(crossposted to doctor_ten and fey_gaming)
This wasn't the way the next regeneration was supposed to happen.
The Doctor was thrown from side to side in the Tardis, feeling the familiar time and space displacement when the ship landed somewhere. How had this happened? he thought, stumbling to the console as he tried to avoid being struck by the bolts of energy that the Time Vortex was somehow aiming at him. How had the damned Vortex ended up in his ship? It made no sense.
But then, a lot of things in his life had made no sense. He should be used to that.
There was a thump as the Tardis landed; it sent him stumbling across the control room again, narrowly escaping being hit by one of those random bolts of energy that were seething high above his head.
The regeneration was starting. He could feel it beginning, the glow trying to spread throughout his body. He couldn't concentrate enough to keep it from happening; he was going to change, become another person -- perhaps someone he didn't want to be.
"No!" The shriek was torn from him, his voice rising into a desperate wail.
He didn't want this. Not now. Not yet. It wasn't time. It never would be.
He hadn't done everything he wanted to do in this body yet. Truth be told, he didn't want to give it up. He loved this body; it was the most attractive one he'd ever had, and he hadn't really lived in it. He hadn't been the person he wanted to be. He hadn't loved.
It was the last thought he had before one of those bolts found him, sending him flying across the control room -- and out of the door that had been flung open as though by some invisible hand.
The last thing he remembered was seeing the ground coming at him far too quickly -- and thinking that when he awakened, he wouldn't be the same. He would change in so many ways -- ways that he didn't want to face. He'd never be able to go back to who he'd been.
The Doctor had no way of knowing how right he was -- and that the ways in which he would change would all be positive.
Andruthen glanced around warily as he crept further into the forest, wondering what the trees around him might conceal.
His instinct told him to come out here, was drawing him inexorably forward as though it had him attached to a rope that was being slowly pulled onward. Why, he couldn't say. But the insistent pull had brought him out here, and he couldn't turn back now.
A strange energy ahead of him made him quicken his pace. There was an odd kind of dark glow between the trees, and it didn't feel friendly. He darted forwards, running the last few feet to emerge at the edge of a clearing.
He couldn't explain what he saw. A large, dark object, shrouded in that strange energy. He was about to move away, feeling rather out of his league, when his eyes were drawn to the grass between him and it.
His gaze fell on a prone figure, almost silhouetted in the odd glow. Andruthen bit his lip, before rushing forward; he wasn't sure why, knew only that whoever this was, he had to get them clear.
He bent down as he neared, lifting the figure into his arms before backing away in the direction he'd come, stopping once he was back within the shelter of the trees.
He knelt down to rest the stranger across his lap, taking the liberty now of having a proper look at him - again, he didn't know why, but the pull had stopped as soon as he had lifted the stranger into his arms. As though he was the intended goal.
He looked down at the unconscious man in his arms, lit by his own silver glow, and his breath caught.
He was beautiful.
Andruthen reached out almost without thinking, brushing the dirt away from those pale features. Before he could stop himself, he leaned forward to brush a soft kiss against the man's forehead.
The other man's entire body tensed suddenly, and Andruthen sat upright in panic as his body was suddenly afire with golden light that paled his natural glow in comparison. As soon as it started, it stopped; Andruthen willed his heart to calm as he stared down at the other man, feeling that slender body relax in his arms.
The other man's eyes opened, and focused on his. And he suddenly realised what had drawn him out here.
His heart beat wildly, his blood-glow flaring with the intensity of feeling as he gazed into those eyes. Somehow, he just knew that this had been destined. It was just like the tales said. The tales he'd discounted, feeling that it could never happen to him.
A soft smile formed on his lips. "Hello there, beautiful one," he murmured in his own tongue, before realising that the other man probably couldn't understand a word. He cleared his throat, and switched into the common trade-tongue. "Are you all right, dearheart?"
The Doctor's senses slowly started to come back to him; he could feel a presence, soft and comforting, as though he was in the arms of an angel.
Could that be possible? Had he .... died? No, he would regenerate. Unless something had gone wrong somehow, and he'd been able to join the rest of his kind in a realm that he'd thought he wouldn't see for a very long time.
He was almost afraid to find out, but he knew that he had to.
Cautiously, he opened his eyes, blinking a little and squinting at what appeared to be .... bright sunlight. All right, so that proved he hadn't died. This looked too much like a planet, not some place redolent of another realm of being.
His eyes widened when he realized that there was a young man leaning over him -- an incredibly beautiful young man.
A young man who took his breath away.
Those eyes .... it was like looking into a vast expanse of Earth sky, going on forever with no end in sight. He could lose himself in those eyes, drift away and never want to return to wherever he'd been.
The realization hit him with a shock, as if his mind had just snapped back into place after being out of joint.
This was why the Tardis had brought him to this planet. This was where he'd been meant to come all of his life -- or at least since this particular chapter of his life had begun.
The young man leaning over him was the other half of his soul. This was his destiny, what he'd been searching for all of this lifetime without even knowing it.
This was where he belonged. Here, in this embrace, in these arms.
He could do nothing but stare at the young man in wonder; lifting a hand, he laid it against that soft cheek, almost expecting this vision to melt away before his eyes. Someone so beautiful couldn't possibly be real; he must be dreaming of the love he'd always wanted but he'd thought could never be.
"Liani'ne," he answered in a whisper, not realizing that he'd spoken in the young man's own tongue even after the words were out of his mouth.
The moment the words were uttered, he relinquished his grip on consciousness, falling back into the young man's arms.
Andruthen had gazed back into those dark eyes as though he could get lost in them forever. His heart fluttered at what he saw there - it seemed as though this man was as taken with him as he was with the other. But when he spoke, Andruthen stared at the other man in shock. Had he just said what he thought he had? Had this stranger-that-wasn't, the man he'd just met yet felt as though he'd known all his life, just called him 'my angel' - and in his own language?
He blinked, realising he must look like a landed fish, and shut his mouth. He hadn't even realised it had dropped open. He had to make sure the other man was alright - in his experience, people didn't randomly start glowing for no reason. Well, except his own kind, but that was different. They were born with that ever-present silver glow, it was part of their being.
He smiled, stroking the other man's cheek with the backs of his fingers. He was, quite possibly, the most glorious being he had ever laid eyes on - but he still worried about what had happened before the man awoke. The man's eyes had closed again after he spoke. "Are you hurt, sweet one?" he asked, still in the common tongue. It was possible, after all, that the words the other man had used had been a fluke - though a part of him very much doubted it.
The other man didn't reply - he had lapsed back into unconsciousness. Andruthen hooked his free arm under his knees and stood, holding the other man close. "Come on. Let me get you back to the palace, so I can have a look at you properly."
As Andruthen began the walk back to the crystal palace he called home, he kept stealing glances at the man in his arms. He had never believed the old stories of people knowing, the first time each laid eyes on the other, that they were destined to be together - their hearts, their souls, their lives twined inextricably together for the rest of time. And yet, with this man... he not only believed, he knew. There was no way that this could be anything else. He marvelled at that, even as he focused on putting one foot in front of the other; if he didn't pay attention to where he was going, this fantastic new feeling would utterly engulf him and he would be hardly capable to get himself back, let alone this captivating man who had managed, so utterly, to steal his heart with only a glance.
He looked up, spotting the massive crystal structure through the trees. "Not far now, dearheart," he murmured, tightening his hold a fraction.
Andruthen crept along the corridor leading to his rooms, glad for the fact that he didn't live in the heart of the palace with his parents and his sister. While none of them had any issue with the fact that he preferred men, he'd prefer not to fuel gossip at Court.
Well. Not just yet, anyway.
He smiled at the thought, slowing his pace as he finally reached the heavy curtain that covered the entrance to his private rooms. He relaxed as he turned, backing through so that he could move the fabric aside without disturbing the man in his arms, and was momentarily grateful that the palace didn't have many conventional doors.
He crossed the main sitting-room area without stopping, heading instead for the bedchamber. The lighter curtain here moved apart at his approach; he sent a wordless thought of thanks to the nigh-invisible elemental creatures which tended the palace for their thoughtfulness as he crossed the threshold. He was never sure how much the sprites understood, since they never made any sort of reply, but it never hurt to be polite.
Approaching the delicately-wrought wooden four-poster, he gently laid the other man on top of the velvet coverlet, reaching up with one slender hand to brush a few strands of hair from his forehead.
He really was absolutely stunning, Andruthen thought as he took in those features in proper light. He traced his hand along the other man's cheek and down his jaw, resting his hand along the jawline as he just watched him breathing. He looked so peaceful, and utterly divine, though already Andruthen longed to gaze deeply into those fathomless dark eyes again. He had never seen the like before - it was certainly not a colour found among his own people, and he'd never really paid much attention to the humans who occasionally entered the forest. They were always gently but firmly turned back before they strayed too far in.
Andruthen licked his lips unconsciously, before leaning down to press a gentle kiss against those beautiful lips. He pulled back reluctantly, smiling at the thought that this wondrous creature most certainly owned his very soul for all eternity.
He straightened, unbuckling the belt that held his tunic closed, before pulling the leather garment over his head. He hadn't bothered to lace it particularly tightly when he'd dressed, the force which had tugged him towards his destiny having been too insistent.
He sat down on the other side of the bed, and pulled off his boots before lifting his legs up onto the bed and turning onto his side to watch the other man. Leaning forward, he took the other man's slender body into his arms, gently stroking his fingers through that short, dark hair. There wasn't much he could do now except to wait until his mysterious soulmate - and he had no doubt that that was what he was - awoke.
He was lying on his bed in the Tardis .... no, it wasn't the Tardis. He couldn't feel the comforting aura of his ship around him; he was somewhere else.
But he was definitely in a comfortable bed. He knew that much.
Now, if only the cramping pain in his stomach would go away. It wasn't just his stomach; it was his entire body, trying to go through the regenerative changes and refusing to do so. Well, not refusing, really -- just having a hard time doing it, apparently. But that certainly wasn't making things any easier for him.
It took him a few moments to realize that he wasn't alone -- there were gentle hands stroking his hair, a soft voice whispering words in a language that he couldn't understand. Or could he? Those words seemed somehow familiar, reminiscent of something that he'd heard in his dreams. A language that sounded like music, or like a waterfall running over rocks into a calm, still pool. It was a voice that he knew he'd heard before -- but again, it seemed as though that memory was from a dream.
Had he been here before? No, he was sure that he hadn't. Maybe in another lifetime .... one of the first ones he'd had ....
That thought snapped him into reality -- his eyes flew open, and he blinked a few times, trying to orient himself to what was around him. But he was having trouble seeing; his vision was blurry, and he could only assume that it was because of the regeneration. The pain wasn't blinding -- yet -- but it was certainly making him feel weak and disoriented.
He couldn't focus on the person holding him -- but somehow, he felt safe and protected in their arms. It had to be the beautiful angel who he'd seen the last time he'd opened his eyes -- no one else could possibly give him that feeling of safety and security.
"H-have I changed?" he managed to say, his voice barely above a whisper. He didn't feel any different -- his body felt exactly the same, his hair, his teeth. Especially his teeth. That was one of the first things he always noticed when he regenerated.
He was fairly sure that he hadn't regenerated -- he would have felt it if he had. There was always some residual energy left, and there was none this time. It was as though the regeneration had started, and then been cut off, as if someone had pressed a button inside him and stopped the process before it could become external.
Which was something that he appreciated, if it meant that he could stay in this body. He'd always liked it, from the moment he'd first looked into a mirror.
Of course, that left the problem of what the hell was going on with his insides. It felt as though he was being twisted into pretzel shapes that grew more and more complicated with each moment that passed; all he could think of at the moment was getting out his constrictive clothes and being able to writhe in agony until the pain went away.
Another pain shot through him, taking his breath away. He squeezed his eyes shut, seeing sparks dance behind his eyes. If this kept up, he was going to pass out again -- though considering the way he felt, that might actually be a good thing.
His vision was clearing somewhat; he blinked and tried to focus on the person holding him.
Dark eyes met icy blue -- and his breath hitched in his throat again, though this time for a very different reason. He couldn't look away from those eyes -- he could drown in them, let himself become immersed in them and never come up for air. He could sink into those eyes, live in them for the rest of his life, awake to see them gazing at him every morning, fall asleep every night with the knowledge that their owner would be there next to him.
The Doctor couldn't stop what he did next; it was as though he was being controlled by some force outside of himself. He couldn't have said what it was -- but when he looked back on his actions later, he was sure that it was it hearts speaking for him, in the only language they knew.
He reached up to twine his arms around his angel's neck, pulling the young man down to him and raising himself slightly, their lips meeting and clinging.
It started as a soft, gentle caress, but quickly turned into more; he couldn't keep himself from moaning out loud, his grip on the young man tightening. Fire coursed through his veins, hot lava that swept through him and ignited sparks in every fiber of his being from head to toe.
He never wanted to let go, never wanted this kiss to end.
But he couldn't hold onto the young man for long; he released his grip and let himself sink back into the warmth and comfort of those strong arms again, closing his eyes and trying to catch his breath. No kiss should feel like that, a voice whispered in the back of his mind. No kiss should make him feel so whole, so complete -- unless he was kissing his soul mate, his destiny. The person he was meant to be with for the rest of his life, the one it had taken him nearly a thousand years to find.
His mind might not have been sure of who he was kissing, but his hearts already knew.
Andruthen cradled the other man in his arms as he worked to get air back into his lungs. He couldn't even find words to express how that kiss had felt; they all seemed paltry to his mind, horribly inadequate, falling dismally short of the reality.
All he knew was that it had felt like the only thing that mattered in the universe, that he be so joined with this man; and that he felt curiously bereft when the kiss had ended, as though it were unnatural for the other to be suddenly separate from him like that. He had the distinct feeling that if he weren't holding onto this man, this wonderful being that was the other half of his soul, then his hands would be shaking from the sheer intensity of feeling.
He had never experienced anything remotely like it before in his life, and somehow he knew that it was something very rarely felt, known only to those lucky few who were able to find the ones destined for them. As he had. There was absolutely no denying it, and his heart clenched at the thought of even trying. No, he and this man were bonded, he was as sure of that as he was of his own name.
He leaned forward, their lips once again meeting as he lifted a hand to twine his fingers through the other man's hair. He loved the way it felt under his fingers, like sun-warmed silk. Kissing him felt like coming home; like his entire long life had been leading solely to this. It felt right.
He was vaguely aware that he hoped he wasn't blinding the poor man - the way he felt right now, he knew he must have been glowing like the stars he so loved to watch of an evening. His body thrummed with feelings he couldn't put voice to right this second, though in looking back, words were unnecessary.
He pulled back only when he desperately needed to come up for breath, and looked down at his soul's face, panting but with a smile on his lips.
He couldn't stop thinking about how beautiful he was, lying there in the elf's embrace. He reluctantly tore his eyes away from the man's face long enough to sweep his gaze over the rest of him.
He really didn't look like he was from anywhere around here - his hair, his clothes, even the feeling of him were all new to Andruthen. Certainly not unpleasant, he decided with a smile as he returned his gaze to the man's face, seeking out those enthralling dark eyes again. Just different.
He was hit by the realisation that he didn't care where this man had come from, if it meant that he was here now. That was the important thing.
He really was a puzzle, though. If he wasn't from here, how had he known the words he had spoken before? Andruthen's people were content to study the stars; most of them had no real interest in seeing them any closer. They were content to stay on this world, keeping their own counsel, hardly even interacting with the humans beyond their borders without need. So it was hard to contemplate how an offworlder would know his language, when the elves hardly encouraged familiarity with outsiders.
Andruthen cursed his mind's ability to work on several things at once, and filed those questions away for later. They could wait, he told himself sternly. Right now all he wanted to do was focus on this man who had owned his heart from the first moment their eyes had met.
He wondered what this beautiful creature made of him, as he trailed his fingers along his cheek. When he had come to briefly before, the man had said 'my angel' - was that what he thought Andruthen was?
The elf fought to stifle a laugh at the thought. Him, an angel - his parents would be mortified. He had been called many things in his life, but 'angel' - much less 'my angel' - had never been one of them. Until now.
And just now, he had asked if he had changed. What did he mean by that? Changed how? He certainly did not appear to have changed in the short time that Andruthen had known him, or at least not physically - he was still the same as he had been when Andruthen first laid eyes on him in the clearing.
Under the skin, though - that was possible. Andruthen certainly felt that he had changed from the person he had been that morning - changed for the better, his self feeling as though it had been suddenly completed with the addition of a piece he hadn't before realised was missing. He absently wondered if anyone who knew him would recognise the difference.
He traced a long finger over his soul's reddened lips. Much as he longed to kiss him again, he was desperate to know more about him - and besides, he seemed to be in pain, and Andruthen wanted to help him however he could.
"What do you mean, 'have you changed'? Changed how, lovely one?" he asked, his fingers alternately stroking the man's hair and brushing against his cheek. He couldn't stop touching him; that silken hair, that velvet skin. "If you can't answer, I understand. No-one will disturb us here, dearheart - we have all the time in the world."
He didn't just mean in terms of an answer. Somehow, he knew that he would spend the rest of time with this man. He was amazed at the fact that they had been drawn together while he was still (relatively) young - he had resigned himself to spending countless millenia alone. After all, he'd been pretty much alone this long - what right had he had to think that it would change? And yet, suddenly it had. Suddenly he had found - and been found by - this beautiful man who had captured his entire being.
He leaned back just enough to reach the delicate pitcher of water on the nightstand, pouring some of the clear liquid into the chalice beside it with one hand before sitting up again, chalice in hand, wordlessly offering it to the man in his arms.
The Doctor gasped when the kiss ended, dark eyes widening as the two of them pulled away slightly from each other and he could look into the young man's eyes. He'd never been kissed like that before; in nearly a thousand years, no one had ever affected him in this way.
Who was this young man? What planet was he on? And how had the Tardis managed to find her way here, to deliver him to the arms of someone who must definitely be an angel?
He had so many questions -- questions that he didn't have the strength to ask, and which might not be answered even if he did. He had to try to wrap his mind around the most immediate problems of his situation, though he didn't feel that this young man was a problem. Rather, he was a ray of light in a disconcerting darkness.
His eyes closed when the young man bent to kiss him again; he could feel that gentle hand trail through his hair, the touch as light as a spring breeze. All he could think of was feeling that touch on his body -- the thought blazed through his mind so suddenly that it brought another gasp from his throat.
"You .... you're glowing," he murmured, surprised that his voice would work properly. It didn't seem to quite belong to him -- though he was fairly sure he hadn't regenerated. His voice still sounded the same to him, and it would be completely different if he was in a new physical body.
The thought almost made him want to weep. He didn't want to lose the body he'd had. He hadn't been in it long enough; he hadn't had time to experience everything he wanted to.
Wait, wait .... if he'd regenerated, he wouldn't feel this way. He would be a new man, a new person, with the same memories but eager to try out the new body he had and develop into a different person. He would have left these feelings behind him, like shedding a skin. But he hadn't; so he couldn't have regenerated. He still had to be in the same body.
Now, if only his insides would give him that same reassurance.
He had to get out of his clothes. They were restricting him too much; he felt as though his body was going to burst out of invisible bonds that held him far too tightly. Could it be possible that he was regenerating inside, but not outwardly? That seemed to be the case.
If so, then that explained the pain that ripped through him every few moments. The inner workings of his body were trying to become newer, younger, less used. And they seemed to be having a hard time fitting into the body he had now.
The young man was stroking his cheek, an anxious look in those icy-blue eyes. He didn't want this beautiful angel to feel that he was responsible for the pain, but he had no idea how to explain what might be happening to him -- at least, not in a way that he would be able to make this man understand. All he could do was ask for help.
With that thought in mind, he caught the young man's hand, his dark eyes locking with that blue gaze, his slender fingers twining through his angel's. "Help me," he whispered, his voice still weak, but loud enough to be heard in the silence of the room.
He could barely focus on the young man's question, but he felt that he had to answer it as best he could. "Have I changed my appearance since you first saw me?" he asked, the words hesitant. He wasn't sure that he wanted to hear the answer, especially if it was in the affirmative.
"Please .... help me get my clothes off," he whispered, one hand going to the buttons on his shirt and tugging at them. This young man might find it strange that he wanted to undress, but he had no choice but to hope his request wouldn't be taken the wrong way.
Though that might be exactly the way he actually wanted his words to be taken, he thought as his eyes pleaded with the young man to understand that he needed help.
He nodded when the young man offered him water, but he couldn't raise himself up enough to take it -- there was hardly any leverage, and he fell back against the pillows when he tried to sit up. He'd have to be held up -- if his benefactor would care to do it.
The Doctor had no idea how to get all of this across to the young man who looked at him so anxiously; the words were there, but they seemed to be spinning in his head, unable to be uttered even though they were screaming at him inwardly. The only words that seemed to want to be spoken were whatever words would make this young man touch him again -- and kiss him again.
He wanted to reach for the young man and pull him down again, to feel those lips on his. But he didn't have the strength; all he could do was close his eyes and hope that his angel understood what he needed.
Andruthen caught the corner of his lip between his teeth as he looked down into the eyes of his soul, well aware that his concerns for the other man were likely more than evident.
"Yea, I am indeed." Andruthen wondered how he could possibly explain the quirk that made all elves glow like that - certainly not in the other man's current state. Hopefully, it could wait until he was well.
His hand continued to stroke through his soul's hair, his heart clenching at the man's clear distress. He was not entirely certain what he could do. But when that slender hand clasped his own, their fingers entwining even as he asked his help, Andruthen could certainly not refuse. He felt like he would give this man anything.
When he elaborated on his earlier question, Andruthen shook his head. "No, dearheart. You haven't changed since I first laid eyes on you." And you're as beautiful now as you were then, he added to himself.
"What can I do, beautiful one?" he asked, still gazing deeply into those dark eyes.
He hadn't expected the other man to ask that he help get him undressed, but his distress made it certainly seem like a good idea. He shifted so that the other man was propped against his shoulder, and helped him to drink from the chalice in his hand. "There we go, lovely one." He leaned around to set the chalice on the nightstand, then laid the other man back down against the pillows. "Let me see about getting you out of these, yes?"
His hands moved to the buttons of the other man's shirt, his fingers moving nimbly down the line to expose bare skin. Andruthen's breath caught, and he couldn't help but place a kiss over the man's breastbone before lifting him off the bed so that he could slip the fabric off his shoulders.
Laying him back down again, his gaze drifted to the silver chain hanging around his neck. His fingers traced the line of the chain, drawn to the pendant that currently lay just behind his shoulder. As his fingertips brushed against it, he felt the oddest sense of - recognition? As though the pendant was somehow sentient, and knew him... He moved it along the chain to rest against his soul's chest, fascinated by the way the opaline colours seemed to be shifting and changing. It took a certain amount of will to get his fingers to release the pendant - it seemed to draw his fingers to it, as though reluctant to let him go.
He moved down, then, to deal with his shoes. They really were the oddest things he'd seen in a while, he thought, even as he bent to untie the laces; first one, than the other. They were no odder than some of the things he'd seen at Court, he supposed, but some very odd things turned up in fashion there.
He snorted softly. Fashion. He'd never had a taste for it. He dressed to suit himself, and he was fairly sure he was presentable. That was all he really cared about.
He moved back to the other man's waist, fumbling slightly with the buttons through the heavy fabric. Having finally gotten the last of them free, he took a breath before drawing the garment down the man's long legs, his eyes following his hands.
He sat back on his heels to look back at his soul - and suddenly found it very hard to breathe.
If he'd thought he was beautiful before... he was absolutely breathtaking now. He swallowed hard at the sight of that stunning body laid bare on the dark blue velvet which contrasted so beautifully with his pale skin. He desperately wanted to run his hands over that slender form, to...
No. He shook himself mentally. That wasn't what he should be thinking of right now. The man was clearly weak; he didn't want to do anything that might be construed as taking advantage. The very idea was abhorrent. Like so many other things, it could wait.
He tried to communicate that point to his body, which seemed to have other ideas - his breeches seemed to have suddenly become rather tight.
With a bit of an effort, he shifted to the edge of the bed and stood, bending down to cup the other man's cheek. "I'll be back in a moment, dearheart. I just have to tend the fire." He kissed the other man's forehead, straightening as he moved swiftly to the fireplace at the foot of the bed. He made sure the fire was properly banked down, then turned back to face the bed, pulling at the laces of one of his shirt-cuffs as he did so.
He almost wished his clothing was as easy to remove as the other man's had been - but if he got impatient and snapped the laces, he would be bound to receive an earful from his mother. He bristled to think of how his parents still treated him like a child - when they acknowledged him at all.
He finally got the cuff lacings loose, and pulled the loose linen shirt over his head. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he tugged at the lacings on his breeches, pushing them and his hose down over his hips in the same movement.
He tugged the woolen hose off his legs impatiently, tossing them over the chair in the corner without a second thought. Swinging his legs up onto the bed, he shifted across and turned onto his side, once more gathering the other man into his arms.
He smoothed a hand down his soul's side, revelling in the feel of his skin beneath his fingers, and his eyes fluttered closed as he leaned forward for another kiss.
"I'm going to have to ask you about that glow later," the Doctor said, his voice slightly hoarse from disuse and weakness. "I've never seen anything like it before .... it's lovely."
His breath hissed between his teeth again as another pain knifed through him, lower this time. Apparently, his body was regenerating his organs from the top down -- which was good, because if it was moving up, he'd be able to feel the clutch at his hearts, and that definitely wouldn't be pleasant. Though it didn't seem as though this was going to feel anything less than painful, at best.
"I'm .... regenerating," he tried to explain, the tip of his pink tongue flickering over his dry lips. "When I'm .... damaged, my body regenerates into a new one from the inside out. The problem is, I don't seem to have regenerated outwardly -- but my body is regenerating on the inside. It's .... rather a painful experience, I'm afraid."
That would have to do, he told himself, gasping as another pain spasmed through his abdomen. Was this what it was like to give birth? If so, then it was a good thing he hadn't been born a female, he told himself rather sourly.
He closed his eyes as the young man lifted the chalice to his lips, swallowing enough water to chase the worst of the dryness from his mouth. There, that felt better. At least he would be able to talk more easily.
But he still felt terribly weak, too weak to help this young man with the task of undressing him. He was sure that his angel could get him out of his clothes -- and for some reason, he trusted this young man not to do anything that would harm him. He knew that he could put himself in those hands with no fear for his own well-being.
In fact, he would trust this young man with anything. He'd known that from the moment he'd first gazed into those eyes .... there was a softness there that he'd never thought he would see in anyone's gaze in relation to himself, something that was much more than affection or concern.
He didn't miss how the pendant around his neck glowed more insistently when it made contact with the young man's skin, how it seemed to leave his hand reluctantly. That told him more than any words could have done.
This young man was already heartbound to him. All it had taken was that one look, that initial gaze that had somehow melded two souls into one, made them a part of each other for all eternity.
The knowledge of that bond made it seem right for this man to be undressing him, those hands moving over his body with an assurance born not of familiarity, but of the understanding that their bodies were one, as were their souls.
It only took a few moments for the young man to divest him of his clothes; he almost felt a bit embarrassed as he lay back against the velvet blankets, unable to keep his eyes away from that perfect face. What would he see written there? Amusement? Disgust? What was it that he would be able to read in those eyes, in that expression? He couldn't help but feel worried.
He needn't have been. All he could see in those beautiful eyes was wonderment, a kind of childlike amazement. The Doctor couldn't help but wonder if his angel had seen a naked man before; he certainly didn't seem to be fazed by seeing one now.
And he didn't appear to dislike what he saw, either. Those eyes moved over his body, seeming to stop for a few moments at crotch level; he almost wanted to cover himself with his hands in a belated show of modesty, but stopped himself in time. There was no need for that, he told himself sternly.
They were going to be lovers. He'd known it from the moment he'd looked into those eyes. Not just lovers, but heartbound. There was no need for him to feel as though he had anything to hide.
Besides, he couldn't hide anything from the one who owned his hearts. He was as open and transparent to this young man as though they were one being; there was nothing the Doctor could keep from him, nothing that he wouldn't let his love see.
He watched as his angel slid off the bed, admiring the graceful movements of his body, the intricate dance of his hands doing what he would probably see as very simple things. Just the way he moved was poetry in motion, with a grace that marked him as something ethereal and not quite of the world that the Doctor had always been used to inhabiting.
His own eyes widened at the sight of the young man removing his own clothes; he knew that he should look away, give his love a bit of privacy, but he couldn't tear his eyes from the sight -- though he was sure that his reactions would show in his body. He couldn't very well keep that hidden.
There couldn't have been another such beautiful being in the whole of the universe. This angel had been made for him, meant for him from the moment of his inception.
The Doctor closed his eyes when the young man pulled him into those strong arms, letting his body relax and feeling an emotion more powerful than anything he'd ever experienced before welling up in him. This was more than love. He couldn't put a name to it; the feeling was too powerful for expression.
But whatever it was, he intended to hold on to it forever, to make it theirs and never let it go.
His eyes closed as his love leaned closer to brush their lips together; at first, a simple meeting of their mouths, then growing in intensity until he could feel his breath being drawn from his lungs. This was more than a kiss; this was a revelation, hopefully as much for the other man as for him.
Finally drawing back and catching his breath, the Doctor slipped an arm around his angel's waist, clearing his throat slightly. "I can't keep simply referring to you in my mind as 'my angel,' though the sentiment is heartfelt. What .... what's your name?" he asked softly, hoping that he didn't sound too abrupt.
Tales of a forest-child
- Tenth Doctor/Andruthen Rohenya, Elven Palace, First Scene - Beginning (Part One) (PG-13)