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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
(Previously called The Courtship Dance) Post-BDM; S/K, M/I; LAST CHAPTER: In wrapping up, River allows herself to oversee the day, while couples do some talk'n
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1333 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
A thousand apologies for not being prompt with the chapter that will hopefully clarify those pesky questions. Real life annoyingly refrained me from taking the hour it takes to post this. Regardless, I give you the last chapter before I take a breif hiatus to work out the next episodic plot....
River was well pleased with her horse placement.
After Colter Irving drove down the road, Zoe, Mal and big brother Simon had rode off to go out and work the herd. It left her home with Inara and Kaylee, and the three had gone to work themselves. Inara was busy inside, repairing some clothes, keeping up with the never ending dirty laundry and house keeping (regardless it sounded matronly, she was unsung hero of their crew, for the house would have fallen to pieces if it weren't for her organization and care); Kaylee was in her little shop welded of old cargo crates, eagerly working on making locks, and River was in the barn. she had finished her chores quite some time ago, feeding all of the animals, then gathering eggs and milking their dairy cows.
So with nothing to do, she and her loyal feline companion were sitting on a hay stack, watching three of the new horses. The other two were out working, but at the moment she was watching her own horse. The registered name for the little sorrel mare with white stockings and a blazed face was Angle's Copper Willow, however she was simply called Willow. The horse, young and curious, stretched it's neck out and sniffed the crown of the teen's head, letting out a nicker.
The two Jacks given to the captain by Simon, nickered as well. They were a male and female team, hardy horses that were a roan and a grey that had matured to near white. On paper they were Shadow Fox's Tao and Shadow Rebel's Nui, yet to their new people they were simply called Tao and Nui. They were agreeable horses, for their large breed came with large hearts. River had already discovered they were very fond of being brushed and sweet talked to, as Kaylee had come in on her break to meet the new denizens properly. Tao had nearly knocked her backwards after nuzzling her so hard, but Kaylee had simply giggled to the big horse's ill tempted affection.
River sensed the others coming in.
She had sensed a lot that day. Much had come from the captain and his pain over losing his horse coupled with the guilt he felt for killing the two men. He had an amazing amount of grief over Jai, he may not have expressed it, yet he had a deep bond with Jai after she had been his horse for a solid amount of time. That, atop of the fact that he felt he had broken code by killing helpless men, had made him unbearable out on the plains. She read that after awhile, everyone had scattered to the winds, for he had called them all down as if they were his very problem.
Mal had also talked to Jayne.
She found it interesting that they had talked over the cattle thieves, that Jayne had found tracks, and that Mal had briefly talked to Colter about it. It seemed cow and horse rustlers were a dime a dozen now, and many were poor men roped into crime by seedy bosses in the big cities. They would be promised pay, dumped off near a town with directions, and if they completed the task they were paid and whisked off, however if they didn't it was their own fate. Farmers simply had to watch their fences and lock their barns, as well as take care of any that came their way. There was nothing else to do, for the root of the problem was always mysterious and in the distance in a city far away. She had missed out on the rest of their conversation, for they had moved out of range. Her talent could only reach so far as she reached up and stroked her horse's nose.
Soon enough, as brown eyes absorbed the sunset splashed rocky range of the Lovell Mountains through the gap of the open barn doors, she felt mind reception strengthen as horses thundered home.
Sliding off her spot on a hay bale, River wisped over. Simon came in first on his tall white and brown tobiano paint named Switch Fork Valley's Lone Brave, yet simply called Brave. The cayuse was much like her brother, the certain proud gait and head held high, as if he would be just as adept as an english horse. Simon looked weary though, covered in grime whilst he slowed the calico down and swung off his saddle. Reading his mind, and knowing that he had been the large target in the captain's techy attitude, she went over to took the rains of Brave from him and gave a little smile.
Simon reached out, and regardless of the fact he had been roping and vaccinating smelly cattle all day, gave her a hug. "Hello mei-mei."
"Don't worry." She soothed. "Right to feel queasy about the nail perforated digit. Was the worse you ever saw. Something a Reaver would be proud of. You were tired, off your game. Up since two. Nonetheless, you reek. Let go or I'll hurt you."
Letting go with an exhausted chuckled for he agreed he smelled like livestock, Simon nodded his head and set his gloved hand on Brave's neck. "Are you sure? I feel handsome right now." Snarking, he observed how her face puckered and she stuck her tongue out at him.
Features relaxing, she flicked her wrist to shoo him off. "Got the horse, you deserve it."
"Thanks." He moved in to kiss her hair, yet when she danced out of his reach he took the message and headed off towards the house. Pulling his fingers out of his gloves as he went.
Zoe and Mall were the next on the horizon, the second in command growing until fully sized and at the barn. Zoe was on Amos, the everyman's horse, she appeared tired and dirty herself as she eased the dapple grey down to a stop before dismounting. "Hey Little One." She greeted. "Talkin' to the horses?"
"Listening." She corrected. "New place, lot of opinions."
Mal, looked closed off as he brought in the rear. His new horse was a rich colored dun mare named Zong-Se Ao Xin, fitting to her new rider, yet she went by Xin. River knew through his mind that she was an excellent horse, better than his old mare; better bred, better trained, had papers, came from a real horse ranch. Fast and fiery, a bit like her owner, although Malcolm was wary of taking to Xin. He slowed her down, yet leapt off expertly whilst still in motion. Walking Xin into the barn, he passed River, barely acknowledging her. "Albatross."
"Meanie." She grunted, walking Brave in to get him out of his rig.
Kaylee was greasy.
She had gone through a trial and error day on to how to make a proper lock. The lock still hadn't been made, as there was more trial left, however she decided to take some spare chain and weld it around the barn doors when it was time to lock it up for the night, and in the morning she would merely take her cutting torch and unlock it. Regardless of the lack of proof she had for her busy day, all of the metal work had made her think about what she could further do to help the ranch. She could build a dairy processor so they could convert the extra milk from their dairy cows to butter and cheese. Or perhaps a temperature regulated greenhouse so they could grow fresh herbs and vegetables. Kaylee figured she could do all of it with a little bit of coin, she could buy used parts and the like, and someone else would just have to build a few little buildings up against the barn. She could also build a compost converter, that way the manure and other waste would be used for the greenhouse. Either way, whether it was diary, crops or both, they would benefit from some more variety in their diet. And like Book had once said, nothing was better than fresh produce.
Leaving her little shop, she headed to the house as Mal, Zoe and River were walking from the barn. Upon entering their new home, she smelled something mouth watering as she took off her boots and set them by the door. "Hey 'Nara. Simon come in?" Stooping next to the couch she rubbed Chester's half perked ears as he was still deposited in the laundry basket. "Hey big guy, feelin' better?"
Chester groaned sorely and licked her fingers.
"He did come in, checked the dog, and he said he wasn't going to have any dinner." Inara sounded puzzled at that last bit of information. "Something tells me Mal has something to do with that."
"He does." Broadcasting the information, River came in, Boston in tow, and held the door open so the other dog could run in to see his wounded brethren. "Any chance he could; yelled, growled, barked, vexed, irked, annoyed, choose a verb and adjective."
Kaylee, after petting both dogs as Churchill bathed Chester in what appeared to be relieved doggy kisses, rose up, very nettled at the information. As soon as Mal came in, she stormed over to him. "You unappreciative Ringy! Bu-hao hui-se xiao-qi-zhong-ji lu-zi!"
He looked down at the furious little mechanic, getting shoved. "Hey, hey, HEY. What did I do now?!"
"Forgot the wrath of his inamorata." River, washing her hands, turned to Inara as she picked up on her curiosity. "Of the ancient Italian dialect, literally meaning 'enamored female'."
"You yelled at Simon while workin'!" Kaylee cocked her chin up, hands on her hips. "He moved gorram mountains to get horses and you...."
The captain's blue frosted eyes riveted to his reader, tone accusing. "What did I say about bein' in my head?"
"It's childish and impetuous?" She quirked.
"Wo dao BEI." Malcolm grunted.
"Dao wei na nei wei bu-zai shai zai wu nao." Flippantly, she gave a tight smile.
Puffing his cheeks, he let out a red faced breath and let his jaw quiver in pure agitation.
Zoe slipped in, eyeing the boiling Malcolm she sidled safely over to Inara. "And how was your day?"
"Cap'n that ain't right." Kaylee snapped. "You can hardly acknowledge his good deed, but you jump at the chance to tear 'im a new one!" He opened his mouth to fire back, yet she plowed on. "You know what he traded? He traded the most important thing to him he had. His watch. The gold pocket watch his daddy gave 'im when he turned eighteen. It was a family heirloom, 'n he always said it reminded him of home. He gave that up for those horses."
Simon had taken a bath.
He had washed the day's stench from his hide, put on a fresh pair of pajamas, and snuck off to his bedroom. Once there, Simon closed the floral print drapes and pulled the quilts back. It had been a long, stressful day, and frankly he didn't even want to eat with the ever so abrasive captain. He just wanted to sleep. Slipping under the covers, Simon got ready to go to his dreamland consisting of a sequence that required he and Kaylee to be on Osiris' Jing Wan beach. There was white sand, translucent aqua water, tropical drinks made of fruit and fine rum, and a mechanic in a bikini. It was a very nice reoccuring dream.
However the surgeon turned cowboy saw the papers on the night stand. Grabbing them, he sat up and skimmed through. The registry of each horse plus proof of ownership, his name in ownership.
Well, not his true name.
The government of Shadow was rather lax when it came to paperwork. Where on many other planets a mountain of paperwork was required as well as a two week waiting period for buying registered livestock, they tapered it down to appease struggling, disgruntled ranchers suffering from the aftershock of the war. Mal had heard that soldiers that had returned with severe amnesia, but had managed to buy land due to an amendment that allowed any mark as a signature, whether it was a first name, last name or simply an 'X'. So, as Simon was protecting his last name, he had signed the papers with mere a 'Simon.' Just as the ranch was under 'Malcolm Serenity', to avoid any prior or any upcoming warrants. Simon deduced that he could always argue his point it there was any claims about the horses as the first names matched, but if anyone was question whether or not he was a Tam, he could always skirt around it. That was unless they had a picture, if there was a picture involved he was pretty much found.
Upon pondering actually growing out that big black mustache, as well as why he hadn't just forged Mal's name in the first place, the door opened.
Looking up, he saw Kaylee sneak in with a tray containing a bowl and a glass of milk. "Hey."
"What are you doing?" Setting the papers down, he watched as she came and sat on the bed.
"I was worried, brought you some dinner." Setting the tray on the night stand, she curled up next to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Lips brushing his. After being so fit to be tied with the captain, she didn't have the will to eat. Concerned, she had prepared a meal and headed up to see her sweetie. He was very exhausted as she took not of the circles under his eyes, and it only added to Kaylee's frustration of how Mal was treating him.
"I'm tired." Simon murmured, nonetheless he held her close, mouth pressing fondly against her temple.
"You sure that's all?" Cupping his face, she watched how his weary eyes worked, thoughtful.
"You mean other than the fact that if I had any energy I would have struck Mal?"
"Oh sweetie." Kaylee took a moment to disengage from her sweetie and peel off her filthy coveralls, thus removing the danger of dirtying him or their sheets that had little chibi geishas and suns all over as a design. "Don't let him get to you..." Letting them fall to the floor, she found herself settling her panty clad bottom on his lap.
"He's not getting to me, it's just been a long day and I haven't gotten any sleep because someone kept me up before this horribly day even started." Suggesting it was her fault, he listened to a dry laugh while his hands pushed her magenta long sleeved tee up to feel the warmth of her soft skin.
"You liked stayin' up though." She reminded him.
"Hmm?" She stroked his damp hair out, dancing between actually kissing his ear or basting it with her tongue.
"Um.... I said I'm... tired...?" His toes were curling to all of the fine attention he was on the receiving end of. Then again, Kaylee never skimped on attention.
"Sorry." Blushing, she slipped off his lap to further caution against making him more alert than he needed to be.
"It's ok, I appreciate your never waning enthusiasm." Kissing her between the eyes Simon wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "Would you like to share my stew?" Taking hold of the tray, it straddled his and her leg, Kaylee taking the spoon to the warm meal.
"You know how proud I am of ya for givin' up your watch?" She asked, hungry as she had forgone dinner downstairs. "I mean, was your prized possession...
"It was nothing. I'm the proud owner of two horses now, that's quite a thing out here." There was a little row of crackers on the side of the bowl. Picking one he dipped it into the stew to see the concoction was made of their leftover roast and potatoes along with some rice and previously frozen peas and carrots. "Those horses are far more useful." He ate the cracker, noticing Kaylee was not easily buying into such an excuse.
"I know you loved that watch." She did, as he had explained the meaning of it after a bout of ravishing. As he had been catching his breath, she had found the watch, then had inquired and was given the full story of its significance. Looking down, Kaylee made sure he had swallowed. "And how you wanted to pass it on..."
"Never said that."
"Aw c'mon Simon, you'd never break tradition. And I'm kinda sad too 'cause when the baby comes you won't have..."
"WHEN THE WHA?!" Eyes round like dinner plates as his mouth dropped open and face paled at the very thought of their little room getting crowded with a crib.
Kaylee burst out laughing. "Oh sweetie.. you're just too easy."
It was a very quiet dinner.
Mal looked angry enough to bite. So everyone kept quite, River entertaining as she made her dynamic feline duo perform tricks for little slivers of meat. So far, they knew how to sit, stand up like a prairie dog, lay down, and yaowl on command. She was still working on teaching them to fetch and retrieve, nonetheless they both would fetch yet refuse to retrieve.
"Didn't think you could train cats." Zoe pondered, keeping an eye on one brooding captain whilst the other on the cats.
"Harder to train because they're smarter, more self reliant then canids." River explained. "Pack mentality doesn't work well.." Eyes sweeping to Mal, her gaze narrowed. "Not over the water incident."
"What water incident?" Inara, who had only heard vague bits and pieces, wished to know what had turned him so surly.
Mal glowered at River.
The teen fully ignored him. "Killed folk. Pecos'd them. Doesn't sit well with him though. Doesn't follow his obscure code of morals."
Clenching his jaw, he got up, gripped his bowl, and stalked over and up the stairs.
Inara, rose up and followed. "Mal..."
"I'm not what you would call loquacious right now." He warned with a rumble in his chest.
"Well seeing as they say a relationship is based on communication then you're condemning our little partnership." She offered.
Spinning on his heel, he gave a wry smile. "Ohhh. Don't even go there darlin', just yesterday you were confessin'..."
"And what we have today is supposed to be more honest then yesterday, correct?" Arching a brow, she watched as he gave a 'dammit' expression. "And apparently you killed someone?"
"You don't need ta hear about it." His eyes pulled from her, spurning contact as Mal strived for distance.
"So what? You can just brood and torment everyone?"
He let out a sigh.
Inara, searching for understanding, reached out and cradled the side of his jaw with her delicate palm. "Malcolm." Her voice as well as use of his full name, urged him to confess. "Bao-bei..."
Looking up, his eyes said he was ready for some confessing.
-series TO BE CONTINUED in The Sachem-
Tao: Big wave
Mei-mei: Little sister
Zong-Se Ao Xin: Brown Coat Dawn
Ringy: western slang for ornery or angry beast
Bu-hao hui-se xiao-qi-zhong-ji lu-zi!: No good grizzly jackass!
Wo dao BEI: I said DON'T
Dao wei na nei wei bu-zai shai zai wu nao: Talk to those that took out the filter in my brain
Jing Wan: Crystal Bay
Pecos: Western slang for drowning.
**As always, the writer appreciates all comments whether they be positive, negative, or suggestions.**
*I'd also like to thank my readers and posters of comments. Thank you all for taking the time to read and give feedback*
Thursday, January 10, 2008 11:00 AM
Thursday, January 10, 2008 3:29 PM
Friday, January 11, 2008 4:25 AM
Friday, January 11, 2008 7:36 AM
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