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08 January 2010 @ 03:15 pm
The Job  
Title: The Job
Author: robinfanatic
Characters: Isabella, Thornton, Carter; mentions Robin
Words: 722
Genre: angst
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: BBC & TA own; I just want to play in their universe.
Notes: for rh_intercomm challenge; many many thanks to wastingyourgum  for the plot bunny!!  This is a lost scene that takes place immediately prior to 2x08.

: Isabella will do anything to escape...

The Job
by robinfanatic

Isabella listened, barely breathing, from the doorway.

"I will make quick work of it, My Lord," the young man said, his voice sending a shiver up her spine. "Then I'll be off to Nottingham."

"Good. Ten pounds now." Thornton's voice dripped icily. Coins clinked. "Twenty more when the job is done."

Isabella felt her pulse quicken. She hurried to the stable. She might have another way out. A young man could always use more gold in his pocket.


"You have friends in Nottingham?" she asked as Thornton's 'hire' checked his horse's cinch. He was dressed in blacks and grays from head to toe, cutting a very handsome and well-muscled figure. Clean-shaven with golden blond hair that was shorn short, he could easily have passed for a young noble rather than the peasants her husband usually hired.

"I am looking for someone there."

"More...business...with my husband?"

His intense blue eyes caught hers. "Sheriff's business."

"Isabella," she nodded.

"Lady Isabella," he bowed. "Carter."

"I have not been to Nottingham since I was a young girl," she said, running her hand through his horse's dark mane. "I should like to go back but my husband frowns upon any interest I have beyond his bedroom."

Carter did not flinch. He checked his sword, his long blade, inspected his saddle bag, and patted the pouch of coins tied to the belt at his waist.

Isabella brushed the animal's flank. "I grew up near Locksley," she added when he did not respond.

"Did you know the lord of the manor there--Robin?"

She seemed pleased that she'd cracked his cool façade. "At ten years old he was a smug little cocky bastard," she smirked.

"Then he has not changed much."

"You know him?"

"We both served in King Richard's private guard though he left shortly after I arrived in the Holy Land. His reputation did not leave with him."

Isabella heard the snarl in Carter's voice. She smiled mischievously. She'd heard the story of Robin Hood. "You are after the Sheriff's bounty. Your...business." She looked at him coyly and laid her hand atop his on the saddle. "I bet you have other...talents."

Carter gently removed his hand. "I am a soldier, a mercenary, milady."

"A Knight Templar, my Lord. Do not knights help people in distress?"

"Are you in distress, milady?"

"I am like a caged bird here." A tear threatened to slip down Isabella's cheek.

"This beautiful home, everything you could desire?"

"My husband makes my life hell, Carter!" Isabella's eyes grew wild and she grabbed his hands, pressing them against her heart. Her fingers slid up his chest then caressed his face. "Please take me with you. I will give you anything you might desire." She brushed his lips with a kiss.

Carter pulled away. "I was once bedded by a married woman, milady. She had a jealous husband. He merely threw me out of town. Yours would not be so generous."

"Twenty pounds then--"

"And have Lord Thornton place a bounty on my head?" Carter shook his head. "No," he said. "I am the hunter. I have no desire to be the hunted."

"You would leave me to die at his hands!" she half-shouted.

"He loves you."

"How can you say that? You do not know the things he has done to me."

"He told me he has servants who taste your food before it touches your lips."

"That is for his sake," she spat. "He trusts no one."

"He knows you tried to poison yourself and it grieved him greatly."

"It grieved him so much he nearly broke my arm when he found out!" Isabella's eyes grew wide. Why would this knight know so much about her? Her heart pounded in her ears. "What 'quick work' has he paid you for?"

Carter mounted his horse.

"Tell me!" she shouted, grabbing at the reins of his horse.

"I'm to kill the assassin you hired to take your life." Carter whipped the reins from Isabella's hands.

"No!!" she cried, falling to her knees as the knight rode off into the sunset.

Doricleo_eurydike on January 8th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of this fic, of Isabella trying so hard to get out, and of Carter's calculated indifference. Thornton, in even a brief moment, is chilling. The whole thing is extraordinarily well written, with such a tense, desperate seduction (I especially like the terseness of the emphasis and actions here:

Carter did not flinch. He checked his sword, his long blade, inspected his saddle bag, and patted the pouch of coins tied to the belt at his waist.

Isabella brushed the animal's flank. "I grew up near Locksley," she added when he did not respond.

I'm not as sure about the suicide plot, honestly, it wars too much with my own interpretation of Isabella as the sort who would chew through her arm to get out of a bear trap, but otherwise loved it. Thanks so much for sharing!

Edited at 2010-01-09 12:03 am (UTC)
robinfanaticrobinfanatic on January 9th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
I'm not as sure about the suicide plot,

Definitely a bit OOC for series 3 Isabella, but it was such a fun idea (hm...that sounds sick, doesn't it?) that I just ran with it.

Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed it. :)
Queerly: The Foolqueerlyobscure on January 8th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. *takes a moment*

I love this interpretation of Isabella. Unhinged enough to hire an assassin for herself.

(Also I will admit to a little 'Yay, Carter!' moment but that is neither here nor there.)
robinfanaticrobinfanatic on January 9th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Also I will admit to a little 'Yay, Carter!' moment

Carter was all sad in the tags with zero uses as wastingyourgum and I lamented. I've got him so embedded (and you can take that any way you like *evil grin*) in Denial, that it's hard to get into his 2x08 and 2x13 self. But Al's little pb set me up quite nicely...though I'd actually prefer to be set up with Carter, embe--
oh...better not go there. *HFR* :)
with blue eyes: blue dressan_lagat_glas on January 9th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
Whoa, Isabella/Carter! Their interactions are really interesting. I like that so much is going on beneath the surface. Lovely little snapshot!
robinfanaticrobinfanatic on January 9th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed! Thanks for commenting! :)
WYG: John S3 seriouswastingyourgum on January 9th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, very well done! I thought Assassin!Carter/Isabella was one of my more random bunnies but you totally nailed it!

Carter is so focused here, as he was at the start of 2x08, and Isabella's desperation is really well drawn.

Good job!
robinfanaticrobinfanatic on January 9th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)
*orders a half dozen more bunnies*

So glad I did your pb justice and found the characters' voices. It's hard to see Carter so cold and uncaring... *sniff*

Railiserailise on January 9th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
This is fantastic. Everyone else has offered better comments than I really could, and said most of what I thought; but I'll say it anyway that I love what you've done with the characters here, and the idea that they had an interaction.

robinfanaticrobinfanatic on January 10th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
alesh101alesh101 on January 9th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
I can see Isabella coming from this place and emerging stronger. Something like this could very well be the impetus for her to finally leave Thornton. And of course her mind never stops working, and she's using her "wiles" on Carter. Shame she's doomed to defeat there.

Cold Carter! I loved cold Carter. I'm glad he went good, but I really did like the indifference and sense of (misguided)purpose he had.

Well done.
robinfanaticrobinfanatic on January 10th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
What's the old quote... 'out of adversity comes strength'? Or another I stumbled on, which I really see a lot of in series 3 Isabella: Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive. ~Josephine Hart

Carter -coolest cold villain turned nice guy! yay!

Thank you for your comments! They are much appreciated.

Edited at 2010-01-10 01:41 pm (UTC)
hippie-girl 31hippie_girl_31 on January 16th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)
Wow! This was excellent! I could really picture both Isabella's calculating attempts at manipulation and then her desperation when all else failed. And Carter's rather dismissive single-mindedness was so in keeping with his demeanor when we first saw him in the show. Plus, this bit of background on two such intriguing characters was very enjoyable. Great job!
robinfanaticrobinfanatic on January 17th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
I'm delighted you enjoyed the story! *TFR*
omteddy2006omteddy2006 on January 27th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
It is OOC for Series 3 Isabella as you pointed out, but as this was "Series 2 Isabella," I can see this AS the turning point from suicidal despairing type to batshit, chew-her-own-leg-off-to-get-away type that we all seem to agree on for S3.

I imagine hiring an assassin to kill yourself would kind of be the last effort in a series of failed attempts.

(BTW: This was also sort of the plot for "Fletch" with Chevy Chase. Although there was a twist to that one.)
jagnikjenjagnikjen on February 13th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
Well done.