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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Merry Christmas! And as I'm not sure if I am going to be able to post this tomorrow ... here's your present now! Please leave feedback (wrapped or not) and everyone have a good holiday season.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1289 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Eight months old and cute as all get-out,” Hank said, watching Kaylee bring Bethany down the ramp into the snow. “And her momma’s just as pretty.”
“Why, thank you, kind sir,” Kaylee grinned. “She does look a picture, don’t she?”
Bethany did indeed look wonderful. She was dressed in a red one-piece padded outfit, with feet attached, and gloves that went through the sleeves on a string.
“I had a pair o’ them once,” Hank added, looking at the gloves. “Wish I had a pair now. I always seem to lose the left one.”
“I’d pay to see you wearing them,” Simon said jovially, following his fiancée out of the cargo bay, a capture in his hand. “We could have recorded it for posterity.”
“Hey, I make anything look fashionable,” Hank said, laughing.
“Yeah, but you ain't as pretty as Bethany,” Kaylee said, bending down so that her daughter could stand up.
“She’ll get her feet frozen.”
“Lots of socks.”
“Wish I had,” Jayne said, stamping his feet behind them. “It’s ruttin’ cold.”
“Jayne, what did I tell you about swearing in front of Bethany?” Simon asked, not looking at him.
“Hell, that ain't swearing. Swearing is –“
“Jayne!” Kaylee said quickly.
He grinned. “And it is cold.”
“It’s Christmas Eve, Jayne,” the young mechanic said, laughing as Bethany tried to eat a handful of snow. “I think it was sweet of the captain to make this detour for us so she can see what a real white Christmas is like.”
“Ismus,” Bethany said.
Hank and Jayne stared.
“Did she just say Christmas?” the pilot asked.
“Sounded like ‘ismus’ to me, but …” Jayne shook his head. “She talkin’?”
Kaylee exchanged an amused glance with Simon. “Well, let’s just say we wanted to keep it secret for a few days. Just for us.”
“And you didn’t tell anyone?” Hank was scandalised.
“Wouldn’t be a secret if we did.”
“Hey, can she say Jayne?” the mercenary asked, squatting down on his heels next to the little girl.
“We’re lucky she hasn’t said something worse,” Simon muttered.
Jayne ignored him. “Does the cap know?”
“You’re it,” Kaylee said, scooping snow out of Bethany’s mouth.
The big man grinned. “Ain't that something,” he mused. “Knowing before him.”
“Knowing what?” Mal asked, stepping down the ramp, his brown coat closed tight against the cold, his scarf wrapped around his neck.
“Ismus!” Bethany squealed delightedly, holding out a handful of slush.
“That it is, little one,” Mal said, smiling down at her.
“Hey, you ain't surprised!” Hank said quickly. “How come?” He glared at Simon. “How come he ain’t surprised? You said he didn’t know.”
“I … I didn’t think he did,” the young doctor stammered.
“That Bethany’d begun to talk?” Mal said, smirking just a little. “Hell, known that for a week or so.”
Kaylee stared at him. “But she said her first word four days ago!”
“Not to me she didn’t.” He walked out into the snow and clapped his hands. “Okay, who’s up for making a snowman?”
Kaylee and Simon looked at each other.
“Are you saying she spoke to you before us?” Bethany’s proud but confused father asked.
“Said Dada to me,” Mal admitted proudly. “Course, I had to explain I wasn't her father, but she didn’t seem to listen that much.”
“When was this?” Kaylee asked, swinging Bethany up into her arms and marching around so she could look Mal squarely in the face.
“When I was sitting for her. While you two were off gallivanting and having fun on Verbena.”
“You mean she …” Kaylee couldn’t finish.
“Didn’t want to upset you, mei-mei,” he added, smiling at her with affection. “I figured it was better to wait until she managed to say something to you too.”
“Ismus!” Bethany gurgled, holding out her little arms towards him. “Dada!”
“I told you before, sweetpea, I ain't your dada. That’s him over there.” Mal pointed towards Simon who looked as if he might just faint.
Freya perched on one of the crates Mal had dragged out of the cargo bay, watching the others create a whole family of snowmen, Bethany on her lap.
“You feeling better?” her husband asked, sticking a couple of twigs in one to make arms.
“Much,” she said, wrapping her arms around the baby to keep her warm.
Simon stood upright. “Maybe you shouldn’t be outside,” he said, coming over all professional until Kaylee tossed a snowball down his neck. He turned, grabbing a handful himself and chasing her.
“No, no!” she shouted, running and dodging between the others, finally hiding behind Jayne.
“Hey, I ain't gonna protect ya!” he insisted, moving out of the line of fire.
“Zoe!” Kaylee pleaded. “Stop him!”
Zoe placed the old sombrero she’d found in her cabin, a remnant of some drunken night Wash had spent on Boros, on the snowman’s head and stepped back. “Keep me out of it,” she said, admiring her handiwork and adjusting it just a little to give a jaunty angle.
“Honey, I would, but if Zoe says no …”
It was too late. Simon had caught her and was pushing the snow down her jacket.
“Oh! OH!” she was squealing. “I am so going to get you back!” she promised, almost breathless from the feeling of icy liquid slipping down her top.
Mal stood up straight and grinned. This was so good, just being a family, just kicking back and enjoying themselves. Now if only Inara …
“Found it!” she called from the cargo bay, hurrying down in her brocade coat and holding up a thin green scarf.
“Oh, it’s too pretty,” Kaylee said, trying to scoop the melting snow from inside her collar.
“I don’t like it,” the Companion admitted. “It makes me look sallow.”
Inara smiled. “Here,” she said, handing it to River who placed it with great care around an anatomically correct snowwoman.
“Jayne,” Zoe said, eyeing the figure critically, “did you have to give it breasts?”
“Hey, weren’t my idea,” Jayne blustered. “She made me!”
River, looking waif-like and totally incapable of making the big mercenary do anything he didn’t want to, just smiled.
“Oh, this is heaven,” Kaylee muttered, warming her hands around the mug of hot eggnog.
“I couldn’t get any nutmeg,” Hank apologised.
“It’s wonderful.” She sipped and a beatific look suffused her face. “Perfect.”
The others were all sitting at the table, looking pretty much the same way as Kaylee. Only Freya wasn't drinking.
“You okay?” Mal asked.
She smiled at him, leaning forward to place a kiss lightly on his cheek. “I'm shiny. Just wanting to save some room for that turkey dinner I can smell cooking.”
“How did you find a turkey, that’s what I want to know,” Hank asked Jayne. “In all the planets we’ve been, I don’t see how you could have laid your hands on one.”
Jayne knocked back the eggnog and held out his mug for a second helping. “Let’s just say it’s better to give than to receive. Or in our case, better not to ask questions in the first place.”
“Is this turkey perchance purloined?” Simon asked, moving Bethany slightly so he could keep the mug out of her reach.
“If’n’ you’re asking if it’s stolen …” Jayne grinned again and didn’t answer.
“Simon, if I were you,” Mal put in, “I wouldn’t look a gift turkey in the mouth.”
“Beak,” Freya said, and Mal laughed.
“Tell me again why we ain't having this tomorrow?” Kaylee asked, sitting back and watching Simon trying to keep a wriggling Bethany under control.
“Because past experience has proved that no-one wants to cook on Christmas Day,” Zoe put in. “Not even people who don’t believe in that sort of thing.” She looked pointedly at the captain.
“Hey, never said I didn’t believe in making the most of the holidays,” Mal insisted. “Just the religiosity part I find difficulty with.”
“So the present giving is okay.”
“’Sides,” Freya added, “have you seen what Mal can do to a roast bird?”
There was general laughter, and then it was time for a toast. Mal stood up, taking Freya’s hand in his, and holding his mug high with the other.
“I ain’t one for making speeches –“ There was more laughter from around the table. “– but as captain of this here boat I feel it is beholden to me to say a few words.”
“Long as they’re quick,” Jayne said. “I'm starved.”
“In deference to our big friend here, I’ll make this short.” Mal cleared his throat. “I don’t care what time of year it is, but this maybe makes it plainer than any other. What’s important is family, and it’s the ones you choose that make it so. What I'm trying to say it, I’m proud for you all to be part of mine.” He lifted his mug to his lips and swallowed down a mouthful before sitting again.
Everyone was staring at him, until Simon lifted his own mug. “I second that,” he said sincerely, taking a drink, then the rest of the crew joined in.
Freya, her eyes shining in the light, pulled Mal’s face to hers and kissed him soundly on the lips. He kissed her back and they meshed together.
“Aw, hell,” Jayne said, thumping his mug down on the table. “Not before we eat.”
“Ismus!” Bethany announced.
Freya straightened up and looked at herself in the mirror over the small basin, wiping her mouth. Water poured from the faucet, washing away the remains of the turkey dinner she’d just thrown up. She turned it off and looked back into her own eyes. She stared.
“You okay?” Mal asked, sitting up in bed.
“Shiny. Too much rich food I think.” She managed a smile. “I'm just gonna get some milk. Settle it a bit.”
“Okay.” He lay back down, his eyes still concerned. “Long as you’re sure.”
She nodded at him and climbed the ladder, her bare feet curling around the rungs. Walking silently through the hushed ship, she made her way to the guest quarters and knocked gently on the door of Simon and Kaylee’s bunk, waiting patiently until the young doctor poked his head out.
“Frey?” He blinked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “You okay?”
“Can you do something for me?”
She sat on the medbed, her ankles locked tight, gripping the edge with white knuckles. “How long does this take?” she asked, breathing shallowly, trying to control her heart rate.
“As long as it takes.” He looked at her. “Freya –” There was a beep, just soft, but it sounded as if it were calling judgement day. He picked up the read-out.
“Well?” she asked, her voice a whisper.
“Frey …” He lifted his head to gaze at her. “I have to tell you …”
She swallowed, waiting for the bad news.
“… Merry Christmas, you’re pregnant.”
The look on her face went from shock, to disbelief, to … “Are … are you sure?” she stammered. “It’s … not a … a false positive?”
He smiled and held out the reading. “Freya, I don’t know how, but I'm sure. You’re pregnant.”
She stared at him, then her face dissolved into joy. “Oh God,” she said, her hand to her mouth. “I don’t …” Tears began to flow down her cheeks.
“Frey?” Mal, concerned by her non-appearance back in their bunk, had come looking for her, and now stepped inside the infirmary. “What is it?” he asked, suddenly very alarmed to see her crying. He hurried to her side, putting one hand on her shoulders and tipping her chin to look up at him with the other. “Baby, what is it?”
She hiccupped with laughter, then looked at Simon, unable to speak.
“Mal, this shouldn’t be possible, but …” The smile on Simon’s face had grown into a grin. “You’re going to be a father.”
Mal’s face went white and his knees began to buckle. Simon pushed the stool he had ready under him and he sat down. “Frey?” he said, not trusting his own ears, his voice trembling as much as his hands.
“We’re having a baby,” she said, trying to keep her elation under control but failing miserably, having to cover her mouth with both hands to keep her laughter in.
“Frey?” Mal touched her face with his hands. “Frey!” His heart soared and he hugged her tightly. “Oh, sorry,” he said, releasing her and looking down at her belly. “Did I –“
She laughed again through her tears. “No. And don’t stop.”
He took her back into his arms, kissing her forehead, her nose, her cheeks then her lips, feeling her arms around him, holding him close. His own tears began to fall and he could taste their saltiness as he kissed her.
Simon watched them, hugging himself in delight. If two people deserved this more, he couldn’t imagine who they’d be. Still, he had to talk to them before they got too involved.
“Mal, Freya, listen, I need to talk to the two of you,” he said apologetically.
Mal let his wife up to breathe a little and looked at the young doctor. “What is it?” he asked, not caring that the other man saw he was crying.
“There are a few ground rules we need to go over.”
“Go ahead, doc,” Mal said, sniffing slightly. Freya grinned.
“This baby … well, you both know I didn’t think … well, that it was …”
Mal interrupted. “It’s a miracle, that’s what you’re trying to say. Only it ain’t, doc.”
“Perhaps. But it’s not … I did say there was a chance.” Simon shook himself. He was not being very professional over this. “But that’s not the point. Freya still has scar tissue, and that could cause problems.” He held up a hand to stop any response. “That doesn’t mean she can’t carry this baby to full term. Just that she has to take care.”
“Oh, I'm not planning on letting her out of my sight,” Mal said, squeezing her shoulders.
“It has to be more than that.” Simon shook his head slightly, hoping they were really listening to him. “No jobs. Freya isn’t to go on any jobs, not until after the baby is born.”
Mal nodded, agreeing wholeheartedly. “She’ll stay at home. No worries.”
“Hey, don’t I get a say in this?” Freya asked.
“No,” Mal responded. “Just keep quiet.”
“There’s more,” Simon put in before they could start ribbing on each other. “I want Freya to go back to bed and stay there for at least a month.”
Now they were both staring at him in disbelief. “What …” Mal began.
“Four weeks. Just to give the baby time to start to grow properly, to … well, settle in. It might be longer, depending on how she does.”
“Are you saying I might spend the next nine months in bed?” Freya asked.
“Technically you’re probably around seven or eight weeks, so maybe up to …” He paused, seeing the look in her eye. “Yes,” he confirmed. “You could be spending the entire time up until you give birth resting.”
“Simon, I can’t!” she insisted. “I’ll go stir crazy!”
“Do you want this baby?” Simon asked.
There was a silence. “Of course,” she said finally. “More than anything.”
“Then you’re going to bed.”
Mal squeezed her shoulders again. “Honey, it won’t be so bad. We can set up some stuff for you … hell, Hank’ll lend you anything out of that library of his, and besides, seven months with you waiting for me –“
“And no sex.”
Now it was Mal’s turn to stare at the doctor with his mouth open. “Are you saying –“
“Yes. Do you have any idea what an orgasm does to the female reproductive system?” he asked, deliberately making Mal squirm, but it was Freya who got in first.
“I think you’re a bit late about that, Simon,” she said, trying not to smile.
“Why?” Then he blushed a little. “Oh.”
“Do you really think we’ve been celibate for the last couple of months?” She laughed. “Just a few hours ago –“
“Thank you, that’s too much information.” Simon held up a hand. “All right, then. But moderate only.”
“So I can’t hang from the support beams no more?” Freya teased.
“No.” Simon felt this was getting out of hand and tried to take back control. “And you’re to eat properly, a diet I’ll devise.”
“Suppose I get any unnatural cravings?” Mal asked.
“Isn’t that supposed to be me?” Freya said, lifting her head to look into his blue eyes.
“Wouldn’t want to be left out,” he murmured. “Kinda like the idea of keeping you company.” He smiled and leaned down to kiss her gently.
“Oh, go,” Simon said in disgust. “Get Freya back to her room and make her lie down.”
“Doc, I never thought I’d be so happy to take orders from you,” Mal said, helping his wife down from the medbed. “And I’d appreciate it if you’d ask the rest of the crew to assemble in the dining room. I think I’ll be making an announcement.”
“Mal, do you have any idea what time it is?”
Mal paused at glanced at the infirmary clock. “Ah. No. Okay. At breakfast then. But they all gotta be there.”
“I’ll make sure of it.”
“Even if they’re doing something else,” Mal said pointedly.
“They’ll be there.”
“I’ve got it.”
“Thanks. And … thanks, Simon.” Mal held out his hand and Simon took it, shaking. Then found himself enveloped in a bear hug. “I mean it.”
“You’re welcome,” Simon managed to say before all the air was squeezed out of his lungs.
“Come on,” Mal said, letting go with just a hint of embarrassment before turning to Freya. “Gotta get you to bed.” He grinned, put his arm back around Freya and herded her out.
Simon sighed. It was hard enough dealing with these people at the best of times, but now … he grinned and headed back to his own berth.
“Merry Christmas!” Kaylee beamed at Zoe and Hank who were already sitting in the galley, cups of coffee in front of each of them. Hank looked a lot the worse for wear.
“Can you keep it down, pumpkin?” he asked.
Simon looked across at the pilot. “Do you want something for the headache?”
“Yeah. A new set of eyeballs would be good.” He took a mouthful of coffee. “And a new tongue.”
“Sorry, can’t help you with that. How about a shot to dull the pain somewhat?”
Hank shuddered. “Needles.”
“I’ll bring him down after breakfast,” Zoe promised.
“No, please, don’t talk about food.”
“How much of that stuff did you put away last night?” Kaylee asked. “You were still drinking when I went to bed.”
“I don’t remember,” Hank admitted as Jayne clunked heavily into the dining area.
Jayne thumped him on the back as he went past. “Ya owe me all your wages for the next three months.”
“What?” Hank looked up. “Oh, God, we were playing cards.”
“And your first born.”
Zoe raised her eyebrow at him. “You were betting children?”
“I don’t remember.” Hank rested his head on his arms. “Please let me not remember.”
Jayne deliberately rattled the coffee pot and grinned as he saw Hank wince. “So what’s this all about?” he asked, dropping his body into the chair opposite.
“No idea,” Kaylee admitted, holding Bethany up so she could see all the pretty lights they’d strung up. “Simon ain’t exactly been forthcoming.”
“I was just asked to make sure you were all here for breakfast.”
“No,” Hank moaned, not lifting his head.
“What? Don’t fancy a nice plate of runny eggs, with that fatty bacon ya get on some worlds, all swimming in grease so you can dip your bread into it and suck it up?” Jayne asked, torturing him.
Hank glared at him over his arms. “If you don’t shut up there will be vomiting. And I promise it will be of the projectile kind.”
“I think we’ve got enough decorations,” Zoe said, taking a small pill from her pocket. “Here, take this.”
“What is it?” Hank asked, looking at it askance. “Poison?”
“Because I haven’t finished with you yet.”
Hank managed a smile. “So what is it?”
“Something I used to give Wash when he’d been out drinking.” She took his hand and opened it, placing the green tablet on his palm. “Just take it.”
Serenity’s pilot glared at it a moment then tossed it down his throat, following with a mouthful of coffee. “Yuck,” he said.
“It’ll make you feel much better very soon,” she promised.
“I believe you. I sure as hell can’t feel any worse.” He put his head back down on his arms and groaned.
“Merry Christmas,” Inara said as she stepped into the galley. There was a general chorus from the rest of the crew. “Does anyone know what Mal wants to see us about?”
River smiled to herself, and Simon shook his head slightly at her.
“You do know, don’t you?” Kaylee demanded, catching the look. “Something to do with last night.”
“If I did you know I wouldn’t be able to tell you,” Simon said quickly.
Kaylee glared at him, then she put two and two together and her eyes widened just as Mal walked into the room.
“Good, glad you’re all here,” he started to say, then Kaylee interrupted.
Everyone turned to look at her, then back at Mal, who had an amused expression on his face.
“Couldn’t keep it a secret, huh?” he said to the young doctor.
“Nothing to do with me,” Simon insisted. “If Kaylee is so good at reading me, well, that’s not my problem.”
“And you didn’t even hint.”
“Not a word.”
“She’s right?” Hank spluttered. “Frey’s gonna … wow.” He looked amazed, and very happy, totally having forgotten about his discomfort.
“Another kid?” Jayne asked, glancing at Bethany. “You mean there’s gonna be two of ‘em?”
“That’s right,” Mal said, grinning, obviously so delighted he wasn’t going to let anyone annoy him. “Got a problem with that?”
“Nope,” Jayne replied. “Kinda got used to it by now.”
“Besides, might not be the last,” River said mysteriously, and everyone looked at her.
“River …” Simon began.
“What?” she asked.
Kaylee put her hand on his arm. “I wouldn’t go into that right now, if I were you,” she said softly. “And I’m pretty sure she’s doing it deliberate.”
River smiled and held out her hands for Bethany. “A perfect present,” she said.
Kaylee handed her daughter over and snuggled closer to Simon. “That it is.”
“Where is Frey, by the way?” Hank asked. “I’d’a thought you’d be telling us together.”
“Freya has to rest,” Simon put in, his arms around his fiancée. “But I think she probably wouldn’t mind a visit or two. A sedate visit. One at a time.”
Mal laughed. “Doc, she’ll want more than that. When she was talking about going stir crazy, you ain't even begun to see it yet.”
Inara stepped down the ladder into Freya’s bunk, and was not surprised to see the naked woman pulling stuff out of one of the drawers. “I don’t think that’s what Simon meant,” she pointed out, totally at ease with nudity.
Freya looked up guiltily. “I … I was looking for something.”
“I didn’t think you were planning on sleeping in the drawer.” Inara smiled. “What were you looking for?”
Freya pulled out another shirt. “It’s –”
“Sit down. I’ll get it. Simon will have apoplexy if he sees you like this. Now sit down.”
Freya smiled and perched on the bunk. “It’s under my shirts.”
Inara knelt down, very elegantly, and reached inside, her hand encountering a small leather pouch. She lifted it out. “This?”
“Yes, that’s it.” Freya took it.
“What is it?”
“It’s … something to help me get through this.” Freya looked at the Companion. “I’m scared, ‘Nara.”
The other woman sat down next to her. “Why, sweetie?”
“After … after Alice, and Simon telling us I’d probably never conceive ... Mal always believed there was a chance, but I … as the months went by I was beginning to think Simon was right. And now …” Freya put her hand gently on her belly. “I have to carry this baby to term, Inara. If I have to stay in here for the next seven months, not put my head above the ladder, I will. I will do anything – anything – to keep this child.”
“And this?” Inara touched the leather bag.
Freya tipped a medallion into her hand. “This is all I have left of my mentor, my teacher. He used it as a teaching aid. He’d put it into the palm of my hand, tell me to will it to move, change colour, shape, anything. It never did, of course, because I don’t have those talents. But I used to spend hours concentrating all the same, and I learned to control those I had.”
“And you’re willing this baby to survive?”
“With all my heart, Inara. For Mal and me.”
Inara put her arm around the other woman’s shoulder and squeezed. “Then get back into bed, before Simon comes down and checks on you.”
Freya laughed as a voice came down the hatch. “Hey, Inara, come on!” Hank called. “There’s more of us wanna come down and say Merry Christmas!”
Thursday, December 21, 2006 7:14 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 7:31 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 7:38 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 7:39 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 8:18 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 9:18 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 8:08 PM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 8:11 PM
Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:52 PM
Friday, December 22, 2006 12:19 PM
Friday, December 22, 2006 12:20 PM
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