn them in. Robin Hood and his followers was just legends, after all. And the Sheriff's men were getting worse with each passing season. Little boys playing at soldiers. Gisburne would'd had a fit to see the puppies decked out in the Sheriff's livery. Half of 'em looked as if they were barely shaving yet.
Or maybe he was just getting old.
Sometimes Will missed Robert de Rainault and Guy of Gisburne. Nothing ever seemed quite the same after the two of them had left.
Robin had said it was time to leave Sherwood and Nottingham. Perhaps he was right.
Will was still unsure of the wisdom of coming to Lichfield for the winter. And yet, Sherwood was becoming more difficult to live in, especially as it got colder. Game had been scarce for a while, now, and none of them were as fast or as agile as they used to be. While the forest seemed to be getting smaller every year. And lonelier. Robin hadn't wanted to stay there anymore.
Not without the others. And wherever Robin went, Will was sure to follow. To the ends of the Earth, if need be.
Much and John had taken up shepherding again, last Spring. It wasn't a life that would have suited him, but they seemed content enough. They'd got each other, after all.
Tuck had packed up his things one bright Summer's day and announced that his old bones were telling him it was time to move on. Nothing could sway him from leaving. Last they'd seen of him he was heading towards Lincoln.
A few weeks later, word had come to them that the Earl of Huntingdon lay grievously ill. He, Robin and Nasir had rushed to the Earl's bedside, only to discover that things were not as bad as they'd been led to believe. Will had been furious, and as scared as hell, certain that the old bastard had set this up to persuade Robin to stay at Huntingdon, despite the danger. In the end, though, it had been *Nasir*, not Robin, who'd stayed with the Earl. And hadn't *that* been a surprise?
Which had left just him and Robin. Most of the older ones had gone. Dead, or settled well away from Nottingham. To the young outlaws who now roamed Sherwood Robin Hood was a legend, a figurehead, someone larger-than-life. Not *real* at all. Even in Wickham, they were telling stories of Robin Hood, Lady Marion, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet and Little John. Stories that had nothing to do with what had actually happened. It would have taken a *hundred* Robin Hoods to have done all the things that the stories said they'd done.
It had been time to leave Sherwood, Robin had said. Herne hadn't been seen for years now. Only the old folk still worshipped him. And nobody needed a real-life ageing Robin when they had a legend.
So off they'd gone to Lichfield, where there was no price on their heads, intending to pick up a few supplies for their journey to wherever the wind took them. But, of course, they'd had to go and visit Will's brother, hadn't they? And found Amos on his sickbed, puking up blood and phlegm with every hacking cough. So they'd stayed, to help his new young wife Jennet run the tavern. Just for a few weeks, until she found someone to do the heavy work that needed to be done. Only Jen had seen that she was on to a good thing here, hadn't she? Two men who could be counted on to work reasonably hard, without drinking all the profits. And who didn't assume that part of their reward would be sharing Jennet's bed. Will hadn't wanted to stay, but Robin couldn't resist Jen's pleas that they stay until Spring.
So here they were, Robin Hood and Will Scarlet, living and working at a tavern. Sometimes life was just strange.
Amos had died two days after Epiphany. And a day after that Jennet had taken all the silver Amos had hoarded and announced that they could have the tavern for all cared, she was off to have some fun rather than working all the hours God gave her.
So, to all extents and purposes, they were the owners of a reasonably thriving tavern.
And now, two months later, Will rested his aching back against a wall and looked around, master of all he surveyed.
The rough benches were packed with hungry, thirsty, noisy men. The serving wench moved between them, distributing bread, cheese and broth whilst adroitly avoiding questing hands. She was certainly easy on the eye. Business had increased since they'd had hired her. But the wench's lusty charms faded quickly from Will's mind as a figure emerged from the doorway of the tavern.
His breath caught and his heart speeded up at the sight of his lover. The golden hair had darkened to a nondescript dirty blond; the face weathered and drawn from too much time spent in the open, too much worry and too little rest; the clothing ordinary and rough and ill-fitting. This was a far cry from the young Norman Lordling of years gone by.
But he was still beautiful.
It was hot.
Will tossed and turned. It'd been *years* since he'd spent a Summer outside of Sherwood. And it was always cool deep within the Greenwood, even during midsummer.
'Robert, you awake?'
Part of him wished that they were back in Sherwood. No barrels to lift, no bloody drunken gits to deal with, no overwhelming heat...
...damp seeping into ageing bones even during the Summer months, things creeping into clothes and shoes and scurrying over sleeping bodies, not to mention dodging the Sheriff's baby soldiers and spending far too much time arguing with young hotheads who were sure they knew everything.
'What is it, Will?'
'Nothin'. Go back to sleep.'
'Wishing we were back in Sherwood, Will?'
Will sighed, pulling Robert's body into a rough embrace, despite the uncomfortable heat.
'Herne preserve us, Robert, when did you learn to read my mind?'
A damp breathy chuckle against his neck sent pleasant shivers directly to his groin. And then a purposeful hand made him moan and thrust against the hot body beside him.
'About the same time I learned to read your body, Will.'
'Seriously, Will, do you want to go back to Sherwood?'
He propped himself up on one elbow. It was too dark to see Robert's face, but he really didn't need to. In his mind's eye he could see the slight frown, the intense look Robert got whenever he was preparing himself to do what was right, even if it killed him.
And it might kill him, might kill them both. Two grey old wolves who'd lost their speed and stealth. Fair prey for anyone who could take them down. What was the price for a wolfshead in Nottingham, these days?
He sighed, pulling Robert into a fierce embrace.
'Naw, Sherwood don't need us anymore. We're better off here. 'Sides, I've got used to this bed.'
'Yeah, I'm sure. Now shut up and let me get some sleep.'
Robin Hood and Will Scarlet, serving ale in a poxy little tavern.
There were worse things they could be doing.
At least they were alive. And together.
'Wha..? Robert? Robin?'
'Nevermind. Love you.'
'Sleep well. Busy day tomorrow. Always a busy day tomorrow.'