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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Simon, Mal and Jayne have a moment with Kaylee. Inara and River are reunited with the rest of the crew. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1253 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Her fingers dusted lightly over the control panel. She stared at them for a long moment before averting her eyes. The message that had been left for her was days old; she had just now been able to retrieve it. “We’re too late,” River said as she stared into the blackness of space.
“Late?” Inara asked from behind her.
“They’ve left without us.” Her voice held no emotion and it set Inara instantly on edge.
River swiveled toward Inara. “I was too slow. We’ll have to hand deliver your data stick and then meet them.” She glanced back out into space before returning her gaze to Inara. “Your work for them is done.”
Inara was confused and it showed in her expression. “Where are we going?”
A contented smile passed across River’s face. “Home.”
Inara’s eyes narrowed and her heart-rate doubled. “Home?” She could never go back home. And she was certain River couldn’t either. And – Serenity was no more. It had been their last, and really, only, home.
River nodded. “Something we should have done a long time ago. Left a lot of loose ends. Time to tie them together again.”
“River –“ Inara glanced down at the cortex screen that River had muted when she’d walked in. She changed the subject by arching her head toward the screen. “What are they saying?”
“That the Independents have won a large victory and the Alliance war machine is fracturing.” Their eyes met. “Your information on strategic positions and troop deployments proved valuable.”
Inara didn’t want to guess how River knew what she’d been doing. The young woman had secrets of her own that she would reveal in her own time – or not. And Inara felt a sense of relief at the news, coupled with sadness and just a little bit of fear at what would happen to society as she knew it if the government did collapse. “That’s –good to hear.”
“Still need to know what you’re carrying.” River said matter-of-factly.
“Well then let’s get there. It’s burning a hole in my pocket.” She winked at River, the weight of her duties suddenly lifted from her shoulders.
“We’re a day out.” River glanced at Inara’s dress. “And you don’t have any pockets.”
Inara chuckled lightly. “It’s an expression, River.”
A smile flitted across River’s face. “I know.”
“Thank you for watching over it for me.” Simon rested his hand on the large cargo container.
“It’s been no trouble.” Kara Eldar smiled kindly at Simon.
“It’s entirely self contained and –“ Simon stopped and looked at his feet, suddenly uncomfortable.
“Why don’t I go see how your little ones are doing?” She rested her hand on his shoulder for a brief moment before taking her leave.
“Thank you,” Simon managed to say. After she’d gone, he simply stood there, staring at the cryo container expectantly, as if the precious cargo it contained would suddenly come to life and speak to him – tell him what to do next. The container had been River’s; they’d salvaged it off Serenity before they’d left the beaten and battered ship to join the war. Simon insisted on keeping Kaylee inside it, to keep her body in stasis until she could be given a proper and final burial.
He flattened the palms of his hands against the cool metal and closed his eyes. It had been nearly a year since he’d seen it. It was easier to forget than to remember, but as he stood staring down at it now, memories filtered through his mind faster than he could stop them.
“Simon?” River knelt before him, naked, trembling from the cold.
“I’m here. We’re safe.” He gathered her into his arms, resolved to put himself between her and any danger that came at them ever again.
Simon squeezed his eyes shut. He muttered to himself, wanting the memories to stop. But it was not to be.
“Isn't there anything about this place you're glad of?”
Something drew him toward her. Hope, desire, he can’t quite put his finger on it.
“No,” Simon muttered and raised a hand to his head. He tried to shake the memories away, but they lingered in his unwilling mind.
“Or you'll refuse to help me, I'll shoot your brain out, and then I'll go upstairs and spend some time violating the little mechanic I got trussed up in the engine room.”
He knew it then. It was too late. Kaylee had wormed her way into his heart and he knew he’d do anything within his power to protect her. He went with Early willingly, expecting that he wouldn’t live to see the next day.
“You’re sure?” Kaylee’s eyes were wide as she stared at him. She’d been leaning over the basin losing the contents of her stomach all morning.
Simon turned the test results over in his hand, not quite sure he believed them himself. “They’re pretty accurate.”
“Least now we know why I been so sick.” Kaylee was as pale as he’d ever seen her and he walked forward and held her hair while she bent over the basin once again.
“I’m sorry,” Simon muttered as he lay his cheek against the cold metal. Tears leaked out of his tightly closed eyelids but he just repeated, “I’m sorry,” over and over until he felt a firm hand land on his shoulder.
Simon inhaled a shaky breath but didn’t turn around. He knew who it was. He didn’t need to look up. He was embarrassed to be caught in such a weak moment and so waited until he’d composed himself.
Mal said nothing when Simon straightened and nodded. “Thank you.”
Without another word, Simon walked by him then and out of the barn. His children would be hungry and he suddenly wanted to spend every waking moment with them.
“Put us in a little bit of a quandary, Kaylee, you know that?” Mal looked down at the cryo container containing the body of his mechanic. “Ain’t got no ship, and even if I did, don’t have a mechanic good enough to fix ‘er up.”
His voice trembled a bit, from nerves or guilt, he didn’t quite know – or really want to admit. “I’m sorry I didn’t keep my promise.” He glanced back toward the door Simon had gone through a few minutes before. “But you know I’m a mean old man.”
He stared down at the silent container and contemplated the decisions he’d made that had brought him, and those he loved, to this point in their lives. “You got a cute kid, too. Simon’s done right by him far as I can tell.” Mal clenched his jaw. “Now I don’t want you to go all bibbly on me, or – I can just see your reaction now – “ Mal shook his head, unwilling to let the tears gathering in his eyes to slip down his cheeks. “You done good with Simon. Much as I hate to admit it. Man gets on my nerves something fierce but – he loves your boy.” Mal took a deep breath and continued. “Hard for me to admit it, too. I disliked that man from day one.”
“I like to meet new people. They've all got stories...”
“But you saw somethin’ I didn’t,” Mal continued, but then stopped abruptly when he realized what he’d just said. He squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head to clear the disturbing image. “Ah! No, no, didn’t mean it like that.” He groaned. “I think I just made myself sick.”
But a bubble of laughter emerged from his lips at the thought. He could imagine Kaylee playfully slapping his shoulder at the mistake. It made his heart ache even more that he’d never be able to hear her voice or laughter again.
“You’re nice, too.”
“No I’m not, I’m a mean old man.”
Mal closed his eyes for a brief moment and cleared his throat.
“I love my captain.”
He would never forget the look on her face, the wide smile as she let his mean remarks just roll off her shoulders.
“Love you too, Kaylee.”
Jayne stood stiffly, watching the chrome colored container with unblinking eyes. He glanced uneasily back at the entrance every other minute, not wanting to be caught talking to a big metal box. But he had things needed to be said, and he figured this would be the only time he’d get to say them. Mal was off brooding somewhere and Simon was busy with the kids.
“Waitin’ on ‘Nara and moonbrain ‘fore we take you home. Doc says we gotta wait so that’s what we’re doin’.” He scoffed at the thought. “Why Mal’s listenin’ to him I don’t –“ He stopped himself. Even with Kaylee lying in cryo, he didn’t figure it right to bash Simon in front of her. Maybe he’d grown in the last year.
After a while, he got over his unease and sat down on a nearby hay bale.
“Shouldn’ta taken so long, neither. But – guess we all had things needin’ doin’ before we could get ya back all safe and –“ He stopped himself. She wasn’t safe and sound. She was dead. And nothing he said or did could ever bring her back.
He pursed his lips and glanced angrily back at the entrance again. “Always said a good woman weren’t easy to find. Woman bring ya down. Make ya weak.” He leaned forward and flattened a hand on the box. “But you were a good one, girl. Rare in this life.”
He had flashes of her up on his shoulders, laughing as he lifted her high enough to dunk the hoopball into the makeshift net.
His next memory was working side by side with her as she attempted to re-wire a dumpster. The concern on her face when he was injured made his heart flutter.
Then as they cleaned Reaver bits out of the cargo bay, he wanted to hurt Mal and Simon for making her sad.
He even smiled when he remembered the fights she and Simon used to have over the tiniest little thing. Jayne knew women were just for ruttin’ on. Living with one, all permanent like wasn’t something he was prepared to do – ever.
But the more he got to know Kaylee, the closer he came to thinking it might not be so bad with someone like her.
“I’ll make sure that kid a yours gets the best upbringin’ a boy could have.” Jayne puffed out his chest and a smile passed across his face when he pictured teaching the child all manner of things that would upset his father.
He leaned forward and flattened both hands against the container, dropped his forehead to the cool metal. “Miss ya, Kaylee.”
They were waiting with eager anticipation when the ship carrying River and Inara arrived. When the door hissed and swung down, River launched herself out of it and into her brother’s arms. The children squealed in response to their aunt’s arrival.
But Inara ignored the sounds for the most part and followed a bit more slowly, deliberately, but as soon as her eyes fell on Mal, everything else faded away.
He waited for her, stood off to the side as River reunited herself with her family. Even Jayne had stepped aside and insinuated himself into the Tam family conversation.
That left Inara and Mal. Staring. She moved slowly toward him, carefully controlling her forward motion so she wouldn’t appear desperate to feel his arms around her. She could see that he held himself differently; the injuries, she mused. She’d forced River to tell her how everyone fared and the younger woman had revealed all she knew.
Inara had thought a lot about what to tell Mal when she saw him next. How she would explain what she’d been doing for the last year, sleeping with men she despised so that she could obtain information that would help the Independent’s cause. She was certain Mal wouldn’t like that, but the change it had wrought in her was one she no doubt knew he would be glad of.
The moment was awkward, uncomfortable, once she reached him. There was no joyous reunion. No swinging her arms around his neck. No hugging the life out of him. She smiled. He smiled. And Inara cursed herself for her restraint.
“It’s good to see you.” Her voice was tight.
“Yeah,” Mal said, just as stiffly.
But she was taken aback when he suddenly wrapped his arms around her and drew her close. The scent of him was overwhelming and she sagged almost unladylike against his chest.
“You been missed somethin’ fierce.”
Inara closed her eyes and rubbed her cheek against his shoulder. She felt safe and secure for the first time in a long while, and for a moment she didn’t care who noticed this unusual display of affection between the two. Life was too short. A pang of regret and longing pierced her heart when she thought about Kaylee.
“I’m glad you’re all right,” she murmured against his coat. She didn’t think he’d heard until he lifted her chin with his finger.
“Got a buncha scrapes, bruises and a few new holes, but it weren’t nothing the doc couldn’t fix.” His eyes were bright and Inara found herself immediately lost in them.
Ordinarily, she would have glanced over to Simon, but she knew he was busy with River. “I want to hear all about it.”
“Got somethin’ needs done first.”
Inara blinked, confused.
“Somethin’ shoulda been done a long time ago.”
A perfectly manicured eyebrow rose high onto her forehead. “Oh?”
“Yeah.” He drew her closer and dropped his head. “Had a lot of time to think cooped up in that bed recoverin’.”
“Oh,” she murmured a moment before his lips touched hers.
She arched her neck and sighed into his mouth. It was a possession so complete and utterly overwhelming she needed to clutch him tightly for support. The kiss, at first brief and innocent, turned deep and heated, but only for the briefest of moments, and then it was over.
They parted, and Inara felt a chill envelop her when the warmth from his touch left her skin. Her lips tingled. Her arms, everywhere he’d touched her. In those few moments the world had dropped away, but as they returned to reality, Inara could sense something had changed. There were no sounds. The kids were silent. When she looked back toward where she knew the others stood, a smile came to her lips.
They were staring.
Smiling and staring.
Reviews before the hack
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 06:27
Loved this, it makes me sad and happy at the same time.
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 07:04
Ah, I had tears in my eyes at those words of farewell from Kaylee's crewmates. You did so well with this one. I also really enjoyed the way you brought our Cap'n and 'Nara together in the end.
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 07:28
Goddamnit! It ain't fair didn't get to see Inara and Mal's first kiss... But hell, it was sooo shiny Mal got his head out of his ass and I really hope he and Inara remain like that...for everyone's sake but mostly for Kaylee's - which reminds me to tell you the tissue company got richer by 75% since I've started reading your story LOL Can’t wait for the next chapter! (the last chapter it is – the 19th , no?)
Keep flying ;)
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 07:28
Oh, I cried my eyes out during this chapter, and at the library too...the events of this story felt so real, and everyone's reactions were spot on. I loved all the memories.
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 08:47
Ahh, the inclusion of lines from the series is absolute perfection! It's all so very bittersweet without going over the edge into melodrama - it makes all the chapters of separation worth it!
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 11:15
fleshing out your view of the 'verse with skill. i'll be mighty interested to see how this tale finds its end:)
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 13:23
The best bit you saved for last, Mal and Inara! Loved Inara looking up at the silence to see everyone staring and smiling at them. Includes me too! I also loved how Simon, Mal and Jayne each said a few words to Kaylee, letting her know they loved and missed her. I still can't believe you killed her off. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 13:28
The Kaylee send off brought me to tears and the reunion scenes gave me hope for the future.
You're definitely channeling Joss here, Leiasky.
It will be interesting to see what Zoe brings.
Monday, October 22, 2007 - 19:47
Tissues up 75%?......hell, that's just on their end alone....put'em in the damn black zone for the next year. The emotions in this chapter are so very wonderful, the loss and sadness so right there, so very Joss, it's true. And knowing this wasn't the last one almost makes my heart pang to think of what's next.
Your quill is a leaf on the wind...
And I love how it soars....keep soaring.
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