Disclaimer BBC's Robin Hood is not mine and neither is Sir Guy (tragically)
A/N - reviews are always welcome
Marian was wandering through the hallways of the castle trying to dispel the boredom and frustration of captivity. She swung her arms, her fists clenching - never had she realised how much she valued her freedom or how much freedom she had been gifted by her father until it was taken away from her.
She wanted to be doing something, helping someone, not trapped in the Sheriff's lair - her only purpose to scavenge for news that Robin could act on.
A tame spy - when she'd been helping the poor and unfortunate of Nottingham long before the Hood's legend was born!
She sighed, forcing her uncharacteristic melancholy away. Dwelling on her misfortune wasn't going to change anything.
She forged on along the corridor, her spirits lifting as the dark stone walls gave way to one of the inner cloistered courtyards and the mellow sunlight of autumn.
One storey below, a gaggle of serving women from the hall were beating the dust from the fine rugs that the Sheriff had liberally scattered throughout his domain.
Marian sat on the cold stone, framed in an opening, listening.
The women chattered about inconsequential things.
Of work. Of home. Of families.
Marian ached with her lack of a similar groups of confidants. Sarah was her friend, but the easy banter of those below her in the courtyard was a bitter reminder of her isolation.
Suddenly the topic shifted and a blushing younger maid, named Margaret, confessed news of a suitor.
Broom handles were left unregarded as the women gathered around, pressing for details.
Marion smiled despite herself and leant forward to get a better view of the blushing girl.
"I feel like a spring morning when he smiles at me." Margaret smiled as she explained.
Marian's eyes closed as the girl described her first love, Robin's face forming in her mind. She remembered the first flush of love she'd felt for him that endless spring. Their gentle, hesitant courtship. Reminders of golden days past, of happiness, security and contentment. Then had come his decision to leave her, unwed. The doubts of separation and fear that he would never return.
But return he had. And it seemed her feelings, his feelings, their feelingshad not changed. That same unshadowed, innocent pleasure in the other's company. Like a long lost brother he'd come back to her.
Marion frowned at the comparison she'd made in her head. What had made her think of Robin that way?
She dismissed the thought and returned staunchly to recalling how his mischievous grin made her smile. The reticent way he held her - always careful, always respectful.
She smiled slightly and leant her chin on her hand as she watched the too-ing and fro-ing the courtyard. It had been a while since she'd had the luxury of indulging girlish thoughts.
Several of the women, including Margaret, were dispatched back into the Castle to return clean rugs and bring others out to clean. Two of the older women watched the retreating figures.
"I can scarce remember feeling that way." One remarked.
The other pushed grey strands from her damp forehead, "First loves," She picked up the broom and set at one of the remaining rugs with vigour, "She'll grow out of it."
"You're not taken with your niece's choice then Eleanor?" The other woman asked.
Eleanor snorted, "She described a beloved hound the same way once before." She leant on her broom handle, "Oh he'll do well enough, and they do care for one and other. I suppose I'm wrong to wish she could know more, find more."
The other woman picked up her broom and soon clouds of dust were swirling in the sunshine, "How does that ballad go? That fevered need. The unquenchable flame. Two souls bound together through tempest and fire. Forged and tempered for one to complete the other. Is that what you'd wish on her?"
Eleanor paused, a secret smile on her face, "Aye."
Marion's grip on the stone wall had tightened and flakes of mortar dusted her nails. Her face had paled and her pupils were ringed with white. The women's words had brought forth a very different image in her mind.
Gone was the softness and safety of spring and Robin's boyish affection.
Instead she saw only a man clad in black.
Dark eyes that never ceased to follow her.
A gaze that weighed more than lead, yet caressed her like silk.
A snarl of emotion that both felt but neither could explain.
A man of ambition. A man of power who accepted no restraints in his exercise of it.
She shook her head unconsciously - that was a lie and she knew it - he did temper his actions and he did it only to please her.
While she could stare into Robin's limpid brown eyes and feel nothing but gentle warmth; a few seconds holding Guy's gaze and she was stripped bare, angered and undone.
She'd put her visceral reaction to him down to mistrust and fear, but as the woman in her recognised the truth which had eluded the girl, Marion realised that, however wrong it might be, Guy was her right.