jayne, firefly
I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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For buffyverse1000: River/Spike

Buffyverse/Firefly; rated G
Joss made them, I just stare nervously at them and don't dare ask them to have sex.

In the Same Boat

Simon keeps wanting to touch him with (a scalpel) calm, curious hands (No, the knife was Jayne, brightflash blade and drip drip red like a snail down the white arm, so slow that River on the countertop watching, watching, could count each drop as it slid, and give it a name. One. Two. Three. She'd said the names out loud in the hated infirmary, three times over, a charm to drown the sound of Jayne's wrist cracking in the withered hand, knife clattering to the floor.) reaching to see if Spike's really real, walking and talking when his heart doesn't beat.

(Of course he isn't real.) Jayne had said, "That thing ain't right," as he cradled his hand and didn't howl the dog-howl in his head. River'd stuck her tongue out at him, because he never had learned a new trick, long as she'd known him. You don't bite what's not right, stupid dog. "Mal should'a left it where he found it, never touched that gorram box. There's a reason it was marked up like that. I told him."

Marked up with crosses (They burned into his skin, the ones inside the box, the ones on the lid, on the sides. Burned his face, his arms, his shoulders, dark red scars on whitepink flesh. Fading over days, as he drinks away their medstocks, grows from skeleton to man, but too slow, too slow because he stares at the marks when no one's watching him but her, like they should be gone by now.) everywhere, even scratched into the lock. A lock half the size of the box itself; Mal couldn't pry it off, couldn't kick it off, didn't really want to shoot it off in a pressurized hold. Almost left it in the corner where they found it - ship too old and empty to loot after all, except for one stupid, stubborn (coffin) box.

"How many came before us?" she asks Spike one day as he does chin-ups in Serenity's cargo bay. Jayne's bars, Jayne's weights and bench, but funny how Jayne never comes down here to growl at him when he uses them.

"How many--" Scarred arms flex, tuft of hair like sun on snow (Inara's hands on his head, soft, clipping, snipping, inches of matted mud-blond curls, and are you sure you want it bleached *that* much? It could burn... His cracked, dry voice: had worse. And of course he has; it's written on his skin.) above the bar, then down, hands resting on it high above his head. "--came where before who, love?"

He's patient as Simon (Kaylee) can be with her, but something's missing in his voice, something that doesn't suck at her with (want) love, asking her (get better, get better, be what you were, be what you could be, remember, for me? For him? For me?) for things she doesn't own to give. It makes her easy with him as she stands beneath the bar and looks up, not answering.

"Little high for you, isn't it?"

"I could jump."

He grins. (He sure smiles pretty, Kaylee said quiet as a mouse, slapjack in the galley with River and losing badly because she kept staring out the door at Spike leaning armcrossed on a bulkhead. Sure, Wash said, louder in Chinese because he said he doesn't speak it, but River's caught him laughing in the right places when Jayne cusses out the Captain behind his back. Sure, if by pretty you mean hungry, and by smiles you mean does that thing with his mouth where he pretends not to be thinking about which of us looks most like a nice roast duck with all the trimmings.) "Could do. Could give you a lift if you like, though."

He drops hands from the bar and reaches for her waist, and River doesn't look like a duck, so she steps forward into his hands and he raises her up. And up, and she's got fingers on the bar (Metal, cold, lashed to it, can't let go, sharp lance of fire in her head but she doesn't kick him away, because she's better now, she can see what's then and what's now and what's not. Mostly.) that's slick, just a little, with the sweat from his palms. She holds on tight to it, and he steps away, arms slipping from her body. Not sure she doesn't wish he hadn't done that - his hands there and she'd almost felt solid for a second, like she had weight and wouldn't blow away if he breathed on her. Not that he breathes.

She hangs there, and because he smiles, she smiles back at him. Not because he needs it (He does, she knows he does, needs smiles that he won't ask for and hands to take him gentle out of the box and smooth away what was, the touch of people on his skin that pressed crosses against it and burned (his head) his body and shut him away in the dark, but it doesn't have to be her, doesn't need River to smile at him to show she's all ok now, and so it's ok that it's her) or demands it or because he'll back away and find something else to do, quick-like, if she doesn't play like a good little human girl to make him easy. Just because she wants to.

"People before us. How many people came to that ship before us, and left you there?" She pulls, now, not just hanging, but reaching for the bar with her (brain) chin, knowing sooner or later they'll connect. Just. Not. And her arms burn. Sooner, she guesses. Closes her eyes and takes a deep breath and pulls again.

"Don't know, do I?" And his hands are on her waist again. He's close, and heavy (Skin and bones. Wo de ma, it's a corp--- moving, really fast, corpse with sharp teeth and funny eyes that's by the way got me by the throat so Mal, you could shoot this thing anytime now.... No life signs, there were no life signs... Simon pulled Wash free, not Mal. Tranq gun, with another on the counter, because River asked them to bring it aboard, to open it here in the light. Because she could feel the weight of Spike there in that box, skin and bones but heavy) against her, as she swings towards him, and he lifts her up again. Higher. "Couldn't see, after all. Anyway, I was mostly asleep."

(Liar) She doesn't call him (liar) on it, as he doesn't call her on the things that he sees when she stares too long at him, like how many years they've both been (trapped in a box) missing a smile they didn't have to return. He lifts her up until her lips brush the cold of the bar, and it slides smooth past her chin, and she looks down at him. And smiles. "You're not real."

He waits, and she drops back down to his arms. When she doesn't (Why? Why not? It's a place to be, like any other, leaning on soft cotton, damp with sweat.) pull away, he lets her rest there. Brushes her hair back from her (someone else's, someone gone, just as gone as the River she used to be, but he's looking in the now too and he sees her) face. "Suppose not," he agrees. "Don't feel very real, most of the time."

"It's ok. Neither am I. I just fake it better than you." She'll teach him, though.

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2004-08-04 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Lovely. Just lovely. The similarities between Dru and River, and the way Spike's interaction with River is reminiscent of his interaction with Dru really make this work. And the language is gorgeous, of course.


2004-08-05 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

auroramama mentioned further down the page that it reminded her more of Spike with just-resurrected Buffy, and while I didn't have those scenes consciously in mind, I have to admit that I was thinking not just of Dru, but of Spike post-Dru (or post-soul) as well, the way he might have intereacted with a less-sane Fred or might have treated Dana if he'd seen her after they fixed his hands. He's really had a lot of people come through his life that were fragile and yet not - definitely a Joss thing, and a Spike thing.


2004-08-04 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Great story and love the flow of words from River and how she knew he was in the box.


2004-08-05 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I was in no way cheating on how she knew he was in the box by drawing on her as yet undefined mental powers and the neat way you can not say exactly how someone did something when the narrator is a not-quite-linear-thinker...


2004-08-04 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Everyone's already said how good River is, so I'll just mention that soft-as-ashes Spike voice, the one that says he's spent a long time in nowhere and he isn't even halfway back yet. To me it sounded less like his S2 voice for Dru than his voice for Buffy in early S6. Somewhere between "Move most gently, if move you must, in this lonely place" and "After great pain, a formal feeling comes." Perfect for River; and how fine to see her, here, reaching out a little because he isn't reaching for her. Not the usual role for either of them.


2004-08-05 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you -- I was really concerned that Spike not come off as a prop here, given how much in River's head I was and how little dialogue he got.

I don't think I was specifically thinking of resurrected-Buffy when I was writing Spike's interaction with River, but I was definitely thinking of the way he's behaved in general with certain women, not just Dru. Fred and Dawn were in my head, and Dana from Damage, even though he only got to be gentle regarding her after she was safely carted away and he could relax in his hospital bed...


2004-08-04 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

So very amazing... all I want now is more... *g*


2004-08-05 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

*hides* I'm not sure if there is more or not. I'm letting the setting percolate in my brain, though.

(Deleted comment)


2004-08-05 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! I'm really happy that the non-POV Firefly characters sounded right, as I've never written any of them before. (Must pause to admit that my starting point for Wash was "Xander with a better vocabulary and more self-confidence" which is not and observation I cam up with on my own but is one that I find hard to disagree with.)

(no subject) - mpoetess, 2004-08-05 04:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)


2004-08-04 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh *purr*. Your River voice is perfect, and I love how you have her interacting with Firefly!Spike. This is a very, very nice fic.

And you did good on the no sex demand. *nods firmly*


2004-08-05 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Hee. There wasn't a demand, per se -- just me going "I think... I have no idea how to make these two have sex. Ok, good to know."

(Deleted comment)


2004-08-05 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

And oh, what a great simile. Pretty! (Course now my brain says "Yes! Steal it for the sex scene in story 4!" And I say "This is not a series, fuck off, brain!")


2004-08-04 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

That was really .... wow. I love how you write River. I don't even know how to express it - but it's *her*. But now I want to know more about this! How did Spike get there? What will happen? ::looks at you pleadingly::

BTW - just came back from WriterCon and there were several people there who cited you and "Chocolatey Goodness" as one of the first slash fics they read - one of the reasons they read fanfic now. You were spoken of with high regard and I thought you should know.

You should probably also know that I named my journal "Chaotic Goodness" because I am chaotic and as an homage to your story. It was also one of my first fanfics and one of the first I printed out. You and TBQ are the reason I'm in this crazy world.

Thank you.


2004-08-05 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Awwwwww. And now I am verklemmt. Especially as this story sort of splatted out of one of my periodic "Can't write won't write suck am fraud will hide under bed now" whines, and then you say this and make me so very happy and I am a big happy dork. *squish*


2004-08-05 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)

That was perfect.


2004-08-05 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you so much!


2004-08-05 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)

what she said ::points up at paratti

Seriously, that was just...gah! Every time I think I'm getting jaded by fanfic something like this comes along and I'm hopelessly hooked again.

I love the plausibility of the setup, how you've included the whole cast in the background with just a few well-placed images. I love the voices, the flow of thoughts, the setting and just..oh..everything.

Thank you :)


2004-08-05 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! This is the first time I've written anything Firefly at all, so to me it feels like sheer luck that the character voices have worked for people. Not that I'm not very grateful that they did!

(Deleted comment)


2004-08-06 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

It's scary when you can say "There's not enough ____" about two characters who've never met, don't exist in the same piece of fiction, and live at least hundreds of years apart, and yet I know what you mean.

And thank you!


2004-08-07 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

I've read a xover of these two once or twice but they were...uninteresting.
This is sad and good, and i like it.


2004-08-09 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I haven't come across one myself, which is a shame, because I'd be quite interested in reading, I think.

(no subject) - tabaqui, 2004-08-09 02:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)


2004-08-10 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, this is a fantastic piece. Your River voice works really well, and the way she looks at the crew and at Spike...oh, it's just all really good.


2004-08-11 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you so much!


2004-08-13 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

This is really, really neat. You made a totally unexpected (to me, at least) crossover work very well.

I was also wondering if it might be okay with you if I archive this at AllAboutSpike.com? Please let me know...

Thanks. :)


2004-08-16 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

And absolutely - glad you enjoyed it enough to want it!


(no subject) - rusty_halo, 2004-08-17 08:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mpoetess, 2004-08-17 10:25 am (UTC) (Expand)


2004-09-28 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Found this on AAS and had to drop you a note to say how much I LOVE this -- and I find I can't say that about too many things I read. The voices are dead-on, the inner dialogue fits wonderfully, I can actually see them all on the damn ship. Really brilliant and now one of my favorite stories.

Any chance that you'll be writing more of this? Please?


2004-09-30 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks so much! It was (probably obviously) really experimental for me, and also the first Firefly-anything I've written.

I'm not sure if I'll write something else in the same setting -- I've thought of something about Spike and Book, because it seems like they'd have a lot to not-talk about. :)

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