Five Things River Tam Wishes She Didn't Know
: Five Things River Tam Wishes She Didn't KnowAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupRating
: Not mine. Spoilers for entirety of canon. Requested by the_jackalope.
Five Things River Tam Wishes She Didn't Know1)
River knows the faces of every man, woman and child Book had killed before he finally asked Why. He had thought of them from time to time aboard Serenity, but never so clearly as in those last few seconds before he died: she had read every one of their names in the bloody handprint on Mal's face, and knew how easily she could have been among them.2)
Simon contacted their parents once, a few months after he got River out of the Academy. The conversation didn't go well. Simon disobeyed Gabriel Tam's orders to take River right back-- but for months afterward, in the depths of Serenity's night cycle, she sometimes heard him wishing that he had.3)
Even in the privacy of his bunk, in his own thoughts, Jayne doesn't dare picture Inara that way. He's afraid Mal will see it on him, somehow. And Zoë ain't hardly a woman to him, in his own words. River and Kaylee, however are fair game... and some of the things he's pictured aren't even in Inara's instructional manuals. She finds herself watching Simon and Kaylee to see if the reality is anything close-- and feeling strangely dissatisfied afterward.4)
Inara is dying. It's why she left the first time, and it's why she'll leave again, before Mal can get too close. She wants him to remember her beauty, the way she doesn't remember her own mother. And she doesn't want anyone-- anyone-- to tell him before it's too late.
Not a morning has gone by since Miranda, since River woke up and Wash went to sleep, that Zoë hasn't thought about just laying herself down. She's told Mal she doesn't blame him. It's the first lie River's ever heard her tell.