Title: Inside and Out
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Prompt: 5, Outsides
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 leaned his hand on his chin, a frown furrowing his brow as his thoughts whirled around in his mind. He was trying to take his thoughts away from the subject they'd been centering on all day, a subject that he was reluctant to face.
After the last planet they'd been to, and the retribution he'd had to exact on the alien race that had been threatening the inhabitants, he couldn't help but wonder just how Jethro viewed him. It was more than a bit disconcerting to see himself through his young lover's eyes.
He'd told Jethro so much about what he tried to be -- that he wanted to be fair to everyone, and try to see the good in the universe. Because, in spite of all the bad that he saw, there really was a great deal of good in the world.
But he certainly hadn't made himself look like such a good person to Jethro, had he? Sending those aliens out into the far reaches of space with no way to come back -- that hadn't been the action of a man who was bent on being "fair," not to the unprejudiced eye. That had been the action of someone bent on revenge for the havoc that race had caused.
They'd been responsible for the deaths of countless beings on that planet. They'd taken fathers from their children, husbands from their wives. They'd made orphans of countless numbers of children. And they had come close to decimating the planet.
Fortunately, he'd been able to stop them. But it had also been up to him to decide their punishment -- and yes, he might have gone a bit overboard.
But had he? Was what he'd done to them any worse than the punishment he'd given the Family of Blood, who had been bent on capturing him? They had suffered, yes, but probably less in the long run, depending on your point of view.
Had he really been fair to that race? In his own eyes, he had. They had steadfastly refused to stay away from this planet, and any others -- they'd been as bad as the Cybermen, bent on controlling and dominating others, or completely destroying them.
So, in the end, he'd made sure that they wouldn't be able to harm anyone else. They might find some uninhabited planet and be able to start all over again -- but hopefully, they would be so far in the outer reaches of the galaxy that they could no longer do any other race harm.
There was no way for him to be sure of that, obviously. But he had to trust that it wouldn't happen -- and hope that he'd made the right decision. What he was most worried about was how it had made him look to Jethro; he didn't want his young lover to think that who he was inside no longer matched what he perceived as a hero on the outside.
He didn't want Jethro to see him in a bad light. It might sound selfish and vain, but he wanted the man he loved to see him as the hero he tried to be. Well, all right, maybe not a hero, he told himself, but at least as a man who could be admired.
What was there to be admired about someone who banished an entire race to the far reaches of the universe, away from any contact with others?
It didn't matter that he'd done it for the good of the planet they'd been terrorizing, and all the other planets that they might try to wreak havoc on. It could still be seen as an act that had been born out of anger and revenge for what they'd done.
Did Jethro see him in such a way? The Doctor bit down savagely on his lower lip, knowing that when Jethro came into the control room, he'd get his answer sooner rather than later. It wouldn't be hard to tell what was on his boyfriend's mind.
Jethro was never able to keep his feeling out of his eyes, or his expression. The Doctor could tell what he was thinking without using his telepathy; it was as though all barriers between his emotions and Jethro's had been obliterated and they could see to each other's souls.
Was that because of Jethro's empathy -- or only because they'd become so close? He didn't feel that Jethro could hide anything from him -- but on the other side of the coin, neither could he hide his emotions from his lover. He was an open book to the young man.
What was going to happen when he turned around to look at Jethro? Was he going to see the young man he'd fallen in love with, or would there be a figurative mask pulled over those handsome features? Was this going to start building a barrier between them, a barrier that neither of them might be able to scale, that would inevitably separate them?
The Doctor swallowed hard, not turning around when he heard the sound of a soft footstep behind him. He dreaded that first look at his boyfriend's face; he didn't want to see that mask, to feel the sinking of his hearts that would tell him it was the beginning of the end.
He felt Jethro's hand on his shoulder, that touch as warm and loving as it had always been. His own hand raised almost of its own accord, covering Jethro's, squeezing it gently.
This couldn't be put off any longer; he had to turn around and look at the young man he loved. He had to brave whatever he might read in Jethro's face, and hope for the best. He couldn't stand here with his back turned forever, remaining in the moment and not moving ahead.
The Doctor turned slowly, almost afraid to raise his eyes to Jethro's face. What would he read there? Would his lover look the same, or would there be a censure in his eyes that would herald the first step he would take away from what they shared?
But when he raised his eyes to Jethro's, he saw nothing of what he'd thought might be there. Those dark eyes were caring, concerned, the worried look in them matching the slight furrow in Jethro's brow, the words that he was speaking.
"Doctor, is something wrong?" The words were soft, simple, but somehow, they cut a path straight to his hearts. He could feel tears rising behind his eyes, tears that he blinked back impatiently. This was no time to cry, for him to give way to his emotions.
He shook his head, denying Jethro's words. "No, love, I ...." There was really nothing to say but the truth, was there? The Doctor took a deep breath, giving in to the inevitable and letting his words pour out. "I was terrified that you might be angry at me for the decision I made -- that you might think I'm a very different man on the inside from who you thought I was."
"What?" Jethro sounded genuinely puzzled, as though such a thought had never crossed his mind. "Doctor, what are you talking about? I thought you made the right decision. I'd probably have done worse than you did. You were more than fair."
The Doctor closed his eyes, letting himself sag against Jethro as relief coursed through him. What had be been thinking? Jethro wasn't the kind of person who would think badly of him. This young man knew him better than anyone else ever had, after all.
"I'm glad you think that." His voice was low and a little husky; he had to clear his throat before he could speak again. "I was worried that you'd feel who I was inside didn't match the man you see on the outside, the man you're attracted to."
Jethro shook his head, a small smile curving his lips. "Doctor, how could you ever think that? I'm not just attracted to what you look like -- I love the man inside, too. And believe me, your insides more than match the beauty you are on the outside."
"You really think that?" He didn't know why he felt that he needed confirmation of those words; but he wanted to hear Jethro say them again, just to be sure.
"Really," Jethro told him with a soft smile, wrapping his arms around the Doctor's slim waist and pulling him close. "Your insides more than match your outsides. If it's possible for you to be any more beautiful inwardly than you are outwardly -- then believe me, you are."
The Doctor felt a blush rising to his cheeks; it might be vain of him to like hearing that sort of thing, but he did. It was always gratifying to know that the man he loved felt that way about him, that Jethro saw him for who he tried to be. Maybe he wasn't always as beautiful inside as he wanted to be, but he tried his best to be. And most of the time, he felt that he succeeded.
"You're beauty to my eyes, no matter how I look at you," Jethro whispered into his ear, those soft lips brushing against his skin. "Inside or out, you'll always be the most gorgeous man I know. And I'll always love you -- even if you're not always perfect."
"I could never be perfect," he demurred, smiling as he leaned into Jethro's embrace. "But I try to be the best that I can be. If that approaches perfection -- well, then, I'll just have to learn to live with that, and so will you, won't we?"
Jethro's only answer to his teasing words was a soft laugh and a kiss. Any doubt that the Doctor had about his lover's feelings was quickly extinguished, replaced by a soft glow of surety that this young man would always accept him -- both the inner and outer man that he was.
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