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Denial, Chapter Three: The Four Stages

Title: Denial, Chapter Three: The Four Stages
Author: darkentwisted
Characters/Pairings:  Robin/Marian, Carter/Much, Allan/Guy, Allan/Will, Djaq/Robin 
Rating: PG (Adult concepts)
Genre:  Slash
Words: 3039
Disclaimer: All chracters copyright, BBC, BBC America, Tiger Aspect Media
Notes: This continues the 'Round-Robin' fic. 'Denial'
Summary: Life goes on as the gang learns to cope without someone they never really thought they would miss.  Much has regrets about his decision to go with Carter back to war.
Want to play? Come join us!   Check out the Rules and join in the Round-Robin fun!

Previous Chapters:  1,  2,

Denial, Chapter Three: The Four Stages

Stage One: Anger

“Robin…Master, help me!” The smoke from the Saracen fires surrounded him. He could hear his manservant’s pitiful cries as he tried furiously to fight his way to him. Every time he shot his arrow or pulled his sword, another enemy fell, getting him closer to his friend. “I’m coming, Much. Keep fighting!”

“I’m outnumbered, Master! Hurry… Master!…” Words were cut off and a strange gurgling sound reached the archer’s ears and filled his heart with dread. The smoke cleared and Much was in his arms. He looked down at his friend as he lay dying; a confused look across the former servant’s blood splattered face, “You sent me back Master. Why did you send me back?”

Robin woke up with a start as his teeth chattered. He glanced at the smoldering embers through sleep-glazed eyes. He turned over and started to call out to his friend. The memories of the previous day came crashing back. Marian turned in her sleep. He stared at the empty bunk and his heart sank.

Kindling. He needed kindling to restart the fire. He remembered that much. Robin got up and set about doing that. He frowned as soon as he started to put on his boots. Like a new friend, his big toe stuck out of the hole in his sock teasingly. For a moment Robin tried to manipulate his sock to cover it but to no avail. He gave up in disgust and put on his boot. It was funny how that never happened when Much was around.  

His stomach growled as he tried to restart the dying campfire. He examined the larder; nothing but a stale roll pilfered from the castle kitchen weeks ago that even a rat wouldn’t sniff at. It never occurred to him to ask his former manservant how he did what he did day after day, pulling meals out of thin air. He sadly wished he had now.

Marian stirred and stretched. All was forgiven and she was one of the gang now. She rose and looked at the bedroll next to her…empty. She looked where Much’s bunk greeted her every morning since she came here to find it had not been slept in, and then she remembered why.

She got up to see her lover kneeling by the smoldering embers unsure what to do next. He had his boot off and was contemplating the hole in his sock. Without being asked, he responded angrily, “He’s gone Marian.” He looked up at her with tears running down and looked to her like the most lost person in the world, “He’s gone and I don’t know what to do without him.”

The noblewoman went over and put her hand on the outlaw’s shoulder. “You’ll be fine.”

Robin jerked away. “I will not be fine! He gave me warmth, food, companionship and even mended the holes in my socks without asking and what did I do for him? I sent him off to the Holy Land with a total stranger to face certain death! That’s what I did!” 

“He wanted to go!”

“I ran him off!” Green eyes flashed as the outlaw leader turned away. “I let him leave rather than share his burdens. It was all he asked of me and I couldn’t even grant him that.”

Marian forced him to look at her, “He left because he loves you and wants to help you.” She fixed him in her blue eyes. “You dishonour him by doing this. You must not do this! We will make do, we will go on and we will respect his decision by being here when he returns.”

Robin smiled at her words. He sighed as she held him and placed her chin on his shoulder, “How can I forgive myself if he never comes back?”

“Without blinking an eye the truth came, “The same way I forgave myself for you. He will be back, Robin. We must always think that.”

Robin grinned at her rationale as he sadly studied the hole in his sock. Marian caught on, her expression a comic mix of pity and amusement. “Lord Robert of Locksley trained for bow from the cradle, led men into battle in Acre but never taught to mend his own socks.”

The outlaw gave the lady such a frown she couldn’t help but laugh. “I‘ll fetch Much’s darning cotton and needle he left and teach you.”

“Teach me? Couldn’t you just…”

Marian got up and put her hands on her hips, “I am not your manservant, Lord Locksley. You will learn to do it yourself or get used to staring at your toes!”


Stage Two: Denial

Much got up early and saw to the horses, turning only to watch with guilt as the other man slept. Memories of warm hands and hot lips exploring his most intimate parts the previous night tore at his mind and he tried to force them away. How could he allow himself to do those things and what was he to do now? He groomed the horses and swept the stable, all the while being watched lovingly with soft blue eyes.

“You rose without waking me.”  

Much was startled at first, then embarrassed. How could he tell Carter the previous night was a mix of wine, homesickness, fear and nothing more? For him to say so would be a lie. It was something more, at least to him. How many times had he wished Robin would hold him tenderly while he cried, take his lips as they quivered in fear and make him feel so alive as he took his pleasure?  
Even now he trembled as he saw him, this man, this god, he felt unworthy. “You needed your sleep, Sir. And the horses needed tending. I thought early was best.” The curtness of words stung his own ears as he sought anything but the focus of Carter's eyes on him.

The crusader chuckled softly, half buying the excuse. “The horses are fine, and you did a splendid job as expected.” He went over and gently put a hand on his new squire's shoulder. The pout of the man’s lips, still slightly swollen with the previous night’s lust, was so delicious he could have taken him again right there. His only restraint was the world around them, alive with the bustle of commerce. “But now we need to groom the groomer,” he chided playfully as he fingered a dirty blond, stray lock that escaped Much’s cap. 


The tailor’s shop was a sullen but colourful place as Carter gently handled the garments available for their approval. A few coins of silver convinced the tailor to alter those already destined for another client, as the two soldiers had no time for custom work. Carter grinned as Much turned himself over helplessly to the finicky sewer’s tape. How many times had he snikkered under his breath as Robin fidgeted uncomfortably while being fitted? Now he stood in the archer’s place.

Carter couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the indignant look on the former servant’s face as his inseam was measured. But the insult to his modesty paid off. The new tunic and braies were the softest things the former outlaw ever felt against his skin.  He blushed as remembered the night before...well almost.

His new leggings were of the softest leather and only rivaled by his master’s.  A doublet of the finest white linen replaced his worn but much loved waistcoat. The tailor’s alterations to length were completed while they waited. The final task Carter took upon himself.

Three washings turned the outlaws hair from dirty blond to a shade closer to his new master’s and that of King Richard’s himself. Much nervously stared at the menacing sheers Carter borrowed from the tailor. “Are you ready for this?” the knight asked, sensing the apprehension in the other man.

Much swallowed hard and nodded as Carter took the first lock in his fingers. “I am ready, Master.”


His mind went elsewhere, a daring escape, a wild run through the woods, childish laughter. Arms caught him from behind as they rolled down a hill together into a pile of leaves. Breaths were caught in gasps as a hand splayed under his tunic and fingers caught in loosened hair as his cap was lost. A stubbled chin caught his shoulder as Robin took in the scent of woods and his former servant’s distinct smell. “I love your hair,” the outlaw cooed. “Swear to me you’ll never cut it.” 

"I’ll do no such thing, Master. It is too long and I need to wash it desperately,” Much shot back leaning in to the familiar closeness of his friend.

Robin fingered a stray lock in fascination, a frown on his face. “I am sorry my friend but I could never let you do that. Better to let such a fine mane grow to your ankles than to take scissors to it.” The former lord finished the lament by running his lips up his former servant’s neck.

Much shivered from the memory. A single tear fell before the severed strands hit the floor.


All done! Carter exclaimed as he handed the squire a silver tray to admire his handiwork.

Another man greeted Much as he stared at his reflection. He fingered the dark, honey blond hair that framed his strong features. It was just short enough to be handsome and though not quite as short as his master’s, was definitely the style of a gentleman. “It’s …” Words failed him. He looked like a squire. How often had he admired the gentry of Nottingham and even his former master himself and now he couldn’t believe his own image. “Thank you.” His mouth was dry and his hands shook.

“Thank me later,” Carter purred as he leaned into his friend and fingered his jaw line. “I like the beard. You should keep it. It goes well with your new look.”  

Much became instantly aware of the closeness and felt his face glow. “I shall.”

Carter reached for the bundle of rags that were the former outlaw’s pitiful clothes. “I guess we should burn these?”

“Wait!” The squire reached into the stack and fished out his beloved cap. It was worn and dirty and frightfully sweat stained, but it was a link to the man he once was. “May I keep it?”

Carter nodded, indulging his friend’s sentimentality.  “Of course you may. Just don’t wear it around the King. You are a squire now and it is a show of respect that you present yourself with your head exposed to him at all times.”

Much nodded and tucked the skullcap into his doublet. “I shall wear it only while tending the stables. I promise.”

“Then wear it well,” Carter mused. He looked at the sun sinking lower on the horizon. “Almost time for supper. Come, Squire Much. Our last night in Portsmouth awaits.”

Much smiled at his new friend, master, and the man who was becoming so much more to him with each second. How could loving someone so caring be so wrong? Perhaps he could let himself enjoy the moment and the companionship. Food, wine and a warm bath awaited and then the promise of the evening beyond. Tomorrow would bring back the daemons of war and his fears with them. Tonight he felt newly born and he decided to embrace that feeling and Carter as well. 


Stage Three: Fear

The dark castle halls were just too narrow. He couldn’t make himself small enough to not be noticed. Allan knew trouble was coming and he couldn’t duck out of the way fast enough. Hands curled into the rough black fabric of his doublet and he felt his feet leave the ground as intense, winter blue eyes ensnared his. “I thought I could trust you A’Dale!”

The traitor swallowed a lump not knowing what his master was on about. “You can trust me, Gis…”

“That…is Gisborne to you!” Malice was in the lord’s eyes. He showed no sign of relenting as his prey's hands scraped against the wall behind them. “My spies near Portsmouth spotted Loxley’s manservant, Munch riding with the King’s guard Carter…"


Guy sneered, “Excuse me?”

Allan regretted the interruption as the other man’s fists closed in, cutting off his airway and making his vision go black. He gasped as the black knight softened his grip and the world returned. “Robin’s servant. His name is Much.”

Gisborne released the poacher, and turned away. “I couldn’t care less the outlaw’s name. All I care is that he is two days ride away from here with the Carter. It could mean that the crusader carried out his plan after all, killed Robin then took his manservant and the sheriff's money." He turned on the traitor again. “I need you to go into the forest and find out.” He smoothed the former outlaw’s twisted doublet. “I need to see if your old gang is either disbanded or up to it’s its old tricks. He leaned in so close to the trickster’s face as to make him flush. “Fail me and you’d best stay there.” He walked away without another word as Allan rubbed his bruised neck and left to perform his task.


The forest welcomed him. It had only been days since he had come to visit Marian, but it felt like years. It was an easy task, find Lady Fitzwalter and find out why Much had left them. He thought he already knew the answer. Watch the poor outlaw for a short while around his former master and it would become obvious to anyone, the man was in love. Much had owed his very existence to the former lord for so long that it became second nature to love him. He knew the manservant would do anything if asked by Robin, even leave his master's side to go off with a stranger back to Hell.  Allan was grateful he had no such loyalties.

His thoughts were cut short by a flash through the air and a knife hit the tree just inches from his pointed nose. “Oi! A little too early for target practice innit, Maz?”

His heart sank as he saw the countenance through the trees of the man he regretted deceiving more than the former lord.

“What do you want here, Allan?” Will’s pale green eyes blazed with hate and contempt.

The look of surprised joy at seeing his former friend was on his face and gone in an instant. “I came to see Lady Marian.”

“Well, she doesn’t want to see you,” the craftsman stated with an edge as sharp as the hatchet he held. “Now you need to go cos, you know my aim with this is so much broader than it is with a knife and nothing would give me more pleasure than to make your two faces more obvious, traitor!” Will trembled as he spoke. Seeing his former friend again brought back a flood of emotions he though he had dealt with and he just wanted the back stabber gone.

Allan tried his old charm, expecting nothing. “So the gang is good, right? I heard rumors of Much takin’ off with the fancy boy from the Holy Land.”

“He goes back to tell the King of your master’s treachery at his brother's request,” the woodsman spat. "Tell Gisborne his days are numbered, Dogsbody! Now go!”

Allan nodded glumly as he walked away from the carpenter. As soon as he was out of earshot he chuckled to himself with relief. That was easier than he thought. 

Stage Four: Acceptance
The setting sun captured the soft look in Djaq’s liquid brown eyes as she bowed to her god and said her prayers. This time her prayers went beyond the ones for peace in her country and her new homeland but also for the man she called her friend. She already missed Much deeply.  She missed his non-stop chats about God, her homeland and the war that raged forever.

She was supplanting the man he should have shared his nightmares with but she was glad for it. The fact that she put his sweet simple soul at ease by letting him ramble made her happy. She only hoped Carter would do the same. “Be well, my friends,” she whispered softly as she looked toward her homeland in the east where the two soldiers were headed.
The still voice in her head calmed her and she knew she would see him again. Much was a good man, a just man, and Allah would smile on him because he protected those people who had good souls.

She came down from the hill and walked into camp. Robin sat by the fire, a picture of frustration, as he tried to mend his torn sock. The thread kept knotting and he kept pricking his finger on the needle. “Here let me,” she smiled.

The outlaw leader looked up and shook his head. “Marian says I must learn to do this myself.” He sighed as he looked around the camp. Lady Fitzwalter was currently in a heated argument with Little John about how to cook rabbit. Will was whittling; lost in his own thoughts because he had no one to mentally spar with to bring them out. “I guess there are a lot of things we have to get used to doing ourselves around here.”

The Saracen gently took the darning from her leader, untangled the thread and handed it back to him. She then patiently showed him how to make the neat stitches taught by her father to save men in battle. He smiled as they both completed the task with a final knot.

“No, Robin. We don’t have to learn how to do things ourselves. We will learn how to do things together.”


What happens when Allan reports back to Giz? Will Marian visit Allan & Giz again? Will there be hot times in the castle tonight?  What's next for Djaq & Will?  Will Robin become Sherwood's answer to Martha Stewart? Don't wait to find out! 
darkentwisted and robinfanatic want YOU to tell us. (robinfanatic places duct tape over darkentwisted's keyboard)

(On to Chapter 4. The boys get caught in the rain under here.)


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
To readers: darkentwisted and I really didn't mean to hog the first 3 chapters, but he mentioned dressing Much & cutting Much's hair, and I admit I had to encourage him to write this chapter. We broke our own rule of 2000... but hope you'll be understanding.

We hate to sound like a mutual admiration society but I really hope you love this chapter as Much as I do!
Apr. 25th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
I'm not good at leaving feedback, but this definitely deserves to be encouraged, so I'll try: I liked this. I've read all three chapters twice. I hope the next chapter is as awesome. It's a really interesting setting, well thought out and I'm really glad you two've started this thing!

Also, the scene change/location arrows? Fantastic idea.
Apr. 25th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
You are GREAT at leaving feedback! Thank you so much! We'd just like to know if others are reading/enjoying/hating (ok, not hating!) and hope that other writers will join us.
Apr. 25th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)

And welcome to Denial!

The scene change arrows are all robinfantic's idea! Check out her crossover "The Outlaw and the Jedi" for more awesome arrow change action.

Look forward to reading your chapter.

Time for me to put on my Bernard disguise and post on Nottinghamshire!
Apr. 25th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
I don't trust my ability to work with someone else's characters yet (hence why I'm playing OCs on Nottinghamshire), so I'm not quite ready to join in the roundrobin =/

I've been attempting to write with the RH cast and once I'm sure I won't butcher them, I will definitely ask for a spot in the chapter-que.
Apr. 25th, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
Its ok. maybe next time.

You are brilliant! I'm just the opposite.

I suck at OC's!

Everytime I start working on OC fics I just gag on the rubbishness. But I keep doing them and each time I get less sucky.
Apr. 25th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
What do you mean? Bernard Palmer is an OC and he's quite cool!
Apr. 25th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Why did DT mention the Outlaw story... that was my first fanfic and no where near best! agh!
Apr. 26th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
It was brilliant and deserves mention thats why. :)
Apr. 29th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
don'tcuthishairwhatyoudoingnooooooo!!! Glad he kept his cap though, yay!
“Robin’s servant. His name is Much.” you tell him Allan baby!
Very nice to see them struggle without Much - must say I'd like to see a bit more of it, just to make them all realise how much they actually need him! But that last line of Djaq's is very gorgeous.
This is going great so far guys, can't wait to read more! (Would also love to see more with Allan - you know I love him - maybe more his thoughts on Much leaving than loads of Gisbourne action, but that's just me) Brilliant work
Apr. 29th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for the wonderful comments. I wasn't sure about using th e four stages of grief as a metaphor but it was just too tempting to ignore.

Couldn't lose the cap I would have fangirls beating down my door with torches. ;)

More 'missing Much' angst to come be sure!

Since this is a round-robin, you are more than welcome to jump in with your own chapter and write all the luscious Allan you want! I think he needs some love too be it Will, Marian or Djaq. Just claim, write, and post. We would love to have you!
Apr. 29th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
No, the four stages of grief thing was good! And hahah yeah you would - I'd be the one with the pitchfork.
Erm, I am very tempted but at the moment I'm still trying to work out my Much/Allan challenge fic (which is proving to be more trouble than it's probably gonna be worth) but once I've got that out of the way I'll certainly think about it!
Apr. 29th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
*rubs hands greedily for purty new Much/Allan ficcie!*

I am currently turning out a Denial fic full of Will/ Dark!Allan/Djaq. Lots of angst/pr0n. I'm coining the OT3 'WAD' for lack of a better acronym.

Anytime you want to write for Denial just let us know.

Apr. 29th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
haha, don't rub those hands just yet mate, it's still kinda sucking ass.

And oooooh sounds very interesting! I haven't really looked around here at all but I'll be sure to check it out when I've got everything sorted. Thanks :) x
May. 2nd, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)

okay... darkentwisted and I can't stand it!! Plot bunnies have invaded our very souls and IMs have flown through the ether so much so that both our hard drives crashed!! And I'm not certain you want to know what happened with the duct tape...

darkentwisted and robinfanatic hereby claim chapter 4, which will pick up the Carter/Much storyline after they've crossed the channel from Portsmouth.

Edited at 2009-05-02 05:50 pm (UTC)
May. 9th, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
Oh, I love the snippits of life back in camp! Robin missing Much - so he should! Maybe now he'll get an idea of all that Much did for him and be a bit sorry for the way he's treated him all these years! :)

And it's good to see Allan, he's such a fun character to read. Plus his interactions with Gisbourne are brill :)

And Much with short hair! :) I now understand why your banner for the fic fits so well (and it's a lovely picture, btw). It really feels like Much is moving on a stage, and maybe finding somewhere he can be more comfortable and more himself. The flashes back to his old life with Robin are a great touch too!
May. 11th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
Heee! thank you!
I loved writing this.

robinfanatic and I want everyone else in the fandom to be as addicted as we are!
Jun. 3rd, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
I've FINALLY gotten round to giving myself time enough to start reading this immense roundrobin you've created! Okay, so I'm only three chapters in, but really, I nearly read this one twice, mainly the Much cutting his hair part because honestly, I was caught between the memory of Robin asking him never to cut it (you two kill me with all the references to Much/Robin.!) and Carter telling him to keep his beard (Carter/Much *yummy*). It felt like a clean point of 'cutting' away the past and moving on, and quite frankly part of me wants to see him move on with Carter, and part of me is sad to see him and Robin apart!

But it's an adventure, and I'm curious as to where it's all going, and by far one of my favourite fics. AND I love how you've weaved it into the Season Two storyline, changing a few details to tell a whole different story. The work is immense but it pays off!

I haven't been able to promise getting involved with this project writing wise, but I do promise to read the other chapters when I get more time on my hands!

love you for writing it xxx

{{{huggles & kisses all round }}}
Oct. 6th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
I agree with everyone about the hair cutting scene--so sweet and a great milestone for Much.

Just a question about the Djaq section...>>>“Be well, my friends,” she whispered softly as she looked toward the East where the two soldiers had headed.<<<

Technically, they are headed south...no?

Looking forward to the next chapters--


Oct. 6th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
Ooooh good point! Fixxeed! :D
TY for reading!
Oct. 7th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
Actually, since it's East with a capital "e", I'd say it's technically correct as originally written. Yes, the boys are initially headed south, but they are going to Palestine which is southeast of Nottingham but in the East...i.e., thinking of East as a place.

Edited at 2009-10-07 02:53 am (UTC)
Oct. 7th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
The East
Yes, but it didn't really become known as The Middle East until well past the middle ages, I'm sure, so referring to it as the East at this point is questionable.

If I think East of England I hit Siberia...

And clarity is key in any fiction, but obviosuly it's your story so...

But thanks for replying.

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )