Disclaimer: Sadly I'm only borrowing the characters of BBC's Robin Hood.
A/N: Ah yes, season 2 episode 3, I liked this scene (I wonder why...) and wrote this slightly extended version.
Marian handed her cloak to the servant just inside Locksley's dining hall. Her nod dismissed the man, who melted back out into the hallway obviously relieved not to be given the dubious honour of informing his master that his errant fiancee had come calling.
Marian paused for a moment to gather herself, still unsure of what she was going to say to Guy to explain her presence. It wasn't as though she could explain it herself. While the pass she had secured from the Sheriff meant that she had to come here, deep down she knew that was not what had driven her from the castle this night - some strange part of her wanted to see Guy. The same part of her that missed his scowling presence in the castle and the heavy weight of those blue eyes trailing her every move.
She gave herself a stern shake and straightened her shoulders. He was Sir Guy to her now as he'd made clear. He was a brute and liar who had destroyed her home. Her righteous anger flared with these thoughts and she stepped around the heavy oak door and into the warmth of the room.
Before rocking back on her heels, her eyes widening in shock - all her anger draining out of her.
Bathed in the flickering light of the fire, Guy stood, wearing only a loose pair of woollen trousers and leg armour which glittered dully in the light. His torso was bare and his dark hair was falling into his eyes as he buckled a piece of armour onto his tensed left arm with total concentration.
Marian felt herself flush as she watched him, unnoticed. Her gaze tracing up and down his body. In her mind's eye she saw herself taking on the task of the guard who was assisting Guy in donning the armour. She laughed nervously at her wildly inappropriate thoughts and stepped forward her eyes still riveted on the imposing figure before her.
The guard looked up and blanched slightly, his sudden movement alerting his master.
"Forgive me." Marian breathed out as Guy's gaze caught hers, suddenly aware of the impropriety of her being there at all, never mind with Guy in his current state of undress.
Guy slowly lowered his arm and his eyes seemed to stare straight through her, "Marian, it's late."
Marian lips parted as those familiar tones washed over her. He sounded impatient, but his gaze didn't falter.
"What's so urgent?" He asked, cursing the hint of concern that laced his tone. Reminding himself that this was the woman who had humiliated him. A woman who now meant less than nothing to him.
Without conscious thought Marian spoke, "I wished to speak with you..." Guy tilted his head, his expression studiously distant.
Marian continued, resolute "...about a personal matter."
Guy tugged the piece of armour off his arm and handed it to the guard before dismissing him with a nod of his head, "I'll send for you."
He watched as the guard left, but found his eyes resting on Marian as she stood, unusually reticent before him.
He stepped down from the box which had aided him in donning his armour and strode towards her, purposely looking over her head as if her face held nothing of interest to him.
Marian didn't dare encounter his eyes, so instead watched the play of muscles in his taut stomach as he walked, wetting her suddenly dry lips as she stared.
Guy almost smiled as she took an imperceptible step back when he came to a stop in front of her.
"Yeah, what is it?" He tone was dismissive, but his dark eyes were cataloguing every curve of her body, the pale skin displayed by gown and the subtle shimmer of candle light dancing through her hair.
"There is bad blood between us." Marian replied, surprising herself once again while realising that this was truly what she needed to say to him.
Guy looked away exhaling a short, bitter laugh, "You overestimate yourself."
His tone was quiet and controlled, but his actions belied his feigned indifference. He couldn't hold her gaze as he spoke and found himself blinking and looking away, anything to avoid her beautiful face and being forced to confront the truth of his feelings.
"I had feelings for you." He looked up at her suddenly and Marian was rocked by the intensity of his regard, "I made no bones about it."
She felt a stab low in her gut as she shared the pain that Guy, for a moment, had revealed. That ache grew with his next words.
"But now I feel nothing."
Guy was certain she would challenge that last comment, tell him that his eyes betrayed the truth - that feeling nothing was as far away from the truth of his feeling for her as was possible.
He continued to babble about his greater concerns and desire for power, looking away from her towards the far wall, but all the time knowing that the greatest prize he sought could not be won by force of arms, or intimidation and that every victory he won, every inch of progress towards the power be craved would be hollow without this woman at his side.
"Is there no hope of a reconciliation?" Marian's words shocked him back to the present and into the blue-green cage of her gaze.
They looked at one and other wide-eyed, neither sure where those words had come from or what the appropriate response could or should be.
"I know that you are a man capable of compassion," Marian continued, Guy turned away embarrassed that the very flaws that hindered his search for power were the ones that Marian would pick out to praise.
She would be his undoing, he knew this. His eyes closed and the muscles in his jaw tightened and as he reflected on how to end the madness of this conversation and to damp down the hope that was flaring once more in his heart.
Marian could see the conflict on Guy's face and found herself stepping forward.
She licked her lips and spoke hesitantly, "I offer..."
Guy's head slowly turned hope and mistrust warring on his face.
She stepped closer her hand outstretched agonisingly close to his taut golden skin, "I offer... friendship."
Guy breathed raggedly and took her hand, revelling in the softness of her skin and the fierce joy of the first time where she had reached out to him.
Marian found her own pulse racing, a wave of heat flooding down her arm from where Guy gently caressed her hand.
"Guy." Her voice shook as she spoke, overwhelmed as she was by feelings that she had never encountered before and certainly never expected the man before her to inspire.
The weight of the look that answered her breathy articulation of his name forced her to look away and there - in the window - she saw Robin.
In that instant she hated Robin for shattering this most private moment, before she recollected herself and started to pull away from Guy.
Guy caught her hand, "What?" He asked, there was puzzlement in his gaze but his expression was still open, hopeful.
Marian couldn't bear for him to go back to staring at her with dark disapproval, "I don't know" was all she could find to say to explain herself.
"Marian, what is this all about?" Guy knew that he sounded desperate, but now that she had given him hope he needed her to admit that she cared about him.
Marian stared at him, at the honest passion in his face, and found she couldn't answer, so she repeated her words of a moment before, "It's about friendship, that's all."
She saw the disappointment steal across his features and the doors into his soul clang shut again.
"No. This isn't about friendship" Guy couldn't accept her words and the sudden change in her demeanour, he had not mistaken her earlier, he knew it. He searched for an explanation and stepped in closer to her.
"You want your freedom back," he reached out and stroked the perfect skin of her cheek, unable to help himself, "That is what this is all about. And I cannot give that to you."
Marian suddenly realised that she was still clutching his hand and she pulled it back, unaccountably angry that Guy could believe her capable of offering herself to him simply to gain her freedom.
His fist closed for a moment, mourning the loss of her touch before he spoke again his tone suddenly flinty, "You and your father have made your own bed."
Marian knew a dismissal when she heard one but she had no intention of leaving matters between them in this way.
The sound of footsteps intruded on both their thoughts and Guy closed his eyes seeking to calm the fury that was fraying the edges of his control. He called out, "Whatever it is, it can wait. No interruptions."
The footsteps halted and after a quiet 'yes my lord' they echoed away.
Guy noticed that Marian's attention had been drawn to the window again and that she shivered slightly.
"Sit by the fire Marian." He commanded, concerned that the breeze had chilled her, and he walked to the windows to pull the shutters closed.
Marian, terrified that he would see Robin, stood frozen to the spot, but Robin had sulked back into the shadows near the stable as soon as Guy had begun moving.
Guy fastened the latch and turned to find Marian staring at him. "I asked you to sit and get warm." He said, leaning back against the window, his arms folded across his chest.
She raised an eyebrow, "Actually I think you ordered me to sit, My Lord."
She watched his biceps tense at her words and wished once again that she could guard her tongue better.
Guy watched her settle before the fire and found himself explaining, "I was simply concerned that you were cold Marian."
Marian looked up at him surprised by the explanation and the quiet warmth she felt as he said her name.
Guy shifted position unfolding his arms, trying to look less defensive, but as he watched the firelight dancing through her curls, he found himself gripping the window sill to stop himself from reaching for her again.
They stared at one another as silence lengthened across the room.
The silence grew deeper and Marion found that the weight of Guy's gaze was making her want to shift in her seat. Her discomfort, was accompanied by a strange heat throughout her body which had nothing to do with the fire, and that heat grew as she watched the rise and fall of Guy's chest as he breathed.
She watched, fascinated, as a sharp gust of wind rattled the shutters and caused goose-flesh to prickle across Guy's skin.
She coughed slightly, "I think perhaps you should beware a chill too, Guy."
He smiled inwardly at the sound of his name on her lips, before recollecting that it was highly improper of him to be alone, half dressed with Marian. His clothes were in another room and he was not leaving to collect them, nor was he sending for a servant, he walked over to the fire and leant one hand on the chimney breast, while he regarded the woman seated in front of him.
He was aware that his anger with her was slipping away again making way for softer, warmer emotions that made him weak. He hand flexed into a fist, he had to make himself hate her.
"What would I want with your friendship Marian?" He asked suddenly, his expression darkened as he continued to speak, "All you have brought me is ridicule and pain."
Marian recognised that a sincere emotion underlay his words, but she refused to acknowledge it, deciding instead to challenge him.
"Pain?" She retorted, lifting her chin towards him, "You lied to get me to marry you."
She stood up, hands on her hips, ignoring the warning glint in Guy's expression, "And then you placed me under arrest and burnt my home to the ground."
Sudden tears welled in her eyes and she stared at the floor, "You took away my home and everything in the past that I hold dear."
Those words lanced through Guy to bring a desolation that he had never felt before. "Everything Marian?" He grated out.
"What about me?" He strode towards her, arms rigid at his sides, "You destroyed any hope I felt for the future." He paused and whirled away from her. "The ashes of Knighton cannot be as bitter as each day I face knowing that I will forever be without you by my side."
Marian had never thought to hear such despairing words from Guy, but she recognised his honest agony from the tense set of his shoulders as he faced away from her.
She stepped hesitantly towards him, reaching out again with her hand. Her palm hovered momentarily and she thought she could feel the heat radiating off him across the small distance between his skin and hers.
She hesitated for a moment before giving in to the urge to touch him.
Guy's muscles bunched under her hand and then he slowly relaxed with the soothing feel of her hands on him.
"Marian." He breathed out, his voice as ragged with want as hers had been when he had held her hand earlier.
He slowly turned to face her, her palm gliding across his shoulder and down his arm, a caress that shook him to his core with its untaught intimacy and innocence.
When her hand reached his wrist, he laced their fingers together brought her hand to his lips, gently turning it over.
Marian shivered as she felt Guy's breath warm on her palm. She was mesmerised by his gentleness and the contrast with the scarcely leashed passion in his eyes.
For an infinite moment they stood together, on the edge of some unknown cliff, each ready to voice truths that they had not even recognised until this moment, when sounds in the corridor intruded.
The guard did not enter and there was an undercurrent of fear in his voice, "My Lord, a messenger from the Sheriff." There was a nervous pause, "He says that it is urgent."
Guy took a shuddering breath, willing the messenger away, but it was too late. The real world had intruded and Guy could see Marion slowly withdrawing into herself at the reminder of where his loyalties lay.
"I should go." She stated, but did not pull back from him.
She looked at him questioningly, "Guy?"
He gazed at her, "Please, give me a chance to show you..." He trailed off unable to make himself say the words.
Marion stared at him for another long moment and then dropped her gaze to the floor as unwanted, but inescapable disappointment flooded her.
Guy couldn't bear to see her turn away and his other hand reached across to cup her cheek and trace the outline of her face, he felt her eyelashes flutter against his palm as she looked back up at him.
Suddenly the words came easily, "Please... just a chance to put right my actions." There was a momentary pause, then he plunged over the precipice, "And show how much I love you."
Marion almost staggered as she heard those words and glimpsed the one pure part of Guy's soul - the part that she, unknowingly, had claimed.