Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Section 2 of 2
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1547 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Authors Note: Again, I had issues posting this installment. The first half of this chapter is posted separately. I apologize for any inconvenience and for taking up so much space.
Kaylee walked into the small churchyard. Like most teenagers, Serenity had a morbid streak. Of late she had taken to coming here when she needed to think. But today she was nowhere in sight. Kaylee gazed around at the graves. She had been neglecting her friends. Weeds poked out randomly under the blanket of snow. Not that it mattered much, most of the graves were empty. The plaques were for remembrance, to comfort the living. Neither side was terribly good at returning bodies. Most were buried in mass graves on planets even she hadn’t visited. Some were lost forever. But never one for idleness, she busied herself setting wrong to right and pulling up the weeds.
*Together Forever*. . . *Judgment Belongs to God Alone* . . . *Beloved*
Her youth was buried here. Kaylee had always been the youngest. She had been used to people taking care of her. Now they were gone and she had to be the strong one. It was just so gorram hard trying to be strong. Serenity was right about one thing. It wasn’t fair, none of it was. She felt the tears come and she was powerless to stop. She knelt down at the last grave set far off in the corner of the yard, separate from the rest. *You and No Other*. Kaylee let her grief and anger wash over her. It felt good to let it go. “I just don’t know how to help them anymore. I wish you were here to tell me what to do.”
“Hey you.” Kaylee felt a hand lightly stroking her hair.
“’Nara.” She spun around to see River standing in the snow beside her.
“No, I’m me. Inara’s gone, won’t be coming back until judgment day,” the younger woman said looking at Kaylee as if she was explaining death to a child. The look on Kaylee’s face told River that her friend did not understand. Sometimes she didn’t even know why she bothered trying to help. Still, Kaylee needed her. Too much burden to carry on her own.
“Hey River,” Kaylee forced a smile. “Whatcha’ doin’ here?”
“Looking for you,” River replied practically. “Shouldn’t be so sad. Not your fault. ’So full of artless jealousy is guilt, it spills itself in fearing to be spilt.’”
“Oh.” Kaylee didn’t have time for another one of River’s sayings. She had wasted enough time, she needed to find Serenity and make sure she was alright.
“The láng you shou’s licking her wounds. Can’t understand why Daddy doesn’t love her.” Kaylee still looked confused. “I wouldn’t expect her for dinner,” River finished hoping to clarify.
River’s uncanny knack for knowing exactly what you were thinking used to unnerve Kaylee. Now she found comfort in it. It was one of the few constants she had left in her life. “Well, I guess I should tell Sarah to only expect the regular crowd for dinner, minus one. I’ll have Jayne take the extra food to town for the troops.”
“We’ll have guests soon enough,” River promised her body practically shaking with excitement. “The Goddess is sending us a gift. A golden summer in all its glory to chase winter away.”
“Goddess, what are you talkin’ about?”
“She’s dancing in front of the Sun. Blocking its view.” River’s eyes became distant as if she could see something in the sky. “Her arms are reaching out for us. One holds a sword. Another a head. Another a heart. So many arms. Her tongue is heavy with all her lies. Wants to cut it out. Wants all this to be over. But she can’t stop. Won’t stop until her husband lies down at her feet in supplication. Their dance could destroy the universe.”
“River, stop it, you’re scaring me!”
She snapped out of her trance. “Dinner’s almost ready. Sarah will be mad if we’re late.” River began skipping in the direction of the ranch as if she didn’t have a care in the world.
Kaylee shook her head still unnerved by the ramblings of her friend. “Wait for me,” she called running after River and leaving the listening ghosts behind.
Villa de Láng, Londonium
The Ambassador stared into the mirror regarding her enemy. She smoothed an expensive cream on her face and stared some more. Not a line, not a wrinkle, not even a twist in the mouth, no outward sign of the monster within. She could be thirty judging by the reflection. She laughed mirthlessly. Was there a picture somewhere, some totem that bore the marks of all her sins? If there was, she should have it burnt just to get a glimpse at the truth. Then again, she didn’t know what the truth was anymore.
She toyed with the bracelet on the dressing table, filigree platinum set with rubies. On earth-that-was, rubies were the mark of a virtuous woman. For all his faults, she had to admire the Chancellor’s sense of irony. It was fine gift, by any standards. She heard that out on the rim, such a trinket could feed an entire family for a year or two. A dozen autumn roses had accompanied it, along with a note from the Chancellor: “For my Princess, a gift befitting her station.” Trash! The last thing she needed was more jewelry, besides she had nowhere to wear it.
“My Lady.” She really would have to speak to Mai about knocking before she entered. It was the little breaks in etiquette that could ruin a companion’s career. Of course, with her long red hair, violet colored eyes, and face like a china doll, the girl had enough beauty to make even the most exacting client forgive a few minor faux pas.
“Yes, what is it?”
“The Guild has sent the dossiers you requested.” The young companion prattled on, “The Academy gave us a hard time, but when they heard it was for you, they were more than happy to oblige. Where shall I leave them?”
“The bed is fine. Has the Chancellor asked for me?”
“No, he’s dining at House Hetaira with a few friends this evening.”
“Oh.” Had he tired of her already? Was he punishing her for insulting Wing this afternoon? Private entertainments were one thing, but openly visiting a House. It was an insult, worse a threat. If she lost him, she stood to loose everything. Oh Gods, not now, she silently prayed. Not when she was so close.
“Shall I comb your hair? Or I could draw you a cool bath, it is devilishly hot for the season. Or I could. . .”
“I’m fine,” Kali pushed her fears about the Chancellor aside. Worries caused wrinkles and she couldn’t afford any of those. As it was, she was too drained to deal with her protégé at the moment. Mai had the most annoying habit of interrupting her while she was trying to brood in peace. She added that item to her list of issues to discuss with her at a later time. Another was knowing when to go. Though Kali’s demeanor and tone indicated that the girl was clearly dismissed, she remained in the room, twisting her hand in a most unbecoming fashion. Kali sighed, was she ever so young and anxious. It seemed like a thousand year ago. “Mai, you have leave to speak your mind.”
“Thank you my Lady. It’s only that . . . well . . . I hate the idea of you meeting with those people. I hear they are readers or worse. It could endanger the entire mission. Please, let me interview the candidates.”
“And I am easier to read than you are?” The Ambassador asked quirking an elegant eyebrow. “No, this is my duty.” She rose and approached the closest thing to a friend she had in this god forsaken ‘verse. “You are precious to me, Mai. I will not have you risking yourself. Now go, I have work to do. Make sure this week’s dispatches reach our friends.”
“Yes, my lady,” Mai murmured as she left. Kali looked towards the stack of papers waiting on her lavish bed. Time enough for those later. Instead, she knelt down by an old lavenderwood trunk on her floor. She removed its lid and contents of precious silk and jewels, carelessly tossing them aside. Once empty, she pressed lightly on a particular point. The false bottom slid way, revealing an old volume, a small velvet pouch, and thin folio. She caressed the folder’s precious parchment dreamily. Yes, there would be time enough for work and worries later.
Mal drunkenly dug through his bag looking for his pain medication, his gorram leg was actin’ up again. Seemed like the whiskey had stopped helping to dull the pain and now just made him all tetchy and clumsy like. Damn girl had a mouth on her, knew just how to push his buttons. One day soon he’d tell her the truth and that would shut. . .
He pulled his bloodied hand out of the bag, holding the rock that had scraped his knuckles. It was a stone he found on Whitefall. Perfectly round, almost smooth, except for the part that had mangled his hand. He’d brought it back for her. He always brought her back rocks from his campaigns. She had them lined up her room, with little cards by them denoting the planet, date, campaign, properties, and name in English, Mandarin, and Latin just to show off. Not like she knew what any of it meant. Kaylee wrote to him proudly about how the girl would look up all the information about the rocks on the cortex. Girl was a born showoff, couldn’t help rubbin’ it in his face that she was better than him, just like her. . . No he wasn’t gonna go there, it was too soon and he was already in a foul mood to begin with.
So he looked at the rock. Wuh de tyen ah, the women in his life had some strange taste. Engine parts made Kaylee go all gooey, though only god knew when the last time was she had her hands on anything more complex than a generator. Sarah was pleased with anything she could roast up. And River, even at her age, got a big thrill outta somethin’ as simple as crayons and paper. She crept her way back into his thoughts.
‘Nara, well hell he’d nearly run himself into the poor house tryin’ to buy that woman all manner of precious. She’d always smile and tell him he shouldn’t have. Made him feel cheap every time. Like he was one of them ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng she ran with, havin’ to buy her “favors.” Felt that way until one day on Persephone he was walkin’ by a vendor harking old books. Just picked out one randomly, he knew she liked languages and this one sure as hell weren’t in anything he understood. Wiped all the dust off and gave it to her as proud as you please. She carefully leafed through the pages, scanning the contents and her eyes went wide.
“Mal do you know what it this is?”
“It ain’t a manual is it, cause that gorram book vendor swore to me it was somethin’ a lady would like.”
“This, my brilliant captain is an early twenty-third century edition of Manon Lescaut.”
“Man on Lay who?”
She laughed and rolled her eyes at him, a charming yet childish habit she’d picked up from spending too much time minding River. “Manon Lescaut,” she declared with what he assumed to be a perfect accent, “is a novel about a woman whose lover tries to save her from her wicked ways. She dies impoverished in the desert at the end.”
“Oh. . . well I can take it back or maybe we’ll just sell it to one of your fancy clients, seein’ how its old and stuff.”
She laughed again (after all these years he still remembered her laughter sounding like music). She stood and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him gently. “You will do no such thing. Manon dies happy in her lover’s arms, knowing she has everything she ever wanted. This, is the most beautiful present I’ve ever received. I love it.”
Whore that she was, she showed him her “love” in all sorts of ways. After that he always brought her books in fancy languages. Turned out to be a more expensive habit than all the silk and jewels he tried before. Every time afterwards, she’d “love” him. First thing he did when he got back from Sihnon was burn all them xi niao books.
Now the girl, well least she was cheaper than her mother. No spendin’ nearly two months of hard work on somethin’ so fragile Inara wouldn’t touch it without gloves. The girl liked rocks. Simon was always was on his back ‘bout sendin’ her to some fancy school so she could learn more about them. Used to go on about how she could become a geologist or sometin’. Mal didn’t know anyone who advanced schoolin’ didn’t make crazy or rotten or dead. No, the girl weren’t goin’ to no gorram school or war if he had anything to say about it.
He wondered where the obsession had come from.
He remembered comin’ back from runnin’ guns. ‘Nara was still as mad as hell with him and he figured he’d be sleepin’ in the spare room if he didn’t play his home comin’ exactly right. He had a trunk filled with toys downstairs for the girl and an arm filled with spring flowers for her mother. He snuck upstairs and found them in the bedroom. For a while, he just stood in the door and watched the two most beautiful creatures he’d ever seen. Inara was sitting with her back to the door holding up all manner of shiny, diamonds he supposed, just outta the girl’s reach.
“Gimme, momma, gimme,” the girl cried.
“You know you shouldn’t let her play with those.” Two dark heads turned towards him and then the smaller one launched off of the bed running towards him.
“Papa’s home! Papa’s home!”
He had to drop the flowers to catch her as she leapt at him. “How’s my baby? You been good? Studying hard with Simon?”
“Yes, Papa. I read a whole book yesterday, all on my own! Well. . . Shyman helped a little.”
“Well ain’t that just shiny. After supper tonight you’ll have to read to me, little princess.” He looked at Inara, “And how fairs the queen of this fine castle?”
Inara rose gracefully from the bed and walked over to them. “I wish you wouldn’t call her that,” she hissed placing a cold, dutiful peck on his cheek.
“But that’s what she is,” he responded beaming at his girl. “But, it don’t help that you letter play with your jewelry. She might break it, and we may be needin’ it someday.”
“They’re just rocks, Mal,” she said lifting his baby girl gently from his arms and placing her on the floor. She knelt down regarding the child with all the love and affection she denied him of late, “You are the only jewel I need, Serenity. Everything else is just rocks. Your Papa’s like a rock. He’s hard and cold and would sooner shatter than bend.”
“’Nara,” he pleaded.
She looked at him and the frost began to melt from her eyes. “But he’s also strong and steadfast,” she returned her gaze to their daughter’s face. “He’s like those stones we found in the gorge the other day. All rough and ugly on the surface, but on the inside, well, just about the most beautiful thing you could ever see. The years will change us all, my baby, that’s the nature of the ‘verse. But your Papa will remain the same. You remember that. No matter what, he will always be here for us.”
She stood then, placing a gentle hand on his cheek. There was an unwanted love in her eyes. “I’m glad that you’re home safely.”
He took that hand in his own, kissing its palm, and then pulled her into an embrace. “I’ll always come back for you,” he promised hoarsely, a wry smile curving his lips, “No power in the ‘verse could stop me.”
“You better, I wouldn’t want to lie to our daughter,” Inara said smiling sadly up into his face.
Mal laughed harsh and bitter. Lies. Bitch’s tongue might have well as been forked for all the truth he ever heard roll off of it. The pain brought him out of his memories. He was holding that damn rock so hard that the scrapes on his knuckles had split and the blood was runnin’ down his fingers. He hurled the rock against the wall, watching it break with mute satisfaction. He shoved his hand back into the duffel not caring that his things got smeared with blood. Wouldn’t be the first time, sure as hell wouldn’t be the last. He found the pills and swallowed them down with a mouth full of whiskey. It was only then that he looked at the rock. Rather than being destroyed, it had cracked open to reveal its jeweled interior. He laughed again. Hell, it weren’t ruined. He could give it to the girl tomorrow. Bet she’d be as pleased as punch and forget all about him slappin’ her. Yep, that was just what he was gonna do.
In the house, no one stirred. Loud cussin’. Drunken laughter. Things breakin’. Muted weepin’. Yep, Pa was home.
To be continued . . .
Kwin-gwe-je deh- Aw, nuts!; tah mah de- fucking; Lao-tyen boo- Oh, Lord; Tyen shuh duh- God knows what; Mei-mei- little sister, term of endearment; a yi- auntie; go se- shit; láng you shou’s- wolf cub; Wuh de tyen ah- Dear God in Heaven; ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng- frog riding bastards; xi niao- piss soaked
I find spelling and grammar a mite problematic. Considering my problems with English, I wouldn’t expect too much from the Chinese. Please comment! This is my first series/substantial work, as oppose to the quasi-poetical musings I’ve posted before. All comments are welcome and will be taken seriously.
Sunday, December 26, 2004 9:22 AM
Monday, December 27, 2004 5:54 AM
Monday, December 27, 2004 10:30 AM
Tuesday, December 28, 2004 3:15 PM
Sunday, January 16, 2005 10:15 AM
Sunday, March 06, 2005 4:51 PM
Monday, March 07, 2005 12:05 PM
Tuesday, March 08, 2005 4:33 PM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.