Chapter 1 – Black and white
Her head hurt. Her head hurt like hell was unleashed within, demons dancing across her mind. Marian tried to pull herself together, banishing the confusion and panic that suddenly ran through her veins. Still, tangled in the blur that was clouding her judgement, she felt a warm, steady breath in her hair, and two strong arms holding her close. Alarmed, she finally opened her eyes.
She was struck by the sight of Guy's cold, empty gaze. The moon, shrouding the black sky like a sharp, silver dagger from above, cast an unreal light on his beautiful features; for a moment, she stared back in his dark, stormy eyes. He didn't blink. Marian realized he wasn't looking at her. He was looking through her, his expression still the same mask of stone.
Thoughts filled her head, while panic almost made her forget her wits. Obviously, Guy hadn't realized she was awake; she desperetaly tried not to stir, not to yell and demand to know why she was in his arms, and why the three of them – her, Guy and Vaisey – were riding on a almost exhausted horse, heading to God knows where. Her mind raced, as her heart was pounding. Robin... Where was Robin? What had happened? She could recall brief moments, but her aching head refused to shed any light on the recent events. The King... The king was hurt. She knew Guy was going to kill him, but she couldn't let him do it.
I love Robin Hood.
She felt so free, throwing those four words at him, knewing how much pain they would cause. In that moment, she gave in to the mean, selfish need to get rid of all the guilt and regret, and let him know of her deceit. His sword... Guy's sword... so close. The infinite rage that twisted his face into a mask of pain and hatred.
That was the last thing she remembered. A myriad of emotions made her lose control. Marian moved her hand to her forehead, slowly touching the swollen bruise that was covering her temple.
He hit her. That's what happened.
"I believe she has awaken, milord." Guy's voice rang through the night, tired.
Marian eyed him curiously for a moment, before angrily trying to get free from his hold and jump. His arms clenched mechanicly around her, just with enough strenght to stop her from struggling. Marian was furious.
"What is this?" she hissed, mostly from the pain that her injury was still causing her. "Where are we going? Where are you taking me?"
"To London, my dear," the Sheriff said with his usual mocking voice, but there was a considerable amount of disgust and pure boredom in his tone. "We must announce King John that his poor brother died serving his country, killed by saracens in battle."
He spoke the word "king" with a venomous satisfaction. His words struck Marian hard, leaving her breathless.
King Richard was dead? It couldn't be, no, it couldn't be true. She gritted her teeth.
"You're lying!" she shouted.
"I'm afraid that blow of your head might have damaged your mind too," Vaisey replied with a snort. "If you wish so intensely to hurt my feelings and not believe me, you can ask Gisborne here. I'm sure he still recalls the moment when his sword plunged through Richard's lion heart very vividly."
Marian's hands gripped harder on the cold leather that surrounded her. Her nails dug into the fabric and her eyes shone like deadly daggers while she began to struggle again.
"You killed him?" she choked, looking up to her captor. "I thought you were better than that!"
Guy didn't say anything. He met her gaze with contempt. A sudden flash of rage made him tighten his hold on one of her wrists, causing her pain.
"At least don't lie to me anymore.", he said with such disdain in his voice that Marian nearly flinched. She felt it vibrating in his chest, the chest she was so inappropriately pressed against.
"The King is dead now", he continued slowly, not even trying to dissimulate the pleasure he had while noticing the despair that those five words brought in her eyes. "King John will be very pleased to find out he died by my own hands. All I ever wanted is within my grasp; waiting to be taken."
Yes. Power, that damn hunger for power that ate this broken demon like a disease. She opened her mouth to speak, but Guy silenced her.
"No", he shook his head, answering her unspoken question, "Robin was too late. He tried to fire arrows at us as we were leaving, but I used you as a shield – he would have never hurt you. You should have seen the look on his face, Marian."
Guy's voice displayed a cruel melancholy. Marian saw how he spit out that reference of her, and it almost frightened her. She never saw him show so much hard bitter disgust; but her own feelings were nothing in comparison to what Robin must have felt. Her heart stung with hatred, a fierce burning hatred for the man that was embracing her somehow. She did not care about her own guilt, she abhorred thinking that she pushed him on this dreadful path.
She had lied to herself. A tear trinkled in her eye as Guy continued to torture her broken spirit.
"So desperate, so panicked, so... amazed. Like a child, lost and insecure." Marian shivered and Guy felt it, a shadow of a smirk playing at his lips.
"Pathetic.", he finally growled.
A heavy silence hung in the air afterward. Only the sound of the horses' steady pace made Marian realize that this wasn't a dream, a nightmare, as she foulishly hoped.
England was lost. A quiet resignation settled on the kings image, on her beliefs and on her desire to fight... like a shroud. It was no use now. The only light in the abyss that threatened to engulf her completely was Robin. Robin was still alive.
That mattered more. He would come for her. She will escape and they will be together. Marian tried to be strong, to stop the pain, the disappointment, but the moonlight made the tears in her eyes shine like diamonds. She scarcely looked up; Guy was staring ahead, not even dignifying her hateful glance with an answer.
Fury filled her, and she tensed, wanting so badly to scratch him, hurt him. She felt so odd, her head still throbbing with dull pain and body so relaxed against his. She didn't know how much time passed, as she stared at him, measuring him, hating him all the more. A coward, a monster. His eyes, so sharp and unforgiving, smoldering with such strange passion... they seemed to be angry even when Guy wasn't. He was born under darkness, and yet he craved for the light, Marian acknowledged.
She silently shook her head. She wasn't his light. She wasn't his salvation. There was nothing left to be saved.
"We've reached an inn, at last!" the Sheriff said suddenly, at the appearance of a big grey house. "I'm so bloody tired that I would even postpone Marian's meeting with death."
Marian's eyes widened. They were going to kill her? She lifted her face, desperately searching for something, the smallest trace of feeling in Guy's expression.
"Can you stand?" Guy asked her.
She stared at him disbelievingly. Pray, was he not going to react at all? Did he really stopped caring for her... did he actually hate her so much?
"Can you stand, Marian?" he repeated, shaking her with badly concealed annoyance.
"Yes," she stammered.
That was all Guy needed. He slowly lifted her, allowing her to jump on the dry land. Marian didn't hesitate. She intented to run; they couldn't be so far away from the city. Robin was surely searching for her, and maybe with a little luck...
When her feet touched the ground, she tried to jerk her hand from Guy's, who was helping her to get off the horse. But his fingers mantained an iron grip, not letting go. She cried out in anger and pain, as her useless struggling only made her head hurt more.
Guy grabbed her by her shoulders, dragging her after him, towards the inn. She couldn't see his face, and she was thankful; she couldn't let him see her cry, not now – not ever.
"Naughty bird," the Sheriff sighed, leading the horse by its harness to the stables. "You should have told her that Hood was dead, she may have begged you to kill her. It may have saved us a lot of trouble. "
Guy's strong hands tightened. Marian watched Vaisey as he walked with burning hate. If only looks could kill, she thought with hard bitterness. She despised this man, she despised both of them. She hated how Vaisey knew every string, every button in Guy's heart; how easily he could manipulate him.
Maybe she envied that Vaisey had a stronger hold over Guy than hers. But she banished the thought, believing it to be ridiculous.
The Sheriff knocked hard at the wooden door, impatient. After several minutes, a woman appeared, scowling. She began to speak in saracen, and not very politely. Marian, though it really wasn't the time, smirked.
But then, Guy released her and stepped forward. Confident, he talked to the inn-keeper... almost fluently. Marian couldn't help feeling surprised at his knowledge of the foreign language; he even seemed to know the woman, smiling at her.
Nonetheless, his eyes still held contempt, arrogance and silent indifference. His display of personal charm worked, though: the woman invited them inside, stepping away from the door. Mumbling under his breath, the Sheriff grabbed Marian and roughfully pushed her inside.
They climbed the stairs quietly, its creak disturbing the silence. Guy stopped in the front of a door, and turned around.
"They only have two rooms available," he told them. "My lord, how...?"
"Don't even ask," the Sheriff interrupted him, bored. "I want a peaceful slumber, and lepers tend to destroy every chance of getting it. Gisborne, you and her take this room. I'm off to dream land now!"
And, just like that, the Sheriff opened the next door and closed it behind him with a loud noise. The sound rang through the room, loud and clear: Keep out.
Marian and Guy stared at each other for a moment that seemed eternity. She was exhausted; the bruise that he so nicely inflicted on her was still throbbing, and the mixed up emotions, the despair, the hate, the worrying… left her numb.
All that she wanted was to sleep. She'll worry about her life later, she'll dream about Robin and everything will be fine. Everything always turned out to be fine in the end.
" I believe we have no choice," Guy frowned, while reaching for the door, "but to call it a truce tonight."
He entered the room, and Marian reluctantly followed. He didn't look at her; he unclasped his black jacket, carefully putting it on the poor-looking chair next to the bed. He had a black blouse underneath, and Marian remarked the way it made him look – younger, leaner, flexible. Like a black cat. He sat then, and took off his boots.
She had nothing but the dress and the dirty shoes in her feet. Still, she didn't move. She kept staring at Guy's movements, regarding him with intrigue.
"Will you kill me?" she suddenly asked, approaching him. Her voice faltered, broken with unshed tears and fear.
Guy ran a hand through his hair, before meeting her eyes. She resisted the urge to step back. She hadn't given much thought about her betrayal of him, about his cold bitter behavior. It definitely worried her, it was her safety that was at stake, of course. But she hoped she could make it better, lie to him, apologize to him… and now, she even considered asking him to run away with her.
That way, she could be free. She had to find Robin.
But his whole being was resonating pure rage, disbelief. He almost trembled, no longer able to keep his explosive emotions in control. Guy always had a certain air of danger, of darkness about him, but now it was different. The danger was directed to her; all the negative energy that he channeled, through the very core of his being, was meant for her. She stared at the floor, and her heart nearly leapt from her chest. She couldn't look him in the eyes. She felt them, tracing the lines of her figure, contemplating something that she was afraid to know.
Marian knew that those blue furious eyes would have reduced her defences to ashes. She heard his steps; he was getting closer. She was hearing the unstable rhythm of her heart, pounding in her ears. Her bottom lip started to tremble. When she felt his warm hand tilting her head to meet his gaze, she gasped.
"Killing you would be far too easy, now wouldn't it?" Guy murmured, a cruel smirk twisting his lips.
The skin he was touching tingled. She gulped, wishing she would disappear, run away, never see him again.
"Those crystal blue eyes of yours…" he said, faces so close that their breaths mingled. "They told me everything. You don't want to die, you're still fighting… because the part of Marian I never was able to touch is alive."
"Robin is alive, and you hope that you can twist me around your little finger again, so that you can run back to him."
She tried to keep her face as unreadable as she could, but the mask hadn't been convincing from the start. He could see through her now, because every piece of the puzzle was in place.
"Not anymore," Guy growled, tracing her jaw-line with his thumb. "All those times… all those failures, the Sheriff's rage and scorn for all the times my plans were destroyed… were because of you. You were a spy, an informant, a traitor."
Unconsciously, Marian bowed her head in shame. Her shoulders descended.
"How many times have I saved your life, Marian?" he wondered, genuine melancholy slipping in his tone. "How many times did you play me in your favor?"
She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came.
"Oh, I see. It takes time to count", he said full of sarcasm.
"It is not like that", Marian tried to protest, but her voice was weak. "I only wanted to do what was right."
"Right?" he roared, and she feared he was going to hit her again. "You hypocrite, deceitful woman! You claim to be on the side of good, truth, justice. You claim you want to help, you fight for your beliefs. And still, by using me so callously, you've betrayed everything your whole wretched idea of good stands for!"
Marian flinched again. How many times she tried to banish these thoughts, these truths, telling herself that the end justified the means? She stepped on his heart, twisted his feelings for her own good, used him, betrayed him, and he still seemed to love and cherish her. He never stopped hoping for her affections, needing someone worthy to care about him.
Marian realized she took him for granted. The biggest mistake she ever did, and now… how she regretted it. She has played with fire for so long, forgetting – or rather wishing it to disappear – the risk of getting burned. Because Guy wasn't someone to be trifled with.
"I know you, Marian," he continued on a low voice, nearly sultry. "If you were truly so dedicated to all the right things, you would have let me be. You wouldn't have given me hopes, or have deceived me to pursue your own ends. You knew – and know – that it was wrong."
She shook her head, still fighting against the sharpness of his words. She felt so exposed, so ashamed, hearing her blame out loud.
"You are not good, you're just selfish and stubborn. Hood has built a side of you that was never genuine, I see that clearly as day."
Guy's eyes turned into stone, shattered with the same anger that moments before encouraged her to believe she had little time to live. A cruel, malicious smile twisted his lips when he spoke.
"Perhaps, when he will die in front of you, you'll see that too."
Marian's heart jumped. She blinked, all feeling of guilt and compassion gone. Like a snake, hate wrapped around her heart, blackening her eyes.
"So that's what this is about?" she hissed. "Revenge?"
"Maybe," he said nonchalantly, tilting his head in his trademark manner. "Or maybe, it's punishment. You've lifted yourself on a pedestal, and I bet every time you want to feel better about yourself, you look down at me and think that you didn't murder anyone, that you're not the monster you believe me to be!"
"You can't possibly say that there is no truth in that!" Marian shouted, unable to keep her temper at bay anymore. "You've killed countless people: innocent people, women and children! You only care about your pride and title! Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you are better than me?"
"Yes. Yes, I can", Guy spatted out. "I have never lied to you. I have always been honest about my feelings, I never made bones about that!"
"How dare you!", said Marian, disbelievingly. "You lied about the king coming back, just to make me marry you, and that is just one example!"
"The Sheriff kept the scheme secret, even for me. I honestly thought he was coming back, until he told me; then, I went to Knighton Hall, because I couldn't lie to you…"
He swallowed, pausing for a second. His eyes hardened with hatred, hatred directed more at himself.
"I didn't want to disappoint you. But your father told me that you were in bed, overwhelmed by your impatience for our wedding. I wanted to believe it so badly! But now I know the truth. "
His eyes fixated on her waist; Marian felt the scar of the wound he inflicted that night on her tingling. Such vile satisfaction, on his face! Angered clouded her judgement, making her unable to see the trace of shameful regret in his eyes.
"And I am expected to believe every word you say?" she countered then quickly, raising a dark eyebrow.
Guy raised his head, regarding her with something that dangerously resembled pity, and disgust.
"I don't care anymore. I'm not lieing to you, or myself this thime, when I claim that you mean nothing to me." he said quietly, retreating. "You may think whatever you want about me. It is your choice, as ever."
"I never really had a choice."
"Yes, making me look like a foul and destroying me bit by bit was too entertaining, wasn't it?". His voice, laced with controlled anger and sarcasm, cut through her.
"If you would have been less… stirring," she whispered, "maybe I would have been able to care about you."
Guy turned away from her.
"Do not insult me any further with your lies," he spat out.
"That was what scared me the most," she continued, as if she hadn't heard him. "That I could have loved you. You being the villain suited my conscience so well… kept my heart in her rightful place."
She saw his shoulders tense.
"With Robin," she murmured so silently, that she even doubted he heard it.
But Guy turned around, and she barely had the time to see him coming to her like a storm, filling his fist with her hair, breathing hard on her lips. Her heart beat faster and faster. He is going to kill me now, she thought while gazing into his tortured, wild eyes.
"I've had enough of this!" he thundered. "I won't listen to your clever attempts to play me anymore. It was a mistake even discussing this matter. I should have known that you would still find a way of getting into my head, batting those pretty eyelashes and look innocent and victimized, until you would break me!"
There was a hint of despair in his voice, but the anger was dominant. She traced her trembling lips with her eyes, remembering Guy's passionate, wild kiss; she remembered it all too well, actually. Robin never kissed her that way…
His name made her stop leaning into Guy, made Marian control her sudden and ridiculous need to feel his mouth against hers. What hurt her was the apparent absolute lack of reaction on his side… The way that he still kept regarding her with scorn and hatred.
She suddenly found herself regretting; now, when she realized she lost him for good, Marian finally accepted the truth.
A tear rolled on her cheek, before she could stop it.
"No," Guy muttered disbelievingly, "No, Marian…"
She dared to look him in the eye. His shields were down. She knew what war was raging inside him – the wish to give in, the love, against his wounded pride and wish for vengeance.
"Why do you always have to make it so difficult?" he suddenly said.
"It's the way things are," Marian answered.
She took a deep breath, then touched his hand. Maybe he would let her live, maybe he wouldn't make her life miserable, maybe… he would help her escape…
Maybe she could see Robin again. She tried to push away her conscience, shouting at her that this was the man who betrayed England, the man who condemned it.
But she always did what was necessary to survive.
"It's the way we are," she continued, tender and full of hope. "I'm sorry Guy. I'm very sorry. If…"
"Hush," he silenced her, bringing a finger at her lips. "I know what this is about."
His voice rolled like honey, calm and steady. Marian felt hope rising in her heart. She heard the love in his voice, and she never had been more thankful for it.
"It's about Hood, as usual. It's about you getting your freedom back. It's about using me again, then throwing me away," he murmured harshly, his eyes never leaving her face.
Marian froze. He let go of her hair, breaking the spell between them. Instead, he grabbed her by her left arm and roughly threw her on the bed, watching with cold, sarcastic indifference as she fell.
He didn't try to hide how much amusement and pleasure he found in her pained expression, her desperate and alarmed eyes.
"Sleep, Marian. We must arrive to London as quickly as possible. I need to rest, and listening to your charming, yet useless attempts at manipulating me are taking longer than expected."
He settled down near her after he doused the candles.
"I have saved your life countless times. I've given you the chance to prove yourself worthy of me. You failed each and every one, and the scars won't go away, ever. So when you will watch your precious Robin die, by my hand, don't forget that it will be you who is killing him."
Marian found herself unable to move, frozen by . He lied by her and covered himself, not showing any sign of emotion when she moved further away from him. The darkness of the night enhanced the devilish essence of his features, making him look unreal, ghostly.
"You once told me that I was capable of compassion. That I wasn't a bad man. You could have saved me, Marian. That's why I loved you. You were the light… the redemption that I so foolishly hoped for," he said affectedly his voice almost mechanical, nostalgic.
Marian wanted to scream. She was torn apart, deliciously torn apart. He knew it, and she knew that he knew it.
"I was refused redemption.", he continued darkly. "I have given up hope, because I learned that there is no right or wrong, there are only… different perspectives. There is the victim, and there is the hunter. There's no place for love. "
Silence. He breathed, and she breathed, as they both lay down… past the point of no return. It was late, nearly dawn, when Guy got up and stared at her sleeping form with tortured eyes.
this is my first fanfic on RH, guys, so please have mercy. Marian is not exactly my favourite character, but I admire her... a little. forgive the grammar mistakes or mispellings, I'm not a native English speaker.
aaaaaaanyway. please review and tell me if this is worth continuing. cheers!