Somewhere To Belong
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pre BDM, during the series, near the beginning. A fanfic about River discovering she belongs. Nothing to do with any of my previous fics.


Disclaimer: All the people and places contained in this story are owned by Mutant Enemy and The Joss-inator.

*Song parodied: Across the Universe*

"Tears like diamonds sparkle on an otherworldy perfect face... Drifting down like morning rain, shine away... Take away the pain... Forget tomorrow, live today, there really is no other way, To keep things all shi-ny... Wo de tien ah, xie-xie... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars...

Wo xiang mei er, mei xin, bian shitou... Then I will not hear them... Take away the pain... I will close my ears and heart and I will be-come a stone... Someday, kindly I will find, they... Take away the pain... Wo de tien ah, xie-xie... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars...

Quietly lovers dance, out here deep in-to the black... Whispering sweet no-things... Sadness cannot pervade that which we here have made... Our joy goes on and on... Takes away the pain... Wo de tien ah, xie-xie... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Nothin's gonna change my stars... Wo de tien ah, Wo de tien ah, Wo de tien ah, Wo de tien ah, Wo de tien ah, Wo de tien ah,

Wo de tien ah, Wo de tien ah..."

River finished her song, the song Simon had used to sing to her when she couldn't sleep.

Looking down through the railing of the catwalk to the cargo bay where she was sitting, dangling her legs, she noticed that the entire crew had gathered there. They had listened to her sing her song.

Kaylee was crying, and Inara was sniffling. Wash was holding tight to Zoe, and Book had his hand resting on Mal's shoulder. Simon stood next to Kaylee, looking up at River, while Jayne stood some ways away from the group.

"That was right perty, River." Kaylee said, whiping her eyes and looking up at her. "Never heard a song so beautiful sung so beautifully."

"Here, here." Zoe said, "I'm with Kaylee." The others nodded their agreement.

River was slightly confused, a blush crossed her face- such a rarity. "Simon taught it to me." she said quickly.

"Well, it was nice anyway." Mal said. "Shows good on your character to sing it, and not knowing you two so well, that's a good thing." He smiled up at her. "All right, people, back to work. Can't stand around listenin' to pretty girls sing songs all day, nice as that'd be."

The group dispersed. Standing, River walked down the stairs into the cargo bay. She hadn't intended for them to hear her sing.

Nearby, Jayne was bench-pressing. River walked past him, headed for the dining area. "Perty nice song you got there, girl. Don't care much for singin', but that was all right." he said, lifting the weight over his head.

River turned to look at him, "You like it when your mother sings you lullabies." she said matter-of-factly.

He lowered the weight back onto the holder and sat up, throwing a towel over his shoulder. "Doesn't everybody? All children are soothed by mama's singin'." he replied.

"When you're at home, you still want your mother to sing you to sleep." she said, walking away.

"Hey! Who told you that?!" he shouted after her, "Gorramit! I'm gonna kill Mal and his big mouth..."

She giggled slightly and ran up to the dining area. Here she found Inara and Book seated at the table, having a conversation over tea.

They stopped and looked up at River when she entered. "I'm sorry, she didn't mean to interrupt." she said.

"No, no." Book said, waving her off. "We were discussing your wonderful singing."

"It was truly moving, River." Inara agreed.

Why did everyone keep telling her that. She never meant for them to hear it! It was a song she sang when she didn't feel she could go on any longer, or when she was scared, or when she felt she didn't belong. This morning she had been feeling all three.

A flash of memory darted across her eyes: She was strapped to a chair in the middle of the room, needles were in her head and more were on their way. Fearful, she shut her eyes and began to sing that song.

"They say what they do not mean! Why does no one say what they mean? She forgot how to be a girl! Forgot no one ever says what they mean!" she shouted, clutching at her head, hiding her face from view.

"River, what's wrong?" Book asked as Inara rushed to calm her.

Resisting Inara's attempts to soothe her by flailing her arms, she shouted as she sank to the floor, "So much they're not saying. So much inside. So different from what's being tossed around like fruit!"

"She's spouting nonsense, better get the doctor up-" but she was cut off by the appearance of Simon, closely followed by Mal, apparently having come to investigate the ruckus.

"What's all the fuss about?" he demanded.

Inara backed up as Simon knelt next to River, "What is it, mei-mei?" he asked softly.

"It was strange, we complimented her singing and she started shouting at us." Inara replied.

Mal looked at Simon, "Doc?"

"Well, I'll have to get her down to the infirmary to run some tests. My sister is not well." he responded, helping River up and putting an arm around her for support.

Mal nodded. Inara rushed forward, "I'll come too, to help."

River screamed, "No! Too much! Too much! All inside, locked away without a key. So much in her head! Can't take it, can't take it. Not the one who cannot speak! Not the one who is afraid to fly!"

"I'm sorry," Simon said, "I'll try to calm her down. Try to get her to speak coherently." The others backed away in slight fear.

In the infirmary, Simon gave her a sedative, and she lay on the chair watching him with tears in the corner of her eyes.

"She scared them. They're afraid now." she said quietly.

"No, they are just... concerned and worried is all." he said, resting his hand against her cheek a moment, before going back to his tools and machines.

"She's not right. She doesn't belong." she said, swallowing the lump in her throat.

"Don't say that, mei-mei. You'll be ok. They'll get used to you soon enough."

She looked at him sadly. "You're still trying." she said, and there was a long moment of silence. "She can't take it. They don't say what they mean. Me and you almost always do, 'cept when she's around." but she didn't elaborate on 'she.' "Inara's like me. Not sure she belongs. Not sure she wants to. They're all like me in their own ways. Are they all crazy too?"

"Course we are, it's what makes us interesting." Mal said, walking into the infirmary. "How you doing, little girl?" he asked.

"Feel fine now. Can't hear them. Can't feel them. Just tired." she said.

"I'm going to pretend like I understood what you just said." he replied.

She smiled at him, "She's sorry, captain. Knows she isn't right. Knows, she doesn't belong."

"Nonsense." Mal said, looking her in the eye, "Place enough on this boat for another crazy. Ain't never seen someone who belonged here more'n you, 'cept maybe me." he smiled at her, "Well, if we're good, I've got other captainy things to do. River, Doc." he said and left.

River smiled at his retreating back, knowing he had spoken true.


Thursday, January 25, 2007 5:56 AM


Now that was just all kinds of beautiful, Azlenna! Would have made for quite the moment in a post-OiS episode to hear River/Summmer sing something like this, especially if questions of River's place were once again raised;D


Sunday, October 7, 2007 5:57 PM


I heartily agree. All kinds of beautiful!


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