Fireflu - Conclusion
Friday, September 29, 2006

6th and Final Installation...Post "The Message;" the crew picked up a virus on St Albans, when they dropped off Tracey's body with his family. But this isn't an ordinary virus...hallucinations ensue...


DISCLAIMER: All characters and whatnot belong to Joss Whedon, any bizarre reference belongs to other owners of other rights. It's just something stupid-i-hope-fun that i wrote...try to just laugh and enjoy.

---------------------------- It had been a very, very, very long week for Mal. River, it seemed, had finally unlocked the doors, releasing the recovering invalids from their bunks. She and Book were the first to recover fully, as they had been the first to be able to sleep off the hysteria. It was generally due to the fact that the crew had been leading and cajoling them back to bed each time they had climbed, clambered or clawed their way out again. Nevertheless, Book made soup and was able to nurse the crew back to health one by one, with an inordinate amount of patience for dealing with the fever-induced hallucinations. When Simon had recovered enough to keep his own soup down, he had resumed the role of medical care provider, which had been considerably good timing, since that was when Inara's hallucinations had really taken off. Apparently, she had been convinced that a family by the name of Cohen was in the other shuttle, and had continually tried to contact them. But that wasn't nearly as entertaining (according to Kaylee, the main source of information for Mal while he was bedridden) as when she had insisted her mother, with some nearly unpronounceable name involving lots of "la-la" sounds, and some guy named Daniel were trying to thwart all the plans she and some "ornery" (Kaylee's memory of the word) people had planned and counted on for so long. Mal, of course, had missed it, thanks to the blow River had delivered him. The minor concussion had increased Mal's nausea and dizziness, but thankfully, had cut back on the hallucinations. The splitting headache aside, he was grateful his dreams remained in his sleep. However, since Simon had not been reliably healthy to measure out pain medication for Mal, the first few days had been inordinately painful. He remembered why it was so very beneficial to have a doctor on board...especially when Simon gave him that first dope shot. Well, he remembered for those few minutes before he slipped into a blissful, dreamless and - most importantly - painless sleep. Now, as his first official day out of bed, he was hearing stories from the rest of the crew about everyone and anyone else's hallucinations. Not for the first time, he was glad only Wash, River and Inara had seen him at his worst. Simon had spent a good deal of his time with Kaylee insisting he never knew a Julia...or if he did, he couldn't remember her at all. When he did ask who Eric was, Kaylee smiled coyly and said she couldn't recall exactly if she had known an Eric at all...and promptly forgave Simon any of his name-droppings. Wash knew better than to ask about the mysterious names Zoë had dropped, but Zoë seemed to feel it was important to let him know all the names in the 'verse weren't nearly as important as Wash's. They spent hours talking and sharing what little pieces of their strange dreams they could remember. And everyone remembered something. No one could avoid the fractured images of other lives they had been so sure they had lived out. Jayne still shuddered occasionally when something reminded him of his own living nightmares. Mal eventually made his way to Inara's shuttle, where she was recuperating. Her fever had broken only the night before, and without the fever, the hallucinations seemed to recede. He knocked on her shuttle door, being extremely nice, as he felt she deserved it. "Come in," she called, sounding tired and distant. He swallowed his worry and entered. She was curled up on her side, looking pitiful. A bucket was near the bed, presumably in case she couldn't make it to the toilet in time. "Well, don't you look the peak a'health," Mal teased. She looked up at him with a plaintive frown. "You could have at least warned me you were looking for new ways to keep me from working," she nearly whined. "Yes, yes," he nodded, "This was all a subtle plot to get you out of business while entertaining the crew in the meanwhile." "Not all of it was entertaining," she grumbled. "You nearly frightened me out of my mind on the bridge." "That," Mal started to apologize, "That wasn't exactly...I mean...I don't think that's a fair showing of--" "Head wounds are not my specialty," she continued, blithely ignoring whatever he was saying. He sighed, relieved. "And you knocked me to the ground," she accused, looking at him with fire in her eyes. "I'm amazed I wasn't covered in bruises after all that." "I thought you were..." he tried to apologize again, but Inara wasn't having any of that. "And now, you won't even offer to pour me some tea," she complained piteously. He looked at her sharply. She smiled at him. She had been playing him, of course. He shook his head. "Did you want some of your wily tea or your complainin' tea?" he asked. "Cause, right now, I'll tell ya, you sound like you've had enough of that complainin' tea." "Wily tea, please," she smiled, watching as he poured. He sat on the bed when he offered it to her, moving the bucket aside. "Careful, now, it's hot," he warned. She thanked him and took a careful sip. "By the way, thanks," Mal said casually. "I'm grateful for the help you gave in dealin' with Kavros. He's not exactly the nicest conversationalist around, but it was appreciated what you done for us." "Handling him was easier once the virus began affecting him," Inara admitted. She took another sip of the tea. "Well, it's appreciated, nonetheless," Mal repeated. He watched her drink the tea quietly, grateful for the moment between them. "I understand you exchanged words and more with him?" Inara asked, a sly gleam in her eyes. "I seem to have shared a deal more with him than I'd care to repeat," Mal chuckled. "But I don't think many would enjoy the experience. It's not exactly a comfort to clean up, I can tell you that." "So Kaylee told me," Inara admitted. "She been up here, telling stories?" Mal asked. "Mal, please," Inara sighed. "She can't always be working. She needs to relax and enjoy feminine conversation on occasion." "I know it," Mal agreed, readily. "Just that I thought you weren't up for visitors before now--" "I was up for visitors," Inara interrupted. "You were the one everyone had to tiptoe around." "Well, the knock that little one gave me put a damper on my social skills," Mal admitted, lightly fingering the cut on the back of his head. Inara half-smiled. "I am sorry you were injured, but I'm glad she did it," Inara admitted. "You were really beginning to scare me, Mal. You looked...not quite..." "I'd rather not talk about what was goin' on in that one," Mal said hastily. He had vague images of that particular nightmare available to his memory, and he wasn't sure where they had come from, and he didn't want to know. It wasn't a very comfortable thought to think that was floating around in his head somewhere... He looked back at Inara and tried to shrug off the thought. She looked pale, but still lovely. She was looking at him with her large brown eyes, as if she was trying to read his see what he didn't want to tell her. He reached out to pat her hand. Mal stopped as Inara leaned over her bed and missed the vomit bucket Simon had been kind enough to leave for her. Mal waited till she finished, then saw the look of horror in her eyes as she looked up at him. "Mal, I bucket has been right there...and..." "It's...fine," he croaked. "Oh, Mal," she looked absolutely devastated. He smiled, despite himself, as he stood carefully. She had missed getting it in his boots...that was something, he thought grimly. If only she'd missed his leg... "Not to worry," he promised. "I was...having to go soon anyway. I'll be sure to send Kaylee in" He gestured vaguely at the floor. Inara had already pulled her blanket over her head. He was pretty sure she was laughing at him. Or dying of sheer embarrassment. His head ached again. And he could already feel it start to drip into his boots. It had been such a very long week.


Friday, September 29, 2006 3:02 PM


Ooh...she upchucked on Mal? That's gotta be a bonding moment;D

Definitely had to sit and think on the second major Inara hallucination till "Daniel" clicked with me. Haven't seen the newest season of SG-1, so the reference is not quite as fresh, ya know;)

And has been a long week for the BDHs, hasn't it? Hope your next tale is about them relaxing on a beach planet for a week to let them recover fully:D


Friday, September 29, 2006 7:41 PM


Hey, taking care of a lady while she hurls is golden. I did it for my wife in college. 4 years later, we were married. Works every time.

Friday, September 29, 2006 8:38 PM


>"You could have at least warned me you were looking for new ways to keep me from working," she nearly whined.

ROTFL! Inara got some of the best lines.

Poor Mal. It was definitely not his most best week ever.

Nicely done series of stories. Hope you continue writing.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 4:27 AM


Bravo! Nicely done!

A friend of mine upchucked on a first date and ended up marrying the guy. So maybe it's really a blessing in disguise for Mal and Inara?

Thursday, November 2, 2006 9:32 AM


I loved Inara getting Mal in the end, that was priceless.


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