Pre-series, drabbly-thing, in which Robin contemplates Marian, and the implosion of his existance.
Doesn't belong to me, not making any money, blah, blah.
Because this fandom NEEDS more Robin/Marian fic - and because, after hanging about for a couple of days, my muse finally bit last night.
I set this scene in a hayloft.
I am eighteen years old.
Marian in fifteen and beautiful – vivid and bright and sweetly sceptical of me. Still, tantalised by the fact that getting caught will mean a flogging for me and a nunnery for her, she’s here, with a look in her eye that is only surpassed in attractiveness by the one she gives me when I’ve irritated her beyond words.
I sit amongst mounds of hay (it’s mid-autumn, hazy and warm, the straw smells sweet and the dim dust is hanging in strands through the air) with my back against a wooden wall and my legs outstretched. Marian throws a leg over my knees and sits on them, purposefully allowing her skirts to pool around my limbs. I can feel her bare thighs against my breeches and the sheer vulgarity of it almost cheers me up – but for her, at least, it’s almost perfectly innocent.
She studies me. It’s a thoughtful, pitying gaze that I don’t have the energy to tell her to leave off from. I can remember very clearly her abdomen contracting with every breath and the bodice of her dress creasing as the flesh beneath it moved. I was watching her abdomen because I didn’t want to see her eyes – and I certainly couldn’t bear the darkly simple pleasure I took from watching her chest lift as she exhaled. Not today.
(Besides which, she’ll smack me if she catches my gaze lingering anywhere between her stomach and her collar bone).
My father died last week.
I am come into my titles, and my land, and my responsibility.
I feel wretched.
I have come here to take shelter from the storm. I have temporarily left my estate in the hands of my housekeeper – he can run my family home, and will alert me should any crisis occur in what is to be a two week absence to gather myself.
Later, I have to admit to being supremely lucky. I had Much, and I had Marian – who, back then at least, loved me in fairly equal measures, though they expressed it rather differently – and I had Marian’s father. Edward Fitzwalter, the kind and generous sheriff, a family friend and a man who I could trust to guide me.
I’d been trained my whole life for this moment, but still felt utterly inadequate. I wanted to curl up and hide because how, for the love of God, how was I supposed to suddenly be in charge of a village of people? Of the land around my home? How could I manage their problems and their squabbles? How could I provide for them when I barely knew how to provide for myself? How could I step into my father’s place so readily, as if he had hardly existed at all? One Locksley for another, each erasing the other until all we were was a line of receding marble tombs.
Marian is still studying me.
I feel glassy. Dazed. Detached. I reach for her instinctively – automatically – and she tenderly smoothes one of my hands while I stroke her cheek with the other. She feels warm and real. Her skin is soft. Pliable but strong. Impenetrable. I try to remember the weight of my father’s hand upon my head, but am too distracted to do it properly and, a little to harshly, I think, yank Marian forward into my arms before I begin to weep.
Not here. Not in front of her.
Marian doesn’t protest. I can feel sympathy leaking out of her very soul into mine – or perhaps she’s just shedding tears onto my shoulder.
You’re not the one who should be crying.
She laughs, shortly, because I’ve always been able to affect her in the most unpredictable ways. Her head is warm tucked against my cheek, and I lock my arms about her body because there is nothing else on Earth I want more than to know that she is still alive.
She promises me over and over that everything will okay, eventually.
I don’t think anything will ever be okay again.
But at least, I am sure, I will always have Marian.