Title: Confide in Me
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 1, fanfic50
Prompt: 34, Confide
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the Tenth Doctor or Jethro Cane. Please do not sue.
***Jethro looked up at the Doctor across the console with a frown on his face, wondering why the Time Lord was so silent. Usually, he was chattering up a storm, or at least making some sort of conversation. But lately, he hadn't been talkative.
Yes, the two of them had been through some harrowing adventures recently, but Jethro had thought that the Doctor was used to such things happening in his life. That shouldn't be enouigh to make him so quiet nearly all of the time.
Even when they'd gone to bed the last few nights, the Doctor had been strangely uncommunicative. Jethro couldn't help but have an uneasy feeling about that; they'd been together, had fallen asleep in each other's arms, but the Doctor hadn't talked to him.
Did his lover want to get rid of him? Did the Doctor want to take him back to Earth, or possibly back to Midnight, and leave him there? Was he tired of having a human companion, someone so much younger than he was? Could that be the reason for him being so quiet?
He didn't want to think that. He wanted to believe that the Doctor's love for him was something that would last forever, that they would never part. And his empathic abilities hadn't been able to sense any change in the Doctor's feelings towards him.
But he couldn't hold back that sense of worry, that fear of having done or said something wrong that had made the Doctor's feelings for him undergo a significant change. Jethro knew that he had to talk with the Time Lord about this, before he started getting paranoid.
Clearing his throat, Jethro straightened up, looking directly at the Doctor across the console. As though he hadn't realized Jethro was there, the Time Lord looked back at him, a startled expression on his face, as he slowly straightened up to his full height.
"Is something wrong, Jethro?" he asked, his voice soft, a small smile crossing his features. "I'm sorry if I wasn't paying attention to you -- I've just had a lot on my mind lately. I don't mean to ignore you, love. I'm just .... well, a bit preoccupied."
Jethro nodded slowly, unable to keep the note of anxiety out of his voice when he spoke. "I know that, Doctor. You've been so preoccupied that you haven't talked to me about much of anything lately. And it scares me. It makes me feel that you're keeping something from me."
The Doctor shook his head, but he didn't look at Jethro as he did so. The young man's senses sharpened even further; even without his empathic abilities, he would have been able to tell that something was definitely bothering the man he loved.
"Doctor, what is it?" Jethro asked, stepping towards the Doctor around the console and holding his hands out in front of him, silently inviting the Doctor to take them in his own. "You need to confide in me. I'm your companion, after all. Not just your companion, but your lover.
The Time Lord still didn't meet Jethro's gaze, but he stepped forward and took the young man's hands in his. Jethro could feel a wave of anxiety rush through him at the contact; there was something on the Time Lord's mind, all right, something that made him very uneasy.
"Please tell me what's wrong," he whispered, his voice breaking. "Doctor, I don't know what it is, but I can tell that there's something on your mind -- and that it involves me. Whatever it is, I need to know. I think I've earned that right, as your companion."
The Doctor hesitated, then nodded and sighed as he pulled Jethro towards the chairs in front of the large viewscreen. Both of them sat down, Jethro visibly trembling. The Doctor tightened his grip on the young man's hands, squeezing them gently in his own.
"Jethro, if you're worried about our relationship, you can put your mind at ease right now," the Time Lord told him, his voice quiet but strong and firm. "I'm not going to repudiate you -- and I'm not going to take you back to Midnight and leave you there."
Jethro looked up, his dark eyes wide. How had the Doctor known about his fears of being abandoned? It came to him a moment later, as soon as the thought had gone through his mind -- the Doctor was a telepath. Of course he'd known what his lover was thinking.
"Then what is it?" he whispered, unable to keep his voice from trembling as much as his hands. "I've just got this feeling that you're having second thoughts about us, Doctor. I know that we've been together for a while now -- but I can't shake the feeling that you're not happy."
"No, that's not it," the Doctor told him, his gaze finally focusing on Jethro's face and not looking away. "I don't want you out of my life, Jethro. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's just that .... I sometimes wonder if I'm doing you a disservice by having you with me."
"Of course not!" Jethro's reply was quick and adamant. "How could it be a disservice to me, being with the person I love most in the world? Whatever it is that's bothering you, Doctor, confide in me. Tell me what the problem is. Maybe I can find a way to help."
As soon as he said the words, he almost wanted to take them back. The only way that he could "help" if the Doctor wasn't sure about him being here was to leave -- and Jethro knew that he could never do that. Not of his own accord, at any rate.
"The only way that you could help is by staying out of danger," the Doctor said softly, his gaze still locked with Jethro's. "And that's not possible, not for you. You're so much like me, Jethro. You want adventure. You want to throw yourself into harm's way."
Jethro shook his head, wishing that he could negate the Doctor's words. "No, Doctor, I don't. Not since I've fallen in love with you. I don't want to put myself -- or you -- into dangerous situations. I want us to grow old together, not risk dying together."
"I know that it's going to be impossible for me to keep you safe all the time, Jethro," the Doctor said with a sigh. "And I'm trying to resign myself to that. It's just hard to accept that fact, when every instinct tells me to keep the person I love protected from any kind of harm."
"I love that you want to do that, Doctor," Jethro said softly. "And I appreciate it. But you know, I'm not just your lover, I'm your partner. You need my abilities to help you. I just wish you'd confided this to me sooner. I hate that you've worried all this time."
"I shouldn't have worried, I know," the Doctor told him, sighing again. "But it's hard not to do when you love someone, and when that someone has abilities that can put them in danger. Sometimes I wish you weren't an empath -- but you're right. I do need your help sometimes."
"And you know that I'll be right by your side to give you that help whenever you need it," Jethro said, his voice soft and reassuring. "I can take care of myself, Doctor. I've proven that. And part of being your lover and your companion is to have your back."
"I know you will, love," the Doctor replied, looking down at their clasped hands. "I'll confide in you the next time I have worries like this, Jethro, I promise. I .... just wasn't sure how you'd take it if I told you how I was feeling. I didn't want to push you away."
"You could never do that," Jethro told him, blinking back sudden tears that were rising unbidden behind his eyes. "I'll never turn away from you, Doctor. I spent too much time looking for you, and too much of my life wanting to be with you."
"That's comforting to know," the Doctor said, finally giving Jethro a genuine smile. "And now that we've got that worry behind us, what do you say that we start looking for another place to go -- one where we can hopefully stay out of trouble for a while?"
"Sounds good to me!" Jethro replied, looking towards the console. Within moments, the two of them were bending over the console of the ship, discussing different places that they could go, both of them looking forward to seeing a new planet that would, hopefully, also be a safe one.
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