Title: Not the Last Time
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Prompt: 23, Scared
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.
***Jethro made his way from room to room of the cavernous building he'd found himself in when he'd awakened, barely able to stay on his feet. That blow to his head must have been harder than he'd thought, to affect him like this; he was dizzy, stopping every few moments to catch his breath. But he couldn't stop his search, not for any reason.
He had to find the Doctor. He wasn't going to leave his lover here and run off like a scared rabbit, as the Master obviously expected him to. Jethro's fists clenched at his sides, an oath rising to his lips. He squelched back the words, not wanting to make any sound that might alert the Master that he was conscious if he happened to be anywhere near.
The Doctor had told him about the Master, of course, but he hadn't expected something like this to happen -- at least, not this soon. They'd barely started on their travels, and already the Master had tracked the Doctor down and taken him captive.
But he hadn't counted on the Doctor having a companion, Jethro thought, his fists clenching again. A companion who was also the Doctor's lover, who would do anything to get him back. And hopefully, strike a lethal blow at the Master as well. He wasn't going to leave this place without the Doctor, no matter what he had to do.
It had been his fault that the Doctor had been alone and unprotected, he told himself, feeling a wave of guilt sweep over him. If he hadn't decided to go off on his own .... the Doctor had told him that it was all right, but still, he shouldn't have done it. He'd left the Doctor open to too much risk, and now he was paying the price.
He had known there was something wrong the moment he'd returned to the place they'd left the Tardis; there had been something sinister about that shadowy back alley leading into this place he was now wandering around in. He should have been more careful about entering, looked around him more, made sure that it was safe. But no, he'd gone forward blindly.
He'd barely had time to glimpse the Master's face before he'd been struck; the only thing that had registered was a hand over the Doctor's mouth to keep him from calling a warning, and the fact that the Time Lord's hands were bound behind his back. If he'd had any sense, that would have told him to back off, that they were in trouble.
No, he'd had to go charging in without knowing what was going on. All he'd been able to think about was that the Doctor was in danger, and that he had to do something to help. Instead of helping, he'd given the Master time to take the Doctor to wherever they were, leaving him to search for his missing lover and hope that he hadn't been harmed.
Jethro raised a hand to his head, wincing as his fingers made contact with a rather large lump. At least his fingers didn't come away bloody, he told himself, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. That was one small thing to be thankful for.
Where would be the most likely place for the Doctor to be held captive? He had no idea where to start his search; going aimlessly from room to room wasn't doing any good. He'd been through at least four rooms now, huge, neglected rooms that held nothing. He had to think of some sort of plan that might yield better results.
It would help if he had the slightest idea where they were, he thought with a frown. The Doctor hadn't told him much about the planet, only that it was a place where they could spend time in relative safety. At least, that was what he'd thought, Jethro told himself with a mental sigh. That had turned out to be a misconception.
What was he going to do when he finally found the Doctor, if the Master was there? A shiver passed through Jethro's body, making him bite down hard on his lower lip to keep from making a sound. There was no way he could fight that monster; the Master was obviously stronger and more cunning than he was. He had to think of some way to rescue the Doctor without putting his life in danger, and get them both away from here as quickly as possible.
And how long had he been out? Had it been long enough for the Master to take the Doctor away somewhere, to some place where Jethro could never find him? The thought made a wave of utter desolation sweep over him; he didn't want to have to think about facing life without the Doctor, not after they'd so recently discovered each other.
There was still so much about the other man he didn't know, so much that he'd never know if he didn't manage to find him and rescue him from the Master's clutches. He couldn't bear to think of the Doctor helpless and at the mercy of that psycho, needing Jethro to find him -- and himself unable to locate his lover and help him.
What if the Master tried to force the Doctor into regenerating? Another cold chill swept over his body, making Jethro wrap his arms around himself. The Doctor had told him that regeneration wasn't something that couldn't be forced, but Jethro was still apprehensive about it. If the Master tried to force it .... then he could lose the man he knew and loved in a heartbeat.
Jethro looked around him, squinting as his eyes adjusted to the dim light. The place felt deserted, so maybe it was. He'd had a sense of malevolence, of carefully controlled violence, when the Master had been near. He hadn't been able to put his finger on what he was sensing until it was too late, but at least now he knew that it was the Master's hallmark. He wouldn't be able to sneak past Jethro's guard again.
But he sensed none of that now. It was as though the Master had just .... vanished. What if he had taken the Doctor with him? He couldn't feel the Doctor, either; there was no sense of comfort, that warm presence that he always felt whenever the Doctor was anywhere within the reach of his senses. There was just .... nothing.
Squaring his shoulders, Jethro headed for the door on the opposite side of the large room he was in. He had to complete his search for the Doctor, just to satisfy himself that the Time Lord was indeed not here. There was always the possibility that the blow to his head had scrambled his senses a bit, and that was why he wasn't feeling the Doctor around him. He couldn't discount any possibilities at this point.
It must have been hours since he was knocked out; that would be time for the Master to have taken the Doctor anywhere, to have done anything to him. Jethro could feel his heart tighten with fear; what if the Doctor was lost to him forever? That couldn't be, he told himself firmly, not wanting to give in to his fear. He would know it if the Doctor was gone.
He'd never been so scared in his life. Terrified, actually. What was he going to do if the Doctor was gone? How was he going to get back to where he belonged? For a moment, he could feel hopelessness engulfing him, trying to crush him in its jaws and swallow him alive.
No. He wasn't going to give in to that, Jethro told himself sternly, taking a deep breath and trying to steady himself. The Doctor wasn't gone. They already had a connection, more so than he'd ever had with anyone else; he would feel it if there was suddenly a huge gap in his life. The Doctor was still alive, and Jethro was fairly sure that he was here somewhere. He just had to use every resource that presented itself to locate the Time Lord.
As he approached the door, a soft moan from the next room reached his ears, and he made it the rest of the way across the expanse of floor at a stumbling run. Grabbing the door frame, he looked around him frantically, resisting the urge to call out. That moan had come from the Doctor. He was sure of it.
There. Something -- someone -- had just moved in that corner. Jethro squinted, wishing that his eyes were better accustomed to the near-darkness of the room he'd just entered. If that was the Doctor ....
Another weak moan, the sound cutting through the still air. Jethro let go of the door frame, running across the room to fall on his knees beside the Time Lord. All he could think of was wrapping his arms around the Doctor, holding him and trying to make sure that he was all right. The need to touch the Doctor blotted out everything else in his mind for a few moments.
He couldn't see well enough to ascertain if there were any broken bones; hopefully, the Doctor would be able to walk out of here, even if Jethro had to support him. The young man clawed at the cloth covering the Doctor's mouth, ripping the gag away and taking the Time Lord's face between his hands, praying that the Doctor was awake and lucid.
"A-are you .... all r-right?" the Doctor's voice was weak and cracked, but at least he was capable of speech. Jethro nodded, unable to get words out for the moment. He sat back on his heels, gathering the Doctor into his arms -- and gasping when his hand made contact with bare flesh. It was only then that he realized the Doctor's pants were tangled around his ankles, his body bare from the waist down.
"Wh-what did he do to you?" The words were out before Jethro could stop them. Fool, he berated himself inwardly. Anybody could see what had been done to the Doctor -- there was no other reason for his trousers to be down, was there? He maneuvered the Time Lord into a sitting position, his fingers fumbling with the rope that bound the Doctor's hands behind his back.
"It isn't the first time, Jethro. And it probably won't be the last." The Doctor's voice was stronger now, but the note of hopelessness in it cut through Jethro's heart. It was almost as though the Doctor expected to be raped -- as if he thought he deserved such a fate at the Master's hands.
"It bloody well is the last," Jethro muttered, finally managing to free the Doctor's hands and starting to pull the Time Lord's pants up. His eyes were clouded with tears, but he wasn't going to let them fall. Not until they were safely on the Tardis, and he could take care of the Doctor properly. "I'm going to fucking kill him."
The Doctor shook his head, raising his hips off the ground as Jethro pulled his pants back into place. "Forget it, Jethro. Let's just get back to the Tardis, wherever she is, and get the hell out of here. I don't know where he's gone, but I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to come back for me."
Jethro got to his knees, slipping an arm around the Doctor's thin waist and rising slowly. His own knees felt wobbly, and he was sure that the Doctor was going to have a more difficult time walking than he would. He headed for the door, taking slow steps, biting his lip at the Doctor's sharp intake of breath with each step.
Back through the last room, then the one he'd woken up in .... and then, miraculously, a door that led into the open. They were back in the alleyway behind the house, within sight of the Tardis. He led the Doctor towards the ship, the Time Lord shuffling slowly along beside him. Jethro silently cursed the Master with every step, wishing that it was possible to destroy the bastard with his thoughts.
"Don't think like that, Jethro." The Doctor's voice cut into his thoughts, and his head jerked towards the man beside him, his eyes wide with surprise. The Doctor was shaking his head, his dark eyes serious. "If you start to think like that, then you become no better than him. I don't want to see you turn into that sort of monster. You're too good for that."
The young man nodded, looking down at his feet, feeling ashamed of himself. Of course, the Doctor was right. But still .... that was no reason to let himself give in to the Master, to become his victim. It wasn't going to happen again, not while he was around. He'd just have to be more watchful of the Doctor, take better care of him.
"I've never been so scared in my life as I was when I woke up and you weren't there," he murmured, stopping their slow progress towards the Tardis for a moment and wrapping both arms around the Doctor's waist. "I thought -- for a few seconds -- that I might never see you again. Just thinking of losing you broke my heart."
"I was afraid, too," the Doctor said softly, closing his eyes and resting his forehead against Jethro's shoulder. "I was afraid that he would find you and hurt you. I couldn't have borne that, knowing that he might have done something to you. I'd have regenerated, if I'd had to. I'd have done nything to keep you safe. Anything."
"I'm safe," Jethro said softly, raising a hand to place it on the Doctor's cheek. "We'll just have to look after each other more, won't we? At least now we know better than to feel that we're safe in any place. I hate to keep looking over our shoulders, but sometimes, it's a way of life, even if it's not a fun way to live."
The Doctor nodded, swallowing audibly, and Jethro pressed a soft kiss to his forehead before he tightened his arm around the Time Lord and guided the Doctor across the last few feet to the door of the Tardis. They'd survived this first bout with the Master; and if Jethro had anything to do with it, they'd be much better prepared before the next one.
He couldn't resist throwing a glance back over his shoulder as the Doctor opened the door of the Tardis; the back wall of the building they'd been in looked blandly back at him. Nothing to see there, he told himself, suppressing a shudder. Somehow, just the outer walls of the place looked sinister to him now.
Jethro followed the Doctor into the Tardis, closing the door firmly behind him. Moments later, the blue police box shimmered into the air, disappearing as though it had never been there, leaving only a few displaced dust motes swirling in the air behind it.
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