Prompt: 003 – Daydreams (list 2)
Word Count: 652
River is sitting on the catwalk, arms over the railing and legs under, doing nothing in particular. From his position down in the cargo bay she ain't too hard to miss. She's wearing one of Kaylee dresses again – the pink one – and her feet are bare. The neck on the dress is just a little large and has slid down her collar bone and off of one shoulder, leaving it bare as well. She's got one hand propping up her head and her long legs are swinging rhythmically back and forth.
He stops to watch her, distracted by the movement of her pale limbs. He's gonna have to talk to Simon about the way she continues to walk around the ship without the proper amount of clothes on. The thought don't thrill him none.
For one thing, she's Doc's sister – not his. He shouldn't have to worry about her lack of proper clothing. Doc gets his fair share of all the jobs they do and since River is becoming a purt-good pilot, she's getting a share now as well. Buying clothes that fit her shouldn't be no great hardship. Doc sure don't seem to be lacking in them futzy vests he wears, although his starched white shirts ain't so starched or white no more.
For another thing, he feels like a dirty old man for even noticing her lack of clothes that fit proper. He shouldn't be looking at her shoulders or her arms or her long, supple legs. She's just a girl, gorramit - a girl in his keeping - and she's just a mite crazy to boot. Don't matter none that she's eighteen and legally an adult on all the planets in the 'verse. Ain't years that make you an adult any – it's experience. And he has too much 'a that and she – well, she ain't got none.
But those legs 'a hers sure do look strong. They don't belong to no little girl that he ever knew of. And the look she sometimes gets on her face, when she's happy and thinking on things that please her, well – she don't look like a little girl then neither.
And she ain't such a little girl that he don't appreciate her company on the many nights he can't sleep and his dreams send him to the kitchen for a hot cup 'a coffee. He don't think she's a little girl when he sees her, sitting at the table and smiling at him, his drink already steaming in front 'a his chair.
He wonders if any one other than him thinks on her like this. Is he the only one that sees her becoming a woman; shedding her little girl aura a tiny bit more every day as her confidence comes back to her?
He knows he's caught Jayne staring at her a time or two and it weren't too hard to see the big Merc was thinking on things he oughtn't 'a. He doesn't really like the fact that he seems to have something in common with the man, other than a general propensity for trouble and shooting things.
As if conjured by his musings, Jayne steps beside him. "Somethin' wrong, Mal? Ears still ringin' from that last gun fight? I been askin' if'n ya would spot me for near 'bout ten minutes now."
He stops talking suddenly and leers, "Damn, that girl's gotta have the finest set 'a stems I ever did see. Wonder what they'd feel like wrapped 'round my waist."
Mal turns to him and scowls, "Doc'd kill you if he ever heard you talk like that about his mei-mei. Besides, she's just a little girl."
"Admirin' and doin' is two different things. A man's allowed to daydream," Jayne responds. "'Sides, from where I'm standin', she's lookin' mighty grown up to me."
As he follows the larger man over to the weight bench, Mal mutters under his breath, "That's what I'm afraid of."