Disclaimer: I don't own anything Robin Hood, etc.
Summary: A private meeting between past lovers to set things right. Missing scene after S1, E1.
Note: New RH author here. Would love feedback. Please R&R.
A Wink and a Smile
A heavy sigh of relief proceeded her into the private sanctuary of her bedroom.
Finally. She was home. She was safe. She was…
The open window was her first clue. The shallow, familiar breathing was the second. When the faint scent, a mixture of woodsy nature and arrogance, accosted her senses she knew she had a larger than life problem in the form of a boy not yet grown up.
Without turning, she addressed him. "Five years and you still haven't worked out the proper way to enter a room."
"And if I did…" She could hear the taunting laughter in his voice. "…where would be the fun in that?"
Her eyes drifted closed as an involuntary smile flitted through her expression then tumbled to her stomach, surprising a riot of butterflies into flight. The sound of his voice filling her room once more was all the proof she needed.
She hadn't been dreaming. Robin of Locksley truly had returned. Apparently unscathed. Seemingly unchanged. To do what he always did…cause trouble and wreak havoc on her rebellious heart.
She swallowed hard as her smile faded into a determined line. A heart she'd worked too hard to tame. Fought too hard to hide. She must stop him from discovering it. Unleashing it. From unraveling it like he'd so many times before.
Lives depended on it.
"Congratulations. Two powerful enemies in a day. That must be a personal record." She turned to face him, her tumultuous emotions carefully tucked away behind a mask of indifference. "Now your presence is a danger for all of us. But I'm sure you know that so…what are you doing here?"
From the shadows, a flicker of a smile touched his lips as his appreciative gaze caressed her cloaked form. "I came to thank you." His tone was light, teasing. As he leaned against a post, his stance was relaxed, casual. A perfect contrast to the tense, life-altering events of the day. "It seems you saved my life today."
The words were too true and the memory of that moment caused a slight shiver to race through her. A bow raised. An arrow pointed at his heart. She acted impulsively. Foolishly. Her own ornate hairpin left her hand before she had a chance to think. Her accuracy unerringly shifted the path of the arrow.
And aligned herself with an outlaw.
Yes, she had saved his life. And could lose more than her own in return.
If anyone suspected…
A flash of irritation narrowed her gray-blue eyes as she turned from him and removed her elegant beige cloak. She tossed it carelessly on the bed, hoping the action, any action, would still the now obvious trembling of her hand. "Yet here you stand, risking it yet again to tell me something we both already know."
She slowly turned back to meet his gaze, pushing the cold assessment through tight lips. "You are a bigger fool than I thought."
He was clearly unfazed.
"The Marian I know had a thing for fools." Robin commented as an eyebrow of inquiry silently raised. "The Marian I know relished danger. The Marian I know…"
"The Marian you know did what apparently you have not." She paused, her voice layered with superiority. "She grew up."
That infuriating quirk of his lips sent a rippling dimple to his cheek. His amused gaze shifted momentarily to an unseen object in his hands before flickering back to her face. A perceptive question hung between them. "Is that so?"
"It is." Her delicate chin rose in defiance. "In the five years you've been off searching for glory, a lot has changed, Robin of Locksley. I am no longer the reckless girl who would follow you into any ill-advised adventure for a mere wink and smile."
"Then why'd you do it?" For the first time, a hint of seriousness slipped through his devious blue eyes.
"Save my life." He challenged.
"Because I can't bear to see the suffering of others." She allowed a hint of disdain to flow through her words, hoping and praying it would be enough to throw him off his exasperatingly intuitive trail. She turned her back on him to emphasis her dismissal of the subject. "No matter how deserving of punishment they may be."
His expression was deceptively pensive while his tongue raced on to voice his already formed thoughts. "Yet you were willing to watch my peasants die. Encouraged me to let them, in fact."
The subtle rustle of fabric and the soft pad of sole against wood announced his slow, steady advance toward her. She stiffened and prepared. "Instead, I went against your advice and was ready to pay the consequences that, according to you, I richly deserve."
He was at her back now, his voice soft and probing. "So, I ask again…" He gently turned her to face him and bent slightly till his penetrating gaze captured hers in a mesmerizing search for truth. "Why did you do it? Could it be you are not as changed as you seem?"
The butterflies were back. Fierce and bold, their delicate wings shifted them from stomach to heart. Their usually elusive flutter turned to heavy, irregular drum beats.
The weight of his hands on her shoulders sent a shock to her system, shutting it down and making it come alive with that one touch. Gentle, but strong enough to ground her. Root her to her spot. Stimulating, yet numbing the part of her that needed to think, to reason, to fight.
And connecting her to a past she had desperately tried to forget.
How many times had they stood like this? Eye to eye. Heart to heart. Reading each other—understanding--saying in the silence what they dared not voice aloud.
Robin was usually better at these silent battles. He could hide longer and perceive much better the secrets she tried to shield. It was his eyes. They were lethal. Ever-changing. From the sparkling blue of a mocking taunt to the gentle green of adoration they were the only weapon in his arsenal that Marian was powerless against.
That, and his smile…
Catching herself before her surrender was complete, Marian summoned all her will power and pushed Robin backward, rolling her eyes in a visual scoff that was echoed in her tone. "In your dreams."
"Yes." Robin softly countered. "You were."
And he'd found the string.
"When I said I had thought of you…I lied."
And began to pull.
"Truth is…" A whispered confession. "…I carried you with me." A haunted gaze. "Every step I took."
And her heart began to unravel.
Panic pounded away at the door of reason. Her rebellious heart ignored it. She was falling. Fast. The air between them had shifted, introducing a pull so strong, so primal, the will to fight simply shriveled away at the emotion in his eyes. Before she knew it, she gravitating toward him, captivated…
A sudden crashing sound from downstairs snapped Marian out of her daze and the couple jumped apart as if they'd been stung. Marian felt her cheeks flame hot with shame. He chuckled. Ignoring him and the moment that had just passed, she hurried past Robin in an effort to escape his maddening influence on her.
Marian flung the door open and called downstairs. "Father? Father, are you alright?"
"Yes, dear. I simply dropped a bowl." The older man's reassuring voice drifted to the second floor. "I'm fine. Please, do go back to bed."
She breathed a sigh of relief. It was nothing. And yet, it was everything.
She slowly closed the door on the girl Robin owned and turned back to him a woman he did not know.
"A word of advice." Her eyes met his in a steady, unaffected gaze. "Take a good, long look around before you attempt to resurrect anything the past has buried." Her voice lowered meaningfully. "What is lost is not so easily regained."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sensing the change in her, his tone tightened.
"You profess to be intelligent." She brushed past him, her shoulder hitting his in defiance as she headed toward her dressing table. "You figure it out."
"Is this about Gisborne?"
"Gisborne?" Marion echoed, satisfaction rippling through her at the obvious hint of jealousy in his voice. She could use that. "Well, I supposed in a way, it is."
"Why? Because he enjoys the pleasure of your company?" He tried to sound light. He managed miffed.
"He makes no secret of his feelings." Marian shot back, relishing the upper hand for once. "Or his desires."
She discarded the earrings hanging from her delicate lobes. "And by your impulsive actions today you have handed to him the right to steal your life." Back in full control, she turned to face him. "Do you really not understand what you've done?"
"I delivered justice."
"Justice?" Incredulity laced her rising tone. "Robin, you have publicly declared war on the Sherriff and by doing so, Gisborne now has your lands and soon your title…"
"I'll get them back." Arms crossed in front of him, confidence enveloped him like a cloak.
"When King Richard returns."
"If he returns." Marian mocked. "Until then…Robin, you are an outlaw now. You have nothing. No home, no power, no standing…"
"So, is what things have come down to for you? Land and titles are more important than lives."
His accusation cut. But she could use that too. "Like I said…take a good look."
"Oh, I have." His penetrating gaze held hers. In that moment, some silent question only he could hear was asked and answered.
Two predatory steps backed her into her bed post. Then, he was standing before her, closer than they'd been before. His nearness was intoxicating. But not nearly as much as his velvet of his voice. "A lot has changed…" Gaze locked on hers, he leaned forward. One searing hand slipped to her waist. "….but some things…" His fingers brushed her cheek before sliding into the folds of her hair. "…have not."
Panic pounded away at the door of reason. This time, she heeded the warning.
"Oh, grow up." She knocked his arm away in annoyance. Her fierce command was delivered as much to the irritating man before her as it was to her own traitorous body as it turned into an unladylike mush at the mere brush of his hand. She broke eye contact in a desperate attempt to not be pulled again under his wicked spell.
His chuckle was low and knowing. His grin, infuriatingly smug. His whisper, a heated challenge. "You first."
His exit happened entirely too quickly. So quickly, that a breathless Marian reacted the only way she could. She clenched her hands and growled in childish frustration.
Running to the window, she searched for him in the shadows, but he had disappeared.
Her annoyed pacing lasted long enough for her jumbled emotions to tumble into some semblance of order. It was one night, one slip. She surely wouldn't see him much now, not as his outlaw status began to spread. It would be too dangerous for all of them. Surely, he understood that.
Releasing a shaky breath, Marian slipped onto the edge of her bed and absently reached up to remove her one remaining hairpin. Her hand paused. Her expression registered surprise and then horror.
For instead of one hairpin, she had discovered two.
Staring at the pair in her hand, realization clicked into place. It had been lodged in the guard's uniform. He must have gone back to the castle to find it. Risking his life. Yet again. He must have slipped it in her hair when he…
The stupidity of her actions overwhelmed her. If anyone had discovered the owner…
Yes, she had saved his life today. But tonight, he'd saved hers right back.
Marian jumped up from the bed, her attention instantly drawn to the open window. Twinkling eyes greeted her. Their gaze held. She took an involuntary step forward.
The flash of his grin stopped her.
"You really should learn..."
His perceptive chuckle annoyed her.
"...to clean up your own messes."
His sparkling eyes melted her.
"You reckless girl..."
With those words, Robin disappeared into the night, beckoning her to follow him on his newest ill-advised adventure…
…with a wink and a smile.