Saturday, November 26, 2005

Being hollowed out doesn't mean feeling nothing.


Title: Emptiness Author: Ana Sedai Rating: PG Character(s): Mal, River Prompt: 082 - Nature Word Count: 600 A/N: 6/100 for Joss100

Once again, he felt her before he heard or saw her. Did she ever sleep?

“We have the same nature, you know.”

Unlike the last time she’d come to him in the cockpit, though, he didn’t whirl around to face her. He supposed it was a sign of improvement that she didn’t spook him as much, but the cost was this constant gorram awareness…

He sighed. “Keep thinkin’ that if it suits you, little girl. Won’t make it true.”


He did turn around at that. She was glaring at him, her eyes all but shooting sparks. He’d never seen her anger directed at him before. Oh sure, she’d yelled some and thrown things around a bit when she was frustrated or the like, but this, this was different. She was furious.

“Same essence, same needs. Same hurts. Both want to be free. Both hear screams in dreams. You can’t hide it! Think it’s all your fault. Keep pushing me away, even if I want to be here.”

Gorramit…! Feng le girl was pokin’ around in his brain again. She just kept at him, haunting his steps, invading his thoughts. She wanted him close? Fine. She’d get him close. He lurched to his feet and in two steps was gripping her shoulders and yelling in her face.

“Dammit girl, I told you before, keep outta my head! What’s there is not for you to know. Can’t a man even have peace in his own mind?”

“You’re just avoiding truth. Won’t admit what you know. Coward!”

For a split second, he wanted to slap her. He really did. That impulse, more than anything else, was what made him drop his hands and sink back into the chair. He took a shaky breath and dropped his head into his hands, feeling a little sick. He felt her kneel beside him, felt her hand on his face again, turning it towards her. Slowly, he lifted his head and opened his eyes.

She looked him square in the face. Oddly enough, he thought, her own was calm again. “I’m not afraid of you. Why are you?”

He barked out a laugh, a bitter note in the surrounding silence. “Thought I just showed you the reason.” He gently pushed her hand away, and let out a shaky breath. Time to stop beating around the bush. “River, I’m almost twice your age. I’ve been hollowed out so many times it’s a wonder there’s anything left ‘a me. There’s not much left to give. All I have is anger and pain, and a little affection. You may think that’s enough, but it’s not. I can’t be what you need.”

“Can’t tell me what I do or don’t need. Not fair. What about what you need?” Arguing with her was well-nigh impossible. She kept changing strategies on him.

“I don’t need anything but what I got. Serenity, food, some peace of mind. The rest is details.”

She gave him a little smile. “You’re still lying. Not really your fault. Just don’t know. I know you, though. And you know me. You’re still there, inside, just like me. We can find each other. We know where to look. You don’t have to be afraid. Soon you’ll see that.” She rose to her feet and backed away, then turned and left. He could hear the soft footfalls as she headed towards her bunk.

Turning back to the ever-watchful Black, Mal wondered how long it would take her to change her mind if she did find him. And then discover all he that was, was more emptiness.


Sunday, November 27, 2005 1:22 AM


Very good. Sad but thoughtful with that little wisp of hope at the end because River hasn't given up on him. If River can't find Mal no one can, she is a genius after all. Might there be a sequel lurking in the Black? - Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:23 AM


here's hopin' she finds him *crosses fingers*


Sunday, November 27, 2005 10:51 AM


Absolutely beautiful! I love the way you write. Its simply elegant! Keeping watch for the next one! Only 94 to go! Then you can do the other list!

Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:08 AM


Really nice and very engrossing--Even tho I like Mal/Inara, I'm kinda fascinated by the Mal/River stuff. By the way, do you know where can I find a complete list of the Joss100?

Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:40 AM


Ooooh goosebumps. Very haunting. i usually don't care for any River pairings but on some level or another Mal and River could be quite compatable.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 5:50 AM


Wow. Intensity, despair, hope.

I've been intrigued by the Mal/River possibilities since I first got to see the movie. I've envisioned it happening after the whole Mal/Inara thing plays out to its inevitable tragic end, with the whole thing pretty much taking Mal by suprise. But I've never really been able to articulate *how* it happens, so I am really enjoying your vision of "how".

Thank you for sharing.


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Mal/River Prompt - Stand and Stand By
Simon weighs in on Mal and River's relationship...thing.

Battered Dreams
Mal remembers youthful hopes. 20/100 for Joss 100

Night Visitors
River’s dragons finally stop roaring.

Everything else swirls around her, but Mal remains still.

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

Cliff's Edge
An introspective piece (yes, another one) on falling, dreams, and waiting.

Zoe corners River about Mal.

Day is done, everyone’s whole, and dinner is served. Some observations are made.

Unpredictability may be the spice of life, but it tends to give Simon indigestion.

Mal thinks on the traps that River gets him in, and out of.