Summery: Ariel AU. Simon gets left behind.
This is, in fact, sort of a Rayne story. But not exactly. *innocent smile*
Massive thanks to michmak for the beta. She who keeps me from comma abuse.
Dedication: for literarylemming, without whom, this would still be just a random plot bunny. She gets massive credit for this one. She helped write parts of it!
Simon hadn't seen it coming.
The men had appeared out of nowhere, just as they were leaving the hospital. There were too many, and they were well armed.
The three of them were taken, Jayne swearing and fighting as he was handcuffed.
Simon still had the brain scans in his pocket.
But they had come out of nowhere, with orders and guns, and Simon was forced to drop River’s hand.
The alliance separated all of them. Jayne and River disappeared down the same hallway, one at a time. Jayne did not go easy, and Simon saw one of the guards strike him in the face with the butt of a gun. The big man went down hard, and three guards dragged him away. River was crying and shaking so hard, she nearly had to be carried.
And in the end, it didn’t matter how hard Simon fought, River disappeared down that hallway, calling and crying out his name.
He waited tensely for the guards to come for him.
Before it could happen, the screaming started. The sound traveled down the hallway, from the same direction River and Jayne had been taken, reverberating and echoing. The sound made the hair on the back of Simon’s neck stand up.
The guard that had been left with him spun away, searching for the source of the screams, gun cocked and ready in his hands.
The guard only had his back turned for a second, but that was enough – Simon grabbed for the man’s throat.
It was truly amazing how little pressure was needed to crush a man’s larynx.
Simon choked back a retch, and ran. The screaming was getting worse, and Simon passed bodies, bleeding out the ears and nose.
The echoes were unnerving. The walls and the ceilings and the floor were all white, and before long, Simon was hopelessly turned around.
He kept going. He had to find River. He had to get her out of here.
Hallways lead to hallways, and doors opened onto empty rooms.
It was pure luck when Zoë and Mal found him. He had been checking doors at random, looking for River and a way out for them. Instead, he flung open the door and nearly got himself shot by the captain of Serenity.
"Whoa!" Mal exclaimed as Simon barreled into him. "Doc, slow down!"
"River!" Simon gasped, sucking in a sharp lungful of pained air. "They... they got River! And Jayne!"
"Who?" Zoë asked intently. "Who got them?"
Simon struggled for breath. "A... Alliance!"
The looks that passed between them weren't lost on him. They were the ‘Oh, shit’, looks he'd come to recognize after one too many near-misses in the black. "Come on, we gotta get you back to the ship," Mal said, tugging on his arm.
Simon shook loose, stumbling back. "NO," he snapped, giving the captain and his first mate a fierce look. "I'm not leaving my sister here for those monsters!"
"Gorrammit, doc, this ain't time to argue!" Mal hissed. "We gotta get you back to Serenity 'fore they decide they want the girl and her uppity brother!"
"Captain's right, Simon," Zoë said, eyes scanning the corridor with pinpoint efficiency. "Best thing we can do for River now is live to find her."
"I'm not leaving!" Simon insisted,
"Yes," Mal said firmly. "You are."
With a swift, precise swing of his arm, he brought the butt of his gun down across Simon's temple.
The doctor slipped into the dark.