BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Not There Yet - Part IX
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The operation went well, but it's time to leave Phoros. Thank you for commenting ... I hope you enjoy the conclusion!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1870    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The fires had finally died down, and once in a while a log broke open to release a haze of sparks into the night sky.

“Fireflies,” River said softly, cradled against Jayne’s chest. She’d had a couple of drinks, just to be sociable, and now felt decidedly fuzzy.

“’Cept those ones last only a second.” He grinned. “Aw, hell, he can’t play.”

“What?” She glanced up into his face. “Who?”

Jayne nodded towards the musicians. “That feller on the guitar. He keeps hitting bum notes.”

“Maybe you should take over.”

“Nah.” A chuckle rumbled through him. “Sure couldn’t do as bad, though.”

“No, I mean it. Why don’t you play?”

His hand, which had been stroking her shoulder, paused. “Ya think?”

“Sing for me, Jayne.”

“What’d ya wanna hear, moonbrain?”

A Maid A’Roving.”

“That’s too sad.”

“Would it make you cry?” she teased.

“Might. Wouldn’t do my rep any good if anyone saw me burst into tears.”

“Then what about Come Lay With Me?”

“You suggesting I sing it, or do it?”

“Both.”

“Which first?”

“Song first, Jayne. Then we’ll see.”

He got to his feet and grinned. “Best offer I've had all day.”

---

Kaylee was watching Bethany as she played with some of the younger Frye cousins, her cousins, it took her mother a moment to realise.

“She’s a beauty,” Ellie said, coming up and putting her arm around her daughter. “Just like you.”

“I ain't beautiful, Momma.”

“Of course you are.”

“You have to say that. You’re my ma.”

“I don’t have to say anything, Kaylee.” She stroked her daughter’s shiny brown hair out of her face. “And you are.”

They stood together in companionable silence until Kaylee spoke again. “I wonder sometimes, if’n Bethany shouldn’t be with kids her own age.”

“And what’s that?”

“What?”

“Her age, Kaylee. She may not be three yet, on a calendar, but she’s older’n that. Ain't she?”

“Simon says she’s very advanced. And I can see it, course I can, and I’m proud’a her. But it worries me too.”

“That she’ll zoom through her childhood and miss the best parts?”

Kaylee nodded. She knew her mother would understand. “Yeah.”

“Girl, just you take a look at her.” Ellie nodded towards her granddaughter. She was giggling as one of her cousins drew a picture on her cast. “You think she ain't enjoying herself?”

“I know she does, but I don’t want her to grow up too fast.”

“Are you? A grown-up?”

“Momma, I’ve got a husband and a daughter!”

“Does that make you grown up?” Ellie glanced over at another of Serenity’s couples, cuddling together and laughing at the children. “I remember you writing, telling me that Zoe’s husband used to play with toy dinosaurs. Is that grown up?”

“No, but –“

“And I don’t see this one she’s got now as any different. Or Freya. Don’t you think there’s something of the mischievous about her sometimes?”

“Sure, her and the captain both, but –“

“No, Kaylee. There ain't no buts. The way I see it, being an adult means you don’t have to act grown up if’n you don’t want to. And if you take Bethany off Serenity she’ll miss out on so much.”

“I wasn't considering –“

“But you’ve thought about it.”

“Momma, stop interrupting me!” Kaylee said, getting a little exasperated.

“Well?”

Kaylee sighed. “I’ve thought about it. And I know Simon has. But we’d never do it. Not just because of Bethany, but because it’s our home.”

“Good. You’ve got more than one, but that’s shiny. Besides, there’s going to be more kids on board before long.”

“You mean Zoe’s?” Kaylee’s face softened. “I bet Bethie’ll want him for a brother too, just like Ethan.”

“And the others.”

“Others?” She looked into her mother’s face. “What did you see?”

“A girl. Maybe more’n one.”

“You read Freya’s cup, didn’t you?” Kaylee accused.

Ellie didn’t look a bit embarrassed. “And if I did?”

“A daughter?” She looked so happy. “Oh, Momma, that would be so … the Cap’d be beside himself.”

“I wish she could be yours, Kaylee.”

“So do I, Momma,” her daughter said, her joy tempered a little. “But I can live with it.”

“’Sides, there’s always hope, ain't there?” Ellie was firm. “Gotta believe, Kaylee.” She patted her only girl on the shoulder. “Now, I’ve got to see where your father has gotten to. Make sure Jonah ain't getting him into any trouble, like they used to when they were kids.” She smiled and wandered into the darkness. “The number of scrapes I remember his Pa having to get them out of …”

Kaylee stared after her, her thoughts full of Serenity’s children … then saw Jayne heading purposefully towards the small group of musicians.

---

“You can’t get up, xin gan,” Mal said, pressing Freya firmly back onto the pillow.

“Mal, please.” She was fighting him, trying to make him let go. “I want to … please.”

“No.”

“You don’t think I’ve lived with pain long enough to be able to put up with it for a while?” she asked, asperity in her tone. “I want to go and see my friends.”

“You want to see them, they can come in here.” He shook his head. “Why are you so stubborn?”

“I don’t want to be –“ She stopped, biting her lip.

“Don’t want to be in here?” he said softly. “I understand. Really I do.”

“Do you?” Freya asked. “Do you understand?”

“Frey, I hate this gorram place as much as you because of the time you had to spend here. The pain you went through. Ai ren, I understand.”

She relaxed a little, her eyes gazing into his. “Sorry. Told you I was a coward.”

“And I told you not to be so feng luh.”

“Does that mean you love me?”

“Might.”

“I could take offence at that.”

“Maybe I took it first.” His lips twitched.

“I could get really obstinate and get up.”

“I wouldn’t let you.”

“How’re you going to stop me?”

In answer he leaned over and kissed her, and her hands came up and locked behind his head. “That kinda works,” she said into his mouth. “Next job we do, can we get a double-sized bed in here?”

“I’ll take it under advisement,” Mal said, pressing his advantage. “Only kissing’s about as far as it’s going for a while.”

“That isn’t fair.”

“Make do with what you can get.”

She pulled him down. “Looks like I’ll have to.”

---

“It’s nice here,” Hank said softly. “Nice folks.”

“Remind you of home?” Zoe asked, leaning back against him.

“A bit. Not that I had this kind of family. Just me and my Gran.”

“You don’t talk about her. Or your parents.”

He shrugged, his hold on her tightening. “My folks died when I was about four, and my Gran raised me until she got sick when I was fifteen. Then I took care of her until she died.”

“I'm sorry.”

“Yeah, me too.” He looked into the distant past. “By then I’d met Risa, and we got married.” He laughed a little. “No wonder when she was … when she died, I went a bit crazy. I’d never been on my own before.”

“You’re not now.”

Hank put his hand on her belly, feeling his son inside. “Nope, that’s the truth.”

“You want to stay? Here, on Phoros?”

“No.” He ran his fingers through her thick hair, playing with the curls. “Never even occurred to me. It ain't home. That’s out there.” He looked up into the sky, a few stars showing against the firelight. The night seemed bare in comparison to his normal view of the ‘verse.

“After my parents were killed, I didn’t think I’d ever find a home again,” Zoe said slowly. “I didn’t think I needed one. Then I met Wash.”

“And he persuaded you.”

“You think you found it hard to get to me? You should have seen him. Damn moustache and those shirts … I wanted Mal to throw him off the ship.”

“Because of facial hair and his taste in clothes?”

“Because something about him bothered me.”

“Did I do that too?”

“Oh no. You just annoyed the hell out of me.”

“Well, I try harder.” He kissed the top of her head. “And you’re lying, you know.”

He felt her stiffen. “Am I?”

“You found your home when Mal bought Serenity. Like we all did.”

Zoe smiled. “Maybe I did. It just took me a while to realise it.” She glanced towards the musicians. “Looks like Jayne’s going to join in.”

“Really?” Hank looked across. Sure enough, the big mercenary had taken the guitar from ten unprotesting fingers, and had begun to tune it more to his liking. “You know, maybe I might have a go myself.”

“You play the guitar?” Zoe twisted in his embrace to look at him.

“No. Something altogether more stately.” He grinned at her and stood up. “This you gotta hear …”

---

Mal walked towards the house, the air cool on his skin. Freya was dozing, Ethan next to her. He’d tried to talk her out of it, in case their son decided to get fractious and put his feet where he shouldn’t, but he had to admit she was right. He was laying still, just holding onto her fingers. And he wouldn’t have missed those few minutes for the world.

He tried to control the grin on his face as he rounded the house, sure everyone would know what had happened, but the sight that met his eyes only put it straight back.

There, in the dying light of the two great fires, were the musicians, playing up a storm, with Jayne on the guitar and … Hank? His pilot appeared to be pounding away at the piano, and getting out more tune than anyone had managed in the last two days.

“Zoe?” he asked, stopping by his first mate as she stood, tapping her feet in time to the music. “Am I dreaming?”

“If you are we’re all hallucinating with you, sir,” Zoe said.

“Hank plays?”

“I learn something new about him every day.” Zoe laughed. “You should’ve seen Jayne’s face when he got up there. Then he started to play, and everyone just got into the rhythm.”

The music swelled, the fiddle keeping the high notes going, before the guitar beat it into submission and the piano called time. After a moment’s silence the Frye family burst into delighted applause.

Mal went to step forward, but found a soft hand on his arm.

“One more, captain,” River said.

“We got to –“

“Just one.”

Jayne glanced behind him, nodded at Hank, then struck a single chord. With a flourish Hank took those notes and glissando’d up the keys, diminuedoing into the introduction, and Jayne began to sing.

I never looked for love so fine, though wind and tides they blow me, but when I fell into those eyes, t’was all that life could show me.”

“He seems to have a thing for love songs,” Mal murmured.

“Scary,” Zoe agreed.

“You can say that again.”

They listened to Jayne singing about love and commitment, his deep voice filling the open ground, and drifting up towards the stars. He came to the last verse.

And though I wander far and wide, across the stars I roam me, there is but one love in my dreams, and that’s the one that home’s me.”

This time there was silence as the music died away, everyone sitting and contemplating as Jayne handed the guitar back to its owner. Hank slapped him on the back and they nodded at each other.

“Time to go, people,” Mal said quietly.

“You sure, Mal?” Eddie Frye asked, stepping forward.

“Got a job to get to. And without it even the best mechanic in the ‘verse won’t be able to keep my girl in the sky.”

“Next time stay longer.”

“We’ll surely try.” He watched Zoe and Hank head back first, waving and calling out to all their new-found friends, a very sleepy Bethany in the pilot’s arms. She waved, then settled once more onto his shoulder.

Eddie waved back then looked at Mal. “Got this ready for you,” he said, indicating a large box sitting by the table.

“What’s that?” Mal asked.

“Provisions. Food and the like.”

“No, Mr Frye – Eddie –”

“It’s already done. Kaylee’s told me what you have to eat sometimes. Now we don’t got much, but it’s enough to share. This can be put by for when you need it.”

“Then let me pay –” Mal reached towards his pocket, but Eddie’s big hand stayed him.

“No.” Eddie was firm. “No, son. Family doesn’t pay.”

“I ain’t your son,” Mal pointed out gently.

“You said once Kaylee was the sister you never had. Well, I got me four boys already. Another few ain’t gonna notice.”

Mal was sincerely moved. “Thank you.” He looked around. “Jayne, crate.”

“Sure thing, Mal,” the big man said, coming out of the gloom and picking the box up easily. “See you around,” he said to Eddie. “Next time I’ll bring some more cigars.” He strode away, the crate on his shoulder.

Eddie grinned. “Go on. Get back to your wife. She’ll be wondering where you are. And tell her we’re all thinking of her.”

Mal held out his hand. “Thanks again.”

They shook warmly, then Mal started towards his ship.

“You’ll be back,” Eddie called. “I know it.”

Mal waved over his shoulder.

“Daddy Frye.” River was next to him. “Look after everyone.”

“I will. What is it Mal calls you?”

“Albatross.” She shrugged. “It’s a long story.”

“Kinda like the Ancient Mariner?” Eddie smiled at her surprise. “You take care of ‘em, you hear?”

She reached up and kissed his cheek. “I already do.” She scampered off after Jayne.

“Oh, Momma, I …” Kaylee hugged her mother, tears slipping down her cheeks.

“It won’t be so long ‘til you come back, will it?”

“It’s up to the Cap, but … I hope not.”

“Bring the babies to see us.”

“I’ll try.” They hugged again.

Eddie walked over and put his arms around both of them. “It’s okay, Winnie. You know we’re always here.”

“I know.” Kaylee straightened up. “And say goodbye to the boys for me, will you? I don’t think I …” She wiped her nose on the back of her hand.

“Ain’t you got a hankie?” her mother scolded, pulling one from her pocket and handing it over.

“Lost it.” She laughed suddenly. “I’ll be home again,” she promised. “Soon.”

“See that you do,” her Pa said. “Go on. They’re waiting.”

She grinned and ran off, pausing only once to wave.

“She is all grown up,” Ellie said, wiping away a tear of her own on her sleeve.

“Hankie?” Eddie joked.

“Gave it away.”

He tugged a huge linen square from inside his waistcoat and gave it to his wife. “Here,” he said. “Blow. And she ain’t grown up, Ellie. She’ll always be our baby.”

---

Kaylee passed River, catching up with Mal as he strolled along, linking her arm through his.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Mmn.”

“Shiny.” He tactfully ignored the signs of tears on her face. “Good visit?”

“The best.”

“Good to hear that.” He patted her hand. “Serenity ready to go?”

“Soon as we're on board. Verbena?”

“Verbena. We don’t get there soon, Pickett’ll have some choice words to say to us.”

“It don’t look like you’re that worried, though,” Kaylee pointed out. “You’re smiling, Cap’n.”

“Don’t I smile?”

“Sure you do. Only this one seems to be stuck.”

He laughed. “Xiao mei-mei, I'm just glad Frey’s gonna be okay.”

“You sure that’s all?”

“That’s enough, don’t you think?”

She looked at him closely, about to say something else, when River wafted past on the other side.

“She’s happy now he’s said it,” the young woman said, hurrying to catch up with Jayne.

“What’s she … what’re you talking about?” Kaylee called, letting go of Mal’s arm to hurry after her sister-in-law.

Stay outta my brain, albatross, Mal thought, but with no animosity.

Don’t think so loud, came the voice behind his ears.

He laughed. He couldn’t be angry with her. Not tonight.

He'd taken Ethan into the infirmary, and his son had held out his arms, smiling widely at Freya.

“Mama,” he’d said, so loudly, so clearly. “Mama.”

Nope, no way he was going to be anything except happy tonight.

COMMENTS

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 2:02 AM

KATESFRIEND


Wonderful ending to a wonderful story line. So nice to see family forming, and Kaylee's dad considering Mal family was a sweet touch.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 2:35 AM

SLUMMING


Okay, I have now melted into a puddle of absolutely happy goo! That was a beautiful ending to this story! And I'm eagerly awaiting your next one!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 12:40 PM

AMDOBELL


I absolutely loved Ethan finally calling Frey 'mama'. How perfect is that? And the Fryes considering Serenity's crew family was a lovely heart warming touch. This was fabulous, *xie xie ni*. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, June 14, 2007 6:09 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Oh...this was all kinds of fabulous, Jane0904! Between Ethan's first verbal recognition of Ethan as his momma to Eddie Frye's declaration of Serenity's crew being family...I was a puddle of goo like slumming;)

BEB

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 8:49 AM

MAINEAXE


LOVED IT!!!! whew!! heady stuff.

Next arc...... -->

as I turn the page...


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