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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Sorry, couldn't wait to post this continuation! Feedback, as usual, welcome with open arms!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1931 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Simon entered the communal area. Freya was sitting at the table reading, and she glanced up and smiled quickly before going back to her book. He passed her and headed to the kitchen, pouring himself a cup of coffee before joining her at the table. “What are you reading?” he asked.
She held it up so he could see the cover. “War and Peace. It’s a book I've tried to read a dozen times, but it looks like I'm failing again.”
“I recall reading it in school. It seemed to be … unreal.”
“It was a long time ago. But war is war.”
“Is insubstantial.” She sighed and closed the book. “Or possibly ephemeral.”
Simon shifted diffidently in his seat. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Is everything okay between you and Inara now?”
Freya stared at him. “Does everybody on this gorram boat know our business?”
“Pretty much,” the young doctor admitted. “And Kaylee’s been worrying about it a lot.”
“I'm sorry about that,” Freya replied. “I didn’t want anyone to get hurt over something that … well, wasn't their business.”
“Is that your way of telling me to go and mind mine?”
She smiled. “Not really. But yes, it is okay, and you can tell Kaylee she can relax. She won’t be having to clean up blood and entrails from the galley.”
Simon grimaced. “Thanks for that lovely mental image.”
“You’re a doctor – a little blood shouldn’t bother you.”
“It doesn’t, it just depends on whose it is.” He looked at her. “Can I ask another question?”
“You know what curiosity did to the cat, don’t you?”
“We’re back to blood and entrails again?”
She grinned. “Pretty much. So what’s your question?”
“River has been saying you keep out of her way a lot. I've noticed that too. But she says it’s because you’re the same as her. Does that make sense?”
The smile faded from Freya’s face and she sat very still. “In as much as we’re both females, I guess.”
Simon didn’t take the hint. “She said you were hurt by the Alliance.”
For a long time Freya didn’t answer, but her eyes had lost their usual friendliness, and turned hard and cold as the stars. Eventually she said, “Kaylee’s sweet on you, otherwise I’d put you through that bulkhead.”
Simon was taken aback by the sheer steel in her voice. “I’m … I'm sorry. I thought you might want to talk about it. It might help River. She’s so much better since Miranda, but … I still need to …”
Freya finally looked away from him, past him. She sighed, a deeply sad sound. “I suppose it won’t harm.” She spoke quietly, to herself more than to him. At last she brought her mind back from where it had gone and focused on him again, and he was glad to see the bleakness had gone from her eyes, replaced by something else, something infinitely heartbreaking. “Your sister wasn't the first, and it’s pretty damn sure she won’t be the last. They had to start somewhere. I wasn't the first, either, but close. What they did to us … well, what they did to your sister was sophisticated in comparison. They were still … honing their techniques. There was a 100% failure rate with the first batch – total psychosis.“
Simon sat forward, his coffee forgotten. “So what happened? Did they release you?”
“And let us out into the ‘verse? To tell everyone what they were doing? No. There was a fire. Although that doesn’t begin to describe the inferno. One of us was a … I don’t know what the technical term would be … pyrokinetic, or something. Just call him a firestarter. They didn’t know. He set fires going everywhere, throughout the compound.” She could still hear the screams, smell the smoke, feel the crackling of the heat close to her skin.
“How did you get out?”
“I don’t know. I really don’t. Suddenly I was outside. I don’t remember anything. One moment I was in my … room, waiting to die, then I was outside. Immediately after that there was an explosion, a fireball. I doubt they bothered to check if we were all dead, and no-one was going to worry about DNA, if they could even find any.”
“What did you do?”
“I ran. I don’t know how long for. All I know is my feet were bleeding by the end. A man found me, a teacher, a healer.”
“He cured you?”
“He helped me. He gave me the tattoo.”
“But he cured your psychosis?” Simon moved closer, his face young and eager, reaching out to her. “You said, there was 100% psychosis.”
She pushed her chair back, not wanting physical contact with him. “Who said I wasn’t still crazy? Mal thinks I am, Zoe too. Even little Kaylee isn’t sure. My crew knew I was for certain.”
“I’m still crazy, Simon. Just … good crazy instead of bad crazy.” Freya stood up, picking up her discarded book, staring at the cover before looking back at him. “Doc, there might be another war coming. The rumours are starting. The Alliance is scared, afraid of another uprising. What Mal did on Miranda pushed them very close to the edge: it won’t take much to pull them over. They’re wishing they’d killed all the Browncoats when they had the chance, when they won. Now they’re afraid they’re going to lose. They want to tame the outer planets once and for all, civilise us into dust. And if they decide that is their only course of action, they’ll let loose all the children like River. She’s lucky, Simon. She has you. They have no-one. And they’re insane. When that day comes, if it does, you’ll have to decide what side you’re on, and stop running. Mal, Zoe … they’ve already seen what happens, they know. But you’ll have to decide. And it won’t be pretty.”
“I know which side I'm on.”
“Well, good.” She turned to leave, then looked back at him over her shoulder. “And tell your sister to keep her mind to herself. I won’t ever tell anyone what they did to me.” She turned away to head out of the door.
“I've a pretty good idea. I’ve seen your scars.”
She didn’t look back. “No. You haven’t.”
Back in her room, Freya sat on the bed, letting her head hang between her shoulders, her hands loose between her knees, trying to control the trembling. A slight tightening of her fingers indicated she knew someone else was there, but she didn’t look up. “You heard.”
Mal stepped into the doorway. “Yes. Is it true?”
“I didn’t know.”
“No reason why you should.” She raised her head, her face pale, and Mal felt something contract in his gut. There was an immensity of wretchedness in her eyes. “Never told anyone before.”
“Thanks.” She pinched her eyebrows together with the fingers of one hand.
Mal squatted down next to her. “You got a headache? You need something? I can get the doc to –“
“I need … do you know what I’d have been, if the Alliance hadn’t taken me away from my family? A Companion.” Mal’s look of dismay combined with something like disgust almost made her smile. “That’s what I was meant to be. I was packed, ready to go to the training house. Then my psi quotient was measured and my future changed, just like that. You didn’t know that about me either, did you?”
“I've often wondered what kind of Companion I’d have been. If I’d been successful. And right now, right here I wish I was one. Because I need a man. I need you, Mal, to make love to me.”
Mal stood up quickly, crossing his arms in a defensive position. “Freya, we’ve had this conversation before.”
“That don’t change anything. I still feel the same way.”
“Freya – “
Freya sighed, knowing it was futile. “I know. I … know. I just thought … I'm sorry.” She dropped her head again.
Mal, not knowing what else to say, turned and left the cabin. He headed towards his own, but Inara stepped from the shadows, blocking his way.
“Why don’t you sleep with her?” she asked.
Mal was shocked. He still had a lot of feelings for this Companion, feelings he hadn’t truly resolved yet, and to be told by her to sleep with another woman was … shocking. “Inara … if this is about before –“
“I was listening, Mal. And over the past few weeks I've come to see what neither of us would admit.”
Inara shook her head. “Mal, tell her how you feel. I think we’ve both come to realise what denying our needs can do. If we’d not been stupid, maybe … but I think we’ve gone past that now, don’t you think?” She glanced at Freya’s quarters. “I was wrong before. I shouldn’t have tried …” She shook herself slightly. “And I’d never harm Freya. I like her.”
Mal couldn’t even begin to comment. Instead he asked the question that had been nagging at him. “Did you know? About her being a Companion?”
“Yes. She didn’t tell me, of course, but … she said something, a few while back, when we were arguing, that made me wonder. I checked with the training house. She was due to attend but for some reason –”
“Would she have been any good?” Mal interrupted, not wanting to think about what the Alliance had done to her.
“With her talents I think she would have been the best. Find out. And at least she’s not a whore.”
“Inara –“Mal protested.
She took his hand, gently but with some sadness. “What was between us is over, if that’s what’s holding you back. That much is obvious, otherwise you would have acted on it the other day. We killed it with our indecision, and with our unwillingness to change. This is your chance to be with a woman who loves you.”
Mal blinked. “She loves me?”
“Oh, Mal, she’s told you often enough. You think she didn’t? That she is so like you? Did you think we were fighting over you just for the fun of it?”
“Maybe – I don’t … gorramit, Inara, I don’t know!” He’d been thinking so much about it, he’d tied himself in knots, and now his brain was rebelling.
“You’ve never been with a warrior Companion – there have been none for a hundred years. She will make you feel … powerful. If you survive.” Her dark eyes seemed to bore into his soul.
“If I … what?”
“I'm joking, Mal.” She released his hand, releasing him entirely. “Go to her. Let her be a woman for once. Heal her. You should be together. You need her.”
She turned and walked away, her bearing erect and her head high, and he couldn’t see the tears on her cheeks, or hear her heart breaking.
Mal watched her leave, feeling an overwhelming respect for this elegant, stylish woman, then leaned against the bulkhead, trying to make a decision. Suddenly a determined look spread across his face and he headed back the way he had come.
As he entered Freya’s room, he became aware of a sweetness in the air, not unpleasant. An incense stick was burning before a small statue, he realised, and Freya was adjusting it so the smoke wafted towards it. She appeared to be naked from the waist up, her tattoo striking and vivid, disappearing into her pants.
His eyes were drawn to the three cartouches. “What do they mean?” he asked.
Freya whirled, belatedly clamping her arms across her breasts. “Mal? What … what …”
“You invited me, remember?” He stayed in the doorway, still a little unsure of what her response would be. Freya picked up a brocade shawl and wrapped it around herself. “Please don’t on my account,” he added, smiling. She looked at him strangely, a light in her eyes that was more than just reflection. For once in her life she was tongue-tied. “So what do they mean? Those symbols. I can’t recall recognising them.”
“They’re … they’re ancient. The … the top one is Power, the second Passion, and the third Enlightenment.”
“Can I see?”
Freya turned, almost reluctantly it seemed, and Mal crossed the room. He ran a finger cross the top sigil. “Power.” Pulling the shawl a little lower, he touched the second. “Passion.” Freya let go of the shawl so it fell to her feet and Mal could just stroke the final symbol. “Enlightenment.” She shivered at his touch. “Why those three?” he asked.
“With great passion can come great power, but without enlightenment the world is dark.” She was repeating something, it was obvious, a mantra of some form. “It’s something my friend – my healer – taught me.”
“The man who did this?” Mal placed his large hands on her back, between her shoulder blades, and ran them down the blazing colours.
“Y – yes,” she stammered.
He put a hand on her shoulder and turned her to face him. Unaccountably she was blushing, a most arousing site. He lifted his hand and touched her cheek. “I'm glad you didn’t become a Companion. That was the trouble between Inara and me – I see it as one thing, she another, and neither of us was going to give an inch.” He ran his thumb across her lips, which parted slightly. “You were right – time to move on.”
“Don’t,” Freya said, and he looked into her eyes, suddenly confused by this apparent change of signal. “Not … not this. But talking of Inara. I know what she means to you, and I can’t compete. Just let me be me tonight.”
Mal smiled. “Compete? Darlin’ there’s no competition. It’s your room I’m standin’ in.” He leaned down, just enough so his lips could touch hers. “And your flesh that my hand is holdin’.” He stroked his hand from her waist up to her breast, cupping it gently. “And it’s you I intend to lie with tonight.”
They were on the floor, the bunk too small. Freya lay on her front, he face pillowed on her arms and turned towards Mal. He was propped on his elbow, and with his free hand he stroked her tattoo, wet with perspiration.
“It seems to be glowing,” he noted. “Now why should that be?”
“It mean’s I'm happy. Sated. For the moment.”
“Only for the moment? Woman, you are voracious. You’ll wear me down to a shadow of my former self.”
“No. Just making up for lost time.” She gazed into his blue eyes. “Why didn’t you sleep with her?” she asked finally.
Mal looked at her, surprised. “Can you read us? Read me?”
She shrugged. “If I wanted to. But I don’t. If nothing else, my mentor taught me self-control.”
“So did Inara tell you?”
“She … might have mentioned it. When we were working out whether to kill each other or not.”
She smiled at him. “Don’t be angry with her, Mal. She loves you.”
“Frey, if you’re going to tell me to go to her –“
She rolled onto her side and touched his lips with her fingertips. “I’m not. But even if this is the only night we have together again, then I will treasure it.”
“Only night?” Mal asked, leaning forward so his body was pressed against hers. “Frey, darlin’, now I’ve stopped being a hwoon-dahn, you think I'm going to let you get away from me again?”
She smiled at him, feeling him swell against her, and touched her lips to his.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 5:30 AM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 8:28 AM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 9:23 AM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 12:08 PM
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:35 PM
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