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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Takes place after the events of the series and before the BDM, and a few months after "Nothin' In The 'Verse Part I".
The return of a former passenger to Serenity causes conflict among the crew - and creates a problem for Mal that he is unprepared to deal with.-------CHAPTER 29: Mal and Alex have a talk...and hilarity does NOT ensue.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1189 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimers: Everything belongs to Joss, except for one character of my creation.
**Mousing over the Chinese should reveal the English translations on most browsers. If not, translations follow the story.
Mal was thankful to Simon for keeping Alex heavily medicated the first few days she was awake. There was a conversation he needed to have with her, and he didn’t want to do it until she was stronger. But he couldn’t bring himself to spend much time with her until he did. If she was drugged, he could keep tabs on her without having to actually speak to her and intensify the mixed feelings he was having.
He was truly grateful she had regained consciousness—it was the one positive thing to come out of the mess so far. He had felt indescribable relief when she looked up from the infirmary floor and recognized him.
But then she had lied.
He wasn’t sure what he had expected from her. He just hadn’t expected her to lie so quickly and easily, before she even fully had her wits about her; before she was confronted with any possible need to lie.
Jayne’s words echoed in his head. Woman don’t tell ya she’s got your kid, it ain’t your problem.
He would be well within his rights to just deliver her home to Boros and be done with it.
But he couldn’t do that. Not with a piece of paper in his pocket telling him what she would not. Whatever her reason, he had to know why she wasn’t telling him the truth. He had been through too much with her—for her. She owed him that much. He would ask nothing of her, and expect nothing of her—except an honest answer. And now that she had been conscious for a few days, and Simon was drugging her less and less, the time was drawing near for that talk to happen.
When Kaylee came to him on the morning of the fourth day, Mal knew it was time.
“Cap’n, Alex thinks you’re avoidin’ talking to her for some reason. Are you?”
Mal felt to make sure the lab report was in his pocket, and then headed for the infirmary.
“I’m gonna need some privacy, Little Kaylee,” he said. “Can you make sure nobody comes about for awhile?”
Alex was beginning to feel better. She was still in considerable pain, and had a feeling that was not going to change any time soon. But she was much more alert now that Simon had cut back on her medications, and was beginning to feel like herself again.
She still couldn’t remember what had happened to her at the prison. It bothered her that she couldn’t remember, but she decided to take Simon’s advice and not try to force it. It would, she was certain, come back in time.
Her appetite was coming back, that was for sure. She’d been eating everything that was given to her, and could have eaten more if that had been an option. Eating for two again. She’d been hungry most of the time at the prison her last few weeks there. Even though the food had been awful, she couldn’t seem to get enough of it.
When she wasn’t hungry, she had been queasy. Morning sickness, she discovered, didn’t just happen in the morning. It happened whenever and wherever, and sometimes cropped up at extremely inopportune times. Needing to run to the bathroom to barf in the middle of medical procedures had been no fun; and could not possibly have been an endearing trait as far as her employers were concerned. Trying to hide the reason for the nausea had certainly been no fun, either, especially as her pregnancy progressed and became more noticeable.
The morning sickness had made an appearance or two since she had awakened on Serenity, but, frankly, she was getting beyond the point in her pregnancy where that would be a problem much longer.
On the morning of the fourth day she was awake, Mal came into the infirmary and closed the door behind him. Alex was puzzled—he had made himself scarce the past few days; and now the closed door and the set of his jaw made her think this was more than just a friendly call.
“’Morning,” she greeted him. Gesturing toward the closed door, she said, “This looks like an official visit.”
Mal pulled a chair up beside the bed. “How’re you feelin’?”
She shrugged. “I hurt.” She managed a small laugh. “My appetite’s coming back.”
“Maybe not. The eating for two thing isn’t a myth.”
The corner of Mal’s mouth turned up, but he was quiet.
“On the other hand,” she continued, “neither is the morning sickness. So, I’m either eating or throwing up.” She snickered. “It’s kinda like being bulimic, only I’m getting fatter instead of thinner.”
He smiled again, but distractedly. She studied his face.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
He nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
He was leaning forward in the chair, resting his elbows on his knees, rubbing his hands together and looking ill at ease. He ran a hand through his hair.
“So, uh,” he said, nodding at her belly, “Simon seem to think everything’s alright...there?”
“Yeah,” she said. “I mean, there’s no way to know for absolutely sure, but...yeah—from what he can tell.”
He fell silent, but it was an uncomfortable silence, and Alex could tell he had more to say. She thought she knew what it was even before he spoke.
“So...this,” he nodded at her belly again, “You said...this ain’t...this has nothing to do with me...right?”
She shook her head as convincingly as possible. “No. No it doesn’t.”
“Hmm,” he murmured.
He’d been studying his hands, but now looked her in the eye.
She nodded firmly. “Yeah. I am.”
His eyes were boring into hers, and Alex suddenly felt like a bug under a microscope.
“Yes. I—yes, Mal. I’m sure. Please...relax. You’re not responsible.”
He shifted in his chair, looking briefly away, then back at her. He reached into his pocket.
“Really? You gonna stick with that?”
She nodded, although she was swiftly feeling far less than sure of anything. He pulled a piece of paper out and began to unfold it.
He held the paper out toward her. “Because this would seem to indicate otherwise.”
Alex’s mouth went dry. She took the paper from him and began to read.
“What is...this is—this is a paternity test,” she murmured.
He watched her silently. She finished reading and looked up at him, her face growing hot.
“You ran a paternity test? While I was unconscious?”
Mal said nothing, just watched her.
“Why?” she demanded incredulously.
“Why do you think, Alex?” His voice was quiet.
“I—“ She shook her head, struggling for words. “I...why would you do that?” she finally sputtered.
He came right back. “Why would you lie to me?”
They stared at each other, neither one speaking or breaking eye contact for a long time.
“I didn’t know if you were gonna wake up,” Mal finally said. “I wanted to be able to tell your Mama somethin’, if I could...”
Alex exhaled in a snort. She squeezed her eyes shut tight and pinched the bridge of her nose as she handed the report back to him.
“And,” he continued, interrupting her, “I had a feeling if you came to you might do just what you’re doin’ and not tell me the truth.” He pocketed the report again.
She blinked at him, biting her lip to control herself.
“I’ll ask again, Alex. Why are you lyin’?”
His eyes were still boring into her, and she quickly looked away. Even with a hospital gown and a blanket covering her, she felt naked under the intensity of his gaze.
“Mal, you’ve got trouble enough out here. You don’t need one more thing to worry on. You weren’t lookin’ for this.”
“And you were?”
She peeked up at him, a sideways glance. “No. I surely wasn’t.”
“Then why didn’t you let me in on it?”
“I told you already, I didn’t want it to be your concern.”
Mal sighed deeply. “But Alex, it is my concern. Just ‘cause you don’t think it should be, don’t make it any less so.”
“Mal,” she said, wishing with all her heart he would just go away, “I was in a bad place. I just needed to get the hell off that rock and get home, so I could think about what to do. That’s all. I wasn’t lookin’ to complicate things any more than they already were.”
“Which is why you shoulda ‘waved me right away.”
“Why?” she snapped. “What would you have done that I didn’t do?”
“I guarantee you woulda been off that rock a helluva lot sooner if I’d known!”
His voice was rising, and she felt her defenses go up.
“So you would’ve decided for me what I was gonna do and how I was gonna live my life?”
“I never woulda let this happen to you!” He waved his hand in a sweeping motion over her injured body.
She rose up on her elbows, ignoring the pain that shot through her, and stared him down.
“I can take care of myself, Mal.”
As soon as it was out, she realized what a stupid thing it was to say.
“Yeah, obviously,” he muttered. He took a deep breath, and then tried a quieter approach.
“Don’t you think a man’s got a right to know about somethin’ like this?” he asked, making his voice as gentle as possible.
She set her jaw. “A lot of men don’t wanna know.”
He considered that.
“Well, you’re right,” he admitted. “A lot of men don’t. But a lot of men are fools. Anyway, don’t you think a man’s got a right to decide for himself? Once he has the facts?”
She frowned at him. “Why are you stepping into this, Mal? I’m giving you every chance to just walk away. Not be burdened. I can take care of this.”
“Alex, you can’t even get out of bed!”
Anger and fear flared in her. “That’s not fair!”
“It’s the truth.”
“It won’t be for long. I’ll be fine!”
He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Alex, don’t push me away. I had a role in this, y’know. I just wanna--”
“Yeah, and what was that role again?” she shot back. “’Cause I forget. Oh, yeah...eight, maybe ten feel-good seconds?”
She knew the instant it was out how horrible it was; but her mouth was running so far ahead of her brain she had no chance of reining it in. Mal recoiled back as though he’d been slapped. He stared at her, open-mouthed, then blinked hard, trying to regain his equilibrium.
“Is that what you think?” he asked her disbelievingly. “That I just had my fun and left you to twist in the wind?”
Alex had never felt so ashamed.
“Mal, I—I...I’m so sorry, I—“
“Is that what I did?” he demanded. “Huh? Used you and walked away? Mister come-and-go?” He rose to his feet as he spoke, his eyes never leaving hers. The wounded look on his face was heart-wrenching.
“Mal, please—” Alex tried again, but he turned toward the exit and slapped the control to open the door. He stepped into the doorway, then stopped, gripping the frame. His back was to her, but she could see his jaw muscles working.
He turned back to face her, and she saw that his eyes were wet. He was swallowing hard, and the cords in his neck stood out.
“I ain’t the cryin’ type, Alex,” he said, his voice low and shaky. He took a step toward her again. “But I want you to know I’ve shed more tears in the past few days than I have in a lifetime—and it’s all been because of you, and—and...this...situation.”
He took a moment to gather himself. She didn’t try to speak.
“I know I ain’t nobody’s hero,” he went on. “My life ain’t much, and what I do...well, if you don’t think I’m worthy of bein’ a father to your child, you may not be so far from wrong.” He took another step toward her, and dropped his voice another notch. “But don’t you ever accuse me of bein’ unfeeling about this, Alex. Don’t you ever.”
She opened her mouth, but he cut her off.
“My crew was ready to mutiny when they found out we was goin’ back to Zargon after you. They didn’t wanna go. Who could blame ‘em? I almost lost ‘em over it. I got fugitives from the Alliance livin’ on this ship. What woulda happened if we’d gotten boarded and searched there? Huh?”
He didn’t give her time to answer.
“I—we—risked a whole lot to get you off that rock, Alex...and that’s before I knew anything about...this other. So you can go ahead and say I ain’t worthy, or whatever else you conjure in your mind to say about me—but don’t you ever...ever say I don’t care!”
He turned and moved to exit again, then stopped and turned back once more. He pulled the lab report from his pocket and tossed it onto the bed beside her.
“We’ll have you home to Boros in a few days’ time,” he said. “Then you’ll never have to see the sorry lot of us, ever again.”
He walked out, leaving Alex staring after him in horror.
“Mal!” she called out, “Mal! Please—come back! Mal!”
Overcome with shame and rising panic, she unthinkingly threw her legs over the side of the exam table and attempted to stand. Her legs immediately gave out, and she crumpled to the floor. Her IV pole overturned and crashed to the ground beside her.
“Mal!” she cried, ignoring the pain and struggling to rise. “Mal, please! I’m sorry!”
Simon and Kaylee rushed in.
“Alex!” Simon exclaimed, kneeling beside her. “What—“
“Simon!” Alex grabbed his arms. “Simon, you’ve gotta get Mal back in here, please!”
“Alex, you need to get back on the table, you’re gonna hurt yourself!” He grasped her under the arms and began to lift her. She struggled against him, attempting once again to stand on her own.
“Get me the sedative!” he barked over his shoulder at Kaylee. He managed to wrestle Alex onto the table, where he held her, pinning her arms.
“Simon, no—please—don’t dope me,” Alex begged helplessly, fighting his hold. She had a sudden flash as he held her down, of having been pinned that way before...but then it was gone, and her thoughts were once again on Mal. She turned to Kaylee. “Kaylee, get the captain, please! I need him to come back. I said horrible things. Please...make him come back!” Kaylee’s face blurred out as the tears began to come. She went limp as the fight left her.
Simon relaxed his grip on her arms. He reached for the syringe and medicine bottle Kaylee held out to him.
“No, Simon, please...don’t,” Alex begged again through her tears.
“Alex,” Simon said softly. “You need to calm down. I don’t want you to hurt yourself...or the baby. Dong ma? ” He stared into her eyes.
Alex nodded slowly, feeling too tired and broken even to reply.
Simon watched her a moment longer, then handed the sedative back to Kaylee.
“I said horrible things, Simon,” Alex whispered hoarsely when she could speak again. “Please...will you send him back in here? I really need to talk to him.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Simon said. “Promise me you’ll stay on the table?”
Alex nodded again.
“I’ll go talk to the captain,” Kaylee volunteered.
Simon nodded at her. He stood the IV pole upright, and his eyes went to the folded lab report, which had fallen to the floor as well. Alex watched him pick it up.
“I just wanted to get home,” she whispered. “I wasn’t lookin’ to complicate anybody’s life.”
Simon smiled sheepishly as he looked at the report. “I’m afraid I’m to blame for this.”
Alex shrugged and wiped at her eyes.
“Just be happy he wanted to know,” Simon said.
Alex chuckled ruefully. “Happy,” she repeated. She closed her eyes, trying to remember the last time she’d been happy. It seemed like a lifetime ago, and she wondered if she would ever be happy about anything again.
Dong ma? = Understand?
Go to Chapter 30.
Back to Chapter 28.
Saturday, October 21, 2006 2:31 PM
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Saturday, October 21, 2006 3:09 PM
Saturday, October 21, 2006 5:09 PM
Sunday, October 22, 2006 5:14 AM
Sunday, October 22, 2006 12:52 PM
Monday, October 23, 2006 6:38 AM
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