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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. After the events on Amnesty, Mal turns Serenity round to pick up Freya and Jayne from Lazarus.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1425 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Hank checked their route for Lazarus once more, set the autopilot, and stood up. He stretched, hearing the joints in his neck pop, and he scratched his head. Time for bed. And time for a haircut, too, he considered. Not that any barber he’d ever tried could do anything.
“Double crown,” River said.
He turned, not really surprised. She’d been spending a lot of nights on the bridge. Something about the shuttle being too big without the big guy – at least, that’s what she’d said when he asked her. “Not sleepy?” he asked.
“Very. But saving it for Jayne.” She slipped onto the bridge, her bare feet making no noise on the decking.
“Thought it was something else you were saving for him.”
“That too.” She smiled at him. “You didn’t ask what I meant.”
“Double crown? Oh, I know.” He pushed ineffectually at his hair again. “Two points where it grows, and they’re fighting each other.”
“What, my hair?” Alarmed, he ducked down to try and see his reflection in the bridge window.
“No. The battle to have a style.”
He straightened up, grinning at her. “Guess you’re right. Much as I’d like my hair to look like Mal’s, I’d even be content for it to look like Jayne’s. But no matter what I do, it still looks like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.”
“I think it’s sweet.” She sat down and flicked off the autopilot.
“Figuring on doing some flying?”
“Don’t let Mal catch you. You know he says you’re grounded for flying Serenity into the dark side on Amnesty without asking.”
“He’s asleep. In the infirmary. Dreaming of Freya. Dreaming of …” She smiled, and her face took on an aspect far too mature for someone whose one and only boyfriend was Jayne.
“Might have to change the blanket.”
Hank winced. “And on that somewhat disgusting note, I’m going to bed. ‘Night, River.”
“Goodnight. Sweet dreams.”
“Don’t need ‘em,” he replied as he walked off the bridge. “Got my woman back again. That’s all the sweetness I require.”
River smiled again and looked out at the stars. There, just a thought away, was Jayne, and she contented herself reaching out to him. Soon be doing it in person, then Mal’s dreams would have nothing on them …
Hank climbed down the ladder to his and Zoe’s bunk and stopped, one foot still on the last rung. His fiancée, the mother of his son and the light of his life, was sitting on the bed, her shirt off, skin glowing in the low light. Ben was in her arms, sleeping peacefully.
“Hey,” he said, the emotion making his voice rough.
She looked up and smiled, the soft indulgent one she kept for him. “Hi.”
He hung one arm through the ladder, content for the moment to take in the beautiful sight in front of him. “He’s had a feed?”
She nodded, dropping her head to gaze at her first-born, her mass of dark waves falling forward, unfettered. “We needed it,” she said softly.
Pressure was building up in Hank’s chest, almost making it too hard to breathe. “Got you back.”
“Yes you did.”
“Had to, Zo. I just don’t have the equipment to be able to do that.” He tried to break the tension with a joke like he always did. He considered he’d failed miserably at her next words.
“Grenades?” She looked back up at him. “You let him walk in there wearing a vest made of grenades?”
Hank shrugged expressively. “He’s captain. What was I supposed to do?”
“It worked, didn’t it?”
“Yes it did. But equally we could all just be a hole in the landscape right now.”
“Glad you’re not.” He crossed the small room, scooting up the bed to sit next to her. “None of us had any other idea. Not really. I mean, River’s contribution was going in all guns blazing.” He shook his head. “I think she’s been spending too much time alone thinking about Jayne.”
Her lips twitched. “You’re probably right. Bad idea.”
“Had to get you back. Couldn’t leave this little one an orphan.”
“But you still should have stopped him.”
He stroked the curly hair on Ben’s head, then sudden realisation dawned. “Hang on. Are you mad because I didn’t, or because you realise you’ve got responsibilities now?”
“Always did have,” she retorted, but only softly so as not to wake her son.
“But he’s our flesh and blood. Makes a difference, don’t it?”
She didn’t answer for a long while. Then she sighed, leaning back. “Mal’s been taking safer jobs. You noticed that?”
“Think we all have. Most of ‘em have less of the likelihood of getting seriously maimed.”
“It’s because he’s a family man now. He’ll still walk into the bad guys’ camp wearing grenades –“ She looked at him pointedly. “ – but he’ll think twice first.”
“Are you figuring you’re going to be having to do that too?”
She nodded, and it was such a candid moment Hank felt his heart pumping fit to burst. “All the while I was down there, in the cells and tied up with Kaylee, all I could think about was you and Ben. How I might never get to see you again. Hold you. Sit like this.” She was suddenly angry. “I should have been planning our escape, but there I was wishing I could …” She bit her lip.
“And you think that makes you … less than Zoe?”
“Something like that,” she admitted. He laughed, and she glared at him. “I'm bearing my soul here and you’re finding it amusing?”
He held up his hands, just in case she took it into her head to kill him. “My strong, beautiful, intelligent, crazy Zoe … you think I don’t know? I've been around enough women long enough to know one thing. You can all multi-task. Even while you were missing me and Ben, you were scoping out the exits, how many men had how many guns … Zo, if I asked you now you’d still be able to remember.”
“But I should have been concentrating on –“
“No.” He sounded so firm she raised her eyebrows at him. “What you did was right.” He took her hand. “All that’s different is that now you have another option. Warrior, first mate … mother. You can be all three. Four, once you add wife back into the mix and we actually get married. It’s okay to think of Ben and me. Like Mal thinks of Ethan and Freya. Makes you less reckless.”
“Didn’t say reckless. Meant hasty … no …”
She let the smile that had been hiding reappear and finally relaxed, laying her head on his shoulder. “You really think I can do this?”
“I know you can.”
Zoe sighed. “He’s gonna grow up real fast. He’s already only taking one feed a day from me.”
“Feeling left out? If you like I could –“
“Just suggesting –“
He grinned. “We could always have another. You know, like Mal keeps going on about having dozens of kids swarming all over the boat. I figure some of ‘em should be ours.”
“Some? How many’s that?”
“We can discuss it.” He slid his arm around her, holding his Amazon princess close. “And can I just say … I’m glad you’re starting to be understand it’s okay to be a bit more sensible about things.”
“Is that the same as not being reckless?” she asked, deciding to hold off taking offence. Just for the evening.
“It means I love you. And I want to keep loving you for the rest of my life. And I’d really like that to be a very, very long time.”
“You think I'm gonna keep you that long?”
She chuckled, making her breasts jiggle. He could help but stare, transfixed. “Oh, I think I might be doing that. Until I get a better offer.”
His gaze was still aimed below her neck. “Um, honey? Do you think we could put junior down for the night? Please?”
Kaylee turned off the light in the kitchen and headed back downstairs. She’d got the munchies, striking after she and Simon had made up for the worry they’d both gone through. Now, her robe wrapped around her, she was nibbling on a few protein crackers as she ambled along. Simon was asleep. At least, that’s how she’d left him, lying on his face, one arm stretched protectively over her. She’d slid out, but he hadn’t woken.
Stopping by the darkened infirmary, she looked in, seeing Mal also dead to the world. Simon said he’d been worse off than he let on, and that he was damn lucky nothing had gone wrong.
Kaylee shook her head. Cracked ribs and a hairline fracture, indeed. Anyone else and he’d’ve been telling ‘em to do what the doctor ordered. Except him. She shivered slightly. Seeing those grenades strapped to his chest, knowing that, even though the thought repelled him, he’d have blown himself up if pushed to the edge … there was still something a little crazy about her captain, no matter how much she loved him.
She smiled. Kinda quite like to be around when he has to explain that to Freya, she thought to herself, finishing the last cracker and walking towards the bunks. She was about to rejoin her husband when she realised the light was on in Bethany’s room. Crossing the hall, she quietly slid the door open.
Bethany was sitting cross-legged on her bed, staring at Hope in her crib, elbows on knees, her face in her hands. “Momma.”
“Why ain't you asleep?”
“Have to keep watch. Know what’s coming. Stop bad things happening.”
Kaylee’s heart sank even as she sat down on the bed next to her daughter. Bethany had been real quiet when they got back, hugging tightly but not saying much. Even dinner hadn’t made her any more talkative. “There’s no bad things going to happen, Bethie.”
For a moment Kaylee couldn’t find the right words. “Well, yes, guess they nearly did. But we’re here. And we’re heading back to Lazarus. You’ll be seeing Ethan and Auntie Frey and Uncle Jayne soon, and Auntie ‘Nara … And I bet Giselle’s grown a lot too, and you can play –“
“No time to play.” Bethany glanced up. “Got to look after you all.”
Kaylee sighed. She remembered after Ethan was sick, Freya saying the same thing, that she had to be on her guard all the time, aware of everything, just in case it happened again … it almost killed Mal because she’d pulled away from him. “Bethie, it ain't like that.”
“Yes it is.”
She gathered her daughter to her, feeling the initial resistance melt as they shared their bodily warmth. “Honey, bad things happen. Can’t stop them. No matter how we look to the future, guess what might be coming, even see it … sometimes we can’t stop it. Like now. Serenity needed that part, and there weren't nowhere else to get it.”
Bethany wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist. “Uncle Mal didn’t want to go there.”
“Nope, no more he did. But we had no choice. What happened … it weren't nobody’s fault, Bethie. Just happened.”
“I didn’t see it.”
“No more did River.”
“’S’what we do.”
“I ain't explaining this too well,” Kaylee admitted. “But it ain't what you do. What you do is be Bethany, my little girl, Hope’s sister. That’s what you are. You see something coming, you tell me. Or your daddy. Or Uncle Mal. But I ain't having you sitting here waiting for the bad. You’re … you’re a little girl, Bethie. You gotta be a little girl. And that means you getting a good night’s sleep.” Bethany hid her face, muttering something. “What was that, sweetie?”
“’Fraid. Felt it.”
“What, me?” The little girl nodded. “Well, I was. Afraid I was never gonna see you again. You mean everything to me, Bethie.”
“More’n Serenity?” She looked up, her huge eyes damp with unshed tears.
“More’n Uncle Mal?”
“Don’t push your luck, young lady,” Kaylee chided, and felt immense relief as her daughter giggled.
“I know,” she said softly, hugging tightly. “Different.”
“Yeah, that’s right. You’re my baby.”
Bethany sighed loudly, but it was with contentment. “Family,” she murmured.
“That we are,” said a voice from the doorway.
They both looked up. Simon stood there, a hastily donned pair of sweat pants his only clothing, his normally so-neat hair standing every which way.
“Sorry, honey, did we wake you?” Kaylee asked.
“I woke up and you weren't there,” he admitted. “I'm not too keen on that feeling.”
“Just talking to Bethie.”
“And why aren’t you asleep, young lady?” Simon asked, crossing his arms but smiling at his daughter.
“Nothing,” she said, smiling at him. “Not now.”
“I think we chased the demons away,” Kaylee admitted, standing up. “But do you want to come in with us for a while?”
Bethany shook her head. “Have to take care of Hope. Make sure she has nice dreams.” She settled down under the cover and hugged her Ethan doll to her. “Seeing him soon,” she said softly, her eyes already beginning to close. She giggled.
“What?” Kaylee asked.
“Uncle Mal’s dreaming.”
“Are you peeking?” Kaylee asked, shaking her head.
“Sleeping,” Bethany promised. “Only sleeping.” Her voice trailed off.
Kaylee stepped out of the room and closed the door. Simon turned back to their bunk but paused.
“Do you think he was dreaming about –“
“I think so.”
“That little girl’s going to get a far too advanced education,” he complained.
“I think it’s kinda too late for that,” Kaylee said, stroking her hands down his bare back and making him quiver. “Now get in there before I decide to take you right out here.”
He glanced back at her. “You keep promising that but …”
She pushed him into their room and slid the door closed. Low laughter filled the spaces, and Serenity flew on towards Lazarus.
Thursday, May 20, 2010 4:42 AM
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