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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Third in the short series set during the night Serenity leaves Lazarus. Hank and Zoe have words ... Please comment - it make my day!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1510 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
In the bigger bunk, only one of the occupants was asleep. The other was sitting at the desk, deep in contemplation.
“I’m afraid. Scared. It’s not like I haven’t been afraid before, but this …” Zoe stared at her reflection in the mirror on the other side of the room. She looked so … small.
She glanced down at her belly. “How can I be a good mother?” She stroked her skin through her robe. “I want to be a good mother so bad.”
“You will be,” Hank said, turning over so he could look at her.
“I thought you were asleep.” If the lights hadn’t been dimmed he would have seen her blushing.
“I was. But I’ve gotten used to you being next to me, hogging all the blankets.”
“I don’t hog the blankets.”
“Sometimes I wake up with certain portions of my anatomy more than a little chilly.”
“My feet, honey.” He grinned, pushing his hair out of his eyes.
She smiled a little. “Sorry.”
“But I still heard you.” He looked at her, his grey eyes amused. “And, I have to say …You? Afraid?”
“I’m human, Hank. And pregnant. That’s enough to scare anyone.”’
“Sweetheart, I’d be more scared if I were pregnant.”
“This isn’t a joking matter, Hank.”
Hank sat up in bed, the blanket pooling around his hips. “No, it isn’t. And I’m sorry for suggesting it was.”
“I can’t help how I feel. I’m not ready for this.”
“It’s not like you’re on your own,” he pointed out.
“I know. But it doesn’t … somehow it doesn’t help.”
“I wish I knew what to say, Zoe.” He sighed. “But I’m figuring there ain’t anything to help you right now.”
“Probably not,” she admitted.
He tried anyway. “You’re gonna be a great mother. I’ll be a good dad. Our son’s gonna grow up on board this ship and he’s gonna play with Ethan, Bethany and whoever else comes along. Okay?”
“Wow, you have got it bad.” He lifted his legs up so he could rest his elbows on his knees. “So what’s got you in this mood?”
“I don’t know. I just woke up feeling …”
“There’s no need to be.”
“Are you telling me you’re not?”
Hank laughed. “Oh, Zoe, I am scared shitless!”
“And I’m supposed to not be?”
“You’re the mother. You’re supposed to be blooming with health, looking forward to the hours, possibly days of painful labour as you give birth.”
“Thanks,” Zoe said dryly. “That really helps.”
“Glad to be of assistance.” He grinned at her. “So what particular thing has got you all worried this time?”
“Must be something.”
“The usual, I guess.”
“Good mother, bad mother, leaving the kid to play near the compression coil … that it?”
“I’m sure Kaylee’ll stop him from hurting himself too badly.”
“I’m sure she will.”
“Come on back to bed, Zoe.” He lifted the sheet from his body.
“I’m not tired.”
He exhaled noisily. “Okay. Right, well, let’s talk about something else then. How about names?”
“I still say there’s nothing wrong with Hoban.”
“Because … dammit, Hank, Wash was my husband! I wanted this child with him!” Immediately the words left her lips she wished them back. The look of pain on Hank’s face was almost unbearable.
“I know I’m not him,” Hank said quietly. “And I’m sorry. If I could go back, change the past, make it so your husband didn’t die, do you think I wouldn’t?” He got up from the bed, his brown hair sticking every which way, and pulled on a pair of grey sweatpants. “Only I can’t do that, Zoe. I can’t make the ‘verse right for you. And I’m sorry.”
He climbed the ladder, the hatch clanging open. His bare feet disappeared.
Zoe cursed herself. She hadn’t meant to say it, and certainly not like that. No wonder he was angry. And worse, hurt.
Hank didn’t bother switching the light on in the dining area, just headed straight for the bottle of rotgut Jayne kept in the top cupboard. He splashed three fingers into a glass and knocked it straight back. It said a great deal for his state of mind that he didn’t even wince.
“I’m sorry.” Zoe spoke from the doorway.
“Fine. Go back to bed.” He refilled the glass.
“Are you planning on getting drunk?”
“I’m not sure Jayne would approve of you drinking his booze.”
Hank turned a pale face to her. “You know something, Zoe? I really don’t think I care.” He tossed the second glass down his throat.
Suddenly Zoe was next to him. “Please.”
He glared at her. “I bet you weren’t like this with Wash. Oh, I know he was perfect. Couldn’t do a damn thing wrong. Except he did, didn’t he? He died.” He tipped the bottle up again.
Zoe picked up a glass. “Fill me.”
He stared. “In your condition?”
“I didn’t think you cared about that.”
“That’s my son in there!”
“Yes it is.” She took the bottle from his fingers, putting it back in the cupboard. “And I am sorry.”
“For it being mine?”
“No. For ever letting you think I’m not proud to have you in my bed. In my life.”
“I don’t understand.”
She took hold of his hand. He let her pull him towards the small seating area, making him sit beside her. She put that hand on her belly, on the swell of his child.
“I didn’t want this, Hank. Not without Wash. I admit that.” He tried to pull away but she wouldn’t let him. “I didn’t want you either. But you were there, all the time, trying to make me laugh, to notice you, and I got used to you.”
“I know. I was there, remember?”
“Then you know how hard it was for me. But I fell in love with you. So entirely against my better judgement that I didn’t even admit it for the longest time. But I did. And when I finally found the courage to let you in, it was …” She stopped and looked down at his hand. “You’re not Wash. And I don’t want you to be. No-one could replace him.” She looked back up. “But no-one could replace you either.”
“Let me finish.” She moved a little closer. “I’m scared. Scared of my life never being the same again. Except my life has changed so often before, and I need to remember that.” She lifted a hand and brushed his hair flatter. “Wash wasn’t perfect. Far from it. But then, I’ve never met a perfect human being. I think it’d scare me more than being pregnant.”
“Zoe, you’re the most fearless person I’ve ever met,” Hank managed to put in.
“Maybe I hide it better than most.” She smiled. “But if I am it’s because you make me fearless. You make me want this baby so badly that I’m willing to do anything to hold him. To meet this child. Your child.”
“Ours,” Hank said softly.
“Ours,” she agreed. “And I am so sorry for hurting you.”
“It’s okay,” he mumbled. “Ain’t gonna kill me.”
“No, if that happens, you’ll be sure I meant it.”
He let a small grin appear. “You gonna kiss it better?”
“Your breath stinks of alcohol.”
“Does that matter?”
She smiled and moved into his arms, their lips joining as their bodies melded together.
When, after a long time, they let each other up for air, she cuddled into his lap, her head on his shoulder. “You’re a strange man, Hank Mills,” she murmured.
“It’s been said.” He wrapped his arms around her. “And I know what Wash meant to you. I shouldn’t get jealous over him.”
He looked down into her dark eyes. “For all the years he got to be with you. All the nights you spent locked in each other’s arms. All the fights you had then made up from. Everything.”
“I’m jealous of Risa,” Zoe admitted in a small voice, looking down at her belly.
“Are you?” He was surprised.
He laughed. “We make a right pair, don’t we?”
“That we do.”
“You’d have liked her, you know. And I know she’d have liked you.” Hank settled back a little more into the chair. “She might have looked like the first fresh breeze would have blown her away, but she was strong. Had to be, to put up with me. Strong like you.”
“I know you and Wash would’ve got on. Not just because you’re both pilots, but … he was such a big kid sometimes.”
“Oh, I can see you two playing dinosaurs together.”
“You know, they grow on you.”
“You wanna go back to bed?”
“Not just yet.” She put her head back on his shoulder. “Tell me about Risa.”
“What do you want to know?”
“What was she really like?”
“Well, she had this way of looking at me like I was an idiot. And I told you about how she accidentally shot me that time, didn’t I? Well, it wasn’t the only time she aimed a gun at me. There was this one incident when I came home bald …”
They sat together, talking quietly, telling tales of their other lives, their voices murmuring in the corner of the galley until they fell asleep in each other's arms.
Saturday, June 2, 2007 12:13 PM
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