|Title: Picking up the Pieces
Fandom: Robin of Sherwood
Pairing: Will/Robin (Robert of Huntingdon)
Notes: Set in the same RoS universe as my story 'Herne's Son' and Gunbunny's 'Not Blind'. This isn't how I meant to write this. I've been working on two RoS stories for about a month and neither of them is going anywhere. But I started writing this at 2am this morning and now its 6.50. I'm not sure why I made Robert so needy, he just seemed to want to be written that way.
Not beta-ed and my tenses are probably all over the place.
Picking up the Pieces
Robert's heart broke at Halstead. He'd survived Gulnar and the Wolves unscathed, yet she broke him with just a few words. God and Herne preserve us, sometimes we're so taken with the whole idea of 'Robin Hood' that we forget how bloody fuckin' young Robert is.
His first love, his first loss. It breaks a man.
It was a miserable time. Robin barely said a word. John and Much never shut up. Marion would be back, they reckoned. Just give her a little time and she'd be back. Tuck and I said nothing. We knew she wouldn't. She'd lost the man she loved once, and thought she'd lost him again. Robin wasn't the only one who'd broken that day. And I can't say that I blame her for the decision she made.
But still, we were left to pick up the pieces. And though I don't blame her, I can hate her for contributing to his pain.
It wasn't the same anymore. He hardly slept, and when he did, it was badly: tossing and turning, lost in one nightmare or another. He'd disappear for hours at a time, deep into Sherwood, and return more wraithlike than ever. Our golden shining sun-child had become a haunted, drawn ghost. It wasn't just Marion. It was Gulnar, Herne, us, his father, bloody Gisburne and the Sheriff. It was Robert of Huntingdon finally realising that this was it, this was his life: the life of an outlaw, never knowing if today would be the day he'd be captured, betrayed, tortured or killed. Or watch as friends died because of him. Everything was catching up to the poor sod all at once. Maybe he'd been working up to this for a long time and Marion was just the final straw. Herne expects too much of his sons. Robin died. And Robert? Robert destroyed his *life* for Herne, for Marion, for us.
And every time I looked at him my stomach felt as if I'd swallowed a stone. I hadn't felt this bad since they'd told me that Robin of Loxley was dead.
And that's when I knew. I couldn't just leave him like this, hurting and bleeding inside. I had to do something. If only because he was going to get us all killed if he kept this up. Well, that's what I told myself, anyway. It was as good enough reason as any.
I found him sitting by a brook, tossing pebbles in the water. He didn't even seem to notice my presence. Which scared the shit out of me, I can tell you. In this life, a moment's inattention can get you dead.
He was crying, silent silver tears running down his face. An' even red-eyed an' snot-nosed an' half-dead with tiredness, he was beautiful. I'd never let myself see that before.
Ah, well, if you're going to kick denial in the teeth, best to do it with both feet flying.
I'm not sure why I called him that. Maybe 'cos at that moment he was as far away from being 'Robin' as he could possibly be.
'Will? What do I do, Will? I feel like I'm shattering into a thousand pieces. Help me, please.'
Even a man with a heart of stone would've responded to that. And I'm hardly the stone man I pretend to be. It was suddenly the easiest thing in the world to gather him up in my arms and let him cry into my shoulder. Not silent tears now, but loud wracking gasps of pain. I held on tight until he stopped, too exhausted to continue. And then I held him while he slept, kissing his forehead and wishing the nightmares away.
And when he woke up, I used my hands and lips and body to soothe away the remaining tension in his body. And he melted under me with wide-eyed submission. And it was gentler, and slower, and sweeter than it's been with anyone.
We didn't even try to keep it secret. For a while he couldn't even sleep unless I was holding him. By the time he was whole again, 'Robin Hood' again, it had become so natural neither of us even thought about doing anything else. We lost a few men because of it, but we didn't need those bastards anyway. We did our best not to rub everybody's noses in it too much, though. We always made love well away from the camp.
He's always the same as soon as we're alone. Robin Hood, our fearless leader, melts away. Leaving Robert, my gentle lover. If I'd ever allowed myself to think how it might have been, I would never have imagined this. Not from an arrogant Norman lordling, nor from Robin Hood.
And if I miss the teeth and nails and sheer animal rutting of another time, I never let myself dwell on it for too long. And if he misses round softness and welcoming wetness, he never shows it in his eyes for more than a moment.
We both have our ghosts. His ghost tries to shut herself away from pain behind stone walls and prayers. Mine is a dark, fey, wild child, always more magic than mortal, and without sense enough to stay completely, peacefully, dead.
Our ghosts will be with us always, because nothing is ever forgotten and he is Herne's Son. But every now and then, just for an hour or two, he's mine. And I'm his.
Sometimes that's almost enough for both of us.
The End (for now)