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Title: The Journey
Author: Saffie_lew
Rating: Pg
Prompt: #113 numbers (FF-Friday)
Characters: All, but River's POV
Pairings: Mal/Simon (very, very vague)
Spoilers: Post Objects in Space, pre BDM (but hints of one major event)
Warnings: Very, very vague slash
Word Count: 672

Author's Note: Not my usual style, but I really wanted to do a River POV. I'm a little worried about how easy it was to sound crazy. I took a slightly odd approach to the prompt, hope it's okay. This is the first Firefly story I've written and I'm very nervous (as in feeling sort of sick and about to lose my nerve about posting it). Very odd, it's not like I haven't posted anything before.

Disclaimer: Joss rules my 'verse. I bow down to his genius. 

The Journey

She isn’t sure that the idea’s hers, but it’s nice. Sometimes things seem so clear, like glass, other times it’s foggy, pea soup, standing blind while voices scream. Who’s saying what? Who feels? Who thinks? Friends and enemies all together. Which is which? Who is who…?

River shakes her head, trying to put the pieces back. Simon is looking at her, hurt-guilty-worried. She’s stolen the happy-smiling Kaylee gave him, smashed it at his feet, too many pieces, it can’t be fixed.

“You shouldn’t be here,” she tells him, frowning.

She feels them all watching – wary. She’s a wolf in the flock – dangerous – doesn’t fit – isn’t the same – isn’t like them.

“This wasn’t your journey.”

“River.” Hurt-guilty-worried.

Please, please, don’t spoil it. Please be River. Please be my sister. Please.

“It’s not important, meimei,” soft-strong hand on her shoulder.

Anything. Anything for you.

She lets him think she believes him. It makes him feel bad when she say sorry. It doesn’t matter. Not relevant. Time travel was impossible without significant developments in temporal physics, maybe not even then. There were paradoxes to consider. Alternate realities. Might change too much, make it worse, break the truth, topple the lies. Like mirrors, reflecting, refracting, shattered, too many pieces, too many possibilities.

She her head. Mix the pieces. Like a kaleidoscope, the picture’s always different.

“After the exodus comes the journey,” she tells Simon.

Yes. Good. She can see the shape in her head. Simon doesn’t understand. He’s stuck in the real, no thought for symbols, too many facts clogging up his head.

She rolls her eyes at him, “it’s a symbol, dummy.”

Looks to the preacher-man for support. He smiles at her. She smiles back.

“Want to be at the end. The wilderness is full of scary places, people, but the journey’s important. Shouldn’t run before you can walk. Takes time.”

“River.” Hurt-guilty-worried.

“Leave her, son,” preacher-man says.

It’s not right, he never married.

Shake it away, find the right pattern.

“Ain’t botherin’ us, boy,” Captain says.

She wants to smile, but he’s wrong and lying. Simon isn’t a boy. Legal age on all planets. Captain knows, wishes he didn’t. Calls him boy, son, keeps him away, pushes him back. Like the whore. Chased her away.

“The different tribes all came together, had to leave.”

She looks at the warrior-woman and her pilot, “fewer at the end, but the journey’s needed.”

“I’m sorry, Captain, I thought…she seemed so lucid earlier.”

“Said it weren’t a problem,” Captain said.

Hands stroking, grasping. Lips, tongue, tasting pale skin. Gasping.

No. Not her. Not real. Hidden in lies.

Where’s the pattern?

“It’s a symbol.” Look to the preacher-man. “A symbol from your symbol. Metaphors in metaphors, and none of it’s true, but it’s all real.”

Simon’s getting more upset. Kaylee too. Jaynes scared. Scared of her. The warrior-woman and her pilot are uncomfortable – so different, but almost one. The shepherd knows. Captain likes her. Likes Simon more. Wouldn’t let anyone hurt them. Like daddy, but better, because daddy was ashamed.

“I’m glad you learnt something while correcting my bible.”

“All the way to the end.” – Revelations was a problem.

“Girl starts quotin’ bible verses, gonna havta gag her, doc.” Almost not a lie. “Already one preacher too many on this boat.”

Mean old man.

“Amen,” Jayne grunts, but he likes the preacher-man. It’s a secret.

“Lost in the woods, have to keep faith. The end will be there when the journey’s finished.”

Hush. A second, a minute, more. It’s all relative.

“Well, that’s surprisingly less cryptic than usual,” the pilot grins, and it’s broken.

Simon watches her while he eats. Cautious. He see’s his sister, but he doesn’t understand. It’s just a shell.

“It’s strange,” preacher-man says after some more relativity, “I was reading Numbers last night, and thinking about the parallels to our own situation.”

Oh, so it wasn’t hers.

Silence. Stilness. Not speaking, but still shouting. Preacher-man’s not what he seems.

They comprehend. They do not understand.

“No power in the verse can stop me.”




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January 2011


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