Saturday, July 16, 2005

"River wants. Needs. And she has been so very patient."


TITLE: "DREAMING" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: River/Mal. Kaylee/Simon. Wash/Zoe. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: SEQUEL to "TIMING" ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE:

SUMMARY: "River wants. Needs. And she has been so very patient." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * *

It was that dream again. Faceless men with identical expressions. "Two by two, hands of blue. Two by two, hands of blue..."

A shudder ran through River's slim frame, her eyes popping open. Wide and afraid, lips still moving even after the words had trailed away. Slowly the thrum of Serenity's engine soothed her but the nightmare was too vivid and the inside of her eyes too brightly painted with memories for her to close them in sleep. She sat up and pulled the blanket around herself, wished Simon were still sleeping in the next room but he was with Kaylee now. She wasn't jealous it was just sometimes she missed him. Reaching out and touching nothing was so very cold. River got up and padded through the ship, her bare feet loving the murmur of the deckplates as the engine idled. As she walked she trailed a hand along the metal walls, picking up thoughts and conversations recorded in the memory of the ship and replayed over and over inside her mind. She only had to touch the ship to feel him. The reassurance almost hypnotic.

She paused, eyes closing, body echoing a rumour of the slow deep passion building between Zoe and Wash. Loved the way they complimented each other in such an instinctive way. There was no disparity between the sheets and no dischord. River waited for them to finish, loving touches lingering in their bodies and their minds before drifting off to sleep again. It made her happy but also triggered longing in her own body. Kaylee and Simon were sleeping, Simon spread out like a starfish hogging all the bed with Kaylee wrapped around his torso, more than flexible enough to mould herself to him. She smiled, seeing them in her mind rather than with her eyes. Jayne was dreaming, the images in his head lusty and filled not with the wanting for one woman but many. Doing things to him that would make a contortionist wince in real life. River was discomfitted at times by the Preacher. Even now his thoughts were in shadow, his sleep deep and even but not resting within the metal walls of Serenity. She wondered, not for the first time, why he was there. What was so important about 'this' journey that he would leave the comforting walls of his abbey for the uncertainty of life in the Black.

River padded up the metal stairs until she stood outside Inara's shuttle door. Not listening nor even waiting. Her mind curious but not judgemental. The Companion's thoughts a cornucopia of competing desires, wants and needs. Not just hers but others. A soul torn by the demands made upon her, not simply those which were spoken or brockered with coin but the little hidden wishes of fractured hearts that the Companion's subtle mind divined in each and every one of them. But Inara was not a healer, she was a comforter and not all souls would accept that comfort. River knew how Inara viewed them. The affections that bound her to them. To this ship and to its' Captain though the man's dark emotions both drew and repelled her. The risk of getting caught up in a maelstrom that Inara would not be able to control too frightening to ever contemplate. The Companion recognised even when others didn't that there were some things that would be forever denied to her. Some lines she could never cross. The knowledge calmed and comforted her. She did lean towards men but in her deeper soul there were parts of her only another woman could ever touch or understand. In Inara's mind men were work, duty - business. Women were pleasure, especially ones like the Counseller with whom she could drop all pretence and just enjoy being herself. River knew Inara would never marry but neither would romantic love ever sustain her. Happiness would be sipped, savoured from the little things of life, the moments that made the circle complete.

Retreating from the shuttle River came to stand outside the Captain's bunk and listened with her heart, her mind soaring along the whirlwind path of a mind in seeming chaos. Only it wasn't chaos, it was a restless energy that never slept. Not an indiscriminate rage of emotions but a swirl of orderly, often precise, thoughts. Memories marching through a regimented mind where everything and everyone had a place, a purpose. Not nothing got left behind. As Mal slept his dreams of the day were opened, examined. Problems dwelt on and solved, every angle turning beneath his sharp quizzical gaze, those deep soul-filled eyes too knowing for the wisdom he now held. He felt for them all even when they irritated or confused him. Their burdens were his just as they were his. Their problems his problems and their joys... River inhaled, eyes closed, and glowed with the smile that swept through her heart, body and soul. Yes. This was what his joy felt like. She sensed him stir out of a deep binding sleep. Awake now. Lying on his back staring up at the ceiling. Smiling River opened the hatch and lightly descended the ladder, not surprised when his dark eyes turned to her as her bare feet hit the floor of his bunk.

"What you doin', River?"

"Couldn't sleep."

"So you decided your sleeplessness deserved company, that it?"

Her smile was sweet, gentle. A sway of lips that curved in response to the sound of his voice. She loved the playful tease in his tone. Did he know? Could he guess? When she said nothing the Captain leaned up on his elbows, the covers sliding down from his shoulders. He was bare chested and River already knew he had no pajamas to speak of. So. Naked then.

"River," He said quietly, voice gentle, soothing. As if something had spooked the girl and he wanted to calm her. Reassure her that whatever night terrors were bothering her, they would go. "You want me to get Simon?"

She shook her head, moved hesitantly closer to his bed. He was more alert now, knew something was on her mind. She never came to him like this though thinking on it she did seem to seek him out more than was normal. But what was normal for River? Or for him for that matter? "*Bu qu*. Besides, Simon's sleeping."

He was amused now. "So was I, *jide*?"

River lifted her head, the dark fall of hair parting so she could see him and he could see her. She wanted him to see her as a woman not a girl. Did he know? Had he suspected she had been standing outside his bunk listening to his dreams, walking through that minefield of memories masquerading as sleep? "Awake now."

That made him chuckle softly. The sound drew her, emboldened River to go right up to the bunk and look him in the eye. He was not laughing now. Serious as a heart attack, trying to fathom her mood. "What you doin' here, *xin gan*?" He asked softly. Careful even now not to say anything sharp or sudden to frighten or hurt her. It made her heart skip a beat. "Don't want to be alone, Mal."

Mal. That was another thing that had been changing over the last couple of years. When the others were present he was always the Captain. Sometimes Mal when they were joshing each other. When there was no one else around though it was always Mal, and there was a warmth and tenderness to the sound of her speaking his name which was all kinds of alluring and creepifying in the same instant. He wasn't sure what to make of it but was determined not to lash out or hurt her by over reacting. This was, after all, River and he was responsible for her. He was responsible for them all. Most like she had been having nightmares and was afraid her own self. Not nothing to get all bothered by. "Perhaps we should go to the commons area, get you a hot drink or somesuch. How that sound?"

River smiled and the Captain found himself smiling back before he realised she was moving his arm to sit on the bed.

"Hey now!"

His voice soothed her, inveigled its' way through her ears and every pore in her skin to her heart. The warmth was addictive. River wanted more. She shivered but not with the cold. He noticed as she knew he would. Counted on it.

"*Wei*, you cold?"

She was only wearing a thin dress and no shoes. It was one of those long floaty designs that made her seem more dream than substance. River was staring straight into his eyes, her look unreadable. "Hold me."

"Perhaps I could get you a blanket..."

"Hold me." Neither the words nor the emphasis had changed but he reacted as if it had been an order and sat up, his blanket pooling to his waist, his arms gathering her in. She shivered in his warmth, her body tingling where they touched, her eyes closing in bliss, inhaling the scent of him, the vestiges of sleep still clinging to his mind but muted now. Fading. He felt her arms wrap around his waist, her body incline to his and mould to him. The fit was disturbing if only because of how right it felt. How he cleaved to her in this moment of weakness. Hers or his he could not tell but how could he turn her away? She needed him and asked for so little. So he held her, his words quiet and soothing, one hand brushing back and forth across her back in a gesture of comfort while she clung to him.

The Captain was not sure what had brought this on but did not have the heart to send her away again. Besides, they were both awake and not harming no one with their sleeplessness. His efforts to get her to talk failed, so he just held her gently in his arms and tried to reassure her with a stumble of words that only half made sense. Hoping the point behind them got through. A wave of weariness tugged at him. River leaned a little more heavily against him causing the Captain to lean back as he yawned, his words running together in a mumbled slur. Warmth giving warmth, they lay back and let sleep envelop them. Him half beneath the covers, her on top. River opening her mind to his, relieving the darkness of his dreams so he could sleep, the voices of his nightmares stilled to her presence shining softly in his mind and bringing him peace. Quietly and efficiently removing their power to hurt him. Snuggling against his chest until her ear rested over Mal's heart River took a slow extended breath and closed her eyes one last time. A happy smile of content carrying her off to sleep. Her mind holding his, cradling his thoughts in that protected space as he mirrored the actions of her mind with his body. Safe now. It was the only place she wanted to be.

* * * * *

Simon woke up with laughter in his heart and throat, his wife stirring him into a deep driving need that choked off his happy chorus with a loud groan of rising need. Kaylee smiled around him, her mouth too full to do more than make him catch his breath, her hands taking him higher and higher as his eyes rolled back into his head. Simon wanted to warn her but came too quickly, the white rush overspilling her eager mouth and making her laugh as he huffed out a semi-coherent apology.

"*Duibuqi*, too excited to warn you *bao bei*."

Laughter was still bubbling out of her as she washed him clean with her tongue, the touch making him tremble. "Ain't nothin' to 'pologise for." She mumbled.

No sooner had she finished than Simon dragged her up so he could kiss her hard, fierce and with more than a hint of lust. "You have no idea what you do to me, Mrs Tam."

Kaylee laughed. "Oh no? I got a talent with workin's." She teased.

"With engines - yes," He punctuated each word with a kiss. Kaylee loved it. Loved him. "But I'm a man, I'm not..."

"Yes, you are." Her hands were moving over him, sliding slickly through the sweat to tease and lavish their attention on him. "See?" His breath caught at the intimate touch. "Workin's!"

With a moan he rolled her over just as someone hammered on the hatch of their bunk. Simon had moved in with Kaylee rather than displace River by having his wife move into his old room. With River just the other side of that sliding tatami door he would not have relaxed enough to have enjoyed married life with such lusty abandon. The quarters were cramped that was good too. Made them more creative in their love making. Truly. Small could be beautiful but interruptions were not. Simon suckled a breast, letting his teeth rasp gently up over the nipple until with a flick of his tongue he licked and sucked past it. "Who is it? Unless someone's dying - Go Away!"

The hatch opened and Simon closed his eyes in frustration. Lying beneath him, Kaylee wrapped her arms and legs around him and kissed his eyelids. Both of them surprised when Wash tentatively climbed halfway down the ladder. He looked sorry to disturb them but the worry on his face swept any resentment right away. "Wash?"

Simon raised his head, surprised at the identity of their early morning visitor. Concern now radiating from the pair of them back to the pilot. Simon was already reaching over the end of the bed for his pants. "*Shenme shi*?"

"It's Zoe," He managed, eyes wide and filled with fear. "She's sick."

Kaylee put a hand over her mouth. "What's wrong? What happened?"

"*Wo bu zhidao* but she keeps throwing up."

In record time Simon was dressed, paused to give his wife a quick kiss - "we'll finish this later" - then was darting up the ladder after a rapidly retreating Wash. Kaylee rolled out of bed and began the scramble for clothes her own self. Hoping whatever was wrong it wasn't some kind of virus that would hit the whole crew.

Simon helped Wash get Zoe to the infirmary. Her face was pale and sweaty but apart from that she didn't look too bad. Immediately he sat her on an infirmary bed. Wash hovering and getting in the way without trying to do so. Zoe could not have cared a good gorram where he was right then and there. All her control fixed on trying not to hurl up all over him.


The pilot almost jumped. "Yeah?"

"If you want to help go and get cleaned up." He blinked. "Cleaned up?" He looked down at his shirt. He *was* clean.

"Your bunk," Said Simon gently. "Once Zoe feels better I'm guessing she won't want to go back to a room that smells of vomit."

Wash made a face. Right. Correct. Neither did he. Because what this ship needed right now was two people throwing up. "Will she be... okay?"

Simon had been examining Zoe as he was talking, a suspicion already forming in his mind but unwilling to say anything until he had finished checking her over. "She'll be fine, now go. The sooner you do it the sooner you can come back, *dong ma*?"

He nodded, was about to give his wife a kiss then saw her face go slightly purple and backed off quickly. Wash just missed being in the line of fire. He missed the smile on the doctor's face as he broke the landspeed record exiting the infirmary.

* * * * *

The Captain woke a mite drowsy to warm lips on his, as he opened his mouth to speak the kiss deepened. That woke him good and proper. Not no dream that realistic. Blinking he saw River looking down at him, a little smile on her face. Instead of apologising she kissed him again, a smaller chaste kiss, then sat up. "Uninvited visitor." She said cryptically.

Alarmed he rolled her off him then realised he was naked under the blankets and paused. "Need some privacy here a moment, *dong ma*?"

River laughed and kissed his cheek. "Such a gentleman." Before he could find words to respond she was shinning up the ladder to his hatch. A second later it was open and she was hauling herself out, dropping it shut again afterwards.

Shepherd Book's eyes narrowed as he saw River come out of the Captain's bunk. He had been roused by Wash hammering on Kaylee and Simon's door, the pilot obviously freaked out over something. Given the early hour and Wash's state that meant Zoe. While he was trying to figure it out the hatch clanged open again and he watched the Captain exit his bunk. The man looked rumpled but rested, pulling his suspenders up over his shirt as he finished dressing. The Shepherd kept his expression neutral though in his head he was frowning. Mal saw him. He looked bewildered. "What the good gorram's goin' on?"

The Preacher raised his eyebrows. "Zoe's sick..."

He never got another word out. The Captain's expression now mirroring a kind of panic. "Well why didn't you say?"

"I just did, Captain." But the Captain was already gone, rushing off in the direction of the infirmary. The Preacher looked thoughtful, his frown returning even deeper as he looked in the direction Mal had gone then back towards the man's bunk. "Oh my." He murmured softly to himself. "A very special hell*."

* * * * *

CHIINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*bu qu* = no (lit. no go) *jide* = remember *xin gan* = sweetheart *wei* = hey! *bao bei* = precious/treasure *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *wo bu zhidao* = I don't know *dong ma* = understand? *duibuqi* = sorry


Saturday, July 16, 2005 7:17 AM


Very nice funny, sweet and defently along for the ride on how this one is going to turn out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 12:39 AM


Phew! Lot of action in this one! *g*

I think your analysis of Inara's feelings and motivations is one of the best I've read.

Friday, January 12, 2007 4:54 AM


> "Oh my." He murmured softly to himself. "A very special hell*."

Hey now, River's a grown woman!


You must log in to post comments.



His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.