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houses_on_fire
Title: Red Letter Day
Author: houses
Universes: Firefly x Labyrinth
Disclaimer: Firefly is Whedon's baby, Labyrinth belongs to the Henson estate, though David Bowie owns Jareth's delicious rump.
Characters: Simon, mentions Kaylee, River and Jareth
Pairing: River/Jareth, Simon/Kaylee
Timeline: Post BDM, sequel to Tiny Dancer and Sarabande. Third in the Goblin Queen Series.
Summary: Simon has a rather traumatic day and decides to write it down in his journal for posterity.
Rating: G
Word Count: 1000, exactly

An Excerpt the Journal of Simon Tam


Today, I have decided to have a small, tiny, itsy-bitsy mental breakdown over the state of the supposedly universal and unbreakable physical laws that run this 'verse. Everyone's entitled to one of those, right? Kaylee thought it would be best if I took a break from the group for a while and wrote in my journal. Clear my head, she said. She’s probably right. My little mechanic usually is.

But…

What do you say when you find out your sister is the Goblin Queen? I mean, there's a point in which denial just doesn't work and you have to sit back and say, 'Oh, that makes so much sense.'

Because it does.

All those little things that made us wonder about River as a child are now explained. How uncomfortable she made my parents and their friends; the sideways looks my mother would give her when she thought I wasn’t watching, like River was some sort of changeling child that could not have come from her womb. How River always seemed to know things, like the way she clung to me when they went to take her to the Academy, whispering about the coming darkness. The way the birds seemed to sing just for her, and how she sang back at them without really thinking about how odd it was to be a little girl, singing with the birds.

Did the Alliance know, all that time ago when we were just children, that there was something called the Goblin Kingdom lurking just outside our world? Did they try to breach it and steal that magic for their own uses? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if they did. Maybe that was Book’s great big secret; why he clung to his faith. Believing in God and his miracles is somehow easier when you were faced with real magic. Why not? Or did the Alliance just know that River was different, bound for a greater fate than most?

Greater fate. Is it really greater to see her slaughter Reavers like she's taking a walk in the park? Beautiful, yes, in a skin-crawling, horrible way. She saved my life, our lives, with some shiny blades, and acted like it was fun. She seems not to care about the blood spatter and the awful stench, just dancing along inside her skin like she's with him.

I can't believe I have a Goblin King as a brother-in-law. Might as well be, you know? I don't think they even have marriage laws in the Goblin Kingdom. Not much in the way of human-shaped things either, from what River tells me.

Has been telling me.

For years.

And I just didn't see it. No, no, you're crazy, mei-mei. Because that's so much easier than the possibility that some freakish Owl-Man is going to sweep down one day and carry my sister off for a little waltz or two, return her unharmed, then come back pronouncing she's his bride. There are things that just don’t happen in the rational, reasonable world. My world. The place where bright young men grow up to be famous surgeons…then rescue their kidnapped little sisters from secret government agencies, go on the run with a bunch of scruffy criminals, and save the world.

My life is never easy. Why can’t it be easy, just for a little bit? I think it must have been easy, when I was boy, because I remember it that way. But with River around I’m sure it wasn’t. If your little sister starts talking about necessary cannibalism when she should be playing with dolls, your world is not normal.

What would my parents say? Hello Father, this is River’s…King. No, they spend most of their time in an alternate reality where unwanted babies go to become goblins. Yes, she’s ecstatically happy and goes around singing and dancing all the time. No, Jareth probably does not want to go to the club for a drink to get to know you all better. Yes, he really is a goblin. That would go well, wouldn’t it? Mother would probably have a fainting fit and banish all of us from her sight. Not that I'd blame her. If I came home with something that looked like Jareth she'd probably have shot me. And then Jareth would probably turn her into a toadstool.

Or River would have. Oh, god. She really can kill me with her brain. She probably knows I'm writing this right now. Hello River!

But, to have that much power over her reality that she could wipe me off the face of it with just a twitch of her eyebrow? There has got to be a better safety word. Because now that she's found the Goblin King again, she's unstoppable.

If the Alliance had known what they were creating, with or without the Goblin King's help, they never would have contemplated unleashing her. Or sent a much better Operative to take care of the problem.

I know, I know. We’re safe with her, but only because she loves us. Anyone else that gets in her way? That’s another story. Imagine the Alliance coming for us now, all their guns turning to goblins and their armor sprouting flowers—all because she thinks that’s pretty. Sort of astounding metaphysics, actually, that she can bend reality to fit her thoughts, just like he can. I always thought the laws that govern the physical were just that, laws. I should have known better when we finally understood that River could hear us all thinking. And now? We can live what she’s thinking. What's in her head can be our world, if she wants it. And River's mind…well, I love her, but it is a very scary place to be.

I think I need a drink.

Or six.

Or Kaylee.

Maybe Kaylee with six drinks.

Today has been a red-letter day.

Today I found out my sister is the Goblin Queen.

Thank god there's always tomorrow.

End Excerpt


So, do you want to read the other side of this story, the events that made Simon so unhinged?

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
mhalachaiswords
Jun. 5th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
Oh god. 17 kinds of love! And hella yeah, I want to see that meeting.

This was totally brilliant, putting all those crazy River things together with the fact that she's magical works so well. This line: When your little sister starts talking about necessary cannibalism when she should be playing with dolls, your world is not normal rocked my socks.

I like your shiny new obesession!
houses_on_fire
Jun. 5th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I like my Shiny New Obsession, too. It fills me with glee. River/Jareth shaped glee. Simon is fun to write. He gets so overwhelmed when his world doesn't do what it's supposed to. He's more flexible than he gives himself credit for, makes for a great character.

Hrm, to plot the meeting. I'll be a longer fic, like Sarabande. Have to find time to write it. This ficlet just sort of fell out of my fingers. Like it was trying to get out all this time.

*huggles Simon*
thenetwork
Jun. 5th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
So, do you want to read the other side of this story, the events that made Simon so unhinged?

That would be a yes. I was sorry when the first installment ended, and it's great you're writing more!

Tiny, respectful nitpick, if I may? Here:"She saved my life, our lives, with some shiny blades and acted like it was fun." I'd say you need a comma after 'blades'. But it really is a micro-thing, feel free to squelch me with a goblin spell.

This is a great series. "I mean, there's a point in which denial just doesn't work and you have to sit back and say, 'Oh, that makes so much sense.'

Because it does."

It really, really does. Pray tell us all the other sides. I for one am waiting with bated breath. Thank you for a great read. :)
houses7177
Jun. 5th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Eek! I'll go fix that now~ I was having formatting errors when I uploaded this, but I thought I caught all the dropped characters. Thanks!

I'm thrilled you liked it.

You are most welcome!
thenetwork
Jun. 5th, 2006 08:07 pm (UTC)
Um, fanboying here.... I'd really, really like to know what *Jayne* thinks of the whole weird mess with owls, and guns turning into vicious space monkey things, and such. Because Jayne versus the goblins would be fun. *nodnod*.

But what really matters is River dancing. And now I've got the chorus to "Yes, the River Knows" stuck in my head. This is going in my memories, did I say?
houses_on_fire
Jun. 5th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
No, you didn't say! [is immensely flattered]

I think Jayne, Inara, and Zoe would all have some interesting reactions. I will definitely do a Jayne outtake, for the humor factor, but also an ensemble peice, focusing on River and Jareth. This shiny new obsession has totally eaten my brain. It's nice to feel enthused about ficcing again!

I really do appreciate the comments. Makes me want to write more. Like, now.

For the record, my own brain is curringling singing the song Jareth references in Sarabande. I've gotten the sheet music for it online and am trying to convince a pianist friend of mine she wants to accompany me on it, with a viola as David Bowie's line.
thenetwork
Jun. 5th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, Zoë. Oh, yes. And Book. Kaylee would just grin and squee. She already knows, in her own way, as much as River does. But Zoë... oh. Yes, please.
houses_on_fire
Jun. 5th, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
Zoe is such beautiful tragedy, particularly without Wash.

Hrm, it'd be interesting to do a 'Book's Secret' set before Firefly, how and why he tromped off to join the monastery.

Gah! Plot bunnies are breeding rapidly!
thenetwork
Jun. 5th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
*hides bunny-breeding goblin spell behind back*

Yes, they do, don't they. It's strange and inexplicable both. :)
dharkapparition
Jun. 5th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
Wow. Thank you for the link! I've always been a fan (although not much a reviewer until recently) and this is a new 'verse I will enjoy. Hope we see more soon. You shine brilliantly!
houses_on_fire
Jun. 5th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I like shiny things...and reviews are the shiniest things of all! Thanks for taking the time to tell me what you think!
itinerant_vae
Jun. 5th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
I just adore how you're working these two creations together, and your Simon voice is wonderful, you really catch his bewilderment.

Not wanting to add to your multiplying plot bunnies - but I really would love to see River with the Firies.
houses_on_fire
Jun. 5th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, that would be delightful, wouldn't it? She'd probably handle them a lot better than Sarah did, that's for sure. I've not written Simon before, and I think I like it. Poor, bewildered Simon.
fan_elune
Jun. 5th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
Oh hell yeah, darling. Bring it on!
houses_on_fire
Jun. 6th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)
Oh, I will. Don't you worry!
cissasghost
Jun. 6th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
So, do you want to read the other side of this story, the events that made Simon so unhinged?

. . . you have to ask this?
houses_on_fire
Jun. 6th, 2006 02:32 am (UTC)
Well, it's always nice to know I'm on the right track. No?
empressvesica
Jun. 7th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
Holy wow!! Wonderfully Simon here...all logic and little eddies of confusion at the non-logic...

She probably knows I'm writing this right now. Hello River!

I loved this line. Tee hee.
houses_on_fire
Jun. 8th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
*huge grin*

I'm thrilled you like it! It was fun to write Simon; he's got such great comedic potential.
khylarenelf
Jun. 11th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)
Two words: HELL YES!

Of course I want to read more! I'm a houses_on_fire/Labyrinth/Firefly junkie needing a fix!

This was brilliant, by the way. Much love in reading it!
houses_on_fire
Jun. 11th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)
*beams*

Yay! I'm glad you like it! I'm working on the next fic, but it may be a bit as I'm traveling for work next week. It really is a fun universe to explore.
ertheuponerthe
Aug. 18th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
Just found this series and I'm intrigued. Can't wait to read more. :)
houses_on_fire
Aug. 19th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
Thanks! I look forward to having the time to write more!
makilome
Jan. 24th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to tell you
I first saw this series up on tth.org and I absolutely adore it!! I would love to see a little more River/Jareth specific tales. :) You write so wonderfully well! Thank you for sharing the genious!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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