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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Everyone has a chance to relax, only ... and you know I just can't leave these things by now! Please, please feedback. There's some fluff to come, some angst ... oh, lots more stories to tell!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1765 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
They’d eaten, the tension of the last couple of days all but gone. Everyone was around the table, even Hank, who had insisted on leaving the infirmary. So far most of the talk was about the upcoming baby.
“A boy,” Kaylee repeated for the fiftieth time. “Can’t believe you two are gonna have a son.” She grinned. “Does Inara know?”
“That it’s a boy?” Hank shook his head. “Not yet. Thought we might save that for when we visit.”
“And when’s that gonna be, Cap’n?” The young mechanic turned to Mal.
Mal's jaw dropped. “You just left her a few days since!”
“And look what’s happened in the meantime.” Kaylee pouted. “Got a lot to say.”
“Well, it ain't gonna be for a week or so. Gotta deliver the goods to Paquin, then we’ve got another job lined up on Greenleaf. Can’t say no to work, Kaylee.”
“Not suggesting that,” Kaylee asserted. “But I'm sure there’s some stuff she needs. Be like having a job.”
Mal knew he wasn't going to win. Not with the looks Kaylee and Hank were giving him. Even Jayne looked anxious to get back to Lazarus. He gave in. “Talk to her. See what she might want. Maybe we can swing by after Greenleaf.”
Kaylee grinned. “Xie xie, Cap’n.”
“Are we going to see Auntie ‘Nara?” Bethany asked indistinctly, sucking her spoon.
“Soon, sweetheart,” Simon said, taking the spoon from her and putting it on the table.
Jayne leaned forward. “Hey, I know a trick you can do with –“
“We’ll be going there in a while,” Kaylee added, smoothing her daughter’s hair from her face.
“She got horses?”
“I don’t know. We can ask.”
Bethany grinned. “I like horses. Uncle Jayne lets me ride.”
Uncle Jayne gave her a look to shut her up, but she just smiled sweetly at him.
“Horses or not, we can tell her in person,” Hank said, nodding at Zoe. “Let her know about my son.” He sounded so proud.
“At long as he’s healthy,” Zoe said.
“He is,” Simon agreed. “The stun doesn’t seem to have affected either of you. Although I’d be curious to know how Freya got that black eye.”
“I fell,” the woman in question said quickly, dragging a smile from somewhere. “Hit my face.”
“Right. On someone’s fist.” Simon sighed. “Frey, I can clearly make out the marks of knuckles. Except it doesn’t look like a man’s.”
“Well, it got rough in there.”
“You said it,” Hank put in.
“So, you never said how Simon Cobb is,” Zoe said quickly to Jayne, changing the subject.
“He’s shiny,” the big mercenary said. “Fixing to get hisself hitched.”
“Married?” Simon stared. “He’s only a boy!”
“People do things a mite differently out here, doc,” Mal said, smiling. “Either they get married real early, or they leave it ‘til it’s almost too late.” He grinned at Freya, but she didn’t seem to notice, wiping some mush abstractedly from Ethan’s mouth.
“Maybe he knocked the girl up,” Hank suggested.
Jayne glared at him. “You figuring on adding to your collection of bruises?” he asked.
“I'm sure it’s true love,” River put in, tucking her legs under her on the seat.
“Right,” the big man agreed.
“So are we invited to the wedding?” Kaylee asked, the prospect of a party lighting her face.
“He’s mentioned it,” Jayne admitted grudgingly. “Ain't set yet, though,” he added. “By the time I get the next letter, it’ll probably all be over bar the fighting.”
“You afraid we’re gonna embarrass you?” Mal grinned. “I'm sure we could if we set our minds to it.”
“Well, like I said, it ain’t fixed. Might even change his mind.” Jayne hunched down a little in his seat. “Bad enough he wants me to be his best man.”
Hank couldn’t help it. He whooped with laughter, then clutched his sides where they hurt. “Best man? You? I love it!”
“You’re really looking to get beaten up again, ain’t ya?” Jayne growled.
“Dear, sit quietly. I’d rather not have to rescue you again,” Zoe said. “Not for a while.”
Hank swallowed his humour and subsided somewhat.
“Well,” Mal said, “if you do find out when, you let us know. Maybe we can park for a day or two on Jiangyin. Since we seem to be doing these jaunts nowadays.”
“Don’t be grumpy, Cap’n,” Kaylee scolded him. “You know you wanna see ‘Nara much as we do.”
“That’s no reason to be dropping by every five minutes. Woman has a life of her own to lead. As someone told me.”
“Yeah, but she’s still family.”
Hank was picking at the dressing Simon had stuck on the cut above his eye while the conversation continued around him.
“You keep doing that and it will leave a scar,” the young doctor said.
“Hey, I’m just pleased I can see again.”
“A little bit lower and I’d be fitting you for a prosthetic,” Simon pointed out.
“You mean a fake?” Hank considered for a moment. “You know, I think I’d rather have an eyepatch. More like a pirate, you know?”
“No,” Zoe said firmly.
“Don’t you like the idea?”
“I like my man to have the use of two good eyes.”
He grinned. “All the better to see you with, my dear,” he said, raising his eyebrows then wincing.
“Is Uncle Hank a pirate?” Bethany asked, looking from one to the other.
“No, sweetie,” her mother said. “Although I think he’d like to be.”
“Can we play pirates tomorrow?”
“Sure, cupcake,” Hank promised, then wondered where that expression had come from.
“You should still be in the infirmary,” Simon said firmly. “Not playing.”
“I’d rather be doing that than what …” He shivered.
Bethany looked at him, her brows drawn together. “Are you okay, Uncle Hank?” she asked, for once not wanting to peek.
He exhaled noisily, then smiled. “Sure am. Just need to get some rest.”
“And you’re not the only one,” Kaylee said, seeing Bethany hide a yawn. “Time you should be in bed too, young lady.”
“Momma, just –”
“No just. Uncle Hank’ll be here in the morning, and you can play pirates as long as you like.”
“Can I be Blackbeard?”
Kaylee gaped. “Where’d you hear about him?”
Kaylee turned to her sister-in-law. “Have you been reading to her about that kinda thing?”
River shrugged. “It’s interesting. And a lot more fun than how Spot chases the ball.”
“Are you teaching her to read from …” Kaylee couldn’t believe her ears. “I think we need to have a talk about this.”
River just smiled sweetly, looking amazingly like her niece.
Simon sighed. “You know, I don’t think we’re going to have much say in how our daughter is brought up,” he said forlornly. “Not with the kind of family we have around here.”
“But pirates?” Kaylee asked.
“Better than some of the things she could be reading.”
“Anyway,” Jayne put in, stroking his goatee, “you can’t be Blackbeard. ‘Cause that’s me.”
“Then who can I be?” Bethany asked as her father picked her up, swinging her to sit on his hip.
“How about Captain Blood?” the big man suggested, hearing Simon sigh mightily.
Bethany giggled. “’Kay. Will you play with us?”
Jayne chuckled. “Sure thing, short stub.” He grinned wider at the look of alarm on Hank’s face.
“Do you want me to put him down for you?” Kaylee asked Freya, rubbing her hand through Ethan’s dark hair.
There was no response, and Mal looked at his wife, the way she was sitting staring into her plate. “Sure, mei-mei,” he said quickly. He lifted Ethan out of the high chair and handed him to his mechanic. “We’ll be along anyway in a while.”
“Sure thing, Cap’n.” Kaylee looked at them both, then carried Ethan out, Simon following, Bethany half asleep in his arms.
“The authorities are gonna find out about what happened, ain’t they?” Hank said after a moment, fiddling with the dressing again.
“I don’t see how they won’t.” Mal sat back. “It ain’t like Wayborn is an out of the way place. Someone’s gonna notice the dead people eventually.”
“That technician would have called for help,” Zoe said. “Although he could have just run. Not sure I’d like to have to explain what’d occurred.”
River put her feet down on the floor from where she had been sitting on them. “I wiped the Cortex logs of our visit. No-one will know we were there.”
“So it could be that, unless someone goes to look, it might …” Hank shuddered again. “Not sure I wanna think about that.”
“I doubt they’re the only dead bodies in that place,” Mal said. “Just fresher than some.”
“And on that happy note, I think I’d rather like to go to bed.” Hank stood up, Zoe immediately following. “If I’m going to have to play pirates tomorrow, I need all the beauty sleep I can get.” He fixed Jayne with a stern eye. “But you start going on about someone having to walk the plank, and I’ll be the one shooting you.” He turned to Zoe, holding out his arm. “May I escort you home?” he asked.
She smiled at him. “You may.” She put her hand on his and they walked towards the bunks.
“’Sides,” he added as they left the galley, “got something I wanna talk to you about. So what was Wash actually like?”
“Do you want to help me with my garden?” River asked Jayne. “Just for an hour.”
“Sure. What do you want?”
“We have to clear out all the stuff from the storage room. Then set up the lamps ready.” She glanced at Mal. “If it’s okay.”
Mal nodded. “Just don’t make too much of a mess. And if you do –”
“We’ll clear it up. The space monkeys won’t win.” River nodded. She took hold of Jayne’s arm. “Come on. Help me create our own garden of Eden.”
“Didn’t that have a snake in it?” Jayne said as they walked towards the stairs.
“Oh, I think that’s what they’re going to be talking about,” River said cryptically.
“What, snakes? I don’t much care for snakes.” Jayne’s voice echoed up into the galley.
Mal waited until he was sure they’d all gone, then he turned to his wife. “So, what’s the problem, Frey?”
“Who said there was one?” she asked, going to get up, but being stopped by his hand on hers.
“You ain’t said more’n a few words all evening. You think I don’t know when there’s something wrong with my xin gan?”
She looked into his face, at his blue eyes, so willing to understand, to listen, to be there for her. She took a deep breath. “You said you didn’t want us to have secrets.”
“Well, in the sense of –“
“I think you’d better know what we did.”
He stared at her, an odd look in his eyes. “What you did.”
“We didn’t … exactly … kill Niska.”
“Zoe told me about the Pax.”
“But she didn’t know what happened after. She didn‘t see.”
“I think you’d better explain.”
She spoke, haltingly at first, then with more passion. “… so we left him there. With a tray of scalpels and the like.”
Mal sat back, his mouth open slightly. “You know what he would do with them.”
“Well, he had no-one else to work on. No-one alive.”
“Why didn’t you –“
“Because I wanted him to suffer. Mal, I’m not like you. I don’t have that honourable streak that makes me love you.”
“But he became a Reaver. He lost his mind. Wasn’t that enough punishment –“
“That’s … not quite accurate.”
Mal stared at her. “What are you talking about?”
She looked down at her hands. “There’s … a little piece of the Reaver that knows. Just a small bit, but he remembers who he was. Knows what he’s done.”
“Frey, we’ve killed Reavers. Lots of them. Are you saying they –“
Her head came up, her eyes dark. “No. Mal, they ain’t men. There’s just a piece that knows they used to be. And that piece was grateful when they died. That it was over.” She took a deep breath. “But Niska … he would feel every cut, every violation he visited on his own flesh. And I wanted him to.” Suddenly she got to her feet, unable to bear his blue eyes gazing at her any longer, and strode out of the room. He caught up with her outside their bunk.
“Frey, talk to me.”
“I have. And I can’t take the disappointment.”
“You think I'm disappointed?”
“I can see it on your face.”
“Then you’re seeing wrong.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her up the steps to the empty bridge. With his free hand he slammed the door across, locking it.
“No. Not ‘til you see sense.”
“You’re hurting me.”
For one single moment Mal wanted to say that he was pleased, that maybe the pain would make her see reason, that … then he let go. She rubbed her arm. “Sorry, ai ren, but you make me so mad sometimes.”
She didn’t smile. “Perhaps you should be.”
“Freya, tell me what’s going on. You said no secrets. So don’t keep them from me now.”
She stared at him, then dropped into the co-pilot’s chair as if her bones had turned to water. “It … I …”
He went down on his knees next to her. “Tell me,” he repeated softly.
Her eyes were filled with … something. Not pain, not despair, but so close … “I wanted him dead for what he did to you.”
“I know, Frey. You said.”
“But I didn’t do it for that.”
He looked at her, his face wary. “Why did you, then?”
“Because I didn’t kill Wing!” Her outburst was as loud as it was unexpected.
“You ended him. Because of what he did to me. Put a bullet in his brain. I couldn’t! Then when Niska threatened to …”
“What?” Mal took her hand. “What, Frey? What haven’t you told me?”
“I could see it in his mind, Mal.” Her eyes closed. “Him and Wing … they made a pair.” She laughed hollowly, but she swallowed back. “The things he was going to do to me …” She couldn’t go on, crossing her arms protectively over her breasts, squeezing tightly.
Mal felt the rage inside him, bursting into a conflagration, and he wished he had Niska in front of him. What that man had done to him wasn’t nothing, but if he’d managed to … He took a deep breath. “I'm glad you destroyed him,” he said softly. “Or I would’ve. Frey, honey, if I’d been in the same room, known what he was planning then seen what you were about to do, I wouldn’t have stopped you.”
“But we’d stopped him. Already.” Freya shook her head. “Guess I'm more like River than I thought. There I am telling her you can’t just murder someone, and I …” She turned away to stare into the corner of Serenity’s bridge.
Mal could feel the bleakness coming from her. He didn’t have to be psychic to know what was going on in her mind. He put his hands, very gently, on her shoulders. “It wasn’t murder, xin gan.”
“Don’t, Mal,” she said, her head down. “Don’t try and make it better.”
“He killed a lot of people. And he enjoyed every moment. He was a sadistic bastard.”
“But I’m supposed to be better than that.”
“It ain’t the same, Frey. You didn’t do that to Niska because of what he was gonna do.” He could still feel the knife slicing through his ear, the pain he thought was going to go on forever. “What he did to me …” He tried to find the right words. “He killed me, Frey. No matter I’m still here. That’s just because he wanted to hurt me some more. But he would have made it permanent before long. Let alone what he did in that room before today.”
“But that’s no excuse for what I did.”
He lifted her chin, his heart missing a beat when he saw the tears coursing down her cheeks. “Don’t. Oh, please don’t, honey.”
“Even Jayne kills clean.”
“No.” Now he was forceful, his grasp firmer on her. “Don’t ever compare yourself to him.” He dragged her down to the floor, into his arms, holding her tightly.
“I shouldn’t be around normal people.” Now it was despair in her voice.
“Oh, Frey.” He rocked her gently, grateful when her hands came up to grasp the back of his shirt, pulling him closer. “I wish everything out here were black and white,” he said softly. “But it ain’t. And you’re only human.” He closed his eyes. “That’s all any of us are.”
The next morning, after a night disturbed by bad dreams, Mal took the hypo River had given him to the infirmary.
“I can try and synthesise it,” Simon admitted. “I can’t tell how successful I’d be.”
“Try, doc,” Mal said. “If they decide to use that stuff against us, it could be our only form of protection.”
“But Mal, if we’re right, and Reavers are all potential psychics, what would it do to people like River and Frey?”
“I don’t know, Simon.” Mal looked at him, his eyes bleak. “If it ever gets to the stage of us finding out, Frey’s made me promise to shoot her.”
“Mal …” The young man was shocked. “You can’t.”
“No, I know. So you gotta see if you can manufacture some kind of serum for them, dong mah? Otherwise we’re gonna have to pray they never do.”
Thursday, May 3, 2007 1:40 AM
Thursday, May 3, 2007 5:26 PM
Sunday, May 6, 2007 9:10 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2007 10:44 AM
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