Word Count: 743
Notes: This was inspired heavily by um.. fireworks. Because I walked outside and there they were! Being the 4th when I wrote it, and all. River POV on Simon, which was a little interesting to write from. O__o
She could remember how the lights used to shine in his eyes. Every year with the coming of the New Year, lights in the sky. Reflected back into her brother’s eyes. Celebration on Osiris, complete contentment in the explosions in red, green, blue and gold. Simon had always loved New Years with River. Lying on their backs in green green grass, staring up at the black sky dotted with stars of unnatural color in flower patterns. She’d look over at him, and he’d be smiling, laughing sometimes even. A clear moment submerged in an ocean of memories, all rolling and churning within each other, jumbled and occasionally lost.
Simon didn’t smile like that anymore. The stars were gone from his eyes and he was broken. Incomplete and unfit for his body. She could feel it whenever he looked at her, nothing like she used to be, that little girl lying in the grass next to him on that perfect planet.
She knew it was all her own fault. Always played over in her mind, the same music, the same lines of the same song. Simon loves River. Simon would never abandon his mei-mei. But Simon is broken because River is broken.
He wasn’t smiling now. His eyes were lifted up as were so many others, bright colors reflected in so many eyes. Loud exploding noises that made River’s ears hurt filling up the wide plain Serenity was settled on, echoing far and wide and fading away, only for the silence to be shattered again by another explosion.
It was 2518 now. The exploding and the colors were like a signature on a dotted line. Check and mate, everything moved in its pattern. River watched Simon, while Simon watched the sky. He was remembering the way it had been. The way it would still be if she hadn’t broken him by breaking herself. That’s why he didn’t smile while Kaylee sat a little way off, knees drawn to her chest staring at the sky in wonder. He remembered Osiris, the lights in the sky and the green green grass.
They stood side by side instead of lying on their backs. The fireworks were far away, above a small town that still gave themselves reason to celebrate. River had heard the Captain saying how few towns still held celebrations with the coming of the New Year, out here on the Rim. Osiris held grand displays every year, and celebrations would go on for days, and it was in those annual moments River had always felt exactly her age.
Simon felt old now, looking back on that thing that would never happen the same way again. River could feel it floating off of him, shimmering in waves of sadness, washing over her and making her want to cry. She squeezed her eyes shut and turned away from him, back to the explosions of gold and green.
“They’re better here.” She spoke when the gold faded to smoke and the roar echoed quieter into the mountains behind them. Simon turned his head and looked at her. The way he always looked at her. Soft and caring, but sad and distant at the same time. He thought she couldn’t see, but she could see. She could always see.
“..What is, River?”
“Explosions of light and metals Zinc, Iron, Aluminum. They’re better here.” She turned her head, her dark eyes fixing him with her unblinking stare. “The fireworks on Osiris sucked.” There was his smile. And a laugh. She smiled slowly, turning her head back to the display which seemed to be nearing completion. He was still sad, but it seemed lighter, lifted away by her words. If only all her words would lift so much sadness from him. She’d drain it away quickly, make him happy again, help him remember that Simon Tam was a happy person. He remembered it bit by bit, like she remembered the difference between light and dark, dreams and the cold of reality, but he was slower than she. He ignored things, too busy being worried or uncomfortable to remember to look around him and see the things that could make him happy. Would make him happy.
She shook her head and sighed as the last shower of burning light fell to smoke and ash, the crew around standing or moving from their stilled positions to return to Serenity, to take off once again into the Black. He takes so much looking after.