Categories > TV > Firefly0 Reviews
River explores Serenity. Among other things. Extremely mild River/Inara femslash. Written for the 2010 RemixDuello challenge, based on Jain's The Taste of Flowers.
A big thank you to "Moonbeam's Predilections":moonbeamsfanfic.livejournal.com for the very quick beta.
The quarters on Serenity that River shares with Simon are neat and clean, and although they are not very large, their sparseness gives an impression of spaciousness. On good days, when Simon is sitting next to her, reading, it feels like home.
On bad days, the cream walls pale into pure white, and River feels she's in a cell back on Ariel. Just beyond the door, people are just waiting to poke needles in her and do all manner of other things she doesn't even want to pay mind to.
Just to reinforce that she isn't in a cell, River walks out the door (no people there) and starts exploring again.
The Shepherd's room is nicely decorated, but it seems even emptier than their own quarters, with only a faint scent of paper from the books stacked in one corner. There is barely any sense of living here. It scares her a little, and she leaves the room quickly.
She finds the Shepherd himself in the kitchen, looking far more at home there than she'd think purely going by his room. He's reading one of his books (at the rate he's reading, he will finish this one in three hours and ten minutes), and doesn't look up as River sneaks past.
The door to the cockpit is closed, but River hears the Cap'n and Zoe arguing. Wash is in there too, she hears after he interjects something. She doesn't want to go in there now. Too many people shouting in too small a space. So she soft-foots it back through the kitchen, into the crew quarters.
The captain's bunk is sparse too, but it's the sparseness of a soldier who don't got much but is making everything he does have stand for something. It smells a little like sweat and a lot like engine oil and gunpowder. River feels the freedom he dreams of every night. There's also a feeling like lying on coarse sand, with tiny grains getting places they shouldn't and itching. River flees, scratching herself.
She likes Wash and Zoe's room better. There's the sweat, and the gunpowder, and even a little of the gritty sand, but here, it's overlaid with joy. When she picks up one of the toy dinosaurs, she feels the smiles. Sitting on the bed (the sheets need changing) the feeling becomes a whole different way of laughter. River draws up her knees to bask in it for a few seconds, but then leaves again. This is home to two people, but not to her.
Jayne's room mostly smells like he's been masturbating in it. The few pictures on the walls are of women with improbable anatomies. Still, there's a sense of security coming from behind the blanket covering the back of his bunk. Not that she needs the girls hidden there. They're mostly effective because they look intimidating, but there are better, less noisy and visible ways of killing people, if killing is what they need. There are some interesting knives here, too, though. The guns only shoot in a straight line, but this knife has an imbalance so it can fly around a corner if thrown just right. She'll have to think about coming back here if she ever does need a weapon.
River catches up with her own thoughts and runs from the room. She doesn't want to think like that.
Kaylee's cabin is lighter and more cheerful, two colorful dresses hanging against the wall instead of calligraphy or pictures. There are three apples slowly drying out in a basket on her desk. River grabs one and bites into it. There's still juice, deep inside. The room smells of soap and engine grease, but the feeling it gives off is mostly contentment. Well, and maybe a little worry, here in this spot where you can feel Serenity's engine vibrations if you put your hand on the wall.
There's a clank from the other side of the wall, and the engine vibrations change their resonance. River leaves Kaylee's room and heads for the engine room.
She has to sneak past sick bay for two reasons. For one, it's another place where people can stick needles in her. Also, Simon's in there, and if he sees her now, he's sure to come out and try to do something to calm her down. She is calm. She wants to explore now.
"Oh, hey, River," Kaylee greets her, slightly absentmindedly. "Exploring again?" She's up to her elbows in the engine. The feeling here isn't much different from Kaylee's room.
"I took your apple," River says, gauging Kaylee's reaction.
"What?" Kaylee comes up from her work, frowning in confusion. She takes in the apple in River's hand. "Is that one of my apples?" At River's nod, her expression becomes one of disappointment. "I was saving tha…" Something clanks again in Serenity's engine and Kaylee dives back in, instantly too busy to be disappointed any longer. "Next time just ask, okay?" River hears, muffled through the engine works.
River moves on, climbing up into the rafters of the cargo hold. It's nice to have some space beneath her (though relative to the nearest major gravity well, Serenity is actually upside down). Jayne is down there, she can hear him. Stowing away what little cargo they picked up on Kerry, all of it in the hidden smuggler's hold (it's a good place to hide, but too much like a cell to be really comfortable).
Kerry had been nice. They hadn't landed there for long, but they'd landed in a temperate zone right in the middle of a summer squall. There was still a little bit of the smell of rain freshly fallen on dry grass lingering in the cargo bay. Also the smell of… lavender? There hadn't been any lavender near where Serenity had landed.
She drops the apple core and follows her nose. Somewhere down below, Jayne's cursing as the apple core hits his head, but River isn't really listening to that. She's climbing down to the entrance of one of the shuttles. Inara's shuttle. Not too long ago, this bay was empty, but now the shuttle is back, and there's a scent of lavender coming from within.
River hasn't explored much here before. She's crossed the borders of the others' quarters often enough, but the shuttlecraft is a new frontier.
There is a curtain just inside the doorway, half open. As River brushes past it, it clings a little and follows her. Behind this curtain there is another, and another, just layers carefully tied back and hidden. From the disturbed curtain another scent comes, too, briefly overshadowing the lavender. It's a heavier scent, woody, husky.
This other scent had already dissipated when River enters the cabin proper. Inara is there, kneeling on a cushion, a long robe draped around her. She glances up sharply, her face a mask of scorn for the intruder. But as soon as she sees River the mask drops, becomes a smile.
"River. I thought you were someone else." Inara gets up. She leaves the robe on the floor. Underneath it, she's wearing a layered dress, all different colors peeking out from beneath each other as she moves. "Come in."
"I smelled flowers, " River explains herself. Inara's hand is subtly indicating the cushions on the floor. River takes the one nearest the large bouquet of lavender and roses. She pulls out one of the roses. River teases apart the petals until she can stick her nose into the center of the rose. It's not strongly scented, not strong enough to get past the lavender, but here, at the absolute center, she can smell it. The rose is not the thornless kind, and she pricks her finger when she pulls back.
"Fresh flowers are such a rarity in space," Inara says as River sucks her finger. "I was lucky to get these on Kerry."
"They're pretty, but they hurt." River says. "It's a bit like space, if you go out without a suit."
Inara cracks a smile. "That would hurt, yes." She seats herself on one of the other cushions, not a layer of her dress out of place.
"But then they're not like space at all, because space is big and open, and these are all closed up." River starts peeling the petals off the rose, one bloodstained circle after another. "But when you open it up, it's not a flower anymore."
Inara moves so she is kneeling near River, and closes her own hands over the rose. "Then maybe you shouldn't open it up?"
"But then I can't get at the scent…"
Inara gently takes the rose from River's hands now, and helps her up. She picks up the robe off the floor. "Some things should remain a mystery, River." Now she drapes the robe across River's shoulders. "There are plenty of other things to explore."
River reaches out to touch the fabric of Inara's dress. The fabric shifts a little, revealing a lemon yellow under the lime green. As she moves her hand further along the dress, the lemon shifts aside to show a very light rose. She smiles. "So there are."