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FIREFLY: Suffer the Noises (Wash & River)

Written for serenitysummer: Wash.

Title: Suffer the Noises
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Firefly
Characters: Wash & River
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Only the young are allowed to suffer openly.
Notes: No spoilers

The job is a simple one. They land, they make contact, they pick up the goods and smuggle them out.

After they land, Zoe pulls Wash aside. "Could you keep an eye on River this time?"

"River?" Wash tilts his head. "What about Simon?"

"The doctor's going with us this time around." Zoe shrugs. "Contact's meeting us at some fancy restaurant. The captain thought we could use the window dressing."

"Okay." Wash scratches his wrist.

Zoe kisses him on the forehead. "Thanks."

When she's gone, Wash lets out a loud, worried groan.

River says from the hatchway, "It won't be that bad."

"Gyack!" Wash replies.


For the most part, River seems content to follow him around as he performs his regular planetside duties. Doing maintenance on the flight controls, polishing the glass, checking up on engine maintenance, doing inventory of kitchen supplies and other necessities.

Actually, she's kind of handy to have around, because she's picked up a clipboard from somewhere, and she's making lists.

Maybe, Wash thinks, if she gets all the details written, he can give the instructions to someone else and take a vacation.

"You forgot to check the rice," River says, biting the end of her pen.

Wash looks at the bin. The shadow indicates full, and when he taps it, there isn't even a rattle. "I think we're okay," he tells her.

"You're wrong," she insists. "Look deeper."

Wash stares at her, then shrugs. Yanks the bin open and, "Ugh!"

It looks like there was a leak from the compartment above, and half the rice has gone soft and sickly.

"Told you," River observes.

"Thanks," Wash says, and makes a mental note to get the compartments fixed, and the rice replaced.


Zoe calls in, says they're going to be delayed. It's getting dark, so Wash throws together a couple of sandwiches and goes to look for River.

She's not in her room, she's not in the hangar bay, and she's not on the bridge. Wash hits the comm button with his elbow. "River? I've got sandwiches."

"No!" she shrieks back, her voice fuzzy through the speaker. "It isn't reasonable."

Wash blinks, hits the comms again. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?"


He finds River crouched outside the infirmary, half-hidden behind the couch. He sets the sandwiches down.

"River?" He reaches out a slow hand, the way he used to do with Morrie, his fourth-grade goldfish. "River, are you okay?"

She shudders away from him, climbs over the arm of the couch and perches, balances on her toes.

"I can't," she mumbles, "it's too much, too many." She looks at Wash directly. "To continue is foolish. It's all rotten on the outside."

He's startled by the conviction in her eyes, so he hands her a sandwich.

"Peanut butter okay?" he asks, settling on the opposite end of the couch. "Peanut butter doesn't go bad."

She glances inside the bread.

"Well, it can," he clarifies, "but this time it didn't." He takes a bite of his own sandwich.

River nibbles at the crust, rearranges her legs so she's sitting like a person.

"Anh-Nga used blackberry jam," she tells him. "It was very sweet."

Wash chews thoughtfully. "I bet it was," he finally responds.

They eat.


A/N: Title and summary adapted from Craig Raine's A Martian Sends a Postcard Home. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally linked here. Linked on serenitysummer.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2005 05:42 am (UTC)
It's hard to do River right.
But you did.
Just enough crazy, and just enough realism.
Aug. 29th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
Aug. 28th, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
You've captured Wash so well in all of these, and now to see him and river together, it's perfect.

Ahhh, you've made me want the movie now!!!
Aug. 29th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And I'm DYING for the movie. Is it September yet? ::taps foot::
Aug. 29th, 2005 06:00 pm (UTC)
Aug. 28th, 2005 03:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this. Deeply. I'm trying to come up with concrete reasons or specific details, and I have none. It's just overall... yay. The entire piece is perfect.

Aug. 29th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
Yay! I am thrilled you liked it. Thank you!
Aug. 29th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
Love their interaction--you wrote both characters very well.
Aug. 29th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
Aug. 29th, 2005 08:00 am (UTC)
Oh, very very perfect! <3
Aug. 29th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:53 am (UTC)
Excellent. River's perfect. And Wash is sublime.
Sep. 8th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Oct. 28th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC)
I'm working my way through your journal slowly if you couldn't tell. All of these little vignettes are very satisfying.
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
*g* Thank you!

That icon is beautiful.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 19th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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