TEMPTATION SERIES: 14. "Repercussions"
Thursday, July 28, 2005

"The Shepherd wants to rebuild some fences. River is furious with him and the Captain just wants to pretend nothing happened."



SUMMARY: "The Shepherd wants to rebuild some fences. River is furious with him and the Captain wants to pretend nothing happened." 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

* * * * *

"You let them go?"

Abbott Mathias smiled a little secretive smile. Brother Mark looked somewhat perplexed.

"*Wo bu dong, fuqin*."

The Abbott's little smile grew until it threatened to swallow his whole face. "That is why, brother, *I* am the Abbott."

Brother Mark shook his head and padded softly back to his room, the cold flags beneath his feet grounding him in the certainty that he knew even less now that he had the day before.

* * * * *

It was hours after the sun had come up on Richmond and Kaylee could not stop laughing at her husband's expression. The bath had been shiny, a big round sunken creation that bespoke wealth and privilege. Kaylee figured Simon would be more than used to that kind of opulence but the doctor had been amazed when he stepped into the steaming pool of water just as the jets kicked in and warm air blasted down on him from a network of hidden pinholes cunningly disguised as part of the patterned ceiling while the hot water churned around him massaging his body and turning the soapy water to foam. His expression was priceless and Kaylee could hardly breathe for laughing.

"It wasn't that funny, *bao bei*."

Kaylee hiccoughed as she tried to answer him. "It is... from where..(hic)... I'm... (hic) standin'."

Simon's eyes narrowed but Kaylee was wiping her eyes. Waiting until she began to step down into the tub to join him, Simon caught her round the waist and tugged her under, tickling and teasing her as she bobbed up for air. Rubbing soap in her hair and watching as his gorgeous laughing wife blew bubbles in his face while gasping for breath. "That was sneaky, Simon Tam!"

"No," Said Simon in his I'm-a-doctor-and-I-know-everything-you-need-to-know voice. "That was good clean fun, Mrs Tam. And just what your doctor ordered."

Kaylee gave him a deceptively meek and mild look and let the moment pass. She could be patient. Smiling, Simon leant in to kiss her and Kaylee began to run soapy hands all over him until he was hardly able to think straight. Her daddy said she had natural talent but what Simon didn't know was he hadn't been talking about engines.

* * * * *

If the Shepherd thought getting the Captain back to Serenity would be the end of his trial he was much mistaken. River dogged him like a bloodhound. At first he had tried to ignore her, insisting on accompanying the Captain to his bunk and making sure he got down the ladder without mishap. It annoyed the *diyu* out of the Captain but was worth the ascerbic comments to ease his conscience. Once he made sure the man was safely ensconced in his bunk the Preacher left to let him rest, discomfitted to find River Tam waiting for him at the hatch.

"Was there something you wanted, River?"

She was glaring at him. Uncomfortable and hiding it poorly he made his way to the commons area to make a pot of tea. River followed. He did not press her to speak, some sixth sense telling him he would not like whatever poured out of her mouth. Instead he concentrated on the mundane and set the water to boil. After a minute or two River could wait no longer. "You're interferring in my plans."

Surprised, the Shepherd looked at her. "I am?"

River leaned in towards him, her eyes fixed on his as if she could bore into his brain. "I know what I want."

He blinked. "Well, that's good I suppose."

"*Qu* only it isn't."

Book's hand on the mug froze. "It isn't?"

She shook her head. "You have no right to judge."

Now he felt plain uncomfortable but was unwilling to play this guessing game. "River, I have no idea what you are talking about."

Sadness filled her expression, her eyes shiny. It made him think of a kicked puppy but he hadn't kicked anyone, or had he? "What gives you the right to take away other people's happiness? You preach love and forgiveness but in your heart is hellfire and damnation."

He put the mug down. Tea forgotten. "River, what are you talking about?"

Unshed tears filled her eyes until they looked like liquid glass. "Mal."

Book was frowning now, more confused than ever. "What does this have to do with the Captain?"

"Everybody has somebody or some thing. Pieces that make them whole. Zoe has Wash, Kaylee has Simon, Jayne has Vera, you have your faith, Inara has her work. On the ark the animals went in two by two."

"Yes, River, but..." "That leaves me and Mal."

The Shepherd opened his mouth and shut it again. Stunned. Eyes round. Dimes dropping in his head. "*Ni zhidao*."

She nodded. "You saw me come out of the Captain's bunk and now you've ruined everything!" River paused. "It isn't what you think."

He tried to calm her, make her see sense. "River, I misunderstood. *Duibuqi*. I admit it and don't think for a moment I'm proud of that but if what I thought had happened had taken place I would have to do the same again."

"No, you wouldn't."

"River..." "You shouldn't interfere."

"I can't simply stand by while..." He trailed off, unsure how to word what he wanted to say without it sounding coarse or insensitive.

"*Ni shao guan xianshi* and I've waited so long."

That made him pause a moment. "You waited?"

"I love him."

Shepherd Book wanted to make sure he was understanding exactly what River was saying. Didn't want there to be any mistakes this time. "Are you saying you have feelings for the Captain?"

She nodded. Book could feel a headache coming on. Where was Simon when he needed him? "River, that isn't a good idea. What you are feeling is gratitude, not love. The Captain gave you and Simon a place here on Serenity. He gave you Sanctuary."

"You think I'm broken."

He just stared at her. How could he deny the obvious? It was what they all thought, the Captain included. River looked sad, eyes turning hollow and pinching him with concern.

"We're all broken. Damaged goods. Which is why we need each other. Together we can make each other whole."

"I'm sure that may be true in some cases but you and the Captain..."

"You spoiled that! Now he'll think it's wrong and everything will be different."

Shepherd Book tried to think past the pounding in his head. "Perhaps that's just as well."

Her eyes widened as if finding it hard to believe he could actually think that let alone say it. "No!" Her face began to crumple and her voice fell to a soft pained hush. "Why do you have to make everything you don't understand a sin?"

The words hurt him, made him feel mean but he wasn't. He was trying to save them from temptation. Couldn't she see that?

"I'm in love not blind." She averred simply. "I know what I want."

"River," Said Book gently, trying hard not to hurt her but needing for her to understand that simply wanting something did not mean you got to have it. "What if the Captain doesn't feel the same? I think he sees you more as a daughter not..."

"*Wo zhidao* but I'm not. Was a girl but am a woman now. I think on my feet and don't rush in." She paused. "I don't want to be alone any more." She said in a small voice.

Something clicked in the Shepherd's brain. "Is that why you went to his bunk?"

She nodded. Book's heart felt heavy. "River, that wasn't a good or wise thing to do."

"Mal would never hurt me."

"Perhaps not but what about you hurting him?"

That made her blink. She tilted her head and looked at him for a moment then straightened again. "I would use words not a whip. Love not punishment. 'The gentle word turneth aside wrath'" She quoted.

Before Book could think of a suitable reply they were interrupted by the arrival of a touselled and cheerful pilot. "Mornin' Book, River. What's for breakfast?"

The Shepherd answered Wash while making sure he could still keep eye contact with River. He did not want her blurting out what she had told him. "Um, I haven't checked but from memory we still have some of that cereal base and protein bars."

River looked at Wash. She was pouting. "If we had eggs I'd make you an omelette."

Wash stared at her and watched as River swept out of the room. He looked at the Shepherd. "Whacky fun."

"Yes," Mumbled the Shepherd feeling he had just dodged a bullet. "You have no idea."

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*wo bu dong* = I don't understand *fuqin* = father *bao bei* = precious/treasure *diyu* = hell *qu* = yes (lit. go) *duibuqi* = sorry *wo zhidao* = I know *ni shao guan xianshi* = it's none of your business *ni zhidao* = you know


Thursday, July 28, 2005 4:05 AM


Hope River can undo the damage.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 1:24 AM


" "You spoiled that! Now he'll think it's wrong and everything will be different." "

Oh, that is just so painful! And insightful.

Monday, July 10, 2006 11:16 PM


"You spoiled that! Now he'll think it's wrong and everything will be different."

How true, unfortunately for River.

Although I didn't think that book was such a goody-goody. He seemed to be more of a do it yourself.


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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.

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