There's enough sorrow in the world, isn’t there, without trying to invent it?
Time never lets him forget that blood is always warm, and death is always cold. Constants. It seems paradoxical, somehow -- that the life leaking from sentient creatures is warm. It should be reversed. But it falls away -- sometimes it spurts, sometimes it oozes, and sometimes it begets silences within. When it goes, though, it leaves behind a chilled body once belonging to a name.
The blood is warm, of course, when it meets his skin like an old lover who's bittered by years and wants to leave one last heartbreak.
Because he deserves it.
He's never known love the way humans do, so it would seem natural that the glimpses he has are those of the most painful forms imaginable.
"Save him, damnit, I know you can," the man at his shoulder demands.
The Doctor stumbles back, catching himself with a firm hand in the grass. It strikes him, then -- this grass is blunt and abrasive, dying loudly in the silent lifeline stretched across his palm. He brushes his wet fingers down the blades, watching crimson overwhelm the verdant stubble.
"Save him!" The man grabs the Doctor by his lapels, pulling him up, and disrupting his rumination.
The Doctor glances at the bloodied body bereft of life, a low, keening moan escaping his lips. "I can't."
"Yes, you can. Yes, you can," the young man insists, increasingly frantic. "He's my brother, don't you understand? He's...you don't care...you...look at you. You're just sitting there. What's wrong with you?!"
The Doctor meets the young man's eyes, murmuring, "Your brother...is already dead, Arthur. I have no power within me to reanimate the deceased."
Arthur abruptly lets go of the Doctor, who lands hard on the grass with a soft grunt. He spends a moment there, contemplating dry earth, and the dead it's sheltered for centuries. Arthur paces back and forth, holding his head, and intermittently crying.
"You travel in time, go back. Go back, and-and stop this from happening."
The Doctor stands fully upright, shaking his head, and places his hand gingerly on Arthur's shoulder.
"I cannot undo this. The potential consequences are innumerable, and cataclysmic."
The man shrugs out from under the Doctor's grip, his face a contorted mess of anguish and vitriol, his voice is unsteadily hateful.
"Then what's it good for, huh, traveling in time? Just fun for you, isn't it? You get your kicks, and the rest of us go on. Is that it? That's it, that's it..."
Arthur collapses to the ground, shoving his face into his hands. "We're all supposed to go on, aren't we?"
"Why?" He pleads.
"To keep the universe from silence and stasis. Life somewhere begets more life anywhere. Everywhere."
A derisive laugh pours forth from the recumbent man, who's now tucked his head into his upraised legs.
"You're a bleedin' coward, Doctor."
He will not repudiate this declaration, because truths should never be contested when they are so accurately concluded. The only sorrow that comes from it is that within; he is a coward, of course.
People always die, and he will forever be afraid of still hearts.
"Many others could follow the same fate of your brother, Arthur," the Doctor finally offers, by way of some semblance of cold comfort. He will not apologize, or lament. He thinks this explanation is enough, and certainly all he can muster.
"He was a good man."
"Just...go," the young man murmurs, rocking on the ground.
The Doctor takes a deep breath and nods, unseen.
There are many names, in his head, and he tries to disregard the way they must look on cold stones sticking out of the ground, the stunted little dash between years, and the way fire concedes dominion to ice.