Title: Pawns and Players (but open to better suggestions 'cos it's an
awful title)
Author: Sigrina
Fandoms: AU crossover Robin of Sherwood/The Dark is Rising
Pairings: Bill (Will Scarlet)/Barney Drew, Robin/Will implied, Will
Stanton/Simon Drew
Archive: yes to Britslash, the Kennel and Heather (if she wants it).
Email:  Storm9632@aol.com

Notes: I visualise this happening in the mid 1980's.


Pawns and Players

by Sigrina


The hall is filling up rapidly. There are few other places to go after all,
and the eager little freshers are desperate to increase their sense of
belonging. Roll up, everybody. Join this society or that. Hell, join 'em all.
Write your name on their list and give 'em your 50p. That's all most of 'em
are interested in, anyway.

********

That was him, last year. Wandering around this dirty great hall, grudging
paying out money to the Football Club and being persuaded to join The League
of Sherwood. Poncy name, he'd thought at the time. Poncy name for a load of
poncy prats dancing around in tights. But Robbie had looked at him with that
grin of his and said 'Come on, Bill. This could be fun,' and he'd found
himself handing over his last 50p.

********

There's Robbie now, mid way between the League's table and the Archery
Society. The birds are gathering there, listening with giggly rapture to his
smooth, upper class act. They're all reaching for their purses, practically
wetting their knickers as he gives each of them a blinding smile as they hand
him their money.

Marianne's being all gracious as she hands out the receipts. She looks good
in her 'Lady Marion' gear, if you go for the tiny and feminine type. She
gives Robbie a quick kiss when a couple of the birds linger too long,
re-establishing her claim. Kitten with claws, that's Marianne.

She laughs at something Robbie says and kisses him again. Bill feels a
familiar churning in his stomach and clenches his hand around the cheap biro
he'd nicked off the GaySoc table. Mark hasn't noticed it's gone. Which isn't
surprising considering he hasn't signed up anybody all night. Nor is likely
to. Bill doesn't know what its like in larger colleges, but GaySoc is a bit
of a joke here. Nobody who's actually gay has, as far as legend goes, ever
joined the Society. Mark is the Union Vice-President and is president of
GaySoc by default. He's aggressively heterosexual, a fact Bill knows all too
well having spent last year in the room next to him. The only time GaySoc had
members not on the Union exec was when the Liberal Society had joined en
masse one year and used the money meant for a 'Promoting Gay Awareness'
course to organise a piss-up. If you're queer, it's best not to be open about
it here.

Si is on form tonight. He's chivvying up the would-be football players. You
can see Simon Drew's history on his face, hear it in his voice: Captain of
his school football team, Head Boy, model student. Si has given up the
football captaincy this year to concentrate on his Ph.D. Tim, the current
captain, is in the union bar with the rest of the team, getting well and
truly rat-arsed. Bill wishes he was with them, but Si has talked him into
sitting behind this sodding table for the night.

He knows he's easy, does Bill. A sucker for Simon Drew's earnest camaraderie,
an even bigger sucker for Robbie's flirting eyes and seductive grin. Mind
you, Si would be horrified if he ever found out that Bill has mild fantasies
about him. Robbie, on the other hand, probably knows exactly what Bill feels
about him. Not that he's ever done anything about it. But it's there between
them, adding an extra spice to their 'best pals' routine. Sometimes, late at
night, Robbie turns up at his door, dishevelled, wide-eyed, languid and
smelling of Marianne. He sits, knees drawn up to his chin, on Bill's bed and
rambles on about this and that. And Bill wonders what Robbie would do if he
ever took him up on that unspoken invitation in his eyes and body.

And sometimes it seems that he knows. Sometimes, in the grey misty moments
between sleeping and waking, Bill *remembers* what Robbie's naked body feels
like against his, how his skin tastes, what he sounds like when driven out of
his mind by pleasure. And sometimes Bill just thinks he's going slowly round
the twist.

********


And there's someone heading towards the table. Small but muscular, blond
hair, good-looking in a wholesome boyish way, vaguely familiar, although
Bill's sure he's never seen the bloke in his life before.

'Barney!'

Si welcomes the newcomer with a smile and Bill suddenly knows the reason for
the sense of familiarity. The resemblance isn't overwhelming, but it's there.
This is Si's often mentioned little brother Barney. The artist Barnabas Drew.
Eighteen and already semi-famous. Strange, he hadn't expected an
almost-famous artist to look so ......ordinary.

And then the artist turns fully towards Bill. Dreamy eyes roam over his body,
a quick pink tongue darts swiftly over slightly parted lips. The very air
itself seems suddenly electrified, and Bill *knows* how tonight will end.

'Are you coming to Si's party tonight, Barney?'

There, he's managed to sound hardly interested at all, just making small
talk.

Barney boyishly handsome face breaks out into a delighted grin.

'*Si*? He calls you *Si*?'

There's a resigned snort from his older brother.

'Bill says Simon is a 'poncy name'.'

Barney laughs.

'Oh, that's wonderful! Yes, Bill, I'm definitely going to Simon's party.
You'll have to tell me all the stories about him.'

Bill can feel Robbie's burning gaze on his back. He turns and Robbie's
standing as still as stone. Silently staring and somehow barely human. Bill
meets his eyes, falling into their wild dark depths.

Then Marianne wraps her arms around Robbie and tickles him, making him squirm
and giggle, and the moment is lost.


********


The party isn't a typical Football Club piss-up. There are all sorts milling
round the large attic flat: the usual bunch, but also lecturers, post-grads.
Robbie, Marianne and a couple of other League members are here. There are
even a few arty-types, obviously invited to make Barney feel more
comfortable, though he's ignoring the lot of 'em and downing cheap lager like
nobody's business.

There's a bloke in the corner. A brown-haired, nondescript type. No-one Bill
recognises. Even in this mixed company he seems out of place, apart. And Bill
notices that Robbie's half-turned towards the stranger, a startled
recognition on his face. There's something in the way they're both standing:
a similar stillness. It almost seems as if the two of them are having a
conversation, but neither man is moving his lips.

Bill isn't given time to reflect any further on the subject. Hands are
pulling him, and he finds himself following Barney Drew down the old wrought
iron fire escape and into the garden beyond.

Barney's clearly not used to booze in any quantity. Even the moonlight can't
leech the flush from his face, and the dreamer's eyes aren't quite focusing
on him. But that doesn't stop him from pushing Bill on to a bench, sinking to
his knees, undoing Bill's flies and swallowing him whole. Barney is good at
this. Even as inexperienced as he is, Bill can tell that Barney is *very*
good at this.

Bill bites his lip, knowing that he mustn't give in to his impulse to scream.
The pain from the wound he inflicts seems to make the pleasure more intense.
Part of his mind is yelling at Bill that just up that staircase are a bunch
of drunken gits, his best friend, and a handful of his lecturers. Not to
mention Barney's big brother. But none of that matters, 'cos Bill is *flying*.

********

And he's falling asleep, despite himself. He's aware that Barney is working
at his own cock, making little moans that send shivers up Bill's spine. Bill
wants to help out, but his limbs have turned to lead. There's a soft gasp
beside him. Later, he feels hands fastening him up, and a kiss brushed across
his temple. And then peace.

********


The two watchers move away from the stairs and towards the sleeping forms.
The brown-haired man moves Barney Drew to the other end of the bench and
arranges him in a less incriminating position. The blond man reaches out a
hand to gently caress Bill's face.



'You could have stopped this, Herne's Son.'

'It's not that simple.'

'He's yours.'

'Yes, but it really *isn't* that simple. I've been through this too many
times. I hurt him, or I hurt her. Or I hurt *both* of them. And I always hurt
myself. I was trying to keep it less....intense... this time round.'

'We defeated the Dark but darkness still exists in man. The world will have
need Barnabas Drew again. Your irresolution here could have dire
consequences, Herne's Son.'

'Do not chide me, Old One. You have no authority over me.'

'Forgive me, my Lord, I spoke out of turn. But this relationship cannot be
allowed to continue. You will have need of your Shield soon enough, so best
you make sure of him in whatever way you have to. And Barney Drew has another
destiny, painful but needful.'

Then the brown-haired man sighs.

'I hate this.'

A soft laugh, no humour in it at all.

'Tell me about it.'


********

Barney is gone when he wakes up. But Robbie's sitting beside him, holding his
hand.

'Robbie...'

'I need you, Bill. I always need you.'

'Marianne.'

'And I need her, too. When we're not together, things fall apart.'

'I don't think I can do this, Robbie.'

'Listen. Just...listen. A few years ago, there was a ...battle. A big one.
And one side won: the side my Father allied himself to a long time ago. But
not all of our enemies were vanquished. There are pockets of them still
living in the hearts of men. And there will be another battle. Not like the
big one, but nasty all the same. And I need you, my Shield, as I've always
needed you.'

'You've been in the League too long, Robbie.'

'Don't dismiss this. You *know* I'm telling you the truth. Somehow you
*always* know. Every time. every life.'

'A battle, you say?'

'Yes.'

'I'm not any kind of a soldier.'

'You will be. And we will be together.'

'Robbie...'

'Robin, call me Robin, just for once.'

'Told you, it's a poncy name. I don't use poncy names. An' Marianne'll have
your bollocks if you cheat on 'er. Then she'll have mine.'

'Marianne will understand. *Marion* always understands. She doesn't like it,
but she always accepts it. You're the one I have problems with. And me. I
have problems with me, too'

'Which one of us is the nuttier, eh, Robbie?'

'I think it's about even, Will.'

'Bill. Don't you start calling me Will. Only me Granny calls me Will. It's
a...'

'...poncy name. Yes, I know. But you're remembering, aren't you?'

'Sort of. It's all like a dream I had a long time ago. Was it real, Robbie?
Did it happen?'

'What's 'real', Will? There are more worlds than just this one, and none of
them is less 'real' than any other.'

'We...I....I was *Will Scarlet*!?'

'That was one of your names, yes.'

'An' you was Robin Hood. Herne's Son.'

'I'm always Herne's Son, like it or not.'

'An' we was...'

'Yes. And you always stay with me, Will. Marion leaves, but you always stay.
I need you, Will...*Bill*.'

'I'm yours.'

'I know. I just needed to know that you knew, too.'

'And neither of us gets any choice in the matter?'

'If I could change it..... Truthfully, if I *could* change it, I wouldn't. I
*need* you.'

'Okay, then. But I'm not calling you Robin.'

'I think that's optional.'

'Good. An' *you're* not calling me 'Will', get it?'

'Got it.'

'All right. So, what do we do now?'

'Well, I don't know about you, but I'm going to bed. I am, to borrow one of
your phrases 'bloody knackered'.'

'Can....can I come too?'

The October morning air resounds with mildly manic giggling.

'Well, give me a few hours sleep and I'll make certain you do 'come'.'

There's a long-suffering sigh. Then a half-hearted scuffle.


********


Barney isn't sure how he ended up on Simon's sofa. He clutches his aching
head and navigates his way around empty bottles, heading for the fire escape.
The door's open and he can see down into the garden. Bill's down there with
another man. As Barney watches, Bill slings an arm round his companion's
shoulder.

Barney sighs. Looks like he's not wanted. Again.


*******

Will Stanton observes Barney's slumped shoulders as he puts on his coat and
walks out the door. It's going to be a rough few years for Barnabas Drew. It
is possible he won't survive the coming conflict. Or, at least, not survive
it whole.

'Will! When did you get here?'

'A little while ago. I've just seen Barney. He's going into town to get some
breakfast.'

He follows Simon into his bedroom and makes sure that the door is locked
behind him. Simon is a few steps away, looking awkward and uncomfortable.

'This is odd.'

'Is it?'

'Will, you know what I mean. It's bad enough having Barney here. I don't mean
*bad*, just...'

'...odd?'

'Yes.'

'And I'm making it odder?'

'You're always odd, Will Stanton.'

'There is that.'

'I was going to tell Barney about....about *us* this weekend. I never
expected you to come here. You *never* come here. I'm not sure I can tell him
now. Not with you here.'

'Sorry.'

'Oh, hell! I'm making a mess of this, aren't I?'

'Just a little. But that's all right. I love you, so I'll forgive you.'

'Annoying brat. Can't remember why I ever changed my mind about you.'

Because you realised how absolutely wonderful I am.'

'That must be it. Come here.'

Will melts into Simon's arms. For just a little while he allows himself the
luxury of pretence. Simon is bigger, comforting, his rock.

'I had a dream about you.'

'You did?'

'Yes, and Great-Uncle Merry was in it.'

No, not now, Will thought. Just for a short while, let me have this little
peace.

'Simon, Barney will be back soon. Do you want to spend the next hour talking
about your Great-Uncle? Or would you rather be doing more pleasurable things?'

'Well, if you put it like that... Mmmm, that's nice. You can do that for a
while.'

'It'll be better on the bed with less clothing on.'

'The man's a genius.'

'And don't you forget it.'


********


'Maybe you shouldn't tell Barney about us.'

'Will! I'm not ashamed...'

'I'm not saying that. Just... Barney doesn't like me very much.'

'That was *years* ago, Will. And *I* didn't like you then, either. I want to
be with you, Will. And I know we can't make this public, but I don't want to
hide this from my family any more. You told your family.'

'Well, I didn't have much choice after Mary and Barbara found out about us.
It wouldn't have been fair, asking them to keep something like that from the
rest of the family.'

'And now I want to tell my family.'

'Fine. Go ahead.'


********
It can't last. If Simon finds out that I'm letting Barney walk into danger
*knowing* he's likely to get hurt, he'll end up hating me. I'm Will Stanton.
A young man who wants to be with the person he loves. I'm of the Light, but
I'm also *me*. Herne's Son gets someone to share his many lives. I only want
someone to share one life with me.

Is that too much to ask for? Even I can't tell.


The End


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