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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee sends a capture home to her Ma.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1758 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Ellie Frye settled down in the big armchair by the old fireplace and tucked her feet up under her. Pulling the family comforter, made and added to by generations of Fryes, about her shoulders, she took a sip of tea and picked up the capture that had arrived that morning. She knew it was from Kaylee the moment she saw the rounded handwriting, and had put it to one side to watch later. Now, with the boys and Eddie gone to town for a drink and a game of Tall Card, this was her time. She’d show it to them later, of course, when they got home, but right now she wanted to see her daughter by herself.
Kaylee grinned into the capture and her mother smiled. Still the bright and breezy little girl she’d always been. ‘Cept she wasn’t so little no more. Not now she was married, and a mother herself.
“I know it’s been a while since we talked, but we’ve been doing pretty good these last few weeks, for jobs and the like, and I’ve been saving, and we finally got somewhere I could buy a high memory capture tab. Those titchy things are all very well and good, but they don’t last no time at all, and soon as I’ve said hi it’s time to be saying farewells, and that ain’t worth it. I mean, it is if I only wanted to say I love you, but what I gotta say right now … well, it’s more than just a minute’s worth.”
Kaylee motioned to whoever was behind the image to come over, and Simon slipped into view, a baby in his arms. Ellie sat up.
“See, Momma, I’ve been waiting, hoping that a job’d bring us close enough to Phoros so I … so we could come and tell you ourselves, in person, but that ain’t happened. Seems all the work’s the other side of the system at the moment, so the Cap’s been …” She stopped, aware her mouth was running away again. “Anyway, we figured this was the next best thing.” She moved a little so Simon could sit next to her. “Go on,” she said to him.
“I thought you wanted to -”
He shook his head slightly and grinned at her, then turned back towards the screen.
“Hi, Ellie,” he said. “Hope you’re sitting down -”
“She will be,” Kaylee interrupted.
“Bao bei, if you want to do this -”
“If’n you don’t say soon I will.”
Simon took a deep breath.
He turned the baby slightly so her face could be clearly seen, her short blonde hair standing up every which way.
“This is Hope, Ellie,” Simon explained softly. “Hope Roxanna Tam. She’s … she’s our daughter.”
Ellie almost dropped the capture in surprise.
“Now, Momma,” Kaylee added quickly, “you remember to breathe. Take a sip o’ that tea I know you’ve got at your elbow, and just sit for a minute.”
She waited, and Ellie had to smile. Her child knew her too well. She reached out and lifted the cup to her lips with a hand that trembled only a little, then placed it back in the saucer.
Kaylee nodded, as if she could see across time and space. “That’s better,” she said, approvingly. “Now, I didn’t want you to get all fainting about this, since you know I ain’t been pregnant, leastways not since Bethie. But Hope’s our daughter, even though she ain’t blood.”
“Her mother was a passenger,” Simon explained. “She was very ill, and despite everything I tried she died during the birth.” His face fell, and Ellie could see Kaylee squeeze his knee. “Little Hope had no-one else, and … well, when we talked we decided to adopt her.”
Ellie couldn’t help the grin spreading her lips. Eddie told her, after their last visit, that he’d spoken to their son-in-law about adopting, and here they were doing exactly that. And she looked such a pretty little thing, too.
Kaylee spoke quietly. “Simon, you’d better go feed her, then put her down.”
Her husband nodded. “Will do.” He looked back at the screen. “And I really hope we get to see you again soon. Bethany keeps asking Mal, and I think she’s wearing down his resistance.” He smiled and stood up, leaving the view.
Kaylee was obviously waiting for him to be out of earshot, then she leaned forward.
“Momma, I hope you understand. I know you were trying your best with that tea, and I know miracles do happen, but … I love Hope like I carried her for nine months and gave birth to her myself. Her own momma, Roxanna, well, she was a strong lady who was determined for her little girl to have a life, and I hope she’d be happy for us to give Hope just that. And Bethie wanted to have her for a sister even before the rest of us had talked about it. That’s where Simon’s gone to put Hope to her crib for the night. Her and Bethie share a room, and …” Kaylee had to laugh. “Some nights I go by, just to make sure before I turn in, and I can hear her telling stories, mostly ‘bout pirates.”
Ellie shook her head, laughing with her daughter. Pirates. Well, with that crew she guessed she wasn’t all too surprised.
“And she is the cutest little dumpling,” Kaylee went on. “I mean, you saw, but wait ‘til you see her in the flesh. She’s got these eyes that are kinda … well, they’re sorta green, only sometimes they’re grey, like Hank’s … I mean, he swears he never met Roxanna ‘til that day she came on board, but Zoe winds him up about it sometimes.”
Kaylee grinned, looking so much like the little girl she used to be.
“And Zoe’s good too. Ben’s growing, and I know it won’t be long before he’s gonna be saying his first words, and Hank’s been going round telling everyone he’s glad Jayne ain’t on board at the mo, otherwise those words’d probably be cussing.”
Her good humour faded a little, and Ellie wondered.
“They ain’t here at the moment, Jayne and Freya. They’re with Inara for a while. We had some … well, there was some trouble, and they’re helping her for a bit. River ain’t taking it too well: been following the Cap’n everywhere, like she’s lost part of herself. He’s getting better, though, and I’m hoping by the time you get this we’ll have picked ‘em back up. Course, she‘s blooming.” Kaylee managed a smile. “You sure knew what you were doing with those leaves, reading them the way you did. Another little girl on board soon. You won’t know where to put us all when we come a-calling.”
She sniffed, and Ellie wished it was truly her daughter standing there in front of her, not just a hard bit of plastic, so she could comfort her, make her feel loved. Then Kaylee’s next words made her chuckle.
“Wish you could hold me, Momma. Wrap me up in those arms of yours and tell me everything’s fine. I mean, it is, and I got me a beautiful family to prove it, only sometimes … I miss ya. And Pa. And Pete, and Bobby, and Billy and Joe. Not that they’d believe me,” she added quickly, a smile flashing across her lips. She leaned forward again, looking at something just out of sight. “Well, looks like I’m almost out of time here, Momma. Tell everyone I love ‘em, and that we’ll be by soon, even if I have to tie the Cap’n down and threaten him until he agrees. I tried it with Simon once and it worked a treat.”
She laughed, happy again, her warmth and love shining brightly off the screen. “So write to me soon, and send me a few more recipes. Simon’s getting real good at … oh, I didn’t tell you did I?” The laughter was bubbling now. “My own husband is enjoying cooking. You should see him cutting up the vegetables when we get them … something to do with being a doctor, I guess. And when he carves the roast, even if it’s only moulded protein, ya should see the Cap’n wince!”
Covering her mouth to hold the sound back in, she grinned. “Well, gotta go. I love you, Momma. More’n I can rightly say. See you soon.” She blew a kiss, then leaned forward again and the image froze on her smile.
Ellie sat back, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Honey, you okay?” Eddie asked, coming in the back door unnoticed, his sons behind him. “What is it?” He hurried to sit down next to her.
“It’s okay,” she assured him, wiping at her face with both hands.
“The capture from Kaylee?” her husband asked.
She stared at him. “How did you -”
“You think I didn’t see you put it into your pocket when it arrived? Wanting to keep us poor menfolk in the dark until you decided it was the right time for us to hear all the news?” He shook his head in mock disapproval. “Looks like we ain’t good for anything more than earning a crust.”
“It’s truly appalling,” Joe agreed, pulling off his jacket and letting it fall to the floor by the coatstand.
“You pick that up,” his mother chided. “I didn’t bring you up to leave your clothes lying every which way.”
Joe grinned and did what he was told.
“’Sides, Betsy Lou don’t mind where Joe drops his clothes,” Peter put in.
“Shut up,” Joe hissed, turning bright red.
“’s true. Chloe got it from her direct. Straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.”
“Betsy Lou ain’t no horse,” Joe said, his fists balling.
“So what does our little girl have to say?” Eddie asked, glaring at his boys until they subsided.
Ellie made a mental note to have a word with her youngest son, but turned to her husband. “Oh, just a few things. Like Simon’s enjoying learning to cook, and Bethie’s well, and they’ll be bringing Hope to see us soon as they can -”
“Hope?” Eddie looked mystified. “Who’s Hope?”
“My …” He shook his head. “What are you talking about, woman?”
For answer Ellie held up the capture, and pressed play.
“Hey Momma!” Kaylee said again. “I know it’s been a while since we talked, but we’ve been doing pretty good these last few weeks, for jobs and the like, and I’ve been saving, and we finally got somewhere I could buy a high memory capture tab. Those titchy things are all very well and good, but they don’t last no time at all, and soon as I’ve said hi it’s time to be saying farewells, and that ain’t worth it. I mean, it is if I only wanted to say I love you, but what I gotta say right now …”
Ellie watched her husband and sons as they listened, heard the sharp intakes of breath when Hope was introduced, then the chatter started. She grinned. Such a wonderful family - she was truly blessed.
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