Disclaimer: Clearly I don't own the show nor the legends it was based on. Also any dialogue that sounds like it came from the episodes "Return of the King"/ "A Clue: No" most probably did come from those episodes.
Author's Notes: It's only recently that I actually broke down and watched BBC's Robin Hood, and I kind of fell under the spell of Richard Armitage's Guy of Gisborne, and for the only time in any version of Robin Hood I've ever seen started shipping Marian with someone other than Robin.
Anyway, while watching the end of season 1, the one thing that bugged me the most was (other than the ridiculously anachronistic modern clothes) was the idea that Marian, a day after she almost died after being stabbed, was even capable of standing up for her wedding, much less punching out Guy and making a run for it. And thus this story was born. A plot bunny that wouldn't leave me alone no matter how many other stories were supposed to take precedence over it.
So fair warning, here be Guy/Marian shipping, but hopefully everyone will seem mostly in character even though things change. I don't intend to make Guy a saint or Robin a demon. Marian, however, may come off as either more decisive or relentlessly pragmatic depending on the point of view.
Also this story is written in its entirety and is six chapters long, so I will be posting over the next couple of weeks on a M/W/F schedule. As well, while this is technically finished, reviews actually can affect the story to some small degree as I tend to revise chapters all the way up to the day I post them and thus sometimes end up adding in details to answer questions or clarify plot points/motivations that may have ended up being confusing.
So all constructive feedback is welcome, especially since this is my first foray into BBC's Robin Hood as I write mostly New World Zorro fanfiction, and my heroes aren't usually villains.
Edited to Add Note: There seems to be some confusion brought on by Guy's thoughts at the end of the chapter. This follows canon through "Return of the King" and the beginning of "A Clue: No". Guy stabbed Marian, but he doesn't know he stabbed Marian, and he's a suspicious man. So no, Robin hasn't hurt Marian, but Guy's trying to figure out how Marian got injured without making the connection between Marian and the Nightwatchman. He really doesn't want to make that connection; he would much rather blame her injury on others as he doesn't quite buy the accident story. As I said, I'm not making him a saint.
A Clue: Yes
"You lied to me! What else did you lie about?" Marian cried.
Guy's explanations blurred into nothing as she shifted her wedding ring to her right hand and punched him hard before running from the church where Robin was waiting to carry her off to Nottingham...
Then something woke her. There was pain and... voices nearby. Then she could hear the sounds of people... moving; it sounded like they were going out the window. Then there was silence for she knew not how long before she could hear voices again, this time from the door of her room.
Through her stupor, Marian could hardly make out what was being said, though the words "not really King Richard" and "how did this happen?" drifted over the air. It took her a moment to realize that it was her father and Guy speaking There was a lingering memory of the dream; it had felt so real, yet at the moment, she knew she could barely move much less run. Dear God, how was she supposed to explain her injuries to Guy? How was her father explaining it?
She tried opening her eyes; the light was painful to her, so she closed them again. At least she could understand the conversation. Guy's voice was the first she heard.
"Are you sure it couldn't have been Hood?" he asked. "If she was in the forest alone..."
"We don't really know what happened, but we think it was just an accident with her horse, and she was gashed by something when she fell. I've told her time and again it's not a good idea to ride while distracted, but she was anxious about the wedding," her father said, then quickly added. "Just the usual bridal nerves."
All right, an accident, Marian thought. I can remember that.
"Nerves?" Guy asked, as if he had no idea what a girl might be anxious about, or rather as if he thought it was more than what might normally make a girl anxious.
"All girls get that way..." her father said. "I remember my Kate's father telling me how she spent the day before walking the length of the village. It's... normal."
"Oh," she heard Guy say and then sigh. "We will need to speak of rescheduling the wedding... I know that the conditions will not be what they should be, but the Sheriff's suspicions are not going to go away, especially if you... Never mind. It can wait. I can see you want to go... fetch an apothecary, or perhaps Mathilda; she's a better healer. If you permit me, I will sit with Marian until you return."
"You will look after her."
"As promised. I think I've already proven that today..." Guy's voice was hoarse. "I would not have anything happen to her, if I can prevent it."
And yet he is the reason I'm lying here, Marian thought unhappily. No, that isn't fair. He didn't know it was me that he stabbed. I was the one who was fool enough to try robbing him to prove something. Though now I have to wonder what I thought that something would be. The Nightwatchman was meant to give aid, not simply be a thief in the night.
"Very well. I will hold you to that," her father said. "I will return as soon as possible."
"And I will be too distracted to wonder how long it takes to run your errand," Guy said.
Marian could hear the men moving, then felt her father kiss her forehead, before whispering in her ear, "Be well, my child." Then his footsteps moved away.
Next she heard the scraping of a chair being moved across the floor. Then she felt the lightest of touches on her forehead and someone took her hand and kissed it. Her skin tingled at the contact. Gingerly, she opened her eyes to see a pair of blue eyes close to her.
"Marian," Guy said. "You're awake."
"Sir Guy," she whispered, trying to keep focused. "Why are you here? Did my father summon you?"
"No." Guy's voice was somewhat hesitant. "He said he intended to, but I came here for another reason; it was about the wedding. Not that it's important now with your accident, but it's something I need to tell you before I can ask you about..." he trailed off.
"I'm sorry," Marian said, trying to hide the relief that it appeared he wasn't going to insist on marrying her in her sickbed.
"No," he said softly, reaching one hand to lightly caress her cheek. She had neither the energy nor inclination to move away at that moment; besides, it was somewhat soothing. "You are not to blame. Perhaps it was fate intervening to prevent..." He stopped. "Marian, there something I must tell you..."
"Then tell me," she said, closing her eyes. "Just do not be surprised if I don't remember it tomorrow."
"I'll take my chances," he said. "I would not have you think me a liar among my other vices." He leaned closer and took a deep breath before saying, "The king is not returning. It's all a scheme of the Sheriff to flush out those who might be disloyal to him. He lied to me as well as everyone else. He only told me the truth today."
Marian opened her eyes to look at him in surprise. "So you didn't lie to me," she said, flashing back to her dream of running from him for doing just that.
"No," he replied. "I admit I am eager to marry you and have hopes that we not postpone the wedding indefinitely, but I would not have done this on purpose."
"My father?" Marian asked only then realizing the danger he would be in, not knowing the Sheriff's true plan.
"I have told him," Guy said. "I wanted to tell you first, but of course, that was impossible, and as I promised to protect you both, I thought it best to inform him. I have no idea what he is doing at this moment, and I don't want to know. I only hope he is discreet about it. It would be dangerous if the Sheriff believed I betrayed him."
Marian hoped that her father could find Robin or his men. An intervention by Robin wouldn't implicate her father, she believed. But she was struck by Guy's (when had she started thinking of him that way?) willingness to tell her the truth and risk the Sheriff's displeasure. It was more than she'd expected of him. And he touched her so gently. Could he truly care about her as more than a possession or a way to triumph over Robin?
"Thank you for being here," she said finally, squeezing his hand as she felt herself tiring again, as well as knowing that she was being truthful in preferring him by her bedside rather than out helping the Sheriff. Still she was startled by the genuine smile her words elicited from him, and even more startled by how handsome that smile made him.
"Rest, Marian," Guy said. "We can wait to discuss what must be done in the future."
The future. She didn't want to think about that. Not now. She was too tired and there were too many things to worry about. As she drifted asleep she thought she could feel a feather light kiss on her cheek.
Guy sat and watched Marian as she slept. What had really happened to her? She was pale, from blood loss, if he wasn't mistaken. He wondered what could have "accidentally" gashed her in a fall. He still suspected Hood had something to do with this. He knew that the outlaw had feelings for Marian. Could this have been an act of revenge because she had chosen to marry him? Or... Guy was struck with another thought more disturbing. Was this because he'd stabbed the Nightwatchman? A life for a life?
It would have seemed incredible, considering Hood's previous refusal to kill. But this morning something had changed. Hood had been a madman, practically a berserker, him and his men. What had changed him? Had the Nightwatchman been so important to Hood? To Hood's men? Guy's thoughts skittered a bit as he looked at Marian, remembering her recent display of agility. Before suspicion could take hold, he shifted his focus. Or it could be an encounter with Marian had driven Hood over the edge. That was a slightly more palatable thought, dark though it was. However, a mad Hood was a danger, especially as his men followed him so blindly.
Guy moved his chair back against the wall next to the bed so that he could keep an eye on the door and window. He had no desire for an arrow or dagger in the back, and he had no intention of leaving Marian unprotected. He was fortunate that the Sheriff didn't expect his presence in Nottingham. Guy supposed he should be grateful that the Sheriff had been deriving so much pleasure in the little game he'd been playing with him.
He should have known when Vaisey told him that the king was returning that it was not true, but then Vaisey knew that the idea of being able to marry Marian would be enough to keep him from questioning his good fortune. And of course, it was typical that the Sheriff would tell him the truth a day before the wedding. He'd want to see him twist with the dilemma of either telling Marian or going through with it only for her to find out he knew afterwards. Guy knew that the Sheriff didn't approve of Marian, and he knew, they both knew, that Marian would despise him for marrying her under false pretenses. Guy would have a poisoned marriage, and the Sheriff would take delight in his misery.
Despite appearances to the contrary, Guy was not a complete fool when it came to Marian; he knew his entire courtship of her had been clumsy and awkward, and that he'd offended her far more than he'd pleased her. He had no experience in trying to woo a lady of quality as his wife. He'd been too long a soldier, too blunt in his dealings with people to be any kind of courtier. Try as he might, the only thing that he'd ever given Marian that he knew she approved of was a horse. He treasured the light in her eyes when she saw it. But even now, he knew she was reluctant to marry; he'd been convinced that even her promise or her concern for her father would not be enough to get her to the altar.
Yet he also knew that he hadn't lied when he said she was stirred by him. He had enough experience to recognize the flickers of attraction. It might be only an ember, but he was sure that given time... If once they were married... he had faith he could find a way to be the man she deserved, one she could love. But what he really needed was her to have the faith to give him the chance.
Next Up: Chapter 2 - Ultimatum Set