The Christmas Gift
By Virginia Cavazos

Chapter Four

Albert rushed over to Robin’s side, as he tried to attempt to tie him down, but he soon found this was not going to be as easy as they planned. Robin quickly struggled up to a standing position. Jumping up in the air, he kicked Albert away. His arms were bound but his legs could still work!

"Get down off that horse and help me!" Albert yelled, as he rubbed where Robin had landed a blow on his arm. "He’s not caught yet!"

Brian jumped down from his horse, and ran over to help Albert. Robin went into a defensive pose. The rope around his arms had locked. Albert knew what he was doing, he had tied an expert knot in it. There was no way Robin was going to get loose from it. By the same token the two were not going to get anywhere near Robin, without getting a good kick in the middle. Albert had already received two swift kicks. The last almost knocked his wind out. He looked to Brian for help.

"What are we going to do?" Albert gasped, rubbing his stomach.

Brian growled at Robin, "Don’t make this any more difficult! I want to take you back alive!"

Robin let out a taunting laugh, "So sorry to disappoint you." He cocked his head, a half grin parting his lips, "Why don’t you try again, I promise I won’t hurt you…Much!" He snarled.

Brian made a grab for the end of the rope, that lay on the road, but was pushed back with a swift kick to his stomach. Clutching it, he gasped for breath. Albert ran by his side, being sure to keep Robin in sight!

"Are you all right?" Albert asked.

"I guess we’ll have to do this the easy way. Go get your bow!"

"Okay," Albert replied. He ran behind the tree, where his horse was tied up. Brian wickedly smiled at Robin, he knew he couldn’t run away from them. The rope was long enough for Brian to grab it if he tried to escape. Robin also knew this. He kept his defensive stance, waiting for Brian to make the next move.

"I’ve got it!" cried Albert, as he ran to Brian clutching his bow and arrow.

"Good! Then lets end this...Now!" Brian glared at Robin, he was tired of playing games. He relinquished that he wasn’t going to be able to bring Robin Hood back alive. So, it was going to be dead now!

"Shoot him!" He ordered Albert. He gave Brian a stunned look. "Wait a minute. I said I would help you capture Robin Hood, but nothing was said about killing him!"

"Did you think it would be easy capturing the most wanted man in England!" Brian snorted.

Albert paused to reflect on this. Handing the Bow to Brian, he stated, "I may have done some rotten things in my live, but I’m no killer!"

"Fine!" Brian said angrily said as he grabbed the bow from his hands, "Then the reward will be all mine!"

Brian then set the arrow and pulled the bow back. Albert started walking away. "I will not be an accomplish to murder! You can keep your blood money. I want no part of this!"

Walking around the tree, Albert left Brian alone with the Sherwood outlaw. Tom’s cousin yelled back. "Fine! That’s more for me!" he then whispered. "You weren’t going get that reward money anyway!" smiling at Robin he then aimed the arrow directly at Robins heart. "Now then, where were we?"

Robin searched around the forest, trying to find a way out of this predicament. His only hope, was to try to duck the arrow. He knew he wasn’t fast enough to move out of the arrows path, but if it wasn’t a mortal wound. It would at least buy him some more time.

"Bye, Bye Robin Hood." Brian chuckled, "Hello, riches and fame!"

Brian pulled the arrow further back, Robin’s muscles tensed, as he waited for the shot. As Brian was about to release the arrow, his hands flew up. Robin let out a sigh of relief, as the arrow flew harmlessly in the air. Brain fell to the ground, Robin could see a knife sticking out of his back. Squinting into the darkness, he could just make out a hooded figure on a horse. Maybe Albert had a change of mind? He readied himself for anything.

The hooded figure rode up alongside Brian. Jumping from its horse, Robins savior placed its foot on Brian and pulled the dagger out. Cleaning the blade on its cloak, Robin slowly started backing up. As the stranger looked up, they pulled the hood off.

Curly brown hair tumbled out from the hood. A familiar pair of blue eyes looked lovingly at Robin.

"Leave you out of my site for a few minutes and this happens!" Marion scolded him, placing her hands on her hips.

Giving him a satisfied look, Marion walked up to Robin, using the knife, she cut away the rope that bound him.

"You know I really had everything under control here." Robin said, as he thew the ropes angrily in the bushes.

"Oh, of course you did Robin. What were you going to do, duck that shot!"

"As a matter of fact....." Robin seriously said. Marion let out a skeptical chuckle, "Right Robin, I know your good, but you’re not that good!"

She folded her arms, giving him that ‘I saved your life again’ look. Robin returned it with an angry one.

"Why did you follow me?"

"Now that’s gratitude for you." Marion sung out, "I save a mans life and not even a thank you."

"Thank you Marion." Robin said with a bow at the waist, "Now why did you follow me? I hope you’re not thinking of trying to change my mind."

Unfolding her arms, Marion fluttered her eyes, giving him an angelic look, she sarcastically said.

"If you love someone, set them free. God, why didn’t I see it before. You were pushing me away!" Pointing to Brian she said, "Why on earth would you listen to a snake like that?"

Robins eyes dropped, trying to avoid her angry look. "Believe me Marion," Robin gently said, "What he said to me at the ball, wasn’t anything I wasn’t thinking of before." Slowly walking up to her, he took Marion’s hands in his. Gazing deep into her blue eyes, he told her what he should have; long ago.

"Marion, every time we’re in a fight; I fear for you!"

Marion scoffed at this, as she was about to reply to it, he placed his fingers on her mouth, "Please hear me out." He begged her, with a nod of her approval, he continued.

"When I saw how happy you were at the ball. I began to realize that you belonged there. Not living in a forest, fearing for your life every day and night. I saw how much you enjoyed yourself Marion, with the ones you love. I can’t have you risking your life anymore for something that I started!" His chin drooped to his chest, letting out a deep sigh, there…he said it.

Marion placed her hand under Robins chin, gently lifting it up. Robin saw a sad smile creasing her face.

"Robin Hood, if you would only have asked me why I was so happy, I would have gladly told you."

Gazing lovingly into his eyes, she whispered. "I was happy at that ball, because I was with you!"

Releasing her hold on him, she clasped her hands behind her back, as she stared into Robins deep, soulful eyes. She recalled the time she saw him at Queen Eleanor’s ball. All the ladies there wanted to dance with Robin, but she was the only one he asked to dance. It was after that ball, that she made the decision to join Robins cause. She never told him what helped her make that decision, she tried to explain it now.
" Robert of Locksley, I am so proud of what you do. There are times that I want to shout it out to the world. LOOK AT THIS MAN." She spread his hands out in a sweeping motion "Look at what he has given up, all that was taken from him. Yet he remains true and strong in his beliefs." Stepping closer to Robin, she continued, "I want everyone to know what a great and wonderful thing you’re doing. If I died tomorrow my love, I would have no regrets. I chose this life, and I accept the dangers that go with it."

"It was a Christmas gift." Robin softly mumbled.

"What did you say?" Marion asked.

Robin looked up at her, his eyes were so mournful, "Marion, I’ve never given you anything, to show the appreciation I have for what you do. I thought this would have been the greatest gift that I could give you. Safety, with friends and family."

Marion’s face lit up with a warm smile. Robin couldn’t help but smile back, as she said.

"Robin, you give me a wonderful gift every day. By allowing me to be a part of what you do. That is so special to me. When I first joined your cause - helping those, who I also saw needed help. Why that was the happiest day in my life!" She quickly added in a small voice, "That, and the day I met you of course."

Robin shyly smiled at her as he gently whispered. "To you I promise my first kiss!"

Marion looking lovingly at him, stepping up to him, she grabbed his hands, "And with it swear we’ll never part." Squeezing his hands, she shyly said, "You never did give me that kiss!"

Robin smiled wickedly at her, as he recalled the roll on the floor. Marion blushed as he wiggled his eyebrows up and down.

"I guess I’ll just have to rectify that!"

Placing her hands around his neck, Robin slowly wrapped his arms around her waist. Embracing, they slowly…started… to kiss.

As their lips gently touched, they suddenly heard a sound from behind.

"There you two are!" They heard a familiar voice exclaim, "We were worried about you."

Keeping the embrace the two looked behind and saw Tom and Iris ridding up. Robins hands dropped to his side. His head fell to his chest as he moaned. "Every time we start to kiss it seems that we are always interrupted!" Marion smiled shyly at this.

"Next time we’re in trouble Marion, we’ll try to kiss. The whole of Sherwood will probably be there!"

"Shhh!" Marion hissed at Robin. She gently slapped him on the arm.

Placing their hands in front of them, they clasped them in unison, as they both sung out.

"Nice of you to come."

Tom and Iris realized that had come at an awkward moment. Tom Nervously clearing his throat as he said, "Yes, well Iris and I were very worried. Weren’t we Iris?" Iris emphatically nodded her head in agreement.

"Oh yes, very worried! "

Iris gasped, as she spotted the body of Brian lying in the middle of the road. Tom jumped down from his mount, kneeling down he examined his cousin. Marion walked up to Tom, kneeling next to him she sadly said.

"I’m sorry I had to do that Tom, but he was going to kill Robin I had no other choice."

Tom sadly smiled at her, he tried to belay her guilt, "Please, don’t feel bad Marion. We always knew he would end up like this, it just happened a little sooner than we expected." Sighing heavily, he went to his horse to get a blanket.

"If you don’t mind Iris," Marion said, as she returned to Robins side, "Robin and I are going back to Sherwood."

"You’re leaving?" a hurt look crossed her face. She really wanted to spend more time with her cousin.

"Yes, Robin and I have some presents to exchange."

As Marion looked at Robin, she saw an anxious look on his face. "You got me a present?" He enthused, Marion nodded her head, "Of course I did!"

"What is it? Is it that knife that I wanted?"

"You’ll know when we get there." Marion laughed.

Robin quickly jumped on his horse. Pulling on the reins, he said. "Let’s go now!"

Marion laughed gaily as she jumped on her horse, "Merry Christmas Iris and Tom. We had the most wonderful time!"

"Yes, Merry Christmas!" Robin said.

"Merry Christmas to you too," Tom and Iris joyfully replied.

"Marion, I’ll race you back to Sherwood," Robin playfully said.

Marion pulled her mount alongside Robin. Quickly drawing her leg back, she kicked him off his horse. As he fell on the road, he could hear her say.

"You forgot this," She giggled. Robin ducked as Marion threw a large silk hat with a plum stuck in the side. "I’ll be waiting for you in Sherwood," Robin heard her say as she road off.

Leaping up from the ground, he plunged the hat on his head, smiling so widely, a dimple popped out. He gave Iris and Tom a quick wink, mounting his horse, he rode off into the darkness, in pursuit of Marion.

The two Sherwood outlaws could be heard laughing in the dark forest.

"Thomas, I don’t’ think I’ve ever seen anyone more in love than Robin and Marion."

"Except of course for us my darling," Tom added.

"Of course my love, but their Love, I think…is eternal. Something very special."

Tom jumped on his horse, taking the reins of Brian’s horse. He pulled his mount alongside Iris. Leaning over, he gave her a quick peck on the cheek.

"Merry Christmas My Love." He sighed.

"Merry Christmas, My Love!" she said in return.

As they rode off, they could still hear the laughter of Marion and Robin echoing in the cool night. This was to be a Christmas that they would never forget. For it was a Christmas that Robin and Marion first realized. The special gift they gave that year, as well as every year.

It was having each other.

The End

Chapter One
 Chapter Two
 Chapter Three
Chapter Four

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