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River's Diary

Chapter Text

First Entry.

Dear inanimate object. Kaylee gave ‘you’ to me today, because she says I should have someplace to write stuff down. I don't think it helped that I used the last one she gave me for mathematical equations, that when folded in to models of the first thirteen elements spelled out ‘Serenity’. I did that during one of my less lucid periods. Hopefully, I can fill this one with more intellectually ambiguous material, to satisfy her when she takes a peek in three months, two day, and five hours.

River Tam.

 

Memories

its not in the spirit of the holiday to lie and cheat and steal. if you do they come for you they come with hands of blue. made me a stone so I swallowed a bug annoyed Simon doesn’t mind now. its not relevant it doesn't matter this isn’t home anymore. wont stop, wont ever stop they just keep coming back. its time to go Daddies coming soon. colors, colors, all the beautiful colors are dancing on my brain again. i can win this, its only a symbol doesn't mean what you think. eleven. prime number.  doesn’t matter now. Simon thinks Im crazy Im not. my head just doesn't work right sometimes. Im smart. I could be normal if I tried. but I can’t can’t make me bird’s in a cage, doesn't mean she can sing. you can’t make her. her. him. she. he. it. it. politically correct asexual reference to a object or subject. no manholes, itholes. holes. thought to exist in the fabric of space/time by many fractions, despite evidence to the contrary.  have to go, Kaylee’s calling me for Dinner. -River.

Yesterday.
Dear Inanimate Object. Simon upped my meds again, so today I appear to be rather lucid and functioning within average levels during the current twenty four hour cycle. I seem to be missing much of yesterday. Kaylee says I was painting, except I was painting on the floor. and the walls. and the furniture. all I remember is trying to get it out before I forgot. Poor Simon. At least the kitchen looks all kinds of shiny now. I believe I find the mix of black, yellow, and scarlet red, to be rather aesthetically attractive to the eye, although Cap. don’t agree. don’t matter none. Its just paint. River Tam.

 

Dear ‘Diary’. today we had another stop over, this one on Triumph, to secure what supplies and fuel we could. Once again, Simon and Captain insisted that we stay out of sight. While I can intellectually agree with the logic of this decision, it does not relieve the negative feelings I have toward being trapped on Serenity. After we fueled and collect our various crew members, we left around supper time. Protein Powder with Soy Sauce. somewhat problematic, but manageable. After supper, Inara decided to teach Kaylee and I a new card game, (I let Kaylee win) Jayne sharpened his knives, Zoe, Captain, and Simon looked on while preforming various chores while Serenity powered on through the black. another day in our Families life.

with peace come problems but with lose come new growth in lights there are shadows but not all shadows are secrets.

River Tam.
Nightmares. turn the doorknob. go on he says. nothing can hurt you here. I can’t. I won’t. no one can make me. nightmares reside in there. hauntinghaunting images creeping near lurking in the shadows. words that tumble out of my mouth no stopping them now. two by two with hands of blue closerclosertheycomenostoppingthemnowwhodedemasomeonepleasenostophelpno!

Simon shakes me awake. there back.

The Morning.

Simons been trying to get me to talk about last night, but he can’t make me. can’t make me remember. I’m scared if I do I’ll never stop. Serenity is still powering her way to our next job. I’m going to go hide from Simon. -River Tam

Chapter Text

Drifting.

the stars are sparkling in the dead of space (hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, silicon, magnesium, neon, iron, sulfur) pretty pretty lights in my eyes drifting with the motion of sweet Serenity (faithful, alive, home, Mid Bulk transport, standard radion-accelerator core, classcode 03-K64, Firefly, safety) Simon inside worrying Captain flying within Jayne cleaning his guns. Inara her face, and Zoe missing Wash again. my family is broken may never heal but here on Serenity we stay.

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Nothing But Noises.

nice girls don’t cry. nice girls don’t scream and throw things. nice girls don’t go insane. nice girls don’t wear combat boots. nice girls do their work promptly and cheerfully. nice girls sit and stand and do as their told. I’m not a nice girl. I don’t try hard enough. I need to listen, Simon and Cap'n. know best. I could be a nice girl. if I try.

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the Wind.

the wind is blowing again. once it start it never stops, not until it fills your head, your eyes, your heart. not until you scream. Simon says there isn't wind in space. I know better. I see it everywhere. ever since Miranda. the Dead ride the winds that blow us away. we never really left. night night time. time to be a good girl. take my meds. meds make Simon feel safe. Make him feel like I’m better. like everything’s ok. they make me dream. - River.

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Somedays.

Somedays, Simon smothers me with attention, constantly checking up on me, and some days he hardly even notices me, especially when he’s working on a new project. I know he means well, but I wish he’d make up his gorram mind. At least Kaylee gives him something else to think about these days. I think he’s going to propose. it's gonna be a June Wedding. - River

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Unification Day.

it’s Unification Day today. I got to pilot Serenity this year, while Simon patched up Cap’n. Zoe didn't much of a fight this year, but at least she went. thats something. - River

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Algorithms and Flying.

I’ve begun hiding algorithms in my sketches and paintings, just to see if anyone notices. No one ever does anymore, not since Book. Book always noticed, even when he didn't say anything about it. But they’re there. just in case. I’ve been much better these past few days, so Cap’n in a rare display of wisdom, has begun showing me how to fly solo. I already know most of it, but it's nice to hear him say it anyhow. Cap’n does a rare good job flying Serenity, but he hasn't have the touch. Maybe I do. as for our last Job, we came, we was shot at, we left. Blah blah, all in good health, got the job done. Typical run. Mite to typical these days. But typical. today is a old Earth that was holiday. no one knows but me. all the Families a bustle, ant hill tipped upside down. I’m hiding, so River can’t find me, but have to go soon. Kaylee’s letting me help cook supper. something about Fire in a Can, fun for all the good boys and girls, most especially me. - River.

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Sometimes I Wonder

sometimes I wonder if there is a Star out there, made just for me. made just for each and everyone of us. the mathematical probability is extremely unlikely of course, but I wonder. - River

Chapter Text

sleeptime.

dancing dancing pretty lights Inara says suppose to go to bed but daddy can't sleep at night. twirling Kaylee, come with me we can dance in our sleep while the little mice creep around Serenity.

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The Crew.

jumble jumble it's all a mess / got to fix the influx capacitor afore it busts again/ all their heads reeling every minute of every day / gotta get my hands on some more oil or my triggers is gonna start pulling/ so full my head is leaking / need to find us a new job and fast, crew ain't been paid in some time starting to feel the pinch/ can’t sort out what's mine, what's not / I’m going to do it. I’m going to ask her. oh Xióngmāo niào, I can’t do it. what if she says no/ hardly ever fall these days but when I do it's bad /oh jesu, I miss him so much/ can’t they quiet for a spell? only Inara bothers to hide. Serenity is much to loud tonight.

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Breakdown.

Serenity finally cracked her influx capaci-something, so we are on this little moon till Kaylee can fix it. Capn and Zoe are nervous, don’t wanna remind the crew that they caused a ruckus some years back with Jayne. nobody remembers. But Capn don't know that. Inara kept me with her all morning, Laundry Day in the black. just cause we be made of dust don’t mean we gotta be dusty, no. Hiding in my vent until she stops looking. River mouse knows all the crumbs, won't fall for lunch trap, no. squeak squeak - River

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the Rain.

I’m counting the space between raindrops outside. the sound is awfully loud after the silence of space. I can almost hear myself think.

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Repairs

up and down and pass the crew laughing flowers, silly faces, chasing chasing, can’t catch River, quick like river. quick like wind. duck down, curl up tight quiet now everyone dashing past, laughing panting, trying to find River River hidden, won’t find soon. Kaylee didn’t need to fix the IC today.

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Make up their Gorram minds already.

Kaylee has to work, Jayne is just bad news, I can't stay in the bridge all day, go, play, but not too far. River come, River go, River I'm busy right now. Don't do this, don't go there, please, River, just TRY to help, dong ma?

I don't want to sit, I don't want to learn to cook. I can't leave the ship, it's dangerous. Please. I'm dangerous. Everybody's busy, but River can't work, no. she's too young, she's too crazy, she just doesn't know how.

I wish that we were back in the black, just me, Serenity, and the endless space of us. two more days, until the engines fixed. I hope we make it. -River.

Chapter Text

stop fighting no go can’t get out of my head. I’m trapped, trapped here, three dimensional physical representation of the whole, affected by four no no too ineffective could be better. should be better. shouldn’t be stuck, nothing holding me in, but the more I try the harder it gets. can’t tell Simon, he’ll think I’ve slipped, gone off the deep end. theoretically possible. astral projection, shaman, shamaning? can’t remember doesn’t matter. should be able to, meditation, belief, it's all in the belief, belief in self is belief in others, not a Hindu, empirical data supporting the claim of rebirth is weak at best, but I believe in the possibility of the evidence presented being real. should be enough.

Captain wants me to stop muttering again.

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Moonside.

can’t hear the stars the clouds too thick so quiet can’t see myself think. River’s like a pond, pond becomes mirror disappears in the blackness. It’s quiet outside of me tonight inside still a buzz more softly now. doesn’t echo as much as in space in space nowhere for their heads to go but in. dirt’s much better, softens voices, dull roar. easier to be River.

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Malcolm Reynolds Dream.

sea greens sea blues dog tags, cat naps. friendly Shadows family farm soft voices soft hair quiet days no war. it’s like I’m almost there.

the Cap’n don’t sleep less we’re neath the sky again. -River

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paradox

wings of death shadowy eyes /follows same path don’t fall again/ rivers of brown coats of blood haunting /fighting differently still fighting same war/ don’t wanna be trusted but won’t ever betray. paradox.

Zoe’s turn to do the dishes tonight.

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Surprise.

pizza tonight ( H2O, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, powdered wheat, oil of Olea europaea, Sodium Chloride, Sucrose, Lycopersicon esculentum, Heiphinic wotis, stir, mix, spread, bake, cut, serve ) Kaylee's special surprise, comes with announcement, ( secret, special, nervous, happy, sneaky with Simon) hiding it all day, secrets making my head hurt, happy when it stops, unless there's yelling. I hate yelling. means Family's not right, everybody angry, no place for River to be. but no yelling tonight, just soft soft, happys, warm fuzzy clouds, peaceful night, everything's A ok Cap'n, no need to fret.

she said yes.

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The Announcement.

Simon standing nervous shaking don't know what to say. Kaylee beaming promised won't tell I know anyway. words, shock, thrill, happiness, a little confusion from Jayne. going on 3 years, 4 months, 2 days, thought he didn't know. They're wrong. Cap'n knows, always knows, just don't interfere. behave like a bear to hide the cub, teddy bear with Inara, can't resist happy Kaylee.

I get to have a Jie Jie now. -River.

Chapter Text

Ghosts past now.

another day, always different, always same. Teasing Kaylee, watching Inara, missing Wash, shadow fading every day. Hardly haunts Zoe anymore, but still there. Always missed, but no longer needed. Free to be just a memory now, one more puff of smoke on the ship called Serenity. Everyone misses him different, still miss the same. River never stops flowing, ships go with the flow. Ready to move on again.

his dinosaurs still guard the ship. guess they will always.

- river.

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Fluctuations in Temperature.

Finally, Kaylee’s gotten around to fixing the Temperature Regulator. What with mooning over my boob of a brother, and fluttering around with ‘Nara ‘bout wedding go se, been going on almost two weeks since it busted, and everyone forced to bundle up in the Dorms, and strip as far as they dare in the cockpit. I’m not particularly bothered by heat, but it sure is fun to see the Cap’n go red when he walks in and I’m wearing Kaylee's shorts and a tank top. Were it not for ‘Nara Id think he was sly, but I know it's just his dusty valor rising to the occasion. As for the Two Weeks of Penance as it's been referred to, worst part was two days in when Jayne threatened to go ‘about ‘nekkid’ if she didn’t get the gorram thing fixed. Cap’n kiboshed that idea pretty quick, but not before I was bombarded with everyone's horrified thoughts as to how he would look. Most were far from kind.

- River Tam, Homo Sapien (Superior).

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My Family

Inara says I ought to write a list of our family, don’t know, can’t see why, but will make ‘Nara happy.

My Family: Cap’n Daddy- Malcolm Reynolds. captain, family father, protects, love, supports. Mommy Aunt Inara - Inara Serra, sharer, carer, loves Cap’n Daddy. Auntie Zoe- Zoe Washburne, Cap'n Daddy's second, mommy to the littlest, lioness. Mei Mei Allie- Alleyne Washburne, three year old angel. understands rivers quiet, smartest of the bunch. Crazy Uncle Jayne- muscle. boob. all kinds of horrific on the outside. thinks I can kill him with my brain. haven’t decided if I will. Jie Jie Kay- Kaywinnet ‘Kaylee’ Lee Frye- soul of serenity. ships doc. loves everyone. Cap’n Daddy's favorite. Simon- my brother. people doc. loves Kay. twice the boob Jayne is. River- Albatross. pilot. Reader. crazy sometimes, not near as much now. haven’t more time, have to go listen to Serenity’s heartbeat.

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Kaylee's Inter-Engine Fermentation Brew.

dizzy spinning, not enough sleep dazing drifting falling of my seat. shouldn’t have stolen, was just one sip hazy now can’t afford to trip. didn’t know why, wasn’t allowed to try, thought it was stupid, paying the price.

I’m going to go lay down on the bridge.

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Breakfast Woes.

with just a few words, I muddle their heads, confuse straight lines they've drawn. it's difficult, showing them my thoughts, but manageable some of the time. the rest I babble, spewing prophecies and sayings long lost to the ages. Cassandra, reborn, in a crazier form.

How hard is it to make Waffles instead of Pancakes?

Chapter Text

An opportunity to write.

Our current job is on Santos, yet another center of discreet smuggling and mischievous activity. The cargo is box after box of tea leaves, hundreds in total. Being at a loss as to the use of such, didn't stop the Cap'n from snapping at easy cashy money. I'm transcribing this entry on my datapad, as I await the crew's return with the cargo. Pickup's not far, just a few city blocks away. I can still feel their presence, even in the roar of Santo's second biggest settlement. As crowded as it can get in the echo of the Black, I've grown accustomed to the constant presence of their minds. Something of a comfort I suppose.

over and out - Pilot Albatross.

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Tag, you're it.

crazy, laughing, no stopping this time. Around and around, statistics predict a thirty percent chance of landing where I am. Allie's laughing, laughing at my silly faces, chase her round and round the ship, careful not to catch her till she's done. Zoe's always grateful for a break from the littlest lioness. Cap'n comes to check on his Angel and Albatross, see's cargo shifted a mite. One step on the stairs, grip finally wears off, tumble, tumble, so slow, maybe if I hurry... Too late, he steps, and all goes upside wrong. So scared, Allies frightened, so much pain, something snapped, Cap'n cussing, everyone's running, running, can't seem to move, ribbons of people unspool past the thing called river. I'm hiding again. Understand, won't comprehend. Everything was going so shiny...

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Simple Complete Fracture of the Tibia.

Cap'n broke his leg, snapped like a twig don't know why it happened, haven't done anything again. Simon finds me, curled up tight, vents that don't really vent are still vents, just forgotten in their purpose. Wasn't my fault he says, just ill luck is all. Cap'n's going to be fine, sent everybody away, just wants to see me afore he sleeps again. I can't go, won't go, he'll be mad again, make my head hurt like before, won't go through that again, please Simon, don't make me go. But I go, and I move, and my feet carry me down past Simon, to the Infirmary. Stupid feet. Cap'n on his back, left leg wrapped in layers of guilt and gauze. Kinda smiles when he sees me, thoughts wrapped in a haze of Morphine, easier to hide. Hey little one, you ok?. Five words, so different than I thought they would be. My analyse indicates that in situations like this I should be inquiring as to your physical state of being. He chuckles quietly as he slips into a world of his own making, filled with pretty lights and Inara's face. I stay here alone, in the cold room that once filled my waking nightmares.

Time enough to harass Simon later.

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Just Another Drop Off.

we land on Dyton today. Cap'n's still laid up, can't even sit up all the way without help. But a job is a job, and Zoe's suggestion made him roar. Big kitty, can't fight back just now. Good idea, worked before, just goes against his grain. Half an hours time, Zone will be heading out to the dropoff, with Jayne as backup. And me.

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The Misfit in his Mind.

will he choose, or will he stay, stay inside while others play? Fight the fight that isn't his, loves a women that doesn't live. Want's a child that's never been. A past not secret, his secrets not passed, a babble of voice you never hear, a silence unspoken in the sky still unclear.

you can't hear me anyway.

Chapter Text

.into the black. nowhere else, can my head be so empty, and yet so filled. nowhere else does it all seem to make perfect sense. Only in the sky can I face the days ahead, the hours, the months, the years, the time I will spend filled with the others, before I go and become my own. Before it's my turn to fill my head. I know what they did to me was wrong, and every cycle I wake up I face it all over again. But sometimes, when I help someone, or I see the good in Jayne, I somehow feel that this is my purpose in the Verse. to be the one person that always comprends what’s really happening.

maybe understanding it will come later.

-River Tam.

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Three steps ahead, two steps back. well we spent a lovely day and a half on Dyton, afor we left again, chasing after the elusive promise of work. I must say, I’m somewhat relieved to be back ‘neath the black again. Like the Cap’n and Zoë in that regard, always thinking three paces ahead of where we’re suppose to be. Even Jayne worries ‘about it, but most of us leave the worrying to Mal. Except me. Cap’n trusts me to be two steps ahead of him, w out him having to say a thing. And so I am. But just because I’m smart don’t mean I don’t get tired of it on occasion. Being a genius on a ship with the same people, day in, day out, is both tiring and frustrating on occasion.

~R.

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Such a surprise. Silly, yet somber, can’t wait to see his face. Kaylee’s been hankering to do this for months, ever since I had that episode that lead to the current look. Cap’n just keeps putting her off. Now, she’s callin’ it a ‘get well surprise’. More like a ‘get mad surprise’ if you ask me. I’m doing the detail work. Just cause he’s gonna be mad, doesn’t mean I ain’t gonna help.

~ Mischievously River.

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Shock, and... Um? Cap'n's mouth quite literally dropped when he finally managed to hobble out to the kitchen. was just silent for a good five point three nine minutes, staring at the shiny new look. I perceive he is in some kind of shock. more to be following after he recovers.

I don’t think the new flowers look that bad. its all manner of ‘groovy’ as they used to say. Jayne just won’t eat in there anymore, says it's too ‘sissyfied’.

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In her own mind. I spent my awake cycle with Inara today. She sat with her happy Buddha man for awhile. says it brings her peace. Zoë has a different kind of peace. Zoë’s peace says when she dies, she goes to a pretty place. lots of light, no fear, no hate. It won’t be what she imagines it to be, you know. Everything won’t be white, no wings, gravity can’t matter as much, statistically improbable. won’t be the same, so why should they? Can’t be what they want it to be, they want it all wrong.

it’s just a theory anyway. ~ River.

Chapter Text

.The Dreams of Times not Past.

In my dreams I'm searching again, for that I've never lost. It's strange. everything so familiar, but I've never seen it, I'm sure. its nice. no ones yelling, and I'm sure if I just turn around, I'll see my friends behind me. the ones I left behind.

The ones I left behind in the cages when I flew. before they clipped my wings again.

oh Wôde mā.

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Dumb Homio Sapiens.

Must tell them, but they never listen. Always looking for the words behind my meaning, never seeing what I'm saying. what's so hard about "there's chicks still in the hawk's nest, but the sparrows won't fly away from them. one of their own, so they'll feed them, then flee to the mountains." ? Stupid men, with their need for order and weddings. least the Cap'n knows something's wrong, but course he seems to think it's just bout us and poor Serenity. Guess that's the best I can get rights about now. Will just have to change course next time I fly. For a genius, I am awfully predictable.

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She's Not With You Anymore.

I live. I walk. Next to you, not with you, because it all matters now. Every little thing. I can see you. You are healthy. You sleep, and love, and eat, and walk. You walk straight into the trap. You are not Chosen. I see Him. see his Choices He has no hope, he is of death. But he tries. And he fails. Less, than some, but still he tries. It's all he has. All he is. Others try to change him. They will fail.

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They're trying to change me.

Cap'n finally put me in charge of flying again tonight, while he and Zoë get some shut eye. Soon as his mind left the light, I got to turn us in the right direction. Now, while everyone but me and Serenity slumber, we're off, to save the golden harp, from some very mean giants. I suppose I better lock the cockpit. Cap'n Daddy always does get so upset about changes of course. Now way to explain why, though. Just have to show them. At least with Simon and Kaylee getting snuggly officially, I get to have Kay's room. still finding fascinating little screws, tools, and the occasional sock stuck hither thither and yawn.

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Oh So Fussy.

Everybody started waking up, and there's such a hollering and fuss, Cap’n bellowing as to where the dickens are we, Simon trying to send me to sleep, and Jayne just wants to shoot me. Didn’t believe me when I told them through the door, that I am of my fully functioning mental capacity as of this moment. Kaylee kinda believes me, but everybody else thinks it's Miranda all over again. Just two more days, and we’ll be there, and then they can fuss and try to turn around. I know Cap’n Daddy, once he see them he won’t be able to leave them behind.

You’d think at the minimum they’d thank me for spoofing our navsat signal, so as to appear as if we’re a freighter that’ll be passing our true destination right on by. Kaylee and Cap'n didn't even teach me that one. But nooooo, they just wanna get to their next job. Our family can be so short sighted sometime.

~River T.

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Present and partially accounted for.

well, we're here. And I am currently locked in the pantry again, as if I couldn't get out if I wanted to. It's more of a curtesy, really, something to keep Jayne quiet with, and keep River out of the way as they tried to figure out where the hell we are. By now I can feel them discovering the notes I left in the cockpit, the drawing and stories half hiding the terrible truth of this place. I tried to be as clear as I could be, but my head cries when I remember too closely. Instead, I left them the tale of a little boy, who was captured by evil wizards, and locked in a dungeon with twelve other children. One of them, a beautiful princess, snuck into his cage at night and whispered beautiful stories about the world outside, and about her brother, the prince who would come and rescue them. But time passed, and the princess grew frighten and confused, and forgot what the sky looked like. And the little boy was left all alone, until he forgot too. And he fell under the Wizard's power, and remains there too this day, dimly remembering the little girl's promise to rescue him one day.

I can feel myself remembering now. But I don't want to remember, and it's easier to just tell the story of the little boy, and the lost princess who never really found herself again.

Chapter Text

Just In The Wind For Awhile.

Have you ever noticed that when people get upset, they stop hearing what you're actually saying behind your words? they stop seeing the most minute facial motions. Too busy being concerned. They'll figure it out. I have my own things to worry about. like replacing my spacesuit, I've grown a bit tall for it.

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Simon

Made me sit down and talk to him today. Wouldn't look him in the eye, too many things he's hiding, can engulf me, make me lost for half a day. His shoes are easier to bear. Simon talked about dreams, and fragmented memories, even wandered into psychic abilities for awhile. Kept coming back to me. Simon gave me some paper, and a few of KayleeSimons pens. Told me I could draw whatever I liked. A apology, of sorts, for all the talking, I suppose. Simon's a good brother. He tries so hard.

I drew him the illustrations that went with the story I gave them. Pictures of the dark, cold, tower, the tiny window that from, you could sometimes see a star, or a spotlight shining. I even drew a picture of the children, lying down to sleep on their first night. The first, and last time, that they would all see each other again. Four dead. Two turned. One insane, one rescued, and five, trapped in the tower, forgetting what the sky felt like.

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Zoe did some magic that Wash had shown her once upon a time, on Serenity's Cortex link, managed to pull up some lease papers from years ago, showing the Alliance had commandeered the entire moonlet base during the war, turning it into a 'supplies, archive, and research center". spook speak for they don't have a gorram clue what it was used for. I know. But no one's asked. I'm cuddling sweet, sweet Allie right now. Let the grownups play knights and supers. The children need some quiet time now. especially with all the new friends that we'll be making soon.

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Inara tugged me and Allie into her shuttle, to play dress up while the others argue. I know what she's doing, distancing herself from a battle she thinks she's already lost. Even though InaraMal have a bunk, she still keeps her shuttle, a place to retreat too. I know, of course. About the sickness. Not even Malcolm Reynolds knows. Only Simon, and he can bury a secret. I saw, though. Hard to miss. Not eating, no fighting, visiting the infirmary every time she had the helm. Anything to hide weakness from the others in the pack. It was a close call. Too close. That's why today Aunty 'Nara hold Allie just a little bit tighter when they hug, and she brushes my hair just a little bit longer. I know what she's doing, and I let her. Pack protects Pack, goes back to fish, to the sea on The Earth That Was. Always has been, always will be. Just takes some longer to see it.

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Kaylee has been all confused up inside. Too much at once, for the sweetness of the ship. Simon, Emotions, our current family side trip. So much to take in, and Serenity still trying to fall apart. I know how she feels. I was Serenity, for awhile, before I was River again. Our home in the heavens is old, and ailing. But she has some years left though, before she must rest in the fields she first flew from. Back to the places we left far behind. Little sister's always been there. Been big sister, too. Before long, she'll be having happy making tiny surprises of her own. but not quite yet.

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Mal put everything together. Knew what questions to ask, both me, and what contacts he could reach. The truth is bitter, but more so for him. He didn't share the details with the crew. I can see them lurking in his eye. More ghosts, to haunt his dreams at night. He'll finish this, if he can. As a amend that he does not owe, for the sins of other men.

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Jayne always brings more than enough guns. He protects his family. Money hasn't been good in years, but ain't the point. We're Crew. And that's better than most have these days. Jayne and Zoe will take point, behind the Cap'n. Captain and Kaylee cooked up a diversionary tactic, except Cap'n called it 'a hell of a wake up call." Kaylee's manning the helm, with Inara at The Zâo Hé's controls, waiting to pull us out. Simon will come last, while I drift in the middle of the sea of vengeance. After all, paybacks is a unpleasant and totally acceptable reaction.

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Zâo Hé and Zâo Shì.

Serenity has been a good mother all these years. Protects her family, aging like a Lady. Has two pretty little children, too. Zâo, she's spoiled. 'Nara decked her all out, with satin and silk, steering her to the fabulous places she went. Shì, he's the Stubborn one. always hitching his cycles, refusing to start when Cap'n really, really, needs him to cycle up right this gorram minute. Shì's still loved though. Takes after Cap'n, as much a a machine can. Mal recognizes that on some sorta level, despite his insistence on calling Shì's sister shuttle the Tengzhou Chūn, in 'honor' of Inara. of course, hearing her home called 'the jumping bedbug' ain't exactly the best way to win her good grace, but Mal doesn't care. For him, it's enough both are working, and big enough to hide the treasures from the eyes of the merchant men, long enough for the pirates to escape. And it worked, too.

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Serenity may be stretched past capacity, but she has her ways to fit us all. Some of the boys, have set up in Shì a dormitory of sorts. Even now, away from that place, old habits die hard. Two of the girls, insist on sleeping in Inara's shuttle. Mommy Aunt Inara doesn't mind. Allie got moved in with me, and Zöe's bunking with the other girl. It's like the sleepovers Kaylee had, before Miranda and KayleeSimon. Serenity may be overloaded, overcrowded, and older than Mal, but she's flying true. Won't fail her family, or our new cousins, on our way to find a home landside, for those who can't stand the sky.

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Allie

she's the first of our next crew. The littlest lioness, fierce as can be. She takes to commanding like a fish to the sea it was born in. Her 'crew' may be old enough to have birthed her, but they respect her without question. only 5 years old, and already smarter than her superiors. Mals awful proud of her. Helped Zöe raise her from kittenhood, after all. Seeing her help organize sleep spaces, and clean up our new friends, makes him as happy as he can be.

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I. am happier now. The little boy and his friends, have been saved from the terrible tower, and the Princesses promise was kept. They even saw the sky again, and remember what it looks like. Most of us might not have families to go to. Not any that wouldn't send us back again. But Badger owes us, and Cap'n plans to call on that debt. Should be enough for IDs, some cashy money, and some living arrangements on an outer planet. Muddtown'd be mighty happy to see us again, Jiangyin, or St Albans, too. We might not have blood families to go back to. But they're each others family now. Just like Simon, Inara, Mal, Zöe, Allie, Jayne, Kaylee, and Serenity are mine. And that'll have to be enough. Family matters, after all.