Can't look, can't look.
Saturday, December 18, 2010

River, Mal, post-movie, unfluffy. - Kinds of memory. Out of nowhere. Every war, every side.



Can't look, can't look.


A certain pain level on downward, the memory starts storing in the body, not the mind, River knows. That's how they shut down and keep sane. Mostly.

They taught, did not show her that. But she knows.

Like when they're little. Smells and sounds trigger things that have no context. They exclaim, don't explain, things like excitement, sleep or desperatepanicfearscream.

River doesn't remember certain things because they made her sleep, though. Which is different.

And there are things Zoe and Mal don't remember. On purpose. Panicfearscream. But not. Like that.

When they shut down, River knows, they don't remember surviving, either.

That's how they stay locked in the shriekingfuryterror. Shrinking away, arms up, head down, knees bent, curled up.

Press to the wall.



Muscles braced and elsewhere.

Elsewhere until later. Afterward.


Trickles down through the generations. Techniques they learn trace back to the unexpected. Every war. Every side. Every. Side.

There's a man off in the crowd whose shoulders locked up tight when he saw the Captain. His hands go up and down, up and down, depending on which part of his mind, up and down, and he stares and inside he panicfearscreams and sometimes he can't can't sleep at night and something in his head takes over and there's a body memory and an afterwards and a dabbing up of blood and a silence about the matter. Up and down.

River doesn't say anything before turning.

River is going back to the ship, where there's Kaylee and Simon and books and food and the engine.

River doesn't want to go out with the Captain today.

She hums an elsewhere song and her hands go up and down, up and down, until she's far enough away.

- - - -



Saturday, December 18, 2010 6:43 AM


Yikes. You actually feel a little bad for the former Alliance soldier here. I can't figure out what exactly happened... The only motion I can think of that might be similar is a stabbing motion, but I can't figure out if he stabs himself, or if he's still an Alliance soldier and he stabs someone else and the incident is covered up by his superiors.

Very good look at PTSD.

Saturday, December 18, 2010 6:57 AM


Oh, I was afraid is might be confusing. It's more a case of bringing up his hands in a protective motion unconsciously and lowering them again, in a sort of... compulsive, repetitive fashion. Hmm. I guess that could have been done less confusingly.

But thank you very much for reading and responding!

Saturday, December 18, 2010 10:37 AM


Huh, and a dab of blood wiped up and not spoken about.

But poor River, freaked out by Mal's effect on other people. :( Do you think he ever did anything REALLY bad in the war? Like Ella Gregs once had him kill a bunch of POWs because he couldn't feed them and couldn't let them go.

Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:03 AM


Honestly... I'm really not sure. The show could have gone either way. We're shown very Disney-esque fight scenes before the ultimate ending at Serenity Valley, but you also have Mal kicking an unarmed, restrained man into an engine and it's treated as comedy, so even if there was Really Bad Stuff going on, would Joss have portrayed it as such? He shoots Tracey himself and then pats his shoulder as he dies. Dark, creepy abyss. I do think that he did some heavy duty bad stuff, but I don't think he's as sociopathic as to have fully aknowledged it and be fine with it. If he had done something like in the Ella Gregs fic, I'm sure that's in a drawer somethere never touched or looked at. Not a "war story" to be told at the kitchen table or ever thought about.

Dude, that guy is messed up.

Saturday, December 18, 2010 12:02 PM


I felt sorry for everybody. No one is the enemy, they're all equally damaged. I got that the 'up,down' was an internal reaction: horrible, compulsive, being jerked around helplessly like a puppet.

I like how Mal's the distant baddie here, his former enemy the focus.

Saturday, December 18, 2010 1:56 PM


Loved this, brilliantly done! I could so see this stream of consciousness from River and how she relates to people, not just those who are her new family on Serenity but also to strangers. Everyone. Everywhere. Wonderful.
AgentRouka, as for Mal patting Tracey's shoulder after he has shot him being creepy I don't see it that that way. He had to reluctantly kill Tracey to save his ship and crew. He didn't want to do it. The pat on the shoulder I took as a way of telling Tracey it was all over now and they were good, a bit like a touch of absolution. Just my take. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Saturday, December 18, 2010 2:52 PM


Oh this. This is good.

I like this.

Agreed on the Tracey thing. Kinda dark irony that Mal ended up being the person "'s got a bullet for you and don't even know it yet".

Mal has some Dark Creepy Stuff--several on the boat do, and I think his sudden flip-outs between the song and dance are panicfearscream when it escapes from the box River is describing so well. Nice bringing in everyone--the effect of violence and torture on everyone from her POV--River is a little universalist of horror and its effects on people. Humans.

Monday, December 20, 2010 9:56 AM


Very nice. I didn't know you could write like that.


You must log in to post comments.



Can't look, can't look.
River, Mal, post-movie, unfluffy. - Kinds of memory. Out of nowhere. Every war, every side.

Basic Skills
Inara is organising her drawers. - Very short moment in a young student's day. Free for all ages.

Do you know what a Grizwald is?
Post-Serenity, Mal, Inara, fruit, contemplation. 2x2 made me do it.

Nandi didn't die. - Short, unfluffy, free for all ages.

Job Hazard
Crack-fic. With a chubby little crew. Set anytime. Because Mal has a bad temper and worse luck. Free for all ages.

Signed up for.
Tran-qui-li-ty. - Inara. Kaylee. Pre-series. Short and sweet. Free for all ages.

The Calm
Before the storm. - Inara. Post-movie. Quiet drabble of introspection. Free for all ages.

Data For Storage
Inara and the art of observation. Jayne and the art of being Jayne. - post-movie, quiet, free for all ages. Written back in April '06.

The common denominator is woman. - Spastic poetic voice takes on Zoe and Inara. Short, a bit abstract. Free for all ages, no spoilers.

Slice It Forward
Mal/Inara/Cake fluff. There might be metaphorical meaning hidden inside, but I won't tell if you won't. Rated C for cake, cute and calories.