It's the very simple things.
The shop that you decide to stop off at for a post-world-saving snack. A banana milkshake, you decide. The convenience store is ever-so-convenient and will actually make them fresh 24 hours a day.
The grumpy-looking clerk behind the register with a nose ring and spiked hair. She is entirely unimpressed with you and your arrival in her store. And your request for a banana milkshake.
"Late night?" you ask.
"Yeah," she sighs. "Gotta work though, in this world, yeah?"
"That you do." You look at her nametag. "Maria. Like the song."
She looks at you as if you've grown three heads so you immediately hum a few lines.
"Yeah, I know that song."
Ah. Well, that explains that. "You get that a lot, huh?"
"Yeah." She rolls her eyes.
"I'm the Doctor." It's probably been too long since you've had human contact, you realize, because you're rather desperate to continue to talk with her. She shouldn't be as short with you as she is. After all, it's 3am and it's just you and her and some lad in a coat in the entire store.
"Bet you are." She smiles awkwardly and her teeth are a bit too crooked, but the milkshake she makes you is good and she's not so bad and all those combined are enough to make you smile without feeling too miserable. It's been a while since that.
And then the lad steps up behind you.
You know something horrible is about to happen not a second before it does. He pulls the gun, demands money. Maria looks so startled she might cry and it's just you and her and this lad with a gun. .
You're not even certain you heard the gunshot.
Which is upsetting because, really, you should've heard the gunshot. The whole bloody world should've stopped in that moment.
A pulled trigger in a moment of surprise and suddenly Maria has collapsed backwards. You're not even certain you saw her fall. The kid turns and bolts and you'll be damned if you notice. You run behind the counter to where Maria has fallen into a pile of newspapers. She looks so scared right now. The strong scent of her blood completely overwhelms the banana of the milkshake you dropped.
And it's as if all of her is spilling out from the wound on her chest. You press a hand to her chest, right to the middle where the wound is, and apply pressure. She has to stop bleeding, but you can feel the wet warmth pouring out from your fingers.
You hear someone on the other end of the counter bark that they're calling an ambulance. That's good. She needs an ambulance. She needs to be helped and this is something you can't help her with. You're not trained to do this, you're just a traveler and "doctor" is just your title not who you are. Her hand grips your arm, but not nearly firmly enough. You don't know what to do.
"Doctor," she chokes, and you can't tell if she's talking to you or requesting real assistance. Her grip on your arm goes slack and she lies still on the floor, her eyes open and her expression one of quiet disbelief.
You call her name and she doesn't respond so you check her pulse. Nothing. How can it be nothing? She only just got shot. That's not nearly enough time for you to react and you need to have time to react.
You know CPR. You've seen it done before and you've done it a few times in your life. You've had it done to you to save your life. You open her mouth and breathe into her lungs. You feel them fill and you press down on her heart. One. Two. Three.
Check for breathing. Check for pulse. Her eyes are open and empty.
Breathe. One. Two. Three.
"Ambulance is one the way!"
Not nearly fast enough.
Breathe. One. Two. Three. She's not bleeding anymore, that must mean you're doing something right, right---no, her heart isn't beating, the blood isn't pumping. One. Two. Three---
You're stronger than a human and when you're frightened you don't know your own strength. You feel one of her ribs crack beneath your hand. You panic and jerk backwards. You broke her. You broke---
No, wait. There's a procedure. You remember it. You pull back and slam your fist onto her ribcage again, shattering her ribs. It gives you access to her heart. You can massage it, you can bring her back. You know it works, you've seen it work before.
You feel for her heart, try to find it underneath the shattered bones. Your hands are slippery with blood but you have to find it, you have to save her. Your hand locates the heart and you massage as gently as you can. Your hands are shaking.
"Please. Please." You have to save her. You have to save her. You have to, you have to, you have to---
"Mate, move out of the way!" The ambulance. When did they get here? You feel arms pull you back and two men take your place. Men with electric paddles and experience.
Your hands are covered in Maria's blood and you're still trying to wrap your head around the last five minutes. They have to save her. They have to save her because you save whole civilizations and planets and you can't handle a simple gunshot wound from a scared kid in a convenience store.
"Clear!" Her body jerks, but her eyes are still open. Still vacant.
"Clear!" It should've been you. If you were shot, you'd just regenerate.
"Clear!" The word sounds muted. It's muted. It's quiet. Getting quieter.
Sometimes you can see things. It's a Time Lord gift. The way things are. The way things were. The way things might be. She might've gone back to school. She might've had a son, might've kept it. Might've had to drop out, but by the time her son was eight she might've met someone who was willing to give her a chance. Might've moved out of this neighborhood, got a degree in art. Might've. Might've.
The ambulance crew step back and close Maria's eyes. Time of death is 3:45.
They see this sort of thing all the time.
So do you.
Maybe that's why it hurts so much.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,110