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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Baby Tam gets a name, Anya has a talk with Mal, and Mal receives a wave he never expected.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 648 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Serenity’s crew crowded into the infirmary, those who hadn’t done so already eager to see the Tam’s baby. “Whatcha’ gonna call him?” Anya asked, thoroughly enthralled with the tiny, squirming bundle resting in the curve of Kaylee’s arm.
“His name is Daniel,” Simon said, the pride in his voice warming the entire room.
“What’s that?” Adam asked, leaning forward in River’s arms to point at the tube running up into Daniel’s nose.
“Daniel got here a little quicker than he meant to,” Kaylee said, stroking the baby’s head. “So, Dr. Simon had to give him a little more air than he could get on his own, so’s he can grow big and strong like you.”
Adam nodded, content with the answer and glad to see Miss Kaylee home. “He’s hungry,” he said.
No sooner had the words been spoken than Daniel scrunched up his face and let out a loud wail. “S’pose you’re right, Adam,” Kaylee said, as the baby began to root against her breast.
“Guess that’s our cue to leave,” Mal said, as Kaylee reached for the snap on her gown. While he had adored the sight of Adam nursing at River’s breast, he was not keen on observing Kaylee and Daniel similarly engaged.
As everyone filed out of the infirmary, Mal took Simon aside. “Why ain’t Inara awake yet?” he asked. “Is there a problem?”
“Not that I’m aware of,” Simon replied. “I’m not surprised she’s not awake yet. The swelling was fairly severe. It will take some time to dissipate. I don’t think we need worry just yet.”
“All right,” Mal said. “Just let me know if anything changes.”
As Mal walked toward the bridge, Anya fell in step beside him, slipping her little hand in his. “What’re you doin’ free and about this morning?’ Mal asked, smiling down at the golden-haired child.
“This is usually the time I do calligraphy with Miss Inara,” Anya said. “But Dr. Simon said she won’t be able to do it today.”
“I see,” Mal said. “So I’m your second choice, am I?”
Anya squeezed his hand and said, “I love my Captain,” perfectly mimicking Kaylee’s voice.
“Do ya’ now?’ Mal asked, mildly amused. “And I guess you’ll be expectin’ me to keep you entertained this morning then.”
“Yup,” Anya said, grinning up at him.
“Well, you might be outta luck, Blondie,” Mal said. “Got a lot of borin’ chores to be getting’ to.”
“Then I’ll help you,” Anya said. “Won’t be so boring if you’ve got company.”
Mal smiled, thinking the child was just as determined as her mama. “Okay, you win,” he conceded, steering her toward the bridge.
Once there, he checked their course and, finding everything in order, turned to go. But Anya stopped and looked out at the Black. Mal watched her, pleased that the sight could still engage her so. “Captain Mal,” she said softly. “Is Miss Kaylee’s baby gonna be okay?”
“I conjure he will. Dr. Simon’s a good doctor, you know.”
“Daniel’s just so tiny,” she said worriedly. “And it’s a great big ‘verse.”
“It is, at that,” Mal said. “But he won’t always be so little. And ‘til he gets big and strong, we’ll just have to look after him. Like you look after Adam.”
Anya inhaled a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Adam knows things,” she said. “Things I don’t tell him.” She turned to look at Mal, her blue eyes troubled.
“Yes, he does,” Mal said. “Does that bother you?”
Anya looked at him, suddenly reluctant to say. Mal resisted the urge to prompt her. Finally, she said,” Scares me a little.”
Mal nodded encouragingly. “Makes me a mite uncomfortable sometimes too,” he confessed. “But it’s okay to feel a little afraid of things you don’t quite understand.”
“Miss River knows things too,” Anya said. “Are you ever afraid of Miss River?”
Mal chuckled. “No more afraid than any man is of his wife,” he answered.
Anya looked at him soberly. “I’m serious, Captain Mal.”
“Then, no, I’m not afraid of Miss River, nor Adam either,” he answered. “They see into the truth of things, is all. Maybe a little quicker than you and me could, but it’s all right ‘cause they are our family. And the things they see, well, sometimes it’s real helpful to us. Let’s us know what needs doin’, and how.”
“Do you thing it scares Adam…what he sees?” Anya asked curiously.
“Maybehaps sometimes,” Mal answered honestly. “Just like the things we see scare us now and again.”
Anya pondered it for awhile, staring out Serenity’s transparent windows. “Maybe he’ll help me with Daniel,” she said. “Can’t be too much scary about a tiny baby.”
“Don’t know about that,” Mal said, winking at her. “Seems to me I recall you and Adam scaring me on a regular basis ever since he was born.”
Anya giggled, her somber mood lifted. “You’re so silly sometimes,” she said affectionately.
“It’s the company I keep,” Mal replied.
Jayne half-sat on the stool by Inara’s bed, dozing in the stupor of early afternoon on Serenity. The infirmary was quiet, the only sound the gentle whoosh of the oxygen tank attached to little Daniel. So when Inara awoke, he wasn’t aware of it right away.
Inara opened her eyes, still groggy from the sedatives she’d been given. She reached up to feel them, thinking perhaps there was a bandage or something over them preventing her from seeing. But there was no bandage there, and she lay still, her heart pounding frantically, trying to remember what had happened.
Her agitation finally communicated itself to Jayne, who jerked awake with a grunt.
“Jayne?” Inara asked, reaching out to find him.
“’Nara, you’re awake,” Jayne said thickly, more relieved than he would ever say to hear her voice.
“What happened?” she asked, grasping his huge hand tightly in her smaller one.
“What’s the last thing you remember?’ Jayne asked uncertainly.
Inara frowned. “I had a headache. I was in my shuttle.” She paused, trying to piece together the memory. ‘It hurt…badly. I got up…tried to get to the comm….and everything just went black. I couldn’t see. I still can’t. What’s going on?” Her voice had taken on a panicked tone.
Jayne touched her tenderly. “It’s gonna be all right, baby doll. Mal found ya’ and brung ya’ to Simon. There was some swelling in yer head from the kick. Remember the kick?”
Inara shuddered. “Yes,” she whispered.
“Well, Simon said the swellin’s pressin’ on something or ‘nother that’s makin’ it so you can’t see. It should be goin’ down soon though, a little at a time. You’ll be right as rain ‘fore long.”
Inara lay there, concentrating on his words. “So, I’ll get my sight back?” she asked, her voice small.
“That’s Simon’s best guess,” Jayne said truthfully. “Are you hurtin’ now?”
“Just a dull throb in my head,” Inara said. “Not like before.” She reached up to touch her head, felling the stitches on the bare patch of scalp. “What did Simon have to do?” she asked, not sure she wanted to know the answer.
“He had to get some of the fluid outta ya’ to relieve the pressure,” Jayne said, not wanting to go into more detail than necessary.
“Oh,” Inara said, profoundly grateful Jayne had said nothing more.
“Want I should go get Simon?” Jayne asked.
“No,” Inara said. “Not just yet. Stay with me?”
“You know I will,” Jayne said gruffly.
Inara squeezed his hand. “Yes, I do.”
Simon smiled at Zoe gratefully. “Thank you for helping me with this,” he said, putting the finishing touches on the crib Jayne had made for Adam. “I think Kaylee had planned to get new sheets, but if she found any, I suppose they got lost somewhere on Highgate.” He shuddered, thinking about the ordeal his wife had gone through there.
“S’pose so,” Zoe said calmly.
“And of course, we kept meaning to move to the passenger dorms before. I guess you never have as much time as you think you will.”
“That’s a fact,” Zoe said, the memory of Wash a quick flash in her head.
Simon continued, oblivious. “I’m not sure if any of these clothes will fit him,” he said, holding up the smallest of Adam’s old clothes.
Zoe stared at him for a minute, hands on her hips.
“What?” Simon asked, uneasy under her gaze.
A slight smile curved Zoe’s full lips. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you prattle on quite like this,” she said. “You’ve been talking non-stop goin’ on an hour now. I’m just enjoying the show.”
Simon blushed and ducked his head. “I have been going on, haven’t I?” he said. “I guess I’m a little nervous about the whole ‘father’ thing.”
Zoe snorted. “I reckon you’ll be good enough at it. Looked after your sister well enough ‘til the Captain signed up for the job.”
“That was different,” Simon said. “Daniel is…helpless. Even on River’s worst days, I don’t think she could be described as helpless.”
“Near enough when I first saw her,” Zoe said blandly. “Anyway, you ain’t exactly alone. Got a capable wife and several moderately intelligent adults to help you. And if we can’t do it, there’s always Anya and Adam. I expect they could take things well in hand.”
“I’ve no doubt,” Simon said, his smile more assured.
Inara listened to the pleasant sound of Daniel nursing at Kaylee’s breast. “Sounds as if he’s an enthusiastic eater,” she said with a smile in her voice.
“Just as well, too,” Kaylee replied. “He ain’t but a tiny little thing. Hardly spans one of Jayne’s hands.”
Inara smiled at the mental picture. “So, Jayne’s held him then?”
“’Fore you woke up the first time, Daniel got a little fussy. Jayne walked him ‘round a bit to soothe him for me.”
“So, who does the baby look like?’ Inara asked. “You or Simon?”
Kaylee frowned. “Neither one of us. Looks like my cousin’s littlest though. Maybe that’ll change when he gets a bit of hair on his head. He ain’t even got eyebrows just yet. But he’s still cute as a button, a little bald-headed button.”
Kaylee’s laugh, as always, was infectious, and Inara joined in. “You paint quite a picture, mei mei,” she said.
“Oh, Inara, I wish you could see him,” Kaylee said, abruptly serious.
“Don’t worry, Kaylee,” Inara said firmly, pushing back her own anxiety. “I’m sure I’ll see him soon enough. After all, I’m being cared for by one of the finest doctors in the Core, am I not?”
“Mal, there’s a wave for you.” River’s voice filtered through the comm. link in the common area, where Mal and Anya sat working on a puzzle.
“Be right there,” Mal answered. Giving Anya a quick kiss, he headed to the bridge.
The man on the screen looked vaguely familiar, but Mal could not put his finger on exactly why. “I’m Captain Reynolds,” he said. “What can I do for you?”
“A lot, I hope,” the man said, smiling pleasantly. “I’m looking for a Zoe Washburne. I understand she is first mate of your vessel. Is she available by chance?”
Mal looked at the man closely, not overly fond of the idea of divulging any information to a man he didn’t know. “Don’t believe I caught your name, mister.”
“Forgive me,” the man said. “My name is Jim Bowden.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Mal said. “Now why exactly is it you’d be needing to speak with Zoe, Mr. Bowden?”
“I’ve recently become aware that Ms. Washburne adopted a child named Anya on Greenleaf some time back. I’ve been searching for Anya for three years.”
“Because?” Mal said, alarm bells going off like firecrackers in his head.
“Because she’s my blood, Captain. Anya is my niece.”
Mal’s mouth dropped open in surprise, though now that he thought of it, the man did look like Anya in an older, male version. “Anya doesn’t have any kin,” he managed to say.
Bowden smiled sadly. “Not any that she was aware of anyway,” he said. “Her father, my brother, and I were estranged. We had a rather heated difference of opinion, which led to unpleasantness. But I am her uncle. I’d be willing to provide whatever proof Ms. Washburne would require.”
“And what exactly is it you want of her?” Mal asked, letting the steel show in his voice.
Bowden cleared his throat nervously, but met Mal’s eyes directly. “Anya is the last of my family, Captain. I want to meet her, to be a part of her life in whatever capacity Ms. Washburne will allow.”
Mal gripped the console tightly. “I ain’t sure she’ll allow such as that in any capacity,” he said. “And I don’t feel a compelling reason to ask her to.”
Bowden inclined his head slightly. “I understand, Captain. And I appreciate your obvious concern for the well-being of my niece. I assure you I mean no harm to her or to your friend. And I implore you to let me at least speak with Ms. Washburne.”
“Hold on,” Mal said, signaling River to cut the audio. “You reading anything here, darlin’?” he asked.
“Nothing alarming,” she said. “I believe he’s telling the truth.”
“Then I reckon it’s Zoe’s call,” Mal said. “Get her up here.”
To be continued
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