Cold Comforts
Saturday, June 19, 2004

Rivers understands the black, and the sun that warms them all.


Cold Comforts "Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Light travels at 700 miles a second, 300,000 kilometers a second. It takes longer to get to us though, I think. Defies the laws of science. Simon wouldn't believe. All facts and logic. Slower though, I think, still. It filters though our shadow. We're cold. Engines hot like lava and burning, but still cold. Distance. Space between things that are close together. Negative space, like negative numbers. Existing without really being there. Theoretical. I am a walking theory. I hypothesize that Rivers cannot be divided equally without the halves turning against one another. Cold blades and blue fingers left me blue. Blue Moon. Old song. Older than me. Older than Serenity.

He misses the sun. I see him, wilting like a flower in the black. Houseplants die when they're not kept, and the cat bats at them like living toys. Kittens all around him, even when he doesn't know. He smiles at me, a needle in his hand, dripping venom like snake's fangs. Make me better. Make me right. Sew together River scraps and make it whole. Needle and poison-thread. Won't work. But I like that he tries. I like that someone remembers the whole. Remembers River.

I remember moments. Sunlight. Dancing. Arms. Books. Remember things and places and how many steps it was to reach the back room where they kept the things that broke too easily to be out where the children go. Don't remember how I felt though, what it meant to be a girl. Wish I did. Maybe if I knew what to work for, the venom and sewing and brother-doctor would work.

He gravitates toward the sun in our cold. She is warm and shining. The root of us, square and shiny and bubbling like champagne. She keeps him from wilting. Keeps him from the black. Keeps us all from ricocheting out into the nothing, held in by metal and air instead of ties and bonds and love-words. Tie that binds, Kaylee is. Doesn't know. They never know. They all think in gray and dark. Think they're not good for anything but what they do. Think they don't belong. Don't see that they don’t' belong anywhere but here. I isolate, drive away. Don't mean to. Kaylee pulls them in again. Grateful. She reminds them of home, and love, and family, and little children-feet on wet earth.

She reminds me of blue hands, because blue hands took sunlight and made it something unwelcome, because I had wanted it, and they liked to take away the things you want. I don't think she knows that she burns me. I try not to tell her, but sometimes I can't tell what I say, and I think maybe I will. I said sorry, yesterday, but she didn't know what it was for. She doesn't understand preemptive apologies, preventative measures, war-time tactics.

He does though. Big brother. Family traits, shared genetics. He knows guilt and worry and cold. Sun burns one side, Moon-burned sister freezes the other. Caught in the middle. Would let go, but he doesn't want that. Selfish me. Don't want it either. I Like the black. The faraway suns. I reflect the artificial lights that hum like friends. No sunlight. Cold warmth. It's good.

He finds a vein and it burns cold. Funny. Burning cold. Boiling freeze. Freezer burn. Polar opposites. Parallel lines. I can draw a circle around his frown and plot the points of his apologies and endearments. "Mei Mei." "Only hurt for a second." "Make you well." He forgets that I can read his face, and that I know the secrets of the universe. Brilliant. Gifted. Destined. Gone, Gone now. Broken. Battered. Vivisected into fragments.

He smiles and says it's over and I smile back. I feel normal today. I feel better. There's a place in his neck where I could slide a needle home and he would die without feeling it. I wonder if I knew that before. "How do you feel, Mei Mei?"

I try to tell him. "Black and cold and welcome. I don't mind your sun. Go. Wilting leaves need sunlight. I govern tides and freeze-burn. Happy. Fine. Content. Precise venom helps."

He frowns, wilts, dies a bit. Not what I meant. Not what I wanted. Always wrong. So smart, so wrong. Dumb like Jayne and it would be easy. Like a cued song, (Sur les pointes, they are. Dancers enter. Swans prepare to be reborn.) she enters, bright smile, oil stains. Fixes things. That's right for her, to fix, to heal. Appropriate. Balanced.

I smile back, reflecting. Moonlight is only reflected white light. Shadow. Pale. Shade. Fraction. "Thank you Simon." Time for dark corners and hidden places in ships only one knows as well as I do. "Distance. Star-watching is only faraway suns. Some are already burned out. I don't mind them. But I like our sun best."

They watch, puzzled, as I leave. They never understand. Sometimes, I don't mind that. It feels like home. I remember girl children playing make-believe with puzzled brothers who only understand fragments. Comforting, that. Always been different. Not all blue hands. Some is River. Some of River is here.


Sunday, June 20, 2004 6:31 AM


""By SullenSiren: Light travels at 700 miles a second, 300,000 kilometers a second""

Hmm are u sure about that

Sunday, June 20, 2004 11:28 AM


Very good fic! You really captured River's character. Great job!

Monday, June 21, 2004 10:40 AM


Good fanfic. You've captured River's voice so well-- it's a bit hard to read and focus on at points, but I suppose that that's very appropriate.

Monday, June 21, 2004 2:26 PM


Good description of River and her thought processes. I really liked this, well done! Shiny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, June 23, 2004 3:24 AM


That had some real heart-breaking bits:
"I like that someone remembers the whole. Remembers River."
"Kaylee ..reminds ...little children-feet on wet earth ... I don't think she knows that she burns me. I try not to tell her."

Think you did a really good job of the way ideas morph in River's mind.


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