Disclaimer: Joss owns Firefly. I own Homer the Odyssey.
Series: Firefly, spoilers for Serenity. In fact, if you haven't seen Serenity you're going to be very, very confused.
Characters: Mal and River
Summary: Mal muses on River
Pairings: None, future Mal/River
Word count: 338
Notes: For Sonya, who asked for Mal/River future fic. I didn't manage the future part, but hopefully I set up how you could get there.
Looking back on it, he knew exactly the moment he was hers body, heart and soul. Fitting it would be when he was peering down the barrel of a gun, her at the other end pointing one right back. She stood there in the twin’s dim-lit bar like a Valkyrie surrounded by the fallen and vanquished, trembling with manic strength and fear. A bird trapped in a glass cage, blind but for escape. She turned those drowning eyes on him and he knew she’d kill him in a second. He also knew he was a goner.
River Tam became not a problem, the problem, one problem, but his
Her brother put her to sleep but he reached her side first. Looking down at the reason his life had gone to hell recently, he felt his heart twist. He swung her body into his arms; River was so light, a dream of a girl instead of the real thing. He should have let Simon carry her. He should have left her there. He should have never gotten involved. He had no interest in the Special Hell carved out for criminal Captains who fell for damaged, if deadly, lost little girls.
But since when had any plan of his gone anything other than pear-shaped?
When the Miranda business was finished and they took to the sky once more, he wondered if she could hear what he was really saying when he talked about flying. That love wasn’t just for metal things, hard and shiny in the blackness of space. There was room in his heart for living things again, a space that was gone since Serenity Valley had walled it up with the shadow-corpses of dead friends.
It wasn’t anything he felt like filling her in on right then, and River knew it, all full of soft smiles and kindness he did not deserve. But Mal was learning to love again, and one day River would tell him what he was thinking.
Maybe she’d be thinking it too.