BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

BIGGRSTAFFBUNCH

Moving in a Non-Linear Fashion (or, Five Conversations Kaylee Frye Never Had About Simon Tam):|Chapter Five: Mal Reynolds|
Friday, March 16, 2007

Kaylee's never been one to get complicated 'bout her feelings. Now that she is, though, it sure is a good thing the crew of Serenity is around to help. [post BDM angst/genfic/romance/who knows]


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2237    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

V. Love My Captain: Mal Reynolds

Now that she's back at the infirmary door, against her better judgement, Kaylee ain't sure exactly why. She opens the doors and peers into the darkness.

"He ain't even in here," she says under her breath, makin' to turn around. No sense in disturbin' the captain--

"Ain't what?" The voice is hoarse and nearly shocks the skin right off of Kaylee when she steps foot into the med-bay.

Her eyes fall on the bed in the middle of the room, and the injured man lying in it. Her lips tug upwards involuntarily at the expression of sheer frustration lurkin' round the edges of his face.

"Ain't ever gonna get used to bein' in that position, are you, Cap'n?" Kaylee says, fighting a smile.

"Ain't in no standin' to talk positions at all, not with my young, impressionable mechanic," Mal automatically retorts, his eyes gleaming for a second with old humor. Then his expression dims again, and Kaylee's smile softens. So he's not Simon--but maybe it's better that it's Mal she's found instead. She's got a powerful urge to take her Cap'n's advice in this matter, 'specially since he's in no condition to yell at her 'bout shipboard romances right now.

Kaylee may be sweet, but she's got some devious to her, too.

"How ya holdin' up, old man?" she asks gently, coming over and placing her hand on Mal's chest. His heart beats strong and steady, and even though it's a small comfort, it's comfort enough to keep the tears well enough at bay to speak. Kaylee can't help the warm rush of relief that comes at seein' the captain alive and mostly well. His arm's broken and his ribs are fractured, and he's got some sort of strange redness still lurkin' around his facial planes, but he's healin'. And that's what is important, she reckons. There ain't no instant fix out here in space, but he's gettin' there, slowly but surely.

"Old? I may be old, but I still got my good looks, don't I? Please say I do, pretty Kaylee, I'm all aflutter in expectation." His smile is sharp and forced, and Kaylee sighs against the lump in her throat. He's tryin' so hard. Always tryin' so hard to make it better for all of 'em, when she knows he's still got all sorts of ghosts, new an' old, swimming in his lungs so it's hard to breathe.

She wishes she could make it a little easier for him. Just a little.

"You sure are handsome," she finally agrees, leaning over and placing a gentle kiss on his forehead. "You need your sleep, Cap'n. Tore out your stitches and almost rebroke your hand today, didn't ya? That's why you're back here."

Mal's eyes shift guiltily. "Can't just be sittin' around. There are things to do, to be takin' care of."

Kaylee nods. Don't she know it. Losin' herself in all that's needed to be done has been easy--made it not so hard to ignore the questions an' the looks and Simon. Kaylee just ain't got a smile in her heart for moments like this, no matter how happy she tries an' make people. All Kaylee's got right now is every fear she's ever had, invadin' her thoughts and drivin' her near moon-brained. Lately she wonders if she's ever gonna be the same girl she was before Miranda, happy and unfraid to take chances. Sometimes, she thinks she won't.

That scares her, too. Powerful lot scares her these days.

"What about you, huh?" Kaylee says, diverting her attention from her own dark thoughts. "Who's gonna take care of you?"

Mal smiles. "Thought that was why you came in here. It's in your contract, ya know--repair the ship, make the food pretty, and attend to your captain and all his captainly needs, dong ma?"

"Mhhm, you're fulla go se," she says warmly. "Only thing in my contract is the little itty bitty clause that says you're gonna get me lotsa engine parts for real cheap on every Tuesday of the month."

Mal smirks. "Now who's fulla go se?" he asks dryly. He takes Kaylee's hand with the ease of someone who's known her well, and for a long time. The contact eases Kaylee like little besides her engines ever does, and she feels her heart soothe inside her chest. No matter how confusin' life may get, she rests easy with her Cap'n. One truth that she won't ever question is that he loves his crew. That he loves her. "What're you doin' up, darlin'?" he asks, eyes droopy with fatigue.

Kaylee scratches behind her ear and looks away, embarrassed for a moment. "Lookin' for Simon. River reckons it's time for us to talk. I just...I ain't sure I'm ready yet."

There are questions in Mal's expression, but he keeps 'em to himself. "Don't have to do anything you ain't wantin' to do," he says easily, squeezing her hand gently. "Though I'm of the opinion that if I could move around without breakin' another damn rib, I'd have a chat with the doc my own self."

Kaylee shakes her head. "He ain't done nothin'. None of it is his fault, Cap'n, so don't go blamin' him--"

The bitterness in her voice is so foreign that it surprises Kaylee, and it must shock Mal too, 'cause she feels his hand tighten in hers again. All at once, Kaylee stops breathing, horrified. It don't matter none that it ain't what she meant, to seem like she was blamin' the Cap'n--thing is, she knows that's exactly how it musta sounded. Knows that Mal'll take it that way anyways, and she looks down, anxious that she mighta hurt him.

Mal's eyes mirror over, and she can see her own sorrow reflected in them. He closes his eyes, just once, and breathes in deep even though his ribs must be givin' him hell. Kaylee touches his chest gently, gives him her comfort and takes a little bit more of his achin' with her intuitive hands.

Sorta love they have ain't romantic none, but it's fierce all the same, and she bends her head close in regret for the way her words must've sounded. Like he ain't got enough guilt, she thinks savagely to herself.

"Sorry," she whispers, holding Mal's hand in a tighter grip. "'M real sorry. I didn't mean it like that--"

Mal shakes his head, reaching his other hand to touch her cheek. It's the most tender he's ever been with her, and she's grateful for it.

"Ain't nothin' to be sorry for, mei mei, even if you did mean it like that." he says lowly. "You got every right to--" his voice stops. "I understand if you're angry. Done a lot of things I ain't proud of. Done all I could to keep my crew safe, an' sometimes the decisions I make..." he shakes his head, winces and brings his hand to his temple. "Sometimes they don't always turn out so shiny."

Kaylee shakes her head right back, throat tight. She gives him what absolution she can, and maybe it's not enough, but it's what she can do, and he needs to hear it. Needs to know she could never, ever think like that.

"Naw, Cap'n. I ain't angry at you--could never be. We'd--all of us--we'd follow you anywhere. Even beyond space. So there ain't no call to be angry at anyone 'cept the purple-bellies an' the chaos they created."

Unspoken are the words, "We love you, so we ain't afraid," but Kaylee thinks Mal ought to know by now. "You done what you got to do, and if there was any way you could change the way it turned out, I know you would." She kisses his cheek, feels the bristle of his stubble and the uneven pace of his breathing. His fingers clutch at her shoulder for a second, givin' it a squeeze.

"That I would," he finally says gruffly. "Now. You ain't gonna keep this sour old man company all night, are ya? There's a doc someplace on this ship, goin' against his own kind's orders. Hell if I know what he's up to, but maybe you ought to go tend to him."

Kaylee hesitates. In the face of everything the captain is feeling, her own fear seem a mite stupid. But underneath, aren't they afraid of the same thing? Of feelin', and losin', and not being enough?

"Cap'n?" Kaylee looks down and fidgets, her lip between her teeth. "As long as we're gonna be all truthsome, I.." she ducks her head. "I ain't very brave, ya know. I ain't a fighter, or much of a criminal. So I make sure I know my machines real well and I try an' be as happy as I can be, 'cause there ain't so much out here to make y'all smile 'cept me. " She sighs. "Only, lately.." she stops, unable to complete her thoughts.

Mal squeezes her hand again. "Go on, Kaylee. An' just for your reference, I'll hold till my last breath that you're one of the bravest people I know. Not many who'd volunteer at such a tender age to navigate the 'verse with a mean old monster like myself. An' not many can find the light in all this here dark that you do. You're mighty brave."

Kaylee shrugs, secretly basking in the captain's warm words. "All the same..sometimes I feel--well, Cap'n, do you ever feel...ever feel like ya can't let yourself be happy with what the 'verse is givin' ya, when there's people you love who don't got nothin' anyore?" She closes her eyes. "Ever feel afraid to just be, 'cause sure as shootin', the other shoe's gonna drop whether you want it to or not?"

Her breath whooshes out of her. "Ever feel like you don't deserve what you got, or like you can't fight for what you want 'cause it's just too hard to think about it goin' away? Ever--do you ever feel like that, Cap'n?" Her voice is desperate, and there are tears running down her cheeks, but Kaylee can't stop 'em. Here with the Captain, she ain't afraid of cryin'. He ain't never expected her to be anything than human, and right now, she's as human as they come.

Mal holds Kaylee close for a moment, pats her hair and whispers soothing nonsense in her ear as she sobs out the worst. When her sniffles subside, she straightens slightly. Mal is quiet for a moment, his lips quirked in a smile that's so tired it just looks like a flicker at the corner of his mouth. "I feel like that all the time, Kaylee. Most everyone does, at one point or another."

Kaylee nods, wiping her eyes.

"Trick is--" he continues, taking a steadying breath as his eyes go faraway, "Trick is, you gotta figure out when to take what the 'verse is givin' you as a gift, and get to acceptin' it, 'cause there are few and far between free passes out here in the black. If you get one, you better take precious good care of it, 'cause you could lose it at any minute. Any ruttin' second." He screws his eyes shut against the pain again, clutches against Kaylee's arm for a moment.

Lets her be his strength, and that gives her strength all on her own. Yes, kinda love they share ain't romantic at all, but it's the sort of love she's glad to have, when she's feeling so adrift. Cap'n has hands that were made to anchor, warm and steady and reassuring.

"Don't matter if you don't think you're good enough for what you got, or if you're scared." His voice roughens. "If you don't get to holdin' onto that gift with all your might, you're doin' yourself a greater disservice than any Alliance hwoon dan ever could. And you, my sweet Kaylee, deserve to enjoy all the pretty the universe has to offer." Mal's smile is wider now, his eyes drooping farther shut. Kaylee can tell he's driftin' off.

Overcome with emotion for a second, she bends to place another soothing kiss on his forehead. "Well, I sure am glad for the 'verse giftin' me you, Cap'n," she finally says, eyes shining. Ain't always understood Mal's choices, but she knows he ain't a hard, cold man. Knows he feels the repercussions as deeply as his crew, knows he holds all their hurts in him as surely as he holds his own. There's honor in that, and she wants to honor him by takin' his advice. At least by talking to Simon, no matter what the outcome. She can't be afraid anymore.

"Go find the doc," Mal says, seeming to read her mind. Kaylee gives Mal's hand one last squeeze and turns to leave.

There's a time for regret, and a time for fear, and this ain't a time for neither. Been too much of that all already.

- - -

Next Chapter: SIMON!

COMMENTS

Friday, March 16, 2007 5:59 PM

UNCOMPREHENDING


Awwwwwwwwwwww *turns into a puddle*. I love the Mal/Kaylee big brother kind of interaction.

Friday, March 16, 2007 5:59 PM

SHINYOTTER


More, please, more. this was wonderful, I love your Kaylee/Mal relationship, you got it just right.

Friday, March 16, 2007 8:42 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


You know...this scene was just all kinds of brilliant, biggrstaffbunch. And for the oddest of reasons: Mal's hypocrisy; Mal earnestly lays out to Kaylee the advice of taking what the 'Verse gives you and holding onto it with all of one's strength...when he does the complete opposite when it comest to things like his feelings for Inara. Most people see the attitude of "do as I say and not as I do" as condescending and pointless. But with Mal? It's honest wisdom;D

BEB

Saturday, March 17, 2007 2:59 AM

CHAZZER


This kind of writing just makes me angry at Kaylee/Mal shippers. LOOK AT THE BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP THEY HAVE! It's so perfect and you write it SO well. It makes both of them more real somehow. Anyway, this has gotta be my favourite chapter so far... at least until next chapter, which I'm sure I'l love, because, come on... Simon!


update soon :):):)

Monday, March 19, 2007 4:29 AM

BROWNCOAT2007


Shiney, 10 outta 10 friend, I feel that you should do one for 'Nara, and possibley... River, towards their own... Doctor as it were ;P cause crew interactions like this are fun, funny, sweet, and very very heartwarming...

Monday, March 19, 2007 5:09 AM

LEIASKY


The conversation between the two of them was very good. It's nice to see someone explore their brother/sister relationship as it appeared in the show.

Now - where is the last part?! :)

Monday, March 19, 2007 11:08 AM

BIGGRSTAFFBUNCH


Haha the last part is coming, dont worry! And BrownCoat2007, there are four previous parts with four other crew members! Check 'em out!

Sunday, May 20, 2007 10:52 AM

CHAZZER


Hey, whatever happened to the last part of this, I was really looking forward to it!


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This is Your Brain on Drugs (1/?)
<b>"This is your brain, Mal," Inara impatiently explains, poking the captain in the temple. "That?" She makes a vague motion towards the bed. "Was your brain on drugs." Mal furrows his brow. "Crazy, love-makin' drugs?" he asks. Inara sighs. "Crazy, love-making drugs," she confirms.</b> Under the influence of a substance that causes intense--and frequent--bouts of sexual desire, Mal and Inara struggle to keep their heads in a situation rapidly escalating out of their control. But the question becomes...do they want to stay in control after all? [Mal/Inara humor/smut, post-BDM]