Forthe joss100 Fic challenge at livejournal.

The first six can be found here, in The Wizard of Odd and Other Stories, or at my livejournal Writwritewrote


Title: Dreaming
Prompt: 007 – Lust (list 2)
Word Count: 529
Progress: 7/100

Summary: It was safe to want her, because she was so far above him there'd never be no danger he'd get what he wanted.

DREAMING

He wanted her from the minute he saw her, although he hated admitting it. Inara weren't the type of woman he was normally attracted to – she was too perfect. He supposed that was part of her allure, because perfection was something he surely lacked in his every day life.

She was controlled too. It weren't hard to see how beautiful she was, or how her skin looked like peaches. He supposed she was purt'near the most beautiful woman he ever did see. And who-ee, did he like riling her. Her dark eyes would flash and her red lips would purse up in such a way as to get a man all hot and bothered. He supposed she knew it too.

He'd thought on what it would be like to bed her; to mess that cool perfection some. He'd though on it. Used to be, he'd dreamt about it too – dreamt of her skin and her hair; her lips and her eyes; her legs and her arms: such wicked, wonderful dreams.

Now she was back and he was thinking about her again – not that he'd ever stopped. Not really. It had tickled his perverse nature some to keep imagining her in his bed, under him and over him, even after she'd left. It was safe to want her, because she was so far above him there'd never be no danger he'd get what he wanted.

Things was different now, though. Inara was back and he still thought on her, but he didn't dream of her. Not true dreams; the kind that seemed so real you'd wake up with an aching deep in your belly, reaching out for a person that weren't there. Not real dreams; the kind that had you so hot and hard you woke up sighing and cursing the lack of cold showers on the gorram boat, even as your callused hand eased some of the pressure.

Inara was back and he still wanted her, but not like he had before. She was still perfect in every way, but he didn't crave that perfection no more. He didn't find it as interesting as he once had; weren't so enthralled by it as he'd been. And, as was befitting that perverse nature of his – the one that always had him wanting things he knew he could never have – the dreams that disturbed him now were of River.

She weren't perfect – far from it. She weren't cool or poised or even beautiful in the way that Inara was, but there was something about her that was special. He'd thought maybe it was the fact she was broken like him, until it had occurred to him the she weren't so broken any more. She was putting back the pieces the Alliance had so ruthlessly stripped away and he found himself fascinated by the way those pieces seemed to fit.

Even though Inara was back, it didn't really matter no more – not the way if would have, if she'd come back when he was still dreaming on her. Because wanting someone and dreaming about someone were two totally different things and Mal had finally realized it was the dreaming that mattered.


Title: VOWS
Prompt: 008 – Hate (list 2)
Word Count: 758
Progress: 8/100

Summary: She knows when he's having nightmares and can pick the thoughts of dead people outta the air. Only stands to reason she knows what he thinks about sometimes when he looks at her.

VOWS

He hates the fact that he seems to want her. He really hates the fact she probably knows it too. How can she not? She is a gorram reader, after all. She knows when he's having nightmares and can pick the thoughts of dead people outta the air. Only stands to reason she knows what he thinks about sometimes when he looks at her.

To her credit, though, she pretends she don't. She affords him some dignity at least. He don't know what he'd do or say if she ever confronted him with the fact that he dreams of her in ways that aren't entirely appropriate.

He knows what Simon would do to him, if he ever even thought Mal wanted his sister as more than just another pilot. Doc would shoot him full 'a drugs and then shove him out the airlock. He'd be justified in doing it, too.

Jayne, on the other hand, would probably clap him on the back and say something crude like, "Does she moan your name when you dream about her like she does mine when I dream about her?" The thought makes him shudder.

Sometimes he hates her, for the way she has grown up seemingly overnight. She was easier to deal with when she was just a scared, crazy kid. It was easier for him to justify his interest in her when she was just a little girl who had been brutalized by the government he hated. He could tell himself helping her was a way of thumbing his nose at the Alliance, but he knew it weren't true. Might 'a been part of the reason, when he first met her and her brother, but that was it.

He knew he'd had feelings for her from the first moment he'd seen her. He'd felt protective for her 'a course – ain't no man in the 'verse who called himself a man wouldn't 'a felt that way. She'd been so scared and so vulnerable. He tried to forget the fact she'd been so…naked.

When she'd been at the height or her crazy, he'd found her intriguing. She might 'a been nuts, but it wasn't a nonsensical kind of nuts. Even when no one else knew what she was talking about he could sorta understand her. It was downright disconcerting.

He'd watch her sometimes and think to himself, 'I know her, somehow.' Seemed to him there'd been something about her he'd recognized from the start. He'd begun thinking of her as his pretty much from the minute she'd stepped outta that box, screaming.

He rationalized it away be telling himself she was part 'a his crew, but that excuse held no water. She hadn't really been part 'a the crew until after Miranda. He knew he had no right to think of her that way at all. She had no right to make him think of her as anything other than the Doc's sister and his sometime-pilot.

The late evening coffee sessions in the kitchen didn't help none. Made her more his, if the truth be told. Last night, his dreams had woken him up like they always did and he'd been glad for it, because he knew it meant she'd be in the kitchen waiting for him with a hot cup of coffee.

For the first time he'd sat on the sofa instead of the chair at the head of the table to drink it, and he hadn't protested when she had come to sit beside him. He'd put his free arm around her shoulders and she'd cuddled into him as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Her head had felt right, resting on his chest. His hand had stroked the silk of her hair.

Even after his coffee was long gone, they'd remained sitting there. The silence had been as comfortable as her slight weight, burning against him. He'd sat there, with an empty cup in one hand and her hair in the other and tried to memorize the rhythm of her heartbeat.

When he'd finally managed to make it back to his bunk, he'd fallen into a fitful sleep, the space against his side where she had been was empty without her. He vowed that morning when he woke up - irritable and still missing her heat - the midnight coffees would have to stop.

They would stop – starting that very night.

He smiles at her when he enters the kitchen tonight and realizes he hates himself for not being strong enough to stay away.


Title: FLYING
Prompt: 009 – Love (list 2)
Word Count: 988
Progress: 8/100

Summary: "Is it love that makes you fly too?"

FLYING

"You told her it was love that kept Serenity flying," she says to him one night. He can feel the movement of her jaw against his chest and shivers at the way it makes him feel. His coffee is luke-warm now, because he doesn't want to finish drinking it. He knows the longer it takes him, the longer he has a valid reason for staying there with her. The coffee's just an excuse now anyway for searching her out in the middle of the night.

He doesn't respond to her statement, because he don't quite get what she's saying. She sighs. "Is it love that makes you fly too?"

Mal blinks. "What?"

"Love. Love of the 'verse; love of the black – is it love that keeps you flying, or is it love that keeps you running away?" She's sat up somewhat, so that she's facing him. Her boney little elbow is digging against his rib cage and it ain't pleasurable. Don't make him near as uncomfortable as her questions, though.

"I don't run away from anything, little Albatross," he growls.

"Do so," she whispers. "Run away from your Albatross all the time in your mind. Is she so scary?" Her eyes are dark and serious, her expression just a little sad. "She doesn't want you to run away any more. Wonders if you'll ever let yourself be caught."

"It's not – I don't…I'm sitting with you right now, little girl."

"You're sitting with her, pretending she's a little girl even though you know she's ready to be a woman. You want her because she knows you but you think she's too young; that maybe what she knows will force her away one day. It won't. You know her too, even though you pretend you don't."

She's shifted again, her face inches from his own. He can feel her words brush across his face and it makes him ache. "You've taught her, so many things – won't you teach her how to be a woman, too? She was made to fit."

Her words leave him breathless and hot, his pulse-pounding and his heart beating so rapidly he wonders if she hears it. One of her hands his lifted to his chest and she smiles when she feels the rhythm of his heart. "Your heart wants to break free of its cage and fly with hers. Will you give her the key?"

She smells like sunshine; reminds him of his home back on Shadow, in the spring time when green things were just starting to grow again, reaching up to the heat of the sun. He wonders how that can be until she inches up and kisses him softly.

She pulls away and smiles shyly, her tongue peeking out and gliding across her bottom lip as if she's trying to taste him again, before she leans up for another kiss. He can't help but to meet her.

Her lips are soft and full and they feel so right against his mouth. His hands have come up to tangle in her hair and he grips it, angling her against him so he can kiss her more fully. He can feel her breath mingling with his own as he sweeps his tongue along the seam of her lips, entering her mouth and finally tasting the silk of her tongue.

He can hear the scrape of his stubble against her tender flesh as he pulls away from her mouth to kiss both eyes, before he buries his head against her neck and tastes the pulse-point at the base.

Her hands are in his hair, clutching at his head, pulling his mouth back to hers. He can't think when she arches into him like that and moans his name – forgets they are in the kitchen and even though it's two in the morning, someone could still wander in. Can't muster up any of the reasons this shouldn't be happening when she climbs into his lap and straddles his waist with the long legs he so admires.

The pink peasant dress she is wearing has slipped from her shoulder, leaving it bare. He can't help but stroke it. His hand slides against her skin before his fingers dip into the neckline and brush across the gentle swell of her curves. Just a bit lower and he could cup his callused palms around them and stroke her nipples with his thumbs. The thought makes him groan into her mouth as he lifts his hips more firmly into the cradle of her thighs.

She's filled out some since the first time her saw her, all curled up in that big silver box. Then she'd been just a girl, done wrong by too many men intent on harming her. He'd promised himself then he wouldn't ever be one of them.

He rises against her core again, feeling the heat between them, the sweet friction of cloth against skin and wonders what it would be like to bury himself inside that heat and share it with her.

He'd never thought he would ever want this little girl the way he wants her now – naked and writhing beneath him; gasping his name as he joins her and teaches her how to pleasure a man.

Never thought his little Albatross would ever make him feel like he was flying…

With a muffled curse he's got her off his lap and is on his feet so quick he don't even have time to register her little cry of dismay. It's painful to walk away from her, when every atom of his being demands he turn around and finish what she'd started when she kissed him. He knows he can't.

She ain't ready - won't ever be ready for the likes of him. She's had enough men hurt her and he refuses to add himself to the ranks.

She don't need his darkness inside her. He loves her too much to do that to her.