After

Simon grabbed River's arms, holding her down as she screamed and thrashed, her eyes closed as she relived her memories of the Academy.

Slowly she relaxed, her eyes opening. When she saw Simon, a bruise already forming on his cheek, she started to cry, tears streaming down her face as she laid a tentative hand on the purple blotch.

"I hurt you," she sobbed. "I'm sorry, didn't mean to." Simon pulled her onto his lap, hugging her to him.

"It's not your fault," he told her. River just kept crying.

"She's broken, can't help it. Two by two, hands of blue. Make me hurt people, make me broken. I hurt people, it is my fault. Bad River, bad."

And all the time, while River is screaming in her sleep, or slashing knives at Jayne, or simply crying because she threw up on his bed, all Simon can think is no, it's my fault because I can't fix you. I promised, I gave it everything, and it still wasn't enough to keep you safe.

But he doesn't tell her this, because she would start crying and blame herself for being hurt and taking him away from his life. He tries to tell her she is his life. But she doesn't listen. Because she's broken.

And it's his fault, because he can't fix her.