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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Following from the birth of David Gabriel Tam, just a little fluff about children. Snow has fallen on Phoros ...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 3837 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
It had snowed overnight. As the sun rose on a changed world it was nearly knee-deep, but that didn’t stop the children yelping with excitement as they got ready to go out and play.
“Come on,” Jayne said, pulling on his gloves. “I got me the urge to make a snowman.”
Caleb looked up at his father from where he was standing having his coat done up. “’Nowman?” he repeated, not really understanding, but grinning nevertheless.
“That’s right.” Jayne pounced and lifted his son into the air, holding him above his head while he giggled. “Gonna be the best you’ve ever seen.”
“Jayne …” River sighed, wondering which one of them was the biggest kid.
Bethie was first out of the cargo bay doors, Ethan a close second, Fiddler tugging on his lead and having to bounce along to get through the virgin white. Ben and Hope came next, together as always, then Jesse, eyes wide as she contemplated the scene. Snow always entranced her, the way it changed the landscape, made it seem like fairyland. The sun was peeking through the steel-grey clouds, and everything sparkled.
“Come on, shrimp,” Hank said, scooping her up and sitting her on his hip. “Let’s go and see what the others are doing, okay?”
“Okay, Uncle Hank.” She smiled for him and patted his cheek with a gloved hand before rubbing her nose with it.
He grinned back, seeing such an amount of Freya in her daughter that he knew this was exactly what she looked like as a child. He strode out into the fresh air, following the yells and the laughter.
“You know you said Mal was getting broody?” Zoe said, walking down the metal stairs.
Freya, a few steps behind her, had to laugh. “Getting?”
“All right. Is.”
“Are you having the same problems with Hank?”
Zoe nodded. “It’s a hundred times worse, now. Seeing little David.”
“Do you want more?” Freya asked, feeling the cold air biting into her exposed skin.
“I don’t know.”
“Well, that’s honest.”
“No, I mean it. Me, Hank and Ben ... we’re a family right now.”
“Another baby would only make it more so.”
“I was an only child. I never felt like I missed out on anything.” She glanced outside. “And Ben doesn’t now. He’s got half a dozen siblings already.”
“Then another one or two won’t make much difference.”
Zoe leaned against one of the cages. “Hank thinks it’s a demonstration of his love. If he can get me pregnant again, it proves he loves me.”
“And does it?”
“No. I don’t need proof.”
“I admit, a nice box of chocolates does it for me.”
Zoe chuckled. “Mine is candied fruits.”
Freya wrinkled her nose. “Too sweet.”
“But easier to handle than nine months of peeing and getting fat.”
“Is this you talking, or the fact that you aren’t pregnant?” Freya asked astutely.
“Maybe a little bit of both.” Zoe sighed. “I just need to be sure.”
“And you’re not.”
“Then you need to talk to Hank.”
“I do. Often. Then I see him with one of the kids, the way he is with Ben, and I ...”
“Peeing, getting fat, not able to go out on jobs ...”
Zoe laughed and held up her hands. “Okay, okay, no need to rub it in. I do remember.”
“Not sure I do.” There was a wistful note in Freya’s voice.
“’Sides, it’ll be you next,” Zoe said stoutly.
“I don’t know about that. I mean, it’s not through lack of trying –”
“And believe me when I say we all know that,” Zoe interrupted.
“I’d give Mal a hundred if I could.”
“To prove you love him?”
“He knows that.”
“I guess he does.” Zoe shook her head. “But you’re not me.”
“Wouldn’t that be boring if I was.” She chuckled. “And awkward. Hank wouldn’t know which one of us to bring candied fruit to.”
“Or hang from the support beams with,” Zoe added.
“Very true.” Freya grinned. “Come on. Otherwise there’s no telling what trouble everyone’s going to be getting into, and we don’t want to be left out.”
Zoe glanced up towards shuttle two. “What about Jayne and River?”
“Already gone. I imagine they’ve got a whole army of snowmen built by now.”
“Then you’re right. We’d better go supervise.”
“Mal will lock up. He’s just checking any waves.”
Zoe’s eyebrows raised. “Are we expecting any?”
“Well ...” She looked around, as if afraid she was going to be overheard. “There might be one from Dillon.”
Dillon Malfrey was her second oldest friend, after the man who was his lover and partner.
“What about?” Zoe wanted to know.
“Breed ...” Freya couldn’t hold the smile in any longer. “Breed broke his wrist.”
“And that’s something to be joking about?”
“No, of course not. But the circumstances ...”
“You can’t stop now.”
“Well ...” She whispered in Zoe’s ear.
The first mate’s laughter filled the cargo bay. “He didn’t.”
“He did. And he had to go to the emergency room dressed like it, too. They had to cut it off in the end.”
“The top. But you mustn’t tell anyone else.”
“Okay, I won’t.” That promise didn’t stop the wide grin on her face, though, as she contemplated Breed dressed in a form-fitting silver catsuit, with a cape and mask, all in the name of charity. Although how anyone could slip over on spilled champagne ...
“Come on,” Freya said, rubbing her gloved hands together. “Let’s go and see what mischief the kids have already made.”
Jayne rolled the huge snowball around, checking every so often to make sure it was even, before being finally satisfied. Getting it into position, he carefully placed a smaller ball on top, then a third, making the body and head of the snowman.
“Got them buttons?” he asked, smoothing off the joins.
Ethan brought over a handful of smaller balls. “Here, Uncle Jayne.”
“Hey, good ones.” The big man grinned, and began fastening them to the front.
Bethie was making a much smaller version by herself, only glancing up when Zoe and Freya arrived.
“Do you know where your Uncle Hank is?” Serenity’s first mate asked.
“Grandma’s,” Bethie said succinctly, wondering if she’d be able to get away with removing her mittens to do it better, but deciding she didn’t want to get told off.
Zoe smiled at Freya. “Don’t you want to go and see your Ma? Check in on the little one?”
Bethie shook her head, too intent on scraping the snow together. “Still be there when we’ve finished,” she stated, her tongue darting between her lips.
“Well, if you change your mind, I heard tell your Grandma’s making pancakes.”
The little girl stopped, the call of food almost too much. Then she shrugged. “Still be there when we’ve finished,” she repeated, going down onto her heels and back to her task.
Zoe chuckled, then walked in her deceptively fast way to catch Hank up.
Mal heard the sound of the locking mechanism engaging, and nodded in satisfaction. It wasn't that he didn’t trust the people of Phoros, but it was always better to be safe than sorry.
Turning to survey the altered town, he was amazed, just as his daughter had been, at how a few inches of snow could make any place look so much better. Even battlefields could be transformed, covering the dirt and the blood, making everything pristine for a while. He could hear laughter from almost every direction as families woke up to a world of white, and grinned. Striding through the snow, he followed the tracks to where his particular family was enjoying themselves.
Freya had cleared the snow off a convenient log and was sitting stride it, resplendent in her brown coat, done up to the neck, and the green and white hat Mrs Cobb had knitted her. She was watching Ethan chasing Bethie with a handful of snow, managing to catch her because Ben cut off her retreat, and thrusting the slush down her neck. She yelled, then ran after him, promising retaliation.
“What are you doing out here?” Mal asked, standing over her, his hand thrust deep into his leather pockets.
“Watching,” his wife responded.
“Don’t feel like playing?”
“Not at the moment.” She glanced up at him. “You do know that over 70% of your body heat is lost through your head if you don’t wear a hat.”
He ran his hand through his thick, dark hair. “Really. Is that a fact.”
“Something like that. I'm sure Simon or River could be more specific.”
“Simon is with his wife and son, giving them the once over before letting Kaylee get up. And River is ...” He paused, his eyes narrowing as he perused the young Reader. “What is River doing?”
She’d cut a large chunk of it from the frozen stream using the infirmary laser saw – what Simon didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt him – and was now whittling away at it with knives, her hands moving so fast she appeared to be standing in the centre of a small snowstorm.
Caleb, at her feet, seemed intent on eating as much of the resulting ice chips as possible. He kept laughing at the way it melted in his mouth.
“He’ll get a bellyache,” Mal observed, lifting one foot over the log and sitting down behind his wife, her back against his chest.
“It won’t hurt him.”
“Guess not.” He chuckled. “Anyway, I don’t own a hat.”
“Yes, you do.”
“That peaked cap you wear when you pretend to be an EMT.”
Mal paused, remembering the hospitals they’d relieved of certain goods in the past few years. “That’s not a hat.”
“Yes, it is.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“You know, we could go on all day, backwards and forwards like this. Would you like me to trudge all the way back to the ship, open her up, climb the stairs and search for the damn thing, which, I might add, I don’t even know where it is?”
“No,” she said, snuggling back against him. “I was just saying.”
He slid his arms around her waist and pulled her closer. “Then you’ll just have to share your body heat with me.”
“That I can do.”
They sat in companionable silence for a minute or two, just watching the children playing.
“Penny for them,” Mal eventually asked.
“Not worth it.”
“I’m captain. I think I’ll be the judge of that.” She shifted slightly against him, and he knew there was something on her mind. “Come on. Give.”
“It’s just … I was thinking …”
“What?” She glared over her shoulder at him. “Are you suggesting me thinking is a bad idea?”
“Depends on what the thoughts are.”
She looked back at the children, biting her lip slightly. “I don’t think we’re gonna be having any more kids, Mal.”
He stilled. “You mean us as a crew, or you and me personally?”
“You and me. Jesse’s nearly four, and it’s not like we haven’t been trying, but …” She stopped, a slight hitch in her voice. “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
“Have you spoken to Simon?” he asked softly, his breath moving the hair poking out from under the crazy hat.
“No.” She let a small laugh fall from her lips. “In all honesty, I didn’t want to. I don’t want him to tell me for sure. I mean, he always said Ethan and Jesse were miracles …”
He knew she was thinking about Alice, the little daughter they’d never had the opportunity to get to know. “It’s okay, Frey.” He kissed her neck.
“Will it make a difference?”
“What, not having any more kids?”
Across from them, Hope was showing Jesse how to make snow angels, both little girls giggling as they lay on the ground waving their arms and legs, and Mal watched as he pondered his answer.
He knew he had to be careful – she wasn’t likely to take offence, but he’d more than once put his foot squarely in his mouth when they’d been talking about children. “If you mean, will I stop loving you if you aren’t barefoot and pregnant in the next couple of months, no. If you mean, will I want to find someone else, no. If you mean, do I wish we could have more … then yes. But we do have two wonderful kids. And I don’t know if I could be any happier, with you as my wife, and Ethan and Jesse as my children.”
She sighed, and he felt her relax against him.
“You always did know the right thing to say.”
“Comes from saying the wrong one all too often in the past,” he admitted.
“I thought that was Simon.”
“Yeah, well, it ain’t exactly a unique trait amongst men, from what I’ve seen.” He grinned. “But this not having any more kids … it don’t mean we can’t practice, does it?” he asked, pulling her as close as he could so he could almost feel the heat of her tattoo through her clothes.
“I’d be really annoyed if it did,” she replied, rubbing against him and making him groan in her ear..
“Done!” River called, and all the children, no matter what their age, stopped what they were doing and hurried over.
Mal, a little more sedate, stood up and held out his hand to his wife, helping her to her feet.
“Why, thank you, kind sir,” she murmured, and they walked to where River was waiting, arms around each other.
“Moonbrain, you’re …” Jayne couldn’t finish what he was saying, but tried again. “That’s …”
“What?” Mal asked, then felt his own jaw drop a little as he saw what River had created.
The sunlight, watery as it was, shone in glittery splendour off a sculpture of Serenity, perfect in every detail. There was the bridge, the windows smooth like glass, the curve of the neck and the crew quarters, then the kitchen, the … it was there, everything, down to the primary buffer panel that had a habit of popping off at inopportune moments. She’d even managed to get the bulbous end to glow somehow, as if his Firefly was ready to take off into the black any second.
“That’s amazing, River,” Freya said, bending down to examine it more closely. She touched the cargo bay doors gently with her gloved hand, her imagination supplying the vibration as they opened in her mind’s eye.
“Home,” Jesse said, holding tightly to Ethan’s hand.
“That it is,” Mal agreed. “Wouldn’t be surprised to see little ice versions of us inside.”
River basked in the praise.
“It won’t last, though,” Bethie sighed, her gaze fixed on the tiny representations of shuttles.
“Not last?” Jesse’s eyes filled alarmingly.
“It’ll melt,” her brother explained.
“No!” She looked up at her daddy, her face beseeching.
Mal went down onto his heels. “Don’t cry, JJ,” he said, using his own, personal nickname for her. “It ain’t really our home. And Serenity ain’t gonna melt.” He wiped a tear from her cheek.
“I wouldn’t have made it if I’d known you’d be upset,” River said quietly, her hand finding Jayne’s.
Jesse wasn’t looking at the psychic, though. All her attention was focused on her daddy, the one person she knew who could perform miracles. “Save it?” she implored.
“Honey, there ain’t no room in the freezer for it –” he began.
“Please?” More tears were bubbling up, and Hope and Bethie looked about ready to cry in sympathy.
Mal felt a hand on his shoulder, and heard Freya say in his mind, We’ll make space.
He sighed, but only under his breath, and pulled Jesse into his arms. “All right, pumpkin,” he said, holding her close. “We’ll save it.”
The grin on her face could have re-ignited dead suns. “Thank you, Daddy,” she whispered, her faith in him unshaken, and kissed him on the cheek.
“Okay.” He swallowed back the lump that had somehow gotten into his throat. “Now, go play.”
“Yes, Daddy!” She fairly skipped back to Ethan, running off with the other children.
Freya’s voice slipped warmly into him. You are so getting lucky tonight.
You mean I get to practice?”
Oh, at least once.
He laughed and picked up the sculpture, finding it surprisingly heavy.
“Here,” Jayne said. “Let me give you a hand.”
“No, I got it.” Mal grinned. “Frey’s gonna help.”
“You are.” The grin widened. “We got work to do in the freezer.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” she said, saluting.
River watched them walk back towards the real Serenity, then felt Jayne’s arm encircle her waist from behind. “Did you get it?” she breathed.
He patted his pocket where the capture maker was now safely stowed. “Every second.”
“Good.” She turned in his embrace. “Make snow angels with me?” she asked. “The captain and his wife are going to be some time. After the freezer, they’re going to practice.”
A look of slight confusion clouded his brow, but it quickly cleared. He didn’t understand half of what she said sometimes, but it didn’t mean he loved her any the less. “You wanna roll around in the snow with me?”
She smiled, her dark eyes fixed on his face, and full of mischief. “Yes,” she said firmly. “But snow angels first.”
His laughter boomed out across the landscape.
Monday, August 31, 2009 4:44 AM
Monday, August 31, 2009 11:05 AM
Monday, August 31, 2009 4:02 PM
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