AMY WAS FITZ. Seriously, it was Father Kreiner on repeat, without the loss of an arm. That was a bit unexpected. Mostly, though, I really enjoyed the way KG played older!Amy--they didn't do too shabby with the makeup, and she played with her voice quite well, deepening it a bit. It's interesting too the way they're focusing on Rory, centering on him and making him heroic--he said it himself in this ep, "You're trying to make me into you," and, yeah, Amy and Rory are going to need some serious marriage counseling after all this traveling with the Doctor.
Space to avoid spoilers
Title: [out of order]
Fandom: Doctor Who, Fitz Kreiner, Eleven, Amy, Rory
Word count: approx 3500 words
Summary: "I'm usually quite good at linear. Some people are just--special."
A/N: I’ve been wanting to write this for ages, apparently being offline on a holiday weekend was the only way it could happen.
“Fritz! Oi, Fritz!”
Fitz ignored them. He was used to it, after all. He couldn’t ignore the teacher standing in front of him in the hallway, though, tall enough to look down on him. The teacher had a concerned, solemn look on his face.
“Mister Kreiner,” he said, “I’m sorry to have to inform you that your mum’s in hospital.”
Fitz’s shoulders slumped. “Oh,” he said wearily, “again?”
The one good thing about his mum being in hospital, nobody yelled at him when ducking out of class early to visit her. He couldn’t even afford grapes to bring, though.
He found the ward she was in, started walking past the other beds of sedated or better-functioning mad people, the ones who didn’t need sedation. He kept his eyes averted. He didn’t want to look; and besides, he didn’t need to see when he’d seen it all before.
He hated knowing this routine.
“Isn’t there something we can do for her?” he heard somebody whisper as he came closer, only they were whispering in a way that made Fitz think they actually wanted to shout and possibly even stamp their foot. “Something you can do?”
“Not right now, no,” another voice responded sadly, and Fitz peeked in around the curtain that was currently encircling his mum’s bed, giving her a bit of privacy while her doctors—apparently—examined her. They didn’t look like any other doctors Fitz had met, in a long string of mad-doctors. “I will do something for her. Years from now. Too late,” the young man added sadly, and surely he was too bloody young to be a proper doctor? Then again, the other bloke didn’t look any older; and he was ruddy well wearing jeans. At least the second bloke was wearing a bowtie.
“That’s it then?” said the man in denim, fiercely. “We just stand by and watch her—watch all these people—suffer?” He folded his arms. “I suppose you didn’t take an oath to help end suffering, did you.”
The bloke in the bowtie frowned at the other man. “I took an oath,” he said quietly, and the other man looked away and caught sight of Fitz standing there watching them.
“Oh—bollocks,” he sighed and gestured. The other man turned to look, and Fitz slipped in around the curtain, trying not to feel sheepish and embarrassed. He spent a lot of his life trying not to feel that way; he sort of assumed he’d know he was an adult when he either stopped feeling that way, or learnt to accept it as some sort of default. (He seriously hoped it would be the former and not the latter. That would just be pathetic.)
The young man wearing the bowtie looked at Fitz steadily, warmly, looked him up and down as if he were Uncle Jürgen and hadn’t seen him in a couple years. (Well, he hadn’t. Uncle Jürgen had died, not long before his dad.) “Hello, Fitz,” the strange doctor said fondly, and Fitz blinked, certain he’d never met this man before in his life.
“This is Rory,” the bowtie-wearing doctor said. “He’s a nurse.”
Fitz blinked again. “I thought all the nurses were birds,” he said critically. “And you’re not in uniform.”
Rory glared. “Off duty,” he said through what sounded like gritted teeth.
“You sometimes need strapping men for nurses too,” the doctor chided mildly, “don’t you? Now, Master Fitz,” he went on, putting an arm around Fitz’s shoulders and turning him away from his mum’s bed, “let’s go somewhere and have a little chat, shall we? I think you and I deserve a nice, long, comfortable coze, don’t you?”
“Er,” Fitz said, as intelligently as he could. He twisted his neck to look back at his mum, reassuring himself she was still breathing in her bed.
“Nurse Rory, you’ve got this, right?” the doctor went on, also turning to look back, at the other man, who rolled his eyes and waved them off.
They strolled down some corridors until they came to a wing of offices, and the doctor didn’t say a word the whole time they walked. They came to an empty office with the door standing open and walked in. Doctor Snodgrass, announced the placard, and Fitz sat down uneasily in the chair in front of the large desk. Over the chair behind the desk was thrown a white lab coat, and the doctor tugged it on jubilantly.
“I wear lab coats now,” he announced to Fitz as he walked back around the desk again. “Lab coats are cool, aren’t they?”
Fitz nodded uncertainly. “Look, Doctor Snodgrass,” he said, “I’m just here to visit my mum. Can you tell me anything about—her?”
The doctor slammed the office door shut, making Fitz jump. “Oh, please don’t let’s stand on formalities,” he said, sprawling into an easy chair off to the side in a corner, and Fitz twisted in his own chair to see him. “Just call me the Doctor, shall we? Now, this won’t do at all.” He jumped out of his chair and gestured for Fitz to do the same. When Fitz hesitantly complied, he turned Fitz’s chair around so it was facing him, scooting it in closer at the same time. Then he sprawled back into his chair. When he looked up and Fitz was still standing, he motioned him to sit again. Fitz did, still more uneasily. He never liked it when authority figures asked him to sit down. It almost inevitably led to bad news.
The doctor was looking at him again, all fondness and almost paternal pride, and it made Fitz even more uneasy. He was at an awkward stage—some might say he’d been at an awkward stage all his life—too tall, too thin, tripping over his own feet because he hadn’t yet grown into them. He didn’t see anything worth being proud about, certainly not for a complete stranger.
Nonetheless, this doctor sat there focusing his attention solely on Fitz, legs crossed and hands loosely to the side in his lap, constantly rubbing against each other. In anybody else it would have looked like a nervous tic, but he was far too composed for it to be one. Nobody ever gave Fitz their undivided attention, unless he’d been beat up again. He would be bolting right now under all that directed pressure but he wanted to find out what the hell this doctor had meant about helping his mum at some future point. When it was too late.
“Tell me about yourself, Master Fitz Kreiner,” invited the doctor. “Enjoying school, learning a lot?”
“Not particularly,” Fitz said cautiously. “School’s a bit rubbish, innit? Especially for some sod like me who isn’t going to amount to anything.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I…I’m not that clever. And my mum and me, we don’t have any money, so I can’t buy being clever, like some people can. And—well. I mean, it stands to reason, doesn’t it?”
“Look at my mum,” Fitz said quietly. “Who’s to say I won’t end up just like her?”
The doctor barely even blinked, never taking his gaze away from Fitz. Fitz shifted uncomfortably. “What about your mum, then?” the doctor asked.
“What about her?”
“It must be hard for you,” he said. “It must have been hard growing up.”
Fitz shrugged with an elaborate carelessness he’d long since perfected. “No worse than other kids,” he said. “It was hard for all of us growing up during the war, yeah? And—and she didn’t use to be this bad,” he confessed. “She had her—she had her moods, right? But they never used to last this long, or be so often. It’s just in the past couple years she’s got worse.” He risked another look at the doctor, then looked away quickly.
“You want to say something, Fitz,” the doctor said. “I can tell, you know. What is it?”
Fitz hesitated, then blurted out: “Sometimes I wish—”
“You wish what?”
“Sometimes I wish she’d died,” Fitz whispered. “Or that she would die. It wouldn’t be so hard then. For either of us.” He looked down at the floor and felt horribly like he was either going to cry or throw up or, worse, both. “I’m crap, aren’t I? I’m a really, really terrible person.”
“You know what, Fitz Kreiner?” The doctor leant forward in his chair, stared so hard at him that Fitz finally had to look up to meet his gaze. “You know what I think? I think you’re a lot cleverer than you or anyone else gives you credit for. And I think nobody bothers to think about how hard this must be for you.” He stood up suddenly, and Fitz sat back in his chair to avoid getting smacked in the face by a flailing elbow-patched jacketed arm. Under a lab coat. “You know what else I think? I think I’m famished and that you’re not getting nearly enough to eat.” He pulled Fitz out of the chair. “C’mon, let’s go find ourselves some dinner. Rory and Amy can join us, it’ll be scrumptious.”
“But what about my mum?” Fitz looked back down the corridor, toward his mum’s ward and bed. “I really ought to…”
“Fitz.” The doctor put his arm around Fitz’s shoulders again. “Fitz, Fitz, Fitz. She’s under sedation for now and probably will be through the night. She knows you love her. Let’s get you something to eat and then you can sit with her, alright?” He frowned at Fitz’s empty hands critically. “And we’ll pick you up some grapes.”
“No, really, you don’t—”
“I insist,” the doctor cut him off and started them back down the hallway. “How do you feel about musical instruments? I really think you should take one up if you haven’t already. Not the recorder, though.” (He gave a theatrical shudder, and Fitz found this offensive for some reason.) “Might I suggest the guitar? I bet you’ve got a knack for it…”
Twenty years later, in one life; a century or two more in another
“Doctor…” Rory’s voice rose warningly as he stumbled out of the TARDIS and into a gleaming silver wall. “Doctor, what the hell did you do this time?!”
“What did I do?” the Doctor’s voice sounded indignantly from the ship’s interior, becoming louder as he stepped out behind Rory, Amy right behind him. “What do you mean, what did I do, it’s not as if I chose to land here, you know what the old girl is like—” He stumbled into Rory, flattening the young man against the wall; Amy stumbled into the Doctor, and Rory groaned.
“Everyone move, please,” he said, voice muffled, into the wall.
“This isn’t good,” said the Doctor, pushing back with difficulty after Amy flew further down the careering corridor in which they stood. “This is not good at all, whoever is flying this ship is doing a terrible job and I think we should go help them, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I think we should,” Amy said breathlessly and held out her hand for Rory to catch as he pushed himself away from the wall.
They ran, scrambled, hobbled down the corridor, following the Doctor’s innate sense of direction toward a bridge or control room. There was the occasional window, showing them a view of space and a rapidly-approaching planet. “Doctor?” Rory said as he crawled over one such window and silently hoped the damned thing wouldn’t explode on him while he was sitting on it, never mind that no matter where he was if it exploded he’d get sucked into the vacuum of space. “Doctor, we shouldn’t be approaching the planet this quickly, should we?”
“Absolutely not,” replied the Time Lord, “whoever is flying this bucket should have their license revoked. And if they don’t have a license it should be given to them just so it can be revoked.” He came to a closed door, pulled out his sonic screwdriver, and opened it, landing inside in a tangled heap of limbs against the back of a ridiculously purple chair.
“Oh, thank god,” another voice inside said in vast relief, “please tell me you lot know how to fly this bucket.”
“I know that voice,” the Doctor said from his pile against the chair, “I distinctly know that voice and I don’t think that’s a good thing.” Amy and Rory managed to fall inside without toppling on top of their friend, and the Doctor popped upright from behind the hideous purple captain’s chair. “Oh, hello, Fitz, I thought it was you, this is slightly awkward, isn’t it? But all that unpleasantness of an unexpected and slightly embarrassing reunion will just have to wait until after we’ve pulled this ship out of freefall I think, don’t you?”
“What? Wait, who—wait…” Fitz Kreiner—an adult now, having grown into his height, hair straggly and still with the same unhappy grey eyes—looked between the three time travelers. “Wait. Mum. I was still in school--the doctor?” He swung around on the Time Lord. “Doctor Snodgrass?”
“Oh come along, Fitz, do keep up,” said the Doctor impatiently as he sonicked a control panel and then looked at the results on his screwdriver. “You’re a cleverer chap than that, surely I’ve mentioned regeneration to you by now?” He paused for a moment to look his friend over critically, just like he had that day in the hospital years—centuries—ago. “How long have you been traveling with me, a few years, surely? Who else is with you—oh, don’t tell me it’s Compassion, please don’t tell me it’s Compassion.” His eyes widened in sudden, momentary fear.
“Trix,” Fitz said, staring at the Doctor. “Trix is with us, and you can’t be him.”
“Doctor!” Amy shouted. “What the hell are you two going on about? And who is this guy?”
“Don’t you remember that hospital in the 1950s?” Rory said to her, his eyes widening in realization. “We were passing through looking for that alien chalice thingamabob, and the Doctor saw that woman’s name on the charts and had to go look at her? Oh, right, you weren’t with us in hospital—remember we got supper afterward with a surly teenager?”
“Oh yeah,” Amy nodded in recognition. She looked Fitz over. “He fancied me.”
Fitz looked at her uncomfortably, glanced at Rory even more uncomfortably, then turned back to the Doctor. “Bloody hell,” he said at last. “Fine, fine, it’s you, could you please bloody fix this ship before it kills us all?”
The Doctor nodded and turned back to his panels, fingers flying over the controls. The ship lurched again, suddenly straightened itself, and the other occupants of the bridge all sighed in relief as they pulled themselves upright. “Where am I?” the Doctor asked. “Why am I not doing this myself?”
“You’re down there,” Fitz pointed at the planet. “You—he—oh, bollocks—the Doctor told me to stay on the ship to keep an eye on things while he and Trix went on down to the planet to investigate there. Only there isn’t anything down there—well, there wasn’t—the problem was here on the ship—”
“Oh, right,” the Doctor interrupted, “I remember now. Nasty space virus, unleashed by the Vaarm. The crew are all dead now, aren’t they?”
“Yes,” Fitz said quietly.
“Good thing we got you an immunity to that one already, eh? And I left you up here by yourself?” The Doctor shook his head, then stopped and stared directly at Fitz. “I trusted you, Fitz, it’s alright. And believe me, I felt awful afterward about it.”
“Really,” Fitz said dryly. “Your frantic shouting over the comms before they went off didn’t give me a clue.”
Amy and Rory exchanged glances, then looked away to hide their mutual grinning.
“Yes, well,” the Doctor shrugged as airily as he could manage, “I was a trifle exuberant in my emotions in that incarnation, I admit.”
Amy could not repress a snort, and the Doctor turned to glare at her. “Ship,” she said, pointing at the viewscreen. “Planet. Bad?”
“Right.” The Doctor went back to furiously tapping away at his controls, and gradually the shaking and groaning of the ship evened out and silenced; gradually their descent became less a dangerous angle and more a controlled one. The Doctor sat back finally and looked out the viewscreen, pleased.
“Back on automatic,” he said, “all is well now. You’ll have to tell him you were frantically pushing buttons until you hit upon the right one, Fitz—he won’t believe you, but there you are.” He pulled out his screwdriver again and sonicked another panel off to his right, and suddenly a voice was shouting at them tinnily.
“Fitz! Fitz, are you there? How did you get your descent to stabilize? Fitz!”
Fitz glanced at the Doctor seated at the helm, who nodded at him. Fitz started for the comms panel, and the Doctor snagged his sleeve as he walked past. Fitz looked at him, and the Doctor shook his head silently. After a moment, Fitz nodded and kept walking.
“Doctor, hi,” he said, after pressing a couple buttons. “Would you believe I found a button that said ‘automatic pilot’ and pushed it? They make these ships so easy to fly these days even I can handle it.”
“Fitz.” The name came out like a sigh of relief over the line, and Amy and Rory again exchanged glances. Their Doctor turned to glare at them warningly and they kept quiet. “Thank goodness you’re all right, Trix and I were a trifle worried there.”
Fitz couldn’t help grinning a little. “Yeah,” he said, “I know. We—I’ll be down in,” he threw a glance back at the other Doctor, who raised some fingers, “four minutes, okay? Make sure everybody’s cleared the area.”
“Already done,” the Doctor assured him. “Did you find the source of the problem?”
“Yeah,” said Fitz, “and I’ll need your help getting rid of it.”
“Good, good.” The Doctor’s voice went from absent to warm with his next words. “See you soon, Fitz.”
“See you soon, Doctor.” Fitz pressed a couple more buttons, then sat back in his seat. He turned to look at the others, especially the future Doctor.
“Did you remember meeting me then?” he asked carefully. “When you came to the plant shop and bought that awful begonia in 1963?”
“No,” the Doctor said, “because it hadn’t happened yet in my timeline.”
Fitz nodded slowly. “So you’re from his future. Is that why he can’t know you’re here?” It was the Doctor’s turn to nod. “Is—does he—do you remember?” He leant forward, suddenly urgent. “Do you remember—what happened?”
“To Gallifrey?” Amy and Rory both stiffened at the word, and Fitz glanced at them minutely but turned back to the Doctor. “Yes, Fitz,” said the Doctor. “I remember. You won’t carry that burden forever by yourself. I promise.”
Fitz slumped a little, nodded, looked away. The Doctor turned back to the controls to ensure a safe landing. After that, he stood up, and the others followed suit.
“We should leave,” the Doctor said to his current companions briefly, then turned back to his old one. “You shouldn’t tell me you met us; I don’t remember you doing so, and that’s…probably for the best.”
“Doctor…” Fitz glanced at Amy and Rory again, then leant in to talk to the Doctor confidentially. “When do I—do I leave? I’ve been thinking about it a little, of late—I’m getting too old for this running about malarkey, you know?—and I wondered…”
The Doctor clapped a hand around Fitz’s shoulders and turned him toward the door out of the bridge. “Spoilers,” he said, with a sad little smile.
“He can’t tell you,” Amy sighed as she and Rory followed them out. “Must you meet everyone out of order, Doctor?”
“Not everyone,” the Doctor defended himself. “I’m usually quite good at linear; some people are just—special.”
Amy and Rory again exchanged glances, and the Doctor looked at them reprovingly before turning back to his old friend. “Don’t worry,” he told Fitz, “it will all work out the way it’s supposed to.” He kissed Fitz on the forehead, obviously surprising the young man, then pushed him toward the airlock. “Now go forth and be the clever, brilliant chap I know you are.”
Fitz started into the airlock but paused. He turned back and strode up to the Time Lord. “Only my mum had ever said I was clever,” he said. “Well, my mum and dad, only my dad had already left so I didn’t think I could believe him anymore. And then you came along and said I was, and you gave me the most brilliant meal I had ever had, and money to buy my first guitar, and you were gone when I went back to visit my mum the next day.” He took another step toward the Doctor, and the Time Lord looked wary. “I forgot all about you for years, mostly anyway, except one day I remembered you and ran downstairs out of my flat and saved Sam from some goons, and I couldn’t believe I’d done it.”
He took another step and poked the Doctor in the chest. “You’re an interfering old sod, aren’t you?” he finished, but he was smiling, and the Doctor was smiling back at him.
“I have my moments,” he said modestly, and Fitz shook his head in a fond exasperation that Amy and Rory recognized all too well. Fitz looked at them, smiled and waved, and then turned to stride through the airlock. He didn’t look back this time.
Amy poked the Doctor from behind, and he squawked, flapping his arms a bit. “You are an interfering old sod,” she said, and Rory nodded agreement. They both crossed their arms and glared at their friend. He glared back, and then they both broke and laughed at him.
“C’mon,” Amy said, taking the Doctor’s arm and heading for the TARDIS, Rory following. “Haven’t we got places to be?”
“Don’t we always?” the Doctor said, unlocking the TARDIS. “Oooh, I should take you two to Terra Nigra, absolutely brilliant, cows really do jump over the moon, and you wouldn’t believe what that cat can do with its friend the fiddle…”
The door shut behind the trio, cutting the Doctor’s voice off, and the TARDIS disappeared.