Title: Glance Into the Past
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Ross Jenkins
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: VRD challenge - Purple, 5_prompts
Prompt: Purple heart
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.
***"I had no idea that you'd won one of these," the Doctor said softly, holding the box that contained a Purple Heart reverently in his hand and gazing down at the medal as he ran his fingers over the ribbon. "What was it for, if you don't mine me asking?"
"Rescuing my commander and several other people at Bad Wolf Bay," Ross answered softly, his eyes not meeting the Doctor's. "I know that was a bad point of your life too, so if you don't want to talk about it, then we don't have to."
"No, I'm past that now," the Doctor told him, his voice sounding firm and strong. "I learned long ago not to let happenings like that affect the way I look at life -- or at humans. It was a tragedy, but everyone involved did the best they could to avert it."
"Everyone except the cause of it," Ross sighed, shaking his head. "That was when I first knew that you were more than just a legend, or something that had been made up out of someone's mind. I wanted to know you then -- but I didn't think it was possible."
"Little could you know that you would save my life later," the Doctor murmured, reaching out to stroke gentle fingertips down Ross' cheek. "I didn't know it, either -- but I'm more grateful than I can say. And I hope that I'll be able to repay you for that."
"You already have," Ross told the Time Lord, catching the Doctor's hand in his and kissing the other man's fingertips. "By coming to find me after what happened to me in that alternate timeline, and bringing me with you. And by loving me."
The Doctor blinked back tears that he hadn't expected to rise to his eyes so quickly. He cleared his throat, then looked down at the Purple Heart in his hand again, abruptly changing the subject. "I knew a man a long time ago who won one of these."
"You did?" Ross was obviously eager to talk about something else, as well, even though he never liked it when the conversation turned to his time with UNIT. "Who was he? And why did he win a Purple Heart? I expect it was for kind of the same reasons I did."
The Doctor nodded, a small smile curving his lips. "It was back in the time of World War I, actually. But the war that I fought wasn't that one -- it was a war between myself and a murderous family called The Family of Blood. They chased me to Earth, and I had to hide."
"How did you manage to hide yourself?" Ross asked, his brow wrinkling in a frown. "It's not that easy for you to just blend in with the crowd. Even though you look perfectly human, someone as good-looking as you are will stand out anywhere."
"Especially with them," the Doctor agreed with a sigh. "They could smell me. They were looking for a Time Lord to enslave so that they could be immortal, you see. And they would have done anything to find me. So I had to .... become human."
"You were .... human?" Ross' eyes widened at this bit of information. He couldn't imagine the Doctor being anything other than what he was. "How did you do that? And how did you go back to being a Time Lord?" His tone was full of wonder -- and curiosity.
"I went through something called the Chameleon Arch. It's right here on the Tardis," the Doctor told him, grimacing at the memory. "I'd done it before, but it's not something I want to put myself through again unless I absolutely have to. It's a painful process to become human."
Ross nodded in sympathy, sliding an arm around his lover's waist. "I don't want to think about you having to willingly go into anything that could hurt you. I'd never ask you to become human again, unless you were doing it to keep yourself safe."
"Anyway ...." The Doctor cleared his throat again, pushing aside the memories of the pain that the Arch had caused him. "There was a little boy who saved my life during my time as a human. And when he grew older, he was given the Purple Heart in World War II."
"And you were friends with him all that time?" Ross asked, wondering how the Doctor could have known this person for all of his life. Surely he hadn't stayed on Earth for all that time; maybe he'd just visited the boy as he'd grown over the years.
"No, I barely knew him," the Doctor murmured, shaking his head. "But I was at the ceremony where he was being given the Purple Heart, years later, when he was an old man. I hadn't changed -- but he had. Still, he looked across the field and knew me instantly."
"Of course he knew you," Ross said softly, understanding why the Doctor would feel so emotional about that moment of his life. "You're not someone who's easily forgotten. And you looked the same. Did he know who you really were?"
"Yes, he did," the Doctor whispered, blinking back tears for the second time. "And he kept my secret all the years of his life. I wish I'd have had the chance to know him better. Maybe I'll go back again someday and see him again -- when he's a younger man."
"I think he'd like that," Ross told him, tightening his arm around the Time Lord's waist and looking down at the Purple Heart in the Doctor's hand. Slowly, he replaced the lid on the box, grateful to the medal for giving him another glance into the past of the man he loved.
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