TITLE: Little Red Riding Hood

DISCLAIMER: Nope, don't own anything :)

A/N: Ah children, my newest fic. Am actually really excited about this one so am trying desperately to keep my enthusiams appropriately checked.

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood is awake. She cannot sleep tonight, not when her mind races, not when her brutalized brain is inadvertantly seeking out information. Not when the thoughts and dreams of her crewmates are acting like a seductive wisp of smoke, slipping silently into her mind, hazing her thoughts in their warm cloud. Her skull feels choked on these intrusions, her rewired pathways shocking her damaged neurons into delving for more information from whatever sources are available.

A warrior woman is clutching her stomach, feeling the comfort of the swell, feeling life. Two hearts beat, they throb from her room, one fast, one slow, both beating in a memory. Dreams of laughter and sex fill the warrior woman's head. Her precious cargo lacks such cognitive faculties, drawing from it's incubators' baser memories, dreaming instead in waves of colour. Tonight is warm ocean blue, bright sun yellow, lime green. A hawaiian shirt of dreams.

Another mind dreams of grand balls and even grander expectations, bright lights and the clinking of glasses filling the mind. A dream of a huge crowd, a nightly performance, a requirement of class. The dream slowly fades, changes. The ballroom is empty except for a dress of richest royal blue, floating with a brown coat. The clothing dances a private waltz.

Yet another dream is triggered through the olfactory system – tea and perfume and female warmth fill the head of the sleeper. His dreams are of bloody battle, soldiers covered in filth and grime, and a planet with millions of silent victims. In the dream he follows a waft of incense to peace. Calm. Serenity.

Two dreams have mingled, hopelessly entwined, strawberries and surgical steel. Fear and hope mingle with joy and anxiety. One dream reeks of anticipation, of a ring, whilst the other dreams anxiously of fancy ladies stealing away her shiny. The tactile world of reality affects the subconcious. A tightened arm around a waist is enough to dissapate the discord of anxiety and doubt, replacing fancy ladies with chubby children.

Another dream now, this one of skin and sweat, of creamy flesh and tight grips, of long lean legs locked lovingly, lithe lily limbs langourously licked. This dream has sighs and moans, cries and groans. This dream has chocolate curls and ballet twirls. This dream has flashing knives and reaver scythes ending, starting, saving lives. Little loony laughing wives. The sleeper slumbers steadily.

Captain said no Reading crew, since Reading crew was very bad. Daddy might get mad.

Little Red Riding Hood slips from her narrow bed and dons her rich red dress, light as fairy silk and designed for dancing. She slips the blood coloured hood over her head before stepping silently towards the cargo bay. She watches, listens, smells as she creeps, hearing and Hearing what her fellow woodsmen are doing. Sleeping, slumbering, all soundly.

She looks to the shoes in her hand. The pale pink footwear was hard earned, years of training, dedication in each blocked slipper. Ballerina toes make lethal weapons. As do ballerinas. The well worn fabric speaks of long use, and expert hands tie the ribbons around thin but strong ankles. She tests one foot, raising en pointe, before dropping it back down. Then the other, the material stretching and creaking slightly at the movements. Left, then right, then left, then right. The bar of the weights resting in it's metal cradle above the weight bench is the right height, the makeshift barre allowing her to stretch out long limbs that have been conditioned to hide their strength behind lean muscle.

Her feet slip over the roughened floor with ease, she begins slowly. Demi-plié, demi-plié, grand-plié. Demi-plié, demi-plié, grand-plié. Demi-plié, demi-plié, grand-plié. Again and again until the muscles are loosened. Arms stretched, perfectly supported. Core is controlling the body, supported from underneath rather than above. Princess of pulling up.

Preliminaries completed. Turnout is still perfect, posture still sublime. Good body, good to behave. Little Red Riding Hood creeps from the bench to the open space of the floor and begins. Adagio, slow and graceful, crossing the floor. Arabesque, first position. Speed up now, allegro. Arabesque, pirouette, battement, first en retiré, then attitude. Échappé with a cheeky twinkle, feet flicking faster and faster. Quicker still now, Red Riding Hood crosses the floor and performs her grand jete, extension perfect, legs splitting perfectly midair. Landing quiet as a kitten, feet barely a whisper across the open floor.

Sweating now, but enjoying herself, Red Riding Hood can only concentrate on muscle movement. No thoughts, no peeking and prying, just blissful blank of concentration. Exerting but enjoying, stamina intact, muscle memory taking over. Concentrate now, tis your coup-de-grace. Fouetté rond de jambe en tournant, perfectly supported on left leg, right flicking like a switchblade, coming in and maintaining speed. Down and up, keep the momentum. Barely a whisper of air out of flushed cheeks and pink mouth, red hood long fallen around the milky bare shoulders, dark hair flying outwards.

So quiet, but her head is noisy with her own concentration. Red Riding Hood revels in her body's ruminations, amazed by aural silence and the inner sound. Her own thoughts, the bliss of her own private basket of treats. To grandmother's house we go.

Quietest student in all her classes, feet seeming soundproof, much praise for her grace and lightness. She is pleased with the effect now. Relieved. No disturbing crew.

A scrape on the catwalk.

"Girl get yer gorram ass to bed 'afore I take it there myself. Man can hardly sleep a wink with all that noise yer makin'." She is startled into her finish early but manages to maintain her pull up, hips aligned and spine straight, balancing herself. She stares up at the large man with the sharp teeth. He wears only cargo shorts that pass his knees and boots. His chest is broad, like his back and shoulders, and she knows his skin is darker than her pale flesh. Black hair is sprinkled, and she can almost feel his hackles rising at been awoken.

"She thought she was quiet." She studies the sides of his head as he raises an eyebrow, thinks she can see the pointed grey tufts where pink shells should normally be. He shrugs, turning and exiting the cargo as he throws his words over his shoulder.

"Not to me."

Little Red Riding Hood stands quietly in the centre of the cargo bay. She is thoughtful. Her voice was barely a whisper.

"My oh my, what big ears you have."

A/N: Ok, how are we travelling? I get that the writing is a little on the loopy side, and I'm not sure how well this is working, but I'm enjoying writing it. Also, for the ballerina's amongst us, I have only done really basic ballet classes so please feel free to either correct or simply take with a grain of salt. Please review!