Title: Bath Time
Notes: Written for Challenge #2 of the Treat Much Right Much/Allan Challenge 2009!
Much finds more than lavender or rose petals in his bath. Lost Scene for episode 3x03.
Disclaimer: All characters copyright BBC, BBC America, Tiger Aspect Media
Length: 996 words
Kate’s words still stung in his ears as Much drug the heavy wooden tub through the forest. Saturday night was days away but the lady did have a point. Living in the woods had pushed the outlaw way beyond his freshness date and that was a problem he intended to rectify…immediately!
He took the tub as far from camp as possible, not only to save himself the ridicule of the other outlaws but he just didn’t feel right bathing in front of brother Tuck. Yes he was a man but he was also a man of God and Much’s modesty just would not allow him the familiarity of bathing in front of a holy man.
The bath was almost ready. He dumped the last remaining bucket of boiling water into the brimming full tub. He sighed as he trailed his hand through the warm water. It was a long and frightening week. He would soak and then maybe he would go to Loxley and try his luck with Miss Kate again. Maybe his sweeter smell would also sweeten her disposition.
He had one final decision to make, lavender or rose petal? He passed a field of lavender and several wild rose bushes on his way to this spot and it was only a short distance away. He nodded to himself as he left the tub. It would be a fine soak indeed.
Returning a short while later with his cap brimming full of purple blooms and pink blossoms, because he never could decide which he wanted, he frowned as he saw the tub. He didn’t remember a pair of feet sticking out of it when he left.
Much was astounded as he ran up to the basin. He looked at the reclining figure with a washcloth over his face. His blood boiled. He angrily picked up a rock and hurled it into the water.
“Oi! What was ‘at for?” Allan rose up in shock and his blue eyes foccused through dripping water on the angry outlaw.
Much was beside himself. “Allan A Dale, I knew you were a common thief but to…to steal a man’s private bath!"
“I dinnit steal it! You abandoned it! I came up and dinnit see a soul around. Nice warm invitin’ water and so I just had ta …”
“Steal my bath!” Much pouted, his arms crossed.
“Fine! Well if ya feel that way ‘bout it.” Allan rose up out of the tub and made to step out of the water.
“No wait!” Much hastily averted his eyes from the other outlaw’s nakedness. He stopped suddenly when something on Allan’s thigh caught his attention. “What is that?”
“What do you think it is?” Allan stood and looked at the former servant in confusion.
Much pointed at the former traitor's groin. There, faded and barely visible, was something he knew all too well and it sent a shiver down his spine. He swallowed hard. “That?”
Allan was suddenly the one embarrassed as he covered his groin with the cloth. “Wots a matter? Ever seen a brand before?”
“That one I have,” Much said as he removed his own tunic, shame replaced by saddened compassion.
Allan stepped from the tub and walked over to the blonde outlaw. His fingers gingerly traced the reddened skin that was just starting to heal over. He looked into the other man’s eyes and relived his own nightmares of hot iron laid against sensitive flesh. “Oh, Much, why dinnit you tell us.”
The blonde outlaw looked away in shame. “Cos, we all had other things to worry about at the time.” He quickly changed the subject. “And what about yours.”
The former traitor looked down at his own mark. “First night I was locked up in the castle dungeon. The night Gis turned me. Seems Vaisey likes marking his property, the sick bastard.” He suddenly looked deep into Much’s eyes and the other man shivered at the desperation behind them. “Tell me he dinnit turn you, Much.”
The blond outlaw shook his head softly, “He did not. All he cared about was finding Robin’s stash of gold.”
Allan snorted, “Any fool who will listen to Loxley five minutes knows he gives it all away to the poor.” His hands lingered on the other man’s naked torso and for the first time it felt like the most natural thing to do. He leaned in and before Much could object, their lips connected.
Any thought of protest in the blond outlaw’s mind gave way to the sensation of touch he had not felt since before they returned to the Holy Land. Allan broke their kiss long enough for his hands to unlace leggings and all thought was of making the camp cook as naked as himself.
He caught Much’s pale blue eyes in his sea green ones. “Tub is big enough for both of us you know.” He stifled the other man’s concern before he could even pout. “Don’t worry, as far away from camp as you pushed this thing, no one will see.” Much only nodded as Allan took his hand and led him to the water. They spent the afternoon soaking in the tub in each other’s arms, as pious clergymen, feisty village maidens and being almost burned alive became nothing more than an unpleasant memory.
Over the next few days Allan acted as cheeky as ever. Things went back to normal as he continued with his off colour jokes at the blond outlaw's expense. Much’s heart sank until one afternoon when he felt a gentle tap on the shoulder while Robin and the others were making plans for another ambush.
“Bath time,” the poacher winked as he set off down the trail. He paused momentarily and turned around to look at the surprised outlaw. “Are ya comin’ or not?”
Much wasted no time as he glanced around the camp to see if anyone else was looking then followed the crafty poacher. “I call rose petals this time!”