"They're too tight," River says. "I'll turn the colour of blueberries, and float away."
"They have to be tight," you answer. "Otherwise the pants'll fall off."
You are grinning. It's been months since you've landed anywhere exciting, and weeks since you've landed anywhere at all. You can't wait to get off Serenity and explore the main city of the planet Athena. Breathe some fresh air, meet new people. Everyone's dying to go. But there'd been just one problem.
"You ain't getting off this ship," Mal had told Simon at dinner last night. His expression was set in stone and invited no argument. "Ain't a chance in the 'verse. You ain't, and she ain't. 'Specially her." He pointed at River. "This here's a core planet. I just want to drop this cargo, refuel, and go. I got no plans to come rescue you from the gorram Alliance."
Simon has never really been intimidated by the captain. But he picks his fights. This wasn't one of them. He nodded, and resumed eating. It is River who spoke up. "The Alliance are looking for River Tam."
"They certainly are," Mal agreed dryly. "What with there bein' that warrant out for your arrest an' all."
"If River isn't there," she explained slowly, as if to a child, "then the Alliance can't find her."
Jayne grunted. "Yeah? You plannin' to turn into the ship again?"
But you understood the idea, and seized it. "It's perfect. I'll get her dressed up , cap'n. No one'll recognize her. She sure won't match the picture on the warrant."
"I suppose that might work." Mal chuckled, amused. "What about you, doc? You gonna put on a fancy disguise?"
Simon's mouth curled a faint smile. "I think I'll just stay on the ship, captain. The rest of you can go on and have your fun." He looked straight at Jayne as he said this. You suspect that Jayne will find a reason to stay on the ship too.
"I'm going to take my wife shopping," Wash announced to the table. "Buy her something nice."
Zoe smiled indulgently at her husband. "I didn't know we had any money, dear."
"Well," Wash admitted, "we don't."
It is Wash's closet that you have raided to find clothes for River. Things you don't think you've ever seen him wear, grey slacks and a matching vest, white buttondown shirt. Suspenders with dinosuars on them, that make you both laugh. You have reached around her slim waist and pulled the suspenders as tight as you can, and that's why River is complaining. The shirt, on the other hand, is too big for her, and you roll up the sleeves to expose her slender white hands. Then the vest, then the finishing touch, a black bowler hat. You pile her long hair on top of her head and pull the hat on. With her hair out of the way, you can see all the bones in her china face. Only dark eyes, staring at you out from under long eyelashes, remind you that she is not as fragile as she looks. She looks like Simon, you think for the briefest moment.
"Well, look at you. Ain't you the picture of a gentleman."
She smiles gently, and takes a perfect bow.
"And manners! Folks will be callin' you 'sir', and 'mister'."
River giggles, and the movement causes the hat to jerk off her head and onto the floor. Her hair spills down around her shoulders. You sigh in mock exasperation, and push her onto the bed with a laugh.
"Well, some gentleman, havin' all that girly hair. We'll have to cut it off."
River runs a hand through her chestnut locks, considering them in wonder. "Would you like that?"
You smile at her, squirming beneath you, and lean over to kiss her briefly on the mouth. "I might."
"I bet you would." In one strong movement, River rolls over, taking you with her, so that she is the one straddling you, her weight sitting warm on your thighs. "Like it, if I was a gentleman. A real gentleman, with expensive suits and..." She thrusts her hips against yours, to make it clear what she means. "I'd take you to the best shops in the city and buy you the prettiest dresses. All pink and satin. You'd look like a lady. Then I'd put on my best suit, and take you to dinner and dancing. Would you like that?"
"I don't know how to dance," you protest.
"Dancing is easy. It's math. Anyone can dance. " She falls on top of you, grabbing you with one arm round the waist and taking your right hand in hers, as if leading you in a waltz. "I would lead you around the dance floor and everyone would stop to watch. And everyone would want to dance with you, but they couldn't, because you'd be mine. And then I'd take you home and tear off your pretty dress and fuck you. Would you like that?"
She has let go of the dance pose, and reached both hands underneath your shirt. You breathe in sharply. Her hands are warm on your breasts, circling the nipples until they stand up hard against her fingers. You can't find the words to speak, and so you nod.
"I'd spend the whole night...I'd spend the whole night inside of you. So hard and so strong that you wouldn't know anything else." She brings her mouth down on yours, hard. You clutch at her with both hands, feeling the smooth firmness of her ass underneath the rough fabric of the grey slacks. She pushes her hips against you, making you cry out loud.
"I'd fuck you over and over," River whispers in your ear, "and sometimes I'd hurt you, just a little. And you'd beg me for more. I could make you beg. Couldn't I, Kaylee?"
She is pulling down your cargo pants, reaching inside your panties, finding the answer to her question. She pushes apart your thighs and reaches inside, making you moan.
"Shh," she chides you. "Not yet. It's not time to beg." And she reaches down and licks your wetness. The
pressure of her tongue against you steadily increases its rhythm, and you wonder hazily if this too is math, for River.
You close your eyes, and the world implodes. You disappear, for just a moment. When you return, to the ship, this room, this bed here with this beautiful girl, you feel weighed down. All the energy in the 'verse has come to rest in the pit of your belly, filling you with warmth. "River," you whisper, reaching out for her, needing to pull her to you and hold her against you.
"Not River," she whispers, dark eyes bright and burning a hole in your skin. She wraps herself around your half-naked body, and the cheap wool of her suit scratches your skin. "River's not here. They'll never find her."
You brush her long hair out of her face, and kiss her softly.