Mal/River Prompt - Stand and Stand By
Saturday, August 5, 2006

Simon weighs in on Mal and River's relationship...thing.


Title: Stand and Stand By Author: Ana Sedai Rating: PG Character(s): Simon Prompt: 086 - Silver Word Count: 1,000 A/N: 21/100 for Mal/River Joss100.

Summary: Simon weighs in on Mal and River’s relationship…thing.


It had been raining. That was really all Simon could remember about the day that he’d left home. It hadn’t been a storm, just a slow, steady, silver drizzle that made it seem like the entire planet was crying.

He himself had moved beyond tears long ago. All that was left now was cold hard purpose. His goal was clear: get River out. Everything else was details. His parents’ disappointment, his career in the toilet, cutting ties to everyone he’d ever cared about, none of it meant a damn thing. His baby sister was in pain, and he was going to save her. That was all.

Well, he’d gotten her out. Saving her, however, had proven to be infinitely more challenging. The wide-eyed girl of fourteen who had wanted so badly to learn had become…something else. Someone else. Oh, she was still mostly the old River, with her dances and wild stories, but she had an edge now, an edge as black as night, as black as the space that they now called home.

He hadn’t considered this a good thing. His mei mei had no business knowing how to most efficiently kill a man, or how to fire a gun, or knowing secrets worth killing hundreds for. But he’d be lying if he said she hadn’t borne it well. Her darkness was a part of her now, as much a part of her as her grace or her intelligence. She was more than forceful; she was a Force.

On some level, he knew that the days when he had the final say over River’s life were long gone. Kaylee had reminded him not-so-good-naturedly that River was almost a woman full-grown. “You gonna try and stand between her and everything the ‘verse dishes out? Can’t be done, Simon. You know that better’n anyone.”

And he knew that. He did. But…she was still his sister. It was his job to protect her. He had been watching over her since the day she’d been born. Even when their parents hadn’t known what to make of her, Simon always had. He hadn’t always understood her, but he had always, always loved her.

Looking back, he realized now that he had always thought that River would look to him first when she needed support. It wasn’t until that morning in the infirmary with Mal that he got his first inkling of how utterly blind he’d been. When he’d asked her if there was anything that made her voices stop, her eyes had gone immediately to Mal. No hesitation, no doubt. And without him even realizing it, something inside Simon gave way.

Since then, he’d been keeping an eye on the two of them. Not always. For one thing, he knew that River would sense it if she felt him prying too much. For another, well, Kaylee needed his attention too. He loved her, and she deserved better than his constant paranoia about River and Mal’s relationship, or whatever it was.

In any case, what he had seen had been sufficient. River was in love with Mal. There was no question about it. When he came into a room, everyone else left as far as she was concerned. She followed him with hungry eyes that glowed bright as stars. She couldn’t have hidden it from Simon even if she’d wanted to.

What Mal felt for her wasn’t nearly as clear, but it was obvious the man felt something. The only thing that kept Simon from confronting Mal directly was the change in his and River’s dynamic. He wouldn’t pretend to not feel relieved that Mal had been steering clear of River these past few days.

It was a bit strange. The other night at dinner, Mal had been laughing and teasing everyone, including River. And Simon would have sworn on his diploma that Mal’s his eyes lingered longer on her than on anyone else. The next day, though, his tone towards her changed. He was all business around her now. He piloted by himself. He was never alone with her.

And River was quickly losing her newfound luster.

So, while Simon wouldn’t pretend to not be relieved, he also couldn’t pretend to not see how this was hurting her. The light in her eyes had dimmed, and she barely looked up from her half-eaten food at meals. Mal’s avoidance was causing her pain, and Simon hated seeing it. But then, he would only cause her more if she pursued him further.

Simon was confused, and he didn’t like it. Mal was strong, no doubt about it. Maybe even strong enough to handle a life with her. No one else that Simon had ever met would do as well with her as he would. And River knew it, too. She had recognized something in him, and given him her heart with no thought of restriction. That was her way. But she hadn’t planned on what she would do if he wouldn’t take it. And now her sadness and Simon’s own doubts were eating away at him.

At the end of the day, Simon really had no choice. If River had decided that Mal was what she needed, then he would be damned if he let him walk away without a good reason. She had clawed her way back from the brink, and the thought of losing her to that fogginess again was unbearable.

He was feeling very much at sea, knowing that it was not his place to interfere (Kaylee would have a few choice words after this was over). But he could not stand idly by while River retreated back into herself. He had no idea what he should say, who he should say it to, or even if he should say anything at all. All he could do for now was to be there for River as much as she would let him. He needed time to figure out the right course of action. He just prayed he would figure it out soon enough.



Saturday, August 5, 2006 5:32 PM


Wow...I think I like it. It makes a whole lotta sense, if you think about it: young girl with hero complex about guy who does a lot to keep her safe... Hmm. I look forward to reading the next installment.

Saturday, August 5, 2006 5:56 PM


While I do not like River/Mal, I think that this is a great explanation of how Simon would feel if River fell for any man. He would be fiercely overprotective and then determine that the guy had better do the honorable thing and love his sister with all his might - I'd love to see that convo between Mal and Simon though - that'll be some good stuff! Keep writing!

Saturday, August 5, 2006 10:34 PM


This is excellent and needs a sequel! I want to see Simon have that talk with River then with Mal, after all he needs to know from River whether or not he needs to say anything to the Captain. Plus you can't make someone love you if the feelings aren't already there so he needs to find out how both of them really feel before interfering. I do love the sea change in Simon too, from initial horror at the thought of River and Mal together to recognition that it's not about what he wants but what makes his sister happy and whole. That's love. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, August 6, 2006 4:45 AM


I love your writing style and how your words seem to flow so effortlessly. You really have a gift for this. Even though I don't consider myself a Mal/River shipper, you make me one for your stories. The story line in all your writing is so sensible, so logical, it's as if there could be no other choices for them - you make the relationship make so much sense. Please write more soon!

Sunday, August 6, 2006 8:03 AM


Thank you all! Feedback is a writer's version of crack, and every fix is a good one. ;)

kacidilla: Hero complex? Hmm, never thought of that before. Interesting idea, though. I look forward to *posting* the next installment.

TamSibling: You have no idea what a boost my ego gets when someone who isn't a Mal/River fan says good things about my writing. Have no fear, Mal and Simon will have a talk. It just won't be for a while yet.

Ambodell: As always, I appreciate your comments. Simon will toss in his two cents eventually, but he knows that his role in River's life has evolved of late, from protector to supporter. It's a hard change for him, but he has a life of his own now, and he knows River has to find hers.

flylowflyfast: Yep, our buddy Simon does have a bit of trouble wrapping his brain around this, but he'll get over it. He'll have to.

Katesfriend: You're makin' me blush here! ;) Effortlessly, huh? At least they get across that way, 'cause they sure as heck don't come out that way. But a writer can consider herself successful if her readers understand what she wanted to say, and if they have fun in the process. Thanks so much for reading.

Sunday, August 6, 2006 5:25 PM


Gotta say, definitely took a mighty fine road in exploring Simon's feelings about River falling for Mal.

Definitely could see Simon recalling what the weather was like the day he went off to rescue River from the Academy...and how he always knew what to make of River when she was younger. His current feelings also really ring true, in that River's been his Galatea figure (even if unintentionally) and having another man become her focus definitely is something Simon would deal with:)

While you say it's gonna take awhile to get to the Mal/Simon confrontation, I realy hope you continue to explore these kinds of third party observations about how things happen between the Captain and his Albatross:D


Monday, August 7, 2006 10:26 AM


I loved this. I have a soft spot for good Mal/River fics, and yours are always so beautiful and unrushed. The third party perspective just tickles me to no end. I love the irony of Simon sort of getting what he wanted... to realize that maybe that's not really what he wants after all.

I'm always thrilled to see more of these from you, and now I get to go back and read the ones I've missed!


Monday, August 7, 2006 2:15 PM


I really enjoyed this... I am a fan of Mal/River fics and I've read some of your other stories over on LJ. I'm looking forward to reading more. I love your writing style. Thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 4:14 AM


I'm right up there with folks that don't go for Mal/River, but this is one I can take! I can totally see River being sweet on Mal, and him pulling away. And it could continue to develop slowly...

The mistake so many writers make is having these two fall right into bed together, which is just so not believeable (for me anyway). You're going about it in character, and telling it from Simon's POV is really cool.

Can't wait for that Mal/Simon conversation, to hear what Mal's thinking about it...

Thursday, March 13, 2008 1:08 PM


As I am a bit new to the verse.... I am story here and can fund no there any? I really enjoyed it.


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Mal/River Prompt - Stand and Stand By
Simon weighs in on Mal and River's relationship...thing.

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