He was never Father Kreiner because the Doctor beat the Faction and their virus, so he never became Grandfather Paradox, so the Faction never formed, so they never infected the Doctor, so the whole thing never happened, so Fitz wasn’t left in Geneva, so he wasn’t Remembered by the TARDIS, so…
“What are you thinking about?”
He looks up and sees Anji staring down at him. He shrugs and she drops into the chair across from him. “Just, y’know, stuff.”
“Wow. Stuff.” She looks uncomfortable, and her fingers drum a military march on the table.
“Do you have to leave?” he asks, without quite realising that he’s said it out loud.
“How long do you think it’ll take him to find 2001 — my 2001 — again? If I kept putting it off I’d be here forever.”
“Like me you mean?”
“I didn’t say that. You just… you like all this stuff. I’m just a futures trader who got a bit lost. You could have been made for this life.”
But he was never Remembered, because he was never Kode, because the Faction never existed, because…
He decides not to tell her about Sam, about the fact that Anji alone is leaving the TARDIS the same way she arrived. The Doctor didn’t make her a Changeling, didn’t steal away…
No, not theft. The Doctor would never…
Unless he thought he really, really had to…
And then it hits him. It hits him that the Faction virus didn’t (wouldn’t) have to make too many changes to turn the Doctor into the High Priest of Paradox.
If you break one of your toys, you can always get a new one.
And how does Fitz know, really, that this is the same Anji he knew last week? How does he know that the Doctor hasn’t done something, messed with the Universe to make everything go the way he wants it to? It was Sabbath who insisted that they all leave together when Good Times had fucked up Time, brought all the alternates together. But the Doctor wasn’t exactly complaining, was he?
And it was such a co-incidence that Compassion changed just in time to give them a new TARDIS when the old one was destroyed. You could get suspicious about that.
He realises that he’s staring at Anji.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah. It’s just… I’ll miss you.”
“Thanks. I’ll miss you too. But it’s the right time for me to go.”
Is it? Is it the wrong time? Is time all wrong?
She isn’t really Anji and he isn’t really Fitz and none of them are the people they’re supposed to be. God might be dead, but the Doctor’s doing a pretty good job of filling in for him.
But he can’t tell her any of this, because it’s just paranoia, the terror that creeps up on him sometimes, when he’s wondering just how innocent the Doctor really is.
Because there was no Faction, because the Doctor destroyed Gallifrey, so there never was a Faction… The Doctor is responsible for the biggest paradox of them all. No wonder Time got pushed through a cheese-grater.
“Anji… do you ever… wonder? About the Doctor, I mean. If he’s… if he’s good?”
She thinks for a minute, bites her bottom lip ever-so-slightly.
“I think he must be, because he’s never sure about it. Like, Sabbath goes around acting like he’s the only one who knows how everything should be run, and he never doubts that for a minute. But the Doctor… he’s just one moral crisis after another. He cares. He wants everyone to be happy and he isn’t even sure if he has any right to want that.”
“I don’t mean does he try to be good, I mean… is he?”
She shrugs. “Are any of us?”
But Anji isn’t going to understand because she hasn’t been around the guy for long enough. She’s seen the Doctor mess up, seen him make the tough decisions, but she hasn’t… she hasn’t been changed. Probably. Maybe.
If you were very, very good at being evil, you’d be able to convince people that you were innocent, that you would only ever do the right thing. Sabbath’s managed that on occasion, and Sabbath’s just some eighteenth-century wannabe.
And, yes, the Doctor can be manipulative, but… but why is it so blatant? It’s not like the Doctor isn’t smart enough and devious enough to make everyone dance to his tune without them every knowing it. What’s been done to them that he and Anji haven’t even begun to notice? He shivers slightly, and rubs his hands over his own upper arms. Really, he shouldn’t think so much. Nothing good every comes of thinking so much.
But once the seed is planted, the idea can’t help but grow. What’s he supposed to do, starve it of oxygen? And if the Doctor wanted to bring down the Faction, and he thought an inside agent would be useful…
He shivers again and reaches for a cigarette and his battered zippo.
Anji rubs a hand across her eyes. “You’re going to be alright, aren’t you? It’s going to be OK with just the two of you?”
And Fitz says “Yes,” because he doesn’t know how not to.