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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Mal has a conversation with someone ... Just some more fluff. Proper angst on its way, but not yet. Let me know what you think!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1600 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Malcolm Reynolds, hero of Serenity Valley and captain of this particular Firefly’s crew, watched his wife sleeping. She was lying on her side a little, turned towards the crib that Kaylee had insisted they use until Simon said it was okay for her to go back to their bunk and the nursery that Jayne had finally finished. Ethan was spark out, his little fist jammed into his mouth … well, it had been a busy day for him too.
Mal couldn’t help but smile. Seemed like things never went smooth, but at least they’d got a beautiful, healthy baby boy out of it. And he was grateful to Jayne for what he’d done, even if he was going to have problems getting the images of the big mercenary seeing Freya … like that … out of his brain for a few months. Or years. Or more likely never.
He glanced over his shoulder towards Book’s old room, and wished with all his heart that he and Wash were here to see. Just to be able to prove that he wasn’t the empty old man he’d been afraid he’d become. Before Freya moved in. Just to be able to say to them, with more than a hint of pride in his voice, ‘this is my son’.
“He’s a beautiful baby,” said Book, standing behind him.
“Is my boat haunted?” Mal asked, not moving, and somehow not exactly surprised.
“Not quite. But, you know … there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
“You can stop quoting Shakespeare at me, Shepherd,” Mal said, finally turning to face his old friend. “I ain’t as badly read to assume you made that up your own self.”
“You continue to surprise me, captain. And perhaps I shouldn‘t be.” The older man smiled, steepling his hands together in just the way Mal remembered. “Besides, you looked like you needed some advice.”
“Did I? Don’t recall that being the case.”
Book just looked at him, in the serene manner he had, his thick grey hair caught back in its leather tie, like he used to have it before he took to the corn rows and the beard. “Really?” he asked softly.
“Been a long time since I asked for any from you,” Mal admitted.
“Being dead kind of does that to a person, son.” Book turned and walked towards the common area.
“I ain’t your son,” Mal said, following.
“I always thought you were close enough.” He sat down.
“So, what do you figure I want advice over?” Mal asked, dropping into the large yellow chair next to him.
“I’m not really here, boy.” Book smiled. “At least, that’s what you’re thinking.”
“No wonder you and River seemed to get along,” Mal said, just a little grumpiness in his voice.
“Not … always,” Book said, shaking his head. “I seem to recall an incident over my Bible …”
Mal had to grin. “Never did see that book back to its original condition.”
“It didn’t have to be. That wasn’t its purpose.” He sighed, remembering. “And River always was a handful.”
“And what’s this I hear about her and Jayne?”
Mal’s jaw dropped. “How … what … who talks to you?” he finally managed to get out.
“Kaylee,” the older man conceded. “She talks to me while she fixes Serenity. Never expects an answer, of course.”
“And I did?” Mal asked, one eyebrow raised.
“You weren’t speaking to me. At least, not out loud.”
“So I was thinking a question.”
“Seemed to be.”
Mal sat back. “You always did go interfering in my affairs, Preacher.”
“You were my flock.” Book smiled kindly. “And my family. I took an interest. Being dead doesn’t stop that.”
“More’n just an interest, if I recall.” Mal gazed at him for a moment, then let the words fall from his lips. “How do I keep them safe, Shepherd? My wife, my son …” He glanced towards the room where they slept. “How do I stop the bad happening to them? Like it did to Wash. Like it did to you.”
Book leaned forward and patted Mal on the knee. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“Sure it was.” Mal was too tired to sound bitter, but it was there all the same, the guilt sitting in his heart. “It was ‘cause of me you and Wash died. My pig-headedness.”
“Perhaps. But with all the will in the world you can’t go back and change it now.” Book paused for a moment. “And you’ve been paying for it ever since, haven’t you?”
Mal shook his head. “You let me have that guilt, Shepherd. And in exchange you tell me how I keep my family from going the same way.”
“You do what you have to,” Book said carefully. “And you have faith.”
“Ain’t we had this conversation before?” Mal asked, ever so slightly amused.
“Faith in yourself, Mal,” Book explained, as if he were teaching a lesson. “She’s made you believe again, something I could never get you to do. And that belief will shelter your family.”
“You’re gonna promise me that, are you?”
Book shook his head. “That’s the thing about faith, captain. It fixes you, but it doesn’t have to make sense.”
“Yeah, I’m conjuring you’re the real deal,” Mal said conversationally. “Only you’d be able to make something crazy sound almost reasonable.”
The other man smiled. “Mal, you have a beautiful wife and son. Freya’s very strong, and between you your boy is going to grow up a credit to you.”
“Ain’t grown up myself yet, Preacher,” Mal pointed out. “Kinda did all that during the war - never much enjoyed it.”
“Well, that’s the thing about being an adult, Mal. You don’t have to behave like one if you don’t want to.”
Mal laughed, leaning his head back on the chair. “Seems to me you got me pegged.”
Book smiled wider, then sniffed the air. “Do I smell one of Jayne’s cigars?”
“I think he’s in the cargo bay with Hank.” Mal yawned hugely. “Not sure if they’re actually working out or just smoking.”
The Shepherd breathed in appreciatively. “I have missed those,” he said quietly. “There’s nothing quite like them in the afterlife.”
“Thought you were just a figment of my imagination,” Mal mumbled, his eyes closing.
“Probably,” Book admitted. “But that doesn’t mean that I’m not really here.”
Mal started to say something, but fell asleep instead.
A little while later Simon, on his way to check in once more on Freya and her son before joining Kaylee in bed, passed the captain, dead to the world, in the yellow chair. Smiling, he picked up one of the blankets and laid it carefully across him.
“Thanks, Preacher,” Mal muttered, still asleep.
Simon smiled and walked on.
Sunday, January 28, 2007 1:50 AM
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