BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

MARKOMI

Eagle (Part 1/7)
Friday, December 30, 2011

"And what makes you so gorram sure I'd choose you?" The words were Mal's, and things kinda went downhill from there.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1960    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

A/N: This story takes place post-series and pre-movie, after Inara has left, but before Book leaves Serenity.

***

"And what makes you so gorram sure I'd choose you?"

Now, as Mal Reynolds was going through the incidents of the day in his mind, pondering everything that had taken place, it seemed to him that those words had been what started it all. He hadn't really meant it, they were just words, brought on by irritation and lack of sleep, like most of his unkind words, come to think of it.

The mission had been supposed to be easy, but wasn't it always? It was the same ol' procedure: They were on New Lafayette (the first moon of Three Hills) to pick up some hidden contraband (he had no idea what), move out without the locals (or anyone else for that matter) noticing and deliver it on Aphrodite (preferably yesterday). Easypeasy.

Then one of the Tams had done something to irritate Jayne, or maybe both, or maybe vice versa. Mal didn't really know, nor did he care to. Anyway, there had been yelling, some mild violence had ensued, with the blade of a knife somehow ending up in the infirmary wall, and Mal – only wanting a clear headed crew and the job to run smoothly for once – had told everyone in crystal clear Chinese to shut the hell up.

Of course Jayne had to push it. He always did. And if Mal had had a good day, he might have let it slip. But this was not a good day. He'd dreamt about Inara again, which happened more often than he liked these days, and that always seemed to worsen his melancholy and leave him a little snappy. So when Jayne had buzzed on with his usual tirade about leaving the fugitives (etcetera, etcetera) he had told him (in a rather loud voice) to stow it.

Jayne only looked at him for a moment and then said, in an icy cold way, "One of these days, Mal, you might gonna have to choose."

And then Mal had said it. He'd stuck his face close to Jayne's and hissed the words through clenched teeth. "What makes you so gorram sure I'd choose you?"

Jayne hadn't said anything after that, and Mal had told him to sit this job out, take the day off and go to the nearby town to blow off some steam.

Things kind of went downhill from there.

Well, not the job. That had actually gone well. They'd found the hidden cargo and loaded it unto the ship without any trouble, but now, as Kaylee was ready to fire up the engine and Wash was plotting a course for their new destination, Mal found himself one man short.

Now, as he entered the bar, with Zoë a small step behind, he scanned the room for the known figure. The place was just like any other backwater drinking hole, dark and dusty and filled with local patrons who looked like they hadn't moved from their spots for years.

"Can I help you?" the bartender behind the counter asked.

"I'm just lookin' for one of my boys," Mal answered truthfully, still scanning the room, though Jayne was nowhere to be seen and it was unlikely he'd miss him.

"You wouldn't be talkin' 'bout a loud-mouthed, mean lookin', summabitch 'bout the size of a barn door?"

Mal could feel Zoë react to this behind his back, and he glanced at the man, but without really turning. "Sounds like 'im."

"Well, he was here. Said you might come."

"Did he now?"

"Left a message for you. Says he don't run with you no more."

Mal eyed him for a moment. "And I'm supposed to take your good word for that?"

The bartender shrugged. "Yeah, he said you might not believe me. So I was to give you this."

From his apron pocket he produced a small object and tossed it down the counter towards Mal. It skipped and jingled like a coin and Mal slammed his hand down on it, stopping it dead in its track. He then picked it up and eyed it more closely. It was flat and circular, about the size of a medallion, made out of metal and with the imprint of a bird-of-prey (an eagle?) on one side.

Zoë looked at it too, peering over his shoulder, and then shifted her eyes to the bartender. "What's this?"

He shrugged again. "He said you'd understand." He went to serve the next costumer.

Zoë turned to Mal. "Sir?"

Mal was still turning the little piece of metal over and over in his hands, but as his first mate spoke to him he sighed and put it in his pocket. "We're leavin'," he said

She frowned. "What about Jayne?"

"We ain't gonna find him. He's gone."

He turned and walked out of the bar. Zoë followed him, knowing better than to ask more questions at this point.

The others weren't quite as easy to quell. He was met with more than a few protests when he returned to Serenity without Jayne, ordering immediate departure. They were all assembled in the cargo bay, looking at him with disbelief, even Simon.

"We can't leave him!" Kaylee exclaimed.

"He left us," Mal answered coolly.

"You don't know that!"

"I do."

"But he can't have left us." Kaylee's voice was thin and a little quivering now, as if she tried to convince herself, but not really succeeding. "He can't have."

Mal's heart went out to her. He knew what she was thinking. First Inara, then Jayne… Her family was falling apart. But he didn't say anything. Somehow he couldn't find the right words.

"What I find puzzling is the fact that he left all his guns," Shepherd Book said, with Simon actually nodding his agreement. "I was under the impression that he's rather fond of those."

"This smells funny," Wash agreed.

"Well, it don't matter," Mal cut him off. "We're on a clock here. We have a delivery to make, and we haven't got time to look for 'im. Now, get this boat in the air!"

Wash obeyed, albeit a little unwilling, and just as the ship left the ground a few minutes later, River started screaming.

"No!" she yelled. "No!"

Simon rushed forward, grabbing her waving arms. "Ssh, River, it's okay."

"We can't leave!" She tried to wriggle out of his grip, never taking her wide open eyes off the closed doors at the end of the room, panting the words. "In the sky… Not in the sky now."

Mal didn't stick around to hear the rest. He ascended the stairs to find some much-needed coffee in the kitchen.

"Sir?" Zoë had come after him, and he stopped, allowing her to catch up. "You being so sure about Jayne, that has something to do with that coin?"

"Ain't a coin," Mal said, pulling it out of his pocket. "It's an emblem." He held it out to show her. "Jayne tore it off a crate during the first job we pulled together. Said he'd keep it. As a token."

"A token of what?"

Mal shrugged. "I don't rightly know. Loyalty, I guess." He juggled it between his fingers. "That's why he left it. Bartender was right, it's a message."

"And what does the message say, sir?"

"'I left. Don't follow me'."

Zoë's face was still cleared of all emotion. "That's a pretty complicated way of communicatin', Captain. This is Jayne, after all."

"Jayne ain't stupid!" The words came out more harshly than intended. Could it be this affected him more than he realized? "He's not the most bookish of people, and yes, he's ignorant in every definition of the word, but that don't mean he ain't smart. Besides, no one else would know what this," he flipped the emblem into the air, catching it again, "signifies."

"It's just… Somethin' about this don't feel right."

Mal looked at her, and in the back of his mind he shared her concern. But this was not the time for it. "Jayne's a big boy, and again in every definition of the word. He'll have to fend for himself. And we have to finish this job."

She nodded. "Yes, sir."

She headed towards the bridge to join her husband. From the cargo bay Mal could still hear Simon's futile attempts at shushing his sister's protests.

Next

COMMENTS

Friday, December 30, 2011 5:55 AM

AMDOBELL


Uh oh, first insubornitation, then Jayne storming off the ship in a fugue, with River screaming her head off as they leave the planet. That can't be good but I'm also thinking the Eagle may have more than one meaning. Permaybehaps be a clue. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012 4:58 PM

EBFIDDLER


Hello, MarKomi, glad to see you're posting here. I haven't reviewed Eagle before, so I'll read a chapter every few days. :-)
I especially liked the Mal POV. This passage was especially funny: "The mission had been supposed to be easy, but wasn't it always? ...They were on New Lafayette (the first moon of Three Hills) to pick up some hidden contraband (he had no idea what), move out without the locals (or anyone else for that matter) noticing and deliver it on Aphrodite (preferably yesterday). Easypeasy."
I thought you have a good handle on Mal's voice there. I also liked the way Mal defended Jayne's intelligence: "He's not the most bookish of people, and yes, he's ignorant in every definition of the word, but that don't mean he ain't smart." I'm sure the Eagle is more important in its symbolism. Clearly River feels that something is amiss, and her "not in the sky" sounds pretty ominous to me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 7:27 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Hmmm...the remarks about Mal dreaming of Inara seem to place this between "Those Left Behind" and the BDM (since Inara's gone to the Guild Training House) but Jayne has just decided that he's had enough of Mal and chose to leave the crew. And left behind a special symbol that Mal would recognize? Yeah...something isn't smelling right here :S

Still! Fantastic start! Can't wait to read the rest as I go along :D


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