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13 November 2009 @ 12:40 am
Robin Hood (Guy/Marian) : White Magic (Part Four)  
Title: White Magic - Part Four [Part One | Part Two | Part Three]
Rating: PG
Word count: 1580 words
Characters: Guy/Marian, Stephen (OC)
Disclaimer: Robin Hood is copyright to Tiger Aspect and the BBC. All Rights Reserved. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money is being made.
Summary: Post 2x13, AU. Guy has travelled to the Holy Land to bring Marian back from the dead. Somewhat inspired by dollsome, except that her idea put a more hilarious spin on the thing. I believe there may have been a magical goat. Thanks so much to hulamoth for her insightful and much-appreciated beta. That girl rocks, yo.

This part of the story involves a change of heart, and a change in body.

--- PREVIOUSLY ---

He looked across at Guy. “I cannot help you bring her back if it will lead you both into sin. To be with, to know another man’s wife, especially when she is reluctant, will bring you no happiness. You must decide. If you cannot have her, will you still risk your soul?”

“I thought – I thought you said I was not damned,” Guy said. Even in despair, he found he hoped for an escape, for an answer.

“I think. I hope. I do not know,” said Stephen. “I do not know you. I do not know what decisions you both might make, and where that might lead you. I think,” he hesitated, “I think that there is much on your Marian’s mind.”


---

Stephen was right. Marian’s mind was busy; it thrummed like the quick lute-strumming fingers of a minstrel. Marian wasn’t sure what to think of this Stephen. He seemed a good man; a medical man. A Knight Hospitaller. But medical men had deceived before. So she was not quite sure. Not yet. At the same time as she was considering this, she was also trying to plan her escape, trying to ascertain just how limited her strength was, and endeavouring to listen to the conversation outside the doorway. Since sitting up made her head spin, any escape would have to involve assistance. Perhaps if she appealed to the morals Stephen appeared to have, perhaps if she entreated him to help her and not Guy? Or perhaps if she made some faint suggestion to Guy of being more than willing to travel back to England with him? There was a hollow sinking in her stomach at the idea of that. Marian was not sure she had the energy to pretend. And given what her pretending had caused…she brought her hand up to rest on her chest. The wound had healed, mostly. By itself, she supposed. Her memories were a little hazy of those early days. There was still a dull ache, though, that refused to fade quite away. Still irresolute, Marian forced her mind fully onto the conversation between Stephen and Guy.

“What if,” she heard Guy say, “what if I promise you that I will not harm her? In any way,” he added, in a hurry, as if Stephen had looked unconvinced, or perhaps unsure. “Then I will give my soul to God, Marian will be restored, and I will take her back to England.” Through the tired rasp of Guy’s voice, she thought she could detect a note of hope.

“And restore her to her husband?” Stephen’s voice was gentle, but insistent. There was a pause.

“And restore her to her husband.” Whatever hope there had been was gone now, replaced with resignation. Marian felt surprise flare within her. After all this, after the traveling and the near-damnation, would he really give her up so easily?

She clenched her fist beneath her blanket. She had fought him off before. She would and could do it again. You kissed him, too, said her mind, reminding her of the gentle scratch of his cheek against hers. It was for Robin, she told herself. I did it for him, so he would be safe. And I returned to him.

She could feel that same small part of her threatening to unburden further images; of her seeking him by night in her best dress, reaching for him by the fire that was suddenly intoxicatingly hot. And with that, the emotions. The thud of guilt that had come with the frustration of seeing Robin at the window, that came with the sudden release from distraction and scattered thoughts. She had been frightened too, she remembered. Frightened at the way her thoughts had scattered. Marian knew her own mind. Though she might sometimes lie, she knew why. She was always sure of the truth and the future she was working towards and the man that she would keep fighting beside. She had felt afraid in that moment, in Guy’s room, because what had been breaths and flutters of doubt had threatened to gust away her certainty. She had felt pulled towards a second future, even as she clung close to the first. There had been more whispers after then, more moments where that second future had been at the edge of her thoughts. But now – after what had happened, after all that Guy had proved himself to be – that future was dead.

Stephen’s voice had grown softer still. “Will you swear to it?” he asked.

“You do not trust me,” replied Guy.

“I must be sure. If you are determined to act honourably, you have nothing to lose by such a vow.” There was a silence. Then,

“No,” Guy said.

“No?”

“Yes. Yes, I will swear. I swear,” Guy paused again, and it was as if Marian could sense every aching fibre of his soul, from this new righteousness that pulled so painfully in its reshaping. When he spoke again, that same ache throbbed in his voice.

“I swear that I will restore her. To her husband.”

“Then,” came Stephen’s voice, “let us pray.” As he began to pray, his voice dropped until all Marian could hear was a whispering hush and sway, a rhythm of words without being able to catch a single one. Lying there upon the bed, Marian allowed herself to relax again, pushing her restless thoughts away. But her muscles would not let go. There was a strange tension, a strange tightening which then became a sudden rushing warmth. It hummed through her body, singing in every thread of her; as if her very limbs were rejoicing to be alive. With a gasping gulp her lungs took in air. Her breaths were deep and full; no longer the shallow half-breaths of before.

Whatever had happened, it had restored her. Marian knew she would only have moments before he returned. Her mind was ablaze with thoughts; wanting to return to England. To Robin. Home. Not here. The soft conversation outside the door had stopped. Guy entered alone, crossing quickly over to kneel beside the bed. She reached out and took Guy’s hand, raising her eyes up to meet his.

“Thank you,” she said. She hadn’t intended to add emotion to her words. But it came of its own accord. For several moments, she found that she couldn’t look away from him. And, even more oddly, that she was grateful to him.

“Stephen says there is a boat leaving today,” Guy told her. “After that, there is nothing for weeks. Not from Acre.”

Her hand was still resting in Guy’s. He placed his other atop it, briefly. His hands were large, but his fingers were slim, almost delicate. Then, suddenly, a thought – something – made him pull his hands away, and stand up. The thought that he had promised to return her to Robin, she guessed. She still wasn’t entirely sure he would go through with it. They must leave sooner rather than later, before he had a chance to change his mind. He had reneged on his promises before.

“Then we must travel today.” Marian sat up – too fast. She clutched her spinning head. Guy instinctively moved to hold her, steady her.

“I am well,” said Marian, the shortness of her words equally instinctive. Guy drew away. “That is – thank you, but I – ” she went to stand up. Her legs seemed fine at first, if a little weak from disuse. And then they buckled under her, so suddenly that she grasped Guy’s arm without thinking.

“Stephen!” he called out. At first there was only silence, then footsteps sounded outside the door. Stephen appeared in the doorway, holding half a loaf of in one hand, a jug of sloshing water, and dates nestled in the crook of his arm.

“I thought that there might be a call for these,” he said.

After Marian had eaten, Stephen walked with them to the harbour. To Marian’s embarrassment, her legs refused to support her. There had been a brief exchange of glances between the two men before Stephen offered to carry her there; a request in Guy’s expression, and an answering understanding in Stephen’s. It was afternoon now, a little cooler, with a slight wind. The three of them were silent as they walked. Marian shifted slightly against Stephen with each step. The rough material of his tunic rubbed against her face, resting against his shoulder.

As they approached the harbour, Marian half-expected Guy to offer to carry her onboard. She might be newly not-quite-dead, but she still did not think she wanted him to carry her onto the ship like a bride over the threshold. He had done it once already after reviving her. That would suffice.

He didn’t.

He walked ahead of them up the gangway, Stephen and Marian following. The wind caught the edges of his linen shirt, lifting it away from his skin. There was a careful distance between the two of them, and she felt it.

“Thank you,” said Guy, as Stephen made to return to shore. Stephen paused, coming back to stand before Guy.

“I wish you all the best, my friend,” said Stephen.

“Friend,” repeated Guy, almost to himself. “Yes. Thank you,” he said again.

“You are a good man, Guy,” said Stephen, more quietly. Guy looked at him, but said nothing. He looked across to Marian, seated where Stephen had placed her, against the hard wood of the ship side. Stephen smiled at her.

“Best wishes to you also, Marian,” he said to her, “I shall pray for a good journey home,” he said. “May God guide your passage and keep you from the worst of the storms.”

“From all storms,” asserted Marian, remembering the harsh rain and wind she had endured on her journey to Acre.

“No,” said Stephen, as he moved towards the gangplank, “you cannot avoid them all! You must sail through some storms before you reach home.” And with that, he was gone.

The distance between Marian and Guy continued as they sailed onwards. She had almost wondered if he would tell her to lie next to him, and pretend they were married to prevent asking questions. But he didn’t. Marian supposed that something Stephen had said must have sunk in.
 
 
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with a dreamy far-off look: [je] janelalumena on November 14th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC)
Thank YOU for reading and commenting! I do appreciate it.