Fandom: The Chronicles of Riddick/Firefly crossover
Character(s): Simon, River, Riddick
Summary: "After all these years watching over you, do you think I'd abandon him? Or Mal can name him. Surely it's safer to be a Reynolds than a Tam."
Length: ~1596 words
Disclaimer: I don't know you. You don't know me. Let's keep it that way. There is also a quote from Romeo and Juliet, which is the property of whoever controls the Shakespeare estate.
Author's Notes: Technically my first foray into the Pitch Black/TCoR fandom, and only my second into Firefly. I was most definitely inspired by other TCoR/Firefly crossers (and as soon as I remember who they are, I will list them). Oh and this is unbeta'd, which I'm sure you'll notice quickly.
AN2: takes place a number of years after The Movie.
"Have you decided on a name?" Simon's eyes studied his sister studying her new, sleepy son. He knew he couldn't tear his eyes away.
"No," she said as she counted her son's toes.
Simon was startled. He wasn't the only one. That no had been echoed. Simon looked up and at the man standing on the other side of the bed.
"Not mine to give."
But he was staring at River and the newborn with more determination than even Simon had.
"In a time that once was, fathers gave children names," she explained patiently when the silence dragged on too long. She traced the newborn's finely wrinkled features with her forefinger. "It was fathers who named children and accepted them, or left them nameless and exposed."
"Just name the kid whatever you want, River," the big man rumbled with a shrug. Simon's eyes flicked between River and...him as the silence stretched again. River studied her son. He studied River. And Simon watched them both, feeling like a voyeur. "Ain't times that was, now."
"And yet fathers still leave their children nameless and exposed." River was finally looking at him and he at her.
Simon was staring at his sister, heart clenched as if by a fist. His sister knew all about being nameless and exposed, didn't she? The Tam name was a curse to them now. And Kaylee had wondered why he'd insisted she legally remain a Fry. They'd be better off taking Mal's name. Or the universal name of the orphaned and fatherless: Starborn. Or for River to take his name at least. He didn't have the Alliance after him, just mercs looking for a payday.
Simon's forced his fingers out of their fists. They had come to trust this man, this...Riddick in spite of his past and the bounty on his head. They had trusted him even as he'd courted River's affections. Yes, he'd been even more careful of River than either Mal or Simon himself. Yet the minute he'd learned that River was pregnant he'd run. He'd always taken side jobs that didn't involve the crew, but suddenly he was out of contact for weeks at a time instead of a day or two. When he returned it was as a bruised and even more silent version of himself. One that was even more protective of River. Simon counted them all lucky that the man was on the ship when River went into labor and that he, Simon, had been allowed to attend his sister.
They continued to stare each other, River and Riddick, until River drew her son from her chest. She placed him on the sheet in the space between her knees. And with sure, deft fingers, she unwrapped him.
"River!" Simon cried.
Startled by the cold, the sleeping newborn began to cough and whimper, his limbs flailing in the air.
"River!" Simon said more sharply. He started forward. "What are you do--"
He was speared by River's eyes on his. "What are you even doing here?"
"I'm sorry. I thought I was your doctor," he snarled. It had not been an easy or quick delivery. His sister was very small. "And your brother."
The newborn began to wail. "This is a matter between the birth mother, his biological father and their offspring. This child must be named," she said scathingly.
"Well I'm his biological uncle!" Simon bent over and swept his crying nephew up into his arms, blanket and all. Cradling the distraught newborn close, Simon took a deep breath and focused on River. "You don't need him, mei mei," he said calmly, despite his nephew wailing in his ear. "Haven't I been—"
"You've been better than ten fathers, Simon," she said earnestly. "But it should not have been so. Our father should have been our father, but he lied to himself. He told himself that he was protecting us. He was protecting himself, and Mother and everyone like them."
Not 'us,' he noticed. Them.
"That man—" She pointed at Riddick even though she was still looking at Simon. "—will not be so deluded. If he refuses this man-child his name and protection then it is refused with two eyes, two ears and no chest."
Simon closed his eyes. He wanted to swear, but his nephew's beginning was proving to be inauspicious enough. His nephew continued to wail. Simon wanted to try his hand at that, too. When he opened his eyes, River was still looking at him and still pointing at Riddick. Who was silent as death. "This child must be named, Simon. He must be accepted and covered. Or not."
"Then I'll name him." Simon continued to stroke his nephew's sparse hair. Anything to give him some form of peace and soothe his crying.
"Yes! River! He's my nephew. After all these years watching over you, do you think I'd abandon your son? Or Mal can name him. Surely it's safer to be a Reynolds than a Tam. Or we can name him Starborn if you want to. Just, River, don't get caught up—"
"Simon! You boob! You don't understand."
"Take the kid, River."
Simon's eyes shot over to Riddick. "Clearly he doesn't like your brother. Take the kid back."
Drawing her knees up to her chest, River wrapped her arms around herself and tucked her head into the space she had created. "No."
"River," the big man rumbled.
"River, much as this pains me to say, Riddick is right. Take your son. He needs you."
"He needs a name. He needs a place. He needs to know who he belongs to. This woman cannot not accept that child until this man makes a decision. This is important, Simon."
"River!" Simon shouted. "This is ridiculous. He belongs to us. He belongs to Serenity!" Disgusted, Simon turned from his sister. He'd take his nephew to Kaylee and they'd watch him while River and Riddick figured it out. The only one suffering here was an hours old newborn. Kaylee, at least, would be ecstatic. After years of trying, they still didn't have any children of their own.
Hastily re-wrapping the newborn in his swaddling, Simon ignored his, yes, crazy sister and her even more insane counterpart as he headed for the door. River was physically stable and Riddick was healthy as a horse. It was his youngest patient that needed him now.
"Give me the kid, Simon."
Half-way out the med doors, Simon stopped. He shook his head. "She won't take him." River hadn't been this bad in years and years and years. Would she be stable enough to raise her son at all? He wasn't the only one crying now. "I'm going to take him to Kaylee. He'll be fine. She has a dozen siblings back—"
"Give me the kid, Simon."
Simon turned slowly on his heel, suddenly very wary and very tired—a bad combination. He knew Serenity almost better than he knew the layout of his lab, but if he was tired he might do something stupid like stumble and drop his nephew. And if he had to run from Riddick… But that was an insane thought. Wasn't it?
River was still crying. His nephew's wails had never stopped. "Give me my son, Simon."
And Riddick was looking at Simon with his goggles off, mercurial eyes shaded from the bright overhead lights by his own shadow.
Simon stepped forward and slowly, reluctantly, handed the newborn to the bulky man. He hovered over them. It wasn't possible, it couldn't be possible, but would Riddick really hurt his own child just to—
Simon's breath caught in his throat, along with his rising paranoia. River looked up from her arms. The child hiccupped on an aborted wail.
"His name is Winter."
"That's a bleak name," Simon murmured, staring at the tableau father and son made. The newborn only had eyes for Riddick—and Riddick only for his son.
Simon jumped as River suddenly reached for her son. He hadn't seen her slip off the bed and cross the distance between them. She traced a line down her son's wrinkled forehead and stroked his cheeks. "Not bleak. There's life in winter. Only it's slow and quiet. Restrained. Waiting." Then she placed her hand on Riddick's arm. " 'Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet.'"
"Can't do that, River."
She kissed his arm. Then she kissed her son, taking him from his father. "You already have," she said, though she was looking at their son. She meandered back to the bed. "Winter, my Winter. My quiet snowfall, my patiently wailing snowstorm. Trickster and promise-keeper. How you twist your father around the smallest curl of your smallest hair already. Teach me the trick of it, and you will forever make this, your mother, grateful. And in exchange I will teach you how to kill with your mind."
Riddick helped her up on the bed without being prompted.
Shaking himself, Simon started forward. "Let me check his vitals."
"No need," River said conversationally. "He's just hungry." She began to undo the top of her hospital gown.
Simon spun around. He'd already seen a lot more of his sister in the last eighteen hours than he'd ever wanted. "Uh, well, that being the case I'll…I'll, uh, let the Captain know that his newest passenger is one Winter Tam."
Simon dared to glance over his shoulder, but luckily the man in question was blocking the view of his sister breastfeeding her newborn son. He too was looking over his shoulder, but just a glance. "Winter S. Riddick."
Simon nodded. "And the S? Or is it just…there?"
"Serenity... Simon…" He looked away from Simon, looked down at River and Winter. "A letter there to round things out. Take your pick."
Nodding, Simon left the room. And the parents with their son.