[personal profile] a_fell
The conversation with Kaylee has left him feeling drained, on edge, and even the though the screen remains black, though the wave goes unanswered for minutes stretching into long, long minutes, it isn't quite enough for him to regain his former composure.

Date: 2008-08-23 06:04 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (glancing)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
Simon's busy. And River's -- River's been with him, but she's here by the shuttle now, slipping through the door.

She's twitchy. It shows in the quick stuttery jerks of her head when she glances sideways or over her shoulder, the way her eyes skitter over shadows, in the constant shifting of her fingers. She's twitchy, and she's uncertain.

(It was only a minute ago that her head lifted sharply; "Someone's talking," she said to the empty air and a moaning woman with pain-glazed eyes and deep gashes in her arms, and she turned towards the shuttle.)

Date: 2008-08-23 06:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
There's a light flashing relentlessly near the pilot's chair, with an accompanying ping, ping, ping adding urgency to the signal.

The signature ID says that the source is planetside, that's easy to see. Persephone.

Date: 2008-08-24 04:32 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (whispers in the shadows)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
River's hand hovers over the console for a moment. She casts a quick glance at the door -- it's closed, because she closed it behind her -- and then back.

Slowly, she drops into the pilot's seat, and presses the ACCEPT button.

(Her hands are clean, but her boots leave bloody smudges on the floor and chair.)

Date: 2008-08-24 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
Aziraphael looks resigned to the idea that no one is going to answer his wave, so when River accepts the signal he is occupied with something not quite visible on the console. He looks up quickly as River's face comes into view.

"Hello there, my dear," he says, relieved.

Date: 2008-08-24 05:10 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (intent)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
River, on the contrary, looks a little startled.

She nods. And, belatedly, remembers her manners enough to add, "Here."



Date: 2008-08-24 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"I'm glad I got through to you," he says, hiding his agitation (poorly) in bustle. "Kaylee did something with her machines, put me straight through to your shuttle, and I was - well, I know you're both busy. That is to say - how are you?"

Date: 2008-08-24 05:33 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (intent)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
"I'm okay."

River's eyes are on him, and there's a furrow between her brows now. She pulls up a leg, and wraps her hands around her ankle; her fingers shift restlessly against her boot.

"Postdate the withdrawal."

Date: 2008-08-24 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Oh," he says, blinking, then, "I'm glad to hear it."

He looks down again at whatever he'd been doing, then up.

"I waved you because - well. I'm afraid I have some bad news."

Date: 2008-08-24 06:10 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (creepy little girl)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
River was already tense. And already watching him closely.

This means the change is less dramatic when her hands tighten and her focus abruptly sharpens.

Date: 2008-08-24 06:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
It's even more difficult than he'd expected.

"It's about Crowley, you see, and I didn't want you to have to hear it first on the news, or. Well."

A breath. Necessary, but not for the reasons you might think.

"He's been discorporated -- temporarily."

Date: 2008-08-24 06:47 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (they want me to talk)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
River doesn't move. (Except, perhaps, a very small flinch.)

Her eyes fill with tears.

"He'll be back," she says, trying for evenness, trying for a statement of reassuring fact, but her voice trembles and twists upward.

Date: 2008-08-24 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
He can feel his own carefully constructed expression falling away, bit by bit.

"He will," he says as firmly as he can. "He will; we just don't know when." His lips press together with the effort of keeping his composure in the face of feeling so desperately inadequate. River's going to be alone with this knowledge now, in a dark shuttle on a strange planet. He leans forward, and one hand lifts to the edge of the screen.

"I'm so sorry. I know he'll be back as soon as he can."

Date: 2008-08-24 07:16 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (telling the hard truths)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
River swallows, and a tear slips over.

Low, and a little wavering: "It's a watch. All together."

She tries to smile a little, and fails miserably; the attempt is visible, all the same. "Gonna be okay."

Date: 2008-08-24 07:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Yes, my dear," he says. Whatever it is that's been animating him feels like it's draining away. His hand, however, stays where it is.

"It will be all right. In the end."

His expression doesn't relax, but it loses a little of the look of pinched misery.

Date: 2008-09-06 05:17 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (face the dark alone)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei

"You too," she says, low.

There are tears in her voice, clogging it; River lost the battle to control that years ago.

Date: 2008-09-06 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Oh, I--"

He wipes hurriedly at one eye with the back of his hand; blasted things never stop watering when you want them to.

"I will," he says with more conviction than he feels just at the moment. "And so will you."

Date: 2008-09-06 05:43 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (corners and boundaries)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
(Everybody leaves.)

River's mouth crooks upwards -- more successfully this time, even as her breath catches and another tear spills over.

"Always am."

(River's hard to lie to. Even for friendship's sake, even over a vidscreen.)

She leans forward a little more, curling around her tucked-up knees. Seriously, she tells him, "You're the constant."

(I'm one of the ones that don't.)

Date: 2008-09-06 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
He doesn't miss the gentle irony of her first comment, but only shakes his head.

"I do my best, my dear." Looking into the darkened vid screen, the girl comfortably dwarfed in the pilot's chair, he might easily imagine that the conversation is happening under more relaxed circumstances. "I will be all right, eventually, you know. Please don't let it worry you."

Date: 2008-09-06 07:01 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (you talk too much)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
"I know."

She doesn't respond to the last sentence.

Perhaps it's oversight, or perhaps it's not.

Date: 2008-09-06 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"There's someone nearby?" he asks after a moment. "I don't doubt that you can take care of yourself, of course, but it's not the sort of thing you ought to brood over alone."

In a town that's just suffered a Reaver attack, no less, but no need to mention that.

Date: 2008-09-06 07:29 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (can't just dig into me)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
It takes a minute too long for River to respond; then she nods a little, and then again a moment later, as if checking something in her memory or understanding.

Low: "Simon."

Date: 2008-09-06 07:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Ah," he says, and now a different kind of sadness is evident in his face.

"Is it - is he holding up all right? Can I do anything? There must be so many that need him."

He feels a muffled pang of guilt; the townspeople haven't exactly been at the front of his mind lately. And he does know that Crowley, at least, will be back.

Date: 2008-09-06 07:51 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (and the shadows keep on changing)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
"He's working."

Simon was and is a very, very good trauma surgeon. This means, among other things, the ability to focus on delicate work for long periods of time.

River's here to be another set of hands, and to keep an eye on him, and because she refused to stay behind; and maybe (whether Simon realizes it or not) to be a lookout. Just in case.

Date: 2008-09-06 08:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
He nods.

"I know they're very glad to have him. Please let him know I'm thinking of him - of all of them - and if there's anything I can do, he only has to ask."

He hesitates, looking fondly at River, memories running through his mind that she hasn't even experienced yet.

"It is good to see you, my dear. Even under such circumstances."

Date: 2008-09-06 08:08 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (gunslinger daughter of all her fathers)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
"You can visit."

This is said with a funny, earnest formality; it's an offer, and a real one, though as a rule she waits for Mal to extend such invitations, and it's also a reciprocation of sorts.

And perhaps some of it is only the tears, and her mostly-failing attempts at control, that give that deliberate enunciation to her voice.

She swallows, and nods once. "I'll tell it."

Date: 2008-09-06 08:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
He watches her a moment longer before giving an equally formal nod.

"I don't leave the Abbey on social visits nearly as often as I'd like, but if an opportunity presents itself, perhaps I will. Thank you, River."

Date: 2008-09-06 08:21 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (you talk too much)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
"Make you dinner."

...It's probably best if he brings the produce.

(Or, you know, somebody makes a quick Milliways run.)

Date: 2008-09-06 08:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"I look forward to it," he says, and while he doesn't even try for a smile, nevertheless he looks pleased.

"As long as you remember that when you come here to visit, we still have that strawberry patch."

Date: 2008-09-06 08:28 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (that's my sister)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
"It's a deal."

Another time, she'd look impish. Another time, she'd grin.

Now... well, her tear-blotched face lightens for a moment, and there's a wobbly quarter-smile that at least tries to make an appearance, and right now that'll probably do.



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