BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Aftermath - Part VIII
Friday, March 2, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. 2BF. The conclusion, only it isn't really. Freya's back home with Mal ... feedback, as always, is hoped for!


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

“A lance?” Simon was trying hard not to laugh. “A real lance?”

“Not sure I’d know if it was real or not, doc, but that’s what it appeared to be.”

Simon looked at Jayne. “It’s a big stick. A very big stick,” he explained, slowly and clearly.

Jayne glared back. “You lookin’ to lose some teeth? Ain't so stupid that I don’t know what a lance is,” he growled.

“You’re not stupid at all,” River said, standing up for him.

“Damn right.” He nodded at her.

“But a dragon?” Inara asked, trying to get back to the matter in hand. “Why a dragon?”

“Better ask our resident crazy person,” Mal said, sitting back and crossing his arms. “Not that I've been able to get her to explain.”

“River?”

The girl shrugged and looked at Kaylee for help.

“Wait a minute,” Simon said suddenly. “When we were on top of that Ferris wheel, at the fair. The day of your birthday.” He glanced at River then back at his wife. “You said that Serenity looked like a castle, and that Mal was the king. A knight in shining armour.”

Kaylee coloured. “I wasn’t really … not that I think the Cap’n’s a … it was just …”

“Sweet,” River finished. “And that’s how we all see him.” She looked at the man in question. “Sorry.”

“Really?” he asked. “I mean, you all see me like that?”

“Nope,” Jayne said, getting up from his chair and stretching hugely. “Mostly I see you as a pain in the butt.” He ambled off out of the kitchen area.

“That man …” Inara murmured.

“Just be glad he said ‘butt’,” Mal grinned.

“It was just a romantic notion,” Kaylee was still insisting.

“I think it was nice,” her husband said gallantly, so glad she’d started to forgive him.

“’N’ I think you all oughtta be locked up,” Mal said, shaking his head. “I ain't no knight. There’s no chivalry in my soul.”

“No, captain,” River said sternly, reprimanding him. “You saved us, all of us. Simon and me, you saved us from the Alliance. You saved Kaylee from a life fixing machinery for her father in exchange for a life fixing machinery out in the black. You saved Jayne from making a fool of himself –“

“Far too often,” her brother muttered.

“– and you saved Inara from a life as a Companion.”

“Excuse me,” said the lady at the end of the table. “I made that choice myself.”

“But he did,” River insisted.

“What about Zoe and Hank?” Kaylee asked.

“Well, apart from the war he saved them both from living sad and unfulfilled lives alone.”

Mal stared at her, then laughed. “Hell, River, every one of those folks saved me too.”

She smiled. “How it should be.” She reached over and patted his hand, just as she did sometimes to her brother. “You just had to prove that you would kill the monsters for her.”

He looked at her, then smiled knowingly.

“Where are they, by the way?” Inara asked. “Hank and Zoe.”

“On the bridge,” Mal said. “I think they’re trying to understand what happened. And I figure about now Zoe’s begging forgiveness.”

“Zoe?”

“Actually Hank’s got his hand –“

“Albatross.”

“On her cheek,” River finished, giving Mal her look. “He’s already forgiven her.” She paused. “Now he’s touching her breast …”

Jayne heard the laughter following him as he walked down the stairs, then halted at the bottom. “Ezri san zhi jiao mao lu,” he swore.

“Jayne, I think we need to talk.” Jethro tucked his thumbs into his pants pockets.

“No, don’t think we do.” He went to pass the young man, but heard another voice in his head.

Yes, you do.”

“Gorramit,” he whispered. Stay outta my brain, he thought savagely.

Jayne.”

“I think we should,” Jethro said, unaware of the mental exchange going on and standing in front of the big man. “I know how you feel about River.”

Jayne glared at him. “You really want to be startin’ this?”

“I know because she’s told me. And I know that’s why you tried to kill me.”

“Kid, if I’d wanted to kill you, you’d be dead.”

Jethro stood his ground. “Hurt me, then. Maim me. But you did want to shoot me.”

“Yeah, well, probably happens a lot to people like you.”

“People like … me?”

“Shepherds.”

Jethro shook his head. “I'm not a Shepherd.”

“No?” Jayne leered. “Then how come you ain’t gone all the way with River?”

“You … you want me to sleep with her?”

“Hell, no!” The big man’s fists clenched. “You even think about that and I’ll –“

“Then what?”

Jayne glared at him from his greater height, then let out his breath on one long sigh. “Just … if’n you’re the one she wants, then you damn well better be ready for her.”

“I know all about her, Jayne.”

“Yeah? Well, let me tell you there’s more to that girl than anyone knows.”

“And you’d know?”

Jayne was amazed – Jethro was squaring up to him. “Yeah. River’s my friend.”

“More than that, I think. And why didn’t you do something about it?”

“Who’s to say I wasn’t gonna ‘fore you showed your ugly mug?” Jayne taunted, then backed down just a millimetre. “Shit, Preacher, she’s too good for me.”

“I know the feeling.”

“Yeah, reckon maybe you do.” The mercenary glared at the younger man. “Look, I ain't gonna apologise for tryin’ to kill you. But …”

Jethro waited for him to show some regret so he could forgive him. “But what?” he prompted.

“You hurt River in any way, and I’ll carve you into so many small bits they won’t be able to find all of you to bury.” There was nothing but total sincerity in Jayne’s blue eyes.

“Oh.” Jethro swallowed. “Of course.”

“Good. Glad to see we understand each other.” He moved past Jethro towards the cargo bay.

“Are you going to leave?” Jethro asked. “Serenity, I mean,”

Jayne paused but didn’t turn around. “Nope. Leastways not yet. If Mal’ll let me stay. Guess I figured out something while all this was happening. What everyone’s gone through. They’re my family, and I ain't letting nothing like this happen to ‘em again. Any of ‘em.”

“Then we have to find some way of living together.”

Jayne looked over his shoulder at him. “How about you treat River proper and I don’t kill you?”

The sheer grit in the older man’s voice hit deep. “Sounds … sounds like a plan,” Jethro stammered.

Jayne nodded just once and stepped out of the common area towards his weights. “Freya?” he asked in surprise.

She was sitting on the bench, one of the small dumbbells in her hand, trying to do bicep curls. She was crying.

“Whoa,” he said, hurrying down the rest of the steps and across the bay floor. “What’re you doing?”

She turned her face to him. “I can’t … nothing works properly, Jayne.“ There was more than just physical pain in her eyes.

“Then you’re doing it wrong.” He gently took the dumbbell from her fingers, placing it back into the rack.

“Where’s Mal?” she asked, wiping her face on the back of her hand.

“Talking in the galley.” Jayne grinned. “Means he ain't gonna shoot me if I help you.”

“Why would he do that?”

“You ain't seen his face when I was carrying out around. Surprised I didn’t wake up dead one morning.”

She laughed a little, and sniffed back her tears. “Not sure that’s possible.”

“With your husband?” Jayne scoffed. “If he wanted to I'm sure he could manage it.” He peered down at her. “You know, you’re doing this all wrong. You gotta start from the beginning.”

“I don’t …”

“You gotta walk.”

“I am walking!” Freya protested. She grabbed the crutches and hauled herself to her feet, leaning heavily on them, breathing hard.

“You’re trying to run, girl, and that ain’t the way. You crawl first, then you walk, and then you run when the strength takes you. Well, I reckon you’ve done enough crawling, so now you walk.” He reached out to take the crutches from her.

“I can’t.” She shook her head. “I can’t do that.”

“You have to.” Jayne stepped close enough for her to smell the sweat on him. “You wanna carry Ethan again?”

She glared at him, then handed the crutches over. “I can’t do this,” she said softly, feeling herself swaying.

“Sure you can.” He laid the sticks on the floor. “You’re Freya. I’ve always kinda believed you could do anything.” He grinned. “Proved that more’n once. Not least in not killing yourself.”

“Jayne –“

“Just try. That’s all you have to do.” He took a step back. “Just walk towards me.”

Staring at him, she lifted her left foot, swinging it unnaturally forward. It hurt, God, how much hurt, the pain radiating from her hips to fill her body. Putting her foot down didn’t help, just moved the pain to a different level. She whimpered, trying to stop the cry that wanted to burst from her lips as she moved her weight forward, sure she was going to fall, her muscles refusing to hold her.

“Look at me,” Jayne commanded, his deep voice taking on an air of authority she didn’t recognise. “Don’t look at the floor. You look at me.”

She lifted her head, not breathing with the effort of holding herself anywhere near upright. With a supreme effort of will she dragged her right leg in front of her, feeling her ankle begin to give. She started to crumple.

He was there, his arms under hers, holding her, easing her back until she was sitting on the bench, inhaling him at every step. As she panted in stress and exertion, he went down onto his heels to look into her eyes.

“See?” he said. “I told you. You did good.” He smiled at her, not the one he used on other women, the one that would usually make them think lewd and interesting thoughts, but the one that showed a deeper, more caring side of the man. The one he never showed anyone.

She nodded, half crying in pain. “Again,” she said.

Jayne went to speak then looked up. Mal was standing on the catwalk above, watching. “Don’t think so, honey. I ain't the one you wanna be doing this with,” he said softly, climbing to his feet.

Freya followed his gaze. “Mal,” she said,

Her husband came slowly down the stairs. “Is that right?” he asked. “You want me to help you?”

She wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Will you?”

“I came into your mind, didn’t I?” he said, stepping down onto the bay floor. “And believe me, that wasn't something I’d like to do again.”

“That wasn't me.” She smiled tentatively. “Well, not all of it.”

“So the dragon wasn't yours?”

“A metaphor.”

“Or a simile.” Mal’s lips lifted as he reached her. “Whichever.”

“You saved me.”

“I love you.”

Her smile grew. She held out her hands. “Help me?”

He took them gently in his own. “Always.”

Jayne nodded. “See?” he said in triumph. “No-one stops Freya Reynolds being what she wants to be.” He grinned and slapped Mal on the back as he headed for his bunk.

Simon, standing in the doorway to the common area, smiled. Thank heavens things were beginning to get back to normal. He backed up and headed towards the infirmary. Now at least he’d have time to analyse those results.

---

Mal and Freya were in bed together, still in the small room in the passenger dorm, Ethan asleep in the crib Kaylee insisted they use until they could go properly home.

“I didn’t think we’d ever be able to be like this again,” Mal said softly, running his fingers along her shoulder. “I thought I’d lost you, ai ren.”

She looked up into his blue eyes. “You make me work as hard as that again, and I just might divorce you in favour of Jayne.”

“That man isn’t coming anywhere near you ever again.”

“You telling me what to do?”

“Yeah.” Mal was firm. “Putting my captainy foot down.”

“Oh.” She smiled. “I kinda like you being all masterful.”

“Good.” He kissed the top of her head. “Does it hurt that much?”

“Some,” she admitted. “But I can live with it.”

“Which suggests to me it hurts a hell of a lot, but you ain't gonna admit it.” He gazed down at her in the crook of his arm. “Want me to get Simon to fetch a painkiller?”

“Maybe later.”

He knew then how much it pained her, and tightened his grip on her a little. “’Kay,” was all he said, pressing his lips to her cheek.

She mistook his intention. “I can’t, Mal, not yet.” She sounded regretful. “I want to, but my body won’t.”

“What?” Then he realised. “No, honey, that ain’t …” He cursed himself for not understanding before. “No. I ain't trying to make you do that. Much as I love you, and much as I want to feel your heat all around me, I ain't gonna force myself on you.”

“I know,” she said quickly. “I didn’t think –“

“I'm just glad you’re here.” His voice cracked a little. “Don’t matter how long it takes, we don’t do anything until you’re ready.”

“Isn’t that going to make it hard for you?”

He groaned a little at the unintentional pun. “Frey, honey, I waited for you for a long time. Even when I didn’t know I was waiting. Got kinda good at dealin’ with such things my own self, and I’ve got the notion I ain't forgotten how.”

She smiled. “You are a crazy man.”

“Crazy in love,” he amended, leaning down to kiss her lightly on the lips.

After a moment, as Mal felt his eyes begin to close, she spoke again. “Mal, I need to speak to someone.”

“Mmn?” He brought his attention back. “Speak to … what do you mean?”

“A counsellor.”

Mal was wide awake now. “A …”

She saw the fear pass across his mind, and she quickly added, “No, it’s okay. I know what you were all thinking. What you were thinking. But I'm not going to do that – I love you and Ethan too much to even consider that now. You saved me from that monster. Gave me back my control.” She smiled a little. “But I need to speak to someone. And so do you.”

“Me?” He almost squeaked.

“You,” she confirmed. “You’ve held everything inside, and that’s not good for you. You need to get it all out in the open, explode a little.”

“I did explode. Cut five men into pieces –“

“That wasn’t real.”

“How about I just go shoot Jayne instead?”

She pinched him. “You know what I mean.”

He sighed. “Guess maybe I do.” He glanced across at Ethan. “I was just so glad at getting you back, I hadn’t really thought about it.”

“You have to.”

“You really think you need to?”

“What Wing did to me … I still need to talk to someone about it. And it can’t be anyone on board. It has to be someone who doesn’t know me, that I can tell things to I’d never tell you – any of you.”

“Never tell me?” he asked gently.

“I can’t tell you everything.” She laid her head on his shoulder. “Mal, I still feel the guilt. That hasn’t gone.”

“It wasn’t your fault –“

“I know. But the point is I still feel like somehow it was. And the pain I put you all through … I need to talk to someone outside our family to resolve that.”

“Frey, I'm scared,” Mal admitted.

“Don’t be. I won’t leave you. They took my control, left me with nothing, but you gave it back. Let me use it. Let me deal with this.”

“You’re still gonna dream about it, aren’t you?”

“Probably. For a long while. But I won’t push you away when you comfort me.”

“Not sure I could take it if you did.” He gazed at her, wondering what secrets she could possibly have that were worse … “Okay,” he said. “As it happens Simon thinks the same, and I know he was looking, seeing who would be the best person.” He threw the covers back and climbed out of bed.

“Where are you going?”

“To tell him to make the arrangements.”

“Mal, you can’t go out there like that!” Freya laughed as her husband slid the door open.

He looked down at his naked body. “My boat,” he said, grinning at her as he stepped into the corridor.

“Mal!”

He walked the few paces to the young doctor’s cabin and knocked. After a few moments and a muffled conversation inside, Simon opened the door and looked out. “Mal?” It took a second for it to sink in that the captain was unclothed. “Are you all right?”

“That Counsellor? You find one?”

“Mal, do you know what time it is?”

“Not asking you for the time. Just if you’ve found a good man.”

“Good woman. Dr Yi.” Simon tried not to look down. “Mal, why’re you naked?” he asked.

“Where’s this doc live?”

“That’s slightly more tricky. Ariel.”

“Afraid they might come after you for planning the raid on St Lucy’s?” Mal asked, surprisingly mischievously for a man not wearing pants.

“No, of course not.”

“Fine. Make the arrangements.”

“Mal, couldn’t this have waited until the morning?”

“Nope. Strike while the iron is hot, as my Momma used to say.” He turned back towards his room, giving Simon the full view of his bare ass.

“Yes. Sure. Fine.” Simon shook his head, closing the door quickly.

“Cap’n was naked?” Mal heard Kaylee ask, and grinned as he went back to his wife.

---

COMMENTS

Friday, March 2, 2007 4:24 AM

KILLWITHBRAIN


When you can't run, you crawl, and when you can't crawl - when you can't do that...you find someone to carry you.

Friday, March 2, 2007 7:30 AM

TAMSIBLING


Awesome ending ... for not really the end as I know we're going to see more of the fall-out from this ... Please, please, please resolve Simon and Kaylee in the next part ... And I hope we get to see a bit of Mal talking with the counselor - something tells me a whole bunch of things he's never wanted to admit might surface and it could end up taking him down some different and dark paths.

Friday, March 2, 2007 12:49 PM

AMDOBELL


I absolutely loved this to bits! You are doing all the things I was hoping and praying you would - but better. Love the fact that Freya is now letting Mal in, that the big demon causing her so much pain has been slain leaving the way for some counselling to sort out the rest of the fallout. I was happily surprised when Freya insisted Mal needed to see a counsellor as well, excellent idea. Not only will it help him to keep helping Freya but I'm hoping it will help him get back his lost faith and the lighter side of himself crushed and lost in the war. I fell about with the whole naked Captain waking Simon bit, very funny, and I could so see Mal being comfortable with it. After he, he barely blinked when Saffron left him in the buff and he walked back on board causing some interesting looks on the faces of his crew. And yes, I am also pleased Simon is now sorting out the test results for Kaylee. Knew he would get around to it and that is helping bringing this story full circle. Bravo, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, March 2, 2007 11:35 PM

KAYLEEBIRD


I love this, Jane.

It's such a shame it's ending- I'm so hooked on this!

I can't say anything wrong about this, and that's because.. there is nothing wrong!

Girl, you have the writers talent to be an actual author, and you've demonstrated that with this.

I'll get your book as soon as it comes out!

But, yeah, if I could ask for more, I would, but I don't wanna be too needy. I love the way you portray the characters, and how everything becomes right at the end. I loved the 'Naked Mal' joke, like in Trash, and I loved... well, all of it.

Hehe, I beg ya- pleeease! More! I'm so hooked on this I can't stop! But, yeah, this was brilliant. A brilliant ending.

Saturday, March 3, 2007 10:00 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Gorram was that brilliant! Especially Mal just striding about nekkid to tell Simon he should contact any suitable counsellors ASAP...cuz that would be both a swooning moment for the ladies around the BSR and a moment of hilarity for all;D

Really can't wait to see how the test results for Simon's soldiders turn out. Cuz I get the feeling if it's not good...the angst is gonna be a'shfitin' to Sille:(

BEB


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