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Time's Arrow (7/?)

 Title: "Time's Arrow,  Chapter 7"
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: Robin/Gwen Jack/Gwen, Jack/Ianto, Robin/Much, Much/Martha
Warnings: None. Generally safe with a dash of slash.
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary:  Seventh 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, 4, 5, 6   Explicit content chapter rewrites 6

Dedicated to my ever diligent beta,

</a></font></b></a>zooeyrye

   
Who dragged herself bravely from her sickbed to make this post readable.  Get better soon!  Cheers!


Chapter 7: Panic at the Disco


“No, Gwen!”  Jack’s jaw was set firm as he took his usual losing stance against the fiery Welsh woman.

“Just for one night Jack!  The boys are dyin’ to get some fresh air.  They’re beginning to feel like the prisoners you keep tellin’ them they’re not.”  The anger in her eyes made Jack want to throw her down and kiss her right there.

“No social interaction, Gwen!  I don’t know how they will handle the culture shock.   Or worse, what will happen with the knowledge they have when they return to the 12th century.” Jack adjusted his braces as he sat on the corner of his desk. 

“I thought we were just gonna retcon them anyway once we got them home.”  Gwen folded her arms.

“We agreed that we retcon only when necessary.  I’m counting on the fact that if the stories Robin and Much tell about their stay in the twenty-first century aren’t too out there, people will just laugh it off and forget about it.”  Jack really was drawn to the purse of her lips at that moment.  ‘Damn social backwardness about monogamy in this era,’ he thought. “We don’t know what we’re dealing with here and until we get them home, I don’t want to take any chances of England’s greatest outlaw getting mugged or ran over on a field trip.”

Just then a crashing commotion sounded on the Hub floor.  Footsteps pounding heavily on the grated steel steps leading to Jack’s office, made Gwen and Jack both turn to see a soaked Ianto wearing the remnants of Jack’s mocha latte and Gwen’s tea. On the tray he was carrying, amid the broken cups and spilled beverage, was a large piece of meat soaked in special sauce with an arrow in the middle of it.

The stunned Ianto blinked amid the drips of liquid from his ruined hair, “Myfanwy missed – again.”

“I said I was sorry!” Much’s voice sounded from the hub floor below.

Jack and Gwen turned to each other, trying hard to suppress laughter at the Welshman’s expense.

“Okay, one day!”  Jack relented, “But watch them.  I don’t want to turn on the news tomorrow and hear about a bank being robbed and rescue missions receiving large anonymous amounts of cash.”

Gwen snapped to attention and gave a mock salute, “Aye Captain Jack!  No robbin’ from the rich and givin’ to the poor on my watch, Sir!”

Her charming gap tooth grin made it so worth Jack giving the dark-haired woman her way. Gwen left the office to give Robin and Much the good news, stopping to place a sympathetic hand on Ianto’s damp shoulder.  She suppressed a snicker as she continued on.

Jack gave his soggy boyfriend an amused expression as he walked over to him.  “You know if you wanted to be covered in warm, sticky...”

“Oi! Don’t you start!”  The unamused Welshman replied as he dabbed at his wet face with his handkerchief.

Jack licked the tip of Ianto’s nose, tasting the exotic mixture of coffee, tea and chocolate.  Then he pulled him in for a soggy, sticky, hot kiss, “Why Tea Boy, that’s just what I was intending to do!” 

He gave a conspiratorial look towards his Welsh lover then glanced out the window.  “Race you to the showers?”

***

Culture shock wasn’t exactly the word to explain Robin and Much’s foray into the twenty first century.  Much took it all in his usual childlike wonder mixed with superstitious caution.  He grabbed Martha’s hand at each new fright or joyous discovery musing at the new world around him.  Robin took the more reserved and jaded approach of the world weary.  He walked next to Gwen feeling the wind on his face and looked out over the town.

“So this is the future?” the 12th century outlaw pondered.

“Twenty-first century Cardiff.”  Gwen replied taking his arm in hers.  “You’re a lucky man, Robert Loxley.  Not many men get to see this far beyond their own time, not even a glimpse.” 

He paused, his green eyes clouded in thought, “I don’t feel so fortunate.  I feel out of place, as if I should not be here, as if I am wrong for even walking here with you.”

“Temporal displacement maybe?”  The Welsh woman studied her new friend.  “The others we found spoke of it. I wish I could say it will pass but we just don’t know enough about it yet.”

“You are saying I am to be some kind of experiment?  Perhaps for an alchemist’s lab?” Robin’s tone turned darker.

“No.  It’s not like that, Robin.  Jack’s trying to help get you home.  We all are.  Please try to be patient.” Gwen’s eyes started tearing up at the suggestion that she meant him anything but good.  Robin relented.

“You are right. It is not your fault.  I am sorry.”  He lifted her eyes to his with a finger under her chin.  “I would never accuse one so fair of any sort of malice.  Forgive me?”

Gwen brightened immediately at his glance and smiled warmly, “I already have.”

They came to a small park and Much was happily pushing Martha on a swing as children surrounded them, begging the gentle blonde to swing them as well.  He obliged after carefully getting the approval of watching mothers.  Soon the blonde servant was having as much fun as the children.

Robin and Gwen looked on from a nearby bench. “You two are so close. I read the legends about Much.  Is he . . . ?”

“Backward?” The archer replied impatiently. “I read the fables too.  That part made me angry and it could not be further from the truth.  He is one of the brightest, kindest men I know.  Without him I would have never made it out of the Holy Land in one piece.  Much may not read well and he comes from simple folk but he is hardly backward.”

“He has such an innocence about him.”  Gwen mused, suddenly reminded in a way of her own Rhys’ way with children. 

“Much didn’t have an innocent childhood,” Robin replied.  “He was born to the miller’s family in Loxley.  It was a bad harvest the year before.  Half the villagers were starving and his twin sister died shortly after they were born.  His mother died when he was very young and his father drank himself to death.  He had no other relatives and was left to starve on the streets of Nottingham, barely old enough to care for himself,” Robin’s eyes darkened. “They did not even try to give him a Christian name, why bother, ‘much’ was not expected of him so they just named him that.”

Gwen’s eyes were welling up as she blinked back tears staring at the very man who had overcome such hardship, “You’re breakin’ my heart.  How did he survive that?  How could he?”

“My father saw him, took pity on him, took him in as a servant and eventually, my manservant.  He is more like the older brother I wished for.”  Robin studied his friend with renewed reverence as he spoke.  “We grew up together.  He looked after me and I of him.  When we came back from the crusades, I gave him his freedom.  When I lost everything, he stood by me, even joining me as an outlaw.  He is a good man and I have not always been there for him.”

Much looked up from his new little friends and waved at Robin and Gwen.

“Starvation or servitude, that’s not much of a choice,” Gwen pondered. “What a way to live.”

Robin stood, reached out his hand and gently helped her up, “But he did live.  Now it is up to us to get him home.”

***

The foursome spent the afternoon shopping at a local mall.  Much was spellbound at the selection of the food court and such delicacies as ‘corn dog’ and ‘Orange Julius.’  As they walked and window shopped, he gnawed on a large pretzel.  Martha was truly amazed at the former servant’s voracity, “Honestly Much where do you put it?”

The blonde man smiled sheepishly at his new friend, “I guess I do have a healthy appetite, milady.”

Robin ran up behind Much playfully and rubbed his shoulders, “I’ve seen hordes of locusts with less appetite than our Much.”

“Comes from not always knowing when, what or from where your next meal would be, Master Robin,” He interjected back half playfully.

Robin sobered looking at Gwen, “Indeed it does, old friend.  Eat well.”

“You can call me Martha you know, Much.  You don’t have to be so formal.”  The dark girl levelled her eyes playfully at the cook.

“But I like calling you ‘milady’,” Much suddenly looked shocked and sad with his lips in a full pout. “Do you not wish me to do so?”

“I love it!” she smiled.  “It makes me feel so – ladylike!  But we’re friends and you, Sir, may call me whatever you like, as long as it’s polite.”

Much beamed, “Lady Martha.” He lifted her hand and kissed it.

“Lord Much of Bonchurch,” she curtsied. 

Both broke out in giggles as Robin and Gwen looked on smiling.

***

They decided to end the evening at a local pub before heading back to the Millennium Centre. It was a mixed crowd of regulars and some members of a local football club.  One group had started a dart tournament and was cheering the players on as Gwen, Martha, Robin and Much sat down.  Much decided to try some Shepherd’s Pie and Gwen ordered pints all around.  Much looked at his former master carefully as Robin watched the dark-haired, Welsh woman leave with Martha to get the beverages, “You fancy her.”

Robin broke his attention and looked at the blond outlaw. “Excuse me?”

Much had a bemused expression, “I’ve seen the way you look at her. You fancy her – Lady Gwen.” He gestured to the brunette Welsh woman.

Robin’s expression changed to irritation, “I admire her, Much.  She’s married and we are friends.  That is all.”  He studied Gwen as she talked to Martha and the barkeep, his look softening, “Still she does so remind me of—”

Much put his hand to his friend’s elbow, “Me too.”  He smiled warmly if somewhat sadly at his widower friend.  “It is okay to like another woman besides her you know.  I think lady Marian would forgive you.”

“Would she?”  The archer smiled in amused memory, “She is probably glaring at poor Gwen from Heaven right now with a thunderbolt in hand.” He chuckled softly, and then unable to bear any more thoughts of his lost wife, Robin changed the subject.  “You and Lady Martha seem to be getting friendly.” He grinned.

“Lady Martha is engaged.”  Much stated flatly.  “To Tom Mulligan, a nice chap I am sure—I hope he gets a boil!” He grinned.

“Jealous Much?” Robin studied his friend in amusement.

“A little,” The former servant admitted with a sigh, “He is a lucky man.  She is wonderful. She’s smart, funny and warm.”

“And you my friend, are love struck,” the archer replied eyeing a group of dart players behind them.  “Wonder if they would mind me joining them?” he nodded at the group.  He got up and went over to the players and was soon joining in the action with each perfect shot making the crowd yell louder. 

Martha returned to the table and grabbed Much before he could take his first bite of his pie, “Come dance with me, I love this song!”

 Much looked forlornly at his food, “Dance – but?”

“It needs to cool off anyway!  C’mon!”

Gwen giggled as the twosome headed to the dance floor and then she looked at Robin who was making new friends in the game room.  She walked up to the bar to order another round for her friends.  She was tapped rudely on the shoulder. “Oi there lovely!  Ya wanna dance?” 

Gwen could tell the young, dark-haired, footballer was rather intoxicated and at first, ignored him.  He then grabbed her arm and turned her to face him, “I asked if you wan’ed to dance?  Ya hard of hearing?”

“I’m not interested, thank you,” Gwen smiled politely.

“Aww, ya must be one of those then.” He grinned and she noticed he was missing a tooth, “Shaggin’ the dark girl are ya?”  By now the pissed man was almost shouting. 

Robin looked up and saw the young man bothering Gwen and kept his eye on them.   He fired another dart at the board and the crowd shouted as he hit another bull’s eye.

“C’mon sunshine all I want is a dance.  What are ya one of them birds that doesn’t fancy blokes?  Is she your girlfriend then?”

A quiet, swooshing rang through the musty air and suddenly, everyone at the bar was surprised when a dart appeared between the thumb and index finger of the rowdy young footballer.

“Oi! Be careful there with them darts mate!” He yelled toward the group at the board.  He turned to throw the dart back and three more pinned his cuff to the bar.

“In case you did not notice the ring; the lady is already spoken for.  I suggest you leave her be.” Robin warned balancing another dart like a missile between his fingertips.  

“And who’s gonna make me?” The bloke smirked, removing the darts that had him pegged to the counter.

Robin glanced aside then looked again at the rowdy man as his mates gathered behind him. “I guess that would be me or you can find out where this one is going to end up.”

The smile on the archer’s face and mischievous look in his green eyes, made Much take Martha’s hand and leave the dance floor to grab Gwen.

“Come maladies.  You may not want to be at close range for this.” The blond servant led Martha and Gwen under one of the booths, stopping only to grab his shepherd’s pie.

“We need to stop Robin!” Gwen warned, her eyes large with concern.

“Oh there’s no stopping him now!” Much replied as he had seen that look in his masters’ eyes way too often.

The man threw the first punch and Robin caught it with his hand, landing his own in the young man’s solar plexus. One of the rowdy’s mates came up behind Robin and grabbed him as another tried to throw a punch.  Robin ducked out of the way and the punch landed on the man behind him. 

Gwen punched at her earpiece, “Jack, we have a situation at the pub.  I need assistance.” She decided the less information she gave Jack until she saw him, the better.

Much started to move from under the table as chairs started flying, “This is where I step in I guess.” He said calmly to Martha.

“Maybe you should stay where you are until help arrives,” she suggested.

The former servant smiled back, “It is all right, this is what I do best.  Watch his back.”

Soon both men were fully engaged with the entire group of rowdies.  Jack and Ianto arrived at the same time as the Police and soon the scene was chaotic with fights being broken up and arrests being made.

Jack turned to P.C. Andy.  He grasped the man’s bicep as the other officers stormed in amidst flying chairs and glassware, “You can’t be here!”

“Oi!  You lot started this!”  The irritated red-haired peace officer spat back.  He shrugged his arm away from the other man’s grip. “Always coming around and ordering us about!”

“Jack.  They just grabbed Much!  We can’t let him go to jail.”  Gwen was almost panic stricken.

Much was yelling at the two officers as they led him past, “You cannot arrest me!  I am Lord Much, Earl of Bonchurch . . . Well, I will be anyway!”

One of the PC's snorted, “Yeah and I’m Robin Hood!” He tightened his grip on the former servant’s forearm as he tried to wiggle free.

“Actually he is Robin Hood!”  Much motioned over to where the archer was being handcuffed by two other officers.

The two officers laughed and pulled the former servant toward the doors, “C’mon ya git.  Back to Nottingham with ya!” one replied.

Much suddenly smiled widely, “You are taking me home?”

The taller of the two PC’s smiled sarcastically.  “Yeah back to the castle.”

Much’s smile turned to panic, “Oh no!  Not the dungeon!  Please?! I beg of you! Lady Gwen, Master Jack! Help!”

Jack turned again to the young officer, “Andy, so help me…”

Andy met his gaze with a firm one, “So help you what?”

Gwen turned to him, “Andy please, we can’t let you arrest them.  There’s something you need to know.”

She pulled the young P.C. aside and whispered in his ear.  His eyes widened and he broke out in a giggle. “Seriously!”

“Yes,” She levelled her brown eyes at her friend

“Well then, they didn’t make me Captain for nothing.  I do have some pull.”  He puffed his chest out and glared at Jack.  “All right then.  I’ll release them into Gwen’s custody but I’ll need a full report of what happened for the chief.”

“First thing in the morning!”  Jack replied with a boyish grin at the annoyed looking Captain. “Come here ya big lug!” 

He then pulled the startled Captain into a big bear hug and planted a firm kiss on the man’s lips.

Andy sputtered and his cheeks reddened in anger and embarrassment, “I ought to have YOU arrested for accosting a peace officer!”

“Ahh! You enjoyed it!  And besides, don’t think I didn’t notice the application for Torchwood on my desk last week.” Jack’s cocky smile got a half grin and sideways look between Gwen and Andy.

Andy fumbled, “It was Gwen’s idea.  I thought it might be an interesting change.  That is, if I could put up with the sexual harassment from you!”

“Get us out of this and I promise to try to harass you every day, Red.” The former time agent grinned.

“That’s what I was afraid of!  And it’s ‘Andy’!”  His voice was harsh but the malice was gone and amusement replaced annoyance.

The red-haired officer walked over to his co-workers and within minutes both outlaws were released.  The young rowdy was being led out by two officers and called out “Oi! What about me?  They started it!”

Andy replied back, “Sleep it off in jail, Shamus!”  He then winked at Gwen. “Maybe it’s time you got the ‘merry men’ back to Sherwood.”

“Thanks again, Andy.” She smiled.

Andy quickly gave Gwen a hug then looked nervously at Jack.  “Ahem, goodnight then.”

“Goodnight Red!” Jack teased as they left eliciting an eye roll from the young officer as he walked away.

***

Back at the Hub, Martha took the two battered outlaws to the infirmary to patch up their bruises while Jack and Gwen went to the office to file reports.  Standing behind the desk with his arms folded over his chest, Jack stood across from Gwen who took her now usual position at the other end.

“Go ahead and say it; ‘I told you so.’” Gwen’s defeated expression made it hard to scold her.

“I don’t have to. You’re doing a good job telling yourself that.” Jack half smirked in the way that always reminded Gwen that under the professional exterior was a bad boy lurking just below the surface. “But now you see why we are going to have a hard time exposing these two to the outside world.  We have to try to get them home and if a certain Time Lord will stop sulking and call me back . . .”  

“Still no luck?”

“No.  When he doesn’t want to be reached, he can’t.  He has all of space and time to hide and pout. We may not hear from him for a while.”

Robin then appeared at the office door with a bandage over one eye and on his hand. He seemed almost embarrassed. “Hello.” 

Gwen walked over to him and kissed his cheek lightly, “There’s my hero.  Martha has you all patched up I see.”

“I have had worse,” he shrugged, smiling and eliciting a very manly giggle from Jack.

“Always the gentleman,” the former Time Agent lowered his eyes at the outlaw.

“Sorry I caused so much trouble, Jack,” he sighed. “I guess no more field trips outside till we get home.”

“Well certainly none to the local pub anyhow.” Jack replied.

Robin grinned his usual boyish expression, “Fair enough.”

Gwen gave Jack a measured look, “Well I’m heading home to my other hero.  You boys have a good night.”

“I heard you stopped a guy with darts?” Jack raised an eyebrow in amusement at Robin.

“I did not have my bow with me,” the outlaw said.

“Good thing the girls didn’t take you to a bowling alley then.”

They both laughed and Robin sobered, “How are we going to get home again Jack?

“I’m working on it.  I can’t get in touch with my friend but I have an idea.” 

Jack walked over and placed his hand on Robin’s shoulder and found himself gazing into the archer’s incredible green eyes again, “I will get you home.”

Robin caught a look at Much leaving the infirmary with an ice pack over his black eye, “I hope so.  I do not know how much more of the twenty-first century we can stand.”

Jack cuffed the back of the outlaw’s neck and smiled resisting the urge to kiss him once again.  He then grabbed his coat and started to leave.

Robin furrowed his brow, “Where are you going this late?”

Jack looked wistful, “I’m going to go see a girl about a TARDIS.”

Next Week…

Chapter 8: A Highborn Earl
 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
neromi
Sep. 13th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
OMG!!! I LOVE THIS STORY!!!!
darkentwisted
Sep. 14th, 2008 06:27 am (UTC)
Glad you're enjoying it!

More adventures and misadventures with our outlaws to come. Then safely home by series 3!

Stay tuned! Thanks for reading!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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