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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Serenity lands back on Lazarus so Kaylee can continue her repairs, and preparations are made for the big night. I love to tease, but please leave comments!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1818 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
She barely waited for him to walk out of the Firefly.
“Why didn’t you call me?” she asked, hitting Mal in the chest with her fist.
“Ow.” He rubbed the spot. “Nice to see you too, ‘Nara.”
“Why didn’t you tell me as soon as Ethan got sick?” She was very, very angry with him. It had started the moment Hank had waved that they were coming, and had grown every passing second.
“Kinda had other things on my mind,” Mal pointed out.
“That’s no excuse.” Then she realised what she’d said. “Well, of course it is. But would it have hurt for someone to wave me?”
“Why, ‘Nara?” Mal asked. “Just so’s you could worry too? And you couldn’t even be there.”
“I still wanted to know! It was Ethan, for heaven’s sake!”
“Yes. My son. Mine and Freya’s.”
“So … what? I'm not family any more?” Inara stared at him.
“Course you are.”
“Because you couldn’t do anything. And worrying from a distance ain't good for your looks.”
“My …” This time the anger bubbled over, and she let fly with the flat of her hand, catching him right on the cheek.
He moved his jaw around but didn’t touch the vibrant red mark. “Better?”
“How does she put up with you?”
“She loves me.” He checked his teeth with his tongue. “You been working out?”
“Seems to me you got more of a whack behind that than you had before.”
“One of these days …” Inara gave Mal one last glare then walked past him.
Freya, leaning in the doorway of the Firefly, laughed. “Don’t beat up on him too much,” she called. “He might get to enjoy it.”
“Hiya, Auntie ‘Nara!” Bethany yelped, running out of the cargo bay and past them all, heading towards the house.
“Where’re you going, honey?” Freya called.
“’Kay!” Bethany was still going full pelt and disappeared quickly.
“It is still her room, isn’t it?” Freya asked Inara.
“Of course it is. And there’s a sweet little bed in there too, just the right size.”
“No wonder she’s in a hurry.”
Inara turned back to Freya. “How is Ethan?”
“He’s a lot better. And some sun and fresh air will do him the world of good.” She pushed up straight. “How are you, Inara?”
“Better for seeing you.” Inara looked past her. “Can I see him?”
“Of course.” Freya smiled and let the way inside.
Inara glanced back over her shoulder. “I gather he’s decided you’re staying for a while?”
Freya smiled. “If that’s okay with you. Kaylee has a lot of work to do on the engine, and this is a safe place.”
“As long as you want.” Inara hooked her arm through the other woman’s. “And I gather there’s something of a special occasion?”
“Jayne and River?”
Freya laughed again. “I didn’t know they’d asked already.”
“Jayne did. He waved me.” Another glare was shot in Mal’s direction as he followed them.
“Hey, what’ve I done?” he demanded to know, all innocent and wide-eyed.
Inara ignored him. “I’ve said they can use the house.”
“You saying you don’t mind them getting to sexing in your place?” Mal grinned. “Sounds like old times.”
“Except that I was the one doing the ‘sexing’.” Inara raised her eyebrows as Freya took her through to the lower crew quarters. “Isn’t Ethan in the nursery upstairs?”
“He’s taking a nap in Bethany’s room at the moment,” Freya explained. “She was supposed to be looking after him …”
“But my house had a more exciting call,” Inara finished.
“Something like that.” Freya slid the door open.
“Oh …” Inara’s heart melted as it always did at the sight of the little boy, his tousled head resting on one hand, the thumb of the other in his mouth. “You know you need to stop that. Otherwise his teeth will come through crooked.”
“I don’t think I’m going to worry about it quite yet,” his mother said, her voice soft, her eyes gentle.
“No, I suppose not.” Inara gazed at Ethan. “He looks so well.”
“He’s getting there,” Mal said, leaning over their shoulders, his voice full of emotion. “Simon’s taking real good care of him, and the pacemaker’s working fine.”
“Jayne said … about the medical bill …”
“It’s been dealt with.” Mal was firm.
“Only if you need money -”
“’Nara, I said it’s been dealt with.”
“If you’re sure …”
“We’ve got paid for our last job, and there was some left over from … it’s fine.”
Inara nodded. “I’m glad. And of course I’ll pay for the items you’ve brought me.”
“Well, we can discuss that later.”
“Come on, I don’t want to wake him,” Freya said, closing the door.
“I’m so glad he’s okay,” Inara said.
“So are we.” Mal grinned at her.
She shook her head. “Why can’t I stay angry at you?” she asked.
“’Cause I’m so winsome and pretty.”
“How do you put up with him?” Inara asked Freya as they all headed back to the cargo bay.
“Oh, he’s good for some things.” There was an odd wistfulness in her tone that intrigued the ex-Companion, but it was gone as she went on, “So are you staying in the house? While Jayne and River … whatever.”
“I don’t think so. While I have, in the past, been a voyeur on a couple of occasions, I don’t think I’d care to this time.”
“A voyeur?” Mal’s ears pricked up. “You mean you …”
“In the line of business, Mal.”
“And since I'm not in that business any longer, I was hoping I could stay here.”
“Here.” Mal raised his eyebrow. “On board.”
“Don’t make it sound so terrible.”
“Well, it ain't like you actually live here no more.”
“If it’s going to be too much trouble –“
“No, I ain't said that. Don’t go putting words into my mouth, woman.”
“In there? Hardly.”
“What’s wrong with my mouth?” Mal asked, finding himself to unaccountably being enjoying the argument. It felt like old times.
“Where do I begin?”
“Children, children,” Freya said, holding out her hands. “If you can’t play nicely it’ll be an early night with no supper.”
“Still can’t believe you’re letting those two sully your home.” Mal was shaking his head in mock incredulity.
“You’d already done that,” Inara pointed out.
“Wasn’t your place then. Still belonged to Monty.”
“And you’re just lucky I’m alone at the moment,” she went on. “I had a client who only left yesterday.”
“A client?” This time Mal’s eyebrows threatened to disappear into his hair.
The look on his face made her laugh. “Not that sort, Mal. Honestly, doesn’t your mind ever leave the gutter?”
“I was helping his daughter. She was having some problems, and I helped her sort them out.”
“What sort of –“
“Mal, you don’t ask questions like that.”
“He does,” Freya put in.
“Then I just won’t answer them.”
A noise behind had them all look up. Kaylee was coming down the stairs.
“Hey, you.” She smiled at the young mechanic.
“Good day?” She was attempting nonchalance, almost indifference, as if she and Inara had parted only an hour before.
“Better for seeing you.”
“Missed you. A bit.”
“Mmn. Me too.”
Kaylee stepped down to the deck. ”You look nice,” she said, smiling a little. “Got a bit of colour in your cheeks.”
Inara grinned. “Aren’t you going to give me a hug?” she asked.
“I'm kinda greasy.”
“I don’t care about that.” To the girl’s evident delight, the ex-Companion enveloped her in a huge embrace, and it was returned with interest.
“Oh, ‘Nara …” Kaylee was grinning widely. “Got so much to tell ya.”
“So I gather.” She smiled and pushed the young mechanic’s hair out of her face. “Don’t you ever look at a brush?” she asked.
“Not much since you left. Simon does it for me sometimes,” Kaylee admitted. “Only it kinda gets messed up again after …”
“No,” Mal said firmly. “You two wanna discuss sex, go do it elsewhere.”
“Cap …” Kaylee complained.
Inara wanted so much to stick her tongue out at him, but that would be … oh diyu.
“Did you just …” He was speechless.
“Come on,” Inara said, snaking her arm through Kaylee’s. “Come and help me get a few things from my house, and we can talk on the way.” They walked out into the Lazarus sunshine.
“Hey, what about my boat?” Mal called.
“I'm taking a break,” Kaylee shouted in return, then went back to the female-type huddle.
“I knew it was a mistake letting that woman back on board,” Mal muttered.
Freya laughed. “It always was.”
“How can you tell?” Jayne asked, watching River as her hands moved tenderly.
“You just know.” She smiled up at him and went back to work.
“Looks the same to me.”
She pulled. “It isn’t.
“I still don’t -”
“A few weeks.”
“Ain’t sure it’s worth it.”
“It will be.” River finished weeding and ran her fingers through the soil between the green shoots.
Jayne felt his groin tightening. “Gorramit, girl, you keep doing that and I won’t be able to wait ‘til tonight.”
“Patience,” River said, sitting back and dusting off her hands.
“Well, I ain’t never had too much o’ that.”
“Imagine I’m your prey. You’ve stalked things, people, for days or weeks. Tracked them from the tiniest broken twig. That takes patience.”
“Ain’t the same. I was usually gonna kill them.”
“The French call orgasm le petit mort.”
She smiled. “The little death. For when it makes one of the participants momentarily unconscious from the pleasure.”
“You been reading up on this?”
“I‘ve been doing some research.”
“So you know what you think it’s gonna be like.”
He took one of her dusty hands in his. “Don’t wanna disappoint ya, moonbrain.”
“You won’t.” She moved easily into his lap and wrapped her arms around him, their lips touching.
As much as she’d been kissed before by Jethro, and a boy on Boros Simon knew nothing about, this was different. Maybe it was the beard, or the fact that neither of them were very experienced lately in it, but it was sweet and almost innocent. Apart from Jayne’s burgeoning erection pressing into her.
“Tonight,” she whispered into his mouth.
“Dammit, girl, you got me wishing my life away,” he muttered back.
“It will be … magnificent.”
Jayne grinned, his beard ticking her chin. “Got that right.”
“Let’s have some tea,” Inara said as they stepped out of the sunlight.
“Sounds good.” Kaylee looked around the hall. “You’ve done a lot to this place.”
“Not just me.” She hurried to a doorway. “Mrs Boden, could we have some tea in the drawing room?”
“Of course, Madam,” came the disembodied voice in answer.
Inara smiled and led the way into one of the sunlit rooms.
“Ooh, pretty!” Kaylee said, clapping her hands. “Didn’t look like this when I was here before.”
“It’s not been that long, mei-mei,” Inara admonished.
“Seems like forever …” She stared at the elegant yellow wallpaper with its white and cream stripes. “Looks like the sun’s shining even when it ain’t.”
“That’s why I chose it. And because it reminds me of you.” Kaylee grinned as Inara sat down on the sofa. “Come on, I want to hear all the news.”
Kaylee shook her head. “I’ll make it dirty.”
Inara glanced about then picked up a throw. “If you’re really worried, sit on this.”
“Sit down.” The ex-Companion smiled, grabbing her hand and pulling her next to her.
“’Kay.” Kaylee giggled. “Don’t want to mess up your home.”
“We’re not going to worry about that, are we?” Inara moved forward a little. “So, what’s been going on?”
“Well, you know about Ethan, a’course.”
“And you know about Bethany being a Reader –“
“Are you okay with that now?”
Kaylee smiled. “Kinda got used to it.”
“That’s good. You know no-one’s going to let anything happen to her.”
“I know. And it ain’t really ever been that that’s the problem.”
“So tell what the problem was.”
“It’s …” Kaylee coloured. “I guess I was jealous.”
“Jealous? Of what?”
Kaylee looked embarrassed. “Ain't proud of it, ‘Nara, but I've always been somewhat green-eyed over Simon’s … attachment to his sister.”
“You mean his devotion.”
She found her hands suddenly really interesting. “He loves her, course he does. She’s his sister. But I always worried it was kinda that it always seemed to be …”
“Her over you?”
Kaylee nodded. “And I feel all kindsa guilty over this, so there’s no need to tell me I'm baichi.”
“I wasn't going to.”
There was a slight knock at the door and the housekeeper brought in a tray. “Madam,” she said, setting it down on the small table in front of them before disappearing as quietly as she had arrived.
“So …” Inara prompted, pouring the tea into delicate cups.
“So when Bethie turned out to be a Reader, it was just something else they’d got in common, that I ain’t.”
“Kaylee, that’s –“
“Only it’s okay now,” the young woman added quickly. “See, Bethie can hear Serenity. Just like me.”
“She can hear her?”
“When she’s hurting. What needs doing.” There was more than a hint of pride in her voice. “Like her momma.”
Inara smiled. “You know, I'm really not surprised.”
“I always thought your talent proved you were more than just gifted.”
“Like Frey, you mean?”
“In a way. You can just hear machines.”
Kaylee giggled. “Maybe you’re right. But I’ll tell ya, knowing Bethie can hear ‘em too, that makes me feel she’s mine.”
“Sweetie, you carried her for nine months, breastfed her, bathed and changed her … no-one will ever be able to say she’s not yours.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I do at that,” Inara agreed as the sound of someone more or less falling down the stairs filtered in from the hall. “And I think that may be your first-born right now.”
The door burst open and a small tornado swept into the room. “Auntie ‘Nara!” it shouted and bounced into her lap.
“Bethany, this ain't … this is someone else’s home,” Kaylee said quickly, pulling her daughter off Inara’s fine dress.
“Sorry,” the little girl said, dropping her eyes.
“That’s all right,” Inara replied. “And of course it’s her home too.”
“Is it?” Bethany asked, lifting her head.
“Of course it is. All of you.” She reached out and took the little girl back. “Did you like your room?”
“’S’pretty.” Bethany giggled, sounding very like her mother. “I like the bed.”
“Just the right size. And when you get bigger, it can grow with you.”
“Yes. Like magic.”
Bethany’s eyes grew wide. “Magic?”
“You’ll be turning her head with stuff like that,” Kaylee complained mildly.
“When you’re Bethany’s age, a little magic is a good thing.” Inara smiled. “And we’ve just been talking about mental gifts that would have seemed like magic to people a few hundred years ago.”
“I guess.” A grin suffused her face. “Ain’t never thought of it that way before.”
Inara leaned over and picked up the plate of biscuits from the tray. “Here,” she said. “Try one of these. Mrs Boden makes them just for me.”
Kaylee took one and bit into it carefully. Her face softened. “Oh, ‘Nara, you keep having this sorta thing and I’ll make sure the Cap comes by regular.”
“Can I have one?” Bethany asked, eyeing the plate.
“Of course you can.” Inara held it up. “Now,” she said, getting back to the subject in hand. “What else has been going on?”
“Hey, how come no-one told us you’d been having a tea party?” Hank asked, staring at the mechanic and the ex-Companion as they strolled back into Serenity, the latter carrying a small bag.
“How did you –“
“Crumbs.” He waved an accusing hand at Kaylee’s coveralls.
Kaylee brushed herself down. “Oops,” she said, grinning. “Anyway, it was girlie time. Men not invited.”
“Hey, I can be girlie!” Hank insisted. “Not as good as the Cap, maybe, but I can.”
“Next time, Hank,” Inara promised. “And perhaps there’ll be braiding of hair.”
He ran his hand through his own untidy mop. “Don’t think you can make it any worse,” he admitted.
“Oh, Hank, please don’t tempt me!”
He grinned, then looked up at the sound of boots on the catwalk.
“Inara,” Zoe said inclining her head.
“Zoe. You look positively blooming.” Inara smiled, recognising the dark red top the dark woman was wearing.
“Need to thank you for the clothes,” Zoe said, returning the favour.
“I'm glad they fit.” Inara made a show of studying the other woman. “And that looks so much better on you than it would ever have on me.”
“That’s a lie, and you know it. I doubt there’s a garment in this ‘verse that don’t look good on you.”
“Oh, believe me, there are a number.”
“You’re seriously gonna have to tell me about them. Preferably with pictures.”
“Not in a million years.” She grinned, suddenly looking less the polished woman and much more the girl. “So where’s River and Jayne? I thought they’d be just dying for me to give them the keys.”
Simon stomped out of the common area. “They’ve gone for a walk,” he said morosely. “To look at the garden River planted.”
“I suppose so.” He sighed. “That pair are going to be the death of me.”
Freya patted his shoulder. “Now, I just know you’re happy for them under that dark and miserable exterior.”
“Oh, absolutely.” Simon looked into her face. “My somewhat crazy sister is in a relationship with a mercenary who’s old enough to be her father, and everyone seems to think it‘s fine and dandy.”
“Sounds like one of my books,” Hank commented. “Story like that could be worth thousands.”
Everyone ignored him.
“Are you intending to shoot him again?” Inara asked.
“Not unless he hurts her.” Simon tossed up his hands. “I know she’s happier than she’s been in a long while, so I’m … I’m happy too.”
“Oh, Simon, I think you need to try that with a little more conviction.”
Kaylee put her arms around his waist. “And it ain’t that bad.”
“No, I suppose not. It’s just going to take a while to get used to.” He shuddered.
“Don’t even think about tonight,” Freya advised.
“Seriously, I’m trying not to.” He gave a rueful smile. “How are you, Inara?”
“I have to say it feels like I never left.”
“Yeah, me too,” Mal put in from the catwalk above them. “Doesn’t anyone have any work to do around here?”
“I just fly the boat,” Hank said quickly. “And as we’re landlocked at the moment …”
“Okay, I guess I’ll let you off.” Mal came down the stairs. “What about the rest of you?”
“Pregnant, sir,” Zoe said succinctly.
“Not sure that counts, but okay.” He turned his gaze onto the young mechanic. “Ain’t you supposed to be under the engine, swearing at something or other?”
“I don’t need to be under the engine to do that, Cap’n,” Kaylee said, letting go of her husband. “’N’ I was just on my way back.”
“Good. This week we’re spending here’s for your benefit, you know.”
“Not just mine,” Kaylee pointed out. “I don’t get Serenity back to one hundred percent, I ain’t the only one who’s gonna be wondering where all the air went.”
“Then don’t you think you’d better get back there?”
“On my way, Cap’n!” she said brightly, planting a kiss on Simon’s lips before scampering up the stairs.
“What about you, doctor?” Mal asked.
“I just finished checking your son. And he’s fine,” Simon added quickly.
“Has anyone seen Bethany, by the way?”
“She’s in her room in my house,” Inara explained. “I think she’s having another tea party.”
“Then, if you’ll all excuse me, I think I’ll go and find my daughter.” He gave a slight bow and wandered out into the sunshine.
“You know, I think our young lovers might have the right idea,” Hank said, taking Zoe’s hand. “Fancy a walk?”
“Well …” She glanced at Mal.
“Hell, might as well,” he said. “It ain’t like there’s much else to do around here.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that.” Hank grinned and led Zoe outside.
Mal looked at Freya. “Do you think they’re -”
“I’d let that thought die right there if I were you,” his wife said.
“You know, I think you’re right.”
Inara picked up her bag. “Well, if you could tell me where I’m sleeping tonight, I’ll get unpacked.”
“Best put you up in the guest quarters, seeing as your shuttle ain’t exactly … well, it ain’t yours no more.” Mal grinned.
“And there I was going to relive old memories,” she teased. “All those times you barged in, unasked.”
“Bet you miss that.”
“Well, I’ll get you settled in –“
“I’ll do that,” Freya said quickly. “Give us a chance to catch up.”
“Okay.” Mal wasn’t sure about this, somehow, but nodded. “Dinner’s usual time.”
“I’ll be there. I have missed those protein meals.”
The irony wasn't lost on him. “Well, any time you wanna contribute some of your fine food, I’m sure we can manage.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” She smiled. “In fact, why don’t I arrange dinner tonight entirely?”
“Well, I’m sure Freya won’t mind, seeing as it was her turn to cook.” Mal looked at his wife for her input.
“Good idea,” she said. “And I know the rest of the crew will be thanking you too.”
“Your cooking isn’t that bad,” Inara disagreed.
“Yes it is,” Freya said, then elbowed Mal in the ribs as he nodded agreement.
“Come on,” Freya said, ignoring him.
“Good idea,” Mal agreed. “I got some captainy things to do anyway.” He headed back up the stairs towards the bridge. “Maybe give my wife someone else to beat up on for a change.”
“I’m so glad Ethan’s recovering well,” Inara said, stepping through into the common area.
“He’s healing fast. I might not be good for anything else, but at least I seem to have passed that on to him.”
Inara glanced over her shoulder, surprised. “Not good for what?”
“Everything.” Freya walked past her. “I think this one should be okay.” She slid a door open.
“Book’s old room.”
“Oh. Sorry, do you want one of the others?”
“No, of course this will be fine.” Inara stepped inside, putting her bag on the bed. “It will be almost like meeting an old friend.” She smiled. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” She didn’t leave.
“Is there something you … Freya, what is it?”
For a moment it looked as if the other woman was about to speak, to unburden herself, then she shook her head. “It’s nothing.” She forced a smile. “I’ll let you settle in.”
Inara watched as she walked away, at the slight limp she still exhibited, and wondered.
to be continued
Sunday, May 20, 2007 1:06 AM
Sunday, May 20, 2007 1:31 AM
Sunday, May 20, 2007 7:26 AM
Monday, May 21, 2007 4:03 AM
Monday, May 21, 2007 9:39 AM
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