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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Mal sees himself.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1083 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
When they got to the jailhouse, Lee insisted that Mal sit down in Harlen’s chair, made him a cup of coffee with a splash of the jail brew that Harlen kept at the back of a desk drawer and busied himself unnecessarily with Harlen’s records whle Mal used the tiny washroom with the door that wouldn’t lock.
Lee was more or less a happy man, and though he wouldn’t do anything to compromise his own contentment by dwelling on the discontent of another, he could allow himself to imagine Mal’s misfortune for long enough to feel for a moment what it would be like to lose your livelihood and home.
Inside the washroom Mal stood over the cracked sink and splashed his face with cold water. He caught sight of himself in the mirror, noticing, without being able to say exactly how, that he looked as damn near normal as he could. Someone who knew him well could have told him what ‘normal’ meant in his case: jaw tense, eyes alert, rigid shoulders and chest holding down the troublesome emotions that had just now got the better of him. Yes, normal, but for the red rims of his eyes.
And that was what he saw, when Lee unlocked the barred door that led to the jailhouse’s three cells, and he came face to face with Yan.
Was it a relief, to find that Yan looked the way he felt? Not to have to maintain any hostility towards him, or to feel a need to gloat? And when he noticed that he was standing in front of Yan’s cell with his left hand resting on one of the door’s horizontal bars, and that Yan was standing right in front of him, with his right hand resting on the same bar in the same way, he wondered, how was it that they were standing there, like mirror images of each other?
If Yan was a reflection of him, it was of a Malcolm Reynolds of many years ago. And he understood that Yan would not, did not have to take the path that he had taken; because he need not have taken that path himself.
“How are your men?” he asked Yan.
Yan swallowed his desperation. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen them.”
Mal looked at Lee.
“We’re keeping them in Olsen’s barn. They’re being fed and allowed exercise. Doctor’s on hand.”
“What are you going to do with us?” Yan asked.
“Ain’t been decided,” said Mal, this time not looking at Lee. “Out of the ordinary thing to happen.”
Yan drew himself up a fraction. “I request that you follow the rules of surrender as laid out in Warfare Convention Article 11.”
Mal scratched his head. “Best will in the world, that ain’t likely to happen. But uh, in the meantime me and Mayor Lee can guarantee that you and your men won’t come to any harm.” Yan nodded, said nothing. “And you can go ahead with your memorial. Ain’t that so, Mayor Lee?”
Expressionless, Lee agreed.
“I need something to write on,” said Yan. “To write down the names.”
Mal went to Harlen’s desk, found an impin and pad and passed it through to Yan. Still not looking at Lee. Because whatever the mayor was feeling – resentment, annoyance, agreement even – Mal didn’t care. He was a civilian; he could never understand.
“Anything else, I’ll be around. Or Mayor Lee,” Mal added.
Back at the meeting hall, Mal found Kaylee and Jayne waiting for him. Jayne hung back as Kaylee rushed forward.
“Jayne’s got something real important to show you,” she said with the tone of voice she usually used when asking for parts.
“You get some breakfast?” Mal asked her.
“Yeah, yeah,” said Kaylee, beckoning Jayne over. “Now Cap’n, Jayne’s got” – she reached over to take from Jayne’s hand a pad very similar to the one that Mal had just given Yan – “he’s got this list, see, of all the stuff he had in his bunk when – when Serenity, when we lost Serenity, and he was thinkin’” –
“Compensation,” Jayne interjected gruffly.
“Say again?” said Mal, taking the pad and scrolling through several pages of weaponry. “Ain’t you missed a butter knife here?” he asked with a scornful look at Jayne.
"Keep goin'," Jayne said. "There's a book from the Shepherd there. Used to look at it."
"You used to read a book the Shepherd gave you?"
"Didn't say that, did I? Looked at it, I said."
“’Cause it’s like," Kaylee continued eagerly, "there ain’t no – actual money fer payin’ Jayne fer the stuff he’s done since we left Meridian, never mind” –
“M’ losses,” Jayne interjected again.
“Yeah, his losses. But if we was to guarantee-like that” – with a look at Jayne – “compensation will be” –
“Yeah, forthcomin’, then in the, in the” –
“Inter, y’know” – Kaylee blinked away her difficulty – “Jayne could stay on. With us.”
Mal was speechless.
“He could stay,” Kaylee repeated. “With us.”
“You wanna stay with us?” Mal asked Jayne, beginning to understand the bizarre duet that had just been played for him.
“Yeah, y’know, 'til my compensation’s forthcomin’. Else aint’ got no reason to hang around.”
Ain’t got no reason to be kept on more-like, thought Mal. When that was exactly what he wanted, only was no way in hell he could ever come out and say it. ‘I want to stay. Know you can’t pay me, but want to stay all the same.’
“Sure,” said Mal. “You’ll get your compensation. And anything else that’s due to you.” Jayne exhaled, almost laughed. “Now come on. Got us a ship to salvage.”
Thursday, February 18, 2010 1:43 PM
Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:24 PM
Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:01 PM
Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:07 PM
Friday, February 19, 2010 10:36 AM
Friday, February 19, 2010 12:18 PM
Friday, February 19, 2010 3:47 PM
Friday, February 19, 2010 4:18 PM
Saturday, February 20, 2010 6:32 AM
Saturday, February 20, 2010 5:08 PM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 12:03 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 4:57 PM
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