Before She Floats Away
a Firefly story
by dirty diana

Written for the contrelamontre poetry challenge in thirty minutes.

in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
~somewhere i have never travelled by e. e. cummings

You wake up with River in your arms, and she is screaming. Softly you stroke her hair, to quiet her. If Simon hears her and comes running, first will come the drugs, harsh sedatives which make her pale. Then the lecture. Too fragile, too soon, too young. You whisper into her ear to still her cries.

"River, sweetie," your hands trail across her hips, damp with sweat, "shhh. It's okay. Ain't nobody here but me, bao bei."

She rolls over to look at you, lips trembling and dark eyes wide. "Kaylee? They came. I couldn't...."

"Nobody but me," you repeat, as you wrap your arms around her, to stop her shaking. She is so slender in our arms, so delicate, as if all the pieces of her are trying to escape from your grasp.

She melts into your mouth when you kiss her. Too fragile, too soon, too young, Simon would say, and he'd be right but he'd be wrong too. Nobody is as strong as River, nobody needs to be. She knew before you did.

"They came," River whispers desperately.

"Ain't nobody here but me," you answer, breath brushing her neck. You kiss her there, along the pale milky skin of her throat, along her shoulders. Your tongue traces a path to her breast, licking at the pinkness of her nipples, teasing them to hard points in your mouth. River gasps, and closes her eyes in the dark.

"Nobody?" she whispers.

"Not a soul," you answer, and your hands are all over her body, everywhere, reaching for her before she floats away. You cup her buttocks and pull her towards you, hard, your bare thigh thrust between her legs. River is soft against your skin, and damp all over.

She leans up to kiss you, her tongue sure and wet in your mouth, lips gentle. She moans against your mouth when your fingers slip inside her. Your rhythm is slow and easy, as she pushes her body against you, demanding more, breathing harder, until she bites her lip and climaxes, in a long gentle wave, trembling in your hand.

"Nobody," she whispers as you kiss her.

"Nobody but me," you answer, and hold her in your arms until she falls asleep.