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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Mal and Jayne beat a confession out of Badger while Simon, Kaylee and Inara wait for them to return. 33rd story in a series.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1860 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
I'm not quite so happy with this story, but, I've edited it to death and figured I just needed to post it.
Thanks for the support while I write this dark little tale and I hope this story satisfies all of you bloodthirsty people waiting for Badger to get what's coming to him.
Yes, yes, don't whine its too short! I could write 20 pages and you'd whine about the same thing! :)
Title: Questions and Answers
Synopsis: Badger finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
Timeline: 2 months after wedding, 1 month after the attack
Notes: Next part of a series beginning with : And So It Begins, Kiss Me, Coming Together, Tell Me, What’s Proper?, Tears , Peekaboo, Impatient, Waking Up is Hard to Do, The Talk, I See You, Exhaustion,.Moving Day, Celebration, Surprise , Vacation, Reunion, Manipulation, Baby Talk, A First Time for Everything, The Way It Is, A Special Day, Girl Talk, The Gift, Breaking It In, Making Plans, Friends and Enemies, Where I Belong , Private Time , All good things must come to an end, Moving On, Questions and Answers
Disclaimer: This story is not meant to infringe on the copyright of any person or company related to the trademarked characters and situations depicted in the Serenity movie or Firefly series. I make no money from this. Only done for fun - and a desperate craving to have more stories told about this wonderful ‘verse Joss Whedon created.
Mal, Jayne and Zoe stood in the center of the large room, filled with elegant furnishings and rich, colorful murals. They looked around in awe, not often privy to seeing such elegance, much less being invited into it.
River simply examined one of the murals with a critical eye, murmuring to herself while they waited for Harrow to arrive.
“It’s been a long while since someone examined that piece so thoroughly.” The large man stood beside River, smiling appreciatively down at her.
River cocked her head and squinted at one corner. “I hope you didn’t pay much. This is a fake.”
Mal winced and hurried to River’s side, ready to apologize for her rude behavior.
Harrow raised his hand to silence the words that had not yet fallen from Mal’s lips and regarded River very carefully. “I’m impressed young lady. You are indeed correct. Though that mural has fooled many an expert.”
River smiled up at him and extended her hand, completely comfortable in this rich, aristocratic world.
Harrow took it and bowed slightly. “A pleasure, my dear, to meet someone so learned among Malcom Reynold’s friends.”
Jayne and Zoe exchanged a look and Mal gaped at the two.
River expertly laced her arm through Harrow’s and steered him toward the others, shooting Mal a haughty look over her shoulder.
“Crew, actually,” River corrected. “I’m his pilot.”
The only surprise visible on Harrow’s face was the sudden arch of a very well-sculpted eyebrow. “Indeed, I am impressed yet again.”
“My brother’s wife was one of the women attacked by the men Badger sent after Captain Reynolds,” River began, saccharine dripping from her lips like venom. “I’m here to make sure he gets his just reward.”
Harrow nodded slowly. “When Miss Serra contacted me to enlist my aid, I was appalled.” He glanced up at the clock on the wall. “He should be here shortly.”
“You had no trouble convincing him to meet you here?” Mal asked, breaking the moment Harrow had created with the elegant creature on his arm.
Harrow took a deep breath, his expression changing as he addressed the Captain. “Oh, I offered him more money than was wise to decline. He will be here. And unarmed.”
Zoe and Mal exchanged a look but remained silent.
Harrow extended his arm toward the door. “Shall we? The room in which you will conduct your – business is not located in the main house. I do not want filth such as the likes of Badger to touch any bit of my home.”
When they reached their final destination, Harrow turned to Mal, “Please do not bloody my carpets too badly. They are imported.”
Simon sighed as he watched the news report cycle again. While it was serving as an adequate distraction while Mal and the others were gone, it was at once disturbing and encouraging. They’d been seeing it all over the Cortex for the last few weeks.
While people protested outside Parliament, the rich and the powerful cast their support for one of the two splintering factions. The government had not yet fractured into a state of civil war, and Simon hoped it would not come to that. The Miranda cover-up, he figured, was at the center of a far larger debate. Those who wished to overthrow the current Parliament had simply used the events that took place there as a stepping stone for their arguments. Why it had taken so very long – more than a year – he didn’t know. Perhaps it had simply taken those intent on calling for the resignations time to prepare.
Several key Parliament members had resigned and another had been found dead. Simon didn’t need to perform the autopsy himself to know he had been murdered. No doubt with an untraceable drug. There were many available in the Core. He could mix a few himself with the limited available drugs out on the Rim and not even the best autopsy tox screen would be able to determine the cause of death.
“Simon?” Kaylee stood in the doorway, watching her husband.
Simon glanced up at Kaylee, ran a hand through his dark hair and smiled. “I’m done.”
Kaylee wrapped her hands around his arm and pulled him up. “’Nara’ll be happy to have her shuttle back.”
Simon smiled and glanced around the elegantly decorated home. One good thing to come out of the attack had been for Mal to all but move into the shuttle with Inara. To the casual observer, one would never know a man lived here. But to those close friends who knew the two people in question, it was apparent.
“I imagine they will. I’ll thank Inara for letting me use her Cortex access later.” Simon allowed her to pull him out of the shuttle and toward their room. “You two have a good conversation?”
Kaylee nodded. Ever since the assault, they’d made the time, even if it was just a few minutes a day, to talk. And they’d wasted a little time while waiting for Mal and the others to return. Now she was going to spend some quality time with her husband.
Simon noted the eagerness on her face and the brightness in her eyes and he couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face.
“Need to distract ourselves until they come back.” Kaylee pulled him into their room and slid the door shut. She favored him with a sultry smile from beneath her eyelashes. “Any ideas how we could do that?”
A silly grin spread across Simon’s face as he pulled her into his arms. “I have a few ideas.”
Badger grinned as he walked around the small parlor. His men had been asked to wait outside, and as much as that unnerved the crime lord, what could he possibly have to worry about in such a fine home and in the company of the great stuck up Warrick Harrow himself.
He admired a print that hung on the wall, briefly considering how he could pilfer it without anyone noticing. When the door swung open and a pretty little thing stepped through, decked out in all manner of elegant finery, Badger’s heart thudded against his chest and his jaw hit the floor.
“Well ‘ello, love. Ain’t you a pretty little sight?”
River cocked her head and immediately adopted his accent. “’Course I am. You were smitten the first time you laid eyes on me.”
Badger siddled up to her, took her hand. “Have we met before, love?” His eyes swept down her silk-clad body. “I’d remember a pretty like you.”
River stepped away from him and crossed her arms behind her back, looking at once demure and innocent. “Don’t remember me, love? Keeping my family prisoner while Captain Daddy got stabbed?”
Badger jerked as if he’d been shot. He didn’t know why, but the hair on the back of his neck suddenly stood on end. “What?”
River uncrossed her arms from behind her back and sauntered sexily toward him again. She locked her eyes with his, piercing his very soul. “Who hired you to set up Malcom Reynolds?”
Badger gasped and took several steps backward, not stopping until he met with a very hard, very stiff, barrier. He glanced up and swallowed thickly as the very annoyed face of Jayne Cobb stared down at him.
When Simon woke from his brief nap, he reached out to the body he thought would be sleeping next to him, but Kaylee was gone. He stretched languidly and then decided that he’d better go look for her. He knew that if the Captain had returned, she’d have come to get him. He dressed quickly and went in search of her, finding her in the galley warming some tea.
Kaylee tensed for a brief moment, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end ever so briefly. “Hi sweetie,” Kaylee whirled around, wanting to see her husband with her own eyes, and put those annoying fears to rest. She still jumped when she was startled and it was becoming more than a little annoying. Her vision blurred for a moment as she whirled too quickly and she leaned against his chest to maintain her balance.
Simon raised a concerned eyebrow. “Feeling all right?”
Kaylee smiled uncertainly. “Just tired.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and brushed her cheek against his chest. “That’s your fault.”
A small smile tugged at his lips. “A blame I will gladly accept, bao bei.”
Inara glided into the room and smiled at the couple standing in one another’s arms. As she noticed them getting closer again, it reaffirmed her decision to keep Kaylee’s secret. She moved toward the couple when she noticed the freshly brewed tea.
“Have some ‘Nara. There’s enough.” Kaylee smiled brightly at her friend.
Her eyes twinkled suggestively. “Sorry to interrupt, you two.”
Simon kissed Kaylee’s cheek and then moved around her to pour some tea for himself and his wife once Inara had finished.
Kaylee pouted momentarily at his back but then moved into the kitchen to whip up some flavored protein. She’d been ravenously hungry for the last few weeks and had taken to eating little bits between mealtimes.
“Don’t suppose anyone’s heard from them yet?” Simon asked when Kaylee brought over a bowl full of pink protein. He shook his head at the color but his wife just giggled playfully at him.
“I’m sure they’ll be hurrying back here with someone sporting a fresh wound soon enough.” Inara said, clearly agitated.
“It was a well thought out plan,” Simon admitted, risking the ladies wrath for saying so. “I’m not happy that River is right in the thick of it all. But she can pick the information we need right out of Badger’s head so it shouldn’t take long.” He left out the part where he was irritated to no end that he hadn’t been allowed off the ship. He wanted one punch. Just one. Mal would get another earful for denying him that when he got back.
Inara leveled a disbelieving look at Simon. “You don’t know Mal very well if you think that’s what’s going to happen. He isn’t going to just let River read his mind. He went after Badger looking for a fight. Jayne is ready to hurt something and Zoe – when she loses her temper, everyone would do well to scatter.”
Simon tried very hard not to let Inara’s words disturb him. “You mean –“ Simon took a deep breath, and his jaw set. “They’ll beat the confession out of him even if River take the information out of his mind?”
Kaylee inhaled sharply and Simon felt a pang of jealousy for not being allowed to take part in this plan. If there was anything he wanted to see more, it was those responsible for attacking Kaylee and Inara be pummeled to a bloody pulp. For the first time in his life, he was envious of Jayne.
River shot the nervous man a smug grin and swayed confidently to the opposite end of the room, her job done.
Badger’s eyes quickly scanned the room, looking for an avenue of escape. To his distress, he found only one door in the room, and no windows. The confounded girl had distracted him so Jayne could enter unnoticed.
“Now Mal’s given me permission to do whatever I have to do to get a name.” Jayne grinned wickedly as Badger hurried toward the closed door, which suddenly opened as he reached for the handle.
Zoe and Mal walked in, and Badger stopped in his tracks, disbelief crossing his face. “You’re – you’re –“ he backed away, right into Jayne again.
“Dead?” Mal raised an amused eyebrow. “Not quite. Was close though, no thanks to you.”
“Would suit me just fine for ya ta do some resistin’.” Jayne stared down at the much smaller man. “Sos I can rough ya up a bit.”
Badger turned determined eyes on Mal. “You know you won’t get away with this!”
“Sure we will,” Mal said confidently.
“I can make sure you never get a job on this –“
Jayne fisted his hands into the collar of Badger’s shirt and pushed him against the closest wall. “Ya ain’t sayin’ nothin’ to nobody ifin you’re dead.”
Badger craned his neck, albeit painfully, toward Mal. “You won’t let him kill me!”
“You want to be able to walk out of this place of your own free will, you give us a name.” Even though it was Mal who spoke, the murderous look in Jayne’s eyes struck the fear of God in Badger.
River stared at the little man. She knew the name that repeated over and over inside his head like a mantra. But she wanted him to say it. She wanted him to say the name. And she wanted to see him beg, and beaten, and hurt, like her family was hurt, like it would be hurting when they found out –.
“Who is it, lil’ Albatross?” Mal turned to River, knowing she had to have plucked the name from his head by now.
“Has to say.”
Jayne unsheathed his knife and pressed the flat edge against Badger’s cheek.
“He’ll kill me.” Badger trembled, fear radiating out from him like a tidal wave.
“He’ll kill you later, I’ll kill you now.” Jayne tightened his hold on Badger’s neck.
“Might want to give him a name, Badger,” Mal advised. “I didn’t hire him for his public relations skills. He’s rather rough on them that hurt members of our crew.”
The little man’s eyes flicked back and forth between Mal, Zoe, River and Jayne. He shook his head, unwilling to make himself that madman’s next target.
“I – can’t.”
Glee passed across Jayne’s face as he raised his knife. “He won’t miss a finger or three, Mal.”
“No, wait!” Badger struggled to free himself from Jayne’s grasp, to no avail. “Please – you can’t, he’ll –“
“What you should be worryin’ on is what we will do to you.” Mal’s eyes narrowed as his blood began to boil.
“He paid me for settin’ up that job.” Badger blurted suddenly. “Easiest money I ever made, and all I had to do was send you to a rendezvous point! It’s all I did, I swear!”
“I swear too,” Jayne drew his blade down Badgers cheek, drawing a thin line of blood beneath the cool metal. “Every gorramn day.”
The little man winced as the warm liquid dripped down his cheek and his eyes widened.
“And that’s why were gonna let you live. Soon as you give us a name.” Mal stalked toward the little weasel.
Badger swallowed convulsively. “You can’t go after him. He’ll cut you down faster than –“
Zoe, tired of the delays, turned to Mal and raised her gun toward Badger without looking at him. “May I, Sir?”
Mal set his jaw and stepped away, his hands clenched into fists. He had given Inara his word. He wouldn’t kill Badger. Of course, he hadn’t make that promise on behalf of the rest of his crew.
River leaned down and smiled creepily at Badger. ”I can kill you with my brain.”
Badger raised a skeptical eyebrow and tried to loosen the ironclad grip Jayne had on his collar. “Right then.”
“We’ve got all day, and all night and as long as you’d like to delay givin’ us the little piece of information we’ve asked for.” Jayne gave him a toothy grin.
“You won’t kill me,“ Badger said to Mal, his tone confident.
“You’re right.” Mal nodded. “I won’t.” He pointed at Jayne. ”He will.”
Jayne suddenly released the little man, who leaned against the wall for a moment to catch his breath. Badger was driven to his knees when Jayne whirled, his closed fist connecting with the smaller man’s un-bloodied cheek. “Am in the mood to beat on ‘em a bit before I carve out his eyeballs.” Jayne held up his large knife and drew a finger down its large flat edge.
“Now, now, jayne we were asked not to spill too much blood on the expensive carpets,” Mal reminded Jayne with a quirked smile.
Badger swallowed nervously as he pushed himself to his feet, only to find Jayne’s large knife pressed against his now bruised cheek.
“Doc said to take an eyeball first,” Jayne said suddenly, licking his lips as if he was weighing which one to take first.
Zoe’s eyebrow raised at this revelation. She knew Simon was upset about not being allowed to come, but for him to make this suggestion, rather than simply giving them a concoction of drugs that he knew would cause pain, rather unnerved her a bit. She made note to never put herself on the passive doctor’s bad side.
“Said it’d hurt bad ‘nuff that he’d talk right away.” Jayne’s eyes swept down the little man’s body. “I’d rather take a few fingers first. Then go for the eyeball.”
Badger’s eyes darted around the room. “You’re mad. All of you.”
Mal gripped Badger’s collar and shoved him hard into the wall. “Fuming. Who was it?”
“You’ll never get close to him.”
Mal’s grip on Badger’s neck tightened. “That ain’t your concern.”
“It’s your funeral.”
“I won’t expect you to leave flowers.”
Jayne’s snort of laughter distracted Badger for a moment until Mal repeated his demand. “Who was it?!”
Badger closed his eyes and whispered it so low they had to strain to understand. “Adeli Niska.”
Mal growled low in his throat and tightened his grip on Badger’s neck for a moment. Disgust passed across Zoe’s face and Jayne sneered rebelliously.
“He’s not lying,” River said, her face an emotionless mask.
Badger tried to pry Mal’s fingers from his neck. “Gave you what you wanted, let me go.”
Mal’s eyes slowly shifted from River to Badger. “You’re going to help us track him down.”
Badger shook his head, fear spreading across his face. “That man’s crazy. I ain’t ‘elpin –“
“I have a very pissed off doctor on board my ship who was very put off that I didn’t let him come on our little excursion.” Mal threw Badger against the wall and he slid to the floor with a pained groan. “Want him to save his rage for the hundan that sent men to assault his wife. Though, I think I’m regrettin’ that decision at the moment. You could use with a little untraceable, drug-induced pain.”
Badger laughed shakily, trying desperately to appear unfazed by this additional information.
“A doc who knows the most painful ways to torture a man an keep him alive through it all. Then when ya finally die, ain’t no way anyone could tell what ya died from,” Jayne added with a happy smile. Whadda ya know, the doc was useful for something other than sexin’ lil’ Kaylee.
Mal cocked his head at Jayne. “Ain’t that what I just said?”
Jayne shrugged at him and then leered at Badger.
“Not sure anyone would care if this little weasel died, anyway.” Zoe said, her voice tight.
Badger swallowed convulsively. He should have known something would go wrong with Niska’s plan. Now he was caught between a rock and a hard place. If he helped Reynolds find Niska, the crazy man would have him killed. If he kept his mouth shut, the crazy man with the big knife standing in front of him would end his life.
Better to live now and run later. He gave a dramatic sigh. “Fine, what do you want me to do?”
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