It doesn't feel right. There's a hole in the pattern, someone has thrown one of the pieces away. She steals the plastic palm tree and snaps off the top, using a metal chopstick to dig at the plastic hollow inside, but it doesn't help. River is not herself. The pain comes in waves, breaking over her and leaving a sick, empty feeling in the pit of her stomach. Memories come in flashes and make her forget which version she is - she is confused and mixed up and upside down and she hates it.
Mal, always serious and stoic, is almost as hard as a statue now. He takes the worst kind of jobs, the ones where even having a plan is out of the question, because something will go wrong and when it's time for someone to get hurt, it's always him. He has scars everywhere, inside and out, and he's wearing a shell to make sure nothing gets in any more. He's scared, and the captain isn't easily frightened. He's never felt this way before and doesn't know how to handle it. There is no one to ask, not since Inara left. Again.
Kaylee doesn't smile anymore.
Jayne never was one for words, but now he's almost monosyllabic. He spends his time working out and taking care of weapons, like he always did, but without the shepherd to infuse him with a bit of humanity and feeling, he's half of himself. He didn't think anything could affect him this way - he prided himself on not getting too attached, but it looks like it came from behind and snuck up on him. He wished there was something he could shoot.
Simon throws himself into his work - taking care of River. She is getting worse, ever since what happened, and he spends most of his time on the ship's computer, researching methods and correct dosages of medication for her condition. She fights him now, doesn't want any medicine, says she is broken and can't be fixed. It breaks his heart when she begs him not to put her to sleep, but he can't stand her nightmares and sedates her. He only lets go at night, in his bunk, and stares up at the metal ceiling, wondering how he got here, to the point where the loss of a man he only met a few months ago hurts worse than when his parents abandoned him.
Zoe is just as stoic as she ever was. She does her job well, and has no time for fun and games. She accompanies Mal on his missions, and keeps him from getting killed. She is precise and deadly accurate. Mal is getting ready for bed when he hears a noise in the corridor. He goes out to check, his shirt half-untucked, the metal grating cool and familiar under his bare feet. It is Zoe. She is sitting on the ground against the wall, her whole body racking with heart-wrenching sobs of grief. Mal doesn't know what to do. Zoe never cries. She has been with him for seven years and not once has he seen her cry. She looks up at him, her big brown eyes so full of pain that he takes a step backwards as if he's been hit.