Author's Notes: I know that in medieval ceremonies that the couple would be married outside the church rather than within, and that I'm also ignoring a few other customs of the day. But my fanfiction writing philosophy on blatant anachronisms (developed while writing for New World Zorro) is that if the show doesn't care, why should I (seriously— felt gambling tables, really?), though to be honest I do try not to be ridiculously anachronistic no matter what the show does.
Also, I hated the wedding ring from the episode and loved Marian's betrothal ring, so though the ring isn't described, it's not that hideous piece, but a ring more in the style of her betrothal one. Besides Guy did actually seem to prefer simpler jewelry.
And a final thank you to all of you who have left such encouraging (and often detailed) reviews; I've found your comments helpful and they've given me things to consider not only for this story but others that will come along.
"I see you've changed your look for the day, Gisborne," Vaisey said, "for all the good it will do you. Isn't your bride a little late?"
Guy looked away and wished that the Sheriff had come up with an excuse that would keep him from attending the wedding. He was already nervous enough without Vaisey deliberately trying to provoke him.
"No, my lord. She's not due quite yet," he said evenly.
"I see you've got your men around. Expecting trouble?" Vaisey asked. "I hope so. It would certainly liven up events. They're the only thing that makes your parties worthwhile, Gisborne."
"I'm sorry to hear that, my lord," Guy said flatly. "I don't actually expect any trouble. I'm merely taking precautions."
"Ah, yes, though I expect your troubles will begin if the little lady actually bothers to show up and say 'I do.'"
Guy had too much experience to let himself react, but he was relieved when at that moment he spotted the carriage bringing Marian to him. "If you will excuse me, my lord," he said.
Vaisey looked over and saw what Guy did. "So she shows up after all. Fine, go run after your leper." He turned and headed towards the chapel, saying as he went. "It's not as if she'll ever run after you."
Guy flinched as he tried to ignore the barb. If asked to name one of the things he hated most about Vaisey, he would say it was the way his poison words tended to cling to everything, and Guy couldn't help but reflect on the fact that he was marrying a woman who might soon regret the choice she'd been forced into, no matter how well they were currently getting along.
However, Guy tried not to let his fears take away from his pleasure at seeing Marian. To his relief, after Edward helped her down, Marian immediately walked toward him. She was more beautiful than he'd imagined, even with a veil on. He knew that the dress had been her mother's, but he doubted that her mother could have looked so enchanting.
Seeing her standing so solemnly in front of him made him nervous as he thought of the fact that she hadn't really said anything about what she wanted for their wedding. He'd just kept with the original idea without asking. Had that been a mistake? "I hope the decorations... the church... I hope they please you," he said, hesitantly.
"They do," she replied.
Needing some more reassurance, he said, "I hope I please you."
It seemed a long moment before she answered, but he was cheered by the fact she smiled when she spoke. "Yes, you do," she said. "However, you should not be here."
"Where should I be then?" he asked. He knew nothing of weddings.
"You should be inside the church, waiting for my father to bring me to you," Marian said.
"Forgive me. I was unaware," he said.
"Have you never been to a wedding before?" Marian asked.
"No," he said, wishing he'd asked someone about the procedure. Thornton probably knew but he wouldn't have dared volunteered the information without Guy's asking, though he'd done well enough having to deal with the changed wedding plans.
She put a hand on his arm. "There's no harm done, so if you will wait inside for me?"
Guy felt a sense of relief and turned to go, but then stopped for a moment. "Marian, I have dreamed of this day."
She smiled at him again, though it appeared more nervous now. Bridal nerves, he hoped. "I've dreamed of this, too," she said. "Now go, so the dream can become real."
Temporarily separated, Marian watched Guy as he spoke to a couple of his men at the edge of the crowd. Even with them, he couldn't quite conceal the smile he'd worn since the end of the wedding ceremony, though she suspected that he like she was still a bit stunned that they managed to get married without any greater disturbance than Vaisey's sudden loud coughing fit after the priest asked if there was any impediment to their marriage.
She had been afraid that Robin might have made an appearance, if not to dissuade her then to at least cause enough trouble to delay the wedding. But, no, there had been no sign of him. It seemed that he had truly accepted her choice, and she wasn't entirely sure how she felt about that, though relief seemed to predominate. However, she resolutely pushed away any thoughts of Robin in order to concentrate on her new husband, and the vows she'd made to him as well as those he'd made to her.
"Well played, Lady Gisborne."
Marian had to repress a shudder as she heard the Sheriff's voice in her ear; however, she refused to let him have the satisfaction of cowing her.
"I beg your pardon?" she asked.
"You begging my pardon?" Vaisey raised an eyebrow. "Oh, you can be certain that you will."
"I very much doubt it," Marian replied.
He walked around her and tilted his head to look her over. "You know I really didn't think you'd go through with it, despite the... uh... encouragement given. I hardly thought you'd give up the position of making him beg for scraps and put him in charge of the feast." He smiled nastily. "Or had you thought about the fact that he has gone from supplicant to master in one simple ceremony."
"Believe me, my lord Sheriff," Marian said, as calmly as she could. "I am quite aware of that." But I have faith that what he truly wants in marriage is not what you think he does.
"Good, I trust you won't forget. I got quite tired of my master of arms moping, so now that he's gotten his prize, I expect to see him return to normal in the near future," Vaisey looked her up an down, his face betraying more than a slight hint of amusement, "once he's finished enjoying the fruits of victory."
"You seem to be mixing a lot of metaphors, my lord sheriff," Marian said, trying to appear easy. "However, as a quite willing wife, I do hope to make sure my husband is never finished enjoying the fruits of matrimony."
"That is a surprise," he said. "I rather expected you to try to make the most of your little 'accident.' Sounds even better than all those headaches noblewomen seem fond of having."
"I really don't know why you'd think that," Marian said, looking over at Guy, who really did look very handsome. "After all, I've always admired Guy's... finer qualities, and I am terribly curious to know if marriage really is a cure for chronic frustration as you once implied."
The Sheriff smiled that annoyed smile she had grown accustomed to seeing so often. "Well, I can but hope that your new lord puts a babe in your belly quickly, so you can have more important matters to attend to than my business— or his, for that matter."
Marian had to work to hide the combination of trepidation and anger created in her by the implication of his words. She knew full well what he was meaning to convey. A child would be more vulnerable to his threats. While with child, she would be more vulnerable as well, and she knew Vaisey would not shrink from using that vulnerability to control Guy if he felt he was getting out of line. Marian had made her choice to marry Guy; she also made her choice to find a way to get them both out from under the Sheriff's control. Her eyes shifted from the Sheriff back to her husband. Guy had spoken of his hopes for children with her, and if he were to feel as protective of any child of theirs as he seemed to be of her... maybe that would be the key to get him to help her rid Nottingham of this devil in human skin. One thing Marian was sure of was that Guy would do anything to protect what was his, and right now that included Marian. She knew the game Vaisey was playing, but she felt she finally understood what she needed to do to win.
Forcing a smile to her face, Marian said, "We shall certainly see, my lord Sheriff, but for the moment I prefer to enjoy celebrating this day with my husband. If you will excuse me?"
"Would it could be forever, Lady Gisborne," the Sheriff said quietly. "Enjoy yourself while you can, my dear. It will be back to business soon enough."
Marian said nothing as she passed through the crowd to reach her husband. He smiled beautifully at her. Marian returned the smile and, making a gesture towards where the musicians were tuning up, said, "It is time for the dancing, my husband."
"Is that wise?" he asked, concern clear on his face.
"Just one? An easy one?" Marian said, appreciating his care but still determined to get her way. She knew he had a hard time refusing her when she touched him so she wrapped an arm around his and looked up at him with pleading eyes.
As she hoped, his resistance melted. "All right, just one," he said, kissing her cheek before walking towards the dancing area.
Many hours later, Guy carried a half-asleep Marian into what was now their bedchamber. Outside he could still hear raucous laughter as people were still eating and drinking. He had no idea how they could still be enjoying themselves, but he no longer cared. The Sheriff had left sometime after the dancing started, Sir Edward not that long ago. And since the moment Marian had said the words that made her his wife by law, all Guy had wanted to do was be alone with her. Not being of a particularly convivial temperament most of the day had been a kind of torture. He was glad to leave it to Thornton and the rest of the servants to deal with the people, and Marian's exhaustion finally gave him the excuse he needed to disappear from the scene. It didn't particularly surprise him considering the large amount of ale that seemed to be flowing that no one had particularly noticed their departure.
Of course, now that they were alone, Guy wasn't entirely sure what he should do beyond leave her and send her maid to her. While he was eager to consummate the marriage, he wanted to wait until he was sure she was quite healed and ready; he wanted to prove that in one aspect of his life he could be considerate and patient.
He placed Marian on the bed, trying not to disturb her. However, before he left, he leaned over to place a gentle kiss on her lips. There was only so much nobility in him after all. However, as he started to straighten up, Marian reached up to wrap her arm around his neck.
"Where do you think you're going, husband?" she asked, almost dreamily. She was feeling pleasantly intoxicated from the wine she'd drunk earlier and her sleepiness seemed to have vanished the moment he kissed her. If there was any anxiety about the position she found herself in, it seemed very little indeed. She didn't understand it, but she wasn't about to fight it.
"I was going to fetch your maid to help you out of your dress. It's been a long day, and I'm sure you'll sleep more comfortably," Guy said, holding himself very still.
He has beautiful eyes, Marian thought almost absently. Did I not notice that before? "It has been a long day, but I'm sure that we're not supposed to be sleeping yet," Marian said, moving her hand through his hair. I made my choice, and I don't want to wait as if I'm somehow too delicate a creature to become a wife. She pulled him closer so she could whisper in his ear. "My dress isn't that complicated. Surely you could help me out."
She could feel Guy swallow convulsively, but he didn't move. After a long moment in which Marian wondered if she really knew what she was doing, he finally pulled back his head enough to look in her eyes and said, "I could, but I thought you would rather wait until you were better healed... I wouldn't want to hurt you."
Marian had to stop herself from laughing. Throughout their awkward courtship, it had always been Guy pressing for more closeness, more intimacy and she who'd been the one to deflect and avoid. Now, she was the one who was trying to seduce him. How much did I drink to make the world so topsy-turvy? Certainly not that much. And she was struck by a wicked thought possibly brought on by the old wives who'd been making it a habit of telling her far too much about men from the moment her betrothal to Guy had been made public or even more likely the fact that she was in a close embrace with a very handsome man whose reluctance was starting to feel more like an insult than consideration. "I am well enough. Besides, my lord, I would not have it be said that I was unwilling—or you were... unable."
After what seemed like a long time, Guy pressed his hands against the mattress beside her, leaning forward so their foreheads touched. "It would seem that...I am unable..." he lifted his eyes to meet hers and smiled warmly, "to resist you, dearest Marian."
Then he kissed her, and their journey truly began.
And thus ends this tale, in which Guy and Marian are married with some hope for the future, which is a lot more ambivalent than I'd like it to be, but honestly, I couldn't see Marian making it all the way to love by the day they married, but I did see her believing she could find contentment and being determined that no one could question the legitimacy of her marriage. And I will say that she only drank enough to get over her nerves but not enough to overly impair her judgment.
I do hate that I'm ending at what is essentially the beginning of their relationship as I would prefer ending at a point when they are mutually in love. But I think I accomplished my main goal in this story which was to see what would happen if Marian's injuries couldn't be so easily ignored and if Guy didn't back out of telling the truth (as I'm sure that was his original reason for visiting Knighton) and a third more implied what if Edward wasn't so bad at making excuses so that he could keep Guy downstairs long enough that Robin and the gang could escape before Guy went upstairs to see Marian.
I know this could have been a longer more detailed tale, but as I was feeling kind of guilty letting this story jump to the top of my writing queue when I have at least two projects in dire need of attention, I was determined to keep it simple and focused on Guy and Marian (with a couple of appearances each of Robin and the Sheriff). In fact I originally was going to have the Sheriff give Guy a month to set a new date, but then I thought Vaisey wouldn't be that generous, and I remembered the two days/two hours thing from "Tattoo? What Tattoo?" and thus it went from two months to two weeks instead which also helped keep the plot short and controlled.
However, I'm not really ready to finish with this AU path yet, as I have an urge to see what would happen in season 2 if Marian and Guy were married (for starters Knighton Hall isn't going to be burned). I want to see what Guy will do when truly faced with the choice between Vaisey and Marian, and what Vaisey will do to try to keep Guy on the dark side as well as what Marian will do when faced with some of Vaisey's plots, and how they'll come to an understanding when Marian's still hiding things and Guy's still trying to straddle a line for their mutual protection. And I want to figure out an appropriate "natural" death for Vaisey— seriously, I'm not usually bloodthirsty in my writing, but I so want to kill that man.
So, plot elements are brewing at the moment though I've only decided a few details (including the moment when Guy finally turns completely against Vaisey and solid ideas for how I plan to handle the variations in "Childhood" and "For England...!"). However one thing I'm completely certain of is that the casino will not be making an appearance; I can't take it. Much as I liked Count Friedrich and found him interesting, I have to draw the line somewhere, but maybe I can find some less anachronistic reason for his presence.
But thinking about the sequel though I am, I really do have to concentrate on a couple of other stories so it may be some time in coming— unless Guy gets pushy again. Poor Diego. In my current massive work in progress he's still four months of story time (and who knows how much real time) away from his wedding and getting a bit frustrated about that, while the Doctor is moping in the corner because his story's sequel has been postponed so long that he's not even the current incarnation anymore, not that that ever matters. Yes, the characters in my head tend to get cantankerous (or smug— Guy tends toward smug; we all know that— and he has reason enough to be at the moment) with each other and me; my imagination is a truly strange place.
Nevertheless, I'll get to it eventually because I do so want to play with these characters some more, and I want to give them a no kidding, mutually in love happily ever after, even if I have to make Guy suffer for his past sins and being fool enough to tie himself to the Sheriff in the first place and Marian suffer (not quite so much) for her manipulative tendencies— Heavens, I'm usually nicer to my OTPs, but these two aren't capable of getting properly together without a bit of pain and suffering. I'll even give Robin a happily ever after of his own as well, even if he annoys me, though that will probably be an everything happens in the epilogue ending for him as he's mostly still going to be following the episode plots and for the life of me I can't figure out a proper love interest for him without stealing her from some other source material (I hate the idea of creating OC love interests; it's really not my thing).
So farewell for now, and once again, thanks for all the feedback (past, present, and future). It's been/will be most welcome, and I'm grateful for it.