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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. It was ready, and it's Friday, so here's a second bite. Mal, Jayne and River go on a recon, and there's news of Inara ... Enjoy!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1539 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“It’s a damn fortress,” Jayne remarked, leaning against a tree.
“It is that.” Mal gazed at the house in the dawn light, half hidden behind tall trees. “Lots of cover, though.”
“Which kinda suggests there’s things around we don’t want to meet.”
“Could very well be,” Mal agreed.
The green light shimmered round the forcefield perimeter once again, as an errant moth was detected.
“Likely be pressure pads, at the very least. Maybe gas. Even explosive charges,” Jayne went on.
“If you’d like, I could get to the house via the trees,” River offered, breathing deeply of the fresh air.
“No, don’t think that would be appropriate,” Mal said quickly. “You’d be on your own, and … no. But thanks for offering.”
Jayne glared at her and went on, “If he has got ‘Nara in there, be about a full assault to get us anywhere near the house. Or landing Serenity on the front lawn.”
“Thinking pretty much the same thing myself.” Mal stood straight. “In a way I'm hoping he hasn’t. Be easier to get her back in one piece if it’s someone a little less paranoid.”
“Regretting challenging him to a duel now?” River asked.
Mal shot her a look. She was getting to be all too like Freya now they were spending so much time together. “I seem to recall it not so much being a challenge, as a … misunderstanding.”
“Never heard it called that before,” Jayne added, chuckling deeply.
“Anyways,” Mal said firmly, “we’re gonna have to hope Harrow can find out something.”
“He did promise men.”
“Yeah, but they’re not likely to want to do something quite as illegal as this, are they?”
“Let me try something,” Jayne said. “Got an idea.”
Mal looked at the big man sceptically. “Should you be doing that?” he asked. “Thinking?”
“Hey, I wanna get Inara back much as you do. Just give me ten.”
Mal nodded. “No more, though. You get pinched, we can’t come in after you.”
“Wasn’t gonna let that happen.” Jayne grinned and melted away into the shadows.
"Is that a good idea?” River asked.
“We’ll see. Oh, and River?”
She smiled and melted into the darkness, leaving him alone with his thoughts.
Jayne strolled up to the back gate, nonchalantly cleaning his fingernails with his knife. He looked through into the estate grounds as the back door opened and he watched a young woman, dressed in serving black, appear in the doorway to breathe deep of the early morning air. She started when she saw Jayne observing her.
“You go away,” she called. “‘Fore I call the locals.”
“Now why’d you want to do a thing like that?” Jayne asked, giving her his best grin, sliding the knife back into its sheath at his waist. “Wasn’t planning on hurting anyone, least of all a pretty thing like you.”
The young woman paused. Whoever he was, he surely had the gift of the gab, as her granny used to call it. And he weren’t bad looking – big, it was true, but she liked a man to be a real man, and there was no doubt in her mind that the one in front of her fitted that description to a T. “Still, you’ll be waking everyone,” she said, stepping outside.
“Then you come over here and talk to me.” Jayne leaned against the gate pillar. “That way neither of us needs to shout.”
She looked unsure, then took a hesitant step forward, then a second. Jayne’s grin got wider. He didn’t always agree with the Captain, but in this case he was right. There’s always a back door.
Just under twenty minutes later he jogged back to the others, making sure his pants were firmly closed.
Mal was leaning on a tree, River standing next to him, giving him a look that seemed comprised equal amounts disappointment and disgust.
"You took your own sweet time,” Mal said. “Get anything out of her you’d care to share with us?”
Jayne’s jaw dropped then he glared at River. “You follow me?”
“On my orders,” Mal said. “Don’t want you going missing too.”
“No chance of that,” the big man grumbled. “And I don’t need no nursemaid, neither.”
“So I gathered.” Mal pushed off from the tree. “Well?”
“What? Oh, yeah.” Jayne wasn’t embarrassed – he wasn’t sure he knew how to be. “Wing ain’t at home. He’s been gone since this morning … yesterday morning, now, but the girl ain’t entirely sure where. He’s got a place out in the mountains for when it gets hot, but that’s still all closed up. She heard tell, though, he’s off world again.”
“Shit.” Mal looked disgusted. “If that’s the case we may never find him.”
“Then we wait for Harrow?”
“Looks like we don’t have an alternative. Good job we didn’t go in.”
“Yeah. Good idea I had,” Jayne said, smiling.
“Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything,” Mal said, turning to head back to Serenity, River his shadow.
Jayne, his feelings a little hurt, followed.
Simon was in the kitchen when they arrived back, getting some breakfast for himself. He looked up. “Did it go okay?” he asked, studying River as she followed Mal into the galley.
“Depends by okay,” the captain said. “Didn’t find Inara, if that’s what you meant, although Jayne’s feeling happier with the world.” He suddenly looked a trifle embarrassed. “Uh … How’s Frey?” he asked
“You can go and ask her yourself,” the young man said. “She’s awake.”
“Ah. And how’s she …”
“I took her gun away while she was out.” Simon tried not to smile. “Just in case. She’s in the infirmary with Zoe.”
“Thanks,” Mal said, heading through the dining area.
Simon filled two bowls and came around the counter, sitting down next to River, and put one in front of his sister, who pushed it away. “I'm not hungry.”
“You have to eat.”
“That was fun. This morning. But it didn’t help. I wish I could find her,” River said, shaking her head sadly. “But all I can feel is … it’s like a big pink cloud of cotton candy,” she went on. “And the more I try to get through it, the more stuck I am.”
Simon put his hand on her arm. “I understand. But we’ll find Inara. Mal isn’t going to let this happen.”
River looked at him, her big dark eyes seeming to look right into his soul. “I know.” She smiled suddenly. “Neither will you.”
“Freya?” Mal said quietly, looking into the infirmary at the woman sitting on the stool next to the medbed.
She glared at him. “I am not talking to you,” she said firmly. “Ever.”
“Seems you’ve not exactly been that tactful, sir,” his first mate said, lifting her head to look at him.
Mal smiled, pleased to see Zoe was awake. “Maybe not,” he said, stepping inside. “But I've good reason.” He ignored Freya and stepped to the bed. “So how’s it going?”
“I’ll be fine, sir.” She smiled back. “Sore, a bit, but I'm fine.”
“Sometimes I wonder what this crew did before, without the good doctor on board,” Mal said, feeling Freya’s eyes on his back.
“Sir, even if I wanted to I'm not going to argue with that.” Zoe remembered the many times he had saved her life, and the lives of those she held most dear. “I was just apologising to Freya here for ruining her dress.”
“That’s okay,” the woman in question said, getting up and coming to the other side of the bed. “Perhaps I’ll let Simon have a go at getting the blood out.”
“That’s an idea.”
Freya smiled at her friend. “Besides, he might need the practice when I get around to telling Mal exactly what I think of him.” She looked up, and the smile became more icy.
Mal looked deep into her eyes. “It was for your own good,” he said. “Frey, if you lose this baby, do you have any idea what it’ll do to you?”
She glared at him. “You ask me that? Me?”
“If anything happens to you, anything at all, I don’t know what I’d do. You think Hank’s in love? You ain't seen anything. And I'm not just talking about the baby.”
His love, his tenderness reached out and touched her and her anger faded. “That doesn’t make it right,” she said softly, leaning on the edge of the bed.
“You weren't listening. You were so all-fired determined to be out there, you weren't thinking either.”
“So you had Simon dope me?”
“You think I could survive losing you?”
They looked at each other, a lot more being said in the silence than words.
“Have you found Inara, sir?” Zoe asked, feeling uncomfortable at having had to listen, but not being able to get away.
Mal’s lips tightened momentarily as he broke his gaze and looked back down at her. “No. Not yet,” he amended. “Got an idea of who has her, though.”
“Atherton Wing.” His face grew stern. “Can’t prove it one way or the other at the moment, but if he has, he ain't gonna get away with it.”
“Wing? But surely he wouldn’t be so stupid as to –“
“According to Sir Warwick Harrow, he might.”
Zoe couldn’t stop a little smile crossing her lips. “I met him. He was … he had some very interesting things to say about you.”
“You made quite an impact on him, too,” Mal said. “That’s what happens when you go around in a dress like that.”
“And it wasn't even mine.”
“Mal?” Hank’s voice came over the com. “Got that guy on the vid for you. Harrow.”
“I wondered where my pilot was,” Mal muttered. “Thought he wouldn’t be able to pry himself away from you.”
“He was here until I woke up, sir,” his first mate explained, her cheeks just a little deeper in colour. “I told him to get to the bridge.”
“And he did what you said?” Mal glanced into Freya’s eyes. “He must be in love.” Her look said he was pushing his luck, and he stood up straight. “Better go see what he wants.”
“I’m not going anywhere, sir,” Zoe said.
Mal smiled and walked out of the infirmary, not surprised when Freya followed him and put her hand on his arm.
“Mal …” she began, then stopped as he turned to look at her.
“Frey, it was for your own good.”
She gazed at him, then nodded slowly. “I know.” She stepped closer. “Can you just try a reasoned argument next time?”
“When are our arguments ever reasonable?” He leaned down just a little and kissed her gently on the lips, stroking her face with such emotion that she felt her heart beat faster. “I … I have to get to the bridge,” Mal added, not wanting to leave her.
“Better had,” she murmured. “I’ll stay with Zoe for a while.”
He smiled and kissed her again. “You do that.” He reluctantly turned away.
“Oh, and Mal?” his wife called.
“Tell Simon to give me my gun back.”
“Captain Reynolds.” Sir Warwick Harrow was grave faced. “I'm afraid I don’t have anything to tell you.”
“Wing’s off-world?” Mal put in.
“How …” Harrow was surprised but recovered quickly. “I suppose you have your sources.”
“I do.” Mal didn’t offer to enlighten him on what those sources were. “But no news of Inara?”
“None. I’m sorry, Captain. Of course, we will keep on looking but …” He stopped.
“But the longer it takes the less likelihood there is of someone finding her,” Mal finished, a deep dread beginning to make itself known in the pit of his stomach. “I know it.”
“I wish I could assist more, Captain.” Harrow looked sincere. “Dillon is already looking into any other possibilities, and I have my men asking questions.”
“Thank you,” Mal said, oddly touched by this display of courtesy and concern. “And I do thank you. We will find Inara.”
“Of course. Well, unless there is anything else …”
“No. Just … let me know what you find out.”
The vid went to static.
“Mal …” Hank began.
“Yeah.” Mal stared out at the rain that had just begun beating against Serenity’s windows.
“What do we do now?”
“Still working out the details,” Mal admitted.
“How’s Freya? She forgiven you?” Hank had always had something of a crush on Freya, although nowhere near the depth of feelings he had for Zoe. It was just that Freya had been nicer to him for a long while.
“So I don’t have to offer to share my bunk with you?” Mal was about to make a smart rejoinder when something buzzed on the control panel, and Hank sat forward. “Message coming in,” he said. “Looks like a public vid.”
“Put it up.”
“Inara?” Mal leaned forward, trying to get as close to the vid as he could to stare at the Companion, pale and drawn.
“Tzao gao,” the pilot breathed.
“Where in the name of suo-yo duh doh shr-dang are you?” Mal asked, ignoring him.
“I … I'm not sure.” Inara looked confused, and not a little dazed, rain pressing her hair flat to her head. “I don’t recognise the street, but it’s somewhere in the old part of town.”
“Hank, can you get a fix?”
“On it, Mal.” Hank started to track the source.
“Are you okay?” Mal asked Inara.
“I think so.”
“Got it, Mal,” Hank put in.
“You stay put, Inara. We’re coming to get you.”
“I don’t think I’m going anywhere, Mal.” Inara smiled shakily, and the connection broke.
“Where?” Mal asked.
“She’s right, the old part of town. It’s not a nice place, Mal,” Hank said apologetically.
“Can we get Serenity any closer?”
“No. Nowhere to land her.”
“Okay. We take the mule.” Mal took the comlink down. “Jayne, Simon – cargo bay now,” he ordered.
to be continued
Friday, January 12, 2007 1:43 AM
Friday, January 12, 2007 9:47 AM
Friday, January 12, 2007 3:59 PM
Saturday, January 13, 2007 1:36 AM
Monday, January 15, 2007 6:01 PM
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