BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Together - REPOST
Monday, November 19, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Freya's waiting for Mal to arrive, and there's a surprise.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1562    RATING: 0    SERIES: FIREFLY

Freya lay back in the bath, her hands resting lightly on her stomach as it floated near the top of the water. Just the top of her belly button was poking out, and she stroked the skin absently. Not her idea, she pointed out to the baby inside. Inara had insisted she try and relax.

“You’re making me nervous.”

“I'm not doing anything.”

“Wearing out my carpet by pacing the floor is not doing nothing. And it probably isn’t good for the baby.” She sighed as Freya looked guilty. “He’ll be in contact as soon as he can. You know he’s okay – Hank said so.”

“I know. I just … until I can see his face, talk to him …” She began pacing again, then stopped as Inara coughed delicately. “Sorry.” She lowered herself into the armchair.

“I thought I was bad.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Then relax.”

“I can’t.”

“Then maybe I can help.”

Freya had looked at her askance, wondering just what her friend was suggesting, but right now she had to admit she was right.

The hot water was doing wonders for the knots in her back, and even the little girl growing inside her had calmed down. She’d been very active the past few days, kicking her mother so much Freya had begun to inspect her abdomen for bruises. Inara had suggested trying the gold bubble bath, but having seen the effect it had had on Jayne – even via the somewhat grubby filter of his mind – she declined. Instead she had tossed in a handful of lavender bath salts and sunk tiredly into the water.

She had to try and stop getting so tense, she knew this. Mal wasn't going to be back in visual range for more than a week, not with the job on Lilac, and there was nothing she could do about it. No matter how much she wanted him here, next to her, she still had to wait.

With a sigh, she turned her attention to why she’d stayed on Lazarus in the first place.

The last few weeks had been a mixture of laughter, tears and throwing things, but in a way it had helped both of them. The conversations had been hard, wringing confessions from the two women that had at once burned and cleared the air. The depth of her love for Mal, the desire she had once entertained for Freya, the pain at not having her son, her anger at Han, the earnest wish to feel normal … all this and more Inara had released, acknowledged and forgiven. To some degree, anyway – at least she’d now got to a position where she could see more than just darkness.

In her turn Freya had told more about her experiences at the Academy and in the camp than even Mal knew, and gave up the guilt for what had been. And both knew this had deepened their friendship into one that would last. It could have broken them, driven a wedge between them that could never be removed, but it didn’t. Instead they were sisters in truth, if not blood.

And now a decision had been made, and as soon as Mal was back in range, she’d be telling him.

She breathed deeply, the perfume of lavender calming her nerves.

There was a soft knock at the door. “Freya?” It was Inara.

“Mmn?”

“You might want to take this wave,” her friend said. “It’s Mal.”

Freya’s eyes flew open, and in a moment she was out of the bath, grabbing her robe and pulling it on, swearing as it caught on her wet skin. She threw the door open. “Mal? Is he … is he all right?”

“Go and talk to him and find out.” Inara smiled at her, but Freya didn’t see. She was flying through into the bedroom, coming to a staggered halt in front of the Cortex link. Inara closed the door quietly.

“Mal?”

Ai ren.” He smiled at her.

“Are you all right?” He looked okay, not hurt particularly beyond a few bruises …

“I'm shiny. We just got back into visual range and … Frey? What is it? Is it the baby?” She’d collapsed back onto the bed, her hands over her face. “Frey!”

It took a long moment for her to recover enough to wipe her fingers across her cheeks and look up at him, a moment he didn’t want to relive.

“I … Mal, I thought …”

“You felt it, didn’t you?” He was as close to the screen as he could get, his face filling it, his blue eyes radiating concern, love, frustration … even anger that he wasn't there to hold her, comfort her. “What happened on Amnesty.”

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

“Well, as you can see, I'm in one piece.” He stepped back a little, trying to make a joke of it. “All the important bits are still attached. Even the not so important –“

“All of you is important!” She stood up, her robe falling open.

He stared for a moment at the soft flesh revealed, the swell of her belly. “Uh, Frey … did I interrupt you or something?” There was a catch in his voice, a hint of arousal.

She glanced down but didn’t do the tie back up. “I was taking a bath.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

She laughed a little, then swallowed. “Don’t be. I was thinking about you anyway.” She pulled the robe across, cutting off his view of her naked body. Then her eyes narrowed. “Wait a minute. You’re supposed to be heading for Lilac. Out of range for –”

“We were.” He put his head slightly onto one side, and she could feel his gaze on her, even through plastiglas and more miles than she’d care to count. “But I decided. Don’t need the cash, not right now. Got something much more important for me to do.”

She held her breath. “What’s that?”

“I'm coming to get you, xin gan. No matter what you say, no matter how Inara is – I ain't ever doing without you by my side no more.” His English was suffering, as it always did when he was emotional, but he didn’t care. “You’re coming home with me. Home to Serenity.”

Tears began to roll down her cheeks. “Oh, Mal.”

“Frey, don’t. Please.” He wanted to reach through the screen and pull her into his arms, reassure her.

Closing her eyes she took a deep breath, and when she looked at him again she was under more control. “Hormones,” she said succinctly.

“That it?”

“That’s it. Otherwise I’d be telling you to get the job done and bring back the money.”

“Really.”

“Really. After all, I’m kinda accustomed to eating once in a while.”

He smiled. “Frey, you talk fei hua.”

“I told you, it’s –“

“Hormones. Yeah.”

“Besides, I was going to ask you to come fetch me.”

His jaw dropped, and a grin spread across his face. “You were?”

“I was.” She unconsciously stroked the mound at her waist, and Mal felt his body quicken a little. “Inara … well, I’ve managed to persuade her to see a therapist.”

Mal’s eyebrows threatened to disappear into his hair. “How in the name of Jayne’s underwear did you manage to do that?”

Freya giggled. Just a little. “Jayne’s underwear?”

“Ain't swearing in front of the kid.” He motioned towards her belly.

“She’s asleep.”

“You sure?”

“Fairly. She’s stopped kicking me.”

“Fractious?”

“Misses her daddy.”

“I miss her too.” He shook his head. “And you’re changing the subject again. How’d you manage it?”

“I didn’t. She came in to breakfast this morning and announced it.” Freya shrugged. “I think she’s getting fed up with me.”

“Ain't possible.”

“You’re biased.”

“Maybe.” He smiled and went back to the subject in hand. “So exactly how is this miracle to come to pass?”

“I waved Dr Yi.”

“Inara’s going to Ariel?”

“No. In fact we’re lucky. Dr Yi’s colleague, one Samuel Nazir, is travelling home after seeing his daughter on Greenleaf, and he’s agreed to stop off here on the way.”

“Trustworthy?”

“Dr Yi says so.”

“Then I guess that’s fine. When does the good doc get to you?”

“A week.” She grinned. “Maybe we’ll still be around when he arrives.”

He thought for a moment. “It’ll take us the best part of five days to get back to Lazarus, now we’re heading back …” He looked sheepish. “’Cept you already know that, since I just told you.” He lifted one eyebrow at her. “And no getting tearful again, otherwise I’ll be crying too.”

“Hate to see that.”

“You surely would.” His eyes took on a deeper blue. “Soon as I can, darlin’. You ain’t gonna keep me from your bed much longer.”

She groaned in anticipation. “Mal, I have these dreams …”

“Yeah. Me too. Can’t wait to see if they’re the same.”

“Do yours include hanging from the support beams?”

“Might,” Mal admitted. “And maybe feathers. And … and possibly handcuffs.”

Freya laughed. “Oh, definitely the same dreams.”

Mal felt his body warm, even though she was so far away. “We’ll be with you as soon as we can, ai ren.”

---

Mal sat on the bridge, staring out at the stars that never seemed to change. Unless they actually altered their heading, they never seemed to get any closer, or further apart, or differ in any way. He knew that wasn’t the case, of course, but knowing and believing weren’t quite the same thing.

“Like faith,” River said behind him.

He wasn’t surprised. Over the time he’d spent away from Freya he’d found the young psychic sought him out quite a lot. Or maybe it was the other way around.

“Both,” River added.

“Stop it,” he ordered, but there was no heat in his voice.

“Here.” She held something out to him. “The first.”

“What …” He glanced up into her face. “No, you … you should eat that.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Then give it to Kaylee. She’s gonna love you forever if you do.”

“She’ll love me forever anyway, whether I give this to her or not.”

“Yeah, well, maybe … but there must be someone else. Bethie. Or even the doc.”

“There will be plenty for everyone. This is for you. The first. For the captain.” She waved the strawberry under his nose, and the scent caught at him.

“River …” He tried to maintain his dignity, his unflappable calm in the face of all situations …

“Not all.” She smiled. “Take it. Or I’ll …” She started to close her fist on it.

“No, don’t!” He found himself half rising from the chair, then sat back and looked at her through narrowed eyes. “You wouldn’t’ve, would you?”

“No,” she confessed.

“I’m guessing you’d have given this to Jayne, if he’d been on board right now.”

She shook her head, surprising him. “The second, yes. But this, the first to ripen in my garden, made with your help … that one’s yours.” She moved it closer. “Open up.”

“River, I don’t need someone to feed me.”

“Open.”

He glared at her, but all she did was raise her eyebrows a little. Eventually, muttering something Chinese and obscene under his breath, he opened his mouth.

She pushed the strawberry between his lips. “Bite.”

This time he did as he was told, and the juice ran down his tongue from the pulp. “Merciful …” he began, but couldn’t finish, as he chewed, the taste overwhelming him.

“Fresh,” she murmured. “Picked 2 point 3 minutes ago. Only way to make them taste even better is to eat them off the plant.” She watched his eyes almost close, as near to ecstasy as he could get without benefit of his wife.

“River, that’s …” he finally managed to say, looking up at her.

“Remember this,” she said, smiling. “And I will give you some more for later, for when you see Freya.”

Mal grinned. “That would … be nice.”

She grimaced. “But not if you plan on doing that with them.”

“Stay outta my head, albatross.”

“Stop thinking your lewd and disgusting thoughts so loudly, then,” River countered.

“You telling me you haven’t considered doing exactly those kinda things with Jayne?” Mal teased.

“Of course I have.” She licked her fingers. “But you’re very … graphic.”

“Sorry.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I'm captain.”

“That isn’t the answer to everything.”

“Is on my boat.”

Hank put his head through the doorway. “Is this a private orgy or can anyone join in?”

“When we have an orgy I lock the door,” River pointed out.

“That’s … kinda disturbing,” the pilot admitted, stepping onto the bridge. “Can I actually get to work now?”

Mal stood up, licking the last of the strawberry juice from his lips as he did so. “It’s what I pay you for.”

“Not enough.” Hank slid into his seat.

“No-one’s stopping you from finding another job.”

“Yes they are. Zoe’d kill you.”

Mal laughed, more relaxed that he had been in nearly two months. “You know, I think she might.”

“So you don’t want to land?”

“Nope. I’ll let you have that honour. I’ll just be in my bunk getting all spruced up and pretty.” He headed off the bridge.

“You want I should circle the planet a few times?”

“Getting killed by Zoe might be worth it just to see you doing that. Without a suit,” Mal added as he dropped down into his bunk.

---

“Where’s Ethan?” Inara asked, carrying in a tray with two tea bowls and a pot, which she set on the small table between them.

“In the nursery. He loves it in there, what with all the toys you’ve bought.” Freya smiled. “You’ve spoiled him.”

“It was nice to be able to.” Inara poured the tea, her sleeves riding up her arms a little to show the faint lines of scars she no longer hid. “And Jayne?”

“Telling the girls stories.” Freya laughed at the appalled look on her friend’s face. “He’s made quite a hit with them.”

“River will kill him.”

“No. He treats them like they’re his sisters.”

“Like he does you,” Inara pointed out.

“Perhaps.” She smiled. “Although even I haven’t heard some of these tales.”

“He’s a bad man.”

“I think that’s what River loves about him.”

They laughed, finally more at ease together, and Freya looked out of the window into the watery sunlight, at the snowdrops vainly attempting to shake off the latest of the frosts.

A day. That’s all it would be now, she thought to herself. Just one more lonely night’s rest before she could put her arms around him, show him how much his daughter had grown inside her, dry the tears that would fall from her eyes … and maybe his.

“… but he doesn’t listen. Phoebe asked yesterday if it was true there was a statue of him on … Frey?” Inara realised her friend wasn’t listening to her either. “Frey.”

“Mmn? What?” She looked round.

Inara smiled. “I know I’m not the company you want right now, but you could at least pretend.”

“Sorry.” Yet somehow the word didn’t match the look on her face. “It’s just –”

“I know. You miss him.”

“He’s going to be so surprised that Ethan’s grown as much as he has. And that I’ve got so much fatter.” She stroked her belly again. “Although most of that is due to Mrs Boden’s cooking.”

“He’s going to be even more surprised when he finds you’ve been taking lessons.”

Freya laughed. “At least I’ve stopped burning things.”

“You’ve come along in leaps and bounds,” Inara promised. “And the whole crew is going to be so thankful.”

Freya threw a cushion at her, missing badly. “That’s not nice,” she said.

“But more than true.” Inara handed her a cup.

“Anyway, who says I’ll be wasting my new found talents on them?” Freya said, taking a sip. “I might keep it for a surprise.” She smiled, cradling the cup.

“Well, I'm sure Mal will … what is it?”

Freya had frozen at a roaring sound that increased until the teapot started rattling. “That’s Serenity,” she whispered, her eyes wide.

“It can’t be,” Inara said. “They’re not arriving until tomorrow.”

“I know that engine. It’s Serenity!” She got to her feet, the bowl falling unheeded from her fingers, liquid spilling onto the carpet as it bounced. She ran to the window just as the Firefly touched down. “Mal,” she whispered, heading out of the door.

The cargo bay doors had hardly opened before Mal was outside, striding along the path, only stopping himself from breaking into a run by sheer force of will.

Someone else wasn’t so controlled.

River rushed out of the cargo bay, her bare feet hardly touching the cold soil, passing Freya as she pelted out through the doors.

Freya barely saw her. “Mal!” she shouted, her voice ringing through the orchard, and he couldn’t help it. He ran into her arms, holding her, swinging her up and around, kissing every inch of her face he could reach.

“Frey. Oh, Frey!”

River ran up the stairs, then stopped half way as Jayne came towards her, slowly, one step at a time.

I knew you were waiting.

Course you did, moonbrain.

Did you miss me?

You have to ask?

A wide grin split her face and she threw herself at him. He gathered her up against his chest, his lips firmly on hers, his tongue pressing between to regain his dominion.

Inara stood in the hallway and looked up at them. “Would you like me to leave?” she asked, and indulgent smile on her face.

River peeled away from Jayne and glanced down at her. “Missed him,” she said.

“I gathered that.”

Jayne carried her downstairs. “Missed her too,” he admitted.

“I’d never have guessed.” She looked out into the daylight, at the other couple still entwined about each other. “And I thought you weren’t coming until tomorrow?”

“Hank cut some corners, and I showed him a few more than could be trimmed,” River said, still luxuriating in the feeling of her lover pressed against her.

“Then why didn’t anyone –”

“I knew they were coming,” Jayne said, grinning widely.

Inara stared at him. “You knew and you didn’t say?”

“I told him not to,” River said simply. “It had to be a surprise for Freya. To make up for so much that has happened.”

“You could have told me,” Inara complained.

“And could you have kept it from her, knowing how much she was pining?”

“Well …”

Jayne punched her lightly on the arm. “See, that’s why I never did.” He nodded towards the captain and his wife. “Just so’s this could happen.”

“Uncle Jayne? Heard …” Ethan looked through the bannisters. “Auntie River!” he exclaimed, his little face lighting up as he clambered down to her.

“Hey,” the young woman said, swinging him up onto her hip. “You’re getting heavy.”

“Daddy here?”

For answer River turned enough so the little boy could see out of the door.

“Daddy!” He squirmed to get down, but she held him tight.

“They need a few minutes alone,” River explained.

Ethan stopped struggling and looked at her. “Don’t want Ethan?”

“Of course they do. But they have to be other people before they’re Mama and Daddy.”

He didn’t understand, not really, but nodded. “’Kay.” He looked back out of the door. “Want to see Daddy,” he said softly anyway.

Mal seemed to hear, because he turned, keeping hold of Freya with one arm, but looking into the darkness of the hall. Freya whispered something, and he smiled. Going down onto his heels, he held out his arms. “Ethan,” he called.

River put him down, and the little boy ran outside, straight to his father, who lifted him up high, holding him above his head before hugging him tightly. Freya wrapped her arms around them both.

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