Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ficlet set just after The Message. Mal is so angsty! M/R


Mal had seen dead bodies before. Friends and enemies with blood and heat and life drained from them. Been the one doing the killing maybe more than was his fair share. It was never easy, even during the war, when it was kill or be killed. Every death wounded him a little, but he blocked it out, pushed it away and focused only upon the next day, the next hour, the next minute.

It wasn't until it was all over, that he bled for all death. Felt the life drain out of him and leave him hollow inside with no choice but to pick himself up, bleeding and all, and move on. It took time. It took Zoe. It took Wash and Jayne and Kaylee. It took Serenity.

Most of all, it took Serenity.

And slowly, he stopped bleeding from all those many deaths that he'd witnessed and caused and failed to save. He mended, and sometimes the scars didn’t even show.

The old wounds still reopened from time to time. When he met the eyes of an old war buddy and saw that bone deep cold they all carried around with them. When he saw a stranger that reminded him of a body laying cold and frozen to the earth. When he dispensed death with a hot bullet and not-so-much as a wince.

Tracy drew blood more than a few times over the day. Wounded him with death and favors and lies and every year that he carried the bullet and never knew it.

“What are we now?”

The question cut him. Each word a shard of glass working its way through skin and muscle and bone. He wanted to dig them out and patch up the holes and move on, just like he always had. But these words, so hard with bitter accusation and tipped with hopelessness, burrowed deeper with every second he tried to forget.

He had no answer.

Was he no better than Tracy? Adrift in a universe that had no use for him. Tripping and stumbling along on two feet weighted down with too much anger and fear to ever step off the battlefield. The war took a boy and put a soldier in his place. When it was all over, the boy was gone and he was a still a soldier, forever a tool of death and destruction.

The only war left to fight was that within himself. The endless struggle to reach beyond the anger and the pain and the despair. To leave the soldier and the boy and the man he could have been behind. To stop the bleeding and become more than what he was. It was a war he was losing.

Was he doomed to end like Tracy? Continue his aimless meandering through a shadow of a life until he got at the wrong end of a bullet and bled real blood, not just the emotional kind? Spread the death and destruction like a disease to the people around him?

Freedom wasn’t his. He was caged in the gilded lily that was Serenity. Trapped by bitterness and hate and fear and the memories he couldn’t escape no matter how far or fast he ran. Death would always catch up with him, taking a nic there, a slice here, a stab when he least expected it.

And he’d bleed.

Until nothing was left.

He wasn’t sure how long he had been sitting there, staring out at the black, when she approached him. Mal wasn’t even aware of her until she’d settled on the ground at his feet, her cheek resting against his thigh and her hand on his knee.

“So much blood…,” she’d whispered brokenly to herself.

The weight of his gaze landed solidly on the top of her head and he meant to push her away, tell her to get back to her bunk where she belonged and leave him the hell alone. He meant to do a lot of things.

He hadn’t meant to slide his fingers through the fine strands of her hair, watching it slip past his blunt fingertips and fall around her shoulders. He hadn’t meant to rest his palm at the delicate curve at the back of her neck. He definitely hadn’t meant to stay that way for three hours.

“What are you doin‘, girl?” he’d asked finally, the wards falling thick and obtrusive into the peaceful silence.

“Healing,” she’d whispered.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005 8:52 AM


I so totally adored this deep and soulful insight into the cost Mal is continually paying over all that has happened to him and the changes wrought by his loss of innocence. So poignant in a beautifully understated way that describes the wounds that never heal better than anything. And I loved the part where River goes to him, her words an echo of his thoughts, her answer the full measure of his hope. Healing. Utterly shiny! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, September 30, 2005 7:51 AM


sometimes cap'n's need hugs too *hugs mal*

zhufu ni


Tuesday, October 4, 2005 7:46 PM


I really dug the idea of Mal having carried that bullet. Didn't really get that from the ep, but I got it from your fic. Huh.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 5:29 AM


I would say he couldn't go through so much without carrying demons with him. Lovely little insight. Shiny. I also love that it's River that comes to him. She does tend to be everywhere you least expect.


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