DISCLAIMER: Firefly belongs to the genius that is Joss Whedon and not me. No money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
SEQUEL/SERIES: Companion piece to Like the Sea.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Like the Shore
By Celievamp

"She understands. She does not comprehend."

Increasingly I know exactly what she means by that. Should I be worried? I'm not sure.

Companions are trained to give of themselves, to be a mirror for the desires of another. We reflect, we do not feel. We are the perfection above the chaos and perforce we stand alone. We are of the Floating World, the embodiment of grace, of beauty.

We do not as a rule have friends. We do not concern ourselves in the affairs of others beyond that time which we spend with a client. I have always known who and what I was, where I stood. I have been wanted by many. But I have never been needed. Until now.


A particularly inappropriate name.

Mal Reynolds delights in turning my world upside down. He challenges my thinking, my perceptions. He takes pleasure in disconcerting me in making me lose my composure. Wash has become a little brother, as Simon will in time if he can stop himself blushing whenever I enter a room. Of all those on board Serenity he is the only one probably who had the time and status to afford a Companion. I don't think he acquitted himself very well. Jayne is a pig. But he is also a friend. Shepherd Book is also, surprisingly a friend. I will never forget the kindness and compassion he showed to Nandi's girls. He does not preach to me and I do not flaunt my occupation to him.

I was more wary about the women on board Serenity. I have always been able to get to a man. I spent more than a decade being exhaustively trained in just that task. But women are different. They are either dismissive of me or see me as a threat. Zoe was dismissive of me at first. But she never saw me as any kind of threat. She and Wash are solid. And now we are friends though neither of us could probably explain how that came about. I like Zoe. She is what she is. Kaylee is sweet. She wears her heart on her sleeve and one day it's going to get broken and the way things are going the good doctor will have something to do with that. But she has the wonderful ability to fix things and I am not too worried about her future. To her I am a wonderful exotic, my life is a torrid romance flic. She used to harbour hopes I am sure that Mal Reynolds would sweep me off my feet; that I would cure his melancholy and he would win my heart. What she makes of my current situation, I have no idea. But she still smiles when she sees me.

My current situation is curled into the crook of my arm, her head pillowed on my breast. She has crept into my bed again. River Tam has broken all of my rules. She is not a client. She is a shipmate. She makes me feel so many things, love, pity, wonder, anger at those whoon dahn monsters that hurt her so much, amazement that she could recover from such brutality as well as she has. Yes, she is fey and strange and has knowledge of things that no one should have. And sometimes she is such a little girl and I wonder what the guay I'm doing with her in my bed and then she will smile that feral little smile and make those moves, part dancer, part gymnast and do things that the Companion school would never think to teach in a million years and I would do anything, say anything, give anything for her to do it to me again. I need her. And she needs me.

Sometimes, like tonight, she just comes to me for comfort, her bare feet padding softly through Serenity to my shuttle. I am her haven, her shore. And these times are the best, these are the times I will remember with fondness in my heart. For when I am somewhere else, with someone else with all the trappings of the Companion around me and I am the reflecting glass once more, that sweet perfection that all Companions aspire. I know whoever I am with in my minds eye all I will see is her dark wild hair that tangles around her sweet face and her pale long limbs that wrap around me and those lost ghost- eyes that stare at me until I hold out my arms so that she can find her sanctuary from all that ails her. As if she senses my thoughts she stirs, whispers my name as if she's surprised to find herself here. I soothe her back to sleep, whisper that she is safe, that she is loved, that no one will harm her here.

If this is all that I can do with my life, to be her shore, her comfort, to give her peace, then it is enough.

The End

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