AN: As mentioned in the description, there will be two endings to this story. One involves character deaths. The other is happier and without character deaths. So hopefully something for every reader to enjoy! Throughout the series, Robin and his gang get lucky time after time and Gisborne and the sheriff never seem to learn from their mistakes which seems improbable. Also the guards are painfully incompetent which is I guess part of the 'charm', but I want to give the bad guys a bit of credit for their devious potential! I will hopefully be updating regularly, I have most of the chapters drafted out (just a matter of balancing this and school work). This is my first foray into BBC Robin Hood. Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome! Also, if you are interested in beta'ing this, please PM me. Also, I recently joined AO3, this'll soon be cross-posted there with some minor edits.
It was a summer afternoon like any other. The gang was hanging around camp. Will was idly whittling a new toy, Little John and Djaq were making the day's deliveries, and Much was preparing a meal to a chorus of well-natured banter between Allan and Will at his expense. Much's indignant sputtering elicited a smile from Robin as he lounged against a tree, fletching feathers to new arrows. It was a rare moment of true relaxation in Sherwood.
"If it's that unpalatable to you, then you can cook tomorrow, see if I help!"
Suddenly, Allan got serious.
"I'm not being funny, did you hear th- Robin look out!"
The warning came too late, before Robin could reach his bow he felt the familiar sensation of a sword against his neck. He looked up out of the corner of his eye. "Gisborne" he hissed through clenched teeth, dropping the unfinished arrow.
His gang instinctively reached for their weapons, shocked at how many castle guards seemed to materialize out of the forest, quickly moving to surround the camp. Will gripped his whittling knife harder, at which Gisborne applied more pressure to his sword against Robin's neck.
"Locksley," Gisborne sneered, leaning closer he whispered, "if you don't come quietly, I have archers placed around this camp. They've been given the order to fire at any sign of trouble."
Robin tensed, eyes darting to the perimeter of the camp trying to determine if Gisborne was bluffing. He caught a glimpse of sunlight reflected from an archer's armor as he shifted to get a better position. Robin gestured with his hand to Will to stand down. Mentally, he kicked himself for thinking he could let down his guard. He should have been more vigilant, this shouldn't have happened. On the outside, he tried to exude carefree confidence as he forced a grin.
"Ahh, Gisborne! If we'd known you were coming we'd've tidied up a bit!" Robin loudly jibed, trying to diffuse the threat of death against his friends and trying to stall for Little John and Djaq's return.
"Let him go!" shouted Much, jumping to his feet. Gisborne pulled Robin to a standing position in response. Robin saw the archer raise his bow, and he knew Much was in his sights.
"No!" Robin said, sharper than intended. "Much, it's ok. We know the castle can't keep me. I'll see you soon. I might stay for dinner though, if Allan is cooking!" Robin could see the conflicted emotions across his good friend's face as his joke fell flat. Concern, anger, courage. But Robin had already made up his mind. They were well outnumbered and surrounded. His best option was to go with Gisborne and look for a way out along the way. Only thing he could do now was try to protect his men. They'd gotten out of worse situations. He returned his focus to Gisborne.
"Gisborne. You've got me. You've got our camp. Let them go, they aren't a threat to you," he bargained in a lowered voice.
Gisborne considered Robin's words for a moment before looking to Robin's men, commanding "Take off your tags. All of you!" Will, Allan, and Much grabbed their tags, fetching them from within their shirts. "Snap them." When the men paused Gisborne gripped Robin tighter, "SNAP THEM!" Allan was the first to break his tag, followed quickly by Will and Much. "Drop them and leave now. If I see you again, I will kill you."
Allan caught Robin's eye, seeking permission. Robin winced as Gisborne's patience ran thin, a couple drops of blood began to bead along the edge of his sword. That was permission enough he decided. He nudged Will and Much and started to jog away. Will watched him leave before placing his hand on Much's shoulder. "We're no help to him if we die here today," he urged quietly.
"I can't leave him," Much whispered back in a desperate and conflicted tone. Will grabbed his arm to pull him in the direction Allan had gone. "NO!" Much yelled, pulling away from Will. A second later Will cried out, an arrow had buried itself in his arm.
"Go, Much! Help him!" Robin shouted to his friend, praying he would listen. With a final wounded glance at Robin, Much turned with Will and ran off following Allan's path.
"Pathetic" Gisborne remarked, shoving Robin roughly to the ground. A guard came over with rope to bind Robin's hands. Robin tried to summersault away, now his men were out of danger. Before he could pop to his feet to run he was tackled onto his back, air rushing from his lungs. The guard finished securing his wrists together and yanked him to his feet.
Other guards had moved in to the camp and started tearing it apart, taking weapons and the small store of valuables not yet distributed, destroying personal items. They overturned the cookpot and threw some of Will's woodwork on the fire. Robin stared seething wordlessly as their home was destroyed. One man approached Gisborne with the outlaws' broken tags. Gisborne whispered something to the man who nodded. Gisborne turned back to Robin. "There. We've done your tidying for you" Gisborne quipped as he and a few guards lead Robin away, leaving others to finish destroying the camp.