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Times Arrow (12/27)

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 12"
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:  Jack/Ianto/Much, Gwen/Rhys/Martha, Robin/Mickey/10 Doctor, Martha/Jack/Mickey
Warnings: Generally safe with a dash of slash and a smidge of het.
Rating: PG (light slash/het content)
Summary: Twelth chapter of my multichapter, multi fandom, fic. This series brings together characters from Robin Hood, Torchwood, and Doctor Who. The boys are safely back in Sherwood but all is not well.

Previous Chapters Below:
Cover Art, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6; 9

Made possible by my wonderful beta,

zooeyrye
If you saw the raw crap she had to sift through for this you would erect a shrine!

 

Chapter 12: Hail, Hail the Gangs all Here!

 

Robin and Much were still having a hard time understanding the complexities of the TARDIS. Before the group left the hub they spent hours walking in and around the machine, marvelling at how it could be bigger on the inside than outside. The Doctor mused about the outlaws during their travel back to 12th century Nottingham. He was gushing like a proud father, as he gave all save but a few, the grand tour of the vast machine; the previous companions stayed behind in the control room. 

 

Martha was still uneasy as she paced around the platform. She didn’t like being back in the time ship simply because she wondered just what disaster would be waiting for her when the doors opened. She thought about all the trips that hadn’t ended well for her and her strange friend. 

 

They spent months trapped in 1969 after encountering the weeping angels, nearly a quarter year in 1914 escaping the family of blood, then the year that never was, that she spent mostly alone, trying to defeat the Master. All these experiences toughened her and made her who she was now but left her leery of ever wanting to travel with the Doctor again. It wasn’t that she didn’t love him anymore; she just hated the danger that surrounded him.

 

“You okay?” Jack asked as he placed his hands on her shoulders, startling Martha from her memories.

 

“Yeah,” She replied, “Just remembering.”

 

Jack smiled and kissed the top of her head as he cuffed her around the neck, “Me too. It’s amazing how being in here changed us, changed our lives.” His expression darkened, “I’m still not sure, in my case, if it was for the better.”

 

Mickey came around and joined them, “Yeah. But at least if gave me a purpose and it let me spend some more time with my Gran.” He didn’t protest when Jack put his arm on his shoulder. He just looked up and smiled at the Torchwood leader. The three of them stood there, staring at the roundel-covered entry to the ship.

 

“I wonder what we’ll find out there when the doors open,” Jack pondered.

 

Mickey grinned, “Knowing the Doctor, probably aliens in tights.”

 

They all laughed and then each went about preparing for the mission.

 

***

 

The Doctor’s vast wardrobe was the next stop for the group, sending suggests this way and that, “…Medieval clothing on these racks”

 

“Oi! I’m not wearing tights!” Rhys complained to his wife.

 

“You don’t have to,” Gwen patiently explained to her husband, “They’re called leggings.”

 

Rhys looked at the outfit his wife had chosen morosely, “And that’s different how?”

 

Ianto took Robin and Much aside and pulled two garment bags from the rack, “I had something special in mind for you two.”

 

Much smiled at his new friend, “What is it?” He fumbled with the zipper to the garment bag the torchwood agent handed him. He then froze with delight as he held up the neatly hung garments. “My skullcap and vest! Oh Ianto, these look to be the clothes I was wearing when we first came!”

 

“They are,” Ianto explained. “I had a conservator clean and repair them. She took careful notes and photographs for the records but we saw no need to keep the original garments. I thought you and Robin might like them back.”

 

Robin excitedly undid his own garment bag and ran his hand along the familiar hooded tunic grinning, “No offence, but I will be glad to be in my own clothes again. My thanks, Ianto.”

 

The Welshman beamed at the two men, “It was my pleasure.”

 

Gwen had chosen a deep moss green gown for herself with tied-on red lined sleeves. She had pulled her dark hair up in a chignon and held it in place with jewelled pins. Everyone in the room stopped and admired as she walked in. But it was the look on Robin’s face that made her pause. “Are you alright?” She asked, brow furrowed with worry.

 

Much put his hand on Robin’s shoulder, “All is fine, Lady Gwen: the dress and the way your hair is done… you look like her.” 

 

“Like Marian?” her eyes glistened with concern at the men, “Oh, Robin I’m so sorry. I’ll choose something else.”

 

He grasped her hand and stared into the Torchwood agent’s deep brown eyes, smiling kindly with a touch of sadness, “You will do no such thing. I like that you should remind me of her. I just wish you could have met her. You two would have been so much alike and I would be in such trouble for looking at you in this way if she were here.” He laughed lightly then, making the young woman smile.

 

Rhys came over and put his hands on his wife’s shoulders in a playfully possessive manner. “Oh trust me, there is only one Gwyneth Smith-Williams and she’s all mine.”

 

Robin placed his hand on the other man’s shoulder, “And you’re so lucky to have her. Do me a favour and never let her forget it. I waited too long and paid for it by losing my beloved.” 

 

Rhys sobered and looked at the outlaw with compassion, “I’ll tell her everyday.” 

 

Gwen placed her hand on her husband’s and kissed him before she winked at Robin, “You’d better!”

 

***

 

Jack, in typical fashion, chose a brilliant green tunic for himself and a rather imposing looking arm sword and dagger.

 

Robin smiled whimsically, “Are you quite sure you know what you’re doing?”

 

Jack grinned salaciously, “I’m sure you could show me.”

 

“When we get to camp, I’ll be happy to give lessons,” the archer replied.

 

Everyone was dressed by this time, except for the Doctor, “Where’s your costume?” Mickey asked. His simple tan tunic and leggings would make him blend in as any peasant, going to Nottingham, as was Martha’s simple dress and head scarf.

 

The Time Lord, still in his ever familiar pin stripes and coat, held up the TARDIS key on it’s chain, “Perception filter, remember? I could be standing here starkers right now and you lot wouldn’t be aware of it. It acts like a kind of reverse Emperor’s New Clothes, only the joke is on every one else.

 

Martha eyed her long time friend nervously, “You mean you’re actually…”

 

The Doctor scrunched his face up in annoyance, “Nooooo! Martha Jones soon-to-be-Mulligan, what kind of pervert do you think I am?” He then turned to Jack. “Don’t you dare answer for her.” Jack held up his hands in mock surrender as the Doctor turned back to his former companion, “Anyone who sees me, sees me dressed in whatever style they expect to see me dressed. Saves on dry cleaning,” he winked at Gwen.

 

“So, you could be naked and no one would know, huh?” Jack grinned. “That explains some awkward moments during ‘Twister’…”

 

“Gutter Jack, gutter!” The Doctor testily rolled his eyes at his overeager friend.

 

***

 

 

12th Century England, Sherwood Forest

 

The TARDIS doors opened, revealing the soft light of the late spring afternoon. The smell of rain was still thick in the air and wafted into the control room as the group gathered to implement their plans.

 

The Doctor had begun coordinating already; “Jack, you and Ianto take Much and find the path he was on when they ran into the VM. I’ll take Mickey and Robin and we’ll head back to the outlaws camp and get the others to help locate the necklace. Hopefully we can find it—then back off to Cardiff to find its rightful owner.”

 

Martha cleared her throat.

 

“Yes, Martha?” enquired the Doctor. 

 

“What about Rhys, Gwen and I?” she asked, half knowing the answer.

 

“Safe aboard the TARDIS till we are sure all is well,” the Doctor shrugged.

 

“I see.” she replied flatly and turned on heel, back to the other side of the room.

 

Their plans made, the two parties covered the TARDIS and took off. Leaving on their separate tasks, while the remaining three people stayed behind in the control room.

 

“So this is travelling with the Doctor?” Gwen asked Martha impatiently. “We sit and wait for them to make sure everything is okay?”

 

“That’s usually the way it goes.” The young woman replied, looking out the doors at the tranquil medieval forest. “Sit and wait for him to return.”

 

“I’m fine with that.” Rhys replied to the two ladies. “I’m not exactly sure if I want to be seen wearing these…leggings anyway, not in public.”

 

“Every man wears those in this era, Rhys. Trousers won’t be invented for another two centuries.” Gwen crossed her arms over her chest and gave her husband a quick glare as she sat back down.

 

***

 

Much led the way while Jack and Ianto followed him down the worn path. Ianto held the sensor out in front of him and avoided eye contact with the Torchwood leader as he glanced in his direction. “Are you sure this is the right path, Much?”

 

The outlaw stopped and looked around carefully. He removed his skull cap long enough to scratch his head in confusion, “Well… It has been a while and it was raining, but I think this is where Robin and I were when we opened the trunk.”

 

“I’m not getting any readings, Jack,” Ianto waved the handheld detector around the area. “It might have switched itself off after it activated. If its proximity controlled, it won’t detect until we are right up on it.”

 

Jack waited till Much walked away a little farther to approach his friend, “So, are you going to spend the entire trip ignoring me.”

 

“I’m not ignoring you. I’m avoiding you. There is a difference, Jack.” Ianto looked at his former lover for the first time since they boarded the time ship.

 

“Fine, avoid me then!” Jacks eyes flashed. “I don’t even understand why you’re angry with me. I’m the one that should be mad.”

 

“Why because I slept with Much and didn’t tell you?” Ianto studied his friend impatiently. “I didn’t tell you because I was embarrassed.”

 

Jack looked over at the outlaw as he continued to search for the tree, “About Much? Heck, he’s cute! I would have come and joined you if you asked me to. I didn’t even know you liked blondes...”

 

Ianto groaned and looked up at the forest canopy; ‘give me strength!’ before levelling his eyes to the other man’s, “I was embarrassed because I allowed it to happen. I prided myself in being able to control how I felt about you and me, that I didn’t let the way you are and the relationship we have, become a bother. And then the Doctor came back and I was so mad about you running off to join him again. And after all of that, I see you off with Robin.” He looked at the ground and sighed deeply, “I’m not used to your 51st century ways, Jack. I still get jealous. I let trauma, anger and alcohol make me bed the first man I came across. I’m not like that at all. I don’t lose control. It scared me, being unable to stop my own actions.” 

 

The former Time Agent ran his hand across the rough hem of his tunic, looking away. “You know you can tell me anything. I was mad that you hid something from me again. I don’t care if you’re unfaithful. Hell, Ianto! You know I’m going to be. But I have to know I can trust you. Our lives depend on it. In our line of work, secrets can kill—Lisa almost killed all of us.”

 

“I know Jack, and I’m sorry. You have taught me a lot,” Ianto turned Jack to face him, “I don’t want to leave you. I want what we are…whatever it is.”

 

“Well, you did learn from the best,” Jack grinned. He lifted Ianto’s chin with his finger and met his eyes. “Are we okay now?”

 

Ianto looked flatly at his friend, feeling the same old mix of desire and caution that always permeated the air between them, “We will be.”

 

Jack wasted no time bringing the Welshman into his arms. It had only been a few days but it had felt like an eternity to him. They were just about to brush lips when the detector in the assistant’s hand started beeping. 

 

Jack grinned breathlessly, “Did I do that?”

 

In the distance Much was yelling excitedly, “Jack, Ianto, This is it. I found the chest!”

 

“Unless you want to end up in another time again, Much! Don’t Move!” He yelled.

 

The outlaw looked at the two men with a mix of concern and confusion, “Why Master Jack?”

 

“Because according to the detector, you’re standing right over the VM.” Ianto added.

 

***

 

The trip back to camp was an exciting one for Robin. “I wonder if Little John and Allan are looking for us.”

 

“Well according to what you told me, you should have been gone for just a few hours if we got the time right,” the Doctor replied. “If they are looking for you, it won’t have been for long.”

 

“I still do not understand, we were gone for over a month, yet you tell me it has only been a matter of hours. What could do this?” The outlaw’s puzzled expression made the Gallifreyan stop and try to explain time travel to him in 12th century terms.

 

“It’s not magic. It’s science.” The Doctor grabbed one of Robin’s arrows from his quiver and showed it to the young archer, “Imagine this arrow represents time.”

 

“Okay,” Robin replied blankly, not sure where this was going.

 

“Now the arrow’s tip is the future and the tail is the past. When you shoot this arrow which direction would it go?”

 

The young outlaw thought, “If I shot straight it would go forward…into the future.”

 

“Good lad! Now if this shaft was made from green wood and I could bend it, where would it go if you shot it?”

 

“If I could, it would just turn back on itself…into the past.” Robins face lit up with understanding. “So your machine bends time’s arrow?”

 

“Yes, precisely! Almost in the same way as the necklace you found.”

 

Robin grinned, “Yes but I would much rather travel your way.”

 

***

 

They approached the hidden path to the camp and Robin paused, “Be careful we have the entrance booby trapped. I would not want one of my new friends ensnared in a tree and hit by a boulder.”

 

“You mean that one over there?” Mickey pointed to the boulder swinging freely in the tree to the right of them.

 

“That is strange! It’s been sprung and not reset. It’s not like John or Allan to go off and not secure the camp.” Robin looked around the ground. “Horse tracks, recent ones and no sign of the young man from York or his carriage.”

 

The outlaws’ camp lay abandoned. Signs of struggle were apparent. John’s staff and Allan’s sword lay on the ground as if tossed aside in surrender. A small blood trail led from the camp’s entrance then cut off at the horse tracks.

 

“Someone was hurt,” The doctor said.   He dipped a finger into the stains. “The blood is still fresh.”

 

Robin looked at the Doctor and Mickey in alarm, “Something is not right. Something is definitely amiss! We must go to Loxley and see if the villagers heard any news about the gang being captured.”

 

***

 

“Out there is 12th Century England and we’re stuck in a blue police box.” Gwen was pacing furiously while Rhys and Martha watched, “I’m a Torchwood field agent and I know how to take care of myself!” She rounded on Martha, “And not only are you a field medic, but you travelled with the Doctor before. We are fully capable of looking after ourselves.”

 

Martha bit her lip, “They are just looking after our safety…”

 

“And you always did as the Doctor said?” The dark-haired woman put her hands on her hips in challenge.

 

Martha grinned shyly, “Not always.”

 

“Right then, I say we go. We meet up with Jack and help them search, then join up with the Doctor.” Gwen defiantly gathered her skirt and headed for the TARDIS doors with Martha. She looked back at her husband, “Rhys, are you coming?”

 

“Oi! Don’t get me involved in all this. I was told to stay put and put is where I’m stayin.’” Gwen’s icy stare made him shift uncomfortably, “Oh all right! I’ll go. But the first time someone laughs at me in this get up, I’m headed right back here!”

 

 

Next Week…

Chapter 13: Something Nasty in Nottingham



 


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
aliciabmanley
Oct. 18th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
Printed for handy-dandy walking-around reading purposes!
robinfanatic
Oct. 19th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
The boys are home! yippee! but there's trouble in Sherwood - oh no!

I *think* I'm glad to see Ianto back with Jack. Jack drives me insane. He's just too full of himself. And Ianto deserves so much more! Great line: I don’t want to leave you. I want what we are…whatever it is.

Very touching exchange with Robin & Gwen and love Robin's last line: I would be in such trouble for looking at you in this way if she were here.

Anxiously awaiting the next chapter!



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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