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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Nightmares, truths and comfort, oh my.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1877 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
I don't really know how much there is left to tell here. There'll probably be a few more chapters as the truth of the history gets revealed. Also? I should never write in the middle of a flu haze. Ever. I still don't know what I've got and what I haven't, but I've written and rewritten and re-rewritten until I can't see the forrest for all the splintered trees.
Rating: PG (for language).
Disclaimer: Only one is mine, the rest belong to Joss.
Comments: I think it makes sense, let me know if it doesn't. And you *know* I just rewrote some paragraphs after briefly previewing this page, because I am still edgy. That's it... *flick* it's done. Posted, viola. No more rewriting.
one, two, three, four and five.
"They're dead, they're dead, they're all dead." Becca whispers it over and over, rocking back and forth, she's been whispering it for hours now and her voice is getting higher. "They're all dead."
"Shh." Kaylee hums it between her lips, alternating between her and James in her arms as he gnaws compulsively on the biscuit she shoved at him from the bare supplies to keep him quiet. "It's gonna be fine. Shh."
"Shut the hell up." Whispers the voice behind her. "You're gonna get us killed, kid!"
"Would you leave her alone?" Kaylee's had enough and she bites down on her own fear. "Can't you see she's scared out of her head? Isn't it bad enough all her family's out there, everyone she knew? You gotta yell at her more?"
"Oh, right, sorry." But he doesn't sound it. "Thought I was tryin' to keep us all from bein' eaten. Which includes your kid an' you know it. She needs to fuckin' shut up, right now."
James whimpers and digs in closer to her, fingers of his free hand clawing at her side.
"Geoffrey." Kaylee pleads. "Do something? Okay? You're closest. Calm her down."
"Come on." Geoffrey whispers frantically as he tries to hold the girl's head still and look in her eyes. "You gotta be quiet. We're all fine, if you're just quiet. Just shh. It's been hours since we heard anything, we'll be outta here before you know it. It's okay."
"Yeah, right." It's almost like silence behind her and she knows the two kids can't hear them. "Gorram reavers, they're learning you know. They don't just eat and run. They hang around, waitin', hiding, 'til people start crawlin' outta their hiding spots."
Kaylee kisses James' head and covers his ears.
"Anybody goes out there now and they'll be ripped apart, poked more'n a half price whore. They're not waitin' for food, no more, they've eaten. They just wanna play now."
"Please." She begs. "Just stop."
"They're dead, they're dead!" Becca's voice rises again, perilously close to be audible outside their sanctuary. "And we're next! They're gonna..."
"Boy!" An arm pushes past her and catches Geoffrey on the side of his head. Kaylee's face is pressed into the wall and she hollows her body to protect her son. "You shut her up."
Becca starts screaming.
Mal walked the ship, thinking over everything that had happened. Ye soo, but his crew don't ever let up on the dramatics. It was worse this time, he knew it, but he didn't want to admit it. Didn't want to admit how different Kaylee was.
She was still his mechanic, still his bright, shiny Kaylee.
All he wanted was to make it better, but he knew it wasn't going to happen like that, she'd backed herself away from everyone. It didn't matter that she talked to Inara, that she cried in his arms. Didn't matter a bit. She still didn't trust any of them.
And that was going to take time.
"This your idea of givin' her space is it?"
He stepped into the bay, coming to a stop on the catwalk where Jayne was sitting, his legs hanging over the edge. It was a rare thing to see Jayne so beaten down as he sat there, running the edge of a knife over a piece of rawhide. Over and over again.
"It ain't like I'm inside her gorram shuttle, is it?"
"You're supposed to be in your bunk, sleeping, like the rest of us. You wanna tell me why you went and did exactly what I told you not to do? Confrontin' her like that before? I got a mind to..."
But Jayne didn't let him finish.
"That's my son, Mal."
Holy hell. He buckled his legs underneath him and joined Jayne. They sat together, facing an empty bay.
"You sure about that?"
There was a long silence.
"You ever held a baby?"
"I tried to hold him just today, you saw..."
"No." Jayne shook his head. "A real baby. When they just been born. They're so small. Gorram heads fit right in the palm of your hand."
As he watched, Jayne put the rawhide down and lifted up his hand, opening his palm and spreading out his fingers. Mal couldn't help looking at the lines of it, the deep grooves of the man's life, the tiny space it contained within.
"You can hold 'em with one arm, their little heads just sittin' there and their legs barely reachin' your elbow. Just trustin' ya to keep 'em safe."
"Jayne." There wasn't much else to say, what could a man say to that?
"I didn't get that, Mal. I didn't get that with my son." Jayne's fingers curled back up into nothing but air. "She took that from me."
It was sorrow he was hearing, Mal knew it, and usually it would have seemed out of place coming from the big man next to him. But this was different. If there was one thing Jayne Cobb treasured, it was family.
"That don't tell me why you're sitting out here in the middle of the night sharpening knives outside her door."
If he had thought about his words at all, Mal would have ducked at that moment or, better still, not said them to begin with.
"Just keepin' busy, stayin' awake." But Jayne didn't seem offended, just lost. "But there ain't nobody gonna keep me from him no more. I ain't gonna miss any more of his life."
"But he's sleeping right now." Mal pointed out. "I might not have spent much time around them, but I'm fairly sure you're allowed to sleep when babies do."
True to form, his crew continued to make a liar out of him and Kaylee began to cry out.
"Kaylee!" Jayne had dropped his knife, pulled himself back up to the catwalk and was running before Mal had even looked over. "Kaylee!"
"Jayne." Mal called after him. "Jayne, her door's locked."
"Not to me, it ain't."
He saw the strength with which Jayne's shoulder hit the door and winced, that would smart come morning. The man took several steps back, clutching his arm as he surged forward again.
"It's metal, Jayne."
"Then you open it!" He yelled as he backed up a third time. "You get it open or I swear..."
Even Mal could hear them both now, Kaylee screaming and James wailing underneath it. But that wasn't what made him move, it was Jayne's face turning red.
"Okay, okay." He punched the codes into the wall. "Let's hope she didn't change nothin'..."
"Change?" Jayne rounded on him, but before the torrent of abuse could start a small buzzing sounded and the little light flicked green. "Kaylee?"
It was instant, the streaming into the shuttle, Jayne pausing to look down at the red faced, bawling boy sitting up in his trundle, only to rush over to the bed. Mal didn't give one frilly heck for the boy's sensibilities as he bent over to pick him up.
James struggled against Mal as he brought him up to his chest, hiccupping with panic.
"Kaylee." He turned to watch Jayne approaching the bed. "Kaylee, come on, wake up."
He'd seen Jayne move like that before, sleek and seamless, slow and not making any unnecessary movements, as if Kaylee was a wild horse needing to be coaxed. As if she was an armed man and Jayne was trying to get close enough without spooking her
Her name over and over again, soft and insistent.
They all saw the moment her eyes snapped open, felt it in the way her chest expanded with the sudden breath she took. For one brief second, Mal was scared what she would do with Jayne leaning over her so close like that.
Then she broke, just shrunk into a ball, curled herself up into his arms and sobbed.
"It's okay." Jayne murmured it into the top of her head as he twisted them around so he could hold her. "C'mon, Kaylee, we're all here."
"Mal?" He turned to find Inara standing there, a gown thrown wildly over her shoulders and her eyes puffy from sleep. "Here, give him to me."
It stunned him and he let his arms go slack, let go of the crying child and frowned. He'd never said anything, always tried to remain distant from the personal lives of his crew, but he'd never understood it. Never really realized why, if Kaylee had needed comfort so badly, she had turned to Jayne.
Now, watching him cradle her, Mal knew.
"We don't need to be here." Inara whispered to him. "Let's get him quieted down."
"Wasn't her fault." Jayne finally made sense of her words. "It wasn't her fault."
He ran his hand over her hair and down the curve of her back as she curled up into his side, her hands holding tightly to his ribs. The bed head bit into the back of his skull as he leaned against it, but he didn't mind.
"She didn’t mean it.”
“I know she didn’t.”
He agreed softly, though he didn’t have one ruttin’ clue who she was or what she did or didn’t do. As he kept stroking her back, he felt her trembles slow down and it made him ache, made him remember.
“Jayne?” Her quiet voice surprised him.
“He’s fine.” He shushed her. “’Nara and Mal took him out.”
"You're good with him."
It was a simple statement, a compliment even, and they didn't always come hard and fast with Mal. Still, she knew an exit line if she ever heard one from him and it made her weary.
Inara smiled at him.
"He's just scared." Her hand cupped the back of James’ head, the soft, silky down of his hair. "Aren't you, gorgeous?"
"I don't know what to do." Mal paced her shuttle, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. "I don't know what to do about her."
She watched him stride back and forth as she sat down on the edge of her bed, carefully juggling James and all his careless limbs. It wasn’t difficult to soothe him, but she did, it just took time and patience.
"Maybe you're not supposed to do anything." She kissed the warm, clammy forehead, but her eyes angled upwards to watch Mal. "Maybe you're supposed to let them find their own way."
The look he shot her was priceless.
"Yeah." He said. "It's that kind of thinking that started this whole mess in the first place, ain't it?"
"It doesn't matter right now, does it?" In her arms, James stopped hitching his breath long enough to yawn long and loud, Inara sympathized. "Jayne is coping just fine with Kaylee and you and I are supposed to be coping with James."
"But..." There was a pause there, she recognized it, knew the words that would follow. "... you seem to be doin' just fine."
"He's going to like you." She insisted. "Just come here."
To his credit, Mal barely even made a face as he obeyed. It was hesitant, those first few steps. She didn’t know what had happened and that would come with time, but for now Inara took her cues in dealing with James from Kaylee.
The woman knew how to deal with her son better than anyone and she’d watched Kaylee soothe him, settle him before introducing him to them, constantly reassure him when dealing with Mal or Wash or Book.
"Okay." Mal nodded as he gently sat down. "What now?"
Their knees were touching.
"You pet him." She said softly, patiently. "Let him know it's okay, let him know you're okay."
James yawned again as Mal's hand landed on the top of his head, dragging the hair backwards clumsily. Inara suppressed her smile at the awkwardness.
"He don't like me." Mal stated. "He's never gonna..."
"Shut up, Mal." Inara felt the slide of her jaw as she hid her own yawn. “And keep doing it.”
She’d been woken from a deep sleep. Her instincts finely tuned to wake her up at the slightest disturbance and, she had to admit, all the shouting and crashing and screaming outside her shuttle had barely been slight.
Now that it was over, she could feel it coming back on her and she let her eyes fall like the rest of her, slowly, softly, to rest on the blankets. Just for a second. Not long. Not long at…
"What are you doin', Inara?" He asked nervously.
"Settling him down." She replied innocently.
As innocently as she could, anyway.
Simon sat at the table, idly spooning something he assumed was food into his mouth. Truth was, he didn’t really care, it wasn’t like he could taste it. It wasn’t like he wanted to taste it.
“Really?” He couldn’t help the small smile as he arched his eyebrows. “Did you use all your skills to determine that fact, mei mei?”
She poked her tongue out at him as she picked her way around the table and sat down, bringing her toes up to the seat of her chair and hugging her legs to her chest.
“Me?” He had to smile larger as he pushed the bowl away. “I thought you were?”
“James is not your son.”
He wasn’t expecting her words.
“No.” He sighed. “No, he’s not.”
“But you wish he was.”
“River.” Simon looked down at the table. “You know he’s not. Besides the fact that he looks entirely too much like Jayne, Kaylee and I never slept together, not like that.”
There, he’d earned the look again. The one that told him he was being completely asinine.
“Doesn’t stop the wishing, though.”
“No.” He sighed again. “It really doesn’t.”
He’d made mistakes, he knew it. Had known it for a long time. Kaylee’s leaving had hit him hard, at first because he felt that he hadn’t had a second chance, not really, to make up for everything he’d done.
The more he’d thought about it, the more he’d realized that he’d had his second chances and third and fiftieth chances. It was never Kaylee’s fault that he’d pushed her away. Only her fault that she’d left.
When she’d come back on board, he’d seen her with her son and known that he would never get another chance. Known that it wouldn’t be fair to even ask that of her.
He wondered, briefly, if perhaps he had reacted differently and things had worked out between him and Kaylee, how he would have reacted to the news of her baby. Of Jayne’s baby. He liked to think he would have acted with finesse, that he had learned his lesson the first time, but he couldn’t be sure.
It was difficult to know how he would have felt about living in such close quarters with Kaylee, her son, the father of her son and himself. With no leeway, no avenue for any of them to have their own real space. Simon wasn’t sure if he wanted to know.
They were happy now, at least reasonably so. He could tell, they all could, that something had happened, that something haunted both of them. But if he had learned anything at all in the past few years, it was to trust River.
And River wasn’t worried.
“No.” She smiled as her arm curled up to play with her hair. “I’m not.”
“Not what?” Wash asked from the doorway as he and Zoe entered.
“The Captain.” Zoe supplied. “Or Jayne. Have either of you two seen them this morning? They’re not in their bunks.”
“They’re okay.” River replied dreamily. “They’re sleeping. Happy. And warm.”
Silence. Book coughed quietly.
“River?” Simon finally asked. “You don’t mean…?”
River just rolled her eyes.
“Jayne is in Kaylee’s shuttle. And Mal is with Inara. They’re snuggled up with the baby.”
The silence reigned for at least twenty seconds before anyone moved.
“Huh. They’re so cute. Couldn’t you just take a picture?”
“Shh. Husband, don’t wake them.”
“Shouldn’t we give them their privacy?”
“Yes, Book is right, I don’t think we should be in here.”
“It was useless to knock, Simon, sleeping people can’t let you in.”
“Can’t fault her logic.”
“Yes, wife, I think we can.”
“I will dump all your asses on the next gorram planet.” Mal murmured without opening his eyes. “If’n you wake either of them up.”
He was fairly sure he’d imagined the brief twitch of Inara’s soft fingers over his as they both cradled James between them. A brief, momentary fantasy as everyone’s footsteps echoed away.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 11:22 PM
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006 1:48 AM
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 2:52 AM
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