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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
And the smoke thickens
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 841 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Inferno – Chapter Eleven
I own no rights to Firefly, and no infringement on those who do is intended
Jayne awoke to the very pleasant sensation of his wife kissing him softly. He slowly opened his eyes to see the face he hoped to see every morning for the rest of his life.
“You should have woke me up,” River told him softly. “Not slept on the floor.”
He wrapped his arms around her.
“You were sleeping so peacefully, for a change, I didn’t want to wake you,” he told her. “You needed rest, Angel.”
“I needed my husband,” she told him pointedly.
“Well, him you got,” he smiled, kissing her back. “And I was right here, if you needed me. I just wanted you to sleep while you could. I know the last week has been rough on you.”
“Yes,” she murmured, cuddling against him. “But not so bad, now.”
“Good,” he nodded. “I’m glad to hear that.” He lay there for a few more minutes, basking in the warmth of her lithe body atop his. Finally, he sighed.
“Baby, I’ve got to get up,” he told her, and she sighed.
“I know,” she replied, raising up. “But it felt so good,” she moaned.
“We’ll have plenty of time, once we’re off this moon,” he promised her. She grinned wickedly.
“I’ll hold you to that,” she warned.
“Good,” he said again, kissing her lightly. “I’m going to take Goldie and Liam with me. Turns out Goldie can fly the shuttle. Ship’s yours. If something happens, get into the air, and call us. We’ll mate up with you, somewhere.”
“I want to go with you,” River pouted, and Jayne shook his head.
“I want it too,” he surprised her. “But without Zoe up and around, you’re the only one who can fly. You’ve got to be here.”
“I know,” she sighed in defeat. “But you’ll be careful?” She looked up at him, pleadingly. “You promised to run away, remember?”
“Fast as I can,” he nodded. “We’re going to look for the Mann’s, get them, and get back. No shopping, no stopping,” he added with a grin, and she giggled.
Zoe stirred slightly, and Goldie was awake in an instant. In another he was by her side, holding her hand.
“Zoe?” he said quietly. She turned slightly, and opened her eyes.
“Wha. . .?” she tried, but her throat was dry.
“Wait a minute,” Goldie said, hurrying to get a glass of water. He returned with it, and eased her head up. “Here, drink a little of this. Careful, now. You’ve been under a while.” Zoe drank gratefully, feeling the cool liquid soften the dry tissue in her mouth and throat.
“Better?” he asked, and she nodded.
“Much better,” she gasped. “What happened?”
“You got shot,” he told her bluntly. “Round at close range, penetrated your armor. But Simon patched you up. You’re gonna be fine.” He paused and stroked her forehead, pushing her hair back out of her eyes. She looked up at him, eyes soft at the tenderness in his touch.
“You been here all night?” she asked. “Is it still night? How long was I out? Has Jayne. . .”
“Easy now,” Goldie chuckled. “It’s early morning. You were shot yesterday, and yes I’ve been here all night. That other bed’s pretty comfortable. Jayne has done great. We moved the ship to a place Mister Frye knew about that’s a little more concealed. And we picked up a dozen new passengers. Three pretty handy with rifles, Jayne says. They’re going to help guard the ship.”
“Who are they?” Zoe demanded.
“Friends of Mister Frye’s,” he told her. “They were hiding here when we arrived. Almost shot Jayne and Liam.”
“We’ve had enough shootin’ for a while,” she groused, and he laughed. On an impulse he kissed her fore-head.
“Indeed we have,” he told her, and she looked at him in surprise.
“What?” he asked, all innocence. “I’m agreeing with you.”
“You kissed me.”
“Yes, I did,” he nodded, wiping at her forehead comically. “So sorry about that, I don’t know what came over me. I mean the very idea of taking advantage. . .”
“No, you kissed me,” Zoe interrupted. “When I was shot, you kissed me.” Goldie looked at her for a moment, then nodded.
“Um, yeah,” he finally said, like a schoolboy caught smoking in the boys room. “I did that.” He chanced a look up at her. “You ain’t mad, are you?”
Zoe tried to glare at him, but the look on his face was so patently worried that she laughed, instead. Encouraged, Goldie leaned down. Zoe eyed him carefully, but didn’t object when he pressed his lips to hers.
“Ahem,” Jayne’s voice broke them apart, Goldie jumping away from the bed like he’d been poked with something hot and sharp.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Jayne smiled, not sounding like he was sorry at all, “but we got things to do.” Goldie muttered under his breath, and Jayne was sure he caught the words ‘damn fool kid’ in there somewhere. Zoe just glared.
“Goldie, Liam, and I,” Jayne told Zoe, “are going to see about locating the Mann’s, and bringing them back. River has the ship. I told her if anything happened, to get into the air, and we’d mate up somewhere, even if it was in the black.”
“The Frye’s and our new friends, the Willis’, will help guard the ship. I don’t like it either,” he raised a hand to forestall Zoe’s objections. “But it’s the best we’ve got. I really don’t want to spend another night on this rock, if we can help it. We need to find Harwell’s sister, and get the hell outta here.”
“You’re right,” Zoe nodded after a minute. “But Goldie shouldn’t be going,” she objected. “He’s still recovering.”
“Yeah, I saw that,” Jayne said drily. “He can fly the shuttle, Zoe,’ Jayne told her seriously. “That’s all I need him to do. Me and Liam’ll do the grunt work. River has to be here, with you laid up, in case the ship needs to lift. We’re runnin’ outta options.”
Zoe nodded reluctantly, looking at Goldie. Jayne relented a little.
“I need to make sure we’re squared away,” he said, heading out of the infirmary. “Goldie? Fifteen minutes.” Goldie nodded.
“Thanks, kid.” Jayne left, and Goldie looked down at Zoe.
“Dang children,” he joked. “Always ruining the moment.” Zoe laughed, or started too, but a stab of pain in her abdomen stopped her.
“Don’t make me laugh,” she gasped. “Not now.”
“I’m sorry,” Goldie was instantly contrite. “I didn’t think about. Do I need to get Simon? You need a smoother? I can. . .”
“Don’t you have something to finish?” Zoe demanded, looking up at him with a mock glare. Goldie paused, lost. Then, as her meaning sank in, he smiled.
“Yeah,” he nodded, leaning down. “Matter of fact I do.”
This time, Zoe kissed back. A little.
“What’s wrong?” Inara asked, studying Mal’s pensive mood. They were eating breakfast in the galley of Serenity.
“Nothing,” Mal said at once, and was rewarded with a delicate snort.
“Right,” Inara shot back.
“All right,” Mal shrugged. “Just, things at work, you know? Things aren’t going well. I mean, they are, so far as gettin’ started and all. But we’ve had a series of killings. All the victims, so far, are drug dealers. Ones who never seemed to get in trouble when Grippen was in office.”
“Vigilantes?” Inara asked, her eyebrow raised.
“Don’t think so,” Mal shook his head. “Did at first, but Toby, my new investigator, thinks its more like to be other criminals. Competition and the like.”
“Well, that does sound a bit, alarming, I guess,” Inara replied hesitantly.
“It could get that way,” Mal nodded. “Thing is, I don’t know what to do. Do I treat it like any other murder? Or do I just ignore it while it’s only scum like dash dealers killin’ each other? There’s arguments can be made for both sides.”
“I don’t think you can afford to ignore it, Mal,” Inara said after a minute. “It sets a bad precedent.”
“I thought about that,” Mal nodded. “But in the meantime, I got other crimes need seeing to. Crimes that involve good folk, thieving and such like. I only got so much manpower, and a lot of what I do have, ain’t even trained yet.”
“Lost six men when Miller didn’t get the job, including Miller,” he explained. “Only leaves nine, and this is a huge parish. I’ve hired five, including a woman,” he told her pointedly. “But they ain’t trained, and don’t have any experience. I can’t very well loose them on the parish.”
“What are you doing with them, then?” Inara asked. “And why a woman?” she added, grinning slightly.
“She looked like she could handle it,” Mal said honestly. “Farm girl. Tall, strong. Kinda reminded me of Zoe, you know? As to what I’m doing with’em, I got’em paired with older hands, learning the ropes as best they can until I can see about gettin’em trained proper.”
“That’s good thinking,” Inara smiled. “I think you’re doing good, so far.”
“Well, it would help if all this killing hadn’t started the minute I took office,” Mal conceded. “And I been sorta distracted, thinking on you being off without a proper crew, and three of them strangers. And thinking on the others, gone after Kaylee’s folk.”
“And you here, unable to help either,” Inara added. “Mal, we actually did very well. The three men George supplied were all very nice. Well mannered, hard working. Considerate of me in every way. I want them back, if possible.”
“I’ll see to it,” Mal nodded. “I ain’t heard anything from Companion,” he told her. “I don’t really expect to, if they’re on the ground. Rumor has it that the smoke from the fire is so bad that cortex feeds are limited at best.”
“I know you’re worried,” Inara offered. “But, Zoe is good, Mal. And she had Jayne and Goldie backing her up, and Liam. And she’s got River.”
“I know,” Mal sighed. “I never realized how hard it would be to hand over the reigns to someone else, you know? I thought it would be simple, I guess. I’d be the sheriff, but I’d still be in charge around here, too. But River had a point. She told me I had to learn to delegate.”
“Yes,” Inara nodded. “And, for what it’s worth, I think you’re doing that. You assigned everyone to a job, and sent them on their way. Hard as that was, you still managed it.”
“Well, I’m having to do it at the office, too,” he whined, and Inara laughed. “Why is that funny?” he asked.
“It’s just, of all the things I ever expected to hear you say, Malcolm Reynolds, ‘at the office’ was not on the list.” Mal looked at her for a moment, then broke out laughing.
“No,” he admitted a few minutes later. “No, I’d say not. It does sound strange.”
“You should hear it from over here,” Inara chuckled. “Pirate turned lawman.”
“I was never a pirate,” Mal said loftily. “I was a gentleman thief.”
“Right,” Inara nodded. “I forgot.”
“We have to go into Hopewell,” Jayne informed Caleb Frye. “We have to try and find Mrs. Mann, and her family. I need for you and your menfolk to help Willis guard the ship. With Zoe down, we’re shorthanded. I need Goldie to fly the shuttle. River is the only pilot we have, I can’t risk her not being here, in case you need to lift off.”
“We can help,” Caleb nodded. “We aren’t fixed well for weapons, but. . .”
“That’s not a problem,” Jayne assured him. “There are rifles and ammunition in the armory. River can let you in. So can Kaylee, comes to that. We’ll be back at dark, most like, even if we ain’t found them. I don’t want us separated for too long at a time.”
“We’ll look after things,” Caleb promised. Jayne nodded, satisfied.
“Let’s go, kid,” Jayne told Liam, and the younger man followed him. Goldie was waiting at the shuttle, as was River.
“You guys go ahead,” Jayne ordered. “Get’er ready, Goldie. I’ll be along in a minute.” Goldie smirked as he turned to board. Liam nodded to River as he passed, and she smiled. Once alone, Jayne turned to look at her.
“Had a word with Caleb,” he told her. “He and his menfolk will help stand the watch. Told him you’d issue rifles and ammo from the armory.”
“Okay,” she answered, eyes bright.
“I’ll be back,” he told her. “We’ll come in tonight, most like, whether we find them or not. I’ll see you then.”
“You’d better,” she whispered, standing on her toes to kiss him. “And you don’t sleep on the floor, tonight. Not without me, anyway.”
“Deal,” he grinned, and boarded the shuttle.
“That was so sweet,” Goldie razzed as he went through the checklist. Jayne glared.
“Hey, payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?” Goldie chuckled. Jayne laughed at that.
“How’s that going, by the way?” Jayne asked, and Goldie smiled.
“Fine,” he said firmly. “Just fine.” With that, he hit the release, and the shuttle was airborne.
“Where are we going again?”
River watched the shuttle zoom away, sighing as she felt the distance between her and Jayne grow.
“He’ll be fine,” Kaylee said from behind her. River turned to see her friend standing just inside the bridge door, arms hugged around herself. River hadn’t had a chance to speak with Kaylee since the death of her brother.
“I know,” she nodded, walking over to Kaylee, and hugging her tightly.
“I’m so very sorry about Ethan, Kaylee,” River said quietly, and couldn’t help the tears that sprung into her eyes.
“I know, sweetie,” Kaylee cried softly. “Me too.” The two friends clung to each other desperately, each one hoping the other could ward off the feelings of dread they were fighting.
Saturday, December 29, 2007 1:39 AM
Saturday, December 29, 2007 9:21 AM
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