A/U: The verses are from "I Would I Were a Careless Child" (Lord Byron) and "The Dead of September 11" (Toni Morrison). The title is from the song "Iron(remix)" by Woodkid.

Where innocence is burned in flame

Once I beheld a splendid dream,
A visionary scene of bliss:
Truth! - wherefore did thy hated beam
Awake me to a world like this?

You fling Amy and Rory into the TARDIS, barking at them to Stay here! before turning back and slamming the door behind you. You give them no time to follow you; you tear through the night and half-run, half-slide down the rocky hill, hoping and praying to any gods that exist that you will make it in time. You have to make it, because one more species on your conscience would be unbearable.

Yes, they're not exactly friendly. They did try to kill you and your companions, but you understand. They are scared and confused; they are an alien species marooned on a strange planet, and, to be fair, the three of you had popped in with no warning whatsoever. Now, if you can run fast enough and speak persuasively enough, you think you can get them to trust you. You can bring them to your TARDIS and take them home, and it will be one of those glorious days where everybody lives.

Your foot catches on a rock and you tumble the rest of the way down the hill. Pebbles tear at your clothes and skin, and embed themselves in your flesh, but you ignore the small darts of pain. You scramble up as soon as you can and pump your legs faster. The black silhouette of the factory looms against the dark sky. It is an old place, formerly used to make weapons, and it has been reacting very adversely to the aliens' technology. Tonight it will blow- your sonic screwdriver told you as much—and although you're not keen on chancing getting caught in a radiation-infused explosion you have to try to save them. Why else would your TARDIS have dropped you here?

You're close enough to think I'm going to make it! when the first explosion happens. It's fairly small, but you know it's only a prelude. Your feet stutter to a stop. Too late. You're too late! Useless idiot!

Then a wall of flame is hurtling towards you, and your first instinct is to run away; you have always been good at running, but the blaze is too fast and you know you have no hope of winning that race. Instead you spread your arms and close your eyes, welcoming the oncoming inferno, because you know a lost cause when you see one and you deserve the terror that is bearing down upon you. You need this. Your hearts pound frantically in your ears (one-two-three-four!-one-two-three-four!) as the heat presses fiercely against you, the force of it hurling you backward even as it sweeps under your clothes and burrows in your body, blistering your skin.

You land in a crumpled heap on the rocky ground, hardly aware of the burns and blood (one-two-three-four!) as the dying flame brushes over you, and you think you're screaming but you're not sure.

You blink blearily, confused until the blurry faces of Amy and Rory swirl into view above you. Their muddled features sharpen and they're moving their mouths but you can't hear what they're saying over the ring of the explosion echoing in your ears. A background of starred skies hangs behind their heads and you realize you must be lying flat on the ground. Amy is crying and Rory looks utterly terrified, and as you stare at them you realize that Rory seems to be producing strips of your shirt in his hands, but after a moment you realize the truth of it: Rory is peeling your clothes off your burnt skin but you can't feel it. You can't feel most of your body, in fact, but that's probably a good thing, or else you'd be in a lot more pain right now. You feel a healing trance stealing up on you, and you try to comfort your friends by assuring them that you'll be alright. Speaking must not be your strong suit right now, though, since Amy bursts into fresh tears.

Sorry, you think, and hope that they don't mistake the healing trance for death. You close your eyes and let yourself slip away.


I want to hold you in my arms

and as your soul got shot of its box of flesh

to understand, as you have done,

the wit of eternity: its gift of unhinged release

tearing through the darkness of its knell.