Title: Time's Arrow 26/27
Length: This chapter, 8,358 words
Warnings: Spoilers for RH Post 2:13, DW Post 4:13, TW Post 2:13
Pairings/Characters: Y2KJack, 10Doctor, Gwen, Mickey, Robin, Much, Rhys, Guy, Vaisey, Jack, Ianto, Little John, Martha, Matilda, Allan, Kate, Jasper, Prince John, Ellingham Original Character: Horace (Played by Colin Morgan, (Merlin)
Summary: Chapter 26 of my ongoing crossover novella; Torchwood, Robin Hood, Doctor Who. The team in the year 2000 returns to 12th century Engand but will it be in time for Robin and Gisbourne to save Nottingham from Prince John?
Disclaimer: All Characters Owned by BBC, BBC Wales, BBC America, Tiger Aspect Media.
Posting this using Semagic, Thanks lankyguy for the suggest!
As usual, props to my long-suffering beta, zooeyrye. Last chapter on the way, hang in there babe!
And to robinfanatic, thestorymaker and aliciabmanley for spurring me along.
Previous Chapters Below:
Cover Art, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6, 9, 23
Chapter 26: Forget Everything
“No fair! You cheated!” Much felt strong hands encircle his waist as he leaned back against the naked agent.
“Did I mention that 51st century humans also have an overdeveloped sense of smell?” Jack purred as he nuzzled the blonde outlaw’s bare shoulder. “And a little reminder for next time. If you want to play naked hide and seek with me, you may want to skip the rose petal baths before you do.”
“So I happen to like rose petals,” Much snorted.
Jack laughed as he held his new friend close. “You know you don’t have to go back with the others right now. I have one of those things too. I can get the Doctor to fix it and take you back…oh in a month, or a year, or so.” Jack held Much close as they caressed each other’s delightfully naked skin.
“I don’t think he would like that. And neither would Robin.” The manservant pouted. “It is tempting….And so are you.”
Jack ran a finger along Much’s strong jaw line. “He doesn’t care about you like I can.”
Much eyed his unexpected lover cautiously, “But he does love me. And I must look after him.” He smiled with a touch of sadness. “Thank you for the offer though.”
“Any time, blue eyes.” The Torchwood leader ran his lips down the other man’s neck in such a delicious way that the outlaw squirmed with pleasure.
The air was thick in the greenhouse with Jack’s pheromones and the manservant was drunk on lust. “Master Jack?”
“Oh, I love it when you call me ‘master’.” The Time Agent lazily replied as he ground his hips into the man in front of him. “What is it?”
“I do believe you are it!” Much smiled, broke the embrace and ran off among the plants as his lover closed his eyes with a laugh and started counting.
“1…2…3….” Jack opened one eye as he watched the cute naked blonde scurrying to find a hiding place amongst the foliage. He was so glad he’d thought up this game.
Robin walked up to Gwen as she prepared to return to the past. She was once again in the green gown that reminded the outlaw so much of his late wife that he couldn’t help but pause as he touched her shoulder. “Lady Gwyneth have you seen my former manservant?”
She cast an amused gaze at her friend. “He’s up in the green house with Jack. He wanted to see the alien plants we have up there.” She rolled her eyes. “At least I hope that’s what Jack is showing him.” She gave the outlaw leader a curious look. “Back to formalities are we, Lord Loxley?”
“Well, if you keep insisting on dressing like such a lady.” He grinned then his face changed. “I must apologise. I have behaved horribly since we arrived here. I brought the fight with my enemy into your house and I should have better contained myself.” His upturned boyish green eyes appeared to seek her forgiveness.
“After what Gisborne did to you, you had a right.” Gwen relented. “I tried to project my twenty-first century morals on you and it wasn’t fair. You must handle it in your own way.” She grasped his hand in hers. “Just do me a favour Robin and don’t let it consume you.”
He nodded in complete understanding. “I will try not to – but I must avenge Marian’s death.”
“Is that what she would have wanted?” The brunette searched his eyes. “For you to kill Guy as punishment for what he did. It just doesn’t sound like the Marian Fitzwalter you described to me.”
“A life for a life. So teaches the Qur’an.” The archer shrugged.
“It also teaches that the power of life and death is only to be wielded by the hand of Allah.” Gwen quoted back.
“I won’t stop fighting him, Gwen.” Robin glared. “If it is against God, Allah, Mohammad, Jesus or whomever, I will deal with that in the afterlife. Gisborne must pay for what happened.”
The Torchwood agent looked him in the eye. “And when you have your justice Robin, will you have peace as well?
Robin started to walk away and looked back at her. “Do any of us really have peace?”
Much walked down the metal stairs at that moment, adjusting his skullcap. He looked up at his former master and Gwen. The slight blush on his face betrayed what he had been doing with the Torchwood agent. Gwen knew too well the favourite activities of her employer in the greenhouse and she stifled a giggle.
“The conquering hero returns!” Robin grinned as he patted his servant on the back. He stopped and pulled a leaf that was caught in the outlaw’s hair. “Did you enjoy the plant life?” Much stymied an explanation as Robin playfully shushed him. “It is all right my friend. After what you have been through today a little ‘commune with nature’ would do us all good.”
Much grinned sheepishly. “Yes…a commune with nature.”
The archer let the subject drop mercifully as he handed his friend the leaf, winked cheekily and walked away. Much smiled. He knew a euphemism when he heard one.
As soon as Robin left the room, Much walked over to Gwen as she finished packing provisions for the trip back. “How is he?”
She studied the face of the blonde outlaw and to her surprise found genuine concern. “He’s in the infirmary. He lost a lot of blood. Lucky for him, the bullet missed the auxiliary artery; but just barely.”
“Oh.” Much answered, not completely understanding.
She smiled, “He’ll be fine. I’m letting him sleep until we are ready to leave.”
The outlaw looked at the floor as he spoke. “What he did today was a brave thing.”
“You were pretty brave yourself,” noted Gwen.
“I just hardly expected it. He saved Robin, even after what they did to each other.”
Gwen looked toward the man lying in the medical area. “Maybe it was atonement for what happened to Marian.”
The blonde outlaw looked at her with wide eyes and nodded. “Maybe.” Deciding that he should change subject, he asked, “Did you recover the necklace?”
“No, the blaster set off the VM and it opened another portal. It could have ended up anywhere in time.”
“So it is gone?”
“I would assume for forever.” Gwen shrugged.
Much smiled slightly. “Good! I am glad. Nothing but trouble that was.”
Gwen smiled at the outlaw and took his hand. “Well, it wasn't all bad. It did allow me to meet you, Lord Bonchurch."
The cook grinned back warmly. “Thank you, Lady Gwyneth.” He softly kissed her hand and went back to find Robin.
Jack sat in the office staring at the stack of unfinished files Alex left for him. It was going to be a long task ahead and he wasn’t ready yet. The hub being full of visitors complicated things and the only way to get out of reporting the events that happened was to forget them. The knock at the door brought him back out of his head.
The Doctor stood in the doorway and stared at his friend. “I didn’t want to leave things this way with you, Jack. Not like this.”
“I understand, Doctor.” Jack mused, stretching his feet out on the fine antique desk. “I just never pictured you for such a prejudiced person. It kinda deflated my opinion of you a bit.”
The Doctor focussed sombrely on the man before him. “I lost a lot during the Time War. One of those things was my easy going nature and my ability to accept new things. Things I may not like. I’m sorry if I put that on you, Jack. The war is over and the casualties long buried. I don’t want to create any new ones.” He extended his hand to the immortal; “Still friends?”
Jack took the offered appendage as tears welled up in his eyes. “I never stopped.”
He rose out of the chair and turned the handshake easily into a full-fledged hug. He gazed warmly into the Doctor’s eyes. “I just wish I didn’t have to wait 120 years to hear that.”
The Time Lord smiled. “Well, better late than never.”
Their lips were about to connect when a small noise from the doorway interrupted them.
Gwen stuttered as she looked away from the two men embracing and tried to hide the blush in her cheeks. “I have the retcon dose ready for you, Jack.”
“You’re taking retcon?” the Doctor asked.
“Got to. I don’t think you will want me to remember this when we meet again. Do you?”
“It won’t work Jack and you know it.”
Gwen looked from one man to the other. “Why won’t it work?”
Jack looked at the young woman. “He’s right, Gwen. Too many triggers. Something will happen, something earthshaking will bring it all back.” He looked at the Doctor almost in panic. “So what do I do? I can’t remember this, any of it!”
“You can’t do anything.” The Doctor replied glumly. “But I can.”
Gwen stared at the Time Lord. “Do what?”
“His memories have to be blocked, Gwen. Burned away.”
She remembered Donna and her eyes welled up, “No there’s got to be another way! We can make the dosage stronger.”
“It won’t work Gwen!” Jack was at her side. “It’s for the best. I need to meet you for the first time when I’m supposed to!”
The Doctor focussed on her. “I need you to leave, Gwen.”
The Torchwood agent summed up the alien accusingly; “No! I won’t let him go through this alone! I’m stayin’!”
“We are psychically linked!” The Doctor had his hands on her shoulder like a parent to a scared child. “If you are too close you will feel it and I can’t allow that. Please leave."
Jack nodded approval at her to go. “I’ll be okay.” He grinned. “I’ll see you in eight years, my brown-eyed beauty.”
She smiled her beautiful gap-tooth grin. “Not unless I see you first, Jack Harkness.”
He walked over to the brunette and gently kissed her forehead. “We are going to make quite a team.” Jack then turned again to the mountain of files on the small desk. “First thing I do as Torchwood leader; I’m going to hire a secretary. Someone pretty.” He then grinned slyly. “Maybe someone who looks good in a suit.” He took a sip of the awful liquid in his cup. “Ugh! And definitely someone who can crank out a decent cup of coffee.”
The Doctor and Gwen exchanged amused glances at Jack’s prophetic comment.
“What? Was it something I said?”
As soon as the Torchwood agent left the room the Doctor walked toward him. He gently placed his hands on both sides of the immortal’s head and gazed into his blue eyes. “You know I love you, Jack Harkness.”
Jack smiled. “Aww, you’re just saying that because you know I’ll forget it in a minute.”
“Remind me to tell you later then.” The Doctor grinned and their lips connected.
They pulled away after a moment and the Gallifreyan sobered. “Ready for this Jack?”
Jack eyed his friend with reservation, smiling. "I'm always ready, Doctor."
Outside the door, Gwen heard the screams. She stopped up her ears but she couldn’t quiet the screams in her head. She realised in an instant why the Doctor had told her to leave. Even this far from the men, she felt the pain. As she cried softly she realised the screams were coming from the Time Lord as well.
After a moment, the alien left the room and reached his hand out to the young woman. She had slid down to the floor and was hugging her knees.
Gwen looked up and he could see her tear stained face. “Is he–?”
The Time Lord’s face betrayed his exhaustion. “He’s sleeping. He will for a while. I placed a post-hypnotic suggestion for him not to wake up until we are gone.” He looked into her eyes. “Jack always thought he drank himself to death after what happened here. We need to stage the office to make it look like that’s what happened.”
“We are good at that.” She smiled wiping her eyes.
The Doctor studied her sadly. “I know.”
He started to walk away but stopped as she called out. “It hurt you too. Didn’t it?”
He looked back sombrely. “It always does.”
Sherwood Forest, 1193
The small group of village men and outlaws on horseback kept a distance behind the tree line and they followed the regiment ahead of them. The crest of the royal family that flew on the banners of the leading horsemen told the group they were following the caravan of Prince John himself.
“He wasted no time gettin’ ’ere.” Allan whispered to Little John as they rode side by side through the trees.
“Jasper must have sent word that both the leaders of Nottingham have gone missing. The Prince does not trust anybody, especially a little opportunist like that.”
Jack cast an annoyed glance over his shoulder. “A little louder back there, guys. I don’t think the Prince heard you.”
Allan cast the Torchwood leader a rueful stare and leaned in closer to the other outlaw. “So what do we do if Robin don’t come back?”
“Robin will return!” John cut off the poacher in a harsh whisper.
“But if he don’t? What do we do? Do we disband and hope we don’t hang?”
“Wait; we shall do!” John studied the younger man with intense eyes. “Jack will take care of us.”
“Not bein’ funny, but we don’t even know this guy!” Allan started only to be cut off by the man they were talking about.
“You there, blue eyes!” Jack sniped. “I said shut it!”
“Trouble maker you are, Allan!” Little John whispered as they dismounted and spied the manor. The ornate carriage door opened and the tall blonde form of Prince John exited with the help of his coachmen and led the procession up to the door of Loxley manor.
“Prince John.” Ianto supplied as his lover nodded.
“Pretender to the throne of England.” Jack finished. “We have to keep an eye on him. According to Robin, he won’t waste time taking over the shire and choosing a new sheriff. That is, if Jasper doesn’t convince him to burn it down and starts over from scratch.”
“Let him do that; we cannot!” John leaned in grabbing the Torchwood leader's arm. “The women and children will lose their homes and we do not have the resources to look after them in the forest.”
“Easy, big guy!” Jack put a hand on the larger man’s shoulder. “We will see to it that he doesn’t harm a hay pile.”
The giant studied the smaller man. “For their sakes I hope you’re right.”
The poacher grinned as he stood next to the Time Agent. Jack shot him a quick look. “Is he always that intense?”
Allan shrugged. "He’s just a 'big bear' – least that’s what Queen Eleanor calls ’im.”.
Jack stared in stunned silence. “Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine?”
“Yup her majesty ’erself!” Allan beamed in amusement. “Likes the ‘strong quiet type’ apparently.”
Jack looked after the lumbering man he now recognised but didn’t tell the young outlaw. “Sir John Little, royal consort to the Duchess of Aquitaine.” He mumbled under his breath. The man he had met more than a century earlier during his travels as a time agent was older, much better manicured and mannered but one and the same.
He was pleased that this oversized outlaw would in two years time, become Lord Protector of the Queen Mother of England. Jack shook his head and returned to watching the scene play out in front of them.
The Prince approached the smaller man with an air of authority. He resembled his monarch brother in almost every way except for when it came to the eyes. Where Richard had the glint of kindness and warmth, John’s reflected contempt and coldness for all around him. He did not take to being second-born well.
“Seems we have a little problem, wouldn’t you say, Sir Jasper?”
The smaller man tried his best to hide his terror but words stammered out and he squirmed under the frosted gaze. “I have my mercenaries searching, my Lord! They will find the Sheriff and restore him or find those responsible and bring them to justice”
“And whom do you think is responsible?”
“A local band of outlaws led by a former member of your brother’s guard. A Sir Robert Loxley.”
“Ah, the former Earl of Huntingdon.” The Prince paused and his voice took on a tired tone. “I thought the former Sheriff would have taken care of that situation.” He fixed the Lord with an icy stare. “Never send a madman to do a King’s job.” He sniffed the air. “No cooking fires, Lord Jasper? Have your servant’s abandoned you?”
“All but the most dedicated house servants your Majesty.”
“No doubt they have fled to the forest to follow eh – what is your little outlaw calling himself? Robin Hood?”
“Yes, so it seems.” The smaller man snorted.
“Well, no matter. They will return to save what little they have when we set the torches to it.”
“But Sire. Your brother, surely you cannot –.”
“My brother is thousands of miles away in the Holy Land.” The man sneered, giving him a witheringly cold stare. “He depends on me in such times of lawlessness to make sure order is contained.” The wicked gleam in his blue grey eyes made the smaller man want to cower. “Ellingham!”
A mercenary stepped forward, planted his sword into the ground and knelt in front if his regent. “Yes Majesty?”
“Take your men and proceed to Nottingham. Run out every man woman and child and prepare to lay torches. If Sheriff Gisborne is not returned to the castle by nightfall lay waste to everything in sight!”
The soldier nodded and motioned to his men as he mounted his horse, then with a war cry, headed toward the town.
Jack and the others who were gathered in the tree line, turned as the Prince and his lackey entered the manor.
“Nightfall? Only but a few hours away. Bode well; this does not!” John fixed his eyes on the time traveller.
“He’ll make it!” Jack reassured.
“I hope so, Jack,” Ianto added. “Cos it sounds like we just ran out of options.”
The unfortunate medieval man in the dark coat and scrubs now sported a pale blue sling for his injured arm. He sulked around the room where Gwen was working to avoid running into the outlaws again. Things just didn’t go well for him whenever he and the archer made contact and he personally would be glad when he got back to Nottingham and put a forest between himself and Robin once more.
“You should rest. You lost a lot of blood,” Gwen admonished gently.
“I have rested all day. I am fine!” Gisborne retorted. “I just want to get out of here and go home.”
He stopped and looked at her as she followed him with her big brown eyes. Gwen had come to, if not grow fond of the man who was once her captor; at least begin to understand the forces that drove him. She knew he was not one to be still and quiet and the more caged he felt the more easily dangerous he would become. “We are almost ready. I just want to finish loading supplies for the trip back.” She returned to her work as the timer sounded and she removed the container from the freeze dryer.
“What is that?” Guy motioned at the white powder as he looked over the young Torchwood agent’s shoulder as she worked.
“Retcon,” Gwen replied. Seeing his blank expression she continued on. “It’s a drug we manufacture when we want to make someone forget something.” She looked at his bandaged shoulder and smiled. “Is it feeling any better?”
“I’ve had worse.” He snorted. He again motioned at the container. “Seems like a large amount of it.”
“Has to be if you want to make a whole town forget two days worth of time travellers and the mess they created.”
“How does it work?”
“I’m not sure. All we know is when you use it; you can make anyone remember only what you want them to.”
“You can make someone forget anything?” He asked with sudden interest.
“Pretty much. Made my parents forget I almost gave birth to an alien on my weddin’ day.” She smiled.
The sheriff focussed on the brunette and swallowed hard, “If I asked you to do something for me when you use it. Would you do it?”
She looked into his eyes and saw the pain and longing in them. “That depends on what it is.”
The hub was strangely quiet except for the incessant hum of machinery. The five men and woman stood over the unconscious form of their prisoner as they went over final preparations. “Jack is secured and the scene is set?” The Doctor looked at each member of the team as they nodded.
“As you wished. He will wake up and it will be as if the last two days never happened.” Gwen sighed. “I always wondered what it was like for him with no one there to help him while he mourned.”
“You were there.” The Time Lord smiled. “Deep down, I think he has always known that.”
“So…back to the 12th century for us then?” Much said as he looked around, trying to control his disappointment. “No more pizza or cola.” He sighed. “And back to foraging in the forest for rabbits for our next meal.”
“Or squirrel.” Robin replied cheekily under his breath to his servant’s wide-eyed disbelief.
“I hardly catch squirrel, Master.” Much defended to the other’s amusement.
“Which explains why you are always hungry, my friend." The archer shot back smirking.
Gwen stepped in before the blonde outlaw could retort. “Now boys, you can bicker after you get home.”
Robin grinned warmly. “Home … that sounds good.”
Mickey leaned over to pick up Vaisey and slung him over his shoulder. “I can’t wait to transport this little nasty man back to the dungeon.”
“We’ll do that then find the others.” The Doctor fiddled with the settings on Jack’s VM. “Almost … got it! Fixed on the TARDIS in the 12th century. A little side trip to Nottingham then I’ll shoot us there.”
“Something tells me this isn’t going to be pleasant.” Much observed as the Time Lord started the countdown.
“You’ll be fine.” Mickey replied. “But you might want to brace yourself for the landing.”
“Of course. The landing.” Much shot a worried look at the young Torchwood agent then out of instinct covered his head with his hands as they disappeared into the time vortex. “I wonder what the others have been up to while we have been gone.”
Moments later, Jack Harkness stumbled down the stairs. His braces were around his waist and he ran a hand through his dishevelled hair. He had a partially empty bottle of scotch in his other hand. “Is anyone there?” He asked half slurring. Not getting an answer, he staggered back up to his office.
“There’s just too many of them, Jack!”
Nightfall had come all too soon and Prince John had made good his threat to set Nottingham alight. Ellingham’s mercenaries surrounded the town with torches lit and the small group of outlaws, villagers and time travellers were pitifully outnumbered as they tried to stave off the warriors.
“You can’t stop us, Hood! So best move out of the way!” The mercenary leader yelled as Jack and Ianto led the rag tag regiment of men and boys to block the bridge in front of the castle.
“It is you who had best move out of the way, Ellingham!” Jack said in his best fake-English accent. “We may be small but we will defend our homes to the deaths if we have to!”
“Then defend you shall! Forward men!” The mercenaries advanced as Jack and the others engaged them.
Ianto took on a large soldier and out of the view of the others, pulled out his weapon and stunned the man knocking him off his horseback. He nodded at Jack as another warrior approached and met the same fate.
Little John and Allan stood back to back as they staved off the soldiers riding around them. Some villagers had water at the ready to put out any fires that had ignited from flaming arrows and dropped torches. Although they momentarily had the upper hand, the vastness of Prince John’s guard and Ellingham’s men proved too much. Jack, Ianto and the gang were quickly captured and held as the Prince approached the scene with Jasper in tow.
The outlaws and their leader were tied up and presented to the regent for execution. Jack glared defiantly under his hood at the Prince as the winner revelled in his victory.
“Let Lord Loxley watch as his town burns before him.” Prince John sneered as the mercenary held the dagger to Jack’s throat. “And remove his hood before you do.” He looked down at the immortal and his eyes smouldered with hate. “I want to see my brother’s beloved little soldier boy die at my hand.”
At that moment Ellingham yanked back the hood of his captive. He suppressed a gasp. “Oi! This ain’t Robin Hood!” Before anyone could reply an arrow landed at his feet and both men looked up to see the TARDIS materialised behind them.
Robin was standing next to the open door with his bow at the ready to fire again. “He is not.” The archer grinned mischievously. “But I am.”
Jack tried to hold back the surprised relief at seeing his friends again but couldn’t help a dig: “About time you showed up, Doctor. I thought I was going to have to win this little battle all by myself.”
The Time Lord grinned as he and the rest of the Time Ship’s occupants stepped out. “Well, you still can, Jacky-boy. Don’t mind me.” He feigned a yawn and walked over to the Prince. “Travelling 800 years and all.” He put his hands in his trouser pockets. “Kinda makes one knackered.” He studied the Monarch and shot him a slightly wary expression. “Oi! I know you. Who are you?”
“I am the crowned Prince of England. And who are you?” Prince John sneered at the oddly dressed man in front of him.
“Oh right!” Without another word the alien took out his sonic screwdriver and proceeded to run it up and down the astonished royal.
“Pray tell, what is that and what are you doing?!”
The Time Lord seemed satisfied with his readings and grinned. “Yup! You’re you all right.” His face changed slightly. “Too bad though. I was hoping you were just a confused robot masquerading. I’ve had plenty of those.” He grinned. “They were so much easier to deal with.”
The Prince looked around at his royal guard. They were all too stupefied by the bizarre show to move. He shot them an incredulous look. “Seize him!”
Two men immediately ran up and took the Gallifreyan by both arms. The Doctor studied his captor with a bored look. “Oh and I was so hoping we would just have a nice little chat and end this.”
The Prince stepped forward and slapped him with the back of his hand. “I asked you a question of which you did not reply. My patience is wearing thin and you will answer or my next action is to have my guard run you through with his sword.”
The Doctor snapped his head back up as the stinging in his cheek faded. He was angry. He didn’t like it when humans hit him, especially when they were overly self-righteous ones. “I’m nobody.” The Doctor scowled, as he broke free of the guards hold, walked up and stopped toe to toe with the royal. He looked intensely into the pompous man’s eyes. “I am just the oncoming storm and the destroyer of worlds. You want a fight? You’ll have it. I will see you, your men and everything around you reduced to cinders before I let you take over Nottingham.” He raised an eyebrow. “How do you think your brother, King Richard would feel about that?”
The prince’s lip curled. “You are bluffing. Guards! Seize him!”
The Time Lord took one hand out of his pocket and snapped his fingers. At that moment a burst of light shot out of the top of the TARDIS and the tree in front of the men burst into flames making the Prince flinch and drop to the ground. The Doctor looked down at the prostrate man frowning. “I don’t bluff. Just ask the former Dalek race. Now go; and take your men with you!”
Jasper scurried to help his benefactor from the ground but was shrugged off. Prince John looked up at the man who made him cower, with utter disdain. “I am Lord Protector of England in the absence of King Richard. I do not run away from anyone!”
“Then watch them fall.” The Doctor gestured to the slack-jawed and terrified regiment standing before them. He had no intention of hurting anyone but he hoped his little demonstration was enough to convince the royal otherwise.
“Enough of this! Your majesty, a word if I may?” The voice came from behind them as Jasper and Prince John turned to face a very unhappy Gisborne. The new outfit he had chosen from the Time Lord’s vast wardrobe was even more menacing than his old one. The black leather tunic fit like a warlord's suit of arms and made his broad shoulders look even wider.
Much tried to control the smirk on his face as he leaned in to Robin. "As if his old outfit was not 'leather' enough."
The outlaw leader, still with bow in hand, nodded.
Prince John still on his knees looked at the man wearily, “Lord Gisborne?”
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit to my shire, Sir?” Guy asked acidly.
The Prince straightened himself up. Jasper attempted to dust off his knees but the Prince shooed his lackey away. He scowled at the smaller man. “Someone sent word that you had gone missing from Nottingham.” He continued to cast a treacherous gaze at Jasper as he spoke. “It was feared you had become the victim of foul play at the hands of your enemy.”
“Clearly I have not, my Lord.” The sheriff studied the man with cold eyes.
“Clearly.” The Prince summed up. “Your shoulder?”
Gisborne cast a glance at his wounded arm. “I fell off my horse while hunting. I have been recuperating from my injury in the care of this magician and healer.” He gestured to the Doctor and cast another icy glare at the regent. “So apparently your trip was in vain.” He nodded to Lord Jasper. “See to it that the Prince and his men are put up for the evening at the castle. We need not waste anymore of his time.”
Jasper sputtered. “But I … and you…” He shot a look of pure confusion at the Sheriff then took pause and turned with his finger in the air toward Ellingham. “You heard him! Escort Prince John to Nottingham! Now!”
He turned around to the Prince “And what of him?” He pointed to Robin still with a bolt planted firmly in his bow.
“What of him?” Prince John sniffed. “Lord Loxley is under my brother’s protection. He is free to go. That is until we catch him doing something illegal.”
All the men stormed off in different directions leaving the small group cheering behind them.
Jack turned to his friend. “Boy am I glad to see you again! But did you have to cut it any closer?”
“All this time you’ve known me. All the adventures we have been on, Jack.” The Doctor grinned. “You should know by now, it’s all about the entrance!”
The villagers made the festivities around the camp lively, and Robin once again felt like a Lord amongst his people. He stood by and watched as the dancing and music carried high over the treetops. Gwen came up to him during a particularly pleasant song the minstrels were playing. “Fancy a dance, Lord Loxley?”
Robin smiled and took her hand. “So tomorrow everything returns to normal.”
She looked at him as he twirled her around. “Yes as it should be. No one will remember what happened here and you will all return to what you were doing before you found the necklace”
Robin’s face creased with a sad look. “Does that mean I should have to forget you as well?”
“I’m afraid so.” Gwen drank in the emerald sadness of his eyes. “But if it helps I shall remember this for both of us for the rest of my life.”
“Then if that is all I can hope for, let us dance.” With this he dipped her as she giggled.
Rhys watched scowling from the side as his wife danced with the outlaw leader. “That’s it! I’m puttin’ a stop to this!”
He started to rise as Martha put an arm across him. “Hold on big fella. It’s just dancing.”
“Well I don’t like the way Mr. Fancy tights is doin’ it with her.” He sneered.
Almost as if he had heard, Robin steered Gwen over to the couple and placed her hand in Rhys’. “This I believe is a song for lovers and a man should dance with his wife.”
Rhys smiled at the outlaw’s friendly gesture and any bitterness faded away. “And she is a fine one at that.”
“Tell her that as often as she will let you.” Robin grinned and patted his shoulder. He then leaned against the tree as the couple danced away.
Martha immediately took his hand and pulled him up. “Oh no my chivalrous Lord, you are not getting away that easy. I may not be a lover but will a friend do?”
“A friend will do just fine.” Robin grinned as they joined Gwen and Rhys on the cleared dance area.
The former traitor was off by himself studying the campfire as Robin approached him. “You are too quiet for Allan A Dale, my friend.” He smiled. “What is on your mind that troubles you so? Are you in pain again? I can go fetch Lady Martha to give you another tablet.”
“No Robin I’m fine.” Allan smirked as he sipped wine from the offered goblet. “I just have been thinkin’.”
“That has always been a dangerous thing with you, Allan,” the archer snorted.
Allan focussed his sea green eyes on his friend. “In the castle while I was chained in the dungeon. I think I was dreamin’ – but it was so real.”
“What was it?” Robin studied the young man’s troubled face. This was a side he rarely saw.
Allan looked up sadly. “It was Marian. I saw Marian.”
Robin’s face changed. “You were feverish; it must have been a hallucination.” He pulled away to leave, not wanting to talk about his late wife.
Allan called after him. “She said…” He paused. “She said you no longer had to fight for her heart anymore. That it will always be yours and now you must fight for England.”
Robin was on the injured man in a heartbeat and had a fist full of his tunic as he firmly shoved the man against a tree. “Where did you hear that?! Who told you that?!”
Allan looked down at the outlaw leader’s trembling hands and then into his fierce green eyes. There was a look that went beyond pain and into desperation. “Marian told me in the dungeon.” He turned his face away as he prepared to have his cheek creased by the other man’s fist. “She said I must tell you.”
Robin backed down and stepped away. He stared into the flames. “The night before I left for the Holy Land to fight for King Richard I went to her at Knighton. We were promised to each other then and I was there to break it so I could fight for my King.” He turned to the man with wet eyes. “That was the last thing she said to me before I left her in tears.”
Allan put his hand on the sobbing man’s shoulder and they embraced. Both men wept for the woman they loved and lost.
Allan pulled away and wiped his eyes. “So now that I’m conversin’ with the departed what do we do?”
“We do as she said and continue the fight.” Robin changed his sombre tone to a hopeful one as he grasped his friend’s shoulder. “But tonight we converse with the living and celebrate our victory.” He put his arm around the outlaw and led him back to the others.
The Doctor and Much joined Jack and Ianto in watching as their friends danced.
“Care for a dance, Doctor?” Jack genuflected before the alien and offered his hand.
“And run the risk of your boyfriend beating me to oblivion? I don’t think so, pretty boy.” He then suddenly remembered. “Oh wait! Come here a second.”
“Why?” The Time Agent looked at his friend suspiciously.
“Cos, I believe I have something that belongs to you.” He placed his hands gently on both sides of Jack’s head and suddenly the Torchwood leader felt floodgates opening in his mind.
Jack blinked at the man incredulously. “You went back to the year 2000?”
“And met you.” The doctor said apologetically. “I’m sorry Jack. I had to erase all your memories of it until we got back to you here. They should be coming back now. All of them.”
Much swallowed hard as he stared at the Time Lord. “Uh … surely not all of them?”
Jack turned to the outlaw with a huge grin as the memories came back. “Oh yes. And I definitely remember you, blue eyes.”
“Excuse me?” Ianto shot a look between the two men. He didn’t like where he knew this was going.
“Err-right, yes, master Ianto. I believe I have some explaining to do.” Much stymied as he blushed.
Ianto feigned anger then backed down. “It’s okay, Much. Whatever happened I’m sure you weren’t the one that instigated it.” He crossed his arms and glared amusedly at his overly amorous lover.
Jack didn’t know whether to be relieved or offended at his partner’s lack of jealousy. “Hey it’s not my fault he's so cute!”
“And … I’m walking away from this one.” The Doctor strolled over to the others avoiding the sudden influx of too much information.
Ianto caught Jack in a playful headlock. “Oi! Just wait till I get you home! I’m tying you to the bed and not letting you out of the apartment for a week.”
The Immortal hugged his lover tight and looked into his soft brown eyes, “Sounds like fun! What do you say when we get back to the hub, we play a game of naked hide and seek?”
Much and Ianto looked at each other and said, “He cheats. He always cheats!” They cast mutinous glares at one another then at their friend.
Ianto cast a pseudo-hurt look at Jack. “You said you created that game just for me!”
Much leaned in, “He said that to me too.”
Jack swallowed hard, and grinned sheepishly as the two men confronted him. “Well, we did have that greenhouse an awful long time and I – I…Uh, Gwen, a little help here!”
The Torchwood agent and Robin laughed, “You’re on your own, Jack!”
“I think we should take him into the forest and create our own little game,” Much leered conspiratorially at Ianto.
“I think you’re right,” Ianto shot back.
Jack looked at both men in desperation, “You wouldn’t.”
Ianto grinned teasingly, “Oh, we would, sir.”
As the two men playfully led Jack away into the trees, he called back, “Gwen! If I’m not back in an hour, come and untie me!”
Dawn was fast approaching as the small group entered the tiny bare cabin on the edge of the woods. The midwife made a fire in the fireplace as Jack helped her with the kindling. Rosa was nursing Alice on her bunk and singing one of the songs the minstrels played back at the camp. Jack fished in his pocket and handed Matilda a capsule as she reached over and took the infant from the increasingly yawning mother.
“The dose I gave her is taking effect.”
“I know.” Matilda smiled. “Still, it was nice. Knowing that she truly knew who I am. Who I used to be.”
“She knows the person you are now. That’s all that matters.” Jack smiled warmly as he palmed her shoulder. “Time to take your dose now.”
Matilda smiled sadly and handed the small capsule back to Jack, “I can’t.”
The Time Agent fixed his blue eyes on her. “You really should.”
“Someone has to look after the baby till her mother wakes up.” The midwife rationalised. She looked at the pill and closed Jack’s hand over it. “I don’t need to forget the past anymore, Jack.” She spoke in whisper, as she cradled her granddaughter in her arms. “Not when I have my whole future right in front of me here.” She smiled at the Time Agent. “Take care of yourself.” Her eyes glistened, and then she changed expression and shot a cunning look under her lashes at her friend. “Be kind to Ianto.”
Jack kissed the brave woman on her cheek and then saluted her. “That I will do, mum.”
He turned and left, she closed the door behind him. The midwife draped a threadbare blanket over her daughter’s shoulders as she slept. She sat down by the fire and rocked little Alice as she sang her granddaughter the 51stcentury lullaby she sang to her infant son, so long ago, for the first time.
“Why am I sitting here? I need to get back to Nottingham before Prince John threatens to make it kindling again.”
“Oh you’ll want to stay for this Gis.” The Doctor replied with a lunatic grin. Guy started to argue over the misuse of his name by a near stranger but just crossed his good arm over his bad one and snorted. “If there are no other comments from the peanut gallery – moving on then,” the Doctor opened his coat and pulled a tin whistle out of his pocket. “Can’t have you lot waking up in the morning with unexplained injuries.” He blew on the small instrument and as he did so, the pocket of his coat lining lit up and a mist of sparks flew out.
Allan and Horace jerked reflexively as they were engulfed in the glowing fog. “I’m not bein’ funny, but this feels weird.” The poacher scowled, as his injuries miraculously faded.
Guy didn’t move and acted as if he barely even noticed the tiny robots as they clustered on his shoulder. He did cast a concerned glance as they worked. Feeling the wound mend, he removed the sling from around his arm and muttered; “witchcraft” under his breath, as he flexed his newly restored shoulder.
“You can take that bandage off now Horace,” the Doctor beamed as he whistled the tiny sentient machines back in his direction.
“What are those things?” Gwen asked mesmerised, as the tiny firefly like things left the three men.
“Chula nanogenes,” Jack smirked as the small glowing swarm flew back into the Doctor’s pocket. “I thought you got rid of those things in 1940.”
“I thought I did too. One of the little fellas stayed behind in my old jacket pocket and made some new friends. I figured they would come in handy some day. So, I kept them.”
“Weren’t you afraid the little monsters would put gas masks on them?” the Time Agent mused.
“Nah, they know full well what a human is now.” The Doctor sneered. “Just don’t want to get any of them near you. That’s all we need is a bunch of over-sexed, gun-happy, immortals running around in the 12th century. It could set the lot of Earth’s civilisation back thousands of years.”
“Oh yeah wouldn’t want that!” Jack snorted, looking thoroughly disgusted at the remark while Gwen giggled. He turned to his second in command. “Not helping!”
Gwen gave a mock salute and broke out in another round of giggles, “Yes Sir, Captain Sir!”
“See what you started!” He glared at the Doctor.
“Don’t mention it,” the Doctor grinned back cheekily as he winked at the brunette Torchwood agent.
Doctor one, Harkness nothing.
A fresh round of giggles broke out from the young woman as she covered her mouth.
“And cut that out! I can tell when I’m being poked fun at psychically, you know!” As the Time Agent walked away sulking, fresh laughter burst from his friends. “Telepaths!” he lamented as he walked back to the friendlier arms of his lover.
Ianto burst that bubble as he hugged him, “Aww, did the bad mind readers make Jacky-boy cry?”
“Oh, not you too!” Jack smirked.
The sun was just starting to peak as the team finished the job they had set out for. Every villager was safe in his or her homes. Ellingham’s men were sufficiently retconed as were the Prince, Jasper and Gisborne. Horace had been returned to his carriage and parked on the edge of the forest toward Matilda’s cabin.
Kate was the first to yawn. It always affected the females first, the Torchwood team had discovered. She laid her head gently on Allan’s shoulders and soon was lightly snoring as he stroked her hair. He looked up at his new friends. “If I wasn’t a gentleman, I could take full advantage here…” He broke off in mid-sentence as his blue green eyes rolled back. Gwen and Jack moved the sleeping pair safely to their bedrolls.
John was already snoring quite loudly as he leaned limply against his quarterstaff, his big shoulders heaved as he exhaled. Rather than moving the big man, they decided he was safe where he was. Gwen looked around the camp with a sigh as everyone around them passed out. “It isn’t fair.”
Jack looked up at her from beside the campfire where he was checking on the outlaw leader and his former manservant. “We agreed it would come to this.”
“Still, they should remember.” She pointed at Robin and Much curled up by the fire, foreheads touching. Robin had his fist twisted in Much’s jumper as the former servant cradled protectively, while he slept, the man who once was, and always would be, his master.
“They will in a way,” Jack smirked.
“Meaning?” Gwen crossed her arms at Jack’s cryptic response.
“The retcon dose Martha cooked up will make the last two months for them seem like a really good party the day after. It will be a lot easier to forget something you aren’t sure you want to remember in the first place.” He sighed, “It’s better for them to forget what happened with what they have to face.”
“I wish we could help him.” Gwen looked at the former-Earl and soon-to-be legend cradled in his servant’s arms.
Jack grinned. “With that guy at his side, he’ll be just fine. Time to go.”
The other team members joined their leaders. “Everything’s done Jack. The light dose of retcon in the wine and drinking water will make the past two days the days that never happened.”
“It will either be blamed on bad food, witchcraft or illness when they can’t remember what happened,” Martha assured. She looked over at Robin and Much sleeping together. “I’m going to miss them.”
Gwen smiled, “Me too.”
“I just hope we haven’t created a town full of serial killers,” Jack mused.
“Nah, one dose of your little wonder pill shouldn’t affect their minds too much,” the Doctor explained. He clapped his hands together, “Time to go folks! All aboard for the twenty-first century! Hot tea, telly and mobiles for everyone!”
“Allons-y!” Jack replied exuberantly.
“No, Jack,” the Doctor totted as he looked at his friend disgustedly. “That’s my line.”
“But you said–”
“Stick with, ‘I was just saying hello.’ Jack,” the Time Lord chuckled as he entered the time ship.
“Come on Martha. We still have your wedding to plan.” Gwen smiled as she shook her head at her boss and friend’s bickering.
“Oh wait one more thing!” Martha couldn’t help the lump in her throat, as she went over and leaned in and placed a kiss on the blonde outlaw’s forehead. “Goodbye, Lord Bonchurch.”
His eyelids fluttered open as she did so, to her surprise. The retcon was taking hold fast and the memories of who the pretty lady was and what they did together were fading. Any coherent thought was already slipping as the dose did its job. He smiled sleepily, “More pizzahhhh, Lady Marthaaa?”
The medic looked tearfully at him and smiled, “No, my darling Much. I think I’ve had enough.”
“Oh, all right thennnn, more for meeeee.” He smiled goofily as he returned to unconsciousness. If he were aware, it would have struck him as ironic that the first face he saw, as he opened his eyes to an unbelievable future, was also the one that returned him back to the past. He faded back into sleep, looking into the same deep lovely brown eyes he had awakened to, so many days ago, when his world changed.
Perhaps it was why, as the TARDIS scraped metallically back to the 21st century, his eyes fluttered open once again and he looked at the void where the Time Ship stood just seconds earlier and whispered sadly, “Goodbye, Lady Martha.”
Next Week…The final chapter.
Chapter 27: All Good Things