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Tenth Doctor/Andruthen Rohenya, Elven Palace, Scene Two - Morning (R)
(crossposted to doctor_ten and fey_gaming)

Andruthen came awake all at once, as he often did; centuries of training for battles he was never sent to had rendered him virtually incapable of waking slowly. It was a habit he often cursed, though this time it had been prompted by the feeling that there was something... different about his situation.

The first thought that struck him was that he was not alone in his bed. That thought was all that it took for the events of the previous day to hit him in a rush, as his mind caught up with his physical reflexes.

The strange energy which had drawn him into the forest. The even stranger object that had stood in the clearing.

And the beautiful man that the energy had led him to.

Andruthen smiled to himself as he turned his head to gaze at the man still clasped in his arms. It had been no dream; he really had found the Doctor, had brought him back to the palace... had given pleasure to this incredible man who had completed him from the moment when their eyes met for the first time, had fallen asleep with the Doctor held in his embrace.

He really is beautiful, Andruthen thought as he rested his gaze on the Doctor's face. Oh, how it had felt to gaze into those eyes, to kiss those lips...

He couldn't resist the urge to touch the Doctor, raising a hand to trail gentle fingertips over the Doctor's cheek, down his jawline, tracing over his lips. He leaned forward to kiss the Doctor's forehead, before letting his hand move down to trace light circles over the other man's shoulder.

How had he been so incredibly lucky? he thought as he continued to gaze at the Doctor. He had managed to convince himself that all of the stories about 'love at first sight' were fairytales; that it simply wasn't possible for anyone to have that kind of instant connection, especially a nobody like him.

But already the Doctor had proved him wrong; he'd shown him that not only was it possible, but it had actually happened. It hardly seemed real, yet here they were, the two of them together and already bound to each other, the sort of ties that could never be severed.

The Doctor stirred slightly, apparently on the verge of awakening; Andruthen leaned in to press a kiss against his lips. "Good morning, my beautiful one," he murmured, his fingertips tracing patterns down the Doctor's back as he pulled the other man closer to him. "I trust you slept well."

Yes, he really was incredibly lucky that they had found each other. He could certainly get used to waking up like this.

The Doctor awakened slowly, turning over in bed with a soft sigh of contentment. He didn't remember his bed on the Tardis being quite this warm, or this fluffy ....

His eyes fluttered open as memories of the night before came back to him. Wait .... he wasn't on the Tardis. There had been some kind of strange occurrence in the ship .... the Time Rift had seemed to be turned loose inside her ....

And he was on a strange planet that he'd never seen before. He remembered a face, a young man bending over him, calling him beautiful and asking if he was all right. Silver-blue eyes, a face like an angel -- he remembered feeling that he must be in the human idea of heaven, seeing that face hovering above him.

There had been more than that, hadn't there? He frowned, keeping his eyes closed after their brief fluttering, trying to make his thoughts focus. Yes, there had been much more. There had been an encounter the likes of which he'd never experienced before.

Andruthen. The name came to him, along with a clear mental picture of the face. That was his name. Andruthen, the young man who'd captured his hearts. The other half of his soul. The man he was meant to be with, the man who would be by his side forever.

That thought made him frown. How could anyone be with him forever? Andruthen couldn't have the sort of life span he did; he'd long ago given up looking for anyone who could live up to his idea of eternity. But it seemed as though this young man had been picked out for him by the hand of fate -- and would fate take his destiny away from him?

Of course it would. He'd had his happiness cruelly snatched from him too many times before not to believe that it could happen again at any moment.

What would he do if it happened this time? Was it safe to let himself fall, to give his hearts to someone he didn't know, someone who would inevitably leave him whether they wanted to or not? Could he deal with that kind of heartbreak again?

He knew the answer even as the thoughts coalesced in his mind. Of course he couldn't deal with it -- but he would, somehow. Andruthen was a beautiful gift, one that he'd thought he would never have. He wasn't going to miss a moment of the time they could spend together.

And maybe, just maybe, by some strange quirk of fate, Andruthen would prove to be the one who could be with him for the rest of his life -- and even beyond. Maybe he shouldn't give up looking for that -- because just when fate could seem to be at its cruelest in taking everything away, it could be beneficient and give him his hearts' desire at the same time.

With another soft sigh, he opened his eyes, looking up at the young man who leaned over him, raising a hand to lay it gently against Andruthen's cheek. He was so beautiful, the Doctor thought dreamily, a smile on his lips as his eyes took in the vision that presented itself to him.

Had this young man really made love to him in the way he thought he had? Yes, he remembered that; it couldn't possibly have been a dream. It had been too wonderful not to be reality.

"Good morning," he said softly, his voice seeming loud in the quiet of the room they were in. He had no idea where they were, but as Andruthen obviously seemed relaxed, it was apparently his bedroom -- or at least a place where they were safe.

What he really wanted was for Andruthen to take him in those arms, as he had last night. He could distinctly remember feeling safe and protected, more so than he could ever remember being; this was where he belonged, he knew that for a certainty.

Andruthen's gentle smile broadened in response to the Doctor's as he brought a hand up to hold the other man's hand against his cheek. He turned his head slightly to place a kiss against the Doctor's palm, twining their fingers together as he turned back to meet his gaze. Those beautiful dark eyes utterly captivated him, and he held the Doctor's gaze as he gave the other man's hand a gentle squeeze.

He wrapped his free arm around the Doctor's waist, pulling him closer against the elf's body. He released his hold on the Doctor's hand only to bring his other arm around the Doctor's shoulders. "You are such a wonderful sight to wake up to," he whispered, his lips again meeting the Doctor's as he closed his eyes and revelled in the feeling of the other man's slender body held close against his own.

He nestled back down against the pillows, his cheek resting on the Doctor's hair. "There are no words I can say to express how glad I am that you are here, my Doctor," he murmured. He felt disinclined to ask any of the questions he'd had about the other man - such things could wait, though he knew that if the Doctor asked anything of him, he would answer.

He already knew that he would tell the Doctor anything that he wanted to know. After all, he already owned Andruthen's heart; what use were secrets when he belonged to the Doctor utterly?

There were some things that he thought might possibly surprise or shock the other man, though. He wasn't human; there were certain aspects of his race that set them apart from humans, which might seem... well, rather odd. His telepathy, for one. The silvery glow that surrounded each member of his race. And... other things.

He already had the feeling that the Doctor was somehow other than human - his talk of regeneration had certainly proved that. No human that his kind had ever encountered had possessed that kind of ability. But other than that, the Doctor was a mystery to him. And he might not have any knowledge of Andruthen's kind, for all that the elf knew.

He tsked at himself inwardly, smiling slightly. Why was he having these thoughts now? He was lying in his bed, with the most beautiful man he had ever seen - his soulmate - clasped in his arms. He was utterly content.

No, more than content - he was happy.

He blinked at that realisation. In all of his long life, he couldn't think of a time when he had been truly happy. He'd known contentment, been relatively satisfied with his life - such as it was. Yes, he was effectively ignored, but he had thought his lot to be a fairly good one.

It struck him then, that he really hadn't been happy. Nothing in his past compared to what he was feeling now. It didn't matter that he had only met the Doctor the day before - he was here, now, and for the first time Andruthen truly felt like someone noticed him, cared about him. And he was happy.

He tightened his hold on the Doctor slightly, brushing a kiss against the other man's silken hair. "I do think that I could quite easily stay here like this for some time. Thankfully, it is highly unlikely anyone will come looking for me." He gazed deeply into the Doctor's eyes, utterly tempted to lose himself in their dark depths. "You are such a beautiful, intriguing man, Doctor. I think perhaps you are not quite what you seem, hmm?"

He smiled. "I would love to know how you came into my world, when I had almost resigned myself to a life alone."

"This is indeed a wonderful way to wake up," the Doctor said softly, his dark eyes not leaving Andruthen's face. He felt as though he couldn't look away; he didn't want to miss even one expression that might flit across those beautiful features.

He squirmed slightly as he was pulled against the young man's body, trying to get more comfortable. He'd never been close to anyone who seemed to fit against him this perfectly; it was as if Andruthen had been specifically made for him, their bodies part of a puzzle that fit together at exactly the right angles.

If he felt like this when they were just lying next to each other, how would he feel when their bodies were joined together in passion? The thought made the Doctor shiver slightly, his breath catching in his throat.

They were going to be lovers; he was more sure of that then he'd ever been of anything. This man had been made for him; he was willing to give up anything that he might have to sacrifice in order to be with Andruthen for the rest of his life.

"If I wasn't here .... then I could very well be dead," he said, his voice soft and trembling a bit. "I have to thank you for finding me and bringing me here."

That seemed like a very small thing to say for what this young man had done for him, but he had no idea of how else to thank Andruthen. What else could he say but "thank you" to someone who had undoubtedly saved his life?

"I have questions to ask you, too," he murmured, focusing on what Andruthen was saying. "I don't know just why I'm here, actually -- my ship apparently brought me here, though I don't know the reason why. However --" he shifted himself up on one elbow, looking at the young man next to him with a thoughtful expression. ".... I believe that she may have brought me here because you're here."

He left the explanation there; he wasn't sure just how much of it Andruthen would understand, or if he even knew what the concept of a ship was. For all the Doctor knew, he might not even have a clue that there were other worlds in the universe other than his own.

What was this world like? He wanted to know everything about it; it was obviously a place that he'd never been before, and he couldn't help but wonder how he could have missed it. It wasn't like him not to know every place that was possible to reach in the universe.

But somehow, this world seemed to be out of his realm of knowledge. Unless .... a thought occurred to him, one that made him frown slightly.

Unless this was another alternate universe -- in which case he would have to get himself out of here as quickly as possible. The rest of the universe -- the one he belonged in -- needed him. He couldn't stay here if it wasn't a part of the world that he was sworn as a Time Lord to protect, no matter how great the temptation to do so might be.

But he wouldn't leave without Andruthen. This young man was a part of his hearts and soul; he knew that they were meant to be together as surely as he'd ever known anything. And, after all, the Tardis had brought him here. So there was a reason for him to be in this place.

Sighing softly, he shook his head, wondering how to put all of his questions into words that the young man beside him would easily understand. How much did he know of the galaxy outside of his own world -- and how could the Doctor ask him that in a way that would make sense?

"Andruthen -- how much do you know of the world? I mean, the world that exists away from your home," he began, his dark eyes meeting the other man's gaze. "It may seem insignificant, but it's something that I need to know."

Andruthen sighed contentedly as the Doctor shifted against him. It was still amazing to him - wonderfully so - how it felt as though the two of them had been made for each other.

When the Doctor spoke, Andruthen raised a hand to tilt the other man's chin up, pressing a kiss against his forehead before resting his own against the Doctor's. "I could do nothing else, my beautiful one," he murmured, feeling slightly flushed at the Doctor's words. He could almost see the gentle brightening of the silver glow reflected in the Doctor's eyes. "But you are most welcome."

He wasn't sure what else he could say in response; the pull that the Doctor had on him even then had been far too strong to deny, even if he had wanted to. There had certainly been no way that he could have ignored the insistent pull on his heart, nor that he could have just left him there when he had found him.

He listened as the Doctor talked about his ship, shifting his pose to mirror the other man's, and blushing with another silver flare that he couldn't quite explain. The Doctor just seemed to have that effect on him. "Do you think so?" he asked softly. "I am nothing special, really... Hardly worthy of note. Or so I thought... Being with you is making me start to think differently, because I must have done something to be worthy of your notice. If your ship - and you speak of it... her, as though she were a living, sentient creature - truly did bring you here because of me."

He bit his lip. "I hope I will not seem presumptuous if I say that there was something drawing me into the forest yesterday, and from what you have told me just now I would swear that it was your ship somehow calling out. I felt... needed, almost, though I could not determine why, until I saw you. Then I knew that I had been drawn to that spot because of you."

He drifted his fingers gently through the Doctor's hair, his eyes never leaving that dark gaze. "If someone had told me that even a week ago, I would have thought it impossible. But not now." He smiled. "I wonder if anything will seem impossible to me ever again."

Somehow, he didn't think it would. Already, so many things had happened that he would have termed impossible only a short time ago - not least being his sudden connection with the Doctor. Already, it seemed as though his definition of 'impossible' was no longer feasible.

Well, there was one thing. He felt it was impossible to contemplate a life without the Doctor, not with the way the other man had so utterly captured his heart and soul. He already knew that he wanted to be with the Doctor forever.

But would the Doctor be able to give him forever? Yes, he had the strong feeling that the Doctor somehow wasn't human. But that didn't mean that he had anything like the lifespan of Andruthen's kind. Though with his talk of regeneration, Andruthen couldn't help but wonder...

When the Doctor asked him what he knew of the world, he tapped a slender finger against his lips thoughtfully. "Not as much as I would like, if I am honest. We do not have vessels of our own to travel amongst the stars, but I know that there are other worlds out there."

He leaned forward, his chin still propped on one hand as he trailed the other along the Doctor's side before reaching for the other man's hand and twining their fingers together. "Why do you ask, dearheart?" he asked. "You can tell me anything you wish, I would hope. I like to think that I am far more open-minded than some of my kinfolk, even if I am more familiar with the palace and looking at the stars than I am with the finer details of my own world, beyond the forests."

The Doctor shook his head, smiling a little at Andruthen's ready answer. "I would beg to differ, my sweet," he said softly, taking the young man's hand in his. "I think the fact that the Tardis brought me to you is more than proof enough that you are indeed someone special."

He frowned a little, tilting his head to one side. "Though I have to say that it's the first time she's done that, in all the centuries that I've been bonded with her ...." He broke off, shaking his head again. "I should explain a bit, shouldn't I? The Tardis is my ship. And yes, she is a sentient creature."

He sighed, unsure of how much to explain of who and what he was. "You see, on my planet -- Gallifrey, which doesn't exist any more -- Tardises are grown, not built, though she looks like a building and not a living, breathing creature."

He hoped that Andruthen could understand what he was saying; he knew that this young man was probably more than capable of grasping the concept of the Tardis. After all, she wouldn't have brought him to someone who wasn't his equal in that respect, would she?

When Andruthen spoke again, his frown was replaced by a thoughtful look, as though some puzzle pieces were falling into place in his mind.

"That would make sense," he said slowly, nodding his head as his mind raced through all of the possibilities. "She very well could have been calling you -- she would have known that something was happening to me, that I could very well be regenerating. And after what happened with the last one --" he winced, making a face.

"Let's just say that the last regeneration didn't go off very well," he sighed, not wanting to remember it. It had been painful, to say the least -- though it hadn't been nearly as bad as having his organs regenerate inside a body that didn't change.

"If that was the case, then she obviously wanted to bring me to someone who would be able to help me if I needed it," he said thoughtfully, tapping his lips with one slender finger. "And the fact that she knew you were here ...."

He regarded Andruthen with a smile spreading over his face. "She knew you were here. She had to. She had to have been drawn to you in some way -- which would mean that somehow, you share something of a bond with her. Which would make sense, considering that I know what you mean to me -- and she can feel that."

He wanted to explain to Andruthen about his world, the Time Wars, everything that he'd seen since he'd been in this body of the worlds out there in the stars. But all of that could wait. And this wasn't exactly the time to go into his life story.

What he most wanted to do was to stay in this young man's arms, for however long they could remain here, before they were forced by necessity to leave this little hideaway.

"Why do I ask?" He sighed, shaking his head yet again. "Because I come from a place that's literally light-years away from here, Andruthen. At least, I think that it is -- given that I'm entirely sure just where here is. I know that I've never visited this planet before -- and I would remember it if I had."

His inference was that if he'd been here before, he would have remembered the planet because of Andruthen's presence -- though, of course, he could have come here centuries ago, when this young man was far too much of a child for them to have bonded in the way they had.

But something told him that Andruthen wasn't as young as he appeared, though he thought that it would be rude to get into a discussion of their respective ages at the moment. "What is this planet called?" he asked softly, looking around him with renewed interest.

It wasn't as though he absolutely had to know the name of this place at the moment, but it might give him some idea of where he was.

Not that it really mattered, the Doctor thought, focusing his attention on the beautiful young man next to him again. As long as Andruthen was here, this was where he belonged -- where he wanted to stay when he didn't absolutely have to be out in the galaxy. And from this point on, he was sure that he'd consider this place as his home -- because his beloved was here.

Andruthen smiled at the Doctor's words. "I am glad that you think so, sweet one," he murmured. It was a strange feeling, having someone who genuinely felt that he was special; someone who thought he was worthy of notice, who didn't expect him to be something he wasn't.

He had spent far too long living under the belief that he was somehow inferior, that he wasn't worth anyone bothering with him. It was a new feeling for him, this sensation of someone giving a damn who he was, but it was a pleasant one.

He nodded as the Doctor explained that yes, his ship - this 'Tardis' - was a living being. He could believe that - he'd seen his share of things that seemed inanimate to the unknowing eye which had actually been creatures as alive as he himself. True, none of them had been any kind of vessel, but just because he'd never encountered one didn't mean that they didn't exist.

"I have enough cause to know that things are not always what they seem, sweet one," he murmured. Oh yes, he had more than enough cause. Not just with sentient creatures that seemed otherwise, but with people as well - some better than they seemed, some worse, some just... different. He wondered if perhaps he himself might differ from how he seemed to the Doctor - hopefully in a good way, one that wouldn't make this beautiful man pull away from him.

When the Doctor talked of regenerations going badly, Andruthen desperately wanted to tell him that he might have some idea of what that was like - but he wasn't sure if that might be telling too much of his nature, too soon. Hopefully, the two of them would have plenty of time to learn about each other before that particular topic surfaced... it wasn't one he liked to think about.

He was almost mesmerised by the movement of the Doctor's finger against his lips; he wanted to lean forward and capture those lips with his own, but he held himself still for the moment. There would be plenty of time for that later, and he was fascinated by what the Doctor was saying.

"How could she have known that I was here?" he asked, his tone thoughtful. "Unless... huh. This just proves that our meeting was no accident, my beautiful one - if your ship knew to bring you to me even before we met..."

He smiled when the Doctor mentioned that his ship could feel what he meant to the other man, looking away for a moment before meeting that dark gaze. "What we mean to each other, dearheart. For I am sure that what I have felt for you since the moment I saw you could not possibly be one-sided."

He nodded at the Doctor's next words. "I am sure that I would know if you had been here before, my Doctor. I can see no way that your presence anywhere in my world could have been something I would not have known... I would have been drawn to you, even as I was yesterday. I am certain of it."

He looked around at their surroundings as the Doctor asked the name of his home, trying to imagine how it would look to the eyes of someone who wasn't used to seeing it every day. "We call this world Vala Toraela," he replied. "Whether that is what it is called by others who know it? I cannot say. And you are currently in the heart of Toraelis, possibly one of the greater cities of our world. Or so I'm told."

He laughed softly. "But I'm sure that doesn't interest you overmuch at the moment." He shifted closer to the Doctor, keeping their hands entwined as he propped himself up enough to wrap his other arm around the other man's waist. "I can think of far more interesting things than the name of my city," he murmured, gazing deeply into the Doctor's eyes before leaning in to kiss him deeply.

"Things are rarely ever as they seem, my love," the Doctor murmured, surprised to find that Andruthen agreed with him on that fact. Humans argued with him so much about that; it was pleasant to find someone who didn't always have to take the opposing side.

"I've learned to be cautious about the new worlds I visit because of that," he added, then could have kicked himself for those words. The last thing he wanted was for Andruthen to think that he might feel this young man harbored something under the surface that he wasn't being entirely truthful about.

But that was something they would need to have out in the open if their relationship was to progress, the Doctor told himself, taking a deep breath and trying to think of the proper way to phrase what he needed to say.

"And because of that .... Andruthen, we need to be completely honest and truthful with each other about everything in our lives," he said softly, his dark eyes locking with the other man's gaze. "I don't want us to ever hide anything from each other."

He loved this young man far too much already to want to keep any secrets about himself. This man owned his hearts, his soul. He had no secrets from Andruthen. He never could.

Andruthen's words caught his attention, his brow furrowing for a few moments. "You're right -- about our meeting not being an accident," he said slowly, thoughtfully. "If the Tardis knew to bring me here to you -- then that's only further proof that we were destined."

He liked that idea, really. He liked feeling that this young man was meant to be with him no matter what; that there was someone in the vast universe who had been created just for him, one person with whom he could bond for the duration of both their existences.

"I'd have known that you were in this world if I'd been here at any other time. I'm sure of it." His words were firm and steady; he was sure that if he'd been here before, he would never have left, because he would have felt that Andruthen was here and he would have refused to leave unless he could have taken his soul mate with him.

And at that point, Andruthen might not have wanted to go with him. Though he was sure that wouldn't have been possible; they were too much a part of each other to have been able to stay apart once they'd touched, made contact.

"Vala Toreala." The Doctor mused for a few moments, thinking back, but he couldn't remember ever having even heard of this world before.

But no matter. There were plenty of worlds in the universe that he hadn't yet discovered; after all, even a Time Lord couldn't do everything. He was just glad that he'd found it now -- or, as he and Andruthen surmised, that the Tardis had brought him here to be with his soul mate.

When Andruthen pulled him closer and leaned in for a kiss, the Doctor let his eyes flutter closed, giving himself up to the other man's embrace. "Better things indeed," he sighed, wrapping his arms around Andruthen's neck and pulling him down as the kiss became more heated.

Andruthen smiled at the Doctor, even as he wondered just how much he should tell. He didn't want to keep anything from the Doctor - ever - but it was a matter of knowing how much to tell and when. "Indeed they are not, dearheart. Though sometimes they can be so much greater than they seem at first glance, no?"

He nodded as the Doctor spoke of caution, though he wondered whether perhaps the Doctor saw him as what he was, or something different. "That is understandable. It is impossible to know what you will encounter in a new place, especially if you know little or nothing about it before you arrive. It makes perfect sense for you to be cautious."

Did he feel that way about this world - or would he have, if he had arrived here through different circumstances? It was nigh-impossible to know, though Andruthen could not help but wonder how long it would have been until they found each other if the Doctor had simply appeared on this world elsewhere.

"I do not want anything to be hidden between us either, Doctor," he murmured. "I have experienced more than my share of deceit and intrigue at the Court over the years; it is partially because I have no taste for that kind of artifice that I rarely attend. So you need not fear that I would keep anything from you, my beautiful one. My life is an open book to you."

He meant every word. There was nothing that he wanted to keep hidden from the Doctor - anything that the other man wanted to know, he would tell him, frankly and honestly.

With anyone else, he might have worried that some of the things he would have to tell would be seen as fanciful, ridiculous, even insane. But he had the strong feeling that the Doctor would not doubt the sincerity of his words.

"You will introduce me to your remarkable ship, I hope," he said softly, a hint of a smile playing on his lips. "I look forward to meeting her. It would seem that I have much to thank her for - she has brought me life, by bringing you here to me."

Before, he had felt like he was merely existing from day to day. He lived and breathed, but it hadn't really felt like his life had any real meaning. It was easy to feel ignored with an existence like that. But he knew that he would never consider his life meaningless again; no, the Doctor gave it meaning by his very existence.

Maybe, sometime soon, he could tell the Doctor just that.

"We were destined, Doctor." Andruthen squeezed the Doctor's hand, his eyes never leaving that deep, dark gaze. "One way or another, we would have found each other. And now that we have, nothing will separate us again."

He listened as the Doctor repeated the name of his world, thinking that he'd never heard anyone who made the two words sound so... special. Almost wondrous. Maybe it was just because that was how he saw the Doctor, such that every word he spoke held a kind of wonder because he had spoken it.

He let himself be pulled down over the Doctor, dazedly thinking that he rather liked the feeling of having the other man under him. He slipped his tongue into the Doctor's mouth, desperately wanting to taste him. One hand moved up to bury long fingers in the Doctor's silken hair, while the other smoothed along his side, softly caressing that velvet skin.

The Doctor frowned when Andruthen spoke of deceit and intrigue; that was something he'd had enough of in his time on Earth, and on other planets as well. It would be nice to find a place that was free of that, a place that was innocent.

But that wasn't something he should think that he could find anywhere in the universe, he told himself with an inward sigh. Corruption and deceit existed everywhere; it had even been a part of life on Gallifrey. It was widespread throughout the galaxy; he should know that by now.

"I won't keep anything back from you, Andruthen," he murmured, knowing that he was speaking the truth, even though some people might doubt his words. "I'm as much of an open book as you are. Anything you want to know about me, you have only to ask."

The young man's reference to the Tardis made him smile and nod. He was only too willing to introduce Andruthen to his ship. "Of course you'll go aboard the Tardis sometime," he said softly, raising a hand to stroke the younger man's cheek. "She'll want to get to know you."

Andruthen's words surprised him; he hadn't realized that this young man felt he hadn't had a life before the two of them had met.

Or did he mean that figuratively, and not literally? Of course he'd had a life before, but maybe he had felt like the Doctor himself did -- that he was merely going through the motions, existing rather than living. It was no way to live; the Doctor had told himself that often enough. He'd tried to pull himself out of that mind-set, but lately, he hadn't been able to.

Not until this remarkable young man had come barreling into his life when he certainly hadn't expected it. Andruthen had brought him to life just as much -- suddenly, there seemed to be a whole new world opened to him that he'd never even heard of before.

Of course, that was true in the literal sense as well. He'd never been to this world before, he was sure of that; everything here would be new and different, even if they lived in a way that he'd seen many times before. It was still a different world.

A world that had given him the young man in front of him, the young man he was sure he'd fallen in love with at first sight, the young man who was destined to be his soul mate.

"Yes, love, we were destined," he answered, his voice soft and husky. "I've never felt like this about anyone else, even as long as I've been alive. And I know that I never will again. You're the only one who'll ever be in my hearts from here on out."

Maybe that was a reckless thing to say, but that was what he felt, the Doctor thought as Andruthen's hands moved over his bare skin. No one had ever made him feel like this, either physically or emotionally, not in all the long centuries of his existence.

How was it possible that he'd lived so long without ever feeling this kind of passion? It didn't seem possible that he could have gone so long without feeling this way, without knowing these giddy, dizzying heights. But now that he'd discovered them, he was sure of one thing: There was only one man who could take him to those heights -- the man whose arms he was in.

The Doctor moaned against Andruthen's lips, giving himself over to the passion of their kiss. His hands moved up the young man's back, fingertips smoothing the silken skin before tangling in that long chestnut hair, combing through it like water.

His eyes opened in surprise when his hand brushed against Andruthen's left ear; it felt a bit odd, slightly pointed. He spoke before he could stop himself, then found himself hoping that his words wouldn't be taken as an insult, when they most certainly weren't intended in that way.

"Andruthen, are you .... fey?" he breathed, not knowing what other word to say for what he saw. "An elf?" He hadn't expected to find elves on this world; he'd been fairly sure that the inhabitants here would be human. But it seemed as though he was wrong about that.

"It doesn't matter to me if you are," he hastened to reassure his young love, laying a hand on Andruthen's cheek. "I just hadn't expected that -- I've never actually met anyone from your race before," he added, his dark eyes fixed on his love's face.

Andruthen smiled as the Doctor talked about being open. "I will surely take you up on that, dearheart. There is much I would ask you, though this moment is not the time. And know that you may ask me anything you wish, also. I will hold nothing secret from you." He looked deeply into the Doctor's eyes. "I never could."

And he never wanted to either, he thought as his gaze rested on the Doctor's face. What use were secrets anyway, especially between two people as closely connected as he and the Doctor? Secrets only served to make life more complicated, and they had no place in what the two of them shared.

He laid his hand over the Doctor's, nodding at his words. "I would love to get to know her, too. She sounds wonderful - and she is obviously very important to you, which means she is important to me because of that."

He hoped that their suppositions about the Tardis were true, and that she would approve of him. He got the impression that she was very protective of the Doctor; what if she decided that he wasn't good enough for him?

He pushed that thought away. No, she surely wouldn't think that. The two of them were almost certain that she had brought the Doctor here because of him. Surely that meant that she knew what they would mean to each other, and that she approved of it. If she hadn't, she would not have allowed them into contact with each other.

His breath caught when the Doctor spoke of their being destined; no-one had ever said anything remotely like that to him before. "As you are the only one who will ever be in mine," he said softly, every word coming from his heart. "I could never feel about anyone else the way that I feel about you. I never have before, and I never will again... I know that you are my one and only, Doctor. Ever and always."

He was slightly puzzled by the way that he'd said "as long as I've been alive". The Doctor certainly didn't look that old - but it was possible that perhaps, like Andruthen himself, he was older than he looked. Andruthen wondered how much older.

But that wasn't important right now. Right now, what mattered was that the Doctor was here, in his arms, those soft lips pressed against his and that beautiful body pressed against him. He was still having a hard time convincing himself that the Doctor was quite real - he had never dreamed of finding anyone who made him feel the way that the Doctor did. But he was real, he was here, and Andruthen didn't want things any other way.

A soft moan escaped him when the Doctor's hands moved up his back to entwine themselves in his hair; he very much liked the way that the Doctor ran his fingers through it. Something else that he could all too easily get used to.

His eyes flew open when he felt those gentle fingertips brush against his ear and then stop. There was no way that he could not have noticed the slight point. And he'd commented on his glow yesterday... He looked into the Doctor's eyes, seeing what almost seemed like wonder in that dark gaze.

He couldn't keep back a smile at the Doctor's words, releasing a breath he'd only barely been aware that he was holding. "Fey in more ways than one," he murmured, wondering if the Doctor would be familiar with the term as people used it in his world - as a reference to those who preferred the same sex. "Indeed I am, dearheart. In our own tongue, we call ourselves the Raen, but yes, I am elven."

He continued to smile at the Doctor as he raised his own hand to mirror the Doctor's gesture. "I am glad that you have no problem with that, my Doctor. I will admit, I was concerned as to what you might think when you realised that I am not human. I have known some who have had trouble with that in the past."

He stroked his thumb across the Doctor's cheek, their gazes locked. "Although - and I hope you will not think me unforgivably impertinent for saying this - something tells me that you are no more human than I. You look human, yes - but there are so many things about you that suggest your true nature to be otherwise."

He looked deeply into the Doctor's eyes. "It no more matters to me if you are or you are not than you have said that my race matters to you. But you are something new to me also."

The Doctor nodded, a smile curving his lips. "That's good to know, my sweet," he murmured, relieved that Andruthen thought in the same way he did about keeping secrets. He'd had too many people do that in the past, and he didn't want to deal with it again.

But he should have known that Andruthen would keep no secrets from him, not with the way that they'd already connected, he told himself. He'd never felt such a powerful attraction to anyone -- no, more than a mere attraction.

What he felt for Andruthen went far beyond that. He'd known from the first moment they'd looked into each other's eyes that this young man was his life mate.

"Yes, the Tardis is very important to me," he said softly, threading his fingers through the silken strands of Andruthen's chestnut hair. "She's kept me safe for .... a very long time," he continued, wondering if he should plunge into how old he was, and other things about himself, or if it would be better to wait.

"She's not only the ship that I travel on -- she's my home," he said, searching for words that described his symbiotic relationship with the Tardis. "And in some ways she -- nurtures me. She can rejuvenate me when I need it, if I've been .... wounded."

The last word came out with extreme reluctance; he didn't want to alarm Andruthen, or let him think that he led a dangerous life -- even though he did. There was time enough for that later, when they each knew more about each other and the lives they'd led up until now.

His life was going to be changed forever by this young man -- he knew that as surely as he knew who he himself was. Just looking into those beautiful eyes had opened up an entirely new world to him -- a world where loneliness could be kept at bay by love.

Andruthen's explanation of the word "fey" in his own vernacular made him smile; he moved his hand through the young man's hair, exposing more of the slightly pointed ear.

"You being elven doesn't bother me at all, love," he said softly, his eyes meeting Andruthen's. "I would say that being of that race, you must be a lot older than you look -- though I wouldn't know where to begin guessing at your age. I might hazard a guess that you're even older than me -- though that's debatable."

His last words made a stab of fear go through him -- what if Andruthen didn't want to be involved with someone of his advanced age? True, he didn't look as though he was over 900 years old -- but sometimes he felt every day of his age, and more.

He nodded when Andruthen brought up the fact that he himself probably wasn't human, glad that he didn't have to bring the subject up himself.

"No, I'm not human," he said, taking a deep breath. "I'm a Time Lord. I'm from a planet called Gallifrey -- one that you've probably not heard of before. It -- doesn't exist any more," he whispered, his throat tightening and making the words sound strained. "It was destroyed in the Time Wars -- wars that I had to take part in."

He didn't want to tell Andruthen that he'd been forced to destroy his planet -- and his people. And this certainly wasn't the time to explain about the Master, and the fact that he still roamed the galaxy. There would be time for that later.

"There's so much to tell you," he sighed, wishing that he could get past all of this and that Andruthen could somehow magically know all about him -- and that he could know everything about this young man with whom he had fallen head over heels in love.

But that kind of knowledge wasn't possible without sharing it, he thought to himself with a soft sigh. They would have to talk, get to know each other -- even though he felt that he'd known Andruthen all of his life, and that there was nothing he couldn't tell this young man.

"All that will come, in time," he added, moving his hands down Andruthen's body and wrapping his arms around his young lover's waist again to pull him close. "Right now, I'm more interested in our future than in our respective pasts. Our future together."

Andruthen raised a hand to run his fingers through the Doctor's hair, even as he reveled in the feel of the Doctor's fingers threading through his own. He was swiftly growing to love having his hair played with. His eyes never left the Doctor's face, as he took in everything that the other man was saying.

"She really does sound like an incredible being," he murmured. "And I am glad that she takes care of you - even if I do hate the thought of anything happening to you." He sighed. "But I am not so unrealistic as to think that one can go through life and never once come to harm. Yet somehow, with you... I already feel as though I want to keep you safe."

His fingers left the Doctor's hair to trail down his cheek. "My beautiful Doctor... know that whatever may happen in future, I will always be with you, no matter what we face. Now that we have been drawn together, I never want to be parted from you again."

He already knew that if the Doctor were to leave his world, he would leave with him. Now that he had found his lifemate, he wasn't going to let anyone on this world keep him from being with the man who owned his heart and soul.

His life had been nothing before he met the Doctor. He didn't want to go back to that meaninglessness, that desolation; they would be all the more acute for knowing what his life could have been. No, he was most definitely not going to give up his life with this man.

He leaned into the touch of those gentle fingers still stroking through his hair, smiling in answer to the Doctor's as the other man assured him that his race had no bearing on their relationship. When the Doctor suggested that he was older than he looked, though, his expression turned thoughtful.

How much should he say? Well, best to just go with the truth, fanciful though it might sound to the Doctor. He had already promised himself that he would hold nothing back. "You would be right in that I am older than I seem, at least in years. Whether I am older than you? I cannot say; you will have to be the judge of that. I am roughly equivalent to the human age of twenty, but in truth I have seen the turn of over two thousand years." He bit his lip, thinking. "Two thousand, three hundred and... nineteen, I think."

He looked down at the Doctor, hit by a sudden concern that the other man might feel somehow deceived by his apparent youth in contrast to his years. What if the Doctor thought he had been misled, or felt that he couldn't be with someone who had lived as long as Andruthen had?

"Does that bother you?" he asked softly, fervently hoping that it wouldn't. He didn't want his age to be an obstacle to them - though he supposed that he shouldn't be surprised if it seemed that way. Mind you, most people who had a problem with that sort of thing would have run screaming long since. The Doctor was the one who hadn't, so hopefully this wouldn't drive him away.

When the Doctor spoke of his home, Andruthen bowed his head and held the other man close. "I am sorry. For what it is worth - I know it is not the world you lost, but I hope that you may feel you have something of a home on this world. I, for one, will always consider you most welcome here."

He smiled at the Doctor's comment of there being much to tell. "There is much that I would tell you also, my Doctor. But you are right, time will bring that knowledge." He wrapped his own arms around the Doctor, content in the fact that he was here, holding the man he was certainly fated to bond with. "Our future is what is important - and we shall have plenty of time in that future to speak of the past. There is no need now; what is important now is that we are together, and that we will continue to be so."

As he spoke, one hand left the Doctor's waist, trailing up the other man's chest to circle first one nipple, then the other. Andruthen leaned down, capturing the Doctor's lips with his own and kissing him heatedly as his fingers continued to tease across the Time Lord's nipples.

He felt a heady wave of desire wash over him. He'd never wanted anyone the way he wanted the Doctor, and the feeling was almost indescribable. Why had he been blathering on when he could have been doing this, letting himself be lost in the feeling of just being with the man he loved?

"I am sorry," he said softly. "All this talk, I must be boring you senseless." His hand trailed down the Doctor's body, circling his navel. "I hope you'll... let me make it up to you?" he asked in a murmur, as his hand moved lower still, his fingers curling around the Doctor's cock as he looked deeply into the other man's eyes.

The Doctor sighed, shaking his head in response to Andruthen's words about his home. "I've long accepted that Gallifrey is gone, and that I don't have the home that I've always known any more," he said softly, gulping before he spoke again.

"But now .... I don't need Gallifrey, even though I miss it." He reached for Andruthen, cupping the young man's cheek in his hand and tilting that beautiful face up to his own, until they were looking into each other's eyes.

"My home is wherever you are, Andruthen," he murmured, swallowing hard. "It doesn't matter where -- as long as I'm with you, then I'm where I need to be."

He was somewhat surprised by Andruthen's age; even knowing that this young man was elven, he was surprised to discover that his lover was such an advanced age, at least in elf years. It was strange to meet someone older than himself -- especially someone who he was so attracted to and had bonded with.

"No, your age doesn't bother me at all," he said softly, though he couldn't help feeling a slight twinge of anxiety. Andruthen was young, in the parlance of his world. What if he felt that the Doctor was too old for him?

After all, he certainly looked older, he told himself, raising one hand in front of his face and studying it. He'd thought that his face was handsome, but now, he couldn't help wondering what Andruthen felt of that face -- and if he would get tired of it.

The thought made his twin hearts almost stop beating in his chest -- he was sure that they'd at least skipped a few of those beats, his breath catching in his throat. But that was something they could discuss later. This wasn't the time to bring it up.

Instead of voicing his fears, he attempted to push them aside for now. This wasn't the time or the place for them; they would have to be attended to sometime when they were more secluded than in a castle, where the Doctor had to admit that he felt a bit uncomfortable.

After all, someone could come into this room at any time, he told himself, trying to push that thought out of his mind as well. He wanted them to be in a place that was more .... well, more private even than Andruthen's bedroom. A place where he could be sure that no one would disturb them, a place that was theirs and theirs alone.

"I'm only a bit over 900 years old," he admitted, that fact rankling more than a little. "I suppose years don't count for much, though, considering that I'm much older than you in experience."

When those gentle hands began to move down his body again, the Doctor closed his eyes, trying to push all of those fears and worries about their future away from his conscious mind and leave them for later. Much later.

After all, they had so much time ahead of them to iron out whatever differences and difficulties they might run into. This was the time that they should spend in being together, in getting to know each other in ways that didn't involve words.

This also wasn't the time for them to give themselves to each other completely, he cautioned himself. But that time would come soon enough; he had no doubt that it would happen soon. It was sweet torture to wait, but he knew that the wait would be worthwhile.

"I think that we have much more important things to do than spend our time throwing words at each other," he murmured, twining his arms around Andruthen's neck as the young man's mouth came down on his again, losing himself in his lover's touch.


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