No Child Of The Air
Friday, March 24, 2006

Simon/River. Mermaids. Written for the shinyhearts Valentines ficathon, which said to rewrite a famous lovestory with a Firefly pairing. -- Bitter-sweet.



Inspired by: "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen

Many thanks: to sarahjane for beta-kindness.

PG-13 Simon/River (Yes, Crazy Space Incest) Spoilers for the whole series.

---------------------------- No Child Of The Air ----------------------------

He lives the life of a prince, before.

Osiris, a sea of polished surfaces, where hardship is rumor, a muffled noise drifting in from faraway shores. Bountiful Osiris, moist with its riches.

His mouth speaks the language, his hands work miracles and he navigates the eternal sliver-blue of Capital City with familiar competence, one sparkling swimmer among many.

People mistake his ease for grace but he knows better. He has seen grace and she is not of this world, a gift of unknown Gods, who carries weightless suspension with her wherever she goes.

Inhabitant of all elements, she dances on the water surface, spheres that she alone can reach, and her toes send ripples downward, gentle bodyless caress.


There are horizons in her eyes, longing to expand.

"It's so far away, meimei."

"But I want to go. It's a challenge, Simon. It'll be such a challenge."

The siren song draws her away to the land and listlessly he floats, waiting for an echo of her touch.

It takes so long for him to hear her cries.

When they come, they are distorted and crumbled by liquid distance.

"They’re hurting us."

The entire world tastes of her tears and no one will believe it. It's the nature of the sea to be bitter, to be salty, but he never knew before.

People own smiles like an armour of scales, shimmer without value.

"I will not come for you."

In the end, it is in the murky depths that he finds help.

"Money. And luck."

He sells his life for the chance to be her hero. He sells his world and his voice for a sea witch's potion that sears and cuts and leaves him walking in a foreign world.

Walking on knives, with unfamiliar feet.

He bites back the pain.

When he finds her, broken and weak, there is no returning. Not ever.

"Everything I have is right here."

Royalty is a crumbled dream, after.

He stumbles, aches in the harsh pull of pressureless gravity. Dust clings to him, and the burn of a blade follows every step.

It is so much harder than he expected.

"When I took you and your sister in, the deal was you keep her in check. You can't hold up your end, we're going to have to revisit the deal."

His voice is gone, every shiny, sharp souvenir a bad mimicry of help. She shies away from the reminder of betrayal and her fear leaves scratches in his heart.

Every day that she doesn't dance or run or laugh, he sees himself dissolving. Dirty white foam drying on the ground.

And yet he stays solid. Bathes in the wild spray of her joy, drinks the rivulets of her agony. Every drop of her a nourishment.

It is not he that opened her cage, not he that is sheltering her. The sunset sparkle in her eyes is not his to treasure.


Rust and decay and sharp edges. Every shade of brown.

"I think it's more home to her than any place she's been."

But at night, he knows.

When those rippling dancer feet map the cold smoothness of his floor, guided by quiet purpose. When her long limbs wrap around him, crystal tongues whisper to him that he is rewarded.

"You don't have to be afraid, gege."

Her lips bless his skin like rain the starving soil and she tightens her hold. Every touch soothes and heals, beyond him, even in this, even when the only certain direction is down.

They belong. Constant and safe.

"I will never let you fade away."

An eternity of dirt and metal stretches out before him.

He sinks into the underwater hum of her body and flexes his toes.

- End. -


Friday, March 24, 2006 6:20 AM


sure you can...go to 'manage my content' find the story you want to delete and then delete it :)

Friday, March 24, 2006 6:29 AM


Crap, you're right! I'm such a dummy not to find that... Thanks for letting me know! I'll appreciate it next time. :D

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 2:22 AM


andersen's little mermaid is one of my favourite children's stories, and you've combined it with my other favourite perfectly.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:20 PM


This is beautiful and sublime, thank you. Made me cry, too.
This tale is so fitting for them. I chose to interpret it metaphorically as I'm not into CSI, but yes, Simon is not a child of air but he survives on such a meagure reward of River's good moments.

"An eternity of dirt and metal stretches out before him" - gave me shivers.

Simon and River tend to bring fairy tales to mind: Hansel and Gretel, and another one by Andersen: about Eliza and her 12 brothers turned to swans and how she had to knit shirts out of nettles for them to break an evil spell. And Simon always fits the sister's/female roles in those tales, somehow.


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