kegel84: (Robin - frown)
[personal profile] kegel84
Title: Better Days Will Come
By: Kegel
Fandom: Robin Hood BBC
Characters: Robin, Marian, Guy, Vaysey, the Gang
Rating: T
Disclaimer: Anything that you recognize I do not own.
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.
Spoilers: Till mid-season 2.

Chapter Summary: Guy thinks about the past and future, Robin learns more about his situation, and Allan wonders what to do.

Notes: Thanks to [ profile] emmithar for the beta!

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7

Chapter 8: Fate

Guy had taken a few guards and had listlessly searched the villages around Nottingham. 'Searched' was probably an exaggerated description of what he had done, for he knew well enough that Marian and Edward were not there to be found. After a while, he had sent the guards back to Nottingham, while he himself had turned his horse on the way to Locksley.

The day had taken much of its course by now, it being well into the afternoon when he finally arrived at the manor. The building lay quiet, showing nothing of the surprise that must have taken place at night, when Marian arrived here.

Gisborne slid off his horse and a stable boy came running towards him, relieving him of the animal. He entered the manor and it took only a few moments before Thornton arrived to greet him. The man had always kept a suitable manner with him, no matter what he might think of him compared to his former master. Now the man was looking grave though.

"Sir Guy," he greeted him.

"Have Lady Marian and Sir Edward arrived well?" Guy asked, removing his gloves.

Thornton nodded. "Lady Marian is well. Sir Edward though, I fear, is not."

Guy gestured his acknowledgement, having suspected as much. He had known that Edward was very sick, and though the dungeon might have fastened his deterioration, Guy doubted that simply being out of there would restore his health.

"Where is she?"

"Lady Marian is with her father in the upper guest chamber."

Guy left the man behind, moving up the stairs quickly, slowing down only when he arrived in front of the door of the said room. He knocked carefully before he entered.

Marian sat by the bed, Edward apparently sleeping. When he looked at the man, Guy could not even be certain that he was still alive, if it had not been for the rising and falling of his chest. Marian looked pale as well, and he guessed that she had not slept at all.

He hated to see her this way, though a new flare of regret rose in him at the thought of the risk she – and he – had taken to free an old man who would not live more than a few days at the most.

"Come downstairs," he found himself saying then and Marian nodded with a glance at her father.

Guy was slightly surprised by this, almost having expected that she would refuse to leave Edward's side, but maybe she also felt a sense of obligation towards the owner of the home. He frowned at the thought, as Marian walked down the stairs in front of him. He didn't want her to be friendly towards him just because she felt she had to. He had made this mistake before, but he knew her better now. They would never become what he wanted them to be, if it was not on her genuine terms. He felt that he deserved her gratitude for what he had done for her, but it had to honest, not because she thought she had to express it.

As they arrived downstairs, and she turned towards him in the main room of the manor, he considered that he could just as easily trap her. On her terms, she would never become his wife, if she would not feel genuine cordial sentiments for him, and he was uncertain if he was ever to achieve that. But just as he had tried before, and more forceful now, he could tell her that he was the only one who could protect her. It was the truth. If he were to tell the sheriff what he knew, she would be as good as dead.

If he protected her though, they could become man and wife - after a suitable period of mourning. Guy would be able to convince the sheriff that it had not been her who had killed the jailer, not that Vaysey cared either way. The sheriff only saw the disturbance of his authority, rebellion, that was what she would die for, if Guy would not protect her.

Gisborne suppressed these thoughts as he invited Marian to sit down, calling for a servant to bring two glasses of wine. Marian was silent, the worry showing clearly on her face.

"The sheriff has no trace of you," Guy assured her then, and she nodded.

"Thank you."

They were silent for a few moments and the servant returned with the wine, pouring in two glasses. Guy took his, while Marian's remained untouched.

"Will you stay here?" he asked then, taking care to imply that he wished her to do so.

Marian frowned. "I have written to friends of my father... and the sheriff-"

"-will not know you are here unless he learns it from me." His voice was firm. It had to be clear to both of them that Edward would die soon. Guy could see in her eyes that she knew the truth of this, even though she did not voice it. And Marian could not leave on her own; Guy would not allow it...

"I cannot hide forever," she said then and he knew it to be true.

It was not his intention for her to be hiding forever. Once the first storm had calmed, he would be able to convince the sheriff that she was just a girl who had acted foolishly out of love for her father and that no harm had been done. Valuing Gisborne's services he would surely excuse her and she would be safe as the Lady Gisborne. That was all, if the sheriff was able to hold onto his position of course.

Still, inside he still wondered if he would want this to happen, if she had not genuine feelings for him. Would he want to live year after year knowing that his wife was only his because of entrapping circumstances? He had believed before that he would want to, would want to make her his on any terms. Maybe the feeling would come later, later when she had had time to get to know his worth, see that he was an honourable man. He had committed sins he could not easily forget, but still, she would see the man he truly was, once she came to know him.

"I should go upstairs again," Marian said suddenly, pulling him out of his thoughts.

He nodded. He would not keep her from spending her father's last hours in the man's presence. As stupid as her actions had been, she would at least have this consolation, to be with him. She went upstairs and he was left alone with his thoughts, having little inclination to return to Nottingham now.

If it were not for the trouble Vaysey was in, things would have been almost peaceful. No outlaws of Hood's gang had been sighted in days, no tax collectors ambushed, no storages broken into. Gisborne could almost imagine Hood and the outlaws disappearing forever... maybe they had all run away from Hood, an understandable act, considering the arrogant fool the man was... maybe Hood had decided to be close to his beloved king and had left England all together...

Guy shook his head, realising that he had indulged in too much of the heavy wine. He didn't really believe any of this, life was not fair as this, and the little spy he had in Hood's gang had not mentioned anything of such a nature. Not that he had been willing to tell Guy anything at their latest meeting, no matter that Guy had no doubt the man would come crawling back at some point.

He stood up to follow Marian upstairs. Instead of going into the room where her father was lying, he walked into the other small chamber. The fresh covers of the bed hadn't been touched, but still he knew that she had been in here, the small bag she had been carrying with her the last night visible on the wooden chair the room provided. Guy wondered what kind of things she had chosen to take on an escape like this, having known that she would not return to the castle. He knew she didn't own many things anymore, most of it having been destroyed when he had burnt down Knighton Hall. She had a number of dresses, some of them he had given her during the time she had stayed at the castle. He wondered if they were among those she had chosen to take along.

He could see that the bag was open, a garment hanging out of it, probably left from when Marian had went over to her father's room in a hurry. He slowly walked through the room, looking down at the cloth, recognizing it as a dress that he considered way too simple for her. Further down he could spy something that looked like a brown cloak...


Her voice startled him, and only the awareness of the help he had granted her kept him from feeling real shame about intruding her privacy. He knew he could have searched her belongings at any time during the last night, when he had caught her in the dungeon.

Still, he turned his gaze from her belongings, failing to apologize though, but Marian did not argue about it, though she seemed troubled. Her father, he remembered.

"May we get some food brought up to my father's room?" she questioned. As he looked at her, the memory of the last night was still on his mind, and for now he was glad about the decision he had made, his insides twisting at the thought of the alternative scenario.

He nodded and followed her out of the chamber.

The dungeons of York were not a less dreary place than the ones in Nottingham. The main difference was probably that this one housed considerably more people. Although he had no plans in staying there for long, Robin knew he had little choice in the matter for now, so he found himself a place to sit down, leaning against the wall and watching the other prisoners, some of them observing him openly in return.

As little as he wanted the man to succeed in this, he knew that the fact that the Sheriff of York seemed to intend to sell him to Vaysey was his lifesaver for now. Of course, if this were not the case, nobody would have had any interest in even apprehending him in the first place, as he had done nothing to disturb the peace in York. But now that it had happened, he knew at least that no one would have an interest in his swift death. Only a messenger from the Sheriff of Nottingham, potentially carrying a heavy purse for the one in York, would change that, but Robin still guessed that Vaysey would want to deal with him personally.

"What's your name?" someone asked all of a sudden and Robin was not even certain which of the men, who were sitting in the dim light that only came through cracks in the wall and from a distant torch outside of the cell, had said it. "Not that it really matters," the man added, and Robin could now determine who it was.

"Robin," he answered simply.

The man nodded briefly.

"What is new in the world?" another one questioned and Robin frowned. What could he mean?

"What do you want to know?" he started carefully.

"Just something new. Days become rather long in here, you know. Something we old men can talk about." The man paused with a grin. "Doesn't matter if it's the sheriff's wife having a new man, the treasurer finally losing his marbles, or the king returning."

Robin smiled at that, his expression turning to a frown then as he wondered how much these people even knew about what was going on in England. The common people had usually little reason to care about these matters in any way; the ones imprisoned here probably had even less. Men like Robin were a different matter, they were hoping for regained freedom once the king would come back to England.

"The king?" Robin prompted then.

Some of the men laughed. "Yes, the king. Tom boy here," he pointed at a teenage boy, "who was the last to come here before you, told us that the king is sitting in a dungeon just like we are." The man laughed again. "The world is a funny place, isn't it?"

Robin nodded. "Have you heard anything else about it?"

"You're curious about that, aren't you?" Tom wondered.

"We like to hear stories to pass the time," the man who had asked after Robin's name explained. "But who knows who will be king next time they take one out to the gallows." He shook his head.

"How long have you been here?" Robin asked then, nodding towards him.

The other frowned, turning towards a yet older man, who was sitting against the wall at the far back. "Harry, what date is today?"

The old man turned his face towards the wall and Robin could see that he lifted his hand and touched the wall, letting it slide downwards slowly, mumbling to himself at the same time.

"The 5th of March, in the year 1193 of our Lord."

"So I have been here for nearly seven years now," the other man said with a short nod.

Robin couldn't believe it. How could anyone survive seven years in this place? He knew that people were locked up never to be released again, but they usually died soon, few lived year after year. Not in Nottingham anyway, the sheriff hanging most people in a quick manner there.

"You've been here even before King Richard went off to the Holy Land," Robin said quietly, talking more to himself than to the other. He himself had not yet left for the Holy Land at that time... It was so long ago, a completely different life... He wondered what had caused the man to end up in the dungeons of York, but felt that he had already asked too much.

"You're right, my boy, but this sheriff doesn't enjoy hangings as much as others do. He sometimes has some poor souls hang, or maybe they are lucky, depends how you see it, but most of us are here to stay."

The man fell silent then and Robin noticed that the quiet murmur that had been going on between the other prisoners had ceased as well. People seemed to listen for something. He didn't want to interrupt, so he listened, too.

After a while, quiet conversations started again and Robin looked around confused. "What was this about?"

A man who was sitting next to him smiled slightly. "Didn't you hear them?"

"The church bells. Calling for morning service," another explained. "We always listen to them. Keeps you connected to the world, in a way."

Robin nodded again, his mind troubled with the idea of being in this place for years, as many of these people seemed to have endured.

"Cheer up, my boy," the man next to him finally said. "Or are you one the sheriff wants to see dangle?"

Robin shook his head. "Not this one."

As he rode out of the town of York, he could hear the ringing of the church bells behind his back, calling for the morning service, but Allan knew he would not be caught there. He held the ropes to the other two horses he was taking along, still riding as quickly as he could towards the forest outside of the town.

He was tired and needed a nap urgently. He had been on his feet the whole night, after Much had argued long enough, causing him to come along in the man's search for Robin. Naturally, they had not found their leader, this being no surprise to Allan, who figured that Robin had either gone off on his own, or had met trouble. In both cases neither Much nor Allan would be able to help, if they did not even know where he was.

Much had not seen reason though, no matter that Allan had decided to call it a day in the early morning hours. He had told the man that he would seek shelter in the forest, that they both needed to rest before they would continue the search, but Much had not listened. The man was now still wandering through the streets of the town, while Allan had chosen to take care of their horses and belongings. Much did not seem to even care about this anymore, no matter that he had previously insisted that Robin had told him personally to stay with the animals. Allan believed to have heard the man mutter something about not needing any horse anyway, as he was not going to ride back to Nottingham without Robin.

Allan guessed that this was true, though he did not know what he was to do. He was worried for Robin, yes, but he did not think there was much they could do on their own. He figured it still meant he and Much would have to keep looking, an alternative being only to ride to Sherwood Forest to find the others and get them to help. Much would not agree with this though, certainly unwilling to risk the passing of time they would need to make it to Nottinghamshire and back. Allan on the other hand guessed that if Robin was alive still, he would stay so for a while longer. The both men had considered the possibility of the archer having been caught, Much fearing the Sheriff of York would indulge in the same recreational activities as the one in Nottingham, but no men had dangled in the early morning air.

Much had even suggested that they could let themselves be arrested, a feat that was certainly not all too difficult to accomplish, but Allan was not keen on the idea at all, and had also pointed out that this would help little, if this was not what had happened to Robin. The both of them would then be sitting in the dungeons of York, while Robin would be in a completely different place, wherever in the world this was.

Allan reached the forest and decided to ride on only for a little while longer, his eyes almost falling shut with sleep. Years ago he would not have believed it, but now the forest gave him an odd feeling of safety, the reason why he had chosen to come here this morning.

Once he was somewhat more in the thicket of the forest, he stopped, sliding from the horse and working to secure the three animals to a tree. As he unfolded his blankets and started to make himself comfortable on the forest ground, taking care to find a soft spot on the green moss, he wondered if they would even need the three horses later on.

He felt a wave of guilt as he thought of Much, who was still trying to find Robin, and as he thought of their leader who was who knew where. While Allan had so far pretended to believe that Robin had gone off on his own by his own free will, he had to admit that it was not very likely. That he had found himself knocked out, and that Robin had not yet returned, did not promise anything good. He wished he knew what they could do, for Robin had saved his neck after all. And he did not owe Robin and the gang only because of that, as he thought of the secrets he kept to himself.

While he was falling asleep under the forest trees, he pondered the possibilities of being a trickster, a profession he had never really given up after all.

Chapter 9

Date: 2010-05-09 02:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Great bit between Marian and Guy.

Date: 2010-05-09 12:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

This is what my crazy keyboard wrote first, but what I really wanted to say was,

Thanks :)


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