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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-BDM; one job goes awry (shocker, that) and the crew needs to rest a bit. River makes a selection that brings Kaylee's prior life into her present life. I decided on a family for Kaylee; if you don't like it, my apologies...as always, i'm just guessing here. This is going on at the same time as Mal's conversation with Kaylee's father in Part 2...
All characters and whatnot belong to Joss... Comments are so very welcome.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 903 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
"Where'd the girl go?" Maura asked suddenly, startling Inara.
"River? I'm not sure," she replied, resuming her task. Maura had decided Inara's hands were too smooth to have ever washed dishes, so she had been given the task of putting away leftovers.
"She wander off much?" Maura demanded. Inara looked at the young woman. She knew from Kaylee's stories that Mauralan was older than the mechanic by five years, but looking at the stressed woman before her, Inara could have been convinced she was more than thirty.
"Don't that bother you?" Maura went on. She washed dishes aggressively, as if scrubbing the stains would scrub away the anger she seemed to carry on her shoulders.
"She always returns," Inara answered calmly. "She's not as helpless as one might think to look at her."
"Hmph," the woman sniffed, imitating her mother frighteningly well. "Looks like a cross breeze might send her flyin'. No wonder with Kaywinnit's cookin' to sustain her. That child refused any kinda help we offered her in the kitchen. She figured she could take apart an engine block and reassemble it in her sleep, putting some ingredients together to make a meal wouldn't trouble her. I can tell you, though, it did. Never did learn how to bake a proper cake."
"Kaylee?" Inara asked, thinking of the miracles that had come from the girl's protein experiments. "She does a fine cake. Chocolate is her specialty, of course, but--"
"Bet it's lopsided, just as it was then, too," Maura interrupted hotly. Another dish succumbed to her will and released the last of its uncleanliness. It clanged as she stacked it to dry. She picked up the next dish.
"She mentioned your pies have won awards," Inara tried changing the subject. It didn't work.
"She jus' comes breezin' back in here," Maura muttered. "With her fancy husband and boastin' with those far-fetched tales 'bout fancy heroics and seein' Reavers up close and survivin' to tell and still can't bake a proper cake. Chocolate, hmm? Bet it ain't even Devil's chocolate or triple fudge or even marble chocolate cheesecake."
Inara frowned at the woman's back. Kaylee? Boasting about Reavers? Another dish clanged on the stack, having survived the attack of Maura's scrubbing.
"You know," Inara sighed dramatically. "I've never learned to make a marble chocolate cheesecake. It sounds divine. If you have the time, I would simply love to learn. If it isn't too hard, of course."
"Tain't all that hard," Maura grumbled. "Not like...what is it you do on the ship?"
"If I could benefit from your baking," Inara went on, blithely ignoring the question she didn't want to answer. "I'm sure the crew would be forever in your debt."
A dish was added to the stack, softly, wondering why its predecessors had cringed under Maura's soft cleansing ritual.
"I s'pose if you have the time and all," Maura drawled, still not convinced. "I could show you a few things."
"I'll clear my schedule," Inara bubbled for Maura's benefit. "I'm sure Mal won't mind."
"Mal?" Maura's ears perked up. "You and the cap'n onna first name basis?"
"Well, he...I..." Inara stumbled over the question. She took a breath. "We're close. All of us. Mal - the Captain - and I...are...friends. More friends than crew and...we're close. All of us are."
"Kaylee calls him by his title," Maura went on, her voice snaking around the bit of gossip she was sure was juicy. "And that other one calls him 'sir.' But you call him...Mal."
Inara rolled her eyes, knowing Maura would not see. The fact that she had started seeing Mal wasn't news to the crew, but still...she didn't really want to discuss this with Kaylee's sister. Aside from the fact she seemed the polar opposite of Kaylee, she didn't know her that well...and Inara enjoyed keeping her own life private.
"So," Maura leered from the sink. "How long has that been goin' on? And, more important, does my baby sister know?"
"What's your position on the ship?" Mrs. Frye asked, her quick eyes assessing the young brunette across from her.
"I pilot," River replied. Her eyes didn't move. Her face didn't move. Only her lips. Winna had dealt with all kinds, though, and she refused to shift under a child's gaze.
"Ain't you a little young for such a skill?"
"Kaylee was young when she joined," River's voice was still coming out in that flat, calm voice that disconcerted everyone. Winna pursed her lips.
"Kaywinnit tell you that?"
"In a way," she smiled. Winna relaxed a little. So the child wasn't devoid of all humanity.
"They tried to make me that, though," River answered her thought. Winna nodded...then realized what had happened.
"What did you--" she gasped, startled. Her thoughts flew in a whirlwind of uproar.
"She doesn't think she left you behind," River whispered. "She thinks you left her...she feels out of place. Like a bolt in a box of--"
"I don't need tellin' what's in my mind," Winna huffed. "I hear my own thoughts well enough."
"You worry for your daughters," River nodded. "Maura will heal, though. You shouldn't worry."
"I ain't worried," Winna insisted. "And stay outta my head!"
River smiled. Winna glared. River began to laugh. Winna tried to keep her glare going, but failed, melting into a smile...
"Is that Momma Frye laughin'?" Cale wondered out loud. He put down his cards and turned in his chair. Simon exchanged looks with Zoë.
"Does she not laugh?" Simon asked slowly. Cale looked at him as one would look at an idiot.
"Not like that," he qualified. He stood up from the card game and walked to the doors leading to the dining room.
"Man walks away from a card game," Zoë commented to the retreating form. "Seems to me he's forfeiting the game."
"I ain't forfeitin'," Cale said, hurrying back to his seat. He looked at his cards carefully.
"That's your sister, then?" Cale asked Simon. Simon nodded.
"Yes; River," Simon answered. "Her name is River."
"She usually get ol' harpies to laugh?"
"I hope you're not callin' your wife's mother a harpy," Zoë responded. Simon assumed she was teasing...or trying to start a fight...he looked at her eyes. Maybe she was just tired. How long had she been awake? He thought harder...how long had he been awake?
"You won't tell, will ya?" Cale asked, his round face beginning to flush. Zoë smiled at him.
"I think I just won this round," she said evenly, laying her cards on the table. Simon gaped. He had never seen Zoë show much interest in card games, yet here she was...cleaning up.
"I think ya did," Cale mumbled, pushing his cards aside. Zoë caught Simon's stare.
"You didn't think I was an amateur, did you?" she grinned, pulling her winnings to her. Simon shook his head, accepting defeat. Cale had been the one to suggest playing for "friendly lil' bets," but Simon was beginning to feel he should leave the game if he wanted to still have money in the morning.
"I never saw you play," he replied, watching his money slip away.
"Grew up on a ship myself," Zoë smiled as she shuffled the cards. She winced a bit and put a hand over the bandages keeping her chest in place before continuing. "Had to pass the time somehow."
"Do you need another dose?" Simon asked quietly. He had thought to bring his medical bag with him, in case they stayed later than planned. Zoë shook her head.
"Not yet," she answered.
"So, what happened?" Cale piped up, suddenly very interested in Zoë's health.
"Just a little mishap," Zoë answered. "Nothing too bad."
Simon thought back on the scene in the infirmary only three days ago. Nothing too bad? Those wouldn't have been his words and he hadn't been the one coughing up blood. Still, if Zoë felt it was unnecessary to give all the details, it wasn't his place to talk. He shrugged and nodded as Zoë dealt the cards.
They played in silence for a while, listening to Winna - Momma Frye - chat and chuckle with River in the next room. Cale was distracted by the soft tones of the woman's voice; Simon was by the fact that it was River causing the laughter and even joining in on occasion. Zoë won again.
"So, you're married to lil' Kaylee," Cale said, trying to remain focused on the game at hand.
"Yes," Simon responded, shuffling the cards quietly. "Five months."
"Five, already?" Cale shook his head. "Mauralan and I got 'bout three years on ya, then."
"Congratulations," Simon murmured, not sure he would be able to stand much time alone with the woman.
"She always so chatty?" Zoë asked.
"Used to be more quiet," Cale answered, leaning back in his chair. The wood creaked under his weight. "She cooked a good meal, tended house and did her share of listenin' to the ole gossips. Then Kaylee went off with y'all and she started tendin' this house, too. Runs herself ragged, she does. Momma Frye said that's why she..." He frowned and leaned forward to collect the cards dealt him.
"Anyway, we's tryin' to convince her to stick t'one house now," he mumbled. "The farm has enough chores for us without her runnin' back here all the time. She needs t'calm herself. Least, that's what the midwife said. She's too busy, goin' and comin' all the time. Ain't good for...well, us, if y'catch my meanin'."
"Is Mrs. Frye unable to keep her own house?" Zoë asked gently.
"They's nothin' wrong with Momma Frye," Cale said vehemently. "And she's told Maura that time and again. But there's always been...someone...here. To do for Momma Frye as she needs. Runnin' to the shack for her and whatall."
"And Kaylee used to...run to the shack?" Simon asked.
"She did more runnin' to the house to check in on her Momma, more like," Cale smiled. He paused for a moment. "Don't know why Maura don't seem to recall it that way."
"Sometimes, rememberin' the way you want it to have been eases an ache," Zoë offered. Cale smiled.
"Yeah," he sighed. "I know she missed pickin' fights with Kaylee. And I know Momma Frye missed her baby girl somethin' awful."
"She the first to leave?" Zoë asked. Cale nodded.
"We all miss her round here," he admitted. "She brought the sunshine out of all us."
"She does that for us, as well," Simon smiled. "She has that...charm to her. She can smile and see the bright side of anything. Whenever things look bleak, she can--"
"Hell, man," Cale teased. "You talk as if ya love her!"
Simon smiled and returned his attention to the cards in his hands. He looked up when River appeared in the doorway, holding Mrs. Frye's hand. Both were smiling mischeviously.
"We wish to join the game," River smiled. Cale shifted to make room.
"River, I think you might have an...advantage," Simon tried. River nodded, still grinning.
"I think the girl deserves a shot at the game," Mrs. Frye said, her voice trying to be stern.
"She's jus' a kid," Cale hissed to Simon. "Zoë here's been cleanin' us out, let her teach the kid a lesson."
Zoë looked at River and smiled. River nodded, ever so slightly. Mrs. Frye sat next to Simon and, in doing so, whispered in her newest son-in-law's ear:
"Think of old nursery rhymes," she offered. "It distracts her more if you mess 'em up, though."
"No cheating!" River accused, sitting next to Cale. She grinned wickedly at her opponents.
Sunday, May 6, 2007 8:20 PM
Friday, September 14, 2007 6:53 AM
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