BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

GIRLFAN

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-One
Thursday, March 1, 2007

Shorter than usual - but my muse is rebelling, so I decided to post this part as it is cohesive and does not need to be in sequence. NC17 (for implied squick).


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1123    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Even Roses Have Thorns

Chapter Forty-One: Veluti in speculum (As in a mirror) Part II

A/N1: the tense change here is deliberate, a sort of attempt at an almost onomatopoeic mental quality. It is intended to be a little weird, dissociatiative and confusing. A/N2:The quote on love is from Neil Gaimen's The Sandman, and the song is I don't like Mondays. I had the Tori Amos version in mind, but you can substitute the original if you're a fan.

*** *** *** Chapters 1-10, Chapters 11-20, Chapters 21-30, Chapters 31-35, Chapters 36-40 *** *** ***

From practically the moment they captured her, they handled her roughly. She hadn’t been shocked; in fact she suspected that it was no longer even possible for her to be shocked. But she was disappointed. It had been unexpected, and she hadn’t made it necessary. She’d gone easily, without the hint or threat of struggle, without a word of protest. Sad disappointment would be followed by inevitable betrayal – just not immediately. First there would be the waiting – wary, wearying – for Blue Sun to send its agents in. She didn’t think that would take long.

When she reached the end of the long corridor – mercifully devoid of other prisoners, though, no doubt, only at Blue Sun’s request – she stepped through the final door. Her guards – in their familiar, fondly remembered grey-and-purple – followed her. The two holding her threw her against the wall. Hands bound behind her back, she caught her herself with her right shoulder and breast, so that her face wouldn’t hit the wall; her battered left knee buckled under her weight, and her right cheek grazed across the cement. She closed her eyes at the friction, but mentally cut off the hiss rising to her lips at the pain. There would be plenty of time for that later.

*It’s ok,* she soothed her mind and body. *We’re just out of practice.* +You’d better get back in practice,+ her critical voice snorted. +This is what you get for letting yourself lose your edge and trust to the future again.+ *I know,* she agreed regretfully. +You actually fell in love. You are such an idiot!+ It was true. She really was an idiot. +After what you swore at the funeral. After everything!+ The feeling that engulfed her wasn’t self-pity. It was shame. *I hate love.*

The mantra returned to her with ease, one she’d memorised nearly the moment she’d read it; she’d abbreviated it, made it more general – it felt as much hers as anything was. More than most things were; it was not a person or possession – it could not be taken away. She recited it mentally, lips unmoving, as she – eyes forward and centre – obeyed the order to strip.

“Have you even been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...

You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase… turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

She could hear Egeria’s voice mulishly pointing out that it wasn’t fair, as her guards frisked her and removed her remaining weapons. *I know,* she mind-whispered to the memory of her sister’s voice.

She can feel the hunger in the air, the charge coming off of the guards. She’s closed her mind to it, but it doesn’t matter. It’s animal knowledge, scent and instinct and muscle-memory. Adrenaline courses through her veins and she tries to force it down. Neither fight nor flight would help. She has to stay calm, rational. The adrenaline makes it seem as if time has slowed down. She’s not surprised. She’s familiar with its effects.

She knows it’s not just going to end with a strip search, but the pack is held in charge by its leader, who somehow shows more restraint than she’d expected him too. He takes his flash light from his belt and thumbs it on, without ever taking his eyes from her naked form – she watches as he even occasionally allows his gaze to flicker to her face.

She’s mildly surprised by the flash light. In the charged atmosphere of the cell, it’s practically a courtesy. Visual cavity search only. The guard commander issues her a string of simple instructions, but she replies with a solid, quiet, “No, Sir.” It’s not that she doesn’t understand. She knows that a visual cavity search is easier to endure than a manual one, but it’s theoretical knowledge only: she’s never been able to make herself follow the required procedure, because the procedure requires the prisoner to manipulate their own body – parts – for examination. She can’t do it. Can’t even bring herself to try, even knowing the consequences. Even knowing the consequences from experience.

If she were to be really, truly completely honest with herself, she wouldn’t even be certain that she could make herself obey even if someone else’s life was on the line. Even if it was more than one life. If she were to be really, truly completely honest with herself, she would probably conclude that she really might almost make herself try if someone else’s life was on the line. If it was more than one life – well, the odds got a bit better. She tried not to think about River, or Simon, or even Zoë or the Captain or Inara. What had she been doing when she’d allowed herself to fall in love? She’d finally rid herself of the last of her handles with the deaths of Egeria and Alistair. She’d been free. Her life was her own – well, the deepest parts of her mind and soul had been, at least.

The guard commander’s voice went deeper than she’d have liked when he told her that the visual search was the ‘easy way’, and she was getting a cavity search one way either way. She’d already known that. Did she understand? “Yes, Sir.” As he snapped the gloves on, she frantically tried to pick a task to concentrate on, while she ignored what she suspected was a barely concealed leer on the commander’s face. Poetry was good – but she’d need something longish and neutral – nothing political or romantic. Yeats! Sailing to Byzantium. She was not unaware of irony of it being Yeats, but she pushed that aside as she ran the poem through her mind before attempting to figure out how to recite it backwards. That was a complex task, and she had to run the poem forwards several times to find the next word or phrase to reverse.

The guard commander, at least, did the search in the correct order – no chance of cross-contamination – always the first risk when facing an invasive cavity search not done by medical professionals. She was not so lucky on the second count, but refocused on the poem magnificence own its of monuments/ studying but school singing there is nor/ dress mortal its in tatter. She took a breath and exhaled as the commander’s hand slid from within her, trying to ignore the pain. He’d torn her, whether intentionally, merely or close to. She knew that he was deliberating being rough; all she could do was ignore it, him.

***

She lies on the floor of her cell, more than half elsewhere. It hadn’t taken long for Blue Sun to send agents to collect her, and they’d drugged her before they’d moved her. She’d woken up on the floor of the bare cell, stiff and bruised, and checked her body for injuries as soon as she determined that she was alone and could sit up without risk. It wasn’t any worse than she’d expected. Her face was grazed, and warm. Which meant that the cuts were probably infected. Her left knee was battered. It could hold her weight, but it was ready to buckle at the least provocation. And there was nothing she could do about the cuts inside. She didn’t even want to think about them. So she lay back down and forced herself to daydream. Eventually, she zoned out somewhere else and stayed there as long as she could.

Whatever part of her mind that scanned hypervigilantly for danger didn’t stop just because the rest of her wasn’t there. She is unceremoniously booted back into consciousness by something, and barely has time to register her disappointment, as she hears far-away footsteps drawing closer.

Her mouth form slight shapes and she focuses on the ceiling as she barely breathes out another mental distraction – though she has picked this one to suit the moment. It’s an old favourite. Morbid, like she is. Strange little girl. “And the playing’s stopped in the playground now, she wants to play with her toys awhile and school’s out early and soon we’ll be learning, the lesson today is how to die…”

Her thoughts turn to her last free – well, rented at an equitable price – air, and her desperate, disregarded plea; her lips twitch bitterly as she sings the next line of the song: “And then the bull horn cackles and the Captain tackles with the problems and the hows and whys – and he can see no reason cause there are no reasons – what reason do you need to die?”

Her lips fall into a thin line as the next line of the song plays itself across her mind. She refuses to voice it. “Tell me why.”

Why me? She stopped asking that question years ago. She wasn’t that pathetic.

Her lips quirk again. Why not me?

*** *** *** Chapter 42 *** *** ***

COMMENTS

Thursday, March 1, 2007 3:36 PM

GIRLFAN


Once again, my apologies and thanks - my muse needs her butt kicked worse than Kaylee's brothers.

Progress, while slow, is being made on the next chapter - and I will not leave this story hanging - I've had my heart broken by too many wips to do that to anyone else.

Thursday, March 1, 2007 5:28 PM

MANICGIRAFFE


Poor Ceres. I feel a special kinship for her, since I helped name her....

I can't imagine being forced to do your own "cavity search." I can only hope River comes to the recue and makes sure her lady is never treated that way agin

Thursday, March 1, 2007 5:33 PM

MANICGIRAFFE


And you damn well better not leave it hanging!

1. Zoe needs to have her babies!

2. Simon and Kaylee need to actually come to a resolution, hopefully for the better for both of them.

3. River needs her lady back, as well. No fair to leaver her first love for death.

So many threads to wrap up...you do realize I check back hourly for another episode, right? Don't cut me off now!

Friday, March 2, 2007 12:09 AM

GIRLFAN


>So many threads to wrap up...you do realize I check back hourly for another episode, right? Don't cut me off now!

Damn. It's true what they say. All the good ones are married.

Friday, March 2, 2007 1:01 AM

CHAZZER


I love it, though this chapter made me squirm a little. Owie.

Keep it coming, this is great :D

Friday, March 2, 2007 2:03 AM

BORNTOFLY


That was, for lack of a better word, genius.

It was harsh too, but we'll get to that.


I LOVED that this was a Ceres focussed chapter. Considering her situation and her scarcity in the story since her capture, it's so very nice to have her back.

>"The tense change here is deliberate, a sort of attempt at an almost onomatopoeic mental quality. It is intended to be a little weird, dissociatiative and confusing."<

It works. The use of the different tense, and the was you used a third person limited omniscient narrative form here (jeez, doesn't that make me sound like a pretentious smartass) was just perfect. It kinda helps you get inside her head, and 'get' her sense of unreality. The way she disconnects and disassociates herself from her environment by creating a new one with all the Yeats excercises her internal dialogue and the way she never panics, not once. Also, just how mundane her thoughts are about the whole situation- the cavity search in particular. There was no real sense of relief from her. Just the resignation.

This all helps the reader understand.


I think this chapter needed to be harsh. I said the same thing about Simon's torture; it's unfair to the character especially, but also to the author and reader, to try and cheapen the sacrifice of the character by glossing over the cold, hard, real facts of the situation. If that situation is ugly, there's no point trying to pretty it up if it takes away from the truth of it.

That said, whilst harsh, it was very artfully done, which kept it fom being grotseque of distasteful.


Like I said: Genius.

Friday, March 2, 2007 4:06 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh...this was just brilliant in its deatached atmosphere and the harsh reality of Ceres' current situation. Definitely some powerful imagery;)

Really gotta hope River and the other BDHs show up soon to prove Ceres-channelling-Gaiman completely wrong. Would be interesting to see a counterpoint to this chapter by having the next one focus solely on River as she experiences everything Ceres just did...but without the mental exercises to focus her mind elsewhere. That and the related thoughts about what Ceres is thinking:)

BEB

Saturday, March 3, 2007 1:41 AM

GIRLFAN


CLARIFICATION
>Would be interesting to see a counterpoint to this chapter by having the next one focus solely on River as she experiences everything Ceres just did

Alas, this *was* the counterpoint. This is Ceres' first day of capture - this is the counterpoint to River with Mal on the bridge in Chapter 38.


POST YOUR COMMENTS

You must log in to post comments.

YOUR OPTIONS

OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-Three
Ultimate chapter (i.e. the conclusion). PG13 to be on the safe side (language only). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-Two
Penultimate chapter. (No, penultimate is not a fancier version of 'ultimate'.) Some fluff - Jayne gets to go home. PG13 to be on the safe side (probably G, at least if you ignore the comments - man, I can't spell). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-One
How far did Green and Banks get? Five moments of revealation. NC17 (adult themes). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapters 46-50
All already posted before, just posted together for convience of new and (re) readers. Overall rating NC-17; this applies to all chapters in this grouping, for violence, non-con, death, extreme angst (hurt w/o comfort) and generalised squickiness. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Postive comments perfered; any cease and desists recieved will be complied with, and shown off at parties.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty
The BIG DAMN Rescue. Some revenge, some poetic justice. Very narrator pov, but I like it. Hey, it worked for Dickens. NC17 to be on the safe side, but mostly implied. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Nine
The crew pieces together the facts of Simon's disappearance. PG. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Eight
Because it never goes smooth. PG. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Bridging piece.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Seven
Coda to Simon's time of dying. PG (language, themes).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Six
Simon's point of view, in his time of dying. NC17.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapters 41-45
All already posted before, just posted together for convience of new and (re) readers. Overall rating NC-17; this applies to all chapters in this grouping, for violence, non-con, death, extreme angst (hurt w/o comfort) and generalised squickiness. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Postive comments perfered; any cease and desists recieved will be complied with, and shown off at parties.


OUR SPONSORS