There is a set of twins playing music, one on guitar and one on piano. The one playing piano has skin like plastic and the metal of his fingers clicks loudly against the ivory keys. But the song is good. It’s complex and flawed, like a live recording. It has heart to spare, and through the meandering notes you can see the human under the armor. The twin playing piano loves you, but you betrayed him, and his rage outweighs his love. He won’t rest until he’s taken your ribs apart to be his keys and your hearts-strings as his piano wire.
The guitarist is playing perfectly, like a studio album. The passion is still there, but it’s been processed and refined a little too much. You could love this boy with his warm electric skin and easy smile of picket fence teeth.
It’d be nice if you could wait for now, to choose one later, because it’s to your advantage to wait.
But that’s not how time works for you. You’ve already chosen, struck a match, and lit a fuse that will reach one of the two boys.
They don’t know which of them it is. Let it be a surprise.
There are two twins standing on a war-torn planet. Let’s call them Fitz. One is old, older than even you are, which is your fault. Let’s say he’s the wiser of the twins. He’s ready for war and war is ready for him. You did this to him. And he’s an angry and terribly efficient soldier. He has the younger Fitz in his grip and wants to tear him open, crawl into his skin, and reclaim his life. Because this Fitz will always win in matters of war, but never in matters of forgiveness.
There are two Fitzes standing on a war-torn planet and they both want to be the other. One is a fake and he can barely stand it. The other is real and knows what a mixed blessing that is. I am the real Fitz and I’m tired of looking at my reflection and having it not be you. I want the upgrade to two-point-oh, I want my machinery to be muscle and bone, I want to be you so I can have him, because that’s what this all is for. I could be that person again for him, I can learn forgiveness, listen to me, et cetera. These two Fitzes are the same except in every way that counts. And you’re the one counting.
Your name is Fitz, and Fitz has your throat in his hand. He’s here to teach you a lesson; he sees the missed marks in your performance and how you’ve layered the theatre make-up on. Strategic lighting and stagecraft aren’t enough here. Imitation isn’t flattery and Fitz is going to teach you this by crushing your windpipe so you never tell another lie.
But you’re the leading scholar on Fitz, and you know a ploy when you see one. You use what little breath you have left to tell a truth: the real Fitz does nothing but lie. It’s all a matter of magnitude and audience.
You claim your five pounds.
Let's say the Devil is played by two men. We'll call them Fitz. The one that you left has gone rotten in his middle, soured like milk left out for two thousand years. The other isn't Fitz, but you don't remember that, and that's about the same thing. He plays the role so well. It'd take more than the naked eye to see the faults in the performance, and it's rude to criticize the actor before the curtain's down.
Sit back. Enjoy the show. Wait for intermission.
You’re in the TARDIS with three men named Fitz. One of them you know, and he knows you, and he’s familiar, but you don’t want him. Another of them you know, but he doesn’t know you, but you’re going to fix that. The last knows you, knows every secret in your head, and he’ll keep them safe for you when you can’t hold them yourself. He’s warm and inviting, but you don’t know him. You don’t know anyone anymore, and you’ve forgotten how you met this man, how you built him from the heart of one and the bones of another.
The first two Fitzes are angry you did this to them, that you used them and left them. The last one still knows forgiveness. Hold onto that last one. Try to do better this time.
You are standing on Gallifrey with three men, except the one you killed, and Fitz is wearing the skin you’ve sewn him into. It suits him well, because you’re more than a doctor, you’re a phenomenal tailor.
The other Fitz is alive even though you took his heart to open it up and remake it for Fitz. He’s alive, or at least not-dead. He’s upset about that, by the way.
Both of them have delicate clockwork hearts, hearts they weren’t born with but were given to make them not-dead. They are perfect in form, but they’re made of wax, because as good a tailor as you are, you’re a terrible doctor and a worse surgeon.
They’re made of wax and are trailing long wicks behind them. You can light a fire in one of them. Strike a match.
There is a man standing on top of a tower, trying to decide if he wants to jump. It’s your fault, but don’t look at him. Be kind; you know him and how bashful he is. Don’t look at him.
Instead, look to the boy you’ve found whose name is Fitz even if he doesn’t know it. Look to the empty space next to you and to the boy and make a decision. Take out his heart and put another in its place. There, the space next to you isn’t empty anymore. Turn and say hello.
You are in a blue box that you should know, but you don’t. That’s fine, it’s still more of a home than anywhere else you’ve ever been (at least, as far as you remember). Look in on the butterflies and don’t notice that they’re missing. Sit down and have a pot of Oolong because you don’t remember that Darjeeling is your favorite. Someone is playing a song to you, for you? You can’t make out the words, but the notes are a pulsing wave. He’s playing for someone, and it may as well be you; no one will love his music like you do.
There are six notes that you once knew. There is a bent but unbroken girl whose hair you bleached. There are butterflies, and Darjeeling, and a severe redhead who doesn’t care for your jokes. They’re all there, but they’re behind a door. It’s not an inviting blue door either; it’s made of fire and lost homes and remnants of the places you can never return to. You could open the door, but you’re scared.
Just stay in the hallway between rooms. Maybe peek through the keyhole a few times. That’s enough for now.
Suppose the head has two hearts. One is gone, but not for long. The other is left behind to do twice the work. When the man named Fitz touches you, it’s doing thrice the work.
No wonder you push the man named Fitz away. It’s okay; he still knows forgiveness, even if you don’t remember why he shouldn’t.
Consider the pianist and the guitarist. Consider anger and forgiveness. You have both in abundance, so which do you want from them? Take Fitz, with his guile and warmth. He’s broken in a way you can convince yourself you can fix. A challenge you can rise to. The other Fitz is cold and machine, but he still loves you, and isn’t that to be celebrated in its own way?
Who do you love? Whose fuse did you light? Were they the right one?
This time everyone has the best intentions. You’re going to do well by this Fitz, even if you don’t remember why that’s so important. Fitz is going to keep you safe, and he remembers why, and his memories are the sum of his parts. Even the blue box that shelters you is going to do a better job. The girl you’ve taken with you doesn’t know it, but she’s going to be everything else you need, and you’ll give her the universe in thanks. This was a tragedy, but now it’s a love story. Just stick to script this time; Fitz is a performer and now you’re on the stage with him.
Fitz goes out and comes back with cigarettes and Darjeeling and socks. He has gauze ready, the roll breaking the perfect rumpled lines of his jacket. He has bandages around his knuckles because he’ll fight tigers and men for you, even if he’s not very good at it. He smells like a forest fire as he fixes you up, and the irony of your name is not lost on you. But this is what he is for, why you picked up a man named Fitz who will fix you. It’s a tongue twister and the man smiles, his eyes like snowdown grey light pouring over you.
Red light is everywhere. It once was blue, once snowdown grey. Now it’s red and spilling out everywhere, from your chest and your nose and your ears. It’s as bright as the circus tent and it’s staining Fitz’s hands as he tries to hold it all in you. This is why you chose him. His hands are warm still and that’s a comfort right now.
Someone has brewed you a cup of tea, and it’s a perfect Darjeeling in a glass mug. It’s enough to keep you warm and to tease your tongue with boiled leaves and sugar. You deserve it, he says. You work so hard and keep us together and show us the universe. You deserve a decent cuppa.
Consider the wicks and which you lit. Did you pick the right one?
Gallifrey is burning. It’s all falling away from you now. Don’t move. You can’t hold all of it in, so just let it go. You picked the one who can forgive you, and he’s going to be there to catch you. His arms are going to be warm and his heart may be clockwork wax, but he’ll tick on, as inexorable as time. Lucky you.
Gallifrey is burning like a match. It’s burning like the heart you set aflame. Don’t move.
Two brothers: one of them wants to break you down and turn you into music. Two brothers: one of them wants to play your song. It’s time to choose sides now. The clockwork heart or the electric skin? You want more time? You don’t get more time, you get two brothers. Here are two Fitzes. Pick one. This is how you settle the debate and make one of them into a real boy. The match is burning down. Fitz or Fitz?
Here is the list of people you left behind. It’s long and filled with people you have loved and people you barely remember. They’re still your fault. Fitz is on the list, twice, and he’s still standing beside you.
Here is a list of your names. It’s almost as long, and there’s plenty of crossover. No, they’re not all the same, Doctor.
You’re standing on your home. It’s Gallifrey and Earth and the TARDIS. Someone else would say that you can’t be in multiple places at once, and you’d have to try hard not to laugh in their face. But this once, you’re in one place. The timeline is collapsing around your ears. You’re standing nowhere at all.
Let’s say they’re not brothers. That’s right, they’re not, and they never have been. There’s one man. Heisenberg was wrong. You can look right at him and he’s the only one, and he’s perfectly still at your side, and you know he’s the only one in the universe. You burned the other one out. Gallifrey is gone.
Hold your breath, or whatever the Gallifreyan equivalent is. Hold your breath or still your hearts and have patience, because I’m on my way. I am dead, but I’m coming back for you. Hold onto your voice and leave the door open and leave the space next to you empty because I will come back from the dead for you, because I may be angry and metal and vengeful, but I love you, and I’m coming back, and that is my space.
There’s a planet on fire, and you’re fairly certain it’s your fault. Your friends are in danger and Romana is shouting, so it seems like the thing you’d do. There’s fire all around you, and you’re holding a match. It could be a coincidence, but you wouldn’t bet on it. You’re sick and you’re burning. You’ve held onto the match too long waiting to decide. The fire is eating the oxygen while you vacillate, and there may as well be a vise around your windpipe. You can’t speak to lie. So don’t. Pick a wick to light. You know who loves you. Who do you love?
Let’s say that God is the space between two men and the Devil is the space between two men. Here: I’ll be all of them.
All of the Fitzes want to tell you something. They all think it’s something different, but it’s the same thing. Who do you want to hear it from? Come closer. Between them they know everything about you, but you can only be told the one thing. One thing. If they wanted to tell you more than that, maybe you wouldn’t strike that match, or maybe you’d burn them all.
It doesn’t matter. One thing. Three words. Come closer. Listen.
You’re in the TARDIS with a beautiful boy, and he won’t tell you that he loves you, but he loves you. And you feel like you’ve done something terrible, like uprooted a flower, or burned someone’s home to the ground, or cut out a man’s heart (and don’t you know how much that hurts?). You’re in the TARDIS with a beautiful boy, and you’re trying not to tell him three words, trying not to hurt him this time. But he plays you a song on the piano and it’s rough-voiced but flawless (the timeline has collapsed). He sings a song that builds you a home, and the words tumble out of you. The words are fire, and they scorch you both a little, but you’re no strangers to burns.