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Big Talks, Small Spaces

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Lost in Serenity". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: While the crew pulls a job in Canton a recovering Xander is forced to confront his growing feelings for River. Lost in Serenity Episode 3.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Firefly > Xander-Centered > Pairing: RiverMidknightJFR15514,92343519,1527 Jan 0915 Oct 09Yes

Too Much Hair

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Disclaimer: I'm poor. I own nothing





Notes: A little later then planned but here is the next story in the Lost in Serenity Series. There won't be a lot of action in this one, no more than in the Firefly episode itself. It's mainly to develop the relationship between Xander and River, as well as Xander and the rest of the crew to a lesser extent.

The original episode itself has been largely left the same, a necessity for what I have planned for future episodes in the series. I did, however, make a point not to watch the episode so the actions and mannerisms were more my own. Also, aside from the intro and ending chapters, I tried a format of doing a flashback, then Jaynestown content, then a Xander/River scene for each chapter.

Notes 2: Takes place during the episode Jaynestown.





River walked gracefully through the halls of Serenity. Well, it was more liked danced gracefully, but it was graceful nonetheless. Clutched in her hands was a handful of papers. In places the printed words on the pages were crossed out and elegant, handwritten script was in the margins in red ink.

She really didn’t understand why Book had gotten so upset when she had borrowed his Bible. River had simply been curious. She would have thought that Book, as a holy man, would encourage any interest she may have in religion and God.

It was not her fault the Bible was wrong.

The book had been filled with inconsistencies and logical fallacies that her brilliant, yet fractured, mind just could not ignore. The story of Noah’s Arc had been an especially glaring example to her. There was simply no way for so many animals to fit aboard a vessel so small.

She had tried to explain that to Shepherd Book, but he hadn’t understood. Nobody really did when she spoke. Well, her brother did sometimes, but he could get so caught up trying to fix her that sometimes he forgot to listen. Xander always listened.

The limited mobility his gunshot wound left him with probably helped. It meant he couldn’t run away anymore, even if the pain medicine Simon gave Xander left him groggy or asleep.

It hadn’t exactly made for titillating conversation since he came back aboard. Still, River was just glad he was here.

Her thoughts turned back to the papers in her hands as she neared Shepherd Book’s room. She stopped outside and called in. “Hello?”

“In here River,” Book called from inside.

River stepped into the doorway, her head down as she concentrated on the words for an apology. She may not understand why he had gotten upset, but she still knew he was and River didn’t want to upset anyone. “I'm... I tore these out of your symbol and they turned into paper. But I want to put them back, so-”

Book stood from the fold out sink he had been washing his face in at the same moment River looked up. She froze at the sight before her. Shepherd Book stood tall; his hair was out of its neat rows, sticking out all over the place like he just got an electric shock.

“I’m sorry, what’s that?” Book asked.

River screamed, turned, and ran.





Xander groaned through clenched teeth as he struggled into the one Hawaiian shirt he had left; the one he had been wearing when he made his little jaunt through time. It was also button up and loose, a plus when you are recovering from a gunshot wound to the back.

Of course, Xander knew that he should still be in bed. He was not close to being fully recovered from his disagreement with The Pride yet. Call him crazy, but Xander tended to get disagreeable when someone wanted to sacrifice him to a death god. He was silly like that.

If Simon were still aboard he would be having a fit seeing Xander out of bed and getting ready for the day. Fortunately for Xander, the Doctor was dirt-side with most of the others so he had a little freedom. He would just have to be careful to avoid his self appointed nurse.

Xander paused at his shirt’s last button as his thoughts came around to River. He still didn’t know what to feel there. There was an attraction, he wouldn’t deny that anymore, but was there more to it? Something deeper, more genuine, then simple physical attraction?

It was possible.

He certainly enjoyed the conversations they had while he recovered. Xander found it easy enough to follow the broken tracks of her mind, and he had to admit he liked what he found underneath; a beautiful, intelligent, funny, witty young woman.

If they had met back during high school he… well, he probably would have been too intimidated to ask her out, but he would have thought about it!

True their talks were often short, he would conk out quickly from the meds or his latest escape attempt, but he found himself enjoying them all the same. It was River who did most of the talking in their brief conversations, on a wide range of topics from quantum physics that he didn’t understand to that day’s lunch he really didn’t want to eat. She never stayed on one subject long; her addled mind not being able to focus on one long enough for an in-depth discussion. Though Xander’s own, debatably, healthy mind tended to jump track a fair bit itself so he kept up well enough.

Xander particularly liked it when she randomly shared stories of her childhood and the pranks she pulled on Simon. That could usually get him to share a funny, albeit edited, story of Willow, Jesse, and him growing up.

A scream brought Xander out of his thoughts and he was moving before he consciously realized it. The pain was distant in his mind, ignored as fear griped him. That was River’s voice.

As Xander made it to the hall he saw River running towards him on silent bare feet. She didn’t slow as she approached him, not even as she brushed past him in the narrow hall of the passenger dorms. River just latched onto one of his hands and tugged him along with her.

As they past a confused Zoe, Xander looked back and it became clear what had frightened River; he wasn’t immune himself. Book poked his head out of his room, his hair looking like Albert Einstein after he got struck by lightning.

With the danger apparently nonexistent the adrenaline started to wear off. Even with the adrenaline Xander had been limping. By the time they reached the other end of the cargo bay River was practically dragging him.

When she let go of his hand to pry off a panel Xander had to brace himself against the wall. He was breathing hard as River started pushing him into the small crawlspace she had uncovered.

As he allowed himself to be manhandled into one of the ship’s little nooks Xander’s thoughts turned to the rest of crew. I wonder if Mal and the others are having a better day than mine’s turning out to be.





“Jayne?” Mal asked the large man next to him trying his best to keep his face hidden.

“Yeah?”

“You want to tell me how come there’s a statue of you here looking at me like I owe him something?”
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