BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

The Hunt - Part X
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The wheel is turning ... If you like please leave feedback/ratings.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1868    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Mal stared into the curved bulkhead of his ship, not seeing her, just trying to get to that state he used to as a boy, when he’d be thankful for everything he’d been given, and be joyous in his prayers. There was no joy now. Just need.

“It’s been a while,” he began haltingly. “Not since Serenity Valley. Not really. And I ain't ever asked you for anything from that point. But I’m asking you now. Frey’s my life. She’s more than just the woman I love, the mother of Ethan, even the backbone of this boat. She’s my reason for living. She makes my world light up in the morning, and the face I gaze on when I go to sleep at night. She’s my life.”

He paused, closing his eyes now.

“If you are there, then you know what happened. Better’n me. I don’t know how you could let them do that, but you did. I ain't angry at you, since I ain't even sure you’re there no more. But you can see her lying there, hurting, and I … I'm asking for your help. To keep her alive. To make her better.”

He swallowed, the emotion making his voice thick.

“If it’s a choice, her or me, then take me. I'm ready. Don’t wanna go, but if it means Frey stays here, gets well, then it’s a choice I’ll gladly make. Truth is, I can’t go on without her. Wouldn’t want to.”

Tears began to course down his cheeks.

“I’ve not been afraid like this in a long while. Maybe never. But I can’t let her go. Maybe I'm being selfish, and if I am I don’t care. Where she’s concerned I’m gonna be selfish for the rest of my life. But that ain't worth nothing if she’s not there to share it with me.”

Dropping his head, he went on.

“You know what I'm gonna do when we catch up to Wing. I ain't asking your forgiveness in advance, ‘cause that ain't the way of things. And I conjure it’s likely I won’t ask after, either, ‘cause this needs to be done. He hurt her so bad. What he did, he needs to die.”

There was a long pause, then he spoke again, this time pleading with a God he’d given up on so long ago.

“Save her. Please. I won’t be asking for anything else, ‘cept maybe to live to an old age with her. But please … save her.”

Then there was silence, just the small sound of a man in extreme pain crying for the woman he loved.

---

“We’ve found him,” Dillon Malfrey said, his face pale, the man standing behind him grasping his shoulder in pained support. “He’s on Hera. There‘s a Unification Day celebration taking place tomorrow. They‘re erecting a new statue at the head of Serenity Valley, and he‘s one of the main contributors.”

“Seems appropriate somehow,” Mal said. He glanced at Hank. “Tomorrow?”

His pilot nodded. “We can make it.”

Mal looked back into the screen. “Thanks.”

“We’re already on our way,” Dillon added.

“No, look, thanks, but I don’t … this ain’t your fight.”

“You think you’re going to get anywhere near Wing without us?”

“I know Hera. And that entire damn area a little too intimately. Not gonna put anyone else at risk I don’t need to.”

The man behind Dillon interrupted. “Captain Reynolds, Freya is our friend. What Wing did to her is unforgivable. We want to help.”

“Breed’s right,” Dillon agreed. “Warwick feels the same. We’re coming.”

Mal couldn’t speak for a moment. Then said, unable to keep the emotion out of his voice, “Thank you.”

“You’d better rendezvous with us some distance from the planet. There aren’t that many Fireflys about, and only one called Serenity. It will only take someone being inquisitive to stop this before it starts, whereas my ship is … they won’t worry us.”

“It’s a good plan.”

“We’re also faster than you, so any idea of getting there first and trying to deal with it yourself … well, you’d better get that out of your mind.”

Mal’s lips twitched. “Can’t say it occurred to me.”

“No, of course not.” Dillon nodded sagely. “We’ll be at the coordinates in twenty hours. Just … keep her alive, captain.”

“Wasn’t planning on doing anything else.”

---

No-one could sleep. Simon had handed out hypos to everyone to knock them out, but normal sleep was impossible.

“I keep seeing her,” Hank said, sitting on the edge of the bed, his hands clasped tight. “What they did to her …”

Zoe sat up behind him and put her arms around his chest. “I know, honey. So do I.”

“You saw things during the war. What people do. And what happened on Corvus …” He shivered. “Why is this so much worse?”

“Because it’s Freya. And why it was done.”

“It still doesn’t make any sense.”

“It’s not supposed to. It’s visceral. Hitting Mal where it’d cause the most pain.” Zoe rested her chin on his shoulder. “He wasn’t even supposed to know why or who. Just that someone hated him enough to do this.”

“And would it have ended there?” Hank asked.

Zoe was surprised by his insight. “I don’t know. But I’ve been wondering that myself. So’s the captain. Taking each one of us until only Mal’s left.”

“He’d kill himself long before that.”

“Yes.”

“I mean, if Freya … if she hadn’t been alive … gorram it, if she dies now …”

“I know.” She tightened her grip on him, pressing herself against his naked back.

“Why did this happen?” he asked, putting his hands on hers. “Why couldn’t everything just be good? Why the hell can’t we just enjoy our lives?”

“I don’t know, Hank,” Zoe said softly. “I don’t know.”

---

Jethro tightened his grip on River as she mumbled in her sleep, jerking with imagined pains.

He knew what she was dreaming about, had been since she‘d picked up on what was being done to Freya. Seeing what she’d seen, feeling it again … he’d been woken by her moaning, and had gone to try and wake her. She’d opened her large black eyes on him, pulling his soul into her, then locked her arms around him, so tight she wasn’t going to let go.

“Don’t leave me,” she’d said, her voice catching.

“I won’t,” he assured her, meaning it more than he had meant anything in his life.

He’d laid down next to her, one hand in her hair, drawing her closer, feeling her relax as she slipped back into sleep. Until the dreams came again.

She needed to be cared for, to be looked after, although somehow that wasn’t what he wanted to do. He wanted to kiss her, strip the clothes from her and make love to her … except he would feel guilty afterwards.

His body was betraying him, he knew that. Aching for her in the middle of the night, teasing him in his dreams with thoughts of her beneath him until he woke reaching out for her. As a Shepherd, about to take the white, he would have gone to confession, taken the punishment meted out, then worked until his back broke and his fingers bled to get the images out of his head. As a man, though, he wanted to run those fingers down her body, to make her moan with delight and not pain.

He leaned over and kissed her gently, his lips barely touching her cheek, then lay back and prayed for salvation.

---

Inara looked into the storage locker outside shuttle two where Sheydra had been locked. There was enough light to see the Companion lying against the far wall, her head pillowed on her arms, asleep.

“Don’t know how she can do that,” Jayne muttered behind her. “Sleep like that. After what she’s done.”

“I don’t think she considers she did anything wrong,” Inara said, turning to look at him.

“She sold us out.”

“She doesn’t see it that way.”

“Then she’s crazy.”

“She didn’t know Wing was going to do this.”

Jayne stared at her. “You makin’ excuses for her?” he asked in disbelief.

“No. Not at all.” Inara glanced back at the sleeping woman. “But I can almost understand.”

“No you can’t. And that don’t make no sense anyhow. The pofu nearly got Freya killed.”

“I know.” Inara sighed deeply, thinking back a couple of hours to when she brought Sheydra some food, the argument they’d had.

“It wasn’t your fault,“ Jayne said quietly.

“I know.” Inara still sounded unhappy. “But she wouldn’t listen.” So much anger …

“She ain’t worth worrying about.”

“What’s Mal planning to do with her?”

Jayne shrugged. “Ain’t asked. Whatever it is, it ain’t gonna make up for what happened to Frey.”

Inara shuddered. “No. I suppose it won’t.”

---

Mal carried Ethan carefully down the stairs towards the lower crew quarters. He didn’t think of it as the guest area any more, not since Kaylee and Simon had taken up permanent residence there, with Bethany in her room and River in hers. And Jethro now right across the hall. Not that they took on passengers much any more, although there was still space if anyone was fool enough to want to sail in a Firefly.

He crossed to the young doctor’s bunk and knocked with his foot.

Kaylee slid the door open. “Captain. Everything okay?” she asked in surprise. “Nothing wrong with Serenity, is there?”

“No, nothing wrong.” Mal smiled a little at the thought that his ship was still her first concern. “I just … there’s a favour I need to ask of you.”

“Sure,” Kaylee said. “Anything I can do. Anything at all.”

“Can you … when it goes down tomorrow, I want you to … to look after Ethan for me.”

Kaylee stared at him. “Cap, do you think –”

“Ain’t got a mind to think at the moment, little Kaylee,” he admitted. “Just need to know my son’s being looked after.” He looked down at Ethan in his arms, lying so quiet and peaceful. “I’m spending the night with Frey, so I figure now’s as good a time as any to be getting him settled in.”

“Don’t you want him with you?” She was slightly taken aback.

“I don’t want him to see his Momma like that,” Mal tried to explain. “I know he’s a baby, but … I don’t want what may be his only memory of her to be … just can’t.”

Kaylee nodded in understanding. “She’ll be fine, captain. There’ll be lots more memories to come, of both of you.”

“Sure.”

“He can sleep with Bethany tonight,” the young mechanic suggested, opening the door to the nursery.

“Sounds good.”

Kaylee went to the bed, where her daughter was fast asleep. She lifted the cover away a little then turned. “Best give him to me.”

“I’ll do it.” Mal stepped past her and laid his son onto the mattress, settling him down. Ethan wriggled a little, then relaxed.

“He’s a good boy,” Kaylee said.

“That he is.” Mal gazed down at his child, stroking his cheek with the tip of one finger. “’N’ you be extra special good for your Auntie Kaylee, you hear?” He stood up and swayed a little.

“You need to get some rest.”

“Can’t.” Mal half-smiled. “Every time I close my eyes I see what they did to her, hear her screams in my head …” He put his hand on her arm. “You just take care of Ethan, okay?”

“Sure thing, Cap’n.”

Mal leaned over and kissed his son on his forehead, then turned back to the infirmary, passing Simon on the way. He patted the young man on the back before going to sit next to his wife.

“He thinks he’s going to die,” Kaylee said softly as she watched her husband walk over to her.

“He’s going to kill Wing. And if it takes that, then yes.”

“Even if Freya gets through this?”

Simon pulled her into a hug. “He thinks it’s a good bargain.” He felt her stiffen in his embrace. “Fair exchange,” he went on. “Himself for Freya.”

“He can’t,” she said, pulling back to look into his blue eyes.

“Don’t worry,” Simon said, moving a lock of her hair from her cheek. “Jayne will be there, and Zoe. They’re not going to let anything happen to him.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

She let him draw her in closer. “Can’t you make him sleep? He ain’t put his head down since Ethan got took, and if he’s as bad as this tomorrow he’s as like to shoot himself as anyone else.”

“You think I should dope him? Like I did with Freya that time?”

“You could try.”

Simon smiled a little. “I’ll speak to him. Okay?”

“’Kay. Just make sure you got that hypo ready for when he says no.”

---

Mal laid his hand on Freya’s forehead, feeling the sweat on her skin. He wanted to hold her, to take her in his arms and … but this was all he could do, the only contact he could make.

“We’ve found him, Frey,” he said quietly, running his fingers through her hair. “Wing. The man who did … this.” He glanced down at the frame holding her still, then back to her face. “This time tomorrow he’ll be dead, and we can get back to our lives. Get back to making you well again.”

He reached out to her hand but pulled back. “There’s too many things out in the ‘verse I want to show you. Things for us to see together.” His voice broke. “Ethan misses you. I miss you. You gotta get well, Frey.” He leaned down. “Please.”

“Mal, you’re not going to help if you get sick too,” Simon said from the doorway.

Mal stood up, wiping his cheeks with his sleeve before looking at the young man. “I’m shiny, doc.”

“You’re exhausted. You need to sleep.”

“Can’t.”

“Then let me help you.”

“I don’t need any help, doc.”

“We all need help, Mal.” He looked down at Freya. “For her sake, if nothing else.”

“You know how to twist it, don’t you?”

“I gained Honours in it at MedAcad.” Simon crossed the infirmary. “If you won’t go back to your bunk then at least lay down here.” He gestured to the counter. “I can make it comfy for you.”

“Comfy?” Mal lifted his eyebrows at the young man.

“Well, less … okay, so maybe it won’t be soft. But you need to rest. Especially with what’s happening tomorrow.”

“Doc –”

“And I have permission to dope you if you won’t.”

“Who from?”

“Kaylee. So why don’t you just lie down before I get her to come and sedate you herself?”

Mal put his hands up in mock surrender. “No need to get nasty,” he said.

“Then lie down.”

For a moment neither man moved, then Mal nodded, hitching himself up onto the counter. “Still won’t be able to sleep.”

“Then this will help.” Simon prepared a hypo, injecting it into the captain’s neck.

“Keep an eye on her, won’t you?” Mal said, laying down, and feeling something of a fool for doing so.

“Of course, Mal.” He smiled. “When haven’t I?”

“Yeah, doc. Guess you do.” His eyes began to close, and he forced them open again. “Don’t let me oversleep.” He looked across at Freya, so still. “See you soon, ai ren.”

---

There was a dull thud as the other ship locked on, then a moment later the light went green as a hard seal formed and the pressure equalised. Jayne opened the outer door.

“Captain,” Dillon Malfrey said, stepping into the interior of the Firefly, nodding at the rest of the crew. “I wish our meeting again was under happier circumstances.”

“Hey, I’m shiny,” Mal said, shaking the other man’s hand. “It’s time to get the man who tortured my wife.”

Sir Warwick Harrow, behind Dillon, winced a little. “And once you have him? Then what? Will you leave it for the Authorities to deal with him? I have more than a little influence – I can make sure he is prosecuted.”

Mal looked at the stocky man for a moment then said, “Come with me.”

He led the way to the infirmary.

“Captain, we don’t have time –” Dillon began.

“You tell me what I should do,” Mal said, standing to one side so they could see the wreckage Wing had made of Freya.

The only sound from the two men was a sharp intake of breath.

Harrow pulled a linen square from his pocket and held it to his lips. “Captain Reynolds, my apologies. When I was informed … I had no idea.” He stared at the woman on the medbed. “You’re right. This isn’t a case for the Alliance.”

“No,” Mal said simply.

“Is she going to live?” Dillon asked, glad Breed had stayed on board his ship.

The young man he remembered as Simon, the doctor, straightened up. “I’m doing everything I can.”

“If you need anything …”

“Thank you. But it’s just a matter of time now.”

“Time …” Dillon echoed.

“Talking of which, we don’t have a great deal,” Harrow said, dragging his eyes from the frame, the restraints. “We have to get going.”

“That we do.” Mal nodded, then turned to his pilot. “Hank, watch the ship.”

“No. No way. I’m coming with you.”

“I need someone I can trust –”

“And I need to do this. I was there too, Mal, when we found her. Please.”

Mal stared at him then nodded slowly. “You stick with Zoe.”

“Yes sir.”

“River –”

“I’m coming too. I know what the men looked like. I saw.” She shuddered slightly.

“And if Wing gets away? Comes after my ship?” Mal put his hands on her shoulders. “Your brother has to stay because of Freya. Kaylee’s looking after Bethany and Ethan, and Inara’s helping her. Which one of them can fly Serenity? Or repel boarders, if it comes to that?”

“Captain – Mal –”

“No. You stay. Just … sketch them for us. The men who hurt Freya.”

River glared at him, then reached into her pocket and pulled out two sheets of paper. “Here,” she said grumpily, passing them to him.

He smiled a little. “You had to try, didn’t you, albatross?”

“Even if you made Hank stay he’d be useless in a fight,” she said with a resigned air.

“Hey!” said the aggrieved pilot.

Mal glanced at the doctor. “You stay here. You watch her. If she needs anything, anything at all …”

Simon nodded, seeing the anger consuming the man below the surface. From what Zoe had said, even when the angels had rained fire on Serenity Valley, he hadn’t been this full of rage.

“Bring me something back,” River said quietly to Jayne as he made sure his weapons were sitting comfortably.

“Sure. What’dya want, moonbrain?”

“His head.”

Jayne stared for a second, then nodded. “You got it,” he promised, then followed his captain onto the other vessel.

---

The ship settled into the landscape, close to but far enough from the others waiting there that no-one was likely to notice them disembark.

“Where’s Wing?” Mal asked, looking out into Hera‘s early evening, the scent of the small white flowers he remembered wafting towards them. Only before it had been when he crushed them underfoot as he ran for the stockade.

“He’s played into our hands, somewhat,” Dillon said. “He’s landed away from the main groups. Set up his entourage just to the north.”

“Perhaps they know what he’s like and don’t want to mingle,” Hank offered.

“More likely he thinks he’s better than them,” Zoe put in.

“He’s rich enough that it doesn’t matter what he’s like,” Harrow said. “People make allowances.”

“Not any more,” Mal said, stepping down onto soil that seemed to scream at him. He walked forward, going to stand on the headland overlooking Serenity Valley, remembering the final days – Graydon, Lt. Baker, Bendis … all the men he failed to save the first time around, and ever since had carried that failure within him. Only now he realised Freya meant more. He breathed deep, almost smelling the death and destruction from more than a decade ago, then turned.

“Let’s go.”

to be concluded

COMMENTS

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:34 AM

AMDOBELL


Oh wow, this is fabulous squared. I really love Simon in this one and his threat to set Kaylee on the Captain if he didn't let Simon help him sleep made me smile. Yep, doc is learning. Also love how everyone is wanting to help get Wing and make sure he suffers for what he did not Freya. Had tears in my eyes when Mal was praying in his bunk, sure hope he doesn't have to make good on his offer to God to exchange himself so his wife can live. I want them both to live and for Wing to spend eternity in the fiery pits of every one of the nine hells - and then some. Excellent writing, can't wait for the next part! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:08 AM

WAFFENMAC


fantastic

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:09 AM

WAFFENMAC


Please get rid of Jethro ,Poor Jayne deserves some happiness

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:24 PM

TAMSIBLING


This was great - and full of dramatic tension. I really love Mal's prayer, especially because we know how much he doesn't believe, but needs to, for Freya.

I loved S/K as well and Jethro with River. Glad he's starting to wake up and smell the hottie! I can't wait for more!

Thursday, February 22, 2007 7:57 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Holy...shit! This was utterly fantastic! Everything I could have hoped for concerning Mal's prayer and the crew prepping for the fight to come was just fabulous beyond belief!

Speaking of Mal's plea to God...you kidnapped Joss, didn't ya? Cuz this is probably exactly how Joss & co. would have handled Mal breaking down and begging an entity he has exiled from his life to save his wife from harm. Brought a tear to my eye, it did;D

Gotta say though...wanna smack Jethro upside the head. He's got River's affections and he still thinks he has to be a Shepherd when comforting River? Boy is that boy lacking in life experience. Get the feeling that Jethro's big moment will soon be upon us though...

BEB


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