BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Bath
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and ... well, read and find out. This is some of the fluff I was talking about, and as it's second bite Friday, and I've got the afternoon off ... please let me know what you think!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1848    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Mal looked at the water and pursed his lips. No way of knowing if it was too hot, not without testing it. He knew it was gonna look odd, but … he rolled his left sleeve up even higher and, with just a moment’s pause, put his elbow into the bath.

It felt okay, but … wasn't there some other way of doing this? More scientific? Not that he was going to ask Simon. Not and keep his dignity. Maybe he could borrow some kind of thermometer from Kaylee. But without knowing what the temperature should be, it was still a dead end.

He swore under his breath. He really should have done some checking on the Cortex before starting this. Must be something there about the correct temperature for a baby’s bath.

“No good you lying there waving at me,” he said, looking down at Ethan on the table, his little fist grabbing at empty air. “You ain't exactly helpin’.”

Ethan smiled at the familiar voice. Leastways Mal thought it was that. ‘Course, it could have been wind.

“You know, I get this wrong, and your Momma’s gonna have my hide. She’ll probably display it somewhere prominent, with a plaque underneath saying something like Thus ends all fathers who don’t take notice when they’re given instructions. Or some such.” He sighed. “Don’t suppose you can remember how hot this is supposed to be?”

Ethan just lay there, bringing his pudgy knees up to his little naked chest.

“Nope, figured as much.” Mal tried with the elbow again. “Still seems okay to me. But then, what the hell do I know? I'm havin’ a conversation with a baby.” He looked down. “Ethan, I’m relying on you to let me know if this feels right. If you come out looking like a tomato, your Momma’ll never let me bathe you again.”

For a moment his eyes glazed as he contemplated that very thing, then he shook his head. “Nope, ain’t gonna happen. I'm Captain here, and I can do this bathing thing on my own, with no supervision.” He went to take hold of his son but paused. “Only if I get it wrong, don’t squeal on me, will you?”

Ethan gurgled, holding out his arms, and his father picked him up.

“And no peeing on me,” Mal added. “I figure at four weeks you’re old enough to be told that is not something you’re supposed to do.” Holding his son against his chest, feeling the soft skin on his arms, he had to smile, and added. “On the other hand, if you feel like peeing on Jayne, be my guest.”

Then, with great care, he lowered Ethan into the bath. The baby’s eyes widened a little, then he smiled again, and Mal relaxed.

“See, knew it was okay.” Keeping one hand under Ethan’s head he reached for the flannel, adding, “Easy peasy.”

Ethan splashed the water and blinked rapidly as it bounced into his eyes.

“Hey, don’t wanna do that,” Mal said quickly, wiping it away with his thumb. “Don’t want you cryin’, not now I’ve got you all nice and wet.” He grinned. “You know, I remember the first time I ever had a bath. No, I don’t mean … I meant the first time I remember. Ain't like I never had a bath until then, but …” He stopped, glad no-one else was around to hear him running off at the mouth like that. “I reckon I must have been about three, maybe four. It’d been raining, I seem to recall. Did that a lot on Shadow, during the winter, that’s why it was so green.”

He gently rubbed the flannel over his son’s chest. “That’s where I’m from, Ethan,” he explained quietly. “I guess in a way that makes it your home planet too, since I ain't never telling anyone that Jayne nearly delivered you on Priam.” He shivered a little at the thought. “But Shadow was a nice place. And your grandma would’a loved you.”

Ethan was looking directly into his eyes, blue to blue, seeming to hang on every word.

“She was a good woman. And I reckon your Ma would’ve got on well with her too. Got lots of things in common. Not least of which is me. And now you.” Mal smiled, a movement echoed by his son.

“Anyway, I was telling you about this bath. So it was muddy outside, and there was this great big puddle just over by the haybarn, all slippy and encouragin’ lookin’.” He laughed. “And boy, did it encourage me.”

The little boy splashed again, almost as if he wanted his father to get on with the story.

“So, there I was, looking out of the window at this puddle. I was kinda precocious, so I figured that I’d go out and take me a look at it. I managed to get the door open, and stepped outside.” His eyes unfocused as he remembered. “I recall the smell, first and foremost. All damp and green, like it was about to start to grow. Then the feel of the mud splurgin’ up between my toes. Musta been barefoot, I guess. And then I looked up and there it was, callin’ to me. Shining in the sunlight. That great, glorious puddle. I remember strollin’ towards it all nonchalant, like I was just going for a walk …”

Ethan gurgled and Mal came back to Serenity. He looked down at his son. “I know now that my Ma was in something of a panic when she couldn’t find me in the house, and was about to send out a search party until she looked out of the window. She always told me she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, ‘cause there I was, sitting in the middle of this puddle, covered in crud from head to foot.”

Mal laughed his own self. “She picked me up and carried me, at arm’s length, into the house, plonked me down in the bath and proceeded to scrub an entire layer of skin off me.” He leaned down so that only Ethan could hear. “See, I didn’t really notice, but it wasn't just mud. Out near the haybarn, well, that was close to the stables too, and …” He chuckled. “Seems I smelled something fierce,” he clarified, rapidly adding, “Although, I have to say, it appears you know something about smelling fierce your own self.”

His son splashed again, and Mal realised he was getting somewhat wet too and that the water was cooling off. He rapidly finished cleaning his son. “Anyways, so I got the lecture on never doing that kind of thing again, and it’s a lesson I think you oughtta take to heart and you remember never to do that to your Momma. She won’t take kindly to thinking you’ve gone and got yourself lost.”

Lifting Ethan from the bath, he wrapped him in a towel and held him close. “See, your Momma loves you something fierce too, and you don’t want to worry her like that.” He turned to the door, then stopped. “Oh. Hi.”

“Hi,” Freya said.

“You been there a while?” he asked sheepishly.

“Long enough.”

“Listening?”

“Mmn.”

“Did I say anything … remotely embarrassing?”

“No.”

He relaxed a little. “Good.”

“Every single word was really sweet.”

Mal felt a blush burn up his chest. “Kinda wasn’t the impression I was going for.”

She stepped inside. “May not have been the intention, but …” She reached up and kissed her husband on the cheek.

“What was that for?” he asked, surprised.

“Do I need a reason?”

“No,” he admitted. “Just like to know so that I can do it again.”

Freya smiled. “You keep being you, and I don’t think we’re gonna have any problems with that.” She put her arm around his waist. “Come on. We’d better get Ethan dried and in bed.”

“Why? What have you got planned?” In answer she ran her hand down his right buttock. “Ah, okay,” he said. “But should we be doing this in front of the squirt?”

“He’s gonna have to get used to it.” She grinned and led him back towards their bunk. ---

COMMENTS

Thursday, February 8, 2007 11:11 PM

TAMSIBLING


Awww - absolutely sweet and endearing. I love seeing Mal as a father and this is just another great example of what a loving person he is ... and how protective and loyal he is to his family as well!

Friday, February 9, 2007 12:04 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh..oh...that tale was completely hilarious! And more than just a tad bit squee-inducing too;D

Could totally picture Mal just sitting next to a tub or large waterproof container, talking to Ethan as he cleaned him up. That and shots of Ethan just being an infant, provoking more brilliant remarks from Mal;)

BEB

Friday, February 9, 2007 1:37 AM

AMDOBELL


Adored this, I can easily imagine Mal being like that with his baby son. Thinking himself safely alone to let down his defences and chatter on about the kind of things he would never confess to the crew. Loved that Freya was listening and it's just one more reason she loves him so much. Sigh. Wonderful! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, February 9, 2007 1:55 AM

BABYWITHTHEPOWER


You did a damn fine job of capturing what Mal would be as a father. And I have to say, as the first story of yours I've read, it's definately got me wanting to read all of them. You've got a gift.

Friday, February 9, 2007 5:20 AM

GIRLFAN


Really beautiful, believable, and touching.

Friday, February 9, 2007 9:36 PM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


fluffy and sweet


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