kegel84: (Robin - Marian wood)
[personal profile] kegel84
Title: Better Days Will Come
By: Kegel
Fandom: Robin Hood BBC
Characters: Robin, Marian, Gisborne, Vaysey
Rating: T
Disclaimer: Anything that you recognize I do not own.
Spoilers: Till mid-season 2.
Summary: A twist of history and an unexpected offer give Robin new opportunities in his fight for both his people and country. It also brings new dilemmas, as he and the gang have to make hard choices to find their way when conflicts come to a head.
Notes: Thanks to [ profile] emmithar for the beta!

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6

Chapter 7: Consequences

Robin came to in darkness. He noticed quickly that he couldn't move and a sudden fear of claustrophobia came over him as he realised that he couldn't see anything because some kind of sack had been pulled over his head. He could feel the material on his face, the cloth tightened around his neck. Whoever had done this didn't have a friendly attitude towards him.

Robin tried to calm his breaths, banning memories of the last time he had been in a situation like this. After a few moments, he once again attempted to move his arms, but found them bound, he himself lying on his side. He lifted his head and a pounding that he had previously only felt in the back of his head rang through it. That was where he had been hit, so much was sure, though he knew little else.

"You could have killed him, you fool!"

The voice came suddenly and it didn't help Robin get rid of the sense of disorientation he felt, for he could not even place where it had come from. The accusation surely wasn't directed at him.

"Then he's dead, what do we care? We get the money anyway."

Robin let out a breath that he had held. So it was as he had suspected.

"He's worth more alive."

"He's worth more dead than not at all. Why do you think he hasn't been hanged yet? You know what they say: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

"I say we get him to the sheriff, get the full price for delivering him alive, and he can deal with him."

Robin was still, listening intently to what was said, though the words could not be missed, even if he had wanted to. He knew he could not fight back in this position.

"You think the sheriff is going to pay us the full price when he has to get him to Nottingham and risk Hood getting away? The Sheriff of Nottingham wouldn't pay a penny."

"Not our problem. Maybe we don't get the full price, but it will be enough, and we don't have to go to Nottingham." The man was silent for a moment. "I don't want to go there and turn up empty handed in case something's wrong with him. I don't feel like having a rope around my neck just yet."

No one said anything for some moments and then Robin could hear and feel foot steps beside him, hoping that whoever had wanted him alive had won the argument. He was pulled upwards then and to his feet, the rope remaining around them though, so that he could only move forward in tiny steps as he was pulled along.

"Who are you?" he asked then, his voice muffled through the sack, the inside of which was slowly turning warm and he could feel the moisture that was collecting from his hurried breaths.

He didn't receive any answer. Instead he was shoved ahead and Robin stumbled helplessly forward. One time he stopped, he could feel the tip of a sword against his back moments later. After some minutes they halted, he could hear that a door was opened and then he was pushed forward again, this time falling to his knees as he lost his balance.

"We've got Hood!" one of the man who had argued earlier called, as far as Robin could tell.

"Are you sure?"

The next moment, someone pulled off the sack that had been over Robin's head and as dim as the light was, it still burned in his eyes, and he shut them against it, not able to take in his surroundings for more than a split-second.

"Look at his face. This is Hood."

Robin didn't know how accurate the descriptions were that these people had, but he knew there was no point in arguing against the fact that it was indeed him. If he were actually able to convince these men that he was not Robin Hood, they would easily be motivated to get rid of him. For now he was more likely to stay alive if they believed him to be indeed who they thought he was, someone who would earn them money.

He opened his eyes slowly, the earlier sting from the light weakened now.

One of the men grunted an affirmation. "Take him to the dungeon. The sheriff will deal with this later."

"Our money?"

Robin turned his head to see the sheriff's man lift a small sack that he guessed to contain coins. He threw it and a lean, tall man caught it eagerly.

He opened the bag and looked into it, before he argued, "What about the rest? He's worth more than that." With that he gestured towards Robin.

"What business does the Sheriff of York have with me?" Robin questioned, guessing he could just as well try to find out more about the situation.

The sheriff's man ignored him though, looking at the two men who had taken Robin instead. "You'll get the rest once we're sure it's really Hood." Then he turned to several guards at the other side of the room that Robin only noticed now. "Take him away."

Robin figured there was no point in trying anything with the men and went quietly with the guards, paying attention to remember the way they took down to the dungeons, glad he had not been blindfolded again. He was slowly starting to regret having come to York as openly as he had. He had known the risk for sure, but had been aware as well that this was the best way to get both the food the people needed, as well as the information he desired.

Information he had none now, instead he had walked straight into what looked like a trap. On the other hand, he could not be sure that there really had been a trap and that the two men who had knocked him out had not simply been lucky. One thing was sure though; they wouldn't have been able to overwhelm the whole gang of outlaws. Robin being alone and distracted had done the part. With that thought came back the wonder as to where Allan was, the man who had been supposed to be at his side.

Robin had to draw himself back out of his ponderings, as not to miss to remember the turns they were taking on their way downwards. They were still going rather slowly, as he was not able to move any easier than before. Soon though an iron gate was pulled aside and Robin shoved forward once again. Another door was opened and Robin landed in the dungeon's of York, seeing immediately that he wasn't alone there.

Before the cell was closed, a guard removed the bounds that had held him before, leaving him then with the pale faces of the other poor souls that had were imprisoned there.

The Sheriff of York didn't seem to be of more mercy than the Sheriff of Nottingham, for the cell was overcrowded with people, young and old. Or maybe the sheriff was actually more merciful, for Robin figured that Vaysey tended to empty his cells by means of the gallows outside.

He could only wonder on whose mercy he had to rely on now, and what Much and Allan were doing, who had to be somewhere out there. He feared them risking their lives, if they were to try to come for him, but then he doubted he had a chance to get out of this place on his own.

There was a time when he used to believe that he would always be able to get out of dire situations like these. But the events of last autumn still caused troublesome ideas in his mind. Back then, he had given up, had not believed in escape anymore, had maybe for a time not even wanted it anymore. He did not know now, how he had survived. Despite his doubts as to the possibility of doing so, he knew that he had to find a way out; he couldn't stand facing a triumphant Sheriff of Nottingham. And there were so many things that needed to be done.

It was in the hours of the early morning that Marian and Edward arrived in Locksley. Once they had pulled up in front of the manor, Marian directed the driver to get Thornton quietly. The servant soon hurried out of the house and looked into the carriage, an expression of surprise on his face when he recognized Marian. Thornton knew her of course; she had been at Locksley often enough back when she and Robin had been betrothed. And she had been here after the time that she had agreed to marry Guy. It seemed no matter what life had brought her, she was to come here after all.

"Sir Guy was so kind to permit us shelter here," she said then, and Thornton nodded without a question. He led them into the house, also helping Edward along, the man sinking down on an offered chair just moments after they had entered the manor.

"Will Sir Guy come here tonight as well?" Thornton asked then.

Marian hesitated. Would he come, too? No, she believed he would stay at the castle, would not risk their exposure by rushing all of a sudden to Locksley. She shook her head. "No, I do not think so."

The servant nodded. "I will show you to the guest quarters. Do you have any luggage?" He looked from Marian to Edward.

"Only this," Marian replied, showing her bag. She wasn't willing to hand it over to anyone, fearing that they might have to go at a moment's notice, if the sheriff learned that they were here.

Thornton nodded again. Marian knew that he had to be aware of their situation. He had surely heard of the fate of the old sheriff and could certainly only doubt the mercy of the new sheriff to let him go all of a sudden. Their nocturnal appearance told a clear enough story.

"Will you require anything else tonight?" he asked then.

Marian wanted to say no, until she remembered her plan, and nodded. "I will need some paper, please. I need to set up letters to friends, so I can send them off in the morning."

The man took this in and then showed them to the promised quarters. Marian could only thank God that they had received the help. As she watched her father climb the stairs to his room, she knew that he would not even have made it out of Nottingham on foot. The old man was out of breath when they arrived in the chamber, and she could only hope that he would feel better quickly, now that he had escaped the dungeons.

He was asleep even before Marian had left the room. She closed the door quietly, feeling a strange sensation to be in this house, when its owner wasn't there, neither the current, nor the old one.

When she entered the small room that was to be her bed chamber for her stay, she wondered what the future would bring. The letters to her father's friends were quickly written. The words had to be chosen carefully, but still she had to make haste, if she wanted them to be on the way in the morning. Even if they found a welcome soon, and a letter would be send back immediately, it would still be a few days before they would hear anything. Every single day they could be found. She could only hope that Guy would not lose his nerve, would not decide that the sheriff was more important after all. She knew he wasn't in an easy position, out of his perspective. While in her mind there were things that needed to be done because they were right, despite the risks that might be connected to them, it was not easy to share this belief with someone who had a fully different view of the world. She had no doubt that it was not compassion that had caused Gisborne to act this way. She knew it was only because of her.

Once the letters were done, Marian stood up and moved to the small window. It gave her a view over a part of the village, the forest visible in the background. She knew that the outlaw's camp was not far from there. Then she remembered that nobody would be there at the moment. The gang had certainly left, as Robin had told her they would do. He had not confided to her where they would go. She had a few ideas where they might be able to buy food for the villages, though she did not know how Robin planned to do this. He would not be able to act in secret, and this caused a new worry in her, at the thought of him exposing himself, somewhere out there. She did not know how far the influence of the Sheriff of Nottingham reached, but she could imagine that the man had enough of an interest in Robin that he would try to make this as far as possibly, even beyond the reach of his own authority.

Marian also remembered the question about a traitor in the gang that had been raised between her and Robin. She had not thought about the matter since their last farewell, but as far as she could tell, Gisborne was not receiving any new information about the outlaws. But then, she had probably been too distracted to pay much attention to it. Gisborne on the other hand, had also his own share of problems, connected to the pressure that the sheriff was under from London.

She watched the trees move slightly in the wind of the early morning, the sun slowly going up in the east. She felt a short desire to go out and into the forest, to see if Robin had returned after all. But then she decided that she had to plan a further escape, a matter in which Robin would not be able to help. Any excursion she might undertake would only increase the risk that she and her father were detected. She could not go, just on the small hope that the outlaws were already back. She knew in the best case she would only stay here at Locksley for a few days, then travel on to whoever of her father's friends outside of Nottinghamshire was willing to shelter them. If everything went well in her plan, they would likely be gone before the gang returned to the woods around Locksley.

Guy closed the door to his room behind him, letting out a breath that he seemed to have hold for too long. He looked into the spare room that was still mostly engulfed in darkness, the sun not having come up. The night was not yet over.

He didn't know if he had made the right decision. He had fought against it, knowing that it endangered everything he had worked for, to go against the sheriff. He had fed his anger at her foolishness, the one that was forcing him into this position. Marian had acted misguidedly, and it enraged him how she did, risking to destroy everything... But then this did not mean he could deliver her to the gallows. At the end he did not have a choice but to help her, as she stubbornly refused to see reason.

He had acted quickly. The jailer was the first one he killed. It would be no loss to the world. He had organised the carriage then, knowing the old man would never be able to walk far. The castle guard who had been on duty at the dungeons and who Guy had ordered to get the carriage, had later found his end, too, once Marian and Edward were safely out of Nottingham. Gisborne guessed that Marian would not approve of the killing, but then she did not know about it, and had at the same time forced him to do it, for the safety of both of them.

Guy was occupied in thoughts, when he heard a knock at the door behind him. Without a word he swung it open and saw a young boy standing outside, probably employed to run errands, and definitely startled both by Gisborne's sudden appearance and demeanor.

"What is it?"

"There's a letter for you, Sir," the boy said as quickly as possible. "The messenger just arrived."

Guy looked down at the folded paper in the other's hand. He grabbed it and closed the door to his chamber again. A glance at the writing on the letter didn't confirm his first idea. It wasn't from Marian, sending a quick note after having arrived at Locksley. Then he noted that her foolishness did not extend that far, sending a red flag for the sheriff to see. He cared little what else the letter could be, having no mind for any of the sheriff's business at the moment. He threw it aside and stepped to the window of the still dark room, looking down into the courtyard. It lay just as dark.

He didn't find any more sleep that night, but he doubted the sheriff would even notice if his mind was not with the present, as occupied as the man currently was. The meeting from last night had not resulted in anything. They were both keenly aware that Vaysey's position was in danger. It would only be a matter of time before the prince would act, installing a man he trusted more in helping him achieve his goals, whatever those were at the present situation.

Gisborne's attention had been distracted by the trouble with Marian and now he found himself caring little to return to the matter. He knew they would not be able to fulfill the prince's demands. They would not suddenly catch Hood and his gang, would not suddenly be able to collect – and deliver - more taxes. What Guy wanted to do now, was to ride to Locksley and ensure that everything was going alright there. Maybe if he kept a cool mind, if he did not connect his fate too close with Vaysey's, he might be able to keep his own position and estate. It was a strange thought, considering his earlier anger about the risk he had been forced to take, the one that he feared to destroy his stand with the same man.

Just after the sun had appeared at the horizon, Gisborne set out to walk down to the stables. He knew he still had to stay a while before he could ride off to Locksley, but he could just as well have his horse readied. When he walked down the steps to the yard, two castle guards hurried up to him, not to his surprise.

"Sir," they greeted him quickly and Guy came to a stop, looking at them from where he stood.

"I want my horse readied," he said, knowing the guards would have no mind for that.

"Sir, there is a problem," one of the men said. "The jailer has been killed down in the dungeons and a prisoner escaped." The man was pale and Gisborne could imagine why. It was very well possible that the messenger of such a message would regret having gotten up that day.

"When did this happen?" Guy questioned with a scowl.

"At night, Sir," the same man said, glancing at first briefly at his colleague, apparently hoping for support, before his gaze went upwards and over Gisborne's shoulder.

Guy turned his head to see the sheriff descending the stairs down from the castle.

"Now, Gisborne, what do you say to that?"

The man came to a stop several steps higher than where Gisborne stood, causing him to still tower over the Master-At-Arms despite their natural difference in height.

"You have heard about it, my Lord?"

The sheriff smirked, but Gisborne could see that he was not enjoying himself as much as he often did, the pressure that was lying on all of them still shining through. "Of course I have heard. Your little leper has run off with her daddy and killed my jailer on the way out."

In Gisborne's opinion Vaysey seemed to care too little about the jailer's death, not because of any human emotion the man might have, but because the sheriff usually minded if someone interfered with his order.

"I'm sorry about the loss, my Lord," Guy nodded his head. "The man... had his competences."

Vaysey looked at him silently for a moment. "Gisborne, do you think I care about that? A clue: no!" He came down the rest of the stairs with more energetic strides than before. "There are enough incompetent people around here who can fill the job." He grimaced. "But your leper...." he turned around to Gisborne, while the two castle guards tried to become invisible, "she's going to hang, once I get her." Vaysey smirked. "Be glad she ran away from the altar, Gisborne! You wouldn't want a scandal like that in your dear family, now would you?"

Guy's heart seemed to have stopped for a moment, but now it was beating hurriedly in his chest.

"She was helping her father," he said lamely, not even knowing himself if he wanted to accuse her of that or pointed it out as an excuse.

"Who cares, Gisborne? The old man will be dead soon, but the little misses showed that she isn't better than a common criminal."

Guy just stared down at the man who was now standing next to him.

"What is it, Gisborne? Are we disappointed?" Vaysey smiled now. "I told you: never trust any lepers."

Gisborne nodded, closing his eyes for a moment. "Yes, my Lord."

He looked up again, wondering what the sheriff was going to do. He also wondered what he was to do. How long would he be able to hide Marian and her father at Locksley, how long would he have to make sure no living soul save for his personal servants knew about it? He felt various stings of regret, for once, for even having become tangled in the mess by helping her, and else, for casting that danger of hanging for the murder of the jailer over her, no matter that he believed the sheriff would kill her in any way, if he were to apprehend her.

"I want you to take a few guards and search the villages to see if she and daddy are hiding anywhere. I don't think the old man can go far," Vaysey ordered him then, and Guy nodded again, turning to go. "But don't waste much time on this, Gisborne," the sheriff continued. "We have more important matters to deal with, though I know we all could need a little relaxation once in a while. A hanging party with the leper as our special guest would do all of us good, I'm sure."

With that, the sheriff skipped up the stairs to the castle again, clearly in a much better mood than when he had come down.

Chapter 8

Date: 2010-04-13 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, the sheriff certainly must be distracted if he's not throwing a temper tantrum over Marian getting away or thinking Guy might have anything whatsoever to do with it.

Don't take too long on the next chapter. I need to know about Robs!

Date: 2010-04-14 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What the sheriff thinks, might change very soon lol ;)

The next chapter currently hangs somewhere between Schumen and Sofia (laptop battery only holds for so long lol), but I'm doing my best, poor Robs :D


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