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Time's Arrow (18/27)

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 18"
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/Much, Much/Ianto,  Gwen/Rhys/Guy, Robin/10Doctor/Vaisey, Much/Little John/Allan/,  Jack/BadWolf Rose, Robin/10Doctor/Jack/Vaisey/Gwen/Rhys/Guy.
Warnings: Angst
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary: Eighteenth chapter of my multichapter, multi fandom, fic. This series brings together characters from Robin Hood, Torchwood, and Doctor Who.  Robin, Jack and the Doctor's plan to rescue Gwen and Horace goes slightly awry. 

As usual, I dedicate and give unfathomable thanks to my beta, </a></font></b></a>zooeyrye .  I also dedicate this chapter to  </a></font></b></a>robinfanatic   and aliciabmanley  for the constant praise and feedback.  You keep me going.  Thank you! :)

Previous Chapters Below:
Cover Art, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415, 1617 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6; 9

 

Chapter 18: Bad Wolf Rising

 

He stood at the edge of the pond looking at his reflection in the water. Just a few steps and I’ll be under and with my master, he thought sadly. “I’m coming Master Robin. If you die — I die.” Much reverently removed his stocking cap and laid it on the bank and pulled his beloved vest up over his head. He started to set it down on the edge of the pond so as not to get it wet but froze at the reflection in the water. Robin was standing behind him. He had the same self-assured grin on his face he always did under the familiarly thick eyebrows. He turned around to be sure and almost bumped noses with the outlaw leader. “Robin! You are alive!” His excitement got the best of him and he suddenly crushed his master in a bear hug. 

 

Robin laughed as his friend ran his hands over him, checking that he was real and unharmed. He then cuffed Much’s neck in his hand and caught him entirely off guard with a bruising kiss. Much let out a surprised moan and closed his eyes. His mind barely catching up with the sensation of having his master’s tongue in his mouth, he felt his knees buckle slightly in shock as the nobleman supported them both. 

 

When Robin released him from the embrace they touched foreheads and the blonde outlaw caught his breath, “How–?”

 

“Jack saved me. As promised,” said Robin with a smile.

 

“I thought you were dead. I was about to…”

 

“I know,” Robin replied. “You won’t have to. I shan’t leave you again. You will join me instead.” Robin’s tone changed and Much felt a sudden pressure. He looked down to see the outlaw’s dagger buried to the hilt in his chest. 

 

Each beat of the blonde man’s heart made the handle twitch. His body went cold as he looked up to see that his friend’s face had changed as well. It was still Robin but the skin had gone grey and pale with death, the cheeks hollow and the eyes had been picked out.

 

“You left me to die. Now join me,” said Robin with a twisted grin. He stared at the, dying outlaw with eyeless sockets. “What’s the matter, Much? You said if I died you would die. Now is your chance!”

 

With that he grasped the knife in the screaming man’s chest and pulled it out, laughing as the spray of blood covered his grotesque face.

 

“AHHHHHHH! Robin, No! Please! I tried to save you! I tried!”

 

Ianto was standing over him as he suddenly woke, screaming. Much clutched the Torchwood agent’s arm as he gasped for breath to scream again his eyes wild with fright.

“It’s okay, Much. It was only a nightmare. It’s okay,” said Ianto as he rubbed the hysterical man’s shoulder. Martha made to pull away from Allan, whose wounds she was dressing, but halted at Ianto’s hand. She nodded in understanding and turned back to the injured outlaw.

 

“He was here Ianto, as real as you are. I didn’t save him and now he is angry with me. I should have stopped him.” Much choked back sobs as his friend held him gently.

 

“You didn’t know what he was going to do, Much. It’s not your fault,” rationalised Ianto.

 

“I could have saved him.”

 

“And let Allan and John die?” Ianto questioned. “I don’t think Robin would have forgiven himself if they hanged. He did what he felt he had to do.”

 

Much looked up with red-rimmed eyes, “And now he is lost, Ianto. What will become of me now?”

 

Ianto studied his mourning friend, “You go on. You honour and remember him.”

 

“Right now I just want to bury him properly before Gisborne defiles his corpse.” Much supplied, drying his eyes on his sleeve and looking away.

 

“We’ll do that. Jack and I will be certain of it.” Ianto then smiled at the outlaw, “You feel like eating now? I made dinner. Real rabbit too.”

 

Much smiled despite his continued tears. “Thank you, Ianto. I would like that.”

 

***

 

“You can’t be here!” Gwen’s large brown eyes glared at her husband in concern and relief.

 

“If you think I’m leavin’ my wife alone with Mr. Happy Leather-pants in there, you got another thing comin’. What are ya doin’ here anyway?”

 

“If you would have listened back in the TARDIS,” she admonished, “I am here to help find the missing driver.”

 

“Oh you mean Horace?”

 

“Who?!”

 

“Horace, the carriage driver,” Rhys explained. “Gisborne has him held prisoner in the dungeon.”

 

Gwen stared at her ridiculously dressed husband in slack jawed amazement, “How do you know that?”

 

Rhys thumped his head with his finger and gave his wife a self-important grin. “First rule of espionage; when hunting for something in a mansion, dress up as one of the kitchen staff. They know everything.”

 

Gwen excitedly kissed her husband and cuffed his face in her hands. “Rhys Williams, I love you! Who knew all those nights you stayed up late watchin’ spy films would pay off?” 

 

Rhys grinned wryly, “Oi! I wasn’t watchin’ telly. I was doing research.”

 

Gwen rolled her eyes and looked at her cheeky partner. “We have to find Robin and the Doctor and tell them so we can get out of here.”

 

“Can’t you just, you know?” He made a whirling motion around his head.

 

“I think I’d rather tell him in person. All that psychic stuff is giving me a real headache,” she frowned.

 

They turned the corner and were met face to face with a very surprised and unhappy Sheriff Gisborne. “Lady Gwyneth, you are feeling better I see. And what exactly are you doing with my servant?”

 

***

 

Robin and The Doctor snaked their way through the dark dungeon, flattening themselves against the walls at the first noise. They made their way past the guards at the door, and crept to the section where the archer remembered the cells to be. “I think this is the way.”

 

“Are you sure?” the Doctor asked.

 

“I spent more time down here than I would ever like,” Robin grinned. “That way, through those doors with the bars on them, is the interrogation room. I spent a lot of time in there too.”

 

“Charming.”

 

“If they are holding Horace anywhere it would be down that hallway. We should go there.”

 

They filed past the row of cells holding the various poor souls that had either met with ill favour of the sheriff or somehow or other displeased Prince John. The last cell held the screaming former sheriff who recognised Robin immediately.

 

“Hood! Hood! I knew you would come to my rescue! At last I can get out of this blasted cell and go back to where I belong!” Vaisey was cackling madly as he shook the bars. 

 

Even Robin, who had faced the man countless times before, was taken aback at how much he had degenerated in captivity. Robin had always suspected the former sheriff of madness but now there was truly no doubt. Even though he knew he would regret the interaction, he couldn’t resist poking a bit of fun. “Well what have we here? Someone has caged a buzzard.” His eyes danced like living emeralds as he stared at the object of his ultimate hatred.

 

“Go ahead and make sport of me, Hood! I don’t care! Just get me out of here and I will do whatever you want. I will put you in that traitor’s place. You want your land and title back? Done! Just say you will help me get Gisborne!”

 

The outlaw feigned interest and leaned in. “Anything, you say?”

 

Vaisey grinned. His eyes glimmered in the dim light with renewed hope. “Whatever you want, Hood. You’ll never have to see that nasty forest again.”

 

Robin pretended to think for a second, and then motioned the former sheriff in closer. “What I want back, you could never return to me, Vaisey.” He said morosely, grabbing the tattered shirt of the insane prisoner through the bars. “You took my wife. And for that I hope you rot here in your own filth forever.” At that he pushed the condemned man roughly and walked away with the Doctor. Robin turned the corner, his eyes searching for the man they had come after.

 

Vaisey followed them with his eyes and calmed, looking down at the palm of his hand. While distracting Robin, he had snagged something out of the pocket of the odd man that was with his mortal enemy and he stopped to look at it. “What have we here?” He grinned manically, thinking he could trade it to the guard for just a few precious minutes of daylight. Laughing, he returned to his filthy cell to bide his time.

 

***

 

The team ate in silence. No one wanted to discuss the tragic events of the day and the loss of the gang’s leader. Little John couldn’t tolerate the pained look on the camp cook’s face any longer. He put his hand on Much’s arm and gazed into his sad blue eyes. “We will go get Robin back. We will bury him here, in the forest.”

 

Much smiled and shook his head, “No. We will cremate him and take his ashes to the Holy Land, to where Marian is buried. He would like that.” 

 

“That, he would,” said John. “At nightfall, we will go get him and rescue our new friends.”

 

“Not bein’ funny, but innit just what the sheriff would be expectin’?” Allan pointed out, pulling his tunic on awkwardly with one hand.

 

“What do you care? We did not ask you to come along anyway,” Much spat. 

 

Allan looked hurt. “Fellas, I am one of the gang now. Of course I would come along. I am just sayin’ I know Gis. This is jus’ the sorta thing he would take advantage of to get all of us. We need to wait until they don’t expect us coming.”

 

Much rose up in anger and planted a firm punch on his jaw. He was on top of Allan as he hit the ground. “You would like that! To see Robin’s head on a pike! You, Gisborne and Vaisey would like that very much! You never liked Robin anyway! You wanted him dead!” Much broke into tears again and walked away, leaving Allan on the ground struggling to get up. John walked over and tried to help the fallen outlaw.

 

“No! I can help myself! I wouldn’t want you to soil your ’ands on the nasty traitor or nuffin.”

 

John looked hurt at first but then his brow furrowed. He reached down, grabbed the fallen outlaw by the arm and helped him to his feet with a grunt. “What we are or were does not matter now. We stay together. For Robin.” Allan nodded sullenly, rubbing his jaw, and walked aimlessly over to the Torchwood team.

 

***

 

“Pardon me if I seem a little confused. But aren’t you supposed to be on some Alternate Earth somewhere, with the other Doctor?”

 

“John Smith.” Rose grinned.

 

“Seriously?” said Jack, his eyebrow shooting upward in amusement. 

 

“They’re Mr. and Mrs. John and Rose Smith now actually.”

 

“They? But you’re…”

 

“I am.”

 

Jacks head was reeling. “Exactly what happened on that television satellite?”

 

Rose smiled, “I became the Bad Wolf. I created myself through all space and time and across the multiverse. Even the Doctor doesn’t know that trick yet. I put myself in every moment and every possible point in every universe. It was the only way I could save you and the Doctor and stop the Daleks.” 

 

“By fracturing yourself,” Jack looked down at the deceptively delicate young woman in his arms.

 

“A small price to pay for saving the universe,” said Rose.

 

“And the human Rose?” Jack asked as they danced.

 

“A small part of me. The Doctor thought he had spared me from the effects of the eye of harmony but the damage had already been done. The Bad Wolf had been released. Now it’s up to me to keep the darkness at bay.”

 

“The darkness?” He felt a knot of dread building in his stomach at the words.

 

“The darkness out there between universes.” She pointed at the dark night sky beyond the illumination of the searchlights and fires. “It’s coming and I need an army to stop it. That’s why I saved you. You think what happened to you was an accident. Collateral damage of the last great time war? There are no accidents, Jack. I needed you to live.”  

 

Jack focussed in on his friend in anger. “But at what cost, Rose? I can’t die. I’ve outlived everyone I love. I’m so tired. I just want to rest. You took away my humanity.”

 

“We all make sacrifices, Jack.”

 

“Why do you need me? What’s in the darkness, Rose? Tell me.” 

 

“I can’t. You’re not ready yet. Soon you will be, but not now. Time to go back, Jack.”

 

With these words, he was plunged into darkness again. A rush of breath in his lungs broke the silence as he returned to life.

 

***

 

Gisborne led his new prisoners to the dungeons himself. He was humiliated by the deception the young lady had subjected him to and was determined to make her and her accomplice pay for their machinations. Without a word he followed his guards as they forced Rhys and Gwen into the small dark, foul smelling rooms.

 

“You don’t need to do this,” Gwen begged. “I can explain everything!”

 

“Save your explanations for the rack, milady if that is indeed what you are.” Gisborne’s eyes glistened with hatred. “Spies for Robin Hood will not scheme me.”

 

“But we are not spies!  I was just tryin’ to find out the fate of my driver!”

 

“And you could not trust me enough to take me for my word.” Guy looked more hurt than angered and Gwen knew from experience that there was no more menacing a person than a man with wounded pride.

 

“It was never my intention to deceive you my lord.” Gwen said, hoping to turn the situation around.

 

A gloved hand stopped her. “Tell it to the gaoler.”

 

The gaoler pushed the two unfortunate time travellers into the small cell as laughter cackled from the next room.

 

“What are you laughing at Vaisey?” Gisborne smirked.

 

“Taken in by another leper it sounds like, Guy.” The former sheriff said gleefully, pressing his face against the iron bars of his cell.

 

“That is none of your business now and it is Sheriff Gisborne to you now.”

 

“Oh excuse me, Sheriff,” Vaisey mocked. “Perhaps you who should not forget that it was I who got you to where you are now. If it were not for me there would have been no one for you to backstab to get to where you are now.”

 

With this Gisborne rushed over to the wall and grabbed the inmate by the shirt. “I have made my sacrifice to the cause. I lost my heart. Your freedom was a smaller price to pay in comparison.”

 

Vaisey reached out and place his hand on the Sheriff’s shoulder. “Oh poor Gizzy,” the prisoner said in mock sympathy, his gap tooth grin menacing the dark nobleman in its venomous glare. “The leper led you on and broke your poor heart. It was still no reason to turn on me to Prince John! I made you as you are! I raised you from nothing! We could have had it all together!”

 

“You could not see the plan past your own greed, Vaisey!” Guy coolly and patiently supplied to the lunatic. “Prince John needed a man of action, not one of spoiled complacency. Now remove your hand from me or I will have the guard do it for me.”

 

To emphasise this, the gaoler nicked the former sheriff’s wrist with a flick of his dagger, making the imprisoned noble scream out in pain and pull back his wounded hand. “I’ll see you hang for this Gisborne! Prince John will see who the real traitor is!”

 

“I’m looking at the real traitor, Vaisey,” Guy replied. “And I will see to it you never see daylight again.”

 

At this the Sheriff turned heal and left the cell followed by the echo of expletives from the captive man. Vaisey stopped yelling and grinned, once his captor was out of earshot. The cut on his wrist hurt but it was so worth it to get what he wanted.

 

***

 

Jasper and his guards met with Guy as he walked down the corridor toward the great hall, “Sheriff you need to come down to the courtyard at once!”

 

“What is the problem, Jasper? I don’t have time for your nonsense. I asked you to get the body ready for public display. I have already captured two more spies in the castle and I have a feeling all this is related somehow to a certain deceased outlaw.”

 

“That is just it my lord,” the nobleman added, fearing the coming outburst. “The hanged man is not Hood.”

 

“What?! Impossible! I watched him hang myself. There was no way Hood could escape my men and a courtyard full of witnesses. You must be mistaken!”

 

“I am afraid I am not Sir Guy. Although I have not had the displeasure of meeting the man myself, the body my soldiers cut down does not resemble the former Earl of Huntingdon.”

 

By this time they had reached the courtyard and the body was covered in a crude tarp.

 

Gisborne lifted the edge of the fabric and was met with the pale, quite dead face of Jack Harkness. “It is not Hood!” He grabbed the knotted rope around the dead man’s neck and with one flick of his dagger removed it. He studied the noose for any sign of trickery. “Clever man! I don’t know how he did it but I dare say I am impressed. Find out who this man was! And send the guards out into the forest now! Find Hood and his gang!”

 

A sudden gasp from the group turned the Sheriff on his heels to see the dead man rise up and claw at the rough fabric on his face. Gisborne pulled the fabric off and was met with a sly grin from the reanimated agent. “Hi there blue eyes.” Jack wasted no time scanning the entire length of the man now standing over him and letting out a satisfied whistle, “How did you know I love a man in leather?”

 

***

 

Robin and the Doctor blindly navigated their way through rows of human misery as they looked for the elusive carriage driver. The last cell held the gaoler and court physician and an unconscious prisoner. “It will not be long now. The fever has a firm hold on him. I doubt he will last through the night.”

 

“One less, dirty little secret for our lord Gisborne to hide,” the gaoler grinned. “I’ll add this one to the heap of bodies to be burned tonight.” Neither one saw the two men sneaking up behind him. A right cross from Robin left the gaoler passed out on the dirty floor. The Doctor struggled a little with the surprisingly energetic healer but finally he too succumbed to the headlock the Time Lord had him in.

 

When both men were down, the Doctor went over to examine Horace. “He was right, the infection he has is shutting him down. We have to get him back to camp and hope what supplies Martha thought to take out of the TARDIS before it disappeared will be enough to save him.”

 

“Let us be on then.” The outlaw already had the young man on his feet and precariously out the door before he finished speaking.  

 

They walked a short distance before the taunting voice of his former rival taunted Robin and The Doctor again. “Oh Hood!”

 

“What do you want Vaisey!” Robin spat as he strained under the weight of the ill young man he was practically carrying.

 

“I don’t want anything Hood, but your leper friend might.”

 

Doctor, be careful! He’s got a knife!

 

Before the Time Lord could reply, he saw Gwen held tight against the bars of the adjoining cell by the dagger wielding madman. It was what the man held in his other hand made his alien blood run cold.

 

“How did you get that?!” The Doctor exclaimed as Rhys ran over to where the two men were. 

 

“He feigned that he was ill and when Gwen went over to help him he grabbed her! Do something, please?” 

 

“Do not do anything foolish, Vaisey. Put down the dagger and the necklace and we will talk.”

 

“I am through talking Hood! I want out of here and if it means taking another pretty little leper away from you, so be it!”

 

“Let her go Vaisey! She has nothing to do with this!”

 

“And whatever you do, put down that necklace!” the Doctor added.

 

“You mean this? Oh it must be very valuable indeed if you show more concern for it than the leper.”

 

Colours already swirled around the stone as the madman waved it in his hand. “Be careful there! Please!” The Doctor scanned the energy levels around them as Robin continued to try and reason with him.

 

“Vaisey, listen to me. That necklace is very dangerous in the wrong hands. You must let it go and step away from it now. You are placing yourself and Lady Gwyneth in grave danger.”

 

“There you are Hood!” Suddenly the dark form of Sheriff Gisborne appeared with the bound Torchwood leader in tow. “Now you will not escape me!”

 

“I’m a little busy here, Gisborne!” Robin spat irritated. “Vaisey here decided to hold my friend hostage.”

 

“Well, come to join our little party, Gizzy?” 

 

“Jack!” Gwen was torn between the terror of her current situation and the joy of seeing her team leader alive. 

 

“Don’t move Gwen!” Jack cautioned. “The necklace is activated. Any sudden moves and the vortex will open.”

 

“I understand that!” She rolled her eyes and nodded behind her. “Someone please tell him!”

 

“Let her go Vaisey!” Gisborne had already let himself in the cell and was moving slowly toward the former sheriff.

 

“Oh, be so careful Hood,’ the madman said mocking. “Looks like someone else has feelings for the little leper. She is a pretty one and so feisty.” Vaisey turned to his hostage, “I think he likes you pretty bird. Maybe he won’t put a sword through you like he did the other one.”

 

“Shut up!” Gisborne growled through clenched teeth.

 

“In case you have not noticed I have the captive here. So I give the orders!” Vaisey pulled the helpless Torchwood agent closer with the dagger to emphasise his point.

 

Gisborne’s eyes burned with hatred, “Whatever you want, Vaisey. Just don’t hurt her.”

 

“I want my freedom!”

 

“You know I cannot give you that,” Guy reasoned. “Only Prince John can release you.”

 

“Then I want a better prison!” In the heat of arguing, Vaisey released his grip on the dagger.

 

I’m going to get the necklace, Doctor!

 

Before the Time Lord could react to the mental message, Gwen turned around and knocked the dagger out of the former sheriff’s hand. She then reached for the necklace and all hell broke loose.

 

Gisborne closed the distance between himself and the former sheriff and they entangled as Gwen tried to wrestle the necklace out of his hand. Behind them, a light appeared that quickly widened to a large time vortex.

 

“Hold on!” The Doctor yelled.

 

“Gwen!” Rhys tried to run over to his wife but was held back by Jack. 

 

“It’s too late! We can’t stop it!”

 

With a sudden pop, the three people in the cell disappeared, leaving the rest, staring in shock.

 

“Gwen!” Rhys turned to the Torchwood leader in a mix of anger, and grief. “Fix this, Jack! You have to fix this and get her back!”

 

“I will Rhys.” Jack stared at the now empty cell. “Whatever it takes, I will!”

 

 

Next week…

Chapter 19: Cardiff or Bust!


 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
aliciabmanley
Dec. 16th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
Awwww! You're the bestest of the bestest.
robinfanatic
Dec. 18th, 2008 02:28 am (UTC)
You sure have a way building us up & tearing us down...
Robin’s tone changed and Much felt a sudden pressure. He looked down to see the outlaw’s dagger buried to the hilt in his chest.
Keeps us guessing!!

So glad Ianto is there to comfort our dear Much!

Mr. Happy Leather-pants
ROTFL!!! How can I ever look at Guy again without thinking this!

Good Vaisey characterization. Still as evil as ever!

Hi there blue eyes.” Jack wasted no time scanning the entire length of the man now standing over him and letting out a satisfied whistle, “How did you know I love a man in leather?”
OMG!!! This is hilarious! Love it!

Another nail biting chapter! Great job!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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