Fandom: Robin of Sherwood
Pairing: Robert de Rainault/Guy of Gisburne
They had saved their skins again, by sheer luck, obsequiousness, and the gift of a casket of Byzantine gold. And Robin Hood had once more thwarted them.
Some things never change.
Robert de Rainault nodded his head sagely as his pompous windbag of a brother droned endlessly on. Part of him really *was* listening to Hugo. Just in case. You could never tell when the wily clergyman might try to trick him. But he didn't have to *look* at Hugo to listen to him.
Looking at Gisburne, on the other hand, was something that had begun to fill up many of his hours recently.
His steward was skulking in the shadows. Finely dressed, as befitted a nobleman, he still managed to portray the essence of a half-beaten cur.
And Robert didn't even need to close his eyes to see the fur-clad savage that was even now so close to the surface.
At that moment, Gisburne raised his head. Feral eyes blazed at him for an instant out of a drawn face. Then, as he'd been doing for months, Gisburne lowered his gaze and moved even further back into the shadows, startling a servant wench, who gave a small shriek of terror and dropped the ale she'd been carrying.
Robert sighed. Something would have to be done about Gisburne. And soon.
The Sheriff was watching him again. It was disconcerting, to say the least. Gisburne was actually surprised that de Rainault hadn't thrown him out. He kept waiting for the axe to fall, but it hadn't yet.
If he closed his eyes he could still see the Sheriff face down Grendel and Gulnar.
'...I have no intention of capering about in a wolf's skin with a bunch of demented savages.'
It had been Robert de Rainault at his most scathing and the words had shamed Gisburne to the very depths of his soul. *He* had submitted to the Sons of Fenris, but de Rainault had not. That had shocked him. Gisburne knew that whatever else he might be, he was no coward. And he'd always thought that de Rainault *was*. It had been the one thing that had made his service to the Sheriff bearable: that he was more of a man than Robert de Rainault. Now he realised that he'd been fooling himself. He was worth no more than the hounds that ate the scraps thrown from de Rainault's table. He was not a man. A man would never have let Grendel...
His mind shied away from what he'd let Grendel do. If the Sheriff ever found out...
And the worse thing was, he might regret it, but he couldn't stop the surge of passion/pain that always accompanied his most shameful memory. His hand went to the back of his neck, moving down beneath his tunic until it encountered the faint bite scar. He threw his head back in unconscious imitation of his surrender to Grendel. Gulnar's lieutenant haunted his dreams. He woke up early each morning, unrested, with the evidence of his dishonour drying on his body.
Hunching his shoulders, Guy of Gisburne hurried out of the Great Hall, certain of nothing save his own damnation.
Dawn threw a rosy light over the edge of the stream, catching the droplets of water as they streamed down Gisburne's body.
Robert wasn't quite sure what had prompted him to follow his steward out of the castle so early this morning. Maybe he'd thought to catch the other man at some nefarious deed.
Instead, he'd merely caught Gisburne at his ablutions.
So why, in God's name was he still here, watching Gisburne bathe, when he could be warm in bed?
Gisburne was walking out of the water towards his bundle of clothing. Robert moved deeper into the shelter of the bush that hid him, very reluctant to have Gisburne discover his presence.
The other man, oblivious of his watcher, stretched his whole body towards the early morning sun, revealing a hard body and an equally hard member jutting out from blond curls.
Part of Robert's mind was astonished that the cold water hadn't robbed his steward of his tumescence. The rest of his mind was taken up with his own body's responses. A low heat crept up from his belly, flaring into urgency as he watched Gisburne's hand wrap around his turgid manhood, stroking himself swiftly. He watched as Gisburne brought himself to completion, his head thrown back, his body rigid with tension, his mouth stretched in a grimace that spoke more of pain than pleasure.
Gisburne wiped himself off, dressed with a soldier's economy, and stalked back towards the castle, leaving Robert to bring his own body firmly under control. Which he did with the same ruthlessness he applied to most of his life.
His mind, however, was not so easily subdued. Throughout the day he suffered from flashes of recollection. When Gisburne stood before him in the Great Hall, sullenly relating an incident of minor rebellion, Robert could not help but see in his mind's eye the golden body arched back, the hand moving furiously over its urgent manhood, the milky eruption shimmering in the sunlight as it fountained into the air then fell to the ground...
He knew that Gisburne had been puzzled by his air of distraction. He hadn't been able to conjure up more that a couple of half-heartedly sarcastic comments, his mind desperately working to dispel the image of him taking his pouting, surly steward here in front of everyone.
This was madness! It wasn't as if he was completely a stranger to these thoughts, but this was Nottingham, not some out of the way place where he would not be recognised. This was now, not his impetuous youth. And this was Sir Guy of Gisburne, not some pretty boy willing to sell his body for price of half a loaf.
Not that Gisburne wasn't pretty. Although it was a prettiness that was fading fast, marred by lines of debauchery and spite. But he wasn't some nameless whore to be fucked fast and hard, no matter how compelling that image was...
His steward chose that moment to raise his head and meet Robert's gaze. Robert swore silently as he saw the hostility fade and uncertainty fill Gisburne's eyes, to be replaced by a stunned recognition and a heat so intense that it seared into his very soul.
Whenever he looked back on this, he was never sure how he had managed to tear his gaze away and stumble to his room without mishap. Nor was he certain just how long he sat huddled on his bed, trying to tell himself that he *hadn't* seen the lust that blazed from the Sheriff's eyes. The lust aimed, unbelievably, at him.
Robert de Rainault couldn't want *him*. His overlord had seen Gisburne at his worst. No, not quite his worst, but certainly he'd seen the animal that was 'Sir Guy of Gisburne'. How could he want *that*? Only something as vile as Grendel or Gulnar could want something so tainted.
The very thought, the very possibility, was enough to make him tremble with a want, a *need*, so dark and violent that it both terrified and inflamed him.
A timid knock upon his door pulled him from his ruminations. A serving boy stood there, shivering.
'My Lord Gisburne, my Lord Sheriff requests your presence in his chambers.'
Having delivered his message, the boy fled.
Gisburne straightened out his rumpled clothing as best he could. Taking a deep breath, he headed towards the Sheriff's private chambers, with all the enthusiasm of a condemned man going to meet the headsman's axe.
The 'half-beaten cur' image was very much to the forefront of his mind as Robert observed the dishevelled man before him. A man who kept his eyes glued to the floor as if it were his only hope of eternal salvation. A man he'd betrayed more than once, and who had betrayed him, almost literally throwing him to the wolves.
He'd once thought he knew where he stood with Guy of Gisburne. He'd once thought that nothing about this man could surprise him.
He'd thought that about himself, too.
He walked around the trembling man.
'Are you my man, Gisburne?'
The tousled head reared up. Wide, wild, eyes met his own.
'Are you my man, Gisburne? My vassal, my sworn knight, my liegeman?'
The body stiffened and flinched but the eyes remained glued to his.
'Yes.' Barely a whisper.
'Yes. Yes what, Guy?' And had he ever called his steward by his given Christian name before? Oh, this was a day for firsts.
'Yes, my Lord. I am your man, your vassal, your sworn knight and liegeman. Yes, I am *yours*, my Lord.'
Gisburne seemed to tear the words from his throat in a harsh whisper. And something swelled in Robert as the other man subsided into silence. Something pitch-black, and dangerous, yet frighteningly sane.
He saw an answering darkness in Gisburne's eyes, but lacking the same lucidity.
He was no stranger to his word being law. But this was Gisburne, who'd made an art-form of defiance. And yet Gisburne removed his clothing. Not with any overt seductiveness, it was true. But also without any sign of reluctance.
'Get on the bed.'
Gisburne lay on his back, naked. A body covered with the scars of a soldier's life, yet as lithesome as any of the boy-whores Robert had known in his youth. And all he could do at this moment was look, with some degree of disbelief, at the man who had been his closest ally and one of the most irritating thorns in his side for so long.
What in God's name was he doing here?
Gisburne's skin was flushing under Robert's regard. His cock stiffening and his breath expelling in increasingly rapid gasps. Robert hadn't so much as touched him, yet the man was writhing, his legs parting and his hips thrusting wantonly.
And enlightenment struck Robert de Rainault like a bolt from the heavens. This wasn't about lust or desire or want. This was about *ownership*. Gisburne was *his* but he had to prove it.
He removed his own clothing unhurriedly, ignoring the heated looks and desperate pants coming from his sworn man.
And there was Gisburne on his elbows and knees, buttocks thrusting up.
He reached for the fragrant oil he kept for when the smell of the garde-robe became too pungent in the heat of Summer or in windy weather. Ah, well, today it was going to be put to another use.
It had been a while since he'd done this. In fact, he'd hardly *ever* had to do this. But his fingers probed and stretched Gisburne with complete confidence.
Gisburne was swearing underneath him, demanding, insistent. He wasn't anywhere *near* ready, Robert knew. But his persistent thrusts and moans were doing nothing for Robert's self-control. Who was meant to be owning whom, here, anyway? Robert wondered, a trifle wryly.
Oh, to Purgatory with it! Robert oiled himself rapidly and buried himself to the hilt in his steward's body...
...It hurt. It was *wonderful*. He was being filled and possessed. *Owned*. And this wasn't Grendel, it was the one man who'd ever given him a chance. The man he hated and loved in equal measure. His Lord, his master. He was where he was meant to be.
He was flying...
He was close to the edge, Gisburne thrusting and trembling and moaning beneath him. Robert stared fixedly at Gisburne's neck, determined that the other man would finish before him. A drop of sweat trickling down the other man's back almost undid him. But then he spotted something. A scar. Not a battle scar, a bite-mark. Not old enough to have faded completely. And with an explosion of rage Robert suddenly *knew* who had inflicted this on *his* steward. And without further thought, he leaned over, covered the neck with his mouth, and *bit*.
The golden head reared back and, with a scream loud enough to wake the dead, Gisburne came, triggering de Rainault's own release.
Robert managed to get to the door before the guards arrived. His brief, curt, explanation of a nightmare was greeted with studied blank expressions. But they left, and Robert returned to a Gisburne still passed out on his bed. He stared down at himself and grimaced at the oily sticky mess. The basin provided enough water for him to wash himself. He had no inclination to do the same for his supine companion.
Weariness descended upon him, and he climbed into bed, pulling the bedclothes over both of them. Unexpectedly, Gisburne gravitated to his side. Robert snorted softly. He would never have taken his surly steward as a cuddler. Impatiently, he tried to push the other man away, but Gisburne had attached himself to Robert like a limpet.
He gave up. He'd have to wake Gisburne soon anyway. The man couldn't be found in his bedchamber come morning. Especially not considering the rumours that must be flying round the castle after that scream. He would have to get the man a gag to wear next time.
Next time. Because there *would* be a next time. Lots of next times, if Robert had anything to say about it. And he did.
He really should wake up Gisburne. Kicking him on to the floor should work. Later. For now, Gisburne was fine where he was. Better than fine. His clinging, slightly snuffling presence at Robert's side was astonishingly, terrifyingly, alluring.
It wasn't love. At least Robert wasn't *that* stupid. And he wasn't sure that Gisburne was even capable of love. But it was possession, ownership. Gisburne was *his*, and like a dog, Gisburne *knew* his master.
Of course, Gisburne would still be his sulky, incompetent self come the morning. And Robert would still sacrifice him if his own skin was at risk. Some things never change.
But here, in this bed, they'd both found a kind of peace. For a while. And, with any luck, they'd find it again.
Sometimes, even the damned were allowed a little glimpse of salvation.