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Time's Arrow 13/27

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 13"
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/Jasper, Robin/Mickey/10 Doctor/Kate, Ianto/Much, Robin/Jack
Warnings: Generally safe with a dash of slash.
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary: Thirteenth 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, 12 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6; 9

Made possible by my wonderful beta,

</a></font></b></a>zooeyrye
If you saw the raw crap she had to sift through for this, you would erect a shrine!

 

Chapter 13: Something Nasty in Nottingham!
 

 

“I don’t want to end up trapped again!” Much cried as he tried not to move. His pale blue eyes were round circles of terror as he heard the necklace hum under his foot. “Jack, Ianto! Please help me!” He didn’t have to turn to know that a vortex had opened up behind him as debris, leaves, and other pieces of earth flew in around him.

 

“Just hold still, Much!” Jack cautioned as calmly as he could, trying not panic the frightened outlaw. He turned quickly to Ianto. “I’ve got to get to that necklace.”

 

“Are you sure you know how to shut it off?” Ianto asked.

 

Jack nodded, “If it’s anything like mine, then I think so.”

 

Ianto raised an eyebrow as he checked the readings on his equipment. “That’s quite reassuring. Thanks.”

 

“What other choice do we have, Ianto?” Jack spat as he walked slowly over to Much.

 

By this time, the vortex had become stronger and the outlaw was clinging to a tree limb to keep from being pulled in. Jack held out his hand, “Grab on, Much!”

 

Much released a hand from the limb as his feet slipped out from under him and he was suddenly pulled horizontally closer to the wormhole. “I can’t hold on any longer!”

 

Jack reached down with one hand and snatched the necklace as he felt the pull of the vortex on him. He grabbed the outlaw’s hand and tugged as hard as he could while trying in vain to work the pendant and close the cataract. Much suddenly let go of the limb to grab his skullcap, which was coming off, and in danger of being lost. Jack was pulled suddenly forward with their now combined weight. “I can’t do it! Ianto you’ll have to do it. If I let go now we’ll both go in.” 

 

Tossing pendant to the Torchwood assistant, he grabbed the branch Much had let go of.

 

“What do I do, Jack?” Ianto looked at the glowing pendant then back at his friend who was now struggling to keep himself and the stout servant out of the breach. Jack was holding onto the branch for all he was worth.

 

“Rub the stone clockwise,” Jack yelled over the fury.

 

Ianto did as told and looked up to see the results, “Nothing happened!”

 

Jack shrugged against the strain of trying to stay put and holding onto the terrified manservant, “Try it counter clockwise!”

 

Ianto raised both eyebrows, “Are you sure?”

 

Jack groaned, “I’m a little too busy here to pull out the manual, Ianto! Just do it already!”

 

Ianto tried again and gasped as the stone reacted. “What’s it doing now?” Jack yelled, feeling his grip on the tree slipping.

 

Ianto seemed mesmerised as he spoke, “It’s…singing?!”

 

The pendant made a metallic musical sound as it changed colours and the swirling calmed across its face. The vortex shrank and released its gravitational pull on the two men with a quick and sudden force. Jack landed on the ground with a thump and was pinned by the crushing weigh of the blond outlaw, who had just toppled on top of him. 

 

Jack grinned warmly at the frightened man as he gazed into his shocked pale blue eyes, “Well, hello there...” Suddenly the outlaw covered the torchwood leader’s mouth in a smothering kiss.

 

Jack was surprised at first but quickly reacted, kissing back with equal vigour. Much opened his eyes and pulled away sheepishly, “Oh, Jack! I am sorry! I was just so grateful I…”

 

“Don’t be,” The lecherous Time Agent smiled. “That’s never something you’ll have to apologise for.”

 

Much smiled meekly, his cheeks glowing in embarrassment, “You are welcome.” He rose and helped Jack up, dusting himself off and readjusting his skullcap. “Umm…Now that we found the necklace, should we head back to camp and tell Robin?”

 

They nodded and followed him down the trail. Ianto walked over to Jack who was still trying to process what just happened, “Wow! He’s a great kisser!” The Time Agent smirked, gazing in the direction of the blonde outlaw.

 

“Yes, I know,” Ianto said disinterestedly, as he scanned the necklace in his hand for further activity.

 

Jack shot his partner an annoyed look that quickly changed to interest, “Is it still on?”

 

“No it’s totally shut off,” The assistant replied. “Whatever I did to it, it seems to have quieted.”

 

“Self recharging I’m sure,” Jack replied. “We’ll take a better look when we head back to camp, c’mon; Much has already got a good head start on us.”

 

***

 

Robin, Mickey and the Doctor arrived in Loxley Village without detection. The archer looked around at the estate that was once his, sighing. Sheriff Vaisey’s rein had taken a heavy toll on the people, driving them to destitution. Now Prince John and Sheriff Gisborne were finishing the job. One of the village maidens ran up to the outlaw, “God be praised! The rumours aren’t true!”

 

“What rumour would that be?” Robin replied anxiously.

 

The young lady blinked, “That Sheriff Gisborne’s soldiers have captured Robin Hood’s men and they will be hanged tomorrow.”

 

Robin’s face turned deathly pale as he turned to the Time Lord and his former companion. “We have to go to Nottingham, now.”

 

“Not without back up. We need to gather the others and form a plan,” The Doctor cautioned.

 

Robin shrugged, “This has happened before and I have a plan…well, half a plan anyway.” He turned to the young blonde girl, “Thank you, Kate. You’ve been a great help.” 

 

She grinned whimsically, “Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just take on the tags of an outlaw and join your merry men.”

 

“You would make a fine one!” Robin grinned back as he kissed her cheek. She left him in happy skipping steps as she went back to a group of women doing the daily chores.

 

“She seems lovely,” the Doctor stated as they turned to go back to the outlaw camp.

 

“Kate has helped us many times. She is my eyes and ears in Loxley and lets me know what the Sheriff’s men are up to.” Robin sobered, taking in the poverty and bleakness that surrounded him, “I wish you men could have seen the way it was before Sheriff Vaisey raped the estate. Loxley was the finest village in all England. Well, it was to me anyway.” He smiled wistfully, his eyes still taking in his homeland.

 

The Time Lord put his hand on the young outlaw’s shoulder. “It will be again. This tyranny won’t last forever.”

 

Robin grasped his hand. “I hope so.”

 

***

 

“You’re sure they went in this direction Martha?” Gwen asked, as they made their way down the rutted path from the TARDIS.

 

“This was the direction Robin indicated when he was talking with the Doctor.”

 

“We should have just stayed in the TARDIS!” Rhys said as he tugged the inseam of his leggings. “And why do 12th century tights have to be so…tight!”

 

Gwen laughed at her husband’s discomfort. “They’re not tights, their leggings.”

 

“Yeah I know!” He dismissed, “You say leggings, I say panty hose for men.”

 

Gwen and Martha both let out a burst of laugher that was cut short by sounds coming around the curve in the road ahead. “It must be them,” Gwen said to Martha in hushed whisper.

 

“I don’t think so, unless they had horses at the camp.” Martha pulled Gwen and Rhys behind a large bush and watched as a well-dressed man followed by several soldiers in armour rode by. 

 

They thought they were in the clear until the lead horseman stopped and threw up his hand, halting the other riders. “Someone is here. Show yourselves in the name of Prince John!”

 

“What do we do now?” Gwen stared at her team-mate with large eyes. 

 

Martha sighed and put her hands behind her head, “What I always do in this situation…surrender completely and wait for the Doctor.” With that she calmly walked out from behind the bush, “Don’t shoot, we’re unarmed!”

 

***

 

Jack, Ianto and Much arrived at the camp to find it completely empty. “This is strange!” Much said in alarm as he flattened himself against the side of the rock face. 

 

“What’s the matter?” Jack replied.

 

“The intruder warning is not set and the trapdoor to the camp is open.” The blonde outlaw looked at a tree facing the camp and saw an arrow embedded in it with a note attached. “It is a message from Robin!” He walked over, pulled the bolt out of the bark and unfurled the scrolled parchment. He mouthed the strange symbols silently to himself before giving up in frustration and handing it to the Torchwood leader. “Please?” He admitted sheepishly, “My letters are not that strong. I cannot read it.”

 

Jack gave the man a sympathetic hand on the shoulder and started reading for him.

“They found the camp deserted and it looks like John and Allan were captured. They’ve gone to Loxley to find out what happened.” He glanced up at Much and Ianto, “They want us to wait here until they return.”

 

“So we wait,” Ianto said as he took a seat on a stump in the camp.

 

“No, we eat!” Much smiled as he made his way to the crude kitchen and started grabbing bowls and vegetables for stew. “Hopefully my squr…err…Rabbit snares are full and I can get a nice meal started before the rest of our group gets back.”

 

Ianto rolled his eyes and looked at Jack in playful jest. “Great! My first, 12th century outlaw meal, and I’m eight hundred years away from antacid tablets.”

 

“You tell him that the TARDIS has a food synthesiser and break his heart,” Jack replied with a secretive smile. “Tonight we will have campfire rabbit stew and like it!” He grimaced, “At least I hope it’s rabbit.”

 

***

 

“Who are you three travelling in the forest on foot?” The richly dressed, dark haired man gave them a sneering look that screamed aristocratic and self-righteous.

 

Gwen curtsied and spoke in the most convenient lady-like voice she could muster, “Forgive me my Lord. I am Lady Gwyneth Williams from Cardiff, travelling with my maidservant and…squire.” 

 

Rhys and Martha looked at each other and mouthed their new titles in unbelieving confusion.

 

“Why does one so fair walk these foul woods alone with no horse and carriage with her servants?” The man twisted his moustache as he looked at the three travellers with a mix of caution and curiosity.

 

Gwen looked him in the eye, “We are the victims of highway men my Lord.”

 

“And what direction were you headed in, might I inquire?”

 

“Nottingham my Lord,” she replied cautiously.

 

“Then come along. You may ride with me back to my estate. I am Lord Jasper of Loxley.”

 

Gwen looked alarmingly at Martha and Rhys and then back at the nobleman. “And what of my servants?”

 

He waved his hand as he helped her onto the back of his horse, “They may walk behind.”

 

***

 

Robin, Mickey and the Doctor walked through the village collecting information about the capture of the outlaws and found the news disheartening. Eyewitnesses told of two young men and a giant being led with their hands bound, behind soldiers on horseback, heading toward Nottingham. “They’re alive, that in itself is a miracle.” Robin sighed glumly as he got through talking to one of the servants at Loxley manor. “Usually the edict is to kill outlaws on sight when captured. Sheriff Gisborne has some other plan in play. He knows how much I care for my men and he knows I’ll come to the castle looking for them.”

 

“This is the man who killed Marian, isn’t it?” Mickey replied squinting against the evening sun as he spoke.

 

“Yes. And tried to kill King Richard as well, some punishment; Prince John made him sheriff of the town he tried to destroy.” 

 

“What happened to Sheriff Vaisey?” the Doctor asked.

 

“Locked in the dungeon at Nottingham, a prisoner of his own greed.” Robin replied wistfully. “He’d underestimated the ruthlessness of his benefactor. Prince John only supported him when the threat of murdering the King was to succeed. When he’d failed, Prince John disavowed any ambitions about taking the throne. Most of the Dark Knights met their fate at the gallows but those who had secrets to tell…well, they have a long wait in the dungeons.” Robin’s expression changed as he spoke and it was apparent that the man had been denied his own personal revenge against the former sheriff.

 

***

 

The archer and time travellers continued their trek back to the outlaw camp with Robin continuing to entertain the two men with the exploits of himself and his gang. Mickey grinned at the former crusader as he spoke, “Me and my mates used to pretend to be you guys,” he remembered fondly. “We used to make bows and arrows out of whatever was handy and take turns hunting each other in our own little Sherwood. Well it was the nearest vacant lot but we pretended it was Sherwood.”

 

“Sounds dangerous,” The outlaw replied lightly.

 

“Oi, it was! Look here!” Mickey pointed to a small scar above his right eye. “Almost lost an eye once when we played, but I got to kiss ‘Maid Marian.’”

 

“Maid Marian?” The Doctor raised and eyebrow.

 

“Yeah! Rose Tyler, local girl, blonde pigtails, pretty, but one of the guys.” He glanced slyly at the Time Lord, “You might have met her.” 

 

“Did you get the girl?” Robin asked amusedly.

 

“Nah, she ran off with some bloke with a pin stripe suit and a TARDIS.”

 

Robin turned in disbelief to question the Doctor but was met with a ‘don’t go there’ look so he kept silent and continued on. They turned a corner and the sound of oncoming horses made Robin grab the other two men and flatten them against a large tree.

 

The Soldiers on horseback lead by Lord Jasper trotted by with familiar looking peasants in tow. Gwen was riding side-saddle, holding tightly to the nobleman’s jerkin and avoiding the glare she was getting from her team-mate and husband. Mickey started to say something out loud but was stifled by the Time Lord’s hand, “Hold on a moment.”

 

Gwen.

 

The young Torchwood agent looked comically around her, and then at the tree where she thought her name came from. She remembered the voice in her head. Gwen thought so hard out loud. Help me, Doctor.

 

She succeeded in making the Time Lord’s nose bleed. He quickly grabbed a handkerchief out of his pocket and covered it, hoping Robin and Mickey wouldn’t notice. No need to panic. We’re going to get the others from camp and rescue you. He thought back. And you don’t have to yell, young lady. I can hear you just fine.

 

Gwen looked over her shoulder, in the direction where the Doctor, and the others, was hiding. Right. No mental yellin’. Sorry, this telepathy stuff is still new to me.

 

Where are they taking you?

 

Loxley Manor, she replied, not as panicked, but still a bit frightened.

 

Good! Stay in touch. Call out to me if anything else happens and we’ll be with you as soon as possible.

 

She looked over her shoulder and mouthed ‘okay.’

 

The time traveller turned to the other two men as the horses disappeared around a curve in the road. “They’re taking them to Loxley.”

 

“And you figured this out how?” Mickey squinted at his former companion.

 

“Gwen’s a telepath, but anyway…”

 

“Hold on! What do you mean ‘Gwen’s a telepath’?”

 

The Doctor stopped and looked at the young man as he often did when he felt Mickey just wasn’t getting something. “Clearly, she reads minds. Well …my mind anyway.” He put a hand to his nose and sniffled, “And quite loudly too, I might add.”

 

“So they’re taking them to Loxley,” Robin mused.

 

“You say that like it’s a good thing,” Mickey sneered.

 

Robin grinned wickedly, shouldering his bow, “When you were born and raised there and know the ins and outs like the back of your hand, it is. Let us be off and work out a plan with the others.”

 

***

 

Back at camp, Much was busy serving his latest concoction to less than enthusiastic guests with thick bread. “Eat well, my friends.” He said as he ladled out the not-so-bad smelling stew of meat and vegetables. Ianto took a cautious taste and nodded at Jack who dove in. Both men were impressed with the 12th century cook’s culinary skills, even if the identity of the meat was dubious at best.

 

They turned at the sound of the trapdoor being lifted. Robin, the Doctor, and Mickey walked into camp, “Grab a seat, Much. Something has happened.” Robin said wearily.

 

“Have something to eat first, Master. I just finished cooking. Jack and Ianto have already—”

 

“Later, Much!” The leader barked at his former manservant, causing him to jump. Reigning in his temper and catching the blonde man’s hurt expression, he mollified. “I am sorry my friend.” He put his hand around the blonde man’s neck and pulled him till their foreheads touched, “We shall eat as soon as we get through talking.” He then grinned making his companion smile as well, “I am kind of hungry for your stew.” 

 

Much smiled, shying at his friend’s sudden warmth, “Good! Cos there is plenty.”

 

***

 

“What is it with you humans and instructions?!” the Doctor yelled at Jack, Mickey and Ianto. “I say stay in the TARDIS; you run off and get into mischief. I need to break out my Gallifreyan to English dictionary to see if the phrase ‘Stay Here’ doesn’t, by some galactic chance, translate into, ‘Let’s get into trouble so that the Doctor, will have to bail us out!”

 

“What are you yelling at us for? We didn’t do anything wrong!” Jack shot back with equal venom, his arms crossed, as he glared at his friend. “Gwen is kind of headstrong. So yes, sometimes it gets her into trouble but she’s also damn good at her job and can look after herself.”

 

“It would still be interesting to find out how she managed to become the guest of an English Lord,” Ianto mused, much to Jack and the Doctor’s irritation.

 

“Well, here is the plan: we go in after midnight, when all the staff and everyone else is asleep and rescue Gwen, Martha, and Rhys. Then we come back to the camp and work on getting the men of my gang out of the castle before Gisborne makes them hang.” Robin said diplomatically.

 

“Sounds like a good plan,” Jack grinned.

 

“Well before we go storming off, I need to see how you handle yourself.” Robin indicated the heavy sword at Jack’s side.

 

“I can handle myself pretty well,” the Torchwood leader shrugged.

 

“12th century arms, are not the weapons from your time, Jack.” Robin replied grabbing Much’s discarded sword and scabbard.

 

***

 

Much and Ianto were in the camp’s makeshift kitchen, cleaning up the remnants of the evening meal and watching their friends’ sparring. “You care a great deal about him, don’t you?” Ianto said as he scrubbed a cooking pot.

 

Much continued scrubbing, ignoring the comment at first, and then meeting the agent’s look with one of curious surrender. “Of course I do. He is—was, my Master for so many years. Now, he is like a brother to me.”

 

“I’ve seen the way you look at him. You wish for more than that, don’t you?”

 

Much put down the rag he was using and shot the other man an incredulous look, “And if I did? This isn’t the 21st century, Ianto. Men cannot—and if they could—they would not—” he sighed. “Besides Robin does not feel the same way as I do. He considers me a good friend and a former servant, nothing more. The one thing I do know is that I would die for him and I can only hope that he would lay down his life for me. That alone, is enough.”

 

Ianto looked up as the two men locked swords again, grinning at each other’s strategy and he smiled warmly, “Same here.”

 

***

 

“Okay! I see what you mean!” Jack said once again facing the point of Robin’s sword.

 

“Who knew these things could be so unwieldy?” He started to sit down when the archer prompted him for another round with a playful tap to the buttocks with his blade, “Don’t give up so easily, Jack. It took me years to master the skill. Much is a master at it left-handed and if he can learn, anyone can.”

 

“Oi! I heard that! You know a smaller man would be wounded at the insult,” Much shouted indignantly from across the camp.

 

“I believe I’ve already answered that one Much!” Robin shot back, smiling at the wide-eyed look of dissatisfaction from his friend, “Just saying you are a far better swordsman than I.”

 

He looked back at Jack, “I was trained for bow from the cradle and not much else. Much only had the preparation of a fortnight before I drug him off to the crusades. He can tell you himself, being battle trained is no way to learn the sword and he has the scars to prove it.”

 

Jack picked up his sword and prepared for another round with the outlaw, “Whom are you expecting to fight when we get to Nottingham?”

 

Metal clashed as the outlaw’s eyes glowed chartreuse with reflected firelight, “My worst enemy.” He pivoted around and met Jack’s sword again with a heavy blow that sent a shockwave down the man’s arms. “Gisborne took everything from me!” He thrust quickly with Jack barely blocking the blow, “He took my land!” 

 

He swung the blade around so fast Jack had to roll away to avoid losing his head, “Easy!”

 

“He took my title!” Robin swung low this time making the Torchwood leader leap over the swinging blade. “And he took my wife!” The last thrust took the unprepared former con man completely off guard and he found himself once again on the ground, with the tip of the sword at his throat. Robin’s face was a mix of pain, fury and concentration. “I will be damned if he takes my men too!”

 

Softening, he reached out his hand to the exhausted and frankly terrified immortal. “Sorry, guess the lesson got a little intense.” Although his tone had calmed, his eyes were still storms of emerald green.

 

Jack took the hand of his new friend, smiling devilishly. He knew that look so well now and anticipated the trouble that followed it “Something nasty is about to happen in Nottingham, isn’t it?”

 

Robin re-sheathed his sword and sneered, “Oh Yes!”

 

 

Next Week…

 

Chapter 14: One night…at Outlaw Camp…

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
robinfanatic
Oct. 25th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
You choreographed the sword fighting lesson perfectly with Robin's blows between his words. Very nicely done!

Jack grinned warmly at the frightened man as he gazed into his shocked pale blue eyes, “Well, hello there...” Suddenly the outlaw covered the torchwood leader’s mouth in a smothering kiss.
*giggles* Love it!

I need to break out my Gallifreyan to English dictionary to see if the phrase ‘Stay Here’ doesn’t, by some galactic chance, translate into, ‘Let’s get into trouble so that the Doctor, will have to bail us out!”
I had to LOL when I read this. Another great line!
darkentwisted
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
Thanks!
I'm really enjoying writing this.

Worrying over the inevitable AU content that's about to happen.

But *sigh* I lost my crystal ball and have no clue what Foz and Dom are up to for series 3.

Glad you're enjoying!

*hfr*
thestorymaker
Oct. 31st, 2008 10:32 am (UTC)
I finally made time to catch up with this fic. Seven chapters at once is one hell of a read.

I adore this fic, you're doing such a good job with it. You have captured everyones charcaters so wonderfully (you've even made me like Gwen .... and yey for including Rhys on the trip).

I must say I love the way you write Robin, you capture the charcater wonderfully. So much to say, so little space. I was going to leave comments with each chapter but I was too busy wanting to know what happend next!

One of my favourite scenes was the depiction of Jack and the tarot child. You captured the dark, creepiness of her and their conversation was spot on in terms of how they talk to each other.

I love the intricate details of the interweaving relationships between everyone. It's obvious the time, the effort and the thought you've poured into this fic.

Not sure I can gush anymore, one of the best crossover fics I've read.

xx
darkentwisted
Nov. 3rd, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
*Squees with pride*

OH thank you!

Coming from such a wonderful writer as yourself, I take this as the highest praise of all!

I could never take all the credit, zooeyrye Has done a smashup job as my beta removing all my 'Americanisms'and generally making things more elegant. Having her as a beta has definitely helped me grow as a writer. (Yes, Zooey I'm gushing over you again! And taking notes.)

I'm dreaming scenes for the novel now, (Not a sign of good mental stablity I'm sure!:P) and the Tarot girl dream sequence was pretty much written as dreamed.

Ahh poor Gwen...her character is so sweet and flawed.
As are almost all the characters from these fandoms.

Thanks for reading commenting and enjoying!
It so made my day!

*Huge hfr!*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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