|Love and Hate
Author: nlduffy PM
A bit of River and Simon fluff found lurking on my hard drive. Enjoy!Rated: Fiction K - English - Sci-Fi - River & Simon - Words: 1,029 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-07-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3580455
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
-1Needles everywhere. Everywhere she looked, every way she turned, men with needles advanced on her, hypodermic syringes full of nightmares. She turned to run, but a blue hand grabbed her wrist. She wasn't going to go back there, not again. She screamed, and awoke in her tiny cabin onboard Serenity, dripping sweat. She held up one shaking hand to the weak light that streamed in under her door. If she looked closely enough, she could still see the minute pinprick scars where countless needles had violated the tender skin of her wrists.
Down the hall, the rest of Serenity's crew was setting down to a peaceful dinner. Nobody seemed aware that alone in her bedroom, River Tam was crying. Simon Tam, carefully rolling up his sleeves, picked up his knife and proceeded to cut into his dinner with surgical precision. He had been a great surgeon once, the prodigy of the Central Planets. Now here he was, a medic working with substandard equipment on a second-rate smuggling ship held together with prayers and twine.
If someone asked Simon why he chose this life, he couldn't say outright. He might state professional unhappiness, or a long unfulfilled quest for adventure. But down beneath his extensive education and professional demeanor, he knew why. Love. Love embodied in the fragile body of his little sister, peacefully sleeping down the hall.
His mei-mei, his brilliant, graceful, beautiful sister. Like the Ophelia from Earth-That-Was, River had been driven mad by love. Motivated by love, their parents had sent her into the arms of the devil himself. They shattered her soul, broke her brilliant mind into iridescent shards. Simon didn't care about that, she was still his sister and would always be.
When he first gathered from her bizarre letters that something horribly, horribly wrong was happening to her, he could have kicked himself. He wasn't smart enough, talented enough, brave enough to save her from this beast. But he could try. Motivated by love, the only emotion that could save them now, he tried everything.
Seeing her again, restrained to a chair, screaming with needles intruding into her perfect brain, the scene had broken his heart. He took her from the butchers and promised to himself that he would fix her. She was broken because of him, he would fix her.
He knew now that fixing River was impossible. She wasn't broken. She was confused sometimes, yes, but so was everyone. Mal, Zoë, Wash, even Serenity often seemed to not be quite sure what they were doing. Surely that wasn't a crime. She was still his perfect sister, it was the rest of the world that had crumbled to dust around her.
Lost in his thoughts, Simon had allowed the knife to slip from his grasp onto the surface of the table. Kaylee looked over at him worried. "Everythin' alright, Doctor?" She asked, looking concernedly over across her own plate. Simon, jerked back to reality, nodded slowly.
"I'd better check on River." With that he got up, and, grabbing the plate of food that had been placed at River's customary seat, headed over into the guest quarters. Watching him go, the crew stopped their idle banter momentarily to watch their medic's retreating back. "Them two's strange." Jayne remarked, spearing a chunk of ration bar with his knife point.
River looked up, wild-eyed as the door to her room rolled open. "No!" she shrieked, flinging a pillow at the figure in the entrance and diving beneath her blankets. "No more needles, no more tests, NO!" It took Simon less than five seconds to set down the plate of food and make his way to River's side.
"Shhh, mei-mei. No more tests, I promise. No one will hurt you here." He located River's hand under the blankets and stroked it reassuringly. "No one will hurt you when I'm around." He might have failed her once, but he will never fail her again.
River, calmed by her brother's reassuring presence, peeked out from under the blanket. "You hate me." She accused, curling her legs up into a fetal position. She knew it, she could sense it in his constant frustration with Serenity and its crew, could see it in his eyes whenever she upset the fragile balance he had been trying to create. "You wish I'd never been." She began to cry, her thin frame pulsing with tiny sobs.
Simon pulled his sister's quaking frame into a big bear hug, stroking her hair with his free hand. "No, River. The day you were born was the greatest day of my life." He pushed the tangled mass of her hair out of her face, and looked deep into her haunted eyes. "I knew the moment I first saw you that you'd be more than my sister. I knew right from the start that you were my best friend."
River's sobs began to subside, as she looked back into her brother's face. He was smiling, even as he took out a handkerchief and began to wipe the dirt and tears off of her face. She relaxed a little. For now at least, Simon loved her.
"Do you remember what your first word was?" Simon asked, stuffing the handkerchief haphazardly back into his vest pocket. "It was Simon. Complete and clear, no baby talk. Mother and Father were devastated." He laughed a little, remembering the look of amazement on his mother's face when baby River toddled her first steps, away from her maternal embrace towards the rug where he had been playing with his dinosaurs. "If you had 'never been' I would have been incomplete for the rest of my life. My darling, precious sister."
For the first time since her rescue from the Academy, River began to cry happy tears. Sobbing joyfully she flung her arms joyfully around his neck, and clung to him. It didn't matter anymore that they could never see their parents again, could never visit their childhood manor. Wherever Simon was, River could call it home.