Title: Feel the Same Way
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/John Smith
Fandom: Doctor Who
Prompt: 88, Morality
Author's Note: Slight spoilers for Human Nature and The Family Blood. This is an alternate version of events in those episodes. Continuation of Stay With Me Tonight.
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 John Smith. Please do not sue.
***John had agreed to meet him here, in the park, away from the prying eyes of people who worked at the school -- and he was late. The Doctor sighed, looking at his watch for what seemed like the hundredth time. Of course, there were a dozen reasons why John could be held up, but it was still a bit annoying.
He hated that he couldn't have time with John, just the two of them alone, when they were anywhere near the school. It seemed that everyone watched them with a curious eye, as if they could somehow learn something about them. It seemed as though everyone felt the two of them were harboring some deep, dark secret.
Well, he was, at any rate, the Doctor told himself, settling back against the park bench. His feelings for John were starting to develop at a rather rapid rate, and even if others looked at it as being strange, it didn't bother him. The only thing that bothered him was that he'd had no chance to ascertain how John felt about him.
John had given him no indication that he was the slightest bit interested in men; in fact, that older woman had seemed rather snippy, as though she considered John to somehow be her property. The Doctor scowled at the thought; he hadn't taken to that woman at all, and he didn't like her assuming that she owned John.
He'd wanted to point out to her on more than one occasion that John wasn't something to be claimed; he was a human being, who should be free to make his own choices and decisions. Just what would he do if John's decision didn't go in his direction? Leave, more than likely, and try to get the other man out of his mind.
He didn't want to say that he was in love -- no, that was a word reserved for a very few people he'd had in his life. There hadn't been anyone in his life for the last couple of centuries who'd deserved to have that word linked with their names.
Jack .... the Doctor pushed the thought of the handsome immortal aside. He didn't want to think about Jack now. Even though he and Jack were still friends, the other man was a part of his past, a part that he couldn't relive. Jack had made his choice when he'd decided to walk away from him and stay with Torchwood.
He really couldn't blame the other man for that choice, the Doctor told himself, holding back a sigh. He'd probably had enough of the kind of life he'd have if he'd stayed -- yes, the adventure appealed to him, but everyone wanted to settle down with a mate at some point in their lives. Jack had made the right decision for him.
At any rate, he had Ianto now, and the two of them were happy. Well .... at least as happy as a man with Jack's roving eye could be. The Doctor was fairly sure that at some point in their relationship, Ianto would have his heart broken -- and he really didn't want to be around to witness what that would be like.
He really couldn't blame Jack for falling so hard for the attractive young Welshman. He really could have gone for someone like Ianto himself -- but he, like all the other companions he'd chosen, was human. There would always be that spectre of abandonment hanging over them, no matter how happy they were with each other.
Jack would have left him -- or broken his heart -- for some other reason even if they'd stayed together. The Doctor was more sure of that than he'd ever been of anything in his long life. They weren't right for each other in the long run.
But John .... John was the sort of person who would be faithful forever, or at least for as long as his life stretched into the future. He would eventually lose John to his mortality, but that was something he would learn to deal with. At least he would have years ahead of him with someone he could love.
Was he actually linking the word "love" with John Smith? The Doctor frowned, leaning his elbows on his knees and cupping his chin in his hands. Rubbish. He hadn't known the man long enough to say if he loved him or not. He found John fascinating -- and very attractive, which was a bit disturbing -- but love didn't come into the equation.
That wasn't to say that he couldn't let himself fall in love with John, but their relationship would have to progress before he would know that. How could he love someone he barely knew -- and someone who looked exactly like him? That made him pause, wondering just how deeply his feelings for this man went.
If it was just desire, then he would be able to sleep with John, have a brief affair with him, and leave 1913 as easily as he had come here. John wouldn't haunt his thoughts and his dreams, and he wouldn't feel a pull at his heart any time he thought about leaving the other man behind in his own time.
So far, that hadn't been the case. Every time he thought about never seeing John again, his heart had seemed to clutch in his chest, and he'd had to steal a surreptitious glance at the young teacher to be sure that John was here, that he really existed.
That was one of the reasons he'd wanted John to meet him here, away from the prying eyes of everyone at the school. He'd wanted to convince himself that the other man had some interest in him outside of casual friendship, that he was doing the right thing by staying here longer than he had planned.
If that turned out to be a false assumption, then he would leave tomorrow. He would allow himself one more night of being here, being close to John, and then he'd slip away from the school during the day before he talked himself into staying longer and trying to change John's mind. He wouldn't put himself through that.
Ah, there he was, striding along the path through the park and looking around for the Doctor. The Time Lord raised one arm, waving, a smile spreading over his features as John approached. He moved over on the bench, making room for the young man to sit down, not wanting to take his eyes off John as he turned to face him.
"It's rather peaceful here," John said, looking around with a sigh and leaning back against the bench. "I don't know why I've never come here before. I've walked through, of course, but I'd never thought of it as a place to get away from everything. I should come here more often."
"I hope you'll want to come here with me," the Doctor said softly, wanting to broach his questions to John and find out just what the other man's feelings were. There was no use beating around the bush and being subtle; it was better to be upfront.
John cast him a startled look, a though this was something he hadn't thought of. "Why wouldn't I come here with you?" he asked, looking puzzled. The Doctor almost wanted to laugh at the young man's innocence; John apparently had no idea of his feelings, or of why the Doctor had wanted to meet him here.
"John ...." He leaned forward and took both of the young teacher's hands in his own, facing John squarely and holding that dark gaze with his own. "I asked you to meet me here today for a reason. I didn't want to be around the school for anyone to hear what I have to say. It's rather a .... delicate subject."
"Oh?" John looked down at his hands, clasped in the Doctor's, but he didn't pull away or act as though the gesture was making him uncomfortable. "You can talk to me about anything. I'm not going to judge you, Doctor. I'd like to think that I'm a rather easy person to get along with -- or to come to if you need to talk."
"I suppose you would be -- if I didn't feel the way I do about you." The Doctor was watching John carefully to see just what his response would be to those words. It wasn't something the other man would expect to hear, he was sure, and he didn't want John to leap to his feet and run in the opposite direction.
"You .... have feelings for me ....?" John still looked confused, and the Doctor had to suppress a sigh. He couldn't be that innocent. Gay men had most definitely been around in 1913, though obviously not openly.
"Yes, I do." The Doctor didn't know any other way to get his point across. He leaned over towards John, releasing the other man's hands and taking his face between his palms. Leaning forward, he placed his lips on John's mouth, the kiss soft and gentle at first, then becoming more insistent after the first few moments.
John wasn't pulling away; he wasn't pushing against the Doctor, trying to free himself from the kiss. The Time Lord could feel his hearts beating faster, hope rising within him. What if John actually returned his feelings? What might happen between them? No, he was being too hopeful. He didn't want to let his thoughts go quite that far yet.
When he raised his head, John's eyes were closed, his lips parted, his breathing rapid and shallow. He finally opened his eyes as the Doctor watched him, raising one thin hand to his mouth to press his fingers against his lips, as if he couldn't quite fathom that the Doctor had kissed him. "Wh-what was that for?"
"I told you that I have feelings for you, John," the Doctor said softly, reaching out to twine the fingers of one hand through John's. The young teacher didn't snatch his hand away, which was a good sign. At least he wasn't running away, or screaming some invective. Maybe this would work out the way he wanted it to.
"You .... I .... but you can't," John stammered, his eyes wide, his gaze skittering away from eye contact. "You barely know me. And we're .... we're both men. That isn't .... accepted. You have to know that."
"I know it isn't," the Doctor told him, moving closer and sliding his other arm around John's slender waist. "John, don't worry. No one can see us here. That's why I chose this spot. I had to tell you -- I would have gone completely insane if I hadn't. And I think you might have those same feelings for me."
John didn't make any sign either of affirmation or disagreement; he just sat there, looking down at the ground. The Doctor could feel the young man trembling in his arms, and he felt badly that he'd apparently frightened John to the point where he couldn't speak. But he hadn't known of another way to break this to him.
When John finally spoke, he still didn't lift his eyes to the Doctor's. "I can't have those feelings. I can't. It's .... it's wrong, Doctor. You have to know that. I've been told all my life that it's morally wrong. I can't just change my morality because you tell me of your feelings. I can't go against everything I've been taught."
"Sometimes you have to go against all that you know to do what's right for you," the Doctor said softly, wishing that he had some sort of magic words to convince John that what he was saying was the truth. Had the fear of what others might him been ingrained so deeply that John couldn't break free of it?
And more importantly -- did John even have those feelings? From what he was saying, the Doctor was almost sure that he did -- but there was still that little spark of doubt. He had to know how John felt. He had to.
"John." His voice was barely a whisper, his words the only sound in the hushed silence that seemed to have fallen over the place. "I could very easily fall in love with you. In fact, I think that I may already be nearing that point. I need to know if you think you could love me, too."
John looked up at him, his dark eyes wide. His mouth opened, as though he wanted to speak, but no sound came out; he didn't nod or shake his head. He only sat there, staring at the Doctor, their gazes locked together as though they were drinking in each other's features, memorizing them for all eternity.
When John finally spoke, the word was shaky, said in a trembling voice, but it came out loudly and clearly. "Yes." Disentangling his hands from the Doctor's grasp, he got up, walking towards the school as quickly as he could. He didn't look back, keeping his eyes on the ground as he moved towards the building that contained their rooms.
The Doctor didn't get up and follow him immediately; he knew that he had to give John time to adjust to what he'd admitted to. But he would be in the room next to the other man's that night, and he had the definite feeling that something was going to happen -- something that would change both of their lives.
***Next story in series - No Regrets.
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