Disclaimer: I am only playing for nothing in the BBC's sandbox.


Rory Williams dies with love on his lips and Amy Pond in his heart. And then he's gone, blinked out of history; the best he could have been.

He proffers the tea. "Amy made it. Says you need something. That you'd spend all day fiddling here if you could."

The Doctor pushes back his goggles and takes the mug. "Thanks. She's probably right." He hoists himself up and joins Rory on the jumpseat. "Settled in okay?"

"Yeah. Thanks." Rory sips at his own tea. "Almost too okay. Our room's perfect."

"That's because the TARDIS likes you two," the Doctor says, cheerfully. "She's made an effort. She's got good taste, my girl." He pats the seat.

Rory watches the rotor in silence for a moment. "So, Rio," he says.

It's perhaps not the most rational response to being abducted on your stag do, but Rory finds himself shouting at both of them. Amy shouts back, as she always does. The Doctor watches them, seems unmoved by Rory's anger, and then starts welding something in his crazy machine until Rory has stopped shouting.

Despite himself, Rory is impressed. He and Amy have spent 14 years speculating about what the inside of the blue box might look like, and this is pretty spectacular. Not that he'll tell the Doctor so, of course – he has too much pride for that. And he's scared by this man, this alien who's swept his girlfriend away and off her feet. He just manages to meet the Doctor's eyes, but it's hard.

He proposes on a summer's day, down by the river. There's a picnic, and cheap champagne, and ducks quacking in the distance. Rory does it properly – gets down on his knee and proffers the ring, and waits for her to say yes.

Amy looks at him for a long while. He worries that she's going to say no. He worries that he ought to have worn the old shirt and tie. He worries, not for the first time, that she's not really in love with him.

Eventually she takes the ring, puts it on her finger and kisses him. "Yeah. All right."

"All right?" Rory splutters.

Amy smiles, that beaming smile he adores so much and which appears so rarely. "Very all right. Did you really think I'd say no?"

"I wasn't sure you'd say yes," Rory admits.

She laughs. "Silly old Rory. Of course I want to marry you."

He manages a smile. "Good. Good."

For their first date, Rory takes Amy to an Italian restaurant in the nearby town. They eat spaghetti and laugh at the tomato sauce splatters on each other's tops. Rory can't quite believe he's out with this beautiful girl, who draws admiring looks from all the other men in the room. Even though they've had loads of meals together in the past – at his house, at her house, even at the odd restaurant – this feels different, somehow. When he takes her hand as they walk to the bus stop afterwards it's a leap of faith. When she leans over and kisses him on the lips it's a benediction.

Rory's staring at the letter that tells him he's now a fully-qualified nurse when the doorbell rings. It's Amy there on the doorstep with a bunch of their friends. She holds out a bottle.

"Champagne." He looks at it. "Please tell me you passed," Amy adds.

"Yes. Yeah."

The friends whoop, and shoulder past him into the house, slapping him on the back as they go. Amy pushes the bottle into his hands. "Well done," she says. "Knew you'd do it. Nurse Williams, eh?"

Rory closes the door and follows them into the kitchen to open the champagne and drink it. He wonders how much Amy wishes he'd qualified as a doctor, instead of a nurse.

When Rory's 18 he gives Amy back the tattered blue shirt that's been in his wardrobe for several years. She accepts it – surprisingly – without a fuss. Maybe she realises that they're both too old for this now. Maybe she realises that nine years is long enough to move on from the raggedy Doctor and start to live her life.

He wishes he could believe this. He wishes he could ignore the way she folds the shirt carefully and goes to put it away in her blue bedroom. But he can't. However much Rory would like to think otherwise, he'll always come second to Amy's imaginary friend.

"I'm not going back to any more of those stupid doctors," Amy declares, sitting on a swing and kicking off. "They're idiots."

"What about your aunt?" Rory asks, idly spinning on the roundabout.

"She'll have to put up with it," says Amy. "I'm not going."

He turns once, twice, three times. Her hair is flying loose in the breeze. "So ..."

"He'll come back for me, one day," Amy says, as if anticipating Rory's question.

Rory says nothing, but spins and watches Amy swing. It's entirely possible that she's entirely bonkers, but he loves her all the same.

When Rory Williams is 10 he meets Amelia Pond. She's small and stubborn and freckled and she's drawing pictures in the sandpit with a stick; lots of pictures of a box. He sits down and talks to her and she tells him about a man in a blue box who's going to take her travelling through space. He's called the Doctor, Amelia says very seriously. Later she shows Rory the pictures she's drawn of the man in the blue box and makes Rory try fish fingers with custard. Rory spits out his first mouthful and Amy tells him that the Doctor had had the same reaction to normal food – like apples, and bread and butter, and baked beans. Baked beans on toast is Rory's favourite and he can't understand why anyone would prefer fish and custard. But Amelia says that's because the Doctor's not a person, though he is real.

Rory thinks Amelia is a bit weird but he likes her anyway. She makes him laugh, and though the boys at school reckon he's stupid for hanging around with a girl he soon finds that he and Amelia Pond have become, somehow, best friends.

The first decade of Rory Williams's life is nothing extraordinary. He walks and talks at the normal times, is mildly naughty at school, likes football and Thomas the Tank Engine. He likes going to the village sweetshop and choosing his favourites from the old-fashioned glass jars on the shelves, and he likes going to his grandmother's house and being fed cakes and tall mugs of milk. It's a good childhood. He's happy.

But sometimes, just sometimes, he wakes up in the middle of the night screaming after a nightmare in which he's engulfed by the brightest of bright lights and becomes nothing. His mother strokes his hair and smooths his brow and tells him that he could never possibly become nothing – that he'll always be something, whatever happens to him. He goes back to sleep, soothed, warm and safe.

In one reality, Susie Williams gazes at the blue line on the white stick of the pregnancy test, bursts out laughing, and rushes to tell her husband.

In another reality, she throws the test away and tells herself it doesn't matter. The spark that could have been Rory flickers and dies, and never ever was.