Memories of Dancing

A fanfiction about my favorite Serenity/Firefly character.

Disclaimer: As we say on "Joss is boss." His characters are merely my puppets... although I don't really like thinking of River as my puppet, she's had enough people controling her. Gorram Alliance, screwing around with her mind.

River was lying down on the couch, facing the back of it. She was partially curled up, her head resting on her arm as her eyes stared impassively at the tips of her fingers. Simon rushed past her carrying a kit of medical supplies, causing the hem of her wispy, dark brown skirt to flutter briefly. Simon hesitated before he reached the steps and turned to look back at his motionless sister.

"River, are you alright?"

"No." She replied, her tone tinged with annoyance.

"Can you tell me what's wrong?" He coaxed. River did not respond. An unanswered question was gnawing at her brain, brewing frustration. Simon crossed the room and sat down on the side of the couch where her pale feet were stretched out. He put his hand gently on her shoulder, and for a moment River felt comfortable enough to explain what was on her mind. She couldn't tell him the horrors of the past two years at the Academy, at least not yet. But she could try to make him understand her current dilemma.

"They left a leaf." She mumbled.

"What?" Simon asked incredulously.

"They cut all the leaves off the trees, but they left one. Why did they do it? They want me to forget who I was, but the leaf... it was the color of the dress for the dance recital. Remember?" As Simon thought back to their childhood on Osiris, his thoughts flooded into River's vulnerable mind.

"No, silly, my dress was gold, not kelly green." She propped herself up with her elbow, beaming. More than a hint of madness could be detected in her smile.

"I don't understand. What about the leaf?" Her brother watched as her expression quickly changed to frightened and bewildered.

"Was it invisible? Or was it unimportant? Such distractions are not beneficial in... the... situations. I'm not blind. I see the eyes in the wall..." Simon took her trembling hands in his and spoke to her soothingly until she calmed down.

"If you don't want to talk about it, it's okay." River looked up at him in suprise, then shook her head.

"They let me keep it. Wouldn't let me hold it in my hand, but it was there with me." She whispered.

"The leaf?" River's foot twitched anxiously, and she swung her legs over the front of the couch, crossing them in one graceful movement.

"The memory. They let me remember how to dance."