Title: Time's Arrow 27/27
Length: This chapter, 3,674 words
Warnings: Spoilers for RH Post 2:13, DW Post 4:13, TW Post 2:13
Pairings/Characters: Jack, 10Doctor, Gwen, Robin, Much, Guy, Vaisey, Ianto, Martha, (Surprise Canon Character)
Summary: Chapter 27: 'All Good Things' Just as the tin says. The journey is over and all is restored...or is it?
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. We made it out the other end with sanity intact...Yay!
And to my co-writer robinfanatic thanks for feeding the bunnies! Special thanks to aliciabmanley, thestorymaker, and colliedog29 for spurring me along. *Tears up a little*
I will add this as a permanent sticky on my personal LJ Page. Thanks to all that have read, loved and encouraged me to keep writing all these months. Demotu, thanks for the inspiration with your fic "A Matter of Time". I hope I did Jack/Ianto well!
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, 26 Explicit content chapter rewrites 6, 9, 23
Much was almost running to keep up with his former master as he impatiently trotted down the rutted trail through the woods. “Master, what is wrong?”
Robin studied the tracks left by numerous carts and coaches as they wound their way through the treacherous wilderness. “I do not understand how we missed the Duke of York’s carriage. It had enough gold and spoils to feed the poor for a year.”
“We were going to rob the Duke of York?” Much replied. “But he is one of King Richard’s allies.”
“We weren’t going to rob from him, Much!” the archer spat impatiently. “I was just going to secure a tithe from the driver for safe passage though the forest. Protection for the Duke’s spoils from outlaws.”
“Oh…” Much pondered for a second. He looked up and smiled. “But master, the only real outlaws he need worry about in this forest is us. Yes?”
Robin shrugged, “I wasn’t going to tell him which ones.”
“Master, something more is bothering you. Please, tell me.”
Robin stopped, grabbed a tree branch and sighed. “You are right, Much. I woke up this morning wondering what we are doing out here. We don’t need to rob and steal to protect the citizens of Nottingham anymore.” He cast a rueful eye at his friend. “I have been thinking about sacking the gang.”
The revelation made the former servant’s heart leap. “Why, Master? What have we done? Have we disappointed you? Is it because of Allan? I knew it! That traitor has caused you to doubt us all!” He tore off his skullcap and crushed it in his hands. “We should have never allowed him back!”
Robin grabbed the angry blond outlaw by the tunic. He looked passionately into his former servant's eyes then pushed him away gently, “No, it is none of those reasons.”
“Then why?” Much pouted.
“Because you deserve better!” Robin spat. “You are no longer outlaws! We are under the king’s protection now as his emissaries and I cannot continue to ask you, as free men, to risk your lives fighting along side me with what I have to do!”
“I like fighting along side you,” Much lamented quietly; concerned at his friend’s anger.
Robin winced at the words. Shedding someone so loyal to him would be a challenge and it hurt as he spoke. “You, above all the others, deserve a good life, Much! You always want nothing more than simple things. I have let you know I have no desire for servants anymore and yet you still treat me like your master.” He turned away. “I’m no one’s master now. I will see to it you have your Bonchurch. You can find Lady Eve and have your own farm with pigs and vegetables. You have dreamed of that for so long, my friend, and the least I can do is release you from this so you can have it.”
“But Master…the poor…Robin Hood?”
“Are not my problems now!” He looked at his former servant wearily, “Marian is gone and, with her, so is Robin Hood. I’m just Robert Loxley now, mourning my wife, and Gisborne must pay for her death!” He cast a final glance at his friend, “Do not follow me. I fight this battle alone!”
Much tugged on his former master’s arm as he started away. Robin turned and the former manservant saw the look he dreaded. The man’s green eyes burned into him and he let go in fear as the former leader started the death march toward the man he hated.
Robin spat as he walked away, “Tell the others, today they start their new lives as free men. The time to cower in the forest as outlaws is over. It is time to stand up as the protectors of England King Richard has made us, and fight our enemies in the daylight.”
Much paused for a moment in sheer confusion. His world had just tilted and he didn’t like it. “I do not want to be on my own, Master,” he said under his breath and watched his Robin become smaller as he walked away, “I just wanted to be with you.” He started to sob but something metallic in the tree in front of him glinted in his eye and he reached up and grabbed it. He held the strange object in his hand and marvelled at it, “Master?”
Robin didn’t bother to answer but kept walking with murderous intent.
The blond, former outlaw hurriedly stuffed the object in his pocket and headed off to find Allan and John. He would wonder about the strange thing he found later. All he could think about was saving his friend from the path of destruction he followed.
Guy woke with his head on the cold wooden table and the feeling of eyes on him. The dark tavern was filled with the usual miscreants as they whispered about the man sitting alone in the corner. He wondered for a moment how he got there but as he caught the hushed snippets of conversation he sneered.
“He killed Lady Marian.”
“Cold blooded murderer.”
“Traitor to the king!”
“Enough!” The black knight screamed as he turned over the table in front of him and stormed out of the room into the early daylight. He needed the comfort of Loxley Manor away from the accusing voices and where he could feel some measure of safety.
He knew the namesake of the house he now lived in was out there. Gisborne had taken the one thing that mattered most to him. She was the one thing more than land and title that Robert Loxley would kill for and he knew it was only a matter of time till he faced his tormentor. He almost welcomed it.
“Guard!” Sheriff Vaisey screamed as he furiously yanked on the cell door.
“Yes my lord?” The terrified gaoler bowed as he entered the room. “If I may ask sir, why are you in there?”
“That is a good question, gaoler.” Vaisey maniacally grinned as he bid the man closer and waited for him to fumble keys from his belt. “But more importantly, why am I still in here!” As the unfortunate servant unlocked the door the impatient sheriff creased his cheek with his fist. “Guards!” He summoned two more gaolers over and smiled. “Arrest him and send him to be tortured till I find out what happened to me and why I was in there.” He strolled into the great hall where his servants were waiting. “What happened to my birds?”
One of the serving girls curtseyed, “My Lord, you ordered them all destroyed when one of them bit you.” She was almost in tears as she met the cruel man’s gaze.
“So I did,” he replied as the false memory of the event came to him. He studied the frightened maiden curiously. “Well then don’t just stand there. Get me some more birds!” He smiled fingering her chin. “I need something small and delicate to play with and better a pretty bird than a leper like you!”
Jack looked longingly at the Time Lord as he waved the sonic screwdriver over his wrist device once again locking it to travel. “Do you have to?” His mouth went dry and he was almost begging.
The doctor looked up at him. “You know I have to Jack, and you know why.”
The leader rolled his eyes like a teenager. “Because I am immortal and the only immortals that can be allowed to travel through time are Time Lords.” His words sounded as if he had read them off the back of a cue card. He knew his friend was looking after his own good. Jack had personally seen for himself what happened to Agents who had over travelled in their own short mortal life spans. Their window of travel to eras without crossing their own timelines had gotten so small they had no time left.
What seemed at first to be the cruellest act, taking the freedom to travel through time, from one so accustomed to it, was, in fact, the greatest kindness the Gallifreyan could do for his friend.
He took the now mostly functionless device from the Doctor and morosely put it back on his wrist. He then looked up and smiled sadly. “Back to the slow path for me.”
The Doctor put his arm around the immortal and thumped his chin. “It’s alright old friend. You have me along for the ride and we’ll have the occasional adventure together.”
Jack shot up an eyebrow in amusement. “Bad thing about travelling with you is I don’t usually like where we end up.”
Gwen knocked on the office door, as Jack and the Doctor were finishing; “Jack, I need a word.”
“You did what?” Jack was on the verge of blowing a gasket.
“He asked me to, Jack.” the young Torchwood agent reasoned. “I didn’t think it would change things much according to the legend, so I agreed. I added the suggestion to Prince John, Vaisey and Jasper’s dose and fixed it so anyone else would just remember that Sheriff Vaisey was always in charge.” She cast a worried glance at her boss and finished with a sigh. “When they woke up the next day, there would have been no sign that Gisborne had ever been sheriff.”
“You didn’t think it would change things? It changed everything! You put a madman back in control of Nottingham! Why didn’t you consult with me or the Doctor first?”
Gwen looked large-eyed from the Time Agent to the Time Lord as the Doctor raised his hand. “She asked me, Jack.”
Jack studied his friend with contempt. “You let her play around with the past.”
“I let her help put things to rights. Gisborne no longer wanted to be sheriff of Nottingham and letting him continue on the destructive path he was on could have very well brought down England. Sheriff Vaisey might have been insane, but he was loyal to Prince John where Guy was not. Like it or not, the man who planned his own brother’s destruction ended up being one of England’s most influential leaders and we had to make sure that happened. We didn’t so much change the past, as keep the future from changing.” He looked at his friend tentatively. “I think it was the reason we ended up there in the first place, Jack.”
“And in doing so, you set Robin and Gisborne on a collision course where they end up killing each other,” Jack was disgusted at both of them for what they had done without telling him.
“And gave birth to a legend.” The Doctor placed his hand on the Torchwood leader’s shoulder. “It had to be done.”
“He was our friend,” Jack looked at the Doctor heartbroken, “and we just set him up to die.”
“I’m sorry, Jack. I’m so very, very sorry,” the Doctor said sincerely, as he looked over at Gwen.
Jack sighed, “If you say it had to be done.”
“It had to, Jack,” the Doctor reasoned.
“I just feel sorry for Much,” Jack pondered as he remembered his long-suffering friend.
“Me, too,” Gwen agreed with moist eyes.
Jack lightened the mood, “So where to now, Doctor?”
The Time Lord thought and stuck his hands in his pockets, “Perhaps a trip to the 19th century. I need to get away for a while and try to just enjoy the places I go to without having to baby-sit in the process. Leave you children at home,” he winked playfully.
He then turned to the Torchwood Agent. “Of course I have never travelled with someone who could read my mind before.” He smiled sadly. “Almost did but I waited too long to go back for her.”
“Who was that?” Gwen replied seeing the face of Reinette Poisonne in his mind.
“Just a girl I met in a fireplace,” he mused with a touch of melancholy.
The brunette smiled, “Sounds like a fairytale, Doctor.”
“In a way it was,” he smiled back. “So what do you say to a short trip around the galaxy and back? See the universe.”
“Which translates into being captured by aliens, locked up with no hope of escape and be mentally and or physically scarred for life when you return,” Jack replied half-joking.
“You’ll never be my travel agent if you keep selling it that way, Harkness!”
“I’m just speaking the truth!” Jack parried.
“It’s all right boys I‘m not goin’ anywhere!” The brunette reasoned. Gwen turned to the Time Lord, “Consider this a rain check. When Rhys and I are up for vacation again, can I call you?”
The Doctor smiled warmly at his future companion, “I’ll keep my mind open.”
“Good.” She smiled then turned to Jack. “Any word from Ianto and Martha about their mission yet?”
Jack looked at his watch. “Not yet. They should almost be there by now though.”
Bonchurch Village, Isle of Wight, 2008
The three-hour drive over land; then the hour-long trip by ferry to the island was a pleasant one. Martha and Ianto filled it with deep conversation about wedding cakes and tuxedos. The Torchwood tea boy had become her defacto wedding planner and she was pleased. They pulled up to the ancient but well-kept manor house, and the Welshman knocked on the door. An attractive blond man opened it and greeted them.
“Lord Bonchurch?” Ianto questioned, “We’re with the Ministry of Health and Safety.” He flashed a fake badge at the young man and side glanced at his companion.
The flaxen-haired man smiled, his blue eyes glistened as he did, making the Torchwood Agent blush slightly under his gaze. “I’m Carter. You want to talk to my partner, Michael. Hold on a tick. I will get him for you. Won’t you come in?”
Ianto and Martha followed the beautiful young man through the spacious foyer into an incredible great hall. He turned around, “Really this house is just simply too big sometimes. Much, we have visitors!”
Ianto and Martha froze in the spot and stared at each other. “Just a coincidence. Has to be,” he muttered. What happened next shattered Ianto’s comforting illusions.
Another man bounded down the staircase. His manner of dress belied his years. Sandy blond hair was carelessly tucked under the beige knit beanie with errant tendrils of curls streaming behind his ears. He was wearing an AC/DC tee shirt over a long sleeve undershirt shirt and well-worn jeans. He spoke without looking at the pair. “Carter, who is it? I was just about to beat your top score on ‘Guitar Hero’ and…” he paused in mid sentence. His eyes echoed those of his unexpected company. “Impossible!” he said looking at Martha.
“I know, isn’t it uncanny?” Carter uttered with enthusiasm.
“What is uncanny?” Martha asked, unsure of what she was going to hear.
“I’ll have to show you,” Michael smiled taking the young woman’s hand, “I’m Michael, Lord Bonchurch. And you are?”
“I’m Ianto Jones and she is Martha Jones.”
“Ahh, such a lovely couple,” the blond Lord mused as he shook the Torchwood Agents’ hands.
Martha laughed nervously, “Oh, no relation.”
“My boyfriend would object,” Ianto added cheekily.
“I see,” the Lord said smiling.
The lavish patio seemed out of place behind the ancient house and the gardens were old but well tended.
“This manor has been here since the 12th century,” Lord Bonchurch bragged to his guests over a Guinness. He leaned into the attractive young Torchwood medic and gave her a sheepish grin. “They say the original Lord Bonchurch was none other than the manservant of Robin Hood himself and that he was part of the outlaw’s gang. When Hood met his tragic death at the hands of Lord Gisborne, he came here to the lands deeded him by his former master and took over Bonchurch lodge.”
Martha gulped quickly and shot a gaze at Ianto, “You don’t say.”
“Oh again with the stories, Much?’ Carter teasingly glared at his partner. “Really you’ll bore the lovely lady to tears.”
“Go on!” Martha smiled at the lord, alleviating his sudden pout. “I find it fascinating.”
“Then don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Carter said as he got up to get their guests more drinks. “He can go on about the Bonchurch family history all night.”
“Anyway…” the young lord started again impatiently glancing at his lover. “We came here eight years ago and found my ancestral home in ruin.” He grinned as he remembered the labour of love. “It took us till now to get the place back to the way it was.”
Martha smiled warmly at the man who was becoming increasingly familiar to her. “You wanted to show me something?”
“Yes the fountain! You’ll be quite surprised.” He grabbed her hand and led her down a garden path with the excitement of a small child.
In the clearing stood an ancient stone pond. In the centre stood the statue of a young woman holding a pitcher with water coming out. The face on the statue was a chiselled reflection of the girl's standing before it. The base read, “Milady faire Martha.”
“Uncanny! I know,” he finished for her. “I almost fell over when I saw you.”
Ianto and Carter watched as the lord and doctor conversed in front of the fountain. The Torchwood Agent turned to the blonde man, “You make a lovely couple.”
“Thanks, I owe my life to him.”
“How’s that?” the Welshman inquired.
“I was attacked and left for dead. Apparently the victim of a mugging gone wrong.” Carter lifted his shirt showing the angry gash across his otherwise flawlessly well muscled abdomen. “The lowlife almost gutted me like a fish. Much found me near death and brought me to the hospital.”
“You sound as if you don’t remember any of it,” Ianto spoke warily.
“Nor anything about my life before I woke up. The doctor called it retrograde amnesia and said I may never get the memories back.”
“Don’t you want to remember what happened or who you were?”
Carter smiled, as two arms came around him and his partner hugged him from behind. “My life started with this guy standing over me and fussing like he knew me forever.” He shrugged, “I’m not worried about what happened before, if it comes back so be it. It doesn’t matter anymore, I have him now.”
“And I’m never letting you go!” Much smiled and kissed the back of his lover’s neck. He then looked at his guests, “So you never did say what brought you here.”
“Oh, to see about one of the Bonchurch family heirlooms,” Martha supplied.
“Which one?” the blond lord asked with mild curiosity. "We have a lot of them around here."
“At least we hope you still have it. It is documented as being owned by your family at some time anyway,” Ianto explained.
“What is it?” the Lord asked as the Torchwood agent pulled a file out of his coat. And handed it to him.
“It’s a necklace we believe might be hazardous. The stone might be … radioactive.”
“Radioactive?” The young man paused as he stared at the faded police property photo of Matilda’s vortex manipulator. He then looked at Martha. “It isn’t dangerous or anything is it.”
She smiled kindly at him. “After all this time, not anymore I’m sure. We just want to collect it for study.”
“I’ll check with some of my relatives and see if they remember anything about such a necklace,” Much replied.
Martha nodded at the man she was now almost sure was her former friend. She then looked at her travelling companion, “I think we are done here, Ianto. Obviously we have reached a dead end in our search. Thank you for your time, Lord Bonchurch.”
The young lord smiled and took her hand, lightly kissing it, “Please milady, all my close friends call me ‘Much.’ It’s an old family nickname.”
“Okay … Much,” she smiled.
He embraced the young Torchwood medic warmly, “You know your next visit to our little island doesn’t have to be so formal.” He grasped Carter’s hand and smiled. “We love entertaining and would appreciate the company. Isn’t that right, love?”
Carter smiled, his blue eyes beaming, “Certainly! Our home is your home.”
Martha grinned, “Thanks for the invitation.”
Before the couple left, Lord Bonchurch smiled at his new friend and took her aside, “Lady Martha?”
“Yes, Much?” she smiled, her eyes glistening.
“I see the ring on your finger. You are engaged?”
She looked down at her ring and back at her new friend, beaming. “Yes I am, to a wonderful man, Tom Milligan.”
Much smiled warmly, “My best wishes to both of you.” He looked at his partner talking to Ianto and smiled wistfully, “Weddings are wonderful. I believe in happy endings.” He then levelled his impossibly, light blue eyes at her. “Don’t you believe in happy endings?”
Martha nodded sombrely, in complete understanding, “Yes I do, very much so.”
The blond man smiled, almost acting relieved, “Good … I’m glad you do.” They shared another warm embrace.
Later, as they made their way toward the car, Ianto caught Martha’s arm, “Why are we leaving? We know who that is in there and we know he’s got…”
“Do we? I think it’s a case of, how did the Doctor put it? ‘Ancestral genetic duplicity?’ And even so, the man in there is far from the man we knew.” She looked at the Welshman with a defiant expression, “As he said, I believe in happy endings.”
Ianto took a deep breath and focussed on his team-mate under heavy brows. “Happy endings it is then.”
Just then the com clicked in.
“Ianto, Martha, I need you back at the hub now! Something’s happening to the children in London.”
The Torchwood agent shot a concerned look at the medic. “We’re on it, Jack.”
Martha shrugged. “So much for happy endings.”
A.N. Thanks to everyone for reading. My first novel is done!