Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. The final confrontation on Kendrick's ship, and a hint of things to come. CONCLUDING PART
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1820 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Zhang fu, are you okay?” Freya asked, somewhat anxiously given the state of Mal’s clothing.
“I’m shiny, ai ren. Armour worked a treat.” He tapped it lightly. “So, d’you think Simon can get the blood out and fix the bullet holes?” he asked, looking down at his chest. “He’s real good at that.”
“I’ve never really cared for that shirt as much as the others.” She wrinkled her nose a little. “It makes you look too … thin.”
“Then I won’t worry.” He smiled at her, and the warmth he felt from the one he received in return far outreached the pain above his ribs. “The kids?”
“Safe with Dillon. I think Callum’s teaching Ethan how to fly the hover.”
“Good skill to have.”
Becca was staring, open-mouthed, then gathered herself enough to spit, “You … you’re alive?”
He turned his cobalt glare onto her. “Looks that way.”
“But I shot you.”
“Believe me, I’m well aware of that. Knocked all the air out of me,” he said fervently, easing the armour away from his skin a little, and grimacing as it rubbed on the sore spots. “You know, they don’t tell you getting a couple of bullets at point blank in one of these hurts almost as much as the real thing.” He looked thoughtful. “You think I could get the manufacturers to put a warning on ‘em, or something?”
“So this was a set-up?” Becca’s voice was almost accusatory, ignoring his banter.
“Pretty much.” He almost looked sad. “I just wanted to see how far you’d go. Guess now I know.” He nodded towards the gun still in her hand. “And you’d better put that away ‘fore Frey takes it into her mind to let her jealousy get loose again and shoot you.”
Becca didn’t move for a moment, but the expression in his eyes made her realise he wasn’t joking. Carefully, making no sharp movements, she flicked the safety back on and slid the gun into her holster. Her holster. Only it wasn’t. And he’d made a joke about hoping it wasn’t Jayne’s … Something clicked, and she cursed herself for being so blind. “Wait a minute. I saw Jayne … how did he –“
“He was in the shuttle too. He’s just better at hiding than you.” Mal hitched his thumbs into his gunbelt and almost laughed at the look on her face. “What, you really thought I was gonna walk in here alone?”
“You did before.”
“You sure as hell’ve become more devious.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“So where is he?”
“Outside. Making sure we ain’t disturbed.”
There was movement behind Freya, and Mal’s hand was very close to his gun, but it was only Kendrick, stepping through the door to sit down in his own seat.
“What part of stay out of this didn’t you understand?” Freya asked, not looking at him but the exasperation came through loud and clear.
“I need to see her, this woman who wants to kill me so badly.” He studied Becca. “Somehow I thought she’d be bigger.”
Mal glanced at Kendrick. “Glad to see you’re still alive,” he said quietly. “Although you’ve altered somewhat.”
Kendrick touched his face. The skin above his left eye drooped, as did that on his cheek below, as if he had been made of wax and left too close to the fire. “A reminder of another assassination attempt. That one nearly succeeded.” He smiled a little - at least, the right hand side of his mouth did. “I seem to have a lot of enemies.”
“Seems like you do.”
“And I’m somewhat curious to find out which one of the many hired you, Miss Morgan.”
Becca shrugged. “Don’t know. All I got was a message via the Cortex, and a substantial sum in my private account.”
“Very. And as much again to be deposited when you were dead.”
“I’m glad to know I’m worth so much.”
“Not to me,” she said with contempt. “I’d have done it for nothing.” Becca turned her gaze onto Mal. “When did you know?”
“Near enough when you came on board. I don’t believe in coincidences, and you being on Claymore at just that time, meeting up with Frey … Then when Road Runner went up, and Kaylee found out about the device not having a timer …”
“She didn’t say.”
“She did to me.”
“Contrary to what appears to be the current popular opinion, I ain’t stupid, Becca. I figured it out.” He didn’t tell her about River’s dream, corroborating everything he‘d feared. Or how it seemed more like a lifetime than just half a day before …
“It was a ship, sitting in the landscape. And inside was the spider, waiting for the flies to come. Only one of them was a rat.”
“River, you know I ain’t feeling too intelligent right now, so can you -”
“Kendrick. You. Becca.”
“Betrayal. Using you to get to him. To kill him.”
“And the Runner? Wyatt and his crew?”
“Press the button. Boom.”
His jaw tightened. “Becca.”
“Yes.” Her hand tightened on his arm. “But there’s more …”
“And you hated Kendrick,” he went on, pushing the memory away. “I always knew that. From the moment you drew me into that little game of yours, back when we were …”
“Engaged. You can say it.”
“Don’t need to.” He felt Freya’s eyes on him, and he added, more for her benefit than anyone else, “It was a mistake I wish I’d never made.”
“And I made the mistake of going for a body shot.” Becca glanced down at the blood spread across his shirt. “Gorram armour.”
He nodded. “Blood bags on top. Donated by Jayne.”
“I guess the big ape’s good for something. But I should’ve gone for your head.”
“You’re a pro. Pros rarely go for head shots. Bet my life on that. ‘Sides, you might’ve missed.”
“I never miss.”
“You did today.” He nodded towards Kendrick. “You wanted me to kill him before. That’s why you introduced me to your … friends.”
“And you chickened out. This man wiped out half of Shadow.”
“Yes, he did. And maybe if I hadn’t already met Frey I’d’ve murdered him for it. But you chose the wrong man that time.”
“Perhaps I did.”
He took a step forward. “Can I just ask a question? Did you care at all for me? Or was it just an act to try and get me to play?”
She shrugged, as if it didn’t matter whether she told the truth or not anymore. “I cared. I saw you and thought I’d found a kindred spirit. Taking you to bed was a bonus. And I would’ve married you, too, if you hadn’t -”
“I didn’t, Becca. I just came to my senses in time.”
“I’d have to dispute that.”
“You do this a lot?” Mal felt the adrenalin being to pump. It was going to happen, and soon.
“It’s what I do.”
“For money. And don’t even begin to criticise me, Malcolm Reynolds. Your own reputation isn’t exactly lily-white, either.”
“No. No it isn’t.” He shook his head. “But why Road Runner? What did they ever do to you?”
Becca shrugged again. “Nothing. I knew it would make you angry. Angry enough to make Badger tell you where Kendrick was, angry enough to come out here, find out why.”
“Angry enough to let you come with me so you could kill me?”
“Not the plan.” She blinked. “Well, not totally. Although I‘ll admit it did occur to me.”
“All this for Kendrick, then.”
“For what he did to my family.”
“You’re from Shadow as well?” Kendrick asked, leaning forward in his chair, but everyone ignored him.
Her face was fierce, intense. “They seeded the atmo above the continent, Mal, some kind of chemical. I could never find out what it was. But it filtered down through the air, changing as it went, and by the time it reached the ground it was on fire. Even the land was burning.”
Mal tried to swallow, but his mouth was suddenly too dry, remembering seeing the devastation, the total annihilation of his home the last time he’d been back. “You don’t know that, Becca.”
“I know. I was there.”
“You …” He glanced at Freya, who shook her head slightly.
Becca went on, “I was coming home, just a little way out when it happened. I was too high to see what went on down on the ground, but there were waves … all of them begging for help, to stop the flames, to stop the …” She couldn’t continue for a moment, just glared at Kendrick. “The voices stopped pretty quickly anyway. Then it was just silence. And the fire died down until we could see the ash, and we knew there was nothing left alive. Skipper turned the boat around and hightailed it out. We all of us vowed, that day, to find the man responsible. And you let him live.” Now the glare was all for Mal.
“Did you know?” Mal asked Kendrick, the pad of his palm resting on the hilt of his gun. “What would happen?”
“Yes.” Kendrick nodded. “I knew. We all did. God forgive us.”
“Well, I won’t!” Becca drew her gun, aimed it square at Kendrick’s forehead.
The sound of two shots filled the room, echoing from the papered walls.
Jayne burst into the room. “Cap, what …”
“It’s okay,” Mal said, putting his smoking pistol back into its holster and looking at Freya, who had fired momentarily before he‘d drawn. “It’s all okay.” He went down onto his knees next to Becca, her body slumped against the fine side table. “Isn’t it, Becca?” he asked.
She looked up at him, her hand clutched to the wounds in her chest. “Should’ve let me kill him, Mal. He …” She coughed, pain wracking her as she did so. “He killed so many of us.”
“War’s long done.”
“Don’t be so naïve. Think I’m the only one? There’s people you’d never believe, Mal. And the fight’s going to be even more bloody.” She convulsed, trying to take a breath.
“Lie still,” he advised. “We’ll get a doctor.”
“Still lying to me, Mal?” She managed a smile, but it was more like a grimace. “Always did. Said you loved me, didn’t. Said you’d kill Kendrick, didn’t. Played me now. So many lies, Mal.”
“Well, you know what they say, Becca,” Mal said softly, brushing her hair from her face.
“Yeah.” She contorted slightly as the pain increased beyond reason. “Yeah, I know.”
“Old habits …” he started.
“Die … hard,” she finished, grinding the words out between clenched teeth before her body went slack and her eyes stared sightlessly at him.
For a long moment Mal didn’t move, then with a slow hand he closed her eyes. “There never was a Claymore job, was there?” he asked, still looking at Becca.
“What?” Freya couldn’t help it. “Not a -”
“No,” Kendrick agreed. “How did you guess?”
“Worked it out.” Freya was glaring at him, he could tell, feeling the burning between his shoulder blades. River, xin gan, he thought softly as he stood up, faced them. After you left.
“Spider in his web.” River’s words as she sat next to him. “Waiting for the flies. Only one’s a rat and the spider wears brown …”
“The box was always coming to me,” Kendrick said. He glanced down at Becca’s body. “She must have heard about it somehow, that you had been contracted to … purloin it.”
“Why? If it was always gonna be yours?”
Mal shook his head. “Test?”
“To see if you’re ready.”
“I ain’t joining.”
“You don’t know what it is.”
“Like I told Becca, I ain’t stupid. The new rebellion. You’re one of those calls themselves a New Browncoat.”
“And if I am?”
“You still wear it. Not today, maybe, but you still -”
“Didn’t wanna get blood on it, that’s all. And it’s just a coat.”
Kendrick gazed at him from his ruined face. “That I don’t believe. We all have to atone, Sergeant.”
Mal finally let a little of the anger inside him boil over. “I ain’t a sergeant! Why the hell can’t all of you get that through your heads?“ He leaned on the desk. “I’m just a man, trying to survive out on the raggedy edge, and keep my family safe. If you wanna a war, go ahead, but you’d better be damn sure you can win, ‘cause the Alliance will do anything to knock you down, and they won’t stop next time until we’re all just another heap of ash.”
“We believe we can.”
“Then you’re fools.” He stood upright. “I’m too old to be fighting this battle anymore. When I started I was young, idealistic. I ain’t no more. All I want now is to see my children grow up.”
“We need you, Captain.”
“No. You don’t. You want the hero of Serenity Valley. Well, he don’t exist. Never did.” Mal half turned, ready to leave, then went down onto his heels next to Becca’s body. For one gut-wrenching moment Freya thought he was going to take a final kiss, but instead he merely unbuckled the gunbelt from around her hips, sliding it out from under her. Picking up the pistol from the floor, he pushed it home firmly before tossing it over his shoulder. He looked up as he got to his feet, and she was surprised to see him smile at her. “I think the others ain’t gonna be too worried they don’t get their stuff back, do you?”
“No. I don’t think they’ll mind at all.” She felt her lips lift a little.
“Mal, can we go now?” Jayne asked. “I got me some things I need to be doing back on board.”
“Reasonable request,” Mal responded, picking up the back pack and taking the box from inside. “You owe me for this,” he said, laying it on the desk in front of Kendrick.
“I suppose I do.” Slowly so as not to invite a bullet, he opened the drawer and pulled out a pouch, tossing it to Mal, who thrust it inside his shirt. “Aren’t you going to count it?”
“Nope. And if you were thinking I wasn’t gonna take it either, you’d be mistaken. I’m not that honourable. And it’ll keep us flying for a while longer.”
“Don’t … don’t you want to know what this is?” Kendrick touched the wooden box on the desk, the angel carving showing deep in the artificial light.
“Nope. Could be Pandora’s Box for all I care.”
“In a way it is.” His eyes narrowed. “It’s important, perhaps vitally so. Will you deliver it?”
Mal shook his head. “No. Got me enough things to worry on right now, and all I wanna do is get off this God-forsaken rock and back into the clean black.”
“Then I need to know. Why did you protect me?” Kendrick asked, incomprehension on his face. “Why didn’t you just tell that young woman where I was and let her kill me? It would have been so easy for you.”
“Can’t say I rightly know,” Mal admitted. “To make amends, maybe. For last time.”
“But you spared me then.”
“Truth is, I didn’t want to. But maybe I wasn't quite the hwoon dahn I thought I was. Maybe not killing you showed that to me, let me see I could be something else, even if there was nothing inside.” His face darkened. “And maybe I feel that to leave you alive, to know that guilt I can see inside you, every day, every second of every minute of every year … maybe that’s a better payback for my home.” Mal turned on his heel.
“Then all I can really say, and it’s so inadequate, is … thank you.”
“Don’t need it. And I don’t want it. Not from you.” He walked out, Freya and Jayne following without a word.
Mal opened his shirt, examining the bruises on his chest. Two, directly over his heart. If he hadn’t been wearing armour, he’d be dead.
Freya came out of the nursery, sliding the door half closed then pausing, looking back at her children.
“They asleep?” Mal asked, looking at the tension in her back.
“Finally. Jesse was okay, she didn’t really understand what was going on. But Ethan …” She gazed at the little boy in his bed, one thumb firmly in his mouth, his other arm wrapped around his knitted alligator. “I had to keep telling him it wasn’t real. That we weren’t really arguing.”
“Well, hopefully where we’re going is gonna help. Hank’s laid us in a course for Phoros and we‘re on our way. Figure we’re maybe gonna spend a day or two with Kaylee’s family.”
“Was that the scream I heard a short while ago?”
“Yeah. Deafened me when I told her. But I think she’s pleased.”
“Be nice to see them again.”
“Yeah.” He gazed at her tattoo, just visible above her shirt. “You mad at me or something?”
“Then why won’t you look at me?”
She closed the door fully, and turned, finding her husband right in front of her. Her eyes were drawn to the bruises, and she touched them gently. “Oh, Mal.”
“It’s okay. They’ll fade.” He touched the cut in her lip. “And I’m sorry,” he said tenderly. “I didn’t mean to hit you so hard.”
“You had to make it look real.”
“But I hurt you. I’m so sorry, xin gan.”
“This? This is nothing.” She moved past him and sat down on the bed, her head dropping as she remembered the look on his face as he’d closed Becca’s eyes. “You loved her a little.”
“A little. A very little.” He went down onto his heels in front of her. “You want I should open up all those doors? I will if you do. You can go in, look at everything. Can’t say you’ll like what you’ll find, though. There’s things I’m ashamed of, and others I’d never want you to know in case you stopped loving me.” He felt his heart miss a beat. “You … haven’t, have you?” When she didn’t answer or even look at him, the deck of Serenity seemed to open up beneath him, and he knew he was about to be swallowed up into Book’s special hell. “Frey?” He put his hand under her chin, about to lift her face to his, and realised tears were falling onto his skin. “Oh, Frey.”
“No, Frey, it’s not. I want to be able to explain. I don’t want there to be secrets between us.”
She looked up at him. “Oh, Mal, I know I have secrets. Things I … I so want to tell you, but I don’t know how. The Academy. The war. After, in the camp. I just don’t know how.”
“I know, bao bei. And when you’re ready, I’ll be here. I’m ready to listen. I love you.” He licked suddenly dry lips. “You do love me, don’t you? I mean, you didn’t answer before, and I -”
He was stopped by her mouth fastening onto his, her arms around his neck, almost frantic in her haste, and he returned it with passion. When she finally drew back she said, “Don’t. Don’t you ever go thinking I don’t love you. I might not like you once in a while, but … Mal, I love you. More than I … more than anything.”
His eyes closed for a moment, then he smiled. “Good. That’s … good. And I promise, there’s no more women in my life. No more fiancées about to turn up and demand I fulfil my promise to them. Nothing like that.”
He smiled. “That I can’t swear to. None that I know of, is all I can say.”
She laughed a little. “I suppose that will have to do.”
He slid backwards onto the bed, taking her with him, until they were lying in their usual position, him on his back, her moulded against him, her head on his shoulder, his arm around her. She touched the bruises again, the broken blood vessels darkening his skin somewhat dramatically.
He lifted his head to look at her. “What?”
“Arnica. My mother used to swear by it. Every time Alex or me got into a fight, or fell down, or just walked into something, she’d get Bridget to anoint us with arnica. It makes the bruises go away quicker.”
“That so?” Mal smiled. “Actually, Simon offered me leeches.”
She lifted herself onto one elbow so she could look down at him. “Leeches?”
“Mmn. Said if we could stop by one of the swampy moons, he could get himself a supply and use them on me.”
“What did you say?”
“You don’t wanna know.”
“I do. Tell me.” She pinched him gently. “You said. No secrets.”
Suddenly he rolled her over onto her back, bracing himself above her. “Told him he had a date with the airlock he even came near me with any blood-sucking creatures. Maybe in a few more words.”
“I think there might’ve been something of that kind in the threat, yeah.”
She smiled, her tears finally dried. “Hope he’ll listen. After all, you are captain.”
“Damn straight.” He lowered himself onto her, his lips against hers, his tongue demanding entrance.
Jayne quietly closed the hatch to the captain’s bunk, and strolled along to the bridge. “They’re getting groiny,” he announced to his wife.
“Good.” She smiled at him before turning back to the stars outside.
“They knew, didn’t they?” Jayne sat down in the co-pilot’s chair. “The ones planned all this. Where we were. What we were doing.”
“They know you’re on board?”
“Probably. It’s difficult to keep things secret sometimes.”
“But they ain't told the Feds.”
River didn’t respond for a moment, and Jayne started to worry, but eventually she said, “No. I don’t believe they have. This is all about something else. Someone else.”
“Any idea who?”
“Not yet. But it’s coming.”
“You feel it?”
“Me too.” He stared outside for a while. “We gonna be able to handle it?”
She looked at him, her big dark eyes unreadable in this light. “Do you want the truth?”
“Then we’ll be shiny.”
He gave an unexpected grunt of laughter. “You know, I don’t think you’re lying.”
She slipped, like a will o’the wisp, out of her chair and into his lap, wrapping herself around him. “We’ll keep our family safe, Jayne.”
He held her close. “No matter what?”
“No matter what.”
“They gonna be okay?” he asked, half turning in the seat so he could look out of the bridge doorway.
“Yes.” River sighed. “He’ll show her, and she’ll let him, and they’ll be better.” She leaned into him. “Don’t ever leave me, Jayne,” she whispered, her breath making his skin warm.
“I won’t, moonbrain,” he promised, holding her tight. “You’re stuck with me. You, me and Caleb. Forever.”
“Forever,” she echoed, feeling his body wrap around her. “I like that.”
Somewhere else, not that far away …
“Is it intact?”
“Yes.” He peered into the wooden box. “The seals haven’t been broken.”
His companion nodded, putting his device back into his pocket. “Good.” He reached inside and withdrew the two glass phials, placing them carefully on the desk. Then, picking up a heavy brass paperweight, he smashed them both, grinding until there was nothing left but liquid and powder.
“And the box?”
“Leave it,” he advised, flicking a solitary piece of glass off his dark suit with one blue clad finger. “No-one is going to need it again.”
“Do you think they know how close they were?”
“It doesn’t matter. All that is important is that they didn’t get this sample of AntiPax.”
“True.” He looked down at the body of Anton Kendrick, slumped in his chair, blood running dark from all his orifices against his pale, damaged skin. It was odd, but there was a calm, almost peaceful look on his face, almost welcoming death. “Have you set the charges?”
“Then it’s time to leave.”
The two men walked from the room, over the bodies lying in the corridors, and back to their vessel, squatting like a shiny black beetle on the Persephone landscape. After a few minutes it took off, heading away from the planet, and away from the explosion that ripped the Zephora apart, distributing her fragmented remains across the plateau.
Sunday, June 22, 2008 5:00 AM
Sunday, June 22, 2008 7:09 AM
Sunday, June 22, 2008 9:41 AM
Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:30 AM
Sunday, June 22, 2008 11:31 AM
Sunday, June 22, 2008 2:33 PM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.