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jadey36 ([personal profile] jadey36) wrote in [community profile] bbc_robinhood2013-10-18 09:50 am

A Glimmer of Hope

Title: A Glimmer of Hope
Author: [personal profile] jadey36
Prompt: a second chance
Rating: pg-13
Characters: Guy, Robin, Much, Allan, Will, Djaq, Little John, Marian
Summary: On the run in an ever-darkening forest, Guy’s fear turns to hope when he discovers somewhere to spend the night.
Word Count: 1,911
Disclaimer: Robin Hood belongs to Tiger Aspect and the BBC. No copyright infringement intended. All rights reserved.
Author’s Note: Further fic in the Outlaw Guy series.

1 – A Different Life
2 – Fitting In
3 – Falling Apart
4 – Back to Black

A Glimmer of Hope

“Robin will forgive you...he will...”

The image of Djaq staring in horrified amazement at the blood seeping through her fingers burns behind his stinging eyes.

Robin will not forgive me, Guy thinks, stumbling up an incline, ignoring the cutting rocks and branches underfoot, desperate to put some distance between himself and the camp, all the while knowing he doesn’t stand a chance of outrunning Robin Hood; not with his injured leg and no boots, not even uninjured and booted. Robin knows this forest like the back of his hand and Guy has no idea where he is. And night is coming on.

Any moment now, Robin will catch up with me and plant a deadly shaft of steel and ash into my back. Guy feels a tingle between his shoulder blades, where the arrow will hit.

A low hanging branch smacks into his face, stabbing an eye, scraping his cheek. He blunders on.

He manages a few more yards before he stubs a stockinged toe on an exposed tree root. The shock of it sends him flying and he ends up face down in a morass of mouldy leaves and squelchy mud. Painfully, he turns his head, spitting earth and leaves, half expecting to find Robin’s boot on his back pinning him to the ground, a blade to his throat. Do it, he’ll say. Finish me now. It’s no more than I deserve.

The boot doesn’t come.

Guy pushes up onto his knees and then shakily comes to his feet. There is a warm wetness on his right thigh; the stitches Djaq carefully sewed have almost certainly ripped apart during his frenzied running, the bandage she neatly tied around his leg now soaked with blood. Guy knows that if Robin’s arrow or sword doesn’t kill him then loss of blood and a cold night without shelter in the forest almost certainly will.

I should have picked up my sword, he thinks, glancing down and seeing his big toe sticking out from his holed stocking, minus toenail, bleeding profusely. For some inexplicable reason, the sight of his bloody toe reminds him of the sheriff, gaily painting his nails black. Bile rises in Guy’s throat and he retches as he runs, splattering the front of his mud-streaked leather doublet.

Armed, I would at least have a chance against Hood. I could hide behind a tree and leap out at Robin as he runs past me. He stumbles over another tree root and his wounded leg buckles under him as a white-hot pain shoots through his thigh. Guy laughs and sobs at the same time. He couldn’t leap to save his life.

Winded, gasping for breath, he stops running. He listens. There are no sounds of pounding feet, no yells of ‘there he is’. But, of course, there wouldn’t be. Robin and his men are too smart for that. Silent running, Robin calls it. Guy glances around, peers through the gloom. Even now, Robin could be hiding behind some tree, having hardly broken a sweat, arrow nocked, his prey in his sights.

Guy waits. All he can hear is the soft rustling of leaves and, far off, a wolf’s howl.

Slower now, he limps along a narrow track, no more than a deer trail. After his last tumble, he has lost all sense of direction; for all Guy knows, he could be heading back towards the camp. Any moment now, he could be facing a murderous Robin Hood and his loyal manservant, ladle swapped for sword and shield. Two against one – an injured, unarmed one at that – or possibly more than two if the rest of the gang have since returned to the camp. Guy has seen the way Will Scarlet shoots shy glances at Djaq, Allan too. For her, they will kill in an instant despite Robin’s we do not kill doctrine, one, it seems, he keeps as long as it suits him if the ambush on the Great North Road was anything to go by.

This is hopeless, Guy thinks. I am merely putting off the inevitable. I should simply stand here and wait for Hood to find me and end my sorry, miserable life. It will be no life now in any case, not without the possibility of winning Marian, a possibility he had clung to until the moment he saw her in Robin’s arms.

Even though he had long suspected that Marian still held a torch for Robin, Guy had believed that with the right inducement, namely lands, wealth and security, he could win her hand, that she would forsake the arrogant, reckless outlaw for someone who wanted only the best for her. He had been wrong about that just as he had been wrong about believing that joining Robin and his gang, becoming the good man that Marian wanted him to be, might encourage her to give him a second chance, might make her look upon him with new eyes. Marian loved Robin: the kiss had said it all.

He stops and glances up at the heavens, shakes his head at his foolishness. God will not answer his prayers and have Robin lose his way and step over the edge of a ravine in the ever-darkening forest. Guy knows he has committed too many heinous crimes to deserve such holy intervention.

He holds his arms out wide. Here I am, Robin Hood. Take me. Take your deadly aim and plant an arrow in my chest, or draw that Saracen blade and sever my head from my neck. Either way, my life is yours to end.

He stands that way for ages, until his arms ache and his injured leg is shaking with the effort of keeping upright.

“Hood! Robin Hood! Where the fuck are you?”

Nothing. Guy drops his aching arms to his sides.

Some forest creature skitters through the undergrowth, startling him. Heart pounding, Guy keeps perfectly still, as though that will make him invisible. Another clump of undergrowth rustles off to his left side and then again in front of him. Guy is terrified. Death by sword or arrow he can accept even though he fears it; but a wolf or boar mauling him to death chills him to the bone.

A branch snaps above his head. Guy hunkers down, his injured leg throbbing and burning in protest, a warm leak of terror trickling down the insides of his leathers.

I will pass out soon from loss of blood, and while I am lying on the ground a pack of wolves will savage me, tear me limb from limb. Sharp teeth will tear off my gloves and gnaw on the fingers that picked herbs and edible mushrooms for her. They’ll rip my leathers to shreds and then my flesh; tear my bloody stockinged feet from ankles, my cock and ballsack from between my legs, my hands from wrists.

Another snap behind him and Guy lurches to his feet, runs in what he hopes is the direction of the camp, screaming Robin and Hood, Locksley and Brat Face until he is hoarse. No outlaw, bow raised, a determined look on his face, appears. There is nothing but trees and falling darkness.

Guy longs for the castle and his bedchamber, for the echoing footsteps of the sheriff’s guards plodding up and down the shadowy corridors, keeping trespassers out and occupants in. He wants his roomy bed with its thick mattress and blankets. He wants the adjoining garderobe for his personal use. He wants wine. Most of all, he wants to be out of this fucking forest.

He stops running, realising he should be at the camp by now. He is lost. He takes a few more limping steps and then sinks to his knees, too exhausted to do anything more than breathe.

His stomach growls in emptiness and Guy wonders if it’s possible to survive on leaves. Above his head, an owl hoots. Or owls, he thinks, laughing hysterically.

Regaining his breath, he looks up, squints. Ahead, he can make out a dark shape. Rising to his feet, he hobbles towards it. The shape becomes a cave. Guy recognises it. It is the cave where the sheriff and he once found Hood and his men holed up, where Robin came charging down the hill loosing arrows with all the ferocity of an assassin, not to frighten or warn, but to kill.

Maybe, Guy thinks, I will not die tonight after all. Hood has not caught up with him and he has found shelter. If he can start a fire, maybe staunch the bleeding from his injured leg, he might yet be all right. And once it is daylight, he might be better able to find his way out of the forest, back to Nottingham. In the castle, he will be safe and the sheriff will believe his story: They suspected I might be spying on them, doubted my allegiance, especially after I failed to maim a single guard during the ambush on the Great North Road. I tried to tell the muttonheaded guards I was playacting, but one of the fools still stabbed me in the leg. The outlaws took me back to their camp, tied me up, started asking me questions about your plans and the Black Knights. I told them nothing, of course. As soon as I got the chance, I escaped.

Guy peers into the cave, fearful that some bear or other creature might be lurking in its depths. Reminding himself that the outlaws must have once used this as their wintering hole, before the elaborate camp Will built, he casts around for an armful of dry branches in the hope of building a fire.

As he is collecting the firewood, another worrisome thought comes into his head. As soon as he is able, Robin will tell Marian about Djaq. The sheriff will believe, or pretend to believe, whatever cock-and-bull story he makes up, will most likely interrupt Guy during the telling with a “bored now”, waving him away. But when Marian learns the truth, she will turn him over to Robin herself, that’s if she doesn’t spike his eye out with a hairpin in the meantime. Unless...

If Djaq died without another word passing her lips, then Robin cannot know for sure what happened. Neither he nor Marian knows that Guy saw them kissing: only Djaq knows that and she is... “Oh, I have never tried to put myself together again.”

I’m sorry, Guy thinks, exclaiming as he grazes his wrist on a thorny plant. I didn’t mean to cut you.

He will have to speak to Marian before Robin gets to her. He will claim it was an accident: cleaning his sword, Djaq startled me, a slip, a fall. He will say that he panicked and ran. Marian believed his story about his contagion, about him not being in the Holy Land all those weeks, he is sure of it. She will believe this. He will make her believe it.

He will tell the sheriff where the outlaw’s camp is (when he was being carried back from the ambush, they forgot his blindfold). In the daylight, he is certain he can find it again. The sheriff’s men will deal with Hood and the other outlaws; he will take no part in it. And when Marian has recovered from her grief, she will come to him. In time.

Carrying an armful of kindling, Guy limps into the dark cave, a glimmer of hope lighting his way.
meridian_rose: black sails, silver smiles (xa)

[personal profile] meridian_rose 2013-10-18 10:52 am (UTC)(link)
A really intense chapter with great descriptions! Loved Guy's thought processes, all of which seemed very in character :)