THE RETURN
By Paddy
Let the author know how well she did!
 
 

Chapter Three

When Marion awoke the next morning the sun was already high on the sky. Though Rachel had worked the whole night and the whole morning through she wasn't awakened.

"Why didn't you wake me?" she was ashamed that she had slept for so long.

"Up till now there weren't any changes with Robin's condition. But don't worry.

He is getting well again. His life energy rises from hour to hour. I'm pretty sure that he'll open his eyes very soon. By the way, Friar Tuck and Little John are still asleep. Yesterday was a very hard day for them."

For the very first time since she had arrived at the compound you could see a little smile scurry over her face. Marion got new hope and new courage out of it. Now she was convinced that Robin would survive his martyrdom.

"I'm going to wake them up now. I'm sure they want to know how Robin is now."

Marion had hardly left the hut when Rachel called her back. "Marion, Marion! Robin is wakening!"

She ran back to the entrance." Go to him. I don't want him to look in a strange face first when he opens his eyes. I'm sure you'd rather look into the face of the one you love, too. I'm going to get Friar Tuck and Little John." With this she left Robin's hut.

When Robin opened his eyes he first looked around without orientation. He wanted to sit up at once but the pain was pulling him pack onto the pillow.

"Marion...?" he whispered still very weak.

"I'm here with you. How are you? We thought we had lost you."

"What happened?" he queried.

"You had been shot down in the village yesterday. An arrow was in your shoulder and another one in your chest, close to your heart. It looked very bad for you."

Robin sighed painfully. With every breath he took, he felt a pain that made him think the arrows would shoot him down once again. Marion looked at him pitifully.

"Where are Tuck and Little John?"

"They are on the way to see you."

At almost the same moment they entered the hut.

"Robin!!"

Little John rushed up to his old friend. He had never been more pleased to see Robin than this time. The huge strong man seemed to be a little Child again. He was relieved that Robin was alive because he loved him more than his own brother. John's eyes were wet but he could just hinder it from starting to cry.

"Praised be the Lord that he was with you in times of trouble." A big tear was rolling down Tuck's cheek.

"I thought it was you who saved my life, not the Lord." Robin joked.

"Didn't you see her?" Tuck queried.

"Whom? Marion is here!!?" Robin didn't understand what Tuck was talking about. Well, how could he?? And so he was very surprised when the friar left the hut without saying anything else. Little John wanted to explain to Robin what had happened but Marion signed him to be silent. Little John obeyed. Now Marion began to realize slowly why Rachel had left Robin's hut so quick when he woke up. After so much time she was afraid to look into Robin's eyes again. He would ask her question over question. Questions, Rachel had no answer for.

The question she feared the most was why she had never got in contact with him again although they almost had been neighbors. For her the answer was easy. She was just his half-sister and Robin had found new friends and first of all a new family. So why should he need her?! Caused by her introducing this could have been destroyed. Or maybe not. Rachel hadn't missed anyone more than her bigger brother who always protected her from dangers, who was there for her when she needed someone and who showed her how to handle a sword, bow and arrows.

She was able to do those things from childhood on. But with the attack on Locksley something broke inside her. For many years she thought Robin was dead. That made her silent and the people thought she was strange. She preferred nothing more than quiet and loneliness. When she was among people she felt as if she would betray her dead brother who couldn't see this. Her uncle gave her an excellent education in medicine matters. Her family lived in Scotland on a remote sheep farm. She fled there when the castle was captured.

She had a wonderful childhood but the shadow of this terrible day was always around her. Rachel's uncle realized that because he was an affectionate man and he loved her as his own daughter. He wanted to help her and when he saw that she had the strange gift of the Coles, too, it was clear to him what he had to do. From this time on he took her with him to his patients. She would help him in his consulting room and with operations. When she was about fourteen years old he began to teach her the refined skills of medicine. He showed her which herb was for what kind of complaint and how to do the different examinations and how she could get the diagnosis’s out of them.

She was very docile and so he decided to give her knowledge of operations. But even this wasn't too difficult for the young girl because she seemed to be naturaly talented in medicine. When she was about sixteen the "news" of the heroic deeds of an outlaw called Robin Hood came up to Scotland, too. There were even descriptions of this man. And when Rachel saw them at least, she knew that she had to go to England to Sherwood Forest. Her uncle let her go because it was clear to him that he hadn't any chance to hold her back. So she left Scotland and she came to Sherwood Forest as a young woman.

She was relieved to be so near to her brother and to be always there for him when he needed her. On her first day in Sherwood Forest Olwyn visited her. Rachel asked him question over question, he answered everyone truthfully. This time in her life, Olwyn was looking after her as he did after Robin. He told her everything about Robin's life and what he was doing now and he also told her what he had to go through before he became what he was - Robin Hood. But Rachel didn't want to limit her life to be only near to her brother, no, she wanted to help the poor just like her brother did. She did it her way. She couldn't help with money because she didn't have any herself.

So she healed their wounds, their infirmities and their diseases, as far as it was possible for her. She did it up to this day on when Little John came to take her to Robin.

Rachel was standing lonely on a remote place of the compound near the creek. Hot tears of relief were running down her pale cheeks. The whole time she had to be strong but she couldn't go on any longer. She was just a human being, too and she had feelings, strong feelings. She was one of the most sensitive ones that ever had been on the Lord's beautiful world and it was hurting her much to see her brother in such condition after so long a time. Behind her out of the compound Marion was coming closer. To see why this young woman was hiding. At last she was Robin's sister and she couldn't have had other feelings like Marion.

"He is fine. You saved his life. I thank you for this. I don't know what I would do without him. My life would lose its sense if he were dead."

"I know. My life was LOST when I thought Robin was dead. He was the best big brother a little girl could want. I loved him more than anything else and I knew he did the same although I'm am only his half sister. But now, after so much time passed by, it's hard for me to look into his eyes. I'm afraid of it. We both thought that the other died. My whole life was hell. The fact that he was murdered took me out of control. And at the same time I became what I am - a strange healer who gave her life to the poor. I can't talk to the people - I simply don't know what to say, so what should I say to a very special person like Robin?" Rachel started crying again.

"Why didn't you go to him when you were known that he is still alive?" Marion couldn't explain that to herself.

"That's hard to explain." Rachel paused shortly to find the right words.

"You know that I am a product of a relationship Robin's father had with my mother. No one was allowed to know of my existence. But somehow Robin found out about me. It was really strange that he accepted me as his sister. He never had a little sister and after the death of his mother no other brothers or sisters. So it wasn't really surprising that he was with me. As time went by a strong tie involved between us.

It didn't mean anything to him that I was the product of an affair. But with the attack on Locksley it broke. Now fifteen years went by since those times and now I don't know if I can face him. I really want to see him again, to talk to him and just to be close to him. I never overcame his loss because he was the only one who really loved me. My mother died one year after the earl had been killed. Then I came to my uncle who taught me medicine.

You know the rest of the story. Of course my uncle gave love to me, too but he couldn't realize it because I'd lost Robin. Perhaps you can understand me now." Rachel sighed. All the pain of the last years came up inside her at once.

"I can understand you very well. But I'm sure he wants to see you again. We haven't told him yet who really saved his life. Now it's your turn. You are the only one who can show him a glimmer of light after so much time without you in his life."

"Marion, you are his glimmer of light! And he is yours. But you just don't want to realize it. I think you should clear the feelings for each other first. Then, far apart, you can think about me." Rachel got angry. Olwyn told her that Robin and Marion were in love but no one dared to confess his love.

"I know all that, Rachel. But once you were the world to him. And he needs you right now. Go to him. I tell you, please. By all my love for Robert of Locksley. Please, dare to face your brother."

Rachel considered this. Of course she knew that Marion was right. She didn't know if she could handle this though. But her love for her brother was still too strong.

"I'll come. I'll face Robin Hood - Robert of Locksley, my brother. I will look into his eyes."

"How are you?" Little John was still worried about Robin. Well, it was no wonder. Robin was still deadly pale, his eyes were surrounded red and with every move his face filled with pain.

"I think I'll be alright soon. But can you tell me why Tuck was so hurried to get out of here?"

"Hey, you know Tuck! I'm sure he is in his hut making a tea for you to recover."

"You’re right." Robin and John had to laugh.

"But why then did Marion leave the hut in so short a time after him? I almost feel like a not beloved uncle who comes for a visit. No John, something is going on here. This was the first time that they behaved like that. And this was not the first time I was injured. So, what happened?" Robin wanted to sit up but a horrible pain in his shoulder threw him back into the pillows.

"I can't hide anything from you. You know me much too well. But I think its best if Tuck explains to you what exactly happen. He seems to be the only one who knows what's going on."

Robin watched Little John without understanding. But he felt too weak to ask for more details. So he closed his eyes and fell into sleep.

When Robin opened his eyes again late in the evening he looked into an intimate but strange face. A young woman was standing by his bed changing the bandages and cleaning the wounds. Who was this woman? Why did he feel as if he had known her? He had no answer for his questions.

It took some time until Rachel realized that her patient was awake and watching her. Her heart pounded wildly. The moment she had feared for so long was near. In a last effort of self-protecting she didn't let show that she knew that Robin was watching her. But his eyes didn't lose anything of their sharpness. He realized that suddenly she was doing her work with less assurance. So he took the first step and spoke to her.

"So please, tell me, what are you doing there?" he asked without suspicion.

She didn't answer. The only thing Robin got back was a stare and unsecured look from her.

"Who are you? I suppose I know you." Slowly he had some doubts. He knew this woman, no doubt about that. But - where from? A tear rolled down Rachel's cheek.

"I'm glad that you're getting well again, Robin. I was afraid you would die."

No doubt anymore. This woman knew him, too. Suddenly Robin's eyes opened widely and he slowly opened his mouth.

"R-a-c-h-e-l.....?" he hardly dared to speak out this name. His sister was dead!

It couldn't be her.

"You still know me? After such a long time?"

Slowly, very slowly Robin realized what he just had heard. In front of him was standing his sister. Or was it just a nightmare? This wasn't possible at all. No, he must have been dreaming. He closed his eyes and when he opened again, she was still standing by his bed.

"Rachel, you.....you are alive? How is this possible?" his eyes got wet.

"Caused by the same reason why you're still alive. I had a good mentor."

Silence came up. They stared each other. She sat down on Robin's bed, beside him. Now he was sitting there erected, too. Yes, it was her. With tears in their eyes they closed each in the long missed arms. They were sitting like that for a long time, till Marion, Tuck and Little John entered the hut. Robin still didn't know who saved his life. So Tuck began to speak:

"Rachel saved you. She pulled the arrows out of your shoulder and chest."

"But how did she know what happened?" Robin still didn't understand.

"I told her. Well, it's a long story."

"Tell me. From the very start."

So Tuck began to tell the story of the strange healer of Sherwood Forest. Robin was just astonished and disconcerted. All these years his sister had been living so close to him and he didn't knew it. All those years when he needed so much someone he could talk to, and she was almost in front of his door. He never told anyone the sad story of his sister. So, why did Tuck know it?

"How could you know that Rachel was still alive and not tell me?" Robin got enraged. He felt betrayed by his friends.

"Olwyn. One day he came to me and told of Rachel. But he said that this information is only when something should happen to you what could mean your death. He entreated me not to tell you anything because it could have endangered your mission." Tuck didn't doubt about his own words 'cause he knew that they were the truth. In Robin's eyes you could see real rage, astonishment and unbelief. He was unable to understand that Olwyn did something like that to him, although he always said that he just wanted the very best for the Outlaw of Sherwood Forest. Did Olwyn lie or was Robin just too egoistic to confess himself that Olwyn was right?

All this chaos of feelings brought big problems to the still very weak Robin and his body was overpowered. He fell back into the pillows and went instantly to sleep. His body needed rest urgently and such news didn't support his recovery. Robin's sleep was deep and uneasy. In his dreams everything in the past happened once more. The attack on Locksley, his dead father - and once more everything was taken away from him what he had loved.

Around midnight his sleep became quieter and the heat disappeared from his face. Rachel sent Marion, Tuck and Little John to their beds. They were exhausted and tired 'cause this hopeful and despairing fear of the last two days wore their forces thin.

Rachel sat at Robin's side and looked lovingly at him. It was a miracle. She had her brother back at last. The candle died and she burned up a new one. Almost at the same moment she was sitting on her chair again, Robin awoke. He gazing directly in her face

"I want to get up. Some fresh air would be good for me. Rachel helped him to stand up and assisted him in putting his clothes on. Then they left the hut together. They both enjoyed the nearness and warmth of each other. They didn't need words to understand the other one. Both knew what each was thinking. The silence was overwhelming, yet. Both did not how to put into words what they were thinking. At last Robin couldn't bear it any longer.

"How did you do during the last fifteen years?"

"Well, how should I have done? Life was hell for me. My mother treated me like rubbish and died one year after the attack. Then I came to Scotland to my uncle. I had a really beautiful childhood there but my inner wounds never healed at all. They even linger today, although I knew that you were alive...."

"Why did you never come to see me?"

Rachel's eyes became wet. She was confronted with her past and she was afraid of it. "What would have changed? To see into your eyes again, to know you are close to me....all this feared inside of me. I was afraid to watch my past again. And now, that this moment has arrived I don't know how to handle it. I wasn't sure if you would hate me, perhaps, if I dare to enter your life once more. So I decided just to live close to you. With every day that passed by the wish to meet you caused by a lucky chance out in the forest grew more and more inside of myself. But nothing happened. Just once I saw you riding through the forest. It stabbed my heart. I wanted to call you by your name, to show myself to you. But my mouth was sealed up. I was standing there unable to move or speak. When all was over I wanted to drown into the ground. It shamed and raged inside of me. I know that this sounds a little bit confused but maybe you can understand now." Rachel started crying.

All the pain of the past inside her broke out at once. Robin enclosed her in his arms.

"Oh, my little, stupid Rachel. How could you ever think I could hate you in any way? You are a part of me. Just think of it what you have done for the people during the last years. We are very similar. Oh, my little Rachel. I'm so happy that you are mine again."

They sat down at the bank of the little creek. The morning was already dawning and the sky above the tops of the trees colored into a tender red. Slowly but continually life returned into the compound. The first fires were inflamed and soon the smell of eggs and bacon hung in the air. Robin now felt his stomach making a row. Except for some herbal teas of Tuck and Rachel he didn't eat anything during the last two days. So they went to eat something. While they were sitting under the trees having breakfast, Little John, Marion and Tuck came to them. The three watched each significantly because for the very first time in a long time, they saw a shining in Robin's eyes.

"Good Morning. You seem to be well again if you already have left your hut."

Marion joked.

"Good morning. Rachel helped me. There was a lot we had to talk about." A smile curved Robin's lips.

"Rachel, what would you think of staying here at Sherwood together with us? Now I finally have you back and I don't want to lose you once more. What do you think of it?"

End of Chapter Three
 

 Chapter One
 Chapter Two
 Chapter Three
 Chapter Four the Conclusion
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