Title: Fear Itself
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: R
Table: 5, sound_of_drums
Prompt: 47, Afraid
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.

***

"Are you working for the Master?" the Doctor managed to gasp before the next jolt of current through his thin body took his breath away. His question wasn't going to be answered, apparently; his captors didn't seem as if they would give up any information.

At least he knew that Jethro was safe, the Time Lord thought, gritting his teeth and trying to focus on his young lover. He'd seen his companion run from the room when they'd been ambushed, and he could only hope that Jethro had managed to escape to the Tardis.

Of course, he didn't know how to pilot the ship -- but she would help him. She knew the depth of the bond that existed between the Doctor and his lover; she would do whatever she had to do to help Jethro rescue him and return him safely to the ship.

This was a situation where Jethro's empathy wouldn't do him much good, the Doctor thought as another jolt of electricity was forced through his body. These men, whoever they were and whoever they worked for, weren't the type to give a damn about emotions.

No, they relied on physical torture and brute strength. That was something that he and Jethro were both fairly well helpless against, though either of them could handle themselves in a fight. Still, it would be all too easy for these hulking brutes to overpower either of them.

In his case, that had already happened -- though to be honest, their attackers had seemed focused on him. They apparently hadn't noticed Jethro; they'd honed in on the Doctor, obviously meaning to capture him and bring him here.

And they had certainly achieved their goal, he thought, breathing shallowly as he twisted his bound wrists in a desperate effort to loosen the ropes. But the movement only rubbed his skin raw; the bonds were cruelly tight. It was impossible for him to wriggle free.

They'd stripped him naked and tied him to what looked like a giant X, affixing electrodes to the more sensitive areas of his body. The torture hadn't seemed so bad at first, but it was getting progressively worse, and he had no doubt that even more was to come.

The Time Lord swallowed hard, keeping his eyes half-closed and trying to make his captors think that he was on the verge of unconsciousness. If they did, then maybe they would stop the torture, and he would at least be able to catch his breath and think rationally.

The pain was bearable -- for the moment. His fear wasn't for himself and the situation he was in; he'd been in worse, especially at the hands of the Master. No, he was afraid for Jethro, and what these men might do the young man if he was caught.

What would they do to him if they found him? The Doctor's hearts seemed to skip a few beats in his chest at the thought; he'd already experienced some of their torturous intentions firsthand, and he only prayed that Jethro wouldn't fall victim to them as well.

One of his captors looked towards him, eyes narrowed, as though trying to acertain whether or not he'd had enough. Apparently, they thought he hadn't; the Doctor cried out in spite of himself as yet another jolt shot through his bound body.

When he could catch his breath for more than a few seconds, he gound out his question again. "Who are you working for?" The words seemed meaningless, redundant, a question that would never receive an answer no matter how many times he phrased it.

But this time, one of his captors stepped nearer and grabbed the Doctor's chin, forcing the Time Lord to look at him. "Who we're working for is no concern of yours," he intoned, a smile crossing his features. "Just be glad our master doesn't want you dead. At least not yet."

The Doctor almost let out a sigh of relief; at least those words bought him some time. There was still a possibility that Jethro would be able to find a way to rescue him, without him having to try to get out of this situation by himself.

That possibility didn't seem very likely at the moment, he thought wryly, twisting his bound wrists again to no avail. But somehow, he always managed to escape from whatever danger he'd stumbled into. And he'd done it without help many times before.

Where was Jethro? Had his young lover managed to make it back to the Tardis? Was he safe at this very moment, trying to find a way to get back into this concrete complex of buildings and come for the Doctor? Was he going to be the knight in shining armor?

Or had he been captured, tortured and perhaps even killed? Jethro didn't have the resilience that he did; his lover was human, and all too fragile. And he was young, too young to live the sort of life he led by being with the Doctor.

His fear for Jethro tore at him, like angry talons ripping into his flesh. That fear was more painful and more debilitating than an actual physical attack would have been; it was something that he couldn't turn away or defend himself from; there was no escape.

He wasn't going to do himself -- or Jethro -- any good by letting that fear take him over. Resolutely, the Doctor pushed his fear for his lover to the back of his mind, trying to push it down and slam a door on it, to think positively and let himself hope for the best.

Another jolt of pain shot through his body, more intense this time. He couldn't keep back a short, sharp scream; if his captors kept this up, he might not last long enough for Jethro to be able to rescue him. The thought made a fresh spasm of fear run down his spine.

It wasn't dying that he was so terrified of; it was the subsequent regeneration, the idea that he might end up in a new body that Jethro couldn't find attractive and couldn't love. The idea that he would be a new man, with his feelings for Jethro either diminished or completely gone.

There was nothing to fear but the fear itself, he tried to remind himself. Taking a deep breath, he flexed his muscles, relieved to know that he still had sensation in all of his body; what was being done to him hadn't seemed to affect his body negatively, not yet, at any rate.

But his vision was starting to darken at the edges; if this lasted much longer, he would slip into a state of unconsciousness, his body trying to preserve itself as much as possible, and he might not know when or if Jethro tried to attempt a rescue. He couldn't let that happen.

The Doctor raised his head, panting, trying to focus his wavering vision on the doorway. That was where Jethro would more than likely enter the room if he found some way to effect a rescue; he had to focus on that hope, on keeping himself in one piece and getting out of here.

He couldn't let his fears overwhelm him, he thought, gritting his teeth against another scream as he felt the beginnings of yet another current sweep through his body. Though at the moment, his fears were looming large in his mind, and he wasn't sure how much longer he could keep them at bay.

***

Next story in series - Straight To the Heart.