A/N: This idea came to Beth a while ago, she mentioned it to me and we developed it together and decided to write this shared fic. A series of letters written by Robin and Marian during the crusade but never sent, each chapter is a letter sent by one of them (odd chapters are Robin's and even Marian's) put into a bit of context. Set before Series One, it follows the fours years that Robin is in the holy land. Beth does the odd chapters and i do the even.
Robin let the chainmail fall to the floor. Setting his sword down on the make-shift desk he sat down and let out a sigh. He pulled a piece of blank parchment towards him, he wasn't going to write an order down as he normally would, nor was he going to write brief note to the King or a soldier. On this piece of parchment he would write the letter he should have written when he arrived here. A letter back home, a letter for England; for Nottinghamshire. A letter for Marian.
But his mind was as blank as the piece of parchment; as blank as it was when he had arrived. As blank as it always was when he sat down to write this letter. In Marian he could confide his darkest secrets, tell his greatest news but he could not put it in writing; could not put it down on paper. And it wasn't that he was just uncomfortable – he could not crack a joke to alleviate tension here, he could not kiss her in the middle of a tale to relieve her worries – it was that he couldn't bring himself to tell her the horrors that he faced here. He could not honestly tell her what things he saw daily.
He shook his head, he was wrong. He could write to her; he could pour out his emotions and thoughts onto this piece of parchment. He grabbed the pot of ink and dipped the quill into it and began to write what he truly felt.
To my dearest Marian,
These 'Holy Crusades' are far from holy. We fight in the name of God yet what we do is in no way Christian. Today I watched two men die for the 'greater good' yet I cannot find any good in this mess. King Richard says that with each day we are one step closer to accomplishing God's work, yet with each day more men die. I do not see the justice in this.
I miss you. I miss you're hair; your chestnut curls and your sky blue eyes. Your perfect smile and gorgeous lips and your pale, soft skin, the way your cheek feels underneath my palm and your warm presence. I long to have you back in my arms, to hear your voice, just to see you. Love hurts but it is a pain I will endure for you; for us. When this is over I will come back to England; back to us and we will live out our lives together, I Promise.
Sometimes I think of leaving, running and getting on the next ship back to England; but being a coward is a bad thing to be and the other option is feigning illness and I think that scampering off home when others risk their lives out here is a cruel and bad thing to do. So I will stay here, though it pains me to do so, I am doing what my King and country asks of me; that means I am doing what it is right, no?
I dreamt of you last night and it was a horrible thing to do to wake up and see the roof of my tent; of my home out here, and know that you were thousands of miles away, out of reach, out of my grasp. I thought of your last birthday, when we danced and I remember looking into your eyes and hoping we could stay that way forever, twirling infinitely, gazing into the deeps of each other's eyes; each other's souls. I don't remember the noise, the people talking, whispering behind their hands, covering their voices, I don't recall the tittle-tattle and the laughter and the pointing, and I just remember me and you. Together.
I remember your tears though, they way they made tracks down your cheeks, and I remember thinking that I had never seen anyone cry so perfectly, impeccably and flawlessly. But then that is you; flawless in my eyes.
I did not rub them away, try to make them disappear; there is no point in hiding the truth; pretending what happened did not.
I cannot change what I have done, the past is irreversible however much we will it, but I can make a better future, a brighter one. That's what I'm doing here; now. You understand that don't you?
Because if you do not understand then I see no point in what I'm doing, no reason for my being here. I am doing this for you; for us. I am doing this for my country my King but I am doing it for you too, because you cannot fight yourself, you can't fight out here so am doing it for you.
I love you.
You are always in my thoughts and often in my dreams,
He stared at the parchment for a moment, he did not need to reread what he had written, he was not going to cross out a line, he was not going to cover the truth. He had written his true feelings. Written what had been on his mind, and, lord, it felt good to have it out in the open, to have these thoughts and feelings written somewhere rather than floating around in his head. Constantly on his mind.
"Master?" Much's head popped through the tent's opening and Robin turned around in his chair to face his companion, the letter on his desk. "Any post you want sent?"
Robin paused "No" he shook his head and turned back round, placing his hand over the parchment.
Much waited for a moment, checking that his master was sure and then stepped outside to collect other soldiers post and letters.
Robin carefully picked up the parchment and folded it into two, and then halved it again and again until it was a small square then he delved into his breeches pocket and withdrew a needle. He found a small length of string and then pulled off his tunic. His placed it on the ground near his chainmail and threaded the needle. Bending over he picked up his discarded tunic and then the parchment square. And then he started to sew, once finished he smiled a small grin and lifted up his tunic to see his handiwork, an inch from the bottom was the square of parchment neatly sewed and hidden from view. The first square in a line that would continue for years.
He pulled the tunic over his head and slotted his arms through the appropriate holes; he felt at the edge of the tunic for the small square and smiled when he felt it.
He had written the words he had wanted to write for so long. But he would not send this letter.