BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

SOFI

The Gift: Act II
Saturday, February 17, 2007

Several years post-BDM. Story of new crew, of visiting relatives and of ponies. Feedback would be great!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2115    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

note: the book seph n dan are readin in this act is 'wuthering heights' by emily brontë. you should read it! not because you have to to understand this, but because it's the best! also, i'm sorry if the first act was confusin (also if it was confusin that it was the first of more acts). hopefully things become more clear in this one =D

~~~

“I wasn’t impressed.”

“Hu?” Daniel didn’t look up from his book.

“By his take-off. I wasn’t impressed.” Sephora was absent-mindedly flicking her knife. “I could have done better, doncha think? Li-wu?”

Daniel gave up and put his book down, slightly exasperated. “It was nothing extraordinary, but what do you expect, it’s just a take-off!”

“River would-“ Sephora paused, plagued by sudden pain. “You didn’t feel a jolt,” she finally muttered.

“Yes, well, River was River.” Oddly this seemed justification enough. “This guy is a bit odd, but we must have just got off to a bad start, do you not think?”

Sephora shrugged. “I dunno. Somethin about him just bothers me.”

“Maybe-” Daniel closed his mouth sharply as his Father stepped into the mess with the new pilot in tow.

“Well, Zuriel, I think that’s about it.” The Captain spotted Sephora and Daniel lurking in the corner. “How about you guys get to know each other?” Mal was conscious that their latest crewmember was worryingly closer to the children’s age than his own.

“Actually, I was gonna go do some weights before bed,” Sephora jumped to her feet. “Li-wu, wanna spot me?”

Daniel caught his Father’s stern eye and decided it was defiantly best to stay. “Maybe in a bit, Seph.”

Li-wu,” she hissed.

“If you want to go, that’s fine,” Zuriel put in, his tone touching on resentful.

“No, I was going to have a drink. Would you like something?”

Sephoria flounced off before the new pilot could reply.

“I’ll leave you two then… I’ve got… Captain-type things to be doin…” Mal said, slipping out.

“I’d love a cup of tea.” Zuriel sat.

“Urm… We have coffee,” Daniel offered.

“That’d be fine. Why does Seph call you that?”

“What?”

Li-wu.”

Daniel stopped what he was doing and looked as if he was thinking of it for the first time. “She just always has,” he replied eventually.

“Always?”

“For as long as I can remember. We’ve grown up together, you see. Well she’s older, but we’ve always been… together.”

“It must be nice to have such a big family,” Zuriel bemoaned.

“You were an only child?”

“I’m not sure. I didn’t know my parents.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

Zuriel nodded. “So am I sometimes. And here you have two Fathers and three Mothers.”

Daniel snorted. “I guess! Zoë has always been an Aunt though and Lee-lee and Simon are more like older siblings. River and Jayney were too.”

“Who are they?”

“River is Simon’s sister, I mean… was-” Daniel sighed. He didn’t really want to talk about it, especially not with a stranger. “Well, I guess it’s complicated. It doesn’t really matter. They’re… not with us anymore.”

“Oh, I see. I’m sorry.” There was an awkward pause before he continued darkly, “I know what it’s like to lose people who are close to you.”

~

Simon paused at the open door to the nursery. Kaylee was watching their daughter sleep. They both looked so peaceful he found it hard to interrupt. Finally, she looked up though.

Sharing a smile, she left Rosie’s bedside and they slid the door closed. “Were you goin to bed?”

“Only if you’d come with me.”

Kaylee raised an eyebrow. “Why now, there’s an offer I can’t refuse…”

“You know,” Mal said, coming down the stairs. “I’m gonna go ahead an block that from my memory. Some things I just do not wanna hear.”

Simon blushed scarlet but Kaylee beamed. “Compared with some of the things I hear late at night comin from the bridge, I’d say you have no right to complain.”

It was the Captain’s turn to blush. “What you doin around the bridge late at night?” he objected, just a tad too defensively.

Kaylee and Simon grinned at each other.

Mal coughed. “I mean, that’s beside the point. I was here to talk about the Princess.”

“Rosie?”

“Yup. Earlier she did something… odd.”

“Odd?” Simon asked, his voice more high-pitched than he would like.

“Not scary kinda odd,” Mal hurriedly added. “Well, kinda… Scary in that she may be more intelligent than me by the age of five.”

“I don’t think I understand,” Kaylee said.

“She corrected Nara’s course. She actually pointed to a coordinate that had been entered wrong. I mean the girl can’t even talk but-”

Kaylee gasped. “I knew it! We got a genius baby! Simon! We got a genius! I knew with all that Tam blood she couldn’t be normal. Oh!”

Simon smiled. “You know that sounds like a coincidence, Captain.”

“Is it hard to believe daughter of Mr Top-Three-Percent and Miss Machine-Miracle-Worker could be a little more than averagely talented?”

“Well, I guess not, but-”

“This is so shiny! We gotta encourage her so much! Our lil Rosie, a genius!”

“Just don’t get any ideas about fancy Alliance Academy’s, alright?” Mal grinned.

~

“Li-wu, that’s stupid,” Sephora objected.

Daniel stopped reading and looked up. “Why?”

Sephora sat up slightly in the bed, leaning on her elbow so she could face him. “Why would Heathcliff leave? Is Cathy not the love of his life? If I cared for someone I wouldn’t just leave after one harsh word!”

“But she says she’s going to marry someone else and that she couldn’t marry him because it would be degrading! If you heard the one person you truly cared about in the entire world say that-”

“I wouldn’t care for someone so stupid. And besides! If he’d only hung around, he’d have heard, he’d have heard-”

The door to Daniel’s bunk was kicked open. “Dan?” It was Zoë.

“Yes?”

“Is my daughter in there?”

“Yes.”

She descended. “It’s time for bed.”

“I’m in bed!” Sephora protested.

“Your own bed. You’re too old for slumber parties.”

Sephora sighed. “Pwese, Mamma! We’ve just got to a good part! Heathcliff has run off into the storm because he thought he heard Cathy say she didn’t love him! But actually she does, she loves him like the eternal rocks beneath!”

Zoë frowned. “Rocks?”

“A source of little visible delight, but necessary!” Daniel explained, smiling.

Zoë seemed gripped by a memory for a moment, but shook it off. “I’ll ask your Mam.”

The kids grinned, as this was almost a nightly ritual.

A few minutes later and Sephora had drifted asleep, clutching a tattered soft toy; a dinosaur. Daniel stopped reading. Yawning, he brushed the curls back that had fallen across his friends face. “You are always, always in my mind,” he whispered, “not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” Sephora murmured something incomprehensible. Smiling, Daniel fell asleep the moment his head fell back on the pillow.

~

Zuriel slumped onto his bed. He lay for a moment listening to the whir of the ship. This was Serenity. This was what it was like to be on Serenity. Images flashed before his eyes of how he had got to this point, not just the last few days, the journey from the brothel, but before then. They journey from Jude, the journey from the monastery, the journey from the orphanage. He closed his eyes, wishing to block it out, wishing to at last let the past die. Everything memory of his life up until this point only caused him pain. And here was somewhere to find joy. Here was happiness and warmth, yet all he wanted to do was crush it.

Zuriel sighed. “Am I too far gone?”

~

“Pony. Can you say ‘pony’?”

“Seph, what are you doing?” Daniel asked, putting some water on to boil.

Sephora sat with Rosie in the small lounge area of the mess. “I figure if Princess asks Unca’mal, he’s bound to say yes.”

“I doubt Father’s going to allow a pony on the ship, Seph.”

“Sure he will! He just needs some persuasion. That’s were you come in, isn’t it, little one?” Rosie beamed up at Sephora, loving the attention. “So what do you want Unca’mal to get you?”

“Pony!”

Sephora laughed and clapped her hands. “Perfect!”

Simon and Kaylee entered the mess. “What are you doing with Rosie?” Simon asked, immediately wary.

“Just improving her repertoire…” Sephora replied coyly.

“Pony!” Rosie giggled.

“Aw, Rose!” Kaylee swept her daughter up. “That’s shiny!”

“The Captain does not stand to be happy about this.”

“I heard that!” Mal yelled down the corridor. “What’s goin on?” He stepped into the room.

“Cap! Pony!”

Mal scowled. “What did you do, Sephora?”

“Nothing! Rosie wants a pony, don’t you?”

“Pony!”

“See.”

“No.”

“Aw, cumon!”

“NoNoNoNoNO. An you will not teach any of your tricks to Princess. Clear?”

“Pony!”

Mal shook his head and strode from the room.

“Trouble, Sir?” Zoë strode from the bridge.

“Only in the form of your troublesome daughter. Too much Washburne blood in tha- What are you doin?” Mal was looking at toy dinosaurs that Zoë was cradling.

“Just tidyin, Sir. Makin the bridge clean for our new pilot.”

Mal stared up into the eyes of his First Mate. “You don’t have to do that. Not now.”

“Just seems about time.”

“But they’ll always be a part of Serenity.” He will always be a part.

“I know. Don’t mean Zariel shouldn’t have his chance to become a part of her.” Zoë sighed. “It’s been long enough and this guy didn’t even know… Just seems like time.”

Mal nodded. “If that’s what you want.”

“It is.”

“Mamma?” Sephora stood motionless in the doorway, he gaze locked with her Mother’s. “What the guay are ya doin?”

“Sephora, watch your language,” Mal growled, knowing he would be ignored.

“A good looking young new pilot and you wanna forget all bout Dadda? Is that it?”

Zoë frowned. “Seph, don’t you take that tone with me.”

“Why in the verse not? I may not remember him, don’t make him any less my Pap. I will not let him be forgot! You cannot do this.”

“He was your Father, but he was my husband and I have to live with his death every day,” Zoë said, quiet but stern. “You know nothing of it, Sephora, so do not think you can tell me what to do.”

They glared at each other for a moment.

“No one could forget Wash.” Mal’s voice was soft and soothed the air that had become taught with tension.

Sephora became aware of the silence behind her and the gaze of those in the Mess. With an angry shrug she pushed past Mal, kicked open her bunk and descended into the darkness. Collapsing into a ball, she sobbed into her quilt.

No one had noticed Zuriel’s presence in the Mess. “When did he die?”

Kaylee looked up, Rosie cradled in her arms. “What?”

“Zoë’s husband, when did he die?”

“Sixteen years ago. A few months before Seph was born.”

“And he was the pilot?”

“Yeah.”

“I know how hard it can be, missing parents you never knew.”

“It was hard for all of us. He was a good man.”

Simon squeezed Kaylee’s shoulder as he walked past and they smiled sadly at each other for a moment.

Daniel got nosily to his feet. “Think I’ll see if Seph’s alright.”

“Seph is short of Sephora?” Zuriel asked, as Daniel left the room.

“Yeah, why?” Kaylee asked.

“It’s another name for Zipporah.”

“…Oh.”

“Moses’ wife,” Zuriel explained.

“Didn’t know you were religious,” Kaylee smiled.

“I lived most my life in a Catholic orphanage back on Dyton Colony and trained as a priest.”

“You’re a priest? Is that why you have such short hair?” she giggled.

“No. I… turned from that path. In fact on Dyton priests do not cut their hair. I shaved mine the day…”

There was an awkward paused.

“How does a priest learn to fly?” Simon asked.

“A member of the congregation, she taught me. It’s a long story, I wouldn’t want to bore you…”

“But I love hearin stories!” Kaylee smiled.

Zuriel faltered. “In fact, I’d prefer not to talk about it. It’s the past and that’s where I’d prefer it to stay.”

“Oh… alright.”

Zuriel nodded. “So, how long have you been married?”

“We ain’t married.”

“Oh, but Rosie-”

“She’s our child, yeah. We’re livin in sin.”

Simon smiled. “It’s just never come up.”

~

“Seph?”

“Go away.”

“Seph, are you alright?” Daniel stepped into the room and looked anxiously to the bed where she was curled.

She looked up, dangerously. “I mean it, Li-wu. Just go.”

“It’s alright, I-”

Jumping to her feet, she pushed him towards the ladder. “GO AWAY! GO AWAY!” Her fists beat at him, her arms flailing.

Daniel grabbed her wrists. “It’s alright, Seph. It’s alright…”

She caught his eye and collapsed against him, tears leaking onto his chest. “It’s not fair, Li-wu. It’s just not fair.”

Daniel wrapped his arms around her.

“All my life I’ve heard stories of what a great guy he was, what an incredible pilot he was, what a faithful friend he was, what a beautiful husband he was, but I never got to know! I never got to know what a great Pap he could be! Why do they deserve to have memories when I do not? How can they forsake something I long for?”

“I don’t have any answer’s for you. It is not fair. But I do not believe that Zoë could ever forget your Father or that she would want to. Things change though and it is not right to live in past.” Daniel took her face in his hands. “You have me. You will always have me!”

Sephora smiled and they kissed. “I know.”

To be continued...

COMMENTS

Saturday, February 17, 2007 8:08 AM

WYNTER


Ummm...are River and Jayne dead?!?!? Oh, please don't let that be the case. I would be a bit gutted.

Interesting little bit of information on Zuriel though, I have theories about him but again, speculation. I don't know whether he's really likeable yet or not, he seems a bit indifferent to me. I think it's because he's so new, I'm sure that'll change as the story goes on!

Looking forward to the next bit :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:56 AM

SOFI


=D i like your speculations wynter! imagine me sitting stroking a cat or something sayin "mwah ha ha! little do they know!!" obviously i'm not acutally doin that, but in my mind...

anyhow thanks for your encouragment!

n the debious nature of zuriel is intentional. he is a bit odd n personally i find him a bit depressin... but will the crew warm to him? n will he want them to??

find out next time in 'the gift' *dramatic music*

Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:56 AM

SOFI


=D i like your speculations wynter! imagine me sitting stroking a cat or something sayin "mwah ha ha! little do they know!!" obviously i'm not acutally doin that, but in my mind...

anyhow thanks for your encouragment!

n the debious nature of zuriel is intentional. he is a bit odd n personally i find him a bit depressin... but will the crew warm to him? n will he want them to??

find out next time in 'the gift' *dramatic music*

Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:56 AM

SOFI


=D i like your speculations wynter! imagine me sitting stroking a cat or something sayin "mwah ha ha! little do they know!!" obviously i'm not acutally doin that, but in my mind...

anyhow thanks for your encouragment!

n the debious nature of zuriel is intentional. he is a bit odd n personally i find him a bit depressin... but will the crew warm to him? n will he want them to??

find out next time in 'the gift' *dramatic music*

Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:56 AM

SOFI


=D i like your speculations wynter! imagine me sitting stroking a cat or something sayin "mwah ha ha! little do they know!!" obviously i'm not acutally doin that, but in my mind...

anyhow thanks for your encouragment!

n the debious nature of zuriel is intentional. he is a bit odd n personally i find him a bit depressin... but will the crew warm to him? n will he want them to??

find out next time in 'the gift' *dramatic music*

Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:56 AM

SOFI


=D i like your speculations wynter! imagine me sitting stroking a cat or something sayin "mwah ha ha! little do they know!!" obviously i'm not acutally doin that, but in my mind...

anyhow thanks for your encouragment!

n the debious nature of zuriel is intentional. he is a bit odd n personally i find him a bit depressin... but will the crew warm to him? n will he want them to??

find out next time in 'the gift' *dramatic music*

Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:56 AM

SOFI


=D i like your speculations wynter! imagine me sitting stroking a cat or something sayin "mwah ha ha! little do they know!!" obviously i'm not acutally doin that, but in my mind...

anyhow thanks for your encouragment!

n the debious nature of zuriel is intentional. he is a bit odd n personally i find him a bit depressin... but will the crew warm to him? n will he want them to??

find out next time in 'the gift' *dramatic music*

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 10:59 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Hmm...interesting things are afoot around the good ship Serenity, eh Sofi?

;)

Gotta say I am kinda unsure about how I feel about Daniel and Sephora. They seem great together...but the knowledge they are Mal's son and Zoe's daughter seems...offputting for some reason. Like they're making up for Mal and Zoe not hooking up with one another:(

Still...I really loved what you did here, especially with Sephora trying to harness Rose's natural cutness to get a pony;D

BEB


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