BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Aftermath
Friday, February 23, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Back to the angst. Freya is recovering slowly, but her mental state is causing concern. Please leave feedback etc. It really helps when I'm writing something I'm not sure about.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1751    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Prologue

She was so excited. For once in her short life she was going somewhere different, somewhere away from home, on her own, and she was so looking forward to it. So young and yet prepared for anything the ‘verse could throw at her.

“Are you ready yet, dear?” Her mother looked around the door into the bedroom.

“Nearly,” she said, stuffing her nightdress into the case. “Just packing the last of my bits.” She picked up a small teddy bear.

“You can’t take that, sweetheart!”

She grasped the bear to her chest. “Oh, momma, I have to! He’s my bear – I can’t leave him behind! What if I get homesick?”

Her mother came to stand next to the bed, idly picking up a small blouse and folding it carefully. “This is a special place you’re going to. You won’t have time to get homesick – there’ll be so much to do.”

“I know. But I want my things with me. I can take him, can’t I?” She had a hold so tight on her toy that no-one was going to pry it from her fingers.

“Oh, my dear.” Her mother took her into her arms, hugging her close and stroking her long brown hair. “You’re never going to grow up, are you?”

“I will, momma. Just not today.” She smiled.

“No, probably not.” The older woman sighed. “All right, pack him away. Just don’t let anyone else see him.”

“I bet lots of students have their toys with them.” The girl resumed packing – at least, resumed pushing things into her bag until it could hold no more. “I can’t wait.” She was happy and excited. “Is dad going to be home in time?” she asked, closing the case and locking it.

“He’s trying to make it, sweetheart. Don’t be too sad if he can’t,” her mother warned.

“I know he’s busy.” She sat down on the edge of her bed, the edge taken off her happiness. “I just thought … today … I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

“They’ll give you holidays. Of course they will,” her mother assured her. “And you can write. I know your brother would be pleased if you did.”

“He won’t care,” she scoffed, knowing he was too preoccupied to think of her.

“Of course he does.” Her mother shook her head. “He’s your brother. He has to care.” The girl looked at her mother, a look that perturbed her, made her take a mental step backwards. Her daughter was special, she knew that, but sometimes … She shook herself. “Come on,” she said quickly. “Bring your bag down and we’ll get something to eat before the carriage comes.”

“Can we have cookies?” she asked, suddenly bright again, all her enthusiasm on her young face.

“Cookies it is.”

And they were such good cookies. Thick, with big chunks of chocolate in, that went satisfyingly soggy when dipped in the milk, but stayed together enough so that they didn’t fall apart until they were in your mouth.

Freya could still taste them …

---

In the three weeks since Mal had ended Xavier Wing on Hera, life returned to something approaching normality. Everyone got used to Freya being in the infirmary, and all of the crew made a point of dropping in at various times during the day, although it was Jayne who sat with her most. She seemed to accept his company best, either listening to him talking about his life before Serenity, or just sitting in silence as he cleaned his guns or did a bit of wood carving. Simon became accustomed to finding shavings on the infirmary floor.

After the first week most of the restraints were removed, and after two Simon took away the frame, making Freya a little more comfortable. But only a little.

At night Mal slept in the bed they’d made on the counter. It became a ritual – he’d spend an hour with Ethan in the infirmary with Freya, holding him so she could talk to him, barely touch him, before taking him into Bethany’s room. He’d put his son into the bed next to the little girl, who’d roll over and put her arm around him, protecting him. Then he’d join Freya and talk to her until she dozed off and he tried to get some sleep his own self.

Until the nightmares took her. Then he’d slip from his makeshift bunk and sit next to her, stroking her face, drying the sweat on her skin, feeling his heart break each time she moaned and shook.

Physically she was improving. No doubt about that. Simon had been very pleased with her progress, at least to her face. To Mal, on the other hand, he was a little more honest.

“She’s going to have to go through a lot of physiotherapy, just to learn to walk properly again, without support.” The young man watched his captain’s face tighten as they sat alone in the galley one day after breakfast. “It’s going to be hard work.”

“Whatever it takes,” Mal said.

“But the emotional damage … I don’t know that will ever heal properly. What they did to her –“

“I know what they did, doc,” Mal said quickly. He took a deep breath. “Wing shoulda shot me. Found me in a blind alley and slit my throat. Anything but done that to her.”

“She’s alive, Mal,” Simon said. “Because of who she is. And she’ll survive for the same reason. But the rest … if a whole person comes out of the end of this it will be because of you. Because of the way you love her.”

“You saying she might not be whole?”

“She’s been through an experience most people can‘t begin to imagine.”

“Doc, there’s been other experiences, some you don’t even know about –“

“Not like this. Before there was a reason, some hope of escape, of stopping the pain. This time there was none.”

“But she survived.” He looked the young man directly in the eyes. “Once I told her that I was a stubborn son of a bitch who wouldn’t lie down when he was killed. I kinda figure she’s pretty much the same.”

“I hope so, Mal. Because I think her nightmares are going to be much worse.”

“How the hell can they be?” Mal didn’t understand. “She dreams about what they did to her.”

Simon leaned forward in his chair. “Listen to me. I know you think she’s going to get better quickly. Which she would have, if we’d found … if we’d got to her sooner. Her bones are mostly knitted, but the nerves … And the damage to the ligaments, the tendons … they’re what holds everything together, and they take a lot longer to heal. That’s why she’s going to have problems for a long time.”

“I’ll do whatever I have to.”

“I know. We all will. But we have no idea what this has done to her mentally.”

“She’s strong.”

“And if she wasn’t she might be able to cope better. But that’s all it’s going to be – coping.”

“I don’t understand.”

“She knows what’s been done. And she thinks it’s her fault.”

“I know,” Mal admitted, his voice barely a murmur. “I wish I could make her believe it ain’t.”

“If she wasn't so strong, then she’d accept help, let us do whatever it takes. But she won’t. Not until it gets so bad she can’t cope any more. And that may be too late.”

Mal looked up, sudden comprehension making him pale. “You mean –“

“I’m not saying it will happen. But … there’s a possibility she won’t be able to deal with it, the aftermath, the nightmares.”

“You’re suggesting she might try to … end herself?” He could barely say the words, let alone think them.

“It’s possible.”

“No.” Mal was angry at the young man for even daring to suggest it, at himself for not being able to help Freya better, at his wife for … “No, Simon. That ain't gonna happen. I found her again, and she’s alive, and I ain't gonna let anything take her away from me.”

“I understand. I'm just … advising caution.”

“Your sis … can she keep an eye on her? Make sure she ain't thinking about … that?”

Simon nodded. “I’ve already spoken to her. But I think it best you speak to the rest of the crew, make sure they understand.”

“You think they need to know?”

“What if she asked Jayne to borrow one of his guns? Just to see if she could fire it. Don’t you think he’d give it to her, just because she’s Freya?”

Mal couldn’t stop it, the image flashing into his mind of his wife, his lover, lying on their bed, blood spread across the bulkhead … “I’ll speak to them.”

“Good.” Simon stood up. “It’s going to take time. And patience. And prayer.”

“Prayer?”

“I know you did. River told me.”

“Your sister should …” He stopped, mindful of how he’d just asked the doctor to get River to … “Maybe she’s right. Maybe I did pray. And maybe I ain’t stopped every day since then. But it ain’t for me. Only for her.”

“Whatever the reason, don’t stop, Mal.”

“For Freya? I don’t intend to.”

to be continued

COMMENTS

Friday, February 23, 2007 10:35 PM

TAMSIBLING


Oh yes, the emotional toll of Freya's torture is going to eat away at all of us, I have a feeling.

I am truly intrigued to see where you take this, Jane! I cannot wait.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 5:50 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh...this was just freakin' brilliant stuff, Jane0904! The amount and quality of angst pouring off everyone shown here (and probably off those not shown) was just fabulous in how Mal's so "I ain't listening! I can't hear...she is?" and Simon's all "Listen very carefully, Mal...you need to start thinking like a sergeant right now."

BEB

Saturday, February 24, 2007 7:12 AM

HOBBLEIT


Very good.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 9:02 AM

AMDOBELL


Poor Freya, she has a tough road ahead but so many people rooting for her that it has to make a difference. And Mal has such a strong indomitable will he won't give up on her or let anyone else either. I love how the whole crew is wanting her to pull through and my heart goes out to Mal when he hears Simon lay it on the line. Gulp. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me


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