BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Communication - Part XX
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The fall-out of Jethro's death is still affecting the crew, but the Agreement may bring a solution ... Good or bad, please let me know what you think!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1801    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

As the door to River’s room slid closed, Simon couldn’t help it. He slammed his fist into the wall of their bunk.

“Oh, honey,” Kaylee said, at his side immediately.

“I should be able to do this. Help my sister.”

“He loves her.”

Her turned angry eyes on her. “What does that ape know about love?”

“He won’t hurt her.” She led him to the bed, holding the hand he’d abused. “I think he’d prob’ly take one of his guns to himself ‘fore he did that.”

Simon stared at her. “Why do you think so well of him?”

“Why’d you think so bad?”

“Experience.”

“Simon, much as Jayne can be … wearisome at times, he cares about River.”

“Wearisome?” The tone of his voice was incredulous. “Is that what you call it? He tried to sell us out on Ariel, he’s damn near got us killed on more than one occasion, he’s –“

“Saved your lives too. Also more’n once. P’raps he can again.” Her quiet voice cut through his anger, his frustration.

“Kaylee, he’s only after one thing where women are concerned.”

“That ain’t true. He’s never tried to take advantage of me, or Frey, or Zoe. Not even Inara, and she’s … well, she’s …”

“I know. But if he tried it with any of them they’d probably just kill him.”

Kaylee sighed. “And you don’t think River could do that?”

“She might not know –“

“She’s twenty-one, Simon. And she was intending to sleep with Jethro.”

Simon’s eyes widened. “She’s a child!”

“She’s not. She’s a woman, and I reckon you’ve got to realise that.”

“Kaylee –“

“No.” She was firm with him. “And what’s more I think you know that, in there.” She put her hand on his chest. “Otherwise you’d never’ve asked Jayne to look to her.”

“It’s just …” He sat back and closed his eyes. “Jayne.”

“I know, honey. But if it helps her …”

He pulled her over to lie with her head on his chest. “But Jayne.”

“He’ll take care o’ her. You’ll be surprised.”

“I’d better be.” He tightened his embrace.

---

Inara was hunched up on her bed, holding so tightly to the pillow clutched in her arms that the seams were in danger of bursting. She was crying. Sobbing so hard that she could hardly take a breath between.

“You weren't at dinner,” Freya said, stepping awkwardly into the shuttle, a tray balanced on one hand as she used a single crutch under her armpit. “Thought you might like something to eat.” She put the food on the small table by the door.

“I'm not hungry,” Inara said, wiping angrily at her face. “And doesn’t anybody on this damn ship knock?”

“Mal was right,” Freya pointed out. “You broke your contract with him. It’s his shuttle.”

“So you come barging in whenever you like?”

“I didn’t barge.” Freya looked down at her friend. “And I thought you might like someone to talk to.”

“I don’t need to talk.”

“No?”

Inara glared at her, then a great heaving breath shook her body. “Oh, Freya …”

“It will get better.”

“You don’t understand!”

“Of course I do.” Freya sat down on the edge of the bed, carefully putting her crutch to one side. “I thought I was never going to feel whole again, when I lost Alice.”

Inara turned horrified eyes on her. “Oh, Buddha, I …”

“That’s okay.” Freya smiled a little. “I don’t expect people to remember like I do.”

“Of course we remember.”

“At least you got to see your son. How he looks. What he’s like. I never got to see Alice at all. River gave me a picture, but it’s not the same.” There was a lump in her throat that had been there ever since they’d landed on Prometheus.

“The one on your wall? Above your bunk?”

Freya nodded. “She’s certain that’s how she would have looked.”

“She would have been pretty.”

“And your son’s gonna grow up into a handsome man, have kids of his own. And maybe one day Domina’ll tell him all about you, and he’ll come find you.”

“To say what? Ask why I sold him for a piece of paper?”

“You didn’t sell him. You made the only choice. The right choice. Gorramit, Inara, you know that.” There was no heat in her voice.

“Then why do I feel so … lost?” Inara almost wailed, clutching her arms around herself.

“’Cause you are. Right now, there’s nothing that’s gonna make you feel any different. Except maybe going back to Greenleaf and taking that boy away from his mother.”

I'm his mother!”

“No, you’re not. Much as you don’t want to believe it, you know Domina is. She loves that boy. Mal told me.”

“He looks so like his father,” Inara said, picking up a capture off the bed. “Gregor was so swai.”

Freya took the picture. Two people, looking so young and in love, running towards the capture, laughing, kissing, just enjoying being with each other. Inara and a man. Tall, broad-shouldered, dark haired. Just a little like Mal. “He was,” she agreed.

“And that little boy is all I have left of him.” Inara began to cry again.

“Inara, a few short weeks ago you thought you had nothing left at all.” Freya put her hand out, touching her friend’s arm.

“But it hurts. Knowing he’s there and I can’t hold him, can’t touch him, pick him up when he falls down, kiss it better …”

“He’s alive. Hold onto that.”

Inara pulled away. “It’s not enough.”

“So what do you want?”

“I want …”

“What? Mal? He’s not coming, not this time. You want him to take you into his arms and kiss away all the pain. It isn’t going to happen. Oh, he’ll be there for you. Hold you, like he does Kaylee. Tell you everything’s going to be okay, maybe even make you believe it. But it won’t be what you want.”

“I know.” Inara whispered, not looking at Freya. “It doesn’t stop me wanting it.”

“You know, the pair of you are the worst fools I’ve ever come across,” Freya said, sitting back and leaning against the bedpost. “If you’d only talked to each other, years ago, you’d probably be the one wearing the wedding ring.” She looked down at her hand, at the bare finger on her left hand.

“I doubt that.”

“Well, I suppose it’s somewhat moot now.” Freya sighed. “Pretty much like you being like this. You did the right thing, Inara. The right thing.”

“But what do I do?” Inara asked. “What am I?”

“That’s up to you.” Freya nodded towards the bulkhead. “It’s a damn big ‘verse out there. And you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”

“Somehow that doesn’t really cheer me up.”

Freya smiled a little and shook her head. She pulled the ex-companion into her arms, giving her the physical comfort she craved. “Nope, I suppose it doesn’t.”

---

“When are we gonna tell everyone?” Hank asked, turning in the pilot’s seat to look at Zoe sitting next to him.

She sighed, her head back on the neckrest, eyes closed. “Soon.”

“You okay?”

She opened her eyes, looked at him. “Shiny.”

“Only I think you might be lying to me again.”

“Bit tired,” she admitted. “I didn’t get me any sleep last night.” She reached round to rub the back of her neck.

“You and me both,” he said, smiling a little. He got up and stepped behind her. “Here, let me.” He put his hands on her shoulders and began to manipulate them.

“Oh, that feels so good,” she said, her eyes closing again, just enjoying the feeling of being close to him.

“You know, you need to take things easy,” he said, leaning down and talking quietly in her ear. “You ain't exactly on your own in there now.”

“People get pregnant, Hank. Every day. They don’t stop their lives for it.”

“Yeah, but most people don’t live on a boat in the black.” He shook his head. “Nor have a hutu dahn as a captain.”

“Mal knows what he’s doing.” She groaned a little as Hank’s fingers found a particularly hard knot. “Most of the time.”

“So knowing what you’re doing gets people killed?”

Zoe opened her eyes slowly, moving forward, out of his reach. She stood up and turned to glare at him. “Are you suggesting he knew what was going to happen?”

“Zoe, this ain't the first time we’ve gone charging in somewhere, all guns blazing. I'm just surprised it ain't happened before.” He sounded like he was just stating a fact.

“The captain’s a good man,” Zoe said, slowly and quietly.

“Ain't saying he isn’t. But that’s not my point.”

“So what is?”

“I know I was nothing in the war, just a grunt for a while, but I heard. All the talk about acceptable losses. So when does it become acceptable, Zoe? At what point is it okay to walk into something knowing someone’s like to die?”

“No-one was meant to die.”

“Tell that to Jethro back there.” He turned away from her, leaning on the console

There was silence that lengthened into dangerous territory.

“What is it?” she asked finally. “What happened?”

“Nothing.”

“Hank, this isn’t you. What happened?”

“I screwed up!” he barked, turning on his heel to glare at her. “Okay? I screwed up.”

“How?”

“By nearly getting Freya and me killed, that’s how!”

“What are you talking about?”

He so didn’t want to answer, to admit to his failing, but her gaze had softened, and the look in her eyes made it impossible for him not to speak. “I couldn’t kill him. The bad guy. He was … when we were docked … I looked him straight in the face, and knew he was going to shoot, and … and I couldn’t. All I could see was … was …” He stumbled to a halt.

“The one on Hera,” Zoe finished.

He hung his head. “Yeah.”

“But you ain't dead.”

“Freya shot him.”

“And you think you’re a coward.”

He shot her a glare. “I am.”

“You’re not.” She put out her hand, touching his face, barely caressing his skin, the other on her belly. “Hank, if we’re gonna raise this baby, I don’t want his father to be happy with killin’. I want his father to be joyful of life.” She smiled, just briefly. “Maybe you should go see that doctor of Freya’s. Talk to her.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Don’t go thinking that was a suggestion.”

He gazed at her, anguish in his grey eyes. “What if I can’t keep you safe? What if what happened to Jethro happens to you too?”

“Ain't gonna happen.”

“Zoe –“

“Because you and me both are gonna try our gorram best for it not to. So’s Mal. And Freya. Everyone on this boat. You think this isn’t tearing Mal up inside? That he couldn’t protect Jethro? Boy was hardly here long enough to warm the sheets, but Mal feels it.”

“I know. I saw.”

“Then don’t talk crazy.”

“It’s just –“

“Because I'm pregnant.”

“Well, yeah.”

“And here I was thinkin’ I’d be the one going through the hormonal changes.”

“Don’t laugh at me.”

“I'm sorry.” She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him. “I'm sorry.”

“We’re gonna have to tell Mal,” Hank said softly, holding her tight. “About the baby.”

“I know.” She spoke into his shoulder, her voice low.

“I tried before, but …”

“It’s not the right time.”

“Might cheer everyone up.”

She pulled back a little. “You think?”

“Can’t hurt. Might even make … “ He stopped, seeing her unfocus. “What?”

“Listen.”

He tipped his head slightly. “Oh, no …”

The sounds of arguing drifted up from the captain’s cabin …

---

Freya climbed slowly down the ladder into their bunk. This was their first night back, something she’d insisted on, despite the cast on her knee. She needed to feel normal again, and this was an essential step. The crutches she left by the door in the corridor, and hopped somewhat ungainly down the rungs.

Mal was sitting at the small table, staring at the document in front of him, running his fingers across the signatures for the hundredth time. He’d hardly let it out of his sight for a moment since Domina had given it to him. Something about it fascinated and appalled him at the same time, as if it reeked of the blood of millions.

“Mal, that document could destroy the Guild,” she said finally, holding onto the ladder, gazing at him.

He smiled grimly. “A good thing, I’m thinking.”

“Mal, you can’t!”

He looked up at her, glaring. “Why not?”

“Because there are thousands of Companions out there, and maybe only a dozen, maybe two dozen were ever involved in this.”

“Prove it.”

“You prove it was otherwise.”

He was angry. She was supposed to support him, agree with what he decided. She was his wife, gorramit. “You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do. Because most Companions are like Inara. Honest and hard working. Would you take away their living? Leave them destitute?”

“That’s ridiculous.” He went back to examining the Agreement, not wanting to see her face.

“Mal, you let that document out and not a man will contract with a Companion ever again without worrying if he talks in his sleep.”

He’d had enough. He stood up and glared at her, his arms crossed. “Frey –”

She wouldn’t let him. “They do a good job, Mal. Honest. Respectable. Necessary.”

“Whoring ain’t necessary!” Now his voice was raised.

“Of course it is! If it wasn’t no-one would do it!” She shook her head at him, her tone matching his, maybe louder. “Don’t be naïve, Mal. You’re many things, but you’re not that.”

“Frey, from what she said, the Alliance might’ve had information that changed the outcome of the war.” He could still see the angels raining fire down on the Independents, and him not being able to do a damn thing about it …

“We still can’t,” she said, picking his thoughts out of his mind. “Nothing we do now is going to change that. So what, you want revenge?”

He stepped away from her, as if distance would keep her out of his brain. “’N’ if I do?”

“For what? Losing?” It had hurt, his moving back. Hurt like a knife in her belly, and she wanted to hurt in return, and as she lashed out her voice filled the room. “So why don’t you go out and start killing folks? Anyone who supported the winning side. Take revenge that way.” She sat down on the bed, not looking at him.

“I ain’t like that!”

“Or just tell River to start work – let out all that darkness.”

He was shocked, and it rippled through him. “That’s low.”

She was sorry, hadn’t meant it, but the words were out there now. “I was going to be one, Mal. Do you think I’d have sold my pillow talk to the highest bidder?”

“No,” he ground out.

She rolled onto her back, lifting her leg carefully onto the blanket, staring into the darkness above her. “Inara would never have done it either, and they didn’t ask her to. The vast majority of Companions would never even have considered it. They were trained to help people, to counsel and console. Not just satisfy the itch of sexual desire.”

“They sell their bodies for money!” His anger flared again. “It only takes a step more to pass on information. Barely that. Frey, millions of people died in that war! My planet was scorched! Everyone I knew, my family –“

“They didn’t do it.”

He couldn’t be in the same room as her, and climbed the ladder into the corridor. He slammed the hatch shut, hearing it echo through the ship. Turning, he was about to go to the bridge when he realised Hank and Zoe were there, apparently staring out at the stars. And the other way, in the galley, Kaylee and Simon were sitting, watching him unashamedly, the young mechanic’s face unhappy and concerned.

Wo xi wang ni man man si, dan kuai dian xia di yu,” he swore, “qiang bao hou zi de hun dan!” He kicked the wall, then leaned both hands on it, his face down.

“Cap?” Kaylee called softly.

Simon put his hand on her arm, shaking his head.

Mal took a deep breath, then another. Sometimes she could … He turned back to his bunk and opened the hatch, stepping down the ladder.

She hadn’t moved.

He looked down at her, his stubbornness warring with his intense love for her. Only one of them could win. He sat down next to her. “What do you suggest, then? We lock it away? Destroy it?”

She turned her head to look at him, her eyes dark in the light. “No,” she said softly. “But maybe we can use it as leverage …”

to be continued

COMMENTS

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 2:50 AM

AMDOBELL


Oh I love Frey but can we have some Frey and Mal goodness? You've made the two of them so platonic it is driving me nuts. Not even a tender touch or words of love. I like that Mal has come down from his intense wall of hatred for the Alliance and what the Guild did to now listening to Freya try to turn what they know into something positive not destructive. And please please please, write a romatic moment or two for them - just for me? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 5:25 AM

AMDOBELL


Jane0906 you are the best, and you know whereof I speak! Bless you, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 7:04 AM

TAMSIBLING


Oh Jane - you do love to torture us so!

The bit with Simon and Kaylee in the beginning was spectacular. I love Simon's inability to trust Jayne and Kaylee's seeming willingness to do so. Also, while I think it was a bit mean of Freya to go see Inara, knowing that she really wanted to see Mal, I do think it was necessary. And the Mal/Freya fight at the end - awesome! Not because I like to see them unhappy, but because I can appreciate the realness of the two of them not agreeing.

Shiny!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 6:03 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Yep...gonna give this a 10, if only for the brilliant arguments you have crafted here, Jane0904.

The quality of the debates and emotions witnessed here only go to prove you have definitely got what it takes to play in Joss' sandbox and with his toys. Simon's struggle with not being the one who can offer River comfort in her time of need...Inara's desire for Mal to be offering her comfort and her struggle to figure out who she is if she can't be either a Guild Companion or a mother...Mal's re-awoken righteous fury at the mortal Powers That Be (i.e. the Alliance and the Guild) and how they relegated millions of lives to the refuse heap in the name of "stability" and "civilization"...Hank's painful fear of not being good enough or fast enough to protect his loved ones...all utterly spectacular and skilfully crafted:D

Really cannot wait to see how the BDHs use the Agreement as leverage...cuz it would have to be one complex plan filled with multiple fail safes to protect the crew from the Guild's wrath.

BEB


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