Author's note: This is a short little story I've had lingering in my computer for a time. It's also my first Robin Hood fanfic, and I'm delighted to be entering the fandom. It's a one shot for now, but I may write another chapter at some point. No promises, though.

Portrait of a Rogue

Sipping delicately at her tea, Lady Marion looked around the room that had so recently belonged to her long-ago betrothed, Robin of Locksley. Robin Hood, they're calling him now, she corrected herself. He was no longer a noble, no longer a safe companion; he was an outlaw and she might as well work on remembering it.

Her eye drifted across the walls, foundered on a cloth-swathed something leaning in a corner. She set her teacup on the table and rose, walking over to inspect the object. "Sir Guy," she called over her shoulder to her host, "what is this?"

Guy glanced up in time to see her fingers tangle in the material draped over the item in question. Quickly, he began, "Lady Marion, please, I beg of you—"

But to no avail: the cloth swept off the object, pooled gently onto the floor. As though fate had picked the echoes out of her head, Marion found herself caught in the gaze of the very man who had been occupying her thoughts just a moment ago. In the painting, Robin was younger, sterner, his easy smile vanished and his crooked eyebrows drawn grim and straight. As she stared into the water-blue eyes, though, she believed she glimpsed a trace of the mischievousness that marked his character.

Vaguely, not wishing to appear entranced at the sight of the rogue trapped on the canvas, Marion addressed Guy, who had come to stand behind her. "This was painted before he went to war, I daresay?"

"Indeed," Guy answered, a tinge of a growl behind the word. "Prettily done, is it not? But no matter—it is to burn soon, I should think." He moved to conceal the picture once more.

Marion let him, though the image of Robin remained in her mind. "I rather wonder that they were able to make him sit still long enough to paint it properly."

With a streak of morbid amusement, Guy responded, "His family requested it before he left with King Richard, in case he perished in the Holy Land. Ironic, is it not, that they were the ones fated to die instead? But as I said, it will burn soon. I've not had the time to do so as of yet."

"Pity," Marion said carelessly. When Guy whirled to glare suspiciously at her, she shrugged. "You could probably sell it for a decent sum. It is a portrait of an outlaw, to be certain, but the quality of painting is masterful."

"Your interest in the matter is most enlightening, Lady Marion. An ignorant person might even presume you were yet betrothed."

Marion raised her eyebrows. Mildly, she stated, "We were all young back then, Sir Guy."

Guy made a noise, apparently satisfied with the implication that she had been fanciful and foolish at the time. "Well," he said, "perhaps I will consider your suggestion. All the trouble he's caused since his return, I might as well make some profit from him."

Marion smiled her most colorless smile and, seating herself, picked her teacup back up.