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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Mal has asked his crew to go with him to rescue Harry, but Freya does not react well ... Please leave me feedback - it lets me know that you enjoyed - or not - my writing!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1313 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Mal stood outside the infirmary, told in no uncertain terms by Simon that he had to leave after they’d carried Freya down from the galley. He’d closed the doors and lowered the blinds on the windows, and was now examining her in private.
Mal was aware of the rest of the crew behind him, Vinnie leaning on the doorway into the cargo bay, waiting for news, Hank and Inara talking softly in tones so low he wouldn’t have been able to hear even if he had been listening.
She was inside, and he hadn’t taken a full breath since he’d shouted for Simon. She’d been so still as they laid her on the medbed, pale as a ghost. The woman he loved with all his heart, the woman he would kill for, die for, who was carrying his child, who he wanted to stay at his side, in his bed, for the rest of his life. As he stood, staring at the door, he felt the ring in his pocket burning a hole in his soul.
“She’ll be all right, Cap’n,” Kaylee said, standing close to him, putting her hand on his arm. “I know she will – Simon’ll see to that.”
Mal nodded slowly, but didn’t take his eyes off the door.
It seemed like an age, so long that he couldn’t remember ever being anywhere else, but eventually Simon opened the infirmary.
Mal stepped forward quickly. “Doc?”
“She’s okay, Mal,” Simon said, stepping outside. “It was … she just had a scare.”
“She had a scare?” Hank muttered, then blushed when Zoe glared at him.
“She was under stress, her blood pressure raised then dropped suddenly … it happens to pregnant women, Mal.”
“So she only fainted?” Inara asked, smiling with relief as Mal began to breathe again.
Simon nodded. “She’s a bit embarrassed by it, actually.”
Mal uncrossed his arms, leaving them aching by his side. “Can I see her?” he asked in a tone as close to his normal, controlled one as possible.
“You can take her back to your bunk if you want. There’s no need for me to keep her here.” Simon looked at him. “Unless you’re planning on arguing some more tonight.”
“No, doctor, I wasn’t.” Mal stepped into the infirmary.
“You sure she’s okay, honey?” Kaylee asked.
“She’s fine,” Simon confirmed, putting his arm around her. “So’s the baby. Mal just has to realise things aren’t the same as before.”
“Oh, I think he realises that, doctor,” Zoe said, watching her captain.
Freya was sitting on the medbed buttoning her shirt. She glanced up as he stepped inside.
“Simon says you’re okay,” Mal remarked, keeping his distance, wondering how he ever let this woman do this to him.
“He told me the same thing so it must be true.” She went back to re-dressing.
“You scared me somewhat,” Mal admitted ruefully.
“Didn’t do me much good either.”
“I thought maybe I’d have to find me someone else to warm the bed.”
“Just when I've got you broken in and all.”
“Ain’t broken, Mal.” She wasn't looking at him as she slid off the bed and tucked her shirt inside her pants.
There was an awkward silence for a moment, then Mal said, his voice suddenly tender, “You were right.”
She gave him a quick glance. “Oh?”
“About me forcing this pregnancy on you.” He took a step closer. “I’m sorry, Frey, for what I did. For being such a kuh ooh duh lao bao jurn.”
The corner of her mouth raised, just a little. “That you were.”
“I never meant to hurt you,” he added softly.
“I know, but that’s not the point.” She stood with her hands on her hips, dropping her head again. “Are you still planning on going to Tetris?”
“He’s an old friend, Frey,” Mal tried to explain. “I owe him my life. If it were one of them,” he nodded towards the common area, “I’d do the same.”
“I guess.” She looked up at him. “But you’ve got other responsibilities too.”
“And you think I’m going to go in there all guns blazing like some yu bun duh idiot?”
“Wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Maybe not,” he conceded. “But I didn’t have a child on the way then.”
“You do seem to be forgetting that,” she pointed out.
“Ain't likely I'm gonna be able to, you keep reminding me.”
She glared at him. “I shouldn’t have to.”
He closed the gap further, lifting his hands in self defence. “It’s okay that you do. But Frey, Vinnie’s right too. When we got out of those mines, I didn’t even think twice about the men still down there. All I cared about was getting you and Kaylee out as fast as I could. As it should be,” he added quickly at her look. “But that ain’t an option any more. Harry’s down there, and we have to do something.” He took hold of her hand. “I’m going to see my child born, Frey. I promise you that. But if I didn’t at least try to save Harry I couldn’t look my kid in the eye. Dong mah?”
She gazed into his face then nodded slowly. “I warn you,” she said softly, pain in her eyes, “you get yourself killed and I will never forgive you.”
He lowered his head a little so he could look at her under his eyebrows. “If I do I’ll come back and haunt you so you can say I told you so.”
She didn’t move for a moment, then took the final step and moved into his embrace, holding him tight, her face buried in his chest.
“Why do I feel like this has only been put off?” Hank muttered.
“Because you’re a pessimist,” Kaylee said, hugging Simon. “I think it’s shiny.”
Zoe and Inara exchanged a look of far too much understanding. Hank was right – these issues weren’t likely to go away.
“He loves her,” River said suddenly, moving to the window to look into the infirmary. “He’ll try.”
“I just hope that’s enough, mei-mei,” Inara said quietly.
“This will help,” Simon said, spreading a layer of cream on the sores. “It’s a topical dermatological antibiotic that I’ve formulated to –”
“Doc, you lost me at ‘help’,” Vinnie said, smiling a little. Then he winced. “Stings.”
“That means it’s penetrating the outer layer of skin. It’ll go off momentarily.” He carefully applied the gauze pads and taped them down. “Try and keep the dressings dry, and come back in six hours for me to replace them.”
“Thanks.” Vinnie looked at the one on his wrist, idly picking at the corner of the tape. “They won’t go away,” he said quietly. “Always there to remind me.”
Simon glanced at him, his face tight. “There’s no reason why they shouldn’t,” he said. “Now your body has got rid of the dust, they should close up. But your immune system is poor at the moment, another of the effects of the mine.”
“You been reading up on it, doc?” Vinnie asked, surprised. “Wouldn’t’a thought you’d had time since yesterday.”
Simon busied himself stripping the gloves from his hands. “I’ve been studying it for a while, yes.”
“Mind telling me how come?”
Simon turned back to him. “It probably hasn’t slipped your notice that Kaylee’s pregnant.”
“The cute little mechanic?” Vinnie smiled a little. “Yeah, I saw. You the father?”
“Thanks. But Kaylee was exposed to the air in the mines in her first trimester. I’ve been looking into the possible results of that exposure.” He had tried to hide his concern in scientific phraseology, but it didn’t work.
“You mean to the baby.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Vinnie said. “I really am. I didn’t know any of the women off this boat had gone down there.“
“It wasn’t their choice.”
“I guess it wasn’t. But I’m sure she’ll be okay. You been keeping a close eye on her, no doubt?”
“As much as I can,” Simon admitted.
“But you ain’t told her?”
“I … not unless it becomes necessary. I don’t want to worry her unduly.” His shoulders were very tense.
“Doc, you want my advice? Tell her. She’s gonna know there’s something wrong anyway. Women do, in my estimation. Never could get away with a damn thing where a woman was concerned.” Vinnie pulled his shirt back up and got off the examining table. “Always does to be honest with the woman you love, doc. And I’m sure she’s gonna be fine, her and the baby too.”
“I hope so. What with Freya’s pregnancy –”
“Another one? Are you telling me Mal’s gonna have a kid?”
Simon coloured a little. “I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it,” he said diffidently.
“Malcolm Reynolds is gonna be a dad?” Vinnie shook his head in disbelief. “Oh, now, that is one hell of a reason to get Harry out, doctor. He is gonna have a field day when he hears about this!” He doubled over with laughter.
Vinnie stepped into the darkened dining area, heading for the cupboards, then realised he wasn’t alone. “Oh, hi,” he said, peering around the corner towards the easy chairs. Freya was sitting there, a dark red shawl over her knees, a cup of something in her hand. “Didn’t mean to startle you.”
“You didn’t,” she said, not looking at him.
“Can’t sleep?” he asked, opening drawers at random.
“Me neither. Kinda hungry. Doc says I have to keep eating, so …” He grinned. “Been waiting all my life for someone to say that.”
“There’s some protein crackers in the cupboard behind you, and there might be some leftovers from supper if Jayne hasn’t taken it to his bunk.” Freya sipped her drink.
“Shiny.” He grabbed some crackers and came around to look at her. “This’ll do fine.” He smiled. “The doc tells me you’re pregnant.”
She lifted her head to look at him. “Well, I guess it wasn’t a secret.”
“Hey, don’t blame him. He was talking to me about that little Kaylee, and it kinda slipped out.” Vinnie sank into the sofa, putting his feet onto the small table in front. “So Mal’s gonna be a daddy.” He laughed. “You know, that kinda chills the blood somewhat.” He opened the bag of crackers and offered them to her, but she shook her head.
“I don’t know. Just never figured him to have grown up enough to have kids.”
“You’d be surprised,” Freya said, putting her head back on the chair.
“Maybe I would. Ain't exactly seen a lot of him in the past few years, not since he bought this tub.”
“Serenity’s not a tub.”
Vinnie grinned. “Everyone’s a mite twitchy about this boat, ain't they? Only have to say something that ain’t polite and they’re jumping down my throat.”
“Then best you don’t say anything at all.”
He gazed at her a moment, then said, “You don’t like me, do you?”
“I don’t know you,” Freya replied, taking another mouthful of beverage.
“I'm okay really,” Vinnie insisted.
“You’re taking the men into something they might not be able to handle.” Her dark eyes seemed to bore into him.
“You said that to Mal?” Vinnie asked. When Freya nodded, he added, “You’re braver than I’d’a thought.”
“We actually talk to each other, Vinnie.”
“Good. How it should be.” He munched for a minute, just sitting.
“What about Kaylee?” Freya finally asked.
“You said Simon was talking about Kaylee. What about?”
Vinnie shrugged. “That he’s worried about her, but I guess you know that. Worried about the baby.”
Freya looked at him. “Now why should he be worried about her?”
“It’s a girl?” Vinnie smiled. “Oh, that’s nice. He didn’t say.”
“Yeah. So how about answering my question?”
“Not sure I can. I think he told me in confidence,” Vinnie said, snagging a cracker.
Freya shrugged. “Then don’t. I can guess.”
“I don’t doubt you can,” Vinnie said, looking closely at her. “I shouldn’t think there’s much goes on aboard this boat that you don’t know about.”
“Simon’s been taking more than a fatherly interest in that baby,” Freya said. “He’s worried there’s something wrong, isn’t he? Because of Tetris.”
Vinnie nodded. “Seems so.”
“He won’t talk about it,” Freya muttered. “I’ve tried, so’s Inara, but he just clams up. Says the baby is fine and that’s an end to it. Seems like he’s talked to you more than the rest of us.”
“I’ve probably brought it all back to him,” Vinnie said. “And I’m sorry about that.” He nodded down towards the area of her stomach. “So he keeping an eye on you too?”
Freya’s lips twitched. “That he is. I think he figures if he doesn’t Mal might make him walk the plank.”
“That could be interesting. And I am sorry, you know.”
“So you said.”
“No, I mean for taking Mal away for a while. From you, at a time like this. But I’ll make sure he comes back. Always have.”
Freya looked at him, her dark eyes even blacker in the dim light. “So I understand.”
Vinnie smiled. “You don’t trust me at all, do you?”
“Not even as far as I can throw you,” Freya admitted, her voice cold.
“You think I’m gonna hand Mal over in exchange for Harry.”
Vinnie shook his head. “No. It’s a legitimate question, but no. Mal and me and Harry, we go back a long way. We got history, way back before the war. And I promise I ain’t gonna let anything happen to him.” He sighed. “It’s just … I don’t see any other way of getting Harry back alive.”
“I understand that, Vinnie,” Freya said softly. “I’m just worried you’ll do anything to get him.”
“Would your men have betrayed you to get one of theirs back?” He leaned forward. “I know who you are, Freya. Hell, ain’t a man left alive after Dhu Khang ain’t heard of you.”
Freya’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “You were there?”
“Got separated from the rest of the platoon, but we were there. Me and Harry were a couple of the grunts you saved that night. Met up with Mal and Zoe later on, regrouped you might say. I have to admit I figured you were dead, after what Mal reported, but I’m mighty glad to see you ain’t. And that’s another reason for me to promise to bring him home to you.”
“Okay, Vinnie,” Freya said at last. “Just … don’t let him die. He’s doing this because of you and Harry … just don’t let him die for it.”
“So a bit battered and bruised is okay?”
“Only a bit. When Mal comes home I want all of him to come back, dong mah?”
“Dahng rahn.” He shook his head, smiling. “Damn, but you drive a hard bargain.”
“What is it, Kaylee?” Mal asked, glancing up at her and smiling from where he was cleaning his guns on the kitchen table, then he took another, longer look. “Kaylee?”
“Do you …” Her normally cheerful face was etched with worry, and she swayed a little. Immediately Mal was out of his chair, leading her to the sofa in the corner, making sure she was sitting before he joined her.
“What is it, mei-mei?” he repeated, softer this time. “Do you want me to get Simon?” When she shook her head, he added, “Tell me.”
“I’m scared,” the mechanic said, her voice so small he had to listen hard to hear the words.
“Scared? Of what?”
“You taking him with you.”
“Little Kaylee, we’re gonna need him.”
“So do I.” She looked into his eyes, soft blue with his concern for her. “Cap’n, I know he ain’t said it to me, but I know he’s worried.”
“The baby.” Kaylee put her hand on the mound at her waist. “He’s worried what being in the mine did to her.”
“If he hasn’t said, how –”
“I ain’t stupid!” Kaylee’s voice raised, then she looked at him in despair. “Sorry, Cap’n, but I ain’t. He’s been keeping such a close eye on me I know he’s … If he were sure, he’d say, I know that, so it’s something he won’t know until she’s born.”
“Kaylee, it’s his baby. Don’t you think he’s gonna keep an eye on you?” Mal asked, taking her hand, trying to reassure her.
“He ain’t doing this over Freya. And I think he’d be worried you were thinking he weren’t taking good enough care of her.”
“She always seems to be in there,” Mal pointed out.
“He likes talking to her,” Kaylee admitted. “And I think he might’ve told her.”
Mal saw them in his mind’s eye, their heads together, discussing something or other. “I’m sure you’re wrong, Kaylee.”
“Even if I am, I’m still worried about you taking him with you. What if he don’t come back?” Her hand tightened on his.
“I ain’t told him to do anything, Kaylee. He decided all of his own free will.”
“But it ain’t free will, is it? It’s ‘cos he’s a doctor, and he can’t see people hurting without wanting to help them.”
“Would you have it any other way?” Mal asked gently. “He’s the man you fell in love with … would you want him to change?”
“No, of course not,” Kaylee insisted, shocked that he might think that.
“He’ll come back, mei-mei. I’ll make sure of that.”
“You can promise that, can you?”
“I’ll do my best.” He tried a smile. “That do you?”
“You want I should wrap him up in cotton wool and lock him in the infirmary?”
“You could try.”
“Kaylee …” Mal sighed. “I ain’t the one you need to be having this conversation with.” He sat back a little. “No matter what you want him to be, he ain’t weak. Saved his sister, saved you … and I ain’t meaning just through his profession. No-one’s coming down to Tetris unless they want to, and he’s said he’ll come. He knows he might be needed, and as a doctor he can’t just turn his back on those that could use his skills.”
“I know,” Kaylee insisted. “But I can’t help feeling that someone’s gonna die, and I don’t want it to be him.”
“I don’t intend for anyone to die, little Kaylee. I’ve said I’ll do my best to bring him back to you. It’s about the most I can promise.”
Kaylee sketched a smile. “I know, Cap’n. And I’m sorry. It’s the worry, and all, on top of everything …” She took a deep breath and shook herself. “I know Simon ain’t weak, and I’m proud of him for it. He’ll be fine.” She stood up. “Best be getting back to my girl, make sure Hank ain’t pushing her too hard.”
“He wouldn’t do that – he knows what you’d do to him if he did.”
“And I would.” She headed back towards her engine room, Mal watching her.
As she disappeared he went back to the table, looking down at his guns. What Kaylee had said, about feeling someone was going to die, almost exactly echoed the presentiments in his own gut. But he really didn’t see how he had any choice in the matter.
He picked up the barrel from his favourite firearm, the one that was strapped to his leg every time they went on a job, and peered down its interior, wishing he could see into the future at the end, see what was about to happen, and tried to ignore the stabbing in his belly.
to be continued
Friday, October 27, 2006 3:01 AM
Saturday, October 28, 2006 12:37 PM
Saturday, October 28, 2006 5:09 PM
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