Sister

The day they took you was clear and cold and bright. A gentle breeze blew through the ruffles of your skirt and caught in your dark brown hair, teasing tendrils of it loose to flutter against the pale blue sky. Our parents and I walked you down the spaceport runway where the Academy had sent a private luxury shuttle to pick you up, your smile nervous but excited, promise shining in your eyes, dancing with light. I was so happy for you that day, so proud, a feeling that had been swelling in my chest ever since your acceptance letter had arrived in the mail—you'll recall all of the jumping around and squealing that we both did, to my eternal embarrassment—but that morning, when I saw the spacecraft crouched at the end of the runway, sleek and white, like some great bird that had come to whisk you away, my heart was in my throat, choking me, and I could not speak.

I didn't want you to go. Yet I'd always known that the day would come, that in the great cosmic order of things, you were destined for something bigger, better, more fantastic than I was. While I was becoming what our father had always wanted me to be—a respectable doctor with the best education money could buy—you would be off uniting the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics, or discovering alien life in unknown star systems, where translucent blue-skinned beings would kneel at your feet and worship you as the goddess you are. While I was fated to squander my life away on the neat, orderly existence that Father had selected for me, you would transcend time and space.

I helped you carry your bags to the shuttle. Although you insisted you were perfectly capable of carrying your own luggage, I wanted to do something to make myself feel like I was still useful to you, if only for a little while longer, but the escort refused to let me into the craft itself and took over my task. Mom and Dad and I said our goodbyes. You held me the tightest, and the longest. I picked you up and swung you around in a circle, for old times' sake, the polite, impatient stares of those around us fading away as you giggled while your feet skimmed the ground. My eyes stung as I whispered three words into your soft brown hair. Armouring yourself with a brave smile of hope and innocence, you replied, "See you soon."

"Right," I said. I smiled, too, though it was fake. A quick kiss on the cheek and you were gone, mounting the stairs to the spacecraft, disappearing behind a sliding white hatch.

I watched the white craft lift up, with the scream of its engine piercing my eardrums as I observed from a not-so-safe distance, dust and debris gusting around me. Mom and Dad shouted at me to get back, that it was time to go. I didn't listen, thinking about how I was probably going to get my suit dirty and what a tragedy this would be.

I watched it hover, for a moment, turning, turning, suspended in the washed-out blue sky, imagined the white creature unfurling its great wings, preparing to fly, with you in its belly.

I watched it shoot off, disappearing into that blue sky in less time than it took to blink, fading into the proverbial ether, stood there, staring, long after it was gone.

Our parents looked at me strangely when I finally trudged back to where they were waiting by the car. "Simon?" Mother asked questioningly. I shook my head, looking down.

"I'm fine," I lied.

I got into the car. Listened to the compulsory lecture from Mom about getting my suit dirty. Said nothing.

Sister. Do you know what that word means, to me? It means I will always protect you. I will always be there for you, whether you have need for me or not. And no matter what happens—no matter what befalls you or I, no matter if the stars shake loose from the sky and come crashing down upon our heads—I will never, ever stop loving you. Whether you're dancing through a nebula or conversing with a dying star, remember that, River. Always remember that…

The next time I saw you, you were wild-eyed and shrieking, your fingernails chewed down to stubs and caked with blood.


Author's note: Huzzah, my first Firefly fanfic. I just finished watching the series (though not the movie, yet), perused the archives (well more like scanned...glanced, really...) and have officially decided that THIS FANDOM NEEDS MORE SIMON AND RIVER SIBLING CUTENESS. And angst. Can't forget the angst.

For those of you who are totally confused (hopefully not too many of you or I just alienated everyone, yay), this is a second-person ficlet told from Simon's point of view, addressing River—the same style people use when writing letters to each other.

So, yeah. Let me know what you think.