BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Playing Parts - Part VIII
Sunday, November 4, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. A new chapter. After the performances on Amity, the male crew members of Serenity go out drinking, while the girls stay behind and talk about them.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2199    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Act IV – Amity Part II

Freya stayed in the cargo bay while Etta and Inara made tea, Kaylee scampered off to find her cookies, and Zoe went for chocolate. She sat in one of the chairs and gazed out into the darkness, wondering, but not peeking, as to what Mal was actually doing. A noise above her had her looking up towards shuttle two.

“You gonna join us?” she asked, seeing River standing on the catwalk, dressed only in a slip of a nightgown.

The young woman shook her head. “Feeling sick.”

Freya immediately stood up. “You need Simon? I can get him if –“

“Nausea caused by rising levels of human chorionic gonadotropin and fluctuating estrogen,” River explained, then looked very sorry for herself. “Only was supposed to be in the morning.”

Freya couldn’t help laughing, and relaxed a little. “Honey, you know what happened to me. Morning, noon, middle of the night … ask Mal. He remembers.”

“Simon can’t help.” She sighed.

“I'm sure there’s something –“

“No.” River shook her head. “I won’t take it anyway. In case it upsets my control. Or him.” She glanced down at her as yet still-flat belly.

“Him?”

“Or her. Better than it.”

“I know.”

“But I won’t take anything that might harm.”

Freya understood. “Worrisome, isn’t it? Thinking about the baby, keeping him safe, not knowing the best way to … That’s what being a mother is all about.”

“Does it ever stop?”

“Not that I'm aware. Mal thinks he’s likely to lock Jesse up until she’s at least thirty, and Ethan’s not going to be much better.”

River finally smiled. “Jayne thinks the same. Not said, but he worries.”

“You know, I get the feeling he’s going to be a good father. And I don’t say that lightly.”

“He’ll be good,” River agreed, then put her hand over her mouth, going a little pale. “I have to …” she mumbled, then turned on her heel and ran back into the shuttle.

“That River?” Kaylee asked, heading out of the common area. “She okay?”

“Morning sickness.”

The young mechanic sighed. “Hated that. Men don’t know how lucky they are, do they?” She glanced up at the shuttle. “Can we do anything?”

“Not right now. I think she just wants to be left alone.”

“You know, Jayne shouldn’t’ve gone off like that.” She put the cookie tin down on the table. “Knowing she was feeling like that.”

“I doubt he knew.” Zoe walked down the stairs towards them. “I never told Hank.”

“Felt like it was giving in, huh?” Kaylee nodded, then chuckled. “Know how you feel. Simon’s a great doctor n’all, but seeing him all flustered ‘cause I was throwing up was just painful. Even if he was good at holding my hair back.”

Etta and Inara appeared, carrying the rest of the refreshments.

“He didn’t,” Inara was saying, trying hard not to drop the cups in her amusement.

“He did.” Etta laughed. “For three days. I didn’t know where to look.”

“Look where?” Kaylee asked.

“I was just telling Inara how Theo courted me. I’ll tell you, you’ve never lived until you’ve had an actor take a shine to you. They know all sorts of tricks …”

Inara burst into laughter again, then clamped her mouth closed. “Sorry.”

“I think we need to know more about this,” Zoe said firmly.

“Can I …” Hermione spoke from the doorway to the common area. “Is it alright if I join you?”

Freya crossed the bay to her. “Can’t sleep?”

“No. And I heard voices.”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to keep you awake.”

Noni smiled. “You didn’t. Bethany’s got Hope and Ben in with her, and she’s telling them a story. With appropriate noises.”

“Loud noises?”

“I think it’s about dinosaurs.”

Freya put her arm around the girl’s shoulders. “Then I think it’s most appropriate that you join the adults.” She grinned.

-

It wasn't difficult to find the rest of the crew. There were only a few bars within easy walking distance, and Mal and Theo got it right the third time. Inside low music filtered through the smoky air, and there was the hum of conversation, punctuated by the clicking of pool balls.

Mal took a deep, appreciative breath, and resisted the urge to cough. No matter the number of places he’d been in his long and somewhat eventful life, there was something about a good honest bar that soothed his soul.

“Drink?” Theo asked, seeing the smile settle on the other man‘s face.

“Don’t want to seem out of place. Just one, though.”

“Of course.” Theo pushed through to the bar, his bulk moving anyone out of the way, while Mal turned to survey the others.

Simon and Hank were sitting at a table with Victor and Riley, and from the empty jugs in front of them had obviously been managing their time well. Someone had found a pack of cards and they were currently engaged in a game with a couple of other men. As he watched Hank put down his hand and smiled broadly, dragging a small pile of coins towards him.

Mal shook his head slightly. That man had gotten into trouble before playing cards. He looked around for the others, and saw George coming out of a door in the corner, doing up his pants. Then a triumphant and familiar “Ha!” had him turn.

Jayne appeared to have solved the problem of not wanting the others to accompany him by the simple expedient of ignoring them. He was playing pool with Toby against a couple of factory workers, and the sound he’d made was to emphasise his last ball disappearing into a pocket.

“Double or nothing,” Mal heard one of the workers say.

“Do you play, captain?” Theo asked, having come up behind him with two brimming glasses.

“I’ve been known to pick up a cue once in a while. You?”

“Have to do something when I’m not working.”

“Shall we?”

“My pleasure.”

-

“Oh, I remember seeing that!” Kaylee said, her eyes bright. “Almost made me wanna be a Companion. I’d never’ve made it, a’course, being born on Phoros, but they all looked so glamorous.”

“It’s got nothing to do with where you’re born, mei-mei,” Inara said. “The Guild take on girls from rim worlds as well as the Core, although I admit not as many.”

Kaylee laughed. “I’m better off with grease under my nails.”

Inara hugged her. “So are we.”

“That’s why I wanted to become a Companion,” Freya admitted. “Seeing the Procession on the Cortex. My mother said I wore it out, watching it over and over. Then I wore out her and my father with nagging.”

“I’m sure that’s why they still show it every year,” Inara said. “The Procession of Companions has persuaded more girls to apply than almost anything else.” She snorted slightly. “I always thought it was like parading in a meat market.”

“’Nara!” Kaylee was almost shocked.

“Well, there we were, newly lifted to the exalted ranks of Companions, and we had to walk the streets. No wonder people like Mal thought of us as whores. At that point, we were probably little more than that.”

Freya couldn’t help smiling a little. “You’ve certainly changed your tune since you left.”

“No. Not really. But maybe I suppressed things.”

“Sam get you to open up?”

A darkness crossed Inara’s face. “In a way. He let me talk about it a lot.”

“I didn’t mean to … Sorry, Inara.”

“What for? He’s the idiot, not me. I didn’t make him leave.”

There was a pause, then Kaylee asked, “So who was your favourite?”

“Kaylee,” Zoe admonished, but the lighter tone had come back. “You don’t ask questions like that.”

“Hell, I do.” She grinned. “So?”

-

Mal watched Theo take him apart. It was lucky they weren’t playing for money, otherwise the actor might have ended up owning the clothes off his back.

Theo stood up, grinning. “Another?”

“Where’d you learn to play like that?”

“Captain, places like this have always attracted people like me. Actors. And you have to do something when you’re resting.”

“Resting?”

“Out of work.” Theo laughed. “I’m sure you know the feeling.”

“Well, certainly seem to spend a lot of time in places like this, waiting for a contact, or just … yeah, resting.” He leaned his cue up against the table. “But I think that makes it my round. And rack ‘em up again.”

“With pleasure.”

Mal smiled and walked towards the bar. Finally attracting the barkeep’s attention, he ordered another two beers, then turned to look into the room. Jayne and Toby had given up on the pool and gone back to the table, pushing in amongst the others to sit down. Another pile of coin had appeared in the centre of the table, and was getting bigger.

He heard the clunk of glasses on the bar top behind him, and twisted enough to pick them up. At least everyone looked happy.

-

“She was only ten. Nothing anyone could do, not where we were.” Etta looked down at her clasped hands. “Never goes, though, you know? That hurt when you think of them.”

There was silence for a long time, as each thought of those lost to them.

Then Kaylee coughed. “This is making me wanna cry, and I don’t want to. Want to laugh, tell jokes, hell, even sing.”

“Sing?” Zoe raised one eyebrow. “You’re going to be on your own there.”

“I've heard you sing. You sound nice.”

“Nice?”

“Okay, loud. But it was good.”

“Guess I was drunk.”

“Maybe.”

“Mal sings,” Freya said unexpectedly. “While he’s changing Jesse. He did it for Ethan too.”

“What does he sing?” Noni asked, stifling a yawn.

“Something his momma used to use to get him to sleep.”

“I get the feeling you show your appreciation when he does that,” Etta put in, smiling again.

“Maybe. Once in a while.”

“Oh, Etta, you wanna talk ‘bout folks being loud? There are times when even I -” Kaylee couldn’t go on as Freya had covered her mouth with her hand.

-

“… and fifteen takes the pot!” Hank said, the grin on his face as wide as the sky.

“Gorram it,” Jayne muttered, tossing down his cards.

The pilot gathered the coins towards him.

“Hold hard, there,” one of their opponents said. “That ain’t right.”

-

“I’ll get married when I want. When I’m ready,” Zoe insisted.

“But I love weddings,” Kaylee said. “Getting dressed up, then the party after.”

“You just had one of those,” Inara pointed out.

“Yeah. But I prefer it without the shooting beforehand.”

“So shooting after is allowed?”

“You know what I mean!”

-

“What?” Hank looked up. “What ain’t right?”

“You winning.”

“You saw the hands. You lost. Someone has to win, and that was me.”

“Don’t agree with that.”

“You lost,” Jayne growled. “Get over it.”

“Don’t want to,” the man said, alcohol fuelling his grievance. “I say it ain’t right.”

-

“I didn’t think I was ever going to love someone again. I just want to take it slow.”

“But you’ve got Ben, and -”

“Kaylee.” Inara put a hand on her friend’s arm.

The mechanic stopped. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. And there will be a wedding, I promise.” Zoe smiled.

“Could be a double, couldn’t it?” Kaylee turned to Freya. “I mean, with River and … Frey?”

-

The fight started without warning, the table overturned and cards flying. Mal turned quickly, ascertaining it was his crew at the centre, and hurried forwards. A chair across his shoulders pushed him to the floor, and suddenly he was under a pile of folks.

-

Freya stood up, facing the darkness outside.

-

Jayne roared and charged forward, taking out the man who’d accused Hank with a single punch to the jaw. Then someone grabbed him from behind, pinning his arms to his sides as another hit him in the belly.

-

“What is it?” Zoe asked, joining her.

to be continued

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COMMENTS

Sunday, November 4, 2007 2:27 PM

BADKARMA00


Oh suspense! Love it. Once again so well written, switching from one conversation to the other. Keeps me coming back for more! Great work!

Sunday, November 4, 2007 2:38 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Good to see you in the BSR again.

I loved this chapter,River with all the time morning sickness, the girls talking, the men drinking and brawling. Just hope no one gets seriously hurt in the inevitable brawl.

Sunday, November 4, 2007 5:16 PM

SLUMMING


Excellent chapter, but I hope a little bar brawl is all it is! I've been kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop since this arc started!

Monday, November 5, 2007 12:34 AM

AMDOBELL


Oh dear, I knew this was all going to go to *goushi* when Mal and Theo went into the bar and saw Hank playing cards. Don't think they are going to be able to put on much of a performance from behind bars. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me


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