This author does not own Firefly's characters, and this work produces no profit.

River's Experiments

I am River.

I am Serenity.

I am whatever I wish to be.

It is a strange feeling, being other things. When I frightened the bounty hunter Early so badly, it was a pretense...but later, during my long nights of mental wanderings, I began to wonder if such a thing were possible. These experiments began carefully; I sent only small pieces of my consciousness into very specific objects. I practiced by choosing something in a different area of the ship, detecting the activity there through my expanded awareness and checking it against the facts later. It wasn't until after months of practice that I learned to enter the consciousness of a human...just another one of many things about me my companions on Serenity must never know.

Ship's night is quiet. Most of the crew are usually in their bunks, except for someone keeping watch at the controls. It's the perfect time for me to stroll through Serenity with my mind; sampling all of the different vessels available. It steadies my mind, rather than causing the disorientation I feared. It's as if I can pour liquid into a new cup each time the one I'm in starts to crack.

I curl up comfortably in my own bunk, my head propped on my favorite warm blanket, and close my eyes. Outward, drifting through the air, exiting the compartment and finding the next. It's Mal...he's asleep but dreaming, and he has an erection. I like that. I like to enter their dreams when they are aroused, be them in their dreams. The flow is different from that of their conscious minds...and the subject matter less inhibited. I enter him, knowing what I'm likely to find.

Inara's offered me tea, but I haven't touched my cup. I watch her crimson lips touch the rim of hers, every movement graceful, and I can't wait one more second to see her disarranged. With one hand I knock over the tea table, and with the other hand I tear open the front of her exquisitely embroidered robe, exposing the breasts men pay so high to see, her startled gasp music to me. I'm on top of her, in her, she's murmuring words I can't understand, I only feel silk and smoothness and oh god her skin and oh god her face and

I leave him, satisfied that I know where he's going. I decide to check on Inara to see if (as is often true) her dreams and desires are paralleling his to some degree. Sure enough...back in my bunk, my mouth quirks into a grin. Inara, you naughty, naughty girl.

On all fours, my hands bound behind my back, my face pressed against the cushions by his firm hand on the back of my neck, I must accept his harsh thrusts inside me. He fucks me with no hesitation, no finesse, only want. "I'm going to fuck you so hard, Inara," he growls. "You'll remember this when you're with your next client, remember how good it feels to be mine," and I know I will, if I let my focus slip, because this feels so fucking good. No need to observe or flatter, no diplomacy, just me and this moment and being fucked and taken and the feel of him and the sound of his voice and I'm

And I'm disengaged from her, moving on as I did from Mal, because I find another's moment of orgasm unsettling. I experienced it when I began doing this, and it left me oddly shaken. I prefer to observe the process, savor the psychology and imagery of it. So I take a moment to stretch my own body, and wonder if I could fall asleep. No, not yet. I want to look in on Wash in the control room...oh, he's not alone there tonight, is he? Looks like Zoe is keeping him company, straddling him in his pilot's chair as he thrusts up into her. Sharing consciousness during awake sex is very different, more random thoughts tend to come in. There's a constant internal dialogue, except at the most intense moments.

Physiological signs indicate that Zoe has experienced one or more climaxes already. Her expression is relaxed, and when I enter her thoughts they drift contentedly, in small man, always my man, his arms feel so good, need some sleep soon, mmm he's getting closer now, love to feel him this way...and Wash is still building towards orgasm, his thoughts more intense and primal but overlaid with a faint worry about someone walking in.

As it often does, listening in on the two of them makes me feel a ghost of their contentment. The phenomenon of pair-bonding is interesting to me, though it is hard to imagine myself ever experiencing it. Perhaps I should let this lull me and be the end of my night's journey; I am so close to sleep...but after five minutes, I know I am not there yet. Well, there are others to check on.

Not Simon. I tend to stay out of his dreams. Logically, I know my brother is a sexual being, but enough childhood bias lingers to make me uncomfortable with seeing too much of it. He's most likely having some kind of hero fantasy involving Kaylee...ah, even as I think Kaylee's name I notice that she's having quite a dream. Not the first, either; her sexuality has an innocent and unselfconscious abandon that is refreshing.

Hands, firm and demanding, arranging me as they wish. On my knees, Mal sprawled under me, sucking on my nipples, his eager cock rubbing against my belly, keeping my senses overwhelmed as Jayne thrusts into me from behind, growling and grunting enthusiastically as I moan around Simon's cock in my mouth. Simon's hand in my hair, his voice whispering all the filthy things he would never actually say, him and Jayne calling me their little slut and toy and telling me how good I feel. Me on my back, leaning against Jayne with his rough hands on my breasts, the others using their mouths on me, devouring me and keeping me primed until they are ready again and Jayne murmurs into my ear that I'm theirs all night, theirs whenever they want me, their own.

When I first began to listen in to Kaylee, I didn't understand. I was worried at the rough, possessive imagery in her dreams, especially since she had been traumatized by her encounter with Early. But I came to see that her fantasies aren't about being used or abused at all; on the contrary, the feelings of safety are an important part of them. The men are always these men, the men she knows would never harm her. In the dreams they desire her and she is precious to them.

She trusts them all, even Jayne. I trust Jayne more than I used to. I don't know what his thoughts were like before Ariel, but I know them now, and in his crude way he cares. He'd fight for us, die for us. Even me. He might sometimes want to kill me himself, but he wouldn't let anyone else do it.

The first time I entered his dreams, I wondered what I would find. Whether he was as rough as his speech implied. But I found his sexual thoughts to be straightforward; almost nonverbal. Reaching out to him now, I see him sprawled on his back, fisting his hard cock in one of his frequent masturbation sessions. Short flashes of images go through his head as he works himself toward orgasm. Inara's smooth thighs...Kaylee's cute little mouth...Zoe's proud breasts...Zoe and Kaylee...Inara and Kaylee...Zoe, Inara and Kaylee, rubbing sinuously against one another. Flashes of sensation; taste of sweat, contours of a hard nipple against my tongue.

He's very close to orgasm, a sheen of sweat on his skin and the muscles of his lower abdomen and inner thighs contracting in irregular spasms. But he's not quite going over the edge. He stops his pumping for a moment, growling in frustration, and considers giving up and going to sleep. Deciding against it, he starts again, his mind reaching harder for a more detailed image that will work-

That blond whore on Beaumont saying dirty things in my ear, her big tits rubbing on my chest. Going into the engine room and fucking Kaylee bent over the converter. Inara dancing naked in the mess room, smoldering her eyes at me. Gorram it, this ain't working tonight. Need someone here, something else-

And my eyes fly open at an image more shocking than the crudest fucking I've witnessed-

Dark eyes. Pale face. Peeking round the corner. Watching me. Curious eyes. Dark eyes oh damn that's it look at me watch this yes oh yes

And I'm frozen with astonishment, I can't untangle myself from his mind in time, and his/my thighs quiver and his/my eyes screw shut...I cry out in my bunk, caught in a pulsing, blinding moment of orgasm, staring into a pair of dark eyes.

My eyes.