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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Follows the events of “Fractured” in a continuing Mal/River storyline. Marcus re-evaluates his choices.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 928 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Not much call for a man on the bridge when we’re grounded,” Pierre observed, stepping onto the bridge of the Hit or Miss with his usual graceful gait.
Marcus looked up, startled. “Came up here for the quiet, I guess,” he admitted. “I started out in the common area, but Murdocke was in there tinkering with something and reciting some ancient limerick from Earth-That-Was about an old lady from somewhere named Nantucket. Said he found it on the Cortex and liked the sound of it.”
Pierre, having been present when Murdocke had stumbled across the old story, grimaced in sympathy. “Well, so long as you weren’t…” He motioned vaguely toward the nav console.
“What?” Marcus asked defensively, looking down at the items in his hand.
“Playing with your dolls,” Pierre finished, grinning.
“Ain’t dolls, as I believe I’ve told you a millions times,” Marcus said. “They’re action figures.”
“Yeah, right. Whatever you say,” Pierre replied, watching in amusement as his Captain put the figures back in their places.
Changing the subject, Marcus said, “I thought you had an appointment with that Greenleaf surgeon this morning.”
A slight pink flush rose to Pierre’s cheeks, and the thought crossed Marcus’ mind that it was still a bit jarring to be able to see his pilot’s emotions written so plainly across his face after years of trying to divine what went on behind the man’s mask.
“I saw him,” Pierre said. “Didn’t much like the look of him, to tell the truth. Way too young to be an expert in the field. And besides..” He paused, shuffling his feet. “I think I’d rather just wait for my own doctor, if you know what I mean.”
Mention of Elizabeth put a small crease between Marcus’ eyebrows. “Understandable,” he said quietly.
Pierre continued as though he did not notice the change in his captain’s expression. “Speaking of my doctor, how is Elizabeth this morning? I haven’t seen her yet.”
“Doing better, I suppose,” Marcus replied. “Still in some pain from that hundan’s knife, though. Seems to me she’s worn out most of the time. Simon says it’s normal enough considering the amount of blood she lost.”
Pierre nodded, easing down into the co-pilot’s chair. “Thought for awhile there we were gonna lose her,” he said softly. Seeing Marcus’ jaw tighten, he hastened to add, “But she’s a lot tougher than we give her credit for, I’d imagine.”
“Is she?” Marcus replied.
“No doubt about it,” Pierre answered, meeting his friend’s troubled gaze head-on.
“I’m not so sure,” Marcus admitted quietly. “She isn’t….she wasn’t…” He gestured vaguely. “This isn’t the kind of life she’s used to,” he finished in a rush of words.
“What?” Pierre asked, raising one eyebrow. “You mean, getting kidnapped by a psychopath? I would imagine very few people are used to that kind of experience. But think about what she did when it happened. Captain Reynolds was too injured to escape alone, and yet, she was able to get him to safety. And, though the hundan did manage to hurt her, it wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be to kill her, was it? She is, after all, still here.”
“But she wouldn’t be going through all this if it weren’t for being with me,” Marcus said, genuine anguish lacing his tone.
Pierre sighed. “How can you say that? She wasn’t abducted because she was a member of this crew. She could have just as easily been abducted in the same exact way if she were a citizen of Greenleaf out on a stroll after Sunday school. Her involvement in the whole thing was perfectly random. Nothing more than collateral damage to the psycho.”
“Perhaps,” Marcus said slowly. “But I’m not just talking about what just happened. Think about everything she’s been dragged through since she’s been on this ship. It’s no kind of life for a lady.”
“You think she doesn’t know her own mind?” Pierre pressed. “No one, not even you, is keeping her here if she should want to go. Have you forgotten that she applied for this job under her own steam?”
“I haven’t forgotten,” Marcus said irritably. “But she could not have known what would happen. I’m fair certain she would have found something else to do, some less….hazardous job somewhere, had she known.”
Pierre shook his head. “For a man who claims to be in love with that woman, you don’t seem to know her very well.” Seeing Marcus begin to bristle, he continued, “When she applied for the job of ship’s doctor, she was not running away from something. She was running toward something.”
Marcus blinked in momentary confusion, his mind trying to wrap around the concept. “Like what?”
“Like you,” Pierre said in exasperation. “Like freedom to live as she wants, without the constraints of society at large. Just because she’s a small woman in stature does not mean she is a weakling. Woman has the heart of a warrior, to my way of thinking.” He paused for a long moment. “Are you sure it’s Elizabeth you’re worried about, or is it you?”
“Come again?” Marcus growled.
Pierre shook his head from side to side. “Never thought I’d see it,” he said softly. “I’ve been with you more years than I’d like to remember, and I’ve never seen you running scared before now.”
“And what is it you think I’m running from?”
“The way you feel about her, for one,” Pierre replied steadily. “It’s more than hard to love a woman so much that the thought of losing her makes your heart skitter to a stop. Much easier to push her away than to give her all you are, considering that gorram fate can snatch her away at any moment, isn’t it?”
“I’m not pushing her away,” Marcus said gruffly.
“’Course you are,” Pierre said, pressing the matter in the best interest of his friend. “What happened to her scared you spitless when you realized what your life would be without her, didn’t it? Helluva lot easier to sit up here alone on the bridge thinking of reasons she shouldn’t be with you in the first place, isn’t it? So you can send her away with a clear conscience, under the guise of keeping her safe?”
“That ain’t it at all,” Marcus said hoarsely.
“Isn’t it?” Pierre asked.
The two men stared at each other in silence for a long time before Marcus dropped his eyes. “Ain’t ever loved a woman like this,” he admitted quietly.
Pierre nodded silently.
“She found out I killed the hundan,” he continued, staring at the floor as if it held all the ‘verse’s answers.
“Ah,” Pierre said. “And I assume she thought that was an overreaction on your part.”
Marcus nodded glumly.
“And yet, she’s still here,” Pierre said mildly. “Despite the apparent difference in your ideologies.”
“Guess she is, at that,” Marcus said.
“Can’t imagine why, but the woman must love you,” Pierre said, letting his affection for Marcus color his tone subtly.
“Must,” Marcus agreed haltingly.
“So what’s the problem?” Pierre asked gently. “Elizabeth knows her own mind. And if she wants to go, she’ll go. But if she wants to stay, you’d be a fool to even question it, to my way of thinking.”
“But the chances of her getting hurt, or even corpsified, with me are a lot more than if I sent her on her merry,” Marcus said slowly. “Ain’t that a fact?”
“So we’ll protect as much as she allows,” Pierre said, shrugging. “After all, Murdocke’s still alive, and we haven’t even really been trying to protect him.”
Marcus laughed lightly. “Suppose that’s true enough,” he said, appreciating his friend’s attempt at lightening his mood.
Pierre grinned, happy that his ploy had succeeded at least partially. “Besides, if you send her away, I won’t have anywhere to wear the very fine shirt I found for the wedding. And a finely tailored shirt is not a thing to be wasted.”
“How selfish of me to even contemplate it,” Marcus said wryly. He stood, taking a moment to realign his action figures again just to annoy Pierre.
Pierre sighed. “Don’t you have something better to be doing?” he asked.
Thinking of the woman resting in his bed, Marcus smiled slowly, his heart much lighter than it had been just moments ago. “Reckon I do at that,” he said.
As Marcus left the bridge and headed to his cabin with a renewed spring in his step, Pierre allowed himself a small smile.
To be continued
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 4:17 AM
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 11:04 AM
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 3:33 PM
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 6:53 PM
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 11:26 PM
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