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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. In fact, AU Maya. See Author's Note at the beginning for more explanation!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1726 RATING: 8 SERIES: FIREFLY
Author's Note: This was something I wrote that didn't fit in anywhere - not least of which is that Freya and Mal have not been arguing since the birth of Ethan. But it's something I explored differently in a couple of stories, and I wanted to get this out so I can stop thinking about it!
Guys (and girls) ... SALVAGE is coming, only it's taking its time as I currently have something of a writer's block, but bear with me.
In the meantime, try this for size, and don't blame me if ... well, actually you can blame me if you don't like it, because I wrote it, but please let me know!
The hatch above their bunk opened and Freya climbed out, her feet slamming onto the floor. “You think more about her than me!” she shouted.
“That ain’t true,” Mal said, following her, standing with his hands on his hips.
“Don’t lie to me!” She waved her hand in his face. “The moment she stopped being a Companion you wanted her!”
“Were you waiting for my permission?” She glared into his blue eyes, anger consuming her. “Fine! Go! Be with her!”
“She’s my friend, Frey!” he managed to get in. “What, would you rather I was sly?”
“At least then I‘d know where I stood!” She turned away and ran down the stairs into the cargo bay.
“Frey …” His voice followed her but she didn’t stop. She carried on out into the air, running away from the Firefly as fast as she could. She was out of breath when she finally stopped, and let the sobs break out. She collapsed down to the ground, her knees giving out, and she hugged herself tightly, trying to control the tears.
How could he do this to her? They seemed to be fighting all the time, ever since Ethan was born. In the whole two months they’d hardly had a good word to say to each other, and now she felt like she was losing him … she let the sorrow flow.
Eventually her breathing eased, and she looked up. The light was yellow, and dark clouds were crowding across from the horizon. The air tasted tinny. The memory of Hank saying that this moon was prone to sudden, violent thunderstorms surfaced, and she pushed herself to her feet. It wouldn’t be good to get caught out, not here. She gazed around. There were a few gnarled trees, but mostly just brush, and there was little if no protection. She glanced back the way she’d come … she could just see Serenity in the distance, the flash of the lightning glittering off her surface just before the rumble of thunder rolled across the desert.
Ah. Time to hurry. She started back, not running but walking as fast as she dared, trying to avoid the boulders and potholes she’d miraculously not fallen over or into before. It was getting darker, and the first few heavy drops of rain hit the dust, throwing up little puffs that were blown away in the strengthening breeze. Then it started, a downpour that soaked her to the skin in seconds, and the wind that came with it was cold and had her shivering immediately.
She looked forward, but Serenity seemed to be no nearer. Not for the first time she wished she’d taken a com unit with her, but she was totally on her own.
Suddenly the tree in front of her seemed to burst into white light, and the resulting explosion threw her onto her back as the immediate crack of electricity deafened her. She lay there stunned for a few moments, tasting the sharp tang of blood in her mouth from where she’d bitten her lip, then rolled onto her front. Pushing herself to her knees she looked over at the tree, split from top to bottom and roiling with black smoke. Her skin felt as if it was crawling, charged particles running across all exposed surfaces.
“Close thing,” she muttered, wiping the blood from her chin. “Too close.”
She got to her feet and hurried through the rain.
The coffee was hot, at least, as she poured herself a cup and lifted it, with slightly trembling hands, to her lips.
“It raining out there?” Mal asked, stepping down into the galley.
She smiled. “Just a little.” She knew she was dripping onto the decking, but a coffee seemed to be more important than dry clothes right now. “Do you want one?” she asked, holding out the cup.
“Sure.” He crossed to the counter as she poured for him. “You okay?” he asked, looking into her face. “Only you seem a bit flushed.”
“I nearly got hit by lightning,” she admitted, handing him the metal mug.
His eyebrows raised. “You might want the doc to check you over.”
“No, I’m -”
“Did someone mention my name?” Simon asked, coming through the doorway. “Hey, coffee. Just what I was looking for.”
Mal smiled and handed his mug over, watching the young man take a sip. “Freya here almost got skewered out in the thunderstorm.”
“Really?” He looked at her. “How close?”
“Pretty close. Enough so it knocked me off my feet.”
“Do you want me to check you over?”
“No, no,” she said quickly. “I’m fine.”
“Here,” said Jayne, coming from the bunks. He held a towel in his hands. “You’ll catch your death.”
“Seems to be something of a habit,” Mal commented, sitting down at the table. Simon joined him, pulling his chair close so their thighs touched. “But I still say you need to be checked over. Lightning can do funny things.”
Jayne looked at him, then back at Freya. “You nearly got hit?” he asked, coming around the counter.
“I’m fine,” she said.
“Well, if you’re sure … Turn around.”
She turned her back to him and he lifted the towel, starting to dry her hair. His touch was gentle, firm enough to take out the moisture but careful all the same. She could feel the warmth of his body through the wet shirt on her back.
“Better make sure she don’t come down with something,” Mal advised. “Gotta be fit to fly our passengers off this rock once they get here.”
“When are they due?” Simon asked, putting his hand on Mal’s.
“Should be here before nightfall, although with this storm they could be late.” He smiled at the young man and gripped his fingers.
Freya turned away from the show of affection. She couldn’t take it. Jayne must have sensed something, because he put his hands on her shoulders and gently pushed her towards the door.
“Come on. Better do like the Cap says. You need to get outta those wet things.”
Down in her bunk she pulled off her boots and undid the buttons on her shirt with suddenly freezing fingers, pushing it off her shoulders, but her pants defeated her.
“Here, let me,” Jayne said, deftly undoing the fastenings and shoving her trousers to the floor so she could step out of them. She was shivering so hard that he rubbed at her legs as he stood back up, running his fingers over her hips and up to her breasts, undoing her bra with a practised one-handed flick. Dropping it onto her other clothes she crossed her arms over her chest.
“Jayne …” she began, but stopped and turned away from him, going to sit on the bunk.
He picked up the discarded clothing and placed it on the chair. “You thought any more about leaving?” he asked, turning to look at her as she wrapped the blanket around her shoulders.
“Where would we go, Jayne?” she asked, her voice full of misery.
He squatted down in front of her, his hands on her thighs, feeling the goosebumps all over her skin. “We got enough to buy something,” he said, his gravelly voice making her shiver inside. “Something small, maybe. Just you and me.”
“I don’t know.”
He pushed her back onto the bunk and sat down next to her, his bulk making her feel safe. “It don’t matter where we go, Freya. Long as we’re together.”
She looked into his eyes. “Why do you put up with me?” she asked softly, almost a whisper.
“’Cause I love you.” He stroked her skin and pushed his large fingers inside the waist of her panties, moving down to take possession of her, feeling her heat and wetness wrap around him.
She sighed. “You know I can’t –”
He pushed deeper and was rewarded by her eyes opening wide and a sharp intake of breath. “What you do with me is ‘cause of him, I know that.” He rubbed her centre. “But it’s still with me.”
She whimpered, her eyes closing as he made love to her, and later, when she came and called another’s name, he held her close.
Something was interrupting her dream. She was sitting in the galley, a baby at her breast, suckling, and Mal was watching, his blue eyes bright with unshed tears. He opened his mouth to speak …
She struggled to wakefulness, moving Jayne’s heavy arm from across her waist so she could get up. Climbing over him she got to the com. “Yeah, Mal?”
“When you’ve finished your nap our guests have arrived.” His voice was brusque. “I’d take it as a kindness if you could get us into the air at your convenience.”
“On my way.” The link went dead and she leaned on the bulkhead, her eyes closed.
“You okay, honey?” Jayne asked, rolling over and gazing at her.
She looked at him, quite unashamed at his own nakedness, the black hair on his body still damp with the exertion of making love to her. She smiled a little. “Shiny.” Quickly grabbing a fresh set of underwear from the drawer she redressed, tugging a still damp boot on and making a face at the feeling.
“Ya should go barefoot,” Jayne advised, stroking her back. “Like little River used to do.”
“Not sure the captain would like that,” she said, dropping the other one nevertheless. “Still, not sure I mind right now.” She pulled the first boot off and threw it across the bunk.
“You sure you’re okay?” Jayne sat up and put his muscular arms around her. “I always told ya I’d kill him if you wanted.” He kissed the nape of her neck.
“It’s not his fault,” she said, turning so she could put her arms around his neck. “It’s mine.”
“How’d you make that out?” he asked. “You didn’t make him sly.”
“But I should have known. All that time …”
“He never told you.” Jayne kissed her gently. “That don’t make it your fault.”
“No, but if I stay it does.”
He pulled back a little and looked at her. “You mean …”
She nodded. “Soon as we finish this job I’m gonna tell Mal we’re leaving.”
He grinned. “About time,” he said, pressing his lips firmly back onto hers, his tongue exploring her mouth.
She could feel his goatee on her chin, his body becoming aroused. “I got work to do first,” she said regretfully, making him let go so she could stand up.
“First time for everything.”
As she climbed the ladder and headed to the bridge, she sighed. He was a good man, and he loved her, but all she felt for him was strong affection, and an overwhelming sexual need. He kept her sane, kept the darkness from overtaking her, but she knew she was using him. Even if he didn’t mind.
“Here! She’s over here!”
She span on her heel at the voice, somehow familiar yet no-one she knew, but the corridor was empty.
Take-off was easy, and they were soon in the black. Freya set the code for Sihnon, then realised she was starving. It had been hours since she’d eaten and her stomach was rumbling loudly.
“If you’re going to faint from hunger, let me know,” Zoe said from where she was standing behind the pilot’s chair. “I’ll get Jayne to give you the kiss of life.”
“I’m okay.” Her stomach grumbled even louder.
“Go and get some food,” the first mate ordered. “I’ll keep an eye on things.”
“Thanks, Zoe.” Tiredly she got to her feet and headed for the galley, although her fatigue disappeared at the two people she saw there.
“Inara?” She couldn’t believe her eyes.
It was. It was Inara Serra, the Companion who had travelled with the crew of Serenity for three years until leaving again for the Training House. She got up quickly and crossed the room, hugging the pilot tightly.
“It’s so good to see you. I didn’t realise you were the passengers …” Freya looked into Inara’s dark eyes and had to smile.
“We needed a lift, and as Serenity was close I begged a favour.”
“Mal … Zoe didn’t say …”
“Well, he has other things to occupy him.”
Freya looked down. “That he does.” Then she shook herself. “And who is this?” She smiled at the young man who had stood from his chair. Tall, slim, his light brown hair a stark contrast to his tanned skin.
“This is Tition. He’s getting some practical experience in being a Companion.” Inara smiled and held out her hand. “Come and say hello to an old friend.”
Tition stepped forward and took Freya’s hand, bowing low over it. “Enchanted,” he murmured.
“And how is he coming along?” Freya asked Inara.
“Getting lots of practice?”
Inara laughed. “Enough.” She looked into her friend’s face. “And how are you?”
“I’m fine. Shiny.” She forced a smile.
“Do you want to try that again? This is me you’re talking to.”
It was too much. The honest compassion in her voice, the understanding … “Oh, Inara. I can’t do this any more. I decided … soon as we finish this job, drop you on Sihnon, we’re off this boat.” She couldn’t stop the tears from falling.
Tition moved away, silently slipping out of the door.
“You and Jayne?” Inara asked softly.
“Oh, honey …”
“Something’s wrong, Inara, very wrong, and I have to … I should never have stayed.” She wiped her face angrily.
“It’s all right to be upset,” Inara said, fishing a small linen square from somewhere and handing it over. “I was. Believe me, I know how you feel. But I had my career, my life.”
“And I have nothing?” Freya asked angrily.
“You have Jayne.”
Freya shook her head. “I’m using him.”
“And yet you’re going to leave here with him.”
“I should have gone when I found out. Like Kaylee. Like River.”
“Perhaps. They’re happier.”
“Are they?” It was true interest. “I haven’t heard from them for a long time.”
“Kaylee’s working hard, and River keeps house.”
Freya’s lips twitched. “I never thought that would happen.”
“I hope so.” Her stomach grumbled, totally unaware of the more major conversation going in. “I came in for some food …” she explained.
“Then you should have some.” Inara got to her feet. “Is it all in the same place?”
“Yes. But I –”
“No. You sit. It will be like old times.” Inara smiled, but it faltered a little. “Like better times,” she amended.
Freya nodded. “Thanks.”
“What are friends for?” She busied herself at the cupboards.
“There’s extensive burning, and water in her lungs.”
“What?” Freya said, looking around the galley.
“I’m sorry?” Inara said, turning from the stove.
“Didn’t you hear?”
“Hear what?” The Companion was staring at her. “Are you all right?” she asked, concerned.
Freya took a deep breath. “Nothing. I just thought …” She forced a smile. “Nothing.”
Freya couldn’t sleep. Jayne was out of it, his face relaxed, a smile on his lips as perhaps he dreamed of what they’d just been doing, but Freya wasn’t tired. Or at least she was, but it was almost as if she’d gone through tiredness to the other side. And couldn’t sleep.
Dragging on a pair of pants and a shirt, she walked softly into the galley, finding Jayne’s bottle of booze and pouring herself a large tot. Knocking it back in one, she felt the alcohol burn its way into her belly, sending welcome fingers of warmth throughout her body, and she refilled the mug.
“Is that a good idea?”
She looked around and saw Tition standing watching her. She exhaled loudly. “Ain’t gonna hurt.”
“Are you sure?”
“If you mean do I do this every night, no.” She went to slide the bottle back into the cupboard but paused. “Do you …” she offered.
“No. I came for some water.”
“Fine.” She put the bourbon back in its place and closed the door.
“Do you mind if I join you for a while?” Tition asked.
“If you like. Can’t say I’m gonna be much good in the way of company.” She sat down at the table, the mug between her hands.
He sat down opposite her, studying her. “The captain and the doctor – are they a couple?” he asked suddenly.
She glared up at him. “Yes.”
“Yet you love the captain.”
“Did … did ‘Nara tell you that?” She sipped the bourbon.
“No. She didn’t have to.”
“It’s that obvious?”
“Yes. And that you’re in pain.”
Her lips twitched. “Only a little.”
“How long have you been in love with him?”
“Since the first moment I met him. I always have, and I probably always will.”
“But if the captain is sly –”
“I don’t think … I … I never thought he was. He never …” She swallowed thickly. “He slept with me, that first night, but … never since. Then, when I came on board as pilot, I thought it was Inara … not me.”
He truly sounded it, and the uncharitable thought crossed her mind that Inara’s training was working well, but she pushed it away, drowning it in alcohol. “Don’t be. Ain’t your fault.”
“And the doctor?”
She didn’t want to talk, to explain, but somehow the words still slipped past her lips. “Kaylee wanted him for months, and when he thought they were going to die he told her what she wanted to hear. And when they didn’t, he did try. But it didn’t work. It couldn’t. Not when she wasn’t the one he wanted.”
“How did you find out?”
“I walked in on them.” She tried to fight the memories from surfacing, but couldn’t stop the images from tumbling over themselves. Walking into the cargo bay late one night, needing a painkiller for a headache and taking the shorter route from her bunk. If only she hadn’t. Maybe she could have lived in blissful ignorance for a while longer. Seeing Mal pressed up against the stack of crates, his shirt unbuttoned, his eyes closed. Simon, on his knees, taking him into his mouth … She’d almost cried out in shock. Now she understood. Why he hadn’t come to her. Why he and Kaylee hadn’t … If only she'd read him, used her abilities to see why …
“I’m so sorry.” Tition reached out and took her hand but she pulled away. “But why did you stay?”
“I … I thought it was perhaps a phase. That one day he’d turn around and look at me, realise it was me he wanted all along, and not Simon.”
“He might have wanted you both.”
Freya gave a strangled laugh. “I would have settled for that. Half the time in his bed. But it was Simon. Always Simon.”
“And it pains you.” He looked into her face. “Maybe I can help.”
“Thanks but no. I got all the sex I can manage.”
“I didn’t mean that. But I can listen.”
She stared at him, then shook her head. “Listening ain’t what I need.” She sighed. “I should never have stayed, but I can put that right.”
“Do something, doctor!”
“Mal?” she asked, looking around.
“What is it?” Tition asked, leaning forward.
“Tell me you heard that.” She took his hand, gripping it tightly.
“Heard what?” A flash of fear crossed his face, followed by a flash of pain as she squeezed tighter.
“I can’t find anything,” Simon said, looking at the scans he’d taken.
“Then why can I hear voices?” Freya glared at him, daring him to contradict her.
“You were nearly hit by lightning,” the young man said, his tone consoling, professional, but at the same time warm. He liked Freya, wished with all his heart he could make things right for her, that much was obvious. “It could have upset you more than you knew, and this is just the manifestation –”
“You mean I’ve gone crazy?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“I ain’t your sister!”
Simon’s face hardened. “I did not say you were crazy. But perhaps a good night’s sleep will –”
“I can’t!” She screwed up her eyes, jamming her fists into them. “I’m so tired but I can’t sleep!”
Jayne stroked her forehead. “Honey, you slept earlier …”
“No.” She looked up into his concerned face. “Not properly. And it was full of dreams. Babies …” She glanced at Mal standing in the doorway then closed her eyes again.
“If’n you want kids, we can –” Jayne stopped. “Whatever you want, Freya.”
“What I want is to stop hearing these voices!” Her own was shrill, almost out of control as she sat up suddenly, her hands gripping the medbed.
Simon looked over at Mal.
“Who do you hear, Freya?” he asked, moving forwards, his arms still crossed.
She looked at him. “You,” she whispered. “And … and Simon. And someone else, I don’t know who. But you’re talking.”
“To you?” Inara asked, Tition close at her side.
“No. About me. But not to me.”
Simon nodded. “That’s good.”
“So maybe it’s not such a bad craziness after all?” Freya suggested with disgust.
“Come back, Freya.”
No. Now it was River’s voice, and she hadn’t been on board for more than a year … She felt the room begin to spin.
“Honey!” Jayne said, reaching for her to steady her.
“Lie back,” Simon ordered, checking her vitals.
“Sir …” Zoe stirred uneasily in the doorway. “Perhaps I should go check the flight plan,” she suggested. “Just in case –”
“In case I’ve put us on course for a nice solid moon?” Freya snapped. “You think I want to kill us all?”
“God, Freya, please don’t leave me.”
“I wouldn’t like to entertain that notion, no,” Mal agreed, speaking over his other voice. “But Zoe’s right.” He nodded at his first mate, and she hurried towards the bridge. “If you ain’t yourself –”
“Then who the qingwa cao de liumang am I?” She glared at him, then saw something behind him. “What the diyu was that?” she asked, moving back on the bed.
Mal looked behind him, but there was nothing. “What?”
“What did you see?” Simon asked.
“A flash, like lightning.” She stared at him. “Can’t you see it?”
“There’s nothing,” Jayne said, trying to reassure her.
“I can see it!” She pointed to a spot out in the common area, past Mal, past Inara and Tition.
“I think I’d better sedate –” Simon reached for a hypo but she was quicker, up off the bed and avoiding Jayne’s restraining arms.
“I’m not crazy!” she insisted. “It’s there! And the voices … I can hear them!”
“I’m losing her, Mal.”
The flashes got brighter, and now there was a rumble accompanying them.
“Freya, please –”
“You have to calm down -”
"Honey, you gotta listen to the doc –”
Freya stared at them, one after the other, as if she didn’t know them, as if their faces were just masks, hiding the real person inside, but as she tried to read them, all that was there was a thread of smoke … She blocked her ears with her hands, but she could still hear the voices, the rumbling that was getting louder with each passing moment, until she was screaming to try and blot it out, anything to make it go away …
It was quiet. She opened her eyes but there was nothing to see, just a greyness that cocooned her, touching all points of her skin yet being without form. She was hanging in nothing, waiting, content to just be, no pain, no worry, nothing to make her feel anything. Just nothing at all.
A slight breeze moved against her face, and the greyness span away, revealing pinpoints of stars above and around her as she drifted in the black. She turned around, seeing something against the darkness, and she fell towards it. Closer and closer, until she could make out the spinning heart of Serenity, and the soft warmth from the windows, the plating … faster and faster, until she was sure she would hit it, spreading her blood an atom thick upon the metal.
Then she passed through, her molecules mingling with the Firefly, becoming one, before she fell through the deck into the infirmary.
It hurt. Oh, God, it hurt. She took a deep, shuddering breath, and it hurt.
It hurt so much. Every inch of her burned.
“Open your eyes!”
She didn’t want to. It hurt too much.
“Frey, please …”
“Mal?” She spoke the word through lips that cracked, her every movement a white shard of agony.
She forced her eyes open, and a blur swam into view. She blinked painfully, and the blur resolved into a man, his face lined with worry, grey with concern. His blue eyes were wet with tears.
“Mal?” she whispered.
He smiled, trying to stop the tears from falling onto her skin. “Hi,” he said. “Thought I’d lost you.”
“Mal, let me have a few moments,” Simon said, swiftly checking the instruments, adjusting the drips.
“Don’t go,” she croaked, her voice dry and dusty.
“Not going anywhere, bao bei.” He swallowed. “Nowhere at all.”
“Am I …” She tried to look around but the pain was too great, and she moaned.
“Don’t,” Mal implored her. “You’re burned pretty badly, got some stress fractures … Lie still.”
“Burned?” she asked, her forehead wrinkling.
“Nearest we can figure, you almost got hit by lightning. Too close. Blew you a long way.” He stroked her hair and tried to make light of it. “You’re gonna have to grow your eyebrows again.”
She smiled a little. “And Ethan?” she whispered. “Is he …”
“He’s fine,” Mal assured her, glancing out of her line of vision. “River’s looking after him.”
“River …” She tried to lift her head again but still couldn’t.
“Lie still,” Simon said. “I’m going to sedate you again, but just lie still.”
“Don’t want to be sedated,” she managed to say. “Want to stay here.”
“And I’m not letting you go anywhere,” Mal said firmly, not moving from her side.
It was fading, whatever it had been, and only fragments were revolving in her mind now. Rain, soaked clothes, Simon and Mal … Her eyes opened wider and she stared at the doctor before the images drifted away, becoming nothing but a dream that only lingered on the edge of memory. Still …
“Do you love me, Mal?” she asked, her voice thready as the sedative began to take effect.
“Oh, Frey,” he said, his face close to hers, his tears of relief falling softly onto the burns on her face. “So much I don’t know what I’d do without you. And if you do that to me again …”
“I love you,” she whispered, letting the soft blackness swallow her up.
“I love you too,” she heard him say, the words like a beacon to her.
Saturday, February 3, 2007 1:40 PM
Saturday, February 3, 2007 2:17 PM
Saturday, February 3, 2007 2:38 PM
Saturday, February 3, 2007 4:03 PM
Saturday, February 3, 2007 9:11 PM
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