Wow, it's been a very long time since I wrote fanfic. It's good to be back.
This is what happens when I develop a new obsession that none of my friends share with me and when I have to sit at my computer to work on an essay for University. I don't know about this... I'm not sure if it even makes sense. All I know is that one moment I was writing about Spanish theatre and suddenly I was ranting about Robin Hood. Don't ask me how that happened because I honestly don't know. Anyway, that's the story behind this short piece of fanfiction.
Summary: I get that Marian is angry at Robin for leaving to the Holy War. I didn't expect her to drop everything and ran to him, jump into his arms and kissed him like there was no tomorrow. I just wished there was a little more Marin-ness. So this is my alternative meeting of Robin and Marian when he came back from the Holy Land the first time. Enjoy.
Declaimer: I don't own anything related to Robin Hood except Disney's version on DVD. That's about it. If I did own, series 3 would be so much better --and not because I think highly of myself, it's just that I believe ANYONE could do better than that.
A Morning in Locksley
She would never know what it was that drove her to Locksley even after its master was gone. Perhaps it was some morbid pleasure of hers. Perhaps it was he subconscious that made her come here, hoping every time that what she found was different. That people were happy, warm, well fed and, above all, that Gisborne wasn't Lord of the Manor. Or maybe she just liked being in the place where she had been so happy --in the house of the one she had been most happy with-- now that things had changed so much and would never be the same.
Whatever the reason, every other day Marian would climb on her horse and ride to Locksley. Sometimes she would get angry with herself and tried not to do it, but she would always caved in the end. In past five years, she had only managed to go on for four days without sneaking into the house where she had spent so many afternoons at when she was a kid.
Sometimes she was able to remain unseen; other times, however, she wasn't so lucky.
It was during one of her unfortunate visits that she met Guy of Gisborne. He had found her roaming around the garden (to this day she refused to consider Locksley as his house) and asked her what she wanted. Knowing that she couldn't tell him the truth, she had been forced to make up a lie, one she still regretted and one which consequences she still had to put up with.
"I came to see you, my Lord." She had said as sweetly as she could manage. "I have heard so many wonderful things of you that when my father told me you had been appointed to take care of the Locksley state I couldn't resist the urge to come and meet you."
Had she known that Gisborne would take her words so seriously, she never would have uttered them. She would rather hang that have him believe she was in any way interest in his affections. But she couldn't have anticipated that he would take a liking for her and that he would spend the rest three years trying to… romance her.
She had been very annoyed by him at the beginning. But as she got to know him, she realized he wasn't so bad. It was the Sheriff that was the problem: if it weren't for him, Gisborne could probably be if not a nice man, at least an average one. But he was avid for power, and in his mind only the Sheriff could give him what he most anxiously craved. There was nothing that Marian could say that would make him change his mind.
As time went by, she found that she wasn't as repulsed by his presence as someone with her beliefs ought to be. It was only when the image of one Robin of Locksley crept uninvited to her mind –usually at night, when she was powerless to stop them– that she would feel guilty. It didn't matter that she had broken their engagement long ago, or that he was most likely to be dead. Or even that she was supposed to be angry with him, should he by some miracle return to her. The truth was that she still loved Robin of Locksley, despite all the stupid things he had done, the things she had told him and everything. She loved Robin and letting herself have feelings for Gisborne felt even more like a betrayal than having feelings for anyone else.
It was usually after these nearly sleepless nights that Marian would go to Locksley. Here, where his presence was most clear, where most of her happiest memories had been made, it was easier to imagine that he was still out there, still fighting, still loving her, and that he would come back to her. When she was here, it was her heart and not her mind that ruled her for a change.
"Father, I'm going for a ride." She announced one morning after a particularly painful night of reminiscence.
"Very well. Don't be late, though. Remember that we have to go to the castle today." Edward reminded her.
"I will be back in a short while." She assured him. She really had no intention of staying long. Just to look at the house, perhaps check with one of the servants if they had gotten any news from the Holy Lands, although she didn't imagine anything had changed in such a short while.
She went to the stables, got on her horse and set off, praying that Gisborne was already in the castle because she didn't feel like dealing with him today.
Something had changed. The moment she got into town she could tell. People seemed if not happier, at least more at ease than she had seen them in a while. There were also no guards at the entrance, which was odd, considering Guy was only rarely seen without a small army to protect him –although Marian wasn't sure exactly what he needed protection from.
She walked her horse to the stables and was surprised to find it nearly empty. Only Robin's horses remained. Guy's and his servant's were gone. That was good. It meant that he was not home.
She walked back to the house and paused in front of the door, considering what to do next. If Guy wasn't home, there was really no reason for her knocking. She could go through the back door, find one of the maids and ask her what was going on.
On the other hand, however, this seemed to be like the perfect opportunity for the Nightwatchman to visit. Gisborne was gone, the house was unguarded… how often did that happen? Very, very rarely.
As a way of dealing with her sadness and also as a way to stand against the Sheriff without ending in the dungeons, Marian had come up with an alter ego whose purpose in life was to aid the poor. So everytime that things got out of hand she would dress in some clothes she had made especially with this purpose, put on a mask, and set off as the Nightwatchman to share what little money she could collect with the ones who needed it the most.
She was a rather skilled fighter –her favourite activity as a little girl had been engaging in fights with Robin and his servant Much rather than doing "some silly, lady-appropriated thing", like needing or cooking. But Locksley was usually so heavily guarded that not even her dared to break into it to steal from Gisborne.
Today, seemingly unprotected as it was, was a good day to try.
She didn't have her costume with her, but that was actually a good thing. As the Nightwatchman, probably the most wanted criminal in Nottingham shire, she could hardly parade around the town in broad daylight. For once, she had more chances of being inconspicuous as Lady Marian than as anyone else.
Glancing nervously over her shoulder to make sure that no one was watching her, she pushed the door opened and stepped inside. She didn't pause at the deserted hall and made her way directly to the staircase, carefully avoiding to step on the second step, knowing that it would creak under her weight –Robin had taught her that long ago.
When she got to the first floor, she walked directly to the master bedroom. She knew for a fact that Robin's old room was used as the storage for the money from the taxes –Gisborne himself had told her that–, but it was one thing to be in his house; she couldn't even bare to think of being in his room. She would have to be content with stealing only his money.
She paused in front of the door and waited for a sound, but there was none. She smiled proudly at herself and pushed the door opened.
She hadn't been counting on him being quiet. She had expected that if someone were in the other room, he would be pacing, or talking or whatever. She had expected to hear a sound that would give away the other person's presence. When she heard none, she assumed it was empty. It turned out she had been wrong.
"What the…?" he exclaimed as he spooned around to face the door.
"Ooohh." She muttered.
She took one large stride backwards, closing the door as she did. She ended up against the back wall, her face as red the covers of the bed.
Thinking that it had been Gisborne who she had just seen half naked –and by that she meant wearing only a pair of trousers–, Marian slipped to the floor, embarrassment clouding her thoughts for a few moments. Slowly, very slowly, she began to note some things she had missed before. For instance, that the bare skin of his back was darker than Guy's; more tanned. She also realized that this man's hair was shorter and light brown, rather than long and dark. Finally, she realized that the eyes that had landed on her for a short moment before the door got in their way were not blue. They were green, and not at all unfamiliar.
She lifted her head from her knees and stared disbelievingly at the door.
"Robin?" she barely mouthed. She meant to shout his name, but there was no air in her lungs for her to do so. It couldn't be… It was impossible… And yet…
Gathering all her strength, she picked herself up from the floor. She had to take another look. She had to make sure it was really him because she let herself feel hope.
Slowly this time, she walked back to the door and reached out for the doorknob. But her fingers had barely brushed the metal ring when the door burst opened and he stepped out. Not knowing that she was still there and in a rush to get to her before she could flee his state, he meant to run out of his room, but ended up crashing into her instead.
The impact almost threw Marian backwards, but he was still the boy with quick reflexes she had once known so he wrapped his arm around her waist just in time. As a result, she was left staring at the light green eyes she had almost thought she would never see again.
They remained in silence for a few moments, lost in the other's eyes. It was him who spoke first, as usual.
"Do you think is appropriate, Maid Marian, to barge into someone else's room uninvited?"
Of course that the first thing that came out of his mouth had to be a taunt. Of course. Someone else would have said how much he had missed her, or apologize for leaving, or just stare at her in silence, or, or, or… There were a hundred things one could say to the woman he was supposed to marry five years ago; the woman he abandoned for glory, and none of them were a taunt. But of course, Robin of Locksley would have none of those things. He hadn't changed one bit.
…and Marian was exceedingly happy that he hadn't.
However, she would never admit to him how much she enjoyed hearing him joke again –how much she enjoyed to see him again, alive, unharmed... So, in a very Marian fashion, she pushed him away and struggled to stand back up. He tightened his grip around her for one moment and then helped her.
"I see you still have a taste for trouble." He commented. Like Marian, he would never admit what was going on inside his head, but the truth was that he wanted to hear her voice again. He had dreamt of her these past five years, and he had recently started to realize that the sound of her voice was slowly fading away. He wanted –needed– to hear it again before it was too late.
"And I see you are still a prat." She answered. "I thought that maybe, being in the Holy land, the miracle had happened, but…"
He laughed. "Don't try to act like you are mad, Marian. We both know that you love me for that."
"And arrogant too! If I didn't know any better, Robin, I would think that you never left; that no time has passed since our last meeting. You haven't changed one bit."
His face clouded for a second, but he recovered immediately. "I have change." He assured her and his voice is somehow softer, making her wonder what happened to him when he was away. Of course, Robin was not one to remain solemn for a long while. "But don't worry, milady. Around you, I will be my usual charming self."
"You mean your "usual obnoxious self"?" she rolled her eyes. "Lovely."
He laughed again. It had been too long since he had last laughed like this. It was being with her that made him feel so free again. The horrors he had seen meant nothing when she was around.
"Anyway, I have to go." She said, suddenly remembering her promise to her father. "Father won't be happy if I don't make it in time to the Council of Nobles."
"Father, huh?" he asked, and his eyes lit in the most peculiar way. "How is Edward?"
Marian furrowed her brow at him and tried to see past his charade. He sounded innocent when he asked her about the former sheriff of Nottingham. Too innocent.
"I don't see how that is any of your concern, but he is doing just fine, thank you very much."
"First, Edward was like a father to me when mine died. He was of great assistance when I first became Lord of this lands and it is only understandable that I am interest in his well-being." He explained. "Does he have anyone to look after him?"
"I am perfectly capable of looking after my father, Robin. We manage just fine and we don't need anyone else. Now, if you have finished with your stupid questions…"
Before she turned to leave, she caught another glimpse of that stupid glint in his eyes. Why was he so curious about her father's help? Why did he even cared who looked after him? It was only later that she realized that he was actually enquiring about her marital status without really asking.
He let her leave at first, but she was only halfway down the stairs when he caught up with her. Well, he really didn't catch up with her, more like… he overtook her. In the most unusual –or usual for him– way. Instead of climbing down the stairs like any normal human being, he slid down the barrister and stood cutting her only way out.
"Do you do the things you do because you want to die?" she asked him angrily. "Because I could help you with that."
He laughed but otherwise ignored her. "Do you really think that I was going to let you go without asking you what brought you to Locksley in the first place?" he asked in an absolutely suiting voice.
No, but I had hoped… Marian thought.
"So… What brought you here, Marian?" he continued in no more than a whisper. He was absently leaning forward, taking in as much of her scent as he possibly could. "Did you hear I was back and couldn't resist the urge to come and see me?"
"No." She replied matter-of-factly. It was only half true. If she had heard that Robin was back, she would have never come to Locksley –much less go in uninvited and walked straight into his room. But she knew that that wouldn't have lasted forever; she knew that sooner rather than later –probably later that same afternoon– she would come up with an excuse to meet with him. Just to check it is really him, she would have told herself. Just to check he is all right.
"Were you hoping that I would come back and wanted to find me here?"
"You always think so highly of yourself, Robin…"
"Then what was it, then, that drove you to Locksley this morning?" he pressed.
She looked frantically around the room, desperately searching for something to free her from this mess she had gotten herself into. She knew that Robin would see right pass her lies –despite their time apart, he was still the one who knew her best–, and the truth was not something she was ready to admit to herself, much less to him.
"Master? What are you doing up? I thought you were supposed to be resting…"
Robin and Marian turned to the source of that voice and found Much looking at them from the threshold. They both sighed, but for different reasons: she, because she was off the hook; he, because she was off the hook.
"Much, I am sure you remember Marian, don't you?" Robin asked, reluctantly parting his gaze from hers. "She surprised me in my bedroom when I was in the process of changing clothes." He explained, making Marian blush again.
The look that Much gave his master was the oddest one Marian had ever seen on him. It seemed to say something around the lines of: "Oh. My. God. What is going on here?"
"It is good to see you again, milady." He told her, bowing his head in her direction.
"It is good to see you too." She replied, and she meant it. She wasn't angry with Much; she didn't need to pretend she didn't care he had come back safely. "Well, I must be off. I guess I will see you around." She told both of them, refusing to meet Robin's gaze again.
She could feel them following as she made her way to the stables and their eyes on her back when she got on her horse.
"Goodbye then." She waved in their general direction.
"Yeah, I will see you later today." Robin promised, grinning like the idiot she knew he was.
Her resolve to leave without spearing him a glance vanished when she heard the word today.
"Today?" she repeated, spooning her horse around so that he was facing him.
"The Council of Nobles, remember?"
"You are going to the Council of Nobles?" she asked sceptically.
"Of course I am! Last time I checked, I was still Lord of this lands." He reminded her. And I probably won't be Lord for long, he added in his mind, remembering his encounter with Gisborne earlier that day.
"You hate those meetings." She said.
"I do not! I love those meetings. Those meetings were the only thing I was looking forward to as we came back, weren't them, Much?"
"Huh? Oh, yes, of course, master. You have really, really, really missed those meetings." Especially when he had attended to those meetings with his father and he would sneak out to find Marian.
Marian rolled her eyes and turned her horse back around as she muttered: "Whatever…"
Before she was gone, she stole a glance over her shoulder, hoping that Robin was already inside. He wasn't. Their gazes locked for a second and their eyes conveyed what they were too stubborn to say out loud.
"I have missed you. I love you. "
And then she was gone.
"Liar." Much told his master once they were alone.
"What?" Robin asked, turning to his best friend with faking hurt.
"'Those meetings were the only thing I was looking forward to as we came back'?" He repeated. "Pleeeease."
"I did miss those meetings. I never said I missed the nobles, though." He reminded him with a wink.
They walked back to the house.
"She is still unmarried." Robin commented after a short silence, trying to make it sound as if he didn't care. "She lives with her father, hence, she is still unmarried."
Of course, Much knew him better than that.
"Oh. And here I thought you had gotten over her…" Much said.
"I am over her!" He assured him. "I am just saying…"
"You are over Marian. Sure. Keep telling yourself that."
"I am, Much. She broke our engagement, she told me to forget her and I did!"
"Yeah, right." Much muttered. "You are as over her as I am over food. And I'm not over food. I'm hungry. And you are hungry too. It is just that… your hungers… they are different from mine."
Robin laughed. Of course his friend was right. He was hungry for Marian; there was no better way to put it. Hungry for her touch, hungry for her smiles, hungry for her kisses… He had lived without her for as long as he could manage, but he couldn't go on now. He needed her, and he would do anything to gain her back. Seeing her today, just like he remembered her, had given him hope. Hope that maybe, not everything was lost between them.
"Lets get us something to eat, Much." He said, still wearing the stupid smile everyone loved to hate. "We have a meeting to go to."
I know that this is a little out of fashion, since everyone is writing an alternative ending for series two or a new series three, but I hope you've given it a try and you've enjoyed it. Let me know what you think, loved it, hate it, whatever. Just let me know -I'm desperate for reviews.