Hello! I just want to apologise to any of you who are following my story 'goodbye' about the delay, but this story has been doing back flips in my head for months now, so I had to write it out. Also please note that this is a oneshot, and no power in the 'verse will make me change my mind.
Dàngāo wèi wáng – Chinese or firefly 'verse phrases (all translations at the end)
Dàngāo wèi wáng – Harry singing
Dàngāo wèi wáng – River singing
Kaylee slumped against the side of Serenity, sighing.
The crew had landed on Persephone almost three hours earlier, and everyone had parted ways; Jayne, Zoe and Mal were delivering the cargo to Badger; Wash and Simon had gone to buy supplies; River was in the ship, 'fixing' Shepherd Book's bible again, and Book was wandering round the city, exploring.
As for Kaylee, she'd been given simple instructions: keep River out of trouble and find some passengers that a) could pay, and b) weren't bounty hunters, crooks, or feds.
Pure and simple, right?
Three hours straight, and Kaylee hadn't snagged one gorram passenger, not one!
Mal was going to have a fit.
She looked up to find the strangest looking boy she'd ever laid eyes on, staring up at the ship.
The boy couldn't be more than eighteen, but his glowing emerald eyes had the same haunted look Mal's always had, and his waist length raven hair curled slightly round his ears.
The boy's skin was pale – unnaturally so – and he was as thin as a rake, but he was dressed well enough, in a dark green button up shirt and grey slacks, and he was certainly carrying travel bags.
She bounced up to the peculiar boy.
"You looking for passage to the border planets?" she asked eagerly (maybe Mal would forgive her if she had at least one passenger).
The boy looked up, gazing at her with the same dreamy expression River sometimes got.
"Actually, I'm looking for a girl," the boy spoke softly, but his voice was strangely powerful, and his accent intriguing the engineer no end, "her name is River Tam."
Kaylee paled – the last time she'd been asked about River by a stranger, she'd ended up tied up in the engine's room, and River was almost taken.
"S-sorry," she stuttered, backing towards the cargo bay, "can't say I've heard the name before."
The boy pouted – aiya, he looked like River when he did that!
Stepping round her, he called out, "you going to come and say hi, Māomī, or do I have to drag you out?"
Kaylee span round towards the brand new voice to see river scrambling down the ladder and pulling the stranger in a hug.
River pulled back, her eyes shining bright with happiness.
"Is it really you?" she whispered.
The strange boy laughed.
"Of course it's me baobei," he grinned, "you don't believe I'd leave you alone do you?"
"Um, River, sweetie?" Kaylee piped up, eyes wide with confusion, "how do you know this guy?"
"Just what I'd like to know."
They turned to face Mal, walking towards the ship, flanked by Shepherd Book , Zoe and Wash, who were staring curiously at the stranger, Simon, who's face seemed to be continuously switching between white and purple, and Jayne, who looked like he couldn't care less.
"Forgive me for not introducing myself," the stranger smiled, loosening his grip on river's waist, "I'm Harry Potter, River's..." he glanced at Simon, who was glaring at him menacingly, "...roommate, back at the academy."
"And what brings you to my ship, may I ask?" Mal's eyes glinted dangerously.
The boy – Harry – smiled sadly. "Back at the academy, River was my only friend. About six months after River broke out, they released me, and I've been looking for her ever since."
"How do we know you're not working for the alliance?"
River laughed. "Silly Simon, Harry would never hurt me." She lay her head on his shoulder, smiling.
Simon stepped around Mal furiously.
"Well, you've seen her," he hissed, "now leave."
"Actually, I heard you took passengers, and I was hoping to come aboard. I have enough money to pay my way, and I'll be able to spend some time with river before I leave."
"NO!" Simon raged, "Absolutely not!"
Mal raised an eyebrow.
"Now, stop me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is my ship," he turned back to Harry.
"I got no problem having you on board, so long as you don't cause any trouble and pay your way, dong ma? The trips two weeks, so you'll have plenty of time to catch up."
He marched onto the ship, ignoring the protests coming from Simon.
Harry flashed River a grin.
"Guess we have a lot to catch up on, right, Māomī?"
Simon groaned; this was going to be a long two weeks.
"Doc, dinner's ready," Kaylee called from outside Simon's room.
Simon sighed, walking down to the kitchen.
Honestly, the last thing he wanted to see was his little sister, snuggled up with some random stranger he'd met only four hours earlier.
Honestly, it was like River had turned into a little puppy, following the raven haired passenger everywhere (she even tried to follow him to the
bathroom, but Simon had to draw a line somewhere).
True, she seemed to be having more lucid periods since Harry's arrival, but even that just seemed so unlike River, how could he trust this progress?
He knew he should trust River, but truthfully, he'd never stop thinking of her as a vulnerable little girl, especially in her current condition.
Besides, there was something about harry, he was just... different.
He made his way into the kitchen, startled to find Wash and Zoe laughing madly about something, and River dancing gracefully from wall to wall, giggling slightly.
"...It's not funny; my skin was bright blue for almost two weeks after!" Harry cried out indignantly, reaching for the protein packs.
"More like three and a half," River sniggered, dropping into a chair at the table.
Despite himself, Simon couldn't help but grin; it had been so long since River'd laughed, I mean really laughed, happily and with sincerity.
Harry strode from the kitchen, carrying plates full of their usual protein meal.
Simon stared moodily at the mush; funny, but he wasn't really in the mood for mushed up protein tonight.
Wash was the first to take a bite.
His looked up, surprised.
"Marry me?" he begged, earning a playful whack from Zoe.
She took a mouthful, before looking up, eyes wide.
"Wow, you're quite a cook Harry!"
Simon frowned; usually, protein meals tasted like cardboard, mince and some kind of nut blended together.
Taking a bite, he gasped in surprise; the protein in front of him tasted like Roast Lamb, or what he remembered lamb to taste like.
"How did you learn to cook so well?" Book asked warmly.
Harry's smile faded.
"My family wasn't the nicest of people. They got me to clean and cook for them every day," he said quietly, eyes suddenly lost in memories.
Mal arched an eyebrow. "How old are you exactly?"
Before Harry could reply, River spoke up.
"Old," she whispered, "old as dust. Won't tell 'cause can't tell, doesn't remember. Counting days till they all turn to ash, dust in the wind!"
River trembled violently, her eyes wild.
She clutched at her head, screaming silently. "No, no, no," she chanted, shaking, "Wǒ huì guānbì wǒ de ěrduo, wǒ de xīn hé wǒ jiāng shì yīgè shítou! Make it stop, Harry, make it stop!"
"Damn it!" Simon swore, reaching for the sedatives he kept in his jacket.
Before he could move, Harry had stood up, walked towards her, and held her face in his hands.
"Shhhhh, baobei," he whispered, leaning their foreheads together, "remember what to do? Just focus on me, love. Shhhhh, it's alright," he soothed her, allowing her to clutch at his arms for support. He stroked her hair, humming quietly.
Eventually she began to relax.
"Fire burns," he sang softly, ignoring the gaping crew,
"water calms," When I'm cold inside..." "You are warms and bright,"
"You cool me down.
"You know you are so good for me."
When I'm cold inside..."
"You are warms and bright,"River whispered brokenly, burying her head in Harry's shoulder.
"It'll be OK, baobei," Harry murmured, looking up to meet Mal's eye for the first time.
He turned back to the shaking girl.
"Why don't you go to get some rest, Jiā," he murmured, watching her as she stood up.
As she passed through the kitchen entrance, he turned back to the others.
"I guess I should explain," he sighed, rubbing his eyes.
"I'd say you do," Mal frowned, subtly reaching toward his gun
Groaning, he settled into his chair more comfortably.
"Wèishéme shì wǒ?" He muttered, running a hand through his messy hair.
"When I was younger, I had a … well, I suppose you could call it a gift," harry began, eyeing the other occupants of the room nervously.
"My family called it magic, the alliance calls it a weapon, say whatever you want, the point is, the alliance found out, and they took me, right off the
I was there for almost eleven years before river came along, and I was almost insane after all the experiments they put me through. When River came,
I snapped out of it, and we tried to find ways to control our powers, and after a while, we almost worked out how, before they took her away again.
River told me you were coming for her," he nodded in Simon's direction, "and I promised to try and escape and find her. I got out two months ago and I've been looking ever since."
The crew listened silently, an awkward hush settling over them.
After a while, Mal broke the silence.
"And on that note, you ever gonna tell us how old you are?"
Harry smiled bitterly.
"I think that questions already been answered, actually. Now," he stood up abruptly, "I better go check on River."
He left the room without another word, never looking back.
When Simon trudged over to River's room that night, to check if she was still sleeping, he found a sight that surprised him.
River lay, curled up in Harry's arms, her head lolling on his chest.
Her fingers combed through the other's curtain of hair, and she gazed at him with such trust and adoration, Simon's heart broke just a tiny bit.
But it was nothing compared to the look on Harry's face.
Harry seemed to radiate love and devotion for his sister, but his eyes held just the barest hint of something, almost similar to hope.
River glanced at harry and smiled.
"Sing me to sleep?" she murmured.
Harry smiled. "Of course, baobei."
"With your child's eyes
you are more than you seem.
You see into space,"
"I see in your face,
the places you've been," River laughed,
"The things you have learned,
they sit with you so beautifully."
As River's eyes began to flutter closed, Harry began to sing more softly.
"You know there's no need to hide away,
you know I tell the truth,"
He lent his forehead against River's.
"We are just the same,
and I can feel everything you do,
Hear everything you say,
even when we're miles away."
River gazed up at him sleepily.
"Because I and me, the universe and you."
"Sleep well, Māomī," he whispered, kissing River's nose, and settling into a deep slumber.
River opened her eyes, and glanced towards the door.
"Wǎn'ān, big brother," she muttered, burying her face in the long raven tresses, before falling into blissful unconsciousness.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand that's all folks!
OK, so here's the translations.
gorram - God damn (slang)
aiya - God/damn
Māomī - Kitten
baobei - Sweetheart
dong ma - Understand
Wǒ huì guānbì wǒ de ěrduo... - I will close my ears and my heart and I will be stone! (used in firefly: Serenity).
Jiā - Precious
Wèishéme shì wǒ? -Why me?
Wǎn'ān -Good night
Hope you enjoyed reading!