Chapter Two: Reaction
Disclaimer: I don't own Firefly or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Simon glanced down at the thermometer annoyed and reset it for the eight time and placed it firmly under his tongue the point digging into the underside of his tongue to the point of pain.
"What are the results, Doctor?" giggled River from her place curled up on the couch as the thermometer beeped again and Simon sighed in annoyance again.
"98.6, I'll just have to wait for the tox screen. I can't believe I'm having a sudden onset of psychosis there's no real family history except..." Simon winced as he cut his own rambling off mid sentence.
"Except in the case of the patient's younger sister River, she displayed sudden onset paranoid schizophrenia after her sojourn with the Academy," River pointed out bitterly, mockingly using the clipped and serious tone doctors, including Simon, affected.
"I'm sorry, mei-mei. You know your condition has nothing to do with your genetics. It's to do with what the Academy did to you," said Simon moving to comfort his suddenly somber little sister.
"Cutting, sawing, drilling stabbing, can't run can't scream please...PLEASE! STOP HURTING ME! I WANT TO GET OUT! I WANT TO WAKE UP! The red fish swim in an ocean of fear, looks like blood but isn't but they'll eat it anyway," River began to babble pacing the area in front of the med-bay with swift graceful strides.
Simon carefully intercepted her and hugged her tightly to him.
"I'm not going to let them hurt you anymore mei-mei, you're safe," he told her stroking her hair for a long minute and feeling his shirt dampen as a few tears escaped her.
"You can't stop it Simon, no one can stop it. Like the sea we can ride it or be washed away..." she said bleakly.
Simon led her back over to the couch and whispered soothing nonsense in her ear. He had discovered the best way to improve upon River's lucidity after Early's attack, comfort. Simple human comfort, no drugs, no tests, no smoothers, no sedatives, clear his mind of everything but his love for her and just hold her to him and promise he'd never let go.
"False promises, and tears that are like rain and fall again and again...won't we ever have sunshine for more than a second. No the sun grew dark, snuffed it out like a candle flame now the only light is blue and grey and green. Why is it so cold?" River muttered as she gently pushed him away taking the thermometer from his pocket where he'd shoved it in his haste to go to her.
She examined it very closely for a long while.
"More accurate results could be obtained with the rectal thermometer," she pointed out with a slow smirk.
"Brat!" he accused her with a relieved smile of his own.
Back in the bed-bay a machine beeped loudly informing Simon that the results of his tox screen were printing. He moved to check them kissing his sister lightly on the forehead before he moved away. She caught his hand and he turn back to face her worry creasing his brow.
"Can't fix what isn't broken, silly goose. Let Faith guide you," she said serious but still smiling.
"I think you've been spending too much time with Sheppard Book, mei-mei," Simon laughed moving into the med-bay to examine his tox screen, which of course revealed a slight vitamin D deficiency but nothing else out of the ordinary to his frustration.
River rolled her eyes and glanced over at the silently laughing figure with long dark hair dressed all in leather that only she could see.
"He takes so much looking after," she informed the specter who burst into fresh gales of laughter at the comment.