Growing Panes

By: PaBurke

Disclaimer: No infringement intended. I'm just playing, no profit involved. If you recognize the characters, they're not mine.

Distribution: The Nook

Spoilers: Season 1 of Firefly, plus the movie. Supernatural AU

AN: I got mad at a Firefly/Supernatural Sam/River story because the author didn't understand the brotherhood relationship, so I wrote my own.

Warnings: River being very bad (but she wants to play!) + Sam had no problem being crazy + Dean's mouth = PG-13ish.

Word Count: 1330


River had a knife again.

In public.

On a planet.

In a bar.

She was twirling around in the air, just daring someone to try and take it away from her, stepping lightly and meeting eyes like a rabid dog. The Serenity crew wisely moved back and moved all the bystanders back as well. They shifted as a unit so that Simon could catch her sister's attention and hopefully talk her down. All together, not a situation Mal was comfortable with.

Then a man stepped in front of Simon, as tall as Jayne, but not as broad.

River focused on him and not in a good way. "Will you ace the final?" she asked.

The man grinned, ducked his head and shrugged. "Test me."

Mal swore in Chinese. Not another crazy.

The two crazies burst into action, fighting for all they were worth, which was better than any show that this two-bit Rim planet had ever seen before. It was a beautiful deadly thing, every aim for death and every deflection the breath before. The bar patrons were betting on the two and Mal didn't know which child was favored. The man was a couple years older, more than a foot taller and with the corresponding added reach, plus the muscle mass. But River had started the fight with a knife that she still possessed.

River did some twisty, jumping thing and the man was waiting for her when she decided to accommodate gravity and come back to the ground. He kicked the knife out of her hand and punched her into the crowd.

Mal and Simon immediately rushed toward their girl. The suddenly hushed bystanders stepped back and they could see that a second man had caught her. He had his arms around her, a giant bear hug that pinned her arms against her chest. He had lifted her up to the point that River's head rested on his shoulder. Her feet dangled off the ground and her head lolled toward his like a puppet with its strings cut. Everyone took a moment to breathe.

Why wasn't River fighting?

"Hey, kid, what's your name?" the man holding their mei-mei asked.

"River." The tall fighter said the name at the same time as the girl.

"Are you okay?"

River sighed. "Yes."

"River?" Simon edged forward. "What did he do to you?"

"I don't know." She sighed again. "Don't care."

Those were some distinctly un-River-like sentences and sentiments.

"Why don't you put her down," Mal ordered.

"Not yet," River protested. This sigh was a little too blissful to be witnessed. "Am… good."

"Grounded. Quiet. Safe," the second crazy added.

River nodded like a doll.

The man holding River eyed her combatant. "Sammy, you okay?"

"Fine." He shoved his hands into his pockets, but not before Simon (and Mal) noticed the blood dripping from his fingertips.

"If you come back to the ship, I'll fix you up," Simon offered, but he was reaching toward his sister and not his possible patient.

"Brother," Sammy and River chorused quietly and then grinned at each other.

"Ah, hell," the other stranger muttered. Jayne (and Mal) felt a kinship toward this man.

Mal nodded at Zoë and knew that she would take drag and keep Kaylee with her, far from any possible trouble. "Our ship's thisaway."

"Thank you, Cap'n," Sammy smiled down on him from his height. He stepped lightly and followed Mal, Jayne beside him. The stranger set crazy girl on her feet and she swayed toward Simon.

"Come, mei-mei," he said gently.

River looked from one stranger to the other. "They wanted to harness the hurricane and didn't see the subtlety of the tides."

"Which is truly stronger?" Sammy asked in return.

"Ah hell, cap'n," Jayne murmured. "They're bouncing off each other."

"Not true," River argued. "I a mirror, he a lens."

"Who points the scope and measures the foci?" Sammy asked in return.

The other stranger pushed Sammy forward. "Move it, Sammy. You can have your class reunion elsewhere."

Sammy shook off a fog and glared at the shorter man. "My name is Sam, Dean."

"Your name is bitch," Dean retorted.


River leaned her head against her brother's chest. "I love you, even without all the bad words," she told him seriously.

They made an interesting group walking up the ramp to Serenity. Mal was careful to show no fear. He had a feeling that Sam would see it. "Are you a Reader," he asked him bluntly.

Sam (Sammy?) shook his head no. He glanced at Jayne and smiled. "I can kill you with my mind."

Jayne outright spooked. "Cap'n, can I?" He was already reaching for his gun.


Dean pushed Sam until he was sitting on the chair in the infirmary. Simon gently placed River on the bed on the side. She lay there, facing Sam. Sam faced her. What were they saying without words, Mal wondered from the infirmary door.

Dean watched the exchange and rolled his eyes, even as he was stripping Sam's bloody clothes off his body. Soon Sam was bare-chested.

"So very pretty," River smiled at him.

"Shiny," Sam smiled in return. "So very pretty."

"Shiny," sighed River.

Simon doped his patient with a local anesthetic and Dean leaned him back into the chair. "Ah look doc, it's a schoolyard crush. Should we start serenading them?"

"Please don't," Sam grumbled.

"Sammy and River, sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-Shit. Ow." Dean turned to glare at the girl who had lobbed a basin at his head, hard. He rubbed the back of his head to relieve the hurt. Sam had caught the basin before it hit Simon on the bounce.

The doctor glared at both Dean and River, gently extricated the basin from Sam's hand and placed it behind him. "Don't move; you'll pull your stitches. River, please don't throw things in the infirmary."

"It's not fair. He's talking kissing and you won't let me rile your patient just now with my mouth."

Simon looked momentarily mortified. Sam was blushing.

Dean chuckled. "Seems to me that you be rilin' the boy just fine with your mouth."

"Hmmm," she said and Sam hitched in his breathing and Dean was pretty sure it wasn't due to the pain of the doc's fine stitches.

"Doc," he grinned. "I do believe that they are on the same wavelength, iffen you get my drift."

Simon was blushing now. "River, if you can't behave, I'll have the captain put you in our room."

"I think I'm big enough for my own room, so I can have sleepovers."

Dean nudged the man on the table. "Sammy, I think you're invited."

"Shutup, Dean," he muttered.

River giggled. Simon finished the stitches and bandaged them. Dean helped Sam dress. Mal watched it all.

"Thanks, Doc, Captain." Dean nodded to each one in turn and pulled Sam toward the door.

Mal nodded in return and walked the two men to the ramp. River followed like a wraith. She and Sam were still makin' eyes at each other.

"What do you think, Lil' One," Mal asked River.

River danced, swayed before him. "I don't know, but it could be fun."

"Do I need to send Zoë to follow? See where they're parked?"

"No. Sammy told me." Not out loud, but that had never stopped crazy before

Mal made a mental note to have someone awake all night to make sure the girl didn't leave her bunk. They didn't need their doc getting into a tizzy. And they didn't need their mei-mei makin' cow eyes at another ship's crazy. That might even be worse than shipboard romances.

Can't have that.

Can't have that, at all.

Not even if that Dean character could calm River down in a jif. He had his own crazy to take care of. Didn't need another.

Mal's crew was just fine as it stood. They didn't need more and they couldn't afford to lose any.

"Little girls grow up," River said.

It sounded like a warning.