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Time's Arrow (10/?)

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 10"
Copyright Notice: All characters owned by the BBC, BBC America and Tiger Aspect Media. Song lyrics to "Who Loves You Pretty Baby" by Frankie Valley and The Four Seasons.
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/Much Jack/Gwen, Jack/Ianto, Much/Ianto/Gwen, Jack/10 Doctor
Warnings: Breakup of major fandom OTP, (I'm sorry, I'm so so very sorry!) Otherwise generally safe with a dash of slash.
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary: Tenth 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, 8, 9 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6; 9

Made possible by my wonderful beta,

zooeyrye

She wades the mire of bad grammar, misspellings and awkward sentences so you won't have to.


 

Chapter 10: Lonely Days

 


The TARDIS had never seemed emptier. Music wafted from the console; ‘Who loves you pretty baby, who's gonna help you through the night.’

 

Usually he tuned out the audio space flotsam, but this time, the song fit the mood, so he left it as he idled from one menial task to the other.

 

“Ahh …the seventies,” he pondered, listening to the 30-year-old earth broadcast. He would have so loved to take Rose, Donna, Martha, or even Jack there. The decade was crisscrossed with the temporal roadblocks of his own time line, but there were still pockets left he could go to. He just didn’t want to go alone. Even after these many months, the sound of Davros’s voice still scraped in his ears. He was ‘the destroyer of worlds’ and the truth hurt. It wasn’t an exile, he kept reminding himself, it was just a break. Humanity needed a rest from him. If it were in trouble, he would come, just not voluntarily. He stared at the phone on the console, closed and switched off, ‘not taking calls,’ he thought.

 

He needed to be alone for once, to think of what he had done—what he was going to do, alone in his shame and self-pity. He replayed the different scenarios that would have left him with Rose, Martha, Jack, or Donna but none worked. ‘All in their own place and time,’ he thought. ‘Away from me and able to mend their wounds and go on with their happy lives…”

 

Happy lives without him along to muck it up, that is.

 

‘Martha and Rose are probably married by now,’ he smiled. ‘Maybe Jack and Ianto too.’

 

He couldn’t bear to pick up the phone, though his hearts ached to reach out to them. Instead he stayed lost in his pity party.

 

He spoke to the TARDIS, “Where to now? We have the whole universe and all of space and time.” He kicked the console bitterly, eliciting an angry metallic growl from the central column.

 

“Yeah, tell it to the stars!” He spat as he continued to pace around the console room aimlessly. It was the one bad thing about having all of time and space to travel in, sometimes there was just no place to go. He was about to plant another firm kick on the console for good measure when he noticed the blinking light. He had turned off the audible alarm for it months ago, not thinking he would need it again soon.

 

“What?!” His mood changed in an instant. ‘They need me.’

 

Somewhere in his mind, he heard the voice. He felt that little twinge of excitement—and regret. He looked at the phone, thinking about returning the call. He smiled, “Maybe just a short visit.”

 

***

 

The Hub doors opened to the usual buzz of activity as Ianto and Much made their way toward the kitchenette with fresh supplies for the day’s snacks and beverages. Much was humming to himself and occasionally stole shy glances at the Welshman as he unloaded the groceries. Ianto wolf-whistled at Martha as she walked by, in heels and a very short, black skirt under her lab coat, heading towards the infirmary. She returned his flirtation with a grin and added an extra sway to her step as she continued down the stairs. Much and Ianto both watched as she walked away and then grinned at each other boyishly.

 

Gwen passed by, catching the whole thing with a wry smile, “Keep those eyes in your heads boys! She’s engaged, remember?”

 

Much sobered and flushed, “Yes, Lady Gwen! I meant no disrespect to Lady Martha! I am so sorry! I would never…”

 

Ianto put his hand on the blonde, former servant’s shoulder to stop his stammer, “She’s joking, Much. Relax.”

 

Much looked at his friend and smiled with a slight blush, “Yes Ianto. Of course she was, how foolish of me to think otherwise.”

 

“Did you boys make it okay last night after what happened?” Gwen asked.

 

Ianto replied, “A few nightmares, a long hot shower and some laundry issues but I think we’ll be all right. What was the final weevil count?”

 

“Twenty-four, and Jack, Mickey and Andy spent the night getting them into the cells. I think he’s going to make quite a field agent.”

 

“If you can keep Jack’s hands off him that is,” the Welshman grinned. “Speaking of Jack, where is he?”

 

“He’s in the office. He said to send you and Much up as soon as you arrived. He didn’t sound too happy. It was quite a night of cleanup we had to pull at the warehouse.”

 

***

 

“So Ianto, do you want to tell me how one of my best field agents let a weevil get the drop on him?”

 

The young man flustered at the unfamiliar tone the Time Agent took with him, “The biosensor told me it was close but not where. I didn’t know it would climb over us…”

 

Much interrupted, “Master Jack, please do not be angry with Ianto. He…”

 

“If I wanted your opinion, Much I would ask you!” Jack’s angry expression made the former servant step back, cringing in fright.

 

“Oi! You don’t have to talk to him like that, Jack! It’s not his fault.” Ianto glared at his lover’s coldness. “I was the field agent in charge. You want to yell at someone, yell at me!”

 

“Why was his blaster set so high? Did you not brief him properly on how to use it?”

 

“It was an accident, Jack. I put the safety on before we left and he got the buttons mixed up.” Ianto supplied in the calmest tone he could muster.

 

“Well that mix up almost got you both killed and certainly exposed you both to biological material we have no idea was infectious or not.” Jack looked at the servant with a more sympathetic tone. “You’re excused, Much. Sorry I yelled at you. I need to speak to Mr. Jones alone.”

 

Much nodded in compliance then, making to walk out of the room, looked back apologetically, “I am sorry Master Jack, Ianto. I did not mean to cause any trouble.”

 

Ianto waited till the outlaw was back on the hub floor with Robin and Gwen. “You didn’t have to talk to him like that! You were the one who suggested that he and Robin go with us. They are not field trained…”

 

“Are you saying I made a bad call, Ianto?”

 

“I’m saying you might want to think with your head sometimes instead of using other organs.” Ianto was embarrassed as soon as he said it.

 

“And are you thinking with your head now, Mr. Jones?”

 

The Welshman glared at the Time Agent, “What do you mean by that?!”

 

Jack looked aside, pretending to be interested in the stack of papers at his elbow. He said with absolute frigidity, “Nothing…that will be all, Mr. Jones.”

 

Ianto spat back, “Yeah, Jack. I have nothing left to say anyway.” He shouldered Gwen as she walked in the doorway on his way out. “Sorry.”

 

Gwen looked between Jack and Ianto and gave her best wide eyed ‘what’s going on?’ expression.

 

“Trust me. You don’t want to know!” Jack said without her asking. “What have you got?”

 

Gwen studied her friend for a moment, “No sign of any energy signatures that could mean the TARDIS is in the area. And there’s no response on the sub wave network either. I’m sorry, Jack. He’s either not listening or not responding.”

 

“He’ll come. It’s just a question of when.”

 

Gwen smiled her best reassuring grin, “I know he will. Listen; the boys and I are goin’ to catch a pizza, you want to join us?”

 

Jack visibly relaxed and smiled back, “No, you go and have fun. Keep them away from the pubs and out of trouble. And save me a slice for later.”

 

The young woman smiled and touched his hand, “Whatever’s going on with you and Ianto, it will be all right – yeah?”

 

“I don’t know. Things changed between us after the Dalek invasion. We haven’t really talked about it. Maybe it’s time we should.”

 

***

 

The two outlaws returned after their dinner out with Gwen, Martha, and Mickey. Much quietly made his way to the guest’s quarters and Robin, following suit, excused himself and went after his friend. He found Much on his bed behaving more quietly than the archer had ever seen him in his life.

 

Robin playfully put a hand to his former servant’s forehead, “Hmm, not feverish. So why the loss of appetite and sudden silence?”

 

“I have messed everything up, Master. I killed that…whatever it was. I made Master Jack angry. I...”

 

“You are lost in a strange time with strange things. No one expects you to get everything right the first time, Much. You are one of the most careful, intelligent and prudent people I know. You would never do anything reckless,” the archer smiled whimsically, “That is my job.”

 

Much snorted, “And you do it so well, Master Robin.”

 

“If it is that important to you that it should set you to fasting, I will speak to Jack. I am sure his anger is not at you.” The outlaw studied his friend as he sat on the edge of the bed. He reached a hand out and fingered a tendril of blonde hair, curling it around his fingers.

 

Much looked up at his former master and smiled, “You think I am intelligent? But I cannot even read.”

 

Robin looked askance around, then back into his friend's pale blue eyes, “You have always been clever in your own way, Much. I just wish I would tell you more often.”

 

Much grasped his friend’s hand and kissed it warmly, “You know you do not have to, my master. It has always been enough for me just to know how you feel.”

 

Robin suddenly climbed into the bed next to the blonde outlaw. They laid side-by-side facing each other. Their foreheads touched as they did so often in the forest by the campfire, in the Holy Land, or during long nights as boys at Loxley Manor. Green eyes met blue as their thoughts were shared without a word. Much as usual was first to break the silence, “I miss home, Master Robin. Sometimes I fear we will never see it again.”

 

Robin raised the blonde former servant’s chin to his, “We will go home, Much. I promise. All this will soon be as a bad dream, I assure you. But there is one thing I am so glad of.”

 

Much looked at Robin in a quest for reassurance, seeking the answer in the deep jade of his closest friends’ eyes, “What is that?”

 

“If I had to be lost in time, I am so glad, I was lucky enough to be lost with you.” Robin’s lips met those of his servant’s, sending a thrill down the length of the blonde man’s body.

 

Much gazed into the archer’s eyes in a mix of surprise and pleasant shock, “Master Robin, you have not done that since we first returned from Acre.”

 

Robin smiled and levelled his eyes at his friend, “As I said, I really should tell you more often.” He then passionately and firmly placed his lips back over Much’s before the servant could utter another word to spoil the mood.

 

***

 

Jack was in the cells alone, looking over their latest inhabitants. They were housed in groups of two and the cells ran the entire length of the wall in front of him. He popped the lid off the metal cylinder in his hand and watched as the creatures in the cells keened and then knelt on the floor as if worshiping an invisible deity. He snapped the lid closed and the weevils returned to normal.

 

“You have something of Owen’s in that cylinder?” Ianto said surprising him. He had a knack of sneaking up on people without making a sound that was almost unworldly.

 

Jack suppressed a shudder as he turned to face the dark-haired man. Even when he was angry, he couldn’t deny the cut of the man’s clothing, the spice of his cologne or the way every hair lay perfectly over his forehead. He always had to suppress the urge to mess something up on the man or find the tiniest flaw to remove and complete the illusion of perfection that seemed to permeate the very air around him.

 

“Skin cells Martha harvested when she ran medical tests after he was resurrected. They have the same effect as if he was still around. They seem normal and chemical analysis doesn’t detect any odour or pheromones that could affect the weevils.” Jack studied the impeccably dressed man carefully. “Is that why you’re here, to ask about why weevils worship the late Dr Owen Harper?”

 

Ianto’s tone changed to the more familiar dark one that Jack knew of late, “I was just coming to tell you I was going home.” He focussed his dark eyes on the Torchwood leader in almost contempt. “Good night, Jack.”

 

The immortal team leader reached up and gripped Ianto’s arm. The assistant looked down at the man’s hand then back up at his face with a raised eyebrow. “What’s happening between us Ianto?” Jack’s eyes reflected the desperate tone in his voice perfectly. “Things haven’t been normal between us since—”

 

“Things have never been normal between us, Jack!” the Welshman spat back, suddenly impatient at Jack’s total lack of understanding; “I never know what to expect from you. You’re here one moment and off in the TARDIS in another! You leave and are gone for months then return as if nothing has changed! Or you abandon us to be killed by God knows what, just to go be with him! You expect us to go through what we did and come out just like you. Completely unharmed! Well, it can’t happen like that, Jack! We aren’t like you! We aren’t immortal and perfect. We are human and sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we miss people when they’re gone, sometimes we just have to…”

 

“Just have to what?” Jack’s interest and anger were on full alert.

 

Ianto said it almost in a whisper, “Be with someone who isn’t you to remember what normal feels like.”

 

Jack turned and studied his lover. “Okay, so you don’t like me running off with the Doctor or seeing other people. I get it! But I’ve never carried on affairs behind your back!”

 

“No! You would rather me watch it on CCTV!” The words were out before Ianto could edit them. He instantly regretted them.

 

Jack’s face hardened, “Well, at least I never lie to you or hide things from you. Can you say that?”

 

Ianto clenched his fist so hard his fingernails bit into his palms, “You bastard! Don’t you dare throw Lisa into this!”

 

Jack softened and looked hurt. “I wasn’t talking about Lisa. I was talking about you and Much.”

 

Ianto looked confused, “I’m sorry . . . what?”

 

“Ianto, I’m not a complete idiot. I can tell. I saw the looks you gave each other coming into the hub, the way you spoke to each other, the fact that he doesn’t call you ‘master’ anymore. I haven’t been around three thousand years and not figured out how it looks when two people have had sex.”

 

“And if we did?” Ianto shifted nervously under Jack’s constant gaze, “How does that differ from you and Robin?”

 

The immortal team leader got closer, as to kiss his assistant, even though it was the farthest thing from his mind, “Because, I told you I did and you didn’t tell me.”

 

Ianto met the sad look in his lover’s eyes with equality. “I didn’t think it mattered. I didn’t think you needed to know.”

 

Jack’s pain reflected in his eyes, “And that’s what hurts the most, after all this time and all we are to each other, that you didn’t think I needed to.”

 

Ianto suddenly angered at Jack’s words. ‘How dare you judge me!’ What came out in a cold low tone and lip curling disgust was, “If that’s all…can I go now…Sir?”

 

“Yeah, you can go!” Jack spat as he turned back to the cells. Ianto stormed away, back to the upper levels. Moments later as he looked at the ugly creatures in front of him, a change in air pressure told him someone was behind him again. “Came back for another round?” He said smirking, expecting a sulking Welshman to be standing there with a hasty apology he would so accept, followed by a greedy passionate kiss.

 

“Hello, Jack,” came the unexpected but still welcoming voice of an old friend.

 

“Doctor?!” He grinned ecstatically, and the troubles of moments ago almost seemed to vanish.

 

“Wasn’t that your boyfriend, ah…Ianto, I saw heading back up top a second ago?” The Time Lord focussed on Jack with upturned eyebrows. He shifted shyly with his hands in the pockets of his pinstripe trousers.

 

Jack turned to his old friend with tears in his eyes, “Yeah…it was…but I think we just broke up.”


Next Week . . .

Chapter 11: All Aboard for Merry Old England!

 

 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
robinfanatic
Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
Evil you breaking up the OTP! But since I just started watching the show (1st 2 episodes), I don't have a lot to go on yet except to say that Jack can be annoying. So... seeing as how he was a bit of a jerk in this chapter - how dare he be angry with Much! - I was perfectly happy to see Ianto blow him off (well, not literally, but there goes my mind into the gutter again).

I absolutely love the Robin/Much scene. You write them both so well.
"You would never do anything reckless,” the archer smiled whimsically, “That is my job.”
Love that line!! And this one: “If I had to be lost in time, I am so glad, I was lucky enough to be lost with you.” OMG!! Wonderful!

And this one: "Ianto said it almost in a whisper, “Be with someone who isn’t you to remember what normal feels like.” Whoa!


I imagine you're writing all the other characters well, too, but since I haven't seen the Doctor (I am so deprived!), and just started watching Torchwood, I can't comment on them - I just hope THEIR writers do as nice a job as you do!!
darkentwisted
Oct. 4th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the kind words they make this undertaking so worth it!

*double hug*

Ianto's line came to me while dreaming, believe it or not.
I woke up with it in my head and ran to my laptop to get it down!

Dreaming of major OTP breakups is not a sign of good mental health I'm sure.

I'm exploring some URT with Jack/Ianto. Torchwood 2:13 and Doctor Who 4:13 left a lot of unresolved issues between them. Might be dark clouds for these two before the weather brings rain!porn.
Sometimes you gotta break a couple of eggs to make an omelette. :)

I thought of extending the Robin/Much scene and may still. I tend to overdo on Robin/Much it being my fav OTP.

As for the characters, I'm trying to write them as close to canon as I can. zooeyrye really keeps me on my toes in that respect.

Thanks again for reading.

Love you! And adore the icon!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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