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It's a complicated dance. There is nothing simple about the antagonism that smokes and lingers between Guy of Gisborne and Robin of Locksley. Guy has never been one for introspection. He takes the world at face value (or at whatever value it can provide for him); he preferred that world when his hate for Locksley was an uncomplicated beast. Rivalry and simple anger, too little space in Nottingham for the both of them.

Marian.

Now, with more vivid reasons to despise Locksley (the feel of Locksley's hands, the taste of him, the humiliation of being put on his knees, of pleading for that which he will never admit to wanting), Guy finds the world is not so straightforward as he would like.

Reason tells Guy to keep his distance from Locksley, but even if he could do that he doubts he would stay away. There is something compelling in the ceaseless challenge, the mischief and violence. Robin Hood and his Merry Men are a constant thorn in the sheriff's side. They're an impossible distraction for Guy to ignore.

And so Guy and Locksley perform their intricate dance around each other. Goading, taunting, posturing like impatient combatants awaiting a signal to attack. The two men circle ever closer, to each other and to something else entirely.

Guy tells himself he doesn't know what that something is, but he's a poor liar.

It is not for Locksley's benefit that Guy courts Marian. The truth is that he loves her. He needs her, more than Locksley ever could. There is nothing and no one else in the world capable of making Guy aspire to more. She doesn't make him want to be a better man precisely. But she makes him want to seem better than he is, and that is something he can't turn his back on. How can Locksley's professed love for the same woman even compare?

Robin Hood has delusions enough of his own. Guy has only Marian, and he will not forfeit her without a fight.

When Marian agrees to marry him, Guy expects retaliation; Locksley will never simply stand by and allow the happiness of others where his own selfish wants are opposed. The very night Marian agrees, Guy is already planning strategy, calculating guard shifts in his head, working out how to arrange the ceremony so Locksley will be unable to interrupt with his usual flare for the overdramatic.

The quiet of the castle only adds to Guy's agitation, and he finds himself pacing the same circuit of stone floor, well into the night. His rooms are chilly, the air close, and firelight flickers tamely from the sconces along the wall. He can't seem to settle enough for sleep, and even his well-worn leggings and unlaced tunic feel alien and wrong tonight.

He doesn't hear his door open on its silent hinges, but he hears the heavy click of it thudding closed. His first thought is that Marian, suffering similar anxieties and restlessness, has sought him out, and his heart jumps in his chest.

He should know better. When he turns and finds Robin of Locksley standing ominously in the shadows near the door, he should not be surprised. Nor should his heart kick even faster at the sight of vengeful eyes, watching him from beneath the dark hood Locksley has clearly been using to hide his face through the castle corridors.

"Word travels quickly, I see." Guy laces the words heavily with disdain. He dons his most habitual sneer, watching as Locksley yanks his heavy cloak off in a gesture of fury. The hood falls away with the rest, fabric pooling carelessly on the floor, casting Locksley's face in the uneven glimmer of torchlight. Guy is not surprised at the unmasked violence glittering behind those eyes. He is all too familiar with Robin Hood's hypocrisy.

"We have business, you and I," Locksley breathes. It's all the warning he offers; it's all the warning Guy needs.

They fight for a daunting chaos of minutes, an uncoordinated tussle full of rage and wrath and breaking furniture. If Guy did not know these walls so well, he might wonder at the fact that no guards arrive to investigate the cacophony as he and Locksley try to tear each other apart with their bare hands. But for all their noise, Guy knows better. No one will come. No one will hear through the thick stone walls, the heavy oak door and empty halls. They are alone, and will remain so unless Guy manages to sound an alarm. There is only the fight between them, and Guy will not be the one to back down.

For a moment—a moment so fleeting it hurts—Guy has the upper hand. He holds Locksley beneath his weight, pinned to the floor, and in that moment he feels the satisfaction of Locksley's throat beneath his hands. If he killed Locksley here, now, even Marian couldn't fault him.

But Locksley rallies, surges and twists beneath him, and drives his knee into Guy's back. Guy struggles to keep his hold, but he is off balance now, and winded from the impact. He isn't quick enough to prevent Locksley from kicking and rolling, reversing their positions.

The stone floor is hard and cold beneath Guy's back, and he snarls, tries to buck Locksley off of him once, twice—

He freezes at the sensation of cool steel at his throat, and a rush of anger almost chokes him. Locksley stares down at him, shifting his position and settling into a straddle across Guy's chest. Guy stares right back, and in Locksley's eyes he finds so much rage that it suddenly occurs to him he might indeed die here tonight. He reaches up instinctively, wraps his fingers around Locksley's wrist, but it won't be enough. He won't be able to stop that blade when Locksley finally presses it home.

But the icy cut never comes. Locksley wrenches his wrist from Guy's hold instead, drawing his hand back and dropping the knife aside with a clatter. He twists back, arm raised high, eyes flashing grimly.

He brings his fist down fast and hard. Guy doesn't even feel the impact before the world goes black.

- — - — - — - — - — - — -

Guy wakes addled, but not so disoriented he can't tell he's in his own bed. He's lying on his stomach, darkness surrounding him, a throbbing ache in his temple.

He's surprised at the totality of the darkness. Even if all the torches have been doused, there should still be a dim glow from the brazier in the corner. The season is too cool not to keep a fire at night. If the fire had gone out, his room would be far colder than this.

It's not until he blinks that he realizes it's not the room that has gone dark at all. Heavy fabric covers his eyes, tied tightly and allowing no hint of light. He curses, shifts, moves to reach for the obstruction—

And discovers that his arms are bound securely behind his back.

Were it not for the softness of his own bed, the familiar texture of the pillow beneath his cheek, he would think Locksley had dragged him off somewhere. But no, he is certainly still in his own rooms, his own bed—alone? Trapped in this embarrassing circumstance until someone notices he's gone and comes looking? Impossible. Such retaliation would not match the dark wrath he spied in Locksley's eyes.

With the soft but unmistakable sound of footsteps close by, Guy comes to the reluctant realization that he is not alone. That can only be Locksley. And as quickly as the certainty that his enemy is still close at hand, Guy feels his own ire flare, bright and hot and overpowering.

"What idiocy is this?" Guy demands hotly.

Locksley doesn't immediately respond, and though he tries to remain stoic, Guy can't keep himself from squirming within his bonds. There's no give in the ropes holding him fast—of course there isn't. Locksley may be a fool, but knot work is one area in which he is by no means deficient. Guy falls still, and the silence stretches menacingly. The only sounds are Locksley's sullen footsteps on the stone floor.

Guy is not afraid. If Locksley intended to kill him, surely he'd have done it at the first opportunity, when he had Guy on the floor, when the red of murder was flashing brightly in his eyes.

But if Locksley does not intend to kill him, than to what purpose has he bound Guy so surely? Why is Locksley still here?

The answer—so obvious he can't believe he didn't see it the instant Locksley stepped out of the shadows—hits Guy at the very same instant Locksley's footsteps stop beside the bed.

"I did warn you," Locksley says. He is attempting to craft his voice into something soft and menacing, but Guy is too familiar with Locksley's bravado to be fooled. He hears only enraged petulance, and he grits his teeth in frustration, unable to lash out at the smug look he pictures accompanying Locksley's words.

"I warned you not to cross me," Locksley continues. "Not to meddle in my affairs."

The mattress dips to Guy's left, and his pulse blurs faster. Guy's steady voice doesn't let on when he retorts, "Can't win the girl on your own merit, and somehow that is my fault?"

Locksley delivers a hard slap to Guy's left buttock, and the impact stings through the thin fabric of his leggings. Guy curses, whole body twitching away a beat too late.

"You have no right!" Locksley snarls, and this time there is something dark and genuine in the words. Something vicious and foreboding that tightens Guy's throat and sets his skin tingling.

Guy draws a shaky breath, and when he laughs the sound is barely forced.

"I have every right. Marian will marry me. And then, oh, how quickly she will forget you." Another slap, to the other side, but this time Guy does not shy from it. He grits his teeth and grins. "Assuming she has not forgotten you already."

He expects a third slap, but it never comes. Instead Locksley goes suddenly, intensely still. In that instant, Guy knows he has pressed too hard. He's misgauged, and now his body gives an involuntary shiver at the quiet snick of Locksley drawing a short knife from somewhere.

"You won't kill me, Locksley," Guy says, cursing inwardly. Running his mouth is the worst possibly strategy he could follow right now, but he can't seem to stop himself. "You've thrown away a dozen chances for that. You won't do it now."

"No," Locksley agrees in an icy voice. His weight on the mattress shifts—nearer to Guy—and a hand settles high on Guy's flank. "But I don't have to kill you. We've been down this road before, you and I. We both know. I don't have to kill you to take you apart."

Guy's heart gallops behind his ribs at the threat in Locksley's words. He shudders with memory—humiliation, arousal, violence, pleasure—and his body reacts without permission. It's awkward, on his stomach with his hands bound at his back, but he still tries to twist from beneath Locksley's hand, even as his skin heats and his blood begins to pool south.

He saw this coming. Saw the inevitability of it. But he will not simply allow himself to be taken. Not again. Not like this.

But the press of cool blade against the side of his throat stops Guy's retreat. He freezes, furious that he can't move, can't escape, can't see. He has nothing but the shift and tilt of the mattress to tell him that Locksley is once again shifting position—the knife blade holding steady despite these movements—and then Locksley is straddling him, weight settling on the backs of Guy's legs. The knife comes away now, the threat still implied but no longer pressed straight into his skin.

"You will not do this," Guy snarls, but the words are impotent. They are helpless.

There is little in this world that Guy of Gisborne despises quite so much as helplessness.

But helpless he is, as Locksley slices his leggings apart, baring him from flank to thighs and leaving him utterly exposed below the hem of his tunic. Locksley breathes a low, indecipherable sound, and rises onto his knees. He leans over Guy, curling strong fingers around the back of Guy's neck and pressing his face more roughly into the pillows.

Locksley's lips brush the shell of Guy's ear and his next words come out a harsh whisper.

"Up on your knees, Gisborne."

"Fuck you," Guy retorts, unthinking. He thrashes against Locksley's hold and accomplishes nothing at all.

"For God's sake, you know I can cut you to pieces if you refuse me," Locksley snaps.

Guy's voice chokes to nothing, because Locksley is right. Guy has no choice. Locksley has so far chosen not to kill him, but at any moment he could change his inconsistent, hypocritical mind.

Grudgingly, awkwardly, Guy struggles to comply. Locksley's fingers keep their unyielding hold at the back of Guy's neck, holding him down hard, and when at last Guy's knees are beneath him, his blood sings with humiliation. He can't take a proper breath; he can only inhale shallowly, and curse the darkness of the blindfold, the tightness of his bonds. He is humiliated not only by the position in which he finds himself (that alone he might just be able to abide), but worse is the fact that his cock—free of any constraints of fabric thanks to Locksley's deft knife work—is beginning to harden with arousal between his splayed thighs.

Guy does not know where the knife is. He hasn't heard Locksley re-sheathe it, which means it is almost certainly still close at hand.

He expects pain. Perhaps the knife, perhaps some other source, but pain in any case. Instead there is an impossible moment of stillness, several moments, a quiet that stretches taut and leaves Guy trembling. He cannot see, and the unyielding darkness makes him all too aware of the sensation of cool air across his bare skin, the sharp contrast of heat where Locksley's hand holds him down.

Then Locksley removes his hand, muttering a grim, "Do not move." And Guy knows, instinctively, to obey. His bound wrists and arms ache to stir, but he holds perfectly still. He is desperately aware of every sound, ever minute shift in the air.

When Locksley touches him again, it is forceful and unrelenting. Two fingers slicked with oil thrust inside him without warning, and Guy chokes back the startled noise of discomfort that is his instinctive response. He won't give Locksley the satisfaction, and he holds stubbornly silent as those fingers slide out of him only to press in again.

He holds silent as Locksley toys with him, endless minutes tumbling one into the next. The fingers inside him twist and curl, taunting pressure that sometimes—only sometimes—touches something deep inside him, something that ignites lightning and heat along his skin. It's all he can do not to cry out then, but he bites his lower lip as his breathing grows harsh and unsteady. Even as Locksley's touches grow more varied, more cruel and tormenting, sliding out of him entirely now, cradling his balls, rolling and squeezing them in his palm too roughly to be intended for pleasure.

Guy gasps aloud, clenches his teeth to bite back the sounds that threaten to escape.

"I made you beg before," Locksley growls. "Will you beg for me again? My wonton whore?" There is something hard, vicious, vengeful in the question. There is open taunting, and Guy rankles straight down to his bones.

"I will kill you first," he hisses, trying ineffectually to twist away, knife be damned.

But Locksley doesn't go for the knife. Instead, he drives his fingers quite suddenly past the aching rim of Guy's ass, thrusting them as deep as they will go. At the same instant he reaches forward, between Guy's legs, and wraps his free hand tightly around the base of Guy's cock.

This time there is no holding back the torrent of sounds in his chest, and Guy gasps, moans, trembles beneath Locksley's touch. Locksley's hand on Guy's cock holds motionless, tormenting him with pleasure denied, even as Locksley's fingers inside him fuck roughly out and in again. It's all Guy can do not to move, not to rock his hips in time with the strong digits violating him, ride them in his desperate need for friction.

"Beg," Locksley commands.

"No."

Locksley does begin to stroke Guy's cock now, belated and deliberate. He strokes roughly, unrelentingly. Drawing Guy inexorably towards climax in cruel counterpoint to the oil-slick thrust of Locksley's fingers, a mockery of intimacy.

It does not matter that Guy recognizes this for what it is. It does not matter that he is being violated, or that Locksley is toying with him deliberately, manipulating him towards Locksley's own ends. It does not matter, because Guy's own body will betray him—is already betraying him. He is moving with every thrust now, responding as though Locksley's touch were a command to be obeyed. He is shaking and furious and choking with need, and he is so, so close—

He nearly sobs when Locksley stops him just short of climax, grip tightening once again on the base of Guy's cock, fingers not just stilling but slipping free of his body.

"Say it," Locksley shouts.

But somehow, impossibly—despite the useless trembling of his body and the patchy, ragged rhythm of his gasps for breath—Guy grits his teeth and retorts, "Fuck you."

Locksley breathes a sound of absolute rage and then, taking his hands off Guy entirely, knocks him roughly onto his back. Guy lands with a grunt, his bound arms pinned behind him, his head spinning at the sudden change in position. He's still trying to draw his first solid breath when Locksley yanks the blindfold from his eyes with no flourish at all, and even the dim torchlight is too bright on his unaccustomed eyes. He does not need to see, however, to recognize the way Locksley's weight crushes down atop him, as he settles roughly between Guy's legs—or the sharp snick of metal and fabric as he uses the knife to cut away Guy's shirt.

He's unsurprised at the press of Locksley's hot arousal between his exposed thighs. Locksley's cock strains at the confines of his own leggings and his hips stutter awkwardly forward, just once, in an abortive search for friction.

Locksley regains his composure as quickly as Guy's vision clears, and then they are staring at each other, Locksley with wild eyes, flaring nostrils, his face rigid with thwarted rage. Guy can only guess what his own face looks like. He clenches his jaw and meets Locksley's eyes with all the stubborn contempt he can muster.

Locksley only shakes his head, eyes dropping to indicate Guy's cock—flushed with arousal and standing at rigid attention. Then his gaze rises again, meeting Guy's in open challenge.

But Guy will not plead with him. Not this time. Not here, in his own rooms, in his own bed, no matter what Locksley does to him.

Perhaps Locksley senses this. Perhaps he simply doesn't care. He sets the knife aside, just out of reach, and sits back on his knees. He does not break eye contact as he fumbles with his laces, opening his leggings and taking his cock in hand. A shudder of anticipation rocks through Guy as Locksley positions himself at Guy's already aching entrance and then, maddeningly, Locksley holds absolutely still. Seconds stretch taut, stubborn, and Locksley is watching him—like he's still waiting for Guy to big—beg him to stop, beg for Locksley's cock inside him, it's hard to say. If Guy had to guess, he'd surmise that Locksley honestly doesn't care; begging is begging.

But Guy simply juts his chin defiantly and holds his silence.

Then, still without breaking eye contact, Locksley takes a bruising grip on Guy's thighs, drags him down hard and—

Thrusts fiercely in. Guy's weak veneer of dignity falls away with a loud, hurt cry. Locksley's cock, larger by far than the fingers that left Guy's ass aching with their absence, presses deep and hard. Locksley's weight bears him down as he forces his way inside, filling Guy's unwilling body, seating his entire length before coming to a stop. Guy gasps at the ache of violation, the burn of straining muscles, the unwelcome intimacy of Locksley's balls tucked right up against his body. He is choking on the sense of being taken, claimed, owned.

Guy's stomach gives a nauseous lurch even as his betraying cock twitches with arousal. His breathing is ragged. It is all he can do to meet Locksley's eyes.

"Still not going to beg?" Locksley taunts darkly, rolling his hips without pulling back. The resulting shift of the cock inside him makes Guy choke on a startled moan, and it's a long moment before he regains enough breath to speak.

"I'll see you in Hell first."

The shadows in Locksley's eyes close off, and he shifts his hips, drawing back, drawing out—not entirely, but nearly so—and then, giving Guy just enough time to anticipate, he thrusts viciously in again. His cock glances off that intimate, electric place inside of Guy and sets off lightning behind Guy's suddenly closed eyelids.

He cries out when Locksley does it again.

The moments that follow are endless and unforgiving. They are a chaos of fucking—rough, deep, fast. In every other way Locksley is all talk and bravado, no follow-through at all; but insofar as Guy is capable of conscious thought with Locksley pounding away inside him, he finds himself amazed anew at the man's stamina.

The last of Guy's resistance has long since crumbled and blown away on a nonexistent wind. He is too far gone himself now to put up a fight to the rough use Locksley is making of his body. Guy's own hips roll to meet every thrust, riding Locksley's cock with humiliated fervor. He arches off the mattress as well as he can with his arms bound behind him, desperate for the release mounting beneath his skin.

He expects a repeat of last time—bound and sodden in the woods, the first time Locksley took from him this way. He expects to achieve his own ashamed orgasm and then suffer Locksley to continue on, taking his time, using Guy's body to the last and carrying on for endless minutes after Guy himself is spent.

But as Guy finally—desperately—approaches his finish, Locksley again grips the base of Guy's cock and stops him short.

This time when Guy cries out, it is with frustration and not pain.

Locksley does not release him until Guy is safely back from the edge. Guy cannot help himself. He rocks his hips harshly, taking Locksley deeper, urging him to finish it.

Instead Locksley stills inside him.

Guy is gone. He is lost. He is not thinking as he hears his own wrecked voice whisper a startled name.

"Robin."

The expression on Locksley's face is almost worth the humiliation of having spoken the name aloud. His eyes have gone wide and wild, and his mouth hangs ajar with shock. He stares down at Guy like those two syllables have torn the very world down to rubble, and Guy can do nothing but stare back and wait.

He is more than half expecting Locksley to reach for the knife. He is not expecting Locksley's full weight to drop across his chest, or for Locksley's mouth to claim his in a harsh, greedy kiss. His first instinct is to try and twist away, attempt to break the kiss. But Locksley is persistent, his tongue quick and smart, evading Guy's teeth and then delving deep. Exploring, entitled, eager. Guy's head, already spinning with surprise, swims now with the disastrous conflict of wants and sensations warring inside him. Locksley is kissing him, and for all the wrongness in that simple fact, a shiver runs the length of Guy's spine at how very good it feels. He doesn't intend to participate, but somehow he finds himself doing just that. Parting his lips wider for the sweep of Locksley's tongue, tilting his head to a better angle, thrilling in secret when Locksley's hips stutter involuntarily forwards.

They are both of them lost after that. Guy meets Locksley's thrusts, meets his kiss, takes everything Locksley forces upon him with a new, desperate abandon. They are frantic motion, Locksley rutting harshly between Guy's thighs, Locksley's hands restless on his body as at last the kiss breaks. Guy groans when Locksley's mouth finds his throat, cries out when Locksley bites and then sucks a taunting bruise into his skin.

Guy turns his head to the side as Locksley marks him, claims him, fucks him. He tries to speak—though even he does not know what words would come out should he succeed—but all he can manage are breathless gasps and moans, embarrassing and helpless sounds. He is too close to the edge now (even Locksley's staying hand could not hold him back), and from the way Locksley's rhythm has gone unsteady and even rougher than before, Guy is not alone.

He does not know what makes him open his eyes. There is no sound, no hint, no warning tingle along his skin. But open his eyes he does. His gaze is turned aside, past Robin, directly towards the door to his chambers—

Guy stares at the door where it stands ajar, and his heart stops in his chest.

Marian stands in that narrow opening. Staring. Gawping like a child. Her eyes are wide with horrified shock, her mouth is pressed into a thin, tight line. Her hand, curled around the door itself, sets Guy's mind reeling, and he curses himself for a thousand different fools.

It's far too late now. Locksley has not heard, has not seen, has not noticed. He is too busy rutting like an animal, seeking his pleasure, and Guy cannot think, let alone speak. He closes his eyes as the force of long-delayed orgasm overwhelms and crushes him, crashing around him and drawing a ragged cry from his throat. He will be ashamed later, but for now he can only feel—swept away by his own release, grounded by the slick sensation of Locksley spilling deep inside him.

It seems several eternities later before Guy opens his eyes again, and when he does he finds his door tightly shut. He knows better than to hope he imagined Marian, and he despairs at wondering what he will say to her come morning. There is no framing this tale in any way he can stomach. He is not entirely sure which is worse, the fear that she will think him unfaithful, or the fear of her realizing the truth.

When Locksley pulls out of him, Guy winces.

Now that he has sated himself Locksley will not meet his eyes, and Guy is ashamed at the sense of relief he feels at the reprieve. He has nothing to say to Locksley. In the split second before the blow lands, he finds he is unsurprised that Locksley intends to knock him out again.

It's nearly dawn when Guy wakes, loosed from his bonds, more naked than not. He strips off what little remains of his leggings and his mangled tunic, searches quickly for fresh attire. Yesterday's water fills the basin by his window, and his hands shake as he splashes his face, cooling his flushed skin, steadying himself as best he can.

He will find Marian. He will not lose her like this.

Locksley has taken too much from him already.