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Written for shellies's Two Lines Challenge. I was given the following lyrics assignment:

so sing all your questions to sleep
the answers are out there in the drowning deep

- vienna teng, harbor


Title: Take The Sky
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Firefly
Pairing: Mal & River
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Tell them I ain't comin' back.
Notes: Spoilers for Serenity



River is always there when Mal turns the corner. Staring up, staring out. Even when there's no glass to see through.

When she tilts her head to look at him, her eyes are bright and eerie, and her smile is everything else.

"I can feel the stars," she tells him. "Like pinpricks. Like kisses."

"Are they now?" he replies. He looks, and sees metal. "I don't--"

"Try again," she says.

He does, on a lark, and for a second, he sees beyond the walls.

He blinks.

*


Disconcerting dialogue aside, though, Mal finds he prefers to find River around the corner than any other.

Running into Inara just provokes awkward conversation, and talk with Zoe is awkward of a different sort. (They're starting to see each other's ghosts, now.) Jayne, more often than not, is off polishing his weapons or counting his coin.

He doesn't even want to think about the last time he turned a corner and found Simon and Kaylee.

Mal shakes his head briskly, because he could have gone without seeing that, ever, and died a happy man.

Suffice to say, he had stern words with the good doctor later. Thereafter, Kaylee and Simon confined their antics to each other's bunks, and the engine room.

So Mal walks the ship's corridors, hangar bay to helm, up and around and under again.

And when he runs into River, more often than not, he's surprised to find himself glad of the company.

*


He picks up another wave of news off the cortex, and it turns his mood brittle through the day.

He growls his way through supper and leaves the table early, ignores the others' curious looks.

River's at the helm when he stomps onto the bridge. She spins in her seat, twice, thrice again.

He watches her and tries to think of an appropriate curse.

She stops, toes pointing to the floor, knees folded and hands peaked together.

"All we did was give them pause. Seven heads grow in the place of one."

"Poetic." Mal smiles, a tight flex of his lips. "You'd think the bounty would at least double, then."

She shrugs, spins back to face the glass.

"It's not you they want anymore."

*


They land on Persephone to resupply, and for once Mal's happy to see Badger's surly mug.

Doesn't stop him from punching a few people in the face, however, when one of Badger's guards puts an impertinent question to Zoe.

He ends up nursing his bloody knuckles in Serenity's sickbay, muttering obscenities at his suddenly clumsy hands.

Out of nowhere, quick fingers brush against his arms, and he startles at River's laugh.

"All alike," she says, rolling her eyes like a person might. "Let me."

Mal holds out his hands like an offering, and doesn't smile.

She dabs disinfectant on his small wounds, gazes at him when he hisses at the sting.

When his hands are finally patched up proper, she bends her head and bestows two solemn kisses, one on each palm.

"River," he starts, feeling all joint and nerve.

"They say it helps," she explains. "Empirical observation is a necessary step."

And then she's gone again, between one blink and the next.

*


He can't sleep, so he wanders up and out from his bunk. For a second, he stares up the corridor, wonders if Zoe sleeps anymore. He hasn't asked her.

But it's not time for that, not yet. He scrubs his eyes with the back of his hand, makes his way to the mess.

River is there, of course. He thinks he might have expected her.

Not standing on the table as she is, though, and she curtsies pretty at him and grins.

"Evening, Captain," she almost sings, and hops onto the floor like it's a commonplace event.

Mal slides into a chair, and River does the same.

She eyes him carefully, chafes her palms together.

"You're letting it all get cluttered," she opines. "It's getting in the way."

He turns that over in his mind, and finally asks, "Of what?"

She points, straight up, and he follows her direction.

And above them, the sky glitters dark, and wide, and deep.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted, of course, from the Firefly theme song.

Originally linked here.

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Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
ltlj
Oct. 25th, 2005 01:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was nice. I really like this view of the characters post-movie.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you like it!
falzalot
Oct. 25th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, what a wonderful way to wake up this morning! :->
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
sockkpuppett
Oct. 25th, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC)
That? Was beautiful.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
musesfool
Oct. 25th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, lovely.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
gabby_silang
Oct. 25th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
That. Is. Gorgeous. I can't. I don't know how to tell you how gorgeous that is. Your Firefly fic, your River, always has this mysticality about it, this forever feeling and the knowledge of the empty places between planets where they live, and this is just laced with that, and I love it. And I love her and Mal together, how much sense it makes that they would be like this, after everything.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much!
protoainsley
Oct. 25th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
This is gorgeous, dear.

With all of the beauty, my favorite line is the one that made me laugh: "Mal shakes his head briskly, because he could have gone without seeing that, ever, and died a happy man."
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
mirageofmae
Oct. 25th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)
Ohh, I loved this. Beautiful.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
starfishchick
Oct. 25th, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC)
VERY nice. I really like this. (Zoe! *sobs*)
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
globalfruitbat
Oct. 25th, 2005 10:59 pm (UTC)
This was so evocative. I always enjoy your work and comment not nearly enough -- thank you for the writing!
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
theblackdoll
Oct. 25th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC)
You, my dear, have killed me. So beautiful.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
fourteenlines
Oct. 26th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC)
Oh, now that is nice. I love River-Mal interaction, and I think you did and especially fine job of it.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
(Deleted comment)
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
(no subject) - shoolessdwarf - Aug. 16th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
ahedonia
Oct. 26th, 2005 07:57 am (UTC)
Lovely times ten.

Favorite lines:
"All alike," she says, rolling her eyes like a person might.

"River," he starts, feeling all joint and nerve.

Very nice to find. :)
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
fan_elune
Oct. 26th, 2005 11:41 am (UTC)
Wow, that was good. I'm finding myself more and more intrigued by the idea of Mal/River, and that just felt so right. Thanks for sharing!
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
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( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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