DISCLAIMER: Firefly is not my copyright. This story's classified as not-for-prophet, no money is being made from it and access to it should not be bought or sold.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: (Series:) This is the second in the Opal Shire series, continued from No Power In The 'Verse (Key:) "speaking" ~ [thoughts] ~ accent on the word. Positive reviews and feedback, whether verbose or succinct, help keep a writer motivated. So if you liked this story and want to read another sequel, please consider contributing one to the cause.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

River's Way
By Jessica Knight


It was a day later and Kaylee was glad to note she seemed to be feeling in better sorts. Not a lot better, ribs still bothered, but she was more awake and alert for longer, and the food that'd been made for her seemed to be of a help to her health also.

"What're you doing over there?" Kaylee finally asked of River out of curiosity's sake.

River stopped and looked over at her. "It's all a mess." She said simply. "I have to work the vectors."

Kaylee laughed a little nervously. It seemed like a harmless enough activity. Things had gotten well and truly tossed about in their planet fall after all, and they might be staying on here a while. It would be nice if the place was looking fully right ways up for a change. Make her feel a little more right with the world again, she'd imagine.

"River?" She spoke.

"Hm?" The girl turned from sorting through a box of machine parts that was one of Kaylee's purchases from Opal Shire's market meant for Serenity and looked at her.

"Do you think... Do you think Inara... I mean... There's no way she could'a made it back to Serenity. Not without..." Inara Serra was the Companion to which this shuttle properly belonged you see. She'd been right up in the middle of the capital when the Reavers had come.

"Not even hollow men know to look everywhere." River spoke thoughtfully, getting up and coming over to sit by Kaylee's side. "I knew how to hide from them, and we were crashing at the time." She tried to comfort her friend.

Kaylee regarded River a moment. "You got a way a'... know'n things. You really think she's alive?" She asked hopefully.

"Who can say?" River looked off in the distance somewhere.

"Was afraid you'd say that." Kaylee spoke, rolling the words from her lips in that way that she could.

River looked back at Kaylee and brought a hand to brush through her bangs. "She's tied to the world by strings we've woven. They aren't as easy to break as others." She said.

The look in her eyes Kaylee saw seemed somehow ageless and wise in a way it was hard to define, but somehow Kaylee found herself believing in those eyes again. "You work miracles." Kaylee whispered, in almost reverent fashion.

A bright sort of teasing and playful smile came to River's face at that. "Now, see? You weren't supposed to figure that out yet." River laughed and kissed her on the forehead before getting up to continue her cleaning efforts.

Kaylee just looked after her, not realizing the sigh she'd sighed until she sighed it.

Rest was a good thing, and so she closed her eyes and listened to River hum some song. [Pretty.]

In her mind, she dreamed of falling, of flying, and of her family left behind on Isis Colony. Her sister was telling her something about how to fix a plow, which seemed passing odd to her sense she knew for certain it had gone the other way 'round. She blinked her eyes open though, her mind losing the dream and telling her she was being poked at. "Mm?"

"Stay still." River told her distractedly.

Kaylee looked down her body to see her current 'roommate' checking over her injured ribs with a look of determined concentration on her face. [Cute expression.] Kaylee smiled inwardly. "River?" She asked. "Am I alright, you think?" She asked, laying her head back as straining her neck did not feel like a thing to continue doing right at that moment.

"Checking it." River replied, looking up to meet her eyes. "You have soft skin."

Kaylee laughed, though it caused her ribs to ache a little. "Well, I am a girl after all. We're all supposed to. Probably all the engine grease." She mused.

River smiled. "I made food." She offered. "Are you hungry?"

Kaylee considered this. "Yeah." She agreed.

"Be right back." River got to her feet and moved silently to the other side of the shuttle.

Kaylee watched her as she fussed over her cookings. Sun was shining in through the windows and it made Inara's shuttle look like a magical place, laced with gold. River looked like a character out of a novel like she was, the light making her glow in a way that was nice to look at. Why did she feel kind of hazy about things though? And shouldn't it be hurting more? [Pain killers.] She reasoned. [Must be.]

River was soon back at her side, offering her a plate of meat flavored tofu from a can, biscuits, a packet of orange juice, and what looked like fresh berries. "Here." River set the plate down and made to help her sit up at an angle a little (the better to eat from of course).

"You gave me a shot of somethin', didn't you?" Kaylee questioned.

"For the pain." River said absently. "Made you sleepy." She further explained.

"You could have told me, you know?" Kaylee was slightly put out by this. When had she done it anyway? She tried to remember but couldn't catch a memory of it.

"Why?" River asked, silent for a moment. "...What you don't see, can't bother you." Her voice was more softly introspective in saying this.

Kaylee pondered that, then shook her head. "You're right. I should be saying thank yous, I should. You... you're really lookin' after me, aren't you? It means a lot." She took hold of River's hand lightly.

River just smiled and kissed her quickly on her knuckles. She then moved to retrieve the food for her. "Sustenance." Was all she said.

Kaylee just looked at her and then down at her food. "Where'd the berries come from?" She asked, taking a nibble of the bread and deciding it was too dry. She sipped at her orange juice and decided to eat the bread with the much moister tofu meat stuff next time, it had sauce on it.

"I went walking." River replied, she'd sat cross-legged on the floor, leaning against the side of the bed where Kaylee lay and was selecting bites off her own plate in what seemed to be a very systematical way. "The lake spoke to me, said to choose the orange colored ones." River looked back up at her in all seriousness. "The other colors aren't safe here." She informed her.

Kaylee looked assessingly down at the orange colored berries on her plate, then back at River who popped two of the berries from her own plate into her mouth and smiled. Kaylee couldn't help but smiling back, bravely imitating her and eating two of her own berries, pleased to find they were sweet and good. Kind of like a mix between a plum and a strawberry, she mused. "They're good." She informed River.

"The lake doesn't lie." She replied, spearing a small orderly stack of tofu, bread, and one berry with her fork and popping it into her mouth.

Kaylee shook her head in wonder at this latest of River's odd mix of quirks and went back about the task of eating.

The shuttle looked very neat and ordered now, after a fashion; most everything in its place. River had opened the hatch and fresh air was wafting in, warmed by the bright morning sun. River was gone, exploring outside again, Kaylee figured. She soon came back though, looking about the outside a bit then looking over to the shuttle's inside, her eyes finding Kaylee's without having to look for them.

"Hello to you too." Kaylee spoke softly to herself.

Amazingly enough, River broke into a smile at that and seemed to say something back to her, though Kaylee couldn't make it out from that distance away. A confused look came on the other girl's eyes then, like she couldn't figure something out.

"Hmm, you don't suppose she can hear me?" She said to herself, looking back at River. "If you cn'hear me, get over here. I can't hear you back, ya know."

River didn't react, she just started walking in her direction and soon was up close and sitting down cross-legged on the bed right next to her, hardly disturbing the mattress with her motions. "Better?" River asked.

"[Chinese phrase] You could really hear what I was saying all the way out there?" She asked incredulously. [Lip reading, got a'be.] She reassured herself.

River just smiled at her. "I found more berries." She told her with satisfaction, her mood then turning towards serious consideration. "The woods still hold many mysteries though. I think there are shadows falling somewhere in the distance."

"Shadows?" Kaylee asked, not following.

"You can't see past them." River looked wistful, then over to Kaylee's eyes. "It's better here in the light." She explained as if what she said made all the sense in the worlds.

Kaylee opened her mouth, a question forming on her lips only to die away. "I guess it is at that, isn'it?"

"You worry about Serenity." River said in question. "It's your heart's family."

Kaylee looked over at her questioningly. "Of course I worry for'm. You worry'n about your brother?" She turned the question back to it's owner.

"Worry is illogical." She told her. River seemed to contemplate this though. "He's worried about me now." She said. "And you."

"You really think so?" Kaylee questioned, her voice still a little tired sounding.

"He thinks so." River replied. "You don't want to know what I think sometimes." She informed in an off hand sort of way. Very enigmatic like.

Kaylee just looked at her. "You bother me sometimes, know that?" She said with a little of a smile.

"Sometimes on purpose." She told her back with a straight face but eyes that smiled.

"Wha-" Kaylee ended up laughing, though she knew she should be put out by it if it was true. "Crazy girl." She said it more as a term of endearment..

River looked at her, seemingly concentrating on her face. "Wa!" Kaylee started as River reached out and seemed to snatch something right from in front of her face before she could tell what's what. "What in all the stars was that about?"

River just smiled. "Stole your nose." She said.

Ridiculously, Kaylee found herself checking her face with her hand to make sure it was still there. River started laughing uproariously at this. Kaylee just looked at her a moment then started laughing too.

"Where'd you learn that from?" Kaylee asked.

"Mal. It's all smoke and mirrors." River explained. "It's actually my thumb." She pointed to her thumb and opened the hand attached to that thumb and there was a pink flower without a stem there. Looked almost like a lily, except a little smaller. "It's for you." She said, holding it out to Kaylee. "A present."

Kaylee looked down at the flower, so completely unexpected. "Take it." River instructed.

Kaylee smiled up at her and took the flower delectably in her hands. "You're just full of surprises, aren't you?"

"And also orange colored berries." River replied gravely. "They are hard to resist."

"Zoe would say 'Only foolish people resist a good thing when it comes their way'." Kaylee offered.

"The trick is telling good things from the bad." River replied.

"Captain did say that back to her, didn't he?" Kaylee questioned, looking from the flower to River.

"A lot of people have said that. It's not special." River debated, shifting positions so she was laying down on the bed next to Kaylee and looking up at the ceiling with her.

"You learn that in school? What people said what an' all?" Kaylee asked with faint curiosity, the conversation having made her feel a lot better by now. She knew from her brother that River had been a real live genius in school, before what happened to her happened. Was why it happened in fact.

"The quality of language is ever to be measured by the veracity of those who have spoken it. In no other area can this be felt more strongly than in the memories they leave behind them." River said it almost lyrically, very much like she was a lecturer and Kaylee was her class to teach.

"...Sounds pretty anyway." Kaylee assessed. "Not that I know what it means exactly... Who said it, anyway?"

"River Tam said it." River told her lightly. "Do you know her?"

Kaylee tilted her head to the side and regarded the other girl who was still looking up at the ceiling, a serene, careless look on her face. [Does she have to look so darn cute an' innocent all the time sayin' these things?] Kaylee questioned internally with a little mostly affectionate exacerbation. [Two can play that though.] "I know everything about River Tam." She said, looking up at the ceiling herself again.

This time River looked over at her. "Do you really?" She seemed surprised.

"Her mind is an open book to me." Kaylee said boldly. "What? You didn't know?"

Before she knew it, River was on top of her, held up by knees and hands and looking down into her face intently. Kaylee couldn't help it, a shock of fear went though her at the look River's her eyes.

"Liar." River said, getting up off the bed and walking away. "She scares you."

Kaylee was speechless a moment, then. "...River no, wait. I..." She said to the now empty room. [[Chinese phrase] she moves ghostly, don't she?] "What was that about?" She said aloud to the empty shuttle, not really able to deny that what River had said had some truth in it.

River was back before too long though, seemingly holding no grudge and acting like nothing much had happened. Kaylee decided to just let it be for now.

The sky was getting dark half the daylight later. Kaylee had watched River industriously making something for hours now from stuff she'd gotten from the woods and a bit of cloth from the shuttle. She'd asked what it was at one point, but all River had said was 'vacation'. She'd soon gotten the idea though that it was a litter.

"So that's what you meant." Kaylee said when she'd figured it out.

"Huh?" River looked up, having been absorbed in what she was doing.

"About the vacation." Kaylee clarified.

River looked from Kaylee out the open hatch. "Sun's sleeping soon." She explained. "You have to see it with me." She said it matter-of-factly, going back to her task. "It's important."

Kaylee was quiet then and just watched her work, not really knowing what to say to that but not being able to stop from feeling sort of warm and fluttery about it. [And here I was actin' scared of her, and her doing things like this... should be shamed of myself.] She lamented a little guiltily... but a part of her still was scared of River Tam even despite things like this. She just couldn't seem to help it.

"You don't have to worry." River spoke.

Kaylee jumped in startlement. "[Chinese phrase] Don't do that to me. 'Bout scared a year off my life sneaking up on me like that."

River looked blankly at her a moment then got up and dropped the litter she'd made and started pacing, nervous like, and holding her head with her hands. "Not doing things right." She said distractedly. "Not right at all. The shadows are getting closer. Can't see. Neehuh." River held her head and shook a little, then ran over to the far side of the room and sat crouched against the wall, knees held up to her chest, she started to rock. "Damaged, I'm not right. Not right at all anymore." She sounded scared.

Kaylee started to feel scared for her too, think it was her fault somehow. Because she'd said she was scared of her and River obviously didn't want her to be. She made up her mind. [Doesn't hurt that bad.] She told herself and determinedly pulled back the covers and slowly made to get up so she could get over to River and make it right.

She wasn't sure how it happened exactly, just a jagged bolt of pain that wouldn't stop bolting. It tore a scream from deep inside her and made the world go white and take a tumble.

"No!" She heard form somewhere. "All gone wrong, all wrong." She heard up closer.

She groaned and felt herself being lifted up in familiar arms. Held carefully and set back to rest in a soft place. She blinked open her eyes, seeing River looking down at her, scanning her body in all but a panic over it all. "River, I'm sorry, o'kay? ...You're not scary. Not at all." She said blearily, thinking this would help.

And River did still, to look to her eyes for a moment. "I am scary, I am, look at what happened. All from out of me." And Kaylee saw tears in River's eyes.

"You're not." Kaylee said. "And I'm a [Chinese phrase] idjit for thinking otherwise. Just like I'm a [Chinese phrase] idjit for getting up out of bed like I did. S'not your fault, y'hear me?" She put a hand to River's cheek. "Y'understand?"

River smiled and wiped away her tears with the side of her hand. "You were pretty stupid." She said with a weak smile. "Me also. Stupid me." And she hugged Kaylee, very gently off course, careful of her ribs, and just stayed like that a moment.

Kaylee held her back as best she could. "Stupid us alright. I'm sorry River, really I am... It'll be alright." She said the last bit more softly than the other. It was kind of scary. How strong River could be, how bright and all of brave one moment, but like now, she could also be scared too, and shaken up, to the core of her.

"Have to check the fastenings." River muttered, getting herself up. "See that every place's still correct and all." She wiped more tears away and set about examining and rewrapping Kaylee's injury.

Kaylee lay there and silently watched River go about her work, the girl muttering some things to herself every now and then. She felt tired again though, the pain must have done a number on her.

"I'm going to take away the hurt now." River locked eyes with Kaylee, and told her. "Fly away for a while... I'll keep the hollows away. Just you rest now." Kaylee heard River's soft voice say, barely feeling the needle at all. [How did she know I dream of flying?] Kaylee's imagination wondered as she drifted off into sleep.

When Kaylee woke, it was mid morning the next day and River was sitting in bed next to her, her back to the headboard and her legs crossed and pulled up to her and held with crossed arms. She seemed to be staring off into nowhere in particular, and Kaylee couldn't help watching her for a while before groaning and shifting to a slightly different position to shake off the sleeps. "Good morning."

"That's debatable, but the sentiments are appreciated." River said, looking over to her. "It's raining."

Kaylee laughed, even though it hurt to laugh.

Two days later, and things were going well, Kaylee thought. River and her seemed to grow more of an understanding. A bond made deeper by circumstance, she supposed. But whether it was her imagination or something more real, she could swear she was understanding River Tam better lately. She was able to sit upright now, and she'd seen two sunsets, dragged out as she had been by River on that letter of hers, not that she minded it terribly a'course.

Right now she was sitting on Inara's couch and reading one of her books. Her library pad had some interesting selections on in to say the least, this one she'd chosen no less than the rest.

She heard a small crash noise from outside followed by some impressive Chinese curse words on River's part. River'd been endeavoring to make a proper bathtub for them on and off for a day and a half now. It was sweet, really. The shower system on the shuttle still worked partly, but Kaylee couldn't well use it, injured as she was. That and Kaylee seemed to recall a talk she'd had about the subject with River at some prior date where in River had lamented about the lack of having real baths in space. [The price of growing up privileged.] Kaylee surmised, nevertheless finding herself agreeing with her on the subject.

Trouble was, while River swore up and down she knew how to make a simple bath tub, had the engineering of it all worked out, apparently the slowly emerging tub shaped object out yonder had an idea in it's head to make it difficult on her. It was all actually kind of funny, to see River have to try so hard at something like that when most things seemed to come so easy to her, it made her seem a bit more human and relatable somehow.

"This wood is full of demons." River said carrying a component of her tub with her into the cabin and setting it down in what Kaylee had dubbed 'River's work shop'. "I must smite them." She said decidedly, choosing a tool one would rightly use on a piece of metal plaiting and using it creatively an'going at the hapless log with it.

Kaylee chuckled just a bit and put the library pad aside to watch River work. It didn't take long and she was done, getting up and turning to see Kaylee regarding her. "I anticipate no further problems with this component." She informed Kaylee.

Kaylee titled her head a bit, reflective like. "I wish I could be more help with this. You're making it mostly for me after all."

River just smiled, delighted apparently. "My honor to serve." She made a little bow and went back out to face the demons.

Kaylee watched after her a bit, shook her head, and went back to her book. She was just getting to the good part, after all.

Some time early the next day Kaylee was positively blissful luxuriating in a hot bath just inside the hatch of the shuttle. River had somehow managed to rig a heating element for the water and connect it into the shuttle's damaged systems. Ingenious, really, she mused happily.

She opened her eyes and glanced over River's way, the other girl was sitting on a small crate, legs pulled up, arms crossed on her knees, chin resting titled to the side a little on her crossed arms. The girl was just looking at her with a lazy sort of peaceful and satisfied look on her face. [The proud maker admiring her handiworks.] Kaylee guessed, understanding the feeling well and kind of liking seeing that look on her friend's face for some reason. Prob'ly the relatable reason again.

Kaylee closed her eyes again and lay back, a small hum of contentment leaving her lips.

River had insisted Kaylee be the first to get a bath, even though Kaylee could tell River was secretly longing for one too. River's standing order was for her to just soak in the tub for a while after getting in. To loosen up her sore mussels before washing and to help in the healing as well, she'd told her in so many words. And Kaylee had to admit, it was really doing the trick. She felt yards better for the relaxing soak, the water's soothing heat seeming to penetrate her skin down to her bones and relax her. She felt downright lackadaisical in fact.

It was some moments later, she heard a soft shuffling motion and felt River's lithe fingers touch her forehead and move aside a bit of her hair. Kaylee opened her eyes and saw River's dark brown eyes looking to hers from the side of the tub she'd made. "No falling asleep." River said.

Kaylee laughed. "Aye, aye, Captain River."

"A captain without a ship is no captain at all, according to conventional maritime wisdom." River said is a soft and contemplative voice, gently smoothing her hand through Kaylee's hair again.

"Says the girl sitting in a ship." Kaylee joked.

"Not mine." River denied. "Ours now. Until Inara gets back."

Kaylee was silent, the reminder of their absent friend, likely lost to Reavers, putting a damper on her mood some.

"Don't be sad." River said softly.

Kaylee made an effort to smile for her. "I'll try not to be."

"Tired and true, that's the crew of The Serenity.'' River smiled a small smile back.

Kaylee laughed in spite of herself. "You say the darnedest things you do... but you always seem to know how to make me smile, don't you?" Kaylee said back with a growing affection and appreciation.

"It's not hard." River pointed out. "The wind told me the first time we met, there's a treasure of smiles inside you Kaywinnit Le Frye. You give them away too easy, that's why there are so many." River traced her fingers down the one of Kaylee's cheeks lightly, before withdrawing her hand and blinking.

Kaylee felt a shiver of something go though her at the touch. "Got a way with words too, I see." Kaylee said a little uncomfortably, feeling self conscious for some reason.

River smiled at her. "I made you nervous." She said it, like she'd uncovered a secret and was happy about it.

"I'll make you something, you don't cut it out." Kaylee said back jokingly.

"Promises, promises." River brushed it off and raised herself up on her knees. "I need to wash your skin now, hair too. You were smelly." She informed her, retrieving one of Inara's specialty soaps to start the task.

And suddenly, Kaylee was nervous again, but she quickly shook herself out of it and told herself she was being sideways. River's hands were running shampoo into her hair and massaging her scalp with a care that was almost sensual. Kaylee couldn't help herself, it felt just so good. Even better than when Inara had helped her with it one time before this big to do that one time. "Your hands are magic." She said dreamily.

River didn't reply, apparently too absorbed in her task.

The back washing went real nice too, but it got a little awkward again when River had to wash her legs and such. Kaylee had just decided to close her eyes and try not to shiver so much at River's sure and gentle touch. She was, at current, trying to think of other things, like ways to maybe repair the shuttle once she was up and able again, not that River had said there was much chance of that. She'd described the problems to her in fact, and she'd admitted it sounded very grim without the necessary replacement parts and such, but it wouldn't hurt to crawl inside it and have a second look, now would it? Not that they'd be able to leave Opal Shire with only a shuttle of course, those weren't meant for extended space travel after all. But if they had to go anywheres, like back to the city for supplies or such, or if (all heavens forefend) the Reavers came back for some reason, it could come in real handy to be more moveable than only a couple pair of human feet and legs would allow.

It was in the midst of these thoughts that Kaylee realized she smelled something, and it was a something her mind instantly put a label to too. "Ohmygosh." She spoke in a little of a hushed voice, her eyes flying open. "River, the ship's burning!" She exclaimed, sitting up straighter.

River looked up from washing Kaylee's feet and looked around, sniffing the air. "You're right." She said, letting go of Kaylee's foot and getting up to look around, apparently trying to sniff out sign of where the burning smell was coming from.

Kaylee made to try to get out of the tub, making sounds of straining when it hurt and ached to try moving like that without her ribs being bound up tight like they usually were. "River, help me up." She asked.

"Stay there." River said distractedly, having found a fire suppressor canister. "The demons have nested in our house." She narrowed her eyes and got to all fours in the corner of the room where a hatch was located. She sat back on her knees and opened the hatch, sliding her body down into it, despite the small amounts of smoke coming up from it.

"River!" Kaylee cried, watching the hatch with increasing worry. She was swearing at herself inside for being so useless as she was and praying to whoever would listen that River would be alright. A fire, any fire, aboard ship was nothing to laugh away after all. They had a way of getting out of hand when you least expected it sometimes. Flames hit the wrong system? Burned the wrong active component? Fwoosh. The air could catch fire down there, ship could even blow up if it caught the engines or the fuel wrong.

She heard coughs and saw River emerge from down below before long though. Face and arms dirty lookin', she hoisted herself out and lay over on her back on the deck. "Kaylee?" She asked blankly.

"Yeah?" Kaylee replied.

"I think I need a bath." She lamented.

Kaylee laughed, the relief rushing through her making it even more funny to her than it really was.

The End


(Extra:) An omitted scene...

Author's Note: I wrote this scene for the start of River's Way, thinking I'd switch to River's perspective for a while maybe. I ended up changing my mind about that and deciding to keep the story always from Kaylee's point of view because it just seemed to flow better and read better that way. However, even though that's the case, I really liked how this scene turned out and I thought you might appreciate reading it anyway. Don't worry, it's mostly just a recap of the planet fall from No Power In The 'Verse as seen from River's perspective, so it won't conflict with anything in the rest of the story at all. Anyway, here it is if you have a mind to read it...

[Things are looking grim, grim, grim. Shaking and rattling at the seams, thrown about in the wake of bigger fish. What goes up must come down - the trick is to be able to walk away when the down part comes. Always the trick - still to be walking.]

Serenity and the Reavers' ship, they passed by and spun the ship 'round on it's head and every which way back again.

[Keep to the vectors, track the azimuth, watch the wind, pray to the sky if she's listening. The trick is to know when to stop, and when you'd be looped in the head to stop. Didn't you know that? Air is like that, and wind. Doesn't like you unless you know.]

River's eyes glued to the controls and the portal, calculations going on and on in her head as she wrestled the ship back to rights.

[Ground fast approaching, it's the way of the world. The sunset is beautiful. Mustn't die, mustn't die. Kaylee is a sing song kind of name.]

The approach is fast and as graceful as a gunshot.

[Ground fast approaching, got'a keep the chin up or we'll trip.]

The shuttle skims the ground and shakes the metals, held in the air one second and to the ground another. Skips like a stone, but not for long. But for long there is a rut, one of soft earth a trail made. Steam and smoke and the screech of metal on stone and the groan of the earth as the stone from elsewheres carves it's mark.

[And we're down... Stupid hands, won't let go.] River stared at her hands still clutching the flight steering wheel for life and obstinately willed them to let go. They did of course, but they were shaking a bit, and more than a bit for a moment there, from protest. [Safe now, hands of mine.] "Safe on the ground." She spoke happily as she let herself collapse bonelessly into the pilot seat with a shuttering sigh of intense relief. "See? I knew you won't be cross with me. Knew." She spoke again, expecting to hear Kaylee's voice answer her back. The other woman didn't say anything though. "Kaylee?" She questioned, turning in her seat. "Where are you?" She got up from the chair and gracefully looked around and then down and saw. "Bad, oh that's bad."

She whirled and jumped over boxes and such and came down by her friend's side. At first scared to touch her for fear of braking something more. Her eyes took in everything though, running through the paces. Brainstormer, that was her. She quickly deduced the cause. Her eyes searching, they zeroed in on the box of food stuffs that had broken loose and apparently rammed into poor Kaylee's back as they'd tumbled. For a moment she thought about harming the box, but then realized how silly that was and went to see to Kaylee's injury. Would she wake?

"The dark has her." She spoke sadly.

Curiously, she reached out a hand and touched Kaylee's hair. "You're a beauty, you really are. Won't you wake?" She asked, running a hand softly through the long hazel colored hair. "C'mon, please?" She asked. She moved her hand to Kaylee's shoulder and shook. "Kaylee? I want you to open your eyes and not to dream away. You have to stay." She told her rather like a scolding teacher.

Eyes obediently open and Kaylee made a groggy noise at her. "That's the way." River reached her hand out and touched Kaylee's cheek, holding it in her cupped hand. "It's all right. We're safe now." She assured her. "The hollow ones won't see us here."

But Kaylee had fallen back to sleep again, and the practical side of River told her that she'd need to do something about that. She needed help to wake again.

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