Prompt: 008 – Hate (list 2)
Word Count: 758
He hates the fact that he seems to want her. He really hates the fact she probably knows it too. How can she not? She is a gorram reader, after all. She knows when he's having nightmares and can pick the thoughts of dead people outta the air. Only stands to reason she knows what he thinks about sometimes when he looks at her.
To her credit, though, she pretends she don't. She affords him some dignity at least. He don't know what he'd do or say if she ever confronted him with the fact that he dreams of her in ways that aren't entirely appropriate.
He knows what Simon would do to him, if he ever even thought Mal wanted his sister as more than just another pilot. Doc would shoot him full 'a drugs and then shove him out the airlock. He'd be justified in doing it, too.
Jayne, on the other hand, would probably clap him on the back and say something crude like, "Does she moan your name when you dream about her like she does mine when I dream about her?" The thought makes him shudder.
Sometimes he hates her, for the way she has grown up seemingly overnight. She was easier to deal with when she was just a scared, crazy kid. It was easier for him to justify his interest in her when she was just a little girl who had been brutalized by the government he hated. He could tell himself helping her was a way of thumbing his nose at the Alliance, but he knew it weren't true. Might 'a been part of the reason, when he first met her and her brother, but that was it.
He knew he'd had feelings for her from the first moment he'd seen her. He'd felt protective for her 'a course – ain't no man in the 'verse who called himself a man wouldn't 'a felt that way. She'd been so scared and so vulnerable. He tried to forget the fact she'd been so…naked.
When she'd been at the height or her crazy, he'd found her intriguing. She might 'a been nuts, but it wasn't a nonsensical kind of nuts. Even when no one else knew what she was talking about he could sorta understand her. It was downright disconcerting.
He'd watch her sometimes and think to himself, 'I know her, somehow.' Seemed to him there'd been something about her he'd recognized from the start. He'd begun thinking of her as his pretty much from the minute she'd stepped outta that box, screaming.
He rationalized it away be telling himself she was part 'a his crew, but that excuse held no water. She hadn't really been part 'a the crew until after Miranda. He knew he had no right to think of her that way at all. She had no right to make him think of her as anything other than the Doc's sister and his sometime-pilot.
The late evening coffee sessions in the kitchen didn't help none. Made her more his, if the truth be told. Last night, his dreams had woken him up like they always did and he'd been glad for it, because he knew it meant she'd be in the kitchen waiting for him with a hot cup of coffee.
For the first time he'd sat on the sofa instead of the chair at the head of the table to drink it, and he hadn't protested when she had come to sit beside him. He'd put his free arm around her shoulders and she'd cuddled into him as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Her head had felt right, resting on his chest. His hand had stroked the silk of her hair.
Even after his coffee was long gone, they'd remained sitting there. The silence had been as comfortable as her slight weight, burning against him. He'd sat there, with an empty cup in one hand and her hair in the other and tried to memorize the rhythm of her heartbeat.
When he'd finally managed to make it back to his bunk, he'd fallen into a fitful sleep, the space against his side where she had been was empty without her. He vowed that morning when he woke up - irritable and still missing her heat - the midnight coffees would have to stop.
They would stop – starting that very night.
He smiles at her when he enters the kitchen tonight and realizes he hates himself for not being strong enough to stay away.