NAME: Only Human
FANDOM: Doctor Who
CHARACTERS/PAIRINGS: Jethro/Jeremy, Hutchinson/Latimer, Headmaster Rocastle, Mr. Phillips, Mr. Smith, Joan Redfern, a couple of OCs
SUMMARY: Join new kid Jethro Cane, and his new classmates Timothy Latimer, David Hutchinson, and Jeremy Baines, at Farringham School for Boys.
WARNINGS: AU, slash, Lord Byron, classic literature, historical references, uniforms, and OCs
AU: Modern verse, focus on the side characters of Doctor Who, so… nothing from the show actually happened. Plus… a lot of gay.
Jethro Cane's first day at Farringham School for Boys was probably supposed to go this way: after seeing the headmaster and getting his schedule and books, he was to get to his first class and then get on with his life.
As it were, he had his meeting with Headmaster Rocastle, got his schedule and books, and then proceeded to get lost on his way to his first class. He had had a tour when he come a couple months prior, when his mother and father had warned him he was going to a private boarding school out in the country, just so he built character. He toured again last night on his own when he was completely moved into his dorm room, as well. And yet he still got lost.
The school was in an old castle, as most schools were now that royalty wasn't really a big deal. There was the Queen back in London, where Jethro had come from, but otherwise nothing.
Mr. Phillips, the Maths teacher, gave him a warning when he finally got in, introduced him to the class, and sat him down in front of one of his favorite students, a Mr. Jeremy Baines. The other boy seemed to smirk at him as he sat down, but Jethro paid him no mind as he took out the Maths workbook and tried to follow along. They were much farther along than Jethro had been at his old school, but his grades from his old school had gotten him into third place in the rankings at this school.
"It's a complex school, Mr. Cane. Here we go by ranking. You tested into third place, so you don't have to worry about working your way up in the ranks," the headmaster had told him this morning.
He wondered where everyone else was ranked.
At lunch break, Jethro was pleased to take a break. He ordered a sandwich from the lunch lady, who talked his ear off while he paid, and once he was leaving asked for his name, because she practically knew everything in the school besides his name, since he was so new. He took his sandwich and ate alone in a corner table, then proceeded to go up to the library, where he would read his poetry book a little before his History class with a Mr. Smith.
But on the way to the library he was stopped by an interesting sight: A boy he remembered from his English class, David Hutchinson, and another Jethro didn't recognize, were just about to kiss one another. Now… Jethro didn't care about gender. He had a huge crush on David Tennant from the moment he stepped on screen. But he also had dated a girl named Dee Dee Blasco up until he had transferred here. He didn't like to label people, much less himself, but to get people's heads around it, he simply told them he was bisexual.
David blanched when he saw Jethro, "And Timothy, don't let me see you skulking around any longer. I know I tutored you when you weren't in the Top Ten, but I don't want to be caught with you ever again…" David said, clearly covering himself up.
Jethro was reminded of the line of faces on the headmaster's wall: there were ten photographs of the Top Ten in order. Jeremy Baines was first, then this David Hutchinson as second, then himself as third… Timothy was seventh, if he remembered correctly. Timothy Latimer. David must have been embarrassed to be seen with the seventh person in the Top Ten.
"Don't mind me," Jethro replied, "I won't tell your secret."
"It's no secret that I'm gay, new kid," David sneered, "And everyone should know that I'm second here in the ranks."
"And I'm third," Jethro pointed out, "But I really don't care that you and number seven here are fooling around or romantically involved or whatever you're calling it," Jethro replied, smiling cheekily.
Timothy squeaked, "Romantically involved, Mr. Cane," he said.
Hutchinson gave him a glare, "I told you, know one can know about us…"
"But David…" Timothy whined.
Jethro shook his head, "It really makes no difference. It's just a silly class thing. You should transcend that and be able to be happy with each other even in public…"
He tried to push past David, but he was stopped by his rather large arm across his skinny chest, "You talk big for someone so beneath me."
Jethro glared at him, "I see your classism is going to get the best of you. Not that I much care about it. Let me go through, and I promise I won't tell anyone about you and Latimer here," he said, giving a meaningful look at Timothy as he did.
Hutchinson paused for a minute, thinking it over, and then he nodded, "All right then. Off you go, new kid."
Jethro smiled and stepped into the library quickly.
"Mr. Cane!" a voice called, following him.
He turned to it and smiled a little when he noticed Timothy bounding up to him. The other boy didn't smile much, but he tried to copy Jethro's cheeky little grin. Jethro sat down at a table, and Timothy sat across from him. "Timothy Latimer, is it?" Jethro asked.
Timothy nodded, "You're the new kid, number three. Jethro Cane…"
Jethro nodded. "Can I be seen with number seven?" he asked.
Timothy sighed, "That's just David. We've been secretly going out since I was number eleven. Every term, though, I rise higher in rank. And he promised when I was in the top five that we could be seen in public together. He and Baines made the rules of dating up for David."
"Seems a bit bisexual, that Baines does," Jethro mused.
"Oh, but he's not one for dating anyone at the moment. Needs to keep up his number one status…" Timothy replied solemnly. "He is bisexual, though. Watch, you spend enough time with the Top Ten, you'll get to know them even without them telling you anything about themselves. I'm gay, if you couldn't all ready tell… and you're… well… you're at least bisexual."
"At least," Jethro replied cryptically. He took out his poetry book just in case Timothy left him. "Tell me… why are only the top five of the Top Ten allowed to date each other, then?"
"Baines said it was embarrassing for them to date anyone else," Latimer replied simply. "But Hutchinson is a hopeless romantic, and when he fell for me, he decided to go for it, as long as we were a secret until I was in the top five. Grant it, Baines hasn't gone for Williams—number five, now—or Jones—now fourth—before. I think he just made up the rules for Hutchinson, really."
"Weird little friendship, keeping Hutchinson away from the person he wants most," Jethro replied. "All this classism. And my parents thought this would build character if I went here…"
"Certainly will," Timothy replied. "The whole world is classist, if you ask me."
"Not anymore racist or sexist?" Jethro asked, the cheeky grin spreading across his face.
"That too," Latimer replied, a relaxed smile beginning on his face. "You should be careful, Mr. Cane. Hanging out with me could ruin your reputation with Baines and Hutchinson…"
"Naw… I don't need to be friends with a bunch of classists," Jethro replied, laughing slightly.
"Glad you can laugh about that, new kid," a new voice said.
Jethro and Timothy looked up and saw that Baines was standing over the table, his black hair slick over his long face. Jethro shook his head, "I wasn't laughing about that, Mr. Baines," he said, his voice still cheeky. "I was laughing at the pure irony behind it. All this work that society has gone through to create equal rights for everyone, and here at this school we're teaching ourselves classism. You must admit that's funny," he replied, moving the black fringe out of his eyes.
Jethro thought Baines would glare at him. But he was surprised when Baines gave him a lopsided, creepy-looking smile instead. "You're witty, new kid. I'm sure you may surpass Hutchinson as number two one of these days."
"Are you wanting to get into Hutchinson's pants only because he number two, Baines?" Jethro asked. He would keep his promise to the aforementioned boy about his relationship with Latimer, but he had to be sure.
"Not really. Hutchinson is too much of a brain-dead wuss for my tastes. I always wonder how he tested out to be number two in this school," Baines mused, his brown eyes still glued to Jethro's face. Jethro wasn't nervous about the other boy's attentions, to his great dismay.
"Well, I'm sure his intelligence comes through in other ways besides common sense," Jethro replied, tapping his fingers on his poetry book.
Jeremy Baines turned his eyes onto Jethro's fingers tapping on the book. "Lord Byron? Such a romantic poet. Are you a closet romanticist?" Baines asked.
Jethro flicked his eyes to Timothy, who was uncomfortable and squirmy. Finally, he got up, bowed a little to both Baines and Jethro, and then simply left the library. Jethro suddenly wanted to follow him. But he stayed put and stared at Jeremy. "Don't label me. I may like the poetry of Byron, but I also watch Doctor Who religiously, as well as Torchwood, I watched sports with my father and I probably will get in on a footy match or three, and I've dated girls as well as been attracted to several guys in my past. I'm only human. Just don't. Label. Me."
Jeremy's eyebrows raised. He was impressed and taken aback by number three. He seemed witty but passionate; everything Hutchinson was not. He wondered for a moment if public school had made Jethro test into the third ranking here at Farringham, or if he was just hiding some of his intelligence as to not bring attention on to himself.
"I won't label you, Mr. Cane. Rather, I think my respect for you has changed for the better. I hope we will be in touch?" he asked. The smile had faded and he made a rather adorable half-smile at Jethro.
Jethro, still reeling from standing up for himself (which he had done countless times, but still), simply shrugged and opened to where his bookmark was, "Whatever," he said, pinning the page down with his fingertips; his nails were still painted black. Back home, he had been typically referred to as an 'emo' kid. Here at Farringham, he had to wear the uniform pants, shoes, shirt, jacket and tie (black and white). They didn't say anything about nails or hair, so he continued with the 'emo' fringe and the black nail polish.
Jeremy, having not gotten a rise out of the new kid, blinked a bit before he turned on his heels and left the library. Jethro, unwillingly, looked up from the poem he was reading to watch the other leave. Then he checked the clock. He only had five minutes until lunch ended and he was due for his History class.
The end of the day brought Jethro back to his lonely dorm room. While other kids had roommates—even the freshman did—Jethro, being the new kid, didn't get one just yet. They had found him a single dorm, and he had moved in without complaint. He was content not to have to share space with someone else, as he had been an only child for all of his life anyway.
He was all ready saddled down with homework, and, feeling competitive, decided that at least keeping his ranking was in order. He opened his Maths workbook and fished in his schoolbag for a pencil. When he found one, he bit the end of it, preparing his brain for the problems on the page.
Before he could, though, he heard a knock on his door. He opened it to find little Timothy at his door, surprised he was actually in his room.
"Oh, sorry. I was only knocking to see if you were here before I slipped this—" here he held up an envelope ""—under your door. You're not in the student lounge or the library?" he asked.
"Single dorm," Jethro replied curtly, opening the door the rest of the way to show the other.
"Lucky. I've got James Anderson, number nine. And he snores," Timothy replied, "Haven't got a proper night's sleep since summer holidays…"
"You couldn't just choose your roommate?" Jethro asked, arching an eyebrow.
Timothy smiled, "I don't have many friends. So no, I couldn't choose. Hutchinson won't even let me in his room, even when Baines is out, so of course we couldn't be roommates. Besides, that would be very distracting for the both of us, if you know what I mean."
Jethro smiled, "Am I allowed to have that letter now, or are you going to stall some more so I forget about it?"
Timothy blanched, "Oh, sorry," he said, handing Jethro the letter, "It's just… you're the only one who knows about me and David. It's nice to talk about our relationship with someone other than him…"
Jethro looked over the letter, seeing nothing but 'For Mr. Jethro Cane' written in an unknown handwriting. He remembered Headmaster Rocastle's curvy script and Ms. Redfern's almost mannish chicken-scratch (she had written him personally for his medical records. She was the nurse, after all), and this handwriting looked like neither.
"I understand," Jethro replied, looking up when there had been a considerably long amount of silence between the two. "Uhm… who gave this to you, Timothy?"
"Baines did," Timothy replied, like Jethro should have known that. "He's taken a liking to you…"
Jethro's eyebrows furrowed, "Oh dear. Number one and number three?" he asked, shaking his head as he looked from the letter and back to Timothy. "You can tell Baines that I don't date classist bigots like him…" he made to give the note back, but Timothy pushed it back.
"I would read the note. I'll still tell him if you really feel that strongly for him," Timothy told him, "but I would actually read the note and throw it in his face if you still totally hate him after reading it…"
Jeremy blinked as Timothy waved and was gone, down the hall and onward toward the student lounge, perhaps. Jeremy closed the door, and opened the envelope carefully, taking out two pieces of paper: one was normal lined notebook paper, and the other was printer paper.
On the paper printed out from one of the school computers, perhaps, was the short poem of Lord Byron's titled "She Walks in Beauty." Byron had always been a ladies' man:
"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!"
Jethro felt himself flush at the words, knowing that just a few hours before, Jeremy had seen him crack open his poetry book to that exact poem. Jeremy had seen his "raven tresses" and had heard Jethro being "eloquent." He wasn't sure about the rest of the poem, but… Timothy had said Jeremy fancied him, so any lovestruck thought was possible in the other male.
Jethro shook his head and put the poem down on his desk, unfolding the second part to the letter and reading the elegant script Jeremy had written:
I must formally apologize for my behavior when we first met. I did not know what to expect when I heard from Hutchinson that the new kid seemed charming and quite intelligence for number three. Here at Farringham, such things usually don't happen: new kids starting in the Top Ten and such like that.
I'm glad we met, though, because you have somehow changed my thinking. I am no longer thinking in terms of the rank of people. What I mean is, I still think of them in the ranks because I can, but it's not all I think of. In the short afternoon after having met you, I have seriously thought about letting Hutchinson see young Mr. Latimer publically (for I know about them. I just never thought to punish Hutchinson for something like that). I have thought about a lot of things like that in the short hours we have spent apart.
But the biggest thing I want to do since meeting you is to talk to you in a less formal setting. In the village there is a wonderful café that a lot of boys frequent with their sweethearts. Hutchinson talks of it longingly, and I know he wishes to take Latimer there. What I am asking from you, Mr. Cane, is a simple coffee date between you and I so that we can get to know each other, and that I can apologize for my actions from today so that maybe you can come to respect me like I have come to respect you.
Please think about it.
Jeremy S. Baines."
Jethro wasn't sure if he should be flattered or weirded out. The boy had just met him for a few minutes, and Jethro had been trying to bite his head off for most of the correspondence. He thought both the note and the poem were nice touches, though, for asking him out. He simply shook his head, and took a few textbooks with him to the student lounge.
He was happy to see that Jeremy Baines was in the corner on an armchair reading a book (The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky). The other looked up when he noticed that Jethro was standing in the doorway, looking around like a little lost puppy.
Hutchinson was playing cards with number four and number five, it looked like, and Timothy was on the other end, studying his French with flashcards. Timothy looked up, though, and smiled at him. Jethro moved toward him, but Jeremy thought he was going towards him and stood up to meet the new kid in the middle. When Jethro moved to the other side of Timothy, though, Baines took a step back, and then turned back to his armchair, which was quickly taken by another boy with a book. Jeremy moved to the other side of the room, where another row of (mostly empty) armchairs were, almost glaring at Timothy as he settled in to the chair and opened the book again.
Jethro opened his Maths book and sighed, "And he called me a romanticist…" he muttered, hoping Timothy caught what he was saying.
Timothy smiled and chuckled lightly, "Yeah. There's a lot you can't really tell about that boy just by looking at him and having one conversation with him. He hides himself. He's only human."
Jethro sighed and looked over both parts to the note once more, with Timothy watching him, grinning. "Beginning to fancy him yourself, Cane?" he asked, eyebrows raising expertly.
"I don't know. First impressions are really hard to shake off…" Jethro replied, going back to his Maths homework.
Timothy looked to the side at Hutchinson and sighed, "But you can shake them off..." he told him, sighing before returning to the flashcard he had been on.
It had been a couple weeks since Jethro's first day. Thankfully, he could now find all his classes, and had a semi-normal routine during the week. His routine was so simple and worked like clockwork: shower, breakfast, classes, lunch, more classes, homework, writing or reading in the lounge, dinner, then maybe a discussion or straight to his dorm to read more and then to get ready to sleep.
Midterms had come and gone, though, and after all that hard work and studying, Jethro found that he had moved up to second place. He was happy about that for about a minute, until Jeremy found him, gave him a creepy smile and a sly wink before going to his usual armchair. Timothy had moved up as well, sliding nicely into sixth place.
"At least I have something to work for: if I'm in the top five, David and I can begin to see each other publically," Latimer said, grinning as he and Jethro discussed it before getting into their usual study time together in the student lounge.
Jethro often reminded himself that he could end all this. That Jeremy's letter was probably still valid and that he could discuss Jeremy's removal of Hutchinson's so-called rules of dating. Jeremy knew about David and Timothy, and yet he made his roommate sweat about dating someone so beneath them. It was sick.
Jeremy preached that he was changed because of Jethro, boasting of his changes in class before the teacher came in. But he hadn't. Latimer was still confiding in Jethro and no one else, and the two lovebirds were still sneaking around the school, grabbing quick kisses behind the staff quarters and clutching their knees when ever their hands were near enough to be held.
"Classist idiot," Jethro murmured one day in Maths.
He was still sitting behind Jeremy, and Mr. Phillips hadn't quite started class yet.
"What was that, Jethro?" Baines asked, turning his head slightly to look back at him. The image made the other look like a cretin.
"I don't think we're close enough for you to call me that, Baines," Jethro snapped. His heart pounded, though, to have number one looking at him so… intently.
"Sorry… let me rephrase," the other replied, a slight grin on his face. "What was that, Mr. Cane?"
"Nothing. Just thinking about my History class. Something about Adolf Hitler just makes me want to mutter obscenities under my breath," Jethro replied, opening his Maths worksheet to go over the answers one more time.
Jeremy nodded, "I think that goes for all of us," he replied, "We're British. We fought the Nazis in World War II."
"Yes…" Jethro replied, shrugging.
Jeremy saw he was being semi-ignored and straightened a bit, looking toward the front of the room as Mr. Phillips began to talk. Jethro felt rude, but he was still reeling from Jeremy's hypocrisy. He said he was thinking about letting Latimer and Hutchinson date publically, and yet, three weeks later it hadn't happened yet. Perhaps he was only elongating the sentence of those two so that Jethro would finally talk to him, to go out on that date Jeremy had written about in that letter. Jethro wondered if he was really that stubborn that he'd let the happiness of his friend flounder while he stayed proud.
It was only a matter of time. He was only human.
"Latimer!" Hutchinson called.
Timothy and Jethro were walking down the hall to dinner when Hutchinson called out Tim's last name. Jethro shrugged and nodded to Timothy, who turned around and ran up to number three. Jethro continued walking to the dining hall. Today it was fish and chips.
Jethro took his usual spot in the corner and took out his book, but he was stopped when he felt someone's knee touch his. Looking up, he saw that Baines had slid in across from him. "What do you want, Baines?" Jethro asked testily.
"Thought I'd catch you alone, Cane," Baines replied, his signature smirk spread on his face. He really did look like a cretin. A handsome cretin, but a cretin none-the-less.
"All right. You caught me," Jethro replied, shutting the book (Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov). "What do you want from me?"
"No," Jeremy said, shaking his head, "What do you want from me?"
Jethro's eyes widened, and his eyebrows furrowed. "What do you mean?"
Jeremy chuckled lightly. A strange sound, but it was nice. Jethro suddenly thought Jeremy's laugh was nice caught him completely off-guard. "I mean, what do you want from me? I want to talk to you. I want to get to know you, because, frankly, I find you very attractive as well as witty, smart, and passionate. It's almost become an obsession, trying to get you to go out with me. When the letter didn't work, I tried being nice to you, when that didn't work, I hung back and watched you. Finally, I decided it was time to talk to you face to face. What will it take for us to at least cross the first bridge?"
Jethro sat back, lounging contentedly back in the silly plastic chair the cafeteria provided. He smiled, putting his hand to this chin as if he was really thinking about it. "Latimer and Hutchinson. I want you to suspend the rules you placed on the latter so that he and Tim can date properly. All this classist bullshit's got to end."
"Is that really all that's stopping you from dating me?" Jeremy asked.
"No. I want you to stop calling the students outside the top five by their numbers, stop teasing the staff for some of the racial and gender differences… and I want you to not roll your eyes when Latimer and I get into discussions about Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice at the double date we will probably one day have."
"You're thinking about the future all ready?" Jeremy asked, his usual cretin-smile turning into a genuinely adorable half-smile. He seemed a little surprised, and Jethro found himself covering his mouth in embarrassment.
"One thing at a time," he mumbled, picking up his book and his bag, leaving a plate of half eaten food on the table.
Jeremy was up in a half-second, putting a hand on Jethro's shoulder to stop him. "All right. I'll try my best to stop all those things you said I should… and I won't laugh at you two when you get into a discussion about those books," Jeremy said. Then, as an after thought, "But I've read them both, so none of the jokes you two make will get past me…"
Jethro blushed suddenly, "I'll see you Saturday for that first coffee date…" he said, and dashed past Jeremy, making his way to his dorm.
"There you are, Jethro," Jeremy said, finding Jethro in a pocket in the library, reading, as usual.
"Where else would I be?" Jethro asked, grinning cheekily, "I just got so into this book I completely lost track of time. Did we have something planned?"
Jeremy pushed Jethro's book up and grinned, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? How many times have you read this one?"
"Only my third time, Jeremy," Jethro replied, laughing. "Once I'm done, I'll start reading the next one. Mmm… I've always wanted to be Cho Chang when she kissed Harry… especially in the movie…"
Jeremy chuckled, "I'll go get Arthur's glasses and wear them, and we can meet in the gymnasium in an hour." He tried to get up.
Jethro grabbed his hand, causing him to wince and crash back down into the wall they were leaning against. Jeremy chuckled, his face kind of screwed up in pain. Jethro covered his mouth a free hand and checked Jeremy over for any welts or bruising. When he found his finger touching Jeremy's lips, he couldn't help himself. He had never kissed a boy before. Jeremy had been his first real boyfriend, and they hadn't even shared their first kiss yet. But there was something about being so secluded behind all the book stacks that made Jethro lean in, taking his fingers away from the other's lips as they touched softly.
Jeremy felt Jethro's lips move over his, and suddenly, gently, pinned the other to the wall behind them, deepening their first kiss. He felt his hands run down Jethro's chest and stomach, and heard Jethro's slight, needy moan escape his throat. He smiled and pulled away, both of them gasping for air. They were only human, after all.
"Not yet, Jeremy," Jethro finally said when he caught his breath. He moved Jeremy's hand from his belt buckle. Jeremy blinked, but did as Jethro's hands commanded, moving them so their hands were linked once more. He looked at his watch. "Ooh, it's our first double date with Timothy and David… You did promise that you and Timothy would get into a delightful discussion about the pros and cons of one Mr. Darcy…"
Jethro struggled to get up, "And you promised you wouldn't laugh at us."
"At you, no," Jeremy replied, grinning like a cretin again (an gorgeous cretin, though), "But with you, perhaps. I am only human, after all."