|On Being a Williams
Author: Kavi Leighanna PM
When River drops to talk to him, Rory knows something's wrong. Father/Daughter Moment. Implied Amy/Rory, Eleven/River. SPOILERS for River's storyline.Rated: Fiction K - English - Family/Angst - River Song/Melody P. III & Rory W. - Words: 1,350 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 43 - Follows: 10 - Published: 08-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8406785
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rory barely looks up at the flash of light in the corner of his eye, the crackle of the vortex manipulator and the gentle smell of smoke wafting in the air in the aftermath of his daughter's appearance.
"Your mother's gone for the week," he says, without looking back. He's got a weed in his garden that he's determined to eradicate, no matter how stubborn it is.
"I'm not here for Mum," River replies, stepping up beside her father. "I spend enough time with her."
That does make him look up. He's got an older version of his daughter. He can tell by the look in her eyes. She's seen things, experienced things. They don't see this when she's young. "Where are you?"
Rory lets go of the weed, pulling his gardening gloves off. "You've visited before, if that's what you're asking."
River smiles, but it doesn't reach her eyes. Oh, that is so very not good.
His little girl is hurting.
That's what she is. It's what she's always been. Even if she's three, four, five times his age, the woman in front of him will always be, at least in part, his little girl. He pushes himself up, reaching for her in the same moment. "What is it? What happened?"
"I'm losing him."
He doesn't think twice about pulling her into his embrace. He never does. If she needs him, he's there. "Oh, sweetheart."
He knows how it feels, with startling clarity. He waited two thousand years for Amy, and no matter how many years he's had with her since, no matter how much they've accomplished, everything they've been through, he still remembers that terrible stab of loneliness when Amy saw him at Stonehenge. He remembers the heartbreak too clearly.
Eventually, her silent crying calms and he pulls away slightly. "Time Lord or not, I still know how to use my sword."
It gets a watery laugh, exactly what he'd intended. "I'm not sure it'll make a difference."
They both know it won't.
Damn back-to-front timeline, and there's a part of him that wants to call up a younger and older Doctor and tell him to stay the hell away from his daughter. Despite the fact that Rory wouldn't change a damn thing with his wife, he knows he wants his little girl to stop hurting. And it's moments like these that make him realize that Melody Pond, River Song, is as much his daughter as she is Amy's. She doesn't want him to change a thing about her relationship with the Doctor the same way he wouldn't change any of those two thousand years he waited for Amy. She's strong like her mother, but she loves like her father: completely and without reservation. He knows better than anyone else that it hurts sometimes.
"How did it feel?" she asks suddenly, quietly, tugging him over to a bench they've both shared before. "When Mum couldn't remember you."
"It hurt like hell," he tells her, straight and true. She's River Song, after all, and while he may want to protect his daughter, he knows she can handle the truth. "Have you done Utah yet? The first time?"
She shakes her head.
He takes in a deep breath. He knows the rules about spoilers, he knows the rules about River and time travel and the diaries, but… "You're going to tell me then, me and your mum, that there's a worse day coming for you than the day the Doctor dies."
River's eyes slip closed. By the time she hits Stormcage she's already done a version of Utah, and he's met a version of River that remembers pieces. So she knows at least part of this story. He can tell by her face.
"You're going to tell me, when I ask you what you mean, that your death doesn't scare you, that his death doesn't scare you, but the day that he forgets who you are, that might kill you."
"Spoilers," she whispers, and there are tears on her lashes.
He laughs slightly. "Yeah. We'll make an exception this time." He grips her hand, as tight as he can. "But the thing about us Williamses," he goes on, ignoring the fact that on paper, she's a Pond. "Is that we survive River. We go on. Because we know that even if this is a terrible day, even if you feel like it's all over, it's all worth it for those we love."
River squeezes his hand and drops her head to his shoulder.
"Because we love with everything we are," he goes on, dropping his voice as he rests his forehead against his daughter's curls. "We push on through the pain and the waiting because we know that no matter how long we wait, no matter how much it hurts, those moments, those years, those centuries even where we get to have them, those are the moments that make the waiting worth it. Every single second."
"They do," she says after a moment, and he realizes she's remembering them. "All of those adventures, all that running, even the times he's terribly late or inappropriately early."
He squeezes her shoulder, where his arm has slipped around her. "Remember those, River. Remember those when he starts to slip away. Remember the alternative, the idea of not having him at all, not having those memories, that diary. That will help when it gets hard."
"I don't know if I can do it."
"Of course you can," he answers. "You're River Song. And you will always have us, you know that. You can always come visit, for as long as you'd like."
He already knows she does. He remembers having her for two weeks just after she was pardoned and he remembers the heartbreak written all over her face. Closer and closer to his time, he knows now, to that day she's trying to avoid. Or maybe the day she's gone.
"I don't know what I'll do."
"You'll soldier on," he tells her, "because it's what we do. We play our parts, pretend. And we love them." He snorts a little. "Someone has to, even when they're impossible."
"Because they're impossible," she replies.
"Now you're getting it." He smiles into her hair. He squeezes her one more time. "Come on. Let's get some tea. Then you can head back."
She lifts her head, and he finds himself missing the weight for a moment. "Tea with my dad. Sounds brilliant."
By the time she leaves he knows she's not perfect, but she's better and he knows she'll be fine. The Williamses carry on, soldier on, hold on. They love and they live. They fight and they thrive.
But most of all, when all is said and done, they survive.
I'm not 100 percent sure what happened here. I've been dying to write a River-Rory moment for ages and this didn't quite come out the way I'd thought. I might try again later, but I figured I could post this and get some opinions on the good and the bad.
I adore this relationship. The idea of it really. Here's Rory, a guy who waited 2000 years for Amy, had his daughter kidnapped, killed his wife at least once, died, didn't exist, and came back... And then there's River, who waits (kind of, 'cause she has adventures of her own) for the Doctor, does so much work in archaeology just to find him, kills him, saves his life, kills him again... well, you know. That whole timey-wimey insanity. So they're stupidly similar, Rory and River and I absolutely adore the parallels.
Any feedback is really appreciated!