From the Darkness We Fall

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss is Boss. The lyrics belong to Natalie Merchant's "My Skin".

Spoilers: Slight spoilers for the series and minor ones for the BDM

A/N: The story jumps around a bit, because I am following the sequence of the lyrics with the events I tied to them. Sorry if it confuses. I also recommend listening to this song, it's beautiful. Wiccanslyr has made a wonderful video for it on YouTube called "Untouchable". It's amazing and deeply moving.

A/N 2: Could be set almost anywhere in the series.

Take a look at my body
Look at my hands
There's so much here
That I don't understand

She remembered coming out of the box, all the new thoughts and personalities of the people onboard that had battered her unprotected mind, adding to the clamor of the other thousands of voices already screaming inside her. All except one. The mercenary's mind had been unaccountably but blessedly silent, save for a few stray thoughts. She had taken refuge there, hiding in his silence. Later, she had marveled that the one that was deemed "course, uneducated and unrefined" was the one with the strongest mental barriers and the most organized mind. He had fascinated her from the beginning.

Your face-saving promises
Whispered like prayers
I don't need them

Simon had whispered to her countless times that he would fix her, save her. Make her "whole" and back into the little sister he still saw her as. He wouldn't listen when she had tried to tell him it wasn't possible.

'Cuz I've been treated so wrong
I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable

The Academy had loved her brain, been fascinated by its resilience and boundless capacity for learning. They had put her through trials and tests that would have, and had, broken minds and bodies weaker than hers. But her suffering had never mattered; she was 'The Subject', not a person, not a girl… They weren't doing anything wrong…

Well, contempt loves the silence
Thrives in the dark
With fine winding tendrils
That strangle the heart

When they had found out, the reaction had been swift and slightly violent. Mal forbid her to go near him, and when she refused, he had forced Jayne into the airlock and threatened to space him unless he broke things off. He had finally agreed. Kaylee and Inara had been the only ones to stand by her and her lover, the only ones who didn't believe that they should be separated.

They say that promises
Sweeten the blow
But I don't need them
No, I don't need them

"You're better off without him, mei mei. He's not good enough for you." Simon had been firm in his belief that he knew what was right for her, and that Jayne was not it. Mal had agreed.

"Your brother's right, little witch. Ain't right for a sweet, core-bred girl like you to be taking up with a crude, uneducated merc; he ain't the type for it anyway." The captain, Simon, Zoe and Book had been resolved, certain that they had done right, knew what was right. Wash had defected to the lovers' side.

I've been treated so wrong
I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable

He had whispered the words to her 3 weeks before they were found out. They had been lying in his bunk, basking in the afterglow, when he had looked her straight in the eyes and whispered, "I love you, darling". She had almost cried as she had whispered them back, believing in that moment that they could be together for ever. She hadn't been able to see the future, to know what was coming. She wonders now, if she had known, would she still have let him say the words and given them in return.

I'm a slow-dying flower
Frost killing hour
The sweet turning sour
And untouchable

She had drifted aimlessly through the ship after Mal had forced him off Serenity, after seeing that neither of them was able to stay away from the other, unable to stop the love that had flowered unexpectedly between them. She didn't talk to anyone but Kaylee, Inara and Wash. She could be seen wandering silently through the halls of the ship, a broken shell of the girl she had been with him, other times she would disappear for hours. Only her three confidants knew that she spent that time in Jayne's empty bunk, crying for her lost lover.

O, I need
The darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
I need this

She can't remember the first time she thought about ending it all, can't remember how many times she'd thought of it since. She enjoyed the darkness of those moments, the weakness of them, when before she was not allowed to have such things.

I need
A lullaby
A kiss goodnight
Angel sweet
Love of my life
O, I need this

He had sung for her once, quietly strumming his guitar as she lay beside him on his bed. An old lullaby from his home, nearly forgotten, but brought back up as she lay shaking and weak from nightmares of needles and blue hands. He had kissed her afterwards and sworn that he would protect her from those who hunted her, that he would love her always. He had been her sanctuary, her haven from danger right from the very start. He had been exactly what she had needed, whenever she needed it.

Your face-saving promises
Whispered like prayers
I don't need them
No, I don't need them

Simon had watched her in the weeks following Jayne's departure, trying to assure himself that he had done right. Quietly-spoken conferences were held amongst the people who had shattered her happiness; they didn't understand why this wasn't working out the way they thought it would. Mal had almost sworn she was in mourning. 'Didn't seem right that anyone would feel like that about the merc, especially an innocent girl like her.'

She knew what they thought, could hear their whispers in her mind, but she was beyond caring by then. She felt vaguely glad that they were guilty, fearful that they had done wrong.

Is it dark enough?
Can you see me?
Do you want me?
Can you reach me?
Or I'm leaving.

The first time she tried to kill herself, Simon found her before she could finish. With cries of confusion from him and yelling from many, he had dragged her to the infirmary to be patched up.

"Can you see my darkness now?" Was all she had said when questioned about her actions. She didn't care what they thought, even the worries of her three makeshift rocks barely registered in her broken soul.

You better shut your mouth
Hold your breath
Kiss me now; you'll catch your death
O, I mean this
O, I mean this

Learning from her first attempt, she had stolen various medicines from the infirmary, finally managing to concoct something lethal that Simon would not be able to cure. She had grinned ruthlessly at him, her body twisting in pain, as he tried to fix her.

"Poison… on… lips… can't… resuscitate…" They had stared at her in shock as, her final words said, she had closed her eyes and surrendered completely to her chosen escape.

I need
A lullaby
A kiss goodnight
Angel sweet
Love of my life

They were still standing at her graveside when he arrived. He briefly nodded his thanks to Inara, who had been the one to wave him with the news and directions to the place she was to be buried, before turning his attention to his love. The crew stood frozen, watching as Jayne said goodbye to River.

Kneeling by her headstone, tears running unchecked down his cheeks, he buried one hand in the freshly dug earth and placed the other one the inscribed marker, then leaned down and pressed his lips against the cool stone.

"Goodnight darling," he whispered quietly, though they could all hear him. He pulled out his gun and pressed it to his temple, pulling the trigger before any of them could even move to stop him.

I need this…

He was buried right there beside her, a place insisted upon by Inara and Kaylee, mutely supported by Wash and Zoe. Simon, Mal and Book barely put up a resistance, too bruised by all that had happened.

There were two headstones, two freshly dug graves by nightfall, lying side by side, as they once had.

O, I need this…

Wow, that turned out to be way longer and darker than I meant it to be! Please review and let me know what you think. - Druid