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Not Like Other Girls
By Celievamp

Now is quick bright silver and gold laughing from the sky dancing leaves warm happy smells fresh baked new born never been seen before.

Beautiful, so go-ram beautiful.

Before is dark and cold and sharp and blue and grey and slipping away and shit-smelling pain and screaming and alone.

Guay-damned, pain and hwai and death.

And what's to come is red and black bold and hidden all mirrors and smoke and wind on water. So many paths mind travelling them all and none and its so hard so hard sometimes to find the way home again. Back to River.

When no power in the `verse can stop you.

River had always known that she wasn't like the other girls. Not like the daughters of her parent's friends when they came to visit. Why waste time with dolls when there were always new things to discover? A whole `verse to explore at first through the console in her father's house, millennia of words, ideas, wisdom and foolishness that sometimes turned inside out and made you gasp with wonder and then at the Academy where everything was shaken and shattered and the bright beauty fractured bleeding into her brain and knowing was a hunger and a blessing and a curse until there came Serenity. In some ways she had been born here, this was the only home she had known and in the now she was happy and free and the pain and fear were memories.

But she still wasn't like other girls. Not like Kaylee who worked magic with machines and was kind and true and not like Zoe who was strong and brave and never afraid not of death, not of love and not like Inara who was beautiful and knew so much that River did not. So go-ram beautiful. The women of Serenity - the Mechanic, the Mercenary, the Companion. And River. Who knew everything except herself.

Simon did not understand. He would always love her and protect her but he was her gey-gey, her big brother. And he took so much looking after sometimes.

But she understood. She accepted her for what she was. And that was what River needed right now. Too many people had tried to change her already.

I remember things that never happened. Not to me. I remember running along a beach, the sound of the waves loud in my head making my soul rise and dance.

But I've never seen the sea except from space when we've been in orbit around some planet.

I remember the hot sun prickling the skin of my bare arms and the golden sand tickling my bare toes. I remember the catlick of her tongue as she tastes the salt sweat that has gathered in the hollow at the base of my throat. And I laugh because it tickles and I laugh because I'm happy and I laugh because I'm in love.

And sometimes it's Zoe and sometimes it's Kaylee and sometimes it's Inara and sometimes it's a girl I've never seen before.

It has never happened. But I remember it. I cherish it.

The sound followed her through her dreams, her first memory listening to the blood tides of her mother's womb. And before that, in the darkness of non-being.

To those who followed the Old Ways she was a witch to be feared and hated. To be cleansed from the world. To those who followed ways both more ancient and more modern she was a marvel. Something to study, to venerate. She did not know who scared her more.

She did not know what she was. She had no comprehension of what they had tried to do to her. She understood the process, the biomechanics, the precise incisions, the injections of the tailored RNA, the enzymes and neuropeptides directly into her brainstem, her medulla, switching on those areas of the brain that nature dictated for whatever reason should be dormant. Making her more than homosapien.

And so she still wasn't like the other girls. And she never would be.

I stretch and curl and mewl the little sounds that please her that persuade her to touch me again there and there and shining so bright and clear now and the love the love that burns away the badness as she lets me touch her softness and her splendour and all the dark sweet deep secret places and my tongue is in the warm cavern of her mouth and her hands her clever hands are on my body as she takes me apart and puts me back together again, all her knowledge, all her training, all her compassion goes to fixing this broken thing that is me as the sea breaks over me and through me and washes me up on the shore of her body as she calls my name and combs her fingers through my hair and asks if I am okay. She calls me mei-mei and I giggle and say her name, making the syllables a song. The song of my heart. I tell her I love her and she just smiles and holds me tight and says she knows, and that she loves me too.

In the heart of Serenity I find a home. A nexus in space and time an equation of matter and energy weaving a spell to keep me safe. Now and forever. The tyen-sah `verse can go to hell.

I don't care that I'm not like the other girls. Not anymore. I'm her girl now.

The End

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