BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

How to win friends
Friday, September 22, 2006

Just a little extra - they never admitted they knew each other ... until now. Standalone some time after Miranda. Feedback, good or ill ... you know the drill.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2170    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Freya leaned against the side of the old Phoenix parked opposite, waiting, watching the open cargo bay doors of Serenity. She straightened as she saw someone coming out. “Hey,” she called.

“Hi.” He grinned at her from under his mop of untidy blond hair.

“So, how’d it go?” she asked as Wash came towards her.

“Shiny. I start straight away.”

“Great!”

He looked at her. “Why didn’t you want to come in?”

“What, cap in hand, begging Mal to take you on? Hell, he’d have had a seizure from laughing so much. Besides, you need a job, he needs a pilot. And you’re okay.”

“Just okay?” he wheedled.

“All right, so you’re one of the best. Look, he didn’t need me to give you a reference. Tanaka and Renshaw have been almost coming to blows about you for weeks. I was just … putting you together.”

“Well, you did a good job.” He hugged her and they kissed. “Do you get commission?”

She nodded. “First three jobs, twenty-five percent.”

“Fifteen. And I let you take me to bed,” Wash countered.

“Let’s make it a flat twenty, we get your bags, you settle in … and I’ll buy the drinks.”

He made a face. “That ain't fair.”

“Fine. You buy.” She let him go and grinned. “Come on. Let’s get your stuff.”

He followed her, his lurid shirt almost glowing in the afternoon sun. “So you think I'm good?” he asked.

“You’re okay.”

“So does this mean you’re going to sleep with me again?”

“No.”

“Why not?” he asked plaintively.

“Because it was one time, I was drunk and you were pushy!”

“I’ll let you call me Mal again,” Wash offered.

For a moment Freya wavered. Then said, “That’s … no. No,” very firmly.

“Will you at least think about it?”

“No.”

“Spoilsport.”

In the bar he tried again. “Come on. Wouldn’t kill you.”

“Wash, I am not going to sleep with you!” Freya put her mug down with a thump on the table. “I don’t love you!”

“But you love Mal?”

She looked at him, and for once he thought he’d gone too far. “Yeah. I do,” she said finally.

“Really?” He was surprised. From what he’d seen of Serenity’s captain, he didn’t look like the kind any woman would go for.

“Really.”

“Hey, I'm sorry,” Wash said quickly. “I mean, I know you … but I thought you were joking.” His moustache almost quivered.

“No. No joke.” She sighed. “It’s … complicated.”

“Life is. I figured that out the first time an engine died on me and I had to coast home. Mind you, it was amazingly simple too: live or die.”

“So you chose …”

He looked at her seriously. “Die. I'm sitting here, an amazingly good-looking and well-preserved corpse.”

“I wandered what the smell was.”

He kicked her under the table.

“So how many men have you slept with?” Wash asked a couple of pints later.

“Including you?”

“Including me.” He waved his mug and watched as a little beer slopped onto his hand.

“Including you … three.”

“Three.” He was dumbstruck. “Three?” he repeated. “How the hell did you get away with only three?”

“Not sure I get your drift, Wash,” Freya said, peering at him.

“Good-looking woman like you, how come all the men ain't after you?” He waved his mug again and wondered why his sleeve was getting wet.

“I've had offers,” Freya said quickly. “Mostly from you, but I’ve … it’s just …”

“If you say complicated I’ll throw this beer at you,” Wash said, quickly draining his mug. “Well, another one.”

“Wash, there wasn't anyone I wanted to be with before that night, the one with Mal. Then after … there was never anyone else.”

“Apart from me and … who else was it?”

Freya shook her head. “None of your business. Anyway. can’t help how I feel.”

Wash looked at her, noting the sadness in her eyes, and felt his own high spirits drop. “Nope, I reckon you can’t.” He shook himself. “Look, cupcake, how about I find us some geese?”

She looked at him, then glanced down into her mug. “I think I've had too much,” she said. “I could swear you said geese.”

“Well, not geese,” Wash admitted. “Goslings, actually. I’ll juggle them for you.”

She stared at his earnest face, the moustache she hated so much, and the smile underneath. “Juggle?” she asked, a grin of her own beginning to form.

“I am a mean hand with the juggling of geese,” Wash said proudly.

She laughed at last. “Maybe later,” she said, putting her hand on his. He swept it to her lips.

“Sleep with me.”

“No.”

“Was it so bad before?”

“No,” she admitted. “What I can recall of it.”

“Oh, that hurts. You saying I wasn't memorable?” Wash asked, astonished. He always considered he had a very good technique. No-one had ever complained before.

“I was drunk. You can’t expect me to remember every … well, any of it.”

“You didn’t exactly fight me off.”

“You were pushy.”

He sighed. “Then maybe I’ll try that first mate. What’s her name … yeah, Zoe.”

“Zoe!” Freya almost spluttered the mouthful of beer she’d just taken all over the table. Wiping her chin she said, “She’ll … Wash, she could kill you with her pinkie!”

“Really? Sounds intriguing.”

“Don’t mind dying, then?”

“All depends on how you go.” He sighed again, sounding like a balloon losing air. “Anyway, I don’t think she liked me that much. I saw her giving my shirt a look once or twice.”

“Wash, you have to admit, it’s pretty hideous.”

He looked down in surprise. “Hey, this is one of my favourites,” he said, stroking the fabric.

“I always said you had no taste,” Freya joked.

“Well, that explains why I'm your friend,” Wash said in retaliation, then yelped as she kicked him.

Later on, as she helped him towards the docks and his new berth on the Firefly, he asked, hopefully, “You gonna come inside? Christen my new bunk?”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

“Not drunk enough?”

“Maybe you’re not pushy enough.”

“I could try –“

“No.”

“We could always go and have a few more drinks. See if I couldn’t get you drunk enough.”

“Nope. And I don’t think I ever will be again.”

“Hey, that’s wounding,” Wash protested.

“I didn’t mean you," she said, squeezing him around the waist where she held him. “I meant anyone.”

“Why don’t you tell him you love him?” Wash asked.

“I do.”

“Doesn’t he listen?”

“No.” Her face saddened. “So I don’t anymore.”

“He’s a liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze duh ur-tze,” Wash said firmly, slurring his words just a little and ostentatiously wiping invisible moisture from the front of his shirt. He looked up at the outline of Serenity silhouetted against the night sky in front of them. “You could always sleep with me just to spite him.”

Freya laughed. “I’ll tell you what, Wash. If I ever decide to do that, I’ll let you know.”

Wash stuck out a hand. “Deal.” They shook.

Freya peered into the darkness. “Looks like someone’s waiting up for you. Best you go in.”

“You’re not coming?” Wash was surprised.

“Not this time. And I think it’s probably better you don’t mention I know you. Mal might … well, he could take offence.”

“How?” Wash’s drink-befuddled brain couldn’t understand.

“He might think I was … just don’t, okay?”

He looked at her and raised his eyebrows, nodding and shaking his head at the same time. “Okay, Freya,” he agreed. “You are a stranger to me.” He stood up straight. Well, straighter. “Of course, strangers do sometimes go to bed with each other.”

Freya laughed. “Go on home, Wash. And I’ll see you soon.” She kissed him lightly on the lips, but as he reached out to her, to make it something more, she had melted into the darkness.

Wash shrugged and walked somewhat unsteadily to the Firefly.

“Is this was I have to expect from now on?” Captain Malcolm Reynolds asked, standing at the top of the cargo bay ramp, his arms crossed. “My pilot drunk as a skunk?”

“Honey, I’m home,” Wash said, then dissolved into a fit of the giggles.

“I’m beginning to regret giving you a job,” Mal said sternly.

Wash attempted to gather himself. “No need, Captain,” he said with exaggerated care. "Just celebrating my last night of freedom.”

“We ain't getting married, Wash,” Mal pointed out.

“Then my last night of … whatever.” He waved a hand, and Mal sighed.

“You’d best be going to bed. We’ve got an early start tomorrow, if Bester can get off his tattooed backside and get us into the air.”

“Yes sir, captain,” Wash said, saluting badly before walking erratically past.

“Who was that out there with you?” Mal asked suddenly.

“What, sir?” Wash asked, looking over his shoulder.

“I thought I saw you talking to someone.”

Wash, mindful of Freya’s words, shook his head. “No-one, captain. Just a will o’ the wisp. Nothing else.”

“Right.” Mal continued to stare out into the darkness, then hit the close button on the console.

Freya watched as the ramp lifted, sealing Serenity off from the night air.

---

“So you slept with my husband,” Zoe said, her face blank as they sat at the table in the dining area.

“It was one time! And before you even met him! I was drunk, and he was –“

“Pushy. Yes, I got that.” Zoe sighed. “Still …”

“Zoe, I'm sorry. Like I said, it was one time –“

“He told me.”

“He … what?” Freya looked astonished.

“He told me. A little while after we began seeing each other. He told me.”

“I don’t believe it.”

Zoe smiled. “Wash never did like secrets. He was the most open, honest man I've ever met.”

“That he was,” Freya agreed. “But he promised -“

“Not to tell the captain,” Zoe interrupted. “Which he never did. But he never wanted to keep any secrets from me.”

“So you knew all along?”

“For some time, yes. But you should have told me yourself.” Zoe fixed the other woman with a stern eye. “We’re supposed to be friends.”

“I … I didn’t want to hurt you,” Freya admitted.

“Actually I was shocked that you had such poor taste,” Zoe said, and they laughed together.

“I'm glad he had you,” Freya said, holding out her hand so Zoe could take it. “He was a good man.”

“That he was,” Zoe nodded. “And he never told the captain.”

“No. Not that it matters anymore. Mal’s been standing in the dark listening for some time.” She half-turned as the man himself came into the light.

“Thought you ladies needed a little female-type time together,” he said.

“But not enough so you weren’t listening,” Freya pointed out.

“No, not that much.”

Zoe stood up and settled into her full height. “I think it’s time to get some sleep,” she said.

“Are we okay about this?” Freya asked.

Zoe smiled. “If you and Wash had done anything after we got married, well, that would be different. But … I know he wasn't a saint, hadn’t saved himself for me. So … yes, we’re okay. Goodnight, Frey.”

“‘Night, Zoe.”

Mal watched his first mate walk in her composed, stately way to her bunk, then took her vacated seat. “You slept with my pilot?”

“Once. Just the once. A very long time ago.”

“I am shocked.” Mal managed to get an appalled onto his face. “I cannot believe that you would do that.”

“I was drunk.”

“So I understand.” Mal shook his head. “There are things in your past, Frey, that I swear are something to behold. And manipulatin’ me into taking him on as crew …”

“I did not manipulate you!” Freya said, astonished her own self. “You wanted him … I just gave him a push in the right direction.”

“Still, if you’d come and told me –“

“You’d have dug your heels in like you always did and refused to even consider it.”

“I would not.”

“No?” She gazed at him, not breaking eye contact until he blinked.

“Okay, maybe. But only ‘cause I know you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, leaning back, crossing her arms in front of her.

“You always think you know what’s best for other people,” he said, crossing his own.

Her jaw dropped. “Mal, I … you …” She couldn’t get her words out, they were tangling up in her throat so much.

He couldn’t keep it up, and laughter spilled out. “Sorry, Frey, but you are so easy sometimes.”

She glared at him. “For that you don’t get to sleep with me tonight. I shall repair to one of the guest rooms.”

His blue eyes twinkled. “You think? I give it maybe forty minutes before you’re knocking on my door, wanting to be let back in.”

“Huh!” she grunted in a disparaging tone. “Try me.”

“Well, I got some captainy things to do before I hit the blankets, so if you’re not there when I do, that’s your fault.”

She didn’t answer him, just continued to glower at him. He smiled, shook his head and stood up, walking back towards the bridge when he suddenly felt arms go around his waist from behind. He stopped. “If you think you’re going to get out of it that easy, you have another think coming, Malcolm Reynolds,” Freya whispered in his ear, and he grinned.

COMMENTS

Friday, September 22, 2006 5:56 AM

TAMSIBLING


I really like Freya - I didn't think I would, but I do. I'm dying to know how her and Mal were together once and then had to part company. It sounds like quite the heartbreak - at least from her point of view.

Give us more backstory - please?!!?

Friday, September 22, 2006 12:42 PM

AMDOBELL


I echo TamSibling's comment and would love to see how Mal and Freya got together. Oh, and everything imbetween. I really loved this and you have made Freya a wonderfully engaging character in her own right. Yup, she belongs on Serenity. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, September 22, 2006 5:37 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Wow...that kinda got soap opera-y for a moment;)

Still...I am really liking where you're taking this scenario, Jane0904. As much as an old fuddy-duddy wants Mal to shack up with Inara...Joss probably would have had them together for a grand total of once and then have Inara seemingly killed off by the Guild in revenge or something;)

BEB

Sunday, September 24, 2006 1:08 AM

JANE0904


BEB ... that gives me an idea ...


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