Title: Handle With Care
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Frank Martin
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 5, sound_of_drums
Prompt: 31, Take Care
Author's Note: Frank didn't have a last name on the show, so I took the liberty of giving him one. Slight spoilers for Daleks in Manhattan & The Evolution of the Daleks.
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 Frank Martin, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
The Doctor could almost feel his hearts dancing in his chest as he followed Frank back to the camp. He hadn't expected the young man to agree to come with him so readily; he'd thought that Frank would only want to see him to claim that kiss he'd been promised.
But this man was turning out to be far different from what the Doctor had expected, he thought, studying Frank as they walked along. The Doctor knew that he was brave -- and that he was handsome. But Frank appeared to have depths there that he hadn't sensed.
What would the other members of the camp say when Frank told them that he was leaving with the Doctor? Some of them would probably be wary of him, the Doctor thought, his muscles tensing as they approached the camp.
They wouldn't hold him responsible for all that had happened, of course. They would know that he'd been there to help them. But there were quite a few people who might have a hard time separating him from the situation they'd been in when he'd first met them.
The Doctor wouldn't blame them for that. It was only natural for them to look on him with something like suspicion -- after all, he had come bursting into their lives when they'd been in a bad situation, and even though he'd saved them, he was still a stranger.
So perhaps it was best if they didn't remain here for long, he thought, looking around him nervously. He didn't want to rush Frank away, particularly if he had friends that he wanted to say goodbye to -- but he really didn't feel overly comfortable here.
Frank was talking to someone outside one of the tents, his voice low and urgent. The man nodded, glancing over at the Doctor but not seeming to object to whatever Frank was saying. In fact, no one was taking much notice of him.
That fact made the Time Lord relax slightly; at least people didn't seem to be connecting him with some of the horrendous things that had happened to them. Hopefully, they saw him as their rescuer, not as someone who could pose any sort of threat.
He had to admit, though, that he was worried about how some of the people might feel when Frank told them he was leaving. Would they try to stop him? Would they tell him that his life was here with them, that he owed them something?
The older man who Frank had been talking to stepped away, raising a hand to wave as he shambled off. The Doctor raised a brow in question as Frank turned back to him, a smile on the young man's face as he reached for the Doctor's hand.
"I just told him that I'm leaving," Frank said, twining his fingers through the Doctor's and leading the Time Lord towards a smaller tent. "He said that they'll be sorry to lose me, but that nobody would want to stop me from living my life the way I want to."
Frank hesitated for a moment, turning to the Doctor and looking into the Time Lord's eyes before he spoke again. "I think that's how everybody here feels. After what the Daleks tried to do to us .... nobody will hold another person back from living their lives. Not ever again."
The Doctor nodded soberly, trying to keep a smile from spreading over his face. There wouldn't be any kind of problem as far as Frank leaving and coming with him, as he'd feared that there might be. No one would stop him, or even question him.
"What did he say to you before he walked off?" the Doctor asked Frank in a low voice as the two of them approached the small tent. "It looked as though he was wishing you well -- or at least telling you that he was all right with your going."
Frank nodded as he pulled aside the tent flap and motioned to the Doctor to enter. "He was telling me to take care," he said softly, going inside the tent after the Doctor. "And telling me that if we wanted to come back here, that we're both welcome."
The Time Lord felt a lump forming in his throat at those words. After all that these people had witnessed during the confrontation with the Daleks, when they could very easily feel that he was some sort of a disruptive influence, they still wished him well.
"They don't have a problem with you leaving with me?" he couldn't stop himself from asking, even though Frank had already more or less given him the answer. "I'd thought that they might not want to lose you from their group."
Frank shook his head, picking up a backpack and shrugging it onto his shoulders. "They probably don't, but like I said, they're not going to stop me from living my life the way I choose to. If we haven't learned anything else from the Daleks, we all learned that."
"Well, then, if you're ready, I think we should make our way to the Tardis," the Doctor said softly, feeling a little guilty that he was taking Frank away from people he might have been close to, but wanting to be on their way before anyone could stop them.
"I've been ready since the second you left," Frank murmured, reaching out to place his palm against the Doctor's cheek.' I've been waiting for you to come back ever since. I've even been counting the hours. I knew you'd come back -- and I was right."
The Doctor couldn't say anything to that; all he could do was smile at the younger man, placing his own hand over Frank's. Something told him that coming back here was the best thing he'd ever done for himself -- and probably for Frank, as well.
They left the tent and made their way through the camp, heading for the area where the Doctor had left the Tardis. Several people waved goodbye to Frank, and the Doctor was a little taken aback by the shouts of "Take care" that he heard coming from all sides.
"I'd tell them that I'll take good care of you, but then I would also have to tell them how dangerous life with me can be," the Doctor told Frank, looking worried. "Are you sure that you're willing to throw yourself into that?"
Frank nodded, smiling at the Time Lord and reaching to take his hand. "Yeah, I am," he said simply, his voice firm. "I wouldn't expect life with you to be anything less than exciting. But that's not why I want to go with you. I've got better reasons."
"And they are?" the Doctor asked, tilting his head to the side, his dark eyes sparkling. He was fairly sure that he knew what those reasons were after their heated kisses in the forest, but he wanted to hear the words out loud, coming from Frank's lips.
"Because I want to be with you." Frank stopped walking, turning to the Doctor and sliding his arms around the Time Lord's waist. The Doctor was surprised that he would dare to do that here, in public, in a place where other people could see them.
But what did it matter? Even if there were people who would frown at the fact that Frank obviously fancied him, they were leaving. They would probably never come back here -- there would be no reason to. Once they were gone, it was forever.
"I want you to be with me," the Doctor whispered, leaning towards the young man, his lips almost touching Frank's. "I want to be your lover, your protector, and your guide to the universe. I have so much to show you, Frank, if you're sure that you want to see it all."
"I do," Frank answered, his voice low and husky. "And I want to take care of you. I don't think you've had many people in your life who wanted to do that for you -- at least, not in the way that I want to. I promise I'll do that as best I can, and handle you with care."
"I know you will," the Doctor answered, his own voice trembling a little. "I knew that I wouldn't be making a mistake to come back here, to see you again and to claim that kiss. And those words have proved me right. This was the best thing I could have done -- for either of us."
"When I saw you in the forest and I knew you'd come back for me, that was the best thing that's ever happened in my whole life," Frank told him with a smile. "So come on, let's get on with the rest of our lives and make them even better."
Taking the Doctor's hand and twining their fingers together, Frank headed for the blue box sitting a little apart from the trees. The Doctor followed him, his hearts soaring, knowing that this was the beginning of what promised to be an interesting time in his life.
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