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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Drama/ adventure about the power of family. 8-years post-BDM. All you need is love, luck, and a more attentive guardian angel. Download the full PDF here... Ch 4: Serenity makes a slow recovery from the attack. Pairings: M/I, S/K, K/OC, R/OC
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1042 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Inara sat with Mal at the dining table, their fingers intertwining in a constant dance, while Serenity sauntered through the black. Mal scrutinized a map of the region, making a note that the Tao Wu faction had become notably violent on this border. Inara sipped jasmine tea, having spoken hardly a word to him since she put Emma down for a nap. The fragrance of the tea filled the room like a summer afternoon.
“You didn’t have to bait that kid,” Inara told him, breaking the silence.
Mal had been waiting for the reprimand. “That kid don’t know nothing about the war.”
“And you were trying to educate him? Mal, you are always telling people that old war is over. And it is over, Mal. Replaced by a brand new one!”
“Don’t mean we should forget it – forget what all those folks died for,” Mal growled angrily.
Inara’s hand broke contact with his and she sipped her tea sternly. Mal ignored her, and started doodling on his map, seeing as it weren’t much good for charting. Inara’s voice surfaced in the quiet like a soft breeze.
“Mal, how long are you going to keep me at your shoulder with a rifle?”
“No one’s forcing you,” he pointed out angrily.
“I just think one of us should be alive to look after our children.”
“You wanna hide, then hide. I got Cappy and Zoë.”
“Zoë has her own child to think about, Mal. You can’t just throw her life on the line like that!”
“I don’t!” Mal bellowed, then stopped himself, reigning in his anger before he continued. “I don’t throw anyone’s life on the line but my own. Anyone standing next to me is there by their own choice.”
“I gave up my work to be with you,” Inara whispered.
Mal groaned. Here it came.
“I started a family with you in the hope that we would raise our children together. I just think it’s time…”
“What?” Mal raged. “You want me to settle on some rock filled with fancy gentlemen so you can return to whoring?!”
As soon as he said it, he regretted it. Inara cringed like he’d slapped her in the face and he could see her fighting the tears brimming in her wide, brown eyes. She ducked her head, and stood up from the table.
“Inara,” Mal said penitently, but she did not look at him. “Inara, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to –”
“Yes, you did,” she interrupted, and stalked out of the room.
Zoë stood on the catwalk, watching over Jackson as he knelt on the floor of the cargo bay shooting marbles. His play was half-hearted, his body weary from fear. She had a feeling it would be a night of nightmares for him. When she’d calmed him down, he didn’t want to talk; nor had he eaten. Why was she up here when she just wanted to hold him in her arms and tell him it would be okay? As Zoë struggled against her own instincts, Inara brushed past her in a tizzy, entered Shuttle One and slammed the door behind her. Mal wasn’t far behind.
“Just started my mouth runnin’ afore my brain got in gear.”
“Ah,” Zoë smirked. “Maybe I could cut your tongue out for you, sir.”
“A fair thought. But it makes negotiating too difficult. Remember when Book took that day of silence how nuts it drove everyone.”
Zoë smiled at the memory and looked at Jackson again.
“How’s he doin’?” Mal asked, stepping to the rail beside her.
Zoë shrugged. “He ain’t takin’ it well. I’m surprised Emma was so calm. Did you set up that spot for her?”
“The extender access? Hell, no, I’d never put my kid there willingly. She was three and we got boarded by an Alliance patrol. They took the crew on and questioned us and me and Inara kept goin’ on about how we had to go find our little girl. We told ‘em she’s in our bunk. The Alliance searched the whole ship and didn’t find her, so they pegged us liars. When they finally sent us on our way, we ran around crazy for two hours tryin’ to find where she hid, but she never gave a peep. Even River couldn’t tell us more ‘n she was someplace dark. Weren’t till Terrance (he was our merc then) decided to cook supper for hisself that she came out. Just crawled into her seat at the dinner table like nothin’ doin’. I never felt my heart so close to stoppin’. I tried showin’ her other places to hide, but she likes that one, so I had Kaylee put in some extra shielding around it, make it safe…”
Mal trailed off and Zoë could see him laughing retrospectively at those hours of worry and terror. As a single mother with an adventurous son, Zoë was very familiar with panic. She rested heavily on her elbows, closing her eyes.
“Mommy,” Jackson called, standing up from his game. “Can I have my supper now?”
Zoë sighed and laughed in relief, the simple request like music to her ears. “Yeah, baby, come on.”
Inara sat on the floor of her shuttle and wept. It wasn’t really hers anymore – not in the same way. Though she’d moved out long ago, she still found refuge here. The lingering incense took her back to a simpler time. Her memories and tears fell freely as she hugged her knees for comfort. Mal entered without knocking, sidled up next to her on the floor, and put his arm around her. She didn’t lean into him, she just held her knees and cried. With a quick kiss on the top of her head, he murmured a mantra over and over. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, ‘Nara.”
Angry with herself for being so weepy, Inara shrugged his arm off, brushed the tears from her eyes, and swallowed her sorrow. She still held her knees tightly as if they alone contained her composure.
“It’s okay, darlin’,” Mal soothed, stroking her hair. “I know you wouldn’t be cryin’ half so hard if you weren’t pregnant.”
True though it was, the thought irritated her and she broke into tears again. Mal hugged her close and this time, she hardly cared that he was the one who upset her.
“You have a right to be upset, ‘Nara. I shouldn’t have said that… shouldn’t have done that.”
Inara sobbed her agreement. Mal had crossed a line. A line he hadn’t crossed in so long, she’d forgotten he knew how. It stabbed her soul like a knife and left her bleeding. She said nothing as Mal stroked her hair, assuring her over and over that he was sorry.
“Remember when we used to lay in bed together, wonder if we could ever live together without killing each other,” he asked.
A wistful smile surfaced through Inara’s tears as she listened to the sweet sound of his reverie.
Mal continued, “This ain’t the life we dreamed about. Ain’t what we planned.”
Inara released hold of her knees and leaned on her husband now, her cheek on his chest.
“I’m getting’ too old to be reckless with words. Zoë thinks I oughta cut out my tongue.”
Inara chuckled lightly, daintily wiping her nose with the back of her hand. “I wouldn’t say that. Your tongue performs very nicely in activities not involving speaking.”
Suddenly Mal’s tongue was in her ear and she laughed out loud, batting his chest as she pulled away.
“After all this time, the truth finally comes out,” he teased softly. “You married me for my tongue.”
“Among other things,” Inara agreed playfully, settling into his arms again.
He traced the lines on her face gently, lulling her back to security, whispering again, “I’m so sorry, ‘Nara.”
“Captain,” River interrupted, poking her head into the shuttle.
“What is it, River?”
“I found a new course. More dangerous, but more likely we’ll be ignored.”
“I’ll be right there,” Mal said. He shifted Inara off his shoulder, kissed the tears from both her cheeks, then captured her lips softly with his.
“I love you,” he mouthed as he left her on the floor of the shuttle. Inara pulled her knees to her chest again, resting her chin on top. She really needed to move that couch back in here before she became too pregnant to stand on her own.
Cappy leaned against the access panel to the drive feed, holding it high as Kaylee shimmied underneath. She made sure her shirt slid up, exposing her naval as she reset the pressure valves on the main feed line. Simon had always found her irresistible in this position and she was hoping Cappy would feel the same. His boot brushed her thigh – did he mean to do that? She shivered with hope, wishing she could see his face.
“How long you want me to hold this, hon?” Cappy asked.
Kaylee smiled, sharing a secret with Serenity. Truthfully, the hatch had a prop rod and could stand on its own, but she didn’t want to tell Cappy that.
“Just a little longer,” she answered. She reached out for a wrench and pulled it under the panel slowly, seductively. Cappy shifted his weight. A quick twist of the wrench later, the valve reset and Kaylee started screwing the service panel back into place.
“Kay, I found this rod,” Cappy began and Kaylee couldn’t help but giggle. A moment later, he was squatting by her side, looking underneath the drive feed at her, all smiles.
“What is this, a joke?”
Kaylee reached out to swat him playfully, but still half buried under the main drive, her hand fell short.
Suddenly, Cappy’s face went deathly white, freezing the giggles out of her system. She felt the vibration in her bones, noticed the missing tick-tick from the ship, and knew instantly that she should have been listening to Serenity just now and not her hormones. She reached for the final screw, determined to seal off the valves from danger, but there was no time. Cappy yanked her legs, pulling her out of the access path, and the growing thunder made her disinclined to resist. As soon as she cleared, Cappy tipped the prop rod, but it was too late.
A blast of fire burst through the room, sending the hatch flying into Kaylee’s midriff and knocking her against the opposite wall. Her tools whirled in superheated fury, the wrench catching Cappy in the head and burning an impression on his skin. She didn’t remember how they made it out of there and when she asked Cappy later, nor did he. All she recalled were the flames eating her jumpsuit, the sudden coolness as the fire doors closed, and the desperate longing she suddenly felt for her estranged husband before the world turned red.
“Kaylee!” River cried, falling on the yoke as she convulsed in the pilot’s chair. The ship somersaulted and without hesitation, River engaged the engine and made a mad dash for You Qian territory.
“Albatross, what’s goin’?!” Mal hollered as Serenity took a hard burn in the wrong direction.
“Kaylee,” River repeated, her eyes filled with panic and fear. She needed to find help. She needed her angel.
Go to Chapter 5
Saturday, March 24, 2007 1:31 PM
Sunday, March 25, 2007 10:20 AM
Sunday, March 25, 2007 4:15 PM
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