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Times Arrow (17/27)

Title: "Time's Arrow, Chapter 17"
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/10 Doctor, Much/Martha, Allan/Little John,  Martha/Little John/Allan/, Gwen/Guy, Jack/?Warnings: Angst
Rating: PG (light slash content)
Summary: Seventeenth 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, zooeyrye .  I also dedicate this chapter to  robinfanatic  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, 16 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6; 9


Chapter 17: Hanging Around


Everything was dead still. He breathed hard against the rough burlap hood that covered his head and felt hot breath come back at his face. Hands worked clumsily at the knotted ropes on his wrist. As soon as his hands were free, he pulled off the sack and stared in slack jawed disbelief at the strange world around him.


The crowd of people looked like statues on the ground below the scaffold. Some had their mouths open in mid conversation. Others were caught in mid stride or other unflattering poses. Robin blinked in complete amazement. “Witchcraft!”


“No!” The Doctor said impatiently as he checked the settings on Jack’s vortex manipulator with his sonic screwdriver. He looked utterly ridiculous dressed as the executioner and it was only through the means of the perception filter he was wearing that the guards mistook him for a bald, hairy, fourteen stone, man. “Why do you humans always have to accuse something you don’t understand, of being witchcraft?”


“How much time do we have before the time bubble collapses, Doctor?” Jack asked, already stripping off the chain mail and tunic he mugged a guard to get.


“Long enough for you and Robin to change into each others clothes and you to take his place.” 


“Right.” Robin said as he began to disrobe. He looked out at the crowd and the usually cocky outlaw felt a sudden pang of modesty. “They cannot see anything can they?”


Jack grinned removing his leggings, “Considering we are stuck between milliseconds…it’s doubtful.”


Robin pulled off his hood and handed it to the Time Agent. Jack couldn’t help taking in an eyeful of the naked outlaw’s lean body and whistling, he received a blushing grin from the man.


“C’mon Jack! No time for gutter! The time bubble is collapsing remember?” The Doctor spat in irritation, shooting the leering Agent a disapproving glare.


“Condemned man here, remember?” Jack grinned evilly. “And my dying wish is to look at the pretty outlaw a little longer.” He winked at Robin, as they both got dressed. The randy Torchwood leader then placed his hands behind his back and nodded at the archer. “Care to do the honours?” 


Robin picked up the piece of rope and did his best to duplicate the knots that Jack had tied earlier. The Time Agent couldn’t help but chuckle. “Given the right place and time, this would be downright kinky Sir Loxley.”


Robin raised an eyebrow, “what is ‘kinky’?”


Jack grinned knowingly, “God I wish I had time to tell you. Let’s just say this wasn’t exactly the way I pictured getting tied up by you.”


“Gutter Jack!” The Doctor frowned. “Times up! The bubble is collapsing. You know the drill. After you come to – hopefully they will have taken your body to the dungeon – you can go from there and try to rescue the carriage driver.”


“That’s where Allan told me they usually take the executed prisoners bodies before they bury or burn them,” Robin added. He then frowned in realisation, “Unless Gisborne tries to take my head as a trophy first.”


 “Brilliant,” said Jack acidly, “If I’m lucky, I get to die and either come back as a charcoal briquette or with my head on a pike!”


The Doctor continued un-noticing, “We’ll wait around after the outlaws leave and try to get into the castle and rescue Gwen. Hopefully our plan will work then we’ll all be back at camp by nightfall.”


“Hopefully?” snorted Jack with a roll of his eyes. “Whatever. I’m ready. Hood me and let’s get this started.”  


Robin slid the visor of the helmet over his face and stood next to the Doctor as he counted down. Suddenly everything snapped back to normal and the people around them became animated again. The trapdoor under Jack opened and he fell, the rope snapping his neck instantly. Much cried out Robin’s name as the others held him back. 


The blonde outlaw’s eyes were wide circles of shock, fury and disbelief. Gwen covered her eyes and wept as Guy leered at her and the scene of his enemy’s demise with equal pleasure. Martha, Allan and Little John looked in horror over their shoulders as they helped Ianto and Mickey push Much out of the courtyard before Guy changed his mind and sent the guards after them.


Robin frowned as he watched his grief stricken manservant in tears. “He is never going to forgive me for this.”


“We had no choice. We couldn’t risk telling them the plan,” the Doctor said as he watched the crowd dissipate. “It had to be convincing. Besides, when he finds out you survived, he’ll be overjoyed.”


“When he sees me again he will probably kill me himself for making him worry so,” Robin reasoned, getting a laugh in return as they went to cut down Jack’s body.




“We have to go back!” Much said through tears, as he was half-dragged down the road by Ianto and Mickey. Martha trailed behind with Little John and Allan as she attempted aid on Allan.


“Hold still for a tic! I’ve yet to check to see if you’ve broken any ribs.” She prodded Allan’s side gingerly as he limped, making him wince.


“Not bein’ funny my pretty bird, but that really ain’t the kind of treatment I’d rather you be givin' me. Ouch! Easy there love!”


She bit her lip. “I’m afraid it’s broken all right. I have bandages in my kit at the campsite. I’ll do my best to patch you up there.”


“I need to go get him! We can’t just leave him behind! He is all alone!” Much begged. “The Doctor…He can do something…he can help Master Robin! Lady Martha, tell them, please?!” He looked back at the Torchwood medic with large tragic eyes that ripped at her heart.


“I’m sorry, Much. You saw what happened. There is nothing we can do.”


Her logic only made the servant angrier.


“No!  I must go back! I cannot leave Master Robin alone! If he dies, I die! I —No!”


At Ianto’s sad nod, Martha pulled the small medical kit out of her apron and readied the sedative. Without a word she walked up behind Much and slid the needle into his arm. Much met Martha’s tear filled eyes with a sad mutinous look before he crumpled, “Oh lady Martha, now who will save—?” 


The blonde man’s sudden dead weight almost brought the Torchwood Agents down with him as they grabbed him. Ianto tried to pick up his friend but struggled. “I think I know now where he puts it all when he eats.”


“Allow me,” said John gently as he lifted the outlaw effortlessly and placed him over his shoulder.


“Thank you John,” Ianto smiled.


The giant sighed heavily. “He just lost the closest thing to a brother he ever had. Least I could do is take him home.”




“Leave him!” Sheriff Gisborne spat at the guard and executioner as they attempted to remove Jack’s body from the noose.


The Doctor and Robin froze at the words. The Doctor raised an eyebrow. “You don’t want us to take him to the dungeon my lord?”


“No! I want the people to see what happens when they defy the law of Nottingham. Let him hang for the buzzards! Then we’ll take his head.” With that he took Gwen’s hand and she reluctantly left the courtyard with the treacherous man. She looked over her shoulder worriedly at the two men, unaware of who they really were and thought aloud.


Please, look after him, Doctor.


The muscles in Robin’s jaw clenched as he held back choice words at his enemy. “Well there goes getting into the dungeon.”


“Not just yet,” the Doctor grinned. “Let’s just hope he doesn’t get curious and peeks under the hood to see who is really hanging there. We’ll just have to change our plans. We wait till nightfall and hope Gwen can sneak out unnoticed. Until then we get into the dungeon and try to rescue the driver.”


“And Jack?” Robin motioned to the lifeless body swinging under the platform.


The Time Lord smiled grimly at the outlaw. “He isn’t going anywhere for now. And as long as no one removes that rope, he’s staying that way.”




The velvet blackness that surrounded him wasn’t entirely unfamiliar. What was strange was that he noticed it. Usually when he died, it was just the briefest moments of nothing before the air rushed back in his lungs and sent him crashing back to reality. But now something had changed and the realisation terrified him. He wasn’t alone. Unseen hands reached out of the darkness and were all over him, grabbing and pulling and touching him. A sea of appendages in a writhing mass that had him in their clutches and wouldn’t release their hold surrounded him. Just when he thought he was on the brink of madness or being torn apart he heard a voice.


“Hullo Jack.”


“Owen?!” Jack replied in startled disbelief.


“Who else would you meet in a place like this?” 


He could hear the cynicism dripping from the long departed doctor’s voice. “Get me out of here!” He exclaimed at the unseen man desperately.


The former doctor laughed. “That’s what she sent me here for, boss. Just follow the sound of my voice, Jack. I’ve got you.”


“She?” The Torchwood leader replied but he was in silence again. The hands were gone but so was Owen. Loneliness crept back into his mind and he remained there for what seemed like an eternity. Then he noticed a light in his peripheral vision. It came closer and he realised it wasn’t just a light but a person surrounded by light. The blonde girl smiled and it dawned on him whom it was.




It was the same tongue clicking against teeth; impish grin she gave, with hands in pockets as she strolled over to him in the darkness. She brought light with her. The only thing changed about her was the eyes. In place of the lively hazel eyes she looked at him with, under long lashes the last time they met, were glowing golden orbs.


 “There’s my brave soldier,” she said, smiling.




“He’s resting.” Martha noted as she sat over Much. He was curled up and foetal by the campfire. The former servant’s face was still contorted in grief as he slept.


“I’ll keep an eye on him,” Ianto said glumly as he pulled the threadbare blanket up higher on the sleeping outlaw’s shoulders. 


“Not bein’ funny, but what exactly did you give him to put him out like that?” Allan inquired as the Torchwood doctor turned her ministrations to the multitude of injuries he had suffered at the hands of Nottingham’s sadists.


Martha looked up at the sly poacher and smiled sadly. “Medicine… I’m a doctor.”


Allan grinned as she checked out his swollen eye. “No offence pretty bird, I ain’t seen any doctor like you an’…uhhhg… I dinnit ever see a medicine work like that.” He examined the healer with a critical look out of his good eye. “How did you say you met up with our boy Robin, anyways?”


Martha thought for a second, “It’s really a long story. I don’t think you would believe me if I told you.”


“I got all night – try me.”


She quickly changed the subject. “Now that Robin is gone what will you guys do?”


“Every man for himself, I guess,” Allan shrugged. “Cannot exactly feed the needy when you are worried about fillin’ you own belly. Robin always figured out a way to look out for us outlaws an’ the poor too. I actually think I am goin’ to miss him. Guess its back to the life of livin’ by my wits for me.”


No… separate we will not!” Little John exclaimed handing Allan a bowl of stew. “We stay together! Robin would have wanted that. We stay—for him. Right now Much needs us!” He gestured with his spoon at the fitfully sleeping man by the campfire.


“John, I was jus’ sayin’…”


“I know what you were just sayin’,” the older man spat back. “Ears I have. But we must honour Robin’s last wishes. He would want us to stay together. He would want us to fight Prince John and Gisborne till our own dyin’ breaths as he did.” He punctuated his statement at the robber with his utensil, “We stay together!”




Gwen could barely stay in the same room with the man she had watched order her friend to die, without wanting to reach out and tear the skin off his face. She sat at the great table in the dining hall and picked at the sumptuous meal before her. The thought of eating with the man leering at her made her stomach wretch and she asked the servant for more wine hoping its potency would dull the feelings of hate and mourning she felt. She looked up at the servant pouring for her and suddenly choked on the mouthful of bread. 


Rhys looked even more ridiculous as a castle servant than he did as her squire and he quickly covered his lip with his finger to stifle her exclamation.


“Are you all right milady?” he asked, trying very hard to suppress a giggle at his poor wife’s shocked surprise, patting her back.


“Servant! Remember yourself!” Gisborne spat as he rushed to the end of the table and took over the care of the young Agent.


“Yes, my lord!” Rhys said almost angrily and he looked ahead, trying not to focus on the strange man tending to his wife. 


“Are you all right Lady Gwyneth?” Guy said with a surprising amount of warmth and compassion.


“I am fine,” she answered back, nervously wiping her mouth on the fine linen napkin.


Gisborne looked angrily at the impudent servant, “You may go. We will call you when you are needed again.”


Rhys started to tell the puffed-up windbag exactly where he should go but decided a trip to the dungeon wasn’t the best way to keep an eye on his wife, so instead, he answered, “As you wish, my Lord.” He left the room casting a rueful glance at the nobleman.


Guy settled back into his chair and studied the new target of his affections, “Apologies milady. I must speak to the housemaster about his selection of servants.”


Gwen smiled back politely but inside she was wishing she could walk out of the room after her husband. “It is so hard to find good help.”


“I trust the accommodations are to your liking, Milady?”


“Yes they are fine. The room certainly has a ‘woman’s touch,” replied Gwen, wondering where the conversation was going.


“The previous occupant – my wife to be. Something happened. She is gone now.” His tone changed and Gwen chose not to pursue the topic any longer.


“I hope you enjoy some light music while we dine.” Guy smirked, clapping his hands and two men entered the room with musical instruments. He walked from his end of the table and offered the Torchwood Agent his hand. “If you would give me the honour as to ask for a dance?”


Gwen gave her best coy smile although her stomach turned at the thought of his romantic endeavours. “Sir Guy, you do know how to make a lady feel welcome.” She finished her glass of wine as the minstrels played and found herself swept up in the menacing, yet so intoxicatingly sexy man’s arms.


Mentally she compared notes between the darkly attractive man before her and Robin. It was amazing they were mortal enemies, being so different and yet so alike. Where Robin was at first lively and warm, Guy was brooding and distant till you got closer. It amazed her how the roles reversed. Robin grew more distant the closer one got to him but Guy opened up the closer you became and she peered ever so briefly at the tortured soul behind the winter-blue eyes. Both men were so intensely sure of themselves and what they believed, but so hungry for the approval of others. Her train of thought was derailed by the sudden interruption in her head.




Guy noticed the sudden change in her expression. “Is everything all right, lady Gwyneth?”


“Headache.” She lied. “I probably need to lie down.”


“I will send for the physician,” he offered.


“No I will be fine — really. I just need to go lie down for a while.” She started to leave the room then looked over her shoulder at the perplexed man. Despite her best intentions she felt as pang of sorrow for him, “I had a lovely time…really.”


“Get well,” he smiled sadly and kissed her hand upon leaving.


Once she cleared the doorway of the great hall she continued the mental conversation with the Doctor.


Did you have to sneak up in my head like that?


Pardon me, Lady Gwyneth, but I was trying to rescue you! What were you doing anyhow?


Dancing with Gisborne.


Dancing?! What is it with you and dining and dancing with the wrong men?


We’ll I couldn’t bloody turn him down now could I?


Good point, but you don’t have to be so snippy young lady.


You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m still kinda upset about Robin.


Yeah about that…he’s fine.




We did a little timey-wimey switch around. That was Jack in the noose. Robin is here with me but we have a problem.


Where’s Jack?


That’s the problem. He is still hanging outside under Gisborne’s guard. Guy plans to have his…err… Robin’s head on a pike. We have to get Jack down and reanimated and save you and the driver before dawn.


We have bigger problems I’m afraid. Rhys is here too and if he keeps things up the way he’s going we’ll have to break him out of the dungeon too.




The conversation was cut short by a hand over her mouth as she was whisked into a dark corner.






“Rhys, you big idiot! What are ya doin’!”


“Trying to rescue you – what does it look like?” Rhys asked, kissing her briefly.




Looking into the strange eyes of his former companion was one thing, but what happened next left Jack reeling.


They were there. The moment they first met, on the Chula warship, tethered to Big Ben. ‘Moonlight Serenade’ wafted up from the open hatch below and she was there, in his arms, in her oh so, revealing ‘Union Jack’ tee shirt…dancing. Her lips tasted of champagne and fear as she withdrew from their deep kiss and looked at him. Only the expression and the eyes that held it had changed from that of his memory. Where bewilderment and shock was before was a benevolent calm in her glowing eyes, as if where they were and what they were doing was the most natural thing in the world.


“How –”


“We always come here.” She patiently explained, “It’s your happiest memory of us. I let you because you enjoy it so.”


“Is this real?” Jack had forgotten the way she smelled, like lemon verbena. He breathed deep and took in her scent.


“As real as you want it to be, my brave soldier.” She took his face in her hand and looked into his eyes.


“Don’t call me that.” He looked around as London burned under them and bombs dropped. “I wasn’t brave then and I’m not brave now. I’m dead somewhere and this is just some afterlife hallucination.”


“But you are my brave soldier,” Rose corrected. “I brought you back for a reason, Jack.

I need you to believe that. It is the only way you’ll be ready for what lies ahead.”


The Time Agent smiled at her reasoning, then his brow furrowed. “Something’s wrong. I should have gone back by now.”


She smiled and her glowing eyes danced, “You will, but we have to talk first.”



Next Week…

Chapter 18: Bad Wolf Rising



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 30th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Me = behind on reading.

I'm kicking myself in the arse and planning a coup. I'm hating that the holidays have interfered with my darkentwisted-internet-fan-fic goodies. But, tomorrow is a new day and I'm going to lock myself in my room for an hour or so and get up-to-date.

Also, I've just realised that I have a thing for hyphens... and elipses...

Dec. 1st, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
I'm kinda an em-dash person myself--
and a heavy user of elipses... it must be a sickness of some kind eh? ;)

Dec. 1st, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
I do luvs my --dashes and ...elipses.

I also have a thing for my cut to *** whateverthehelltheyares. I love multiple plot and subplot scenes.

Just as long as you all read and love it, I will write in braille if I have to.

I haveta admit for my first novel this has been a rush. I wake up thinking character, plot, storyline.

Ughhh what to write about next and how to end it all.

I know the ending and how to get there. All you have to do is come along for the ride. Ten chapters left! Woo Hoo!

Dec. 1st, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
whoa... I don't think anyone's ever dedicated a chapter of anything to me before. I'm honored.

Must go devour this chapter now...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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