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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Gunfire in an alley. NEW CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1928 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Mal could see it in his mind’s eye, even as the sound of gunfire exploded again. No matter that he’d left her on the ship, she’d be lying there on the ground, her shirt reddened by blood pumping from the wound in her chest, and as he went down on his knees next to her, the light in her eyes would go out, and he’d be alone. He could feel his heart constricting as he knew he’d hear her breathing stop, his life stopping with it. He could almost taste the metal on his tongue. He ran faster.
Freya grabbed River, pushing her to one side, even as she felt something burn across her ribs. She grunted with the sudden pain, her body trying to roll up around it, to protect itself from further harm. Pulling her gun free, she swung around.
Jayne tugged his weapon free from its holster, his eyes burning with rage and righteous anger. His finger tightened as he aimed, his grip sure.
River wanted to scream her fear to the heavens, but nothing could get past the constriction in her throat as she slid down the wall, brick chips showering her, just as other guns opened up and the confined space filled with sound and the acrid smell of burned powder and blood.
“What the hell …?” Mal stood at the head of the alley, his pistol drawn, his voice echoing in the sudden silence, staring at the bodies among the detritus.
“River? River, it’s okay.”
She huddled on the ground, her arms clutched around her knees, words tumbling from her lips. “Too late. Too late. Didn’t work. Too late.”
She shook her head. “No late.”
“No, it ain’t. I’m okay.”
She lifted her eyes slowly, tears blurring her vision but managing to see the apparition floating in front of her. “Jayne?” She reached out, almost afraid to touch him in case he turned to smoke and disappeared.
“That’s me, darlin’. I’m right here.” He slid his gun back into its holster then reached out and gathered her into his arms, holding her close.
“Jayne?” She trembled against him. “I thought … I thought I was too … too late,” she stammered out between sobs.
Mal looked down at them, then at Freya leaning on the wall, and felt relief sweep through him. “Anyone wanna tell me what’s going on? And why there’s two dead guys on the ground?” He sounded almost normal as he glanced at the bodies, one of them shot twice cleanly through the chest, the other missing most of his face.
“They came for River,” Freya said, pushing away from the wall and wincing, her hand on her side.
“You’re hurt.” He strode over to her, some of the anxiety back.
“Just a graze.” She glanced down at the pink staining her sodden clothes.
“Let me see.”
“Mal, honestly, it’s nothing.”
“Let me see,” he repeated more firmly.
“Sir, I think we need to …” Zoe ducked back into the alley. “Folks are coming.”
Mal sighed heavily. “Fine. Jayne, bring River. Frey, can you walk?”
“It’s just a scratch.” She thrust the gun in her hand down the back of her pants.
“Then we’d best be getting back to Serenity.”
“What’s going on?” Hank stared from the top of the open ramp, his heart thudding at the sight of Jayne carrying River, wrapped in his coat, and Mal with his arm around Freya. Zoe kept glancing over her shoulder, her hand on her gun.
“What happened?” Kaylee asked, her hands clasped tightly in front of her.
Simon moved quickly forward, his eyes raking his sister in the big man‘s arms. “River?”
“She ain’t hurt,” Jayne said, carrying her up into the cargo bay. “Cold more’n anything.”
Simon touched her skin. “There’s a slight fever. Infirmary, now.”
“That’s where we were going, doc.” He strode towards the common area, Simon following closely.
“Hank, get the old mule over to Xeno’s and get our stuff,” Mal ordered. “It’s all paid for, but don’t let him persuade you to stop for drinks.”
“Just do it.”
“Yes sir.” Hank turned to the small ground vehicle.
“You too,” Mal said softly to Freya. “Infirmary.”
“When’re you gonna start obeying orders?” he asked, allowing his exasperation to show a little.
“It’s fine,” Freya insisted. “I just want to get out of these wet clothes.” She was shivering hard.
“Okay.” Mal gave in. “Our bunk.” He looked at his mechanic. “Kaylee, can you get some bits from the infirmary? Swabs, weaves and the like?”
“I thought you said everyone was -” She stopped at the look on his face. “Yes sir, Cap’n.” She scampered off through the rear door.
“Zoe, go with Hank,” Mal said, following Freya up the stairs. “Make like we don’t know anything.”
“I was going to anyway, sir,” she answered with a quick lift of her lips, watching them disappear.
Hank gunned the old vehicle into life. “What happened?”
“I’ll explain on the way,” she promised, climbing aboard behind him.
“River, are you insane?” Simon asked, pulling her sodden dress off her, ignoring her nudity, before shaking a blanket open and putting it around her shoulders.
“Yes. I thought you knew that.” Her teeth were beginning to chatter.
“Don’t you dare be flippant with me.” His blue eyes were full of fire. “Do you have any idea what you could have done?” He busied himself with the sensors, attaching one to her finger, another to her chest. A third he placed on her belly.
“Nothing wrong,” she assured him, shivering hard and amazed he could be this angry.
“Nothing …” He stared at her, his mouth open. “You could have been killed.”
“Yes. I could,” she agreed, seeing the anger replaced momentarily by confusion. “But I didn’t die. And neither will my baby.” She stroked the damp skin stretched across her stomach. “He’s fine, Simon. Just cold.”
“River, you okay?” Kaylee asked, stepping into the infirmary, looking at Jayne. “She okay?”
“I’m shiny,” the young woman said, her teeth still chattering.
Kaylee shook her head. “Simon, shame on you,” she scolded. “Letting her sit there in the altogether.” She unfolded the other blanket and wrapped it around her sister-in-law.
“Better than catching pneumonia.” His lips were tight.
“I’ll get some warm clothes,” Jayne said, his face a careful blank as he walked out of the infirmary. They heard his heavy tread recede up the stairs, and River sighed.
“He ain’t happy,” Kaylee said. “What did you do?”
River hugged the blanket closer. “Thought I had to save him. It didn’t … didn’t quite go as planned.”
Simon turned from the readouts he was studying. “Well, you’re lucky. The low temperatures doesn’t appear to have harmed the baby, but I’m keeping you here for observation for a few hours.”
“But I -”
“Tzao gao, River!” he exploded at her, his concern and worry of the last few days taking over. “You could have brought on a miscarriage! Don’t you understand?”
She drew herself up around her belly. “Don’t shout. I can hear you perfectly well.”
“I don’t think you can! What the hell did you think you were playing at?”
“Moderate your tone or I won’t answer.” She shook her hair out of her face, turning her wide, dark eyes on him.
“Moderate …” He was lost for words.
Kaylee watched this byplay, and wondered if people really could die from apoplexy, since Simon was going a rather worrisome deep red. “Um, Simon?” She waited until he dragged his attention from his sister. “Mal wanted some swabs and stuff?”
“I think Frey’s hurt.”
His head raised. “Hurt?”
“Not serious,” River put in, rubbing her arms with the blanket.
“You can be sure of that, can you?” Simon asked scathingly. “Just swabs?” he said in a gentler tone to Kaylee.
“Weaves too. And I guess antiseptic.”
Simon busied himself getting the supplies together, dropping them into a plastic bag and sealing it. “Tell her she’s to come and see me. I don’t want her being stupid too.” He handed it to Kaylee before going back to stare at his sister.
“Okay, I will.” Kaylee half-smiled, then walked quickly out of the infirmary, and away from the tension inside.
Freya opened her shirt, peeling it off her shoulders and dropping it wetly to the deck. She half-turned, lifting her left arm so she could see the graze above her ribs, still oozing thickly.
Mal stood in the centre of the small cabin, watching her intently.
“Cap’n?” Kaylee called down the open hatch.
“You got the stuff?” Mal crossed to the ladder and looked up at her.
“Drop it down.”
“Cap, Simon said -”
She glared at him, but recognised his sergeant’s voice. She dropped the plastic bag into his waiting hands, then winced a little as the hatch clanged shut. She shook her head - another place she really didn’t fancy being right now.
Mal turned back to Freya as she examined the wound in the mirror, flinching as she pulled the skin a little tighter.
“Here,” he said, holding out a swab.
“Thanks.” She dabbed at it somewhat ineffectually.
He sighed heavily. “Come here.”
She glanced at him in the mirror. “Why?”
“Frey, for God’s sake just do it.”
She turned and looked at him. “Fine.” She stepped towards him, letting him guide her until he was sitting on the bed and she was standing between his knees.
Opening the antiseptic, Mal soaked a second swab and reached up. He paused. “This is probably gonna hurt.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t -” She inhaled sharply as he pressed it to her skin. “Gorram it, Mal, it does!”
“Good?” She looked at him under her arm. “Is that a nice way to talk to your wife?”
He couldn‘t hold it back any more. “Are you insane?” he demanded to know.
“I've had worse.” She tried to cringe away from the stinging, but he held her waist with his free hand.
“That’s not what I meant. And you damn well know it. Running after River, not knowing what you were gonna get yourself into …” He shook his head, concentrating on cleaning out the graze as thoroughly as possible.
“I didn’t think there’d be a gunfight, Mal.” She bit back a yelp.
“No?” He looked up at her. “Then why did you take that with you?” He nodded towards the pistol lying on the desk. “Looks like one of Jayne’s.”
“It is. But I … Mal, there wasn’t time to do anything else. I had to find her.”
He didn’t answer for a long moment, then he seemed to slump. “I know.”
Freya stared at him in surprise. “You know?”
“I’d’ve done the same,” he said softly, not meeting her gaze.
“Mal …” She turned towards him.
“I … have to apologise.”
“What? What for?”
“Before. On Three Hills. I … made out that I didn’t believe why you tried to … when you …” His voice cracked.
She put her hands on his face, lifting it so he had to look at her. “I was crazy, Mal. Not thinking.”
“And when I thought something had happened to you today, I …” He closed his eyes for a moment. “I think I maybe might not have been able to think either.”
Freya smiled, leaning down and kissing him, ignoring the pull in her side. “I’m fine, Mal,” she said softly.
He felt her lips on his, and looked into her soul. “I blamed you, Frey. I didn’t mean to, but I did. And I‘m sorry.”
“Mal, don’t.” She ran her thumbs over his cheeks. “We’re both sorry. And we’re both gonna try not to get killed, right?”
He let his mouth lift a little. “Right.”
Pushing one hand through his hair and cupping the back of his head, she smiled at him. “I’m cold, you know. Are you going to put a weave on this, or do I just strip now?”
“Do I actually have a vote in this?”
“No.” She stood up, turning around so he could get to the graze. “Besides, you have to go and talk to River.”
“You know you do.”
“So you’re not going to strip right now?”
He chuckled slightly. “Do I at least have that to look forward to?”
to be continued
Sunday, January 6, 2008 2:52 PM
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Monday, January 7, 2008 12:24 AM
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