Bad...In the Latin
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Set within the timeline of the series. Stream of consciousness study. River contemplates her new environment. I'm kinda' rusty, so here's to hoping I have remembered a little something about writing!


“Mal…bad in the Latin,” she says aloud. Mean old man, he’d said to the sunny girl when she was supposed to be sleeping. She frowns. Not bad…or mean…or old…but maybe all three. How is this possible? Another frown. Frustrating not to be able to quantify…or was it qualify? A girl should know, but she is not a girl, she thinks…or not only a girl anymore. She is…other. Small burst of panic. Cannot be “other” and be a girl…but she is, somehow. Simon, brother, protector, sees a girl when he looks at her. But Simon does not see…other…except sometimes there is a flicker in his eye…a moment…then gone…of…fear…shot through with anger…worry like a worm twisting inside him when he looks, really looks.

She pauses, noticing for the first time…or maybe the fifth…she’s not certain…can never be certain….She shivers…notices again the fine fabric of the robe she wears. Not anything suitable for the other…no way to twirl and kick and incapacitate…lash out with honed violence…She stops short…twirling is for dance…for a girl…bare toes on grates, floating like a breeze…a creature of extraordinary grace, she hears the phrase in an unfamiliar voice….all the voices are unfamiliar to her…they belong only to the other, she thinks…perhaps…but the thought dissolves…a wisp of smoke in a hurricane.

Mal…bad in the Latin, she thinks again, determined to hold the tiny strand of thought beyond a moment…She skims, light as a feather…..he is a mystery…full of secrets he keeps even from himself….a useful skill, she imagines…something to be learned and studied and emulated with her own secrets…She pauses…what secrets? She wonders briefly…something important…or nothing at all. She feels chaos building inside…shivers for a moment until it passes…mustn’t allow it free rein….of this she is certain.

“Let her have the gorram boots,” he growls….She smiles….he knows, she thinks, the importance of combat boots….”Not suitable for a girl,” Simon the boob says. She frowns and looks at the boots, wiggling her toes inside…perfectly suitable. Mal…bad in the Latin, looks at her and sees, just for a moment…fleeting and immediately discarded…the other. She watches in fascination the slow blink, eyelashes long and almost unbearably beautiful, brushing against his stern cheek…..his eyes open and he sees only the girl again….strange flush of relief…she frowns, unable to fathom the meaning behind all that pours in to her at once with a quickness.

“….given adequate vacuuming systems”. She hears the words, frowns. The voice belongs to the girl…the words to the…other. She sees him pause, his brow wrinkled enough she can see it even in profile. “Morbid and creepifying”, his lips say….and she wonders about whom he is speaking….She sprawls like a girl…untidy heap on the couch…and ponders a big sky and green, green grass, though she does not know exactly why.

Time passes….minutes or perhaps months…she is never sure…and she stands, pole at her back and Simon pressed against her…wind feels wonderful in her hair…she knows he is coming…..”Yeah, but she’s our witch, so cut her the hell down.” The words wash over her….she turns them over, feels the smoothness of them with her fingertips….our witch, he’d said…our witch….Is she? she ponders….a witch?....our witch?....his witch?....which witch is which? She thinks, mind spiraling out in a haphazard loop until the words have no meaning…..

It is quiet on Serenity…and she believes she might be Serenity, all things considered….body floating along the corridor…hands trailing along the railings…hum of the engines pulsing in her ears….does she still have ears? She reaches up quickly to check….ships have no ears….girls have ears, or do they? She feels the delicate shape of ears under her fingertips, and realizes with a jolt that she has fingers still…and toes, curled over the edge of the catwalk…she is not Serenity…she is…..what?

“River, what are you doing?” Simon says. “Come away from the edge.”…..She frowns…lives on the edge always, she thinks….how to come away? The edge follows, twining around her ankles and pulling her down, down, down into chaos. Hands grab the girl…but the other resists….screaming with the girl’s voice until feet thunder into the cargo bay. “What in the sphincter of hell…?” she feels the words bat against her skin, though they are directed at Simon. Brother with a long needle, poking, poking until the girl must sleep….the other triumphant in nightmares without end. Gorram needles…the thought needles her….strange thought, that….needle, needling, need...need...what? She tries to hold the thought, but feels only darkness.

Playing…running…laughing with Kaylee, all sunshine and smiles…apple bits on her tongue….no power in the ‘verse….no power in the ‘verse….Shadow crosses the path of the girl and she pauses….wincing at a missing ear and pain coming, cruel and sadistic…..Mal, bad in the Latin, walks unaware….the girl wants to warn him….but the other surfaces for a moment, stifling everything….pulling the oxygen out of the room….spectacles glinting in harsh light….Do you know the writings of Shan Yu?.....Shan Yu…..She vomits…apple bits in her hair and on Simon’s bed…..curls tightly into a ball….cannot look…cannot not look….She holds out her hand and points her finger….bullets come, she thinks with wonderment, from the tips of her fingers….perhaps she is a gun…but no, that cannot be, she thinks, her mind spinning crazily out into the void…not a gun…but a weapon? Not a weapon, but a girl? Not a girl, but a witch? Not a witch, but a…what? She shivers.

There is something, the girl thinks, something important…just beyond her grasp…something strong and bitter…haunting like curled leaves crackling on an almost bare branch….She hears the rattle…but thinks it does not come from her ears…she checks again, uncertain if the ears are still there…or the head…or the fingers….she shakes her head, feeling the girl-hair, silky and soft…not hers…or maybe it is…she cannot conceive of it just now….mustn’t think too much about secrets, she is learning from him…learning…comprehension but no understanding….frustration rattling down deep in her chest.

He smiles at the girl at the dinner table, offering a large tomato slice, which hands reach out and snatch. Her fingers are sticky-sweet with juice, and she realizes that she is the girl….wonderment at the thought…she is a girl…a girl….that is the answer, she thinks, excitement building in her chest until it bursts out at the table….Conversation stops suddenly, all eyes turned in her direction….she feels the weight, suddenly unbearable on the heels of the heady sensation of knowing her girl-ness…..she jumps away….legs flashing pale in the corner of her eye…running…running anywhere to be free of those heavy stares, drenched in pity and something akin to horror….She stops suddenly, a strange keening sound catching her attention…it is long hours, she thinks, or maybe a second, before she realizes the sound comes from the girl’s throat…..She curls, her body an unknown extension of her grief…until she feels the prick of the needle.

“She gonna’ be all right?” She hears the voice, strong and steady and full of something she cannot name. Mal…bad in the Latin, she thinks, the girl’s eyelids getting heavy until she cannot see. Not bad, she realizes drowsily, never bad….at least not in the language she speaks.



Sunday, September 25, 2011 4:29 AM


I like it. I think you did good in capturing the chaos that maybe River Tam's mind.

Sunday, September 25, 2011 6:17 AM


Hey, you're back!!!

I like this - River is disjointed, and can't understand herself, despite her incredible intelligence. Mal, on the other hand, isn't stupid but sees people pretty much as they are, and he sees her and not what they made her.

Good job, slumming, and don't leave it too long before you upload again!

Monday, September 26, 2011 6:00 AM


Welcome back, slumming! The rambling disconnect shows how painful the mental confusion is for River, and by the end of this piece it was coming together nicely. Looking forward to seeing more of your work, Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 10:57 AM


Slumming, I already wrote most of my comments on this story over at fanfiction, but I wanted to reiterate how much I like this story--especially on a second or third reading--because although it _seems_ stream-of-consciousness and disjointed, as a writer you have actually included a great many elements that connect and make it coherently written. (And therefore a cut above some of the other River POV's I've read ;-) ) I have a River stream-of-consciousness scene in one of my upcoming fics (a work-in-progress at the moment), and you've inspired me to go take another look at it and see if it hangs together as well as this. Thanks so much for posting, and I hope you'll keep it up and give us lots of new fics...I enjoyed your other fics so much.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 2:12 PM


So does this mean you are back to writing? I hope so I miss your stories.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 2:17 PM


I'm unsure if any of the kind reviewers of this story have received PM's from me, but I assure you I have responded. For some reason, I no longer get a notification when a new review comes in. It this a change in the functionality of this site, or some technical glitch that I can fix somehow? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 5:33 PM


No idea on how the site works honestly. I just hope you start writing again. You was always one of my fav writers before.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 5:44 PM


Thanks, all, in case you have not received my private messages. Hopefully, there will be new stories in the near future. :) How could I resist, with such a warm welcome back?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 6:28 PM


Well if you sent a PM to me I never got it. i just checked and nothing. No email and nothing in my account. So no clue.


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'Til Death Parts Us--Part VI
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. For Marcus and Elizabeth, the moment has arrived, and Mal gives the ceremony his best shot.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part V
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. The Hit or Miss crew’s plans for Marcus swing into effect.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part IV
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. The search is on for Anya, and Adam faces the music.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part III
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. Anya makes an inadvisable deal with Adam, and complications ensue.
Note: Thanks, ebfiddler, for suggesting that we include a small reminder note about the timeline of this story. At this point in this version of the ‘verse, we are about 10 to 11 years past the BDM, for those who keep track of such things. My, how time flies when you’re having fun! :)

'Til Death Parts Us--Part II
Co-written by Midnight Obsidian. Anya asks a favor of Mal, and Marcus plans a job.

'Til Death Parts Us--Part I
Co-written by the ever-talented Midnight Obsidian. Takes place shortly after the events of “Fractured” and “Aftermath” in a continuing Mal/River storyline that began a million years ago with “Voices”.
Summary: Life goes on for the crews of Serenity and the Hit or Miss, as everyone prepares for the long-awaited wedding.

Bad...In the Latin
Set within the timeline of the series. Stream of consciousness study. River contemplates her new environment. I'm kinda' rusty, so here's to hoping I have remembered a little something about writing!

Love Letters
One-shot set anytime within scope of the Mal/River storyline.

Aftermath--Part IV--Mal
Conclusion. Mal deals with the aftereffects of his time spent with the madman.

Aftermath--Part III--Marcus
Follows the events of “Fractured” in a continuing Mal/River storyline. Marcus re-evaluates his choices.