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Times Arrow (20/27)

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 20"
Copyright Notice: All characters owned by the BBC, BBC America and Tiger Aspect Media.
Lyrics to "If I Fell" Copyright 1964  by John Lennon, Paul McCartney
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, Gwen/Y2KJack/Guy, Ianto/Martha, Little John/Allan, Robin/10Doctor/Jack/Horace/Rhys/Matilda.
Warnings: Angst
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary: Twentieth chapter of my multichapter, multi fandom, fic. This series brings together characters from Robin Hood, Torchwood, and Doctor Who.  Much has a secret to share with Robin.   Tiptoe into DeNile with me

robinfanatic

  and

thestorymaker

 Betaed by the ever patient

zooeyrye

 
Previous Chapters Below:
Cover Art, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415, 1617, 1819 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6; 9


 

Chapter 20: Picking Up the Pieces

 

“He is resting.” Guy said as he came down to where Gwen was studying the CCTV footage of the previous night’s carnage in the hub. The video showed the late Torchwood leader catching each one of his agents off-guard with a fatal shot. He sat next to her and stared at the strange window that displayed violence and death. “Whatever potion you gave him appears to be working.”

 

“That’s good.” She smiled, “He could use the rest.” A chill ran down her spine as she saw the last victim shot from behind in the very chair in which she was sitting.

 

“That is this room?” He asked looking at the walls around him then back at the magic screen.

 

Gwen remembered that the man next to her had never seen a monitor before and tried to explain. “Yes, it is a screen that displays pictures and words. Right now, it is linked to those things.” She pointed to the cameras in each corner of the hub. “They record what goes on in the room and play it back here.”

 

“Record?”

 

She thought for a minute then tried her best to simplify, “It’s like being able to look inside someone’s head and seeing their memories.”

 

“Ah, I understand.” Guy said, only half truthful. “And these are the memories of those things, from before we arrived?”

 

Gwen ran her fingers nervously through her long black hair. “Yes. I always wondered what happened to the previous Torchwood team. Why none of us, save Jack, had been here any longer than a few years. He never mentioned anything about it, except that there was an incident.”

 

“You never replayed these…memories, in the future?” Guy studied her features that reminded him so much of his former fiancé.

 

“They didn’t exist by the time I started working here. Jack must have erased them.”

 

“I can see why.” Guy said, repulsed by the images that flashed in front of him. “A lady shouldn’t look at such things.”

 

Gwen shrugged, feeling his steel blue eyes on her. “It’s pretty commonplace to see this in my time. I’ve seen much worse.” She speeded up the frames, watching as Jack arrived and the former leader committed suicide. Then she watched, as Jack removed the corpses from each area and cleaned up the mess. She held back tears at the expression he bore, so contorted with grief, as he completed his gruesome task. “It must have been hell to have witnessed this first hand.”

 

***

 

The meal was cooked and served as everyone sat around the campfire. Much was glued to Robin’s side, scared that he would disappear if left alone. They exchanged glances and small smiles as they ate. This wasn’t lost on Martha who nudged Ianto and grinned, “That’s a happy twosome. I bet more than just a little reunion happened in the forest.”

 

The Torchwood agent frowned at his team-mate. “You’ve been around my boyfriend too long, Doctor Jones. You’re beginning to slash every two men you see like an LJ fan girl.”

 

She clucked at her unreasonable Welsh friend. “That’s interesting for you to say, ‘teaboy83’. I’m just sayin’ it’s grand that they have each other. It reminds me of you and Jack. I wish I could have that.”

 

He blinked at her incredulously. “So you’ve been reading my journals? And what do you mean you wish you had that? You have Tom.”

 

“When he’s not travelling the world.” She sighed and smiled at the two outlaws. Much said something that made Robin laugh. She turned back to Ianto. “I want that with Tom.”

 

“You know how that ends. He won’t have Robin much longer.”

 

“I know. And I think Much does too.” She placed her head on his shoulder, “That’s what makes it all the more wonderful. He’s living on hope and borrowed time and in the end; all that will matter is the love they had.”

 

***

 

Jack and Matilda were on more civil terms as she served him a plate. “What, you’re not going to make me wear it?”

 

“And waste good food?” she snorted. “Too many people starving around these parts.”

 

Jack chuckled and studied the face of his friend. So why the Middle Ages, Mattie?”

 

She rested her plate on her lap and sighed. “I had to get as far away from the 51st century as I could Jack. All that technology and still – wars, death, it just didn’t make sense to me.”

 

“I didn’t know that transport had civilians on it, Mattie. I would have never…”

 

“I know. You were too busy playing soldier boy.” She looked up. “Two thousand people lost their lives on that colony after the Time Agency attacked the transport. I hated you and them for so long. I always liked studying the dark ages on holograms, at the Library before they closed it. I always wanted to come to this time. Then one day I reprogrammed my VM and just left.”

 

“And ended up here?”

 

Matilda chortled. “I ended up in Cardiff in the middle of a battle and right on top of the biggest time-space rift I could find.”

 

“Oops!” He smirked.

 

“Oops is right!” She laughed. “Shorted my VM out immediately and I was thousands of years away from a service centre to repair it. Luckily I came prepared.”

 

“How so?”

 

“Brought my own supply of Retcon.”

 

“Ahh that explains the shudder when you met me.” Jack realised.

 

“I honestly thought I was from this time. I left Cardiff for Nottingham and met Rosa’s father.” She paused, looking at her beautiful daughter who was nursing her grandson. “We had ten good years before he died of the plague. I almost came out of the mental block when he died. The villagers thought I was mad when I started mentioning drugs that would save him, which I had no access to. I got the reputation for being a healer and a midwife. Helped with the births of those two over there.” She pointed at Robin and Much. “Witnessed the deaths of their parents too. Then I watched them leave for war. Never would have thought I was helping give birth to a legend.”

 

Jack smiled, “So you’re saying you’ve had a good life.”

 

She smirked, “It hasn’t all been a bed of roses. Got dunked by that stupid toad of a sheriff last year as a witch. For the most part, getting lost in the past was the best decision I ever made.”

 

“Ms. Matilda,” the Doctor interrupted. “Someone wants a word with you.”

 

Horace was still shaky but standing, as he smiled at his aunt. “Aunt Matilda.”

 

“Gods be praised, you are alive.” She rose up, walked to her injured nephew, and gently hugged him. “Hmm, still feverish but your colour is good.” She lifted the clean bandage on his head and inspected the neat row of stitches Martha had placed there.

 

“I’m impressed with your triage skills, Doctor.”

 

“Oh don’t thank me,” He grinned. “Martha did all the work.”

 

“Yes the other doctor. I will thank her too. I don’t think I would have been so fortunate with my blunt needle and herbs.”

 

“Aunt Matilda?”

 

“Yes Horace?”

 

“Can you put my bandage back and let me get something to eat now?” His large, wide set, blue eyes sought her approval.

 

She gave a contemptible look at her nephew, “Already a difficult patient. At least your appetite has returned. Go…eat!”

 

She laughed and playfully slapped him on the bum as he walked to the kitchen area.

 

The Doctor shot her a careful look then jammed his hands in his pockets, “So, Jack says you’re a former time agent too. That necklace was yours?”

 

“Yes, I left it behind in Cardiff when I moved here. After I took the retcon, it was just a necklace to me. It wasn’t functional anymore. I never dreamed it would work again. Horace was bringing it to me with his shipment for York.”

 

“Moving it away from the rift reactivated it,” the Time Lord spoke in a sombre tone.

 

“So you’re saying I caused all this?” Matilda paled.

 

The Doctor crossed his arms, “Not intentionally.”

 

She looked up at him with determination. “I’ll do what I can to help. Where is the necklace now?”

 

“We don’t know, it went off again in Nottingham castle and took Gwen – one of Jack’s people – with it, along with the Gisborne and Vaisey.”

 

She let out a wicked laugh. “Oh Doctor, I’m sorry. I am so sorry for Jack’s friend. I do hope the girl is all right but the thought of those two fools trapped in the future. They must be scared witless!”

 

***

 

He was out of his mind with disbelief. If Vaisey was mad before, this proved it. He felt the cold ground under his bare feet and the swirling air through his thin, ragged clothes and he could care less. Wherever he was, he no longer was surrounded by the stench of the dungeon and that pleased him.

 

He left the two unconscious people and made his escape out of the park, toward the row of strange flameless torches that lit the way to the even stranger city. The stone streets were nothing like the paved ones in Nottingham and nothing like the dirt paths leading to it.

 

He giggled as he passed the endless row of shop windows and the strange inhabitants of this town. He looked at the passers by and down at his own rags and thought, clothes I need clothes. He knew just how to get them. He saw a tavern with people gathered outside the doors and where there were taverns there were…yes here came one now.

 

He waited till the drunk turned down the alley then followed him. The man stopped by the side of the building to relieve himself and the former prisoner came up next to him and pretended to do the same, grinning like the lunatic he was.

 

The man was well dressed and very obviously intoxicated. He stared at the funny little man and slurred, “What are you looking at?”

 

“Oh nothing, nothing, Happy New Year,” Vaisey said as warmly as he could muster through clenched teeth.

 

“Happy New Year to you too,” the man grinned, showing a gold tooth.

 

As soon as the words were out Vaisey caught the unfortunate man with a left cross. He quickly made short work disrobing the man and putting on the warmer, more period appropriate clothes. He looked at the ground as something glinted in the moonlight. Picking up the object, he placed it in his mouth. The former sheriff smiled with the man’s lost gold tooth in place of his own missing one. “Yes, I have a feeling it will be.”

 

***

 

“Seems we have something to talk about.”

 

Robin was inspecting his arrows as Matilda sat down next to him. “I guess I do owe you an explanation,” Matilda replied. “I wasn’t trying to deceive you Robin. I took something that made me believe I always belonged here.”

 

“So you’re from Jack and the other’s time?”

 

“A little farther than that.” She laughed. “Still Jack’s time though. Ianto has been a calming influence on that lecherous lizard.” She looked over at the pair by the kitchenette. “You wouldn’t know it, but we used to be good friends.”

 

“What happened?”

 

She took a deep laboured breath. “He made a bad decision. People got hurt and people died. People I was close to.”

 

“Family?” His eyes went up from the arrow tip to her bright blue eyes as she lost herself in memory.

 

“A husband and son, Rosa’s half-brother. I was going to join them on that transport to the colony, leave the Time Agency for good. Jack and his team caught up with us and destroyed it, along with my future. All I had left was the past.”

 

Robin looked at the young mother, asleep by the fire with her baby. “Do you plan to tell her?”

 

“And steal her future away? I don’t think so.” She got up and walked over to where her family was sleeping.

 

Much quickly took her place next to his friend. His wide-eyed stare betrayed his deep desire to share the gossip. “She told you?”

 

Robin grinned as he watched her with contemplation. “Some. I have a feeling there is more to our healer than we’ll ever know.”

 

Much cleared his throat, “Speaking of the past. After what happened between us today, I need to tell you something.” 

 

Robin mused at his former manservant’s strange behaviour. “What do you need to tell me, Much.”

 

Much looked around. “Can we have this conversation…you know…somewhere private?”

 

Robin laughed as he got up and offered the blonde outlaw his hand. “Into the forest then.”

 

Much brightened and took the outlaw leaders hand as they left the light of the fire together. They walked a little way into the forest and Much stopped by a large tree and rested up against it. “You’re not the first.” He stared off into the tree line, the dim light from the fire reflecting off his sombre face.”

 

Robin eyed his friend with quiet fascination. “Considering how old you are, I would certainly hope not.”

 

Much rolled his eyes, “I don’t mean that.” He looked down at his hands. “I mean you’re not the only man I’ve …loved.”

 

“Are you talking about yourself and Master Ianto?”

 

Much raised his head in shock. “How did you…?”

 

“You wear your emotions on your sleeve, my friend.” Robin mused. “I saw the sudden closeness you two shared after the night at the warehouse and suspected” He shot an amused grin at his companion. “It is all right, Much. I am not jealous if that’s what you are worried about.”

 

“Well, it wasn’t him. Although it is true, I have a deep affection for Ianto.” He swallowed hard. “I am talking about Carter.”

 

Robin blinked in disbelief. “You and Carter, together? How? When?”

 

Much shot his friend a guilty look, “After he returned with us to the camp he came to apologise for capturing me. We talked about you and about the Holy Land.” Much looked away, embarrassed. His face reddening in the moonlight. “Then we did more than talk. It had been so long since I had someone to really talk to, not since…”

 

“We returned from the Holy Land,” Robin finished, as he wound his arms around the sullen blonde man.

 

“I felt so guilty afterwards, but you were going through your problems with Marian and I couldn’t tell you. When Carter got ready to leave, he asked me to go with him, back to Acre.” Much lowered his now wet eyes. “I said I was needed here more, by you.”

 

“You gave up your chance at love to stay with me?” Robin felt a wave of guilt creeping upon him.

 

“I hoped we would have a second chance.” He said in a reverent, almost hushed, whisper. “I never thought I would get it the way I did. Everything happened so fast. I thought he would be happy to see me but then he let us go into the desert to die. You and Marian declared your love to each other and I realised I could never have with you what I could have had with him. When he saved us, he asked for my forgiveness – asked me again to stay behind with him in Acre.” He looked up at the archer sadly. “I accepted.”

 

“Then the sheriff took him from you.” Robin’s eyes were wet now. “Oh Much, I have been such a fool. I just assumed all your grief was for Marian, as mine was.”

 

Much looked at his former master through tears. “Part of it was. But I knew you, and the others would not understand my grief for Carter, so I hid it.”

 

Robin levelled their eyes. Both on the verge crying. “You didn’t have to hide your grief. We are your friends, we would have understood.”

 

“I didn’t know that…and you needed me more than ever.” Much thrust his lower lip out in a pout.

 

Robin embraced him and let his friend cry on his shoulder. “Once again, you were there for me when I was not for you.”

 

Much rubbed his eyes and smiled as he looked up at the outlaw. “You were there for me. You just didn’t know it.”

 

Robin kissed Much softly. “I am sorry I can’t be everything you want me to be, my friend.”

 

“And I am sorry I cannot be all that you desire either, Robin.”

 

Robin pulled him close and held him. “Just know that you are my friend and I love you. And if you find yourself with someone who loves you the way you should be loved, that will be all right too.”

 

The cook wiped his eyes on his sleeve. “Right now, I am content to just be with you, my Master.”

 

“As am I, Much. As am I.” Robin smiled, and leaned back against the tree, as his former servant placed his head against his shoulder. He then rolled his eyes as the blonde outlaw broke out in song.

 

If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true? And help me understand, cos I’ve been in love before, and I found that love was more than just holding hands. If I give my heart to you I must be sure from the very start that you would love me more than her.”

 

Robin usually shushed his friend’s singing but this time he indulged him and allowed Much to continue, as his soft and slightly out of key, voice strained against the lyrics.

 

If I trust in you, oh please, don’t run and hide. If I love you too, oh please, don’t hurt my pride like her, cos I couldn't stand the pain and I would be sad if our new love was in vain. So I hope you see that I would love to love you and that she will cry when she learns we are two cos I couldn’t stand the pain. And I would be sad if our new love was in vain. So I hope you see that I would love to love you and that she will cry when she learns we are two…if I fell in love with you.”

 

The archer smiled. “That was surprisingly beautiful, Much.”

 

Much chuckled at the unexpected compliment. “Thank you master, Ianto taught it to me. I think it is magical.”

 

“Magical? How so?” Robin’s brow furrowed.

 

Much smiled against his friend’s shoulder. “Well I am not sure, but I believe he said a beetle wrote it.”

 

***

 

“It will work, Doctor!” Jack’s agitation was building towards his Gallifreyan companion.

 

“How do you know I can fix it?” the Doctor replied.

 

“Cos you’re the one who broke it!”

 

“Still sore about that I see.”

 

“A little,” Jack admitted with a grin.

 

The Doctor sighed and flipped open the screen on Jack’s manipulator. He then scanned the device with his sonic screwdriver and it suddenly sparked to life.

 

Jack licked his lips as he watched his VM reactivate, “Can I hold it?”

 

“Not on your life, time jockey!” The Doctor clucked. “There’s a reason I locked this thing before.”

 

“Yeah, I know,” Jack reluctantly agreed. “Is it picking up the other VM signal?”

 

“Not yet, just a little…got it!” A gentle pinging sound and data streaming across the small screen lamented his success.

 

“What?! What is it?” Jack hated it when the Time Lord wouldn’t let anyone in on something profound.

 

“Well, Jack?”

 

“Yes Doctor?”

 

“Do you remember what you were doing on New Years Eve, in the year 2000?”

 

***

 

Gwen was running scans on the computer trying to locate the VM. Guy had finally given in to the shock and exhaustion and curled up on a small loveseat in the break area, looking the part of a small child. She couldn’t help stealing glances at him while he slept. As much as she wanted to hate him, she found herself reaching out to the troubled man. He looked peaceful as he slept, twitching from the occasional nightmare. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was dreaming of Marian and the awful thing he did. Her thoughts were broken by the light metallic sound of feet on iron steps.

 

“You’re awake,” she noted in a hushed whisper to Jack. 

 

He was sitting in the Torchwood leader’s office with a twelve year old bottle of Scotch. “I never really slept, and I doubt after today I could ever sleep again. That’s why I went down to the lab and cooked up this.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out the capsule. The small white pill looked absolutely harmless in his hand. Only a Torchwood agent would recognise it for what it could do.

 

“What have you got there, Jack?” Gwen asked as she cautiously entered the room. She knew full well what it was and the man’s intentions to use it.

 

“Enough retcon to wipe out my entire life,” Jack replied as he took another sip from the tumbler.

 

***

 

The madman, now well dressed in a luxurious robe, sat in an expensive hotel room, bought with the strange plastic his victim carried and laughed at the television. He was getting a crash course in this new place’s ways and he enjoyed it very much. His new gold tooth gleamed as he chuckled at the funny characters on the screen. He enjoyed the fact that he seemed to be able to get away with anything in this strange new world and he couldn’t wait to try. The knock at the door surprised him.

 

“Who is it?” He called out.

 

“Room service sir.” The voice replied.

 

Vaisey was intrigued as he opened the door. He wasn’t disappointed when the face matched its voice and the blonde man at the door blushed slightly at the way he was being stared at. His voice hitched lightly as he spoke. “Just wanted to make sure you were enjoying your stay and if there was anything you needed, just ask.”

 

“Anything?” he purred, letting his robe open slightly as he talked.

 

“Well, yes anything,” stuttered the man.

 

Vaisey grabbed the concierge by the neck and held the Saracen knife to his throat. “How about we get you out of this uniform first, then we can talk about what I want.” The door closed as muffled screams sounded behind it.

 

Next week…

 

Chapter 21: Nothing Changes on New Years Day


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
aliciabmanley
Jan. 12th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
"You’re beginning to slash every two men you see like an LJ fan girl.”

YOU CRACK ME UP!!!!!

You are wonderful. The story is wonderful...

**sigh**

And I don't like waiting for a week... If you ever need a "gamma," I'm totally your backwards, upside-down "L."
robinfanatic
Jan. 13th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
oh DeNile... I am tip-toeing in the waters...

You nearly had me in tears with the Much/Robin conversation. It was wonderful and heartbreaking. *sniff* I like your take on Carter asking Much to return to the Holy Land with him. Nice touch! But you still had the sheriff kill him!
“Then the sheriff took him from you.”
AGH!!!! *huge tears*

Then I about died laughing when Much started singing!!! oh no!!!
Well I am not sure, but I believe he said a beetle wrote it.” ROTFLMAO!!

Loved this chapter. Oh wait... there's more...

Gwen. Love Gwen.

The Torchwood agent frowned at his team-mate. “You’ve been around my boyfriend too long, Doctor Jones. You’re beginning to slash every two men you see like an LJ fan girl.”
This & the reference to teaboy had me LOL!

“You know how that ends. He won’t have Robin much longer.” AGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT????

Love the additional backstory on Matilda, too. Well done!

A typo: complement should be compliment.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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