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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Just a little follow-up to COMING OF AGE. Angst to start following. Like or hate? Let me know!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1728 RATING: 6 SERIES: FIREFLY
“In case anybody feels the urge to know, we’ve taken off,” Hank said, dropping down into the kitchen area.
Mal looked over from where he was just finishing drying his plate. “Only me around,” he said. “We on course?”
“Next stop Beaumonde,” the pilot confirmed. “In about ten hours.”
“Good.” Mal put his dish away and closed the cupboard. “Well, grab yourself some breakfast then get back to the bridge.”
“Aye aye, captain.” Hank grinned as he realised he sounded like a pirate, and snapped off a smart salute to go with it.
“Just fly the damn boat,” Mal said, coming out from behind the counter.
“No problem.” The grin faded. “So Jayne really decided he didn’t want to fly with us no more?”
“His choice.” Mal stepped into the corridor.
“Guess it’s gonna take us a while to get used to the big ape not being around.”
Hank heard the hatch above Mal’s bunk open then close again, and he sighed. Seemed like nobody felt like being sociable today. He stirred the hot oat cereal in the pan. Mind, if Mal had made breakfast, he wasn't surprised everyone was avoiding it.
“Oh, sorry,” Jethro said from the doorway. “I thought everyone had finished.”
“Not sure anyone’s actually been here,” Hank corrected, dropping a glutinous spoonful into a bowl.
“Um, is that breakfast?” Jethro asked, coming closer to peer at it.
“Either that or Kaylee’s invented a new form of engine sealant.” Hank poked it carefully, but it appeared to be dead. “Our captain is not the best cook in the world,” he said in a whisper. “Mind you, neither am I. I once managed to burn salad.”
Jethro, deciding abstinence was probably better on this occasion, paused in the action of pouring himself a cup of coffee. “How can you burn salad? That’s impossible.”
“Not for me,” Hank admitted happily. “See, it said it was warmed, only I didn’t realise that meant the dressing, so I –“
“Burned the salad.” Jethro nodded in understanding. “Maybe I should volunteer to cook.”
“You know how?”
“I used to work in the kitchens at the Abbey.”
“Oh, please. Mal’s great at the making of coffee, but as for the rest …” He tipped a load of sweetener into his food. “Even this don’t really help.”
“I’ll mention it. If I'm here that long.”
Hank lifted a spoonful of oats to his mouth and began to chew. “You thinking of leaving us too?” he asked somewhat indistinctly.
“I don’t know.”
“You okay? Only you don’t seem your usual, high spirited self this morning.”
“River and I spoke last night,” Jethro said slowly. “After Jayne left. Probably properly for the first time.”
“She told me … things.”
“Things you didn’t know.”
“Let me guess. She told you about the Academy, and how Simon got her out.”
Hank swallowed. “I wasn't around then,” he said thoughtfully. “I didn’t join Serenity until a coupla years back. But I remember when I first heard. I wasn't sure whether the rest of the crew was crazy or I was.”
“I mean, there was this sweet young thing, all delicate and fragile, and there they were telling me she killed a room full of Reavers all by herself.”
“How could she?” It had been preying on his mind all night. “Kill, just like that.”
“It was kinda them or the crew.”
“I know that, but … River?”
“Jethro, it took guts to take on the Reavers.”
The young man sat for a moment. “Until the Miranda broadwave, I didn’t even believe they existed.”
“Me neither,” Hank said, remembering what he’d seen on Corvus, and couldn’t stop the shudder that went through him. “You know it was this crew that sent that wave.”
Jethro looked up, startled. “What?”
“Because of what the Academy did to River. Lost two of their own in the process, and damn near killed the rest.” Hank pointed with his spoon. “As far as I'm concerned, they’re heroes.”
“I didn’t know.”
“No reason you should. It ain't exactly common knowledge.” He put his spoon back into his bowl. “Nor is what they did to River, and she musta trusted you to tell you.” He looked at Jethro, his usual sunny disposition somewhat shadowed. “It wasn't her fault, you know. They did things to her against her will that … well, she ain't never told anyone. Not even Simon. It was only his love and persistence that got her out of there.”
“But the things she did tell me … the awful violence …”
“Jethro, River is the sweetest crazy person you’re ever gonna have the pleasure of meeting. She’s got some issues with sloppy impulse control, but she’s working on that with Freya. Ain't you noticed how she’s not reading people’s minds so much any more?”
“Well, yes, but I thought –“
“She’s trying to grow up. And a little hiccup every now and then is to be expected. Kinda like a temper tantrum. Only admittedly they don’t usually end up with body parts all over the place.”
“But Jayne … she said she loves him.” He was surprised to realise it hurt when he said that.
“Maybe she does. But he’s gone. And you’re here. She kinda needs you right now, Jethro. You gonna walk away from her just when she’s bared her soul to you? When she’s hurting too?”
“I … I don’t know.”
“You scared of her?”
Jethro blushed. “A little.”
“Good. So you should be. I'm scared of Zoe, only it’s a hell of a lot more than just a little. Mal’s scared of Freya, and I think even Simon’s scared of Kaylee. It’s ‘cause they’re women. We don’t understand ‘em, what makes ‘em tick, and that makes ‘em scary. But it don’t mean we have to let ‘em scare us off.” He stood up. “Are you in love with River?”
“I … I'm not sure,” Jethro admitted.
“Then you ain't. Not yet. But don’t go closing that door just ‘cause you’re scared. Some of the best times of my life’ve been had whilst I was absolutely terrified.” He grinned. “You know, I don’t think I feel hungry no more.” He dumped his bowl in the sink. “But if you decide to cook some real food, let me know.” He grinned wider and headed back to the bridge, whistling tunelessly.
Jethro sat for a long time while his coffee went cold. Hank was right. River was special, and beautiful, and very scary. But he’d be wasting something precious if he didn’t see what happened next. He stood up. They’d need to take it slowly. As far as he was concerned, he was still an almost-Shepherd, and that was important to him. Still, River wasn't going to be rushed either, one way or the other. And this could end up being the adventure of his life.
He smiled. She’d asked him not to leave her last night. This morning it was maybe time to tell her he wasn't going anywhere.
Monday, February 12, 2007 2:42 AM
Monday, February 12, 2007 8:08 AM
Monday, February 12, 2007 9:25 AM
Monday, February 12, 2007 10:21 AM
Monday, February 12, 2007 10:50 AM
Monday, February 12, 2007 10:52 AM
Monday, February 12, 2007 10:59 AM
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 6:44 AM
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