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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Jayne and Kaylee continue to make their way down the mountains toward Serenity in hopes of a reunion with the ship and crew.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 714 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Determined: Chapter Six
Disclaimer: All belong to Joss. I got nada.
Rating: PG-15, for profanity
Setting: Post BDM
Word Count: 2500-ish
A/N: Set on the same world as my Faith Trilogy. Hover for translation. Loved it? Hated it? Let me know what you think. Thanks.
X-posted from my LiveJournal
Shortly before dawn, the fire died down enough that the chill awakened Jayne. As he sat up, Kaylee flailed awake. “Bear?” she squawked.
Jayne steadied her. “Nah. Fire needs stirrin’ and I’m freezin my tail off.” He rose and brought more wood from their much-diminished pile. Teasing dried grass and pine needles into the embers, he blew softly and was shortly rewarded by a bright flame.
While he was tending the fire, Kaylee stood and headed toward the bushes.
“Where you off to?” he asked her, over his shoulder.
“Gotta go pee.”
The merc scanned the area intently. “Well, do it fast and keep an eye out ‘case that bear’s still around. We ain't gonna need the rest of this wood. Might as well put it on the fire and warm up good ‘for we head out.”
In a few minutes Kaylee returned and stationed her backside toward the dancing flames, rubbing her hands over her arms in an effort to get warm. “I wouldn’t mind a bit if I never go camping again,” she said, “Just to get warm all the way through and a belly full and a bed to sleep in…”
“I know, babygirl. Been a rough couple a days. We push it, we oughta be able to get down outta these mountains today, maybe back across the flats.” If there’s anything waiting there for us to find, he thought, doubtfully. The truth was that Jayne figured it was just a matter of time until their luck ran out.
Kaylee rooted in the tote bag and pulled out the last of their snack bars. “I guess this is breakfast.” She opened the packet and broke the bar in half, staring at the tiny portions. “Ain't hardly worth botherin’ with.” She hesitated and started to give Jayne both halves.
He shook his head. “You best eat that. Little as it is, you’ll need the energy.”
Kaylee thought about this and nodded. “Afterwards, I want to try signalin’ again, just in case they’re scanning for us.” She sat down near the fire near where Jayne was crouching and savored her breakfast bite by tiny bite, then took a few sips from the water bottle and passed it on to him. Taking the signaling contraption from the bag, she carefully and deliberately began to tap out the pulses: eleven, then sixteen.
“I don’t know how long these batteries will hold out, Jayne, but I’m gonna do it longer than last time.” Kaylee looked at him with determination. “Something just tells me they’ll be out early this morning and they’ll need something to lock on to.”
Jayne glanced sideways at her, his skepticism evident on his features. “Somethin’ told you? You ain't caught being a Reader form Crazygirl have you?”
“That ain't nice, Jayne.” She glared at him. “Ain't you ever heard of ‘woman’s intuition’?”
He rolled his eyes.
“Don’t you go tellin’ me there weren’t times your Ma knew you was up to somethin’ when you didn’t think there was any way she couldda!”
He scuffed his boots and grudgingly replied, “Well, yeah, there was a few…”
“Your ma feng le?” she prompted him.
Jayne’s head came up and he scowled at her. “Hell, no!”
“Okay, then. Women’s just got ways a knowin’ things.”
“Things?” Now the big merc looked puzzled.
“Like how I know when you been up to somethin’ sneaky. Now hush an’ let me signal.” She bent to her task, repeating the pattern for some time.
Jayne watched her brave efforts with admiration, finally interrupting her about twenty minutes later. “Sun’s up good – I guess we better get moving.”
“They’ll find us today, Jayne. I just know they will.” Kaylee asserted as she put the rig away, her small face dirty but still determined.
“I hope you’re right, babygirl.” Jayne began to kick dirt over the fire to damp it down, his face drawn and solemn. Despite her prediction, he had less and less confidence that their shipmates would come for them, that anyone would.
* * *
Just before daylight, Malcolm Reynolds and what remained of his crew gathered on Serenity’s bridge. The grim look on Mal’s face was telling. “Unless River gets lucky and manages to triangulate or we spot ‘em from the air… well, we may not have much luck at findin’ ‘em at all and I ain't lookin’ to be a sittin’ duck, waitin’ on the Alliance to come find us. If we ain't found ‘em by evening, we’re breakin’ atmo.”
Simon was alarmed. “Surely you’re not going to abandon them, Captain. They could be injured and hungry.”
Glancing up from her seat in the pilot’s chair, Zoë weighed in. “The doc’s right, sir. Jayne might manage well enough, but if Kaylee’s on her own, well, that’s a death sentence.” Since Wash’s death, she had become even more solemn and focused. Mal was her captain and would be so until the day one of them died, but she was now more willing to confront him. There was no way she would willingly abandon Kaylee and Jayne to die.
Significantly, Mal was also more willing to listen. He gazed at the first rosy light peeking over the mountains to the east, then spoke quietly to River. “Looks like this is all gonna hinge on you, li’l Albatross, so how’s about you use that famous brain and see if you can locate our wayward babes.”
“They’re hard to pick up. Playing ‘Hide and Seek’.” River smiled. “I’ll try again.” The girl cocked her head and continued scanning the dial for the numerical code that was Kaylee’s call for help. There was the squeal and crackle of static and the usual chatter on the standard channels.
“Are you planning on taking both shuttles out, sir?” Zoë asked.
“If River can get us solid coordinates, we might not need to. Save burning the extra fuel.” Mal weighed the trade-offs for a moment. “Shuttle’ll hold five for a short distance flight. Best we take the doc, in case either of ‘em’s injured.” He turned to Simon. “You got what all you need in your bag, Doctor?”
The remaining crew stood in silence, anxiously waiting. After ten minutes River once again found the 11-16 pattern of repeating pulses. “Got them!” she announced over her shoulder, a smile lighting up her face. “I’m making the cross-link to one of the satellites.” She bent her head and began to calculate the location of the signal. Once she had locked in the coordinates, she pulled up the topo map on the NavCom. “They’re on this ridge.” She pointed. “Not moving right now.”
“Link up to the spare shuttle. For once I’m hopin’ they stay put.” Mal motioned to Zoë and Simon. “Let’s go get ‘em.”
Zoë disengaged the anchor clamps and the shuttlecraft slipped free of Serenity and hovered briefly before rising westward. The small craft glittered golden as the bright light of Newhall’s rising sun flooded across the desert flats and washed up the mountains rising to the west.
Mal rested his hand on the back of the pilot’s chair and leaned forward to peer through the screen as he told Zoë, “Take her down to a couple hundred feet above the surface once we get close. With any luck, they’ll have a fire going and we can see the smoke or they’ll have moved out into open ground.”
“Yes, sir.” Zoë eased forward on the shuttle’s throttle. The shuttle soared over the foothills, dry grassland and broken forest blurring beneath the craft. Before them, the mountains rose in jagged, snowcapped beauty, brilliantly reflecting the early morning sun. Following the coordinates that River radioed, Zoë took the shuttle down low and began to follow a long snakeback ridge running northwest.
It was Simon who spotted the column of pale smoke first, rising against the dark forest on the next ridge. “Someone’s got a fire down there!” he exclaimed.
“I see it.’ Mal leaned in over Zoë’s shoulder. “Can you get us down close?”
“I’ll do my best, sir.”
Their low pass over the smoldering fire revealed just that and nothing more.
“Gorramnit!” Mal punched the console in frustration. “They’ve already moved on. Take us down the ridge, Zo.”
As the shuttle banked to head downslope, Mal pointed to a pair of shambling forms crossing a meadow. “What in the hell’s that?”
Zoë chuckled in relief. ”Looks like a couple of piles of dirty laundry on the move, if you ask me. I think we’ve found ‘em, sir”
Jayne reclined on the med couch with his left arm extended on a support while Simon finished putting the final touches on his cast.
The doctor sniffed at Jayne and made a face. “You’re in remarkably good shape for all you survived – apart from being a little rank. It’s just a greenstick fracture and you should be back in service pretty quickly.”
“Kaylee’s the one fixed it.” Jayne sat up and turned sideways. “I knew something was broke, but she figured out to use the piece of the seat frame and wrap it up like she did.” Jayne looked at the little mechanic with frank admiration in his eyes.
Kaylee was perched on the nearby counter with Inara beside her, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and a mug of hot tea cupped in her hands. “I just seen how you set bones, Simon, an’ tried to brace Jayne’s arm as stable as I could.”
Simon smiled. “Well, you did a very good job of splinting his fracture, Kaylee.”
Mal placed an arm around Kaylee’s shoulders and hugged her to him. “My mechanic’s turnin’ out to have all sorts a skills she’s been hiding from me.”
Jayne snickered and murmured softly to himself, “You don’t know the half of it…”
The captain ruffled Kaylee’s hair and continued, “I heard you hot-wired a flier, played doctor on Jayne, an’ then got all heroical and fended off a bear.” The others laughed while Kaylee blushed. “Best of all was jury-riggin’ that signaling device. Very clever, Mèi-mei.”
”Well, the signal rig wouldn’t a done no good if River hadn’t known what to listen for.” Kaylee smiled at the younger Tam who leaned against the doorway, quietly observing. “Thanks.”
River smiled shyly, clearly pleased to have made a key contribution to the rescue.
Jayne piped up. “What I wanna know is how you and Zo busted yourselves loose from the Feds.” He flexed his arm to get used to the feel of the cast.
Mal chuckled. “You could say, it was easy as pie.”
“Huh?” Jayne looked utterly bewildered.
“The doc and Inara busted us out of jail with a pie. Used it to drug the guards.” Mal grinned at Inara, who smiled back. “Real smooth plan it was, too.”
“I ain't the only one was clever!” Kaylee chirped.
“We’ve had us a few right interestin’ days and I’m about ready to head out into the Black where things are a mite more peaceful,” Mal said. “We still don’t know if the Feds are on to Benning and his whole operation or just got word about us. We haven’t had any luck raising him, which makes me suspicious that he may have gotten pinched, too.” He shook his head. “Things never stay smooth…”
“Think you can get us off this little world, Albatross?” Mal asked his young pilot.
River smiled again. “Farewell Terra Firma. Where next?”
Zoë spoke up. “We’ve got an offer from Emmett Henry to haul beef from Whitefall to New Beckley.”
“No more cows!” the crew responded in unison.
“Somewhere’s close, then,” Mal said, “since we didn’t get restocked like we planned.”
When Serenity was clear of Newhall’s atmosphere and outbound, Jayne came to find Kaylee in the engine room. He stood silently in the hatchway for a moment watching as she finished adjusting the grav generator. The bruise over her eye was fading to a dull purple-green and her hair was twisted up into a sweaty snarl with a chopstick. “Hey, girl.”
She glanced up and smiled at him. “Hey, yourself. Whatcha got there?”
He held up a clear plastic trash bag. “The lint off that ruttin’ insulation’s about to itch me to death. Thought I’d shower if you could maybe help get this bag on over my cast.”
Kaylee put down the socket wrench in her hand and crossed the space to stand close to him. “I got a better idea. Let’s us conserve water.” She rose on tiptoes and smooched him. “Come on.”
Half an hour later, they concluded that sexing in the shower while one party has an arm in a cast was not something readily accomplished.
“Damn,” Jayne panted in frustration.
“Ain't no big thing, “ Kaylee reassured him. “Let’s us just get dried off an’ we can go back to our bunk. Be a lot easier for both of us there.” She studied his bruises. “We’re both still pretty banged up.” She began to towel him dry. “Tienna, it feels good to be warm and fed and clean again. Turn your big self around,” she prompted and he did, standing with feet well apart and eyes closed, taking pleasure at the feel of the rough towel gliding over his back.
“Guess we shouldda thought to bring us some clean clothes to change off into, huh?” Jayne looked ruefully at the itchy ones piled on the deck. “I ain't puttin’ them things back on.”
Kaylee grinned and stretched the towel around his narrow hips and then tucked it back under itself. “That oughtta do ya.” She grinned up at him.
Jayne took the opportunity to step close and drew her against him, combing her wet hair back from her face with his fingers. “You were pretty amazing back there on Newhall. I seen a side of you I never seen before, Kay, all tough and stubborn. Most women, you put ‘em in a situation like we was in, they go all to pieces, just too scared to function.”
She looked up at him. “I was plenty scared, Jayne.”
“So? I was, too. But you didn’t go all wooly on me. You kept your wits about ya, figured out how to make do with what we had, reacted quick-like when you needed to.” There was a long silence as he studied her upturned face. “You were brave, girl. You were willin’ to take chances. I admire that a heap.”
The smile on Kaylee’s face widened. “So you like me bein’ brave an’ takin’ chances, do ya?”
“Well, yeah.” Jayne swaggered. “Means you ain't no prim, docile little gal.”
Kaylee’s eyes twinkled as she snatched away his towel.
“Race ya to the bunk,” she called out over her shoulder as she jerked open the shower room door and streaked wetly up the corridor toward their quarters.
For a minute the naked merc just stood there, stunned.
“Well… damn.” He opened the door and looked up and down the passageway before concluding the coast was clear. “Fool gal don’t seem to know some things are better if you take your time,” he concluded as he ambled after her, their dirty clothing clutched in one big hand.
Monday, December 17, 2007 7:19 AM
Monday, December 17, 2007 3:18 PM
Monday, August 22, 2011 6:55 AM
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