river_meimei: (through the doorway (with simon))
Serenity is quiet. There's the barely-audible background hum of the engine, but not much else. It's not too early to be awake, but it's still early enough, especially in the middle of a long run between worlds. There's nowhere much to go, and most of the crew is still waking up or just starting off a leisurely morning.

One exception is opening a door into the cargo bay now, and filling it with the brief buzz of Milliways noise.

When the door closes, there are two figures standing below the catwalk, looking out into the cavernous room.
river_meimei: (you know you think i'm adorable)
Moon Base Station is, apart from certain restricted-access sectors, built for tourism. Some tourists, like Duo, are just killing time during a layover; others come here, to the cheap hotels or the expensive ones with a real-time video view of Earth, to spend their whole vacation within the base's walls.

There's a casino area somewhere not too far away, but River and Duo have opted for one of the more family-friendly bits instead. It's a shopping area, full of glittering storefronts and small food-court nooks, with an intricately tiled floor and fountains every few dozen meters. Tiny potted trees show off the station's opulence -- this is space, after all, where trees are hard to come by.

River's already found herself cotton candy somewhere.
river_meimei: (lying down)
River's lying on the catwalk, staring at the far wall or the empty air. One hand is curled by her cheek, the back of her hand resting against the metal gridwork of the floor; her hair and her skirt spread out around her.

It's comfortable.
river_meimei: (eavesdropping)
The rafters have a few advantages.

They're comfortable, for one thing! (If you're River Tam.) And interesting. And sometimes you find candy. And they provide a fun change of perspective.

And sometimes they're a good way to find people.
river_meimei: (study the steps)
It's late evening at Milliways. The sky is purple and indigo; not yet black, but the stars are out, and the last streaks of sunset are fading down the horizon.

A warm fall night. One of the last of the year, maybe.

Simon Tam is walking along the long rolling lawn above the lake, hands in his pockets.

He has been for a while. But now there's a shorter slimmer figure crossing the grass at an angle towards him. She's aiming to intercept, and, from the look of that approach, to join him.
river_meimei: (resting)
The afternoon is warm, bright and a little hazy, the sort of golden summers-end day where the light seems almost tangible. River's sitting under one of Milliways's shaggy overhanging willows. The long trailing strings of leaves cut a jagged dark lace against the sky. Her knees are tucked up under her skirt, and her bare toes curl against warm damp earth; tree bark is rough against her shoulderblades.

She's not alone.

Margrethe Juarez is sprawled lazily on the grass in front of her, a faint smile on her face. She's wearing white, a rough loose weave that looks like linen, slacks and tank top and jacket like nothing the Academy ever gave its students, and the afternoon light dapples it with leaf-shadows and warms the highlights to gold. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a messy, careless ponytail.

(She stopped looking like this months before River met her.)

"It's warm," says Maggie to River's ankles, and spreads a hand slowly against the blades of grass.

"No," River says softly. "Just here. It's a harvest."

Maggie laughs, soft and almost silent, and River's own smile spreads involuntarily. "Here counts."

Somewhere, a bird is singing. A skylark. River couldn't tell you what a skylark sounds like, but in this dream she knows exactly what it is -- because Maggie knows, Maggie the country girl from Aberdeen, or just because it's a dream.

River breathes in, and out, and her smile slips away. "You're dead," she says, very quietly.

Maggie rolls over a little further, enough to reach out and brush her fingertips very lightly against River's dirty toes. She's still smiling, just a little; in the warmth of her blue eyes, in the sunlit peace of her face. "Yep."

"I couldn't," River says to Maggie's pale slim fingers. Her nails are painted a glittery translucent silver; at the Academy, they never had nail polish. "I tried, but, but I couldn't, and she was too late."

"Mèimei." Maggie's voice is inexpressibly gentle. "You were always going to be."

"I know it," River whispers, and her eyes close on tears.

A rustling of grass and linen, and then a slim warm arm is around her shoulders and straight hair tickling her cheek, and River leans into the hug in huddled silence, and their heads touch. It's like the old days, exactly like, except that the light through River's eyelids is pure and golden, and the skylark is still singing. There are no needles here, only memories.

"She killed me for you," Maggie says, and kisses the top of River's head like a sister. "It's okay."

River shakes her head a little, never lifting it from Maggie's. In a low choked voice, she says, "Anthy. Killed you for her."

Maggie laughs, low and warm, and it's like the sunlight. "That too."

It's minutes more before River speaks again. They don't need to talk; Academy children heard each other without words, whether they wanted to or not, and Academy children learned silence, and the gift of huddling together to make the unbearable bearable. Maggie taught River that.

"Jiĕjie. I miss you."

"I know."

River swallows. "Wanted you to meet them. Everybody. You could see the sky."

Maggie's hand strokes over her hair. If River opens her eyes a crack, she can see blond strands and a white-jacketed shoulder, and the blur of landscape beyond. Everything is warm. "I can see it," she says. "I can see it right now."
river_meimei: (lying down)
There aren't too many places to be on a Firefly like this. (At least, not for people. Smuggled cargo is another matter.) The longer you live on one, the more you find, but all the same, space is limited.

River's not trying to be hidden right now, though. Whether or not she succeeds.

She's just on the bridge, tucked into a tidy bundle in front of the copilot's console, looking out at the stars.

No atmo to block the way here; nothing but a thick vacuum-sealed window. You'll never see them as clear anywhere else.
river_meimei: (drawing)
From today's DE, it's time for the ask-my-characters meme again!

Ask a character a question, any question, and they HAVE to answer completely honestly. Have to. It's the meme rule. Even if they'd normally lie, they suddenly have been hit with a truth serum of some kind and must tell the truth. Bwaha.

River Tam ([livejournal.com profile] river_meimei)
Lan Mandragoran ([livejournal.com profile] taishar_malkier)
Trowa Barton ([livejournal.com profile] 3nanashi)
Regan Tam ([livejournal.com profile] regan_tam)
Piotr Rasputin ([livejournal.com profile] steelartisan)
Honey ([livejournal.com profile] letmeeat_cake)
Edel ([livejournal.com profile] authorsbypass)

You can also ask about Uzura or any of my past characters, if you want, but I reserve the right to wimp out if I need to. (Past characters, for reference: Will Stanton, Alain Johns, Edmund Pevensie, A-ko the Shadow Girl if you really want.)
river_meimei: (laughter)
There's a certain district on Beaumonde where nobody from Serenity much wants to go any more. There are a lot of bad memories there. There's also a lot of notoriety, if you happen to be River Tam, and potentially a lot of people with scars and grudges.

However, Beaumonde's a whole world. There's more to it than one dive bar.

Half a planet away, in a different city, there's a pedestrian market of the sort frequented by both tourists and locals. It's full of color, in paint and flowers and bright draping fabrics. It's also missing most of the neon, and most of the general air of seediness. No good for handovers of illegal goods -- but plenty good for a girls' day out.

River and Kaylee have a mission.

And the mission is: fun.
river_meimei: (eavesdropping)
River's lying on her back on a table, her feet against the wall. She's watching the room upside-down.

It's very comfortable.

Apparently.
river_meimei: (ships passing in the night)
0900, ship's time. It's an hour or so after breakfast. (At least for some. Breakfast is a do-it-yourself affair, and on hungover days Jayne doesn't tend to stumble out of his bunk until a good while later.)

It's time for River's daily meds.

This has been a daily routine for years now, so there's no real reluctance in the way she's slowly meandering towards the infirmary. All the same: it's slow.

(Simon often comes to find her, rather than her coming to the infirmary. But she's trying to be nice to Mal.)
river_meimei: (study the steps)
In one sense: River is curled up in her bunk's narrow bed, a tidy lump under blankets with dark hair fanning all around her head. She's sound asleep.



In another sense: River is in a maze, old-fashioned, planetside -- a hedge of high green bushes with white flowers, with a floor of incongruously dead dry grass. It crackles under her ballet slippers. The blossoming walls are too dense to see through, rearing twice as tall as River, and the corridors are green and cool and silent. It's a labyrinth.

She doesn't know her way through. But in the dream, she hasn't really stopped to notice that. She just has to keep moving, and she'll get... somewhere.

She hasn't really thought about that one, either.
river_meimei: (lying down)
You've got some time to think about what you want to do, Simon said.

And "Whatever you decide, meimei, it's going to be okay.

It's true. All of it. But sometimes that doesn't help a hard choice.

There's a good chance that that's why River's currently stretched out on one of the catwalks, her hand curled loosely against the cold metal grating, and staring at (or through) the cargo bay's far wall.
river_meimei: (Default)
This is a test.

This is only a test.
river_meimei: (hearing more than you say)
Today at dinner, Simon was subdued. Perfectly friendly, and everybody has moods, but -- quiet.

River watched him, out of the corner of her eye and in quick startled glances, and didn't laugh along at the mealtime banter. Most of the crew didn't notice; it's River, after all.

Today it's River's job to clear the dishes. She's distracted, even by her usual standards, and Inara has to gently steer her back to focus several times. (River's well enough these days to take on a carefully selected share of the crew chores, but everyone feels -- wisely -- that most of these are best done with someone else supervising.) Inara finally takes over the last of the silverware, and River slips out of the kitchen with her hands still damp.

She's not so distracted, now.
river_meimei: (upset)
[Immediately after this:]

Duo is hurrying down the hallway towards room 121, pulling River along with him with one hand closed gently around her arm. She's starting to stumble a little, but keeping pace. He gets to watch where they're going for the both of them, though; her gaze darts around, never quite settling, and her jaw is clenched as tight as her shoulders and the tendons on the backs of her hands.

Her white face is tight with fury, but there are tears on her cheeks now.
river_meimei: (let's go again!)
Earlier today, River went to Milliways and spent half the afternoon meandering out by the lake in the early-autumn sunshine.

Now, it's a different kind of outdoors she's looking at: curled up on the ship's bridge, head tipped back and coattails spreading around her, she's watching the stars through Serenity's wide front windows.
river_meimei: (intent)
River sits in the copilot's chair, staring at the blank impassive screen. It's switched off, even the brief WAVE DISCONNECTED light dark now. Around her, the ship is silent, but for the hum of the distant engine.

She doesn't look to see if there's a log of that call.






After several minutes, she reaches for the controls again. A few quick taps connect her to the Cortex, and bounce the signal through the appropriate buffers; this call is outgoing, to a number she doesn't need to look up.
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