Title: Harder To Breathe
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Ross Jenkins
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: PG-13
Table: 4, 50ficlets
Prompt: 38, Breathe
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 Ross Jenkins, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


This couldn't be happening.

The Doctor wanted to hold his breath, but he knew that would be dangerous. He was already running out of air, and even though his Time Lord body had two respiratory systems, he could only live for so long in an airless environment.

Ross was safe; he could hold that thought in his mind as a consolation. He himself might die here before his young lover would be able to get to him, but at least Ross would be all right. He wouldn't have to think of the young man suffocating on an unknown planet.

If Ross was smart, he would take the Tardis and leave. But of course, he wasn't going to be smart; he was going to fit himself up with one of those oxygen tanks that the Doctor had shown him and come out here searching. And he would probably die, too.

No. That wasn't going to happen. Ross wouldn't be that stupid; he would do the intelligent thing and give him up for dead. Yes, the young man loved him and wouldn't want to sacrifice him, but in the end, he would do what was best.

He really wouldn't have a choice, the Doctor thought, taking a deep breath. Oh no, he shouldn't have done that. There was precious little enough air left to him; it would only be a few more moments before it was all gone, sucked out of the atmosphere.

He didn't want to think of Ross' heartache over losing him. He was sure that the young man would feel the same horrible pain that he would if Ross was the one out here, wandering in some vast wilderness and knowing that he was going to die.

Why had he brought them here? He'd been so sure that this planet was safe, but since it wasn't a place that he knew, he'd cautioned Ross to stay on the Tardis until he'd done a bit of exploring on his own. He hadn't realized that it would be a hostile planet.

There were no overt hostilities; it hadn't hit him immediately that the oxygen was being sucked away. By the time he'd realized what was happening, he'd also realized that he was hopelessly lost, and that the sonic screwdriver wasn't helping him to find his way.

How many other victims had this planet claimed? The Doctor was sure that he wouldn't be the first; there were bound to be bodies here somewhere, but he was glad that he hadn't found any. He didn't care to look on any decomposing remains.

Who would find his lifeless body? He hoped that it wouldn't be Ross; even if the young man could find him and somehow get him back to the Tardis, he was sure that it would be too late. And he didn't want Ross to risk himself in that way.

It was getting harder to breathe; each breath he took now was almost painful. His lungs felt as if they were being squeezed inside his body; soon, they would stop working, and everything would go black. Maybe that would be an easy way to go ....

"Doctor!" Was someone calling his name?

His head jerked up when he heard the voice, his eyes widening. Surely that couldn't be Ross; he was imagining things, the yawning void that was threatening to swallow him was making him hear things. Next would come the hallucinations.

The Time Lord blinked, unable to believe what he was seeing. Ross was standing in front of him, reaching out to him; he was indeed outfitted with an oxygen tank, and he was holding another mask out to the Doctor. No hallucination, this. Ross was here. He was real.

He could hardly hold the oxygen mask to his face, closing his eyes as he breathed in the welcome air. After a few moments, his vision cleared; he let Ross slip an arm around his waist and lead him in what he hoped was the direction of the Tardis.

Now wasn't the time for questions; they needed to get back to the ship and get away from here. He was sure that Ross knew the way. He wouldn't have left the ship unless he was sure that he could make his way back to safety. The Doctor was sure of that.

The Doctor stumbled over a tree root, drawing his breath in sharply and almost dropping the oxygen mask. Ross' arm tightened around his waist, helping him along; after what seemed like a very long time, he saw the Tardis looming up in front of them.

Ross pushed open the door of the ship, leading the Doctor inside and up the steps. The Time Lord lowered the mask, gasping in air within the ship. He didn't know how Ross had found him, but he owed his life to this young man. He would never forget that.

Before he realized what was happening, he was in Ross' arms, his lover's lips on his. Once again, he was finding it hard to breathe -- but this time, he had no fear for his life. The Doctor melted into Ross' embrace, gladly letting the young man take his breath away.