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Title: Moon Shines Full On You
Author: caitri
Rating: PG
Pairings: River/Logan, Simon/Kaylee
Word Count: 2417
Summary: How Serenity got a new crewmember. An X-Men/Firefly crossover.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Joss Whedon or Stan Lee.Just so you know. With apologies to Hugh Jackman, for what it’s worth.
A/N: For gadgetorious, just because.



1.

The first time she sees him, it's in a dive at the outskirts of whatever little thoroughfare that serves as that moon's main port. All things considered, you'd think River would have remembered something like that, but she doesn't.

"Your wages, lil albatross," Mal says as he presses creds into her palm. The Captain is feigning calm like he always does before a job. Like always, she pretends she doesn't know. "Stay outta trouble. Badger's in a good mood and I wanna keep him that way. Dong ma?"

"Got it," she says. She walks with the others for a bit, peering into this or that shop. Kaylee and Inara get distracted at a fabric stall. The mechanic's pleasure is like fiddle's song, the companion's an accompanying flute. River hums a harmony to herself.

"Yer gonna have to learn to keep yer woman in line after the weddin', boy," Jayne says to Simon, who shrugs and smirks in that confident way he has now.

"Kaylee doesn't like lines, and I've learned they are overrated," he says, and Zoe chuckles and Mal smiles. Only River knows how Jayne is still jealous.

"It's all applied mathematics anyway," she points out comfortingly, "like the romance with the circle. Oh, look! Ice planets!" She buys one of her favorite treats, offering bites to her shipmates. Only Jayne accepts, understanding her empathy by instinct but telling himself that sweets ain't to be turned down, and he spends several minutes contentedly chewing the mouthful of flash-frozen ice cream, which is dry and rubbery with more protein than anything else but still holds a memory of vanilla's flavor.

"Eyes open," Mal reminds them as they reach Badger's meeting spot, a raucous watering hole. At first it's all noise and scents of booze and smoke and sweat, threatening to give her a headache, but that all recedes when she sees him.

He's sitting at the bar, clear space around him despite the tight compaction of the crowd everywhere else. He's nursing a glass of something amber, smoking a cigar, and he's bigger than almost anyone in the room: His bones are not shrunken or pliant with the stress of space, he's had more good meals than not in his life, and perhaps most importantly, he carries violence in him like an old friend. River tastes blood and steel in the back of her mouth just looking at him.

Why it attracts rather than repels is a mystery that belongs to her.

"Here, keep it, I'm not hungry." She pushes the ice planet stick into Jayne's hands. The mercenary's confusion is overwhelmed by simple childish pleasure, and she can hear Mal and Zoe's consternation like a tinny Wave, but she cuts through the crowd straight to him.

"Another one," he's ordering the barkeep, who fills the glass and puts it down again, hard. River shoots a hand out, stealing a sip. "That's mine, kid. Watch it."

"I know. That's why I wanted it," she says honestly, and dark eyes flick to her. He's annoyed, but as he appraises her frankly he cocks his head to the side with interest. Unlike everyone else, he doesn't see a slim girl in a soft dress and tall boots, he sees the living blade she is. It makes her cold and hot at once. "You smell like trees in snow."

"You a telepath, kid?" He puts the remains of his cigar out.

"Yes and no. I--" She breaks off. Mal is getting into trouble again. "I'll be back."

Finding her Captain is easy, she just follows the trail of bad tempers. Mal tells his crew to stay out of trouble so he can make his own, it always seems like.

"You're shite at stayin' off grid, flashing your pigu at any Alliance officer what looks--Well, hello there, little flower." Badger's manner changes completely when he sees her. She holds her arms behind her back, peering at him through her hair coquettishly.

"You're havin' a laugh at me frien's again." She smiles at him and he smiles back, tipping his hat to her just so. She spins a little to stand beside Mal, taking his arm like a lover, pulling it away from his hidden side-arm. "Leave off and let 'em have their bit o' fun. We has protections now, d'you see?"

"Right." Mal catches on to the ploy, draping both arms around her and dropping his chin to rest on her shoulder. "My girl here has powerful friends. You don't have to worry about any troopers on her watch. C'mon, Badger, what do you say? We can all go home happy."

"Some o' us more so than others." Badger's admiration is like sunbeams in fog: jealous because he thinks she's besotted with Mal. "You could come work for me," he says to her directly. "Badger pays better, ask anyone on th' Rim, 'struth."

River lets a little regret color her tone. She moves Mal's hands up so they sit on her belly. "It's family business, d'you see. I'll be keepin' you in mind, as ye like."

Badger's interest wavers in shock; Mal is schooling his features like he's not offended she's pulled a stunt like this. "Wot a lovely thing like you sees in him, I don't know. Right pity. Early christenin' present, then: you've got two weeks fer the job. Try not to mess it up."

"See you in two weeks. Pleasure as always." Mal beams.

"Right, right. You make an honest woman of that girl, Reynolds," Badger says with astonishing force. "You're too good fer 'er!"

"He knows it, too," River squeezes Mal's hand and skips back into the main area, looking for her mystery, but he's gone. The fire in her fizzles in disappointment.

The rest of their errands are boring, and she doesn't pay much attention again until Kaylee greets them at the bay door. There is a taste of snow in the air that doesn't belong. "I've got us a passenger, Cap'n."

"Yeah? Where is he, we've got--" Mal breaks off, and River feels herself grin when he walks out to them nonchalantly.

His hands are in his pockets, cigar in his lips. He exhales a plume of smoke, and though he looks at Mal, he's talking to her. "Name's Logan. Thought I might spend a spell out in the world."


2.

Jayne surprises his own damn self when he figures it out first. The moonbeam may be a slip of a girl on the outside, but on the inside she’s done been grown since the Alliance took her into that school of theirs and cut whatever out of her skull.

“You got sheep’s eyes,” he tells her straight up after dinner one night. River ain’t one for talkin’ anyhow, but since Logan’s come aboard her mouth’s been sewn up tighter’n a nun’s pants. She’s perched on the walkway above the cargo, looking down at her man where he smokes one of his cigars and chats with Inara. River starts at his words like a fox caught in the hen house, all froze up tryin’ to act like she belongs. “They was any wider, they’d fall out.”

When she doesn’t say anything, he sighs and sits down next to her, legs dangling over the edge. “I got nine sisters and three of ‘em was married ‘fore I went into the black. You got the same look every one of ‘em got when she made up her mind on a fella who ain’t done up his.”

A furrow appears between her brows the way it does when things don’t make sense or the doc has been more stupid than usual. Then she shrugs and goes back to watching Logan. He’s kept quiet and polite enough but he’s wrapped up in even more trouble than the moonbeam ever was; only difference is he likes trouble.

Jayne respects that in a fella.

“He ain’t what you think. Just sayin’.” He pushes himself up to his feet. “Don’t say I never gave you no say so.”

Moonbeam don’t answer, she just keeps watchin’. Like she’s waitin’ for somethin’.


3.

Kid’s a scrapper, he’ll give her that.

Reynolds’s deal had gone south, with a firefight to follow. Man had talent for getting into those—and for surviving them. At the end of the day, the other side was three men down with the last two laying low and calling done, and they were back in the black.

Jayne and River were the fighters of this crew. Big merc and a little girl: like old times.

River is cleaning her piece at the communal table. “Lemme see that,” Logan says, and she hands it to him. He inspects it for a moment with a practiced eye. “Six-shooter. Classic.” He hands it back to her, handle first. “Beauty.” He doesn’t just mean the gun.

“Mal gave it to me for my birthday a few years ago.” She doesn’t look at him; he knows there’s a wealth of things unsaid. It’s the way it is.

He sits down next to her. Crosses his arms. He’s not much one for talking, either, but some conversations have got to be had.

“Say it.” River’s eyes do not leave her metal or the cloth she uses on it. “I can hear you anyway, but it’ll be better for you to say it.”

Logan barks a short laugh. “How about when you put the gun away?”

Her lips curve in a small, rueful smile. “Fair enough.” She takes her time finishing her task, neat and careful. He likes watching her work, he realizes: her long clever fingers and small wrists, the high forehead and the long black ringlets cascading over her shoulders. She looks fragile and delicate, but her interior is hard as adamantium. She snaps the last piece back into place, and looks straight into his eyes. “Done.”

Complete understanding.

“Come with me,” she says, standing up, and he follows. There’s not much to this ship, all things considered, but somehow he’s still surprised when she leads him to the corridor of quarters, pulls up the door, and climbs the ladder down. She looks up at him from the bottom, lips quirking up. “Are you afraid?”

Logan snorts, and pulls the door closed behind him. No reason anyone else has to hear this. When he’s at the bottom, he looks around: the room is spartan to a fault, nothing disguising the drab olive and copper of the ship. It’s tiny too; he was tall back on Earth, but space is unforgiving—the top of his head only just clears the ceiling. “Nice—walls,” he concludes after a pause, uncertain how to go about this after all.

“I try.” River grins at him in a rare, open expression, and he feels like complete shit. Her amusement evaporates. “Go on. Say it, Logan.”

“I—you—this—it can’t work. I’m not going to lie to you, or pretend, or anything like that.” Logan looks straight at her, trying to focus all his regret and admiration and affection together, trying to make sure she hears him. He’s never been certain exactly how powerful a telepath she is—he can’t feel her poking in his brain like he could Xavier or Jean, but from the bits she says he knows she’s pulled more than a few things out like rabbits. “I’m old, River. I don’t look it, but I am. And you’ll never be safe with me—ever. There’s not going to be any—it won’t end well, kid. Trust me.”

“Logan.” River is amused. “I could kill you with my brain. I exist in destruction. It was what I was made for.” Her lips are very close to his, her voice soft. “You’re the only one in this universe who is as dangerous as I am.”

She kisses him, bites his bottom lip. His hands are on her hips, pinning her in place. He means to stop this, stop her, but then her arms are around his neck and her legs are around his waist, and it’s all downhill from there.

Afterwards they lay together, and she giggles something about a “special hell,” but he grunts and tucks her against him firmly. As far as bad things go, this isn’t the worse thing he’s ever done.

Not by a long shot.


4.

Inara needs to have a talk with Mal.

She’s worried about River. The girl hasn’t been herself since Logan came aboard, and Simon is too wrapped up in Kaylee to notice. Besides her brother, the Captain is the only one River really listens to.

A not insignificant part of the problem is River herself. As fey as she is, it’s hard to remember that, underneath the childish simplicity and the mathematical brutality, she is a young woman, and those first faltering steps can be difficult—

She pauses at the metallic screech a few steps behind her. The door to River’s compartment opens, and Logan climbs out. He pauses outside, crouching, and pulls River up after, like she weighs nothing. Her laugh is high and light and delighted, and she kisses the underside of his jaw. They pause when they see Inara.

Logan holds up a hand in greeting. “Mornin’,” he says with a hint of a smirk.

“Morning,” Inara echoes.

Okay. Maybe it’s too late to talk to Mal.


5.

Mal honestly can’t be surprised by his crew anymore. He started to get worn down when Zoe married Wash, and he at least saw the thing with the doc and Kaylee coming—and, okay, who didn’t see that coming?—so the thing with River and Logan is just another blip on the weirddar.

Man’s useful to have around, though. He’s good in a fight and a decent pilot. Respects Zoe and Inara. Keeps Jayne in line. Tam doesn’t care for him, but then, he is sleepin’ with the man’s little sister. Fella’s gotta have some reservations about that.

Most importantly, he keeps the albatross on an even keel.

River’s calmer when he’s around. Cut from the same cloth, those two are, simple as that. Even he sees it.

Inara wants him to say something, but he’s got no quarrel. Honestly, if they ever get a quiet moment he’ll buy the man a drink.

The mood’s lighter on Serenity these days, too. They went through some damn dark days, but every storm passes in time.

‘Course, that’s when the next one brews up. Luckily, they’ve all got each other now.

Storm comes, they’ll be ready.

Comments

( 7 comments — Add your .02 )
gadgetorious
Nov. 8th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Cookies. In the mail. Today. <3
caitri
Nov. 8th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
It's official. I will write for cookies.
gadgetorious
Nov. 8th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
As opposed to what? The satisfaction of a job well done? Pfffft.
rubynye
Nov. 8th, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oh my heart. Fly on, kids, fly on.

(Although I do wonder what would happen to Logan in vaccuum.)

(And if River really knows how to kill him.)
caitri
Nov. 8th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
*G* River is the only other creature as dangerous as he is. Hence their awesomeness together.
joirerson
Nov. 8th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was do good!!
caitri
Nov. 8th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!
( 7 comments — Add your .02 )

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