By Shelly Quinn
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As predicted by Tuck, Robin couldn't seem to lose. And one game stretched into several. Robin's purse was heavy with coin and he was ecstatic. But the other players were not so enthused. One gentleman, in particular, was quite ticked off. And he was certain that Robin was cheating. To the point where he stood up, drew his sword, and publicly accused Robin of doing so.
"Cheating?" Robin repeated, rising as well. But a smile curved his lips. "I don't have to cheat to win," he said softly.
"Robin never cheats!" Little John hissed in Robin's defense. He rose to his feet as well, towering over the others at the table.
Robin smiled at him. "It's all right, John, I can handle this," he said quietly. Then he looked at the man who had called him a cheat. "How say you we settle this matter, friend?" Robin inquired.
The man snarled at him. "Simply enough!" he spat. "I'll run ya through and take me coin back!" With that the man lunged at Robin, but Robin wasn't there.
Leaping onto a nearby table to avoid the blade that tried to slice him, Robin drew his own sword. He laughed as the man moved to attack him again, parrying his blade with ease, then kicking him in the head to send him scuttling backwards. Robin jumped off the table and followed.
When another at the table, a friend of the accuser, tried to intervene, Little John bopped him on the head and he crumpled to the floor. Smiling, Little John watched Robin play with his opponent.
Just then, Marion and Tuck strolled over. They had been finishing up dinner, which Robin had ignored, and Tuck asked Little John what was transpiring. The giant told his friends and Marion shook her head.
"He just can't stay out of trouble," she whispered, her eyes locked on Robin. She watched as he cornered his opponent, unarmed him, the pressed his blade to the man's throat.
"Give up?" Robin breathed in the man's ear.
The man swallowed hard and nodded. "I..give.." he whispered.
Robin smiled and backed off. "Good," he said. "Now then, let's all be friends and continue with the game."
"I think you've played long enough," Marion interjected, strolling over to Robin and taking him by the arm. "Time for bed."
"Hooooo.....lookee there," drawled one fellow, his eyes roving over Marion. "He brought his own entertainment. And what a fine lady she be. Want to share, darling?" he cooed, as he fingered a lock of Marion's hair.
Her answer was a cold smile and a knee to his groin, then she tugged on Robin's wrist. "Let's go."
Little John grabbed Robin's winnings, then he followed his friends. "Good night, all," he called over his shoulder. "It was fun."
"Spoilsport," Robin said to Marion, as she pulled him up the stairs. "I was having fun."
"That kind of fun only leads to trouble," Marion replied, firmly. She continued walking till Robin was in front of the room that he would share with Tuck and Little John. "Good night," Marion said firmly.
Robin wrapped one arm about her waist and pulled Marion hard against him. Then he bent his head and claimed a kiss. He felt Marion resist, but only for a moment. Then she kissed him back. Neither were aware of Tuck and Little John sneaking past them and into the room.
Marion came to her senses first, and pushed Robin away. She smoothed her hair with a shaking hand then locked eyes with him. "What was that for?" Marion demanded.
"Because I wanted to," Robin whispered, a smile bringing out a dimple in his cheek. "You're beautiful, Marion."
"Um...thank you," she replied, feeling a blush stain her cheeks. "Goodnight, Robin." Marion whispered, then she ran down the hall to her room, closing the door behind her.
The smile was still on Robin's face as he entered his room. Tuck and Little John had drawn straws and Robin had lucked out. He would have his own bed while the other two shared. Stretching out on the mattress, Robin tucked his hands behind his head and closed his eyes. "Goodnight guys," he said softly.
"Goodnight, Robin," Little John and Tuck chorused. They had big grins on their faces. Then the room fell silent.
Robin waited till he was certain that his companions were asleep. Both
Tuck and Little John were heavy sleepers, and they snored loudly, so Robin
was able to sneak out of the room without them stirring. Once he was out
he headed back down stairs. The night was young and he wanted to play.
Little John woke up with a start. He had been dreaming then suddenly he was awake. Rubbing at his eyes, he gazed about the room, lit only by moonlight streaming in the window. When his gaze fell upon Robin's bed, he saw that it was empty. "Wonder where he's gone off to," Little John muttered. Then he slid out of bed, his protective instincts kicking in. Robin had a habit of getting into trouble, and Little John had made a vow to watch over him, so he slipped on his leather jerkin and headed out the door.
As Little John descended the stairs he heard familiar laughter. "Robin.." he whispered, then quickened his pace. What he saw before him froze Little John to the spot. Robin was dancing with a buxom, blond serving girl. Their bodies were pressed close together and the woman's fingers were tangled in Robin's hair. Even as Little John watched, she kissed Robin, most thoroughly, then one hand slid inside Robin's tunic. Little John swallowed hard. He knew that Marion would be livid if she saw this. He was confused as well, this type of behavior was not typical of Robin. Something was wrong. Just then, Little John saw that Robin had a tankard in one hand and he drank deeply from it. "That explains it," Little John whispered to himself. "Robin is drunk." That was also unusual behavior for his friend, but Little John could at least accept it.
Robin was unaware of being watched by his friend. He was too caught up in the wine, women and music. He kissed the girl again, but pulled back when he felt a heavy hand fall on his shoulder. Turning, Robin saw a big, dour-faced, man glaring at him. "Can I help you?" Robin inquired, a smile on his lips.
"Let go my woman!" the man snarled, reaching out to grasp the blond by the arm. She squealed in protest when he yanked her away from Robin.
"I don't think she want's to go with you," Robin drawled, his smile still in place, but a devilish light now danced in his eyes.
The man scowled. "She does wot I say!" he hissed.
Robin shrugged. "Not anymore," he drawled, then he pulled his sword. "You want her, you gotta come through me!" Robin challenged.
"With pleasure," replied the man, drawing his own sword.
From the stairway Little John groaned as all hell broke loose.
Robin let the big guy attack him, easily parrying each thrust of the other man's blade. To Robin this was simply an exercise, for his skill with a sword was far greater than his opponents. Robin had no intention of hurting him, he just wanted to have some fun.
But the big guy was not feeling so playful. He wanted to run Robin through, all the more so for he saw that the younger man was taunting him. He was determined to wipe the smirk off Robin's face. But his wish was in vain, for a moment later, Robin had disarmed him. The big guy swallowed hard as a swordpoint was pressed to his throat.
"Don't kill me.." he begged, his lower lip quivering.
"I won't kill you," Robin replied, smiling. He looked at the blond girl. "What shall we do with him, do you think?" he asked her.
"Teach 'im a lesson," she replied, with a toss of her head. She liked Robin for he was lots of fun, a gentleman, and so gorgeous that she wanted to melt right into him. The big guy was a slug.
Robin considered the punishment. Then he slashed down with his sword, slicing open the other man's breeches so that the fell to the floor. "Get out and stay out!" Robin ordered, as everyone in the room began laughing.
The big guy clutched at his breeches and fled. But the fight wasn't over yet. Others had joined in the fray, fighting with each other, simply because they were drunk and filled with excess energy. Seeing this, Robin leaped onto a nearby table top, assessed what fight looked to be the most fun, then leaped into the middle of it.
From the stairs, Little John groaned. He was certain now that Robin was as drunk as the rest of the partygoers and would get himself hurt. So he jumped into the fray as well, tossing bodies aside in an attempt to reach his friend. Once he did so, Little John grabbed Robin's arm. "Time for bed," he declared.
"Lay off, John!" Robin shot back, yanking his arm free. "I'm a big boy, I can stay up all night if I want. And I want." As he spoke, Robin ducked a right cross, then delivered one of his own to a man who tried to deck him. That done he grinned at Little John. "Run off to bed if you're tired. But I'm...having...FUN!" And with that, Robin moved to jump in the fray once more. Only he found himself slung over a broad shoulder. "PUT ME DOWN!" Robin shouted, as Little John moved towards the stairs.
The blond giant huffed. "No!" he shot back. "Robin...you're drunk!"
Robin pounded his fist on Little John's back and kicked his feet, to no avail. "I am NOT drunk!" He hissed. "I order you to put me down!" When Little John didn't listen, simply climbed the stairs and headed down the hallway, Robin redoubled his efforts to break free. Only to receive a slap on his rump with a heavy hand. "OW!" Robin cried out, for it hurt like the dickens.
"Be still!" Little John hissed. "And be quiet!" He reached their room and opened the door.
"What's going on?" Tuck demanded as he rose from the bed. He had heard the commotion from the hallway and was stunned to see Robin draped over Little John's shoulder.
Little John sighed as he faced the Friar. "Robin is drunk," he explained.
Robin struggled to free himself again. "I am not drunk!" he insisted. But he was furious. "Little John...put me down at once!"
"I think you'd better put him down," Tuck concurred, nodding to the giant.
"Whatever you say," Little John replied. He moved over to Robin's bed and dumped his friend upon it. But he was wise enough to stand over it so Robin couldn't escape.
Robin's first action was to rub his sore backside, then he glared at his giant friend. "You didn't have to hit so hard," he whined, balefully.
Little John shrugged. "You asked for it," he countered, hiding a smirk.
"Robin, what were you doing back downstairs?" Tuck inquired, as he sat on the edge of the bed. He studied Robin's face and saw that the young man was flushed, and his eyes bright. It would appear that Robin was drunk, as Little John had said. Tuck was surprised. Robin never overindulged himself. Not even when he was upset.
"I wasn't tired so I wanted to play cards and have some fun," Robin replied, his ready smile falling back into place.
Little John huffed, then tapped Tuck's shoulder. "He was dancing..and kissing..one of the barmaids," he stated, emphatically.
Robin grimaced. "Tattle tale!" he hissed, then he giggled at the memory of the buxom blond. A dimple appeared in Robin's cheek as he locked eyes with Tuck. "Oh...you shoulda seen her," he whispered. "She's a beauty. Great kisser too."
"I think you need to get some sleep," Tuck replied, clearing his throat and trying not to blush at the look in Robin's eyes. They had been filled with lust. Definitely not like Robin, especially since he knew the young man was totally in love with Marion. "You're going to have one heck of a hangover in the morning," Tuck warned, as he pushed Robin back against the pillows.
"I'll say," Little John confirmed, as he tugged Robin's boots off. Then he pulled a blanket over his friend, seeing that Robin's eyes were beginning to close. The alcohol was taking effect, and Little John was relieved. "Good night, Robin," he whispered.
Tuck studied the his young friend. "He's asleep," he whispered, glancing up at Little John. Then he gestured for the giant to join him at their own bed. As they slipped beneath the covers and Tuck reached to douse the candle he said, "Little John, remind me to make some herbal tea for Robin come morning. He's going to need it."
Little John grunted as he punched his pillow. "Sure thing, Tuck," he whispered. Then he yawned. "Goodnight." That said, Little John fell quickly to sleep.
After saying a quick prayer, Tuck followed suit.
Little John awoke to the sound of knocking. He opened his eyes, then stretched. The knock sounded again.
"Tuck...Little John. Time to get up," said a soft voice.
"Marion.." Little John whispered. "We'll be right out, Marion!" he shot back. Then he remembered last night and glanced across the room to see if Robin was awake. But Robin's bed was empty. Little John nudged Tuck in the ribs. "Wake up!" he hissed. "Robin is gone."
Tuck came awake with a jerk, eyes flickering over to the corner. Then he stifled a yawn as he remembered what had happened during the night. "He's probably not feeling well," Tuck said, with a touch of sympathy.
Little John nodded. "Good point," he allowed, as he slid off the bed. "I suppose I should go look for him."
"You do that," Tuck agreed. "And I'll make some tea. Oh..and Little John, let's not mention last nights escapade to Marion. I'm sure Robin is embarrassed about it enough as it is."
"I won't say a word," Little John promised. He stamped his feet into his boots then opened the door. Marion was waiting for him. "Good morning," Little John offered in greeting.
Marion smiled at him. "Good morning. You and Tuck overslept.
Must have been tired."
Little John shrugged. "Had a hard time getting to sleep," he replied, which was partially the truth. His sleep had been interrupted. "Have you seen Robin?"
"He's below, inhaling a huge breakfast," Marion replied, laughing. "He sent me up here to wake you guys. We need to be heading out soon."
"Robin is eating breakfast?" Little John repeated, a frown furrowing his brow.
Tuck had heard the exchange between Marion and Little John about Robin and breakfast, and he was confused as well. Robin should have been suffering from a massive hangover, in which case food would have been the last thing on his mind. Tuck smiled at Marion. "Um....how did Robin seem to you this morning?" he asked.
Marion shrugged. "Like Robin. Chipper and ready to face whatever new adventures the day may bring," she replied. Then she frowned. "Why do you ask? Is something wrong?" Suspicion clouded her eyes. "Did something happen that you're not telling me about?"
"No...nothing," Tuck was quick to assure her.
"Nothing at all," Little John chimed in.
With a shake of her head, Marion gestured for them to follow her. "Come and eat, before Robin scarfs up everything in sight," she beseeched, then she turned and headed down the hallway.
Tuck and Little John exchanged looks, shrugged, then followed.
End of Chapter Two
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