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Zoe didn't drink much. She drank, of course, but not what she considered drinking, not the drinking when you really want to get drunk because sobriety is physically painful.

It wasn't hard, not to. It was good to be the mostly sober one, when they went into bars and someone had to keep an eye on Mal, on the crew.

Simon helped her up onto the infirmary bed and she was dimly aware of him doing something with something, but more detail than that escaped her. He kept talking, in the calm, doctor voice he got when he was doing medical stuff, and she hadn't thought of it 'til now, but River had talked like that when she was laying out the plan for the Captain and Kaylee, the same soft but firm intonation, the same, you're going to have to be brave, can you just...? speech patterns.

"Huh. Okay, I'm going to do something here... Zoe, I need you to lift up your arm for me, good, now this might feel a little cold."

It felt like someone was holding an ice cube against her arm, then the feeling of cold spread and she shivered violently.

Her head felt clearer and she looked up and realised she could focus. Simon was looking at her calmly, waiting. Her mouth still tasted like last months protein rations reborn, but she could talk without her tongue sticking to her tonsils. "What was that?"

"It's an anti-intoxicant. They can be very effective."

She shook her head in amazement. "How come I haven't heard of them before?"

Simon shrugged. "Because normally, you need a qualified doctor with legal permission to give one. Police sometimes called for them for interviews. The patent is held by one company, which is notoriously ruthless when it come sto protecting it. They limit all supplies to prevent people figuring out what's in it."

"And we lifted some from the hospital?" She said, getting off the bed with careful movements.

Simon smiled. "No. One of the first thing any medical student tries to do, is figure out how to make their own. Nobody can drink alcohol like a medical student. Except pathologists, of course. Most people don't manage, of course, and improperly prepared they can be quite dangerous, but..." he shrugged again. "I'm gifted."

Zoe nodded her head. The cold feeling was already starting to fade, but she could feel the hangover looming. "Thanks, doc. I'm going to try and get some sleep before the hangover kicks in."

Simon hesitated. "All right. If I do this, you have to agree not to tell anyone. Not the captain, not Wash, especially not Jayne. No-one."

She nodded and he frowned, but there was another cold sting in her arm.

"Here." And the threatening hangover, the nausea, the aching feeling in her body, all just vanished.

"I can see why you didn't want me to tell anyone."
jamjar: (Default)
Mal doesn't like to think of things much.

And sometimes the way Simon and River acted round each other made him downright uncomfortable.

When Mal thought of how he was at the age- and there's another thing he didn't like to think of much, because it's just embarrassing and painful, how young he was- he remembered how raw he was, how unfinished. Simon Tam looks finished and polished and it seems kind of incongruous with his age, smooth skin and hands.

Because when they're all touchy-feely like that, when Simon is petting his sister and stroking her hair, and she's leaning into him, panicking and like he's the only solid thing in the world, sometimes it's hard to remember that they're brother and sister and not something more. Or less.
jamjar: (Default)
She knows what they think, what they wonder. Knows that Inara thinks maybe she should offer to take care of River sometimes, because Companions know that even the mentally disturbed need sexual release, and it's just not healthy for Simon to be so close to River all the time. Inara thinks that Simon is too-much all about River, and thinks that River is capable of using him. Inara sees little bits of herself in Simon, but she doesn't let herself think about that, just has the thoughts buzz-buzzing under the surface.

And River lets Inara know that would be acceptable, because it would be rude to ignore the invitation Inara is thinking of offering. An insult to Inara's professional ability, to not want her when she makes the effort. A rejection of Inara, to dismiss her charms, when Inara will occasionally think complimentary things about River's. River likes herself in inara's thoughts, which are pretty and warm, healthy in their secretlooks at River's legs. River lays her head in Inara's lap and lets her brush her hair, and after Inara thinks guiltythoughts about River, that weren't guilty before and the more River lets Inara pet her head, dress her, care for her, the more Inara thinks these guiltythoughts until she thinks of Riverbusiness less and less.

"Simon," River's voice says and River blinks, because she can't hear her own thoughts and didn't know she was thinking of Simon until she said his name.

"What about Simon?" Inara says, and her voice is low and calm even when her thoughts are zipping around her head, quick for people and slow for River, because River's mind is faster and there's more of it, thoughts travelling in three-D cobwebs of neural connections and no-one thinks like that here, except Simon.

"Simon," River says again, because that's the only word that covers all her thoughts. Inara wants sub-words, to divide the concept into manageable chunks, but River doesn't have any words small enough. She just means Simon, all of him, and feels melancholy that he isn't here and that Inara doesn't know him, because it must be terribly sad not to. Inara's hand is soft, stroking her hair back almost like Simon does, but Inara has long nails that dig in pleasantly hard on Rivers scalp, but Simons nails are cut practically short.

"Simon is..." River starts to say. She wants to explain Simon to Inara, to share him with her. Maybe she shouldn't, because it would be cruel to show Inara what she doesn't know she's missing. "Mal," she offers hopefully, because he's not Simon, but Simon is Riverthoughts, and Inara needs an Inarathoughts that are her own. And River blinks, because Inara is thinking new thoughts now, that are pretty and interesting, and make River giggle. "Simon," she says again, trying to concentrate against the background of distracting images.

"Shh, it's a secret. No-one can ever know," River whispers, one finger across her lip and before Inara can ask what that means,River raises up and kisses Inara on her mouth, pretty and soft and hers is chapped in Inara's mind and both of them are still thinking of Simon, though in very different ways.

"I'm a dummy," River says, contentedly as she settles back down in Inara's lap. After a moment, Inara starts to comb through her hair again.
jamjar: (Default)
Simon shrugged. "For a time, my sister was the only person intelligent enough to keep up with me. My parents, my tutors, they knew more, but they didn't think as quickly. River and I were very close because no-one else could keep up."

"And then she was taken," Kaylee said sympathetically, only to be surprised by Simon's sudden smile.

"No, then she surpassed me."

Firefly

Dec. 2nd, 2002 05:39 pm
jamjar: (Default)
Kaylee knows that she's the most dangerous person on the ship. Next comes Simon, then Mal, Zoe, Jayne. Mal before Zoe, because Zoe is part of why Mal is dangerous, same way that Jayne comes before River, for all her craziness. Jayne has guns and the keep even knives away from River. Mal has Zoe.

Inara, Wash and Shepherd change positions, depending on her mood and what she's been reading. Adventure novels push Wash to the front, mysteries do the same for Sheperd and a romance or the more lurid thriller can have Inara sneaking in before Jayne, even.

But she takes comfort in the fact that on-ship, she's the most dangerous person.

Simon can kill and no-one would know how or why, unless he told them. He knows stuff about blood vessels, drugs, chemicals.

The ship is owned by Mal and controlled by her. And she's controlled by Mal, more or less, because she can't live only in the ship, without the outside world. Mal can deal with the outside world on it's terms, and she

There are security cameras that came with the ship that even Mal doesn't know about, yet. She's not a voyeur or a creep. She stays out of Wash and Zoe's room, because that's private in a way Inara's work isn't. She's peeked in on the men in the shower, made a few comparisons. She's seen Inara with a couple of clients, and she doesn't know how Inara can keep a straight face when she works.

She keeps track on River for Simon, sometimes, but River is uncannily good at evading the cameras.

And when ship does funny things- doors open when they shouldn't be, crew disappearing off together- well, she keeps track of that. Part of the ship is the crew, and she practically has a duty to keep an eye on them too.

Mal is her captain, and she abides by his judgment. So she doesn't say anything to Simon or Zoe or Shepherd. Not even Inara, who knows how to keep secrets- companions probably have training in that, too.

But she waits until breakfast, until most of the crew are finished and she's picking over her plate when Jayne comes in. last one in has to clean up, so she leaves her plate on the table when she gets up.

Jayne sits down and starts to eat and she pauses barely a second, bends down and says just "I know," just above a whisper in his ear. She doesn't look back, but she pats her tool-belt as she exits.

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