BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

EMMARIGBY

Winding River: Chapter 6
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

One more chapter of the crossover fic that spends a lot of time in the Stargate verse (If you hate crossovers don't read!). A friend of mine stated that it was impossible to mix these two programs convincingly. Is he right? Let me know!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1289    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: see chapter 1 Sorry for the shortness of the chapters, that's all my brain can cope with in one burst! This chapter is even shorter than normal as I didn’t have very much I wanted to say, but I know you wanted to hear from our favourite transport crew.

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Chapter 6

Mourning

Mal sat slumped at the dining room table, squinting into the shimmer of the recessed central glow strip that was the sole source of illumination in the darkened room. One hand rested limply on a thigh clad in tight brown suede, the other formed a loose cage around a half-full glass of spirits. The level of the clear, colourless liquid hadn’t changed during the last two hours and a thin line of crystals had formed around the rim of the drink where the alcohol had been lost to the meagre warmth of the room.

He flinched, and raised a hand to shield his eyes as they were suddenly assaulted by a wash of stark, white light.

"Oh God! Cap’n, you near scared the crap outta me!" Kaylee stood poised in the doorway, pressing fingers to the fluffy bear sewn onto the breast of her grease stained overalls. "What’cha doing, sitting there all alone in the dark?" She shifted her weight uncomfortably as the silence lengthened. Mal just went back to staring into his drink, ignoring the question that didn’t really need an answer.

Kaylee took a couple of hesitant steps towards the kitchen then gasped as Mal shifted and the light fell across his misshapen face.

"Oh, Ouch!" Her pretty, winsome features screwed up in an exaggerated wince. "Those have coloured up right pretty, ain’t they?"

Her eyes swam with compassion and unhappiness as they lingered over the sick rainbow that spread in shades of pain over his swollen cheekbone. Mal half raised his free hand at the reminder, but checked the motion, having learned from experience that prodding the bruises didn’t do much to help them heal. He ran the tip of his tongue gingerly over the crusted line of his split lip, reliving the moment of impact when knuckles had ground the soft flesh into his teeth.

As soon as Simon had woken he had been consumed with the need to find Mal. He hadn’t had far to go. He’d tackled him in the common area, just outside the infirmary, where Mal had been loitering. Simon had knocked him flat in a wordless lunge and knelt on his chest, delivering blow after blow with an almost mechanical savagery. Mal shivered as he recalled how the normally smooth lines of the young man’s aristocratic face had been distorted into a rictus of pain and rage. It might, at least in part, have been surprise at the transformation of the once logical and controlled doctor that had held Mal frozen in place beneath the punishing fists.

He didn’t know how long the scene would have stretched out. Kaylee hovering just out of reach, white faced in horror, a hand pressed tightly over her mouth to hold in the sobs. Jayne looking on impassively from the doorway to the infirmary, a curiously blank expression on his thickset features. The moment of madness had been broken when Zoe had pulled Simon’s heaving form from off her Captain, with enough force that the suddenly limp young man had slid across the room to land in a heap against the steps up to the hanger bay.

"I’ve had worse." Mal finally muttered, shifting uncomfortably under Kaylee’s troubled gaze. "No doubt will again."

Kaylee’s eyes slid away from Mal’s shadowed face and she shuffled a couple of side steps towards the kitchen.

"I was just heading ta fix up some soup or somethin’. I’m hopin’ ta tempt Simon outta his bunk," she babbled awkwardly. "He ain’t so much as stirred a toe outta there in nigh on two days, not since he … well ..." she trailed off unhappily and spun around a little too quickly to step behind the counter into the kitchen.

Mal watched her flustered movements and tried to think of a sensitive way to suggest that she stop clucking around Simon like a mother hen.

"Gorram it, Kaylee! Give the boy some space." Aw, Hell! Sensitive never was his strong suit. Now he'd gone and put that hurt look in those big brown eyes that hit you like a kick in the guts.

Mal opened his mouth to try to find some magic phrase to make things right. The words he was searching for died unsaid as he watched a vivid flood of emotions wash over Kaylee's expressive face, which finally settled into a cloud of apprehension. Mal turned slowly to follow the line of her anguished gaze and saw Simon crumpled heavily against the doorframe.

Mal rose slowly to his feet, placing his drink deliberately onto the table to leave his hands free and loose at his sides. His body shifted naturally into a defensive posture, weight on the balls of his feet, knees slightly flexed. The clench of his jaw muscles and the hard glint that crept into his eyes screamed out a warning that he was through being anyone's punching bag.

Simon seemed oblivious to the belligerent body language. He hadn't moved from his slump, his eyes staring vacantly into the room. Mal barely recognised the wreck in front of him as the same pompous and prissy doctor who had first boarded his ship. Simon's hair was tousled into furrows from the sweep of clenched fingers. Deep creases cut his finely tailored dark suit and his chin was rough with a sandpaper speckling of stubble.

Mal felt the tension drain out of his muscles as he registered the doctor's bloodshot and lifeless stare. This wasn't a man looking for trouble. He looked tired and defeated, like something had died inside of him.

"Somethin’ I can help you with, doc?" Mal winced at how formal and stilted his words sounded in his own ears. He'd meant it as a genuine offer of reconciliation.

Simon's eyes focussed on Mal's face like it was the one fixed point in a shifting maelstrom. He skimmed over the blossoming bruises without comment or change of expression.

"I have to go back. I have to find her." His voice was sluggish and flat.

Mal ignored the intake of breath from the kitchen at the first words Simon had uttered since leaving Verbena, and focussed his entire being on the dishevelled young man in front of him.

“Doc, that ain’t gonna do no-one no good.” Mal spoke slowly and carefully, as if afraid of triggering an explosion. “There ain’t nothin’ left ta find.”

Simon pinned him with a hard stare and Mal flinched from the desolate numbness of those iceberg blue-grey eyes.

“There’s her body.”

Mal stifled a groan and closed his eyes tight in denial of the image of what would be left of that shining, ethereal girl. He opened them again hurriedly to dispel the red splatters that danced in front of his eyelids.

“There ain’t a one of us want to see her like that, doc.” Mal was dismayed to hear that his voice, which he’d meant to be firm and final, had a quaver of pleading behind it.

The tense standoff was broken by a flurry of movement as Kaylee swung back around the kitchen counter to come and stand closer to the two men.

“He’s right, Cap’n. We should give her a proper burial.” Her voice was resolute, though the catch to her breathing and the tears welling in the corners of her eyes showed how much she was hurting. “She don’t deserve to be out there all alone.” She trailed off, her eyes wide in silent appeal.

Mal sighed in bone-deep weariness. “Tzao gao, this is such a bad idea!”

He couldn’t believe he was even considering it. He and Zoe knew full well that there was precious little peace to be had from putting the scattered remains of friends and loved ones into the ground. Hell, there might not even be enough of her left to recognise.

Still, he knew the boy needed this. Looking after River had been his whole life. Until he’d done this last thing for her he’d never find a new reason to go on. Plus Mal could never resist those brown eyes of Kaylee’s. Eyes that that seemed older now after knowing the touch of death that he’s hoped never to see reflected there. Wash would help sway Zoe; he’d think it was a great notion once he got wind of it.

Also, there’d be one helluva lot of unclaimed salvage lying around with none but the corpses to claim it. He loathed himself for thinking the thought, but it was the God’s own truth that they could all do with a break from work, legal or otherwise. And it might be the only means of persuading Jayne to land on Reaver struck-turf. They’d need to stash their current hold of cargo somewhere first.

“We’re short of a day’s ride from Haven. We’ll pick up Shepherd Book on the way,” he finally decided, and was rewarded by a gasp of delight from Kaylee. “He’ll want to say a few words over the dead,” he added absently.

Simon frowned as if to protest. Mal cut him off. “It’ll not be but a couple o’ days delay, doctor, and those folks ain’t exactly goin’ anywhere!”

Simon nodded slowly. Mal turned to stride out of the room, leaving the two standing alone; Simon slumped and barely there and Kaylee with one hand reaching out to him, hovering uncertainly a few inches above his sloping shoulder.

Mal walked slowly toward the cockpit, not looking forward to the forthcoming conversation with his First Mate. Zoe would be bound to point out the fundamental dumbness of this scheme, and he couldn’t help but agree with her.

He had a strong notion that there was nothing but trouble waiting for them on that godforsaken planet, and that they might all regret this course of action before too long.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chinese phrases:

Tzao gao – Crap/ Damn!

As always, I’m keen to hear about bits you did or didn’t like as I am always open to changing or improving this story.

COMMENTS

Thursday, May 4, 2006 2:31 AM

ANONYMOUS


Aw man... you're right, way too short, but mighty good. You have all my awe and appreciation, every one who rights the fanfic. Not my thing, love to read but can't right worth spit. Thanks 100 times over!

Thursday, May 4, 2006 4:12 AM

BRAINSPECIALIST


Can't wait for the two to finally meet! Should be a right old fireworks display.

Thursday, May 4, 2006 8:04 AM

RIPTHEJACKER


WHOA WHOA WHOA, did I miss something? Unless Mal was so sympathetic for Simon, there's no WAY Simon could beat him senseless. Somebody help me out here.

As always, great interpretation of the characters, especially Kaylee. Lookin forward to more.

Friday, May 5, 2006 9:01 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Dunno Rip....Simon's capabable of throwing a punch. How well is up for debate. Besides, I think Mal was kinda hoping for a bit of smacking to help receive the pennance he subconsciously seemed to think he deserved.

And I can't wait for the crew to discover River ain't dead....gonna lead to some crazy adventures;)

BEB

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 4:22 PM

SAMEERTIA


Oh, wow. Brought tears to my eyes with that one. Don't matter none that we know River's safe as long as Simon and the others think she's dead.

Very well done with this chapter!


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