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redemptionmarian and guy

Prince John’s army was already inside the Bailey.

Gisborne’s rag-tag troops, hastily armed with ancient swords, woodsmen’s axes and kitchen knives, crowded the Keep’s outer chambers, awaiting their fate. Gisborne himself stood in the doorway of the Great Hall, an all-too-feeble last defence for the women and children of Nottingham.

For Marian.

How different things might have been!

But he did not regret deciding to die by her side, not when he felt her hand upon his sword arm.

Maybe she had, after all, redeemed him.

Only one thing was missing. “Marry me now,” he said, “and make it the last thing we do. Let’s steal that from them at least.”

Her eyes—those huge, innocent eyes—lingered on his face, searching, he felt, his very soul, and he almost shrank from her scrutiny. But then she smiled, and said, “Yes.”

At last!

(A great cheer went up in the Forebuilding—Prince John’s army had breached the doors—and Gisborne heard the sound of furious hand-to-hand fighting).

They must be quick.

He sheathed his sword. “You,” he growled at the axeman on his left, “you will be our witness.”

He pulled off a glove and slipped the signet ring from his finger—“I would have given you something more fitting, Marian; but no matter,”—and his heart leapt when she laid her hand in his. “With this ring,” he said, his voice gruff with emotion, “I take you, Lady Marian, to be my lawful wife. Do you take me to be your lawful husband?”

For a split-second she seemed to hesitate. Then, “I do, Sir Guy.”

“Witness, did you hear our vows?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” Then, carefully, because—for some reason—his hand was unsteady, Gisborne slid the ring over her slender finger and raised her hand to his lips. “Forever,” he whispered.

(But Prince John’s troops had already forced their way into the next chamber; forever would not be long).

The defenders surged forward. Gisborne drew his sword. “Keep behind me,” he said to Marian, “stay close. I will protect you for as long as I can. When I fall, find someone else. If you survive the fight, go to Locksley. You are my heir. Show the ring to Thornton. He’s a good man; he’ll take care of you.”

“Guy…” She grasped his arm again. “Give me a sword. Let me fight at your side.”

“This isn’t a game, Marian.” Gisborne shrugged off her hand. “Get behind me.”

“I can fight.”

He started to lose patience. “Marian—”

“Gisbooorne!”

Gisborne’s blood ran cold. Scanning the melee, eyes wide, he saw the Sheriff’s stocky figure.

“Gisborne!”

By the time he had abandoned the search for Robin Hood, and placated the Sheriff, and confessed to his marriage, and placated the Sheriff again, and ordered Allan a Dale to recall the Guards, and sent others to gather up the arms and return them to the armoury, it was almost midnight.

Gisborne found his wife in her chamber, sitting on the bed, staring into empty space.

“Marian…”

She started, looking up at him in surprise—and he knew that, wherever her thoughts might have wandered, they had not been seeking him. “You did not expect to live,” he said, bitterly.

Her answer was barely audible. “No.”

“Am I so repulsive to you?”

When she did not answer, his self-loathing almost choked him, and he tried to laugh it away, but the laughter died in his throat. He knew he might force her—she belonged to him now—but, in truth, he was too greedy.

He wanted her love.

“I shall leave you then.” He turned to go.

“Guy…”

Gisborne froze, one hand on the door latch, listening so hard the silence seemed to sizzle. Was she about to ask him to stay? Or was that just more wishful thinking on his part?

Heart hammering, he turned back.

And there she was, standing right beside him.

She raised her hands and, ensorcelled, he watched her unbuckle his jerkin and slide it off his shoulders; watched her grasp the hem of his undershirt and push it up his body; watched her lean forward, and press her lips to his bare chest—

Her lips were cold.

Gisborne gasped; Marian pulled back.

Her expression made his heart falter.

She wanted him.

She might not love him—not in the way he longed to be loved—not yet—but she wanted him. And love would come—he knew it—once he had shown her the depth of his own feelings, once they were truly man and wife.

Confident now, Gisborne lifted her into his arms, and carried her to their marriage bed.

All his previous encounters, with prostitutes and serving wenches, had been quick and dirty.

Marian he undressed slowly, acutely aware that his hands were big and battle-hardened, but savouring the intimacy of unbuckling her bodice and unlacing her skirt. Her skin was smooth, and flawless, like a ripe peach, save for one long, ragged scar in her side. “What happened here?” he asked.

“An accident,” she said. “I rode into a low branch.”

“It must have hurt.”

“It did.”

Gisborne leaned in, and tried to kiss the mark away; Marian grasped his hair.

Encouraged, he let his hand slip between her legs.

She pushed him away.

Surprised—and desperately disappointed—Gisborne sat back on his heels. “Marian?”

She sat up, putting her hands on his leather-clad thighs. “Your breeches,” she said, and the movement of her thumbs drew a sharp gasp from his lips. “I want to see you Guy.”

He opened his lacings.

He had never been admired, frankly and openly, by a virtuous woman before.

Now he lay back and let Marian, with her gentle fingers and soft mouth, explore his body, working her way along his arms, over his chest, and down his belly—Gisborne’s back arched—

Her caresses stopped.

“Marian?” He struggled to sit up.

She was kneeling, like a penitent, with her arms crossed over her breasts. “I am ready Guy.”

Ready?

It took his befuddled brain a few moments to understand what she meant; and then, as he drew her into his arms, he realised that he was reluctant to take her, now that she was his. “It will hurt you,” he said.

“Then do it quickly.”

Quickly.

He lowered her onto her back, and laid himself upon her and, after a little fumbling—and with some help from her—he did as she asked, with a single deep thrust.

Her shriek of pain broke his heart.

Some time later, she asked if that was all there was.

“No,” he said, “but I cannot hurt you any more.”

“Please, Guy.” She nuzzled his cheek.

So he raised himself up on his hands, and slowly—very slowly—and keeping himself in check to the bitter end, he consummated their marriage.

He woke to find her leaning over him, her hand hovering above his throat.

“Marian?”

She smoothed the frown from his brow, and stroked a smile onto his lips. “Do it again.”

Again?

But he could not deny her—especially not now—and his body had no qualms. She lay beneath him, her eyes tightly closed, a frown of concentration on her lovely face, as if, he thought, by willpower, she could turn the pain into pleasure.

Suddenly her eyes flew open. “Oh!” she cried. “Oh, Guy!”

Next morning

As dawn broke he was still lying beside her, watching her sleep; but then the bell tolled six, and he knew that he could put it off no longer. He left her bed, washed quickly, and began to dress.

“Guy, where are you going?”

The disappointment in her voice made him smile. “It’s morning, Marian,” he said, pulling on his breeches. “I must report to the Sheriff.”

“Even today?”

“Especially today. He is not pleased.”

“What will you do?” She got up and, naked, padded towards him.

Marian!” He snatched up a sheet, and wrapped it round her. “I will be late as it is.”

She grinned up at him.

“Wicked woman,” he said, guiding her back to the bed and sitting her down. “It will blow over. It always blows over. He needs me. Who would he humiliate without me?”

“The man I saw yesterday,” said Marian, “the brave, honourable man I married—should not be humiliated by him.” She raised a hand, and gently brushed her thumb over the stubble along his jaw. “Shall I see you later?”

“I will come to you at midday.”

“Good.”

Foolishly happy, Gisborne kissed his wife’s forehead. Then, pulling back, he suddenly realised how pale, and tired, and heart breakingly beautiful she looked. “Get some rest, Marian.”

His morning passed in a daze, the Sheriff’s sudden outbursts and casual mockery washing over him, unnoticed. At noon, he rushed back to Marian’s chamber and, too eager to knock, threw the door open—

His wife was not alone.

A familiar figure, slight, fair-haired, dressed in green and carrying a bow, was standing beside her, one hand upon her shoulder.

HOOD!” yelled Gisborne, drawing his sword.

“No, Guy! No!” cried Marian, grabbing his arm.

Hood raised his bow. “If you ever,” he said, backing away—and Gisborne sneered at the emotion in his voice—“if you ever hurt Marian—betray her, or force her against her will,”—he reached the window, and swung a leg over the sill—“if you ever cause her one moment’s unhappiness, Gisborne, I will come for you. You can bank on it.” He loosed the arrow past Gisborne’s ear, and disappeared.

Wrenching himself free of Marian, Gisborne ran to the window.

But he was too late. Hood had alighted on the castle wall and, sketching him a cocksure salute, the outlaw dropped over the other side.

Gisborne ripped the rope from the window frame and flung it down into the courtyard. “What was he doing here?” he demanded.

“He came to say goodbye.”

Gisborne rounded on his wife. “Why?”

“Guy—”

WHY Marian?”

“He’s leaving—”

“DO NOT TAKE ME FOR A FOOL!”

“Because I am your wife now,” said Marian, “so Robin came to say goodbye.”

“‘ROBIN’!”

She caught his arms. “I love Robin,” she said. “No, hear me out Guy! I love Robin; I will always love Robin; he was my first love—”

Stop it!” He needed to be free of her—

“Yes,” she continued, relentlessly, “I married you because I thought it did not matter—not if we were going to die. But I care for you, Guy. A part of me has always cared for you, and now I am your wife. I made a vow to you, Guy, and I shall not break it. I will always be your wife, ‘cleaving to you only, for as long as we both shall live.’” She released him.

“But I… I want… Agh!” Dismissing her with an angry gesture, he stumbled to the bed—their bed—and fell upon it, hiding his face in his hands.

“What?” She followed him. “What do you want, Guy? What?”

“I WANT YOU TO LOVE ME!”

“Oh, you are a fool!”

He felt the mattress dip as she sat down beside him, felt her hand slide across his back, felt her draw him into her arms. “You are my husband, Guy,” she said, “my future. And I am yours.”

T H E  E N D

Epilogue

He collapsed upon her bosom, gasping, “No, Marian.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, stroking his hair, “I thought you would like it.”

“I did like it.” He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. “I was liking it far too much to last.”

He heard the smile in her voice: “Then you keep still Guy.”

“Woman,” he said, “you were made by the devil.”

 

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Notes
Starts towards the end of Season 2 Episode 10, when Guy and Marian are working together to defend Nottingham, and describes what might have happened had the sheriff arrived just a few moments later and the pair have been married.

At this point in the series, Guy does not know that Marian is the mysterious 'Nightwatchman', and that he, himself, is responsible for her scar.

A quick Google of ‘mediaeval marriage’ revealed that it was during the twelfth century that marriage became a sacrament. But Guy clearly believes that he and Marian can marry there and then, presumably by exchanging vows before a witness, and I like the idea that they might be marrying ‘in the old way’ or, as two displaced persons, in the ‘common’ way. Consummation was not considered necessary to make a marriage legally binding.

Written for terri21 as part of a Secret Santa fanfic swap. The moment I'd written it, the series writers took a hatchet (or, rather, a broadsword) to the pairing, so now I have rather mixed feelings about the story.