Title: Staring At the Sun
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jethro Cane
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: PG-13
Table: 2
Prompt: 77, Blind
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 raised his head, blinking, trying to remember what had happened in the last few minutes. HIs head was spinning, his senses reeling, and he couldn't quite remember where he was.

Where was the Doctor? How had they managed to get separated from each other? Oh, yes. The Time Lord had told him to stay in the Tardis, where he'd be safe. Jethro had protested, but the other man had been firm. He wasn't to leave the ship, under any circumstances.

Bollocks to that.

Jethro wasn't about to wait around in the Tardis and wonder what might happen to the Doctor while the Time Lord was out there alone, possibly putting himself in danger. He'd waited until the Doctor had been gone ten minutes, impatiently waiting for the time to pass. Then he'd left the Tardis, trying to decide just where the Doctor would have gone.

He knew there was something wrong with this world they'd found themselves in, something going on that the Doctor wouldn't tell him about. But he'd trust the Time Lord implicitly; whatever had gone wrong, the Doctor would fix it. Jethro was sure of that.

The explosion had knocked him off his feet, turned everything in the world into a blazing ball of fire. He remembered the burst of bright light, then being propelled backwards and hitting his head on something. After that .... blackness, until he'd woken up just a few seconds ago.

He sat up, wincing, raising a hand to his head and expecting it to come away coated with his own blood. He was surprised when it didn't; his head was throbbing enough to be split wide open. He was lucky that the blow hadn't done more damage than it had, he told himself.

After spending a few more minutes gingerly exploring the back of his head to satisfy himself that there weren't going to be any nasty surprises, Jethro hauled himself to his feet. He was still a little unsteady, but he was all right. He had to be. He had to find the Doctor.

The Time Lord wouldn't have just .... disappeared. He was here somewhere. What had happened? And was it somehow connected with the Gallifreyan?

It had to be. Jethro could feel panic rising in him, his heart rate speeding up, a scream building in the back of his throat. No, he couldn't lose control of himself. Whatever had happened, the Doctor was safe. He wouldn't have taken any unnecessary risks. Not here. Not now.

What had caused that explosion? Jethro couldn't help thinking that it had something to do with the Doctor -- and that somehow, his lover was right in the middle of whatever had happened. The way that trouble seemed to follow the Doctor around, him being in the middle of some catastrophe was almost a given.

No one looked at Jethro as he made his way through the streets; people were carrying belongings out of houses, holding onto each other, looking as shell-shocked as he felt. At least it didn't seem as if people were hurt; shaken, maybe, but not harmed. That was something to be thankful for.

The knot of panic that was building inside him was trying to force its way out in a scream; he knew that he couldn't keep on aimlessly walking around and looking for the Doctor much longer. He had to formulate some sort of plan, go back to the Tardis and try to calm himself down. He wouldn't do the Doctor much good if he was out here panicking and the Time Lord couldn't find him.

But he couldn't just go back to the ship and wait. He had to find the Time Lord; he had to know that the Doctor was all right. Hopefully, the emotional bond he shared with the Doctor would lead him to the Gallifreyan, if he could just stay calm and concentrate.

He'd know it if the Doctor was dead -- there would be an emptiness inside him that would never be filled again, a feeling that part of himself had been ripped away. No, the Doctor was still alive, wherever he was. That was a comforting thought to hold on to.

But Jethro couldn't shake the feeling that something was terribly, terribly wrong. The Doctor was still there in his consciousness, but something had changed. He stopped walking, his eyes widening, a soft gasp leaving his throat as a thought occurred to him.

Had the Doctor regenerated? Was that why he had this horrible feeling that something had happened to the man he loved, something that had changed him in some irrevocable way? Could he have been forced to regenerate to keep himself alive?

No. He couldn't have. Jethro shook his head, squeezing his eyes closed for a few moments and pushing the thought away. The Doctor didn't want to regenerate, he knew that. He wanted to stay in the body that he had -- for a number of reasons, none of which Jethro wanted to think about at the moment. The reasons were too numerous to contemplate now, anyway.

Something else must have happened -- something that couldn't have been good, not with the feeling that Jethro had in the pit of his stomach, the feeling that the Doctor had somehow been rendered helpless in a way that he'd never been before.

He had to find the Time Lord. To hell with going back to the Tardis and making a plan. He'd keep searching, for as long as he had to. He wasn't leaving the Doctor out here alone.

Jethro's steps sped up, taking him to the corner of the street he was on. As if his thoughts had somehow managed to bring his lover into his sight, when he turned the corner -- the Doctor was there. Right in front of him, leaning against the wall as if he couldn't stand up on his own.

"Doctor!" Jethro gasped the name out, covering the few feet between himself and the Time Lord in only a few steps and pulling the other man into his arms. "Are you all right? I know you told me to stay in the Tardis .... but ...."

The Doctor shook his head, leaning against Jethro and wrapping his arms around the young man. "It doesn't matter. Just .... get me back to the Tardis, Jethro. As quickly as you can. I-I need her. I need to get out of here. Now."

Jethro nodded, loosening his hold on the Doctor and turning back the way he had come. "Right. Let's get back to the Tardis, and you can tell me what happened. I'm just glad you're all right and that whatever happened doesn't seem to have done any major harm."

It took him a few seconds to realize that the Doctor wasn't moving. He turned back to the Time Lord, a slight frown on his face, wondering why the other man wasn't following him -- or, as was more often the case, leading the way.

The Doctor was still leaning against the wall, those dark eyes wide, looking at him -- but seeming to look right through him, as though he couldn't quite focus on Jethro.

The young man could feel the panic that had settled in the pit of his stomach spring to life again, clawing its way upwards into his throat again, preparing to scream. He took a few steps back towards the Time Lord, reaching out to touch his cheek. The Doctor gasped, pulling away slightly, as if he didn't know who'd touched him.

"What ...." His voice trailed off, his voice locking in his throat. He wasn't sure he wanted to know what was happening. No. This couldn't happen. It wasn't possible. He was imagining things, having some kind of nightmare reaction. Yes, that was it. Just a bad dream.

Only it wasn't a dream. The Doctor was staring at him -- unseeingly, those eyes not registering that Jethro was right in front of him. The Doctor couldn't see him.

"I'm blind, Jethro," the Time Lord whispered. "I can't see anything. You're going to have to lead me back to the Tardis."

"What happened?" Jethro could barely whisper the words; his voice was broken, on the verge of tears. Of all the things that he'd imagined could happen to the Doctor, this hadn't been one of them. And he wasn't at all sure how to deal with it.

"That explosion .... I used the sonic screwdriver to send the worst of it into the void," the Time Lord murmured, sliding one arm around Jethro and letting the young man support him. "But I .... I had to aim it into the void. I couldn't close my eyes."

"Is it permanent?" Jethro blurted out, wanting to kick himself the moment he said the words. The Doctor couldn't know the answer to that, and thinking that his condition might very well be irreversible wasn't going to make him feel any better.

"I don't know," the Doctor said, moving forward hesitantly, trying to keep in step with Jethro. "I suppose I'll just have to hope for the best -- and get myself to a medical doctor, or someone who'll be able to tell me what I'm in for."

"This isn't fair!" Jethro burst out, stopping and turning to the Doctor, raising both hands to cup the Time Lord's face. "After all you've done for so many worlds -- this shouldn't happen to you. It's not right. It's not fucking fair!"

"Life isn't fair, Jethro," the Doctor sighed, resting his head against the young man's shoulder. "We all have to take what's handed out to us. And it could have been much worse .... after all, I still have you. Don't I?" he whispered, raising his head again, his voice tremulous.

"Of course you do," Jethro whispered, horrified at what the Doctor's words might insinuate. Could the Time Lord acutally think Jethro would leave him just because he couldn't see? Ridiculous. He'd never do something like that. He was with the Doctor forever. He'd be by this man's side as long as he had breath in his body.

"That's good to know." The Doctor seemed to slump against him, and Jethro tightened his arms around the other man's slender body, pulling him close. "Let's get back to the Tardis. Hopefully, I can manage to get us to someone who can tell me if this is something I'm going to have to learn to live with."

Jethro swallowed hard, not knowing what to say. He hoped with all his heart that the Doctor could get the two of them out of here, and that what had happened wasn't going to be permanent. How were they going to be able to deal with it if it was?

What if the Doctor would never be able to see again -- unless he regenerated into a new body? Where did that leave Jethro? Where did that leave them? Was this going to be what ended up tearing them apart, turning them away from each other as nothing else could?

He couldn't let himself think like that. Jethro took a deep breath, squaring his shoulders and slipping an arm around the Doctor's waist. They had to look on the positive side of the situation. This wasn't permanent. The Doctor was going to recover, get his sight back, and everything was going to be all right.

He had to believe that. He had to. If he didn't, that panic that had taken up permanent residence in his gut was going to free itself -- and he'd never be able to stop screaming. And if it was affecting him this badly, there was no telling how it was going to affect the Time Lord.

"Let's get back to the Tardis," he said softly, taking a few slow steps and making sure that the Doctor was close by his side. "The sooner we get out of here, the sooner we can get you to someone who'll be able to help you."

The Doctor nodded, not speaking; he leaned against Jethro, letting his young lover guide him through the streets toward the blue police box waiting patiently for them. Jethro led the Doctor inside, closing the door firmly behind them, and within a few moments the blue box shimmered into nothingness, leaving behind a world they both fervently hoped they'd never have to see again.

***

Next story in series - Patience.