Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is an alternate version of my story Sleepers. This version does not have major character deaths. Warning for mention of underage sex.


River Tam climbed down into the bunk of one Jayne Cobb, who was at the moment sitting on his bed flipping through a Guns and Ammo magazine. He looked up at her entrance and saw the black cargo pants, black tank top shirt cut at mid-drift and the black combat boots that she was wearing. Normally, River Tam wore long summer dresses that showed little of her lithe muscular form, and hid the fact that she was a woman not a little girl. Now, standing in Jayne’s bunk, she was the woman she had been hiding for so long, her long hair usually hanging haphazardly was now tied back in a pony tail at the nape of her neck, and she looked down at Jayne with her dark brown eyes.

Upon seeing her, Jayne smiled, his heart leaping into throat at the joy of what it meant that she was dressed as she was. He reached out to grab his very favorite gun from where she hung on the wall behind him, but River shook her head.

“No, you won’t need Vera.” River said.

Jayne looked at her. River could see that he didn’t understand. She had been keeping secrets from him, not a good idea, but it had been needful in her opinion.

“We are not going to kill them.” River said. “There is no need to.”

“But those were the orders.” Jayne said still confused. He was willing to go along with whatever River wanted. He always obeyed her, even when she told him to turn her in to the Feds on Ariel, he had made that call, after all his whole purpose in being was to obey her. He belonged to her as surely as Serenity belonged to Mal, and he loved her just as much as Mal loved Serenity.

“I don’t work for them.” River said.

“It was a trick, then. Make’em think I needed yer help to find Mal’s contacts, and all this time we escaped?” Jayne laughed at that. Those blind fools with their blue gloves had no clue as to how smart River Tam really was.

“Yes.” She answered simply. “And now since they believe us to be dead, I can tell the others the truth.”


“I never told them the truth. I gave them a different name you were going by and a different ship. That ship was just reported destroyed by Reavers. Apparently the crew decided to initiate a self-destruct sequence rather than be captured by the Reavers. “

“So they won’t come for us? We’re dead?” Jayne laughed leaping to his feet to take River into a deep hug. She could feel the lust coming through their bond in waves.

She clamped down on it through the link they shared. “Now is not the time, Jayne. Later, I promise. But we..I need to tell the captain and the others the truth.”

“He’ll kill me. Mal ‘ll throw me outa the airlock, if’n he don’t just shoot me first.” Jayne said falling to his knees to lay his head against her stomach.

“I won’t let him. I will not let him or anyone hurt you, Jayne. I promise.” River told him as she petted his head with her hand, her fingers running through his short brown hair.

They stood there for a few minutes, River comforting Jayne with both her mind and her hands. Finally she stood back and nodded to him. “Don’t wear any weapons, we don’t want them to be more frightened than they will be.”

Jayne laughed at that, and put Binky and Boo on the bed and followed her out of his bunk.

They walked into the galley, and River told him through the link to lay down on the couch in the galley while she went to the bridge where she sensed that Captain Reynolds, his second, Zoë and Zoë’s husband, Wash were. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she stepped onto the bridge. Before she could say anything, Malcolm beat her to it.

“Hey darling, don’t need ya on the bridge, where is that brother of yours?”

Typical, they don’t want to deal with her so of course they immediately think of Simon. River rolled her eyes and said, “Simon is in the infirmary. He likes to reorganize it every so often to feel as if he is doing something. At least when he’s not with Kaylee listening to her talk about the engines.”

They looked at her in shock. They had never heard her speak so coherently.

“I don’t know what new meds the doc’s using but they sure are working.”

“He hasn’t changed my medication. But that is not why I am here. I need to talk to the crew. You need to hear what I have to say. I will be in the galley, please call everyone there.” And with that she turned and left.

Mal raised one eyebrow at the retreating girl, and then turned to Zoë. She immediately got on the intercom, and called all hands to the galley. She then followed Mal off the bridge with Wash trailing behind her.

“Now little River, this here is my boat,” Mal said as he entered the galley. He noticed Jayne was lounging on the couch eating some protein snaps, but ignored the merc as he continued to speak to the little girl. “And I give the orders. So rule number two, no giving orders to the captain.”

Jayne snorted, but said nothing. River turned to look at Mal mentally chiding Jayne. “I apologize Captain Reynolds. You are correct this is your boat. However, what I have to say is extremely urgent.”

Simon had entered the room in time to hear River’s statement. “Mei mei, how? What’s going on?”

River turned to smile at her brother, whom she loved and knew that what she had to say would hurt him more than any of the others. She hated to hurt him, but he needed to know the truth.

“I don’t know, Doc. She came onto the bridge talking like a sane person. Now I ain’t positive, but I coulda sworn when she came aboard she was a wee bit bughoused. If that situation changed somewhat, I think I should have been informed.”

“Simon didn’t know. He could not inform you because I didn’t tell him. Please, captain, everyone take a seat. What I have to say will be quite shocking, and you may not want to be standing.”

“Crazy girl isn’t talking crazy anymore…I find that shocking.” Wash said. “After that I am afraid that any more information will just be frightening.”

They all took a seat around the table. Inara was the last to enter the kitchen and sit down, but she had heard River’s last statement.

“Captain I am not crazy. At least not as insane as you might have thought. It was ruse, and I apologize for it. It was necessary. I did not think that you would have allowed Simon and I to remain if I had not pretended to be damaged as much as I was by the Alliance. I also couldn’t let Agent Dobson inform the Alliance that we weren’t on the ship we were suppose to be on.”

“What do you mean suppose to be on?” Mal asked.

“The people I work for believe that we are on a completely different ship. Another Firefly captained by a former Browncoat.” River said.

“And who do you work for?”

“Alliance High Command and Parliament.” River said. “Or at least they think I work for them, but now they think I am dead.”

“Might wanna explain from the beginning.” Mal said his hand resting on the butt of his gun. He noticed Zoë was doing the same, but Jayne still lounged eating snaps and seeming to ignore everyone else. Mal glared at him, and Jayne just shrugged and pointed to his hip. It was then Mal noticed that Jayne wasn’t armed, which surprised and annoyed him. Promising himself he would deal with the merc later, Mal turned his attention back to the spy in their midst.

“Everything Simon told you was true. The Academy was a government-sponsored program that turned out to be a bunch of scientist working for Parliament and Alliance High Command to create the perfect assassin. They did cut into my brain and remove my amygdala, and as a side effect I became a reader. A psychic. But I don’t want to be an assassin. I manipulated them into allowing Simon to rescue me as part of an assignment. I lied on my reports to them about where we were and what ship we were on. That same ship was just reported destroyed by Reavers and now they believe use to be dead. The Alliance will no longer look for us.” River said. She knew they thought she meant her and Simon when she said the words ‘us’ but in reality she was talking about Jayne and herself.

“So your assignment was what exactly?” Mal asked.

“To find the leaders of the new Independence movement, plus as many cells as I could and then kill the leaders and report the location of the cells to the Alliance.”

“What second Independence movement?” Mal asked confused. He was sure that if there was such a thing he would be one of the first to know about it.

River laughed. “The one they believe exists. They are sure it exists, but so far all I have ever found is a few ex-Browncoats who every once and awhile get drunk on U-day and start bar fights in Alliance friendly bars. There is no movement, but the Alliance is too paranoid to believe that.”

Mal looked sheepish for a second realizing River was talking about him and Zoë. The moment was over and he looked at River, “So what do you have planned little assassin. Going to kill us and take over the ship so you can hide from the Alliance?”

“I have no plans to kill any of you, unless you try to kill me. I happen to love Serenity. I thought I had found a home here with good people, but I was fooling myself into believing this would last. I was hiding myself, who I was, and when I heard about the other ship, I knew that this dream had come to an end. I could not let the charade continue. I had to tell the truth. If you throw us off for it, that is fine. I would understand.”

“I understand that it wasn’t your choice to become an assassin. I get that, I just wanna make sure me and mine are safe. That’s my job and I did choose it.”

“You needn’t worry captain. I would never harm any of you, but there is more I have to tell you. And what I have to tell you will probably change your mind.”

“Here comes the frightening part.” Wash said.

River smiled at Wash, he had no idea how true he was.

“The story I need to tell you starts twelve years ago. It’s a story you need to hear, and I ask that you listen to the end before making judgments.” River said.

Mal nodded, “Alright, darling, if’n you need us to listen, we can listen. Don’t know ‘bout the rest of ‘em, but I am a mite interested.”

“The story starts with Miranda.” River said.

“Who is Miranda?” Kaylee asked.

“Miranda is not a person, but a planet.”

“Think I heard of this planet, wasn’t there some kind of terraforming event, killed some settlers?” Wash said.

“People died, yes. But not from a terraforming event, at least not in the way you are thinking.” River answered.

“Let’s let the girl tell her story, no need to be asking questions till the end.” Mal said. He was starting to feel as if River was right, that he needed to hear this story.

“Thank you, Captain.” And with that River explained to all of them exactly what Miranda was, and how the Alliance created the Reavers.

“(Chinese curse) those (bastards) created ‘em!” Mal exclaimed getting to his feet.

“My god, how isn’t we don’t know?” Wash said.

“The Alliance buried it, and they buried it deep. Only those in Parliament and few of the High Command actually know this secret, which is how I know.” River said.

“What does this have to do with you, River? Other than you having reading this from one of those bastards minds?” Zoë asked. Like Mal she was angry that the Feds had created the Reavers, but was confused as to why River would tell them. There was nothing they could do, Miranda was in Reaver space, and only a suicidal fool went there.

“Because two years before I went to the Academy, the Alliance managed to capture a Reaver alive, and brought him to the Academy.”

“(Chinese curse) what the hell did they hope to accomplish by doing that?” Wash asked.

“During the two years they performed numerous surgeries. Plastic surgery as well as life saving organ transplant and tissue regeneration. The kind of surgeries that would have cost million of credits, but when they were done the Reaver’s outward appearance was that of a normal man. There was no physical reminder of the madman within. It was not long after that I came to the Academy.”

“It began first as schooling. I learned from books and teachers about weaponry, tactics, and piloting. Within a few months I knew the workings of every weapon that existed or had existed. I could fly any ship and even knew how to sabotage most engines. Then they began the physical training. I learned to fight and kill first as practice and then Operatives were sent in to kill me. I killed them. Then the surgeries started. Simon can you tell you more about what was done. It was painful but they didn’t care. Eventually I learned to separate myself from the pain.”

Mal silently cursed the scientists who would cause a young fifteen-year-old girl how to separate herself from pain, something that took soldiers nearly half a lifetime to learn.

“The neural stripping eventually caused the psychosis, and mental breakdown. It also made me psychic.”

“If the neural stripping caused the type of psychosis that you’ve been faking all this time, how is it that your alright now?” Simon asked.

“Because they gave me a filter.” River said.

Most of them looked confused but Mal began to curse. “Those (Chinese cursing).”

River looked over at Mal with a sad smile. She had been using her mind to make them ignore Jayne’s presence so they wouldn’t be suspicious of his silence. She could tell that Mal had figured out the Reaver’s part in the story. At least part of it.

“One day, they left me in my room, strapped down securely to my bed,” River said walking slowly around the table pretending that what she was saying was making her nervous. She moved until she was standing between Jayne and everyone else at the table. “They had given me some anti-psychotic drugs that made me more lucid that I normally was. I was naked, and very much afraid. I thought they were going to rape me. I cried, something I hadn’t done since the first year at the Academy.”

Simon, who was closest to her, laid a hand on her arm in an attempt at comfort. River smiled down at him in thanks. I am sorry Simon I wish I could spare you this, she thought.

“They did not rape me. Instead they brought the Reaver into my room inside a locked cage. Though he looked like a man with only few scars and no radiation burns, his mind was a swirl of chaos and violence. I knew what he wanted to do to me, and it frightened me more than I can ever describe.”

Inara and Kaylee’s eyes were filled with tears, and Kaylee’s face showed her horror.

River continued, “The cage had a time lock on it. In twenty-four hours the cage would open and the Reaver would be loose in my room, while I lay helpless on my bed. There was only one way to save myself.”

“I dove into the madness that was the Reaver’s mind. It took hours, but I found the man that the Reaver had once been. There was only a few memories left of the man. One was of his wife, and the other was his son, both of whom died on Miranda. He could not remember their names, and I don’t think he could remember his own name. The man he had been was lost in the maelstrom of the Reaver madness, but I was able to drag it out to the forefront of the Reaver’s mind. I knew that I had succeeded when the Reaver began to cry, but I was not done. The madness was still there and it would easily overwhelm the fragment of the man’s personality, which was all that was left of a man who had been a victim of the Alliance as much as I had. To save myself, and even to save that man, I went back into that maelstrom of madness and began to burn away the connections in his mind that were linked to the madness. As I burned some I opened others and block yet more connections. I left an imprint of myself in his mind and in the end caused a bond to form between the Reaver and myself. A bond so strong that should he die, then that bond would snap back like a rubber band and kill me. As it would him, if I died.”

“So is he still back at the Academy?” Kaylee asked, “Is that why you are telling us this?”

“I ain’t rescuing no Reavers from the Alliance, darling. Best get that straight right away.” Mal said.

“There is no need. Like me, he was also trained to be a spy and an assassin. He was sent out ahead of me on this mission, but I was able to trick our keepers into believing that he could not complete the task without my assistance.”

“You mean to tell me there is a Reaver running around loose who looks just like a regular person. Ta ma de!”

Zoë was beginning to get an inkling of the truth, River could feel that in her mind despite the mental call River was sending to have them ignore Jayne’s presence. Her hand was inching toward her gun.

“Yes captain he is loose, but I have full control over him. When that timelock activated and the door to the cage came open, my Reaver came out of that cage and freed me from my bed. He did not rape me, or try to eat me.” She decided not to tell them what did happen, but Inara seemed to pick up on it.

“He didn’t rape you, but you had sex with him didn’t you?” Inara asked. Simon gasped as River nodded her head.

“Yes, we did. My virgin blood sealed our bond.” River said.

“You were only fifteen!” Simon exclaimed. “And already I had lived a lifetime. I had to Simon. The imprint I left on his mind caused more than just a mental bond, but an emotional one as well. For both of us. I love him as much as he loves me. I could not go within that mind and drag a broken, remnant of man who could remember his wife and son’s faces but could not remember their names, or the names of anyone else, including perhaps his own without gaining some type of emotional bond. Only one name kept repeating in his mind, and I don’t know to this day whether or not that name was his, his wife’s or his son’s or any of them for that matter.”

“What name?” Zoë asked her hand gripping the butt of her Mare’s Leg.

“Jayne.” Was all River need to say and the people sitting around the table exploded in waves of fear, anger and sadness.

Both Mal and Zoë drew their guns, but River moved like a snake and disarmed them before they could get a shot off. Jayne had moved to his feet, but a mental command from River had him staying where he was beside the couch. Kaylee and Inara hugged each other in fear and hid behind Mal and Zoë. Wash also hid behind his wife. Of all of them only Simon approached her.

“River.” He said. She looked over at Simon, and saw the tears in his eyes. But most importantly she felt the love for her in his heart and mind.

“I am sorry, Simon. I can’t let them hurt him. He’s mine.” River said.

“I know, mei mei. I know.” And Simon drew her into a hug while the others watched in shock. “I will keep you safe.” He said then looked up at the man he had once called an untrained ape and said, “I will keep you both safe.”


Friday, February 24, 2006 1:53 PM


That was much less disturbing than the first version.
Both were pretty good though.


You must log in to post comments.



Better Worlds
AU Firefly/Angel crossover. Possibly a prequel to a longer fic depending on reader response.

Sentinel 4/?
The next chapter in my Firefly/Sentinel crossover. Hopefully this chapter will answer some of the questions people had.

Interesting Beginnings
This story is a sequel to my fic Mastery which is a Firefly/Anita Blake crossover. The story contains m/m but no sex as of yet. Please do not read if you do not like slash.

The Sentinel Part Three
Part three of my Firefly/Sentinel crossover. This part contains an attempted rape barely described but there. Do not read further if that will offend you.

The Sentinel Part Two
Part Two of the Firefly/Sentinel crossover. No knowledge of the show The Sentinel is needed to read this story.

Sentinel Part One
Rayne Crossover with The Sentinel universe. While attempting to rescue River from kidnappers, Mal learns something new about his merc.

Written for ABC_AU ficathon for the prompt Vampire. AU crossover with Anita Blake universe. Pre-slash. Captain Reynold's first meeting with a new crewmate.

Short Rayne fic written for Seven Deadly Sins Challenge on Rayne_Shippers. Graphic sex and violence. Ambiguous ending.

Part of the AU_ABC prompt table. The prompt is Zoomorphs. The story is gen and can be considered crack-fic with a wee bit of angst.

Into the Light
This was written for the au_abc ficathon. The prompt was Bangsian which refers to the afterlife. This is an AU and is a death fic.