Title: Choice in the Matter
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: PG-13
Table: Buffet 2, fc_smorgasbord
Prompt: 3: Return
Author's Note: Continuation of Strobe Lights.
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.


The Doctor sank gratefully onto the softness of his bed, letting Jethro pull off his jacket and begin working at the buttons of his shirt. He had to sit up again to let his young lover pull his clothes off, holding back a soft groan as he did so.

"Are you going to be all right?" Jethro asked him, his worry evident in his voice. The Doctor blinked a few times, trying to collect his thoughts, focusing on the young man hovering over him and smiling up into his face.

"Yes, Jethro, I'll be fine. Just a bit weak and .... well, uncomfortable for a while," he said softly, wanting to reassure his boyfriend. It had taken a lot of courage for Jethro to come looking for him; he'd have to find out exactly how he had been found and rescued.

Jethro's hands had moved down his sides and were now resting on his slender hips, his anxious eyes scanning the Doctor's face. "If there's anything I can do to make you more comfortable, just tell me," he murmured, obviously wanting to make himself useful.

"Just help me get my trousers off, that's all." The Doctor lay back against the pillows, closing his eyes as Jethro's hands went to work on his belt buckle. After a few moments, he raised his hips to allow the young man to strip his trousers down his long legs and pull them off.

The Time Lord let out a soft sigh of relief, feeling much more comfortable now that the restrictive fabric had been peeled away from his skin. It would probably be a day or two before he was back to normal again, but he'd been lucky to escape with no major harm done.

He could tell that Jethro wanted to touch him, to reassure himself that the Doctor was indeed all right. "You can touch me, Jethro," he whispered, reaching out to take the young man's hand in his own. "Just not in any .... well, tender spots. Not at the moment."

Jethro nodded, swallowing hard as he placed a hand on the Time Lord's chest, then leaned down to brush his lips gently across the Doctor's mouth. "I'm just glad I could get you out of there before they did anything else to you," he said softly, his voice almost cracking.

"It's what they could do to other innocent people on that planet that worries me," the Doctor said soberly, sighing softly as he spoke. "I may not have had all my faculties in top condition, but I saw enough to know what's going on there."

"What would that be?" Jethro asked, a frown furrowing his brow. "I thought they'd just taken you captive because of who you are -- and me because I was with you and they wouldn't want me to remember any of what had happened."

"They have their little laboratory where they were -- err, experimenting on me behind that nightclub," the Time Lord explained, a frown creasing his own forehead as he spoke. "That means that, more than likely, they're getting their -- well, subjects from that place."

Jethro nodded thoughtfully, following the Doctor's train of thought. "That makes sense. But why? What are they trying to do to those people? And didn't they know that you weren't one of them, and that they hadn't simply captured someone from the planet?"

"Oh, they knew," the Doctor said, his tone dry. "If they were working for the Master -- and something tells me that they were -- then they knew. And their orders were probably to capture me and keep me there until he showed up."

Jethro shuddered, glad that he'd managed to get the Doctor away from there. "At least we got away, and hopefully we won't have to deal with that again. Going through something like that once is enough. I don't want to face it a second time."

"What did they do to you, love?" the Doctor asked softly, a worried frown settling onto his features. "I'm sorry I let them get to you, Jethro. If I'd had any way to protect you, I would have. But they took me by surprise -- and you too, I'm afraid."

"They .... they erased my memories," Jethro whispered, not wanting to tell the Doctor what had been done to him, but knowing that he had to. "I don't know exactly how. When I woke up, I was on the floor alone in the room they left me in -- and I couldn't remember how I got there."

"What did you remember?" the Doctor asked, still frowning, his face going pale. "Jethro, did they hurt you in any way? Did they do anything to your mind that you can still feel?" He sounded more shaken than Jethro had expected him to be.

The young man shook his head, wanting to reassure his lover. "I can't feel anything in my mind other than what's supposed to be there, as far as I can tell," he said, hoping that his calm tone would soothe the Doctor's agitation. "I'm all right, Doctor. Really."

"What did they do?" the Time Lord asked again, his tone insistent. "If it's anything I might have to reverse, I need to know about it, Jethro. What could you remember when you woke up? How far back did your memories go?"

"I couldn't remember you at all." Jethro gulped, wanting to keep the words back, but they tumbled out, seemingly drawn from him at the Doctor's question. "It was like .... all of the life I've led with you was just .... gone. Completely deleted."

The Doctor clutched his hand, those dark eyes searching his face. "You obviously remembered me at some point," he said hoarsely, his voice cracking a little on the last words. "How, Jethro? How did you get your memory to come back?"

"The bond we share," Jethro told him, keeping his voice soft. "I don't know exactly how, but once I tried to think about how I'd gotten there .... it was like I kept going backwards in my mind, and I could see you there. I kept going back until your name broke through."

The Time Lord looked astonished, his dark eyes widening. "You remembered me without something happening to jog your mind? Just through the bond we have?" He raised a hand to lay his palm against Jethro's cheek. "That's amazing, love."

"It think it's because of my empathy," Jethro said, not taking his eyes from the Doctor's face. "That has to be it. That led me back to you, Doctor. That, and our bond. If it hadn't been for that ability, and the love we have for each other ...." He let his voice trail off, gulping again.

"If not for that love, then we both might have been dead -- or worse," the Doctor murmured, stroking Jethro's cheek. "Thank you, sweetheart. You saved us both, you know. Your quick thinking got us out of there with our minds and bodies intact."

Jethro could tell that the Time Lord was hesitant to say something that he needed to get out; he looked down at the other man, concern in his gaze. "What is it, Doctor? I can tell that there's something you're not telling me."

The Doctor sighed, closing his eyes for a few seconds before opening them and staring up at Jethro. "We have to return to that planet, Jethro. Not right away -- I'm in no shape to tackle what's going on there at the moment -- but soon."

"But we can't go back!" Jethro argued, feeling a wave of panic start to sweep over him. "You could have died there -- and I could have wandered around for the rest of my life without ever remembering you! We have to stay away from that place!"

"No, Jethro." The Doctor's voice was steady, firm, brooking no argument. "We have to go back. We have no choice in the matter. Now that I know the Master is planning something, and using that planet as part of his scheme, I have to stop him. I have to find out what he's up to."

"But ...." Jethro's voice trailed off; he looked down, biting his lip. The Doctor was right, of course. They had to return. They had no choice about it; this was what the Doctor had pledged himself to do, to help when he was needed.

He wanted to protest, to come up with some argument as to why they couldn't go back. But he had none -- at least, none that wouldn't sound selfish, or seem as though he didn't care about what happened to that planet. He did. Of course he did.

But he didn't want to lose the love of his life. And they'd had enough encounters with the Master for Jethro to be terrified of the power that maniac could wield. They'd been lucky so far in their battles with him, but eventually their luck was going to run out.

Finally, with a deep sigh, he raised his eyes to the Doctor's, nodding reluctantly. "All right. When you go back, I'll be right there beside you. But you're going to recuperate from this first. I won't have you rushing back into a bad situation."

The Doctor sighed, leaning back against the pillows with a grimace. "That may take a few days," he said, gingerly shifting his position so that Jethro could lie down beside him. "For the moment, I think I'm out of commission."

Jethro nodded, laying down beside the Doctor and carefully taking the Time Lord into his arms. "We'll have to be prepared when we return to that planet," he said, closing his eyes. "That means trying to find out some things about it before we go back."

He expected the Doctor to add to what he'd said -- until he looked down at the man in his arms and realized that his lover had fallen asleep. Jethro didn't blame him, after what he'd been through. Sighing, he closed his eyes, knowing that it would take a long time for him to fall asleep.