Mania Squared (maniasquared) wrote,
Mania Squared
maniasquared

Firefly: A Simple Twist of Fate, (River/Wash), (11/14), NC-17.

Title:: A Simple Twist of Fate, chapter eleven
Date Posted: 3 July 2007
Author: srichard and van
Rating: This chapter: NC-17
Characters: River, Wash, crew
Pairing: River/Wash
Word count: 6,744
Warnings: Begins pre-TV series, completely AU, will invovle underage romance.
Summary: Blue Sun's Academy brings two unlikely people together.
Disclaimer: Co-written. We are not affliated with Mutant Enemy, Joss, Firefly/Serenity, Unversal, Fox or anyone. If we were, we'd be making money off this. We mean no harm. Title from the Bob Dylan song. Crossposted to ff_fanfic.

Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.




It went quickly.

River procured some money from Simon, and Mal turned down their attempt to go out shopping within ten minutes of River leaving her room. Wash stood there agog for several moments, staring at the captain, a handful of bills in his fist. Mal’s reasons were sound: they were fugitives, and Santo had an Alliance presence, however small. It was just too risky. Yet, Wash couldn’t bear the thought that he’d not get to shop with River, or pick up the things they’d need.

“We can wear disguises,” he futilely tried. “It’s important.”

River bit her lip. "He's right. Not safe. Maybe in a year. Maybe on the edge of nowhere."

Mal pointed a finger at her. "And when she's the one talking sense, I'd be worried about yourself. Understand you might need a few shirts and such, so I'll do what I can for you," he concluded generously.

“And a dress that matches,” Wash began, weakly. At the look Mal gave him, he cast his eyes to the floor. That could wait, perhaps. It hurt his heart, dashing the image of them shopping together, carefree and hand-in-hand, but he knew it was foolish to ask. “Shirts, then, and trousers.” He was still wearing the grey Alliance mess dress pants, and they were starting to pill. The Alliance grey color was additionally obvious, especially coupled with the unmatching, flamboyant red shirt.

"And preparations," River said firmly, smiling at Wash, though she still had no idea what those were.

Mal lifted his eyebrow. "Preparations for what, precisely?"

Wash flushed, and if that wasn’t enough to give it away, he wasn’t sure what was. He had meant to ask Jayne, because he had a feeling that Jayne would understand in a way no one else would, and if Wash slipped him some extra money, he figured the man wouldn’t have even mentioned it. Staring at the floor, he tried to work his mouth around this. “Skins,” he finally whispered.

River shuddered, stepping back. "Can't buy those. They aren't...what are you?"

"Ah...you want to explain to me why you're buyin' such a thing when she apparently thinks I'm gonna have to turn into a gorram Reaver to get 'em for you?" Mal said, his face hard now.

Wash glanced at her, confused, then realized what it must have sounded like to her. “Not that, another name. Like pool.” He tried to give her a smile. Mal be damned. He’d just ask Jayne.

"Pool?" River looked even more confused than before.

"And I believe I asked a question you ain't answered," Mal said, his arms folded over his chest.

“Pool,” Wash said. “You can play a game of pool, with cues, or you can swim in one. Same word, different meaning. Skins.”

He looked to Mal. “Not really your business. I’m just trying to protect her.”

"River," Mal said firmly, and it was the first time he'd addressed her by name. "You know what all he's plannin'? With his...manparts?"

River nodded. "Technically, yes." She bit her lip. "We're not going to quite yet, though," she said, looking at Wash anxiously. "Not until the last doll dies because the porcelain is gone."

Wash couldn’t keep the red out of his face, but he wasn’t going to let this turn around on him. “I just want to be prepared,” he sternly said. “I don’t know when we’re going to hit dirt again.” He shrugged. “Don’t, if you don’t want to. I’m not going to do anything stupid.”

Mal sighed and took the money. "Lot of stupid things happening 'round here lately that weren’t planned. Guess this ain't the first or last." He grumbled as he walked away, about hun dan men what couldn't keep their hands off crazy little girls.

Wash burned, out of shame and anger, and he couldn’t tell which bothered him more. He stared at the floor, unable to meet River’s eyes. He didn’t want her to think of him the way Mal did, but he feared she might, after that. She’d just asked for touching, tonight, and he’d gone off preparing for the finale.

River was blushing uncertainly herself. "I don't...don't quite understand," she said softly.

“I just wanted to be prepared,” he said weakly. “Just in case.”

"All right." She went to him a little anxiously, needing reassurance, to be held. "Was it bad that I didn't understand? I'm sorry I thought that..."

“No, it’s all right.” He hugged her to him, feeling a bit better about everything. Mal had agreed, after all, and she just had misunderstood. “I should I have said something.” He laughed gently, kissing her brow. “Of all the times you didn’t pick my thoughts.” He loved her, no matter. Even if she was so young and innocent she didn’t know what a condom was. “Do you want to talk about this?”

"All right." She moved to sit down, looking up at him with large, luminous eyes, waiting for him to school her.

He hadn’t actually expected her to want to. So it took him a moment to look around the galley and decide to join her. He pulled one of the chairs close to her, sitting beside her, so if anyone entered, their conversation might not immediately be overheard. He chewed on his words a bit, trying to figure out how to talk about this. “You know what it entails, right? Love . . . lovemaking?”

She nodded. "Yes. Read books, encyclopedias. Simon's school books. Copulation entails the insertion of your erect penis into my vagina. That sounds ugly, though. It might be nicer than that."

Whatever color might have ebbed from Wash’s face returned violently. He looked away, to see if anyone was eavesdropping. “Well, yes.” He tried to remember how his parents had explained to him, but he couldn’t remember. There had probably been a book, and he’d probably just looked at the pictures. Things had been easy to figure out manually, after that. “And to keep you from . . . from having a baby, I have to wear a little rubber skin. That’s all.”

Another nod. "Prophylactics. Been in use since ancient times. Anything else?"

Wash stared at her. “Well, no. I know you just said touching, tonight. But I thought it’d be smart to have some on hand, for . . . later.” He gave her a nervous little grin. “Maybe I’m being too ambitious?”

She shook her head. "No. I want to be bonded. With your penis." She wrinkled her nose. "Your cock," she amended.

He wanted to put a hand to her mouth, to keep her quiet, to prevent her from saying such words. Yet, it filled him with a sense of longing and desire, and he knew it wasn’t wrong, not really. Swallowing hard, he looked at her. “You’re young,” he said softly. “Maybe below the legal age. Not sure of the rules in the black.” He reached out to touch her, lightly. “Maybe we. . . I should wait . . .”

"No..." She reached out for him as well. "Just until I want it. Only for that," she said, with a small, anxious smile.

Wash nodded, smiling faintly. “Of course. If I ever, ever do anything you aren’t ready for, you tell me, or stop me. All right?”

"Promise." She rose and moved away. "I'm going to go...think." Be crazy for a while. "Tonight, though."

Wash nodded. “All right. I’ll see you tonight.” He watched her go, and then got up, to rummage through the cabinets in the kitchen in the hopes that he might find something alcoholic to drink.
--

Mal came back four hours later with supplies for the ship, clothes for Wash, and...preparations. He went into Wash's quarters without asking, dumping the stuff on his bed. "Her brother know about all this?" he demanded stiffly.

Wash looked up from where he’d been reading over a schematic on Fireflies he’d borrowed from one of the lockers in the cockpit. He glanced at the pile of clothes, and the skins sitting in their box on top, emblazoned with a Chinese logo and smiling cartoon man. “He knows enough.”

Mal gave a soft, incredulous laugh. "You're a gorram fool, you know that? That girl could break your neck, you make a single wrong move. You seen what she did to Helo."

Wash nodded. He folded the manual closed and set it down. “I know very well what she’s capable of, and I trust her. Even more, she trusts me. I don’t have any evil plans, Captain. She says she doesn’t want something, I won’t make her.” He shrugged. “Besides, she’d just break me if she wanted to. I got them for her.”

Mal shook his head. "Ain't a one of you I can figure out. Chow's in a few, 'less you're in some rush to try those out."

Wash thought about cracking a joke, like how he thought Mal could use a good lay himself, but he was tired of being belittled for being funny. “No rush. Thanks for buying them, and the clothes. You can give any change you’ve got left to Simon, if you want.”

Mal nodded briefly, then left without a word.
--

After dinner, Wash had taken a much-desired shower, and changed into one of the new outfits Mal had purchased. He had hoped for colorful clothes and a matching dress for River, but was content with the plain t-shirts and cargo pants he’d received: at least they were clean, and new.

He looked at River’s cabin but resisted going there yet. Instead, he stopped at Simon’s quarters and rapped lightly on the doorframe.

"Come in," Simon called, already frowning.

Wash slid the door open and took a step inside, but didn’t advance further. He nodded politely. “Hey.”

Simon set down his electronic medical journal. "Ah. A change of clothes at last. That must be pleasant." His tone was even.

Wash nodded. “Yeah. Not really my style, but clean and new—can’t really complain.” He smiled faintly. “Thank you. I’ll pay you back for everything.”

"All right. I'm not sure how to divide up the captain's cut. Perhaps we should just split it between us? I'll tend to whatever River needs," Simon said, his tone relatively friendly.

“We should probably run that by her,” Wash replied. “I don’t mind making less if she earns her own share.” He thought, very strongly, that if she was working, she ought to make her own money, but he wasn’t going to cheer that on right now. “I’m also very prepared to provide for her myself.” He focused on Simon intently, willing him to understand his meaning.

Simon nodded. "Not particularly surprised." He pointed at his bed, inviting Wash to sit down. "And I didn't have to pay you to take her off my hands or anything," he said, with faint irony.

Wash wanted to remain standing, but he went and sat, because it was polite, and Simon seemed all about proper protocol. “Glad to know I’m not the only funny guy on this ship,” he said, though he didn’t laugh.

"Mmm. About River working--the captain and I discussed that, and her involvement with anything will be extremely limited, especially while I'm still working out the best course of treatment for her. She's extremely fragile right now, even though she's doing her best to hide it," Simon said clearly.

Wash studied him carefully. “I know.” He closed his eyes, wishing Simon were a friend he could confide in, instead of someone he had to dance on eggshells around. “But she doesn’t want to be useless, either. She needs to belong.”

Simon shrugged. "You saw how upset she was over what the captain did with Helo. She's not prepared to be mixed up in violence right now, and that seems to be...the name of the game around here."

“She’s useful in other ways,” Wash quietly said. “You might not think it, but if she got paid to wash the dishes, or do the laundry, little things to help the crew, or even just us, she’d be happy. The last thing she wants to be is a burden, and that’s all she feels when we just coddle her. She’s sixteen, but she’s not a little girl anymore.”

"If River wants money, or wants to do chores, she's welcome to do either. I'm going to let her find her own space, though. I don't think she needs either of us imposing one on her. Do you?" Simon's gaze was penetrating.

“No.” Wash met Simon’s gaze. “But she doesn’t want to hurt you, either. You risked everything for her, and she doesn’t take that lightly. I think she’s a little afraid to tell you the truth.” He got to his feet, though he wasn’t sure why. “It’s been a long time, and right now, I know her better than you do.”

Simon looked up at him with perfect equanimity. "She told me about how she kept things from you, the truths about the lessons, about the pain. To spare you. I don't think I'm the only one who needs to worry about her fearing to tell the truth."

Wash squared his shoulders, forcing those words to roll off him. She confided in him about Simon, it was only fair she’d confide in Simon about him. “I love her, and she loves me. You understand that? All that it entails?”

"And she loves me, and I love her. I don't feel any need to press that issue in the way that you seem to be suggesting, though." Simon lifted his chin. "Do you really imagine she's well enough for that sort of thing?"

“If she thinks she is, and she tells me so, then I’ll believe her.” He studied Simon for several seconds, then shrugged. “I appreciate your concern for her. I really do, even though sometimes I may seem like I don’t. I’ve protected her alone for so long that it’s hard to share her now. I figure I’ll learn.”

"And what precisely did you protect her from? She doesn't seem to have been spared much. I spent two years trying to free my sister--I know it took too long, but it was virtually impossible. I have never stopped trying to protect River, since the day she was born," Simon said forcefully.

“She’d be much worse if I hadn’t been there. You might not agree, but it’s true. I know, and she knows, and that’s what matters. I can’t help the circumstances of my location at her time of birth. I know this is as hard for you as it is for me. Maybe it’s harder; she’s your sister. But sisters grow up and get married and eventually leave the brothers.”

"Not at sixteen. Not in civilized cultures." Simon sighed and put his head into his hands. Hearing a small noise out in the passage, he said, "River, come in here."

River floated in, looking a little guilty. "We made you sad," she whispered.

Simon beckoned to her. "Come here." She sat on the bed with him immediately, molding herself against his side. "I'm sorry..."

Wash again got the unmistakable feeling that he’d just been dismissed; he ought to leave the siblings alone. He stood his ground. “He’s never going to understand.”

Simon ignored him. "River, you understand that I'm your guardian now, don't you? That I have to look after you?"

She nodded. "You always take care of me. I have to let you," she said, wincing faintly.

"And you know what those hormones, the ones the Academy gave you, did?" he persisted.

Wash felt like a fly on the wall. Hearing Simon control her made him angry. He was the older brother, and he protected her, but she didn’t have to let him take care of her. She wasn’t his little doll to pose and control. He tightened his hands in his fists.

River lifted her head to look at Wash, angry with him for perhaps the first time ever. "Stop it," she said clearly. "He's making sure I understand. Doesn't know what's where in the head. He has to know."

Wash stared at her, forgetting, for the moment, that she could read him. He focused on Simon instead. “Sorry,” he grated out, trying to focus, and see just the loving brother. It wasn't easy, but he thought, maybe it was better than storming out of the room.

"River, I don't think he understands everything, maybe not as well as you do, even. He won't listen to me, but maybe you can tell him," Simon said, sounding tired.

River nodded, eager to make peace. "But I told him. About the last doll. He knows."

Simon looked at Wash. "Do you? Do you know what that means?"

Wash felt cold and his toes curled inside their boots. “Humor me,” he said.

"Removed the female abject," River interposed. "No more bleeding. No more wet places. Everything dry and clean. No wanting."

"They gave her hormones to completely suspend her natural sexual development. She had reached adolescence before she left home, but she's in roughly a pre-pubescent state right now. I'm not sure if she even remembers how arousal mechanisms work," Simon said clearly.

Wash stared at her. “She knows,” he said plainly. They’d kissed before and she knew what to do, didn’t she? She had wanted.

"River?" Simon said, carefully, neutrally.

"I..." River was blushing. "I want to want," she said, looking at Wash sadly, then turned her gaze to Simon. "But this is why I need. Need him to touch. Won't know when I'm real, ready to know, to want, unless I have something to want."

Wash’s hands were still tightened into fists, and he let them go lax. He stared at her longer, confused. He almost felt betrayed. “River . . .”

"But I will want," River promised, anguished. "Simon has to make me better, though. I have to let him take care. Don't want to because...hurts, and it's confusing, and sometimes I don't know what's wrong, but he...have to trust him. You too," she begged, holding out a hand to Wash. She looked at Simon again. "But I need him too, so I'll know. So I'll be ready, Simon, please..."

Wash looked away from her. Simon made more sense in the moment. Maybe Simon even understood her better than he did. He understood her better medically, at least. “I don’t know anymore.”

Tears brimmed in River's eyes as her hand fell. "Simon..."

"River, listen to me," Simon said, very quietly. "If this is how you want to learn, and...and remember, then I won't stop you. But I want you to promise me that you'll pay attention to your body, and be honest about it. You need to do this slowly, or you'll be hurt." He sighed, rubbing at his eyes. "For now..." He fetched a small tube of lubricant out of his bag. "This will help you. Promise me you'll be careful, mei mei."

Defensively, Wash almost said they had some already, but he had only thought to ask Mal to get it, he hadn’t actually picked it up himself. All Mal had returned with were skins. Things were strange, with Simon handing her lubricant and agreeing to everything. Wash looked at her hand, with the little tube, and he almost fled. He couldn’t explain why he wanted to. It was a mixture of shame and embarrassment. He had come in full of bravado and experience and now felt little and uneducated.

"I promise," River said softly, then stood up. "He won't hurt me."

Simon nodded. "All right. I'll let this go as long as you aren't being hurt, River. In any sense. Now go sort this out yourselves." He gave Wash that closed-off, cool look, though in this case it had a hint of And don't ever tell me I don't understand my sister again to it.

Wash left, without saying anything. He just walked to his room, figuring River would follow in her own time. He stared at the pile of clothes on his bed, and the small box of skins on top of it. He picked the whole set up, carried it to the tiny dresser and shoved his worldly possessions into a drawer. Half a dozen shirts, two pairs of trousers, an Alliance jacket and a box of rubbers: that’s all he had to his name.

He sat down on his bed, heavily, staring at the wall.

River came in, sitting down beside him, her face miserable, still clutching the lubricant. "I-I couldn't lie," she said, in a miserable, choked voice. "Thought you knew."

Wash put his arm around her, pulling her close. He was confused and a little disgusted with himself, but he loved her, and that hadn’t changed. He kissed the top of her head. “I thought I did.”

She curled into him unhappily. "I still want...everything I said I wanted. Want you to touch me, top to bottom...want to be bonded. Be yours. I love you."

He shifted on the bed, so he was angled into her, holding her. “I love you,” he repeated, because, above all else, he didn’t want her to think he didn’t; that this had changed things that much. He just wanted to understand, a bit better. “I don’t understand,” he whispered. “You won’t enjoy it.”

River bit her lip. "I do like when you touch me. Just don't like it...that way. But I want to. So you have to be patient, keep touching me until I can, do you see?"

Wash squeezed his eyes shut. He was trying to see. He didn’t know, and yet he’d been willing to do it, then. Why did it matter now? What difference did it make? He opened his eyes, looking at her, and saw her lying before him, impassive, even bored, at his attempts to please her, and it made him cold inside.

“Tell me you love me,” he softly said. She’d just told him, but he needed more. “No matter what, promise me.” He didn’t say it but his thoughts were scattered. I’m afraid I’ll fail and you won’t wake from your slumber, and you’ll find someone else to kiss you awake.

"I love you," she promised, and kissed him sweetly, trying to remove the taint of doubt from his lips, to transmute it into something strange and wonderful... She drew back and pulled off her dress, then stretched out on the bed, looking up at him very shyly, wondering if he'd be pleased, or disturbed by her smallness, her slimness, her pallor...

Wash looked at her, stretched out, not even filling half the bed by herself. He swallowed hard, letting his eyes look over her face, and slender neck, down to the shoulders he’d only ever seen in thought, covered in clothes. Her body beyond that was young, small, and too thin. He loved her, and it disturbed him that he did. She was just a little girl. “I love you,” he whispered, raising his hand to place upon her shoulder. He’d keep to himself, for now. There would be time for everything, later.

River turned her head to kiss his hand. "Not a little girl. Find her. Inside, waiting for you. Wash, please..." Her eyes were wide and pleading.

She was River. She wasn’t a little girl, not inside. Wash shifted on the bed, getting into a better position, and he bent down to kiss her. That was proper, to start with a kiss. It was almost chaste, at first. “Like this,” he said, and kissed her again, making the kiss deep and sweet, hoping to feel passion. He had felt it once, or thought he had, even if it had just been one sided.

River gave a little, contented sigh, one hand coming up to stroke his hair, twining in it. She opened her mouth for him, yielding without battle, loving without stint. She tried to make him feel it, her love, feel it with just this, her mouth, though that was odd without speaking.

She was warm and yielding and that gave him hope. So much on this ship was cold; he had feared she might be too. There was warmth, and if that wasn’t passion, it was love, and it was more than enough. He kissed her good, and let his hand travel across her shoulders, letting his fingertips dip into the soft hollow of her throat. He eased out of the kiss, trailing down the bicep of her right arm.

She smiled up at him. "I like when you touch me. It feels nice." She shivered a little at the lightness of his caress.

“I like it too,” he said softly, looking down at her. He kissed her again, softly. “Did you ever have a boyfriend, before?” He trailed his hand up to her shoulder again. “Before the Academy?” He didn’t think so; figured somewhere along the way he’d given her her first kiss and not even realized it.

River shook her head. "Everyone was always older than me. Took classes at the University...everyone was kind. Looked out for me." She reached up, letting her hand cover his, feeling it with pleasure.

Wash wondered what about him made him different. Why did he love her this way, when everyone else loved her in the proper way? He pushed the thoughts down. It didn’t do well to dwell on them. When he moved his hand again, hers followed, and he liked it: he didn’t feel so alone. He traced his hand down her chest, between her breasts. He loved her with his fingers, though the actions were almost more exploratory than sexual.

"Can I touch you too?" River whispered, watching his fingers move down that broad valley, between nipples pebbled in the cool air.

“Of course,” he answered before he thought about it. Then he lifted his face to look from her breasts to her face and he smiled. “Are you ready for that? I want to be good.”

"I'm not scared," she said, a little offended. "Just waiting to feel. But I want to make you feel...let me?"

“Didn’t think you were scared.” He kissed her lightly, then sat up a bit to pull off his shirt. “Touch,” he said, smiling softly at her. It felt good. The two of them, like this, despite everything, it felt good, right. “Wasn’t sure we’d ever make it this far,” he said before ducking his head to kiss her neck.

River ran a hand joyfully down his chest, exploring the fine blond hairs she found there. She let her fingers dwell and dance over his nipples, even as she tipped her head back to allow his kiss. She liked the way he felt, delicate but strong. Like her, somehow. She dragged her nails idly over a nipple, watching him to see his reaction.

Wash tensed and felt a chill run along his spine. It seemed appropriate that she would touch first, laying the groundwork. It was easier. He smiled, relieved and happy, and allowed himself to cup one of her breasts, rubbing his thumb over her hardened nipple, just allowing himself to feel. He lifted his eyes from his hand to her face.

"Do you like this?" she whispered hopefully. "Does it feel good for you?"

“Yeah,” he said, nodding. He bowed his head, letting his hair fluff forward. It was slightly still damp from his shower, and uncombed. He kneaded her breast gently. He was afraid to ask how she felt. “You’re all right with this?”

"Yes." River smiled at him. "It feels so good, Wash, you can't know..." She lifted her head to kiss at his neck, mimicking his actions, tugging lightly at his chest hair and letting her hand drift to rub idle circles against his stomach.

It felt right, and Wash’s body responded in the way that it thought it should. Her words were nice, her touches better, and having her agreeing to him emboldened him. His hands dropped lower, trailing along her ribs, tracing warm fingers over the nearly translucent skin, until he could place a flat hand against her stomach. If she could read him, she could read his pleasure, and maybe she could feel it that way. He closed his eyes, letting her fingers work, enjoying them to the fullest.

She could feel his lazy pleasure, and it delighted her. "Can I...can I touch more?" she said hesitantly, running her fingers along his waistband, aching to have him as open to her as she was to him, wanting to bring him pleasure and show her love for him...

Wash smiled easily. It was bold to ask, but he loved her. She knew what she wanted, and who was he to deny her? There was a bit of thrill that rose in him, too. He tried to understand why being naked with her excited him in more ways than just sexually, but he couldn’t place it, just knew it did. He shifted, pulling up, just enough to undo his new trousers and tug them off.

He wore Alliance issued briefs beneath them, and he wondered if he should remove them too. For the first time, he really allowed himself to look at her below the navel.

River didn't hesitate--sure and certain as always, her hand slid down to cup him through his briefs, holding the warm weight of him, her breathing soft and excited against his skin. He was letting her in, and it was wonderful; how could he even imagine she wouldn't want this, love this...

Wash hadn’t thought, or prepared, for her forwardness. His back arched along with his neck and he let out a jet of air that was nearly a gasp. “River,” he whispered, but it wasn’t a warning, or to tell her to stop, or go. It was just an affirmation; he could have said God. His lids fluttered a few seconds before he focused on her face. He tried to work his own hands, to touch her, but it was hard to remember what to do, it had been so long since he’d had a woman, let alone one who required such delicacy and tenderness.

"Touch me," she urged, squeezing happily. "Won't hurt. I love you...trust you. Have to learn me again, learn the rest, so you'll know, feel when I'm ready for you..." She was almost humming with the satisfaction he brought her, with his need for her dancing off his skin and onto hers.

Wash found her other hand and easily took the small tube from it. He wasn’t going to touch much, he told himself, but this would help. It took only a second to put a bit on his fingers, but he warmed the slick with his hands before he allowed himself to touch her. He nudged her legs apart, just a bit, with his knee, and let his hand go where his memory directed. He kept his eyes on her face. “I love you almost too much,” he whispered, his voice thick.

River's whole body flushed at feeling his touch there--so intimate, and Simon had examined her, yes, but only after giving her a smoother to keep her calm, and it wasn't the same. This was different. She began pushing impatiently at his briefs, wanting to touch him in the same way, so perfect and warm right against his skin...she gave a little hiss of satisfaction as she felt his cock throb against her hand.

Wash opened his mouth to say something, but his voice was gone. He just swallowed hard and breathed through his nose, trying to keep from panting. With his other hand, he wriggled his briefs off, kicking them to the floor. He bent his head, kissing her as his cock hardened in her hand, and he had just a bit of difficulty not immediately thrusting. His fingers stroked but didn’t penetrate; he let his tongue and lips work, instead.

River shivered and moaned a little into his kiss, catching at his free hand and guiding it to cover hers, making him show her how he liked to be touched. It was so delicate...important that she do it right. She wanted to do it right, to make him as happy as he made her.

There were things Wash wanted to fear; they were moving faster than he had anticipated. But when he sat back and let her hand pull his to cover it, he knew that it was all right. So he guided her, showing her how hard she could squeeze, and how his skin pulled back when she went one way, and pulled forward when she went the other way. Wash’s attempt to breath through his nose failed and he started to breath heavier, despite himself. His fingers were slick still, and soon hers were too, and she learned fast. “River,” he groaned, trying to remember to touch and love her as well.

"That's how you like it?" she said insistently. "That will make you orgasm?" She stroked hard, slow at first, then faster, learning his rhythms, his resilience, everything about him.

Wash choked out a laugh. “That’s one of the ways, yeah,,” he agreed, letting her words sink into him and invigorate him more. He was a man of many trades and preferences, and maybe someday they’d explore that. Until then, though, the straightforward method was better than he could have hoped for. His hand dropped down after a bit, pressing firmly at the base of his cock while she stroked. His eyes were open, looking down at her, but he felt like he was somewhere else. “Can you . . . feel it building?” he asked between groans.

She nodded eagerly. "Want to. Want to make you feel happy, so good..." She stroked and rubbed, using both hands now to bring him the most pleasure she could. "Wash, for me, please," she said, in a little coaxing voice, even as she stroked him almost violently.

“Here,” he rasped, taking one of her hands and put it on his balls. He wanted to feel her delicate touch there, and wanted her to feel them as they tightened because of what she was doing. He closed his eyes and clenched his teeth together before he took his hand off the base of his cock and came. He let out a strangled cry in the back of his throat, trying to swallow it so the whole ship wouldn’t know what they were doing. Wash’s hand fell over hers again, showing her to keep stroking until it was over. Only then did he droop, almost collapsing on top of her.

River gave him a gentle pat, then wiped her hands surreptitiously on the corner of the sheet before reaching up to cradle his head between her breasts, holding him there, feeling loving and tender and perfect in that moment. This was right. She had hoped it would be, but scarce dared dream of all this.

Wash slowly lowered himself to her, resting most of his weight on her, but keeping some of it off of her. He felt boneless and warm all over, perfectly content and happy. He hadn’t expected things to go this well. He opened his eyes at last, taking deep breaths to try and even out his breath. “There anything you don’t do perfectly?” he whispered with a smile.

She smiled a little sadly then, wishing she'd been able to follow him there. "Too many," she whispered, stroking his head. "Too many."

Wash lifted his head, able to hear the sadness in her voice. He looked at her before stretching to kiss her. “I want to show you how this feels,” he said longingly. He bent, affectionately kissing at her neck. “When do I get that chance?”

She tilted her head back, smiling. "Don't know. Hormones have to wear off. Blood must begin again. Simon said...said it might hurt," she said, biting her lip a little.

Wash eased off her, sliding to lie beside her, pressed close, skin-against-skin. He draped an arm over her. “Is there anyway I can help?”

She shook her head. "Will you...still hold me and love me? Even when the abject returns, and I'm...yucky?" she said, sounding worried.

Wash laughed, nuzzling her. “Of course.” He lazily traced a circle on her stomach. “Not that I’ve been around a lot, but, you know, you are the first woman I’ve ever been with who . . . who wasn’t sometimes yucky.” He kissed her shoulder. “And it’s not that yucky.”

She sighed. "After two years...there could be a good deal of yuck," she said delicately, watching his hand move across her skin. "I love you, though. Can we do that more?"

Wash looked at her intently. “I’m going to love you, no matter what. Don’t you worry about that, all right?” He smiled warmly. “And, yeah. We can do that . . . this . . . when ever you like.”

"Good." She turned slightly, so she was pressed into him more closely. "I want to learn about fellatio."

Wash laughed, letting his hand curve as she shifted, so he was stroking her back. “Always a little ahead of the class, aren’t you?” he asked.

"Have to be," she smiled. "Can't run from trouble with heavy shoes."

“Mmm.” He closed his eyes, tired now, and content, still feeling warm and fuzzy after his let down. It had been a long time, and she had been good, if only because it was her. “Stay with me tonight?” he asked, shifting to try to pull the sheets over them, despite the fact they were lying on them.

"I..." River hesitated. "Maybe I shouldn't," she whispered, thinking of the nightmares.

Not having expected resistance, he opened his eyes, concerned. “Why not?”

"I don't...sleep so well," she said evasively, sitting up and reaching for her dress.

Wash was completely at a loss. “I don’t mind,” he said, sitting up too. The idea of her leaving, now, made him cold. “River.” He reached out for her.

She turned to him, hesitating. "I don't want...you won't like me so well if I wake you up. Disturb you. Don't like it when I'm crazy, it makes you scared..."

Wash blinked as realization dawned on him. “Hey,” he said, his tone gentle. “It’s all right. I get worried, sometimes, but not scared. Not upset.” He smiled as best he could. “I’m always going to worry about you. That’s the sort of guy I am.” He scooted to the edge of the bed, beside her. “But I’d rather be near you when you can’t sleep, than think you’re alone.”

"Promise you'll still love me when I'm...when I wake up?" River slowly let her dress fall from her hand.

Wash nodded. “I promise. Promise you’ll always come to me, even if you think it might scare me?” He put his arm around her middle, pulling her close.

"All right," she whispered, shivering a little. "Are there blankets?" She sounded a bit drowsy.

Wash nodded, pulling back the sheets and covers. The bed wasn’t meant for two people, but they could manage, lying close together. “This all right?”

"Yes." She smiled. "Did you ever think...ever think this would happen?" she asked timidly.

Wash ran a hand through his hair, causing it to stick up oddly. His smile was sheepish. “No, not really. I had hopes, maybe, that’d we’d get away.” He eyed her, honestly. “And I had had thoughts about you . . . but it never was like this.” He ran his hand lovingly up her arm. “Did you?”

"Not where I was alive," she said brutally, pressing her face against his chest. "I like this better."

“You being alive definitely adds to the pleasantness of the situation,” he agreed, then kissed the top of her head. “I keep thinking I’ll wake back up at the Academy.” He bet she did too, and that it was much worse.

"No," she said, shaking her head slightly. "Madness and dreams are less fraught with peril." She was nearly asleep, content and lulled by his warmth.

He settled them down, tugging the covers over them. It was contentment beyond words having her snuggled up to him, undressed, in bed. He could scarcely believe it was real, despite everything else that had happened tonight. “Then sleep some, and I’ll try to keep the nightmares away.”

River's only reply was a sleepy murmur, as the untold dangers of sleep claimed her fully.
Tags: river/wash, simple twist of fate
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