From The Inside - Part 1
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Post BDM. The crew is suffering from nightmares, and River finds that she might be able to help ease their worries.


‘So this is what death feels like.’

Floating away, drifting; a curl of black smoke rising from the ashes of the nightmares that rage in full force beneath her. Both eyes are squeezed tightly closed, and yet her fragile mind rapidly absorbs images of the unfolding terror, her enhanced senses making her aware of everything; every touch, smell, and sound magnified to reveal the extensive horror. Even in death, she cannot help but feel. Titans clash, monsters snarl and ravage all in their way, while the paper dolls flee helplessly, praying they can escape the destructive mêlée with their lives and loved ones. She pays small thanks to the fact that physically, her end is relatively painless, and hopes it will remain that way, pleading that it will be over quickly. ’Won’t let them hurt me again.’

Curiously, the anticipated fall into a deep, endless slumber is absent, and there is no sensation of life steadily flowing out of her - instead, while she doesn’t feel confident in her entirety, she feels a substantial piece of herself, enough to let her know that she’s still there, still exists. She continues hovering but in one place, as if anchored there by some invisible cord. ’Excursion from mortal realm into spiritual planes delayed by 1.52 minutes - but still no evidence of blinding white light.’ The nightmares continue to blanket the air around her form, but with her newfound realisation, they don’t smother her completely, and so she slowly cranks one eye open, taking in the sight below. Her eyes widen slightly.

The figure is curled up in bed, blankets wrapped around its slight frame protectively - the face is barely visible, curtained by tresses of long, dark curls that fan out over the pillow. Without looking any closer, she knows about the frown that mars its nymph-like features, the way fingers grip the sheet underneath the duvet; yet the view of her own body isn’t as alarming as she would have expected it to be. Not least because her pulmonary and aortic systems are functioning steadily, but mainly because she feels aware, more connected to a state of being than she would if she was dying. Her momentary relief is interrupted when she is jarred from position by a particularly unpleasant emotion - coming from someone else.

Realisation dawns slowly as she floats out of her room and into the one directly opposite, inspecting the figure there. His handsome face is also creased with a frown and the duvet is crumpled up tightly under the fingers of both hands - she allows herself a humourless smile at the family mannerisms - and her proximity to him means that it’s not difficult for her to distinguish his bad dream from the others that consume the ship.

* * *

Cold, blue tinges unevenly colour in the infirmary, casting shadows across the walls and surfaces. He stands over a life sized model of herself in the operating chair, working methodically and religiously at attaching various missing pieces, unscrewing parts and swapping them over, all the while attempting to make the figurine whole. He fails to get it right though, and frustration overwhelms him as he lets out a yell, picking up one booted foot and throwing it angrily across the room. It bounces harmlessly off a shelf, clattering to the floor, and he stares at it for a second before letting out a resonant sigh and picking it up, placing it on the tray occupied by other pieces. The fatigue is obvious as he wearily takes a seat on the floor, placing his head in his heads. She glides into the room and sits next to him, taking one of his hands between hers.

“I‘m sorry.” He doesn’t look at her.

She rubs circles around the top of his hand with her thumb. “For what?”

“For not breaking you out of the Academy earlier. For failing to keep you safe after I did. Not being able to fix you when I promised I would. Everything.”

She fixes him with her notorious “you’re-a-boob” face, and replies with a bluntness only a sibling can manage when making a point to another.

“Don’t be stupid. Your intervention at the Academy was timed flawlessly. Stage 4 of the final experiment would have taken place approximately 3 days after my departure” - she visibly shudders - “and the probability of my survival following that was only 2.4%.”

His muscles stiffen and he opens his mouth to interrupt, but she continues without giving him the chance.

“You risked your life for mine. You looked after me when others would give up. You put my needs over your own. You always have, I know, and you’d do it again. You made the hurt go away. Found us a new family. You make me feel safe.”

He doesn’t say anything, just turns to look at her with shining eyes, and they touch foreheads - she gives his hand a squeeze before gently letting go and standing up. Walking over to the operating chair, she picks up the foot he threw before, and with a look of concentration, carefully attaches it to the bottom of the model’s right leg. Hearing the click as it fits into place, she smiles hugely at him and makes her way to the door.

“You’ve already helped. Just takes one piece at a time, like a puzzle. She - I’m getting better. You should worry less, silly.”

* * *

She glances towards the bed one last time as she leaves, noting that his furrowed brow has disappeared.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:45 AM


Ooh, really cool concept ... I'm very curious to see where you take this ... and I look forward to how River can help everyone else!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 2:38 PM


This is so something River would do if she could. Great idea, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, April 21, 2007 11:57 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER this is definitely one hell of a way to get a story going, Wynter!

Really was impressed with the method of your descriptions, since they were vague in a way that allows us to fill in the tiny details in our own heads while still conveying a strong image foundation. That and I really loved the symbolism of Simon dreaming about River as if she's a mannequin or doll needing to be reconstructed. Quite Freudian...or would it be Jungian? Hmm...



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From The Inside - Part 1
Post BDM. The crew is suffering from nightmares, and River finds that she might be able to help ease their worries.

Just Believe
Mid-BDM. A take on what the crew was thinking during Mal's speech. My first ever Firefly fic, so please read and review!