Categories > TV > Firefly

Tension Is a Passing Note

by mjules 0 reviews

Prompt: Passing

Category: Firefly - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Mal, River - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2006-09-29 - Updated: 2006-09-30 - 753 words - Complete

Author's Notes: Molly is writing what promises to be my favorite Mal/River AU ever, and so to bribe her, I wrote this for her. It was supposed to be River talking dirty (because we figured that would be something to hear) but I'm not sure it turned out that way. If you don't think it follows the prompt, either, well... okay, it kind of doesn't. But maybe, if you play free association with it, it kind of makes sense. G Mid-Serenity, so spoilers ahoy!

This is set immediately after Mal gets the shit beat out of him by the Operative, and he's recovering a little in the infirmary. River is standing guard at his bedside.

"I'll take him home," came a voice from somewhere in the darkness, speaking low and determined, a ferocious whisper. "So beautiful he'd make you kill. Blood, blood for just a taste of him... copper pennies in your mouth but sweet, sweet sickness in your throat. Hands... everywhere..."

There was a harsh hitch of breath and Mal started waking up a little more, blinking against the pain in his head. A shard of light shattered into his retinas and he closed his eyes tight again. The voice kept speaking.

"Rough hands, gun hands... bang, squish. Can't think when he's touching like that, can't talk past the taste of him. Bitter herbs for cleansing. Unleavened bread, tender lamb for feasting. Blood on the doorpost, death passes over him, leaves him behind for me. Again and again. Mine."

He would know that voice anywhere, even distorted as it was by some emotion he couldn't quite identify; and even if he didn't, he'd know the speech pattern. Only one person in the 'verse talked that crazy, and she'd been on his ship for eight months. But just what she was talking about escaped him, even more than usual.

"Killed for him. Would kill again. Keep killing, unrepentant. Kill the last parts of yesterday. Move on. Tangled up, untangle, twisted together like bones and marrow. Take him home. Keep him safe. Wake up."

"M'wake," Mal managed to murmur, though for a moment he couldn't figure out why the words barely made it out of his mouth.

"No," she said immediately. "Sleep again. Still bruised. Still healing. Bruised reed broken, must mend."

"Don' wanna," he protested, trying to push himself into a sitting position. Every muscle in his body screamed in pain and he collapsed with a grunt and a whimper.

"Hurt," she sighed, cupping her hand lightly over his eyes. Even though they were closed, he felt the darker shade as her flesh shielded him from the light. "Fight isn't over, but safe for now. Blood on the lintel."

She moved her hand lower, to his bruised sternum, and on down to his stomach. He caught her wrist before she had a chance to go any further, whether she intended to or not. He couldn't deny that he'd had the thought that her body would fit well under his, especially in the last couple of days, but... "Now's not a good time, darlin'," he pointed out hoarsely. "Maybe later."

"Maybe now," she disagreed, but she didn't try to move her hand out of his grasp. "Skin needs healing. Laying on of hands."

He choked, sputtering, but she didn't giggle like he'd expected. He opened his eyes to look at her, took in the grave expression on her face, and frowned. "You're really serious aren't you, little one?" he whispered.

"Determined," she confirmed, returning his gaze without blinking.

Despite the clear thought that he was about to /bào xin jiù huo/, he tugged on her hand and murmured, "C'mere."

She leaned down obediently and he leaned up, pressing bruised, split lips to her soft mouth. She closed her eyes and sighed, a puff of air against his face, and he fell back onto the infirmary bed, exhausted by that little exertion.

"Think you might take that as shì yán, darlin'?" he rasped, and she smiled.

"Don't think I have much of a choice," she responded.

"No, I guess you don't," Mal acknowledged, unable to keep his eyes open any longer.

As he drifted back into unconsciousness, he felt River's hand on his own and heard her whisper, "Chou, zhàn shì. Sleep."

Chinese translations:
bào xin jiù huo - to bring wood to put out a fire, ie, to choose the wrong method to handle a situation.
shì yán, - pledge, promise, down-payment.
Chou - Heal
zhàn shì. - soldier, fighter, warrior
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