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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
(Previously called The Courtship Dance) Post-BDM; S/K, M/I: The horses head home, as does Mal, and someone is crowned the big damn hero of the day... sort of.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1102 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Zoe had never seen the captain so dark before.
And that was saying alot.
They had been through thick and thin, and she had seen all of his facets. The drunkenly jolly sargeant enjoying a short leave, the closed off war hero with blood dripping off his uniform, the military man smart assing to superiors, the optimistic new captain of a rickety ship that didn't even work. Happy, sad, angry, defiant, hesitant, solemn, all of that and more Zoe had witnessed.
Yet she had never seen him kill helpless men.
Men who he had taken pity on before, men that hadn't killed another person, men that weren't a threat. This wasn't kicking Crow into the engine, this was two men made backwards from the ravages of their war; tied like stock and thrown into water to die a slow, agonizing death. It didn't sit right with her.
As he threw the harness back into the mule, she, River, and one very water-paranoid feline waited. Past experience told Zoe to step back and let him cool off his heels, however with all of the hardship they had been enduring and the loss of a horse, she didn't know if he would ever cool off. Malcom had seemed to have hit that peak of cold anger that could send him into a downward spiral and chase them all off. He had been damn well near it right before Miranda, she knew the times he had threatened to either shoot or hang Simon. However with that mess, he had recovered. For moments like that, aggressively exposing the Alliance, laying his life on the line, brought the best out in him. It rebuilt him, gave him faith, hope, brought his feet back down and drew him back to his makeshift family. However faith and hope seemed to be in low supply, and she doubted another 'bring-out-the-best' moment or any other moment would come along to restore the rightful balance.
Second miracles weren't too common.
River, seated in back, fixated on the back of Zoe's mud freckled hair, until she turned as Mal started driving with a healthy lurch. The little reader nodded her head smartly, rather confident. "Doctor fixes what's wrong. Sacrifices, but he'll fix the pain. Treatment will make him warm again. Promise."
Simon came out of the house clutching his bag and looking somewhat green.
Kaylee was right next to Colter, stroking the velvet nose of a brown and white paint. Five horses were tied and waiting, along with three full rigs draped over a fence. Seeing her sweetie, she departed as Colter went off to get his truck. He hadn't wanted to leave her alone, lest Bailey prowled back.
"He cured?" She asked optimistically.
"Oh yes." He swallowed the puddle of spit in his mouth, as he hadn't gulped down for a good hour. Simon's poor stomach had threatened to wretch if he had done so.
"Just like that?" She bounced some, taking his wrist whilst hopping up on her tiptoes and giving him a kiss. Smile widening, she was suddenly chatty. "That was nothing, and we got two more horses. I mean... it was nothin'... right?"
"Simple enough procedure." The vagueness was to more or less protect his memory.
Seeing how sick he appeared, Kaylee wondered what had happened. Plenty of times he had seen gore, even her insides, but nothing had broken him. "What was wrong?"
His face turned, tilting is head to give such a mien that silently asked if she really wanted to know why Tig limped so.
Giving a teasing smile, she playfully smacked his shoulder as they went over to the horses. "C'mon, can't be that bad..."
"His toenail had ingrown.... and it was sticking out the bottom of his toe."
Kaylee scrunched up her face in disgust. "Zhen-shi?"
"Oh yes, and I'm holding back horrific descriptions of the infection that was the result."
"Well, we got horses." Her brightside declared, head nodding some as auburn brown hair bobbed and swayed to the movement. Placing her hand on an equine neck, she patted it.
"Yes, and more than the one I had originally planned on." He patted the horse's neck as well, surveying the little herd they were about to bring to New Haven. "I see Mr. Irving already picked out the five."
"Thought it might help you."
"And it does, as I have no experiance choosing horses." He let out a wry chuckle as Colter's truck came over with his hover trailer. "And then there would have been five possibly useless horses if it had been me."
"I'd help." Kaylee announced. "On accounta how I wouldn't want the Cap'n hangin' you because your attempt ta help went awry."
They both laughed lightly. "And Mal would hang me, rope's reusable, he'd recycle." Reaching over the horse, he clasped her hand as his smile faded and he recalled the events. "Um... a little while ago with his son... are you alright?"
"Shiny." Her laughing face receded, giving way to how uncomfortable the very subject was.
"Are you sure?"
"Met him a few months ago, persistent, 'n not in the friendly way." She confessed. "Plus I've heard stuff, stuff we might wanna say off of his daddy's ranch."
With a silent, understanding nod, Simon untethered the dun as Colter had backed up and parked. Wanting to change the conversation, for they seemed stuck in an unfriendly pause courtesy of Bailey Tig, Simon drummed up a question that he knew she could cheerfully answer. "Sooo.... while I was unceremoniously dislodging a toenail, did you name all of the horses?"
Kaylee's smile returned. "Nope. But I know the names they come with."
Mal was still occupied with his silent with rage and worry as he drove the mule into the barn, parking it in the back in two stalls they had turned into one large parking space. Without words, he got down, clutching his clean wares he had kept away from the mud.
"Sir..." Zoe called out, jumping off.
"Feed the cows and other barn stock. River, milk and eggs." the captain ordered, storming out.
River turned to Zoe with her same confidence. "Be here soon."
Mal was storming to the house.
Barefoot, sans coat, pistol and all other things that would take the edge off of his very, very un-best day ever.
And Inara's eyes widened, she couldn't even talk.
He threw his boots down at the door, and flung the rest on the table. Caked with mud from head to toe with the expression that was metaphorical to a volcano about to errupt at any minor confrontation. Wheeling around, he looked to her, as she was repairing a pair of pants he had split down the seam. Mal had very much so stormed in on her place of tranquillity she had worked to create since the stress of the morning. He ignored the smell of green tea from her last tea set, the classical chinese music, as well as the fact that Chester was next to her in the laundry basket; the dog drowsy, confused and with York curled up alongside.
Inara was tempted above all to say 'Bad day?' or a 'My gawd Mal', however she knew better, and just waited for whatever hot-blooded growl was about to come out of her lover.
"Doc out workin'?" Mal asked trenchantly.
"No," Slowly, she rose up, deep brown eyes still surveying his appearance in disbelief "he and Kaylee went to town."
"Mi-lu niao, for what?!" He howled, wishing he had kept something in his hands so he could have flung it against a wall.
"Well, I don't know." Her voice hardened.
"What?! What do you mean you don't know?!"
"I don't know why they are in town Mal as much as I don't know why you look like you had a spa treatment attack you." As always, her agression rose some to meet his own. "Don't get angry with me."
Rubbing his face, he clenched is teeth as the day seemed to get worse. "Took my only horse to town... that prissy yellow..."
"Only horse?!" She grew alarmed. "What happened to the other one?"
"Wolf chow." Running his fingers through his hair, the motion sent dozens of little muddy clumps free. The mess clattering to the wood floor that Inara had also worked hard to clean after that morning. He focused on Simon, and how he had hoped the boy had possessed enough top three percent sense to go off and work the herd. "I'm gonna shoot... No... no, he is not worth the bullet I'm going to get a rope..."
Hearing Zoe's voice, the captain stomped over and peered out the window to see a beat up truck and hover trailer pull up to the barn. "What now?" It was more of a whine than a flash of anger. Walking over, he shoved his toes into his boots. "Ai-ya tian jiu-yao zhaun wo hui-se he bian-fu la-shi he zhe de bu dou xia-wu." Whipping on his coat, he buckled on his pistol and walked out.
Simon and Kaylee got out of the truck.
"Cap'n?" She began worriedly, for he was covered in dried mud. Actually both the captain and Zoe were plastered with dried mud.
"Where the hell have you been?" He fired immediately as Zoe walked over and River bolted in front with wide giddy eyes.
"Fixed your horse problem." Colter announced as he walked over as Simon pushed a button on the trailer of lower it's anti-gravity till the bottom touched the ground. "Colter Irving," introducing himself, he gave Mal a handshake. "General store owner in Pryor. Helped these two get you some horses."
"Horses?" Mal was dumb stuck by the thought, his anger ebbing back. "But.... horses?" He looked to Kaylee. "Are you kiddin' me... Kaylee you two better not be kidding me."
Kaylee shook her head with a patented Kaywinnet smile. "Not kiddin', Cap'n, Simon went to this fella a ways out and got you proper horses. Colter helped though, he knew where to go."
"Told you." River muttered as she stood next to Zoe.
Simon opened the trailer door and walked out a large roan Jack. Going over, he presented the lead to Mal, who was gaping at the trailer. "Three Wranglers, two full rigs and two Jacks." He announced.
Mal, in a daze as he tried to process the fact that he suddenly had five very good horses, rubbed the roan's nose. He watched Zoe off to the side as she and River went into the trailer to take out another roan Jack and a paint Wrangler. Finally, he spoke. "How'd you pay for these?"
"I bartered something I had." Simon was vague on the issue, as it was still painful to him. "Regardless, we have horses, and we can work." Reaching into his vest's breast pocket, Simon took out a wedge of papers folded in half. "Papers for proof of ownership." He handed them over as Inara stepped over and gave him a thankful hug.
Thumbing through the paperwork, Malcolm looked up at all of the smiles, then looked back at Simon as he knew he was expected to praise the doc. "Well, ya did good. But these here are in your name, your horses, your property." Handing the papers back over, everyone of his crew dropped their smiles, as the captain was being himself. "When I get the money I'll buy a few off you."
Kaylee rolled her eyes, as did Zoe however the gun hand did more in slight than obviousness.
Colter leaned in and whispered to Kaylee. "He always this bull headed?"
"That's the Cap'n."
River turned her head and whispered into the ear of the horse that was nibbling on her palm. "Grateful, but too proud to say it."
Simon's mouth pulled sideways. "Well, you could consider them a gift...? For all my transgressions and the fact that you didn't throw me out of the airlock?"
Colter raised his brows.
Before he could answer, Kaylee responded. "That's the Cap'n."
"Also consider them payment for whatever I may do in the future." Simon thrust the lead over to the captain. Waiting for an answer, he began to feel uncomfortable. "Early Christmas?" He pandered.
"For god sakes Mal, take the horses." Inara commanded in pure annoyance.
"Pretentious." River further told the horse.
Mal glared over at Inara, then moved his eye line back to Simon. Sighing, as if burdened, he took the lead. "Well, I'll take three of 'um. You choose two along with two rigs, you and your sister need rides."
Simon nodded, pleased.
"Look at you," Zoe clasped her hand onto his shoulder, smiling proudly. "Big damn hero."
"Wouldn't call him a hero, yet." Mal corrected, the was swiftly smacked upside the head by Inara when Colter wasn't looking. He turned and scowled at her.
She gave him a simple 'you will not win', unwavering in her decision as he clearly deserved it.
"Thanks." Simon blushed at Zoe. "And captain, so warm.. and fuzzy."
"This one's Simon's." River announced a-matter-of-factly, taking it over to Simon. "Mine's inside." Giving him the paint she had chosen for him, she headed off into the bowels of the trailer to fetch the little sorrel with white stockings she had picked out for herself.
Mi-lu niao: Elk piss
Ai-ya tian jiu-yao zhaun wo hui-se he bian-fu la-shi he zhe de bu dou xia-wu: Damn day is going to turn me gray and bat shit and it's not even the afternoon.
**As always, the writer appreciates all comments whether they be positive, negative, or suggestions.**
Monday, January 07, 2008 1:49 PM
Monday, January 07, 2008 6:09 PM
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