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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
"Gabriel closes in on Serenity's hiding place while the crew take a well earned breather thinking they are safe. Until the time comes to do the Impossible."
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2193 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL
STATUS: SEQUEL to "HIGHER POWER"
ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where.
SUMMARY: "Gabriel closes in on Serenity's hiding place
while the crew take a well earned breather thinking they are
safe. Until the time comes to do the Impossible."
The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly'
are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
No infringement of copyright is intended.
Written by Alison M. DOBELL
* * * * *
The pounding in his head was getting louder, bright streaks of pain flashed behind his closed lids until with a gasp his eyes flew open. Staring and seeing nothing at first. A blank screen waiting for the camera to roll. A canvas awaiting the brush of the Master. Gabriel Tam would not admit that he was shaken. What in the nine hells was that? A nightmare surely? Only he had no recollecton of falling asleep. He was on the ship's bridge, no one even glancing in his direction. All too busy and intent on scouring the area for any sign of the Firefly.
The navigator brought up a screen. Haven. Gabriel leaned forward in his seat, excitement thrumming in his veins. This was it. He could almost feel it, taste the sweet victory. And this time nothing would go wrong.
Simon was restless, nervous, and his distraction was driving Kaylee nuts. It had been relatively easy to coax and convince the doctor to take a break and come down to her bunk but now that he was there he seemed all manner of ill at ease. After all the Captain was sleeping, the Reavers had been defeated and Serenity had been refueled. No point in taking off until the Captain was cogent enough to make plans. Much as they wanted to get away from here it wouldn't make sense to run from safety into danger just for want of a bit of foresight. Of course, that meant they had a little time on their hands and while Kaylee wanted Simon to rest she had meant from his labours. The mechanic had her own plans for getting the good doctor relaxed in places he hadn't been in a good long while. "Simon, c'mon an' sit by me."
He was beginning to pace, a hand running through his hair. Kaylee frowned, not liking the way he was getting all agitated, spoiling the mood. Jumping to her feet she stepped right up to him leaving nowhere to go and nothing to look at but her.
"Simon?" She watched his eyes widen, for a moment looking more trapped animal than romantic partner. Her tone changed to one less sure, worry leaking in around the corners. "Simon, *shenme shi*?"
"I.. I don't know. I feel as if I should be somewhere else..." He sounded vague and distracted. "Doing something."
Kaylee smiled and trailed a hand down the front of his very shiny waistcoat, the silk feeling so smooth and exotic against her skin. "I can think of somethin' we can do."
That brought his gaze back to hers and he froze. Mind all confusion and random wanting, as if pulled in too many directions at once to make a coherent choice. Kaylee's warm hands now undoing the buttons of his vest and shirt, his breath catching in his throat, memory sharpening and bringing a warmth to his face and a stir of desire he should not be feeling. But how could he not? This was Kaylee and he wanted her, cared for her, loved her even. Yet it was wrong, a distraction he could not afford. For her sake not his. Simon closed his eyes, knowing she was a weakness to him. A warm mouth on his chest brought a moan from his reluctant lips, eyes flicking open in time to see Kaylee with his vest and shirt parted in her hands, her mouth covering his chest with open kisses, her eyes sparkling with a tease of devilment in them. He watched, open mouthed himself as her tongue flicked out. Mesmerised as she lapped at his chest, kissing and licking her way to a nipple, then licking and sucking as she watched his face.
"Kaylee..." All other words failed him, caught up in a deep groan of need as she rubbed her body up against him, all the while biting, licking and kissing until he thought he would pass out. Simon felt himself go rock hard in seconds, the flush of blood from his face now pooling in his groin.
Grinning as she continued to tease him, Kaylee looked anything but repentent. "Uh huh, *bao bei*? You wanna say somethin'?"
Letting go of his shirt Kaylee slid her hands down, rubbing Simon slowly through his pants as she licked her lips, then captured his stunned mouth in her own. Closing his eyes in ecstasy, Simon gave up and responded, his hips jerking to the coaxing movement of Kaylee's hand. Her fingers opening his fly so her hand could slide under his clothing and wrap around him. Simon made an incoherent noise in the back of his throat and kissed her fiercely, his arms pulling her closer as Kaylee varied her rythym to bring him to the edge of pleasure then build him up again. Her gifted hand flexing and stroking, her tongue now in Simon's mouth, their bodies heating up until passion overcame them both.
Dimly, Kaylee thought she heard the com but her world, her entire 'verse had narrowed down to the compass of a single being. Simon Tam. He was the only thing that mattered to her. They fell to the bed in a ragged half dressed heap, hands and mouths everywhere. Simon just a jerk away from coming, then Kaylee shifted and instead of thrusting into her hand he was impaled deep inside the hot core of her, Kaylee's legs wrapped possessively around his waist, her own gyrations driving him further with every thrust, her teeth biting down into his shoulder as everything became more heated and frantic. Their cries as they came bouncing off the walls of the little bunk.
Simon actually thought he might have passed out for a moment or two. He carefully rolled over on to his back, taking Kaylee with him so that she ended up in a debauched sprawl on top of him. Somewhere along the way the rest of their clothes had been thrown off. Torn off, more likely. A silly smile of happiness was slopped all over Simon's face. He knew Kaylee was not asleep, her eyes only closed because she was savouring the moment of passion. The feeling of utter completion. A sense of wholeness and belonging joining them even more than their bodies had in coitus. So it was with something of a shock that when Simon kissed the top of Kaylee's head and opened his eyes it was to see River staring down at him.
Shaken he yelped, his startled cry rousing Kaylee from her post coital stupor. Without so much as a blush or blink, River delivered the message calmly. Her look and demeanour giving away nothing of her meaning. "Found you."
Kaylee turned her head, "What's up, sweetie?"
But River was not looking at Kaylee, her eyes fixed on Simon with an intensity that said he ought to know what she was talking about. Then she was gone and Kaylee turned a puzzled look on Simon. "What was that about?"
He shook his head. "*Wo bu zhidao*, you know River." Then the moment passed and he smiled at her. *His* Kaylee. Simon planted a kiss on the tip of her nose and smiled. "I think we should start locking your door."
No words could express how Kaylee's heart lit up at his words, the warmth spreading right through her until even her toes tingled with the joy of it. *We*. Simon had said *we*. That meant they were an *us*, didn't it? And everyone knew Simon never said anything he didn't mean. Fact was he thought each damn word to death but he had said *we*. Kaylee kissed him long and deep, the sappiest smile in the 'verse settling over her happy face. Ridiculously pleased to see its' mirror image on Simon's face.
Thadius Clay could see the Captain stirring. Realised the man had gotten all the sleep he was going to get but even a few hours was better than none and he did look a whole lot better for it. Helen came into the infirmary and helped Thadius disconnect Mal from the monitors and wires, carefully putting Simon's equipment away. Not that Mal really needed any of it any more but Simon Tam was nothing if not picky and precise when it came to his profession. A fact that had saved the lives of Serenity's crew too many times to count. Ruben and Carl came in next with Zoe. Zoe glanced around looking for Simon. Her brows furrowed but before she could say anything Thadius spoke.
"It isn't safe here any more."
Immediately Zoe felt her body tense, her hand unconsciously drifting down to her gun. "What do you mean? We beat the Reavers."
The Captain was sitting up now and rubbing his hands over his stubbled face, using the distraction to gather his wits about him. He glanced at Thadius before looking at his second in command. "Not outta the woods yet."
Her frown deepened. Thadius stepped back and let the Captain get to his feet, not offering assistance unasked for. Knowing the Captain's pride would not let him appear weak in front of Zoe. Not that she would have thought any less of him but Mal didn't want her berating him for being on his feet, not with what else he had in mind. By day's end she was like to be all manner of furious with him. No. He would willingly take the calm before the storm.
"'Cause of who sent 'em."
For a long drawn out moment Zoe was concerned that this last injury had damaged his brain. "Sir, nobody sent them. They're Reavers."
Zoe turned to stare at Ruben, surprised to hear the quiet man speak. Ruben had the kind of face beloved of the old pre-Raphelites. There should have been honeyed light and halos around him. Sturdy but comely, she would have to describe his face as open but plain. No sharp distinction of features, no slide from handsome to drop dead gorgeous. No women would swoon at his feet or listen in docile content to what words he might have to say. But there was a calm about him, an inner joy that shone through him and made her feel like she was bathed in that equanimity just by being near him. His very presence soothed the soul. Odd how she had never comprehended that before. Zoe could not imagine Ruben ever committing a single act of violence. It kind of startled her to have such deep thoughts about a stranger. "Were?"
The man looked impossibly sad but oddly enough Zoe did not think he was mourning their enemies. "Gone to a better death than life would have given them."
She couldn't argue with that but the Captain was on the move, his steps a bit on the skittish side until he was sure he wasn't going to fall flat on his face. That drew a tug of humour to Zoe's solemn lips. Mal caught the look in her eye and glared at her, affronted. The little twitch of humour flashed into a full blown grin. She would mock him, stand by him, hand him his ass back on a plate if he didn't pick it up his own self but she would follow her Captain and friend into *diyu* and never think the cost too high. Not nothing but death would ever part them. Zoe purposely never said anything to the Captain. "You gonna explain to me that fun little comment, Ruben?"
Ruben blinked at her slowly, like a sleepy owl coming awake only she knew he was sharper than that. She couldn't see this bunch of Readers being part of the remedial class. Nope, only sharp knives in this drawer. A little smile curved his lips and his face became beautific. Zoe stared at him and wondered how he did that. His quiet eyes twinkled gently then he dipped his head slightly. "The dead can't harm us but it isn't the dead that are coming after us and it isn't the dead who'll have to face them."
It was the longest piece of speech she had heard from him. Zoe noticed that the Captain did not seem surprised. "Sir? Am I missin' somethin' here?"
"*Bu qu*, Zoe. *Fang xin*. Just feelin' a mite closed in. Best get everybody together in the commons room."
She took a moment before turning and leaving the room at a brisk walk. Thadius looked thoughtful. "She's suspicious."
Mal nodded, a look of fierce pride in his eyes before turning his attention on the Readers. "She's the best." He paused and eyed the four of them, not making a comment about where Michael was. He guessed he would be up on the bridge. It was where he would have wanted him if asked. But being Readers they didn't have to ask. Mal didn't feel any annoyance at their anticipation of his wishes, part of him surprised at how easily he adapted to their presence in his mind and on his ship. He knew Zoe would go *shenjingbing feng* if she knew the extent of it but that was something she didn't need weighing on her mind. Mal trusted the Readers and she trusted him. Good enough.
"Where are they?"
Mr Brown turned cold emotionless eyes on Gabriel Tam. The man was gradually coming apart at the seams. "Obviously they are in hiding."
"I know that!" Snapped Gabriel. "When I want someone to state the obvious I'll ask a moron!"
A dangerous glint sparked in Mr Brown's eyes but it was the only hint of his displeasure. Gabriel did not notice. His mind was raging, his patience wafer thin like skin pulled so tight it was ready to pop. His anger steaming into a vanishing mist. Pity the mist was red.
Mr Smith watched the planet below grow larger in their screen. "It would be best not to land. Not yet. All the better to intercept them when they take off."
"It could be days, I haven't got days!"
A slow disingenuous smile spread across Mr Brown's face. "They have even less than days."
The assurance settled Gabriel Tam but it was only a short term fix. Mr Brown had no intention of telling Gabriel that he had even less time than that.
River watched but she wasn't seeing. Her mind had sent a light glancing touch in Michael's direction. He did not react though she knew he had not only felt it but savoured the brief connection like a guilty but forbidden pleasure. "Ni zhidao"
It was not a question so Michael did not answer. He was not happy verbalising with anyone but Thadius. The mental component was not for common use.
"Not common", River corrected. "But you know that as well." She paused and turned away to look out the large windscreen, the only view of a desolate world. Memories of Miranda crowding in like gatecrashers at a party, her mind a formiddable obstacle to entry. It was easy enough to tune them out. To pick the sharp razor of the present over the wounds of the past. "They're coming." She said suddenly, her tone changing.
Michael watched her. Loved the many facetted angles of her mind though he would not venture beyond the cursory. He watched them all, knowing their time was limited on this ship. Trusting Thadius as he did the others. It was as if the five of them were one flesh. He did not know if they could function if they lost one of their number. Even the notion of it was painful to him. River answered the com just as the Captain's voice came over it calling everyone to meet in the commons room. She paused to exchange a last look with Michael. "And so it begins."
He said nothing but padded quietly after her. His mind seeking the others. Relieved when he followed River into the commons room to see everyone gathered there. Simon and Kaylee looked particularly rumpled, a flicker of guilt and embarrassment bringing a smile to his mind as he realised what they had been doing. Then the Captain was speaking and all other thoughts and musings evaporated. Inara Serra stared at the Captain in shock and horror. What was this *goushi*? "You can't be serious, Mal? If someone is waiting for us it makes sense to stay in hiding."
Kaylee was inclined to agree with Inara but something in the Captain's face made her hold her tongue. Jayne looked ansty enough to blow holes in anyone who looked at him wrong. Anything to do with Reavers had the man on edge.
"Not saying we take Serenity into a fire fight, 'Nara."
She frowned, confused. "You're not?"
At any other time he might have laughed at her expression but this was too serious. The enemy had their scent and they needed some kind of diversion. Staying put was no longer an option. There was only one way in or out of the underground hangar. Staying would turn their place of shelter and concealment into a trap. So if they couldn't outfly them they'd have to out fox them. He could feel Thadius itching inside his skull to do it but Mal had no intention of sacrificing any of his crew, even temporary ones.
The silence as Malcolm Reynolds revealed his plan sent shock waves through the crew. The Readers watched and waited, so calm and detached that Zoe hated them for it. Didn't they realise that what the Captain was proposing was suicide? Zoe put her opposition into words spelling out the cost. "You can't do it, you'll be killed!"
"You're missing the salient points, Zoe."
Her eyes narrowed on him, her lush lips pressed into a pinched unforgiving line. The Captain had that mad *trust me, I know what I'm doing* look on his face that she hadn't seen since the war. A look that had fooled many a raw recruit and seasoned soldier into thinking he had something hidden in reserve when all he had was stubborn determination and courage. But Zoe had shared those battle lines, looked down into the deep ugly of death and knew what it meant to stand firm. What that line in the sand really stood for. She did not like what that said about the Here and Now. No way would she let him gamble with his life to save theirs. Hadn't come this far to lose him now. She held his look with a grim unremitting one of her own. "Where you go I go, sir."
It broke his heart to deny her that right but no way was he taking her with him. "Can't. *Fang xin*, I'll be takin' a suit. Don't have to be a one way trip. This works we'll meet on Boros."
"But that's two weeks away!" Wailed Kaylee.
The Captain had hoped she wouldn't mention that until he was gone. He hid the flinch and faced them with his considerable determination. A look on his face that Inara hated and Zoe knew meant his mind was made up. Confused, Jayne was frowning, not understanding why in the nine hells the Captain wanted to fly the rutting Reaver ship. Was something wrong with Serenity? He latched on the only part he could grasp that might influence the Captain's fool decision. "It's on'y got a quarter tank of fuel, Mal."
He felt like laughing but didn't. "It'll be enough, Jayne."
Simon was staring. His sister turned her head and looked at him, Simon thinking back to everything this Captain and crew had done for them both. All the gifts they had been given that were beyond price. Things he had not cherished until faced with the prospect of losing them. He looked down at Kaylee's worried face, dropped a kiss to her forehead and gave her a little smile. She did not smile back. Simon squeezed her hand then stepped forward. "If you're going to do this then you're not going alone. I'm going with you."
The Captain could not have been more surprised if his ship had spoken to him. He stared at Simon for a moment, all manner of emotion assailing him. He knew Simon wasn't a coward but had never taken him for a fool. Didn't the boy know this was a one-way trip? Simon gave a little pragmatic smile then shrugged. "I'm your doctor, you're still recovering. If you don't take me I'll confine you to the infirmary."
Everyone held their breath to see what would happen. Malcolm Reyonlds did not want the doctor risking his life, leaving his sister without his protection, leaving his mechanic to weep and wail in her bunk. It was Zoe who broke the impasse. "You won't have to go doctor because it's not happenin'. We'll think of somethin' else."
"There is nothing else." The Captain responded. Then she saw it, the bleakness in his eyes. The sorrow soul deep for having failed them. How could she tell him he had never let them down? Never let *her* down? Was he still blaming himself for the loss of Wash and Book? Yes, of course he was. This was Malcolm Reynolds, the man who carried the 'verse on his back and tried to laugh death in the face. This was Malcolm Reynolds her Captain and friend. This was Malcolm Reynolds staring her straight in the eye and telling her she couldn't go. Didn't he know that losing him too would break her in ways that could never be fixed? Would shatter this crew and leave a hurt behind so profound it would haunt the rest of them their live-long days? But she knew he wasn't thinking of that. Her friend had simply done the math.
They argued back and forth for a few minutes then the Captain's voice cut sharp and deep silencing them. "*Bizui*! It is what it is. We do this like any other job, *dong ma*? Don't matter what they got waitin' for us we're gonna do the impossible an' that makes us mighty."
Thadius, Ruben, Carl, Michael and Helen had gradually been inching their way closer to the Captain. Zoe frowned and wondered what the good gorram they thought they were doing, then it hit her. The Captain seemed to be ignoring them but she knew better. A stab of hurt pierced her. "You're takin' them with you?"
"Zoe, it ain't like that. They kind'a insisted."
Daggers sharpened her eyes. "Sir, they ain't crew."
"No, they ain't. But they know things Zoe an' I trust 'em."
There was no way he could stop his words sounding like an accusation, as if the Readers came up to a measure she could never reach. It wasn't like that, would *never* be like that but how to explain to Zoe? How to tell her something so intimate and private in front of the whole rutting crew? Made no never mind that his little albatross already knew or that some of the others could maybe take a guess at it. He expected Zoe to know it wasn't a matter of trust. He was being pragmatic, realistic and utterly ruthless.
"I'm still coming." Said Simon in a quiet but firm voice. The Captain opened his mouth to protest. "You gave us shelter, protection. Took us in when no one else would. I haven't shown much in the way of gratitude but that doesn't mean I don't know what our presence on this ship has meant. How much it has cost you and the rest of the crew nor that I don't appreciate it because I do. We just clash, Captain, and I don't see that being a situation that will change any time soon. I do respect you and finally, I have to say I trust you, which is why it's time you did the same."
The Captain stared, really stared, dumbfounded. What was the fool boy trying to talk himself into now? "What in the nine hells are you sayin'?"
A little smile quirked up the ends of Simon's mouth. He was careful not to look behind him to where Kaylee was twisting her hands together and trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears. "It means I counted the suits, Captain."
"There are seven."
Instead of continuing to argue Mal just gave Simon a long hard look which gradually softened, just an inch. Something like pride flickered in his eyes before the shutter came back down. Okay, so the boy had won, that didn't mean he was gonna let him gloat. The Captain went over the plan one last time with everybody, drawing Zoe to one side before heading off with Simon and the Readers to get into the EVA suits. "Now Zoe, you got the ship. You don't let Jayne get the upper hand. I know you know how to handle him but this ain't any normal situation an' he may think he can flex his muscles an' win this round."
"I can handle Jayne, sir."
His look softened with humour. "*Wo zhidao*, Zoe." He paused, concern taking over from the humour. "You gonna be okay?" The rest of what he meant was left unsaid but Zoe understood. There wasn't anyone in the 'verse knew him better.
"*Hen hao.* Be careful, Mal."
He knew she meant she wouldn't be there to watch his back for him. The look extended a moment or two, a thousand things shared in a heartbeat, then the Captain nodded and Zoe took a step back. Wasn't gonna beg. If he was that determined and stupid she would let him go but she didn't have to like it. Inara didn't speak, wouldn't say goodbye. Internally, she was praying and wishing him luck but the words wouldn't make it past the Companion's lips and she didn't think Mal would listen anyway. She wished Shepherd Book were with them, he would know what to do. But it was done and now everyone was moving with purpose. Time she did the same, but Inara paused, turned her head, caught those soulful eyes in hers and could not look away. The Captain gave her a terse nod, all the emotion carried in his eyes. All of hers in a heart close to breaking. Then they were gone, the echo of their footsteps taking her heart with them.
Kaylee ran to Inara, buried her face in the folds of the Companion's silk kimono. Cried the tears that Inara Serra wouldn't because much as she liked to pretend otherwise, she was just as stubborn and pig headed as the man she loved. Zoe was the only one who noticed the look on River's face. Maybe things were not as dire as she supposed or maybe, just maybe, River was playing a role too.
CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)
*shenme shi* = what's the matter? *bao bei* = precious/treasure *diyu* = hell
*wo bu zhidao* = I don't know *bu qu* = no (lit. no go) *shenjingbing* = crazy
*fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart) *feng* = mad *goushi* = crap/dog shit
*ni zhidao* = you know *bizui* = be quiet/shut up *wo zhidao* = I know
*hen hao* = very good
Sunday, April 16, 2006 3:34 AM
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