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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. A further complication for Mal arises ... Keep commenting - I love your theories on where this is going!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1633 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Mal had a headache. So far he’d had it going to bed, and despite Freya’s mental ministrations he’d woken up with it too, pounding away just inside his eyeballs. And, after a somewhat restless night, he still hadn’t decided what to do about the girls. More and more he was coming round to the idea that maybe Inara might be able to help, even if it was just to offer some suggestions, but right now the notion of waving her and having to put up with her laughter was more than he could take.
He stared out at Mead, noting that a number of ships at the dock had departed during the night, and he knew most of the Browncoats at the wake had gone.
“Gotta go, Mal,” Pickett had said. “My wife’ll kill me if I don’t get home. Lizzie’s got a dance recital tomorrow, and I gotta be there.”
They’d shaken hands, Mal promising to keep him informed.
“Take the time you need,” Pickett went on. “This has been something of a shock, and you need to gather yourself. Long as you’re on Verbena before the week’s out, that’ll be fine.”
“We’ll be there.”
Pickett wasn’t the only one gone. Lann Chen, Kilburn, Tolley … they’d all flown back into the black. Harry would have gone too, but Monty was sticking around for a while, and as he’d cadged a lift with the old goat, he couldn’t exactly go without him. Hil was also still hanging around.
“Won’t go until you know what you’re doing, Mal,” she'd said. “That’s what we do. We stick together.”
“Thanks, Hil.” He was grateful, very grateful, only it didn’t help his current predicament.
“Here,” Freya said from behind him.
He turned away from the view of the dock, and smiled at his wife carefully crossing the bay floor. He walked forwards to meet her half way. She held out two more of the little white pills.
“Simon’s secret weapon?” he asked, taking them from her.
“You have a headache. These will help.”
“Thanks.” He tossed them back, rinsing them down with the cup of water she handed to him. “These aren’t addictive, are they?”
“Only if taken on a regular basis,” Freya dead-panned. “You should be okay for a day or two.”
“And you? How’re you this morning?”
She smiled. “You only saw me ten minutes ago.”
“I worry about you. Things can happen in ten minutes.”
“Well, I’m shiny.”
“Good.” He pulled her into his arms, and she let the stick fall from her hand with a clatter. “That is so much better,” he murmured.
“I’ll second that.” She let her body mould to his, feeling his lean muscles against the length of her.
“I think you’re right.”
“Of course I am. What about?” she asked, smiling, her cheek pressed into his neck.
“Inara. There really ain’t much point in us hanging around here, so maybe I should wave her, ask if she can at least take the girls on temporarily, even just for a few days while we do Pickett’s job.”
“It can’t hurt.”
“Oh, yes it can,” he said. “I can just imagine the kinda things she’s gonna say when I ask.”
“She’ll say yes. You know she will.”
“Eventually. It’s the hilarity part before that eventually that’s got me worried.”
Mal looked over towards the door. The lawyer who had handed the girls over to him was standing silhouetted in the morning light. “Kilbrook.” He let go of Freya and picked up her stick, giving it back to her.
“Good morning.” The man walked up the ramp.
“Might be for you, but I'm not so sure about me yet. What can I do for you?”
“I have a letter for you, from Mr Reilly.”
Mal glanced at Freya. “Letter?”
Kilbrook reached into his case. “There was a further instruction from Mr Reilly to myself, to be opened this morning, and it included this.”
“Why not yesterday?” Mal asked, eyeing it warily. “Ain’t saying there’s more kids around, is there?”
“I don’t know what it says, Captain. Mr Reilly didn’t elucidate.” Kilbrook held out the envelope. “But he was very specific. If you were still on Mead today, with the girls, I was to hand this over to you.”
Mal took it carefully, by the edge, as if he expected it to blow up. Or at least jump out of his hand and run around the cargo bay singing God Save the Browncoats. “That it?”
“Nothing else likely to come along? You know, that you’ve forgotten to mention.”
“No, Captain.” Kilbrook shook his head. “I honestly didn’t know about this until I got to the office. It really isn’t the way I like to do things.”
“No. I figure you like them all tied up in a neat red ribbon.”
Kilbrook smiled. Just a little. “I prefer blue, but yes.”
Mal took another look at the man, and decided he wasn’t as bad as he’d first thought. “Look, do you want to have a coffee with us? Maybe there’s something you can tell us about Reilly I don’t know, something I can use to figure out what he’d’ve wanted me to do.”
“No, I’m sorry, I can’t.” Kilbrook actually sounded apologetic. “I have a client to see. I thought it better to drop this off first, but I’m on my way there now.”
“And I didn’t know Mr Reilly that well. I get the impression he didn’t have that many close friends. Indeed, I am surprised at the number who turned up at the wake.”
“Free booze,” Mal said. “No Browncoat ever turned down the opportunity to drink at someone else’s expense.”
This time it was a full smile. “I imagine not.” Kilbrook held out his hand. “Well, I had better be going. If you need any legal work done, please don’t hesitate to wave me.”
“I tend not to get involved with lawyers if I can manage it,” Mal admitted. “No offence.”
“None taken.” They shook. “Goodbye, Captain Reynolds.”
Mal watched the man walk out into the morning, ramrod straight, then turned to Freya.
She looked at the envelope in his hand. “You might want Simon to scan that first before you open it,” she advised.
“I don’t think Reilly would blow me up. Not with his kids on board.” Still, he took a deep breath and held it before opening it. He tipped the contents out.
Inside the package was a large wallet, and a capture tab. On the wallet were the words WATCH THIS FIRST. READ THIS SECOND.
“I feel like Alice,” Mal muttered.
“Eat me, drink me.”
“Do you need me to get Simon?” Freya joked.
“Just so long as we don’t get a white rabbit walking by, no, I don’t think so.” He stared out of the cargo bay doors after Kilbrook, and shook his head. “Why do I feel like I'm in a book, only no-one’s letting me in on the plot?”
“I wouldn’t know.” She smiled. “If it’s any comfort, I feel the same way.”
“Sorry to say, it ain’t.” He sighed. “Come on. Better get this looked at.”
Everyone wanted to be there, so they were congregated in the dining area, a portable screen on the table. Well, almost everyone.
“Where’re the girls?” Mal asked.
“Simon’s keeping ‘em all out of the way by giving ‘em all physicals,” Kaylee supplied. “And he’s none too happy about missing this.”
“I’m sure you’ll make it up to him somehow,” Freya smiled.
“I think the handcuffs might have to be gotten out of storage.”
“Too much information, mei-mei,” Mal complained. Then he looked at Freya. “Handcuffs?”
She smiled wider. “Can we just watch this? And stop trying to put it off.”
Mal blew a breath out of his lips, and nodded. Hank pressed play.
Reilly appeared on the screen, grinning. “Hi ya, Mal.”
“Is that …” Zoe began.
“Has to be.” Mal shook his head. The man on the screen was a mere shadow of the mountain they remembered. He seemed almost … small.
“Sorry about all this,” Reilly was saying. “Only I’m sick, and the docs say I ain't gonna get better, so there’s a few things to be done.”
“Yeah, like lumber me with –“
“My girls. My daughters. Beautiful, ain't they? And everyone one of ‘em a gem. Little bit rough around the edges, maybe, but I love them. So I want you to look after them. And if you‘re seeing this now, then I know you‘ve taken ‘em on. Thanks.”
He paused for a moment, as if gathering his strength. “Only you don’t have to worry too much. I been planning this a long time, Mal. Knew I was dying so I made provision for ‘em. Something to make them comfy. So I’ve been accumulating, you might say. Got to the point where it wasn’t about the gambling no more, just making sure something was put by for ‘em. And I was good. Walked away when I won, played the odds. It’s enough, Mal, enough to see ‘em right.”
“Treasure?” Jayne breathed but was ignored.
“Only I can’t tell you where it is. It ain’t like I don’t trust you, ‘cause you know I do. It’s just that some wants what ain’t theirs. You‘re gonna have to dig deeper and figure it out for yourself.” He paused to cough into a handkerchief, and Mal and Zoe exchanged glances. “The wallet contains all I own. Ain’t much and it ain’t worth a roll at Ma Mary’s, but it’s mine. Yours, now.”
Mal looked down at the wallet. It wasn’t much to contain a man’s life.
“And take good care of Casmir.” Reilly clicked his fingers. “Only I don’t think I mentioned him. He’s my horse. Your horse now. A racer. He’s entered into the Mead Open, running, if Kilbrook did his job properly, in four days time. His papers are in the wallet too, duly signed over to you. He ain‘t gonna win - not with his record - but I‘d like to see you do right by him. Won him in a poker game, and … well, kinda reminded me of you.”
“Me?” Mal said indignantly.
He waved a hand. “Sorry, Mal, but you’re the only one of those hwoon dahns I trust. Only one ever laid me out.” He grinned. “Take care of my girls – my only regret is I ain't gonna be around to see ‘em grow up.”
“Reilly, if you ain’t dead –“ Mal began under his breath.
The recording interrupted him into silence. “And I am dead, in case that’s what you’re thinking. Wish I weren't. ‘Cause I got my girls to look after, ‘n’ I'm worrying about them. But I know you - you can work it out if anyone can.” He wiped his lips. “Oh, and Zoe? I just wanted to say I was sorry to hear about your husband. But there’s plenty more fish in the sea. I guess I proved that.” He smiled tiredly. “Well, that’s about it. I’d say see you around, Mal, but as I figure I'm going to the hot place, I doubt it. You always were too honourable for that.” He saluted. “Sarge.”
The recording cut off, leaving only static on the screen.
There was silence for a long while, then Mal stood straight, taking a deep breath.
“Still feel like killing him, sir?” Zoe asked.
“Just a bit,” Mal admitted.
“So there’s treasure?” Jayne asked. “Think it’s gold?”
“If it is, it isn’t ours,” Freya said firmly.
“Yeah, but … ain’t there finders fees or something?”
“What’s in the wallet?” Hank asked.
Mal picked it up, undoing the strings around it. After all that, it wasn’t much. Papers to the horse Casmir, title deeds to a whorehouse (with the notation in pencil at the bottom that after the fire that destroyed it was investigated, the insurance payment was made in full), rights to a mine, and the receipt for the capture tab.
“That it?” Jayne was disgusted.
“What did you expect? A treasure map?” Zoe asked, her implacable face cracking just a little. “He was our friend, Jayne.”
“Sorry,” River said for him. “He’s trying.”
“Yeah, very,” Hank muttered. “But how the hell are we supposed to find this fortune of his without some kinda clue?”
Mal and Zoe looked at each other. “The horse?” Zoe suggested.
Mal shrugged. “Maybe. Perhaps it’s tattooed on the inside of its leg.”
“We gonna go look at the horses?” Kaylee asked, her face bright.
“No. I think it’d be better if -”
“Bethany would love to see them,” the young mechanic went on. “It’d be a nice outing for her. After yesterday ‘n’all.”
“It is only to the stables, sir,” Zoe said softly.
Freya laughed. “Looks like we’re all going.”
“Well, I’m not,” Hank said quickly. “Me and horses have never had a very happy relationship.”
“And I’ll stay, sir,” Zoe said. “Someone has to keep an eye on the girls, make sure they don’t get up to any mischief.”
“You wanna leave Ethan with us, we’ll take good care of him.”
“Good. And thanks,” Mal said. “I don’t really wanna turn up there looking like we’ve come from a circus.”
Hank laughed. “Didn’t you know, Mal? Owners always travel with an extensive entourage.”
to be continued
Monday, June 18, 2007 4:20 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007 6:48 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007 8:45 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007 10:37 AM
Thursday, June 21, 2007 3:49 PM
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