A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Eleventh Doctor
Stories with Swordfights by ClocketPatch [Reviews - 11] Printer
Author's Notes:
Written for the Wild Card square on my h/c bingo. Chosen prompt: time travel gone wrong


Rory Williams loves his family. He loves his wife. He loves his son. And he loves his daughter.

Of course he does.

Except…

In the mornings, Rory is the one to wake up first. While Amy is lying in, he goes to the bathroom to wash and shave, and when he looks in the mirror sometimes he thinks about how odd his life has been; how out of joint. Sometimes.

Rory is a practical man. He always has been. He's always had to be. Rory's wife is a dreamer and an adventuress. She's fiery, eccentric, and fiercely loving and protective of those people she regards as "hers". Amy is the one who makes fantastic Scottish fry-ups while Rory makes sure Anthony is doing okay getting dressed. They complement each other.

They build a home and a life. Rory goes through his morning routine. Rory goes to work. Rory comes home to help Anthony with homework, to wash dishes after dinner, to cuddle with Amy after the lights go out.

And sometimes, Rory goes days on end without thinking of his daughter.

But he does love her. Of course he does.

-

It bothers Rory that he doesn't know when he and his daughter first met.

Was their first meeting at the Pandorica? Was it when he held her in his arms at Demon's Run? Or was it when he was seven years old and Mels moved in down the street?

Rory is certain that Mels didn't exist in his original timeline. He has memories of a childhood without her, a childhood as a Roman, and a childhood where stolid, reliable Rory Williams was pulled along into scrape after scrape by the irascible Leadworth terrors: Amy Pond and Mels...

Mels Who?

The family who adopted Mels had a forgettable last name. Not nearly so bad as Smith or Jones, but definitely on par with Williams. Were they the Thompsons? The Peters? Rory can't recall. Mels has always been Mels, and her adoptive family has always been… well… come to think of it, Rory can't recall ever actually meeting them.

Mels is like the little sister on that vampire show Amy liked. She just showed up and no one questioned her existence. Rory notices the discrepancy. Rory is good with details. But Rory's life is full of twists and paradoxes —

One moment Rory is dead; the next, he is a Roman and plastic. One moment Amy's parents are missing; the next, they've always been there. One moment it's just Amy and Rory; then the universe turns and suddenly its Amy and Rory and Mels, the dynamic trio, the Leadworth Musketeers.

-

Rory Williams loves his family. He loves his wife. He loves his son. And he loves his daughter.

Of course he does.

Except…

He hasn't seen River in over a decade, and sometimes he goes weeks on end without thinking of her. He never had a chance to take care of her as a baby, and he has never had a proper conversation with her as an adult.

Rory doesn't understand his daughter. He doesn't understand her motivations. He doesn't understand what the TARDIS and the Silence and Madame Korvarian did to her. He doesn't understand her relationship with the Doctor. Amy had been the one to explain the diaries to him, not River. River tells him nothing.

Rory loves her. She's his daughter. He must.

Except…

-

At Demon's Run, the child Rory held was made of Flesh. Sometimes, Rory lies awake at night, wondering if that Flesh child had a mental connection to the real infant River. He wonders if his daughter ever felt his arms holding her tight against his chest. He wonders if she looked up and saw him looking down at her with so much wonder and pride.

And if she did, does she remember?

Rory remembers Mels exploding into River and all of that madness. It was always just — madness. Anytime River appeared things became a jumbled, messy thrill ride, and there was never any time for explanations. There was never any time to just… talk.

-

Being a time traveller with the Doctor is not the same as being a traveller stranded in time. Rory waited through half of history once. He knows how to adapt and blend in. Rory forges documents and finds an apartment, then a house, finally, a home.

It's been a decade since the graveyard and sometimes Amy still wakes up crying. Rory holds her tight as she shakes and tears stain the bed sheets.

"Where do you think River is?" Amy asks. "What do you think she's doing? Do you think she's with the Doctor?"

Rory never knows how to answer, so he gives positive platitudes:

"She's fine, obviously, she's River."

"Of course she is," says Amy. She says it with all of the absolute certainty that Rory lacks.

Sometimes, Anthony asks questions about his absent older sister:

"Is it true that she's an archaeologist? Is she really a time traveller? Did she really impersonate Cleopatra? Really?"

Rory says, "Yes."

Amy lowers her voice to a conspiratorial whisper and tells Anthony, "Your older sister is a super hero."

Rory doesn't know if Anthony realizes that River is real, or if she's only a story to him. He asks Amy about it once, only once. She smiles, and sadly says:

"We're all just stories in the end."

Rory can tell it’s a quote.

-

His memories of the world without stars are hazy. Rory doesn't know if that's because those memories never really happened or if it's his brain's way of protecting him from going mad. At the museum, at the end of the wait, Rory had been focused on Amy and not much else.

He thinks River might've been flirting with him at one point, but that can't be right.

He didn't pay attention. He never paid enough attention to River.

-

There is no one Rory can talk to about River. He's afraid to admit to Amy that he sometimes forgets he has a daughter, that he has a hard time holding her face in his mind, that he knows she exists but he doesn't know who she is:

River Song

Melody Pond

Mels… Mels Who?

Rory knows that he would give his life in an instant to protect any member of his family — including the Doctor and River. But the Doctor is solid. Rory doesn't have to struggle to remember his voice. River has only ever been a ghost in his life. She is a presence at the edges; a daughter who might've been.

Amy wonders how River's doing, out there in the stars. Rory tells his wife that she's fine, obviously, she's River. Rory knows that he isn't lying.

River is fine. She's out there somewhere beyond the moon running around getting shot at, snogging her clueless husband, drinking champagne, wearing outrageously high heels, and smugly infuriating everyone by saying, "spoilers" instead of giving proper explanations for her actions like a normal person.

But River is also sitting in a lonely concrete cell waiting for the few nights of freedom she is allowed every month. River is trapped a space suit under a lake. River is dead and gone and dust and her not-so-clueless-as-he-pretends husband is probably the one responsible for that.

The trouble with time travel is that too many things are possible all at once.

-

Dear Melody

Dear Mels

Dear River

Dear Daughter,

I don't know if you'll ever read this. I'm going to give it to Anthony and tell him to give it to you if you ever meet. If you don't ever meet, I'll have him give it to UNIT and see that it keeps being passed on. Anthony is your brother, I should have mentioned that, but you're an archaeologist and I'm sure you've looked us up.

Let's be honest. We don't know each other. Mels was more Amy's friend than mine. I just tagged along and dealt with the inevitable scraped knees and police sirens. I don't know what your favourite colour is. I don't know what your favourite food is. I don't know what you want from the future. I don't know anything.

I don't even know what to call you, or how much of you is still human.

None of that matters to Amy, but she's your mother and she's always known you better.

We didn't get to raise you like normal parents. I never got to tuck you into bed and read you stories until you fell asleep. Wherever you are, I hope that you're happy and I wish we could've known each other better. Tell the Doctor that he'd best keep you safe, or he'll answer to me.

I'm sorry for failing you.

Your loving father,

Rory Williams

-

Rory goes through his morning routine. Rory goes to work. Rory stops at the library on the way home to choose a new bedtime book for Anthony. He's a bit too old for fairy tales now, but he loves them anyways —

Especially the ones with sword fights.

Rory opens the book to check the illustrations before bringing it to the counter. A yellowed piece of foolscap falls out. On it is a brief paragraph in tight, cursive writing. There is a stain in the lower left corner that Rory doesn't want to speculate on.


Father,

Blue. Raspberry ice cream. Another chance. Enough.

I don't know what to call myself, but Professor Song is what most people are calling me these days. I like daughter. Nearly no one calls me that.

Good stories, I hope.

The Doctor is programmed to keep people safe, but if he ever begins acting safe I'd be worried for him, and the universe.

You would have been an excellent father.

Professor River Song, Archaeologist,

Daughter


-

Rory Williams loves his family. He loves his wife. He loves his son. He loves his daughter.

They write frequently and have no secrets.





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