Nothing Goes as Planned in the 'Verse.

By Lady Cleo

All Disclaimers Apply.

He makes sure they don't look like her. Blondes, red heads, any kind of hair as long as it wasn't that rich color of brown. Can't be small and lithe and skinny, must be full figured, taller then her. And they can't have big round eyes that stare straight through a man's soul.

But sometimes it doesn't work, it doesn't matter.

When he closes his eyes he unconsciously imagines it's her beneath his fingertips. Creamy and pale skin that's soft to the touch. Long spindly legs, that wrap around him with a dancer's grace. And when his hands dive into hair he imagines it's long and wild brown waves that tumble over her shoulders.

He's caught himself moaning her name on occasion. They always ask what it means. Why did he say that? And he brushes them off with a dirty joke or a laugh. Can't admit it to himself, why should he admit it to them.

He doesn't like it, but he can't help it when he imagines it's her moaning beneath him. He would stop it if he could, but it's almost out of his control. He blames it on the dreams.

He doesn't dare choose a girl that even remotely looks like her, cuz that will remind him of his sick little fantasies. It could get back to the ship, and everybody could learn about his… well he wasn't sure what it was. But when a crazy girl slashes your chest and months later you find yourself dreaming about her in exotic settings, with her fingers exploring places no crazy girl should… well you don't go telling the world about it, much less your crewmates.

So he finds other outlets whenever he can afford them, whenever he can get away from the ship for an hour or two.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

He was fine when the dream settings were exotic beaches or desert moons, when the backgrounds were unrealistic; fancy hotel rooms he'd never known with threes types of champagne he'd never drunk and satin sheets the clung to sweaty bodies. After those he could find a woman to pay or a one night stand and forget about the fake unrealistic sex-with-the-crazy-girl dreams.

And it was enough at first.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

Addictions can weaken with denial… or they can grow.

Things change over time.

They get worse or better, one way or the other.

The setting became his bunk, always his bunk, and they wouldn't tumble through the sheets like they used to. The lighting was no longer bright starlit skies but the dark poor lighting of a space ship. The silence of music was replaced with hard grunts and long moans. Whispered words that he didn't understand pouring from her lips, her name drawn out from his own.

He would feel her nails digging into the flesh of his back, her teeth biting into his shoulder, her legs clamping around his waist. And he would wake in a cold sweat, expecting to find her draped over his body, Mal climbing down the stairs and demanding to know what the hell was going on.

But it never happened.

He'd always wake up very much alone and he'd check the mirror for the bite mark on his shoulder, imprints from her nails down his back. But the only mark she'd ever left was the one across his chest that was fading slowly over time.

Suddenly the women that made up for the dreams weren't enough. He'd come back to the ship just as tense and moody. He would catch the crew joking about how he probably had gotten any.

The dreams didn't stop coming, and he gave up trying to subvert them with other women. Instead he focused on just keeping his hands off the thing that his entire psyche and body screamed for.

He avoided her like she was a reaver. Never sat within her field of view, never looked her in the eyes. He never came within a decent speaking distance, much less touching. He avoided the infirmary and the guest quarters like they were plague ridden, jumped at any chance to get off ship and away from her. He'd bitch and moan whenever Mal wanted to leave him on the ship to such a point that the captain never even asked anymore, just assumed that he was coming with him. And that was fine with him, just as long as he didn't have to see her, hear her. If he could avoid her enough maybe he might be able to stop them from coming.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

And the dreams got worse.

More detailed then before, longer then before and in different familiar places; the infirmary, the cargo bay, the dinning room, the guest quarters, the pilot's chair. Places that with other women he may have considered fun, but with her were dangerous and almost exotic nightmares.

He would wake up shaking, trembling with fear, unable to get back to sleep. It was getting harder and harder to even close his eyes for a second.

Doc asked if he was sleeping okay, offered to provide a drug to help him.

Kaylee made a comment about the bags under his eyes.

Book said he should try to get some rest, recommend a tea.

Inara offered some herbal spices and some of those smelly sticks she called incense.

Wash joked about him being haunted. And when no smart ass comment followed, Wash frowned and added worriedly that he really outta see about getting some shut eye.

Zoe cornered and grilled him on the subject in her quite manner, her eyes threatened that if this started getting in the way of work she would make sure he got enough sleep, forcibly if need be.

Mal asked if there was anything he wanted to talk about, and when no answer came ordered him to get some rest.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

He broke down when he almost passed out. Talked to the doc, asked if he could give him anything that would knock him out into a dreamless sleep.

Drug gave him a week of good uninterrupted sleep, no dreams no nothing. He got back on his feet, started thinkin that everything would be fine.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

Addicted, Doc said, no more for you. Locked up his supplies, gave the mercenary something weaker to wean him off the drug.

But it didn't work.

The sleepless nights returned and the crew began to worry. They talked about him behind his back, cornered him in the dinning room, demanded to know what haunted their mercenary. And when he wouldn't talk, Mal threatened to throw him out the airlock, ordered him to put an end to his problems.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

He didn't know how to fix his problem without the drugs. It was the only thing keeping her outta his head at night.

Broke into the meds, got the name of the drug. Not stupid enough to steal from the doc. Went of on his own, got a supply for himself and silenced the stares and the worry.

Sleep returned. One pill… Two pills… Three pills… No Dreams… Lost track of the days and the nights… lived in a beautiful blur of silence.

Things almost returned to normal.

Until he woke up in the infirmary, Mal and Doc leaning over him; one was looking pissed, other looking concerned.

Overdose, where'd you get…

Stupid inbred…

Should've consulted….

What the hell is wrong…

Blocked out their voices, closed his eyes. Imagined himself somewhere else, anywhere else, imagined putting an end to the questions and pain. Knew then that he needed to get off the ship, knew that his only escape would be to leave Serenity. He was starting to think that anything would be a better deal now, own bunk and kitchen privileges weren't what they used to be.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

He fought off their questions, avoided the glances, and assured them he wouldn't take the drugs again. Even let the doc keep a monitor on him. He went sleepless for another week until they hit port.

He never was one for friendly goodbyes, preferred them blunt and painful like they ought to be. Wasn't planning on leaving any note, had always told Mal that one day something better would come along and he'd be gone, either quietly or in a burst of gunfire.

Planned it all, offered to stay on the ship with River and Book. Waited till he knew that they were both preoccupied and headed towards his bunk to grab his guns and go, slip off the ship while no one was looking.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

She stood in the hallway, blocking the path to his bunk, large eyes watching him intently as if she'd known of his dreams all along.

She took a step forward… He took a step back…

They moved in their silent dance in a reversal of roles, him dazed and confused while she appeared confident and sure. He wasn't sure how long it lasted until his back hit a wall and forced a stop to his side of the dance, but she moved forward and forward, and closer and closer. Until her body had to have been but a hair's width away, nearly touching.

His eyes narrowed in on her lips, recalling a thousand dreams where they had played across his skin, tasting his own. His hands clutched at the wall, already knowing every curve, begging to taste the real thing when they ought to have strangled, pushed her away, thrown her across the hall, or done anything and everything to get away from her.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.

She rose to her tiptoes, hands slipped up his arms, curving around his shoulder blades, bodies now touching in every place possible.

He closed his eyes and hoped to god it was a dream. Felt her lips touch his collar bone gently as her nails dug into his t-shirt. Felt his body scream to take action, felt his fear growing and seizing his pounding heart and his body reacting as it ought not to when cornered by a crazy girl. Felt his mind push around the acceptable options and knew that he was screwed.

But if he had to go down it would be in a blaze of fire whole heartedly into his destruction, not looking back over his shoulder, no looking back.

His hands jumped from wall to her waist and he flipped them around, his body pressing her against the wall. Eyes flashed open to watch her reaction, hands gripped her legs to wrap them around his waist as his weight kept her smaller form supported against the wall.

You don't kiss a woman; it means emotional attachment, opens you up for hurt and pain. He's told himself that a thousand times over and had never broken his rule. Lips, not eyes, are the personal keys to a lover's soul. Yet he'd lost all control and he realized it when he leaned his head down, breaking his own primary rule by kissing her. They were bruising kisses delivered with an unchecked ferocity that sent spikes of pain and pleasure down his spine. Tasting and moaning all at once. Exploring the curves of her mouth and unconsciously loving every moment.

The sound of footsteps on grating broke through the haze he'd created and he jumped away from her. Leaving the girl to lean panting against the wall he retreated to hide from her in his bunk.

He was lost and confused, unsure of his own actions.

He splashed his face with cool water from the sink, paced his bunk like a caged animal and collected his thoughts. It's wrong, all wrong. Touching her, feeling her, all wrong. He'd lost his chance to escape… but, next port, next port they hit he'd leave, no stopping him next time. Leave before it got too bad.

But nothing ever goes as planned in the 'Verse.