Another sentimental argument

And bitter love

Fucked without a kiss again

And dragged it through the mud

He's scared. Not of her. He has no reason to fear her. On the outside, she's just a skinny, crazy, sixteen year old girl. Fragile. Frail. There's nothing a tough gunslinger like him has to fear from that. On the inside, she's different. A weapon, something to be feared and avoided. But that still doesn't scare him. He's a weapon in his own right; not as carefully trained and honed as she is, but he can hold his own. His fear twists him and makes him sweat. He hates it, hates her. He's not afraid of her. He's afraid of what she's becoming.

She was never anything more to him than an idea. Crazy sister, crazy dancer, crazy fugitive, crazy weapon. Nothing solid. Nothing tangible. For a while she was money. She was good money, and he was too tempted by the money she was to leave her in peace. But that didn't work out well from any of the involved parties, so she went back to being an idea. He saw her, but he never touched her. Grabbed her arm once or twice, pulled her out of the way a few times, but never touched her mind. She wasn't really there. But she's changing.

It's his own fault, and he hates it. He's making her into something she has never been before, at least not in his mind. He's making her a girl. A real, flesh and blood, breathing, living girl. Through his actions and his thoughts he's pumping blood into veins that hadn't existed previously. He's creating feet that can brush the floor. He's making eyes that blink, and hair that moves when she dances. He's forming a girl out of what was only a stream of thought.

He doesn't want to do it. It makes him uncomfortable, makes him angry, makes him scared. But no matter how hard he tries, he can't stop it. He's giving her reality, and he can't pull it back. A strong chord connects them, and tangibility is flowing from him to her. He's not scared of her now. But once she becomes a girl, he will be. He'll be afraid of her because once she's real, it's all real. Everything has new meaning, and everything he was sure existed will change. He doesn't want her to be real.

He's tough. He doesn't feel things the way other people do, and certainly not about her. But if she's real, then everything is real. A steady dread builds in his chest, as the day draws nearer. The momentous, terrible day when she crosses over. When she ceases to be an idea floating about the ship, and sets her two real feet on the real floor and looks at him through real eyes. He's not sure if he'll be able to stand it, being looked at by her. She's vaguely incorporeal now, a thought that might vanish at any time. But she's going to be real soon, and she'll be here to stay.

She's not sure what it will be like. She hasn't been real for a long time, and she doesn't really remember how it feels. She's not even sure she wants to be real. There's something soothing about drifting, being unaccountable to the universe. But on the subject of her imminent reality, she's just as powerless as he. He can't stop making her real, and she can't stop him either. She wiggles her toes sometimes, and notices that they cast shadows. Did they do that before? She doesn't think so. It must be a sign of reality. A symptom.

She's not frightened of him. She knows that he's bigger, more muscular, older, more experienced. But she's more powerful, better trained, more flexible. She's not frightened of him, as most would think she should be. There are more ways she could kill him than most people can count, and she can name them all. Most would take less than a second. Some he wouldn't even notice until he was dead. She's not frightened of him; but she is frightened of his power. This power to make her real is intriguing and disturbing all at once. She doesn't know if she should thank him for this gift, or rage at him for this curse.

Every time he glances in her direction, she gets to be a little more solid. Every time he speaks her name, it belongs to her even more. Every time he comes in contact with her, she feels more grounded. He has an awesome power, and she's not sure if she should trust it. She doesn't know if he can handle it. She's not sure if the process will be reversible. Once she's real, will she be able to wink out of existence again? Will his shame destroy her?

He desperately wants her to stop becoming real. The realer she gets, the realer his actions become. He liked it better when she was an idea. An idea that was money. He couldn't hurt an idea, for it was merely a concept. He couldn't betray an idea. How could he do that to a real girl? She wasn't a real girl when he did it, but somehow he knows that won't matter once she is real.

Will he be able to face her? Will he be able to face himself?

Will she be able to look into his eyes? Will she be able to see her reflection, and know that the girl in the mirror is real?

Every day and in every way, River is getting realer.

Every day and in every way, Jayne is making her realer.

Every day and in every way, the time is coming closer. They will meet soon, face to face, for the first time.

A very real boy and a very real girl.

Where do we go from here

And what did you do with directions

Promise me no dead end streets

And I'll guarantee we'll have the road.

All characters belong to Joss Whedon. The opening/closing lyrics are from the song "Worry Rock" by Green Day