BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Prospero's Legacy - Part XXI
Monday, October 27, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Various conversations, but just the calm before the storm coming in a few chapters. NEW CHAPTER


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1884    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

As Serenity broke atmo, Jayne finally managed to track River down, but to his chagrin only with help from Freya. He’d exhausted all possibilities, and finally gone to her for assistance as she finished moved a few things in the cargo bay. She hadn’t waited for him to speak, merely pointing upwards. For a moment he wondered if she meant his wife was outside on the hull, then he realised. He nodded his thanks and climbed up the various ladders to the small maintenance platform high over the bay.

“Thought it was only Frey sat up here when she was mad with Mal,” he commented, managing to squeeze his bulk onto the metal grid next to River.

“She lets me,” the young woman said, hugging her arms around her knees.

“So does that mean you’re angry with me?” he asked, nonchalantly examining his fingernails.

She could read his concern, and was sorry for causing it. “Not you, Jayne. Me.”

“What’re you angry with yourself over?” He shifted closer. “’Cause if you let me know, I can tell you off for making you cross.”

“You can’t make me feel better with a circular argument,” she said, but she smiled a little, nonetheless.

His heart lightened. “Then why’re you hiding?”

“She saw me.”

Jayne stared at her. “Who, Riv?”

“Mara.” If anything she hugged herself tighter.

“You wanna explain that to me?”

In answer she scuttled closer so he could put his arm around her. “I built a wall, but it wasn’t quick enough. She knows I’m here.”

“She know why we’re coming?”

“No.” River was sure about that. “But it was like looking in a mirror in a carnival funhouse. All warped and twisted.”

Now he understood. “Ain’t you, moonbrain,” he promised, holding her tightly.

“I could have been.”

He looked down into her deep eyes. “You mean they might’ve –“

“If I hadn’t been put down for defence work. And if Mara hadn’t been suitable. Or if she –“

“Lotta if’s there, girl.”

“Then there’s another. If Simon hadn’t come for me.”

He placed a gentle kiss on the tip of her nose. “Then I'm glad he did.”

“Me too,” she said, snuggling into him.

“So do you wanna come down?” he asked, knowing his ass was about to go to sleep on the cold metal, and surreptitiously trying to ease it.

“Not yet.” She sighed and closed her eyes. “Not yet,” she repeated softer, letting his nearness soothe and bolster her.

“Whatever you want, River.”

He meant it, and she knew he’d be uncomfortable forever if it meant she only felt better. She smiled at the love in her Jayne.

---

Mal looked at the Vanguard seeming to hang in the black in front of them, far enough off so she didn’t quite fill one side of the window, but nearly. “Does he have to do that?” he asked, almost rhetorically.

Hank took it that he really wanted to know. “Mal, if he had the urge he could leave us in his dust.”

“Yeah, but he could just fly next to us,” his captain complained. “It doesn’t have to be like he’s leading the gorram way.”

Alex laughed from his position just inside the doorway to the bridge. “I don’t think Dillon has ever allowed himself to be second at anything.”

Before they’d left Whitefall there had been a spirited discussion in the kitchen on who would travel on which ship. Despite Alex’s assurances that there was plenty of room on board Columbine, Mal was adamant he’d be flying his own boat.

“Ain’t leavin’ her. Wouldn’t put it past Patience to sell her for scrap,” he said, arms planted squarely across his chest.

“And my … my father needs to stay in the infirmary for a while longer,” Simon said, almost tripping over some of his words.

“You know, it’s just a title,” Mal pointed out. “If’n you’re that worried about making him think you care, you could just call him Mr Tam.”

Simon glared at him, but merely said, “He stays on Serenity.”

“Shiny. And that means your Ma will want to stay put too.” He looked at Alex. “Don’t suppose you feel like leaving your ship here.”

Alex raised an eyebrow in amusement. “Mal, don’t take this the wrong way, but Columbine is worth about ten times the value of Serenity. And that’s without all the fixtures and fittings. What’s to stop this Patience from selling her either?”

“Point taken. You’d prob’ly never see her again.” He contemplated his brother-in-law. “How many does she need to run?”

“At a pinch one man can do it. But it’s better with at least two. At least, so I found when I dropped the crew off the last time I went home.”

“Talkin’ of which, ain't your wife expecting you some time in the next year or so?”

“I’ve been known to visit the outer holdings and be gone for a few months.” He smiled, looking very like his twin. “Don’t worry. She understands. And she’s made me promise to bring Freya to visit with her and the girls.”

“Not sure that’s gonna be possible,” Mal said. “We ain’t exactly welcome in the Core, and after what we’re planning I don’t think we’ll be changing that.”

“Are we planning something?” Breed interrupted.

“Not wandering around out here for the sake of my health.”

“No, I meant … actually planning?”

“I’m … workin’ on it.”

Alex smiled again. “Honestly, Mal, you don’t need to worry about me. I’ll make it up to Ellen and the girls when I get back. I always do.”

It gave Mal an odd feeling in the pit of his stomach to realise the ‘girls’ Alex was talking about were Freya’s nieces, and that meant they were his nieces-in-law, or some such, and were definitely Ethan and Jesse’s cousins. “You miss ‘em?” he asked quietly.

“Every day,” Alex admitted. “You?”

“Yeah.” He didn’t mention that he and Freya would lay awake at night, snuggled close together, talking about how big the children would have gotten by the time they were back on board. He didn’t have to.

Dillon coughed. “As sweet as this is, and I think I speak for all of us when I say I’m about to throw up, but I also think I have the solution.”

Mal raised his eyebrow. “Yeah?”

“Yes. Breed and I will fly Columbine while everyone else stays on Serenity. That way Gabriel gets the medical help he still needs, Regan will be here with him, and Alex can visit with his family.” He grinned. “Besides, five days alone with Breed … I could get to like it.”

“Your sex life ain’t any of my affair,” Mal said firmly, but his eyes twinkled. “You okay with that, Alex? Them defiling your ship like that?”

The younger Rostov, by all of ten minutes, laughed. “I think I can cope with it.”

“Shiny. Then you go get your gear and we’ll be off this hunk of rock before the hour’s out.”

And they had, leaving Patience a fair amount of coin lighter, promising next time she’d be the one to shoot him personally.

“And I ain’t gonna wish you luck, neither. You always do seem to fall right side up.”

Mal had laughed. “And you? You gonna get into trouble?”

“Over Creel? Nah. I think you’ll find the poor man is gonna die of his injuries.”

“Just wait ‘til we’re well gone ‘fore that happens, dong mah?”

She’d just smiled at him, putting him in mind of a rattlesnake, just before it strikes.

Now, with Whitefall a distance behind them, Mal turned to look at Alex. “So what’re you doing up here annoying me instead of flying your own ship?”

Alex laughed. “Freya told me to come and keep you occupied while she and the doctor prepare dinner.”

“She thinks I have nothing better to do?”

“I think she wants us to bond. Seeing as we’re brothers-in-law.”

“Ain’t never had one of those before.”

“Exactly. Besides, I think she also wants to speak to Simon about his father.”

Hank waved his hand. “You two kids go and have some fun. I can handle this.”

Mal glared at the back of his head, but he didn’t burst into righteous flame. “Come on,” he said to Alex. “If we’re gonna do any bonding it’s gonna be in private.” He led the way off the bridge, glancing towards the galley where Freya and Simon were starting their cooking, then headed down the stairs to the cargo bay.

From the corner of her eye Freya noted Mal taking Alex away from the bridge, and smiled slightly before turning to Simon. “So, what do you think we should make?”

“We?” He didn’t – quite – scoff.

“Okay, okay,” Freya said, holding up both hands. “I know I’m just the hired help here, and you’re the master chef.”

Simon laughed. “I wouldn’t say that.”

“I would. So would everyone else. And it’s good to hear you laugh.”

“Yes, well, maybe I don’t think there’s too much to laugh about at the moment,” Simon replied, his face becoming serious again as he looked through the cupboards.

“Of course there is. And you need to forgive them.”

Now Simon took on that look of belligerent stubbornness they’d come to know. “That isn’t going to happen, Frey.”

“Simon, I thought the same. I thought my own family didn’t want anything to do with me, that they were glad I was dead.” She waved her hand in the general direction of the cargo bay. “Except right now I have my brother chatting to my husband, and I got to say goodbye to my father, and I know I was wrong. And I think maybe you are too.”

Simon shook his head. “They’re your blood, Frey. Gabriel and Regan Tam … they just bought us.”

“Because they wanted children. They wanted you.”

“Not enough. Not enough to listen to me.”

“I’m not saying they weren’t in the wrong. I think what they did was inexcusable. But –“

He turned on her. “You want me to excuse it?”

“No. But understand it. They’re only human, Simon.”

After a long moment, the young man laughed, but it was nothing like the earlier sound. “That’s it, isn’t it?” he said, leaning on the counter. “When you’re a child, you don’t think of your parents as being human. They’re supermen, able to do anything, from kissing it better to … to making the sky blue. Only as you get older, you realise the kiss did nothing, and the sky’s that colour anyway. But you always hope.”

“And your hopes were dashed.”

“Not just dashed, but pounded into the ground.” That moment in the Federal station played through his mind again, as it had done a thousand times since the elder Tams had arrived unannounced.

Freya could see it, pouring off him like a wave. “He regrets it, Simon,” she said softly.

“I don’t care.”

“Yes. You do.”

He lifted his head, his blue eyes suspiciously moist. “No, Frey. I can’t. I know what will happen. I’ll forgive them, let them into my life, into my family … and it’ll happen again. They won’t be there when I need them, and maybe someone will die.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Then maybe I'm just a damn coward. But I can’t do it.” He straightened up. “And I’d be grateful if we could change the subject. You’re not my mother, no matter how much River says you are.” His voice was sharp, and he realised as soon as he’d spoken the effect his words could have had. A faint feeling of guilt ran through him.

Freya didn’t take offence. “Okay,” she said, smiling gently. “When you’re ready, I'm here. Or better yet, your parents aren’t going anywhere either.”

“Freya …”

She patted his hand and turned to the cupboards. “So, what culinary delights are we going to entertain everyone with this evening?”

---

Mal sat on a crate, pushing back until he was leaning against another. “Regretting your decision yet?” he asked.

Alex smiled, leaning on the cage. “Which one?”

Mal chuckled. “There been that many?”

“Depends on how far back you go. You could be asking if I regret looking for my sister.”

“Considering she’s my wife, I think we’d better slide right by that one.”

“Probably for the best. Although, for the record, I don’t regret it at all.”

“Good to know.”

“As for the rest, getting involved with all this …” He smiled wider, reminding Mal yet again of his close kinship to Freya. “Well, your beds don’t look as comfortable as the ones on board my ship -” He laughed at the slightly affronted look on the other man’s face, but then he sobered a little. “In all honesty, yes. I’d be a fool if I wasn’t scared about what we’re planning to do, and I may be many things, but not usually a fool.”

“Well, your ship’s out there. We could dock, you could go on home and forget all about us.”

“Not going to do that, Mal. I’m in it for the duration.”

“Even if it gets you killed.”

Alex took a deep breath. “I’d rather it didn’t. But the way things are … Mal, if we don’t stop these things, if Gabriel is right in even the slightest way, no-one’s safe. Not your children, nor mine. And I won’t leave you to fight them by yourself. I can’t.”

Mal smiled. “Must be something in the Rostov blood,” he commented. “Always ready to leap into things.”

“Is Freya like that?”

“Sometimes.”

“Is that how you two met?”

Mal stared. “You mean she hasn’t told you?”

“Actually, she’s hardly told me anything about her life between going to the Academy and me finding her again. I wouldn’t even have known she was still alive if I hadn’t.”

He really meant it, Mal knew, and it was a shock to realise she’d probably told him less about who she was than she’d told her husband about Dillon Malfrey. “Well, I guess you could say that it was her leaping in that brought us together.” With a chuckle he told Alex a slightly censored version of their first night together. “Seems to have set the seal on our life,” he added. “She’s been saving me ever since.”

“You love her that much.”

“More.”

Alex seemed to relax a little. “Good.”

“So, do I pass muster?”

“I think so.” Alex grinned. “I have no right to be interfering in my sister’s life – my parents forfeited that a long time ago. But she is still my sister, and I want her to be happy.”

“I think she is.”

“You certainly seem to keep her satisfied.”

Mal stared at the other man, then laughed. “You’re as bad as each other,” he said firmly.

“I think I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Prob’ly a good idea.”

Above them, in the superstructure of the cargo bay, two sets of ears were wagging.

“They know we’re up here?” Jayne breathed, grinning.

“No. And we shouldn’t be listening.”

“What, you want me to stick my fingers in my ears and hum?”

She put her head onto one side. “That might be entertaining. But unnecessary.” She slid smoothly over him to the ladder. “We will go somewhere else.”

“Aw, moonbrain …”

“Jayne.”

Reluctantly he followed her down, well aware what a pissed off ninety pound woman, especially this one, could do.

Below them, Alex lowered himself to the floor. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“And will you answer it?”

Mal grinned. “That I can’t promise. But I’ll sure consider it.”

“What happened to Freya? I mean the scars. On … on her body. I saw them on Niska’s yacht.”

“Scars …” Mal gazed at his brother-in-law for a long moment. So Frey hadn’t told him about Wing either, about the atrocities committed on her body, but he could understand why. She still woke occasionally from a nightmare, and while she never told him what it was she was dreaming about, he knew. He could tell by the way she was begging them not to hurt her any more, screaming as the hammer fell … All he could ever do was hold her, wait for the struggling to cease and her eyes to open. She always apologised, and he would wipe the tears from her cheeks, but it was inevitably a long time before she slipped back into sleep, and longer for him, keeping watch over her.

Alex took his silence to mean he’d overstepped the bounds somewhat. “Sorry,” he added quickly. “It’s just –“

“She’s your sister.” Mal’s lips twitched. “And I can understand that itch of curiousness. Feel it myself sometimes over some of the things I know she ain’t told me.”

“Is it … was it bad?” Alex blushed.

“’Bout as bad as it can get. She nearly died.” Wrapped in a tarpaulin, her hands blackened, and Simon had to cut the rings from her finger …

“Dear Buddha …” Alex swallowed. “What happened?”

“Man thought he could get to me through her. Take something of mine like I’d taken his.” Believing she was lost to him, and praying …

“Had you?”

“Kinda. His son tried to kill Inara. Tried to kill me too, but he didn’t succeed. I shot him.”

“So it was revenge? On the father’s part?”

“Something like. He believed he was above the law, could do what he wanted.”

“What happened to him?” Alex needed to know.

“I shot him too.” While fireworks exploded overhead, and Xavier Wing gave up his life to soak into Sheydra’s dress …

“Good.”

Mal had to smile a little. “I think maybe you’ve been spending too much time with us. You’ve become a bit bloodthirsty.”

“Did he see it coming?”

“Yeah, he did.”

“Then it was an execution.”

“That’s pretty much how I look at it.” Mal shook his head. “Funny, but it was on the planet we’re heading to right now. The only time I’ve set foot on that God-forsaken rock since Serenity Valley, and now I’m going back to …” His voice faded away.

“Mal?” Alex watched as Serenity’s captain sat forward, a look he didn’t recognise on his face.

“Serenity Valley …” Mal stood up and strode to the com. “Hank. That map Dillon had. We still got it?”

“I can access it.”

“Good.” He thumbed a different switch and his voice boomed through the Firefly. “Zoe, get to the bridge. Mah shong.”

“Mal, what’s going on?” Alex asked, scrambling to his feet, following the other man as he took the stairs two at a time.

There was no response until both men were on the bridge, Zoe only a second ahead of them.

“Sir?” She looked into his eyes, trying to see beyond their hard blueness.

“Mal, what is it?” Freya asked, coming up behind him, Simon at her heels.

“River’s right,” Mal finally said, staring down at the map Hank had brought up onto the screen. “They’re on Hera.” His fingers ran along the topographical lines. “Zoe, take a look.”

“Sir, I saw it before –“

“Zoe.”

She recognised the tone, and leaned forward over Hank’s shoulder. “I still don’t –“

“Look closer.” He glanced up at her. “The lie of that ridge, those gullies … you tell me.”

She stared, trying to see what he could see, then … “Tzao gao,” she muttered, her face a mask of shock.

“What’re we missing here?” Hank asked, looking around at the others.

“The Abbey on Hera,” Zoe said quietly. “Serenity Abbey.”

“You mean there’s a –” Simon gaped.

“It was abandoned at the start of the battle,” the first mate went on, ignoring him. “They pulled their shepherds out, and it was a wise move. First few days that place took a pounding, and I doubt anything could have survived, not with what we did. Us and the Alliance.”

“Didn’t the Shepherds go back?” Alex wanted to know. “Once the war ended?”

“No.”

“Alliance wouldn’t let ‘em,” Mal added. “Place has been abandoned for years, and it’s now part of the Serenity Valley monument.” If the bitterness in his voice were visible, he’d be surrounded by a dark cloud. “Seems kinda like karma, don’t you think? We’re headed back where it all started.”

---

Commander Klaus Ubermann was not happy. Not only had Captain Bennett not left him alone, badgering him to take him and the remainder of his crew back to their own vessel, but now Lieutenant Bradshaw was giving him more bad news.

“It’s just too faint, sir. Even with the enhanced sensors, there just isn’t enough to pick up any more.”

Ubermann pursed his lips. “Did it deviate at all? From the last point you were able to track it?”

“No, sir. But there are a number of moons, as well as an asteroid cluster, in the area. Their gravitational pull could easily –“

“I understand.” Ubermann sighed, seeing his promotion heading off into the black.

“Sir.” One of the new crewmembers, whose name might have been Bailey, or possibly Barclay, got his attention. “A wave, sir. Marked as priority.”

“With any luck it’ll be telling me to dump our guests on the nearest base and get back to work,” he murmured, moving to an open station and bringing up the message. As he read, a smile appeared on his lips.

“Sir?” Bradshaw was intrigued by his change in demeanour.

Ubermann looked at his subordinate. “Don’t worry about tracking that engine signature. We have a new destination. Hera.”

“Sir?”

“Get a course laid in,” Ubermann ordered, rubbing his hands together. “We have pirates to deal with, and Iolanthe is going hunting.”

A few million miles away a sleek black ship changed direction, her occupants not even needing to speak as they moved as one, smoothly inputting coordinates with hands encased in blue …

to be continued

COMMENTS

Monday, October 27, 2008 3:29 AM

KATESFRIEND


The fluffy bonding moments were sweet, but the creepy foreshadowing ending was - well - creepy. Yuck. Looks like Mal and Zoe are going to get a chance to see the karmic wheel turn on Hera, hopefully for the better this time.

Monday, October 27, 2008 4:07 AM

WAKEUPSOON


OMG Poor Mal and Zoe ... going back to that place won't be easy at all. Eek.
Looking forward to more. xD
Anna.x.(:

Monday, October 27, 2008 1:46 PM

AMDOBELL


Uh oh, hard times ahead. Returning to Hera can't mean anything good but I am glad Mal and Alex got to bond a little and enjoyed the River and Jayne scene too. Wish there had been some Mal/Freya goodness but that always seems to be very thin on the ground. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, October 27, 2008 3:36 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Sounds like everyone will be there for the showdown. And I hope our side wins, without too many casualties.

Monday, October 27, 2008 4:18 PM

ANGELLEMARCS


Good fluff, ready for the blood and here's hoping Mal and Zoe don't lose too much blood.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 2:38 AM

SLUMMING


Well done. And I always smile when RIver thinks of Jayne as "her Jayne".


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