Tuesday, November 22, 2005

He doesn't know how to swim in this current.


Title: Downstream Author: Ana Sedai Rating: PG Character(s): Mal, River Prompt: 016 - Current Word Count: 615 A/N: Fourth for Joss100. (Should I keep numbering these?)


The funny thing about currents, Mal remembered, was that you could never tell how strong they were just by lookin’ at ‘em. He’d made that mistake once, and only once, when he was a kid. He’d decided to try and swim across the river that cut through their ranch about a mile from the house, but he hadn’t tested the water first. It’d looked so peaceful. Who woulda guessed water that looked so still could move so fast? If the foreman hadn’t been inspecting fence posts nearby when ten-year-old Mal had started yellin’, he’d ‘a been swept downstream and drowned.

He’d gotten a tongue-lashing from his Ma and a stern lecture from the foreman. “Son, ya gotta look before ya leap. Ain’t no tellin’ what you might land in if’n you don’t.” Well, since then he’d still been terrible at the looking before part, but at least he’d always known that he was leaping.

Now, though, he was drowning again and he hadn’t even realized that he’d jumped until he was neck deep and sputtering. His dreams were being taken over by visions of wild hair and a small figure dancing between the stars. He would wake with the sound of music still echoing in his head. It’d gotten so he didn’t know whether to be afraid to sleep, or to look forward to it. A current was carryin’ him along with it, and he wasn’t sure where he was headed.

It wasn’t River’s fault. Since the galley, she hadn’t been stalkin’ him as much. He wondered if she’d finally found out what she wanted. He didn’t think so, though. Instead of her dissecting stare, she now looked at him with a bit of confusion, and at times, a little sadness. He didn’t ask why, and she didn’t seem too anxious to share. He didn’t like seein’ her like that, though. The girl’d had far too much of sorrow in her short life. The last thing he wanted was to cause her more. But it seemed like that was all he was able to do these days, was bring sadness to the women in his life.

He didn’t know what to do for Zoë, and he was afraid he was losing her. She hadn’t smiled, or cried, once in the months since Miranda and Wash. She was a pillar of strength during the day, but he could sometimes hear her pacing the ship at night. As for Inara, he’d tried to feel for her what he thought he’d once felt, but it was gone. She didn’t understand his new distance, and he just didn’t have the heart to tell her that he’d realized they could never work. River just looked wounded, and he was too turned around himself to offer her any reassurances. Kaylee was her usual cheerful self, at least, but that most likely had more to do with Simon. Still, it was good that two people were happy on his ship. The place was starting to have a downright funereal atmosphere.

So here he was, tryin’ to find some footing in all this, and all he could think about was a pair of deep brown eyes that hid nothing and everything and knew too much. He shouldn’t feel for her the way he was starting to, but it was pushing at him. He pushed back, but the stink of it was, he knew the current was stronger than him. He had chosen not to remember that that old foreman, in addition to the warning, had also told him that the only way to survive a current was to let it carry you along with it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005 8:00 PM


Great again! Every time I read your next fic the Mal/River 'ship grows on me and I mean that in the bestest way possible. You are a wonderful writer and I can't wait for the other 96 fics!

P.S. I think you should keep numbering them 'cause new people might get confused.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 8:25 AM


Ooooh, this definitely needs more chapters. I want to find out what happens next, *dong ma*? Shiny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 11:59 AM


I agree with Mal. The whole end of the movie felt like a very quiet tomb - need another movie (or series renewal!) to fix the feeling. BTW, great writeup of Mal!

Friday, November 25, 2005 8:00 AM


love this line:
"all he could think about was a pair of deep brown eyes that hid nothing and everything and knew too much"
you described river's eyes exactly



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