BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

SHINYTRINKET

NOTHIN' IN THE VERSE - PART I: Chapter 5
Friday, September 8, 2006

Takes place after "War Stories". Mal is having trouble sleeping after being tortured. A passenger aboard Serenity discovers an old friend - and makes a new one.-------CHAPTER 5: Mal is not himself, and it's starting to show.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1425    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimers: Everything belongs to Joss, except for one character of my creation.

As regards that character - hopefully she's not so much of an obnoxious Mary Sue that she turns people off, but the story basically wrote itself in my head and needed to get out. This is my first fanfic ever, and the first writing of any sort I've done in awhile, so all comments are appreciated!

Rated PG for most of the story, mostly for salty language. There is some sex, but not for a few chapters yet. I'll try to put a warning at the beginning before it happens!

***ALSO...for the Chinese, I've set it up (thanks to those on this board who taught me how!) so holding the mouse over it should get the English translation to appear! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mal left the infirmary in a daze and made his way shakily to the crew quarters. He approached the hatch leading to his bunk, intending to descend. Instead, he found himself pressing both hands against the wall, trying to keep the world from spinning out. What in the tian xiao de is wrong with me? He had reluctantly agreed to accompany Kaylee to the infirmary after she pestered him for so long he couldn’t take it any more. He figured a quick checkup from the doc would get Kaylee off his back and get him back to his day. And, frankly, he was too damn tired to fight her about it. As hard as he was trying to keep it from the crew, he had to admit the nightmares and the sleepless nights they brought were catching up with him. And apparently he was not keeping it from the crew nearly as well as he had thought. With all the hardship Mal had endured in his lifetime, bad dreams and sleeplessness had never been a problem. Somehow he was always able to leave his troubles behind at the end of the day and sleep soundly. Maybe it was precisely because of the type of life he led that he was able to do that. With imminent peril as his constant sidekick, it was easy for him to part ways with it for the night and agree to meet it again in the morning. Send it to its own bunk, as it were. Even during the war, when he slept fully dressed and with one foot on the ground, battle-ready always, Mal slept hard when he had the chance. If he was on watch, he was fully awake—if not, he let whoever was do their job and he took advantage of his opportunity to rest. So the nightmares and sleeplessness that began after the incident with Niska were something unfamiliar to him. It didn’t begin the night he returned to the ship. Simon loaded him up with enough pain medication that first night to knock an elephant on its ass. The second night, however, was a different story. He retired to his bunk as usual, painful from his wounds, but unwilling to let Simon medicate him again. Pain was not an unfamiliar bed partner for Mal, and he figured he would make peace with it soon enough. He was able to get himself fairly comfortable, and settled in for the night, sleep coming quickly. Sometime soon after, the movie started playing in his head. The smell of burning flesh—his own, and Wash’s, the taste of his own sweat and blood, the flash of the blade being unsheathed before it took his ear and left a fiery, blazing hell-hole in the side of his head. The searing, ungodly pain in his chest, his belly, and below. The stark aloneness and despair as the door closed behind Wash and Zoë when they left the torture chamber, leaving him to face the agony on his own. And over it all, the face of Adlai Niska, his bespectacled little-old-man demeanor belying the maniac that he was, smiling and laughing and clapping with delight as he watched the show that was being staged just for him. The movie ended when Mal woke, sweat-soaked and gasping in his bed, desperately trying to get a grip on reality. Wo de tian, a did I scream? he wondered, fumbling for the light. He would wonder that many times over the following nights, because in his dream he was always screaming. After he got his bearings each night, he would get up, ascend the ladder out of his bunk, and pace the quiet corridors, listening to the sounds of Serenity at rest. Eventually he would end up in the kitchen, usually brew himself a strong cup of coffee to help shake off the last vestiges of the nightmare (and thus assuring that the remainder of the night would hold no hope of sleep), and sit in the dining area or the lounge until he heard the others beginning to stir. Then he would go quietly back to his bunk, dress, and appear for breakfast, with the others being none the wiser—or so he hoped. More than once he considered asking Simon for a sedative, but that would have tipped the others off to the fact that there was a problem; so, not wanting to appear weak, he continued night after night to attempt sleep and fail, until he began dreading even the thought of going to his bed. Whatever was going on, he was sure it was a passing thing. It had to be. He was the captain, dammit, and he was in charge. It wouldn’t do to have his crew thinking they had to coddle him like a frightened child over some bad dreams. It was enough that those who should never have had to know the feel of a gun had to take up arms and come to his rescue. He was grateful, that’s for sure; but now he was back, and the normal order of things had to be restored. But it was obvious now that things were not what they should be. Kaylee saw a problem, or she wouldn’t have dragged him to see the doc. Now the doc knew something wasn’t right, and so did the nurse, Alex. And if he didn’t get his bearings and get off the gorramn wall he was leaning on, the rest of the crew was sure to catch on soon enough. He willed himself to move to the entrance to his bunk, kicking the hatch open, and descending the ladder so rapidly that he missed the bottom two rungs and ended up in a heap on the floor. The pain of the landing snapped him out of his daze. In the seclusion of his bunk, he slowly gathered himself, splashing his face and taking a long look in the mirror. Kaylee was right; he looked like hell. Something had to give, or he was going to lose more than just sleep. He sighed and straightened the clothing the doc had mussed up, and it was then that the intercom buzzed. “Mal?” Wash’s tinny voice came over the speaker. “Yeah,” Mal answered, hoping his voice didn’t sound as shaky as he imagined it must. If Wash noticed, he gave no indication. “Just got a wave from Inara.” “We still pickin’ her up on Paquin tomorrow?” “Not sure,” Wash said. “I told her about goin’ to Zargon, and she may want to skip that trip; maybe stay on Paquin and try to pick up a few more clients.” “Makes sense,” Mal said. “I imagine there’re plenty of guys on Zargon would love to meet her, but I can’t imagine the feelin’ bein’ mutual.” “She wants us to stop anyway—said something about possibly havin’ us a job.” Now that, thought Mal, is somethin’ I can surely get on board with right about now. He hit the ‘com button. “Will definitely do,” he told Wash. He ran his fingers through his hair and headed up out of his bunk, feeling a little better.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHINESE: tian xiao de = god knows what Wo de tian, a = Dear God in heaven ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Go to Chapter 6. Back to Chapter 4.

COMMENTS

Friday, September 8, 2006 7:35 AM

BORNTOFLY


I NEED to know where this is going!!!

I love that Mal is the one having trouble with pain. Often I find the focus is one Simon, Zoe or Wash. Good to see the cap' in some pain. What can I say? I a sadist.

*Puppy dog eyes* More?

Friday, September 8, 2006 7:38 AM

AMDOBELL


Poor Mal, I sure hope someone manages to help him even if they have to be really sneaky to do it. Wish there were some way the crew could go and give Niska the kind of nightmares that would make Mal's look like bedtime stories. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, September 8, 2006 10:23 AM

JETFLAIR


I am so glad someone is doing this, and doing it well. One thing that always has bothered me a bit about War Stories was how quickly they moved on from it and had Mal be perfectly okay, while everything else was handled so realistically. In the situation they set up, Mal would be experiencing a lot of truama afterwords. Maybe not what they figured people wanted to see I guess.

I'm taking a slightly different approach in my fic, The Losing Side, by having him go through torture long before War Stories, be realistically severely traumatized by it, and basically learn how to deal with it so he can have that fast bounce-back in War Stories. But I love how you're actually dealing with that incident....very cool!

I really liked the line "That wasn't a pain reaction, that was a fear reaction." Poor Mal :( I'm glad to see this written, and I hope he gets the comfort and love and understanding he needs.

Friday, September 8, 2006 10:32 AM

JETFLAIR


Oh...and I the only one on this site who doen't want to see our beloved crew lower themselves to Niska's level by going back and exacting bloody revenge? We hate Niska for what he did, doesn't mean it's a thing our guys should start doing!

Sunday, September 10, 2006 2:52 PM

KACIDILLA


i'm officially hooked on this story! like jetflair, i have been rather intrigued by the sudden turnaround of Mal's mental health... but now you're handling it for us! yay! *looking for more...*

Monday, September 11, 2006 4:33 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


I gotta wonder if Mal really didn't bounce back all that quick in the series. The number of episodes between "War Stories" and Objects in Space" (OiS is 4 episodes after War Stories, according to the boxset). We have no real idea if Mal had really dealt with what happened to him and Wash by the time the series was cancelled. Who knows? Maybe he was still suffering problems by the time the BDM rolled around:(

Still...I am hanging on to every word you put down here, ShinyTrinket! I definitely wanna see where you take this...and how the crew get involved in Mal's recovery;)

BEB


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