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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
There's a new passenger on Serenity, but she may be more trouble than she's worth.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1356 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N:So here is the next installment! There's some back story and more Mal/Charlotte sparring. Hope you all like it and please comment (tell me what you think of Charlotte because I love writing her but you may not like her after the next few installments!)
Thanks to Leaisky for beta-ing and swimming through all the commas.
Disclaimer:Not mine, just writing for fun
Link to Runaway:Part 1
Simon deposited Charlotte in his old dorm room, telling her he would be right back, and closed the sliding door behind him. As he turned, he found himself standing face to face with Mal. Simon motioned to move away from the door, not wanting to disturb his cousin while she took a few quiet moments to collect herself.
They walked into the infirmary, where Mal promptly confronted Simon, “What’s goin’ on here?”
Simon crossed his arms over his chest and sighed deeply before responding, “I have no clue, Mal, I‘ve had two minutes alone with her and I haven't seen her since before I broke River out of the Academy."
"You think she's in some kinda trouble?"
There was concern in Mal's voice, but it wasn't for Charlotte. Simon shrugged his shoulders, "I know she wouldn’t leave her wedding for anything less than life threatening.”
“Last time I had an errant bride on my ship, we were almost fried alive. Now since she’s family, I’ll let you tend to the situation, but I need to know what’s goin’ on here, and right quick. Soon as we’re outta atmo I will send River down to y’all, though I’m sure she already knows what’s what by now.”
Simon nodded his agreement and left Mal to return to Charlotte.
She sat on the edge of his bed, her hands folded on her lap. She had discarded Mal’s brown coat, leaving it to hang on the back of a chair. Simon noticed that she had washed her face and had tried to fix her hair, but the wayward strands kept dangling down her back, some new ones added for her efforts. She looked fragile to him but not broken, not like how River had been. Charlotte looked deserted, like she had been cast away without a second thought. He kneeled in front of her, taking her hands in his, gently drawing her eyes to face his own and quietly encouraging her to confide in him.
She looked away and the tears began to well up again, but she let them fall down the sides of face. The hysterical sobbing had ceased and all that was left were silent tears.
“Simon, I am so glad to see you.”
Simon smiled at her sincerity, knowing that it had pained her when the family had shunned him. Charlotte and he had been good friends, running in the same social circle, her being only a few years younger than he. She had attended school, if only for the sake of her family, but had spent most of her time engaging in social activities, which she had dragged him to on more than one occasion. She was vivacious and charming, a beauty who would have surely had her pick of husbands back on Osiris , which made her wedding on Persephone extremely puzzling to Simon.
“Charlotte...what are you doing on Persephone?”
Charlotte smiled down at her cousin, giving him a look she most certainly reserved for those whom she thought simple, “Getting married, silly.”
Simon clasped her hands in his tighter and gave her a stern look, using the voice that his father had used on him when he was being evasive, “Charlotte, I am in no mood to play your games. You are forgetting who you are talking to, I know your aptitude for equivocation. So, let’s start over shall we?”
Charlotte hung her head in submission, closing her eyes as she told her story, “ I have shamed my family, not once, but twice now. When you came in the room this afternoon, I was waiting to be wed. My father arranged the marriage, to a Sir Hamilton Garros, he’s some sort of land baron. I wasn’t given much detail, since my father is barely speaking to me as it is...or was... now he will never speak to me again.”
She ripped her hands from Simon’s grasp and held her face with them, her humiliation overtaking her emotions. Through her hands she sniffled, then wiped her face again, taking a deep breath before continuing.
"Simon, I... please don't make me say it."
Simon reached up a hand to brush away a piece of wayward hair out of her eyes, smiling at his cousin with concern, "Charlotte?"
"My dishonor is too great. Please."
Her eyes shone with desperation, tugging at Simon's kind heart, "There's nothing you can say that would make me ashamed of you, Charlotte."
Charlotte's lip trembled as she looked off into nothing, not having the courage to speak to Simon's face, "I had a child, out of wedlock, with a man that is no longer willing to take responsibility for his actions."
Simon took Charlotte’s hands back in his own, and squeezed them, “Charlotte, I am so sorry.”
She shook her head back and forth, loosening even more tendrils to fall about her face, “No, please, don't be sorry. I have learned something about life."
Simon reached up to turn her face to him, "I can’t see your father letting this man turn from you with out any repercussions."
Charlotte sneered at the mention of her father, “Father was the one that sent him away.”
Simon looked more confused than when she hard started her explanation.
“My father paid him to leave Osiris...and never return. My parents did not approve of him, he was not of our social standing, you see. We had made plans to leave, and settle on Londinium, with my trust fund as our nest egg, but my father decided that would be an even greater shame. He offered him the opportunity to start over, an account with hundreds of thousands of credits with no obligation of a wife and child to hinder him."
Charlotte's eyes took on a steely sheen as she straitened her back, "But that's of no matter now.”
The lost look on Charlotte’s face broke Simon’s heart, but he let her continue, knowing that now that she had revealed her dark secret, there would be more for her to say.
“My father was furious with me for disgracing our family name. He gave me three choices. I could take my trust fund and go off on my own, be disowned and dishonored amongst my family and peers. Or I could either abort the baby, or give it away for adoption. I would have to sign over my trust fund back to him and he would decide my fate, but I wouldn’t be shunned and I could still be a part of...I could have my life back. So I did as he said. I signed over my trust fund, went away on a retreat and had my baby."
She looked down at her hands, not wanting to relive the pain she had suffered and yet needing to speak the words, "I never saw it, I don’t even know if it was a boy or a girl, they whisked the child away from me the minute it was born."
Charlotte returned her gaze to her cousin, her lip trembling with anger.
"Then my father came to collect me, but he didn’t take me home. He deposited me in a convent where I sat in exile till he had could marry me off. Garros and my father struck a bargain, and I was brought to Persephone, my punishment for defying my father and disgracing our family name.”
Simon lifted her chin up to face him, “Why didn’t you leave? You could have refused th-”
Tears began to well out of her eyes again as she interrupted her cousin, “Where was I to go, Simon? I had no money, everyone would have turned me away, even my own mother wouldn’t speak to me! I had no choice but to accept the life my father had chosen!”
Her eyes were fiery with contempt, but they soon softened, “ Then you appeared and I...I acted rashly. I couldn’t go through with the marriage, Garros is a...disgusting man, he’s the size of a house and has the manners of a pig. He made my flesh crawl.”
She shook as a shiver ran down her spine, remembering the crude man who had come to her the night before their marriage, rattling off all that he expected of her, leering at her with his black beady eyes.
“I was to produce heirs and that was all he saw me for. His first wife had died recently and they’d had no children, so he wanted someone young and fertile. My father used my trust fund as my dowry, since he claimed I had cost him enough already. I was being watched by the daijin my father had hired, but she had to leave to arrange the attendants, who were hired as well. It was all a show for Garros and his friends. The Core bride who would supply him with sons to carry on his name, I couldn’t stand it! But then you showed up and I couldn’t believe my eyes! You...you saved me!”
Charlotte flung herself again into Simon’s arms, holding him tightly, “I don’t know what I would have done if you didn’t show up!”
Simon held his frightened and grateful cousin closely. He simmered inside, the anger slowly heating up his body. Old resentments soon began to fester. She had been cast aside like he, like River, the rules and protocol of their society deeming them now dishonored and unworthy.
“Charlotte, don’t worry, I’ll make sure you’re taken care of.”
Charlotte began to giggle, which confused him some. He pulled back in her arms searching her face.
Charlotte looked into his eyes and cupped his face, “You haven’t changed one bit.”
Simon blushed at her words but she continued on, “Besides, I think I will be able to make a new start in life."
The smile spread across her face warred with the streaks of tears that had dried up just a few moments before, "I took my dowry with me.”
Simon was taken aback by her words, cocking his head to one side as she smirked at her cleverness. She picked up the valise she had brought with her, opening it to reveal a bag full of money.
Simon looked at the fortune and then back at his cousin, his eyes widening.
Charlotte laughed at his shock and explained, “The daijin was coming back to give the dowry to Garros before the ceremony after she delivered the attendants. Father wanted there to be a great showing of our wealth and Garros wanted to flaunt it to his friends. Ridiculous pomp and circumstance wrapped up in a tacky display. They were daft enough to leave me alone with it... so...I took it.”
She ran her hands over the notes, smiling with delight.
Simon looked at the money and then back at Charlotte again. She caught his worried glance.
"It's my money Simon, it rightfully belongs to me."
"I know, but it's-"
Charlotte interrupted Simon, fearing where the conversation was starting to progress, "Please, Simon."
He took one look at Charlotte's eyes and saw the wretched tiredness present, "Fine, we'll discuss it another time."
Charlotte nodded her thanks and took a deep breath before broaching a new subject, "May I see River?"
Simon smiled at her request.
"She'll be down soon enough. For right now, I think we should decide what should be done about the situation at hand."
"I can pay your captain. I am sure we can come to an arrangement for passage."
Simon looked at cousin and shook his head, "It's not that simple Charlotte."
Charlotte gave him a pointed look and raised her chin, "Money makes everything simple, especially for those who do not have much of it. From the looks of this ship, I am willing to wager that money will make even that ba hu captain of yours receptive to an understanding."
Simon took Charlotte's words for what they were worth. She was a Core bred socialite, money was something she believed she could toss around and solve all her problems with. A knock on the door interrupted them as it slid open to reveal River. She stood at the entrance staring quizzically at her cousin.
Charlotte stood up from the bed and ran over to her, locking River in a tight embrace. She encircled her arms around Charlotte, smiling at the relief and love that emanated from her cousin.
“Oh River, you’ve grown so much!”
Charlotte released her cousin as she stood back to appraise her. The last time she saw her, River had been fourteen and they had all been gathered to a small family dinner to wish her well in her studies. The night had been a sweet farewell, but the young woman standing before her was a wholly different creature. Charlotte sucked in her breath at the bedraggled hair and the large brown eyes that stared back. She looked like a ghost of the girl she had once been. Her face was just as beautiful but there was a mask over it, and her eyes were not bright anymore, but piercing. She seemed to look right through Charlotte, which chilled her blood. Charlotte reached out to touch her cheek, biting her lower lip as she rubbed a tendril of her hair between her fingers.
River gave her cousin a small smile that tugged at Charlotte’s heart. She remembered that smile. River had given it anytime attention was showered on her, a shy blushing smile that showed how unnerving it was for her to be the center of attention.
“River, I...” Charlotte could think of nothing to say so she grasped her cousin again into her arms, holding her close.
River moved back in the embrace looking between Charlotte and Simon, “Captain wants us up in the galley.”
The words seemed like a foreign language to Charlotte when they fell off her cousin’s tongue. They were quiet, which River had always been, but stilted and lending no emotion. Simon smiled at River and nodded while Charlotte released her cousin. River reached out and touched Charlotte’s face, her long fingers brushing against her cheek.
“It’s not a mask.”
Charlotte sucked in her breath as River turned to leave. She blinked back her surprise and turned to Simon when she heard her cousins steps on the stairs outside the passenger dorms.
“Simon, why...what has happened to her?”
Simon’s jaw set at a rigid angle as he looked out of the open door his sister had just exited, “The Academy.”
Charlotte’s brow furrowed at the anger in his voice as he said the two words. She had never been told why she was not to have any contact with her cousin, her father had given his decree and she obeyed it, but now her curiosity had been fueled by her cousin’s disturbing words.
“What do you mean?”
“She was tortured there, altered. They...they did horrible things to her there, Charlotte.”
Charlotte turned her attention back to where River had stood only moments before, “Why would they-”
Simon breached the distance between them, grabbing Charlotte’s arm and moving her towards the door to take her to the galley.
“They wanted to make her a weapon.”
Mal was leaning against the counter between the table and the kitchen when Simon escorted his cousin into the galley. Zoe and Kaylee sat across the table from one another, River sitting to Kaylee's left while Jayne lounged on the chair at the head of the table facing the cockpit, obscuring his view of Simon and Charlotte when they entered the kitchen. Charlotte kept her head held high as she saw the crew before her. They were all chatting between one another, Jayne's voice raising above the din.
"Hell, Mal! We takin' on another passenger? Ain't we learned nothin’ from the last time we did that?"
Kaylee shot Jayne a look as Simon cleared his throat to announce their presence, River already staring attentively at her brother and cousin as the rest of them turned their heads towards their entrance.
Charlotte stared at the assembly before her, her throat constricting with concern. Where they all to be present while she made a deal for passage? Her worry was kept at bay as she stood straighter, plastering a regal look across her features as she faced them all.
She turned her eyes to the leaning figure of the captain as he pushed himself away from the counter.
“Excuse me, Captain, but wouldn’t it be more prudent to discuss our business in private?”
Her words held all the manners that she had been bred with, but the condescending tone was apparent to those gathered.
Mal smiled contemptuously at Charlotte, “It’s a small boat, word gets around. ‘Sides, we’re not-.”
At that moment, Inara floated in from the hallway, her eyes meeting Mal’s for the briefest second before settling on the forms of Charlotte and Simon. She smiled in their direction before seating herself at the other head of the table.
Charlotte’s eyes widened at her presence but was quickly distracted by Mal’s words as he placed his hand on the rung of the chair Inara sat on, “Well, now that we’re all here, guess we should be getting down to business. This here is-”
Charlotte cut off any more words from Mal as she interrupted, “I have, at my disposal, five thousand platinum to ensure my passage to your next destination. From there I will be able to get my bearings and we can discuss further any arrangements that need to be addressed.”
Charlotte smirked at the looks of shock that passed over Jayne and Kaylee’s faces at the mention of such a sum. It was a paltry amount compared to what she kept in her valise, but it was certainly more than these provincials had ever heard of for passage. Even Zoe’s eyes flickered at the size of the figure Charlotte offered, but kept her demeanor quiet, looking over the smaller woman as she stood next to Simon, reading what she could from her body and stature.
Before anyone could respond Jayne leaned forward and spouted out, “Deal!”
Mal threw an irritated eye on the large mercenary before leaning forward across the table at Charlotte, “Look here, it ain’t all about the money there Miss Tam. I-”
“C’mon, Mal. That could feed us clear into next year.”
Kaylee’s eyes lit up , “I could replace the old fuel cells, we’ll be running on fumes soon ‘nough. Course we could always use a new grav boot and then there‘s the new wiring needed for the pulse drive.”
Simon looked at the smiling mechanic sweetly before sobering up and announcing, “I really do need to restock the infirmary.”
Zoe looked back at Mal with determined eyes.
“Sir, we did just forfeit our payment for the last job.”
Inara turned her eyes up to Mal. “We didn’t get paid?”
Mal turned to River who had been quiet through out the whole conversation and asked, “Anythin’ ya got to add there Lil’ Albatross?”
River gazed longingly at Mal, her eyes sweet and beguiling, “I’d like a puppy.”
Wednesday, August 02, 2006 7:49 AM
Wednesday, August 02, 2006 8:17 AM
Wednesday, August 02, 2006 9:21 AM
Wednesday, August 02, 2006 11:53 AM
Friday, August 04, 2006 5:47 AM
Friday, August 04, 2006 9:19 PM
Tuesday, August 08, 2006 6:35 PM
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