River dreamed of Wash that night. They were piloting Serenity together. He sat in his old seat, the one she'd taken over once the captain was comfortable with her skills, and she was riding co-pilot. They talked about everyday things, laughing together while he told her stories about when he first met Zoë and how he'd finally wooed her.
He looked over at her and smiled. "You're doing a good job. You can keep her flying. You can keep them all flying." Dream Wash guided the controls toward the rusty atmosphere of a planet she couldn't immediately recognize, and his movements were so graceful and sure that he seemed a part of the ship.
As dreams often do, time passed in a blurry haze and she found herself walking with the pilot down a dusty moonlit road, neat rows of ready to harvest corn on either side. She felt his hand on her shoulder and she turned to face him. "When the time comes, don't let anyone tell you that it isn't right. Don't let them tell you that the gap is too big. Space is a void and we cross it all the time." He turned and started down the road toward the sunrise. Just before he disappeared into the growing light, he turned around again and called back to her, "Tell Zoë I love her, and tell her that she can pick up her birthday present from the doc."
The dream stopped and her eyes opened, the transition between the two states happening as naturally as walking from one room to another. As a child, River had always been slow to wake, always savoring that floating sensation of being partly awake and partly lost in the land of dreams. That was yet another thing that the Academy had stolen from her. The fragmentation of her mind had been in order to bring the intuitive side of her nature to the front, to force her to use more of her brain.
She knew that her dreams were a new side to being a reader. Her adventures in meditation had allowed her to encourage the less urgent flashes to visit in her dreams. Long term trouble or benefit always came to her during her sleep cycle. Between her journal and the dreams, she was able to keep the madness at bay and be receptive to the sudden fits of knowledge that had already saved the crew a couple of times, as well as pointing them toward the occasional goldmine of a job. She would always seem a little off to most people, but she'd been unusual enough as a child that it was nothing new for her.
River wrote down what Wash had said in her journal, underlying the words; gap, space, void, and "We cross them all the time." She thought about the last part dream and what it would mean to the crew. She would tell Zoë about the dream and let her make her own decisions about how to explain it to the captain.
Shaking her head, she got out of bed. She tugged her blue nightgown over her head and tossed it into a slinky heap on the bunk and slipped quickly into the leggings and long shirt that the captain preferred she wear when actively pursuing piloting duties. It was time for her to go land this boat and work on her people skills.
Serenity had set down on Persephone for supplies upon completion of their last job. After delivering the goods, Mal decided to let the crew have a couple of days break planet side. Badger had hinted a little bit at the prospect of a job, and the good captain wasn't above using the little rodents newfound crush on River to get them work. Mal was pretty sure that River could handle the sleazy little man and keep him muddled enough to forget to screw them over.
Jayne had shocked the captain when he had volunteered to spend the first day keeping the ship company, considering he had always been the first to rush off to spend his part of the take in the first alcohol serving brothel he could find.
After getting a promise to have dinner delivered from Zoë, Jayne watched the last of the crew set off for their dirtside enjoyment. He pushed the button to close the cargo bay and headed back toward the crew quarters to enjoy some alone time, completely unaware that he would soon be the main topic of conversation over the dinner table for most of his crewmates.