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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
A light fluffy piece to follow Resolution. Love to know what you think!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1314 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Mal had been in jail before, but never actually convicted. He considered himself lucky. Only this time maybe his luck had run out. Which didn’t worry him unduly, since he never relied on it. Having to rely on Jayne, though, now that was an entirely different kettle of fish.
“They don’t what?” Zoe asked, leaning on the back of Mal’s empty chair in the dining area.
“They don’t take kindly to women meddlin’ in men’s affairs,” the big mercenary said, then raised a hand at Zoe’s look. “Hey, I’m just tellin’ you like it is. Travis ain’t exactly a liberated town. They’re more into the belief that women oughta know their place, which according to them is either the kitchen or the bedroom.”
“I would’ve thought you felt right at home, then,” Zoe said darkly.
“I don’t got no problem with women doing a man’s job. Lessen it stops me doing mine.” Jayne leaned his chair back on two legs. “Anyway, they ain’t gonna listen to you.”
“This is insane,” Zoe said. “Doc, could you –“
“He ain't no better,” Jayne interrupted, not able to hide his good humour. “They think anyone talks like the doc is no better than a female. They figure he must be sly, or something, and they don’t look good on folks like that.”
“Really?” Freya said, staring at him. “I'm surprised you’re not considering staying.”
“Freya, I ain't got no problem with … that kinda thing either,” Jayne protested. “Leaves all the more tail for me.”
“You old romantic,” Inara said quietly, and Jayne glared at her.
“So what’s the alternative?” Freya asked, looking around the room.
“Hey,” said Jayne, slamming his chair back down onto all four legs. “I ain't never said I wouldn’t do it.” He scowled a little. “Just that it ain't gonna be easy.”
“It’s his own fault,” Simon muttered.
“Maybe it is,” Zoe said, having heard. “But it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“Well, they’re laughing their heads off,” Jayne said. “And he looks so pretty in that blue floral dress.”
It should have been smooth. The plan was good, everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing, and he was just kinda there as back-up. Only it didn’t go smooth – in fact you could say pretty much that it was as rocky as hell. If hell were rocky. And not full of flames. If he believed in that kind of thing any more.
Mal sat back on the bench in the cell and looked up at the clear blue sky through the small window. Been too often that he’d seen sky like that through bars, but this was pretty much one of the worst. And the draught he kept getting was not conducive to keeping his mind on the matter in hand. Which was to get out of there. Preferably in one piece, otherwise he’d have to explain to Freya how he’d managed to get blood on her only dress. He pulled the cotton fabric a little closer around his legs, and tried to think.
“If he’d stayed out of the way he wouldn’t have got pinched,” Jayne agreed. “But that ain’t exactly the way he does things.”
“He thought you were in trouble,” Freya pointed out, leaning on the counter. She was none too pleased to have the man she’d just persuaded into bed now languishing in a jail cell, particularly as she was feeling more than a little anxious about the dress she’d leant him. As he’d said once, they were much of a size, and it fitted him fine. Kaylee had offered him one of hers, but that would have looked just ridiculous.
“Well, I weren't,” Jayne said, reaching over and picking up one of the biscuits out of the tin.
“Hey, I didn’t make them for you!” Kaylee complained, putting the lid back on quickly.
“He ain't here to eat ‘em,” Jayne said, brushing crumbs off his t-shirt.
“That don’t mean you can.”
“Can we get back to the matter in hand?” Freya said, glaring at the big mercenary.
“I was,” Jayne said. “Told you I was happy to go in and get him out.”
“Jailbreak.” Zoe shook her head. “More violence, on top of everything else.”
“Can you think of another way around this?”
“Actually, yes,” Inara said, surprising everyone.
“What they got you in here fer?” the man in the cell opposite asked. He was old … well, grey-haired and toothless, but in these parts that wasn’t necessarily an indication of age. Most folks didn’t bother taking up the Alliance’s offer of free dental care, since they figured that new teeth wasn't all those pesky Feds might put in their mouths. “And what’s the dress fer?” He cackled.
“Airflow,” Mal said. “Should try it sometime.”
“And get lynched? Don’t think so,” the old-timer said. “So that what they took you fer? You sly or something?”
Mal sighed. “Believe me, if I were, you’d be perfectly safe.”
The man roared with laughter at that. “No, reckon you ain’t.” He peered through the cell bars. “So what was it? You try to lift something weren't yours?”
“That’s what they say,” Mal agreed.
“Yeah, it happens a lot,” the man said, nodding towards the outside. “That’s why they keep that scaffold up permanent. Saves ‘em havin’ to build it fresh each time.”
“They don’t call in the Feds?” Mal asked, surprised.
“Round here?” The man laughed again. “They got a more direct way of dealing with what they call bad’uns. Just string ‘em up by the neck until they are dead. Tends to stop ‘em doing it again. They call it the ultimate rehabilitation.” He grinned, smacking his gums together. “Kinda works.”
Mal eased the neckline of the dress a little.
“Do you really think it would work?” Freya asked.
“If Simon can sort out what I need, I don’t see why not. And with Kaylee’s help …” Inara nodded. “And the very fact that they don’t think women are smart enough to be a threat is on our side.”
“It’s still risky, though,” Zoe said.
“It’s the Cap’n,” Kaylee said. “Worth a little risk, don’cha think?”
“Well, I suppose …” Zoe looked at them. “But who goes in? It had better be someone who looks the part.”
“Me, of course,” Inara said. “It was my idea.”
“You ain’t going in alone,” the first mate insisted.
“I’ll go!” Kaylee said, throwing up her hand. “I only ever get to tweak Serenity’s parts … oh, let me!”
Zoe stared at her, calculating, then glanced at Freya.
Who said, “Hey, don’t look at me. Mal’s wearing the only dress I own.”
Jayne looked from one to the other. “You’re all crazy,” he said, shaking his head.
The bunk was hard, the mattress thin enough so that he could feel every slat underneath, and he knew he was going to have bruises places only Freya and the doc would ever get to see. At least his trousers would have given him some kind of protection, even the really tight ones he used to wear. But this cotton did nothing for his dignity.
Outside the sky was growing dark, and he could hear music from one of the town’s bars. Pretty sedate music, though, and no shouting or loud laughter. The local constabulary really had an iron grip on things around here, he considered. Should never have come here looking for an easy mark. He crossed his ankles, his boots touching the wall at the end of the bed, putting his arms behind his head to make a pillow. Best get some sleep if he could. Might need all his strength before the night was through, if his crew were planning to make a rescue attempt.
“If’n I was you,” the old-timer called, “I wouldn’t sleep. They don’t hang around before they hang ya!” He cackled again, the sound grating in Mal’s ears. “Be up before the judge sun-up, and under six feet of solid earth before dinner. I’d make the most of the time ya got left, young feller.”
“Thanks, grandpa,” Mal called, closing his eyes. “But you just think about your own sorry predicament. I ain't the only one locked up here.”
“Nope, that’s true. But I ain’t gonna get strung up in the morning.”
Mal didn’t answer, just turned on his side away from the laughter.
He struggled out of a dream where he was in jail wearing a dress, and realised he was, in fact, in jail, wearing a dress. “Tee wuh duh pee-goo,” he muttered.
“Fine, but I thought you’d prefer it if we let you out of there.”
He turned over. “Inara?” His jaw hung open in surprise.
It was indeed the Companion, but not as he’d ever seen her before. She was wearing an outfit he vaguely recognised as an old one of Kaylee’s, her hair loose and falling in soft folds around her shoulders. She was also holding up a key. “So do you want to come or not?”
He stood up quickly, pulling his own dress into place. “Think I might accompany you.” He moved to the door. “How come I don’t hear shooting and screaming?”
“Because some of us think there are other ways,” Inara said cryptically, unlocking the door. “You know, Freya is not going to be pleased when she sees what you’d done to her dress.”
“You’ve torn it.”
Mal glanced down, and realised one of the seams had given way. “Maybe we ain't the same size after all,” he admitted. “I’ll buy her a new one.”
Inara smiled. “She’d like that.”
“Hey, feller,” called the old-timer. “What about me?”
Mal looked in at him, then took the key from Inara. “Here.” He tossed it into the other cell.
“Thanks!” the man said. “For a sly feller you ain’t all bad!”
Mal shook his head. “Well?” he asked the Companion. “Are we just going to wait around here until someone else turns up?”
“Oh, no, please,” Inara said. “After you.” As Mal passed her, she added, “Ladies first.”
He glared at her over his shoulder at her, but she just smiled sweetly. He hurried into the outer office, but stammered to a halt. “What the hell …”
“Hi, Cap’n!” Kaylee called gaily, sitting on the edge of the reception counter, swinging her legs. She was in her best dress, the one with the ties and the pretty flower pattern. “Just keepin’ an eye on them for you!” She pointed down.
Mal looked. “Wuh duh ma huh ta duh fung-kwong duh wai-shong doh,” he said.
“Really, Mal, your language is getting worse,” Inara said, smiling nevertheless.
On the floor at Kaylee’s feet were two of the guards, snoring loudly. Over in the corner, seated at the desk, was the sheriff himself, head on the desk, drooling a little onto the wood. He snuffled in his sleep.
“What happened here?” Mal asked.
“Rescue plan,” Kaylee said. “’Nara’s.”
He turned to the Companion. “Would you care to explain?”
“It’s simple,” Inara said as Kaylee jumped from the counter. “Kaylee baked some cookies, Simon dosed them with a strong sedative, and here we are.”
“Simple.” Mal shook his head. “And Zoe let you do this?”
“It was that or coming in all guns blazing,” Kaylee put in. “Didn’t think you’d want that. Not in your condition.” She indicated the dress.
“You make it sound like I’m pregnant,” Mal said, wondering if he looked it in that particular colour.
“No, just irritating,” Inara said. “Come on, this is a rescue. Why don’t you just shut up and be rescued?”
Mal stared at her, then closed his mouth, following her outside.
Freya studied the dress critically, putting her hand through the damaged section. “You do realise that was the only dress I own,” she said.
“So I gather,” Mal said, pulling his own pants on and buttoning them. That was a whole lot better, he considered. Even without airflow. “I’ll buy you another.”
She looked at him, standing there shirtless. “Oh, I wouldn’t bother. I don’t wear it.”
“Then why am I getting the hassle?” Mal asked indignantly.
“Because you put yourself at risk for nothing.”
“Jayne ain't nothing.” He stopped and considered. “Well … no, he ain’t nothing.”
“I meant we had it covered. You didn’t have to go and get yourself arrested at all.”
“It wasn't meant to go that way,” Mal protested. “I just wanted smooth, in and out, easy money.”
Freya dropped the ruined dress and crossed the room to him, putting her hands on his chest. “Just don’t do it again.”
He looked down the couple of inches into her dark eyes. “I’ll try not to,” he agreed, and leaned down, kissing her. All in all, not a bad way to end an interesting day.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 6:13 AM
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 7:15 AM
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