I've never written a Robin/Bess fic before. Please tell me how it goes!


She had never been very good at surrendering, it had to be said. Heavens, she couldn't even surrender to a Spanish armada or, in her younger days, a lunatic sister who was likely to kill her. No wonder, then, that she hadn't been able to surrender to a man. A lowly earl at that; it's usually nothing short of royalty that she finds herself having to contend with. The latter thought brought something like a smile to her lips. It felt odd amid the layers of recent mourning and she stopped, casting eyes out of the window and back onto the dirty waters of the Thames. His presence, a challenge as she had often felt it was, had been a rare thing, something wonderfully rare. And there would be no more of it. Even as queen the power to raise the dead was beyond her.

She had even now been speaking to the people. She was their queen, their leader, why should she not? It was she who had brought them safely through the war with Spain and they loved her for it. They threw their hats at the sky and cheered for God to save her. Imperiously, she had told them to remember him, and they would, she was sure of it. They would remember Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester who made a mess in Holland but who stood firm against the Spanish when they came to England. Very well for them, she thought, but they would never remember him as she did. They couldn't remember her Robin as she did.

She remembered so much about him. The way he half-strutted about court, pleased as punch with himself for one absurd reason or another. He'd hold his head impossibly high sometimes, as if to challenge her even with his manner, not just his words and actions. And his eyes, those eyes. They'd watched her pushed through Traitor's Gate, ascend to a throne in Westminster and bounding down corridors at Greenwich, at Richmond. Well, maybe not so much bounding of late- "Youth's a stuff will not endure"- but walking, together, around her residences.

And other times too. She'd find him, she'd find him in his rooms, adjoining hers. After all, she had the body of a weak and feeble woman, what was to be expected? She was the queen, she could have had him killed if she'd chosen but she still hesitated to wake him from sleep. He never seemed surprised to find her standing over his bed, as if sleep to him was just dozing off to wait for her. They'd hold each other, yes, as tightly as she could bear, lying there on his bed. He'd even touch her sometimes, like they were real lovers. She may have had the stomach, but not the heart, never the heart of a king. Her heart was so firmly a woman's that, with his hands on her, it rose into her throat until she nearly cried.

And then she'd have to stop him. She'd always have to stop him. Lest she surrender altogether.

Sitting down now and lost in thought, she found herself weeping. She had not wept since she had lain over his body, though he had told her not to. She had wept not for his soul, no. He had his faults, sure as any man did, but it was a good enough soul. It was for them she wept, for the soul that they had seemed from time to time to share. And she wished as she wept that she's had the courage to surrender to him while she'd had the chance. She wished bitterly that she'd married him, she wished for anything, anything other than this. She'd loved him, though he'd told her of his affections a thousand more times than she'd hinted at hers. She still did. She loved him fiercely and so she wept thus.

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