Here is a bit of Rory goodness. It was mostly meant to be centred on his relationship with his daughter, but a bit of Amy and Eleven found their way in there too. Enjoy!
Inspiration for the title came from the song Astronaut by Amanda Palmer.
In Rory's dreams, there is a little girl that dances right beyond his reach, lost and found.
He imagines her face, a face he's never seen. (Amy has—but he won't resent that. There are too many things and people to resent, with more or less reason, and if he only starts he'll be taken under.) He sees flying curls, of course—even Mels had mad hair when she let it loose, and parts of his sleepless nights are spent wondering who she got it from. He also sees his eyes, and Amy's pretty features and irresistible energy. The girl laughs and twirls—she is free, but he can't reach her, she is beautiful and she doesn't hear when he tells her. Somehow, he should know that and still consider himself happy.
He wants his baby; the warm, amazingly alive bundle in his arms, the tiny face, fragile as a doll's, those innocent eyes that once blinked up at him. He wants Melody—not Mels, and not River, but he cannot admit that. Nobody wants to hear it. He ought to stay quiet, not make it any worse for the others, he knows… He ought to deal with it and be content with what he has: the memory of holding her, his miracle, for mere fleeting minutes—but there's Amy's face when the truth was revealed, Amy's scream, and then River's eyes, bright and soft and more uncertain than he'd ever seen them—
He has a daughter that shoots Silence and makes the word Dad sound like a cheerful joke, a daughter whose secret wounds he won't ever get to kiss better. When he thinks like that, for hours on end, he relives every moment ever spent in her company—from her mock-surprise at seeing the plastic centurion again, to the careful way she spoke to Amy in Demon's Run, as though it were a moment she'd always been waiting for. He thinks of the way she's always looked at him, and wonders if she did try to let him in, without his noticing. He still remembers the exact sound of her faraway voice as she told him about the Doctor; he sees her in Victorian clothing on her birthday, rambling to him in fast, giddy tones, with an underlying vulnerability his own brokenness then failed to perceive. She is River, with a brave face and a lie always at the ready; he doesn't know if she has long become desensitized to all of those losses, the mess of her timeline with theirs, future and past entwined—or whether she only pretends, pretends, pretends until it takes her breath away, for the sake of everyone. Regardless, she couldn't have come much closer than she did—she must have known she's always scared the devil out of him.
It aches to think about her, like it aches to think about Mels, mad, weird, unpredictable Mels whom he always thought must have found him a bit pathetic, a bit of a tag-along. Mels who frightened him too, sometimes, made him wary at the very least. For years they shared exasperated fondness, and then she, too, disappeared. Mels gone, all that was left was memories again: countless, oblivious moments—having had her so close, and never knowing, it makes him want to break something.
It is like destiny is playing with him, like someone somewhere is having a good laugh giving him so many glimpses of her, yet never quite the real thing. Three faces for one daughter and none of those he gets to keep, hold close to his heart. Three names, and three selves—it feels like the reality of her is being stripped away, and the more he thinks of Melody Pond, the less she even exists. He gave a part of himself to create her, and she grew without looking back, never needing him at all. So brave, like Amy told her to be, and knowing her father wouldn't be coming for her.
It kills him every night, that he came for Melody and she still was lost, that she found home again and he was only a child, that she met him afterwards and pretended they were strangers. The woman he knows now he will never call Melody. Amy does sometimes, secretly, when it's just him and her. But some part of him won't acknowledge that this dashing, wonderful, utterly foreign person is all that's left to reach of his baby girl. It makes him feel guilty—until she calls him Dad in that too-light tone of hers, and pain grips him instead, makes all the rest an afterthought.
He is always too late and she's always gone too soon, and they never seem to get past this pained state of awkwardness, find some balance. She is the Doctor's more than she's ever been his, and that hurts quite a bit too. He doesn't allow himself to think about that too much, or bitterness would take over him all too quickly. He has too many things to blame on that old alien, being so important for the women of his life not least of all—and neither Amy, nor River would appreciate that resentment boiling over. There is also his being mad, dangerous, and so profoundly giving and wonderful that people can't help being fools and forgiving him each time. He is a stranger, stealing them away to different, dashing lives, and he endangers them. Because of him Rory has lost his daughter more times than he can count—loses her all over again everytime they meet. And yet he understands him, can now look at him with ancient, tired eyes, and recognize the old soul beneath the silly face, the weary, loving hearts, time-worn. This newfound lucidity, this closeness of kin doesn't allow for unfair animosity; he remembers River's words and voice and eyes, and cannot blame such a lonely man for wanting a love so wide and deep, taking what was so willingly offered. Still—he is third wheel again.
Long nights laced with those thoughts have become his companions. His sleep is too short though, when he actually does get any—he works harder at the hospital, and days are often broken with mad dashes in the TARDIS, adventures that are thrilling and exhausting, yet take no time from his reality and toss him, reeling, into hours after hours of two lives that clash together, leaving his head too full and heavy with exhaustion. Fights and running wrapped in ten-minute breaks, then off he goes again, saving and fixing with shaky hands. Still—at night he finds himself lying stiffly on his back, wide-open eyes glued to the ceiling. Amy shifts beside him, struggles in the grasp of some dream that takes her very far away.
They never actually talk about it—Melody, or Amy's dreams, and thoughts, or his own, or that subtle, terrifying manner she has of drifting away, moving from him inch after inch, instants of silence adding up like a countdown. Every moment when it's just the two of them feels more and more strained, until she just doesn't seem to ever see the two of them, Amy and Rory anymore: she sees failure and victim, reads his pain and twists it into wrong assumptions, shies away from acknowledging their issues. She wants to give him a baby—and if he wants it too, just not like this. He wants her, first and most of all, and doesn't quite know how to express that. The pressure mounts and desperation runs wild, until it explodes, blasts them apart. All the silent scars, all the suffering they've never shared have constructed walls of misunderstanding between them, and he is too small, too tired to take them down.
The Ponds, he thinks tiredly—the Ponds, perhaps, existed nowhere but in the Doctor's fairyland. He is Rory Williams, no daughter and soon no more wife; he's lived too long for his weary heart, and he can't even bring himself to regret any of it.
In the end, he is a thing again, an anachronism, killing what he loves.