BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Counting
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Little standalone drabble, not Maya (or very-pre) that takes place just after the movie. Maybe only a few weeks. Mal and River talk about nothing much. Or everything. No OCs so can be read by everyone.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1776    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

“What’re you doing?” Mal stood in the doorway to the bridge, a half-smile on his lips as he contemplated the young psychic pressed up against the window. Ever since Miranda, he’d kept a close eye on her, unable to forget the image of her standing outside the blast doors, two blades in her tiny hands dripping with Reaver blood and gore. She was too young, too frail, too … everything for that kind of experience.

“Made for it,” she whispered, but didn’t move.

“No, you weren’t.” The half-smile extended a little, but not much. Wash and Book dying like they did, he’d found very little to smile about since, although there was light at the end of the tunnel. Unless it was an oncoming train. “So, what are you doing?”

“Counting.”

“Stars, or is there something out there I ain’t privy to?”

“Stars,” she confirmed, not looking around, her fingers tapping on the thick glass.

He crossed the bridge to sit in the pilot’s seat, suppressing almost entirely the physical desire to shudder. Another gorram picture he couldn’t get out of his head, and this one turned up in his nightmares too. Wash, impaled into this very chair, reaching out with bloodied hands to ask why … He swallowed, pushing it away. “Ain't you supposed to be on watch?”

“I am. And I can see perfectly well from here.”

Running an experienced eye over the board, he noted that, apart from the buffer panel light, everything looked normal. “And what if something did go wrong?”

“I’d know. Now shush. You’ll make me lose count.”

He waited half a minute, but her finger-tapping didn’t stop. “So how many are there?” he asked eventually.

“Shh.”

“River –“

“Shh!”

“I’ll remind you I'm Captain, and I don’t get shushed. Not twice, anyhow.” He could see her breath steaming up the cold glass. “And you’ll get frostbite.”

“No frost in space.”

“Then the black’ll come and bite you in that pretty little ass instead.”

For a moment the tapping paused. “You think my ass is pretty?”

He backpedalled hurriedly. “Didn’t mean pretty.”

“What did you mean?”

Yao yi.” He couldn’t see her face but he just knew she was grinning.

“Means pretty.”

“River, you know what I said about me being Captain?”

The tapping recommenced. “And the black won’t bite me. It’s my friend.” She sighed and pulled away from the window.

“Done?”

“Done.”

“And how many are there?”

“Enough.”

“You lost count, didn’t you?”

She huffed slightly. “No.”

“You know what they say about telling the truth and shaming –“

“There are the right number.” She stepped daintily across the opening to the avionics bay and slid into the co-pilot’s seat, bringing her heels up onto the edge so she could wrap her arms around her calves.

“So … he began, somewhat diffidently, pretty sure he might not be able to understand more’n ten percent of what she might answer. “Do you … often … check? That there’re enough?”

“Need to. Make sure they aren’t going out.”

He relaxed a little. “Fancy that ain’t likely.”

“Statistical probability dictates that one may go out every second, given the intrinsic size of the universe and the Asimovian prediction as to the number of stars, whatever their magnitude.”

Yep, he didn’t understand ninety percent. “Right.”

She threw him a bone. “And they’re pretty.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. “That they are. Always did like to look at ‘em, even when I was a boy.”

“Back field, lying in the hay on a green and red tartan blanket.”

Although he could almost smell the fresh-cut grass, he raised one eyebrow at her. “You pussyfooting through my brain again?”

“Combat boots …”

He chuckled, a welcome sound in that quiet place. “Yeah, more like.” He did understand, though. The need to look out at them, unchanging as they were. Made him feel almost … hopeful.

“Not unchanging,” she murmured. “But I count to see if the end of the ‘verse is close.”

He looked back, staring out into the velvet darkness, sprinkled with sharp diamond points. “Not going there, albatross.”

“No.” She let the smile drift across her face, and added too quietly for him to hear, “Not today.”

COMMENTS

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 4:00 AM

SERENITYRIDDLE


I love your main story. But I really enjoy your little insights into the 'Verse. Thanks for posting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 4:05 AM

AMDOBELL


Loved this. You perfectly balance the connection River and Mal have to each other with their quirks and foibles, and I just loved River throwing him a bone at the end. She really is super smart but she isn't rubbing his nose in it. Not today. I always feel those two have an inate understanding and that makes it special. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 4:55 AM

BYTEMITE


Nice and hopeful. :) Good little talk.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 6:37 AM

ANGELLEMARCS


Love the pair in this. It shows the relationship between the two and I enjoyed the last few lines especially.

Missed Frey, Hank, and the kids, but still loved the story.


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