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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Simon's attending to Mal, but is he in time? There's an epilogue coming up, but please, please ... comment?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1883 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Despite the blankets, by the time they’d rounded the last outcrop and could see the shuttle sitting a short distance away, just visible through the snow being blown into their faces, Mal’s body temperature was getting dangerously low.
“Soon be home,” Simon said, checking the saline bags.
“Sure,” Mal whispered. “But then it’ll be time to get up and feed the horses.”
“What’d he say?” Jayne asked, craning his neck around.
“No, I ain't,” Mal said. “Least, not that I know of.”
“You just mentioned horses. We don’t have any.”
But Mal had slipped back into semi-consciousness.
“Hurry,” Simon said.
Freya had the door open, and as Jayne pulled the hover to a stop she was out in a moment, ignoring the snow clogging her hair, her clothes, just clambering aboard. “Mal?” she said, looking at his almost blue face.
“We need to get him inside.”
She nodded and helped them lift her husband down from the vehicle.
Then Jayne’s foot slipped on a crust of ice, and he’d have fallen, taking Mal with him, except River was suddenly there, her arms around him, stopping him.
“Thanks, moonbrain,” he said softly, and she smiled at him.
Zoe had the heater going full blast inside, and the air felt hot and dry as they manhandled Serenity’s captain through the small doorway. Something jarred, and he cried out, Freya instantly at his side, holding his hand, but he hadn’t really woken.
They laid him flat on the bench, and Simon checked his pulse yet again. It was thready, weakening. “He needs blood,” he muttered. “That saline just isn’t enough.” He glanced at the others. “I don’t have the equipment to filter it, so it has to be the same group.”
Jayne sighed and shrugged out of his coat. “Go on then,” he said, holding out his arm. “Might as well get his money’s worth.”
River beamed proudly at him.
Hank couldn’t sit still. He was pacing the bridge like a caged animal, wanting … no, needing to know what the tyen shiao duh was happening.
“Heard anything?” Kaylee asked, scrambling up the steps to join him.
“Nothing. Not since they said Jayne and the doc were in sight.” He was rubbing his hands together, just trying to feel some warmth.
“That’s good, right? I mean, if anything’d gone wrong, they’d say. Right?”
Hank looked at the young mechanic, her face willing him to answer properly. “Sure, Kaylee. Sure.”
She nodded. “Good. That’s real good.”
He stopped his pacing. “How much longer ‘til we can get Serenity into the air?”
“Near an hour.”
“Damn.” He ground his teeth together. “I shoulda gone. Flown the shuttle. Then I’d’a known …”
“They’ll be fine, Hank. And you had to be here in case I coulda worked a miracle.” Her face fell. “I just can’t do that today.”
He looked at her. “Kaylee, it ain't your fault.”
“Yes it is. I shouldn’t’ve left the flux. I knew it was going when we were on Lazarus, but I … I just wanted to have fun.”
“Fun’s okay,” Hank said, reaching out and patting her arm.
“Not when it can get people killed.”
She looked as guilt-ridden as he felt, and he pulled her into his arms. “No-one’s gonna die, xiao mei-mei.”
She could feel the roughness of his cotton shirt against her cheek, the consoling warmth of his body against hers. “Then why ain’t they coming back?”
Hank looked down at the screen. “The storm’s right on top of them. They try and take off in it, could be they don’t make it back at all. She’s only a small shuttle, Kaylee.”
“Then they’d better wait.”
It was quiet, the only sound being the silent prayers offered up to various deities and the wind whipping the snow against the hull. Freya hadn’t moved from his side, holding Mal’s hand, willing him to be okay.
“How long, doc?” Zoe asked quietly.
“Soon. I’d really rather have done this back on Serenity, but –“
“Beggars can’t be choosers.”
“If we’d got caught in turbulence –“
“No, I understand.” Simon looked at Jayne. “Just a while longer.”
“Hell, take all you want. Ain't like I don’t got enough.”
River slipped her hand into his, out of sight of her brother.
Everyone fell silent again, until …
“Zoe, what’re you wearing?” Mal’s voice, thin, not much more than a croak, but more than welcome nevertheless.
“Mal,” Freya murmured, feeling as if she’d been holding her breath for a year.
“Hey,” Mal said, smiling at her.
“Hey.” She couldn’t stop the tears rolling down her cheeks.
“What you crying for?”
“We thought you were dying,” Jayne offered. “Least, they did. I kinda knew you were too ornery a son of a bitch to let a little thing like that kill ya.”
“Ain't dead yet.” Mal peered around the shuttle, his eyes finally alighting once more on his first mate. “Although I'm beginning to wonder.”
“It’s a top, sir.” She taken her coat off because of the heat in the small shuttle, and her blouse seemed to burn in the dim light.
“Oh.” He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, then opened them again. “’M I hallucinating?”
“Oh. Good.” He smiled, then seemed to realise that Jayne was attached to him by a thin tube. “Is that what I think it is?”
“Just saving your life, Mal,” the big man said. “Kinda making it a habit today.”
“You lost a lot of blood,” Simon explained, clamping off the tubing and removing the needle from Mal’s arm. “Jayne’s the only one of your type here.”
“You mean I got his blood running through my veins?”
“Sure have,” Jayne smirked.
Mal looked at Freya. “I start acting like him, you’ll shoot me, won’t you?”
She laughed, wiping her face.
Zoe glanced outside. “Storm’s easing,” she said. “Looks like we’ll be able to take off soon.”
“Good,” Mal said. “Still got a delivery to make.”
“Easier said than done, sir.”
“What? Why?” He shifted slightly, then sucked a breath in as pain radiated through him.
“Lie still,” Simon ordered, preparing another hypo. “You’re not out of the woods yet. I've still got to remove the bullet.”
“Mal, please,” Freya implored him, feeling him gripping her hand tightly.
“Hold on there, doctor,” Mal said firmly, seeing the young man leaning forward, ready to inject him. “Just why can’t we complete on the deal?”
“Because the storm dumped a load of snow down those canyons,” Freya explained.
“Storm?” His forehead crinkled.
“And there’s no way anyone’s going to get to that stuff before a thaw.”
“Get to?” Mal tried to sit up, then bit back a cry.
“Simon, dope him,” Freya ordered.
“No, look, you don’t get to –“
Simon injected him in the arm. “You think I want to argue with her?” he asked, wiping the needle site with a sterile swab.
“Dammit, Frey, we got a job to do.” Mal was angry now.
“Shut up, Mal.” She leaned over and kissed his lips. “Just shut up and let us deal with it.”
“Listen to your wife, sir,” Zoe advised. “Always best in the long run.”
“Mutiny, that’s what this is,” Mal glowered, tasting the saltiness of his wife’s tears on his tongue.
“Then you can court-martial us later.”
Simon patted his shoulder. “Relax, Mal. That’ll kick in soon, and when you wake up this will all seem like a bad dream.”
“Bad dream was Jayne cutting into my chest with one of his …” Mal’s voice trailed off and he relaxed back onto the bench.
“Good,” Jayne said. “He was starting to get really annoying.”
Freya stood up, her eyes on her husband’s face. “He’s going to be all right, isn’t he?” she said.
“I think he’ll be fine,” Simon assured her.
“Then I’d better get us home. Zoe’s right, the storm’s lifting.”
“What about the hover?”
“Gotta dig it out first,” Jayne said. “Won’t take too long, but you don’t wait. I’ll drive it back.”
“And the goods?” Zoe asked. “Mal was right: we had a contract.”
“And Crandall didn’t warn us about them bandits.” Jayne waved a hand. “That stuff of his’ll be fine. Ain't no way anyone’s gonna be able to get to it ‘fore his own mule’s fixed.” He stood up and grabbed his heavy jacket.
“It’s going to be a lonely ride back,” River said, strapping her boots tighter.
“Don’t mind being on my own.”
“You won’t be.” She stood up, taking the coat Freya was holding out, and smiling at the older woman. Of course she knew.
“Mei-mei, what are you talking about?” Simon asked.
“We can talk.” River smiled at her brother, then turned it on Jayne, where it warmed him more than the heat inside the shuttle.
“Well, guess company might be good,” he admitted gruffly.
“And if you’re driving you can’t have wandering hands.”
Simon’s shocked face was a pure picture.
Hank watched out of the bridge window as a small dust cloud resolved into a hover with three men on board a distance away. He reached up and took down the com. “Zoe, he’s here.”
“Who?” Mal asked, trying to get up off the medbed and sucking in a sharp breath.
“You move and I’ll sedate you again,” Simon warned, and Freya pushed her husband back onto the pillow.
“And I’ll help him,” she said softly.
“If you weren't my wife …”
“What?” she asked, her lips lifting.
He just glared at her then turned his attention to Zoe. “Well? Who’s here?”
“Crandall,” Zoe explained. “When we didn’t deliver, it was only a matter of time before he showed. Frankly I'm surprised it took him this long.”
“That why you’re wearing your gun?”
“Then I’d better –“ Mal was interrupted.
“No, you don’t. We can handle this,” Freya said firmly.
“I was right. This is mutiny,” Mal complained.
“Then I’ll get Hank to come in and play pirates with you,” Zoe said, heading out into the common area.
“Pirates?” Mal glanced at Simon. “You give me too much of the good stuff?”
“No. I save that for River.”
“Can’t help thinking, as captain, I should be getting that.” He shook his head then winced.
“Are you in pain?” Simon immediately asked.
“I got shot, doc.” Mal sighed. “And Jayne operated on me without a medical licence. Can we get him struck off?”
“We’ll see about it,” Freya said, walking to the door. “In the meantime, you rest.”
“And if I said no?”
Freya smiled at him. “Simon, I think he needs some of the good stuff.”
Zoe crossed the cargo bay and squinted into the daylight. Crandall’s hover was coming to a rest. “You want to deal with this?” she asked.
Freya stepped close behind her. “Nope. Why should I?”
“You’re the captain’s wife.”
“And you’re his second-in-command. That makes you boss while he’s lying on his back.” She added quickly, “In the infirmary, I mean.”
Zoe smiled. “I will remind you of that one day.” She settled her gun more comfortably, making a mental note to see if Jayne could extend the leather a bit, then strode out into the sun.
“Where’s Captain Reynolds?” Crandall demanded, jumping to the ground and marching towards her. His face was red with anger.
“He’s indisposed,” Zoe said, resting her thumbs lightly in her belt. “I’m first mate.”
“Indisposed? What the hell does that mean?” Crandall waved it away. “Well, wherever he is, I hope it ain't with my goods. I just got word you didn’t make the delivery.”
“We tried to, but ran into a little local colour.”
“What? What colour? And where’s my stuff?” Crandall really wasn't in the mood to play games.
“Safe. At least until the snow melts.”
The man bristled visibly, and looked past her into the darkness of Serenity. “I demand to see Captain Reynolds. Maybe then I’ll get a straight answer.” He went to walk past this dark beauty, but she put her hand, very lightly, on his chest.
“Like I said, he’s indisposed.”
Another woman walked slowly down the ramp, just the trace of a limp in her step. Tall, short brown hair, she wasn't wearing a gun. No threat then. Except …
“Your goods are safe, Mr Crandall,” she said, her voice pleasant, low. “We can give you the co-ordinates.”
“And you are?”
“Freya Reynolds.” She smiled. “As soon as the snow clears from the canyons, you can pick them up. Your own vehicle should be fixed by then.”
“You just dumped them?” Crandall was almost beside himself with rage.
“No, Mr Crandall. But our people ran into a little trouble. Ambushed, you might say. One of them was hurt.”
“Your husband?” When Freya nodded, Crandall felt his anger abate a little. “Sorry to hear that. But why’d you leave my goods?”
“To save his life.”
“And … he’s going to be okay?”
“He’s going to be fine.”
Zoe stirred. “We tried to make delivery, Mr Crandall. This time, it just wasn't meant to happen.”
He looked from one woman to the other, trying to decide who was the more dangerous. Both of them, came the thought unbidden to his mind, and he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. “Well, I suppose you did try.” Now, if he could get his money back …
“And I'm sure you’re not going to insist on a refund,” Mrs Reynolds said, smiling at him. “After all, it wasn’t our fault your mountains seem to be a haven for all sorts of ne’er-do-wells.”
Crandall mentally backed up but physically shrugged. “Sounds like Kincaid and his crew. They’ve been nothing but trouble since …” He perked up. “I don’t suppose you’d care to take on the job of clearing –“
Freya shook her head and held out a memory wafer. “Here are the co-ordinates, Mr Crandall. I'm afraid one of the cases of whisky was damaged in the ambush, but I think you’ll find everything else is present and accounted for.”
Crandall found himself nodding as he tucked the wafer into his pocket. “Well, I suppose … that’s okay.”
“You’d better get going,” Zoe said. “I’m sure you’ve got more important things to do that stand around gossiping with a couple of women.”
His feet began to move of their own accord back towards his hover. “Yes, of course. People to see, you know. Business.”
Freya smiled at him. “Bear us in mind if you have any other little jobs you want doing,” she called as he climbed aboard his vehicle and tapped his driver on the shoulder.
As they sped off, Zoe asked, “Will he? Bear us in mind?”
“No,” Freya admitted.
“You brainwashed him?”
The other woman laughed. “No. Just suggested it’d be better not to deal with us again.”
“The captain ain’t gonna be pleased if we lost a customer.”
“He won’t mind losing this one.” Freya gazed after the rapidly vanishing hover. “I get the feeling Crandall isn’t exactly trustworthy.”
“Can you actually say that of anyone we deal with?”
Freya laughed. “You know, now you come to mention it …”
“Still, I’d like to be gone from here soon as we can.” Zoe exhaled thoughtfully. “Got that job on Greenleaf to get to.”
“For a change.”
“Well, looks like we can go whenever you want.” Freya nodded towards the mountains, and the hovermule covering the ground fast towards them.
“Missed us?” Jayne grinned as he brought the vehicle to an easy stop before turning to reverse into the bay.
“Have you been someplace?”
“Little bit of sight-seeing,” he called as he parked.
River jumped down and walked towards the two women. “That was fun,” she said. “I would have brought back snowcones, but they melted.”
Zoe shivered a little. “Think we’ve had enough snow for a while.” She walked inside. “Get her stowed, Jayne,” she called, heading for the bridge. “We’ll be leaving.”
River took one last look at the landscape. “How’s Mal?” she asked.
“He’s going to be fine. He’s already back to being his normal annoying self.” The soft, loving look on her face took all the sting out of her words.
“Simon removed the bullet and repaired the damage. In fact, he was full of praise for Jayne’s medical skills.”
River smiled. “There are depths to Jayne people don’t know about.”
“And you’re in charge of deep mining operations?”
“I don’t need to,” the young woman said.
“No. Guess you don’t.” Freya grinned and put her arm around River, and they walked back into Serenity.
Thursday, May 10, 2007 1:08 AM
Thursday, May 10, 2007 2:23 AM
Thursday, May 10, 2007 4:11 AM
Thursday, May 10, 2007 9:07 AM
Thursday, May 10, 2007 11:37 PM
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