Intervention was how Vastra wanted to describe it, but she was the only one there in the chilly night air, so it was more of a confrontation. She was leaning against the tree, waiting for him to come down from his cloud. He always did, whether by choice or by force was something she didn't know, but he always climbed down sulkily at that time.

Sure enough, and Vastra was very sure, the ladder was lowered down while the night was still young, and he climbed down from it with ease. He was far skinnier than she would have preferred- yet another thing to add to her mental list, but looked healthier than she thought he would. His arms weren't trembling in pain and he seemed strong enough to make it down from his cloud without any exhaustion.

She supposed that was good, but the allegations she had against him didn't make those few things an excuse.

"Doctor," she said, closing her eyes for a brief second, just as he started walking. "There's something I need to talk to you about."

He ignored her. That was the thing that tipped them off at first. It was so out of character for him, but wasn't everything he was doing in recently? The depression and avoidance and deep sadness that he radiated?

"Just stand still for a moment," she said, annoyance creeping into her voice, falsely (she was more concerned than anything). "We only need to talk about something."

His steps faltered before stopping completely. He had been not responding to them for almost a month, so this was hopeful, a small gesture that made them know he wasn't beyond saving yet.


He turned, facing her. He had a polite, overly cheerful smile on his face, and if she didn't already know what he was doing, she would think that all of her fears were unfounded. After all, there's no way such a bright and cheerful man could be that broken and sad.

That's what scared her the most. She got an eerie reminder of Demons Run, when he smiled and laughed after the end of the battle he had been directly responsible for, after being angry enough to yell at somebody (which he never, ever, did unless he was furious). Was he acting then, too?

She refused to smile, only looking right at him, letting him know how serious she was. She wouldn't be surprised if she couldn't keep her promise of them only talking.

Almost stubbornly, he remained with an overly bright smile on and walks casually over to her left. Vastra refused to move, only continue watching him, looking him dead in the eye.


She continued to stare at him, and his smile melted.

He was afraid. She could smell the pheromone he was giving off as easily as she could see it in his face. She knew that he knew she knew (the complications of such a simple concept), and he so desperately wanted to know why and how she knew (a fault of his species, the endless thirst for knowledge). Ultimately, he knew it' was somehow his own fault. At least he thought it was. He always had blamed himself and there was no doubt that he hadn't changed that aspect of his personality, even throughout his regenerations.

After all, if he didn't blame himself for each and every single bad thing that ever happened in the entirety of creation, she wouldn't be confronting him right now.

She got and even more disturbing thought with that. Nothing helped him then (for centuries and eons when he was descending into the dark path he was walking), when he had some sort of tangible hope.

Her, Jenny, and Strax were the only ones left. What could they do? What help could she provide?


"We saw your arm a few days ago," Vastra admitted, as if she were talking to a schoolboy who had cheated on his test. "We saw you wince."


"Doctor?" "Are you alright, sir?" "Please- speak to us!" Struggle, running, escape. Jenny reaching out for his arm and he just flinches as his sleeve is slightly raised and they can see broken skin and welts and wounds. He just pulls himself away and before they can react he's running and out of sight. Strax looks disturbed, perhaps his nurse's instinct, and merely says, breaking the quiet that builds after that, "We need to stop him."


He didn't say anything. He only looked at her in his mysterious "Time Lord" way, and she couldn't read a single emotion on his face anymore, just calm acceptance.

"You did that to yourself, didn't you?" she said.

He still didn't answer, instead looking straight through her.

"Doctor," she said, "Did you do that to yourself?"

He still said nothing. Her nerves grated, even as worry ran deep like a rock in the pit of her stomach. "Well?" she demanded. "Answer me."


She realized that she just came out a bit harsh. She was dealing with a potentially mentally unstable man. She needed to tread carefully.

She made her voice calmer, and then said, "It's okay to-"

She cuts herself off. She was about to say "It's okay to do that," but it wasn't. She couldn't say that, couldn't condone his behavior, lest her encouragement make it worse. If he had done it to himself, he had wronged, and he needed to face the consequences.

So she said instead, recovering from her mistake, "It's okay to tell me. I just need to know."

She saw a flicker of something on him. It wasn't anger, annoyance, or contempt. She felt something akin to hope well in her, if only for a brief moment before it was quickly extinguished with the circumstances.

He was listening.


"You haven't been eating properly," she said, knowing this bit for a fact. "We think that you may have been hurting yourself, and you haven't have any contact with anybody, have you? Well, not speaking to anybody, at least."

He bit his lip. He was uncomfortable, or desiring to speak, but he wasn't leaving.

He was looking at her in a way that made her worry even more. Was she wrong? She hoped she was, so desperately, but the look in his eyes was different from disbelief and surprise and anger.

But then it was gone.


Worry marred her, reflected on her face and scales. Was he listening to her? Was he just going to ignore her like he had to all of them the entire month? She hoped not. She was serious. With the possibility that he was in enough mental agony that he did something like that to himself, and refused to speak about it-

She needed to hear his voice. More than ever.


"What are you going to do about it?" he asked after a period of silence. "About anything? You can't do anything!"

His voice was so quiet, that she strained to hear him. She had no answer though. She hadn't prepared one. In all honesty, she didn't expect anything to come from this conversation.

His voice became louder, angry. "What the hell can you do?"

"I can help you. We can help you, Doctor," she said.

"How?" he demanded.


She took a deep breath, and prepared her answer carefully. She needed to offer him something that would help him, but somehow be desirable as well.

"You can continue ignoring us, not taking care of yourself, hurting yourself, and isolating yourself," she said, "And I have the worst feeling that we'll be standing over your gravestone, if that happens. If you truly want this, then don't speak. Continue ignoring me."

"There's no other option," he said tersely.

"But there is," she disagreed, "Because you can let us help you."

"Pray tell, how exactly would you help me?" he asked. She couldn't help but feel even more relieved. He was still listening, and hadn't told her to sod off, or walked away. He genuinely wanted to know if they could help him, and how.

"You can allow us to speak with you, to take care of you. You can let us try to bring you out of this state," she said, monotone. "And the first step would be, of course, admitting that you did something unacceptable."

He bit his lip. She could see that he was dealing with some sort of thought, emotion, when he heard her say these things, but which thought or emotion was it?

Knowing that she was pressing a bit, she finished with, "And you can't go back when you accept. Ever. We'll help you even if you no longer want it."


"Never?" he asked, his voice cracking. "That's bad."

She tilted her head, and realized that she had, as some point, turned toward him.

"Madame," he starts, "I- I need to make something clear."

"And that is?" she asked, expectantly.

"I have done each and every thing you said. I tried to k-kill myself. That was what you saw on my wrist. I haven't eaten since the I was at your house, about a month ago." She missed the next few words, instead trying to calculate his own biology to hers to figure out how much life-weight he had lost. "And-" he stopped himself, taking a gulp of air.

"And?" she encouraged, gently, but still in a prodding way.


"And I can't accept your help," he declared, his voice becoming quieter and quieter.

"Why not?" she asked, surprise in her voice.

"I- I'll end up-" he stammered, before making an exasperated noise.

"I just can't, Madame," he said, his voice the whisper he started with.

"Explain," she said.

"I can't," he emphasized. "That's it. I just can't. I'm not like I was when I first met you."

"If you can give me a good enough reason, then I'll lay off. I'll stop bothering you, Doctor," she said, taking a step toward him. She noticed he flinched, but he didn't step away.


"I'll end up killing you," he warned. "It's either me, the universe, or anyone I'm near."

"Near? As in your friends?" she asked, frowning, and purposefully ignoring the fact that he said that his continued existence would destroy the universe.

"I don't have friends," he dismissed. "I mean that I'm bad luck. If I go near something, anything and anyone, they'll die."

She swallowed hard before she answered him. Had they done something offensive to him, that he believed that? Had they made an offhand comment that he had mistaken for scorn? No, they were too cautious when they knew he was around, and they never scorned him (their hero) in the first place. How were they not friends?

"Who the hell told you that?" she demanded, quiet with anger. "Who betrayed you that was close enough to you that you believed such an obvious lie and-"

"I told myself that," he interrupted. "Who else? Other people just gave me evidence."

"You idiot," she said, her voice raising. "How can you believe that?"

"Easily," he said, "I looked back in my life and saw it. I believe what I see. And I saw myself."

"And what of us?" she asked. "And your other friends."

"They're pure," he said. "Like you and Jenny and Strax. I'm the embodiment of evil. Either I'll kill you or wreck your life. A monster like me doesn't have friends. It has victims."


"It? A monster?" she asked, her voice no longer surprised, but sad.

How had this happened? How had he come to these conclusions?

Was he past the point of no return already? Had she already lost him?

"Yes," he said, his voice also tinged with sadness, but with the acceptance and openness he had when he joined the conversation with false glee.

But in any case, he had spoken.

If you want this, then don't speak. Continue ignoring me."

"And the first step would be, of course, admitting that you did something unacceptable."

"You want help, though," she said, knowing.

He tensed, his face so afraid and sad.

"If you didn't you wouldn't have spoken," she asserted. "You want help, but something's preventing you."

He bit his lip and he tensed to the point of shaking

Yes.

"Come with me, Doctor," she said, taking his hand. "Strax can help your wrist and we can talk about what's going to happen next together."

He didn't move when she gently tugged him.

He just looked at her, eye wide, full of fear and said, "I've done more than try to kill myself."

Ah, yes, they knew that too. They saw the wound almost 2 weeks after they found him catatonic in his TARDIS, but they had not commented on it. They knew that he was eventually going to regress back into his dissociated state, and that he would be too stubborn to just let them help.

Maybe he would be too stubborn to let them help him now.

"We know," she said, as she tugged on his hand again, and took a small step in the general direction of Paternoster Row.

"I don't want you to feel obligated on my behalf," he said. "And I don't want your help. There's only one good solution for me."

"So you're going to kill yourself," she guessed.

"I-if that's the only way to remove the problem. A-and it is. I know it is. I am the problem," he said, his voice seeped with resignation. "But I-I don't actually-"

"Want to commit suicide," she finished. "And we can help you prevent that. I promise you."

His forehead scrunched up.

"Madame," he said, as he stepped forward.

"Let's go," she said. "Lest Jenny and Strax start to worry for us."

Hesitantly, he nodded, and followed her.

Perhaps, she thought, he was still save-able.

And maybe they would be enough to help him hold onto his life.

She had no doubt that he was going to relapse and fight and try to convince them he wasn't worth the effort. And when that happened, when that happened he was going to be desperate for any sort of release. And if he did kill himself, it wouldn't be suicide. It would be from the neglect and abuse he had taken over the years. It would be murder, none of his own doing.

Her friend (despite anything he might have believed) was in grave danger. There was a killer on the loose who was targeting him, and he had already been wounded and threatened.

I promise, you Doctor, I won't let you die.


Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who nor the song "How to Save a Life". They go to their respective copyright owners.

Apparently, it's illegal to put copyrighted songs on here, even with a disclaimer. (Which doesn't make any sense- this whole website is taking copyrighted material and quotes and ideas.)

So here's a link to the site "Archiveofourown" if you want to see this with the lyrics.

http:

/archiveofourown.

org/works/2325701

Please remove the separation and go!