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Not Entirely Unwelcome

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The first thing she learnt about Guy was that he was unpredictable. As she sat nervously at the edge of the large bed on her wedding night (oh god, it was real, it was actually happening, and it was her wedding night), Marian wondered at exactly what brought her to this in the first place. Maybe it was a higher being punishing her for all her deceit and trickery that she employed on the man currently standing on the other side of the room, slowly unbuttoning his jacket. She couldn't help but turn her gaze away from him and stare at the floor, wishing with all her heart that she was somewhere else (anywhere else).

She looked up as he finally stripped down to his night clothes and approached her, fully expecting him to take his right as her husband. When his hand stroked the side of her face, she fully expected him to grab her and toss her back on the bed and ravish her. However, she didn't expect the look of sadness and remorse that filled his eyes as she unconsciously jerked back from his touch. Silently, he drew back and walked over to his side of the bed, flipped back the covers, got inside and blew out the single candle that had lit the room. It took her a few moments to process what had just occurred. It was her wedding night and he had gone to sleep. Not for the first time, she wondered if she really knew anything about the man that was her husband. After what seemed like an age, she slowly creeped into her side of the bed, pressing herself as close to the edge as possible, leaving a large gap between him and her. And yet, a part of her seemed almost... disappointed? No, she couldn't be. She scoffed at her own folly and forced herself to relax as she drifted off into an uneasy sleep.

~

The second thing she learnt about him was that he didn't sleep; couldn't sleep. She had often thought the dark shadows around his eyes were just a part of his countenance, but now she knew better. She was startled awake on that first night by his violent jerk, a reaction it seemed to a nightmare. She didn't move however as he sat up, his breath heavy as he pushed his hair away from his face. Silently, he got out of bed and walked over to his clothes, pulling them on quietly in the dark. Once he was clothed, he paused, his face turned towards the bed. Marian shut her eyes immediately, faking sleep. She kept them shut even as the door creaked open, and the soft click which sounded in the room as it closed behind him.

When she woke up the next morning, the bed next to her was still empty. She pressed her palm down on the sheets, feeling their cool texture - he hadn't returned then. She paused before dragging her body out of bed and dressing quickly, in case he returns. He is absent for the entire day - Marian wasn't sure whether this was a welcome thing or not. The next night was the same, and the next. He would leave as silently as possible, as if not to wake her. And truth be told, most nights she would be too tired to open her eyes. Sometimes during the day, she found her thoughts drifting to him. She wondered how long this insomnia had been going on - occasionally, she fancied asking him to perhaps see a healer about it. But every time, her nerve failed her and she would just lie there silently as he walked out of the room.

~

The third thing Marian learnt about him was that he was extremely attentive. The days after their marriage were filled with horse rides, trips to the market (she always liked looking at the merchandise there, everything was so colourful) and even once a picnic. She was startled to find that he had paid attention to her favourite foods and activities, and knew exactly what she loved. She wondered how he could have the energy with so little sleep - but he seemed up to it, and she was hardly one to turn down his efforts in pleasing her. He flattered her, entertained her, and more than once Marian found herself thinking that Robin would've never paid her this much attention. So that day down at the river when he pressed his lips softly to hers in a proper kiss, Marian found herself almost welcoming it.

~

The fourth thing she learnt about her husband was that underneath all his outer arrogance and confidence, there was a man who was deeply and horribly insecure. The night when he finally reached for her to consummate their marriage, Marian found herself unable to say no. The vulnerability in his eyes had fixed her in her place, even as he slid his hand down her arm in a tender stroke and laid her back on the bed. As he placed kisses down the side of her neck, she found herself thinking that perhaps it wasn't entirely unwelcome and honestly, it wasn't as bad as she thought it would be. The initial pain stung, but his remorse and concern for her as he smoothed her hair and whispered sweet nothings into her ear made up for the discomfort. When they finally reached their peak, he collapsed on top of her and clutched her closer to him, as if he was afraid that she might disappear if he let go. As somehow he could meld her to him in that simple act alone. Marian found herself stroking his hair as she murmured nonsense to him, reassuring him that yes, she was here and no, she would not be going anywhere.

She woke up the next morning to the sunlight streaming through the windows and her back pressed firmly against something warm. She shifted slightly, hearing his incoherent murmurings as he unconsciously clutched her closer to him in his sleep. She smiled lazily and snuggled deeper into his arms, thinking that perhaps she had found a cure for his insomnia after all.

~

The last thing that Lady Marian of Gisborne learnt about her husband was something which really should've been the first thing she noticed. As she looked into his blue eyes one day, she was startled to realise that he loved her, and he had always loved her. Another revelation came as soon as that one had gone. She was startled to realise that she has also learnt something about herself. She realised that somewhere along the line, she had inexplicably fallen in love with him too. And the idea of that wasn't entirely unwelcome.