Disclaimer: Hmm, well, obviously, I don't own anything … just having a bit of fun until the new season starts.
Author's note: I guess I just want to say that I enjoy reading fanfic, but I've never really written all that much of it. I wrote a little Buffy fanfic a few years ago on another site, but that was the extent of it. At the moment, the fiction writing process has me banging my head against a brick wall (which hurts), so I figured I'd try this out to clear my head, keep writing, and forget about my own characters and plotlines for awhile. Compared to other really wonderful stories I've read on this site in the Robin Hood section, I think my characterizations stink … really. And I'm a little nervous about posting this. As I said, fanfic just isn't something I've done a lot of.
"Why did you do it?"
"You're not safe here. Once the Sheriff and Gisborne sort things out at Nottingham, they will come for you."
"Robin," Marian as she closed her eyes for a moment, fighting the impulse to tell him she didn't really care. It was just easier to stay, to do her duty, if they argued. "Why can you not answer one question? Why is that so difficult for you?"
Robin sighed, glancing away, and Marian could tell his patience was wearing. Good. Right now, this was what she wanted because it made her think with her head and not her heart. After the day she had, it would be all too simple to drop any pretense of loyalty to the Sheriff and run off into Sherwood with Robin.
"What does it matter?" Robin asked. "I'm here now. What happened then … it does not matter. But we have to think about what happens now. While I am more than happy with the outcome, you punched Gisborne and left him at the altar. Do you think that is something he will take lightly?"
"I am well aware of what happened. I was there. But I can handle Guy, Robin. He lied to me about the King's return. I will use that to justify what I did. I cannot leave my father. You know that."
"Oh, Robin, grow up," Marian said, recognizing the spark of jealousy.
"I'm being realistic."
"You're being jealous," Marian returned.
"You cannot just explain this to him," Robin said, trying now to reason with her. But she didn't need him to spell it out for her. She was well aware of the situation and the probable consequences. Robin continued, "Do you honestly think Gisborne will understand everything that happened today? Do you think he'll accept his lies as the reason you punched him and ran off with me? Because maybe he did not see it, but you can believe someone told him. How will you explain that to Guy? If you think you can, you're a fool."
He was getting frustrated, angry. "Well, I am so glad you think so," Marian said.
Robin threw up his hands and turned away. He walked a few paces before turning back. "Fine. Believe what you want about Gisborne. Believe that you can find some good in him when there is nothing good to be found."
"I do not think –"
"But you will be putting my men in danger when I have to come rescue you. Again," Robin added for emphasis.
"Why are you doing this? Why can't you just accept –"
"Because you aren't making any sense! Things cannot just go back to being how they were. I thought we were past all this."
"All of this arguing because you cannot answer one silly little question," Marian said. "Why is that so difficult for you?"
"Would it make a difference if I did?" Robin demanded. "Would it make a difference if I brought up the past? I cannot change the decision I made. Why is it so important you hear why I did it?"
"I begged you not to go," Marian replied quietly. "I made a fool of myself in front of you, and you said nothing. If I follow you into the forest, if I renounce everything I've ever known to become an outlaw, how do I know it will not happen again when you won't give me a reason?"
"Is that what all this is about? I will not leave you again, Marian. I made that mistake once. I will not do it again." Robin paused, studying her face. Marian didn't know what he was looking for, but he seemed to have found it. "But that isn't what this is really about, is it? You're running me around in circles, asking me questions you really don't want the answers to. You are hiding behind an excuse to stay here, to make it easier for you to stay here."
Maybe they'd been apart for five years, and maybe he hadn't shown quite this much insight since his return. She'd tried to forget the years before he took up the cross and followed King Richard to another world. Maybe she'd forgotten too much. When he tried, Robin always knew her better than she gave him credit for.
Marian drew in a steadying breath, and she folded her arms across her chest to hide the trembling of her hands. "Much as you'd like to think this is all about us or you – that it's always about you – it isn't, and you know that. I have to consider my father. After today, he's in enough trouble. If I run off, the Sheriff will know where I've gone. My father's situation will become more precarious if I just leave."
"Your life is in jeopardy. Not your father's."
"Robin," Marian murmured, tired of living between two worlds, tired of being torn between her love for this man and her love for her father, tired of everything. "I have to stay here. I have to think of someone other than myself."
"That's right," Robin said. "That's all I do, isn't it? Think of myself?"
"Robin, please," Marian said, exasperation making her voice desperate. "I didn't mean it like that, and you know it. I only meant that I have to be here for my father. Would you have made the choices you made if your father were still here?"
"If my father were still here, I would not have been forced to make the choices I made."
And suddenly, somehow, Marian realized Robin wasn't referring to his choice of defying the Sheriff and escaping to Sherwood. He was talking about his choice to join King Richard in the Holy Land, forced to escape from a responsibility he wasn't ready to accept when his father died. He panicked, so he ran. It was the reason Marian always suspected, but this was the closest he'd come to admitting it. Robin didn't admit weakness, he didn't admit doubt. Every decision he made was made with the confidence of a man born to lead.
"There is nothing I can say that will change your mind?"
Marian bit her lip. More than anything, she wanted to run as fast as she could from all of this. She wanted to run from the uncertainty of what tomorrow would bring. In her heart, she knew nothing she could say would justify what she did today. But she was torn between two desires – protecting her father and being with Robin. And in the end, she had to stand by the man who'd never abandoned her, though it would be so simple to do just that. As foolish and as childish as that made her, she could not choose Robin over her father. Not now. Maybe not ever.
The past few days had been a whirlwind. She had almost died. She had almost been married. She had punched her husband-to-be and left Locksley in the arms of an outlaw. Much as she wanted to wrap her arms around Robin and never let go, she couldn't. If her father suffered in her absence, she could never forgive herself. If he faced the wrath of the Sheriff and Gisborne, she would face it with him. If she could prevent the disaster waiting to happen, she would. There was no other choice, only wishes for how things should be.
She couldn't look at him, not at this moment because if she did, she'd lose. Glancing out at the forest, Marian tried to regain her resolve, her composure. She needed to keep her feet at Knighton Hall with her father. She needed to do her duty by the man who'd watched her break down when Robin left and who'd been there to comfort her when no one else was.
After a few moments, when the world felt right side up again and she felt her resolve wasn't in danger of crumbling, Marian looked at Robin. "I have made my decision."
Robin nodded, though Marian knew he didn't fully understand, but he couldn't stand here arguing with her all night. "I will never leave you to Gisborne or the Sheriff."
"I know that."
Reaching forward, Robin tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "Going in different directions again?"
"For now," Marian whispered. She stepped into his arms, resting her head against his chest and fighting the urge to sob.
Author's Note: Much as I think Marian would like to run off with Robin at this point, I just can't see her leaving her father despite the consequences. Plus, I wouldn't have a story if she did run off with Robin :)
So anyway, reviews are welcome, of course. If you like it let me know, and hopefully I'll have an update up soon.