Disclaimer: I own nothing but my imagination J
Summary: Robin had once said that everyone breaks, but never before had seen it happen. When Robin is injured, and taken captive by Gisborne, he will start to learn how true his own words are. Will Much and his men be able to save Robin before he reaches his own breaking point?
A/N: This take place after Season One, and is A/U in a sense. I missed all of season two (I didn't even know they had a season two until I heard about season three!) so I'm pretending that it didn't even happen. I got this idea from the episode where Robin was trying discover the location of the ledger for the black powder and stated that 'everyone breaks'. I'm not an expert on any of this really, so if I have any facts wrong please let me know so that I can change them, thanks!
Chapter One: Captive
It was one of those feelings; the kinds that were small and insignificant, that you knew in the deepest pit of your heart wasn't true, and yet it continually nagged at you in the back of your mind. It was never present unless you had nothing to think about and suddenly it would be all but too clear for you to ignore. They would continually eat away at you; gnaw at your conscience, batter your mind until you gave in. And it was these thoughts, that Robin knew, shouldn't be ignored.
He let out a soft sigh as he shifted, leaning against a tree. His cape was pulled about him to stave away the night's chill, his bow resting easily in his lap, held securely in his fingers. Robin didn't need to look to see the rest of his men were sound asleep; as they should be. The winter season was closing in, the cold seeming to sap their strength in anything they seemed to do. Robin was exhausted himself, but his wandering mind would not let him sleep.
He pressed a hand against his head as he closed his eyes, as if trying to chase the lingering thought away. But it only seemed to fuel it on. Grumbling slightly Robin pushed himself to his feet, making his way around the slowly dying fire. Sleep, he knew, would not come tonight, nor would peace come anytime soon unless he saw for himself what he knew to be true.
Much was sleeping soundly, nestled deep into one of the bedrolls a few paces away from the fire. A basket, half full of dried berries, sat up near one of his outstretched hands, as though waiting to be devoured should the man wake up. Robin let out a small smile as he knelt down next to him, hovering over him so that he could keep his voice low, and yet still depend on the other man hearing him.
However Much barely stirred when Robin first called his name, mumbling something that was hardly coherent as he continued sleeping. Waiting for a moment Robin tried again, and then a third time with little more than the same effect. Sitting back on his haunches Robin rubbed his face tiredly, letting out a soft groan.
He hated to travel alone, and yet he knew Much would be the only one willing to follow him without any questions, or waking the rest of the camp as well. In the pit of his heart Robin knew he should wait till morning, send the camp one way, and take Much back with him and meet up with the others later. And yet he was anxious. He needed to see…needed to be sure.
Letting out a nod Robin turned to his long time friend, smiling briefly. "Sleep well my friend. I'll be back by morning."
There was no way that Marian would be there. Robin and the others had seen her off nearly a month ago. After fleeing Gibson, and the wedding, Robin knew that Marian would not be safe in Locksley anymore. It wouldn't be long before Gibson would come calling, either to woo her once again, or to destroy her once and for all. The only difficultly lie in convincing her of that fact.
But he hadn't needed to. Marian already had her own will to set out, to disappear essentially. There had been too many close calls, and she knew her time of safety had run out. Gibson would no longer trust her, and she could no longer count on his softened heart to protect her from the grasping hands of the Sheriff. Where she would go was up to her; a secret she would not even divulge to Robin.
Facing the fact that he may never see her again was difficult. There was no doubt in his mind that he loved her, and his foolish heart held strong with the fact that she too still held a deep emotion for him in return. Robin doubted she would ever say so, but it was steadiness and almost mysterious manner that kept him so intrigued. More than anything, he knew he could not keep Marian in such danger through his own selfish desires. The day he watched her leave was the same day that part of his heart had died.
For the past week however, troubling thoughts had seeped into his mind. There were times he had been certain that he had heard Marian's cries. He would wake up, eyes searching in the darkness, finding nothing, and hearing only the quiet calls of the creatures that roamed the nights. Reality, however, was not enough to reassure him. He needed to see with his own eyes in order for his heart to believe. Robin needed to know for certain that Marian had not returned. Surely she wouldn't be so careless…would she?
Time had passed, and the moon had moved from the edge of the trees to the middle of the sky, shining down with an eerie glow as he pressed on. He would have to hurry if he wished to return to his men by morning. True enough they would not worry deeply if he was not, for more than once had he left in the midst of the night without anyone's knowledge. They would wait until his return, whether it be by midday or even later in that evening. What Robin did not want to face was the barrage of questions that would come his way. Surely none of his men would understand, and he would too embarrassed to admit his foolish worries.
Foolish wasn't a strong enough word; at least he had thought, until he heard the cries. Nearly at the edge of the woods he rushed forward, pressing against the trees as he peered out in the darkness. He knew her house by sight, and by his heart, but what he saw now sickened him. The beauty of which he had grown up with, the house, in which he had first met Marian, was devoured in flames. The wavering glow lit the area around, chasing away the darkness as the fire continued to burn.
The screams came again, Robin's gaze being pulled away from the disaster in time to see men and women racing through the streets in fear. Men on horseback raced behind, bows drawn and swords flashing as they gained on them. The strum of the bow, and the slicing of flesh and bone filled the air followed by deathly pain-filled screams as the countless victims fell. The very sight, and sound, sickened him.
These were once his people; still were his people, even if only by heart. He had an oath, a promise kept by himself, to protect them. Still, it mattered little; anyone, his people or not, no one deserved to be treated in such a manner. Reaching behind him, Robin grabbed an arrow and strung his bow. It was his only defense; everything else had been left behind at camp for what was supposed to be a simple trip. Sighting in, he paused, and then released.
The arrow flew true, hitting his first target straight on. The mounted man fell without so much of a sound and Robin raced in. The horse, frightened by the commotion stood, rearing back and kicking out with strong powerful legs. Legs that the outlaw nearly missed as he ducked by. His bow was ready again as he pushed further into the mass chaos. Around him people were screaming and crying, weaving in and out of fences, and burning houses as strangely clad men pursed them. A second later, there was one less of them, the arrow buried deeply in his chest.
Already Robin was moving, pausing only long enough to find his next target. A woman cornered against a fence let out a cry as a sword swung towards her. It never hit its mark however, and the man fell at her feet as Robin pulled her out of the way. Tears stained her dirty face, her hair hanging in locks and shriveled with ash and soot from the raging fires all around. Robin could barely recognize her, for the trying months had sapped her spirit, and her youth.
"Ann, listen to me."
His voice seemed to coax her out of her trance, and she grabbed hold of him, her tears returning as the cries and screams around her continued. "Robin…thank goodness you're here."
"Listen to me," he scolded her lightly, pulling her to the ground next to the dead man. He needed help in this battle, but he could not leave these people on their own. Short on weapons, and severely outnumbered, Robin was confident that he would be fine as long as he stuck to the shadows. Still, he needed help, whether it be now, or later, it was better than none at all. He could guarantee this woman's safety, and secure his own all at the same time.
"Find my men," he whispered, eyes glancing above the still form as he continued to talk. "follow the path into the forest, keep going straight. They will find you, and let them know that I need them. Take them back here."
He waited, to see if she would argue, but relief flooded him as she nodded sadly, tears falling from her eyes. Robin quickly pulled off the woven band that hung around his neck, looping it over her own head. "This will prove to them that your word is true," he assured her, squeezing her hand. "Hurry, I'll cover you until you are in the forest."
There were many questions he wanted to ask her, many things he wanted to know, but nothing was more important than the present right now. The past could wait, and Robin urged the woman on, bow strung and ready to fire if anyone should take notice of her small form passing through the chaotic battleground. Robin hadn't needed to tell her to stick to the shadows, and he watched until her form passed through the first line of trees before moving.
Two more arrows were gone, as were two more of the strange men. Robin reached back for another, stepping further into the battle as people swarmed around him. It hadn't taken long for his people to realize that he was protecting them, and they craved the promise of safety. His hand, however, closed on empty air, and the feeling of cold dread sunk in his heart as he realized his arrows were all gone.
Hope wasn't completely lost though as Robin ducked an oncoming sword. He had half-tripped, half-fallen over one of the dead men, and his finger wrapped around the hilt of the sword, pulling it free. The next blow to come at him was blocked by a parry of his own.
Robin fought his way to his feet, having more than enough experience from the wars before to know how to defend himself. A parry here, a thrust here, followed by a duck, and turn and a jab, and another man lie bleeding at his feet. There was no rest for him however, as two more were on him shortly.
He was strong, and well-built, able to hold his own during a battle. It was one of the reasons he had done so well in the Holy Lands until that one faithful night. But he couldn't keep going forever, and with no one else to distract the men from their target, Robin soon found himself wearing down. Help was no where near; Robin knew that now would be the best time to retreat, but the men only seemed to grow in numbers. He kept turning, peering out the corner of his eyes for the next coming blow, able to block it moments before impact. A man to his left raised his sword above his head, and Robin moved to counter it, taking his eyes off the other. It was a costly mistake.
The steel cut through his flesh, sliding in between his ribs, sending shearing pain racing through his body. Robin wasn't sure if he cried out or not, and if he did it was only lost among the drowning sound around him. His knees took the brunt impact of his fall, Robin clutching the salvaged sword in his hands as though it was his only source of life as his vision wavered before him.
The sword, red with his own blood was pulled swiftly from his side, raised high above him, and ready to deal the final blow. It never came; with one hand Robin held onto his own sword, the other wrapped around his chest protectively as he tried to breathe around the throbbing pain. The man who seemed so intent on killing him had backed off, sword now resting tip first into the dirt. Robin wasn't sure if that was a blessing or a curse.
Waves of nausea spread through his body as he tried to breathe, his breath catching with each painful movement of his severed ribs. His eyes were closed, trying to dispel dizzying feeling. Though the fires raged, and cries continued, it had seemed to become eerily quiet, and Robin forced his eyes open, focusing on the pair of boots that stopped before him. Robin hadn't even had the strength to get up, but there was no need as the newcomer crouched before him.
"Gisborne," Robin whispered his name feverishly, "You're behind this?"
"You seem so surprised," Gisborne cooed softly, "Did you really believe that your actions would go unpunished?"
"These people…have done nothing," Robin breathed, desperately clinging onto the thread of life he still had. It was difficult…with each beat of his racing heart more and more blood seeped out between his fingers. There wasn't much time left.
"Someone has to pay Robin," Gisborne reminded him coldly, "and if the guilty cannot, then the innocent shall."
"The Sheriff…put you up…to this?"
"It doesn't matter," he replied coldly, "Justice will be served one way or another; I was rather hoping for a confession of your whereabouts from one of your loyal subjects, and put an end to your silly group of men, but I think I'll settle for this instead."
"Then you've failed," Robin told him quietly, his teeth clenching at the pain as his world began to grow fuzzy. "For I will be dead before you get a word from me."
"You won't die," Gisborne's voice was cold, without a hint of irony, "but you will wish you had."
Robin hadn't the time to think about what the man had said before the darkness enclosed him altogether, leaving him in a world without pain, and without any hope.