Title: Hidden Attributes
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Prompt: 93, Hide
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.
***"You know, I've got more freedom here than I ever dreamed I could have," Jethro said with a contented sigh, leaning back in one of the chairs in the control room, crossing his arms behind his head and stretching out his long legs in front of him. "That freedom feels good."
"Your parents certainly didn't seem like the sort of people to grant you any kind of freedom at all," the Time Lord told him, leaning against the console and crossing his arms over his chest. "Especially once they knew about your empathic abilities."
"That's true enough," Jethro agreed, his voice regretful. "As soon as they knew I was 'different,' they tried to force me to hide what I could do. They never wanted to develop those abilities. They always saw them as a curse, something that would set me apart from everybody else."
"And they tried to make you think that your empathy was a curse and not a gift," the Doctor finished for him, his voice soft. "I'm so sorry that you had to grow up with people who wanted to stifle your gifts, Jethro. That was wrong in every possible way."
"I guess I can understand why they didn't want to have a son who was branded as being different," Jethro said in a conciliatory tone. "But developing that empathy should have been my choice. They had no right to try and take it away from me, or to destroy it."
"But they never managed to do that, did they?" the Doctor asked with a smile. "It's stronger than ever now, and I know that even if we weren't together, you'd have been strong enough to get out from under their influence and use it in the way it was intended."
"They've always felt like I was cursed, that's for sure," Jethro muttered, shaking his head. "And they never wanted me to use that ability. They tried their best to hide it -- they'd never mention it, unless they were yelling at me for something."
"You didn't deserve that, sweetheart," the Doctor murmured, his tone sympathetic. "Your gift should have been treasured and nurtured, not hidden. I'm just glad that you've been able to bring it out and develop it now. Nothing that precious should be hidden away."
"I think what got to me the most wasn't so much how they expected me to hide that gift," Jethro mused, sighing. "It was the fact that they tried to use it against me whenever I'd fight with them. They'd tell me that they should have known I wasn't a decent human being."
The Doctor was shocked by Jethro's words; he couldn't imagine any parent saying something like that to their child, though he knew that there were far too many parents in the universe who tried to control their children in any way they could, including using that kind of emotional abuse.
"Do you mean to say that they accused you of not being a good person simply because you have an ability that sets you apart from others -- and can be used to help people?" he asked, his tone incredulous. "I didn't like your parents when I met them, but now I like them even less."
"To be really honest, I don't like them much either," Jethro admitted with a shrug. "They're my parents, and I guess that I'm grateful to them for bringing me into the world and giving me a home and putting me through school and all that, but otherwise? There's not much else to like."
"I rather gathered that, from the way they behaved on that train," the Doctor reflected, scowling. He wasn't going to say the words aloud, but at the moment, he wanted to take the Tardis to wherever Jethro's parents were, and blister their ears with what he had to say.
How could they have oppressed their son in the way they had? Instead of seeing him as a wonderfully gifted individual, they'd wanted him to be generic, to fit in with everyone else, to have nothing at all remarkable about him. They wanted him to fade away.
No one should tell their child that they weren't a good person. No one. When he had been a father, he wouldn't have dreamed of even thinking something like that, much less saying it to his own child. He simply couldn't fathom that kind of cruelty.
"That's what they were raised like, I guess," Jethro said, heaving a sigh. "I can't change them, and they don't want to change. They want everything to stay the way it is, everybody to be just alike and fit into one particular mold. So I definitely wasn't the kid they wanted."
"Surely they didn't say that?" the Doctor asked, horrified at the thought. It was bad enough that Jethro's parents had tried to subdue his gift, but if they had actually told him that they hadn't wanted a child who had a gift like his ....
"Yeah, that was their way of taking the wind out of my sails whenever we had an argument," Jethro said, his voice low. He cleared his throat, shaking his head. "I was over that a long time ago. There's really no love lost between me and them. There hasn't been for a long time."
"I don't blame you," the Doctor said, his voice almost a snarl. "I'd like to find them and give them a piece of my mind. When you first found me again on Midnight, I was worried that they might not know where you were -- but now, I don' t care."
"They care about me, I guess." Jethro didn't sound as though he was very sure of those words, the Time Lord thought to himself. "But they don't want anything to disturb their status quo. So I always had to hide my gift -- and they'd have been happy if it had just gone away."
"They don't deserve to have a son like you," the Doctor growled. He cleared his throat as soon as he spoke, hoping that his obvious dislike of Jethro's parents wouldn't upset his young lover. "I'm glad you've decided to leave them behind, to be honest."
Jethro's eyes met his, their gazes locking and holding. "I don't have a choice, Doctor," he said, his voice soft. "If I wanted the life my parents insisted that I lead, then I'd have to give up everything I am and pretty much everything I believe in. And I'd have to give you up. I'd never do that."
"Never is a long time," the Time Lord murmured, his gaze not wavering from Jethro's. "Don't say things you might regret in the future, Jethro. There might come a time when you don't want to be here any longer -- and you'll need a life to go back to."
Jethro shook his head, the quick movement firm, resolute. "No. I'm not going to leave you until death takes me away. This is where I belong, Doctor. This is where I can do the most good in the world. And that isn't a life I'd be going back to. Just an existence."
"Not an existence that someone like you should be forced into," the Doctor told him, moving across the room to stand by Jethro's chair and resting a hand on the young man's shoulder. "You're an incomparable jewel, Jethro. And you deserve the perfect setting to shine in."
Jethro looked down, a pink blush rising in his cheeks. "The only setting I want to be in is this one," he murmured, his voice sounding choked and strained, as though he was speaking around a sudden lump in his throat. "And you shine much more brightly than I ever could."
"That's a matter of opinion, love," the Doctor said softly, squeezing Jethro's shoulder affectionately. "I've thought you could outshine the stars themselves ever since we met again on that street in Midnight and I realized who you were."
"I thought you were the brightest star in the universe from the very first time I saw you," Jethro murmured. "I never gave up hope that I'd find you again. It's a good thing I didn't -- or I might have been forced to live the existence my parents wanted for me."
"You'll never have to hide your abilities as long as you're with me," the Doctor declared. "I'd never expect you to hide yourself away like that. You deserve to be able to develop those abilities to their full extent. And I'd never hold you back from doing that."
"I know you wouldn't," Jethro told him, standing up and pulling the Time Lord into an embrace. As their lips met, the Doctor's last coherent thought was that he greatly appreciated the other attributes that Jethro kept hidden -- those that he only brought out in the privacy of their bedroom.
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