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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Serenity's crew go visiting Kaylee's family on Phoros. A longish chapter to introduce a new story arc. Let me know if you like/loathe it!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1728 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Bethany was bouncing on Hank’s lap. “Is that it?” she asked, pointing out of the bridge window at the jewel hanging in the black.
She stared. “Ooh.”
“Phoros,” Hank agreed. “Where your Ma grew up, and where your grandparents live.”
“Soon.” He smiled and put his arm around her little waist. “If I don’t die of terminal bruising before then.”
Bethany turned and put her lips to his cheek. “Kiss it better.”
Hank laughed. “You know, I think it does.”
“Hey, are you cheating on me?” Zoe asked, coming onto the bridge.
“Can’t help it,” Hank said. “Got this beautiful young lady in my lap … it’s something of a foregone conclusion.”
“So me and mine are gonna end up helpless, on the drift?” She sat down in the co-pilot’s chair, ostentatiously rubbing the bulge at her waist.
Bethany climbed carefully off Hank’s lap and looked into her eyes. “Uncle Hank loves you,” she said solemnly.
“I know, sweetpea,” Zoe said, lifting her up to sit on her thigh. “And he knows what would happen if I caught him cheating on me.”
Bethany giggled, covering her mouth, and Hank managed to look pained.
“We gonna crash?” Mal asked, stepping over the sill.
“No sir,” Hank said, turning back to his controls, ostentatiously correcting their flight path by half a degree.
“Good. Don’t wanna be crashing today. Not when Kaylee’s so all fired up for meeting up with her folks again.”
“Going to see Grandma and Grandpa,” Bethany said.
“That you are, squirt,” Mal smiled.
“Going to be fun.”
“You got Fiddler all cleaned up and ready?”
“All ready.” Bethany grinned.
“What about you?” He stroked her hair. “You all ready?”
“Bethie!” Kaylee’s voice echoed along the corridor. “Get back here now!”
“Not ready yet,” Bethany said with a sigh, climbing down from Zoe’s lap. She swung her cast dispiritedly as she walked slowly off the bridge.
Serenity landed at the dock, settling easily into her space. The cargo bay doors opened and the ramp lowered into the dust.
“They’re not here,” Simon said, looking out. “Did they know when we were landing?”
“’Spect they’re busy,” Kaylee said, seeming unconcerned as she tidied Bethany.
“Momma,” the little girl complained as her mother straightened her dress for the fifteenth time.
“Ready?” Mal called from the top catwalk, Ethan in his arms. Freya was next to him.
“Yes, sir, Cap’n.”
Simon studied her closely. No matter how nonchalant she appeared, she had hoped her family would be there for her. “I’m sure they’ll all be waiting at the house.”
“Of course they will.”
Simon put his arm around her waist and squeezed.
“I’m sure you have enough,” River said, stepping out of the shuttle, Jayne following.
The big man tucked something into his waistcoat. “He liked ‘em before. It just seems …”
“Something like that.”
She smiled at him, putting her hand on his arm. “It’s a nice gift.”
Hank tumbled out of the top doorway. “We’re locked down, Mal.”
“Good.” He looked around. “Where’s my first mate?”
“Here, sir,” Zoe said, stepping into the cargo bay from the common area. She had on one of the tops Inara had given her, this one in a bright fiery red. It suited her colouring incredibly well. Hank swallowed, pride filling his throat.
“Right,” Mal smiled, walking down the stairs. “Now, you all know the plan. We got two days here, that’s all. So no wandering off, and no getting into fights.” He levelled a glance at Jayne.
“Hey, I ain’t the one goes out Unification Day and starts a brawl,” the big man pointed out.
“Well, it isn’t Unifi …” He paused and glanced at Freya. “Is it?”
“No,” she smiled. “You’re safe.”
He grinned back. “Good.” He surveyed his crew once more. “I don’t mind where you sleep, but if you come back, make sure the ship’s locked up. Don’t want no-one coming on board thinking they can pilfer anything.”
“Wouldn’t want any thieves on board, no sirree,” Hank joked.
“You want to stay behind?” Mal asked.
“Nope, no sir, Captain,” Hank said hurriedly. “No thieves on this boat.”
“Good.” He clapped his hands. “Okay, people. Time’s a-wasting.” He smiled at Kaylee. “You want to go on ahead?”
Kaylee nodded nervously. “Sure thing, Cap’n.”
“Okay. You’d better get moving.”
“Come on,” Simon said, taking her arm and moving her out into the sunlight.
“Kaylee okay?” Mal murmured to Freya.
“She’s a bit distracted. Every other time we’ve come to visit, her family’s been waiting for us,” Freya explained softly.
“Think there’s a problem?” Mal looked out of the door at the little family, the rest of his crew following along.
Freya smiled. “Oh, no. No problem.”
Bethany was skipping ahead, Fiddler snuffling along the ground, ranging from side to side on the leather lead Jayne had made.
“Be careful, honey,” Kaylee called, her heart pounding so hard she thought it might leap up her throat.
“Want to meet Grandma,” the little girl said, swinging her cast.
“Well, if you fall over and break the other arm, you won’t be meeting anyone yet,” Simon added.
Bethany stopped, turning to look at him. “Two casts?”
“Maybe. Or I could just make you into one big one. Stop you hurting yourself at all.”
She put her head on one side, and gave him one of River’s looks. “Silly Daddy.” She grinned and let Fiddler pull her along again, albeit at a slightly slower pace.
“You look lovely,” Hank said to Zoe, a few dozen paces behind.
Zoe smoothed the top over the bulge at her waist. “Didn’t have much choice.”
“That doesn’t stop you looking lovely.”
“I didn’t think I’d be getting so big so fast.”
“There’s a way to go yet,” Hank pointed out. “I mean, look how big Freya got.”
“Thanks,” Zoe said dryly. “That does my confidence the world of good.”
“I’m only saying that you are wonderful.”
“Well, just keep telling me that. Maybe one day I’ll believe you.”
A little further back River and Jayne were walking hand in hand.
“So you’re not going visiting?” River asked mischievously.
“Visiting?” Jayne looked down at her.
“When you were here before, you visited. A certain house.”
Jayne didn’t blush, but he felt slightly uncomfortable. “Hell, moonbrain, you know I ain’t gonna go anywhere like that again.”
“Some of them may go out of business.”
“I’m surprised there hasn’t been mass rioting.”
“I didn’t go that much.”
She fixed him with her dark eyes. “Yes, you did. Whenever you had the coin.”
“You want me to?” He let go of her hand. “You want me to go and take one of those whores into my bed? You wanna watch? Is that it?”
“I’ve seen it enough,” she said solemnly. “Through your eyes.”
His mind threw up a whole array of nubile women he’d taken to bed, and this time his ears turned just a pale shade of pink. “Shouldn’t’ve been looking, girl.”
“I wanted to know what you saw in them.”
“Sex. That was it.”
“I know that now.”
“Then what, River? Why’re you asking if I was going calling?”
“I don’t want you to miss something you want.”
He stared at her, then laughed. “I got everything I want right here,” he said, picking her up and twirling her around. “Right here, crazy girl.”
He put her back down onto her feet, wrapping his arm around her, and they continued walking.
“They’re getting on well,” Mal said, his arm around his own wife.
“I think it’s lovely.”
“Lovely?” He looked at her. “Ain’t quite the word that springs to mind when I think of Jayne.”
“They’re getting to know each other.”
“Thought they’d already done that. Or did I miss something?”
She smiled. “Mal, I’ve known you for years. But it was only when we moved in together that I began to know the real you.”
“Is there such a creature?”
“Oh, yes, hidden somewhere underneath all the bluster about being a thief and a liar. The real you.”
“And it didn’t scare you off?”
“It made me love you all the more. Even when you do leave your socks on the table.”
“That was once. Okay, twice. But I’d’a never thought, in a million years …”
“Love knows no bounds, Mal.”
“Guess all those philosophers are right, then.” Mal shook his head slightly. “Everything possible happens someplace.”
“I think that may be quantum physicists, but I take your point.”
“Just never believed it was gonna happen here.”
“Neither did Simon.”
“He’s taken them moving in together pretty well.”
“It still upsets him.”
“She’s a grown woman.”
“She’s still his sister. That will never change. And he’s got so used to looking after her, it’s difficult for him to let go enough.”
“Surrogate father,” Mal agreed.
“He should never have had to be.”
Mal tightened his arm around Freya’s waist. “So am I gonna be like that with this one?” He glanced at Ethan, sitting up on his hip, his bright blue eyes taking everything in.
“No way I can get out of it?”
He sighed theatrically. “Oh, well.” He shifted his son a little. “And when’s he gonna start walking? He’s heavy.”
“I’ll take him if you –”
“No, that’s fine.” Mal shook his head. “I ain’t putting any more strain on your hip than I need to.”
“I’m fine, Mal.”
“Yeah, sure. And he ain’t that heavy.”
Freya chuckled. “You don’t have to look after me like this.”
“No, maybe not,” Mal admitted. “But I kinda like it.” He dipped his head to kiss her gently.
“Dadda!” Ethan said, patting his cheek.
“Find your own girl,” Mal murmured, still enjoying the contact. Freya smiled, and he could feel her lips curving under his.
Kaylee paused as her parents’ house came into sight.
“Do you want to go in first?” Simon asked.
“Do you mind?”
“Of course not. This is your family. It would be right to have a few minutes alone with them.” He smiled.
“But you’re my family too.”
“Go on.” Simon pushed her gently. “Get inside and say hello.”
Kaylee nodded, still not sure, but walked up to the house. She put up her hand to knock, then realised that was a really crazy thing to do. This had been her home for so many years, and she’d never knocked before. She opened the door slowly.
“Kaylee, sweetie.” Eleanor Frye looked up from the bread she’d just taken out of the oven and smiled at her only daughter as if it had been only a few days since she’d seen her last, not more than a year.
“Momma!” Kaylee ran across the kitchen and they hugged, and she felt herself wrapped in the unconditional love of a parent.
“It’s good to see you.”
“Mmn, you too.” Kaylee sighed happily. “Where’s Pa?”
“Just finishing something off at work. Got a lot to do.” Mrs Frye went back to her cooking, tipping the bread onto a rack to cool.
“That’s good.” Kaylee was surprised. “Um, what about the boys?”
“Oh, around,” Mrs Frye said airily. “Where’s Simon and Bethany?”
“Waiting outside. They didn’t want to –”
“Leaving your family out in the cold?” Mrs Frye was scandalised. “Girl, get them in here!”
“It ain’t cold, Momma, and, well, there’s a lot of us, and I kinda thought –”
“Kaylee, you do as you’re told!”
Her daughter grinned and opened the door. “Come on in,” she called.
The crew of Serenity filed in, Bethany in the front.
“Grandma?” the little girl asked.
Eleanor Frye swept her granddaughter into her arms. “Bethie!” She gazed into her face. “My, how you’ve grown!”
Bethany put her hands on Mrs Frye’s face. “You’re pretty,” she said.
“Oh, honey, aren’t you the sweet one.” Her grandmother grinned.
“And that’s Fiddler.” Bethany pointed to the little dog Simon had on the leash. “He’s my puppy. Uncle Mal got him for me.”
“Well, isn’t that nice.” Mrs Frye touched the cast. “And what happened here?”
“I fell down. Broke it. But my Daddy fixed it for me.” She smiled at her father.
“That’s what Daddies are for,” Kaylee whispered, ignoring the tear that ran down her own cheek.
Mrs Frye turned to Simon. “It’s good to see you again,” she said quietly. “Kaylee behaving herself?”
“As much as ever.”
“That bad, eh?”
“Grandma, Fiddler’s thirsty,” Bethany announced.
Mrs Frye put her down. “Well, there’s a blue bowl in the cupboard over there. Why don’t you get some water for him?”
“Okay.” Bethany bounced into the kitchen.
“And I’m glad to see you brought everyone with you.” Eleanor Frye grinned at the others.
“Mrs Frye,” Mal said, holding out his hand. “Real good to see you again.”
“We don’t shake hands with family,” Kaylee’s mother said, surprising him with a hug. “And please call me Ellie.”
“Ellie.” Mal stepped back and grinned at her. There was something about her he hadn’t felt in a long time, and he knew exactly what it was. Only his own mother had ever hugged him quite like that. He glanced at Freya and found she was looking at him with an amused glint in her eye, and he cursed her abilities as a blush burned up his chest.
Luckily any discomfiture was hidden as there were hugs all around, and even Jayne let himself be enveloped in those warm arms.
“And who’s this young man?” Ellie asked, looking at the child on Mal’s hip.
“My son. Ethan.”
“He has your eyes.”
“And Frey’s brains, luckily.” Mal laughed. “Figure he’s got the best of us.”
“He’s perfect.” Ellie tickled Ethan under the chin, eliciting gurgles of delight. “Is he talking yet?”
“He can say Dadda,” Freya said, moving closer. “I haven’t quite got him to say Mama yet, though.”
“He will. And when he starts walking …”
“Oh, don’t,” Kaylee said. “Bethany was into everything.”
“She still is,” Simon said, handing the lead to Kaylee and hurrying across the room to where Bethany had discovered a biscuit tin. “Sweetie, you’ve only just had breakfast.”
Ellie laughed. “That’s what kids are for, to run rings around us.”
Simon walked back to them, Bethany in one hand, and the blue bowl in the other. “Sorry about this.”
“That’s no problem. ‘Cept the number of you might be.” She looked at them carefully. “Now, why don’t you all go through to the back? Eddie’s set up some tables and chairs, since it might be a squeeze to get you all around the one in here. You might as well all go make yourselves comfortable, and I’ll be out in a mo with something to drink. Okay?”
“That sound shiny, Mrs –” Mal corrected himself. “Ellie.”
“Good. And it’ll give me a chance to finish off my cooking.” She looked down at the little golden puppy. “And I think it’d be better if you gave … Fiddler, was it? If you gave Fiddler his drink outside.”
“Good idea,” Kaylee said, heading for the back door, throwing it open. “He’ll only make a …” She stopped.
Outside, in the warm morning air, there was a huge crowd of people, all smiling, her father and brothers at the front.
“Surprise!” they all shouted at the sight of her.
Kaylee’s hands leapt to her mouth, and her eyes went wide. “Pa, Bobby, Joe, Uncle Rafe, Aunt Hester …” Her voice dried as tears of happiness slid down her cheeks.
Her mother put her arms around her shoulders. “Everyone wanted to see you, honey.”
to be continued
Monday, June 4, 2007 3:20 AM
Monday, June 4, 2007 3:49 AM
Monday, June 4, 2007 7:18 AM
Monday, June 4, 2007 10:03 AM
Monday, June 4, 2007 5:53 PM
Monday, June 4, 2007 7:19 PM
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