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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Sam puts Inara to bed, and Mal has a word with Freya. Oh, and Bethie gives Kaylee a good idea. CONCLUDING CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1859 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Sam waited as long as he could, until everyone else had turned in, before he headed up towards his and Inara’s bedroom, stopping outside. He was under no illusion that he’d disturb his lover entangled naked with the Captain’s wife, but what else he might find gave him pause. He raised his hand and knocked, once, twice, three times.
Sam smiled and opened the door.
Freya was sitting in the armchair, cuddling what looked like a bottle of rice wine. Her eyes were closed, as if she was asleep. Inara, on the other hand, was on the bed, her head on the pillow, her knees drawn up towards her chest. She was humming something.
Sam crossed to the bed and sat down. “Hey,” he said softly, stroking her hair back from her forehead.
“Did I say come in?” she asked, somewhat belligerently.
“No. But I do sleep here.”
She peered at him out of one eye. “Okay. Point taken.” She lifted her head enough to look at Freya. “I think I broke her.”
“Is she unconscious?”
“Not sure.” Inara smiled up at him. “I didn’t drink nearly as much as she did.”
“Why did you drink at all? Why didn’t you just ask her what was wrong?”
“Because she wouldn’t have told me.” Inara yawned, not even bothering to cover her mouth. “Her walls … her defences are so strong, she’d never had admitted she was angry at Mal for nearly dying.”
“And did she?”
“Good. It should help.”
“I think so.”
“She also apparently taught you some new songs.”
Inara chuckled. “You know, one of them was about –“
Sam laid a finger on her lips. “I don’t think I want to know.” He slipped his hand into his pocket and came out with two tablets in his palm. “Here. You’d better take these.”
“Some of Simon’s wonder pills?”
“Mmn. He said for you to take them before you go to sleep, and drink as much water as possible.”
“How did he know we’d been …” She pointed to an empty bottle on the table.
“We heard, my sweet.”
Her eyebrows lifted. “All of it?”
“Well, the singing, anyway.”
“Oh.” She struggled to sit up, then realised she was leaning on her sleeves. “Oops,” she said.
He shook his head at her, then filled a glass from the carafe. “Here.”
She took the glass in both hands, having to hold it carefully to keep it steady. She took a sip, then another, finishing it before she knew. She sighed, feeling a little of the fuzziness clear.
Sam filled the glass again, smiling at her wrinkling her nose at him. “Open,” he commanded, and when she did he popped the two pills onto her tongue. She swallowed quickly, washing them down with more of the water before making a face.
“Do they have to taste that bad?” she asked.
“Simon probably chose that particular type on purpose.”
“And I thought we were friends.” She tried to put the glass on the bedside table, but almost missed, Sam having to grab it at the last moment to prevent an accident. “Sorry.”
“You’d better lie down.” He eased her back, watching an odd look cross her face. “Are you going to be sick?” he asked gently.
“Then I will hold your hair out of the way.”
She smiled. “You love me that much.”
“That’s nice.” Her eyes began to close. “That’s very nice.”
He smiled then stood up, pulling the top cover across her as she snuggled down into the pillow. He turned to wake Freya, but saw he didn’t have to. She was smiling at him from the armchair.
“Everyone gone to bed?” she asked, keeping her voice low, hardly slurring her words at all.
“Yes. And so should you. Come on, I’ll give you a hand.”
“I can do it myself, thank you very much.” She pushed herself to her feet, swaying a little.
“I still think I should help you down the stairs. Just in case you fall.”
“You, sir, are a gentleman.”
“And you’re on the wrong side of drunk.”
“But I’ll be sober in the morning, and you’ll still be a gentleman.” She laughed and handed him the bottle. “Thank Inara for the booze, will you?”
It didn’t take long to get her to the bottom of the stairs, where she insisted she was capable of getting ready for bed all by herself. “I’ve been doing it for some time now, you know,” she said, drawing herself up.
“Fine.” Sam laughed. “Then I’ll see you in the morning.”
Freya grinned and almost fell through into the back drawing room.
Mal was lying in bed, propped up slightly on pillows to ease the healing incision in his chest. “What time do you call this, then?” he asked, putting down the book he was reading, one of Hank’s trashy novels, this one with a buxom blonde on the front being menaced by an alien in a space suit.
“Bedtime.” Closing the door carefully behind her, Freya walked somewhat unsteadily towards him, stopping to lean on the back of one of the chairs to try and take her boots off. Somehow, she just couldn’t seem to manage it.
“I'm sorry,” Mal said, watching her struggle.
“No problem. I can do this.” She grinned at him, then almost fell, grabbing at the last moment at the chair to save herself. “I know you can’t help,” she added, pushing herself straight.
“No. I don’t mean that. I mean for nearly breaking my promise.”
She sat down heavily in the chair, grabbing at her foot and missing. “Promise?”
“To not leave you.”
Freya stopped, and lifted her head slowly. “What?”
“I promised I’d never leave you. And I nearly did. I'm sorry.”
She stared at him, taking in his mussed hair, the sheets pulled up to his waist, the dressing still covering the stitches starkly white against his skin. But all she saw was his blue eyes, very gentle now, telling her so much more than words ever could. “Mal …” She had to swallow hard.
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking waiting for you. And maybe I’ve got an idea of what you were going through. Thinking I wasn't … that you were going to be left alone.” He wanted to get out of the bed, cross to her, take her in his arms and comfort her. “Felt the same way, Frey, when it’s been you lyin’ in the infirmary.”
“It … hurts,” she admitted.
“Yeah. It does.” He shook his head. “But I know a little of what you felt.”
“Yeah, that too. And then you see me making jokes, like it never happened.”
She looked ashamed. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be.” He held up the blanket. “You comin’ to bed or not?”
She finally managed to kick her boots off, and immediately slipped under the covers, next to her husband, feeling his warmth against her.
“I'm still dressed,” she said unnecessarily.
“And you smell a bit like a distillery.”
“I do not!”
“Do too.” He took a deep sniff. “Not saying I don’t like it, though. Not for a change.”
“Maybe I should start dabbing it behind my ears,” she suggested, grinning.
“What, and have all the fellers followin’ you? Don’t you dare.”
She giggled then snuggled down, his arm coming round her quite naturally. “Anyway, I'm the one should be saying sorry,” she murmured, her hand fluttering above his chest.
“I've been … Mal, I've been angry at you, and it’s not your fault.”
“Not yours either, xin gan.”
“Haven’t we had this conversation before?” she asked, lifting her head to peer at him.
“Prob’ly. And I don’t doubt we will again, seeing as the life we lead sometimes.”
“You’re not planning on taking up arms against the New Browncoats again any time soon, are you?”
“Nope. Oddly enough, I wasn’t before. Just kinda snuck up on me.”
“Are you going to get mad at me?” she asked, looking very like her daughter.
“Might. Seems to me I figure maybe I’ve got cause.”
“I was upset.”
“You were a bit crazy.”
“I didn’t want you to die.”
“Me neither. But I ain't gonna change my stripes just because I nearly did. Frey, I’m just glad I can still hold you like this, that I ain't six feet under growing cold in my coffin.”
“I would have kept my promise,” she whispered. “If you had.”
“Which one?” he asked, but knew before she spoke.
“Not to … to leave the children.” She couldn’t say it, not the words.
“I'm glad. Not for you, but for them. And for me. Can’t think of you doing anything that might … can’t think of that, Frey.” He leaned down far enough to kiss her, just a brush of his lips across hers, but he couldn’t help wincing.
“No,” she said firmly, pushing herself up onto her elbow. “None of that.”
“You mean I can’t kiss my wife?”
“No. Not yet.”
“Not ‘til you’ve got those stitches out.”
“Then call Simon right now.”
She stared at him, wide-eyed, then realised he was joking. “Gorramit, I can’t even hit you!” she said in frustration.
He chuckled. “Frey, I ain't gonna do anything to jeopardise our future together. ‘Cause we got one, and it’s gonna be a long and eventful one, if the past is anything to go by. I can’t say we’re gonna get through it without a scar or two more, but I’ll do my best. Like you will. But you’ve gotta let me blow off a little steam sometimes, even if it’s just telling the girls stories I maybe shouldn’t.”
“You really shouldn’t have told them the one about Wash and the girl who turned out to be a man. I don’t think Zoe knew that one.”
“Well, permaybehaps that’s the case. But he didn’t get very far, and I'm sure she’d’ve forgiven him if she’d known.”
“Like you forgive me?”
“Only if you do the same.”
She smiled. “Okay.”
“Good.” He reached out and picked up two small white pills from the table next to him. “Now take these like a good girl.”
“Something of a misnomer there,” she muttered, looking at them in the palm of his hand. “What are they?”
“Stop the hangover in the morning.”
“I don’t get hangovers.”
“No?” His mind wandered back to the very few times he’d seen her really drunk. “Must’ve been me, then.”
“Must have been.”
He nudged her with his elbow. “Then for my sake, okay?”
“Well …” She picked them up, rolling them between her fingertips. “Okay.” Tossing them into her mouth and nearly falling backwards out of bed, she swallowed, grimacing. “Yuck.”
“Serves you right for drinking.”
She looked down her nose at him. “You drink. Me and Zoe’ve had to come and get you and Hank more than once. And Jayne. Poured him into a shuttle on the odd occasion. Simon too, come to think of it.”
“That’s not the same.”
“So that makes it okay.”
“Right. Next U-day, don’t go thinking any one of us girls are going to come and get you,” she threatened. “We’ll be out having a fight of our own.”
“I don’t doubt it. Don’t doubt it at all.” He reached up and pulled her down to him, her head sitting perfectly against his shoulder. “So what was that song you were singing? You and Inara.”
She grinned, her eyes beginning to close. “Something my grandma taught me. Something she shouldn’t have. And my father got really cross about, because Alex and me kept walking round the house singing it.”
“Sing it for me.”
“Sleepy.” She yawned, slipping her arm around his waist, well away from the site of his operation.
“Just once. Then you can doze right off.”
She muttered something against his chest that sounded a lot like Chinese. “I don’t remember it.”
“Sure you do.”
“Mal, I'm trying to get some shut eye.”
She sighed heavily, her breath making his skin tremble, but she rolled slightly onto her back. “Fine. Okay. No problem.” She started to hum, then paused. “Join in whenever you’re ready.”
“I don’t know the words.”
“Oh, you will. It’s pretty monotonous. And obscene.”
He chuckled. “Just how I like it.”
In her bedroom Bethie looked at her mother as she tucked her in, the tatty green rabbit known as Jayne sitting at the end of the bed. “Momma, Ethan’s pacemaker … does it have shielding?”
Kaylee looked up, surprised. “Not sure. Why’d you ask?”
“Just wondering. It didn’t get damaged by the EMP.”
“No, no, it didn’t.” Kaylee folded one of Bethie’s small t-shirts absently. “Maybe it does.”
The little girl smiled, cuddling her Ethan doll and snuggling down into the soft warmth. “G’night,” she said.
“Mmn?” Kaylee pulled herself back to the moment, and away from the possibility of looking up pacemakers on the Cortex and finding out if they had something she might be able to adapt for Serenity’s engine. “Oh, yeah. G’night, Bethie.” She leaned forward as far as her belly would allow and kissed her daughter on the cheek. Standing up she went to the door, turning the light off so there was only the glow of starlight through the half-open curtains. “Sweet dreams.”
“You too.” Bethie closed her eyes, but before the door could shut she added, “And Momma?”
An expression of disgust crossed her features. “Can you tell Uncle Mal and Auntie Frey to stop singing that song? It’s rude.”
Kaylee looked perplexed, but said, “Course I will, but I'm sure they’ll stop soon. G’night.”
Out in the corridor, after the door had clicked shut, Kaylee listened carefully. Sure enough, just on the edge of her perception, coming up from downstairs, she could hear voices, one man and one woman, singing in a language she didn’t understand. She grinned. Looks like things are back to normal, she thought to herself, and went to tell Simon the good news.
A.N.: Now, you know me. There's more to come. Might take a while because I'm also writing a Castle fic over on fanfiction.net (for anyone who wants to drop in) but the next story will be JERICHO WELLS, and Zoe has to stand for Parliament. Sort of. Jane
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