Set after the events of Episode 6 season 2. Things are changing between Guy and Marian, and both are conflicted. Spoilers warning if you are not this far along.

Prisoners of Circumstance

Guy stared at her intently, his breathing scarcely altered. If it were not for the still figure laying face down in the grass it would be hard to believe that he had just taken a life. The thought of it made her tremble, but what made her shiver more was the recall of all the sickening things which Winchester had threatened to do to her on the return to his domicile. He would never hurt anyone again. Marian rubbed at her tender wrists, chafed by the irons which Guy had removed before helping her down from the carriage.

Guy walked away from her to mount his horse, bringing it back round to face her. He looked down at her, holding out a large, long fingered hand to Marian, half expecting her to reject it. She paused for a moment studying its strength before taking it, and he hitched her up behind him on the horse as if she were as light as air.

Marian put her arms around Guy's firm waist; momentarily distracted, she caught a glimpse of movement in the undergrowth. Robin was looking at her through the greenery, his expression a mixture of relief and accusation. Really, what did he expect her to do? Walk back to the castle? After all, Guy had just rescued her from Winchester. Rescued?Marian thought about it. Yes it was a rescue, and Guy…two words she never thought she would ever pair with the man whose body she was now pressed so closely against.

Robin was quickly lost from view and her thoughts, as the horses continued at a leisurely trot through the forest. There was no need for hurry now that the Sheriff's aim had been achieved. Winchester's remains and the abandoned carriage were left to rot for all the sheriff and Guy cared. It would be easy enough to blame the ambush on Robin Hood. Sheriff Vasey and Allan continued a little bit ahead of them, Guy held back the horse to give him some privacy with Marian, rather than take his rightful place at the Sheriff's side.

"Did he harm you?" Guy asked brusquely.

Marian was startled as Guy broke the silence, the timbre of his voice vibrating through her.

"No…but he wanted to,"

"I am glad he did not." He replied tightly.

Marian smiled, as she stared at his back, thankful he could not see her expression. Her previous anger at Guy's compliance of the Sheriff's orders which had helped put her in the path of danger in the first place, was already draining away. No matter what his reasons for coming for her, which she was sure was not an attack conscience on the Sheriff's part; Guy had in fact saved her. Her arms tightened on his midriff, a movement that did not go unnoticed by him.

Several more minutes passed and the silence stretched out between them, but to her surprise, it was not an awkward silence. It had been an eventful couple of days and the exhaustion Marian had held at bay, to keep her wits about her around Winchester was slowly starting to fog her vision, and her eyelids grew heavy. She lurched forward, her nose hitting Guy's back. She sat upright in the saddle, crimson colour staining her cheeks, glad once more that he could not see her face.

"I am sorry," she said under her breath.

Guy sighed.

"If you are tired Marian, take a rest, it is still a while till we reach the castle," His hand covered hers, anchoring her to him even more securely.

"That won't be necessary," she replied stiltedly.

"As you wish, it makes no difference to me, fall off the horse for all I care,"

They both knew he did not mean it.

A crease appeared in Marian's brow, the proud distant man was back in place again, the pleading, vulnerable man of only this morning nowhere in sight. Did she dare allow her head to rest on his shoulder and take rest? Marian thought back to that gentle kiss he had placed on her cheek a few hours ago and compared it to the one he had given her on what would have been their wedding day. Something had changed in Guy, or had it been there all the time and she had just refused to see it? The choice to surrender in this complex man's arms was taken away from her by her aching body. Marian's head drooped forward and rested on his shoulder. He smelt of leather and a faint tang of sweat, but the odour was not wholly unpleasant to her.

Guy felt her body relax against his as she slipped into oblivion. Vasey had wanted him here to get rid of Winchester, and recover the lands which he had been forced to give him for the signing of the treaty, but Guy was here for Marian. Plain and simple. She had refused to even look at him back at the castle and the dishonour he had felt had almost made him physically sick. When Vasey's greedy nature had surfaced and ordered the death of Winchester, Guy had leapt at the chance to recover Marian. He had not the courage to help Marian openly escape, and defy the Sheriff, but opportunity had presented itself to save her under his Lord's blessing.

Vasey had emasculated him and that was shame enough to live with for now. Guy would like nothing better than to sink the same dagger he had used to despatch Winchester, between the shoulder blades of the Sheriff. He had lowered the barriers with Marian now, allowed her to see what no one else had since he was that 12 year old boy.

A boy became a man very swiftly when his mother died in childbirth, taking his newborn sister with him. Only days later, when he and his father had been steeped in grief for his mother, Richard's men had confiscated their lands, his father accused of colluding with the king's enemies, had been thrown in prison and left to die of a fever brought on by the filthy conditions of the dungeon. His father's innocence had been proven eventually, but there was no chance of regaining his family's residence or lands, they had already gone to a favourite of the king. No one cared about the boy who had been left behind, with only a name and no home or family...

Marian stirred against his shoulder and let out a tiny sigh. The portcullis was raised on the castle and they were once more in the oppressive atmosphere of Vasey's domain. All of them were prisoners in one way or another.