They had yet to return to the camp, but no one was worried. So long as they returned before dark, relatively unscathed, and without the Sherriff's guards following them again, Elizabeth didn't think much on their going to town.
Marian had sent Robin after a pound of butter, and the rest had clamored to go along – why it takes eight men at least to get a single pound of butter, or a bag of flour, or whatever the camp needed each week firmly escaped Elizabeth's thought pattern.
A pound of butter; and the Lord only knows what Robin will return with this time. Last week the whole group of them had come back with a dog, led by a bit of rope. All of the men – and Footpad –were ecstatic over their find.
Marian was hardly thrilled.
Each of the "Merry Women" had to keep from laughing out loud at the look on Robin's face when Marina put her foot down with a firm "No dog, Robin!" The poor mutt looked as pitiful as his newfound master, both looking as sad as possible. Until Robin had an epiphany, and turned to his loyal followers to help him in his noble plight.
Elizabeth had stopped her own, dear, Gilbert from even beginning to ask with a single look, trademark of the Bolle family, whether through birth or marriage. The puppy eyes she received in return were enough to make her groan, and she forced herself to look away before she caved.
Every single one of the men protested vehemently (whining and pleading) when all of their significant others refused to harbor the dog, Robin at their head.
The dog stayed.
That same dog was being cuddled and petted right now, on the other side of the main campfire, Elizabeth noted. Even Marian had bestowed some sense of affection, founded in a brief scratching behind the ears when the cur verily flopped down beside her after a morning of chasing leaves. Whether she realized it or not, Elizabeth would never know, and she was NOT going to say anything.
Elizabeth smiled over her musings as she cross-stitched a patch over a hole in someone's breeches. She would have to send Gilbert to town soon with instructions beyond staying safe and out of trouble, or else leave all but the worst holes open. The latter wasn't acceptable, but she wasn't sure she trusted the Nottingham merchants. Doncaster had better fabrics, but it's market had been shut down a month ago.
A clamor of pots and pans caused her to look up, as Big Mary began the stew for feast that night. When you have ten or more men and their families to feed, every night is a feast night.
Just as she was returning to her work, Joanna Noakes came running into the camp circle, with cries of "They're here!" and "They've returned!"
Once more, the camp becomes lively as the Sherwood Outlaws greet the marketgoers warmly – and with a smack around the head for the troublemakers.
Speaking of which…
A pair of arms encircle her, and Elizabeth has to keep herself from laughing when a familiar presence makes himself known. Turning into her husband's embrace, she tunes out the clamor of the other Merry folk concerning their Market Day adventures and takes full note of the condition of the man before her. Her quick eyes take in every point, from the windswept hair to the scuffed up boots that have seen better days; they don't miss Gilbert's flinch as she takes his hands in hers, and she looks closer to find a loose – and probably intended to be temporary – bandage around his arm, a few spots of blood seeping through.
After a brief scuffle between the two of them, she manages to get her husband sitting by the fire as she tends the wound, the patching of clothes becoming last priority as she cleans, sews up and re-bandages the "scrape" that looks more like a knife slash to her practiced eye. A sense of calm overtakes the camp as she soon returns to her mending, relaxation in the everyday habits and day to day life making itself familiar to all who rest by the fire.
Gilbert leaning on her knee, Elizabeth listens with half an ear to the tale Robin tells of selling meat in the market for free or kisses, in the case of the ladies. She shakes her head with the rest at the Sherriff's antics, and nods in agreement when appropriate, not really paying attention to anything except the task in her lap, until it is taken from her by familiar calloused hands which then bid her to rise and bid the rest goodnight.
This she does before she is drawn away and into the shack they had claimed for their own and built together when they first arrived in the glade.
After settling down for the night, she isn't fully expecting her beloved to begin to converse with her so late in the evening.
"You weren't really listening tonight, were you?"
Nonverbal answers seem the only solution to a midnight issue, so she hums in agreement and shifts closer into his arms.
"You and your sewing. You could agree to sell your soul to the Sherriff and not even realize it because of a crooked hemline, I'm sure."
Now this warranted an answer.
"My sewing has saved your life and the lives of many in the camp, remember. You'd best be grateful I focus on clothing as much as I do."
"I thought we already had this discussion."
"Gilbert, that's hardly a scrape from a wagon. Someone nicked you with a knife, in truth, though why you would keep it from me will always be a mystery to me."
"I didn't want you to worry."
"It's my job to worry, you get into trouble often enough, whether you look for it or no. What if the knife were poisoned? Or I simply bandaged it up without sewing it because I took you at your word for once, and it festered? What then? What quarrel is worth being so badly injured? And what did Robin say?"
"Robin didn't know. None of them did, 'cept ol' Silke and Jack. The fight was to get Jack out of trouble himself, and things went sour when Silke couldn't keep his mouth shut. Neither of them knew it was more than a scrape, either. Just bad enough to warrant the wrap I had on it before we got back."
"Well, what if you were more badly hurt? What if the guards had caught you? I don't think I could bear it if you were hung because of some loose words leading to blows."
"I know, 'Liz, and I'm sorry. I couldn't leave Jack in a jam like he was, but it could have gone better; you're right. There was too much danger for the situation, and I should have thought it through more. Next time I will."
"Hopefully there won't be a next time, Gilbert."
"There won't be, I promise."
Silence settled over the two again, Gilbert's arms tightening around his little seamstress as she pressed close to him in the night.
This is the first Robin Hood: The Courtship of Allan A'dale fic, to my knowledge, on this site, and I'm really excited!
I was Elizabeth Bolle in this fantasticly fun musical a few years back, and an absolute sweetheart was Gilbert. I kind of got a bit of a crush on him...
Anyways, after the musical performances were done, I wrote the background of the return of the men in the fifth/sixth scene, without the music, as it might have been written in a book. More loving, and more from Elizabeth's point of view, with quite a bit more backstory.
Hope you all like it! I might continue it with other scenes, let me know if you want me to!