Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
"Jack and Jill went up the hill," River sang softly, the words echoing in the cargo bay. "To fetch a pail of water."
She bends down, prodding Simon's face with her fingertips. He's so still, so white. A large purple bruise covers his forehead, already a spectacular shade of purple.
"Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after." Simon doesn't move or smile, there is nothing to suggest that he heard her words at all.
She pokes him harder, waiting for him to wake up and finish the poem, like he has done for her ever since she was little. Two parts, two pieces of the same whole.
Hands pull her backwards, away from Simon and Jack and Jill. She struggles away, tears blurring her eyes, and prods him again, her fingernail leaving a crescent moon on his cheek.
"Jack and Jill went up the hill," she repeats desperately, waiting waiting waiting for Simon to open his eyes and smile, smile at her and the crew and the world.
More hands, more fingers, but she shoves them away and curls up beside him, nestling her cheek into his shirt. It smells like him; cotton and lemon and antiseptic. She smiles and edges closer.
He's waiting, listening for the time when her words end and his begin.
"To fetch a pail of water." They walk away, footsteps dashing up metal stairs and down corridors, away away away.
It's a good thing; the words have always been their thing, not to be shared with outsiders.
She presses closer to Simon, imagining his arms around her, protecting and warm and loving.
"Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after." She waits, but he doesn't respond. She lifts her head to look at him, but he doesn't meet her gaze, too busy looking at the other wall.
She pauses, studies the wall pattern, and decides Simon must be counting the holes in the grids and constructing pictures out of them. It is something she does often, to pass the time.
But now he has missed the words, and she will have to start again. She sticks her tongue out at him and puts her cheek back onto his shoulder.
"Jack and Jill went up the hill…"