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Time's Arrow (8/?)

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 8"
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/Jack, Jack/Gwen, Jack/Ianto, Robin/Much, Much/Ianto
Warnings: None. Generally safe with a dash of slash.
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary: Eigth 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, 7 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6

Dedicated to my ever diligent beta,

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

My thoughts tell the story, her words make it poetry.
 

Chapter 8: A Highborn Earl

It was dark in the Russian tea house. The usual miscreants and shady people gave him the once over as he made his way to the curtained room. A man in a thick accent grabbed his arm, “she is busy.”

“Tell her I’m here.” Jack protested.

“She already knows,” the man replied flatly.

“It’s all right, Dimitri. Let him pass,” came a small voice from the next room.

The girl sat there, in a blue plaid jumper, her long blonde hair pulled back in a headband. She looked oddly out of place among the lowlifes and miscreants as she sipped her tea and laid out her cards.

“I expected you sooner!” She spat as she studied the man in the trench coat.

“I’ve been busy,” He replied matter of factly.

“I know,” She looked up with eyes way too serious to belong to a child. She studied Jack impatiently as she shuffled her tarot deck. Her little feet in their black, Mary Jane shoes swung back and forth beneath her as she spoke. “I told you not to find the glove!” She glared at the time traveller.

“I had to!” Jack found the fact that he was arguing with a ten-year-old girl ludicrous, but appearances, in this case were very deceiving. As she talked, the little girl dealt the cards from the stack in front of her. The first card was the Tower. The faces of the falling figures were Tosh and Owen’s. Jack blanched at the card.

“You saw the havoc it unlocked! All the people you lost! You should have done as I said and left it alone!” Her eyes flashed as she admonished him and each word burned as she spoke. “Why should I help you again, Jack Harkness? Tell me? You brought him back!” She flung the death card. Its face was a gaunt indication of the team's former doctor.

“I had to bring Owen Harper back! He had something I needed and I couldn’t let him die with it.” Jack spat angrily.

“Not him. He was just the messenger, the vessel, but what he brought back with him.” She replied softly, “Soon, you will know what you reaped, Jack, it will come back to you. Once unleashed, no light can keep away the darkness forever. He has tasted this plane more than once and it gets sweeter each time. He hungers for more.”

“Owen defeated him,” Jack stated flatly.

The girl’s eyes glowed with contempt, “You fool! You can’t defeat him! That wasn’t he! It was one of his minions as was Owen Harper himself.” She laughed an eerie laugh that no human girl was capable of and it left Jack’s blood cold. “You’ll know whence he comes by the trail of blood he leaves and then no one will defeat him, not you, your team, your precious Doctor or anyone.”

“This isn’t what I came for!” Jack glared under angry upraised brows.

“I know what you came for! Patience immortal! We both have all of time at our fingertips. You are a fixed point, remember? Let time and space come to you. Soon enough, even that will be gone and all that will remain is us and the darkness.”

The child settled back to her calm self and was simply as she appeared, a little girl sipping tea and playing with tarot cards. The illusion was perfect. She once again, smiled warmly at the time agent.

“Fine then if you don’t want to play—we’ll begin.” She shuffled the deck of well-worn tarot cards, “A highborn earl, amongst thieves and highwaymen, lost to time and space.” She grinned, too wickedly for a small child, “You fancy him.”

The card on the table, the Lovers, showed two men entwined, he noted the familiar faces in embarrassment. As she talked, she placed another tarot card, the Knave of Swords; the face on the card was unmistakably Robin’s. Jack shifted uncomfortably, meeting her eyes, “Okay, we know that, but why is he here?”

She lifted her wide innocent-looking blue eyes to his. “You tell me, traveller? He is as lost to time as you are and for the same reasons. Even in his own time he’s lost,” she then placed the card of the High Priestess, upside-down next to the Knave. The face on the card was that of Marian. “Great loss and grief. He is mourning.” She placed another card, “He is here with one who comforts,” The Fool, with Much’s face, crossed the Knave of Swords.

“How I can get them home is what I want to know,” Jack sighed, growing impatient with the little girl’s mind games.

She looked at him impatiently, “You already have the answer!” Pointing to the last card, the Magician; it was complete with the Doctor’s Face and TARDIS console.

“I can’t reach him. I’ve tried.” He was beginning to wonder why he came to her, but then the card caught his eye. On the console, was a screen with his face in it. “The sub wave network!”

The girl smiled at him knowingly, “Took you long enough, traveller! But don’t expect him to answer immediately. He is hurting, ancient, and stubborn.”

“He’ll come! The Doctor hasn’t let me down yet.” Jack replied confidently with a raised brow.

“Hasn’t he? His kind doesn’t like people like us, Jack: the years leave us unchanged, they die, yet we leave them as dust. It’s all the better for them to leave us first.” She mocked him with her eyes that knew much, too much for a child.

“It’s not like that!” The former time traveller explained, “The Doctor understands what happened to me. He just—”

“He doesn’t have to like it to accept it. There is a difference.” She spat back with conviction, making her point known. Then, softening, she carried on, “Poor, poor traveller. You are the victim of the wishes of another as am I. Our circumstances are out of our control and when all else is gone we remain. We both have a long journey down the slow path, traveller.”

Jack looked at the young girl appraisingly, “Yeah. We do.” He grabbed his greatcoat from the chair arm as he started out of the room. “But at least I have friends to help me along the way” He leaned down and gently kissed the girl on top of her head. “Stay out of trouble.”

“Same to you traveller,” she smiled. She peered at the former Time Agent as he brushed past the guard and out of the front door. “The darkness is still coming, Jack,” the cherubic girl said in almost a singsong voice, out of earshot of the Torchwood leader. She continued placing the cards for no one in particular. Each card showed the skeletal, hooded form of Death. “And it’s coming for you.”

***

It was already dawn when Jack made it back to the hub. Gwen was there starting her morning work and Much was in the kitchenette with Ianto, learning to prepare breakfast on twenty-first century appliances. His first lesson had already resulted in a blown up microwave and near electrocution involving a fork in the toaster. Jack didn’t even dare ask Ianto about the scrambled egg in his hair as the Welshman roughly palmed a cup of coffee in his hand. He did, however, start to wonder if his poor lover had started to prefer wearing his food to eating it.

Robin arrived from the locker room freshly showered and smiled at Jack as he dried his tousled hair. “Good morning!”

Jack looked at the freshly washed archer with interest, “And good morning to you! Sleep well?”

“Better than you apparently,” the archer shot back grinning. “You are in the same attire as last night. Were you kept out past dark?”

“I don’t sleep much….Wow. You even look good wet.” He replied as he stood close to the outlaw taking in the smell of soap and freshly scrubbed skin. He almost wished he had gotten there sooner to join the young nobleman. Robin sheepishly grinned at the overt complement.

***

Across the room Ianto rolled his eyes at the exchange. Much noticed and leaned in, “Is everything all right Master Ianto?”

“Yeah I just hate it when he gets…”

“Overly friendly? It is perfectly fine. I think Master Robin quite enjoys it.” He poked a fork toward the direction of his friend. “Likes adoration that one does, but do not tell him I said such things, I have already called him vain.” He grinned.

“Still, it doesn’t mean I have to like it.” Ianto scowled.

Much’s eyes widened in sudden understanding, “Oh I’m sure Master Robin would never…I mean he knows you two are…”

Ianto smiled at the former servant’s stammer, “It’s okay, Much. It’s not Robin I’m worried about.” He glowered at Jack as he leaned in closer still to the young outlaw.

***

Robin lowered his eyes at Jack, “Did you find out anything?”

“Yeah, I’m going to try to contact my friend that can get you guys home. It’s going to be a very long distance phone call though.”

Robin looked around the hub and smiled, “It is going to be nice to go back to my own time. Still, there are some things about your twenty-first century a man could get attached to, like hot water and soap, for instance.”

Jack was just about to explain the merits of group-showering when Gwen joined them. “What’s up gents?”

Jack was both pleased and annoyed at the interruption by his second favourite staff member, but greeted Gwen with his usual exuberance. “I think I found a way to contact the Doctor and get Robin and Much back where they belong. We need to pull up the subwave network.”

“There’s no guarantee that it will work, Jack. Harriet uploaded it to the hub computer so fast and we never tested it after…”

“I know Gwen, but we have to try it.”

***

Jack, Gwen and Robin spent the rest of the day getting Harriet’s subwave network up and running. Soon the former Prime Ministers’ legacy to Torchwood was buzzing at full power and Jack once again borrowed Martha’s ‘superphone’ to place the call to the missing Time Lord.

“Are you sure it’s going to work?” Gwen asked as Jack closed the phone.

“It has to,” he replied. “It’s the only shot we have left unless we want to wait around another century for the TARDIS to power down and hope he stops by Cardiff to recharge from the rift. I’ve done that one already, trust me, it was a long wait.” Then, glancing at Robin, Jack added, “I'm sorry, Robin but I don’t think you would be as pretty as I was by the time he got here.”

Before anyone could laugh at the remark or give an eye roll, the rift sensor alarms once again sounded. The Torchwood team all headed to their battle stations.

“The rift sensor indicates multiple life form ejections in the area of Downtown Cardiff.” Ianto started as the readings spat out onto the screen of his computer.

“Who is it now, Billy the Kid and his gang?” Jack quipped, his voice dripping in sarcasm. Much started to ask who Bill the Kid was, but was silenced with a look from Robin.

“If only they were. It’s weevils, Jack and lots of them.” Ianto’s voice was irritated as he assessed the readings.

“Too many for us to tackle alone,” Jack looked over at his second in command. “Gwen, call Martha and see if we can reach Mickey. Go ahead and call Re—Andy and alert him to what’s going on. He wants to be a member of Torchwood. He just got his trial by fire.”

Robin and Much stood in the middle of the commotion confused, but decided to intervene, “What can we do to help, Jack?”

Jack eyed his guest with careful consideration. “Nothing. It’s too risky to bring you out in the field with us. Just stay here until we return.”

Robin looked at his new friend with equal consideration. “I am hardly made of glass, Jack. I fought in as you said in, ‘one of the worst wars you had ever seen’. I think I could handle a bunch of animals.”

Jack snapped his head in response, “These aren’t animals!” Taking a breath and reassessing the situation and Robin’s point, he nodded. “Okay, we could use an extra couple of sets of hands. Get with Ianto and he’ll help you suit up. Be careful and stay behind when we ask you to. Got it?”

“Yes I understand,” Robin grinned in the way that set his former manservant on edge.

As the group got ready, Much grabbed his former master’s bicep, “You know, I was perfectly happy to stay behind. We do not even know what these weevils are!”

Robin gave Much an impatient look and snapped. “Then stay behind! I thought my friend had more courage than that.”

Much mumbled grudgingly and followed his friend with a heavy sigh to the ready room with the others. “I do have a sense of adventure…just not when the adventure might be bigger than I.”

Next Week . . .

Chapter 9: Weevils Wobble!

 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
multred_a
Sep. 19th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
I will read this when I get home sweetie!
robinfanatic
Sep. 20th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
"Wow. You even look good wet." oh, yes, yes, yes!!!

Okay... I've got season 1 of Torchwood no. 1 in my Netflix queue now 'cause you've got me interested. I'm really enjoying your story!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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