A/N I was watching Amy's Choice earlier today and a particular scene inspired me to write this. It takes place right after AOTD. Enjoy!

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"You want kids! You've always wanted kids, even when you were a kid. And I can't have them."

It had been less than a week since the Doctor had dropped them back home after the strange thing with the insane Daleks, and Rory admits that he's extremely glad to be home. He had moved back in with Amy just days ago and it was nice to be with her again an not be fighting constantly anymore. However, those words, Amy's excuse for 'giving him up,' kept ringing through his head.

"I can't have them."

He's standing in their kitchen when that particular revelation actually hits him, and when it does it hits him hard and fast with a weight that makes him stagger backward. He leans against the counter to steady himself.

So that was it then. He would never have children.

Somehow he had always pictured himself as having children someday. It wasn't why he had married Amy - he had married her because he loved her and had since they were kids. He had just never really thought that they wouldn't ever have children.

Stupid Rory. How presumptuous.

Still, it was a harsh realization to come to, that he would never have any children...

Amy's laugh from the other room brings him back to Earth, followed by a female, indignant sounding voice.

"Mother!"

Ah, yes. No children except the one. His brilliant, insane, psychopathic, slightly alien only daughter. His grown up married daughter who doesn't even share his name because it brings back too many bad memories and whom he didn't even get a chance to raise.

Not that he's bitter.

Rory shuts his eyes and wishes, just for a moment, that he was back on the TARDIS.

(He remembers a time quite a while ago. Amy is unconscious and pregnant and they are hiding in the child's room and he reaches out thoughtfully to touch the mobile hanging over the crib, longing coloring his gaze and his thoughts for just a moment until the Doctor climbes in and he forces back the feeling.

Why does he long for that now?)

Because he 's quickly running out of time before he'll need to go out and face his wife and daughter and he doesn't want to.

(Something the Doctor had said that day comes to mind with this thought.

"Your dream wife, your dream job, probably your dream baby - maybe this is your dream.")

Rory wonders if that dream baby would have been River. Probably not.

It isn't that he doesn't love his little girl - he does. But it's just that. River isn't his little girl. Melody might have been, if that witch of a woman, Madam somebody-or-other, hadn't stolen her away from him and forced her to dance to her own perverted tune, fulfilling Kovarian's (he does know her name) plans like the perfect puppet she was sculpted to be.

(In his mind, he hears River's own words now.

"I was trained and conditioned for one purpose - I was born to kill the Doctor."

No she wasn't.)

And that was the one plan that backfired, wasn't it? Rory had to think that Melody's kidnappers must not have been very bright because as River herself had said, it was a basic mistake, introducing her to the Doctor. It was basic psychology that a frightened little girl would cling to the memory of the one thing she knew throughout her whole life, and hate and love weren't really so different, were they?

Rory never got a chance to know Melody at all, but he can see that Mels, his daredevil best friend, might have seen the Doctor as a kindred spirit.

Rory was once again startled out of his miserable thoughts when someone entered the room. He looked up from the floor he had been staring so resolutely at to see that it was not Amy as he had assumed, but instead their curly haired (Rory couldn't figure out how his daughter had wound up with a mass of curls, but then again, he knew next to nothing about regeneration or the nature of hereditary traits in timelords.) visitor.

"Hello father dear."

"River." He acknowledges. He feels as though he should say more than simply her name but he doesn't know what. There was no possible way that he could look at this adult who is clearly older than him and speak to her as he would have if she were his Melody, his daughter who should still be tiny little girl. Maybe he should speak to her as he would with Mels?

"You don't have to worry. Just talk to me as you did when I was just River."

Rory looks her in the eye, startled.

"How...how did you know...what I..."

"I've made a point to be very, very good at reading body language. And beyond that I made a lucky guess."

"I'm sorry, River. Am I that obvious?"

"Only to people who know you well."

"And you know me well, do you?"

Rory regrets the words, spoken in an incredulous tone, as soon as they leave his mouth. River's face doesn't change from its cheerful mask but her eyes fall, her gaze becoming pained, bitter, and withdrawn.

There was an awkward pause before River spoke.

"So you and Amy are back together. I'm glad."

"Yeah. So am I. Turns out it was all a misunderstanding."

"I know. I heard."

"So Amy told you about...well, I guess you know..." He trailed off, looking away from River.

"Yes." She said shortly. "I'm sorry."

Rory can feel the emotional temperature in the room drop sharply. He realizes how unintelligent it would be to respond to River's words.

Of course he does it anyway.

"Why?"

River's stony gaze focuses on him again.

"This," she says, making an oblique gesture at nothing, "is my fault, isn't it. If I hadn't been born, you and Amy could have had a normal life and normal children. I'm the problem in your life, at least at the moment. The one at fault."

Now she meets his eyes, and for a moment they look like Amy's - not the color or shape but the expression. It is one which he had not seen since Amy and him were kids, when Amy would stalk home after another day of being teased for believing in her imaginary friend flaming angry and more upset than she would admit. She, who shared everything with her best mates Mels and Rory, waited until she was alone before she ever got this look, this longing look which made her look very young, a look which Rory only ever got quick glances of. On River's face, in her eyes, it softened the older woman's features and made her look kinder and almost, almost young enough that she could have been his daughter.

"River, I don't blame you. I don't think that anything that has happened is your fault."

"Yes you do." Said River, adopting a tone of cold straightforwardness. "You've blamed me for everything since Demon's Run, because you know that the Doctor wouldn't bring little Melody back to you because it would mean that I would never have exsisted. And now it turns out that I've taken your baby away from you again. You do blame me."

"If I do, I shouldn't."

"No, you shouldn't."

"Which is why I don't, Melody."

It seems that using her birth name finally communicates to her. She leans against the counter opposite him and sighs.

"Thank you." She says, closing her eyes. "I needed to hear that."

"Why?"

"Because I blame me."

And then River broke. She didn't burst into tears, and Rory was glad that she didn't, but she did visibly sag, as though a great weight had been placed on her shoulders. Rory, somewhat instinctually, stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her. She melted into the embrace like a child and Rory felt himself tear up just a little.

"I've only got one daughter, you know that River? But good lord is she amazing. I could never hope for a better one."

And Rory changes his mind. He thinks that this mad, impossible, wonderful woman would definitely have been his dream baby, and he's very glad that she's come home.