Robin Hood And The Lady In Red

Title: Robin Hood and The Lady In Red
Time Period: December 29, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: In search of costumes for the upcoming ball, secret identities and histories are revealed while new ones are created.

Even in the colder parts of winter, people still come to the town to trade their goods in the markets. This shop has a more permanent placement, on the bottom floor of a townhouse that the family that runs the shop lives and works in both. Hanging from racks and folded on shelves, there's more than a good selection of clothes, for various times of the year. Most of the year the shop sells various crafts, but with the upcoming New Years Ball, the shelves are filled with clothes as well as other things.

It's table full of masks that have a certain shopper today. Hands running over the leather crafted ones, he turns them over a few times and then sets them aside, moving to the cheaper strips of cloth with holes cut into them. Cas knows what he can afford, and he can't afford much. Anyone who's seen him in his nicest clothes will be able to pick him out rather quickly—

No matter what cheap mask he manages to find.

But Cas isn't the only one peeking at clothes. Constance is shopping, mostly to see if there's anything new to interest her. She runs her hands over various fabrics, though it's not the clothes that get her attention. It's the customers. Well, customer. Upon spotting Cas, the girl brightens, moving to go stand next to Cas.

"I'm guessing you're planning on going dancing, huh? What are you going to wear?"

Always having found it impolite to stare at fellow costumers, especially when worried about what he's going to wear— Cas didn't notice her til she speaks. The strip of cloth that seconds as a mask falls out of his hands in surprise. "Ro— Roslind— hi, sorry." Who he's apologizing to may be as simple as the piece of cloth he dropped.

"Yes— yes I plan to go to the dance. I have one nice outfit— it's brown leather jacket with a red and gold shirt that I can wear. And a tie now too. The pants aren't great, but— they'll do."

"What? A mask like that? You need something classy," Constance protests, peeking at the masks carefully. "You don't have anything else that's good? I can help you pick an outfit if you aren't sure what to get. I'm good with costumes! The best, actually. At least I think so, even if no one else does." She gives him an appraisal. "I think I could find you something good… what kind of look are you going for? Dashing hero?"

"I— can't really afford that kind of thing on taking care of horses and catching a few fish a week," Cas says in a cautious tone, watching her as she sizes him up. "I'd love to dress up as a dashing hero, but I think I'm going to have to stick with something I can afford. Which at this point is just a mask, I think." He pauses to gesture to the table he was looking at, then smiling at her. "I'm trying to save up for a horse, you know."

Constance laughs, looking back to Cas. "Oh, of course, the horse… I can't believe I forgot. But I haven't gotten you a present yet. So, of course, I owe you. So… let's make you look like a hero. The hero always gets the girl." She winks. "We'll make you the best hero ever. And I'll be your sidekick. And no saying no. It'll be all kinds of fun."

"You don't have to get me anything, Roslind," Cas says quietly, but steps closer to follow her instead of try to find the mask that he can afford on his own. "But thank you— I wish I had something to give you— but if you want to be my sidekick, then I guess I'll just have to save your life a bunch of times— or dance with you."

"Give me a dance and then we'll call it even, it's a good present. Plus it will make me popular with the boys if I look like I've got attention," Constance grins. She shakes her head a little. "Don't think about it. We'll just find you whatever you look best in and that'll be your present." She grins. "Just let me help. I like to be able to help."

There are no further protests allowed. She reaches for the masks, looking through them carefully. "Is there anything you like here? What jumps out at you? Who would you like to be?"

"Want to be popular with the boys, do you? I don't think that'll be too much of a problem with your looks," Cas says with a grin, but there's really nothing flirting in his voice. Not much, at least. More teasing, even if honest teasing.

"But let's see," he says, looking at the cloth. "I like color. Lots of color— Maybe a cool hero like— Isadora, the girl I told you about, used to read me stories, and I always liked the ones about bandit heroes, and stuff. Maybe something like that."

Constance giggles. "I can't be too popular. I don't want to break hearts. I'm not allowed to fall in love, really. That'd make things very complicated." Maybe she sounds a touch saddened by that. "But the attention is nice. I like feeling important. And attractive."

The young woman peers through the garments and masks, starting with masks in general. "Bandit-like, huh? Maybe you need to be a Robin Hood. All green and foresty." Constance scans the masks, lifting a few up as she tries to determine what's best. "Or maybe you should pick. I want it to be something you like."

"Not allowed to love…" Cas says in a quiet and sad tone, but he doesn't say anything else on that, keeping it at a whisper. The clothes are an easier topic than that of love, especially the forbidden kind.

"I remember hearing about Robin Hood. She read me one of those stories once… She liked the— stories like that." Love stories. But love is a bad topic. "He seemed pretty cool. What was his sidekick's name? Red something or other?" Maybe that was another story. "You could wear red— you'd get lots of attention in red."

It seems Constance is a fan of the love stories too. "I don't know that he had a sidekick. But he does now. And she'll be wearing red." She's grinning. She peeks at the red garments in the room. "I can be the lady in red. We'll make everyone wonder who we are, right?" She giggles. "Best team ever. Hopefully we won't have to save the day, though. That might be a bit of work in a costume."

"I wonder if I can get away with a sword," Cas suddenly says with a grin. "A fake one, probably. Don't want to make anyone at the party think I'm actually a bandit. Or you either for that matter. We want to have fun, not get thrown into a dungeon or something."

After a brief hesitation, he leans closer and asks, "Do they actually have dungeons here? I've never been— thankfully."

"I bet you could bring your mighty weapon," Constance says, looking around to see if he's got Troll Slayer hiding around somewhere. "But I wouldn't worry about dungeons. You won't be thrown in anything, you'd have to do something really stupid to get into trouble with the militia."
Constance puts a mask up to Cas' face. "I'll protect you from even the militia. I'm a hero, remember?" She pokes him on the nose. "And don't you forget it." There's a pause after a moment. "Hey, you don't know anything about acting, do you Cas?"

The promise of heroic intervention makes him smile, dimples appearing on his cheek as he looks down at the younger woman. The smile remains as she asks a strange question. Or one Cas might think is strange. "Not really, no— " His hand touches some green fabric, a vest that might work for Robin Hood. "Wait, why?"

Constance is beaming at this point. "Would you like to try? I'll make sure you can be a hero." She taps her chin a little. "I'll have to think of who you could play…" She clears her throat. "There's, uh, this girl. And she's really into acting. And she might just need people to help her put on a play."

"I see," Cas says, picking out a specific color of green that he likes— a rather bright green really, but it works for a showy costume. He holds it up as if to make sure she knows what color he's thinking of for his Robin Hood. "I think I could be in a play for a certain… girl. Though… she may have to stop by the stables to teach me what I need to do. Since I won't have a lot of free time to practice. I'm sure the horses won't mind as long as I continue to work while I practice…"

"Well, not the color I would have chosen, but… I think it will work," Constance says. She studies the green for a moment. "You might want to go for something lighter. But that's up to you." She does, however, grin after a moment. "I'm sure she'll come teach you how to do things. And I'm sure the horses won't mind. And she knows where the stables are… mostly because they're her uncle's." She rubs the back of her neck, suddenly a little awkward. "But she'll teach you. Her name's Constance."

If her awkwardness appeared at the mention of his boss' niece, then Cas probably doesn't make it any easier with the surprised raise of his eyebrows. "His— niece— " There's a frown as he puts his attention back on the colors. Instead of going lighter, he chooses deeper. Almost the same green as the darker grasses in the height of summer. "How about this, then?"

With his color showed off, he adds, almost as an aside, "I look forward to helping her out— this Constance." Which, from the way he avoids actually looking at her could mean he thinks it is actually someone else. "Will probably keep the winters from getting too long and boring if I have so much to do I don't have time to freeze." And when he does look at her, he adds, with a friendly smile, "And I would have helped before I knew she was my boss' niece, too."

Constance beams. "Better color. Let's put you in that, okay?" She rubs the back of her neck, then looks back to the masks again. "She needs to practice her acting too so I'll tell her to come keep you company." There's a warmer smile at his words. "Careful," she adds, "her dad's also head of the militia. She's nice, though. You'd never know who her family was. She's just like you or me."

"Don't worry— love is off limits for me too," Cas says with a quiet voice, lowering his eyes. "Other Me made enough mistakes in that department for the both of us. I won't be repeating them anytime soon. Not that I'm sure I wouldn't be tempted. I'm sure she's adorable."

This time he taps her nose with his hand. In a joke. "Even if her dad probably owns more guns than I own socks, and it would probably be more pain than it's worth to notice…" Eyebrows raise teasingly, as he reaches past her towards the leather masks he tossed down before. "I think the green should be offset by some black. What do you think of this one." He holds it up to his face.

Constance looks back at Cas. "I like that mask a lot. I think it makes you look charming," she gives a small frown, then puts a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry. But Other You doesn't have to be the end. You've got all the opportunities you want… you just have to do it a lot more carefully. Think about things, make careful choices. That's why…"

There's a small sigh. "Constance doesn't need to get attached to anyone. It'll just be painful. But she likes to play pretend. It's why she acts. No problems having a love story when you can just leave it on stage." Constance looks back at the masks. "Yeah, you should get that one, I think. It will look good."

"I am careful. Part of me may want to feel that way— but I don't want to feel the other way either," Cas admits in soft tones, even as he smiles. The topic may be serious— it may make his voice sound heavy, but he continues to smile. Especially as he puts the mask on, to check how it feels. The mask may hide half his face, but it doesn't really hide much that he wasn't managing to hide before.

"This is perfect. Now let's find me a fancy suit in that color green. None of those tight things, though. I don't want everyone staring at my backside all night."

The blonde eyes Cas for a moment. "What, nothing tight?" Constance giggles, then turns more serious. "Okay, so you play things like me. You protect yourself. Don't get your heart out there, but draw admiration from something. Then when stuff comes up, you can just play pretend. Flirt or whatever and you'll still be safe. I do it through acting."

Constance stops, blinking for a moment. "Constance, I mean. Roslind's a simple girl who falls in love easily. I am, I mean." She clears her throat. Sometimes pretending is hard.

"Oi, it is a very good thing I didn't decide to name myself Chase, the notCas." But with a very similar name, he might add. "We'd be totally confused by the end of this conversation and we'd never figure out what was going on." It's a tease, one punctuated by a wink as he lowers his mask back down.

"I got a different way to avoid it— though acting sounds like a great way." If somewhat confusing still.

With a rather emphatic frown he's suddenly touching his backside that he mentioned a moment ago. "Do you think I'd look better in something tight?"

"Names are confusing," Constance says with a laugh. "What's your secret, then?" She questions. "What do you do to keep yourself safe from things?" She pauses. "Unless it's the horses. That's a smart way to do it too." She can't help but laugh as he's already wondering about the tight costume. "I think you'd look good in whatever you're comfortable in. But… I don't know. I'd feel weird checking you out like that."

"Right now I get away with telling myself that a lady isn't her," Cas says simply, quietly, as he continues to pay a lot of attention to his clothes. Picking at them. "That doesn't always work, cause I see her in so many people. At least it feels like I do— OtherMe may be somewhere happy with her— but MeMe…" He shakes his head, as if this is something he doesn't want to think too much about.

"It's the ones who don't remind me of her at all that are the real danger, though." With that, he grabs slacks that aren't at all tight. It seems he decided being checked out isn't on the top of his list of things right now.

Constance looks at him for a long moment, and then the girl moves over to abruptly hug Cas. "I'm sorry… I wish I could help you fix this. I know you can't go back but when you smile it brightens the world, Cas, and it makes me sad knowing you can't have the smile that the OtherYou could have. Maybe you'll let her go one day, so OtherYou can have her to himself."

She looks at him very seriously. "Now… I think you need a hat."

It's not the traditional Robin Hood hats that Cas seems to migrate to, but something more common, with a brim. He plops one on his head, then replaces his mask to make sure they match. The max helps hide his face, but he does smile a bit— not as much as he might have when talking about Troll Killer, but some.

"I don't want to make you sad— but it took near ten years to admit I loved her in the first place. I don't really expect to get over her in a few months."

The hat is removed, replaced, and he stares down at a new one. "Especially since I didn't even admit it until now, really…" The sentence is said with an exhale, that almost seems relieved. "OtherMe got to, though. He went back that same night, confronted her dad, told him he didn't care that he was just a lowly stable boy— he knew she was too good for him, but he loved her and she loved him and… And he was so impressed that he came back that he allowed him to stay— And they live happily ever after." That's how love stories should end.

Not how it did.

While he continues, he changes hats, trying them on. Still he favors ones with brims. "Maybe when I do get over her, and let him have her to himself— I'll find someone who isn't her— but who I can do what I couldn't do last time. No matter what might try to keep us apart."

"I don't think anyone is too good for you, Cas," Constance protests, but she focuses on studying each of the hats he put on. "Ten years is a long time. But…" She puts one of the hats on herself. "We shall make sure you know every eligible woman at the ball. That way, ten years from now, you get your happy ending. I'm not sure what my ending's supposed to look like, but I'll be damned if I don't set you up for one." She takes the hat off, returning it to the stack. "Go with a brim… that way, even afterwards, you can make good use of it."

"I'm sure there's many fathers and uncles out there he would disagree— and have guns," Cas says more seriously, before he chooses out a hat. Dark gray instead of colored, but he adds a green sash in the color of his outfit to tie around it so it fits better.

With it plopped on his head, flattening his dark hair except where it curls upward to touch the brim, he smiles as he says, "Besides, I hope it takes less than ten years. I'm not getting any younger." He punctuates the sentence with a childish elbow to the girl's side.

"Okay, sidekick in red. Let's find your clothes. Only fair I help you pick yours."

"Okay, you can help, but you have to make sure I look good," Constance insists. "Because I want gentlemen asking me to dance, I don't want to be stuck as a wallflower. Because I love to dance." She playfully elbows him back. "You aren't that old. But ten years is a long time. Maybe now that you know how to fall in love it'll only take you five."

Constance's hand feels various fabrics as she pulls out clothing colored red. "I think Constance's father told her once she had no equal. He said he'd have to find someone who met minimum requirements for her. He's got some pretty big standards." The girl pulls out a red dress. "Do I go with a dress or pants with dramatic boots?"

"Hopefully she won't be nine when I meet her this time either," Cas says, perhaps explaining part of why it took so long for it to develop into… what it did. Looking her over carefully, he focuses all his attention on her now, trying to discard the past conversation. And the possibility of falling in love with eligible women. Who are probably all too good for him in his eyes.

"A dress, but one that's cut high— a skirt, with those… white things under them, whatever they're called. That makes them stand out and obscures more. And dramatic boots and stockings. And lots of lacing up here. It reminds men of presents they can't open. Trust me on that."

Constance suddenly giggles. "I hope you don't meet someone who's nine. My sister's nine." And clearly off limits, by the blonde's tone. But it's the suggestion of her outfit that has her raising an eyebrow. And grinning. She's clearly pleased at his description of what to wear. "That sounds amazing, Cas, I'm so glad I know you! My brother would be dreadful at telling me what actually looks good," she points out. "And I'd end up in a frumpy potato sack."

She's already sifting through clothing in an attempt to find something. "Let's see just how attractive we can make me."

Nine year old sister, off limits or otherwise, earns a quirk of an eyebrow and raised hands as if Cas is showing that 'no touching, ever' is definitely in the cards. After all, he's much older now than he was ten years ago. Things have changed.

But she likes his image, so he turns back to the hats, looking over the lady ones and plucking one up. White with a wider brim than his. "All you need is a big red feather to fasten on this, and that will make you extra sexy. White and red, black and green— we'll look amazing— You especially." There's a pause as he looks towards the tighter pants again, hesitating.

"Maybe I should go with the tights, if you're trying to set me up with the eligible ladies. Who aren't my sidekick."

Robin Hood should wear tights, after all.