Look at it from a distance. From across the street, from above, from space. Examine the scene from a safe distance, not part of it.
The rain is hammering down, pounding against the streets. Rivers carry leaves into the gutter. The trees droop with the weight of the water, and the dark skies still have more to lose. The rain doesn’t soak your hair, streaking down your face and into your eyes. It doesn’t rat-a-tat-tat against your leather coat, drumming against your shoulders. The wind doesn’t chill you, numb you, make your fingers throb so much you think they might lose their grip. The weather does not affect you. You are not here.
You’re looking down on this, from a distance.
You are not kneeling in the road, clutching a body to your chest.
You are watching some stranger do this, from a distance.
Tears and rain mingle.
The Doctor is not a silent presence behind you, hovering just at the edge of your consciousness. He’s wearing his bottle green frockcoat, the rain soaking into the velvet and creating new, dark patterns in the fabric. Dark stains bleeding into the fabric. You see this from a distance. You see him reach out a hand to touch your bowed shoulder, then pull it back just before making contact. You see the hand instead flick sodden curls out of his eyes. He barely knows you, this stranger, your best friend. All from a distance.
The blood isn’t soaking into your shirt.
‘Fitz,’ the Doctor says softly. ‘We have to go. They still have Anji.’
But that’s okay, because you’re not Fitz.
You’re not Fitz Kreiner, and the body you’re not holding in your arms isn’t Otto Kreiner.
You’re watching from a distance, and your father isn’t dead.
‘We have to go,’ the Doctor says. ‘Now.’
And that’s what it always comes down to in your life: a thousand little tragedies that you never have the time to acknowledge because there’s always something that has to be done, now. And now this. This deeper tragedy that you’re floating outside of, half ready to race away from already for the now. There never seems to be enough now, and there’s always something else pushing into it, taking you away from the then.
‘Fitz,’ the Doctor says again, not sure if he can order you.
‘No,’ said Fitz.
No longer watching, from a distance.