Title: Nick of Time
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: PG-13
Table: VRD challenge - Black, 5_prompts
Prompt: A black hole
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.


"What the hell is that?" Jethro asked, looking down at the viewscreen on the console. "It looks like a rip in time and space, or something like that. Not that I know what it would look like," he added hastily, glancing at the Doctor with a furrowed brow.

"It's a black hole, Jethro," the Doctor said softly, looking worried. "And there's a very good chance that if we don't get out of here soon, we could get sucked into it. That's not something I want us to have to deal with. It's not a pleasant experience."

"You've been sucked into a black hole before?" Jethro asked, looking interested. "That must have been really weird. What was it like?" He sat down in one of the chairs near the viewscreen, obviously waiting for one of the Doctor's stories about his adventures.

But the Time Lord shook his head, leaning over the console with a slight frown between his brows. "This isn't the time for storytelling, Jethro. I've got to put the Tardis on a course out of here, before we get trapped in a gravitational pull."

"I didn't know that black holes could do that," Jethro said, his frown matching the Doctor's. "But then, I'm the first to admit that I don't know a whole lot about anything to do with space. Pretty much everything I've learned about it has been from you."

"Ah, so you didn't pay attention in science class when the topic was space?" the Doctor asked, glancing toward him with a smile. The Time Lord's tone was gentle and teasing; Jethro didn't take offense at his words. He knew the questions wasn't meant as a rebuke.

"Hardly ever," he admitted with a soft laugh. "It just didn't interest me at the time, even though it should have. But how was I to know that I would end up traveling through time and space in a Tardis with a Time Lord? I couldn't see into the future."

"Indeed not!" the Doctor agreed, looking down at the screen again and concentrating his full attention on it. Jethro, meanwhile, looked back up at the larger viewscreen on the wall. He frowned and moved closer to it; he could swear that something had changed in the last few minutes.

"Doctor ...." He wasn't sure of just what to say, sure that he was wrong and that his words would sound unbelievably stupid. But he had to make sure. "Doctor, I could swear that we've moved a lot closer to that black hole in the last couple of minutes."

The Doctor looked up when Jethro spoke, his own gaze focusing on the large screen. His dark eyes widened, and he looked down again, hurriedly pressing some more buttons. Jethro felt a slight surge, and the picture on the screen seemed to diminish a little.

"You're right, Jethro," the Doctor told him, the frown on his face more pronounced when he looked up at the viewscreen again. "We were starting to get pulled in. And for some reason, I can't seem to send the Tardis into the timestream."

"Is it interfering with her ability to do that?" Jethro was alarmed now; he hadn't realized that a black hole could be so dangerous. What if the Tardis was sucked in -- and they were stuck in some place that they couldn't find their way back out of again?

"I think so," the Doctor muttered, busy with the buttons on the console. "I'm trying -- and so is she. I hope that she'll be able to lock onto something from the timestream and take us away from here. If not, then we may be in for a very bumpy ride."

Jethro wanted to hold his breath and close his eyes; he'd wanted to have adventures when he'd signed on to live here on the Tardis as the Doctor's lover and companion, but this didn't sound adventurous and fun. It sounded frightening, judging from the Doctor's tone.

He could almost hear the Tardis struggling to move into the timestream; he could feel the slight displacement of time and space around him, but somehow, they were stuck in the same place, not breaking free of whatever was holding them here.

As the moments passed, he could feel the Doctor's anxiety increasing. His empathic link with the Time Lord had been growing steadily stronger; tapping into the other man's emotions was something that had become second nature to him by now.

"Please ...." Jethro murmured under his breath, gripping the console with both hands and closing his eyes. "Get us out of here. I don't want him to be in any kind of danger." He sent that prayer out to any deity that might happen to be listening, no matter where they might be.

And then, as if his words had been heeded, he felt the displacement of time and space grow stronger. With a gasp, Jethro opened his eyes and looked at the viewscreen on the wall. The black hole had vanished -- and they were in a very different place.

Seconds before, he'd feared for their lives. Now, they were in a place that had no frightening connotations. The screen showed them a grove of trees, though Jethro couldn't tell what type of trees they were. Still, anything was preferable to that gaping darkness.

"Just in the nick of time!" the Doctor exclaimed, his voice cheerful. When Jethro turned to look at him, he could see that the nonchalant tone was masking a real fear of what might have happened, and that the Doctor was trying to put on a calm face.

"That was too close," he agreed, deciding to go along with the other man. "I hope wherever we are isn't going to be as dangerous as what we just avoided! Should we take a walk outside and see what's waiting for us?" he asked, holding out his hand to the Doctor.

"I don't think this place will turn out to be nearly as scary as the last one," the Doctor laughed, taking his hand and leading him to the door. Taking a deep breath, Jethro walked out into the grove hand in hand with the Doctor, feeling grateful that they'd made it to safety.