Bring Me To Life - Chapter 1
Thursday, May 21, 2009

First of all, yes, it's Mal/River so if the notion of that upsets you, don't bother clicking. A few weeks after the Miranda broadwave, Mal comes to a realization about his new pilot. Post BDM, M/R, PG for now.


Look at her; she’s so beautiful.

Wait, what?

No. No.

Don’t be thinking like that.

Snap out of it man.

In the weeks following the Miranda broadwave, this was a common struggle inside the head of Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He knew he shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts, especially knowing that the person he was thinking about could hear every single thing floating through his head. What would she say if she knew? Hell, what would any of them say if it got out that Malcolm Reynolds was secretly pining for his 17-year-old pilot? But as he sat on the bridge of his ship, Serenity, and looked across to her snuggled up asleep in her co-pilot’s chair, he couldn’t help thinking she might just be the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

But when did it happen? And how? How did it come to be that this cold, broken man had developed a schoolboy’s crush on the youngest member of his crew? Not even he could answer that for sure. He just knew that at some point, River Tam stopped being just a spooky, troubled child in his eyes and transformed into a strong, tough, beautiful but still admittedly spooky young woman. If he had to pick a moment though, he’d settle on that fateful day in The Maidenhead on Beaumonde. Where the Alliance had triggered her killer instinct conditioning they’d imparted into her and sent her on a rampage of the entire bar. But even after thoughtlessly and effortlessly beating the senses out of a couple dozen people, for some reason, she couldn’t take him down. There they stood, guns trained on each other but neither one fired, giving Simon his opening to rush in and command her to sleep.

Ever since that day, the scene had replayed itself hundreds and thousands of times inside his brain. It became a kind of obsession for him. Why did she hesitate? Why couldn’t she pull the trigger? It couldn’t just be that she recognized him because Jayne had attempted to stop her himself but like all the others, she calmly knocked him out and continued her assault. So what was it about him that made her stop? And what would have happened had Simon not been so Johnny on the spot to end her massacre? Would she have fired at all? Mal was not so sure. And as he watched her lying on the ground amongst the rest of the bodies she had taken down, he knew that he needed to be there for her. He couldn’t let her go and take the chance of her falling into the wrong hands. She needed to be protected. And Mal was going to do just that. At any cost, he was going to keep River safe.

“Sir? You awake?”

Mal was jolted from his trance and wheeled around to find his first mate Zoë Washburne entering the bridge holding a tray with two cups of tea on it.

“Hey Zoë. Yeah, I’m awake. Need some company?”

Zoë merely nodded her affirmation and set the tray down on the console between them. Both sipped from their tea in silence for a good long while before Zoë set her cup down and folder her arms across her chest.

“Okay sir, what’s going on between you and River?”

Mal choked a bit on his tea and went into a loud coughing fit that amazingly did not stir River from her slumber.

“Excuse me?”

“What is going on between you and River?” Zoë asked again coolly.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Zoë. What makes you think there’s something going on between River and me?” Mal said, laughing a bit at the notion.

“Well for one thing, you haven’t taken your eyes off of her since I got here.”

Mal instantly opened his mouth to respond but couldn’t come up with anything so he merely closed his mouth and shifted a bit in his seat and cleared this throat, all while his first mate and best friend stared a hole through him.

“Well sir? I’m waiting.”

“What exactly am I supposed to say Zoë?” Mal asked desperately, distractedly running his hand through his hair.

“The truth would be nice, sir.”

“There’s nothing between us Zoë!”

“Not yet there isn’t, I’ll believe that. But by the way you’ve been looking at her, it certainly seems like you would not be objecting to starting something between the two of you.”

Mal let out a mighty sigh, knowing he was not going to get out of this conversation in a favorable position and buried his face in his hands. He knew Zoë was right and that having River on his arm would not upset him any. But it didn’t stop him from feeling like a dirty, lecherous old man for having these kinds of thoughts for someone not yet of legal age.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do Zoë,” Mal finally said. “I certainly can’t deny that the girl lights something up inside of me and makes me want to be with her. But she’s only 17. Not to mention the fact that the doctor would probably put a scalpel through my trachea for messing with his sister. So I don’t know what’s going on.”

“How long has this been going on, sir?” Zoë asked, her voice taking on a far more gentle tone.

“Can’t say for sure Zoë. All I know is that sometime after that fight in the Maidenhead, I started seeing her differently. You remember that moment when I come down the elevator after broadwaving the Miranda message?”

“Vividly, sir. Not likely to forget anything about that day anytime soon.” Zoë said with a faint hint of sadness in her voice.

“Well when I came down and saw all of you lying there broken, but not beaten, the first thing I noticed was River wasn’t there. And for a second there, it felt like Serenity Valley all over again. It felt like I had lost everything. Sure, I got the message out but we lost River in order to make it happen. But then those blast doors opened and there she was with that axe and sword and all those dead Reavers lying around her and the rush of relief and affection I felt was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I was just so happy to see her and that she was alive and right then, I wanted nothing more than to run to her and hold her. And since then, every time I’ve seen her, that same feeling hits me.”

“So what do you plan on doing about it? You going to tell her about this?”

“Haven’t decided yet. I know that I care for her deeply and want to be there for her but I just don’t know if I actually can. She doesn’t deserve some broken, beat-down smuggler like me. She deserves someone who can take care of her and who can love her. And I’m not sure if I can do that anymore.” Mal said in such a soft voice he was practically saying it to himself.

“But what about you, sir? Don’t you deserve to have a little happiness in your life? I know you’ve had some pretty hard times, and it definitely has changed you. But in just watching the way you were looking at her a few minutes ago, I noticed something different from you. I haven’t seen your eyes sparkle like they were just now since before Serenity Valley. I’d say that’s a pretty telling sign that you’re capable of loving someone.” Zoë said gently, placing a comforting hand on Mal’s knee.

“Well what do you think? Should I tell her how I feel?”

“I can’t make that decision for you, sir. All I’ll say is that try to keep it out of your mind when with her because the girl is a mind reading genius after all.”

“Yeah, that’s crossed my mind. I’ve tried to keep myself in check but it’s hard to say just how much she hears.”

“For all you know, she could already know all about your feelings for her.”

Mal swallowed hard and nodded grimly, hoping that what Zoë was saying wasn’t actually true. Because if he did actually get up the guts to tell her how he felt, he wanted her to hear it from him and not from his head.

“Well, I’m heading to bed, sir. I suggest you do the same. Big job waiting for us on Beaumonde tomorrow.”

Zoë patted Mal on the knee as she rose and headed down the stairs towards her quarters. Mal lingered a bit longer on the bridge before rising and heading over to the footlockers near the entrance of the bridge. He opened one and pulled out a large army blanket before striding over to River and placing it over the young woman to keep her warm. As he tucked the blanket in around her, his hand brushed against her cheek and he let it linger there for a moment. And in the dim light of the console, Mal could swear he saw a tiny smile creep across her face. Mal then turned and headed for his bunk where he would dream sweet dreams about gorgeous young women wielding axes.


Monday, August 10, 2009 4:54 PM


Interesting plot line. I will continue to read and see about recommending it to a friend who is always desperate for Mal/River shiny goodness.


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