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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. A little light is thrown on matters, but there's a big surprise, too. NEW CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1998 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Children.” Hank was paler than ever, and Simon seemed to be fussing.
“What?” Mal stilled. After his conversation with Jayne, talking about whether Josh was capable ... “Kids?”
“I ... think so.” Hank closed his eyes, frustration and pain making his forehead tighten “I'm not sure. But I think so.”
“Before or after?”
“No idea.” He shrugged, then wished he hadn’t. “Cao.”
Simon immediately stepped forward. “I don’t think it’s essential, Mal. It wasn't a child who shot Hank.”
“You know that for sure, doc?”
“You can’t honestly be suggesting –”
Simon shook his head. “Mal, Hank needs rest.” He adjusted the drip, opening the tap a little.
“Simon, it’s ... fine,” Hank insisted, trying to suppress a yawn. “I can’t ... even be sure what I saw.” He yawned again. “And I’m shiny.” He grinned sloppily, even as his eyes closed.
Zoe glanced up at Simon, who nodded slightly, before stroking her husband’s forehead as a slight snore erupted.
“Did you just dope him?” Mal accused.
Simon sighed. “You might be captain, but I’m the ship’s doctor. And I'm not going to allow you to jeopardise his recovery just because you think he hasn’t told you everything.”
Mal glared at him, but it was with a grudging respect that he said, “How come you always show you’ve grown a pair when I’m trying to do my job?”
“Your job is to find us work, which I don’t see any sign of, considering the crates still cluttering up the bay.”
“Don’t push it.”
A tiny chuckle escaped Simon’s lips. “Put it down to tiredness if you like, but I mean what I said.”
“Hmmn.” Mal shook his head. “So you think I should pack us up and run, tail ‘tween our legs?”
“Frankly ... no.”
Mal couldn't have been much more surprised. “You don’t?”
Simon turned away, busying himself with nothing in particular. “I'm not an advocate of retribution. But then I searched for my sister to the detriment of my own health and sanity, and I’d do it again. I might not be the one to ask.”
Mal half-smiled. “On this crew it don’t matter much. Everyone’s got an opinion.” He stepped out into the common area.
“You sure he wasn’t seein’ things?” Jayne asked. “Gettin’ shot with a Sharps is bound to make a man upset.”
“That’s one way of putting it.” Mal looked at Freya. “Xin gan?”
She had her head down, her shoulders hunched, hands thrust deep into the pockets of her dark brown pants. “I don't know,” she admitted, slowly lifting her eyes to his. “It’s very fuzzy. Whatever Hank saw, it was only a glimpse and even he isn’t sure. I get the impression of more than one, but that might just be the drugs Simon has him on.”
“Boy or girl? Young? Teenager?”
“Mal, there’s no point in pushing. I think it was a boy, but that could simply be because of how much he loves Ben.” She shook her head. “I can’t make up something just to help.”
“Not asking you to, ai ren,” Mal said, touching her arm.
“You want I should go talk to her?” Jayne asked.
“Talk to who?” Kaylee, who had been sitting at the low table pretending to fix some piece of machinery she’d taken out of her stores. “What am I missing here?”
River stirred herself from the steps. “Mallory won’t tell you the truth.”
“Yeah, well, that won’t make much of a change, then,” Mal said, hooking his thumbs into his gunbelt, then looked at Jayne. “The food can wait. If’n it was Josh who shot Hank I’d rather we got the Sharps off him before he uses it on someone not wearing armour.”
“And if it was?” Jayne shook his head, remembering his own childhood. “Can’t blame a kid for wanting to protect his Ma.”
“If that was the reason. If it was Josh.”
“I could go with Jayne,” River suggested. “If Mallory does lie I will be able to tell.”
“No.” Mal was firm. “Ain't having you poking your nose outta the ship ‘less we really need it, not after your little stunt with Medea.”
River coloured. “I did apologise.”
“And this ain’t a punishment.” Mal put his hand on her shoulder. “I don't want someone seeing you out and about acting all free and easy, especially since you told Ms Tanner what a bunch of reprobates we all are.”
“I suppose so.”
“For the time being you’re just an inconsequential, one thing she’s not having to worry about.”
“I don’t think I like being inconsequential.”
“Right now what you like or don’t ain’t exactly high on my list of priorities.” Sorry, albatross, he added mentally, mindful of how pointed she could take any slights, imagined or otherwise.
A slow smile slid across her features.
“I’ll go,” Freya said unexpectedly.
“I’ll go with Jayne. You’re right, River can’t. And unless you’re considering sending Bethie ...”
He was about to say no, then paused. Freya could take care of herself, had been quite successfully for some time before she climbed into his bed. In fact, if truth be told, she’d been hurt more since ... He stopped the thought in its tracks. But the point was she was more than capable, and the only reason he wanted to automatically tell her to stay on board was because he loved her. And she could tell if Mallory knew more than she’d told, or was outright lying ...
And she knew exactly what he was thinking too – her lips twitched, giving her far too close a resemblance to River.
“Fine,” he said, throwing his hands into the air. “You know what I’m gonna say anyway, so I ain’t wasting my breath.”
“Seems like you’re doing that anyway, Mal,” Jayne pointed out.
“You wanna do the septic vat for the rest of your life?”
“Mal, don’t be a sha gua chun zi,” Freya said mildly. “You can come if you like.”
“Aw, hell, that’s mean you two getting all lovey in the back seat.” The big man was complaining for the sake of form, as evidenced by the twinkle in his eye.
“No more’n you and River.” Mal glanced at the psychic, who was grinning widely. “And no. I think I’ll be staying here. Someone’s gotta mind the shop.” He jerked his head towards the infirmary. “And Zoe’s attention ain’t exactly undivided at the moment.”
“You thinking there might be trouble?” Jayne asked, his hand lifting to rest lightly on the gun he hadn’t taken off for days.
“No. Not really. But after Cutter’s little visit, it don’t hurt to be careful.” Mal took a deep breath. “Okay. There and back, though, no stopping to smell the daisies. And take a com with you.”
“A’course we will.” Jayne managed to look insulted, then added, “And there ain’t no daisies. It’s autumn.”
“And it’ll be winter before you get back if you don’t get going.”
Jayne grinned, then turned to Freya. “Fancy a walk?”
“And that’s another thing,” Mal continued.
“You cold?” Jayne was driving the old ATV along the track, Freya sitting close behind him pressed tightly against his back, her arms around his waist.
“Yes. Don’t even think of trying anything.”
The big man chuckled. “Frey, River’d kill me. Then Mal’d get Simon to bring me back and he’d kill me again.”
“They’d have to stand in line.” Freya could feel the chill air dragging every ounce of energy out of her. “I think I’d rather have walked – at least I could have kept a bit warmer.”
“You should have your long johns on.”
“I do. And a pair of Mal’s.”
“I kinda didn’t wanna know that. And believe me, any sorta thought I might’ve had about pushing my luck just went right out of the window.” He grimaced. “Wearing all that, I’d’ve thought you’d be as warm as toast.”
“No,” she said shortly.
He laughed again, but didn’t tease anymore. They sat quietly until Jayne turned the old vehicle off the track, bringing the house into sight.
“Pretty,” Freya said as Jayne turned the engine off.
“We’re prob’ly not seeing it at its best.” A flake of snow drifted down. “Come on. I don’t fancy getting frozen.” He led the way to the door, and knocked loudly, but there was no response.
“Do you think she heard that love tap?” Freya asked, her tone gently mocking.
“Want I should break it down?”
“Could just see if it’s unlocked.”
“Take all the fun out of it, why don’t you,” Jayne grumbled, but turned the handle. The door swung in easily. “Mallory?” he called, stepping inside.
There was a slight commotion from the back, then Mallory walked into the living room. She looked ... flustered. Her hair was messier than before, and her skin flushed. “Jayne.”
“’M I interrupting something?” Jayne asked.
“No. Just finishing some washing.” She nodded towards a pile of linens in a large basket by the sink. “Couldn’t get it done before, not ‘til your little mechanic fixed the pump. Hard enough keeping me and Josh clean.” She pushed her hair into place. “I thought you were leaving.”
“We’ve got a few things to deal with first.”
“We?” Mallory looked at Freya. “She yours?”
“I wish.” Jayne grinned, then grimaced as he got a mental kick from two psychics, only one of whom was glaring at him. “This here’s Freya Reynolds. The cap’s wife.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Mallory nodded to the other woman. “Didn’t realise folks like you got wed.”
Folks like you. Jayne wondered if he shouldn’t step outside to avoid getting blood on his clothes, especially considering Freya knew Mallory’s old profession, but he wasn’t quite reassured when the woman in question just smiled.
“You’d be surprised,” Freya said. She glanced around the room. “Nice place. Homey.”
“We like it.”
“I'm sure you do.”
If this had been Maoli and some cat from town Jayne would have expected to see claws at the very least, and as fun as that might be to watch, he knew Mal wouldn’t be happy if his wife came back scratched (even if he knew where he’d put his money on who was going to get the cream) so he said quickly, “Your boy around?”
Mallory bristled. “Jayne, I told you –“
“That ain’t why we’re here.”
“Is this Josh?” Freya asked, picking up a small capture from the stone mantle.
Mallory’s face softened. “It is.”
“I understood he held a gun on my husband.” Freya tempered the words with a smile, no sign of the previous venom.
“Sorry about that. He’s very protective.”
“Mal said it was a rifle.”
“Used to belong to my husband.” Mallory glanced towards the weapon hanging over the fireplace. “He wouldn’t have fired.”
“I know.” Freya put the capture back. “It must be dangerous sometimes. Living away from the town.”
“Don’t you ever have trouble with wild animals?”
Mallory was looking more and more confused. “’Casionally a Lupe gets too interested in the chickens. That’s about it.”
“No human annoyances?”
“Not usually.” She managed to make it clear her visitors came firmly in that category, though.
“So you only need the one gun.”
“I think Terry’s pistol might be around somewhere, but that’s it.” Her gaze flickered from Freya to Jayne. “What’s all this about?”
Jayne was impressed. Freya had manipulated the conversation far better than he’d ever have been able to, probably getting Mallory to think about things she hadn’t planned on, picking the information produced out of her brain. Still ... “Our pilot got shot.”
Mallory’s eyes widened, and the ex-merc would have sworn she wasn’t dissembling. “Is he dead?”
“No,” Freya said. “I think it was touch and go for a while, but he’s going to live.”
“Good. I'm glad.” Her brows drew down. “Did you think I did it?”
“No. Zoe would have seen you leave if that had been the case.”
“Then why ...” Realisation hit. “No!” She took a step forward, her fists balled. “You are not going to accuse my son!”
Jayne glanced at Freya, who shook her head slightly. He wasn’t sure, though, if she was saying Mallory was right or just ignorant. “Mallie, does he have access to a Sharps?”
“It’s a gun. Looks like a rifle, only it’s kinda top heavy, got a thick stock.” There. There it was. The flicker of her eyes. He sighed. “Where is it?” he asked.
She tried not to show it but the tightening of her skin told him everything he wanted to know. He headed for the door at the back of the room.
“No!” She attempted to stop him, standing in front of him, her arms outstretched.
He physically lifted her out of the way, striding forwards despite her hanging on his shoulder.
“Jayne, stop! Please!” She was begging him.
“Nope.” He flung the door open and stepped into a surprisingly light bedroom. Another room, probably Josh’s, led off to the right, but it was the state of the bed that got his attention.
For all the tidiness of the rest of the house, the bedclothes were rumpled, one pillow half on the floor, the other pressed against the bedhead. There was an odour in the air, one which he knew well.
“You still doing business, Mallory?” he asked.
She slapped his face, hard. “Hwoon dahn!”
“Yeah.” He didn’t touch the redness blooming on his cheek. “Where is it?”
“Right here, you son of a bitch.”
Jayne stilled, as only an expert hunter and tracker could, as something touched his spine. “I know that voice.”
“I'm surprised you’ve lived this long, considering how stupid you are. Didn’t you learn anything?”
“Looks like my education is still lacking.” Jayne paused. “You gonna shoot me?”
“At this distance your backbone’d be decorating the wall in front of you if I did.”
“And your brains would follow.”
Jayne smiled at the sound of Freya’s voice. He took half a pace forward to relieve the pressure on his spine, and turned.
The man in front of him was standing as still as he’d been, his eyes fixed on Jayne’s face. Behind him, framed in the doorway to the small bathroom, the breeze cold from where she’d popped the window, Freya had her own pistol pressed firmly to his neck.
“Jayne,” she said deceptively quietly. “Aren’t you going to introduce us?”
“I’d’a thought the ink gave it away,” Jayne said, gesturing towards the many tattoos covering the other man’s chest and arms. “Frey ... meet Indigo.”
to be continued
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 10:46 AM
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 10:58 AM
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 2:16 AM
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