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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and Eddie have a conversation while they wait, there's a little Maya fluff, and then there's the birth ... NEW CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1878 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Eddie Frye headed through the kitchen to the back door, trying to stop the feeling that he should have at least a twinge of guilt in the back of his brain. Ellie had told him, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn’t needed in the room, and the truth was he didn’t want to be there. The thought of what Kaylee was going through, his little girl, his Winnie … and worse, how she’d got into this position in the first place.
He shook his head. It was easier to think babies came with the stork.
Zoe and Hank had taken the children back to Serenity, hoping that distance would help somewhat. Bethie had been complaining for hours about having a headache due to the walls she was having to keep up as tightly as possible, and Ethan wasn’t looking much better. The Firefly’s first mate had instructions on what medications to use if necessary.
Freya and Jayne were playing cards upstairs, whether for money or chores Eddie wasn't too sure, but every so often there was a groan of dismay, probably from a certain burly ex-mercenary. Neither of them was straying too far from their respective spouses.
Simon, of course, was going nowhere. This was his wife, his child, and besides which he was the doctor. And River had refused outright to move from her position at Ellie’s shoulder, and from the look on the young man’s face Eddie was pretty sure he was glad to have the pair of them.
Stepping outside, Eddie took a deep breath, feeling the cold air clear his lungs and start to calm him.
Startled, he looked around.
Mal was sitting in a collapsible chair, his heels up on the rail, wrapped in his brown coat and scarf.
“Yeah,” Eddie said, beginning a grin. “There ain't a place in there I feel comfortable standing.” He leaned against the verandah’s upright. “You?”
“Sitting here wondering what I’m gonna do when it’s Jesse.”
Eddie laughed. “Yeah, you got that joy to come.” He flicked a finger. “But between you and me, when it’s grandkids, it’s different.”
“I think I’ve got a while until I can check that.”
Mal shifted slightly in his chair, and his coat fell open enough so that Eddie could see the ties holding his gun down to his leg.
“Still paranoid?” he asked pointedly.
Mal glanced down. “Feel kinda undressed without it,” he admitted.
“So it has nothing to do with that madman, Niska?”
An image of Hank and Peter lying unnaturally still on the dirt outside his ship made Mal shudder slightly. “Whatever gave you that idea?”
“Maybe it’s ‘cause I know you.”
Giving a short bark of laughter, Mal covered his holster with brown leather again. “Maybe you do.”
Eddie lowered himself onto the step, and the two men sat in companionable silence for a few minutes.
“Won’t be long, least according to Simon,” the older man said eventually.
“Is it bad if I admit that I'm glad it’s not me and Ellie?”
Mal grinned. “Well, Frey’s made me promise that, if the situation arises, I’ll be the one carrying the next.”
Eddie had to laugh. “That I’d pay to see.”
“Get in the queue.”
Again they were quiet, until a scream from inside had them both tensing.
“Anyway,” Mal said loudly, trying to talk over it. “I'm quite glad we got this time to ourselves, ‘cause I got something I need to ask you.”
“Well, thanks, Mal, and I’m flattered, but you ain’t my type.”
“How come everyone thinks I’m sly?”
“Must be your perfume.”
Mal grinned. “Better stop dabbing it behind my ears.”
“I’m sure Frey’d be happy ‘bout that.” Eddie rubbed his hands up and down his arms: the sun was dropping quickly towards the horizon, and the temperature with it. “So what do you want to chat about?”
Eddie froze. “Now, look, Mal, I ain't takin’ any of it. You know you’re family, and I'm gonna start being offended if you ask again.”
Mal held up a hand. “Not like that. Least, not in the way you mean it.” He looked out over the gently rolling landscape towards the mountains that fringed the world a long way off. “It’s just … I reckon Kaylee told you about some of the things we got up to on Jericho.”
Eddie nodded slowly. “I reckon maybe she did.” He turned his gaze to the younger man. “Truth is, Ellie was getting her tucked in, and little Kaylee asked if we remembered Leo Gunn.”
“Oh, yeah. We were quite the gang of tearaways … him, me, Cal, Jonah … the scraps we used to get into, it’s a wonder we ever made it through to growing up.” He pursed his lips, pushing the memories to one side. “But even with what we did once … I can’t say I’m happy about you getting Kaylee into nefarious doings.”
“Truth is, most of what we do comes under that category,” Mal admitted.
Mal shifted again in the chair, this time feeling uncomfortable. Eddie wasn’t any blood relation, of course, but he always felt like the man was something akin to his own father, what he could remember of him. And with a mother like Ellie, no wonder Kaylee had turned out the way she had. “Sir, it ain’t like we choose this life. It’s been kinda chosen for us, and we have to live it as best we can.”
“And if that means turning over a local bank?”
Dropping his head, Mal tried to hide the slight twist to his lips. “Then we take what we can from those as can afford it.” He looked back up. “If’n I could, none of us would break the law. It ain't the way I was brought up, and I conjure it’s pretty much the same for the rest of the crew.”
“Even him. His Ma … well …”
Eddie smiled slowly. “It’s okay, Mal. I understand. I really do. There’s been times in the past the Fryes ain’t exactly been totally on the legal side, just so’s we could get by. And I’m talking more than just the occasional foray into mischief with Leo.” The smile grew a little. “And you don’t have to be calling me ‘sir’. Makes me feel ancient.”
Mal looked only a little abashed. “I just recall being able to get away with pretty much anything during the war when I called everyone ‘sir’. I got out of any number of scrapes just by being polite.”
“And what would your Ma have said about that?”
“She’d have told me to own up to what I did, and not to think that being pretty would be the answer every time.”
“Okay, maybe I’m paraphrasing a tad, here.”
“I think maybe you are.” Eddie shook his head. “But you wanted to ask me something?”
“Oh, right, before I was rudely interrupted …” Mal pulled his coat tighter as a cold wind seemed to swirl around the house. “We made some cash, more’n we hoped and a hell of a lot more’n we planned. The crew’ve had their share – at least some of it – but the rest is locked up tight in the safe, and … well, in all honesty I don’t think it’s that secure.”
“You’re not suggesting some of your own crew –”
“No, no.” Mal had to smile at the affrontery on Eddie’s face. “No. That ain't it at all. But there are folk out there who’d think nothing of trying to get on board and kill us all in our beds, just for the spare change in our pockets if they even got a whiff we might be carrying more’n usual.”
“Any particular folk you have in mind?”
“Not really. Just general,” Mal admitted. “But I can feel it burning a hole in my boat, and I can’t push the feeling that we’re just loading up trouble if we keep it on board.”
“So put it into a bank.”
Mal knew Eddie was joking. “Right. Seeing as how we acquired it.”
The older man guffawed. “Maybe you’re right. But I'm beginning to think you’re about to ask me to hide it for you.”
Mal nodded. “Some. Not all, but a goodly share.”
“Because I trust you.”
Eddie sat back, exhaling heavily through his nose, the breath catching into vapour in front of his face, almost shocked at the simple and easy way Serenity’s captain had spoken. “You do?”
“You’re Kaylee’s father. Simon’s pa-in-law. Hope and Bethie’s grandpa. And more’n anything you know what we are, who we are. And I know I can trust you.”
“That’s a lot of responsibility to put on a man.”
“I think you can bear it.”
Eddie nodded slowly, whether in agreement or just for something to do was unclear. “And what do you want me to do with this cashey-money?”
“Keep it safe.” Mal leaned forward. “There’s gonna be rainy days coming, I can feel it. Maybe not yet, and maybe not for a year or so, but the clouds are gathering. What we did on Hera, well, its ramifications are spreading out, like ripples in a pond. Miranda didn’t overthrow the Parliament, but it was a close thing. This, the news about the New Browncoats, the Re-Pax, growing new Reavers … it’s pushed it just that little bit closer to the edge. And there will come a time when it tips.”
“Soon?” Eddie was already making plans, wondering where the best place to be was, making sure his family was safe.
“No idea. I don’t think quite yet, but … best to keep an ear to the ground and an eye to the sky.”
“Kaylee will be glad to hear that.” Mal’s lips lifted, but only a little. “So we need to know we have some money stashed, someplace safe, where we can get to it if we need to run and hide.”
Eddie did smile, if ruefully. “You? Run? That ain't your way, boy.”
“Oh, it is. At least, it is now. Takes a lot to make me stand my ground and fight.”
He knew he wasn't going to win that argument, so Eddie simply shrugged. “And you want funds available.”
“That we do.” Mal dropped his feet to the ground. “And they’d be available to you too, if you needed it.”
Now Eddie shook his head vehemently. “I wouldn’t touch it.”
“If you needed it. Be like a loan.”
“And if I couldn’t pay you back? Nope, ain't doing that.”
“Like I said. If you needed it.” Mal was firm, not raising his voice, just talking the way he used to when his troops needed him most. “And I still figure there to be some when I need it.”
Eddie had to laugh. “Maybe a penny or two.” He thought for a moment. “Where? Where do you want me to put it?”
“I was figuring in your safe room in the cellar. Someplace no-one else’d look to find it.”
There was a long pause, then … “Okay, Mal. No problem. You give it to me ‘fore you leave. I should have been able to rig up some kinda strongbox before that.”
“Well, it’ll be a while before we do that. Kaylee’s made me promise we stay for near a month, so you’re gonna be sorely bored with our company before then.”
“That I doubt.” Eddie laughed, a rich rolling sound. “That I sincerely doubt.” They were silent for a long while, as the sun dipped closer to the edge of the world and the small amount of heat it had given leached away into the darkening sky. Eventually Eddie took a deep breath. “You know, Kaylee wrote us. A lot, at first, when she started working for you. She was homesick.”
“And she said you helped her. A lot.”
Mal stirred. “Eddie, I never laid a hand –”
“Oh, I know that, son. I know that. And I know you never would. That ain’t the point I’m making.” Eddie paused. “I guess I just wanted to thank you. For keeping her safe, as much as you can.” He knew he was contradicting himself from just a while earlier, but he needed to say the words waiting in his heart. “She was always the one for going out, getting into scrapes, maybe even more than the boys. As if she had to keep up with ‘em. But I know she’s got a good home with you.”
Mal felt a heat beating back the cold in his body. “Eddie, you don’t know what that means to hear you say that.”
Eddie chuckled. “Oh, I think maybe I do.”
Another scream from upstairs had them looking up, then Mal blinked, twice. “Better get in. Seems we’re about to meet another crewmember.”
“Your wife told you that?”
Mal nodded, tapping his temple. “She keeps me up to date with everything.”
“How do you deal with that?” Eddie asked. “Having her in there all the time, not having any space to yourself? Don’t you ever want to just think a thought and not have someone else know it?”
“And be alone?” Mal put his arm around the older man’s shoulder, and shook his head. “Eddie, truth is, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The back door opened. “Are you coming or not?” Freya asked, shivering as the cold air hit the exposed skin at her neck.
“You ain’t exactly given us much chance to get there,” Mal pointed out.
She laughed. “I think you’ve maybe got a minute or two. At least according to River.”
“Then I’d best be making my way up,” Eddie said, glancing between the pair. “See you in a mo.” He disappeared.
Mal smiled. “You think he’s giving us some time to be together?”
“Long enough.” He grinned wider, opening his coat.
She darted across and put her arms around his waist, pressing against his chest as he wrapped the leather as far around them both as he could manage. “Miss me?” she asked, feeling his heart beating reassuringly steadily.
“Yes.” Her lips touched his lightly. “You.”
He mirrored the action. “Maybe a little.” Looking deeply into her hazel eyes. “I’m doing my best, you know,” he said softly. “Even if I’ve been poorly.”
“I know.” Her voice was so low now it was just a murmur. “And I have to say, I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
“Just doesn’t seem to be working that well, does it?”
She exhaled softly, and he could feel her breath on his cheek.
“Maybe we’re not meant to have any more kids, Mal. It might not be in our future.”
“Maybe. But I’m thinking perhaps we should get Ellie to read the leaves for you again. She saw Jesse, didn’t she?”
Laughter bubbled up behind her breasts, vibrating through him.
“We could try.”
“Oh, I keep trying all the time.” He smiled and kissed her gently, holding her as close to him as he could manage.
Mal drew back enough so that he could look into her face again. “River?” he commented on the voice in both their minds.
“I think we need to go now.”
“No, after –”
At 4.03 pm, just as the sun threw the last of the long shadows over the ground and dropped below the horizon, Kaywhinnet Lee Tam gave one last mighty push, and her son entered the ‘verse.
A long, low wail filled the room from a pair of lungs that had taken nine months to develop, and as Simon cut the umbilical cord, he couldn’t help but see his hands were trembling a little.
“Here,” River said quietly, her stopwatch finally removed from her neck, a blanket in her hands. “Let me.”
Simon nodded, letting his sister take his son and wrap him carefully, wiping the fluids from his skin. “Thank you, mei-mei.”
“Is he okay?” Kaylee asked, trying to see.
“He’s perfect,” Simon whispered, a look of such wonder on his face that she felt her breath catch. “Absolutely perfect.” He leaned forward enough so that he could whisper, “I love you, bao bei.”
“I love you too,” Kaylee said, smiling tiredly. “Now, where’s my baby boy?”
River grinned and handed the wrapped bundle to her. “David.”
Kaylee’s eyes widened. “How did you …” Then she laughed. “No, forget what I was going to say. Must be giving birth’s loosened a few of my brain cells. Of course you knew.”
“He looks like Simon.”
“Thanks,” the man said dryly.
“I meant he has your eyes.”
Kaylee was gazing at her son, entranced by him. “Does he have everything? Toes, fingers …”
“Everything,” River confirmed, smiling widely.
Kaylee stroked a tiny, smooth cheek, and the crying ceased. It was as if time stood still and the room was empty apart from her and her little boy, taking their first long looks at each other.
Simon delivered the afterbirth, River taking it away in the covered basin, but he had to concentrate hard. He wanted to be with his wife, his son, but he knew he had to clean her of the blood and mucus …
“Let me,” Ellie said softly, taking the towel from him. “Let me do this for my baby, so you can be with yours.”
Simon smiled gratefully at her, and hurriedly joined his wife on the bed. “Kaylee?”
“He’s beautiful,” she was murmuring, over and over. She looked up, tears of joy rolling down her face. “He’s beautiful, Simon.”
He nodded, trying to swallow the emotion in his throat. “That he is.”
She dropped her face again, her little finger touching the baby’s lips. “It’s so good to see you at last,” she whispered. “I’m your Momma, and this is your daddy. And you’re David. David Gabriel Tam.”
to be concluded
Saturday, August 22, 2009 1:20 PM
Saturday, August 22, 2009 3:18 PM
Saturday, August 22, 2009 11:49 PM
Sunday, August 23, 2009 6:24 AM
Sunday, August 23, 2009 5:22 PM
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