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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Something happens, something changes and Jayne has a choice to make. One Tam is left behind on Ariel.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 827 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Warnings: Altered timeline from 'Ariel', angst, hurt/comfort
Time period: Between ‘War Stories’ and ‘Trash’
Thanks to lvs2read for the great beta and thunder_nari for the great beta and spurring me on.
Firmly encased within the large steel tank, Simon lets his mind wander for a moment, wishing he could feel something all around him other than water, wishing he had the strength and energy to kick out and push himself to a side, to touch metal and reassure himself that he isn't just floating aimlessly. Isn't just lying on his back, water in his ears drowning out the ominous silence as it laps against them. The barest twitch of his fingers against the surface reminding him to think. Distracting him from sinking into the hypnotic lull of nothingness.
The fear has faded, pushed back as terror has taken over and given way to complacency. He isn’t sure how long he’s been in here, how long he’s just been floating. The water hasn’t cooled, but a part of his mind registers they could be keeping the temperature constant, they don’t want him to freeze after all. To get hypothermia. It’s been long enough for his skin to wrinkle though, crinkles he can feel on his fingers as he rubs them together, water in his ears no longer causing a pressure--just settled. He takes note of his physical response with barely a care, merely uses it to try to gauge a length of time but he can’t. Too many variables.
Simon smiles as he thinks that, because now he’s sounding like River. Can almost hear her voice saying it, in fact. If he closes his eyes, he can let his mind drift off, protect it from whatever outcome his captors think being immersed and isolated will have.
“Absence of light…”
He isn’t sure if that’s River’s voice or his own, but he doesn’t need to open his eyes to see her floating beside him, can ignore the knowledge that he’s hallucinating, that this kind of isolation promotes this. For a moment, he’s with his sister once more and he can link fingers with her before she backstrokes lazily past him. She’s safe, and it’s not at home aboard Serenity, not with Mal or Kaylee or any of the others. She’s with him. He can ignore the logical part of his mind that stubbornly tries to disprove him, can wrap it carefully up and push it aside. Keep himself sane where they want to drive him mad.
“Not the first time.” He can hear the smile in her voice now and Simon smiles, floats alone in the tank and confuses those watching on camera outside. Retreats into his own mind to protect the both of them and answers his sister.
“No, not the first time.” His smile widens as she turns on her belly and floats, nose and mouth in the water, eyes on him and he should know she could drown, does know deep within himself that no one can breathe like that without gills. But he ignores it, just keeps talking, starts remembering. “I’m pretty sure that was your fault, you know.”
She laughs through the water and flicks water on him and he flicks it back. “Brat.”
She turns on her back now, head close to his, resting in the space between his shoulder and head, “Was your idea.”
“Only because you wouldn’t stop bugging me remember?” He remembers, and he’s sure she does, too. Can clearly see his sister as the child she was. Pouting up at him, distracting him from completing the essays his schoolteachers had set him. She always got bored in her own classes, finished quickly and always tried to help me with mine.
“You didn’t want to be doing it anyway, found it boring.” She interlocks her fingers with his own.
“I remember.” And he had, hadn’t seen the point in taking extra classes in nautical engineering, in business management. He had no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps, though his father still pressed the issue no matter how much Simon professed his passion for medicine. He came around…eventually. “You wanted to go swimming, to the lake. It wasn’t a cold evening and everyone was at a party anyway, but they told me to finish all my work first. They knew I wouldn’t, that by the time I did it would be too late. I think they were planning to take us to the hydro pool in the morning, but that wasn’t where you wanted to go. You never liked being cooped up…”
“You promised me.” She reminds him and he tilts his head catching her eyes. “The hydro pool would have been fun, but the lake was more exciting, more of a distraction.” And he had loved spending time alone with River; even as he grew older and should have been focusing more on those of his own age, he always preferred her company. They had so much in common, besides blood ties; they both were in classes more advanced for their ages. Simon had been advanced by two years and River by three. Their classmates had taken it as either a personal affront to their own intelligence to have someone younger studying with them, or regarded them as oddities.
“Got in trouble.” She laughs at the memory and he finds himself blushing at it. The sneaking out had been fun, made into a daring game where they were soldiers crossing a battlefront, the reward of the lake more than enough to satisfy. It hadn’t been hard to get past their own sensors; River was quicker at disabling, Simon at navigating them out. The lake had felt like this, same temperature, made his skin wrinkle in the same way when they lingered a while too long. Definitely a while too long. They’d made up their own games, chased each other around the lake and held their own challenges before floating aimlessly, staring at the clouds, neither one thinking, just floating.
It was when the sun had dipped low that they’d remembered, had quickly stripped off their wet undergarments and pulled their own clothes back on. All the rushing hadn’t done much good though, his parents had already been back an hour and frantic to find their children gone. They had the Alliance in the house, alerts on the cortex, thinking Simon and River had been kidnapped, maybe to be held for ransom.
It was the only time his mother had ever hit him; seen the two of them wet-haired and pale-faced, rushing to them as the officers brought them in, her hand reddening his cheek making Simon’s head snap back and his eyes water before she drew them both into her arms.
“Da-” He stumbles over the word, still feeling the heat of that slap. “They weren’t happy.” It was an understatement, his mother had been close to hysterical, his father furious. Embarrassed and humiliated at their inappropriate behavior, more so because it would soon become the subject of gossip and much laughter within their circles.
People might have said that his father’s overreaction should have warned Simon just how concerned he was with image and his place in society, but even if Simon does sometimes wonder he has to push the thought away, has to honestly believe his father was more concerned about them than how they‘d behaved. His mother‘s reaction made it easier to believe that, made it easier to think his parents weren‘t unloving, didn‘t just view them as attachments to their image, to bump up their own self esteem, but that they were weak, selfish even.
He glances at her, di yu did she just read his mind? He does wonder, can’t help but do so after what the doctors had claimed they’d tried to make her--a psychic. “I don’t mean to badmouth our parents, River, I just--” He pauses, he just needs to. Can’t help it.
“Not them. You. Not weak at all, Simon.”
She squeezes his hand reassuringly then whispers, “Close your eyes.”
He has a moment to wonder, to puzzle on that, before bright light assaults his vision, makes him yelp, and he lets go of River’s hand, kicks his legs up and sinks under. As he comes up, breaking the surface spluttering, he half-closes his eyes against the light and gropes for River’s hand. Fear making a quick return, he shivers as he registers the cold, body trembling and teeth chattering as he shades his eyes and makes out hazy images from above. The water level is rising and he has to kick his legs to keep afloat once more.
The hazy objects come into focus excruciatingly slowly as his sore eyes take a moment for his vision to adjust and Simon’s heart lurches, sound caught between a whimper and a growl coming from his throat as he sees the blue hands reaching for him.
Sunday, September 28, 2008 7:41 AM
Sunday, September 28, 2008 12:57 PM
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