I Like Drawing Cephalopods
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Post-BDM; Reg Crew; OCs; Inara/Mal, Simon/Kaylee,: Set in the 'Verse that is Four. River's thoughts during Hannah's first days on ship.


Because it's not finals unless I'm procrastinating with fanfic...

Set smack dab between parts 2 & 3 of the fic Four As well as generally follows and progresses on the events of- He's Fightin' the War Right Now Xiăo Guĭ Littlest Victories

~~~ ~~~


People, word originated from the Anglo-norman French word Poeple, from the latin populus. Scientific, Homo Sapien, modern man, thinking man, literally ‘Wise Man.”

Not a man, not a wise man. Not of the correct gender. Girl, two girls. Female. Little one big one. Babe and adolescent. Age. Solar cycles. Development and growth. We grow like flowers. We need sun and water or else we wither.

One too young, needs mother’s milk, needed, mother no longer there, present, alive. Cardiac functions of birth mother ceased due to emaciation and infection, brainwaves ceased shortly after. Was always going to die, bad luck in life. Bought her, bought her young, young and pure. Have a bit of fun, make her moan, make her writhe, wear her out, leave her a gift. Sullied the new toy, planted the seed, time for a new one, sell her off. Get another, another to sully, white to red. Disregard the new belly, just like the others. Mother, young mother and baby, baby is everything. Baby is everything, baby is safe now, so she closed her eyes and said goodbye. Left the husk behind, left baby behind.

Baby looks like a wrinkled hose monster.

Hoses are important though, hoses bring the breath and a liquids. Life liquids.

The second, the adolescent.

Like her, like the River.

Dodge Simon, Simon’s twisted, Simon’s broody. He fluffs his feathers and squabbles. Simon’s a fat hen. Except not fat, just squabbly. Won’t let her see the new River girl, won’t let her study the new River girl. He’s scared of old River girl. She’s not right. Oh he loves her so! But she’s not right. She could hurt them, both of them. Especially the new River, because she’s curious. Curiosity killed the cat. But she promises she won’t kill it out of curiosity. Just wants to see it. See where all the hoses go, see they end to become a girl. Another girl, new girl, new River.

It’s all bony. Old River is not that boney.

Nor that still.

New River has a name. Hannah. She hears it, she hears it fluttering in her brain. “Hannah Hannah Hannah. Oh how you’ve grown since last Christmas!” That’s all though, that’s all the words in new Hannah’s head. She’s all foggy, murky, like troubled waters. She doesn’t know anything else. It hurt so much her mind got scared and decided to forget it all. So it did. Fluttered away, flew the coop.

She’s brand new.

Brand new is good. They can meet each other. Everything will be new, everything will be normal. So old River will be normal because newness establishes what is normal.

Normal will be nice.

Age, solar age, similar. Can they be close? Close would be nice. Close of age, close in friendship.


River would like a friend.

Very much so.





Simon’s no fun. He’s a giant scowl. Thinks, worries; worries, worries, worries. Fusspot. Slink back, back from the bed. Back to Inara. Vocalize. String the words. “Won’t hurt her, promise.”

Inara. Caring hand at the nape of her neck. Loving mother to all of them. “Simon,”

Head on her knee. Comfortable. “Is a fusspot.” Stick out the tongue, make him know what he is. Dummy.

His face rearranges. Huffy breath. “Inara, I’m just concerned. River’s not exactly the most gentle girl and Hannah still has a long way to go.”

Thread the words. “Your brain is too flurried.” Words did not thread well. Nuzzle Inara. Inara’s safe.

Inara has her words. Her words arrange well. “They’re the same age, I think they need to get to know each other. They could both use a friend.”

New Hannah’s eyes are big, brown, watching. Curiouser and Curiouser.

“I understand, but River has her bad days...”

“I’ll try harder. Simon I’ll try much harder. Promise.”

Words worked.

Little victory.

Simon relents.

Good brother.

Scramble to her feet she does. To the bed. To perch. To stare at New Hannah. To string words.


New Hannah blinks, not shy. “Hi.”

“River. River is a person. Also a body of water. But I am River and I am not a body of water.” Embarrassed. Didn’t come out right, never does. Try again. “My name... Is River.”

Simon is pleasantly surprised she said it right.

Make a face at him for underestimating. Boob.

“I’m Hannah.”

“I know.”



Peer in.

She’s bored.


Hannah sits up, interested at the pair of wide brown eyes looking from behind the door jam. “Hey River.”

Unsure. Rejection is an ugly thing. Rejection is an ugly monster when you’re not normal. Hesitates but moves about. Hold it close, hold it dear. Maybe she wants to see it. “I’m bored.”

“Me too.” She twists her bony hands. Looks better than before though, less dead. “There’s not a whole lot to do.”

“Be more to do, but you’re attached.” Hoses are everywhere; sizes and colors galore.

“I know.” She’s frustrated. “But they’re keeping me alive apparently. I guess I can get taken off of them soon though, Dr. Simon was really happy with how I’m doing.”

Move closer. “Getting better. Be a real, moving girl soon.”

“I know, I’m looking forward to it.” She looks at what River’s holding. Curious. “Whatcha got?”

Don’t say pulpified wood compressed into thin sheets and bound. Don’t say colored wax. Be normal be normal be normal. “My sketchbook and my pencils?” She grins because she got it right.

Hannah’s confused. Can’t remember what that is, things got lost, scared away with all the bad.

Show her. Hand your designs over. “Gave it to me for my birthday. Simon did, he’s thoughtful.”

Fascinated by the drawings, she studies the pages intently. Her mind threading things together, remembering things. Names of objects, skills, just not her own history. It’s all gone now. “Did you draw all of these?”

River nods her head.

“You’re really good.”

“You want to try?”

She’s unsure. Doesn’t know if she’s good at it or not.

“Never know until you try.” River climbs up onto the hospital bed Kaylee welded together to put in the infirmary for Hannah’s extensive stay. For such a small girl, it’s a large bed, strapped to the gills with equipment. Perching herself in a space that isn’t encumbered by hoses or monitors, she lucidly opens the small tin box of colored pencils, placing them within comfortable reach for Hannah. Finding a new page, she smiles. “It’s easy.” Blue’s her favorite, it’s the sky. The sky’s endless. “You press down and the color flows to the paper, realizes your cognitive experiences and ideals. Helps you express profound visions the words cannot properly encompass...” Catches herself, getting too wordy, to weird. Correct. “I like drawing happy cephalopods.”

Hannah survey’s the colors, finally going for purple. “I don’t know what I like,”

“Can find out.”

The door opens. Hannah looks, River ignores, Simon’s curiosity is piqued.

“River... What.... Are you...”

“We’re drawing.” She explains. “Hannah gets bored, nothing here but noisy machines.”

He’s surprised at her clarity. Boob.

River rolls her eyes. “The more you practice the better you get. More cogent.”

Right...” He moves across the room, finding a folder.

“Isn’t that what you want?” Her eyes goes back to the paper where her hand is outlining a blue squid with a horrifically toothsome grin.

It’s the biggest thing he wants. Makes him hurt she says it so. Makes him hurt he doubted. Simon comes over and cups her cheek, kissing the top of her head in a more fatherly way. “Of course xiao mei-mei.” It’s more soothing to him than her. “After I check everything I’ll talk to Inara about getting you two something to do.”

“I like drawing cephalopods.”

“I know, and you’re good at it.” He rubs her back before moving away to study a monitor. Something about kidneys. “But wouldn’t you like variety? Movies, books, magazines”

“Spice of life.”


*** *** *** DEFINITIONS/TRANSLATIONS xiao mei-mei: little sister

A/N: Honest Comments are always appreciated, especially with this one as it's so experimental in style and format.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:10 AM


First off, apologies to my beta for not shipping this one over. It's finals, therefore it's one of those horrid implus posts (I will however be shipping you the rest in the near future).

Hopefully the progression of lucidity comes off as an intentional stylistic choice.

And while I don't condone the use of mind altering drugs to write a character, if your on meds that suggest not operating heavy machinery the chances of you channeling River Tam successfully apparently go up ten fold.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:27 AM


I am at a standing computer, on a break, in professional-looking clothing. I embarrassed myself in front of thirty-odd people by yelping like a kindergartner when I got to "I like drawing happy cephalopods"...

And I'm going to thank you for it. Much funny.

I love the refrain of "Simon is a fusspot/Simon is a boob"--they are nicely timed.

Very interesting take on River--the pictures come across as very visual, the concepts being linked by associative flow, trimmed of all the explanation our speech usually has. And yet it makes sense since you pared it down to simple.

Re: your comment about drugs. Ah, welcome to the club. :D I don't allow myself to write River-speak unless it's after 1 in the morning...going on 40 doc pages of Albatross now. Are you planning on more? Would like to see it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 5:11 PM


I like this too! Good River speak. But I see troublesome fruity oaty bar octopi lurking in blouses and inside pencil leads. Maybe she makes them eat men in suits.


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