She knew she was a danger to them, she had known that for months. Now she was a danger to everyone, no matter what she decided. As if there were anything to be decided, a snide thought floated through the space.
She looked at Rhett, who sat at the desk, looking at her with worried eyes. His love had gone somewhere, and a blank, vacant stranger looked out of River's eyes, one patiently waiting. His girl did not love him any more. If she felt anything at all.
She pretended to feel when the others visited, and hide the vacantness around her pack. She'd never said what was in her mind, nor how often her mind did flashbacks....
He had been taunting her, goading her, swaggering, playing the sexist redneck, knowing it would rile her up. She in turn would be a smart mouth back, meeting and matching his attitude, and instinctively knowing that he was not doing it because he did not like her, but because he was ... flirting in that way that is not about sex... not trying to intimidate her, but instead trying to bring her out of herself.
On this day, he loved fighting her, he goaded her, as the first of the gauntlet circle. None of the others attacked, enjoying watching the pair, slash, block, kick, grab, heel drive, throw, all the while intimidating the other more and more, amping up the power, pushing each other harder and harder. Alicia watched carefully, knowing the dynamic developing between her beta and the girl, and being careful that it did not explode out of their control.
River was getting better and better, and she flowed into the punch, taking him by surprise, and then as he threw her over his shoulder, she twisted and landed, her feet planted against his ass as she launched herself, pushing him into a stagger. Using the momentum, she broke free of the circle, surprising all of them, and making several jump to attention. This had never happened before...
She sprinted hard for the wall, as he turned and chased her, leapt up it, and spring boarded off it into a ball, slamming hard into him, her weight carrying them both to the floor. He lands hard, her legs locking his, her arm across his throat, winding him with the force behind her. Pinning him to the floor, her eyes are alight with fire at her victory.
She looked back to her past, and mourned.
No IC use, i'll tell you if you observe this behavior in River ic.
Also, point of interest on the historical aspects of River - the italics is an old post, index of posts is here - http://raven-steps.livejournal.com/
Go look if you are interested in her background.