BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Fault
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Two conversations as a short follow-up to ORDINARY DAY. Jayne/River and Mal/Freya.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2251    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

“He ain’t let her out of his sight.”

“No.”

“What’s he afraid of?”

“That she’ll do it again.”

Jayne shook his head. “Can’t help feelin’ like it’s my fault.” He lay back on the bed, watching River get undressed. Since Caleb she’d been exercising gently, doing some weights and more dancing in the dark after everyone had gone to bed, and her body was now back to its usual litheness. Not that he was thinking about her naked flesh appearing. At least, not with any conscious part of his mind. “If’n I’d been a bit quicker, I might’ve been able to get to that knife ‘fore Ethan even got down to the bay.”

River sighed, turning in the light to look at her husband. “How?” she asked simply.

“Don’t know. Done something. Maybe got that fool of a guard’s attention better, maybe … hell, maybe even got it in my teeth, like one of Bethie’s pirates.”

She unclipped her hair so it fell around her shoulders, her face. “And Sadie would have shot you.”

“P’raps,” he growled. “But I coulda made a difference. Not let that boy see what his Ma had to do.”

“She had no choice.”

“Ain't saying she did. And you know I ain’t. Just … River, if Caleb has to see something like that, see us taking folks down like we have to sometimes … ain't sure how I’d take it.” He put his hands behind his head. “Just wish I coulda done something.”

“There are too many what if’s on board this ship already,” River said, sliding into the bed, fitting her form along his, as if they were one being, one mind, both more than the sum of their parts. “What if Mal hadn’t landed Serenity at Eavesdown that day? Simon wouldn’t have taken passage, I wouldn’t have woken up on board, and everything would be changed. Wash and Book would still be alive, the Alliance would never have let the Miranda information out, and Mal would be …” Her voice faded.

He looked down at her. “Be what?”

“Harder. Not Mal. Miranda gave him something to fight for, but Freya gave him something better – a reason to live.”

“Ya mean Inara would never’ve been the one?”

“They weren’t meant for each other. Without me as the catalyst, she would have stayed at the Training House, but she’d not have found love.”

Jayne rumbled a laugh deep in his chest. “That what she’s got with Sam?”

“Oh, yes. And they know each other, better than most couples.”

“’Cept us.”

“Except us.” She pulled his hand down, the one with the healing scar in the centre of his palm. Gently, tenderly, she placed her lips on it, sending a shiver up his spine. “I wouldn’t have you,” she added quietly, her words making his skin hum.

“You feel like that?” he asked gently. “Like it’s your fault?”

“I did. When Wash and Book died. When so many were killed in the fight with the Reavers … I knew it was my fault.”

“But not now.”

“No. You’ve healed so many of my cracks that I understand. I didn’t make me the way I am. What I choose to do is different, but not what I have no control over.”

“Freya chose to end Sadie.”

“Or see her son hurt. There’s no comparison.” She kissed his palm again. “There isn’t one of us who would have done it differently.”

“Ain't that the truth.”

She studied his long lifeline, hoping for once that something so unscientific as palm reading were true. “For love.”

“Moonbrain, you know how I feel about you, don’t you?” he said haltingly, looking down into her dark hair. “I know I ain't said it enough, and it should be every day, every minute of every day, but I’m just a merc with no more brains than –“

She put her hand softly on his mouth. “You are mine. That’s all that matters. And I know you love me.” She lifted her hand again to show him the tattoo around her ring finger. “For always.”

“Always, moonbrain.”

She snuggled back against him. “My Jayne.”

“My River.” He pulled her close. “So … Ethan’s gonna get over it?”

“He will. He won’t look at things in quite the same light, but he knows why.” She sighed, her breath making his nipple pucker. “Sam spoke to him, you know.”

“Yeah, figured that. Day after the party, weren’t it?”

“Freya asked him to.”

“Did it help?”

“Sam said he wasn't a children’s psychiatrist, but then Ethan isn’t a normal child.”

“What, you mean with Frey being a Reader like you?”

“And having a father like Mal.”

Jayne grinned. “Gonna tell him you said that.”

“He wouldn’t believe you. I'm his albatross.”

“Yeah, right.” He sobered again. “Ethan’s a good kid.”

“And he’ll be fine. We just treat him the way we always did.” She lifted her head to rest her chin on his pectoral muscle. “And now I want you to kiss me.”

“That an order?”

“It is.”

“Then maybe I’d better obey.” He leaned forward, feeling her hand in the hairs on his chest. “Kinda like those sorta orders,” he added, his lips thrumming against hers, then raising an eyebrow as River pulled back a little. “What?”

“You might have to hold that thought for a few minutes,” she said, sighing.

“What?”

A baby crying in his crib filled the small shuttle.

“That.”

Da shou quaing,” Jayne swore under his breath as his wife slid from the bed and attended to their son.

---

“Ethan’s dreaming.” Mal closed the door to the nursery, sliding it across on well-oiled runners.

“I know.” Freya paused in brushing her hair. Longer now, at least from when she’d joined Serenity’s crew, but it still only just brushed the nape of her neck. Now, at least, it curled here and there.

“Sadie?” Mal took the brush from her and moved behind, running it through the tangles that always managed to appear, the repetitive action seeming to soothe both of them.

She nodded. “It’s my fault,” she said softly.

“Yeah, guess it is.”

She twisted her head so fast it pulled on a knot and she scowled a little. “What?”

“You’re right.” Mal spoke evenly. “He saw you kill someone.”

“I … I don’t believe –“

“What, you were wanting me to talk you out of the guilt?”

“Well, I –“

“Can’t say you didn’t. Wishing I could, but I can’t.”

Her jaw dropped. “Mal –“

“Not that you had a choice,” he went on, ignoring her interruptions. “So there’s no point in beating yourself up over it, is there?”

“He was afraid of me!”

“And he ain't now. Frey, honey …” He moved so he was facing her before going down onto his heels to look deeply into her hazel eyes. “He knows. Why it happened. Why you had to do what you did.”

“But in front of him …” She shook her head.

Ai ren, he knows I’d’ve done the same.”

“Yes, but …” She stopped, biting her lip.

“But I'm a man?” he finished for her. “Nice of you to notice. ‘Cept it’s more’n a little outdated concept, don’t you think?”

“Maybe.” It was a grudging allowance.

He took her hand in his, his fingers running over the wedding and engagement rings. “Ethan knows what Sadie would have done. Wish he didn’t, but he knew she was a threat to all of you.”

“It doesn’t actually make me feel any better.”

“Don’t reckon there’s much that can. But people do what they need to. Bethie did.”

The image of the little girl on the catwalk outside the shuttle, Sadie falling, her face contorted in anger, not fear … “He’s so young. They’re both so young.” It was barely a whisper.

“That they are. But they’re both gonna grow up now, thanks to you, here in the bosom of their family, with the rest of the kids.” He paused. “Only don’t tell Jayne I said bosom.” He went on, “Frey, you saved him.”

“I didn’t –“

“I know. You think they ain't told me? Sadie would’ve shot him. No doubt about that.” He pushed the wave of nausea at nearly losing his son back down into the pit of his belly. “And he knows.”

“I’d do it again,” she admitted, this time not even a whisper, just a susurration of breath.

“I know. Me too.”

“Even if I thought he’d never forgive me.”

“Hurts, doesn’t it?” When she nodded he pulled her down to the floor with him, resting her against his chest.

“Yes.” She clung to him, her hands wrapped in his shirt just like his son did.

“Wish I could take it for you. And I wish they could stay innocent forever. Doesn’t work like that though.”

“Why not? Why do they have to see all the hardness, the darkness in the ‘verse? Why can’t they stay, well, unsullied?”

He smiled slightly, just a curve of the lips. “Frey, there ain't a one of us don’t wish that. I think it comes with being parents, with being a family. But we’ve all had to grow up, some sooner than others.” He tightened his grasp on her, resting his chin on the top of her head. “And he loves you. You’re his Mama.”

“I just don’t think I'm what he thought I was.”

“None of us are. I mean, just to look at me, you’d think I was captain of my own boat. But appearances can be deceptive.” He was relieved to hear her chuckle. “He knows you, xin gan. Knows you love him more’n anything. More’n me, even.”

“I wouldn’t say that.” She wriggled uncertainly. “It’s just … different.”

“Hell, I know that. It’s why I don’t get jealous.”

She looked up into his face. “Would you?”

“You said once you were jealous of every woman I ever knew. You remember? When that green-eyed monster of yours was out for an airing?”

“I remember.”

“Well, not only am I jealous of every man who’s ever had your affection – even Wash, as it turns out – but every man you’ve ever spoken to, even just looked at.” He laughed. “I’d go so far as to say every man who only happened to be breathing the same air on the same planet as you.” He kissed her forehead. “Can’t help it. You’ve gotten under my skin.”

She smiled. “How come you always know the right thing to say?”

“I thought I didn’t. I always considered I put my foot in my mouth more often than not.”

“That’s Simon.”

“No, let’s be fair here. Hank does it too, and I've heard Jayne being berated more’n once by a ninety pound young woman. I think it’s something of an inevitability among the men of Serenity. I think we get infected by it soon as we step foot on board.”

“Is this what age does for you? Brings wisdom?” she teased.

“You tell me. You got there first.” He yelped as she pinched him. “So how’re Ethan’s dreams now?” he asked, his voice softening.

Freya unfocused, just listening to her son. She exhaled. “Better. He’s dreaming about Inara.” She raised her eyebrows. “Now I’m jealous.”

“Don’t tell me. Puppies?”

“Lots of them.”

“Do I see us becoming a two-dog boat ‘fore too long?”

“You want me to look into my crystal ball?” she countered.

“Maybe. Although I’d take it as a good answer if you saw us getting to bed sometime soon.” He shifted a little. “This deck’s damn hard. And cold.”

Freya, far too comfortable to want to move any time in the near future, just smiled. “Maybe in a while,” she said, resting her head back against his chest.

“If’n I get something I shouldn’t from sitting here, it’ll be your fault.”

“I have it on good authority it’s never my fault,” she pointed out.

His laugh bubbled up his chest, and suddenly she was on her back, his form above her. “You know you’re gonna pay for that, don’t you?”

“Hope so.” She tugged his shirt from inside his pants. “God, I hope so.”


Coming soon ... ADDICTION.

COMMENTS

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 8:10 AM

TWILIGHTSEEKER


Very natural flow to the characters and conversation...I eagarly await the next chapter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 12:50 PM

AMDOBELL


Loved this and I am glad they discussed the fallout for Ethan what with the violence he witnessed at his mama's hands. Can't wait for more, your stories rock! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 4:23 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


I'm glad that Ethan talked to Sam. And glad that his dreams are turning to puppies.

You have a gift for getting to the heart of things and keeping the characters "in character". I can't wait to read more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 5:29 PM

SLUMMING


Very much liked the interactions between Jayne/River and Mal/Freya.


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