DISCLAIMER: If I owned these characters, Firefly would have turned out WHACK. Rest assured, not mine, not ever.
CHALLENGE: Written for the Dead of Winter ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
All That I Have Met
I am a part of all that I have met. ~Alfred Lord Tennyson
People are nothing new to me. I'm a Companion, so I've seen my fair share of people. The kind of people who mask the fact that they have nothing of true value with fine silk and expensive gold, hoping for the world that no-one will see the hollowness under the rich exterior. I've met those who literally had nothing but the clothes on their back, and are grateful that they, at least, have those. Men who believe that the universe is owed to them simply because they are men. Men who believe that money can buy anything they want, even if it is not for sale. Men who believe that they can buy little pieces of me, as if their money somehow stakes a claim on my face, my eyes, my breasts, my stomach.
But I have never met anyone else, anywhere, who is like River Tam. Someone who feels in order to know, who can see right through you with a simple smile and the tilt of her head. She understands how things are, how they relate. How they can be.
I've met all kinds of men. And yes, I am a part of them. As long as I am what I am, I will always be a part of the men that I have seen, that I despise. But under the same rule, I am a part of River, a part of everyone and everything I have met. And River is a part of me.
She knows what I am, what I do, how I feel about it all. Some days I hate being a Companion. I know that it seems glamorous and for the most part it is. But like all other girls, I long to have days where I can stay in bed and simply exist with no demands, no expectations.
When River climbs into my bed late at night, when her brother and Mal are sleeping, and kisses her way down my jaw completely in and of the moment there are no expectations. I don't have to look a certain way, act a certain way. I can be. I can feel. I can react and move and make sudden choices and not have to worry about tarnishing images in the process. Part of me is that person all the time.
As she touches me with her slight hands, so soft I doubt it would leave a fingerprint, and looks at me with those eyes that are so simultaneously child-like and wise, I am a part of her, of her space, her world. And if I take what I have known for so long and touch her the way that I can, she becomes part of me.
We do have a fair amount in common. Both of us are bound to this ship by something that we can't quite nail down. River seems to be an extension of the ship. I used to think it was Mal making me want to stay here, but it wasn't. I knew that I had to be a part of this ship, this crew, these lives, all of it, until there is no more of it to be had. We both have deep bonds with men who mean well, but worry needlessly.
I am a part of all that I have met, whether I like it or not. When River pushes my hair back with one single finger, I can't help but wonder how large a part of me she is.
If you take away the part of me that is her, will there be anything left?
Maybe I have invested myself too deeply in the idea of River, the feeling of freedom that I associate with her, the way that we don't need to talk, but if we want to, we do, the fact that I can have a more deep and insightful conversation with this girl than anyone I ever met while I was working. It's the way River doesn't pretend, doesn't care how anyone looks at her. The way she is a child and is much more than that at the same time. The way she makes me feel less jaded about what I could become.
It's possible that I've let River become too large a part of me. Some days I fear that she is so big, in a way that I can't explain, that she could swallow me whole. As she kisses me with a slight hesitancy at first, the way she always does, I remember that she is still young, still a little unsure of exactly what kind of relationship this is that we're having. I don't even know myself.
I know that when I am with her, I don't need to be anything else than what I am in a bare and pure sense. I know that I love her, probably, but I don't want to say it out loud because of all the things that come associated with love. I'm pretty sure that she loves me back, from the way that her kisses grow more intense and soon she is consumed with knowing me. I know that sometimes I'd rather stay locked in my shuttle with River than be a Companion, because I am sick of becoming a part of men that I despise.
I feel that River is a part of me, and I a part of her.
Every time I kiss her back and every time she moans softly when I touch her right there, I wonder if we could ever be a part of anyone else like this again. Because I am a part of all that I have met, I know I will be a part of others, but not like this. I could never be for another person what I am for her, what she is for me. And as the two of us become a single writhing entity, feeling and knowing all the ways it could be, it surges into my head that I don't want to be a part of anyone else like this.
I only want to be. Hers.
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