Title: Tales of a Would-be Hostage
Chapter: 1/??
Author: thefalloficarus at livejournal
Characters: This chapter: young Kaylee, Simon, and River
Spoilers/Warnings: Completely Alternate Universe. River never went to the Academy, certain characters have WAY different backgrounds.

Note: plot bunny passed on to me by lj user whitemoonflower. Sorry I've forgotten to credit you till now, and thank you so much for sharing this idea with me!
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Prologue: The Younger Years

Kaylee and River giggled, sifting through the small notebook they'd found tucked between Simon's mattresses. River had known right where it was, and Kaylee had accused River of being psychic, but really, it was just that River knew her brother far too well and this was the obvious place for his secret thoughts. As brilliant as Simon was, he never seemed to grasp the craftiness of a little sister and her best friend.

River laughed turning the page and read aloud. "I met a rather lovely girl today that shares my interest in medicine. Her name is Hannah and I hope ever so much that I get to see her again." River said, affecting a deeper, slightly nasally tone, mocking her brother.

"What a goon." She said, returning to her normal voice. "Honestly, how does he expect to find a girlfriend if he goes around saying 'I hope ever so much...'?" River asked Kaylee, handing her the journal.

"I don't know," Kaylee replied, looking over the entry with an odd look on her face, "Maybe he just likes being proper." She said with a laugh, and then paused. "Do you think Hannah's real pretty?" She asked.

River distorted her face, looking both perplexed and startled. "Why?" Then after a moment, her jaw dropped and she squealed, "You don't have a crush on Simon, do you?"

Kaylee's cheeks flushed and she smacked the younger girl's arm with Simon's journal, covering her embarrassment with indignation. "Of course not!" She said. "It's just that Simon's so much older, and the girls he knows must be so sophisticated." Kaylee said, her expression lost and dreamy. "I can't wait till we're older, and we get ready for academy, and meet all those boys."

River's face scrunched with disgust and she stuck out her tongue. "The only boy I need in my life is Simon, and I already have him so who cares about all the others." River said, shaking his head.

"Kaywinnet Lee Frye!" Came a booming voice from the hallway, and through the door came Kaylee's mother, the Tam's housekeeper/ au pair. "What are you doing in young Simon's room?" Both girls gasped and Kaylee tossed Simon's journal at River as if it were a piece of hot coal. "And Miss River, hasn't your brother told you to keep out of his personals?" Mrs. Frye admonished.

"Sorry." Both girls said in unison, looking down guiltily. Standing the two girls allowed themselves to be ushered out of Simon's room, though River, ever the mischievous little girl marched out still holding Simon's journal.

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Later that night after supper, River sat in her room, playing make-believe on her bed when Simon burst into the room. Her eyes lit up at the thought that he'd come to play with her, but she quickly realized this was not a social visit.

"Give me back my journal." He declared, his hand already out waiting for his stolen property.

"Oh Simon." River sighed, shaking her head. "It's not like it was very interesting. Kaylee and I just wanted to see what you wrote about." She said, handing over the pilfered object.

"Kaylee?" Simon declared, mortified. "You let Kaylee read it?!"

"No dunderhead, I merely said her name in context to the crime to shift the blame from myself." She said, looking at him innocently, causing Simon to shake his head. He wondered if he had been this obnoxious when he was River's age and he reasoned he could never have been, and finally he sighed..

"Don't read my journal with Kaylee." He said. "Please River, it's embarrassing."

"Fine." River said sullenly, turning away from him, lying on her stomach, feet swinging in the air. "I'll just read it and tell her about it later."

Simon glared at his sister for a moment and then shot back, "Sometimes you're such a brat."

River laughed, and shook her head, and watched Simon leave, calling after him, "After you try and hide that again come back and play soldiers with me." Then flopped her head down on her pillow, knowing that in a few minutes he'd come.