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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. After saying goodbye to Shadow, Mal makes reaquaintance with his wife.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1534 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
It took three hours before Kaylee announced that all the air in the old Firefly had been filtered, and another ninety minutes before Simon was satisfied that every trace of Shadow’s pathogens were gone. By that time Mal had changed his clothes and almost worn out the cargo bay floor with his pacing.
Finally Simon slipped the small scanner back into his bag, and leaned over the catwalk railing. “She’s clean, Mal.”
“Should say she is,” Serenity’s captain muttered, sliding the door to the common area open. He stopped.
“Shh.” Bethany stood just inside, her finger to her lips.
“Everyone’s asleep,” she whispered.
“Oh.” He lowered his voice to her level. “They all okay?”
She nodded. “Shiny.”
He smiled a little. “You looked after ‘em?”
“Reckon it is, short stub. You gonna show me?“ He held out his hand and she slipped her small fingers into his.
“Yes, captain.” She led the way through the common area to the lower crew quarters and the ‘maternity suite’. At the door she touched her lips again. “Shh.”
He nodded, just standing watching.
Freya lay on the bed, slightly turned away from them, Ethan between her and the bulkhead. He had his thumb in his mouth, his other hand clutched tightly to her dress. Her knees were drawn up slightly, and down by her feet were the two babies, rolled into each other. They all appeared to be away with the fairies.
“Oh, that is so sweet.” Kaylee had come down the stairs and now stood at his side.
“Shh, Momma,” Bethany scolded. “Wake them up.”
“Sorry. But I wanna take Hope upstairs, give her some food.”
Bethany’s eyes lit up. “Hungry.”
“Yes, you too.”
“And Ben.” Zoe was behind them. “I think we all need to eat something.”
Bethie looked pensive. “Ethan’s hungry too,” she whispered. “Just doesn’t know it.”
Mal stepped into the room and disentangled his son’s fingers from the sea-coloured fabric. “Then you’d better take him along too.”
“Give him to me,” Simon said, appearing in the doorway.
“Thanks, doc.” He handed the little boy over, only now stirring a little. “You sure the air’s okay now?”
“And I’ve got the internal sensors tuned to it,” Hank added, peering in. “Slightest sign of anything and they’ll be wailing like banshees.”
“Is everyone here?” Mal asked, good-humouredly, picking up Ben.
“Pretty much,” Hank agreed. “Just wanted to make sure the kids were okay.”
“Shh!” Bethany was getting cross. Everyone was talking, and there was still sleeping going on.
“She’s right, sir,” Zoe said, taking Ben from his arms. “We’ll be in the kitchen if you need us.”
“Shiny. We on course?” Mal asked his pilot.
“Be at Beaumonde in a couple of days.”
Mal nodded. “Good. Give us time to plan our little caper.”
“No planning required,” Simon said, watching Kaylee slip past the captain and pick up Hope, cradling her gently. “In and out. Easy money.”
“That’s what I like. Plans to go smooth.”
“Shh!” Bethany stamped her foot.
Kaylee grinned. “Come on,” she stage-whispered. “Let’s go get something to eat, okay?”
Mal waited until they’d all trooped up the stairs towards the galley, then turned back to his wife.
“Now I know you ain’t asleep no more,” he said, in a normal conversational tone. “Couldn’t be, not with all that shushing going on. So why don’t you look at me and tell me why you’re pretending to be dead?”
“I am asleep.”
“Really. That’s odd, then. I mean, I know you talk sometimes when you’re out of it, but that’s generally Chinese and obscene. So for you to be making sense is a mite unusual. Permaybehaps I should be getting the doctor …”
She rolled enough to look into his face. “I’m sorry.”
“Making you come here.”
He sat down carefully next to her. “Is that what you’ve been crying over?” He touched her cheek.
“How did you –”
“I can smell it, ai ren. And I know you. May not be psychic myself, but I know my wife.”
“I shouldn’t have forced you to do this. I was wrong. It was up to you to decide when you were ready.”
“Then I never would’ve.”
“Still your decision.” She swallowed hard, and he knew she was fighting back the tears again.
He sighed a little. She had spent years hiding the fact that she cried at all, and it made her feel ashamed sometimes that she could break down so easily in front of him. “Frey, darlin’, you didn’t make me. Well, yes, you did, but the point is I’m a man. And better yet, I’m captain. That means what I say goes, leastways on this boat. And if I don’t wanna do something, then I don’t do it. Fought a war on that principle.”
“Is that why?”
“Pretty much. Took on this boat for the same reason.”
“I thought it was because she called out to you across the lot.”
“Yes, that’s true. But it was so I didn’t have to do what I didn’t want to, and being out here in the black, taking jobs as they come, that’s pretty close.”
She moved enough so she could lay her head in his lap. “I’m still sorry.”
“Frey, you were right. I didn’t know it, but …” He tried to explain the feelings inside himself. “There’s something gone. A lump of something that’s been sitting in my belly for the longest time. Didn’t even know it was there ‘til I left it back on Shadow.”
“Maybe I should get our young doctor to be examining you,” she joked, sniffing loudly.
He smiled, stroking her hair. “Maybe. But I feel better now. Lighter. More … me.”
“More you?” She looked into his blue eyes. “So who’ve I been sleeping with for the last few years? And more important, who’s the father of this little girl inside me?”
Mal put his hand on her belly. “Oh, that’ll be me. But this is a better me. New and improved.”
“I loved the old and inferior.”
“Does that mean you need to fall for me all over again?”
“Shouldn’t think it’ll take that long.” Her lips curved. “Seems to be happening already.”
“Good.” He grinned. “Now budge up.”
“I want to lie down.”
She moved over enough so he could swing his legs up, settling her into his shoulder. Funny how that made him feel complete. He worked the pillow under his head into something more comfortable, and sighed in satisfaction. “That’s better.”
For a moment there was just silence, then Freya spoke again. “I’d like to have met the young, idealistic version of you,” she said softly. “The Mal that left Shadow.”
“Hey, I ain’t that old!”
“No, no, you’re not. But I still would’ve.”
“Not that much different. Not inside. Not the part that loves you.” He stroked her back. “Least, not now. There were times when even I didn’t recognise myself, what I’d become, but you’ve put me back together. I might be cracked, scarred, but this is more me than I’ve been in a long damn while.”
“I’d still have liked to meet him. The boy who was going to become a rancher.”
“You feel like cradle-snatching?”
She laughed. “No. I like someone with a bit more experience. Like Jayne.” She yelped as he pinched her gently. “You were really going to do that? Run a ranch?”
“That was always the plan. Get a place like my Momma’s, run cattle, hard and smart.” He shrugged. “But things happen, changes you can’t see.”
“Like wars.“ Freya paused a moment, listening to his heartbeat. “Tell me about her.”
“My Momma? You’d’ve liked her. And she would’ve loved you. She was strong, wonderful … and she tried to instil something important in me.”
“What was that?”
“Passion. For whatever comes our way. Whether it’s fighting the Alliance or … or taking a woman to bed I know damn well I shouldn’t.”
“Do you still feel that way?”
“That I shouldn’t take you to bed? No. The passion … maybe a little.” He leaned down to plant a kiss on her forehead. “Mostly with you.”
“That’s nice.” She snuggled closer. “Do you think you’d’ve had kids?”
“Always intended to, you know, carry on the family name after I'm gone. More’n one, anyway. Never did like being an only child, even if I did have more family out in the bunkhouse.”
“Brother or sister?”
“If you’d had a choice, would you have preferred a brother or a sister?”
Mal thought for a moment. “Not entirely sure. How about one of each?”
“That’s not an answer.”
“You want me to be specific?” He grinned. “Okay. But I still say one of each, ‘cause a brother is someone you can do things with, and a sister is someone you protect.”
“And you can’t do things with a sister?” Freya asked, somewhat surprised.
“Well, sure you can, but … Shadow wasn't maybe as enlightened as some worlds. Women were expected to look after the home, raise the kids … although most of the ones I knew didn’t take kindly to that,” he admitted, smiling. “So what was it like growing up with a brother?”
Freya’s smile faded a little. “It was okay.”
“Can’t have been all bad,” Mal insisted.
“No, I suppose it wasn’t. And there were times … like when we got into the old Emerson house on their estate, all locked up for the winter. We had fun, running through the place, ‘til the caretaker found us, took us home and complained.” Her voice dropped to almost a whisper. “I’d forgotten.”
He hugged her tighter. “How old were you?”
“And your brother …”
“Was nine as well. Tends to happen with twins.”
“I didn’t mean that. I meant, did you have more fun because of him, or in spite of him?”
“Well, it was his idea … but I still got the blame.” Freya smiled. “Still, it was worth it.”
“So what kind of things did you used to get up to?” he asked.
“I’ve told you some.”
“I want to hear more. I like it when you tell me stories.”
“How old are you?”
She waved away his objection. “It’s the pregnancy.”
“Makes you childish?”
It was her turn to pinch him. “Tell me.”
“What do you want to hear?”
“I don’t know. Anything.”
“Hmn. Anything.” He pursed his lips. “Okay. Well, you talking about breaking and entering, there was this house out beyond the town, and all the kids knew … they just knew it was haunted by the ghosts of a pair of lovers who were discovered by her husband and ended up hanging from the rafters.”
She shivered slightly. “Ghost stories. Go on.”
“Anyway, it was said that if you managed to get a girl to spend the night with you there, she’d be all … pliable.”
“Ghost stories with sex. Interesting.”
“You wanna hear or not?”
“No, please. I’m all ears.”
“Good. Well, I was sixteen, there was Dilly Fairbrass, and I thought that maybe I could get more than just a handful of …”
He talked softly, telling the tales of a happy and love filled childhood on Shadow, until around about the point when he was explaining how he came to be walking down the main street in a dress, and he realised she was asleep.
He looked down at her, her short hair slightly mussed, her lashes fluttering gently against her cheek, and his heart swelled.
“Don’t need no other home, Frey,” he whispered. “Only need you.”
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