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10 August 2014 @ 12:08 am
"To Be Worthy" (Guy/Marian- Historical Romance- PG-13/R): Chapter IX  
SUMMARY: Betrayed by his latest master and mocked by the cruel hand of destiny, Sir Guy of Gisborne returns to Nottingham twenty years after his banishment determined to reclaim the life which should have been his.

AUTHOR: Lexie aka
lillianschild

RATING: PG-13/R

FANDOM: Robin Hood

PAIRING: Guy/Marian

GENRE: Romance

Disclaimer: Tiger Aspect Productions and the BBC are free to claim whatever they own of this piece, except Guy's thoughts and my words which are ours to keep. lol.

A/N: Set in an alternate Series 1 where Guy has never met Vasey before his arrival in Nottingham, this fic will explore what impact an earlier acquaintance with Marian might have had on Guy's life and ultimate fate.

A/N 2: Once again, sorry for the very long delay in updating this fic. I hope the instalment's been worth the wait. Enjoy!



READ THE BEGINNING HERE

READ THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER HERE

CHAPTER IX

The tournament continued the following morning, and Friar Tuck once again occupied the infirmary set up in a tent equipped with all the necessary tools and poultices to do his job.

Sir Guy, having finished breaking his fast, decided to pay a visit to the monk. Stepping through the tent flap, he saw Tuck carefully laying on the long trestle table the items he would need to tend to the injured.

“Good morning, Sir Guy. How’s your shoulder?”

“The pain is bearable; it didn’t keep me awake last night. However, it still hurts when I make the slightest movement. I was wondering... There’s some urgent business that requires my leaving Nottingham sooner than I’d planned. Would you happen to have some ointment or poultice that might dull the pain?”

“It’s too soon. You shouldn’t ride yet.”

“I must.”

“Try to make a fist with your right hand, please. How urgent is this business?”

“Extremely urgent.”

“Now give me your left hand. Although there doesn’t seem to be any serious damage, it isn’t the first time you’ve sustained an injury of the kind. I’d urge you to wait at least a fortnight before attempting to ride again.”

“A fortnight?”

“The joint and muscles must heal properly to prevent lasting harm. It’s a slow process and hastening it would be unwise. You’re risking becoming permanently crippled if it happens again.”

“I’m a seasoned rider and warrior, Brother.”

“I didn’t say you weren’t. Still, a man on a horse with only one strong arm can be a sitting duck for the outlaws and thieves that populate Sherwood.”

As frustrating as Tuck’s arguments were, Guy recognised the older man’s advice was sensible. He wouldn’t be able to help Isabella if he were dead.

“I’ll give you some exercises you can do to help the healing process. Take it easy, though, or you might do more harm than good. You can start as soon as tomorrow, working on the movement of your arm. You'll need another week to start lifting light objects,” explained the black monk in a grave voice.

Resigned, Guy told himself he’d write to the Abbess at Wilton to make enquiries concerning his sister’s welfare and whereabouts and, once he got a reply, he’d be on his way. A fortnight should be more than enough to heal and make arrangements to get Isabella back where she belonged, with her only family.

“I’ll do as you say. Thank you for your help, Brother.”

“You look after yourself. That’s the best thank you I could receive. And don’t worry about your food and lodging. Lady Marian’s made provisions to ensure the injured get everything they need to make a full recovery before leaving the castle.”

“She is a thoughtful and caring lady.”

“That she is. The Earl of Knighton couldn’t hope for a better or more virtuous daughter, especially now, in his infirmity. ”

“The Earl’s also most fortunate in his friends. I’ve heard Lord Winchester’s been helping with the stewardship of Knighton,” commented Guy, hoping the friar would take the bait and volunteer further information.

“Tuck... Sir Guy?”

Gisborne wheeled around to find Lady Marian standing at arms' length. With some trepidation, he wondered how long she'd been in the tent and if she'd heard his scarcely veiled attempts at fishing for details about private matters that concerned her and which he knew he had no right to be privy to.

“They're getting ready for the melée,” she told the friar.

“I must make haste then,” answered Tuck, stepping out and signalling to two footmen to help him with the stretcher.

Left alone with Lady Marian after Tuck's desertion, Sir Guy hurried to make an excuse for a faux-pas which he feared might have done irreparable damage to their flourishing rapport.

“I hope I haven't cause offence, my lady,” he apologised in a deep yet gentle voice which once again put butterflies in her stomach.

“You didn't ask anything that isn't common knowledge,” she replied, trying to sound cool and self-possessed.

“Still...”

“Please, put your mind at rest, Sir Guy. There's nothing to forgive. All is as it was between us when we parted last.”

“You're most generous, my lady,” he said, looking at the ground.

Marian struggled against the sudden urge to reach out and touch his face, to defy every convention they were both expected to observe and every vow she had made. Her heart fluttered at his mere proximity and quickened with the memory of the brush of his lips on her skin.

“I've been called on urgent business, but Friar Tuck recommends waiting a fortnight, until my shoulder has healed. I hope I won't be imposing on your hospitality, my lady.”

“You won't, Sir Guy. And my father wouldn't like it any other way.”

“You must love him very much,” he added after a short pause.

To be willing to sacrifice yourself at Winchester's altar. Although he didn't utter the words, the turmoil she saw in his eyes was a reflection of hers. The thought was written in their stormy depths; he knew why she was marrying a man she loathed. He understood the choice she'd made but, just like her, he struggled against the burning pull of longing that drew them closer, leaving them powerless to move away from each other.

“I admire your unselfishness.”

“Love can work miracles,” she said softly.

”Can it?” he asked wistfully. And she felt her heart clench at the vulnerability etched in his suddenly quivery voice.

“Sir Guy...”

“I'd hate it if you were to think ill of me, if my foolish impetuousness of the other night condemned me in your eyes.”

“There's nothing to forgive where I feel there was no crime,” she whispered, blushing beneath his steadfast gaze.

Being in such close proximity, she was able to read relief cross his handsome features and felt the caress of his expelled breath against her face.

She wished she could hold him close, confess how hard it was to do her duty. She yearned for the feel of his strong arms around her and the velvety baritone of his voice telling her everything would be all right. Yet she knew if she were to give in to her impulse, she would no longer be able to stick to her resolve.

Even though she knew it'd be wise for them to go their separate ways, Marian couldn't bring herself to walk out on him.

“My Lady,” he uttered in a husky voice, which made her tremble with a burning desire to be kissed and touched, to discover at last what it felt like to lie with a man, to be cherished and loved by someone who saw in her more than a possession to force into submission.

They had been strangers before his recent arrival at the castle and still, there was a deeper and tighter bond between them than the one that linked her to Winchester, who had been a fixture in her life for over a decade. She'd recognised in Sir Guy a kindred spirit, the part of her that had been missing to complete her. It'd taken one look across a crowded room and a brief encounter with only the moon for a witness to know she'd been deceiving herself all those years; her heart hadn't beaten this way for Robin nor had her breath shorten or her skin shivered the way they did whenever the brooding knight in black was in her proximity.

Robin had been a childhood dream, a fairy tale for more innocent times. She was no longer that girl; life had seen to that. Although she was still untainted in the one way that mattered in a world where women were only bartered as commodities, she had the desires and dreams of a woman. Was it sinful to imagine what it'd feel like to be held in Gisborne's arms, to experience the warm touch of his skin against hers and drown in those bottomless pools of bluish grey as they became one? Would she burn for wishing such an unmaidenly fantasy could come true?

The Virgin Mary's intercession she'd prayed for earlier was most opportune and made itself known in a piercing scream which broke the spell that once again had tempted them both with an alluring path Marian knew would only end up in heartbreak.

“Meg!” gasped the sheriff's only child, backing away from Sir Guy.




*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *





Marian rushed into the stables, followed closely by the tall knight, to see Friar Tuck attempting to calm down a hysterical Meg.

“Please, milady...”

“Let me... see him... I... need to... see him,” hiccuped the younger cousin, struggling in the black man's arms.

“What happened?” Lady Marian demanded.

“A... All...an... He's... He's... hurt... ” sobbed Meg, letting herself be hugged by the Lady of Knighton.

“Allan?” frowned Marian, trying to spy around the human wall blocking her view.

Sir Guy, who had the advantage of towering over her companions, saw Winchester's squire sprawled in an unnatural position in one of the stalls which had earlier housed a destrier. And immediately he knew the young man's condition was already beyond the friar's medical skills. Allan A Dale was unquestionably dead.

Meeting Lady Marian's concerned gaze, Sir Guy communicated the news with a slight shake of his head. He felt pity for both the woman who owned his heart and had to bear a new burden and the younger girl, who kept repeating in a broken voice she was to blame for the squire's death because she'd denied him her scarf.

“Please, Lady Meg, go with your cousin.,” he said softly, stepping forward and aiding Marian to lift the girl up.”Let Brother Tuck see to him.”

“I can help...” the pale young woman insisted.

“I'm sorry...” said the knight softly.

“Meg, love, come with me,” added Marian soothingly, feeling her cousin tremble in her arms when she finally read the truth in Sir Guy's sympathetic eyes.

Seeing Lady Marian support a weeping Meg as they slowly moved towards the entrance to the stables, his heart went out to her. He was the lady's inferior in rank, wealth... and virtue; only the Lord's timely intercession had prevented his reckless impulsiveness from compromising the sheriff's daughter once again when he almost threw care to the wind and kissed her in the tent the way he'd yearned to since their first encounter.

With a last wistful look at the receding back of the lady who robbed him of sleep, he turned around and saw Friar Tuck cover the body with a cloak as two foot soldiers left to fetch a stretcher.

“We both know he wasn't kicked by a horse. There are no visible bruises. I've been around horses all my life and have seen more than my fair share of trampled men to know that broken neck wasn't accidental. What really happened, Brother?”

Tuck crossed himself, closed his eyes and elevated a prayer for the soul of the cheeky scoundrel who only yesterday had set foot in the chapel for the first time in years, a desperate young man in need of counsel.

Although Allan A Dale was dead, what the young man had revealed to him was shared in a confessional. And yet the future of England was at stake...

“You're very observant, Sir Guy.“

“A Dale was Lord Winchester's squire, wasn't he?”

More than the lecherous landlord's squire if what the lord's oldest servant had told Tuck in confession was true. It made the friar wonder if Winchester had known of Allan's real identity. If that had been the case, then God help them all for there was no knowing what could be expected of a man capable of murdering his own flesh and blood.

“He was. Oh, here are the lads with the stretcher!” exclaimed Tuck, trying to keep the note of relief out of his voice.

“You know more than you're saying,” murmured Guy only for the friar's ears as the black man, escorting the body, walked past the knight on his way out.

“Please, watch your back, son. “





*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *





Gisborne stalked out of the armoury wearing a scowl on his face. Someone was making sure to cover their tracks, and a sixth sense told Guy his untraceable broken lance and the squire's death were somehow connected.

“Gisborne! Just the man I've been looking for,” exclaimed Lord Vasey almost colliding with the handsome knight, whose dark good looks had added an extra incentive to the cunning nobleman's plan to recruit him for their cause.

“My lord, ! Forgive my haste!”

“Is anything the matter?” frowned Vasey, looking in the direction Guy had come from. “You seem upset. Is there anything I might do to help?” he added, reaching out a hand to touch the younger man's upper arm.”You know you can count on me, Guy. “

Gisborne looked at Vasey's hand under his long sooty eyelashes and fought the feeling of revulsion at the lecherous undercurrent disguised as paternal care. Unlike his brother Geoffrey, the present Lord couldn't be further from the image of a loving and noble parent interested in his offspring's welfare. Guy had had his reservations about Peter Vasey on first acquaintance and the Lord's disturbing interest in him did nothing but double Gisborne's resolve to fare on his own until a better opportunity presented itself. Something told him serving Peter Vasey would make him feel even more unworthy than he already did, if that was possible.

“Only impotence at seeing another young life cut short,” he replied, deciding not to share any information concerning the disappearance of his broken lance.

“Oh, yes, Winchester's boy! I crossed Lady Marian and her cousin a while ago: they looked distraught. A pity. The earl's taking A Dale home to his family. It appears the young man was distantly related... so he feels duty-bound.”

Guy schooled his features to hide the pleasure he experienced at the news that the odious Lord Winchester was leaving Nottingham.

“So..., tell me, Gisborne, have you considered my proposal?”

“I'm sorry, my Lord...”

“Are you turning me down? You have great potential. Guy. I can help you get back everything that is rightfully yours”

“I meant to say I needed more time to put my matters in order. I've just got home from the Holy Land and have other people to think of...”

“Oh, yes, the nasty affair with that Thornton fellow. Of course you can give me your answer in three days' time; that's when I'm leaving. “

“Thank you, my Lord. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to see to my injury,” replied Guy with a slight bow of his head.

So much for putting a distance between himself and political matters by coming back to England. It seemed God was determined to put him through fire once again.

GO TO CHAPTER X
 
 
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
 
 
 
rjforap: RArjforap on August 10th, 2014 04:38 am (UTC)
So close. For that perfect Marian and Guy moment. With so much going on, I can not wait to read more. Thanks for continuing to share!

melusine6619 on August 24th, 2014 05:37 am (UTC)
Ooh, great chapter! Love the sexual tension between Guy and Marian. Sizzling! But I'm even more worried for Guy now. Looking forward to the next update!