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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
River Tam's diary at the Academy. Part 3, considering where she's been and where she is now. Ongoing.
I've split Part 3 into two parts because of the length, 3a and 3b.
For those who want to start at the beginning, Part 1: http://www.fireflyfans.net/sunroomitem.asp?i=22568
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1646 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Once again, thanks to Bytemite and gilovetodance for the beta, among others.
The entries remain cryptic and unordered as usual. Questions, comments, guesses welcome. Have at it.
[Joss is boss, River is not mine, etc. ad nauseum, ad infinitum...]
I will stop curiosity like a clock. No, I am not a bundle of flesh and feathers, wound up tight on brittle bones, waiting to flail into flight. I have no beak, no staring eye, no talons of a thousand points of light and pain. And I will not do everything I can. That was long ago precluded when I first…arrived. Now I think I’ve arrived again, but it’s only an illusion, turning the labyrinth on a sharpened spindle, waiting for my sixteenth birthday. You can’t make time go faster, can’t bend it, shape it, beg or plead it. Only we stop. And then the world spins.
I’m worthless. Don’t you see that?
When something is sold it loses its value. And all I can keep thinking is “how did I get here? How did I really get here?” This is too uncomfortable to think about, and so I won’t. I’ll just let the distractions drop like harp strokes down through my mind: Ding, ding, ding. I can hear them getting ready for dinner, down the hall. Miles and Sperhgy, Jani. Dorsett. Like so much Ionian dust sitting down, all together, graces and heroes. Volger will of course be at the head of the table, as in life, clattering, because he is so important. Somehow, they were important.
And they’ve all beaten me. Beaten me to the wine, because they’re old enough to take their medicine. Like ducks, all in a row. Bang. The falcon drops like a stone into the reflected eye of amber and time splits. Stops.
Mother, you were so pretty in the mornings before temple, when everything was new and clean like freshly ironed laundry. Peace hung in the air like music. You filled the mirror, all quirks smoothed over in the benevolence and once-a-week calm needed for chanting. I’ve seen that smile before, though I didn’t realize it.
That same, empty smile that I see in the portraits of you and Father, in the lower hallway at home. It’s not his fault. He didn’t understand how you could be painted together but hang separately. He comforted you. You owe him.
Those mornings were sweet. I liked to watch you, small, from the corner. I didn’t even go up to you, afraid I’d spoil the pretty illusion. To see you was enough, like not wanting to touch a painting. I could feel both your presences still in the empty bed nearby and it comforted me, I felt safe and enclosed, without having anyone’s attention directed at me. I loved you then especially, your benevolence filling up all the spaces in me. Then you were gone, in a cloud of perfume and the rustle of dark clothes, including me in the good thoughts you took with you. I pray that was a different smile.
I stood in your place at the boudoir, and stared at the soft brushes and Grandmother’s formal jade pieces, my head only coming to the top of the Erebus carving. And I knew that someday I would grow.
I was hopeful then. The floor has been removed and replaced with a low ceiling, six feet underground.
I will never wear your jade, Mother. I am a child of cracked, dirty crockery. My smile is not empty, and while I used to hide in the china cabinet from imaginary shadows, shadows that the logical part of my mind told me I could never be touched by, I kept curling up in my cave. I almost broke the willow-pattern once. Remember that? They’ve come to life. Maybe you weren’t lying when I was four, but you are now. Shadows are twisted things, real or not. You don’t speak and I don’t want to think it, but your smile keeps lying. Who are you lying to? And I’m so far away from where I’m supposed to be. How can I do this? How can I cut the threads and not unravel?
What have you done?
And then I realized: River, you’re upset because you just lost your only friends, broke off the few relationships you’ve had since before you learned to work an abacus. Was that when we went to Sihnon, the cultural artifacts? Doesn’t matter. Why do I remember pointless things when I’m trying to be serious? So I can forget whose fault things are.
You lost them, it was your fault. And now you’re desperate to make friends.
Nobody likes an albatross. Even though they’re lucky. Give them an arm, or a leg, or a foot for a talisman, I suppose it’s only natural for someone born in Rabbit. Give until you bleed out.
They didn’t want me, my “friends”, but that doesn’t mean they’d have to be so unkind, after so many years. I don’t understand why I suddenly became bothersome, following their precious ship. No discussion, they just cut me out. I’m too different; it sounds trite, but it’s true.
Shoot me down, and I will rise up even more powerful than before, rotting around your neck. You will not forget me. The stench of your own murdered consciences will follow you over the blasted heath. Enough of that for now, I shall go on whining and moaning later. I do not have time for teenage angst at the moment. I wish I could find enough time even for this entry. But I’m not complaining at all, it’s so much different from School. I’m so much happier here.
Today in the interim we discussed political networks and institutions. Oh, the joy of it all. The paradox of course is that the same networks, or webs as I think of them, depending on to whom they belong, allow you the farthest reach of the stars, but you are never beyond outside influence.
I privately believe that every web is constructed and patrolled by a spider, and that the unwary turn into flies, mired in stickies instead of facilitated, because the Legislature won’t give them the enzyme that allows the spider to move in its own web. Mergers can be a little like a mating ritual—the other party gets its head ripped off and eaten. This is why Father said I should be a scientist instead of a politician. I am very diplomatic (which comes in handy for funding) but cannot give up my own thoughts (this will allow me to produce accurate results, in his theory). When he says this, (in his best blackout-zone voice) I always joke that I’ll be the only scientist terrified of freshly mixed concrete and other quick-setting, sticky compounds.
No one really listens to me in class, though I can see them surreptitiously taking notes, including Vonnegut back there in his little corner. It’s rather disconcerting to be discounted publicly and analyzed privately. If I was back in GenEd, I’d call them mosquitoes. But these are like me, the bright stars of the future, as they always say (ha ha) and so I must behave, and figure out a way for them to discuss with each other in class, instead of jockeying for position. Though they’ve got to be genuinely interested, it’s all posturing for the benefit of placement later on. Some things don’t change.
We’re studying one of the most influential texts from Earth-That-Was in Cultural Foundations 10 A. From this I get a guilty little thrill, because I’m getting around Father, technically. Mother didn’t care, but when Baba found Simon had taken up with the New Book, started reading it regularly on the Cortex, it brought out a tirade.
I’ve never seen him angry as that at Simon—it was like fear. Nobody gets angry at Simon, but I wonder if he’s managed to kill a patient yet. That was morbid, probably because I’m in a theoretical frame of mind. It wasn’t fair, either. He has a perfect record so far, attributable to “state-of-the-art Alliance Core technology” of course, but all right, I shall give him due credit. He is incredible. Really, there’s a depth to him most people don’t see; it makes him mysterious, which he definitely hasn’t learned to use to his advantage—girls find it irresistible, but no fish. I can’t help laughing every time he messes it up, though I really do feel awful. I guess they don’t teach everything in Medacad. Silly Simon, he was reading the New Book, which Father found, and didn’t like all this depending on other people, incarnated gods or not, for redemption. He sure put Simon through the needle for that one. Of course, in a 48 tami house and a job that pays over 800,000 Alliance Credits each cycle he naturally wouldn’t. Not that I’m ungrateful for growing up in the aforementioned house. Just amused. Back to this delicious verboten material:
Our facilitator “posited” that there was only a slight difference between angels and demons, and asked us what it could be described as. I felt capricious: “One smiles to your face; the other smiles behind your back.”
Just as Vonnegut is doing now. Piss off, ben tian-sheng de nansheng*. Yes I’m writing about you as you read and in a moment I will turn around. That was irritating, feng le** , but he left. I get a little prickly when people find me recording instances of my own pride. It’s one of my weaknesses.
Vonnegut and Mazer are fighting again. Irritating little boys. They think they’re quite the next Conquerors, but I see what they are. I hope someday they will be, but for now, they’re just creating mental noise.
1. tian-sheng de nansheng, “stupid inconsiderate schoolboy”
2. feng le, “making me crazy”
Monday, February 15, 2010 7:42 AM
Monday, February 15, 2010 9:24 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:56 AM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:17 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:54 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:04 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:07 PM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 2:51 AM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 1:45 PM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 6:40 PM
Saturday, February 20, 2010 3:39 PM
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