Angst, reflective (some) humourRating:
Umm... shock horror, but there may not really be ANY in this fic... or rather, there are several without there really being any... Will/Djaq is most predominant, (though only because I found Will the easiest person to tell this through the eyes of); Allan/Djaq, though it's blink-and-you'll-miss-it, Marian/Djaq if you squint REALLY hard. But really... it's not a 'shipper fic.Summary:
Sometimes, she wishes she could forget. Djaq!fic.Disclaimer:
I don't own the characters and if I was at ALL affiliated with the show, you wouldn't be reading my fanfic, you'd be WATCHING IT EVERY SATURDAY ON THE SHOW. (Seriously - this fic in particular, I can SEE so clearly how certain scenes would be filmed that it is just KILLING me here). *cough* anyway, yeah. Not making any money, blah blah blah.Notes:
This may be the first RH fic I've written that does NOT feature Marian as one of the central figures (though, of course, she's in there). I know - you're shocked and appalled. Anyway, this is a cheer-up present for saturnial
, whose lousy postal service is on strike, meaning that she wont recieve her Tonks-wig in time for the various Harry Potter celebrations tonight (which sucks). Cheer up, Krissonia - I've written you Djaq!fic!Rain
Djaq loved the rain.
(Which, of course, made England a rather prime place for her to be).
The first time it rained while she was in Sherwood, as the other outlaws groaned and took cover, huddling beneath their cloaks in what little shelter the trees could afford them, she spread out her arms and stood still. Her head tipped back, her eyes closed – she stood and let the rain soak her, slicking her skin and her short dark hair.
Will thought that she was beautiful, then. He’d never seen anyone take such pleasure in liquid falling from the sky before. He liked it.
He liked her.
“Djaq – get under cover, you’ll catch your death,” Robin was watching her from beneath a rocky outcrop.
Djaq paid no attention to him – though Will saw a slow, cool smile of pleasure creeping over her face. Her eyes were still tightly closed, her palms upturned. Ever so slowly, she was curling her fingers, pointing them upwards, flexing them gently as the rain ran off them. As if she were touching the air; testing it; examining the new sensations.
“Djaq!” Much called her this time, his cloak drawn over his head, “Djaq, it’s not like back home – it wont warm up the minute it stops; things stay wet; you
will stay wet! You’ll get cold and catch a fever!”
“I don’t think she’s listening to you, mate,” Allan remarked, amused.
“She’ll catch her death,” Much rubbed his hands, anxiously.
“Djaq?” Allan raised his eyebrows, “nah. Take more than a cold to knock her out. She’s tough. Tiny – but tough as nails, I reckon.”
“I can hear you…” Djaq’s voice drifted back to them through the rain – though she had her back to them now – and Allan grinned.
“Djaq,” Robin addressed her again, “come out of the rain.”
“Why?” Djaq did not turn round – and, from where Will was sitting, he could see that she hadn’t even bothered to open her eyes. She was swaying slightly, rocking gently back on forth on her feet but not sliding an inch in the mud.
“Leave her be, Robin,” this was Little John, lounging in a dip between the rocks, his huge leather coat draped over his head, “she’s already soaked through. What good will shelter do her now?”
So the outlaws quieted and let Djaq be. From their respective shelters, they watched her revel, wondering at what they had taken on – this heathen; this strange woman from far away places who loved the rain.
It became a regular occurrence, actually – Djaq and the rain. Rain being an almost constant state of being for the outlaws, particularly as winter began to bare down on them, and Djaq being unchanging in her love of it. The gang learned to except it as they had learned to except Much’s constant hunger, Robin’s arrogance or Allan’s tendency to thieve from even his fellow outlaws (though Robin always made him return everything he stole). Soon enough, they stopped really seeing it, just as they stopped seeing a heathen, a Saracen, or a woman. Djaq was just Djaq – one of the lads, with as many quirks and tricks as any of them had.
So it took Marian to question it – seeing it for the first time herself, as she did, a few months later, sheltering the outlaws in Knighton’s stables through a particularly harsh storm.
“What is she doing
?” Marian lingered in the stable doorway, watching the Saracen with a kind of fascination. Djaq stood a few feet beyond, looking up. Her hands were by her sides this time, and she was peering, wide-eyed, into the falling sky, watching for lightning.
“Djaq likes the rain,” Much said, with a resigned shrug. He was perched on the gate of a horse stall, a thick blanket pulled up to his neck.
?” Marian tipped her head, transfixed.
“God only knows,” Little John was picking the crumbs of his last meal out of his beard.
about it!” This was Allan, peering out of the door next to Marian, “the girl comes from probably the most bleeding hot country you ever did see – like our hottest, driest summer ever only all year round and hotter – and she’s fought in the dust and desert where there’s not one drop of moisture to be had, for… I mean, whole months
. Might be hard for us to imagine, but I reckon there must of been times when she prayed
for rain, like we pray for food.”
There was a pause, as the rest of the gang blinked at Allan in surprise.
Allan folded his arms, a little self-consciously, “what? I can have insights too, you know.”
“Didn’t know you thought that much about it, Allan,” Robin remarked, with only the barest hint of mockery in his tone.
Allan scowled and retreated to the furthest corner of the stables.
Soft, strange, strings of words were seeping back to the outlaws through the damp air – Djaq had spread out her arms and was chanting, softly, as if in prayer.
Will awoke one night a little suddenly, the knowledge of some noise having woken him stayed clear in his mind, but what
noise and where it had come from, exactly, evaded him. They were sleeping in a cave to avoid the rain.
It took him very little time to realise that Djaq was missing.
He sat up, feeling stiff and cold. The damp seemed to have saturated his very soul, and he shivered, blinking blindly in the gloom. There was not even the glow of a fire to keep him company, for the rain had made any wood impossible to burn.
And then he thought he caught some noise, not too far away. The panicky, hitching breath of someone who was stifling sobs.
Gingerly climbing to his feet, Will tried to determine some directionality to the sound, and then began feeling his way along the cave wall towards it, carefully avoiding treading on his fellow outlaws as he did so. A breath of fresh, wet air rushed past him and he realised that he was heading for the cave mouth.
Djaq was standing in its entrance, huddled beneath her cloak, trembling violently. Will could just make out her form – a patch of blacker black – against the grey of the falling rain outside. She had not left the cave, but had her arms outstretched, allowing the rain running off the top of the cave mouth to soak them. As he watched, Will saw her draw in handfuls to splash onto her face and push through her hair.
For a moment, his tongue seemed to have stuck itself to the back of his mouth. He knew a cleansing ritual when he saw one but… damned if he knew what exactly was meant to be appropriate in such situations.
“What do you want, Will?”
Her voice carried an edge to it that he was unused to. A raw, wet edge – the sound of very recently shed tears.
“How did you…” he edged closer, wary and tired. He felt fogged up – still half-asleep.
“Your footfall is lighter than any of the others,” she didn’t turn to look at him. She had her outstretched hands clasped in a pleading gesture, as if begging the rain for salvation.
Will blinked, watching as she drew in another handful of water and washed her face again. He saw her shudder with the cold, shake her head and then hold out her hands again.
“Are you okay?”
“No,” she laughed, harshly, “no, I am not but – well, obviously.”
Another handful of water – she splashed her hair this time; rubber her arms; held them out again.
“Bad dream?” He asked, after a moment.
She laughed again – the sound almost frightened him. She sounded so… unlike Djaq.
“Something like that, yes.”
Will stood still, helpless; awkward. He’d never had much problem talking to Djaq – but that was only when he was allowed to forget that she was female. Now, in this strange, damp twilight, with Djaq in bitter tears and he still half-asleep, she had never seemed more foreign, more distant.
“You should come back to bed and sleep, Djaq,” he said, after a moment. “You’ll be tired…”
“It is almost dawn anyway,” Djaq pointed out, still not turning round, “see; the sky is going grey. You go back to sleep, Will. I am… I will be
Will didn’t move. His chest felt a little too tight for him all of a sudden. He’d seen people in pain before – his father weeping at his mother’s funeral. Allan crying for his brother; Much waking up screaming fit to rouse the entire forest, waking from a nightmare of proportions that Will could only guess at. But he’d never felt so entirely incapable of doing anything about it.
“Will?” Her voice was low.
“Your mother – she died, didn’t she?”
She took a breath, curling her fingers under the downpour, “do you ever… do you ever wish that you could forget her? Just for a moment; just for a moment of relief – do you wish you could forget her?”
Will blinked, then shook his head, violently. “No
Djaq only laughed, “you will. Give it a few more years. You will.”
When the rains came through that spring, they were fresh and cool. Djaq loved them still – the novelty didn’t seem like it was ever going to wear off. Will found her basking one afternoon, perched on a rock. She was leaning back on her hands, occasionally reaching up to slick the water through her gradually lengthening hair.
Will stood below her, looking up. He had his hood pulled up over his head once more, and was carefully sheltering his axe from the wet, for the rain would rot the handle and rust the head as quick as you liked. It was eerily quiet once more, with only the rain whispering in the air to break the silence. The other outlaws were inside the cave again, keeping warm.
Will took a breath; stole himself.
“Did your brother like the rain?”
Djaq opened one eye, peered down at him serenely.
“Djaq?” She smiled, suddenly, “no – Djaq hated the rain. It kept him indoors, and he never could stand to be penned up.” She paused – her breath was turning to steam, gently easing past her lips and spiralling away. “Saffiyah, though…” her voice was warm and rich – she’d closed her eyes again, “Saffiyah loved the rain, just as much as her brother hated it…”
Will watched her, as she opened her mouth and licked her lips. Her hair was beaded with bright, pearly drops of moisture; her eyelashes silvered with it. She looked… indescribable.
“Such a little thing, you know Will,” she told him, her tone gently conversational, still sounding oddly amused, “to love the rain. All those terrible days when you could barely move for the heat of the afternoon; the weeks at a time when to sleep at night was impossible, for though the sun had gone down it still seemed to be bathing you with more warmth than was possible. Such heat as you would not believe
– and then… then the rains would come, and all… all would be clean, and soft, and cool…” she exhaled, loosing a mouthful of bright, glittering steam into the air, and continued, almost to herself, “just a little thing that Djaq cannot have of her, I think… Saffiyah loves the rain, still.”
Will blinked and looked away, then. Djaq had spread her arms out beneath the downpour, and was laughing like a child.