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Times Arrow (16/27)

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 16"
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, Much/Martha, Allan/Little John,  Gwen/gaoler/Vaisey, Gwen/Little John/Allan/, Gwen/Guy, Jack/10 Doctor
Warnings: Character death (maybe)  .
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary: Sixteenth chapter of my multichapter, multi fandom, fic. This series brings together characters from Robin Hood, Torchwood, and Doctor Who. The part of Horace the carriage driver is being played in my mind by guest star, Colin Morgan, (Merlin).  The gang goes to rescue Robin's men but all does not go well.  Graphic character death.  Please hold plot criticisms till next chapter.

Previous Chapters Below:
Cover Art, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6; 9

Made possible by my wonderful beta, 

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

 
I really appreciate her helping me get this right!  Thanks everyone for the well-wishes for my Mum.  She's all better now and at home with her 'babies' (dolls) again!  Cheers!  This chapter is dedicated to all of you!
 



 

Chapter 16: To Nottingham!

 

Allan was dragged back to the dirty, rank cell by two guards and unceremoniously dumped face first on the floor.

 

“Necessary, that was not!” Little John stared at the guards as they locked the cell door. He then looked over at the sad lump that was his fellow outlaw. Allan tried his best to raise himself off the floor but the pain and exhaustion won out. The gentle giant went over to where the traitor lay and helped him over to the makeshift bed. Allan was covered with burns, scratches and cuts, and his eye was swollen completely shut.

 

“They will be going after the camp now, and capturing Robin and Much,” said John.

 

“Not bein’ funny or nuffin, but I di’nt tell Guy anythin’. I swear,” The con man said as he held his side and tried to sit up. The pain from his bruised and cracked ribs made him wince as he looked at John. 

 

The giant softened. “I wasn’t sayin’…”

 

Allan brushed him off, “It’s okay. I get it; once a traitor always a traitor. You don’t have to trust me. Don’t matter if you do or don’t. We’re going to hang at noon anyway.” He looked over at the wounded carriage driver, “How is our patient anyway?”

 

“Horace.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“His name is Horace,” the large outlaw stated flatly. “I managed to get it out of him before he passed out again. He is still feverish. I re-bandaged his head wound but he will not last long without help.” John lifted up his tunic to reveal bare skin where his ragged undershirt had been; “I’m all out of fresh bandages too.”

 

Allan chuckled and immediately regretted it as a wave of pain overcame him. “Not being funny John but dyin’ from that head wound is going to be the least of his worries.”

 

***

 

“Pardon me, my Lord – why are you staring at me that way?” Gwen twisted nervously at the window sensing Guy’s eyes upon her without even turning.

 

“You remind me of someone I once knew milady.” Guy sat with his feet up on the desk in front of him. His black boots were highly polished and mirrored the colour of his shoulder length mane of thick black hair as he rested his chin in his hand. So much like her, he thought. “Do you mind me looking at you?”

 

Gwen minded very much but lied to him anyway. Instead she smiled warmly. “It is alright my Lord Gisborne.” She had heard the stories from Robin of Guy’s cruelty and treachery, but his presence was more unsettling than any description could give credit for.   She had looked down the barrel of a gun, confronted aliens capable of killing on a whim but nothing came close to the cold calculating presence of the man in front of her. She continued looking out the window at the courtyard below where the guards were preparing two nooses on the scaffolding. “What is going on down there?”

 

“This afternoon’s entertainment,” Gisborne stated, almost with pride. “We caught a couple of members of a local outlaw gang that has been terrorizing the forest. They are to hang by midday.” He caught the worried expression on the Torchwood agent’s face. “I’m sorry – do they not hang the condemned where you are from?”

 

Gwen turned and looked the Lord defiantly in the eye, “Only when it is warranted.” She turned back toward the window and felt the nobleman come up behind her. 

 

Icy chills ran down her spine as his hand swept a stray ringlet off her shoulder and lingered.

 

“These men, these outlaws are ruthless, milady. They would slit someone’s throat, even one as fair as yours, for the spoils it would reward them.” As he spoke, he drew a long pale finger slowly across her neck, echoing his words. “I cannot allow them to just run amuck in the forest. And they must be shown as an example to others.”

 

She swallowed hard and wiggled free of his grasp. “It is still not a pleasant thought, my Lord.” 

 

“Then I take it you will not be attending this afternoon?” said Gisborne dryly.

 

Gwen changed the subject. “Do you think they are the ones that have done harm to my driver?”

 

“I put nothing past Hood’s men.” Guy stated. The contempt in his voice cut the air like a razor.

 

“I would like to see these — outlaws.” Gwen glanced under her lashes, “Is that possible?”

 

Guy reached out and ran the back of his hand across her cheek. “One as fair as you has no business in the dungeons.”

 

Gwen lowered her eyes at the detested man; “I want to know what happened to my driver and if that means being placed into unpleasant surroundings then, so be it."

 

***

 

“We are going back to Nottingham again. Wonderful – back among the sheriff’s men and certain torture in the dungeon,” Much rambled nervously as the others tried to ignore him. “I wish we had the Doctor’s machine so we could just travel to the castle. I think my feet are blistering already. I…”

 

“Shut it, Much!” Robin finally snapped impatiently.

 

Martha shot the fussy and now emotionally wounded manservant a sympathetic look as she walked up beside him. “It’s all right. My feet hurt too.”

 

“Oh, I am sorry, Lady Martha,” said Much appearing to have momentarily forgotten his own discomfort. “I could carry you on my back if you like.”

 

“That won’t be necessary, Much.” Martha grinned, “We’ll both rest once we get to town. Then, I’ll rub your feet if you’ll rub mine.”

 

Much blushed and stuttered, “Oh milady, I do not think that would be appropriate. What with you being betrothed and all.”

 

She leaned in, “My fiancée is eight hundred years away and I don’t think he would mind much anyway.”

 

Much grinned at the closeness. “Well, I have never been one to turn down a good foot rub.”

 

Jack turned to Robin now that Much was momentarily distracted and they could think clearly. “Any ideas on how we are going to do this?”

 

The archer focussed his brilliant green eyes on the Time Agent. “I have half a plan – which is better than not having one at all. If I remember Gisborne correctly, this whole execution is a clever ruse to smoke me out of hiding. Why have two outlaws when you can have the ringleader? I plan to turn myself in to exchange for saving Little John and Allan.”

 

Jack paused, “You plan to turn yourself in? Robin, that’s suicide! He’ll kill you.”

 

Robin smiled wryly as he strutted ahead. “That’s where you come in, Jack. You have to figure out a way to save me.”

 

Jack walked behind the outlaw, admiring the posterior view and shaking his head with a grin.

 

***

 

Rhys would have been to Loxley by sunrise if he hadn’t taken the wrong turn. In Sherwood Forest at night, all the trees started to look the same and for a man who had never left Cardiff in three years, it got even more confusing. Blind luck and sheer determination finally got him on the right path and as the sun rose he found himself at the front door of the manor. He pounded on the thick wooden door for what seemed an eternity until it swung back on squeaking hinges, revealing a tall gaunt man. 

 

“Yes… sir?” said the man, looking down his nose at the modestly dressed man before him.

 

“Lady Gwyneth. I must speak to her.” Rhys tried his best to contain himself but half of him wanted to knock the frail looking man out of the way and storm in to find his wife.

 

“And you are?” The older man inquired with the interest one would give an insect.

 

The stocky blonde tapped his fingers impatiently, “I am her hu – squire. I must speak to her immediately.”

 

“That is just not possible sir.”

 

“And why the livin’ Christ not?” spat Rhys, getting ready to knock the irritating servant aside.

 

The older man blinked and started to close the door. “Because, good sir, she left for Nottingham with Sir Jasper hours ago.”

 

Rhys turned three shades of red, “Why didn’t you just tell me this from the beginning?”

 

“You did not ask – sir.”

 

***

 

The cells in a medieval dungeon were nothing like Gwen could have imagined – they were much worse. The stench made her wretch several times and the conditions were deplorable. Overflowing chamber pots sat at the door to each cell and stale urine, blood and other offal’s, assaulted the Time Agent’s nose. The dank dark cellar was divided into smaller cages by crude wooden reams with iron bars. Several times, hands reached out through them and grabbed her sleeve, begging as she walked by. The gaoler swatted at them and they retreated back into the dark of the holding pen accompanied by piteous weeping. The last cell she reached had someone’s face pressed against the small window cut into the door.

 

“Guard…Guard!” 

 

“What do you want now Vaisey?” spat the gaoler.

 

“That is Sheriff Vaisey, to you!”

 

The gaoler squinted at the pathetic prisoner. “Last I recall you ain’t the sheriff no more.”

 

“Imbecile! I’ll see you hang when Prince John returns me to my rightful place.”

 

“Don’t think that’s going to happen too soon, your Lordship,” the puny man grinned, showing discoloured teeth that made Gwen sick to her stomach.

 

“Who is your leper friend?” Vaisey leered with his gap tooth showing. “She reminds me of that other leper that Gisborne ran his sword through. Good riddance that one!”

 

“The lady is a friend of the sheriff.” The gaoler raised a dirty hand and ran it along Gwen’s shoulder, making her wince.

 

“Just take me to the prisoners so I can get out of here!” said Gwen. “Please?”

 

“Oh looks like the lady doesn’t want to play,” the former sheriff patronized. “Best be off then.”

 

Gwen walked away from the awful man but was called back. “Watch out for the sheriff, dear. The last one that got too close ended up skewered like a rabbit.”

 

Maniacal laugher followed them as they continued down the dimly lit corridor. The gaoler stopped at the cell and turned to the young woman. “You wanted outlaws? Here are your outlaws! Talk fast, they are due to swing soon an’ the sheriff don’t like waitin’.”

 

The large man looked up but did not recognise the richly dressed woman peering through the bars, “What would you be wantin’ milady?”

 

“We are Robin Hood.” She tried to talk as plain as she could, keeping her voice down so as not to be overheard by the guard or other prisoners. She held up the wooden tags Robin had given her before they left the Hub.

 

At this Allan perked up as well. He tried to raise himself slowly off the makeshift bunk. “Not bein funny but did she just say what I thought she did?”

 

“Yeah, Robin sent me.” Gwen smiled, “Listen boys. In the woods, there was a carriage and driver that Robin sent to the camp yesterday. Did he ever make it?”

 

“Yeah he did. Unfortunately he brought the sheriff’s men with him. He isn’t doin’ too good now. Beat him down pretty good they did. Took the carriage too. They took him away just a while ago. They were goin’ to hang him as one of us but Guy changed his mind. I dunno know why.”

 

“I do, he’s coverin’ his tracks. I showed up lookin’ for him and he thought I would suspect something if I found him here.”

 

“If you don’t mind me askin’, why exactly are you here?” said Allan as he held his bruised ribs and hobbled over to the door next to John. 

 

“Reconnaissance. Robin and Much and the others are on the way to rescue you.”

 

“Others? That’s doubtful.” The poacher looked the Torchwood Agent up and down and licked his lips smiling. “But if you’re the kind our boy Robin is recruiting, I’m all for it!”

 

“You must be Allan A Dale,” Gwen raised an eyebrow coyly at the cheeky outlaw.

 

His good eye widened in curiosity. “Oi! How did you guess?”

 

“You’re exactly as our friend described you,” she stated flatly. 

 

“Hate to break up the party with your boyfriends, lovely, but they have a date with the hangman’s noose.” The gaoler grinned as he opened the door and let the prison guards in to subdue the two men. They were manacled and led past the Torchwood Agent. She grabbed the gentle giant’s arm and leaned in, “We will get you out of this.”

 

He looked at her sadly and nodded half-believingly and the guard marched the outlaws out the door continuing on, to the courtyard.

 

Did you get all that Doctor?

 

Yes Gwen. You are becoming a natural at this.

 

It’s giving me a killer headache! Where are you guys?

 

In the courtyard of the castle, mixed in with the crowd, you need to come down before Guy suspects something is up.

 

I’ll see you there. Do you have a plan yet?

 

Jack and Robin have come up with something. We can only hope it works.

 

***

 

Much was staring nervously around the crowd with the hood of his cape drawn over his head. His pale eyes glared as he held Martha’s hand.

 

“Oww! Much you’re squeezing too hard again!” She blinked back tears as she shook out her throbbing hand.

 

“Oh sorry milady, I’m just a little nervous. Allan and Little John will hang if Jack and Robin do not act soon. I just, I just…”

 

“I know,” she rubbed his shoulder. “They will think of something. I know they’ll be brilliant.”

 

“I hope so,” said Much before letting out a gasp.

 

“What is it, Much?”

 

“Lady Gwyneth! She is sitting next to the Sheriff!”

 

***

 

Jack walked up beside Robin as he stood next to a cart with his head bowed and hood covering it. Only the outlaw’s intense green eyes showed as he watched the sheriff’s guards manhandle the two men as they led them to their deaths.

 

“So this plan, if it works, your men are saved and we are one step closer to solving this mess and going home.”

 

“And if it doesn’t?” asked Robin.

 

Jack grinned. “We’re both dead and don’t have to worry about it anymore. Well, you don’t anyway. I’ll just wake up somewhere really unpleasant.”

 

“Reassuring, Jack.” Robin said under raised eyebrows.

 

“I didn’t say it was a perfect plan,” Jack leered. “You ready for this?”

 

“I was born ready.” Robin nodded.

 

***

 

The crowd went silent as Gisborne rose up from his seat and raised a gloved hand toward them. “My people – today justice is served for Prince John and your king. These men – these outlaws – have terrorized the forest during the past months, robbing those who would seek to do business in our great town and plunging you into poverty. Today we will see this criminal behaviour come to an end. With these men’s deaths our town will be on its way to being rid of the tyranny of Robin Hood and his gang of outlaws.”

 

“Only one man needs to die here today!” Robin yelled, reducing the crowd to shocked whispers. He jumped on the platform of the scaffold and aimed his bow at the sheriff. 

 

“Hood! I thought this little public display would draw you out.” Gisborne sneered. “You are not half the coward I made you out to be.”

 

“The only coward I see here is you. On the other hand; I shall to offer you a deal. Let my men go and you may take my life.”

 

“What trickery is this, Hood? I already have what I want; your men in a noose and you in my soldiers’ sights.”

 

“You know I am far better at bow than what your hire. They may get in a lucky shot but not before my arrow finds its mark. Only one man needs to die here today! As I said, my life for theirs!” yelled Robin.

 

“What is Robin doing?!” Much shouted in alarm.

 

He tried to run toward his master but Martha held him back. “He knows what he’s doing Much, we have to let him.”

 

“But if he goes on with this, he will die! And if he dies I die!” cried Much.

 

Guy looked at his enemy flatly, “Why shouldn’t I just hang the lot of you and be done with it?”

 

“Come on Gisborne, look at them. They are barely capable of forming a thought past getting their next meal. You don’t want a bunch of dirty, uneducated peasants. You want me, the man in charge, Robin Hood. I am their leader. Without me they will have no reason to stay together. Without me they have no cause. Get rid of me and they will be gone and no longer a concern of yours, or Prince John’s.”

 

“And who is to say I wouldn’t just hang them anyway?”

 

“Because you are a Lord and you are giving me your word.” The arrow was still trained squarely on the sheriff’s heart. Only Robin’s sense of right and wrong kept him from the wishes of many a fitful night’s sleep that he should take the life of the man that took his wife from him. “They leave and you may do with me as you wish. I only ask one last request. Let me say goodbye to my men.”

 

Guy thought for a moment, his gloved hand to his chin, then the cold glint in his eyes changed to a rare look of amusement. “Guards, untie them and let them go.”

 

Gisborne’s henchmen undid the ropes and freed the two men they then shoved them toward the steps of the scaffold. John stopped and looked at his friend and fellow outlaw, “No, Robin. I don’t like this at all.”

 

“Just leave John. Take care of the others and leave Nottingham as quickly as you can.” John frowned and started to walk away but Robin grabbed his arm. “Look after Much. Help him find a good life, whatever you do, do not let him try to avenge my death. There has been enough of that.” Robin looked toward the crowd at his friend who was now weeping openly on Martha’s shoulder.

 

John nodded and went down the steps followed by Allan. “I’m sorry I lost your trust, Robin,” he said gravely.

 

“You did what you thought you had to do to survive. I know that now.” Robin put his hand on the trickster’s shoulder. “Do as John says and help look after Much.”

 

Allan smiled sadly as he followed Little John down the steps. After they were clear, Robin lowered his bow and held up his hands. The guards ran up and harshly tied the outlaw’s hands behind his back. One of the men threw a ragged hood over the archer’s head.

 

Guy looked over at Gwen’s ashen face, “Looks like there’s going to be a hanging after all.” Gwen was too busy having a mental shouting match with the Doctor to care, as she screamed in her head begging him to stop what was happening.

 

Help him Doctor. Please, do something!

 

There’s nothing I can do Gwen. I’m sorry. I’m so, so very sorry.

 

The noose meant for Allan was place around Robin’s neck. The guards stepped away and Guy nodded at the executioner to pull the lever. Instantly the trapdoor creaked as it suddenly dropped beneath the hooded outlaw. His body jerked for several seconds before it stilled and all was quiet except for the anguished cries coming from Much as the others pulled him away from the scene of horror. His eyes were wild, as he struggled to free himself of the men holding him back. His Master, the man he loved and for whom he would have laid down his life countless times, was hanging dead from a rope and there was hell to pay for those who caused it.

 

Next Week…

 

Chapter 17: Hanging Around

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
robinfanatic
Nov. 25th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
Okay... I sure hope you get the next chapter up very soon!

“Shut it, Much!” Robin finally snapped impatiently.
Robin really needs to stop treating Much this way! I'd almost say he deserves what happens at the end...

Robin smiled wryly as he strutted ahead. “That’s where you come in, Jack. You have to figure out a way to save me.”
I really want to see how you're going to get Robin out of this!!

Oh cool... you've got Vaisey in the dungeon!! woo-hoo!!! (Did I miss this in an earlier chapter?)

Gwen has many wonderful moments in this chapter!

“Come on Gisborne, look at them. They are barely capable of forming a thought past getting their next meal. You don’t want a bunch of dirty, uneducated peasants.
Great line! Reminds me of the pampered princess line Robin uses in Lardner's Ring!

Robin looked toward the crowd at his friend who was now weeping openly on Martha’s shoulder.
Poor Much! No matter how much Robin berates him, he loves him unconditionally.

*taps foot impatiently awaiting the next chapter*

darkentwisted
Nov. 30th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
I've yet to touch on exactly why and how Vaisey ended up in Nottingham dungeon. (But aren't we so glad he's there?)

Let's just say Prince John gets rather nasty when he doesn't get what he wants. Ch 17 is now posted and work on 18 has begun.

Mustn't leave poor Robin hanging. ;) Till next post.
*HHFR*
huge hugs for reading.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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