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Notes: Written for ff_fridays challenge the third: right and wrong.
The Price of Being Proper
It's been so long since someone listened to him talk. Actively listened. Sitting down with some of his fellow Medacad students (those who weren't threatened by his ability) and sometimes with his parents, when he had thought that they cared what he had to say - he pushed that thought away, painfully - talking, sharing their days, thoughts, ideas. Sometimes he forgets how long it's been, forgets how much he missed that careless sharing of friends. Things people with a life had. Kaylee made him feel like he had a life again. River could only do that sometimes. Yes, all of his actions were for her - but it wasn't like the old times when all they needed was each other. She needed him, and he needed to make her better.
And he didn't know what would come after that. He didn't know who or what she'd be then, and he was disgusted with himself for not being able to imagine who she'd be when she got better, he could only see her as she was, or as she is now. River always was the one with the good imagination. He needed to make her better and tried to stop wanting her back. He tried to stop wanted everything back. Self pity was not a drug that he would prescribe for himself. Kaylee, on the other hand - she was a drug that he would stomach gladly. She was his friend. But he couldn't give her what she wanted, or so he told himself time and time again. Not when he needed to focus on making River well. Not when his future was so uncertain. Not when he couldn't keep her, or anyone else, safe. As right as the idea of giving in and leaning over to give her a kiss felt, he just couldn't. Because there were too many things that could go wrong.