|photo credit: Bridget Ruffing|
"Well, if she did, that should be quite an interesting meeting." Robin mused with a smirk, but it soon faded from his face as he fell to wondering if all had gone well for Marion after he left. What if she had been caught down there? What kind of suspicions would that raise? Would there be consequences?
"That's for certain." Adam muttered, walking at the back of the group as distractedly as Will, trying to recall what Alexis had looked like last time they'd met. But that was five years ago, he remembered with a wince. Had it really been that long? It scared him that he didn't miss her as much as he felt he should. He could recall a time when a separation of only a few days weighed heavily upon his soul, and he would count the hours until they saw each other again. But now, he dreaded the meeting, and he found that even more terrifying. Had he grown cold and heartless in his years abroad?
As they neared the camp, Will hurried on, barely resisting the urge to break out into a full run, so great was his excitement at the thought of seeing Alexis again. His concern for her contributed to the urgency with which he pushed forward, trying to clear his thoughts and come up with some form of coherent, appropriate greeting. His heartbeat quickened, as did his pace, and he ran the last few yards to the camp.
The fallen leaves crunched beneath his pounding feet, and his breath came out in curling wisps of steam as he approached. Stopping in his tracks, he looked about the clearing. Nothing moved or showed any signs of life. The fire pit was cold, the huts grey, shapeless forms that blended into the cloudy, damp air. Panicking, he began ransacking them as a seed of panic began to sprout and grow in his chest. His initial thought was to call out her name, to send it as far as he could through the air till it reached her and she called back.
But he realized he couldn't. She was only a face, a ghost-like image of a girl that haunted his thoughts. She was real, he knew that, but she was so far away. He didn't know her name, he hadn't even that claim upon her. She was far away from him, she might even need him, but he had no way to find her, to call her to him. He had no hold on her.
Feeling the full force of this crash upon him, Will staggered back, leaning against a tree. He heard the approach of footsteps and voices. He blinked back tears, pushing himself up, trying to regulate his breathing and quell the tide of horror still crashing against him. "She's not here." He called out, annoyed at the tone of his choked, husky voice. "We need to find her, before Gisborne does." He stumbled out to meet them, steely determination already settled in his eyes.
"Maybe we should wait a minute and think things through. Come up with a plan, you know, that sort of a thing." Allan called over his shoulder, reaching the clearing first, pushing past and settling down to start a fire. He seemed infuriatingly unconcerned, and Will had to resist the urge to throttle him as he turned to Robin, who appeared next. "Robin." He was pleading.
He put a hand on his cousin's shoulder, "I know, Will, I know. But how are we going to find her? We don't even know where she's gone. She could be anywhere in this forest, or else in some town. Look, the point is, if she ran away, she doesn't want to be found, and if that girl is capable of breaking out of Nottingham's dungeon when both the sheriff and Gisborne are chomping at the bit to hang her, she won't be found unless she wants to be. We should regroup, gather information. We need to be patient."
Will jerked away, trying to hide the pain on his face. "While you're all sitting around being 'patient', she could be dying out there! Doing nothing is not going to help anyone."
"Will, I know you're frustrated, but what are you going to do without any idea of where she might be? Just wai—"
"I have to do something. How can you all just do nothing when her life could be at stake? It's your fault she got arrested in the first place!" Will was screaming now, the full force of his anger leaping from his lips. He grabbed his cousin by the collar and raised his fist as if to strike. Robin only stared back at him, his eyes clouding with the painful realization that what what Will said was true.
Seeing the would-be attack about to unfold, Tuck and Little John rushed to pull Will away, sending him staggering back, his chest heaving with and eyes blazing. They had never seen gentle, kind Will Scarlet like this, and it scared them. Looking about, seeing the damage of his words, and the speechless hurt on his cousin's face, Will turned, grabbed his satchel and a sword, and stormed off through the forest.
"Where do you think you're going?" Robin called after him, regaining his words as he shoved away Tuck's attentions.
"To find her. Somebody has to take responsibility for their actions!" He replied without looking back.
"Robin, you can't just let him go like that!" Little John cried, as Will's silhouette shrunk further and further into the distance and Robin did nothing.
"Nothing I can say will bring him back. He needs to do this himself." With a bitter grin, he turned to Adam, who waited with a question on his lips. "Go ahead after him, I know you want to." Nodding a thank you, he ran off down the path, grabbing up a cloak and some food.
Start at the beginning: Chapter 1 Part 1