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Times Arrow (4/?)

Title: "Time's Arrow,  Chapter 4"
Copyright Notice: All characters owned by the BBC, BBC America and Tiger Aspect Media.
Plot spoilers: Torchwood: Season 2, Doctor Who: Season 4, Robin Hood: Season 2  Up to ends of Current Seasons of all  Three Shows.
Pairings: Gwen/Martha, Ianto/Jack, Robin/Much
Warnings: None for this chapter
Rating: PG- 13 (For suggestive slash content)

Summary:  Fourth chapter of my multichapter, multi fandom, fic.  This series brings together characters from Robin Hood, Torchwood, and Doctor Who.  

Previous Chapters Below:
Cover Art, Chapters 1, 2, 3

Dedicated to my ever patient beta,

zooeyrye

She turns my alien gibberish into human english. 

 

Chapter 4: What to Say to a Living Legend

Much fidgeted in the uncomfortable chair in the conference room.  He missed his skull cap.  It was bad enough they had taken his braies, leggings, vest and tunic; giving him strangely thin, things to wear called ‘boxers’, ‘scrubs’ and a ‘tee shirt’,  but his bare head made him far more insecure than lack of coverage at his other end.  ‘Why have they taken my skull cap?’  He thought crossly. 
 
Self consciously he smoothed back the thick mass of fresh washed, dark blonde, wavy curls with his hand, being careful not to hurt his bandaged bruise.  In sympathy, Martha offered him her surgical cap to wear with the blue scrubs he was given in place of his dirty leathers and rank linens.  She helped him put it on and smiled at the thought that he looked like one of the scruffy surgeons at Royal Hope Hospital that had spent one too many hours in the O.R.  He looked oddly handsome, in a lost-boy sort of way...
 
“I don’t know why you want to cover up such lovely, wavy, blonde hair....really, it so suits you,” she chimed. 
 
Much smiled at her warmth.  No one had ever told him his hair was lovely before.  Usually when he lost his cap, it was the source of fun at his expense.  He felt his cheeks glowing at the compliment. 
 
She gave him a bump on the chin with her finger “Are we blushing again?” 
 
“No one so pretty told me that before… m-milady,” he stuttered.
 
“Well it is and you should be proud of it!”  She flashed a very ‘Martha Jones-y’ smile at him as she walked back to her chair.  
 
Ianto had brought coffee beverages for themselves and tea for the guests and Gwen.   Much took a cautious sip of the warm liquid before greedily adding several sugars.  He hummed quietly in satisfaction as he sipped and looked around the strange room and even stranger people. 

The former servant had already made quick work of the plate of biscuits placed before him after being assured, by Gwen trying one, that they weren’t drugged or poisoned.  Much was a man of simple pleasures.  Having food, drink, warm and dry clothes; pretty girls to look at, and a covered head, had put him at ease for the moment.
 
Robin looked and felt opposingly out of place without his bow and quiver.   He was clad in dark navy scrubs over a white long sleeved undershirt.  The sneakers that he now wore fit well but they weren’t the solid boots he was used to and he shuffled his feet against each other like a bored child.  His tea sat untouched on the table in front of him.  He leaned back and ran his calloused thumb along the length of the chair arm.
 
 
Jack, almost distracted by the archers’ long fingers, started the conversation.  “First, I need to ask your names...”  
 
“Are we being interrogated?” Robin shot back, his jade eyes—under brown unkempt bangs—flashing.
 
Jack glared, “No, I just need to ask you where and when you’re from, so we can help you.”
 
“You brought us here against our will, prodded us, poked us with needles, took our clothes, and made us wash!  Next step would be interrogation, if I were the one holding a prisoner,” Robin spat.
 
This time, Jack looked offended.  “Prisoner? You’re not prisoners!  As for the clothing and bathing, we wanted you to be more comfortable and quite frankly smell better!”
 
Robin snorted, and ignoring him, Jack continued, “We don’t know what happened to you, if you were hurt or if you carried any diseases from where you’re from.  So yes, we had to test you to make sure you were okay!  It’s our job!  If we wanted to harm you we would have left you there in the park dead.”
 
Robin dropped his arm and stretched his legs out.   The logic of his captor held true and he decided to play this strangers game. “Fine then, I am Sir Robert, Earl of Huntingdon, former Lord of Locksley.   I now live...was living in exile in Sherwood Forest until King Richard returned to restore my lands.”  He let out a slow breath and gazed under his eyelashes at Jack.  “You can call me Robin and he is Much.” 
 
Much cleared his throat and added happily, “Sir Much, Earl of Bonchurch when King Richard returns!”
 
“What do you think the date is Robin…if you don’t mind me asking?” Jack was caught between feeling as if someone was playing a very sick joke on him, and dreading that he was in for a lot of paper work on this one, if his growing hunch was right. 
 
“The seventeenth of April, in the year 1193 of our Lord.” The relaxed look the archer gave the man standing before him convinced him he was either casually truthful or very delusional. 
 
Jack, who had seen the impossible become possible so many times, chose the former over the latter.  To Robin’s dismay, the man in the braces started laughing. “Aw...No way!” Then he studied the two annoyed men for a second and laughed again.
 
“Holy shit!”  Eyebrows raised in full arc, Jack then grinned the widest grin he could which seemed to show all his teeth at once.  He sprang up and the chair under him shot back.  He stepped three feet away from the men in front of him gazing again in disbelief. 
 
“Do you know who this is?” Their wide eyed stares answered for them without a word.  “Robin, Lord of Locksley? Earl of Huntington?  Sherwood Forest?!”  He then pointed at the blonde one of the strangers, “With a sidekick named Much.”
 
At this, Much shot up in wide eyed offence, “Oi! I am no sidekick!”  Robin calmly reached up and pulled his friend back down beside him.  Much continued shooting Jack a round eyed stare in insult as he tilted his head to Robin and whispered, “Master Robin, What is a ‘sidekick’?”
 
Jack raised his hands in mock surrender still grinning at his un-eager guests.  Robin stared back at Jack over his tented fingers. With glaring green eyes, the archer mentally sized up the puzzling man before him.
 
Finally, a flashbulb of recognition went off in Ianto's eyes, he then sank back in his chair and rolled them upwards, “Oh bollocks!” he moaned disbelieving.  Martha gasped with realization, and almost choked on her latté.  
 
Gwen looked lost, still not quite seeing, "WHAT?!" 
 
Ianto laid his now throbbing head back so he was looking at the men through half-closed eyes. Steadying his gaze under thick lashes, Ianto looked at Jack then back at Gwen, “We've caught Robin Hood!”
 

***
 

“It’s just not possible!” Gwen exclaimed standing in front of Jack with stacks of papers she had downloaded off the internet on ‘Robin Hood’.  “It’s just a myth, Jack. A child’s fable!  He can’t be real!” 
 
Jack looked up from his own stack of papers, “Like it or not, that fable is sleeping in the hub guest room right now, along with his equally imaginary sidekick.”
 
Jack shifted himself on the edge of his desk.  He didn’t like it when Gwen cornered him like this and he could think of more creative uses for the desk he sat on.  He wondered how Robin would look naked across it with Ianto at the other end.  How would it be to stare into those angry green eyes while he...?
 
“Jack!  Are ya even listenin’?” Gwen’s large eyes matched the tone in her voice perfectly.
 
 He shrugged back to reality meeting her insistent gaze, “Every legend has a kernel of truth, Gwen.  That kernel just happened to fall into the rift and we found it.  How that happened I don’t know.  But here’s what we do know.  That man in there—the man with him—and the things they did, have inspired an entire country.  He may not be the exact same man of the legend; but he is the one that started it.  He is Robin Hood; we have to be very careful not to let him know what will happen to him, if and when he returns to his own time.  We don’t know just what we’ll change if we do.”
 
“So what do we do with them now, Jack?”  Gwen gave him a look so dark he wondered if it could swallow his soul.  “Are you going to send them to the island?” 
 
He shot her an angry glance at the cheap shot. “That’s not fair and you know it!  I wouldn’t do that to them, Gwen. They’re not...”
 
“Damaged, Jack?” Gwen cut him off, her brown eyes getting larger with anger. “Like the others?  Like Jonah?”
 
 “Why are you bringing that up again, Gwen?”  Jack asked appearing very hurt. “This isn’t about the island, but if that were the case, yes I would!  It’s our duty to protect the people who don’t make it through the rift intact, from themselves and others.  It’s our obligation as Torchwood!”  
 
Gwen stepped down, “You’re right Jack.  I’m sorry.  So, what now?” 
 
Jack looked toward the guest quarters and nodded his head, “We make them comfortable until we figure out how they got here.  We’ll keep them here till I can figure out some way to work this out.  The Hub is the best place for them.  Unlike Diane, John and Emma, they have a lot more to catch up on time wise.  I don’t want them exposed to too much of the modern world until we're sure their psyches can handle the culture shock.”
 
Gwen added, “If we can’t get them home, can we assimilate them like we did Emma?”  
 
“Robin Hood and his merry men running around in twenty-first century England?  The crown jewels would never be safe again!”  Jack smiled at his words, thumbing the crease of his trousers, still feeling her eyes on him. “Real or not, he’s a major historical figure, Gwen.  Time’s gonna miss him and I’m not sure how it’s going to re-knit itself without the folklore he caused or if we want it to.”  
 
“Butterfly effect,” Gwen said having suddenly realized the importance of the man in the guest room’s presence in history. 
 
“Exactly, we have to find out just how bad it will be and whether we can contain it if they can’t be returned to their own time.” Jack looked pleased at how easily Gwen recognized such complicated matters of time, she was learning fast.
 
Shifting in the doorway Gwen paused, “Do you think we can ever send them back home?” 
 
He shook his head. “Too risky to put them back through the rift.   We’ve seen how unpredictable it can be and what happens if things go wrong.”  He thumped the thick band on his left arm “If only the Doctor hadn’t disabled my vortex manipulator again.   I tried Martha’s super phone.  I can’t get hold of him.   All I get is an old goofy message from him and Donna about taking holiday on ‘Midnight’, a weird planet in a solar system off the tip of Ursa Minor.  Used to be a great vacation spot.  They closed it down in 5060.  They found out the natives weren’t that friendly.” 
 
Gwen gave a sad smile, “Donna... He took it so hard losing both her and Rose again, didn’t he?”
 
Jack met her gaze, “He pretends to be so tough, but the guy is just a big marshmallow—granted a big alien marshmallow.  He needs friends, even if he says he likes travelling alone.”
 
“Maybe you should have stayed with him till you were sure he was okay.”  Gwen was doing that thing again with her eyes, like she could cure the whole world’s ills with caring.  It made him so want to hold her, to kiss her.  The only thing separating them was the thin gold band on her finger, and the man in the suit picking discarded coffee cups off the tables in the Hub below.
 
“No, I belong here,” he reached out and grasped her hand.  “After what happened the last time I left you guys, I won’t do that again.   You’re stuck with me, like it or not.”
 
Gwen looked pensive, “I don’t know.  It's so provocative, the alien planets, the different life forms, meeting different people from history—the danger.   Sounds like it would be loads of fun.”
 
Jack raised an eyebrow and laughed, “Fun?  Knowing the Doctor like I do, that’s questionable.   I always had to choose an outfit that went well with shackles, handcuffs, blood and occasionally barbed wire.   And you don’t even want to know how much my dry cleaning cost!”
 
Gwen lowered her eyes to his, “Do you miss it sometimes?   You know, travellin’ with him.”
 
Jack looked thoughtful, “Yeah I kinda do, but ...” He got up and cuffed his arm around her neck and kissed the top of her head.  They walked out of the office together. “The last couple of times were murder on me.”
 

Next Week…
 
Chapter 5: Not So Merry Men

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
darkentwisted
Aug. 20th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
Major disaster with livejournal post still trying to fix it :P
(Deleted comment)
darkentwisted
Aug. 20th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
fixed it. Live journal post was just being goofy.
(Deleted comment)
darkentwisted
Aug. 20th, 2008 06:55 am (UTC)
Hehe thanks!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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