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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Mal lies to Zoe, or tries to and Simon meets up with his sister. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 531 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Ever miss it, Sir?” Zoe said as they crouched behind a large rock wall. A battalion of soldiers sat around them, some worriedly looking over their shoulders, some eagerly swallowing down the one meal they would have today.
For now, the fighting had stopped.
“To which it are you referrin’ at this particular time?” Mal spooned some rations into his mouth and chewed quickly.
Mal paused with a spoon halfway to his mouth. “Nope.”
Zoe glanced out into the darkness then at the small slit of a moon overhead. “Good to know I ain’t loosin’ my touch, sir.”
Mal raised an eyebrow and Zoe would have laughed if circumstances had been different. She let him think for a moment before clueing him in on her train of thought.
“I can still tell when you’re lying.”
She went back to her meal but heard Mal snort in response. He said nothing more and she pushed another bite into her mouth before balancing the can on her thigh so she could give him all her attention.
“I miss ‘em,” she said. “All of ‘em. I wonder where they are. Yes, even those that aren’t here no more.” She wondered briefly why she wanted to talk about this. Therapeutic, she supposed. Maybe it was just time to talk. They hadn’t done much of that since they’d re-enlisted.
“We got a job to do, Zoe.”
She glanced around, before settling her dark eyes on his can of beans. “Yes, hard work spooning those big, defenseless beans into your mouth. Whatever will you do if they decide to resist the torture?”
Mal’s eyes shot up and she let out a short, barely audible snort of laughter. “Interesting sense of humor you’ve developed there,” he said.
“Wash did teach me a few things.” The admission was quiet, and only Mal heard, but it was enough to sober his reaction over her talking about their lost friends. A moment of silence followed before Mal spoke.
“Kaylee once said that some people come into our lives and turn right around and leave again just to make a mark on us.”
It was Zoe who paused with her spoon halfway to her mouth this time. She’d heard Kaylee say that. It hadn’t been long after Wash died.
“For good or bad?” She didn’t know why her whole body tensed in anticipation of his answer.
She could see Mal swallow deeply, contemplate his answer. “They changed us for the good, I think.” He paused for a moment then added, “Well, I dunno about Jayne.”
“Good. He was good, too.” Zoe said quickly. She’d never really liked the mercenary, but she respected the position Mal had hired him on to protect. “Look how you were after the war? Not even close to being such an ornery a cuss as that man.”
She felt a small victory had been won when she saw him grin.
After a moment of slow, presumably contemplative chewing, he asked quietly, “Wonder where they are?”
“Alive, I hope.” Zoe glanced overhead as the bright trail from a missile soared toward them. “And safe.”
The whites of his teeth gleamed in the low light as he fired the large weapon into the darkness. Volley after volley of ordinance exploded around him, but his aim held true. This time, his target disintegrated into large chunks of heaping metal that fell from the air like a lead balloon.
It was exciting, this method he’d chosen for himself. Hidden beneath a camouflage bunker plucking Alliance ships out of the sky. Wasn’t anything more fun he’d rather be doing.
The small contingent of men surrounding him whooped and hollered as another ship spiraled out of control and collided with the ground in a colorful explosion.
Yet another successful mission completed.
Jayne couldn’t help but wonder when their odd string of luck would run out.
“I do wonder just why you’ve chosen me to aid in your – work.”
They walked through the bio-research center and Simon took meticulous detailed mental notes as they moved further into the bowels of the structure. The building was large, but each room was not. It was a testing facility used for all kinds of experiments Simon wasn’t certain he wanted any more first hand knowledge about. He had a distinct impression he’d been hired because he did have the experience Dr. Cheung was looking for – even if such experience could not be recorded on a resume. He hadn’t hidden that he’d tried to cure River, tried to understand what had been done to her.
Still, Simon wondered. He was a trauma surgeon. Not an expert in bio-chemicals. He decided to ask again. Maybe he’d get a straight answer. “I’m not exactly trained for this type of –”
Mr. Cheung dismissed Simon’s concern with a wave of his hand. “Oh, nonsense. I’ve seen your boards. Your test scores were off the charts.”
Simon’s eyes flashed momentarily at the mention of his grades. But of course a man in Mr. Cheung’s position would have investigated a potential employee very carefully. Why, then, after Simon’s history with this government, did the man want him working so closely with such – guarded material?
“There’s nothing you couldn’t do if you put your mind to it.”
Truer words were never spoken. Simon knew from experience. He’d broken into a secured Alliance facility and broken out his sister, after all. But still, wouldn’t a man like Dr. Cheung want a man qualified to do this type of work? Simon tried again.
“What of my history with –“
Cheung snorted derisively and Simon had the distinct impression the man was tired of discussing this. “Water until the bridge.”
A door slid open and Cheung exhaled loudly. “Ah, here we are.”
Simon glanced around the glass walled room, suddenly feeling like a lab rat under constant supervision. It would make his work much more difficult if he could be observed at all times, but he was used to obstacles being thrown in his way. He would simply find a way around them.
It was dark again, just like it usually was when River had these conversations. This time, however, was different, this assignment was different.
“You must meet with our operative on the inside. He cannot make a delivery to you. He must, however, not see you.” The man paused for a dramatic affect that made River’s eyes roll. “That is of the utmost importance. You must not be identified.”
“That won’t be a problem,” she said with a confidence she nearly always felt.
“Get the information and get out again. No stopping, no hesitating. The information our man carries is essential.”
Over the cortex feed, River could not hear his thoughts. She knew he was hiding something, and she wondered just what, exactly, it was. No matter, she dismissed further thought on the subject; it would all become clear when she met with their operative.
“Coordinates are being relayed to you.”
River stared at the text until the screen winked off, indicating that the message had been erased
She stood slowly and straightened. She hadn’t been back in a long time. And it was only fitting that this mission take her there now. She had to go home sometime. Osiris was 12 only hours away and her meeting with this operative couldn’t wait.
With questions already poised on the tip of his tongue, Simon walked unhindered toward Mr. Cheung’s office. There was security in this area of the building, but it was sporadic. It seemed anyone who worked in this location didn’t need to be watched too closely; he presumed background checks had already been done. Of course, that still didn’t explain why Simon was here despite his checkered past.
But, he’d have to try and pry that information from his boss another day. Right now, he had some concerns as to the stability of the chemicals he’d been asked to work with in relation to the animal testing autopsies.
Sometimes Simon wondered if being the choice for this job was a case of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer.
He stopped at the sound of his boss’ voice. “We’ll prevail in the end,” Simon overheard. “We always do.”
“Those he chu sheng za jiao de zang huo used the plans my husband stole from me. I was so close. So close.” Simon could hear the frustration in the woman’s voice, the barely controlled anger. The hairs on the back of his neck stood instantly on end as he realized who his boss was speaking with.
“They disappeared with my daughter. Even that damnable ship vanished.”
Simon glanced around the doorframe, noted the determination in the woman’s stance, the stubborn set to her jaw. He briefly noted how similar, yet so very different, his adopted daughter was from her mother.
“I’ve heard no reports. Seen nothing. They just – vanished.” Simon could imagine the woman pacing back and forth in the small office. “No one on that disgusting world even knew of the crash.” She gave a snort of disgust. “I questioned a few… undesirables, but got the same story from each of them.”
“I’m sure you’ll succeed, you always manage to come out on top.”
Simon resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He stepped closer and glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one could see him eavesdropping.
“But, now that you’re back, I’d like you to meet –“
“I’m only here to pick up your – package – and finish with a few overdue repairs.” Maris Kim cut him off. “I intend to find my husband and daughter. And I’ll eagerly go through any Independent scum that gets in my way to do so.”
Simon stepped back from the door, he didn’t want to be caught listening in, and he certainly didn’t want Maris Kim to see him and connect him with her missing daughter.
The Companion Guild on Osiris was not nearly as ornate as the one on Londinium. The main building and outlying structures had been designed far differently. River guessed so that it would blend in more with the surrounding art nouveau architecture.
Inara and her instructors had taught her well. Her hair coifed above her head and an alluring veil crossed her face to add to her sultry appeal, but she could not be identified. To maintain the allusion, her contact would need to stay for at least an hour, so that those spying outside would be satisfied that he’d actually come to the House for some – relief.
Her eyes scanned the people below before falling on the man tailing her operative. She could feel the jealousy radiate from the man, how he would never be able to afford such comforts, to be brought to a satisfying release by such well trained women.
River glanced down at the man she was to meet and watched him enter the ornate building. She would have recognized him anywhere, even if she couldn’t feel him approach. He was nervous, but determined, and it pained River to see her brother go to such deceptive lengths for revenge.
But then again, the destruction of Serenity had changed everyone who had survived the crash. For good or ill, she was not, could not, be one to judge.
River turned and entered the room on soft feet. The silks that adorned her slight frame whispered delicately across the plush carpet. He would arrive soon and she would need to keep him occupied long enough so that his tail didn’t expect anything else was taking place other than the business for which this establishment was built.
She could feel his apprehension, his nervousness, the tension that radiated through him. He knew he would need to remain in her company for an allotted amount of time and this meeting wasn’t something he really wanted to prolong. River even considered going to get another of the girls after she’d retrieved the information, to give him some real relief, but she knew he didn’t want that – wouldn’t want that.
It was too soon.
She took a deep breath and moved toward him as soon as he was announced. She’d been taught to change her voice, but he could still see her eyes. A simple veil would not keep him from realizing who she was. He would recognize her.
And he did.
His eyes widened but he wisely kept his mouth shut until the attendant had closed the door behind him.
River raised a finger when he stepped closer, mouth agape.
“We have an agreement.” Her voice was professional, strong, but her heart cried out for him to embrace her
Her voice stopped him in his tracks. From a hidden inside pocket, he retrieved a vial and a data stick. “We – do.”
They were careful to say nothing that could be construed as anything different than a nervous young man contracting with a Companion for the first time.
He dropped the items into her outstretched hand and then closed his eyes when she turned around and deposited them into a hidden compartment.
“I know you’re nervous,” River said, and reached out to him.
Simon opened his mouth but when her fingers touched his lips he quieted. “Your first time with a Companion is nothing to be nervous about.”
She nearly giggled when he blinked rapidly and shook his head.
“It’s not – I’m not –“ Roleplay was not his forte and River would have teased him mercilessly about this if it was not such an important moment for the both of them.
“I have no doubt you will be able to perform – admirably.” She took his hand and led him, wide-eyed, to the bed.
She pushed him down and then lowered the silks that hung from above the elegant four poster bed. They shimmered with an unusual glow and when she touched a small device on the side of the nightstand, a recording began to play.
She removed the veil covering her face then, as indistinct voices behind them began to whisper and soft, calming music began in the background.
Only then did River allow herself to sink in her brother’s arms and embrace him tight.
“I didn’t know,” he whispered against her cheek.
“That’s the point,” River answered, her breath warm against his ear.
“I’ve missed you so much.”
“I love you, Simon,” River pressed herself tightly against his chest, clinging, for the few moments they would be permitted, to the only family she felt she still had left. “How are they?”
“Well,” he answered quickly. He knew for whom she was concerned. “Billy’s growing so fast. He’s got Kaylee’s smile.”
River smiled at the genuine affection and adoration clear in his voice. “And your looks, I bet.”
“And her eyes.”
They whispered for nearly an hour about family, reminisced about the good times, and held back the tears as they remembered the bad. When they parted, River kissed his cheek and promised him they would meet again.
But they both knew that was a promise that neither of them could ever dream of keeping. Their work was too dangerous and one day, probably soon, one of them would be caught.
Before he left, Simon used the secure cortex connection in the suite to send an untraceable communiqué. Presumably wiring more funds into the House’s account.
River didn’t watch but she didn’t need to. She knew what he was doing.
He chu sheng za jiao de zang huo - filthy fornicators of livestock
Reviews before the hack.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - 05:54
Damn this is good!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - 06:59
Oh God - this is killing me! I love the fact that Simon ended up "contracting" River - that just kills me. His discomfort was well played. Of course, what gets me even more is that Maris Kim is somehow connected to his new employer ... that does not bode well.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - 08:30
Oh, I cried so badly when Mal and Zoe were talking about how all the people they'd met had changed their lives, even Jayne. I always imagined some kind of war like this, and you are writing it beautifully. The Simon/River scene was adorable as well. I was giggling just imagining how Summer and Sean would have played it...you've got a real grasp on the characters.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 03:34
I almost cried during the talk between Mal and Zoe but I LMAO when Simon contracted River :D All the characters were perfect!
Keep flying ;)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 06:19
This continues to be a great series and I'm really enjoying the suspense in each chapter. Keep it coming! I've gotta see how this plays out for each and every one of our BDHs!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 10:37
This is such an unusual AU and you do it so well! Zoe and Mal were so in character and I liked Zoe surreptitiously chipping away at Mal's indifferent facade about the ship and crew knowing he misses them just as much as she does. If anyone stands a chance of bringing him back to his senses it is Zoe. And Simon, I couldn't hide a big old smile when he found he had contracted with River. I loved how she ensured they had some privacy while making sure the watcher never guessed. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 13:54
And another case of tissues has been opened, lol.....Wonderfully well done, the..ah hell, everything here's too damn good. But the Mal/Zoe and Simon/River really are standout scenes..I can see the ghost of that ship flying in Mal's eyes...and onto the next...!
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