Firefly vignette from jabbering session with phinnia and nakeno:
There'd been nothing of hers at the Academy, not that he'd seen.
He never had a chance to find out exactly where they had been keeping her, if her bedroom looked like it even belonged to her. All he had found was a network of cold, metal-grated cells filled with machinery and clicking keyboards and white-dressed doctors running to and fro like drones. Whatever they had her wearing, it wasn't her own, just some standard-issue uniform in sterile silver and blue.
Their mother would be appalled; he remembers thinking that in the back of his mind. She always used to buy River the most beautiful things on the market, dresses that streamed silk and designer labels. If he’d only gotten word in advance on how they were dressing her, maybe then that would have spurred their parents into action.
River spills out of the cryo chamber in a flurry of shrieks and sobs and wet lank hair, nothing like herself, and he wishes with all his heart that their mother would come sweeping out of one of Serenity’s shadowed corners to wrap her in her arms and cluck over what a mess she’s become, chatting about how they’ll go on a shopping trip and have her beautiful and back on her feet in no time at all.
But their mother isn’t coming, of course, and the only part of that irrational hope thing he’s capable of is the first. When she says his name for the first time and crumples against him, Simon can’t form any words at all.
Later, Inara throws her robe over his sister and the satin looks foreign against her skin.