Robin & MarianFolklore Used:
Robin dealing with the aftereffects of the Third Crusade
He was flat on his back, of that much he was completely positive. Where
he was, while flat on his back, however, he had no idea. Sometimes, he was sure he was in the forest near his home, and if that was the case, he was relieved. But other times, he was sure that he was in the sands of the Holy Land, and those times he dreaded.
When he had followed Richard into the sands, he had been young and foolish enough to think that his bow would keep him safe. He thought that he would still receive the glory for becoming a war hero, but being a bowman, he would be far enough from any real action that he would be able to walk away unscathed. But that's not exactly how it had turned out.
The battles had always come too close for comfort, and there were too many times when a bow did him absolutely no good. Those times, he had to fight with sword and knife and fists; sometimes, coming straight out of sleep, when he had to fight for his life when he still wasn't sure what was going on. Those ones were the worst, the ones that came at him when he was still asleep; they shook him the most since he should've been safe in their encampment ... at least, as safe as anyone could be in a warzone. And to know that they had somehow gotten past the guards at the edges of their camp, through stealth or treachery, left him with an empty knot of a feeling in the pit of his stomach.
And all of the death he had seen, all of the blood and the bodies, it had been much more than he had expected ... more than he could deal with. On those times when he had fallen into fitful sleep, because his mind was too exhausted to deal with anything else, he dreamt of home: he could breath that sweet air of the places of his childhood, roam the forest and the fields, and sneak off to somewhere private with Marian (where he could try to steal as many kisses from her as she would allow). In that awful place, where the sand seemed to find its way everywhere, no matter how many precautions you took, those were the things that helped him get through the long days, and the longer nights. It helped him to remember that there was still beauty somewhere in the world, even if he couldn't see it where he was ... at least not easily. He loved the moon in this place more than he had ever loved it at home, but that wasn't enough ... not during wartime.
As time passed him by in that place, he started to fall more and more into those dreams, until it was hard for him to tell where he actually was. There were times when he could've told you with certainty where he was, because he knew for sure. But sometimes, the person asking him was someone he had known in Jerusalem, and they seemed disappointed by his answers (but he could never figure out why). He almost thought that they had expected some answer from him that he couldn't give them, but try as he might, he did not know what that answer was.
He wished that he could see Marian again, but he could never seem to find her. He wanted to hold her in his arms again, try to steal more kisses from her, and smell jasmine as he buried his nose in her hair. He had loved that smell because of her; it had always been so closely associated with her in his mind, and it made his heart ache to smell it when she wasn't nearby. And those lips, they had tasted like strawberries, something he had forgotten the taste of. He knew that he should be able to remember that taste, but no matter how hard he had tried, he'd not been able to pull it out of his mind (not the taste of actual strawberries, or the taste of those lips). It made him a little more desperate to find her again, no matter how impossible a task it seemed to fulfill.
Sometimes, he considered giving her his mother's ring, when he purposed. He thought that she might like that, thinking it would prove to her his love and loyalty. And he was sure that she would say yes; he had gotten enough kisses from her to be fairly sure of her answer, even if they had never actually used the word "love" with each other before. He was sure that he loved her, and sure that she loved him.
And after she said yes, he could just imagine what their life would be like together. It would be filled with peace and prosperity, and their only worries would involve their children. There wouldn't be any sand, there wouldn't be any surprise attacks, there would only be love, and so much peace ...more peace than he knew what to do with.
He wished that he was there now, wished he could find his way to her, and wished he could stop feeling so confused.****
"How is he today, Doctor?" Marian asked. "Does he know where he is?"
"No," the doctor said, "he still has no idea. We've tried bringing some of his friends in, to try and help him, but ... it doesn't seem to work. He seems almost aware for a moment, but it never lasts."
"Would it be alright if I sat with him?" Marian asked. "For a little while anyway?"
"Yes, of course," the doctor said, smiling and putting a hand on her arm, before walking away.
And like so many times before, Marian sat beside his bedside and held his hand, praying that someday his mind would return to him.