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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
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The Last Spartan – Chapter Seventeen
Author owns no rights to Firefly and makes no money on his works, they are for his entertainment only
Jayne had been exhausted when he lay down on his bunk. He had been tempted to take blood from the infirmary, but already much had been used, so he had resisted the temptation, and sought rest to restore him.
He was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, but his slumber was not peaceful.
He was wandering through a wasteland of death and destruction. He didn’t recognize the place, but he was familiar, far too familiar with the sights that accompanied war.
A soldier for three thousand years, Janos had worn many names, but had always remained the Spartan he had been born, at heart. There was no shame in death on the battlefield, an honorable death that brought honor to one’s family.
But this, even for him, was overwhelming. He could see no end to the bodies around him, and the cries of the wounded were so loud that he could scarcely hear his own thoughts.
What had happened here, that so many were laid low? As he examined the dead before him, he was shocked to see the differences in their appearance. A man at his feet was dressed as a Crusader, from the Holy Land wars. Yet lying at his side was a soldier known as a G.I. An American infantry man from World War II, on earth that was.
What devilry had placed these men side by side upon the battlefield? He looked about him, and discovered that this was not an anomaly. Here a Pict was wrapped in mortal combat with the body of an Alliance soldier. There, a Mongol warrior from the Steppes was likewise lying beside a Zulu warrior, though they should have perished decades and continents apart.
His confusion growing, Janos stumbled across the field, stopping at the sight of a soldier from the great Boer wars, a man whose unit he had served in. His redcoat was stained with the darker red of blood, and his face was twisted in agony.
“Jan, my friend,” the man gasped at seeing him. “Have you, then, come to save me?”
“Leegar?” Janos blurted. “Leegar, you are dead! Died centuries ago!”
“Aye,” Leegar nodded. “That I did. But you, you black hearted scoundrel, you could have saved me, had you but done it!” Leegar’s voice was tinged with bitterness.
“I could have saved you?” Janos asked in confusion. “How is it that I could have done thus, when you perished on a field fifty long miles and more from where I was?”
“Had you given me the gift you curse, I should have lived to see my children grow!” Leegar spat. Now Janos understood.
“Yes, and then grow old, and die, while you watched helplessly. Giving you such would scarcely been a gift, old friend.”
“So you say!” Leegar retorted. “Made that decision for me, did you not! Sat at my table, drank my whiskey, and called yourself my friend, only to let me die, when you could have prevented it!” Suddenly Leegar coughed, and was dead. Janos sighed heavily.
“Jian!” he heard another voice.
“Johan!” another, from farther away.
Suddenly there were voices of dead comrades, all using the names they had known him by, calling him from all directions. It was too much, threatened to overwhelm him.
Where was he?
He sat upright in the bed, bathed in sweat, looking around him frantically. His eyes focused on his bunk, and as he turned, he saw River Tam.
“It was a dream, Jayne,” River said camly, her clothes dripping with blood. He looked to her face, and was terrified to see that her fangs were lowered, and covered with blood.
“River, what have you done!” he cried.
“Did you know that when you drink another’s blood, you can sometimes gain their knowledge?” River asked sweetly, her voice a stark contrast to the horrific look.
“And their memories?” she continued. “Did you know that, Jayne?”
“River,” Jayne whispered. “What did you do?”
“I was hungry, Jayne,” she told him sorrowfully. “So hungry.”
“River, no,” he moaned, feeling a sense of dread fall firmly into his stomach, and take up residence.
“Why not?” she asked innocently. “They are only mortals, after all. They would have died sometime. Right?”
“River!” he howled.
“Jayne!” Again he sat bolt upright in his bunk. Again he fought to orient himself. And again River Tam was before him. This time, however, there was no blood.
“You were having a nightmare, Jayne,” River said softly. “I could feel it from the infirmary.”
“How long have I been out?” he gasped, conscious that his throat was very dry.
“A day and a half, Jayne,” River murmured, taking his head in her hands. “We were about to become concerned, when I felt your nightmare.”
“I thought that would be behind you, little one,” Jayne said.
“It is,” she nodded, smiling. “I was looking for you, though. I can still do the things I could before, Jayne. Only now, I can control it. So I was checking on you. And I am glad that I did.”
“So am I,” he breathed, and embraced the girl without thought.
“Not a girl,” she chided, gently. “Grown woman. Be twenty-one, in a few months.”
“So you will, little warrior,” he chuckled, releasing her. “So you will.”
“What of your promise, Jayne?” River asked him pointedly.
“Do you think you can give me time to recover from my dream before we get into that?” he asked her. She frowned.
“Just tell me you will keep your promise, Jayne. That will be enough. For now.”
“I always keep my promises, River,” he nodded. “And I would never break my word, least of all to you,” he added, and on impulse kissed her gently on the forehead.
“Then, yes. Our discussion can await another time,” she smiled brightly, and Jayne felt another brick in his carefully erected wall crumble.
“You will likely be the cause of much trouble to me over the next few hundred years,” he growled. She smiled even brighter, if that were possible.
“But I’ll always make it up to you,” she replied coyly, batting her eyelashes at him in an over dramatic pose. He laughed in spite of himself, and hugged her tightly.
“I’m sure you will.”
River preceded Jayne into the galley, and as he entered he realized it was meal time. Mal sat stiffly in his chair at the head of the table.
“Cap’n,” Jayne nodded, only to be ignored. He shrugged mentally. It wasn’t unexpected.
“Hello, Jayne. River,” Inara smiled, earning her a glare from Mal, which she ignored. Jayne looked at Zoe with a warm smile, which she returned, though feebly. She and Mal had not spoken since the incident in front of the infirmary.
“Hey, Jayne!” Kaylee smiled, sitting next to Simon. Jayne smiled.
“Hello, Kaylee. Doc,” he nodded to Simon.
“Jayne,” Simon smiled, returning the nod. “You’re just in time. Kaylee and I have prepared a wonderful feast of. . .some kind of protein or other.”
“Sounds good,” Jayne laughed, taking his seat. As he did so, he judged that the only person at the table who was angry with him was Mal. Well, he could live with that. He’d never really liked Mal anyway.
“We’ll be to Londinium in six days, Jayne,” Mal said stiffly. “‘Spect payment ‘fore we land.”
“Very well, Captain,” Jayne replied formally. “That will not be a problem.”
“And we ain’t staying but long enough for you to get off, so be packed when we get there,” Mal added, his tone approaching hostile. Again, Jayne nodded.
“As you wish,” he said. “However, all of you are welcome to stay, at least for a few days. There will be food, and the grounds are very nice. I have horses as well as. . .”
“We ain’t stayin’,” Mal cut him off forcefully. “We got no need to partake o’ any o’ your hospitality.”
“Mal, I think we. . .” Inara began.
“Didn’t ask,” Mal cut her off harshly, and Inara’s eyes narrowed.
“Cap’n!” Kaylee said sternly. “That ain’t no way to talk to Inara! ‘Sides, it sounds like it’d be fun! We could all do with some. . .”
“This ain’t a discussion, Kaylee,” Mal interrupted once more, his tone now angry. “We’ll let Mister Cobb off, and then we will all leave.”
“I will not be joining you, Captain,” River said quietly from her chair next to Jayne. “I will be staying with Jayne.” Simon had expected that, but still coughed a little as his drink went down the wrong way.
“Long as you’re my pilot, you leave when I say you do,” Mal said threateningly.
“I’m sorry, Captain,” River smiled sweetly. “I didn’t mean it like that. I will no longer be your pilot. I will be staying with Jayne. Permanently.” There were no startled gasps from the table, as everyone, except for maybe Mal, had expected that.
“Suit yourself,” Mal told her after a moment of shock. “Be ready when we hit dirt. Ain’t waitin’ on you, neither.”
“Simon, are you gonna stay on?” Kaylee asked, a tiny bit of fear in her voice. Simon looked at her.
“You’re welcome, if you wish, to stay with us,” Jayne said quietly, then looked at Kaylee. “You as well.” He then looked up the table. “The same is true for you all. Even you, Captain,” he added with a less than friendly smile.
“‘Spect that’s a decision everyone needs to make ‘fore we land,” Mal retorted, anger filling his eyes. He stood abruptly, and left the room, heading for the bridge. Jayne sighed, looking at his plate.
“Not your fault,” River said quietly. “His own pride.”
“Doesn’t change things, meus fortis parum decor,” Jayne murmured, and River blushed furiously at the compliment. Brave little beauty. His brave little beauty, she amended, shuddering inwardly at the implied possessiveness.
“Jayne, it isn’t your fault,” Inara said sadly. “I don’t know what the problem is, but if it’s what happened with River, then she’s right. It’s his problem, and he needs to deal with it.” Jayne nodded his thanks, looking to Zoe.
“All right, Zoe?” he asked. She looked at him thoughtfully.
“Might take you up on that offer, Jayne,” she said at last. He nodded.
“Anytime. Always,” was all he said, and she smiled.
“Simon?” Kaylee looked at the doctor. “What about you?”
“I don’t know, Kaylee,” he admitted. “I want to be wherever you are, so I guess it’s up to you. But the way Mal is . . . ” he trailed off. “He might not want me to stay anyway.”
“I know,” Kaylee said softly. Sadly. She looked to Jayne.
“I don’t know what to do.”
“I cannot tell you that, parum sanctimonialis,” he told her sadly.
“What’s that mean?” Kaylee looked bewildered.
“Little sister,” Simon and River both smiled as they spoke in unison. Kaylee beamed.
“I cannot change what has happened,” Jayne told them. “Nor would I, even where it possible,” he added, smiling down at River. “All I can do is offer to make things as well for you as I can. I am wealthy beyond imagination. I say this not to brag, but state a simple truth. None of you will be a burden. You are family, to each other and to me. Do as you will. But know that you are welcome at Sapor Parco for as long as you like, be it forever.”
“Sapor Parco?” Inara repeated, a look of shock on her face.
“Yes,” Jayne nodded, knowing what was coming.
“Jayne, that’s one of the most exclusive estates on Londinium!”
“Yeah, I’d heard that, somewhere,” he chuckled, sounding more like Jayne. “There’s a reason for that, Inara.”
“Er, yes,” Inara stammered. “I suppose, um, that’s so.”
“We’ll have a grand ball,” Jayne said suddenly. “There hasn’t been a ball at the estate since. . .”
“Before the war,” Inara supplied, then blushed as Jayne looked at her.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he nodded thoughtfully. “Well, you can preside over it, if you like,” he smiled. “Rub the Guild’s nose in it.”
“Oh my,” Inara’s hand flew to her breast. “Jayne, I don’t know. . .”
“Nonsense,” Jayne waved her objection away. “And the staff will likely enjoy it, as well.” He looked around the table.
“So, let me spoil all of you? For a while, at least?” The others looked at each other, and as a group, came to a decision.
“I’m in,” four voices said at once. Jayne laughed, and looked at River.
“Looks like you’ll have a proper welcoming ball, veneratio era,” he smiled. “Exspectata ball pro novus era of Sapor Parco.” River gasped at that, looking at Jayne in astonishment.
“What’s that mean?” Kaylee whispered to Simon, and Inara and Zoe leaned in closer to hear.
“The Welcoming Ball of the new Lady of Taste of Sparta,” Simon breathed. “I think, Jayne may have just, maybe, asked River to be his wife. Sort of.”
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