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By Ann

She hears it, before she realizes its come from her. High-pitched and shaky, vibrating her throat as it pushes its way up. Hysterical laughter which has them all taking a step back, the crew wary and unsure.But River's eyes are only on Simon as anger dashes through her; bright and furious moving through her body in a moment, leaving goosebumps on her skin and a tremble to her body as it burns. It hurts, makes her want to scream and jerk and lash out at Simon in fury while he stares stupidly at her, surprise in his eyes as she clutches his shirt.

In that moment she experiences supreme ambivalence; she hates him, loves him. Wants to shake him for being such a bái chÄ«.

A small wet stain spreads on his collar, before River feels the dampness on her own cheeks. Silent tears, slowly streaking down her cheeks as her eyes itch and chest aches. She wants to stay there, wants to cling, but Mal's hands are on her shoulders now trying to pull her away and it's him she lashes out at. Mal, who should've ordered Simon to stay on Serenity, who Simon would've listened to. Simon's not a soldier without a war, he's just a healer.

She hates him too; suddenly stinging, the feeling suffuses her, brighter than anything and for a moment it blinds her. Body twisting, she's clawing at Mal, not caring that he's not fighting back. Playing her for a fool with reassurances, words sounding like mumbles of nothing to her ears; nonsensical and redundant. Useless now, fueling the fury that burns inside her as Jayne catches at her wrists helping Mal hold her and River can see, in a moment of clear clinical detachment, that they're stopping her being with Simon.

She spins, hand smashing underneath Jayne's jaw and he drops down to the ground with a grunt of protest, eyes rolling back. Pushing panic to dash through River until she feels him, feels the anger that's sure to come later. It gives her enough strength to pull from Mal, to shove Kaylee back and grip at Simon once more.

Simon...Protector, friend, brother. He's always been there for her and now she can't even be there for him. Eyes now closed, not angry, not sleeping, not * anything.* Nothing that feels like Simon; no strength, no love, no nothing. It makes her sick, makes the laughter come again though this time it's more a wail. River feels it twist her belly, curling over all the more in desperation as Zoe joins Mal in prying her from Simon. Shouldn't have come for her. She wants to scream the words but they won't sound, and wishes he'd known. The surprise on his face, in his eyes, the image doesn't want to leave her mind. It's only when something hard and heavy slams into the back of her head that River can slip away into blessed unknowing, falling limply over her brother's body as she does.


bái chÄ«- idiot