Previous Entry Share Next Entry
A Place to Call Home, Chapter Eight (9/?) PG-13
emn1936

Title: A Place to Call Home, Chapter Eight (9/?)

Rating: This chapter: R (Please note change in rating)

Characters: Guy/Marian

Summary:   “I do not love you,” she cried in frustration. “Why do you want me?”

 

Disclaimer: The characters herein are the property of the BBC. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement intended and no profit is made by the author.

 

 

A/N: I’ve set this story immediately after the events of the first season finale. However, I have included information derived from subsequent episodes, in particular from season three’s “Bad Blood” used here for my purposes as source material and plot motives for the characters.

 

As a further note, I personally found the character of Isabella to be a tired and terrible plot contrivance, so for my purposes, she never existed. Guy was raised an only child.

 

Chapter Eight

 

 

Marian gathered her skirts into her hand and raced down the hill. Reaching the stable, she waited impatiently for her horse to be saddled and brought to her.   She shivered as the wind gusted – tearing leaves from the trees and sending them into a giddy dance of gold and red.   When her mount was brought out she climbed into the saddle and taking the reins in hand, hurried after Guy.

 

Horse and rider cantered to the place where the road divided. Pulling back on the reins, Marian brought her horse to a halt. Particles of dust stirred up by a recently passing rider lingered in the air and Marian set off along the road branching toward the east in pursuit. She had not gone far when she once again drew her horse to a stop.

 

She slumped in the saddle, confused by her sudden need to chase after him. Indeed, she had no idea what she would say if she managed to catch up with him. Leaning forward, she stroked a hand over the silky mane of her horse.

 

“Come, my beauty,” she murmured. Clicking her tongue, she urged the horse to turn and together they set off at a comfortable trot back toward the fork in the road.

 

********

 

The sound of an approaching horse drew Edward’s attention and he rose to his feet.   Curiosity propelled him to the door and a smile wreathed his face at the sight of Marian clattering into the courtyard.

 

“Darling girl,” he exclaimed as he hurried toward her. Marian slid from the saddle and fell into her father’s embrace.

 

“What a delightful surprise,” he murmured. “I was not expecting you.”

 

Marian lifted her head from his chest and offered him a smile. “I am not interrupting, am I?”

 

“Of course not!” Edward drew her arm through the crook of his and led her into the warmth of the hall. “I am never too busy for you.”

 

“Well!” she exclaimed as she entered her childhood home. “I see the servants are spoiling you in my absence.” She nodded toward the generous slice of half-eaten current cake resting on a plate near a pile of papers.

 

“Oh… that is just a little something to tide me over until supper.”

 

Marian ran a teasing hand over his thickening waist and flashed him a grin but her father was quick to note that the smile did not reach her eyes.

 

“If you are staying for supper, the better part of the cake remains for dessert,” he offered temptingly. 

 

Marian wandered across the room and stopped near the fireplace. 

 

“I do not think that I will still be here.” 

 

She ran a finger over the edge of the mantle, stopping as she often did to study the miniature portrait of her mother which rested there. She had lost her mother at a young age and had but the haziest of memories. But she remembered her laughter and the feel of being cuddled close in her gentle embrace. And sometimes she was sure she could recall her mother’s fragrance. She wondered what it must be like for Guy. Did he have sweet memories of his mother? Or had they been destroyed by the deluge of bitter revelations which preceded her death?

 

Aware of his daughter’s agitation, Edward sank into his chair near the hearth and waited in worried silence for her to take him into her confidence. After a short while, Marian settled on the padded stool near his feet as she had often done in the past when she had something on her mind. 

 

“Why have you never told me that my husband’s family once owned property now part of Locksley?” she asked at length.

 

Edward blinked in surprise.

 

“I… Well…” He lapsed into a brief silence. “That was a long time ago,” he said at last.

 

She waited for him to continue.

 

“Are you saying that you forgot?”

 

“No,” he said slowly. “But neither is it something that I think on often.”

 

“Surely when he arrived here with Vaisey, you recognized him.”

 

“I barely knew him when he was young and he looks nothing like the boy I remember.”

 

“But you knew the name,” she stressed.

 

Her father sighed. “Of course. But it did not seem important –”

 

“Father!” Exasperation colored her voice. “You must realize that much of what motivates Guy stems from his desire to reclaim his family’s land.” Agitation lent a rosy flush to her cheeks.

 

“Yes, of course, Marian, but at the time of their arrival, there were so many other things going on…” He shook his head. “I was more concerned with dealing with Vaisey’s arrival and the subsequent upheaval and commotion, than I was with wondering about Sir Guy’s motivations for being here.”

 

Laying a penitent hand on his knee, Marian subsided. Edward patted her fingers comfortingly.

 

“What do you remember about them?”

 

“Sir Guy’s parents?”

 

She nodded.

 

“Not much,” he confessed. “I know the land was awarded to Sir Roger for his service in the Holy Land. But I did not know him well. Indeed, he was rarely at home.”

 

“What about Guy?”

 

Edward cast about in his memories. “He was a tall, skinny boy.   Quiet. Brooding.”

 

Marian rolled her eyes. For while the tall, skinny boy of her father’s memories had grown into a strong, powerful man, she nonetheless recognized the other particular traits of her husband’s which remained to this day. 

 

“He kept to himself.” Edward shrugged as if to say there was nothing in particular about the boy he remembered which stood out in his memories.

 

“And his mother?”

 

“I had occasion to meet the Lady Ghislaine on several occasions,” her father reminisced. “She was very kind to your mother.”

 

“In what way?” Marian wondered.

 

“I believe they met at the market one morning. The Lady Ghislaine befriended your mother and came to visit her on several occasions when she entered her confinement.”

 

“With me?”

 

“Yes.” Her father smiled at the recollection of those happy times when his wife was great with their first – and as it would turn out – only child, and the future seemed filled with endless possibilities.

 

“Father? You were saying?” 

 

He was drawn back from his memories by the gentle tapping of his daughter’s finger against his knee.

 

“Lady Ghislaine came to Knighton to spend time with your mother during her confinement,” he repeated.

 

“What was she like?” Marian found herself fascinated by this hitherto before unknown connection between her husband and herself. 

 

“She was… exotic. Tall. Dark hair and eyes. She carried herself proudly. I believe your husband got his coloring and carriage from her.” He lapsed into silence for a moment before continuing.

 

“Your mother enjoyed her visits. She brought gifts – for your mother and for you –”

 

“For me?”

 

“Clothing,” he said. “Blankets and rattles. Things such as that.” He made the helpless sound of a man who had taken little note of the details of the gifts and instead remembered his wife’s pleasure in receiving them.

 

“I do not recall the particulars,” he confessed. “She also brought the local news and gossip. She made your mother laugh,” he remembered with a faint smile.

 

Father and daughter fell into a momentary silence as the laughter of the woman they both had loved rang in their memories.

 

“Do you recall anything else?” Marian finally asked.

 

“Not much,” he admitted. “We did not see the Lady Ghislaine again after your birth. We heard that Sir Roger had returned and had been banished as a leper.”

 

“Did you and Mother not go to her and offer your support? After she had befriended Mother?” Marian’s brow creased in confusion.

 

“Your mother wanted to but I forbid her.” He held up a placating hand at her fierce look. 

 

“Leprosy is a terrifying disease,” he said in defense of his actions. “I was worried that your mother would become ill – or bring it home to you. At first I demanded that she stay away and then I begged and pleaded until she acquiesced.”

 

He leaned his head back against the chair as if exhausted.

 

“It was not much later that we heard of the fire and of her death – along with Sir Roger and Malcolm of Locksley.”

 

He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly.  

 

“Your mother was very upset. She demanded that I take her to the village so that she could pay her respects. She never said it, but I believe she had it in her head to bring both of those orphaned boys back here to Knighton…”

 

“But Guy was already gone,” Marian guessed. “Stripped of his birthright and banished.”

 

“Yes.” He gave her a pained look and they both took a moment to think about how the repercussions of that time were reverberating today.

 

“Up to that point, the relationship between Knighton and Locksley was but that of being cordial neighbors,” he remembered. “But though Robin continued to live at Locksley, he was drawn here time and again until it became as a second home to him. At first, I think, because he reveled in your mother’s kindness and then because you and he… well…” His voice trailed off as he stumbled onto the painful topic.

 

“And no one ever tried to find Guy or offer him help?” There was a faintly accusing ring to Marian’s tone.

 

“No,” Edward admitted with a chagrined look. “I never heard of him again – indeed, I had forgotten all about him – until he arrived here with Vaisey.”

 

Marian rested her cheek against her father’s knees and as he winnowed his fingers soothingly through her hair, she thought about the woman who had befriended her own mother. Her father’s description gave her cause to wish that she could have known her.   His remembrances spoke of a kind woman filled with warmth and humor. A complex woman, Marian thought, when her father’s memories were added to those of the son who had both loved and resented her.

 

And she could not help but wonder what kind of person her husband might be had Ghislaine lived to see him to manhood.

 

*****

 

 

Marian left her father’s house and made another spontaneous decision. Wheeling her horse around, she cantered toward the forest.   Entering the misty coolness of Sherwood, she had not ridden far before one of the outlaws melted out of the shadows and stepped onto the narrow path.

 

“My lady.”

 

“John.” 

 

Her high perch afforded her the rare opportunity of being able to look down into the big man’s face rather than having to crane her neck back and she smiled at the novelty.

 

“Can I help you, Lady Marian?”

 

“I need to see him,” she said simply.

 

John shook his head and pressed his forehead to the staff held tightly in his hands.

 

“I think it best if you stay away from each other. You hurt him, my lady,” he said at last as he lifted his head to look into her eyes. 

 

“That was never my intent, John.” Marian met his gaze. “My life has not been under my own control. Surely you know that.”

 

John’s lips twisted into a sad smile.

 

“I do.” He curled his fingers around her horse’s bridle and began a plodding walk toward the hidden camp. Upon their arrival, he reached up and lifted her from the saddle with strong hands.

 

“Be careful with him, my lady.” Tucking her fingers into the crook of his elbow, he led her forward. “When it comes to you, he thinks with his heart, not his head.”

 

“I know.” Grabbing a fistful of his tunic, she tugged his shaggy head down until she could press her lips to his cheek.

 

“I am counting on you – and the others – to take good care of him,” she whispered.

 

The big man nodded and gruffly cleared his throat. 

 

“Off with you then,” he said hoarsely. “He is waiting for you.” He gave her a little nudge and she looked up to see Robin standing at the top of a hill. The late afternoon sunlight danced through the leaves, painting him gold and she released a sigh. What was could never be, she thought as she shook off old longings and reminded herself that she was here with a cause.

 

She gathered up her skirts and climbed the hill aware of his steady gaze and stubborn refusal to meet her halfway.

 

“Robin.” She reached the apex of the hill and stopped but a few feet from where he stood.

 

“Marian.” He folded his arms across his chest as an awkward silence fell over them.

 

“I am surprised to see you,” he said at last. “I thought you felt it best that we not.”

 

“I know.”   Her lips trembled into a smile. “And I know that it is asking much but I need to speak with you.”

 

Torn between wanting her to leave he could wallow in his loneliness and the barely controlled need to snatch her into his arms and never let go, he restlessly shifted his weight from one foot to the other. In the end he capitulated – as he suspected he always would when this woman asked something of him – and looking around, he took a seat on a fallen tree. Glancing up expectantly, he patted the rough bark. 

 

Marian accepted his silent invitation and spreading her skirts demurely about her, she settled down beside him.

 

“Is that the latest in ladies fashions?” Seeing it as much a brand of possession as her wedding ring, Robin could not help the barbed tone which crept into his voice as he took note of her delicate form swallowed up in Gisbourne’s familiar coat.

 

She glanced down and ran a hand over the supple leather. “It is a long story having to do with why I am here.”

 

He turned to face her. Setting his booted feet on the log, he wrapped his arms around his legs and propped his chin on his knees, unconsciously forming a shield between them. 

 

“Well, let’s have it then. What have you come to ask?”

 

“I have learned that part of the land which makes up Locksley as I know it today was once owned by Guy’s family.”

 

He sucked in a startled breath.

 

“Are you asking me if that is true?” he asked at length. Adopting a bored expression, he sought to cover his surprise.

 

“No. I know that Guy was not lying when he told me thus.”

 

Robin nodded slowly. “Then what is it you want to know?”

 

“I guess I am wondering why it is that you never said anything about it to me.”

 

“It was a long time ago.”

 

“That is the same thing my father said. So I will tell you what I told him. And that is that it may have taken place in a long-ago past, but surely you realize that the events which occurred then have come around to haunt us in the present.”

 

He tipped his head in acknowledgment of her words.

 

“Will you tell me about it?” she asked.

 

He let out a sigh, not wanting to revisit a painful past. “Ask your questions. I will answer them.”

 

“You knew Guy when you were boys.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“How did you get on?”

 

“Not well, as I am sure you already know.” He rolled his eyes. “He was ill-tempered. Sullen. Morose. Not at all fun to spend time with.” 

 

He shot her a cheeky grin. “Sound familiar?”

 

She silenced him with a quelling frown.

 

“What?” he asked after a moment, a smile still playing about his lips. “Do not ask a question if you do not think you will like the answer.”  He shrugged. “I am sure Gisbourne had equally little good to say about me.”

 

Marian arched a brow. “His words painted a picture of a boy who was spoiled, arrogant and cocksure. Sound familiar?”

 

He touched two fingers to his forehead in a silent salute.

 

“I was those things,” he acknowledged. “And he was a sad-eyed prig.”

 

“He had reason to be, did he not?”

 

Robin huffed out a sigh. “I suppose. Look, it is no secret that we did not get on. We were often forced into one another’s company because our parents… well, they made plans to marry after his father was… Did he tell you about his father?”

 

“Yes. He told me that he returned from the Holy Land and was banished as a leper.”

 

Robin’s expression grew troubled. “It was terrible,” he recalled. “People treated Sir Roger horribly. I treated him horribly.”

 

He scrubbed a hand over the back of his neck. “I was afraid. Leprosy… what if it spread throughout the village? What if I lost my father to it?” He shook his head in remembrance.

 

“I wanted him gone.”

 

His voice trailed off into silence and he stared into the canopy of trees as if seeing the past play out before his eyes.

 

“My father and his mother made plans to marry after Sir Roger’s banishment,” he continued after a long pause.

 

“And how did you feel about that?”

 

“I was… I liked the Lady Ghislaine. She was kind to me. Always had a smile and a sweet treat for me. I liked the idea of having a mother again. I was less happy about taking on such a cheerless, moody new brother.”

 

“Guy told me that your father and the Lady Ghislaine had been carrying on a secret affair for some time before Sir Roger’s return.”

 

His head shot up.

 

“A lie!” he snapped, fire in his eyes. 

 

“He said that they met in secret. That he saw them on more than one occasion slip off and one time he followed them.”

 

“No.” 

 

He shook his head in automatic denial but she could see the confusion on his face.

 

“He told me that he saw them whispering in a stable. Embracing and kissing. Are you saying that Guy is lying?”

 

“No… I don’t know… No.” He pressed his forehead against his knees. “No. Even he would not tell such a lie about his mother.”

 

“That is what I thought.”

 

“My father grieved my mother’s death for many years.” His voice was muffled. “And then eventually he began to smile again and I remember realizing one day that he was happy. In hindsight I can see that the moments he was happiest were almost always those times when the Lady Ghislaine was present.” He looked up; his eyes huge with discovery.

 

“I just never realized until right now.”

 

Marian waited in silence as Robin was lost in his memories. At last he shook his head as if to clear it and looked at her.

 

“It is odd, is it not?” he asked. “To learn such things about your parents so many years later? I worshiped him. Revered him. And after his death, built him up in my mind as being nearly perfect. I never thought of him as a normal man, with faults and desires or wants and needs.

 

“I admired my father so and could not fathom that Guy did not.” Bewilderment was painted on his face. “I have many reasons to despise Gisbourne – for his treatment of the people of Nottingham. For you.” 

 

She blushed and looked away.

 

“And I will never forgive him for murdering my father… but at least now I understand the animosity he felt toward him.”

 

“Guy told me it was an accident – the fire. That he was defending his family when your father burst into the house. That he only wanted to drive him off so that your father would leave the Lady Ghislaine alone. I believe Guy was hoping his parents would reconcile and that his family would be intact again.”

 

Robin sighed and rested his chin on his knees. 

 

“I find myself filled with ‘if-only’s’,” he murmured contemplatively. “If only Sir Roger had never come back. If only I had never run to alert my father and the other townspeople that he had. If only. If only…”

 

Marian hesitated before pushing forward.

 

“The next day – after the fire – Guy told me that he had been banished from the village.”

 

Robin ran a knuckle under his eye, collecting the moisture which had gathered there. 

 

“Yes.”

 

“He said that his family’s land had been confiscated and made a part of Locksley.”

 

“The land had reverted to Locksley of which it was originally a part,” Robin corrected with an edge to his voice.

 

“Had his parents and your father not perished in that blaze, would the land have remained in the Gisbourne family?”

 

“I… I suppose. I do not know, Marian!” He raked his fingers through his hair. “If my father had married the Lady Ghislaine, I imagine that the properties would have joined again.”

 

“Did Guy return that evening?”

 

Robin expelled a long breath. “Yes,” he said at last. 

 

“And was again sent on his way?”

 

“Yes.” He pinched his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “You have to understand, Marian. Things were chaotic. I did not know which way to turn. Where to go. What to do. The priest… he became my anchor and in those first weeks and months I relied on him – and Thornton – to get me through.”

 

“And this priest… he was the same one who banished Sir Roger so cruelly – even after the Lady Ghislaine had saved his life?”

 

Robin flushed with the realization that Guy had told her about his part in injuring the priest with his showboating. 

 

“Yes,” he said in defense of his younger self and the priest who had stepped into his father’s place and guided him to adulthood. “But he only wanted what was best.”

 

“Best for whom? Certainly not best for Guy…” Her lips tipped up in mockery of a smile. “Best for the people of Locksley? If that was his intent – all these years later – the people of Locksley and Nottingham are paying for his poor decision.”

 

He lowered his head. 

 

“I was truly sorry for what happened that night. It was a mistake which I learned from.” 

 

He lifted his head and stared hard into her eyes.

 

“We both became orphans that night. But the lessons I learned made me a better man. Can you say the same of Gisbourne?” *

 

She smiled sadly.

 

“No. I cannot.” She rose to her feet and made her way down the hill where she untied her horse. He followed her and boosted her into the saddle. 

 

“But you had the security of wealth and a home – and more importantly – the love and loyalty of many people to help you grow into the man you have become today. And I am so glad of that,” she said fiercely. “So glad to know you had such support in the wake of those tragic events.”

 

She settled her skirts around her and gathered the reins in her hand.

 

“But… can you say the same of Guy?” she asked, reflecting his own words back to him.

 

Robin shook his head mutely and released the horse’s bridle from his grip. With a heavy heart, he could not help but wonder if it was his punishment for past sins to watch the woman he loved ride out of the forest – away from him – and toward the man who had once – in another life – almost been his brother.

 

 

*****

 

 

It was dark when she returned to Locksley. She led her horse into the stable and dismounted, handing the reins to the groom who appeared silently upon her entrance. She was relieved to see Guy’s horse contentedly munching from a bucket of oats. The stallion whickered a greeting and she dutifully went to its stall. She smiled as the huge warhorse gently butted its head against her shoulder and running her hands down its powerful neck, was pleased to note that its hide was dry and cool to the touch. Proof that Guy had been home for some time.

 

With a final scratch of her fingers against the top of the stallion’s head, she left the barn and approached the house. As she entered, Alyce hurried forward to greet her.

 

“Lady Marian.” Relief was evident in her voice and on her features.

 

“I am late,” Marian acknowledged. “Has Sir Guy eaten?”

 

“No, my lady.” The housekeeper slanted a cautious gaze toward the stairs. “He came home about three hours ago and went directly to your chamber,” she confided quietly. “Cook made supper but I was reluctant to disturb him.”

 

“That is fine,” Marian told her. “Please tell the cook I am sorry for being so late and ask her to send a tray for my lord and me to our chamber.”

 

“Yes, my lady.” Alyce bobbed her head and turned toward the kitchen.

 

Marian climbed the stairs to the upper floor and stood outside their chamber for a long moment as she wondered what kind of greeting awaited her. Taking a deep breath, she wrapped her fingers around the latch and pushed the door inward.

 

The bedchamber was dark with only a low fire burning in the hearth for illumination. She stood for a moment, waiting for her eyes to adjust before closing the door behind her.

 

“It is late.”

 

Her head swung toward the sound of his voice and she was just able to make out his shadowy form seated near the window.

 

“It seems later than it is for the sun is setting earlier and earlier each night. Why are there no candles lit?”

 

“I like the darkness.”

 

In spite of his statement, Marian groped on the mantle for a taper and set about lighting candles. As she moved across the room to touch the flame to the candle on the bedside table, she glanced out of the corner of her eye to see Guy lift a goblet to his mouth. Tipping his head back, he drained the cup in one long swallow and reaching for the flagon of wine on the small table beside him, he refilled the cup with a generous portion of the dark red liquid.

 

“I wondered if you would return.” He stared down broodingly, watching the play of light on the pewter band encircling the goblet in his hand.

 

“Would you have come after me?”

 

His eyes flicked up to meet hers and she canted her head to one side, genuinely curious to know his answer.

 

Guy stared at her over the rim of his cup and the moment stretched out into an almost painful silence.

 

“I would hope that I would have enough pride not to chase after you,” he said at last. “Or enough compassion not to drag you back to a life you hate.” 

 

“But we both know that I have neither pride nor compassion when it comes to you.” He closed his eyes and lifted the cup to his mouth for another deep gulp.

 

She swallowed hard.

 

“Then it is best that I came back of my own free will,” she said airily in an effort to lighten the oppressive mood of the room.

 

“Where were you?” He refilled his cup yet again.

 

She ignored him and at the sound of a tentative knocking on the door, hurried to open it. A young maid bustled into the room, straining under the weight of a tray heavy with food.

 

“Put it over here, please.”

 

Marian swept across the room to the table at Guy’s side and scooped up the flagon of wine. Ignoring her husband’s low growl, she deftly moved the decanter out of his reach, noting by the lightness of the vessel and the bleariness of his eyes that he had been indulging for quite some time.

 

The servant hastened to obey and set the heavy tray down with a thud. Young though she may be, it was impossible for anyone not to be aware of the strain of tension which filled the room.

 

“Will there be anythin’ else, milady?”

 

Marian shook her head. “No, that is all. Thank you.”

 

The girl bobbed a quick curtsy and hurried from the room. As the door closed behind her, Marian swept the linen cover from the top of the tray.

 

“Ahh.” She leaned forward to take an appreciative sniff. Generous portions of beef stew steamed in wooden bowls. Half a loaf of crusty bread was wrapped in a cloth and butter gleamed gold in a crock. She set the meal onto the table and laid the tray aside. Taking a seat across from her husband, she peeled back one corner of a square of cloth and inhaled deeply.

 

“Gingerbread,” she announced. “Your favorite, I believe.” She offered a smile and reached across the table to hand him a spoon.

 

He pointedly ignored her and took another sip of wine.

 

“I asked where you have been.”

 

Marian set the spoon onto the table and picked up her own.

 

“I went to Knighton to visit my father.” She lifted a spoonful of stew to her mouth and blew on it before taking a bite.

 

“Delicious,” she sighed. Determined not to allow things to devolve into another argument she looked up to meet his stony gaze.

 

“You should eat before your meal grows cold, Guy. The cook has done a marvelous job, as always.”

 

He picked up his spoon but rather than dipping it into his own bowl, he played with it.

 

“Knighton was not the only place you visited,” he said as he idly ran his fingers first over the rounded back of the utensil and then into its concave center.

 

“I know you, Marian. You went to Sherwood. You went to see him.”

 

Marian met his gaze steadily. “Yes,” she said calmly. 

 

He nodded, his face a mask of indifference but for the muscle ticking madly in his jaw.

 

“I see.”

 

“No,” she replied slowly. “I do not think you do.”

 

“It seems a simple enough matter to deduce, madam.” He set the spoon back onto the table with an audible thwack. “You did not believe me and ran to Hood for his version of the story.”

 

“It is of no matter,” he shrugged as if it were of little consequence to him. “I did not expect you to accept my tale as truth.”

 

“You are wrong.” She touched gentle fingers to his hand where it laid clenched in a fist against the table. “I believed every word you told me.”

 

“Then… why?”

 

“Why did I go to my father and Robin?”

 

He jerked his head in a terse nod.

 

“Because I wanted to better understand.”

 

“Understand what?”

 

“You,” she replied softly.

 

“Me?” His voice was incredulous. “How did speaking with either of them help you to better understand me?”

 

“You are my husband and yet I feel I hardly know you.”

 

“And it is important that you do?”

 

“Of course!” she exclaimed. “I want to understand the man with whom I am going to spend the rest of my life.” She watched his eyes dilate as she finally gave verbal acknowledgment of the lifetime pledge between them.

 

“I still fail to see how running to Hood helps you to understand me. There is a history of bad blood between us. He and I are enemies,” he reminded her. “He knows nothing about me.” He snatched up the goblet and gulped down half its contents in one long swallow.

 

“He was present at some of the most important moments in your life,” she shot back as she grabbed the cup and yanked it out of his reach.

 

“You have had more than enough, my lord.”

 

Guy rejected the knee-jerk urge to snatch back the goblet. He struggled to gather the tattered remnants of his pride and choosing not to respond to her lowly spoken warning, instead continued their conversation as if it had not been interrupted. “So you did doubt me and raced off to get his side of the story,” he accused angrily.

 

Marian drew in a deep breath as she strived to remain calm in the face of his antagonism. 

 

“What I believe is that you loved your parents very much,” she said thoughtfully. “Especially your mother.”

 

Guy swallowed hard and averted his eyes, staring fixedly at a spot on the wall behind her.

 

“And yet the story you told me does not cast either of them in the most flattering of lights. I do not believe that you would tell me such things about your parents if they were not true.”

 

She felt his hand tighten even further under her light touch.

 

“And what did Hood tell you to help you to better understand?” he asked gruffly.

 

She was silent for a long moment, reflecting on her conversation with Robin, and her husband shifted restlessly as he awaited her response.

 

“His story did not differ much from yours,” she eventually said. “And he helped me to see you as the young man he knew before tragedy had changed everything in both of your lives.”

 

“I find it impossible to believe that Hood would willingly say anything that could help you to see me in a more positive way.”

 

“I do not believe that was his intent,” she said dryly. “However, I do feel that I understand you a little more. Who you were and the things that happened to you as a boy have impacted the man to whom I am married, have they not?”

 

Guy finally met her gaze directly and she saw an expression of hope cross his face.

 

“But Guy,” she cautioned gently. “Though I think I understand a little better what compels you to do some of the things you do, that does not mean that I approve.”

 

“I would have you be proud of me, Marian.” He opened his fist to thread his fingers with hers. “But I fear it is too late.”

 

“I will pray that is not so,” she murmured and the tightening of her fingers on his seemed to him more binding than any vow spoken in a church.

 

TBC

 

 

* Dialogue paraphrased and lifted from the episode “Bad Blood”

A/N: I hope you did not think I had abandoned this story. Life – work – vacation all played roles in keeping me from finishing this chapter until now.   It is a longish chapter and I hope that makes up for the delay. I do have the rest of the story plotted out in my head and in a loose outline. 

 



  • 1
Wonderful, and I love how you're plugging the enormous plot hole. Well done! As others, I hope you feel free to take your time. It's well worth the wait.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account