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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. 2BF. Serenity lands on Lazarus, and the crew start to relax. Please leave me feedback, good or bad.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2036 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Serenity dropped down into a patch of long grass that had once been a meadow, setting her supports onto the soft soil before the ramp dropped and the cargo bay doors opened.
“Oh, smell that,” Kaylee said, taking a deep breath, Bethany captivated in her arms. She gazed out towards dark smudges of hills on the horizon, gentle undulations that made it look like it was a sea frozen in motion.
“Smells like horseshit,” Jayne said. River thumped him on the arm on her way past and he grinned.
“Thanks,” Kaylee said.
“You’re welcome.” The young woman stepped down into the grass and wriggled her toes. “I like this.” She began to run, her hair whipping out behind her, trying to outpace the sadness in her heart.
Simon, a step behind his wife, said, “River –“
“She’s okay, honey,” Kaylee said, turning and smiling at him as he watched her disappear.
“Ain't no trouble she can get into around here,” Mal said, walking down to the ground himself, Ethan sat on his hip. “Nearest town’s over a hundred klicks from here, and I doubt even she could keep going that far. ‘N’ if she meets anything at all that’s a threat … well, I’d lay good money on her being the one to come back.”
“But still …”
“Stop worrying about her, and start figuring on having a good time.” He looked back over his shoulder. “And that’s an order.”
Freya moved up behind the young doctor and put her arm around his shoulders. “Or else,” she added softly.
Simon smiled. “Well, if it’s an order …” He still wanted to chase his sister, help her, make things better, but the sun was warm, and no matter what Jayne said, the smell reminded him of summers when he was a child.
“Momma, play with me,” Bethany said, trying desperately to get down.
“I gotta coupla things to do first,” her mother said. “Then we’ll play.”
“No, it’s okay,” Simon said unexpectedly. He looked out into the hot morning air. “It’s too nice to stay inside. We’ll go, give you time to finish, then you can join us.”
“Daddy come with me?” Bethany asked, her eyes wide and shining.
“I think so.” Simon took his daughter from Kaylee’s arms and put her down. “You stay near the ship for a few minutes and I’ll be right back.” He hurried off towards the lower crew quarters.
Bethany ran outside into the long grass, almost disappearing, her giggles ringing back into the bay.
“Have you really got things you need to do?” Freya asked, watching her jumping erratically, trying to see over the top of the tall stems.
“A few. Just … oh, but it is pretty here.” Kaylee sighed.
“That it is,” Mal agreed. “And I think it’s time I showed you around.” He held out his hand for Freya, who took it and allowed him to escort her outside.
“Why, thank you, kind sir,” she said, smiling into his blue eyes.
They walked off towards the buildings a distance away, Ethan keeping up a running monologue of incomprehensible comments.
Hank ran down the stairs. “Hey, everyone gone without me?” he asked.
“Nope,” Kaylee said. “River’s running, and the Cap’n and Freya’ve gone for a walk, but otherwise –“
“Well, I ain't staying,” Jayne put in, striding out into the sunlight. “Gonna see if I can find us some fresh meat.” He disappeared around the corner of Serenity, noticeably in the opposite direction to the one taken by the captain and his wife, but strangely similar to the one taken by River.
“I'm still here, Hank,” Inara said, joining them. “I'm not sure I feel like getting sunburned today.”
“You’re staying on board?” The pilot was surprised.
“I'm not feeling very … sociable at the moment.”
“You know, you coulda stayed on Sihnon,” Hank said. “With the Guild behaving itself, you coulda gone home. Seen your family.”
“There’s no-one left there,” Inara said softly. “No mother or father, no sisters, brothers … just me.”
“Not just you. Not no more.” Hank put his arm around her. “You come with Zoe and me. We’ll make you feel better.”
She smiled. “No, honestly. Besides, I think you have some things you need to discuss.”
“What, me and Zoe?”
“Yes.” She glanced towards Kaylee, who had wandered out into the sun to keep a closer eye on her daughter. “Like when you’re going to tell Mal about the baby.” She shook her head. “The longer you leave it, the more difficult it’s going to be.”
“And you know that from experience?” Zoe asked, coming down from the bridge and hearing the tail end of the conversation.
Inara coloured slightly, and Hank wondered why. “Perhaps,” she agreed. “But I'm doing something about that. You need to speak to the captain.”
“It’s just …” Hank began, then faltered to a stop.
“We have tried,” Zoe said. “Both of us. Just don’t ever seem to be the right moment.”
“You’d better make it the right moment,” Inara advised. “And soon. Otherwise even he isn’t going to believe you’re just getting fat.”
“Does … do you know if anyone else knows?” Hank asked diffidently. “Apart from you, Simon, Freya …”
“I don’t think so.”
“Least Jayne doesn’t. Otherwise we’d never hear the end of it.” Hank looked out at Kaylee, who was sitting in the sunshine, her face lifted to the sky. “She don’t know?”
“I don’t think she’d be able to keep it a secret either,” Inara said. “Somehow I think Simon’s getting better at it.” She gazed at them both. “But you need to tell Mal. Freya won’t, I know that, so you’re going to have to.”
Hank looked unhappy. “Just when I’d gotten used to being a father, I'm gonna end up being a dead father.”
“I won’t let him kill you, dear,” Zoe said, putting her hand on his arm. “At least, not much.”
“Thanks. That’s a great worry off my mind.”
Inara smiled and headed back to her shuttle. As inviting as the sunshine was, it didn’t really match her mood. Not yet.
“Monty’s family had money once,” Mal explained as they walked up the path towards the house. “Only between his dad’s gambling and his big brother’s whoring, it all kinda disappeared. Then they upped and died, and Monty inherited this place. Only he ain't got the money to keep it in the manner it should, so he uses it as a sorta hideout.”
Freya looked at the building. “It’s nice.” The house had three floors, and an expanse of windows. A stone verandah ran around the second floor, doors leading out onto it.
“It’s okay,” Mal corrected. “There’s maybe three rooms that don’t get wet when it rains, and the floor ain't too good in another four, but … “
“But it’s summer and it isn’t going to rain?” Freya supplied.
Mal smiled and put his arm around her waist. “Exactly.” He squeezed. “Actually, I’m kinda surprised Monty never told you about it himself.”
“Well, truth is, most of the times I met the old goat there was fighting.”
Mal grinned happily. “Yeah, that’s Monty.”
“So what brought this on?” Freya asked, leaning on the walking stick but feeling stronger with every step out in the open air.
“You mean my generous and magnanimous gesture to the crew?”
“That’s the one.”
Mal could feel the sun beating through his shirt onto his shoulders. “Truth is, everything we’ve been through, folks look a little grey. River ain't the only one this’s affected. Hank’s been walking round like he’s about to become a Reaver’s lunch, and Zoe ain’t much better. Half expected one or other of ‘em to tell me they were leaving, it’s been so bad.”
“You ain't been on the bridge with them.” Mal gave a theatrical shudder. “Almost enough to make a grown man want to give up the sky and take up mining.”
“That I find a little difficult to believe.”
Mal smiled. “Maybe. But everyone needs a break. Simon and Kaylee’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and as long as it ain't an oncoming train I think they’re gonna be alright.”
“Kaylee said that Simon’s sterility is probably permanent.”
“I suspect it might. But they’ve got Bethie.”
“Mmn.” She nodded. “You know, half the problems on our boat seem to stem from children.”
“Our boat?” Mal asked. “Since when was it our boat?”
“All right. Your boat.”
He laughed and squeezed her waist. “So how come children are causing problems on our boat?”
“Well, there’s me and Kaylee each wanting another baby, Inara with one she can’t have …” Freya stopped herself in time. Not her place to say.
“There’s two kids on Serenity,” Mal said soothingly, jiggling Ethan with his free arm. “And Simon was wrong about you, maybe he’s wrong about himself.”
“I think he’s pretty positive.”
“Then Kaylee can do a lot of baby-sitting.” He grinned. “’Sides, these few days, maybe we can get started on a second of our own.”
“Is that your plan?” Freya asked, stopping and looking into his face. “Not that I mind it, but there’s no guarantee I can –“
“According to Simon, there ain't no reason why not. I got you pregnant with Ethan, and that was fine. So he thinks –“
“You’ve been talking about it with him? Before me?” She considered being annoyed, but the day was too nice.
“Little bit. When he wasn’t throwing up.”
“So you think you can just make these plans and I’ll agree to whatever you say?”
“Frey, before all this, all the trouble with that … that hwoon dahn …” He couldn’t bring himself to say the man’s name. “… you were talking about wanting another baby. Well, so do I. And I think … well, I think you might be right.”
“So you figure on starting now?”
“Maybe.” He stepped closer until there wasn't daylight between them. “I ain't been inside you for weeks, Frey. And no matter how good you are at that … thing you do …“ He blushed, just the merest hint of pink across his neck that could have been the sun but wasn’t. “… it ain't inside you.”
“Should you be saying things like that in front of your son?” she teased.
“He’ll thank me when he grows up.” Mal ran his hand up from her waist to her breast, gently caressing her through her bra and shirt. “So I guess the question is … do you feel strong enough?”
She smiled. “Mal, my darling zhangfu, I feel better every day. Every minute of every day. And if I don’t take you to bed properly soon I am going to be the one doing the begging.”
“Am I begging?”
“Not yet.” She pulled his face down and kissed him, groaning in deep satisfaction.
“Put her down,” Hank called, strolling along hand in hand with Zoe. “You have no idea where she’s been.”
Mal pulled back enough to give his pilot a glare. “You sure you still wanna have a job in the morning?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Hank admitted. “The debauched nature of this crew …”
“Debauched?” Mal stared. “Where’d you learn a word like that?”
Zoe sighed. “It’s his books, sir. If you ever read them, they’re full of words like that.”
“And one day I will write my own and become famous and rich.” Hank reached out and took Ethan from his father. “Hey, there, kiddo. Wanna come play with Auntie Zoe and me?”
“No playing,” Mal said firmly. “Not yet. There’s things to do.”
“Like what?” Hank asked, his face dropping a little.
“Like getting everything ready for tonight.”
“Tonight?” He brightened.
Mal grinned. “And the party.”
Jayne, back from his hunting trip with three rabbits, five ducks and some kind of rodent, was told to go and clean the creatures somewhere away from Serenity then given the task of clearing the grass under the apple trees so they could put the table out. He found an old scythe in one of the outbuildings and spent a good half hour sharpening it until it could take the balls off a flea.
Finally satisfied, he stripped to his waist in the warm sunshine, flexed his muscles and went to work.
River sat watching him, her feet tucked up underneath her, which would have been fine except she insisted on keeping a first aid kit next to her.
“Just in case,” she said airily, baiting him, but her heart wasn’t really in it.
Jayne shook his head and started to swing, perspiring just a little so his skin shone in the light.
River counted each stroke, finding the rhythm soothing, counting as she had each of her heartbeats since Jethro died. It was up in the ten million range, but was inexplicably increasing every second. “Smooth,” she said.
“Gotta be. Else it’s a waste of effort.” He didn’t break stride.
She glanced to where the meat he’d skinned and gutted lay in the cool box, ready for cooking. “You took the insides out. Why don’t you like doing it with fish?”
He continued to lay waste to the grass, the scent in his nostrils. “Don’t know,” he admitted, concentrating too hard to lie. “When it’s hot, just killed, it’s okay. But fish … slimy.”
“Not if they’re fresh.”
“Can’t help it, moonbrain. Just never liked ‘em. Don’t see the point in tryin’ now.”
She didn’t mind him calling her that. Not now. Not now that she knew he didn’t mean anything bad by it. “Don’t open anything from Hank,” she advised.
Jayne looked up sharply, then saw Kaylee approach.
“Jayne, you seen my cheat of a husband?” the young mechanic called.
He stood upright, stretching his back. “Not for a while.”
“He took Bethany swimming,” River volunteered.
“Swimming?” Kaylee looked surprised.
“In the lake.” The young woman pointed. “He took towels and everything.”
“Why didn’t he tell me?”
“You were busy with Serenity’s engine.”
“I’d’ve liked to … it was just a couple of little things I needed to …”
“Didn’t need to do anything, Kaylee,” River said, shaking her head. “Time to not do anything. Time to not think.”
Kaylee looked at her sister-in-law and nodded. “Maybe you’re right. By the lake?”
River smiled suddenly, just a flash but it was like looking at the old River. “By the boathouse.”
“There’s a boat?” Jayne asked.
Jayne exchanged an exasperated look with Kaylee. “Sometimes, I could …”
“Now, Jayne,” the young mechanic said, heading off in the direction indicated. “No you couldn’t.”
“She don’t know me that well,” Jayne grumbled, swinging the scythe again.
Simon’s bare chest was catching just a hint of a tan, gilding his definition and giving him something of the aspect of a Greek god. Not that Kaylee thought like that. She just watched her husband playing with their daughter, and considered how beautiful he was. Not just as a man, but as a father too. He was holding Bethany under her chin so she could kick and splash, and she was laughing even when she got a mouthful of water. And Kaylee was happy.
“Daddy!” Bethany shouted. “Swimming!”
“That you are,” he agreed, shaking his head to get his wet hair out of his eyes.
“You’re so clever,” Kaylee called.
Simon looked up and smiled at her. “Come on in. It’s fine once you get used to it.”
“I don’t have a costume with me,” she said regretfully, thinking it looked wonderful.
“Bao bei, it’s just us.” He smiled at her, the water lapping at his trunks, flattening the hairs at the top of his muscular thighs.
She considered for a moment, biting her lip, then said, “Okay.“ She giggled and quickly shucked out of her outer things, leaving on her bra and panties, before stepping into the water. “Ooh, it’s cold!”
“It’s better if you get in quickly,” Simon advised, lifting Bethany onto his shoulders.
She shook her head. “I think it’s too –“ she began, then her feet slipped from under her. With a shriek she was under the surface. There was a lot of splashing as she came back up, shaking her head and spluttering.
Bethany was laughing so much she was in danger of falling off her father’s shoulders, and Simon was trying, not very successfully, to hide a grin. “Are you okay, bao bei?” he asked.
“Momma’s funny!” Bethany said, gripping her father’s hair.
“No it isn’t!” Kaylee insisted, standing up and coughing.
“Oh, honey, it is a bit,” Simon said, wading across to her and putting his hand on her shoulder. “Are you all right?”
“It was a shock, is all.” She coughed once more, then smiled as best she could. “And it is cold.”
“It’s probably fed from the mountains,” Simon said, taking hold of his daughter’s feet again. “I doubt it gets much warmer.” He smiled. “It will feel better soon.”
“Momma, play with us,” Bethany asked, holding out her hands.
“What do you want to play?” Kaylee pushed the wetness out of her eyes.
Her mother smiled. “Okay. You can watch your daddy and me, and get to know how to do it.”
“Um …” Simon sounded surprisingly diffident.
“What is it?”
“I … I can’t actually swim.”
She stared at him. “You … didn’t anyone ever teach you?”
“Never did.” He smiled, slightly ashamed. “My father said he would one year, when we went to the summer house, but … he got called back to town on business. So I never learned.”
“Really.” Kaylee gave a little jump and dived smoothly into the water, coming up a dozen yards away. “Guess you’re gonna have to learn too!”
to be continued
Friday, March 30, 2007 3:53 AM
Friday, March 30, 2007 4:20 AM
Friday, March 30, 2007 7:38 AM
Friday, March 30, 2007 7:42 AM
Friday, March 30, 2007 5:22 PM
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