A/N: I've searched for a long time to find any stories of these two, and found only a few, though what I did find was fantastic. So I decided to write my own.
The arc of this story will follow the 1997 miniseries, since it is the version I know and love best, and the one that introduced me to these powerful, complex characters and their fascinating relationship.
I plan to write several chapters involving Rebecca and Brian's interactions while confined at Templestowe, then continue on to cover the events leading up to her trial for witchcraft, the trial itself, and the night before the combat of champions. I may include the combat itself as an epilogue-I'm still deciding.
The title comes from Brian's speech to Rebecca the morning of the trial by combat, in the book.
I own none of this story's core, only my interpretation. Ivanhoe belongs to Sir Walter Scott, and the adaptation I base this on to the people at A&E and the BBC.
Please review-I'm trying out a different writing style with this story; a little more formal and descriptive than my usual, as befits a medieval setting.
Prologue: Of Time and Space
Time seem to take on strange properties of its own, as she waits, confined to the little cluster of small, austere rooms. Secluded deep within the monastery, the hours seem to stretch, dragging on infinitely. But then again, some moments take wings and fly, time rushing past her at breakneck speed. Her imprisonment sometimes flows quickly, the waiting and the worry blurring together. Yet sometimes time seems to almost stop. Sometimes, she feels as if she is quivering on the edge of a great precipice, frozen in the very act of falling. Suspended forever in one living, breathing moment.
For though she is sometimes lonely, she is not alone. And because of the man she shares the confines of these rooms with, the concept of space fluctuates as much as time. Sometimes, the rooms have their natural dimensions, and though they are by no means palatial, there is emptiness enough to walk. She sits by the window, running her fingers over the sill's cold rough stone. She does not look out, not wishing for him to know the truth of her longing. Not willing to become vulnerable in her desire for freedom.
But he seems to guess, as he always does. She knows, likewise, that he too yearns to leave these cloistered rooms. She hears it in the pace of his booted feet; endless circling like the mangy, caged lion she saw as a girl, traveling to London with her father, her heart filled with pity then. She sees the frustration she has trained herself not to show etched in his face, when she glances from her seat by the window. She senses the unspent energy in his active body, leaning against the stone walls, watching her take her turn and walk the limited paths within the room.
She knows that they both long to be free of this place, to walk out into the world once again. She remembers the feeling of the wind on her face on the monastery's tower, the feeling of him leaning across her, pointing out the stone circle on the hill, the hidden lake, telling her the old stories of monsters and magic. It pains her to slowly realize that they are not so different, in the end.
When they pace, when they ignore each other, waiting in silence, each agonizingly conscious of the other's presence, that is when the rooms, though small, are walled with reason. When, bored and lonely, she is drawn to him, knowing him to be the cause of her imprisonment, yet desperate for company, for the sound of another's voice, that is when the walls begin to shrink.
When they play chess, absorbed in fierce, well-matched competition, when she is much too close to him for her comfort—and yet still comforted by the presence of another, if she is honest with herself. The walls seem to close in on her then, compressing the two of them together across the checkered game board.
The logical part of her mind tells her it is impossible, that this enclosure is merely a result of too much time in the room, and too little space between her and this strange, aggressive, brooding man, her captive captor. The imaginative part of her, however, prevails, and though she tells herself it's not so, the room insists on feeling smaller and fuller than it has any right to.
She notices details about him, as they sit across from each other, focused on their game. He tilts his head on one side when he makes a difficult decision, and she can almost hear the gears of strategy turning. A small white scar stains the base of his left ring finger, an old burn mark, she thinks. Crinkled filaments spread from the corners of his dark, depthless eyes. Their creation could stem from laughter or from frowns. She knows the tempests of his moods, and guesses it to be a mixture.
Shared confinement has sharpened her senses, and in her mind he becomes more human. Enforced company builds him up, putting flesh on the bones of bleak villainy his kidnap structured. She could despise a man of shadows, or a creature built from the flames of hell, a being of violent lust, revenge, and burning hatreds. But, when jailed, her jailor becomes a man, though traced with darkness and fire.
In Torquilstone castle, when she cared for Lord Ivanhoe, it was much the same. The heroic figure she had felt girlish attraction to at the tournament, hoping and knowing there was no hope, had grown and diminished, when wounded and weak. She had experienced his kindness, and briefly, shockingly, his kiss. But she knows he will go to his lady, to Rowena, when the choice is presented.
Ivanhoe is a good man, but not a complicated one, and Rowena is not a complicated woman. Rowena offers him love and a shared history to build a shared life. She herself offers stigmas, an uncertain future, and no end to complications. She is different, and alluring in her difference, and he is drawn to that, but she knows that he will let her go. Happiness is more important than the allure of otherness to him. She does not blame him for it. But she does not deny the truth.
The man she now shares her fluid time, her shifting space with is as complicated as the ever-changing concepts of time and space themselves. Cracks begin to appear in the angry exterior he's still trying to maintain, and brief flashes of tenderness surprise her. The anger and the arrogance are still part of him, welded to his damaged, long-neglected soul, but she glimpses another side to him. His wounds are less obvious than Ivanhoe's, but the pain is evident in his desperate attempts to cajole her into loving him—into saving him?
Time trickles by, free to move as it will, toying with her mind, shifting walls, breaking barriers, exposing souls. Alone together, they wait.
A/N: Hope you liked the first chapter. Again, I'd love some feedback.
I tried not to dismiss Ivanhoe and Rebecca's relationship too much, in the interest of the love triangle, but personal biases may have influenced my writing. I like Ivanhoe as a character, but I don't think he and Rebecca would work well together in the long term, and I believe he is better off with Rowena. There will be no Ivanhoe-bashing in this story, but I will probably draw the focus away from any romantic feelings between him and Rebecca.
This chapter was originally longer, with some dialogue, but I decided to cut off the unfinished second half in order to post a prologue of sorts several days earlier. Also, I feel that the shorter beginning fits the story better. I plan to post a revised version of the other half, with additions and plenty of dialogue, sometime during the next week or so. Thanks for reading!