Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Prompt: 13, Inquisition
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 sat up, drawing the blanket covering him closer around his shoulders. He'd been out here all night, waiting for the sun to come up, trying to think of a way to get himself and the Doctor out of this mess and safely back to the Tardis. So far, he was coming up empty as far as ideas went. Things were definitely not looking good.
He'd thought that it was going to be so interesting to go back to the time of the Spanish Inquisition, to see all these things that he'd read about in his history classes in school for himself firsthand. But it wasn't cool, he'd discovered. It was frightening, and all too real -- and too close for comfort.
What exactly had they done to make these people think that the Doctor was a witch? Oh yeah. The Time Lord had done something with the sonic screwdriver -- and in view of a lot of people. Not exactly the best idea, given the time period that they were in.
And now, the Doctor was in a prison cell, where Jethro couldn't get to him. Awaiting his execution in the morning -- this morning. The sun was coming up; soon, the Inquisitors would be dragging the Doctor out of that cell, tying him to that stake that stood in the middle of the courtyard that Jethro had spent the night in -- and burning him to death.
No. It wasn't going to happen, Jethro thought frantically, clutching the blanket around him. Somehow, he had to think of a way to rescue the Doctor. He couldn't just stand there and watch the man he loved die. He wouldn't. Whatever he had to do, he'd save the Doctor. Even if it meant sacrificing himself in the process.
But what could he do? He'd never felt so helpless in his life, unable to think of anything he could do to free the Doctor from those men who'd dragged him off into that formidable stone building two days ago. He hadn't been able to see the Time Lord since then; he had no idea what kind of condition the Doctor was in at the moment.
What if they'd killed him? Jethro could feel his heart clutch in his chest at the thought; he pushed it as far away as he possibly could, but it came back to him, images of the Doctor's limp, lifeless body being dragged out of that building and being tossed onto the pile of kindling around the tall stake dancing in front of his eyes.
He couldn't be dead, Jethro told himself, clenching his fists so tightly that his nails cut into his palms. He'd know it if the Doctor wasn't with him any longer. He'd feel it, somehow. His empathic abilities had to be good for something; he'd told himself that ever since he was a child. They could at least let him know that the man he loved was still alive.
How was he going to manage this? The Doctor was in that stone fortress, and Jethro had no way to get to him. Not until they brought him out -- and when they did, he'd be tied up in the middle of the courtyard. There was no way he'd be able to fight his way through a roaring bonfire once it was started.
But .... he did have the sonic screwdriver. Somehow, it had fallen out of the Doctor's pocket in the struggle in the tavern, when those men had grabbed him and dragged him away. They'd taken no notice of Jethro, even though he'd been sitting with the Doctor and talking to him; maybe they'd thought that the two of them had just met, and he was of no importance.
Jethro pulled the instrument out of his pants pocket, squinting and studying it. He had no earthly idea how to make it work; that had always been the Doctor's domain, and he'd never thought to ask. He'd never thought that he would need to know how to use it.
Now, however, he needed to know, desperately. This was probably the only thing that was going to be able to save the Doctor, and Jethro would use any means at his disposal to make sure that goal was accomplished. He didn't fancy the idea of flinging himself headlong into danger, but if that was what he had to do, then so be it.
He smiled wryly when he thought of his last conversation with the Doctor before they'd landed in this time; the Time Lord had been arguing with him that he should stay in the Tardis, keep to himself, and stay out of trouble. Jethro had told his lover that it wasn't him who usually got into trouble -- and the Doctor had fallen silent.
He hadn't cared about winning that argument, Jethro thought, sighing to himself. But it was a good thing that he had talked the Doctor into letting him come along into the town they were now in; if he hadn't, he'd have no clue of what had happened to the Time Lord until it was too late. At least now, he had a chance of rescuing the Doctor, slim though it might be.
Just how was he going to do it? His only hope was the sonic screwdriver, a device that he didn't know how to use. Maybe the Doctor could do something from a distance, but Jethro didn't want to count on that. What if he was wrong? He didn't want to pin all of his hopes on something that couldn't happen.
He shrank back into the shadows as the sun rose higher, casting rays of light across the ground. He'd have to hide here until they brought the Doctor out, and then manage to work his way to the front of the crowd that would no doubt gather to see a so-called witch burned.
Jethro leaned his head back against the stone of the building behind him, closing his eyes and swallowing hard. It was going to be hard enough to see the Doctor manhandled; having to witness the very real possibility of the man he loved being burnt to death was something that he knew he couldn't deal with. He had to rescue the Time Lord. He had to.
There was a commotion around the door of the prison; apparently, they were beginning early today. Jethro fixed his eyes on the door, willing it to open, for them to drag the Doctor outside. Once he was out here, there was more of a chance of getting to him, dragging him away from those men and making their way back to the Tardis.
Jethro's stomach tightened; he could feel his heart thumping against his ribs. He strained to see into the dark recesses of the door leading into the prison, trying to catch the first glimpse of the Doctor. He was positive that they would be bringing the Time Lord out at any moment, and he had to be alert and ready for any chance to free his lover.
There they were; two men, dragging the Doctor between them. The Time Lord's head was bowed, his hands tied behind his back; he'd been gagged with a cloth, probably to keep him from shouting and trying to incite a disturbance. He didn't struggle as he was dragged to the stake, his back pressed against it, his head still down, eyes on the ground.
How was he going to rescue the Time Lord? Jethro thought, studying the Doctor's face -- as much as he could see of it. The Gallifreyan still hadn't raised his head; was he deliberately looking down, or had he given up all hope of being rescued? No, he wouldn't do that, Jethro told himself; no matter what the situation, the Doctor would never give up.
He pressed forward with the crowd, wincing when he saw the two men jerk the Doctor's wrists behind the stake, binding them with rough rope. The Time Lord's ankles were bound as well, the men pulling the ropes taut and making sure that their captive couldn't wriggle free. Jethro swallowed hard as he watched. Would there be a way to loosen those ropes in time?
His hand tightened around the sonic screwdriver, praying that the Doctor would raise his head and see him in the crowd. If he did, then there was a chance that Jethro could somehow manage to communicate to him that he had the screwdriver, and the Doctor would be able to do something to free himself and get them away from here.
If not .... Jethro didn't want to think about it. He knew that he could find the Tardis again, but how was he going to get out of here without the Doctor? He couldn't bear to leave the Time Lord's body behind, no matter what kind of condition he would be in. He would at least have to bury his love -- and he didn't think he could leave him behind.
So what would he do? he asked himself. Stay in this time forever, mourning the one man who'd ever touched his heart? He didn't really have a choice, did he? Any life without the Doctor would only be half a life, if that. He might as well stay here -- or die himself. Nothing would be worth living for without the Time Lord by his side.
The Doctor raised his head, his eyes searching the crowd. Those wide, dark eyes met Jethro's, their gazes locking together for several long moments. Jethro thought the Doctor looked frightened, and he didn't blame him. If he was about to be burnt at the stake, he'd be trying to scream and struggle, anything to try to get free and get away from this place.
But the Doctor was surprisingly still, his gaze locked on his young lover's. Jethro hoped that the people around them didn't notice how they were concentrating on each other; if he joined the Doctor's situation, he'd have no hope of rescuing the Time Lord.
No one seemed to notice, though; they were all too focused on watching the men start to light the braziers at the bottom of the pile of kindling, seeing the flames begin to crackle. Jethro felt his heart lurch in his chest -- it had started, and he still had no idea of how to save the Doctor from suffering a horrible death.
The Doctor's eyes flicked downward, to Jethro's pants pocket, then back up to his face again. It took the young man a few moments to realize that the Time Lord was indicating he should take the sonic screwdriver from his pocket, and he did so, keeping it hidden in his palm as best he could, wondering what the Doctor planned to do.
He had to act soon, Jethro thought, panic starting to well up in him. Already, the flames were licking dangerously close to the Doctor's ankles, beginning to leap up around him. He could see the Time Lord yank at his bonds in an attempt to free his hands -- an attempt that was doomed to failure. The bonds were cruelly tight; there was no way for him to escape.
The sonic screwdriver seemed to buzz in his hand; he looked up at the Doctor's face again, startled at the look of concentration on the Time Lord's features. Without warning, a burst of power seemed to flash from the small instrument in his hand, focused towards the man bound to the stake in the center of the courtyard.
With what sounded like a sputter and a cough, the flames died down; the people around him stood there as if stupefied, unable to fathom what had happened. Even the guards looked shocked, their eyes wide and staring.
Jethro seized his chance, jumping forward and climbing over the kindling to reach the Doctor. He pulled at the ropes binding the Time Lord's wrists with one hand, the other reaching for the gag and pulling it away from the Doctor's mouth. The Gallifreyan shook his head frantically, gasping out his words.
"Use the sonic screwdriver!" he panted, twisting his wrists in their bonds. Jethro could see tha this skin was rubbed raw; he'd obviously struggled against the ropes, but hadn't been able to free himself. He pointed the screwdriver at the Doctor's bound wrists, praying that he was doing the right thing and that the Time Lord wouldn't be harmed.
The ropes fell away as though they had never existed; the Doctor nearly fell, but managed to catch himself on Jethro's shoulder as the young man pointed the screwdriver at the ropes that bound his ankles. He slipped an arm around the Doctor's waist, helping him down from what was to have been a charred pyre, looking around for a way out of the courtyard.
"There!" Jethro shouted, raising an arm and pointing at what looked like an open space leading out. He prayed that he was right, tightening his arm around the Doctor's slim waist as the two of them stumbled towards it, Jethro pointing the sonic screwdriver in any direction he could and hoping that it would keep people away from them.
If he was right, the Tardis was just outside those walls .... yes! There she was. He could just dimly make out the shape of the blue police box; he wondered why the ship hadn't been ravaged, but he could only put it down to some power she had of staying in the shadows. He hoped that was true; they didn't need to go into the Tardis and find someone else already there.
Jethro whirled around and pointed the sonic screwdriver at one of the guards; the man had grabbed the Doctor's arm and was trying to pull him away, back into captivity. A burst of energy radiated from the end of the small metal instrument, not harming the man, but pushing him away so forcefully that he ended up on the ground, staring up at them uncomprehendingly.
The Doctor was leaning heavily against him; Jethro could hear the other man gasping, and his gaze went worriedly to the Time Lord's pale face. Was he all right? What had they done to him during those two days he'd been held captive in that prison?
He could find out later. Right now, the important thing was getting them safely inside the Tardis and out of this time.
Reaching the door, he fumbled in his pocket for the key, finding it and jamming it into the lock. He pushed the Doctor inside ahead of him, turning to push at a man who'd clutched at the robe he wore. With a rending, tearing sound, it ripped down the back, and Jethro pulled the remnants of it over his head and threw it behind him, stepping into the Tardis.
He slumped against the door when it slammed behind him, closing his eyes and nearly sliding down to the floor. He straightened up within seconds, remembering that the Doctor needed him. He couldn't rest yet, not until he'd made sure that the Time Lord was safe and unharmed. He pushed himself away from the door, going to the console.
The Doctor was already there, pushing buttons, breathing heavily and swaying slightly, but still managing to stay on his feet. Jethro felt the familiar displacement of the Tardis going into another dimension, the dizziness that always came over him when that happened, and then everything seemed to settle around him again.
Jethro moved closer to the Time Lord, slipping an arm around his waist. He let out a long sigh of relief; the Doctor was here, he was safe, they had gotten away. The Gallifreyan seemed to relax against him for a moment, leaning into his arms before collapsing, his legs giving way, clutching Jethro's shoulders to keep himself upright.
"You need to rest," Jethro murmured, pressing his lips against the Doctor's forehead, his cheek, then his mouth, both arms around the Time Lord, trying to convince himself that his love was in one piece.
The Doctor nodded, swallowing a few times before he could speak. "That was .... close. Too close. I'm sorry, Jethro. I didn't think something like that would happen. I didn't want to put you in that sort of a situation. It just .... seems as though trouble has a tendency to follow me around, I suppose."
"I think it looks for you," his young lover said softly, supporting the Time Lord as they made their way slowly across the central room of the Tardis, heading towards the bedroom they shared. "But fortunately, between the two of us we managed to push it away this time. I hope we'll always be that lucky."
"Lucky?" The Doctor raised his head, looking over at Jethro and smiling weakly. "Luck had nothing to do with it. It was skill and experience."
"It was luck," Jethro answered, managing a small laugh. "We can't keep pushing that luck, you know. Sooner or later, it's going to run out."
"You know, I think you may be right," the Doctor mused, sighing as he sank down onto their bed and closed his eyes. "I feel as if I could sleep for the next hundred years."
"Not quite that long," Jethro murmured, laying down next to the Time Lord and taking the other man into his arms, pressing soft lips to the Doctor's mouth. "I don't think I could bear being away from you for that length of time."
"You're quite the hero, Jethro," the Doctor told him, opening his eyes and gazing up at his young lover. "If you hadn't been there .... You saved my life, you know. That's a debt that I can never manage to repay, though I'll try my best."
"Once you're rested, we can start working on that debt," Jethro assured him, wrapping strong arms around the Time Lord and pulling him close. "Right now, I think you need to sleep. And then you need to tell me exactly what happened to you in that prison, so I can take care of you and make sure you're all right."
"Yes," the Doctor murmured, closing his eyes and heaving a sigh. Jethro felt the Gallifreyan's slender body relax; within a few moments, the Doctor was asleep, curled into Jethro's arms.
He lay there for a long time, looking down at the Doctor and thinking how lucky they were to have had such a narrow escape. Their luck wouldn't keep holding out, he told himself, a frown crossing his features. They couldn't always beat the odds.
But for now, they were safe -- heading to some other place in the galaxy where, hopefully, they'd be able to stay out of trouble this time. A wry smile twisted Jethro's lips as he closed his eyes. Stay out of trouble? As long as the Doctor was around, he seriously doubted that.
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