Monday, May 8, 2006

Sometimes the most insignificant things are the ones that can elicit the most wonder.


Title: Sand Author: Ana Sedai Rating: PG Character(s): Mal, River Prompt: 083 - Eternal Word Count: 974 A/N: 16/100 for Mal/River Joss100. Quotes taken from William Blake’s poem, “Auguries of Innocence”.

Summary: Sometimes the most insignificant things are the ones that can elicit the most wonder.


While Mal would’ve been the first one to expound on the joys of a busy-noisy ship, he did enjoy getting some alone time with his girl. Being dirt side meant everyone else would’ve gone off to stretch their legs or do some shopping or, in Jayne’s case…nah, best not go there. In any event, it was just him and Serenity for the moment.

They were due to pick up their cargo that afternoon, but in the meantime he had best check out how her exterior hull looked. Wouldn’t do for Kaylee to have the engine purring like a kitten, only to have all their air sucked out of a breach if a plate crumpled.

Whistling, he ambled down the gangplank and turned, and nearly trampled River where she sat in the ship’s shade.

“Hey, whoa!”

She was gazing rather intently at something in her hand, apparently oblivious to his near-collision.

“Sorry, little one. Thought you’d gone off with Simon and Kaylee.”

She still didn’t look up, and Mal got real curious as to what could hold her undivided attention for so long a time.

“Whatcha got there?”

Finally, she turned and looked up to him, her dark eyes faintly luminous in the shadows. “Everything.”

He peered over her shoulder. “Funny, looks like dirt to me.”

It was true. The thing she’d been staring at as if it held the secrets of the ‘verse was a few bits of soil. She looked down and murmured something softly. Mal could still hear her, though.

“To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wildflower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”

They were both silent for a moment, and then Mal crouched down on the ground next to her.

“Blake, right?”

She nodded and grinned at him. “I promise to not faint.”

He barked out a laugh. “Cute, very cute.” His face got serious. “You don’t have to sit out here all by your lonesome, y’know.”

“Not alone anymore. You’re here.” The words were oddly intent, and he wondered if he had the guts to ponder what she’d meant by them.

He opted for the obvious response. “Good point.” Another silence. They did those well. Suddenly restless, Mal got to his feet. “You wanna come and check out Serenity with me? Extra pair of eyes are helpful, and I did promise to keep you company an’ all.”

She smiled brightly and nodded, so he held out a hand to help her up. It was instinctive; he’d been raised to be polite to ladies. But when River grasped his big, rough, hand with her small, delicate one, he found his world abruptly and inexplicably narrowed to the feel of her fingers in his.

Her hand was tiny, but it wasn’t soft. She had a few calluses from working with Kaylee, and from her training. There was strength there, too, and he could feel each slender tendon that stretched from her wrist to her fingers. He could even feel the pulse in her wrist, and damnit all if he didn’t feel his own heart start to beat in time with it.

He felt an ache in his chest when he saw how her hand fit and was almost completely engulfed by his. The hands of a killer and a savior, and he remembered that both of them were one and the same. A sobering thought, but a strangely liberating one, too.

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand…

He didn’t know how long he stood there like some sunstroked feng le idiot, but it was her voice that snapped him out of it.

“Joy and woe are woven fine, A clothing for the soul divine. Under every grief and pine Runs a joy with silken twine.”

She was gazing at his face, and smiled gently when he raised his eyes to hers. He knew he should let her hand go, but if felt so right in his, and she didn’t seem to be in any hurry to get it back.

He swallowed. When had his mouth gotten so gorram dry? “All fine and dandy, ‘cept our portion of woe always seems a mite bigger than it oughta be.”

“Makes us appreciate the joy more. Have to take what we can, not be afraid of it.”

Looking in her eyes, he felt his mind tremble on the brink of some vast knowledge. If he took just one more step, he could find out what it was. Something in him still shied away, though. He wasn’t ready, not yet.

River’s expression was sad, but understanding. “I can’t force you to see. Have to come on your own. All I can do is show the way.”

He hated disappointing her, hated not being able to take that leap and find out what was waiting. But he was what he was, a man willing to take on any number of risks, provided he knew what the consequences would be. He didn’t know them here, and until he did, he couldn’t move forward. All he knew was that he felt more at peace with this girl in his life, than he had since he’d left his home. For now, it was enough.

“I know, darlin’.” He finally let go of her hand. His own felt cold now.

Trying to sound chipper, he said, “Best get this inspection finished ‘fore the others get back. Got us some crime to be done and Serenity crashin’ wouldn’t be the best way to start.”

And all at once he became all business, perusing the ship for flaws with all the intensity of a laser, the stalwart Captain once more. River walked beside him, watchful, silent, and thoughtful. And wondered on the meaning of eternity, and hands, and grains of sand that were slipping through them.



Monday, May 8, 2006 1:59 PM


Wow, thank you. I mean, really thank you. I just so glad that you're enjoying them. I assure you, I have every intention of finishing these.

A minor note to all readers: this story takes place before "Cliff's Edge". I forgot that I hadn't posted this before posting that one. Please bear this in mind while reading. Sorry.

Monday, May 8, 2006 4:06 PM


Damn, I love these... and I hadn't realized there was a series. Looks like I get to go back and read them all! Thanks!

Monday, May 8, 2006 9:31 PM


Absolutely brilliant.

Above and beyond special.

This really, truly is soem of the best work I have seen.

Love the Mal/River... very good, in character and perfect.



Tuesday, May 9, 2006 6:38 AM


I really love this and love your writing. The way you bring River and Mal to life with such wonderful little scenes are works of art in their own right and I really am impressed most by the fact that you don't hurry it along. Feels more natural and beautiful this way. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 10:43 AM


So Simon's not the only boob on board our ship? Please let River learn quickly that to give a man a hint and have him get it, you have to use a hammer and beat it into his skull.


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