|When I sleep
Author: MeMane15 PM
Guy of Gisborne lives through his own death. Will he rise from the ashes of the past? And will he find a way to conquer the heart of his healer? (Guy/OC)Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Guy of Gisborne - Chapters: 25 - Words: 80,610 - Reviews: 79 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 26 - Updated: 06-06-13 - Published: 01-20-13 - id: 8927106
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
He was there again. In that awful place he hated to the core of his being. A room inside his mind, the place of continuing torture, with white, empty halls, ever echoing with the resentful words: killer, traitor, liar, devil...
Whenever he came here, he had to remember things that passed, think about them... and dwell on what could never be changed or returned. Truth nearly always sounded awful, though some days he made himself listen to its voice, just to keep contact with the world outside the Sheriff's den which was always full of lies and deceit.
He hated his master and was close to hating the whole of Nottingham. Every stone seemed to be permeated with unpleasant memories; every man either a spy or an enemy. When people looked at him, the clad-in-power, mighty knight, Sheriff's right hand, the one whose hands were almost visibly dripping with blood of the innocent, they moved out of the way in both fear and hatred. And so, throughout the years the bad feelings rooted deeper into their minds – Guy was now a symbol - more or less - of evil and death itself. Only the Sheriff was feared more than him.
As he couldn't get the glory Hood was presented with so easily, almost effortlessly, he tried going in the other direction – using hatred rather than love. Not will, but force. Darkness instead of light. It killed him slowly, killed his soul every time he had to choose, every time he stood on the edge.
Guy had to live with himself, but it was punishment enough: the weight of all his crimes pulled him ever down into the dark abyss, though some events made him muse, made him think whether or not he was actually evil.
When he opened his eyes again, there they were; white halls of his inferno. He let himself roam around the spacious chambers; a lonely black figure, breathing the non-fragrant, unbearably still air.
"May it be?" he asked aloud "Could she be right?"
By 'she' he meant Meredith, and the last words she spoke to him before departing.
"Lost? Not... evil?"
There was hope in these words. For those lost can yet be found, but evil ones just... stay that way forever. He wanted to be different, wanted to change his ways... but still didn't believe his mind would change. Not at thirty-four years of age.
Guy raised his eyes to the no-roof space a hundred feet over his head, brushing his fingers on the sickly white columns that supported the construction. Suddenly, no longer being able to stand the silence, he hit the stone with his bare fists, a low cry of frustration and anger escaping his throat.
"Is there no end to this?!" he yelled, hating the numbness in his body. He looked at his fingers, but no blood appeared; not even a single bruise.
"What do you want?! I've already tried to change a thousand times, but to no avail!"
The words were directed to no one particular, though Guy found it possible that if someone heard him now, it could only be The Almighty.
He rested his head on the cold marble, his breathing uneven and shallow. Even if he were capable of crying, tears would not fall in this infernal place. He could only imagine. Imagine the release of feelings, a flowing river of emotions and the sweet peace afterwards. Guy hadn't felt peace in many long years. At last, it was too much for him to carry.
"Please" he whispered through gritted teeth "Do something, anything. Free me from this hell" his body seemed to act without his will - in bare seconds he was on his knees. The great Guy of Gisborne, a strong but broken man; a man without hope. He didn't know whether he was pleading or begging, but it didn't matter at the moment.
His shattered soul began trembling in want of healing: In want of making it whole once again.
"Free me from this evil mind... and from myself."
There was silence. He breathed heavily, shutting his eyes tightly; trying not to see the ghostly white halls that surrounded him.
And then it came. A moment, a second, a flicker. Change.
He felt weakness intermingled with strength – no, not his; it was a far superior power, almost too overwhelming to bear. He didn't open his eyes, and yet saw a bright light radiating warmth and... Life. Marble columns trembled lightly and the air became as fresh and sweet as on a summer morning. Guy dared not lift his head, nor move even slightly. He could not believe it.
Something - if not Someone - was approaching.
Meredith returned to the hut a few hours later, when the sun began to fall from the sky in a magnificent, orange gleam, setting the firmament on fire.
She'd been walking in the woods, gathering all herbs she could find: she came across several clusters of milfoil, valerian and sage, and on her way back also picked some green thyme and peppermint. A wide smile lightened up her features when she remembered the person who taught her all about healing and herbs; it's been such a long time since she'd last seen him.
When at last the small hut came into view, she slowed down, wanting to prolong the pleasure of an afternoon walk and dreading going back inside.
She remembered painfully well who he was; the shadowy Guy of Gisborne - feared and hated for his many, terrible crimes. Meredith could prepare medicine for his wounds and eventually nurse him back to health, but the mind that this broken body held inside was a dark mystery to her.
'Only a few more days, and then he'll be on his way' she assured herself as she entered the hut.
Guy was fast asleep. His black mane scattered over the pillows, eyes she knew to be sky-blue tightly shut. She put the herbs on a nearby table and moved closer to the bed. As she studied his features, she discovered they no more had the previous savagery about them; he looked almost peaceful, almost...
'...Handsome' she thought, touching his forehead lightly. Fortunately, the fever was gone.
She lifted the covers from his torso, and saw that the bandages wrapped around the terrible wound were soaked with bright red liquid. The muscles were torn in a few places; there was one punctured lung, three to four broken ribs, and possibly no internal bleeding. The sword he ran himself though with was a nasty piece of steel and would've definitely sliced his heart in half, if moved but an inch to the left.
When she first attended to his wounds, she was surprised he was still breathing; never in her life had she seen someone being literally snatched from death's grasp. She didn't know what happened the night she'd found him in the forest, but it exceeded her sense of logic and reason.
He was a strong man - very strong, judging by the way he was built - almost as if carved from marble by a great, ancient artist. He was also incredibly tall, and though she hasn't yet had the chance to see his full height, she was sure she'd need to lift her head very high if she wanted to talk to him. But even Guy wasn't powerful enough to defeat death.
Meredith gave a soft sigh, and wandered off to the other side of the hut, in order to prepare ointments to treat her patient's wounds, and medicine to soothe the pain that was going to kick in soon enough. She sang quietly to herself while she worked. It was a tune she remembered from her early years as a child, a remnant of her mother's loving care. She still remembered home quite vividly.
She was so consumed with the memory, she didn't hear the rustle of bed sheets behind her.
Guy was awoken by a cool breath of wind, and shivered.
When he opened his eyes, he was met with a flood of golden light, filling every corner of the small hut, setting things in a wonderful glow. When his eyes adjusted to the brightness, he spotted a darker figure on the other side of the room. For a while he was content to just lay there, watching the woman bustle about and sing quietly; she had a wonderful, delicate voice, though he couldn't understand the words. The language was more melodious than English, and quite differed from French (he knew both very well). It reminded him of the sound of rivers and waterfalls, and of summer rain on the wild western plains.
Suddenly, he realized that his body wasn't as limp and lifeless as before; flexing his muscles didn't hurt as much and the fever had disappeared for good. He sat up carefully, but there was only a slight echo of pain in his left side, so he supported his weight and sat properly on the bed, back facing the wall.
'Could it be the effect of what happened in the White Chamber?' he wondered, breathing in deeply. Something was different; he felt as if a great burden had fallen from his shoulders and heart, leaving him remarkably light and peaceful. He was full of thanks to whoever had taken the weight off him and was sure the woman now standing on the other side of the room had much to do with it. The unknown (or maybe forgotten?) feeling of gratitude felt wondrously good and so... so unlike his former self.
Guy stood up, a bit unsteady on his legs after five days of lying still and ignored the returning echo of pain in his side. He let go of the covers, letting them fall to the floor. He took a few more steps towards the woman and then stopped, supporting himself on the back of a chair, a few feet from the place where she was standing.
She nearly jumped, then spun around quickly. Her eyes widened with amazement, as she saw him standing straight and tall- only five days after he received what should've been a mortal wound. She was also well aware of the fact that he was only half- dressed, but before she could say anything, he spoke:
"You were gone for a long time."
The sunlight that filled the room with a golden glow made his features seem livelier than before; there was something in his eyes that surprised Meredith, something that wasn't there when she went out of the hut a few hours ago. Change.
"I went- I went for a walk in the woods" she said, a little unsure of how to act. Now that he was able to stand, and maybe even wield a sword, would he hurt her? Guy of Gisborne was after all known for doing similar and worse things in the past. She felt the edge of a sharp knife lying on the table behind her and grasped it with her free hand, hiding it behind her back.
When he moved towards her, she clenched her fingers around the knife's handle, her thoughts oscillating between curiosity and dread. But then something unexpected happened, throwing her completely off guard.
"I want to... I want to thank you"
He looked at her with something that resembled a smile. A bit pale and crooked, but a smile nonetheless. His eyes lit up, the sky-blue irises suddenly more vivid. Meredith in turn stared at him in astonishment. 'Guy of Gisborne doesn't thank' she thought, wondering whether she had heard right 'Neither does he change in a matter of a few hours'.
"Pardon?" was the only thing she said aloud.
"I'm thankful for all you've done for me" he repeated. "Whether I was close to death, I don't know. What I do know, is that somehow you helped bring me back. And for that I thank you" he tried to bow, but staggered and held tightly onto the chair.
When she saw the motion, Meredith let go of the knife and walked over to him, offering help. He towered over her as she had expected, but seemed neither proud nor haughty at the moment.
"You shouldn't have gotten up so fast..." she said quietly, taking his arm and trying to support his weight. He managed not to lean on her too much, but still found her presence very helpful.
She seated him back on the bed and brought all the ointments and herbs from the table. He was still looking at her intently and she tried to avoid his gaze. Every time their eyes met, she'd feel a desire to delve into that conflicted soul of his in search for answers. But they would come – she consoled herself – they would come soon enough, if the change she saw in him was to be a lasting one.
She changed the bandages, dipping them in the fragrant ointments and also checking if the stitches were still in place. Meredith saw a flicker of pain pass through the man's countenance, but he didn't utter a word.
After everything was done, he lay down again, breathing evenly. Herbal fragrance hung in the air, delicate and sweet and they both began to grow drowsy. She heard him say something under his breath and look at her from behind heavy eyelids; then she understood.
"You don't need to thank me" she said "I wish you well, and let's leave it at that."
He nodded, closing his eyes. She stood there for a few moments, making sure he's asleep and then turned around, wanting to go back to the herbs and medicine that lay on the table.
She was stopped by a soft, deep-throat groan. When she turned back, she saw that his eyes were back open and his right hand was holding onto the rim of her dress.
"I have one last request."
Meredith returned to his side, kneeling close to where his head rested. She smiled encouragingly.
"Would you tell me a bit about yourself?" he asked when their eyes finally met "It would be good to have something to dream about."
She blinked nervously 'He must be stupefied with the medicine'.
"I don't think my story would interest you. There's nothing exceptional about it."
His eyes were fixed on her. "I would gladly listen to it. Please."
Another word the great Guy of Gisborne never used.
Meredith hesitated for a moment, before finally sitting down beside him and locking her fingers together. She looked through the window just above the bed, at the deep greenery surrounding the hut. The sun was setting and the shadows grew inside the heart of Sherwood. It reminded her of another forest, many years back – a forest that held her most beloved treasures and was never to release them again.
She began her tale and went on for a long while; the sun had set, the darkness swallowed the beautiful blue of the sky and bright stars shone above them. Guy listened, mesmerized by the story of the woman sitting at his side. It unfolded before him and he could draw every line, every single picture, as if he was seeing it with his own eyes. The tale seemed to live within the woman's heart and he began to feel it too – the truth, the joy, the pain.
It was a story of Meredith, the Beauty of Whitland.
Disclaimer: I don't own Guy of Gisborne (however much I wanted to) or any of the Robin Hood BBC characters.