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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
The crew decides to go their separate ways. 'Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 581 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
The uneasy truce the survivors had forged came crashing down around their heads when Mal stood up at dinner one night and announced that he was leaving.
Arguments broke out around the table and if it hadn’t been for Inara and Zoe, fists would have flown as quickly as the words.
But Mal wouldn’t budge, no matter who tried to convince him otherwise. He had things needing done and they couldn’t wait any longer.
“Thought you didn’t want to get involved.” Zoe stood back later that evening, watching Mal stuff what few possessions he now owned into a canvas pack. She could see the exhaustion in his features; verbal sparring with Simon, not to mention everyone else, had taken a lot out of him. But he’d brought it upon himself and for the way it was done, she pitied him not a jot.
“Don’t see as we got any choice now.”
“Always have a choice, sir.”
“Didn’t get involved to protect my crew. See how well that worked out.” His jaw was set and Zoe knew not to argue when he’d made up his mind.
“You do this. I’m going with you.”
Mal’s back went rigid and he slowly turned to face his former first mate. “Ain’t askin’ for that.”
“Ain’t offerin’. I’m tellin’.”
Mal clasped Zoe’s forearm and squeezed, unspoken gratitude flickering in his eyes.
“Got a promise to keep first,” Zoe said, carefully gauging his reaction.
Mal stepped away with a shake of his head. “Minds made up. I’ll take care of it later.”
Zoe sighed. He was running and it was up to her to make sure he didn’t run into something that didn’t give as much as Simon’s face had for Jayne’s fist. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen this kind of reaction to something that he just couldn’t, or didn’t want to, deal with. He’d come to his senses eventually. In the meantime, she’d have to make sure he was still alive when the idiocy of his behavior hit him squarely upside the head.
Knowing the attempt would be in vain, she tried again. “It shouldn’t wait, sir.” She knew the promise he’d made to Simon. She’d overheard him whispering to his son about taking his mother home.
Zoe clenched her jaw when Mal spoke again, his words clearly ending the topic.
“It’ll have to.”
Kara Eldar’s old eyes followed the large man as he moved around the small room. “Where will you go?”
“Ain’t sure. Can’t stay here.” He shoved what was left of his belongings into a pack.
“You could. I’ve not asked you, any of you, to leave. And – there’s been no news of that Alliance ship that shot you down. Not since –“
Jayne looked up sharply. He’d been in town when everyone huddled around the only Cortez screen available to watch what news had reached this far out on the Rim. There’d been a big battle not far away the day Serenity crashed. The Alliance had gone up against some big Independent force. But there hadn’t been a clear victor. Heavy damage and casualties had been sustained on all sides. That had to have been why Maris Kim’s ship hadn’t returned for them.
Jayne wasn’t too keen on sticking around to wait for that day. He bent down and resumed his packing.
“The crew, they’re all fixin’ to go in opposite directions. I need to be movin’ on.”
“You’ve done some mighty fine work ‘round my ranch, son. You’re always welcome here.”
A wry grin tugged at the corner of Jayne’s mouth. “Thanks, Kara. Appreciate everythin’ ya done.”
He glanced around the small room that had been his home for the last few weeks. He needed to go. It was far past time. He’d made his plans, contacted the appropriate parties. It was time to go meet them.
It was time to put his plan into action.
“You told me we could take her home.” The fire burning in Simon’s eyes struck an already raw nerve and Mal whirled on the younger man. They’d argued about this ever since Mal’d made his announcement.
“That’d require a ship of my own, now wouldn’t it? Somethin’ I ain’t got.”
“We can pay for passage with the –“
“I’m splittin’ it all up. What’s left. You can all do with it as you please.”
Simon hadn’t hit Jayne that time and he’d badly needed an outlet then. He needed one even more desperately now. “So you’re just going to abandon everyone to their own –“
“You’re welcome to come. Sure the Independents would love another doc on their roster.”
Simon knew that Mal had made the offer because there would be no chance he would even consider it. He had a son to care for now. And – he’d already made his own plans. He knew there was no way he would change Mal’s mind.
“Of course you’re welcome.” The woman’s voice was full of relief. “Your father will take care of everything.”
“It will only be for a short time until I can –“
“Simon,” the woman’s exasperated voice made him smile ever so slightly. “We’ll send a ship for you immediately.”
“I’ll send you the coordinates.”
“It will be good to have you home. It’s been so long –We’ve missed you.“
Simon couldn’t help but scowl deeply at the captain. He’d made a promise and now he was breaking it.
“Where are you going?” Simon asked, though the tone sounded like more of a demand.
“To do somethin’ I shoulda done a long time ago.”
Simon stared at Mal’s back as the man slung the pack across his shoulder and walked out the door.
She’d avoided him ever since he’d made his announcement. She knew he would come to her in his own time to say goodbye and she’d planned her assault for that moment. Even though she didn’t want their last words to be ones said in anger, she couldn’t let him go like this.
“I have to do this, ‘Nara.”
There was a glimmer of regret in his gaze. Or – Inara admitted, perhaps she simply wanted to see something that wasn’t there. “No you don’t.”
His jaw set in that stubborn way she both hated and loved. “Ain’t gonna argue.”
With a resigned sigh and a roll of the eyes, Inara said, “It’s what we do best.”
“Yeah, well, I’m sick a arguin’.”
A brief glimmer of hope burned in Inara’s heart. “Then stay and –“
Inara took an involuntary step back when he whirled on her, his voice raised.
“Wait for the Alliance to finish whatever they run off to do and come back to take us all in? Ain’t gonna wait around for that – and neither should you.”
“So you’re just going to abandon your crew?” He wouldn’t do it. She’d guilt him into not leaving if she had to.
“Time for all of us to go our separate ways. Long past time.”
“You don’t believe that.”
Mal stared her straight in the eyes, and the determination in his voice sent a chill down her spine. “No, problem is I shoulda split everyone up long ago.”
Inara stared at his back as he walked out the door. He was running: from the pain of Kaylee’s death, the loss of his home, responsibility, from her – Or a combination of all those things and more. It was plain as day to anyone with half a mind to see it. If Zoe had been unable to stop him, Inara knew she’d have no chance.
She resisted the urge to chase him down and slap some sense into him knowing it wouldn’t change things, knowing it would make his leaving all the more painful.
River stood still as a board as Simon moved about the room they shared with his son.
Simon meticulously packed what little he still owned into a bag. “I will.” A smaller bag he filled with Billy’s things, baby clothes and a few toys that had been given to him by his hostess.
“I love you, mei mei.” There was a sadness, a regret in his voice that River couldn’t block. But she hadn’t been able to block much of anything since Serenity had fallen out of the sky.
“Love you, too.” River embraced her brother tightly before glancing down at her sleeping nephew. “It’s all set?”
“I called them yesterday. It’s set.”
A small smile appeared on her face. “They’ll be glad to see you.”
“You know why I have to –“
A slim finger to his lips silenced his explanation.
River tilted her head and affixed him with her craziest look. “She understands. She wishes she didn’t comprehend.”
Simon frowned. “That’s not funny, River.”
“Neither is what you’re doing.”
Simon glanced away and hesitated for a moment before saying, “It’s what I have to do.”
She covered his hands with her own. “I know.”
“They’re all leaving.” The sadness in Madeline’s voice echoed around Simon’s ears and he couldn’t help but look down at the little girl standing beside him.
The small swinging bench he sat on stopped for a moment and he slid to the side, giving silent permission for Madeline to sit next to him.
“You’re going to leave too, aren’t you?”
Simon swallowed thickly. The only reason he hadn’t left yet was because he wanted everyone else to be gone before the transport arrived for him. “Yes.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Madeline’s shoulders slump. He repositioned Billy in his arms and turned as well as he could to look down at the little girl. “And I’d like you to come with me.”
Madeline’s eyes widened. “Really?”
A sad smile quirked the corner of his lips. “I have it all planned.”
Madeline looked hopeful. “How?”
Simon gave her all of his attention. “I’ve contacted my parents. Asked them if I can come home. With you and Billy.”
Madeline inhaled sharply and Simon noticed her hands begin to tremble. “My mother – she’ll –“
“I’ve worked it all out. You’ll be my daughter. We’ll just need to go over a few details.”
Madeline’s eyes narrowed and the end of Simon’s mouth quirked in response. It would be a little unusual for him to return to Osiris with such an old child. But he’d worked it all out. She would be the result of one night when he was very young, inexperienced and traveling offworld. Madeline’s mother would be dead and Simon had already assured his parents that the necessary paternity tests had been performed.
Simon stopped thinking for a moment to watch Madeline’s expression carefully. He hadn’t expected that perhaps she wouldn’t want to go along with this ruse. Concern tinged his voice as he asked, “Is that all right with you?”
Madeline nodded. “I guess.” She looked around and Simon felt his growing love for this girl tug at his already fractured heart. “I can’t stay here.”
“I’m glad.” He lifted the sleeping Billy so that she could see inside the blanket. “He needs a big sister to help care for him.”
Madeline smiled for the first time in a very long time. “I can be a good big sister.”
Simon wrapped his arm around her shoulder and drew her close. “I’m counting on it.”
Inara glided gracefully around the empty room. She had a few more things to pack, but it didn’t take long.
“I want to go with you.”
Inara stopped and turned her gaze toward the younger girl. “River –“
The Reader slung a pack over her shoulder. “I can help.”
“And leave Simon –“
“He has his own work to do. I cannot be a part of it now.”
Inara linked her wrists in front of her. Simon wouldn’t willingly leave his sister behind. She waited for the younger girl to go on.
“He’s going home.”
Inara raised a well manicured eyebrow at this news. The last time she checked, the Tams were still wanted criminals.
“Father wants the line to continue. Will pay off and pull strings. Simon can go back to his life.” River drew closer and Inara could see something else swirling in the girl’s dark eyes. “He’ll say that I’m dead. No one will ever know.”
Inara inhaled sharply and decided she’d need to talk to Simon, find out why he was really willing to leave his sister behind. A sister he’d risked so much to protect and keep safe. “He’ll go back to that –“
“He has plans.” River turned away and looked up into the night sky. “I have my own.”
Inara’s eyes narrowed. “And Simon’s ok with this? You coming with me?”
“Don’t need his permission. I’m of legal age. He’s not my guardian.”
Inara frowned. Stubbornness abounded in this crew and Inara was annoyed to admit that the trait didn’t just fall on the male gender. “That would be River speak for you haven’t even asked.”
“He knows.” There was something in her expression Inara couldn’t read.
“That’s not an answer.”
“I’m safer with you than I am with Jayne.”
Inara exhaled sharply through her nose. No doubt everyone would agree with that assessment, but she was still not comfortable with letting River come with her – and why Simon would be so adamant about leaving without his sister. “I don’t know, River –“
“Please,” River pleaded.
“I’ll make my decision after I talk to your brother.” Inara was grateful when River didn’t argue.
Simon glanced up when Inara appeared in the open doorway, looking at the occupants inside with concern. Simon rubbed the wailing baby’s back, whispered to him, fed him, but he would still not stop crying. The sound echoed through the house and the exasperated look on Simon’s face indicated very clearly that he was at his wit’s end.
“It’s as if he knows,” the exasperated father said as Inara stepped over the threshold.
Inara touched the small red cheek with a slim finger. “I’m sure he can feel the tension.” She looked around the room, noting a certain child’s absence. “Where’s Madeline?”
“I sent her downstairs to ask Kara if she had anything that might calm him.”
Inara nodded as he continued to pace, his steely composure splintering just a little more with each continued high-pitched wail. She didn’t dispense with pleasantries. “You know River has asked to come with me.”
Simon hesitated only a moment in his pacing. “Yes.”
“I fail to understand why you don’t want to take her with you – after everything you risked to protect her.”
“Right now she’ll be far more protected with you than she ever could be with me.” The comment came so very quickly, Inara knew he’d rehearsed it.
“Just – “ He stopped his pacing and Inara could see the pain in his eyes. “Find a way to tell me how she’s doing, all right?” It wasn’t really a question. “I can’t know where she is – in case –“ he took a deep breath. “In case they don’t believe my story and try to get the information out of me without my cooperation.”
“You don’t have to go back there.” Inara wasn’t certain why he was even going to try.
“I have to do this, Inara.”
“Will you tell me why?”
“The less you know the better.”
Inara’s only response was a frown.
He shrugged. “It’s not as if Mal is eager to put his crew back together anyway.” There was a bit of resentment in his tone that Inara had to admit she shared.
“You’re sure its going to be safe?” With a grateful look from Simon, she took the baby from his arms and tried to sooth his cries.
“I’ve already spoken to my parents.”
Inara’s breath caught but she hid it well. “So they think River is dead?”
Simon turned away and looked out the window, and his vision was suddenly filled with the image of Kaylee running through the large wheat fields toward him, arms outstretched, that big, neverending smile on her face. “I have to do something.”
“She wouldn’t want you to do this.”
Simon exhaled loudly. “I can’t have this conversation again, Inara.”
Inara could only nod. “I know.”
“Take care of River for me, please.”
Inara closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “I will.”
Reviews before the site hack.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 12:46
still producing the goods LS!
I like your River (that's two today) - and the feeling your characters seem to have of things very much happening THERE and in the moment.
(hope that made sense!)
look forward to the next.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 13:15
I'm very surprised Mal didn't keep his promise to Simon before setting out on his own and letting the crew go their separate ways. While I couldn't see him running out on his crew I am thinking he must have a whole belly full of rage to off-load in a direction that won't take his crew down with him which I why I suppose he is going. So relieved Zoe is going with him, ostensibly to watch his back then bring him back to his senses when he gets himself untangled again. I worry about Simon though. Trusting his parents again is going to be a long hard road, I hope it isn't one that lead nowhere. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 13:25
Haven't been around, but I just caught up and I'm still in love with this fic.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 14:03
Yeah, why not let Mal have at it? He has before?......
River and Inara? what that girl doesn't need is more education! lol...and also I'm surprised that Simon would go back as well. But I've never expected the usual from your writing, and thankfully you've never given it. This is one I'm gonna remember for a long time.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 14:21
I can't believe it! Yippie!, you did, River and Inara... those two together could rule the verse.
I'm not real clear on where everyone is going, but I'm completely captivated.
SOO..it's Mal's turn to run and get himself killed. I'm glad Zoe is following to watch his back.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 16:28
I hate it. No not really. You have written an absolutely awesome story. The characters are all complex and driven. The writing is wonderful. It's just I can't stand the fact that they are all going their separate ways. See the tears falling into the keyboard. Big tears, big fat stinking tears. Please let them all find their way home!!!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 17:08
I'm not sure where you're going with this..what with the crew all going in different directions, but I'm sure you have something up your sleeve.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 17:42
Yikes - Simon's returning to Osiris? Something tells me he's in for a world of trouble ... and what about River and Inara - where are they going exactly?
I can't wait to see what's going to happen next!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 18:06
Aww, everyone's leaving. And Simon's going back to his parents (which could be really good or really bad).
It's killing me to read this, but I can't stop.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 20:24
Would you please stop making me all mushy? Tears aren’t in my character, ya know! (At least out of this story) LOL seeing them being separated made my chest tighten... I hope to God they will be reunited at last!!
Keep flying ;)
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 02:17
I think there should be more pie in your story.
Apart from that, great job!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 06:52
Oh wow, this chapter introduces so many new threads of plot that I can't wait to see what the final tapestry is! It's interesting to me that I'm normally frustrated by the "I have a secret" method of laying down plot lines, but this time it sort of made sense. These characters don't want to reveal too much of their individual plans in case that knowledge might harm the others. At the same time, everyone is consumed by grief over their losses, both recent and older.
So splitting the crew hurts but makes sense in this context and I can't wait to see what everyone's plans turn out to be! Zoe and Inara seem like the only ones without big plans to strike out on their own, but it's plain to see they are restless and won't stay. I'm sure Mal will do whatever he needs to do to get Kaylee home again, regardless of what Simon thinks. After all, one of Mal's prime motivations is to be free and flying.
Very interesting stuff - looking forward to more, too!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 07:48
Thanks for all of the great comments, folks.
Everyone has their own agenda now and we'll see how they execute those plans throughout the rest of the story.
I honestly expected a lot of people to be upset by how the crew has been split, but I'm glad it's understood that what's happening now is what needed to happen for any sort of healing to begin - well, and to further along the nice, complex plot! :)
I actually decided to do it this way because I wanted a story that had each character doing something, and when they're all together, I find that much harder to write.
Parts of this are meant to be very mysterious, and some will be pretty easy to understand. Hopefully, the mysteries will be solved by the end of the fic.
I'm a huge fan of M.Knight Shyamalan. Keep that in mind as you read. :)
The story IS all done and written. And mostly beta'd now. I'll try and get it all up (but not spoil you all TOO much) before I leave on Sept 25th for a two week vacation.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 08:59
Oh, I love the plot getting going! You don't wallow in the sad, just show it and use it as a springboard to promises to be many fun things...
I really like how everyone reacts to the tragedy their own way. It's quite well thought out!
Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 20:32
Playing catch-up on these chapters in the middle of the night like morning & a fresh duty roster aint coming in a few hours. Mal's dialogue is dead on, hearing Nathan Fillion's voice in each word. Powerful piece of lore you're crafting here
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