"When this is all over, I'll be able to help you," Simon said. "I'll be able to make the nightmares go away." But he wasn't. He just found new drugs to pump into my system, new ways to dope me. After that terrifying ordeal, after making it, miraculously, out of the Ariel City Hospital in one piece, Simon still couldn't stop my nightmares. All he discovered were new ways to put me to sleep, new ways to dull the pain of the nightmares.

"No, mei mei," he said. "It's time to wake up." But he was wrong. I didn't wake up then. It happened many months later, when the secret I'd been holding in for so long finally managed to push it's way to the surface of my conscious mind. Strangely enough, it took a Fruity Oaty Bar commercial to bring me out of the daze I'd been in since my escape from the Academy. Of all the possible triggers, they had to choose that. It's almost insulting. Not to mention the safe word! 'It's enough to make the hens laugh'? Fine, call me ridiculous, but at least use something with more meaning to knock me out after you trigger a murderous rage.

I'm very glad I can no longer be triggered, at any rate. Simon and I did a little experiment a while back. I had him stand by while I watched that commercial again, ready with the safe word in case I did lose control. Nothing happened, though, so we feel safe assuming it was a one-time trigger. I feel much more in control of my life now. I suppose it helps that I've regained some semblance of sanity, as well. Ever since the Miranda situation was resolved, I've had more lucid days than not.

I wonder if the relative stability of my 'family', the crew of Serenity, has anything to do with that. The loss of Shepherd Book and Wash hurt me just as badly as anyone else, except of course Zoƫ. Since then, though, things have settled down into the regular ebb and flow of crime and avoiding the Alliance. Or maybe it's that Simon and I aren't wanted people anymore. We're not fugitives. We can go dirtside anytime Serenity sets down without fear of being picked up by some enterprising bounty hunter.

Speaking of bounty hunters, what was the deal with Early? People called me crazy. Right. Aside from my awakening during the Miranda incident, I think that was the defining point in my relationship with the other members of the crew. After I took care of Jubal Early, the others really began to see me as a person, instead of just Simon's crazy sister. I don't know that the trusted me any better, but at least they saw me. That may have been the true beginning of my path to sanity and recovery.

Yes, Simon was wrong on and after Ariel. Yes, it took longer than he expected for me to 'wake up'. Yes, his idea of what it would take to bring me out of my daze was wrong. But he tried, he really did. He cared for me more in that year or so between my rescue and Miranda than our parents had in the fourteen years I lived with them. I will always be grateful to him for that.