Browncoat alias: nopowerintheverse
Disclaimer: Don't own it. Don't sue. No money.
Rating: PG for eh... language and elements
Notes: My first Firefly fanfic!!! Be gentle...
Summary: Post- "Objects in Space", River talks to some of the crew.
Jayne is bending over an open crate, sifting through it, looking to scrounge some food before supper. "Just stop right there," he says, not bothering even to look up. River stops right behind him. He casually gets up, munching on some kind of protein granola bar and smirks triumphantly at the girl. "Thought you could sneak up on me. Well, moon brain, can't scare me none."
"Don't want them to know that you care," River says. A tiny smile plays at the corners of her mouth, "Rough and gruff. Guard Dog, good boy."
Jayne glares at her, "Stop that gorram crazy talk. Or I'm gonna make sure you never open that ruttin' mouth of yours again."
"Weren't always so tough," River continues. "Had a mother and a sister, cousin and stepfather. He died." Jayne tries to step around River, but she stands firms, "You're the man of the house now Jayney."
"Don't call me that!" Jayne yells, slightly startled at the use of the old pet name. "My mother calls me that."
"Had to take care of them. But sister got sick. Please don't die, Betty. Have to be strong. She slipped away in the night. Mother was so sad that she sent you away. To brother's house. He was mean. Shaped you, told you what it meant to be a man." She pokes him hard in the chest, causing him to step back, "Don't cry! Cryin's for sissies, you ben zhou hun dan." River continues to advance on Jayne, pushing him, making him stumble over crates and he falls on a chair.
"That's right, cry. Cry like a little girl. Qi ying," River spits on the now shaken Jayne. He makes no movement to grab her or push her away, or even wipe the spit from his face. He just stares up at her. She steps back and lowers her head, "Got angry, too angry. Took his gun... took his gun. He kept calling names. Sissy! Baby! Mama's boy! Closed your eyes... closed your eyes and..." She jumps forward, "bam!" She claps her hands together, startling Jayne. He blinks then goes back to gaping at her as she continues. "Then you ran... ran so far so fast that you got lost. First ship to the farthest planet. And you worked. Worked hard, got tough, got mean, but you still care about what they all think of you. People confuse you, too many different roles and no one with a nametag..."
Jayne gets to his feet, determined not to let River get to him, even though she has already succeeded. He stands over her, best menacing face on, "You shut your mouth and quit pokin' around my brain, y'hear? Else I'll... I'll..."
"I have no time for your idle threats," she tells him loftily. She pats him on the shoulder, "Stick to being a guard dog. It works for you."
He glowers at her for a moment before stepping around her and walking away.
"Oh..." River calls, not turning to face him as he does, "you didn't kill him."
"Hello River," Book says good-naturedly as he passes her on the way to his quarters.
Book stops, "For what, child?"
River looks away, "She was very beautiful."
"You held her close in your arms and kissed her. Then you vowed revenge."
River holds up her hand, "You knew much about the government, too much. So you walked away and they punished you for it. So you continued to make a name for yourself. Towards the end you had enough. You took information with you and left. Went to absolve your sins... You're still paying for them."
Book was quiet for a moment, he didn't meet River's eyes.
"Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?" She smiles, "Corinthians 10:29," River tells him.
"Everyone sins River, people aren't perfect," he says carefully. "Not even a Shepard."
"Weren't always a Shepard, sir," she tells him. "Were a man in love once."
"Once is sometimes enough," he says, softly.
"So tell me what you want to," she says to him.
Book looks down at her and opens his bible. He flips to the passage he wants and reads softly. His voice not ready to be used for this, but he reads anyways, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
River tilts her head, "Does it make sense?"
"It depends on what you believe," he tells her.
"Or what you learn," River says.
Book accepts this and nods, "Good night child."
"Good night Shepard," she says as she walks away. "1 Corinthians 2:4-5," she calls out, making him smile.
"Come in," Inara calls, not sure who it was but knowing who it wasn't. The person at the door of her shuttle was definitely not Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the ship Serenity. No, the hem ga tsan didn't have the courtesy to knock. Nor was it Shepard Book, she knew him by the way he walked. She could hear his careful and meticulous footsteps, mainly because he read his bible while he walked. It wouldn't have been Wash either, he would've just called her on the comm. Zoe probably would've done the same as her husband, she rarely ever came into the companion's shuttle and the two ever only talked over tea in the galley. She had just seen Kaylee in the common area. That left one of two people, the Tam siblings. Both would knock, because they were raised with a certain decorum, but why either of them would come is a mystery.
To Inara's slight surprise, River pokes her head in. "River, hello," Inara greets her kindly and gently.
River walks into her luxuriously ornamented living area, "Hello."
"How are you, sweetie?" Inara asks as River floats around the shuttle.
River stops and runs her fingers over a silk draping, "Could be better, have been worse." She smiles, "Simon's trying to fix me."
Inara nods, "Oh, I see. Did you need anything?"
River turns to face the beautiful woman, "bu ci er bie," she says.
"I'm sorry, what?" Inara asks, not sure of what she heard right.
"That's what you're going to do."
"He tried to tell you. How he felt, but you didn't let him. You don't want to admit anything, because than you'd have to open yourself to him," River grins, "Kind of a silly thing for a companion to worry about." Inara's cheeks tinge red as River continues. "You'll have to tell him what you're running from. Who you left behind and why. Afraid that he won't understand and stop loving you even though you're not sure if he really does."
Inara swallows, her eyes glisten in the dim light, "River please..."
"Don't worry, I won't tell. But you should," River leans over and kisses the top of Inara's head, then exits the shuttle, leaving Inara bewildered.
"Jesus! Ai ya wu di ma..." Mal overdramatically clutches his chest. "River, don't be sneakin' around like that. Nearly gave me a heart attack." Mal had just turned the corner on his way to his quarters when he nearly ran right into River who was standing in his way.
"Mom died," she repeats.
He cocks his head as if he didn't hear her right, "What's that now?"
"That's what the letter said."
"You shouldn't go readin' other people's things now. It's not polite." Mal knew that she couldn't have read the letter, not when he had folded it up and stuffed it in his boot right after reading it. He didn't want to say out loud exactly what he knew she did. He was the only one who truly believed that River had a second sight. Everyone else dismissed it, but were still wary of the girl.
She rolls her eyes, "Should have told someone. Would have been better than keeping it inside and later shouting at Jayne for no reason."
"I had reason," Mal insists. "He left his weights in the middle of the room and I tripped over them."
"It was weighing on you, that's why you tripped over them."
Mal sighs at her cryptic message. He's gotten used to them by now, but that didn't make them any less creepy. "Yeah, yeah. Hey, isn't your brother supposed to be watching you or something?"
"I'll be with him in a moment," she says nonchalantly. She looks down, "She took real good care of you."
"That she did."
"Wish you would've gotten the message earlier. Been able to be there by her side. Tell her that you loved her. She was a good mother and a damn fine woman," she says in Mal's tone of voice, "Did everything she could to give you a good childhood." River holds her hands over her heart and smiles at Mal lovingly. "My Mal. My xiao zang gui. You're gonna leave me one day." The girl shakes her head, "No Mama. Never." She nods, "Yes you will, you go and you make me proud."
Mal's eyes water at the memory of his mother's voice saying those words to him. He blinks away the tears. "Don't..."
River dropped her guise, "It wouldn't have made a difference."
"Yes it would've."
"No it wouldn't have."
"Yes!" Mal shouts. He clenches his fists and sets his jaw, "It would have."
"Then why don't you tell her before she goes away." Mal relaxes slightly and frowns. "What?"
"Tell her before she leaves. It'll make a difference," River tells him, looking him in the eyes before turning and walking away. Mal stares blankly after her.
"River, where were you?" Simon asks when he sees her walk up to the entrance of the infirmary. She doesn't go in, still not ready to open that door yet. Instead, she hovers in the doorway, watching him meticulously organize the room.
"The Captain wanted to see me," she tells him, a slight edge of authority in her voice.
"Really?" Simon asks dubiously, eyeing her. "What'd he want?"
"To have me tell him what he needed to hear," she says simply. Simon frowns. His sister's cryptic messages didn't unnerve him like they did most of the crew. And unlike the rest of the crew, he didn't think that she was a psychic or a witch or whatever their superstitions were. She was just his sister, his beautiful, gifted baby sister. That's what she had always been. He turns back to what he was doing before she came, "Did you talk to Kaylee?"
She shakes her head, "Only talked to the people who needed to hear."
Simon nods absently, "Mmm-hmm," he murmurs, filling a syringe with a pale blue liquid.
"You should talk to Kaylee," she tells him.
He turns back to face her and smiles faintly, "I will, later. Now, I've been looking over the data I got from the hospital on Ariel. I think I have the right medicine. It's stronger, than the last one, it'll probably make you sick to your stomach again, but it'll be better."
"No more medicine," she says.
"Mei-mei, this will make you better," Simon insists.
She shakes her head, bottom lip trembling and face twisting in pain. "No more medicine, no more needles, no more machines. No one else is in here, just River. She'll be good, she promises. No more talking..."
Simon forces back the lump in his throat. He shakes his head, "I know. No more talking. The medicine will help that."
"No!" River shouts. "You don't know. They didn't open up your skull and mess with your brain!" She sits on the cold floor of the hallway, pulling her knees to her chest and begins to cry.
Simon puts the syringe down and crawls over to where River is rocking back and forth, "No, they didn't. But I wish they did because it would've been easier than seeing the result of what they did to you." He brushes back a piece of her hair, "I will find who did this to you. And I'm... I'm going to make them pay for it."
River looks up at her older brother and smiles, "You're a good brother."
"Well, you're a good sister."
"Not all the time," she tells him.
"No," Simon laughs, "definitely not all the time. "But that's okay. It makes it interesting."
"You wonder what if."
"No, I don't... well, sometimes," Simon confesses. "But that's the past, all we have is the future."
"Nine lives intersecting to continue on a common road," River says softly. "We'll see who gets off first."
"You're not who you were and you can never be her again. You're different now. They opened up a part of your mind that you weren't ready for. And they killed her. You'll get better but you'll never be the same. But you'll be whole again, don't worry about that. And you'll always blame yourself for what he did for you. You just have to remember that this is where you're both supposed to be. You need to be with these people. All of them good. It's more apparent in some than others. Smile, it's okay, and laugh too. Don't feel bad for knowing their secrets. Someone needs to keep an eye on this crew, River. And I can't do it alone."
River closes her eyes and smiles in her bed. "Wan an zuo ge hao meng, Serenity."
ben zhou hun dan: stupid bastard
Qi ying: abandoned baby
bu ci er bie: leave without saying good-bye
hem ga tsan: good-for-nothing person
Ai ya wu di ma: damn mother of god
xiao zang gui: dirty little monster (it's a term of endearment)
mei-mei: little sister
Wan an zuo ge hao meng: good night/sweet dreams