BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Communication - Part I
Monday, March 5, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Following AFTERMATH and LOVE, some gentle plot and a little angst. If you read, please comment/rate. Thanks!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1908    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Ariel was spread out below them like a platinum encased jewel, the city reaching to the horizon on all sides.

Hank expertly brought Serenity through the high clouds, River watching his every move from the co-pilot’s chair, her feet on the seat, her arms around her knees.

“You thinking I might not be doing it right, dumpling?” he asked, glancing across at her and smiling.

“It’s been a while since the captain let me fly,” she said wistfully. “I miss it.”

“You shoulda said.” He shook his head. “I’d’a let you. Any time you want.”

“It’s not your boat.”

“I'm the pilot,” he stated firmly as he corrected their trajectory just a tad as the Firefly dropped towards the landing area. “Always did feel like that makes her mine.”

“Some of us would disagree on that issue,” Mal said from the doorway, leaning on the walls either side.

“Leave me with some of my illusions, Mal,” Hank pleaded, grinning at River.

“So you’re gonna start paying people now, are you?” Mal looked out at the city. “That might be fun. Only I hope you got a lot of cashy money in reserve. ‘Cause the people on board said boat are sore in favour of eatin’ occasionally.”

“Hey, I'm happy being the hired help.”

“Well, the hired help better not crash us. Ain't we going down too fast?”

Hank shot him a scandalised look. “No, we’re not.”

“Yes, we are,” River put in.

“And there I was being all noble in offering to let you fly,” Hank said, taking a little of their speed off.

“I think I’d rather be alive to enjoy it.”

Mal laughed, surprising the pilot. He’d seemed so cheerful the past couple of weeks since they’d done the drop on Verbena. Shapiro had only half intended her threat to gut him for being late, and as he’d turned the charm onto full, she’d let him get away with just a warning. “Think we’re all of that mind, little albatross,” he said.

Hank pulled back on the yoke and settled Serenity with barely a bump into her allotted space. “Happy now?” he asked, turning in his seat.

“You’re getting better.” Mal smiled. “Seems to be a nice day.”

“The forecast is for sunshine and light easterly breezes, with a 30 percent chance of precipitation before midnight,” River said, dropping her feet to the floor. “Freya wants you.”

“I know.” He turned and left the bridge.

“How does he know?” Hank asked, watching him head towards the cargo bay.

River smiled and slid out of the chair. “Me too,” she said, gliding off the bridge.

“You too what?” Hank called, but no-one answered.

---

“Oh, that feels so good.” Freya sighed. “Just … ouch.”

Inara stopped. “Was I doing it too hard?”

“No. It’s … truth is it’s painful all over, but this helps. Really it does.”

Inara nodded slowly. “Just tell me if it’s too much.”

“Oh, I will. I think they’ll hear me screaming out on the Rim.”

Inara smiled and put her oiled hands on Freya’s back, pressing against the muscles and tendons just a little lighter than before. “I’m glad it helps.” She manipulated her shoulder, pulling it up slightly. “And I’m glad all that training is finally of some use.”

“You mean other than making a man all hot for you?” Freya teased, holding back the groan that wanted to bubble from her lips.

“It helped.”

“I doubt so very much that you needed help.” She took a sharp breath as something clicked loudly.

Inara turned to the other shoulder. “Sometimes I did,” she admitted. “Even my staggering beauty wasn’t enough to get some men to perform.”

“Perform,” Freya repeated. “Makes them sound like animals in a circus.”

“Sometimes that’s what it felt like. With me as the ringmaster with the whip.”

“Whip?” Freya tried to look at her friend. “Did any of them want that?”

“Lie still. And there were a few. It wasn’t really my area of expertise, but occasionally, with an old client, I’d play the dominatrix.”

“That I would have paid to see.”

“So would Jayne.”

They laughed together, then Freya yelped.

“Sorry,” Inara said quickly, moving her hands down.

“No. It’s fine. And it’s good. I can feel it making a difference.”

“If you like, I’ll show Mal what to do.”

Freya felt a flash of heat burn through her body, and her skin became just a little warm. “Could you?” she asked. “I mean, would you mind?”

“Of course not. And it can be a wonderful way to relax anyway. For both of you.”

“Relax?” Freya laughed. “If Mal did what you’re doing, we would not end up relaxing. Well, not for a while.”

“Is that right?” Mal said from the doorway, looking down at his wife, naked on her front on the floor of Inara‘s shuttle, only her dark shawl across her hips to preserve her modesty. “Only I don’t recall you being capable as yet.”

Freya smiled up at him, and he felt her in his mind, just caressing him, reminding him of the night before.

Inara saw the look that passed between them, and felt the old jealousy flare up. She turned away.

“I gather we’ve landed?” Freya asked.

“Few minutes ago. Thought for a moment we might crash and burn, but Hank pulled it outta the fire.”

“Then I’d better get dressed. Time to go to the hospital.” She tried to pull herself to her knees, the shawl falling away. In a moment Mal was next to her, putting his arms under hers, lifting her up.

“Thanks,” she said, smiling at him, letting him help her.

“Any time.” He grinned down at her.

Inara picked up Freya’s robe and handed it to her. “Here. I wouldn’t recommend wandering around the ship nude.”

“No,” Freya agreed. “That’s someone else’s job.” Again she smiled at Mal, and Inara felt excluded somehow. Then she turned back. “And thanks. Really. It does feel a lot better.”

“Tell me that tonight after the effects start setting in.”

“Is it going to be painful?” Freya asked, then amended quickly, “Well, more painful than usual.”

“It might. But a soother will help.”

“I’ll make sure I have one ready.” Mal helped her into her robe then passed her the crutches. “Won’t be long before you can throw these away.”

Freya took the shawl Inara was holding. “I was thinking of having a grand ceremony. Inviting the President of the Alliance, all the Prefects …”

“Good idea. Just tell me when and I’ll make sure Serenity’s the far side of the galaxy,” Mal said dryly, following her out of the shuttle.

“You mean you wouldn’t want to be there? A good Browncoat like you?”

“Only with a flame thrower …”

Their voices faded, and Inara closed the door, hurrying now. She had to get changed. He wasn’t the kind to be kept waiting.

---

Simon lifted his head from over the toilet bowl and gasped for air. He’d had no idea it was going to be as bad as this.

“Oh, honey,” Kaylee said, wiping his face with a towel, kneeling naked next to him. “I am so mad at you.”

“Mad?” He looked up at her. “At me? Why?”

“Because you did this without telling me.” She pushed his hair back from his face. “You shoulda said, talked to me first.” She tsked at him. “It ain’t worth it.”

“It’s not so bad,” Simon lied. “And what you went through with Bethany, the morning sickness, then giving birth … I think I can put up with it for a little while.”

“So it’s like being pregnant?”

“A little. I suppose.” He sat back against the wall, his body shaking just a little, sweat on his skin.

“You gonna blow up like a balloon?”

“God, I hope not.”

Kaylee frowned. “Maybe you should. Serve you right for doing this without me. And I ain't gonna be sympathetic over this.” She ignored the fact that she already was.

“You want another baby. I want another baby. Even if I have to carry it myself.”

“Can you do that?”

Simon shrugged. “It’s happened a few times. Surrogate fathers. But men just … we’re not built the right way.”

“No,” Kaylee agreed. “And even after you don’t have the right equipment to feed ‘em.” She lifted her breasts in her hands and jiggled them.

“Don’t do that,” he implored.

“Why?” She looked down. “I thought you liked ‘em.”

“I do. It’s just … the movement …” He leaned over the toilet and heaved.

Kaylee stroked his hair. “Why don’t you stop?” she asked softly, hating to see him going through this. “Just don’t take any more of those injections.”

He shook his head, sitting back again and taking the towel from her to wipe his mouth. “I can’t. If I stop now there’s the chance of further damage.”

“You mean …” She stared at him. “Simon Tam, you are the most infuriatin’ man I have ever met!”

“What? Why?”

“You told me it was easy! Just a few injections and … now you’re saying you can’t stop?”

“Kaylee, bao-bei, this is for you.” He reached out to touch her face, but she pulled away, standing up quickly.

“And that’s supposed to make me feel better about all this?” Her face was red with anger and concern.

There was a knock at the door, and it slid open slowly. River looked inside, seeing her brother and sister-in-law staring at each other, both very much unclothed.

“Here,” she said, holding out a hypo.

Kaylee didn’t look at her, but Simon covered himself with his hands. “River, what are you doing here?” he asked, trying for sternness but feeling nothing more than a little embarrassed. And a lot of nausea.

“It will help.” She stepped inside and knelt down next to him.

“River …”

“I‘ve seen you naked before. Lots of times.”

“That’s not the point. And we were children.”

“Since then.“ She put the hypo to his neck and pressed the trigger. A hiss of gas and the drug was in his system.

“Lopradine?”

“Fifteen cc’s.”

“Thanks.” He smiled shakily at her.

“No problem.” She stood up and looked at Kaylee. “He’s doing this for you. For you both. And you should be grateful.”

Kaylee stared at her as she walked back out.

“She didn’t mean it,” Simon said, waiting for the anti-emetic to take effect.

“Yes she did.” Tears filled her eyes. “And I am grateful.” She shook her head. “I am.”

“I know, sweetheart,” Simon said, wanting to get up and comfort her, but afraid his legs wouldn’t hold him. “Please don’t.”

“Simon, I –” She stopped as he retched over the bowl again, and she was down next to him, her tears falling onto his back. “Oh, honey.”

---

He had enough. He’d not spent any of the money Mal had given him after the jobs, and he thought he had enough. Something to surprise River.

Jethro sighed. They’d tried. Got so far as being half naked in bed together. But the thought of Mal just a few doors along …“I hope you ain’t bedding the girl. Wouldn’t look kindly on that.” … and Simon across the hall … “She’s my sister.” … let alone Jayne just one floor up … “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.” … and he couldn’t do it. Couldn’t even …

She’d told him. “I know what to do. I’ve seen it so often.”

He’d stared at her. “You … you do?”

“In my mind, silly. The Captain and Freya are so loud …” She smiled at him. “So I know what goes where, even if you don’t.”

He’d blushed. Only when it came time to put what … where, he’d frozen up and couldn’t.

“It’s okay,” she said, patting his hand. “It happens. Even my brother …”

The blush had burned like the fires of hell.

So now he had a plan. A romantic dinner for two, off ship. Just him and River. No-one else to stand over his shoulder, even metaphorically, commenting on whether he was doing it right or not. And a hotel. Nothing fancy, just a nice place with clean sheets. And no captain, brother or mercenary to spoil the mood. He felt his body twitch just at the thought as he hurried into the cargo bay.

---

Jayne sat in his bunk, taking Vera apart. He didn’t want to go anywhere. Not alone, not unarmed, and not on Ariel. Too many memories, especially since the Cap and Freya were off to the hospital. Not St Lucy’s, but one just like it. Prob’ly exactly like it. Nothing to tell ‘em apart. Same smell, same stupid uniforms, same miserable look on every face. Same sick people, too.

He removed the autolock and blew inside, removing any dust that might have accumulated.

He always felt like this when there wasn’t a job on the horizon. And there wouldn’t be, not for a week or so at least. Not ‘til Frey got what she needed to out of her system.

Which was good, he told himself. If she needed to talk, then that’s what she should be doing. Only it meant Mal weren’t even looking. It wasn’t like he needed the coin, but that weren’t the point. He just needed to be doing something. Anything. Just to be doing. Just to be not thinking about that Preacher and River.

Just to be doing something else with his hands.

---

Zoe sat at the galley table and stared into her coffee. She didn’t feel hungry, just … actually, she didn’t know what she felt. Unusual, maybe. Not right. As if she was coming down with something. Maybe that was it. Some kind of bug.

She smiled, remembering the last time the crew had succumbed, and the sight of Jayne naked outside the infirmary serenading River. That was … something else.

“You okay?” Hank asked, stepping down into the galley. “You were restless last night.”

“I was?” she asked, two dents appearing between her eyebrows. “Don’t recall.”

“Mmn. Thought I heard you talking to someone.”

“Anyone interesting?”

“I don’t think so.” Hank poured a mug of coffee and joined her. “I didn’t hear the other side of the conversation so I can’t be entirely sure.”

“Probably just a dream.”

“That’ll be it.” He leaned forward. “So, you gonna take advantage of me while the rest of the crew’re out on Ariel?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because most of the crew won’t be going anywhere. The captain’s firm about that. Only essential journeys, and only with his permission at that.”

“So we can’t go and take a look around?” He looked like a kid whose goldfish had just been flushed.

“Not this time.”

“How come?”

“Well, probably because the last time we were here, Simon and River died, and they and Jayne got bound.”

“Died?”

“It’s a long story.”

“Oh, hey, is that the one where you robbed a hospital?”

“Okay, so maybe it’s not as long as I thought.”

“Yeah, heard about that.” He grinned. “But that wasn’t because you went for a walk.”

“It’s the Core, dear. There’s nothing to see except clean people and tall buildings.”

“Still, makes a change. You know, to see clean people.”

“It isn’t worth it.”

“Well, I’ve never been to Ariel before. Once did a drop on Londinium, but that was a long time ago. I’d like to take a look around.”

“Mal said –”

“We could ask.” He tipped his head on one side and tried the puppy-dog eyes. “Specially since we can’t get groiny on board.”

Groiny? Is that what you call it?”

“I call it a lot of things,” he admitted, grinning. “But only ever with you.”

“I … if you want to go take a look around, ask him. But I don’t feel like it.”

“Are you okay?” He went to put his hand on her forehead but she flinched away. “You got a fever or something? I could ask the doc – ”

“I’m fine!” she snapped at him.

“Oh. Okay.”

She was immediately contrite. “I’m sorry, Hank. I … I don’t feel like me too much today.”

“Really? Who do you feel like?” He was trying to make light of the hurt she’d inflicted. “Only maybe that person would like to come for a walk with me.”

She glared at him then her look softened. “All right. We’ll ask. Only don’t blame me if he says no.”

---

Mal stepped out of the common area into the cargo bay, and stared. “What the tyen shiao duh do you all think you’re doing?” he asked.

“Oh my,” Freya said behind him, manoeuvring through the doorway.

Simon was standing with Kaylee, Bethany holding his leg. Next to them, Hank and Zoe were trying to look inconspicuous, while Jethro was standing with his hands thrust into his pockets. River was lurking behind a crate, Ethan across her chest in his sling.

“I thought I made it abundantly clear no-one was stepping foot off this boat while we were here?” Mal said.

“Perfectly,” River piped up. “I just thought Ethan would like some fresh air. There’s a park not too far from here. I believe they have ducks.”

“Ducks.”

“Bethany wants to see ‘em too,” Kaylee added.

“And I need to get a few things, Mal,” Simon said. “We’ve run out in the infirmary.”

“Gonna rob another hospital?” the captain asked acerbically.

“No. This time I thought I’d try paying for them,” Simon said, trumping Mal’s acerbities with sarcasm of his own.

“First time for everything,” Mal muttered. He turned to Jethro. “And you? You going to see the ducks as well, or going spending coin we don’t have?”

“I … actually I had a couple of things I wanted to do. Just … not far. Only a few …” He wilted under Mal’s glare.

“And what about you two?” Mal turned on Zoe and Hank. “I’d’a thought you’d have more sense.”

“It doesn’t look like it, sir.”

“And you’re going out,” Kaylee put in.

“This ain’t for fun, you know,” Mal said pointedly. “Frey and me, we ain’t doing this for the sake of our health.”

“Yes we are,” Freya put in.

“Well, yeah, okay, maybe,” Mal back-pedalled. “But the point is I said no-one else was to leave the ship.”

“Hey, I ain’t going nowhere,” Jayne said from the catwalk above him.

“And Inara’s already gone,” Kaylee wheedled. “Took off in her shuttle about five minutes ago.”

“Inara’s a grown woman –”

“And I’m not?” Kaylee now took umbrage.

“I meant she can decide for herself.”

“That still don’t make sense.”

Mal looked for help to Freya, who shrugged. “Actually, it doesn’t,” she admitted.

Her husband glared at her, then turned back. “Okay. Fine. If you all get arrested, don’t expect me to come running to pay your bail. ‘Cause I won’t. But you ain’t all going.”

“Hey, I said I wasn’t,” Jayne called.

Mal ignored him and looked at Hank. “’Sides, you got that thing you need to do for Frey, ain’t you?”

“Well, yeah, but I figured after –”

“No. You are gonna stay on board, in case people need … anything.”

“Bail?”

“Anything that don’t cost.”

“Right.”

“Aw, hell, if you’re all going I ain’t staying here alone,” Jayne said, heading back to his bunk.

“Looks like I’ll be here,” Hank said sulkily.

“Like I said, I ain’t staying here alone. Do Core planets have whorehouses?” he asked and was gone to change.

“Sir, he’s just as likely to start a fight and get arrested.”

“Please don’t try to cheer me up,” Mal said to his first mate. “Okay. Fine. Go. Just try not to do anything too stupid.”

Xie-xie, Cap’n,” Kaylee said happily, pressing the button to lower the ramp, scampering off quickly with River in tow before he could change his mind.

Jethro nodded quickly and hurried out, Simon following a little more sedately, Bethany in his arms.

“Thought you were going?” Mal asked Zoe.

“Perhaps I’ll stay,” she said, watching Hank heading back to the bridge, even his back depressed and miserable.

“Fine. But if I come back and my bridge smells of sex, you’re grounded for a month.”

“Could be worth it, sir.”

“Come on,” Freya said, trying not to smile. “Otherwise we will be late.”

to be continued

COMMENTS

Monday, March 5, 2007 11:38 PM

KAYLEEBIRD


Oh my god! That was so good!

But you cut it off too soon! I want more! I want more! *babbles like a little child*

I don't see nothin' wrong with this! I love it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 12:35 AM

AMDOBELL


Loved this though I can't help but think the crew are suffering a form of dementia by taking the risk to spend time away from ship on Ariel of all places. I would have waited for a safer planet. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 6:04 AM

TAMSIBLING


Yes, I am a mite concerned that they all disembarked on Ariel - especially Simon as he's not quite feeling himself and might miss warning signs of danger. I do feel for him and for Kaylee and I think the interaction you have between them regarding his decision to take the injections is just great.

I cannot wait to see how things work with Mal, Freya and the counselor ... oh, boy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 8:55 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh...now this was just all kinds of brilliant, Jane0904! Between the mini-Silee flare up that River doused, the Sapphic Switcheroo between Freya and Inara, and Jethro's performance anxiety...I was giddy;D

BEB


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