When River Cries
Thursday, January 19, 2006

What happens to Serenity's crew when River cries? Mal tells us in his own words.


Disclaimer: The 'verse belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant. I just like to fly in it from time to time. Rating: G Authors Note: When River cries, I cry, too. Can't help it.

When River Cries

When River cries, her big brown eyes well up and fill her whole face, like to break your heart. Her forehead creases as she tries to hold back, but there's no stoppin' it. Her lips begin to tremble and her head tilts as her shoulders sink in. She's all shook up and don't even know why; the fear and bewilderment sweeps across her and she crumbles.

When River cries, it makes me mad, makes me want to just shut her up. Sometimes I wanna slap her. I know it ain't her fault. She's innocent, all tore up with what they did to her, and that just makes me madder. 'Cause I want to be angry with her, tell her to quit it. And I can't. It ain't her fault. I'm the Captain of this ship, but I can't order her to stop bawlin'. Wouldn't do no good if I did.

When River cries, Jayne scoots away from her. He'll turn his back and I see his shoulders square. I think he wants to belt her one, to make her stop. Wonder if it's for the same reasons I do, but I doubt it. When River cries, Jayne just gets pissed and walks away.

When River cries, Inara approaches slow on her knees and wraps the girl up in her arms, in her shawl, in the flow of her hair. She tries to comfort her, even while her eyes are up, on me. She's looking past me, trying to find Simon so he can make it all better, then back at me like she's thinking maybe I can make it better this time, but I don't know how. Never do. When River cries, Zoe and Wash exchange glances, hold hands. Zoe's eyes get wide, her mouth frowns down. Scares me. Scares me more to see her vulnerable like that than it does me to see her rush into a room full of armed men with her guns out. Zoe don't scare Wash. He holds her hand, maybe kisses it, as he watches River cry. Sympathy fills his bright eyes, and a kind of sadness, and that hurts me, too, to see all his funnin' slip away in her tears.

When River cries, Kaylee runs. She'll run the entire length of the ship, callin' for Simon. Kaylee don't sit still, not hardly ever, but when River cries, she can't help herself but run away. She's sweet, got all kinds of compassion, and I think if she weren't afraid, she'd be with Inara, holding and comfortin'. But as it is, when River cries, it scares her, shakes up her belief that everything in the 'verse has something shiny to it, if you just hold up to the right light. When River cries, Kaylee's sunshine ain't enough to make it shiny again.

When River cries, Shepherd sits down and is still. I think he's prayin'. Well, suppose someone on this boat has to do it. I've seen him look at her sometimes, like she's one of those metalsmith puzzles, all pegs and rings and if he just looks long enough, the peg will slip through the right hoop and River will come all together whole again. There ain't a magic peg, so I guess prayin' will have to do.

When River cries, Simon rushes in, holds her hands, tells her it will be all right as he slides needles into her arms. Makes me want to hit him, too. Ain't no way of life, always being jabbed. But it works. River's tears slow and she'll slump on his shoulder as he rubs her back. I'll ask if she's okay and he'll nod. "Just a side effect" or "Just a bad moment". When River cries, Simon tries to be the brother, but in the end, he's the Doctor, where all the power of love in the 'verse ain't enough to do what one little needle full of drugs will do.

When River cries, I look around. I see the people who mean most to me doing the things they do best and I aughta be proud of 'em. Aughta tell 'em so. But I don't. I pat Kaylee's shoulder as she walks past me back to the kitchen. I nod at Jayne as relief fills his eyes that another bout is over. Inara and I exchange a glance. I don't know what it means, but it's over too soon. I leave Zoe and Wash in their private place and sit down with Shepherd Book at the table.

He looks at me and I look at him and I know he knows my secret. When River cries, I feel like cryin' too.

The end.


Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:17 PM


...perfect. Just perfect!

Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:40 PM


It's beautiful! you captured everyone masterfully! But no more sad Rivers, please! . . . I think i'm somewhere between Kaylee and Simon, myself.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:00 PM


sad and perfect and wonderful.

Friday, January 20, 2006 12:14 AM


wow perfect just perfect, I think you got every one of them specially mal so on the dot.

Friday, January 20, 2006 12:31 AM


Wow, brilliant, and spot on characterisations. All through reading this fic I kept hearing the song "Cry me a River" in my head. Bravo! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, January 20, 2006 3:13 AM


It's beautiful and sad, how all the characters in their way feel her pain.

The mark of good fiction, I feel like crying too.

Friday, January 20, 2006 4:40 AM


Ohhh, so sad, so true, so wonderfully written. Just beautiful! *leaves to find kleenex*

Friday, January 20, 2006 5:26 AM


gorgeous! so true to each character!

Friday, January 20, 2006 6:52 AM


I read this and I started crying. It's just so... I can't even think of the right word it's beautiful

(Also on a personal note- I wish whoever "anonymous" would have signed in so I could tell them not to be so damn cold about reviewing it)

Friday, January 20, 2006 8:50 AM


Amazing, powerful stuff. A moment captured in the most prosaic fashion.

If I can come half as close to that quality with my own fics, I'll be a happy man! *bows down in reverence*

Friday, January 20, 2006 5:48 PM


Very very good, very bittersweet. Seems to be a theme with me tonight. You did a lovely job.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:05 AM


"When River cries, I feel like cryin' too."
ditto *wipes eyes*


ps. on a purely technical note, i like the way you started each paragraph with "when river cries..."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 4:14 PM


Wow! This is so very beautiful. :) Brilliant writing, yes; but the most touching part, for me, was the last sentence; because when River cries, I cry along with her. Always. River makes me cry. In good ways; in ways that make me want to cry again.

River was made to be Loved. And when River cries, I remember I was made to Love.

Thank you so much for your touching words. Now YOU made me cry; and that makes me very happy. Go figure. :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006 6:51 PM



Tuesday, June 6, 2006 6:59 PM


I read this a few weeks back and loved it... reading it a second time I still got goosebumps. Excellent fic!

Thursday, December 21, 2006 12:42 PM


I think the prose and characterisations are just impeccable.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:51 AM


"Scares me more to see her vulnerable like that than it does me to see her rush into a room full of armed men with her guns out. Zoe don't scare Wash."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:52 AM


ok, don't know why the post went prematurely, but i was going to say, after i quoted your words, how much i really love that line and that comparison between Wash and Mal and their approach to Zoe.

... that in addition to my general love for the piece. good work.


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Mal/Simon - Actually Part 1 in my Collection of every pairing on Serenity; previously posted at AFF. Simon needs help picking up the pieces. AdultFanfiction.Net is still down, sooo....

Hold Me
Another in my Collection, in which I'm collecting every pairing Serenity has to offer. Mal/Kaylee - Mal realizes he has something to lose.

Collection; Part 3- Finding Strength
Part 3 of my AFF Collection Series- Zoe finds strength in Jayne; With AdultFanFiction.Net unable to add stories for a while, I thought I should share it here.

When River Cries
What happens to Serenity's crew when River cries? Mal tells us in his own words.

A Promise Lives
Post BDM - A short little one-off describing the movies end from one characters point of view.

Missing, Presumed Dead
Who did Dobson leave behind? Short little one-off inspired by Carlos Jacott's wedding ring in Firefly: Serenity.

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Just a little Christmas/December Festival onboard Serenity. Sometimes the Christmas spirit comes from unexpected places.

The Better Man
Zoe & Mal, set during the infamous Torture Scene from War Stories. -Warning: INTENSE; Torture & Grimy Sex

Not Afraid of Having
Inara and Mal try to come to an understanding. Based on something Zoe said in "Heart of Gold".
Post-Serenity! Contains Spoilers!