BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JOLY

Capacity Chapter 11
Monday, August 18, 2008

The crew does not find what they expected on Kerry.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1521    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Capacity Chapter 11

By: Joly

Rated: PG-13

Summary: The crew does not find what they expected on Kerry.

Archive? With permission, sure.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything you recognize from the Whedon-verse. Everything else is mine. So, no lawsuit!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Capacity Chapter 11

Serenity landed easily, gliding to a halt, just as Wash planned. A fair enough distance from the town not to cause a stir, but not so far they couldn’t walk to get there.

Kaylee was in a hurry to see Xiaofan, dragging River out the hatch with her. River didn’t really need to be dragged, she was just sure that would be… She wasn’t sure. But she felt off. More off than normal. And it worried her.

Simon called to them, but to no avail. He just grabbed his bag and headed out to the town.

Jayne followed behind, walking leisurely, adjusting his gun belt. Damned if he was going to look over eager.

Mal, Ruby, Zoe and Wash climbed up on the mule, after locking Serenity down tight. Mal had Kaylee put new coded and retinal locks on the hatches. His big splurge while they were making steady money.

And off they went.

It was about noon-ish, local time and the crew crowded into the local saloon/tavern/restaurant.

Kaylee and River, along with Ruby, who they were getting to know a bit, looked at the menu.

Zoe and Wash settled in a corner booth and looked chummy… That would be the polite term.

Jayne stood back by the entrance, waiting.

“Lookin’ for Dr. Magnus. Hear she’s working here on Kerry,” Mal said, jovially to man behind the bar.

The barman narrowed his eyes.

“You got sick you need tended?”

“Might need a check up or two…” Mal replied. “I’m Harbatkin, I dropped her off here.”

The barman eased back.

“Well, unless it’s an emergency, Dr. Magnus don’t see nobody on Sundays.”

“She’s expecting us, more as company than anything else.”

Which was a lie. Xiaofan had no idea they were coming.

“Ling can take you to Dr. Magnus’. She’s down the road a piece.”

“We ain’t fussed, directions will do.”

The barman suddenly looked very serious.

“I know who you say you are, and that fits what I know. But Dr. Magnus ain’t said nothing ‘bout no company, and Kerry is a fair small settlement. Ling’ll go with you, just in case.”

‘Ling’ appeared from the back of the bar, through swinging doors. He was easily as big as Jayne, if not a tad broader. Built like a brick house, muscle from necks to calves. Bald, beige head shaved smooth, he wore no obvious weapons, but was intimidating with out them.

“That’ll be fine,” Mal replied.

Jayne just made a sound in his throat and spit.

Ling lead the way.

~~~~

They found themselves banging on Lucille/Xiaofan’s door for near 15 minutes before River broke down and told Jayne to bust a window.

Ling looked irritated at the thought.

“She’s probably down by the river…” he said in a thick Mandarin voice.

“Zoe, you and Wash have a look down to the river and get back,” Mal said.

“She’s not by the water. She’s in her bed,” River said, kneeling on the ground, flanked by Kaylee.

Ruby stood off to the side, opposite Ling, not sure what to make of it all.

“If she’s inside, why ain’t she answering?” Jayne asked.

“Break the door,” River replied.

Jayne didn’t need any further encouragement.

Ling looked as if he would move to intercept the big merc, but Mal put a hand on his gun.

“We ain’t here to do the doctor no harm. He’s just doing what needs to be done to make sure she’s okay.”

Ling receded.

Jayne bashed the door by the knob with a big boot and then put a shoulder to it. It splintered a bit and then flew open. The man entered, Mal close behind.

“Xia- Lucille!” Mal called.

They found the sole bedroom. Xiaofan was in the bed.

“Jayne, get the doc.”

Jayne hesitated, he didn’t want to leave her.

“Gorramit!” Mal said frustrated with Jayne. “Simon! Get in here! Now!”

They heard the sound of Simon running into the house. He pushed by the men and did a quick check.

“Her vitals are almost non existent. I need items from the ship.”

Kaylee appeared at the door.

“What do you need?”

Simon rattled off a list and Kaylee turned to go. She left at a run, jumped on the mule and waved Zoe and Wash into the house.

“Simon needs stuff. I gotta hurry!”

“Wha-” Wash said as he and his wife neared the door.

Ling had left, telling Ruby he needed to report to his boss. Ruby had taken up the space by River. While the young woman didn’t appear comforted by the nearness, she didn’t shrink back from the new woman’s hand on her shoulder.

Zoe took River’s hand and lead her to the porch, Wash and Ruby followed.

Mal walked out of the house. He took note that Ling was gone and turned to Zoe.

“She looks damn near dead.”

“What?!” Zoe and Wash gasped at almost the same time.

“Doc says he can’t say for sure why, but Kaylee’s getting stuff from the med bay…”

They stood there, waited for Kaylee and each wondered if this had anything to do with their recent jobs.

~~~~~

Inside, it was just as silent.

Simon checked her over, having Jayne help him move her, so he could check her back and back of her legs.

Simon was quiet, except when he asked Jayne to help with something.

Jayne didn’t speak at all.

There was a clatter when they readjusted Xiaofan on the bed for the second time.

It rolled over the floor and stopped at Jayne’s boot.

“A syringe?” Simon said, picking it up. “Someone drugged her?”

Kaylee burst into the room.

“I got everything you said, Simon!”

She saw the syringe and blanched.

“What-”

“I don’t know. I’ll tell you as soon as I do,” Simon said. “Now take Jayne and give me some room.”

Kaylee put a hand on Jayne’s forearm. He didn’t move.

“Come on, Jayne,” Kaylee said, quietly, “Simon needs room to work.”

Jayne shrugged and followed her out, face a mask.

Simon set to work, inserting a line for the saline drip and tacking it to the near wall. He took a smear from the syringe and put it in his analyzer. That was his splurge while they were working steady and well-paid.

He checked the read out and sighed. Then pulled a vial from his bag and a syringe. He gave Xiaofan the dose, waited ten minutes, then checked her vitals again. They were better. Not great, but improving.

Twenty minutes after that, Xiaofan opened her eyes.

She tried to draw a deep breath and choked. Simon helped her roll on her side while she coughed.

When that subsided, she seemed to focus her eyes on him.

“Simon?”

“Yes. Came to visit.”

She swallowed hard and took deeper breathes.

“Oh.”

“Do you remember what happened…” he asked, trying to sound calm.

“I just wanted to go to sleep. And not dream.”

Simon closed his eyes, when he opened them, he asked, “Did you give yourself the Viovan?”

Her throat worked, but no sound escaped. Eventually, when the tears were choked back, she replied.

“I just wanted to sleep, Simon. I wasn’t trying to kill myself.”

Simon sat on his butt by the bed, arms on his knees.

“That’s not the way it looks, Xiao.”

“I suppose…”

“Jayne found you. And Mal.”

Xiaofan really did begin crying at that.

“I didn’t…” she whispered, “I swear… I was… I just built up a tolerance… It was an accident.”

“You ‘accidentally’ became addicted to a strong narcotic?”

“Simon, don’t be cruel… Please…”

“Of all the self indulgent, moronic, half-witted things anyone could do!” Simon shout-whispered. “You know good and rutting well what that drug does! You’re lucky to be breathing now, you could have died. In fact, if we hadn’t shown up, your townsfolk would have found a corpse!”

The door started to open.

“I’m still busy!” Simon shouted out loud.

“Be that as it may. But we can only keep Jayne occupied for so long,” Mal replied, still on the other side of the door. “Got him splitting wood for the fire she’ll need, but he’s damn near done.”

“I’m ashamed,” Xiaofan whispered, “Please, Simon.”

“What do you want me to tell them?”

“You’re going to lie for me?”

“No. What version of the truth should I tell?”

“I’m miserable here, Simon. And it’s not because the people are bad, they’re not. They’re… great.”

She took a deep breath.

“There’s too little sky, too much ground… No one to talk to, really talk to…”

She laid on the bed quietly for a minute.

“I miss Serenity, but it’s more than that. I felt… low… useless… before you even came back into my life. Too ashamed of myself to go back to Newhall. I didn’t want to admit I couldn’t make it work on Osiris, so I took the job on Persephone. Then there was the thrill of the occasional criminal activity. After that, you were there and all that followed that.”

“We put you in a pit of trouble…” Simon said.

“I put myself there. And Serenity was… More home than anywhere I’d ever been. But I still felt like a damn sixth toe… A useless appendage… And it didn’t help that the captain treated me that way.”

The man in question entered the room.

“I expect I did treat you unfairly, for most the time you were on board.”

“It’s no one’s fault but my own. But seeing you here, knowing you’re all here… It’s like balm to my heart. I know I’m supposed to be strong and manage and carry on and tow the line. But I got tired…”

She turned weepy again.

“And I just wanted to sleep.”

“I think you picked a hell of a way to do it,” Mal said.

“I am aware. Thank you,” Xiaofan replied behind gritted teeth.

“Now there’s some spunk,” Mal said grim look set on his face.

Xiaofan sat up slowly, Simon guiding her legs.

"You sure you should be moving?" Mal asked.

“It’s best if I move, and have food and water. It’ll work the drugs out of my system faster,” she said, once standing.

She looked up from the floor and saw Jayne, leaning on the door frame.

“I need my robe if I’m going to have company,” she said, gesturing to a wardrobe in the corner.

Jayne looked at her a second and crossed the room to her wardrobe. He wrapped it around her and picked her up.

“Doc, get her bag. I’ll take her to the sittin’ room.”

“I can walk, Jayne,” Xiaofan said softly.

“I know,” he replied, “But you ain’t gotta.”

She smiled sadly and made herself comfortable in his arms.

~~~~

Ling had gone back to town and the barman, who was also the sheriff and magistrate came calling.

“Ben,” Xiaofan said, from the settee, “I’m fine. Simon fixed me up. There’s no problem.”

Ben looked at the motley group taking up the space in his doc’s sitting room.

“I suppose,” he replied, “As long as you’re okay…”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Good enough.”

Ben left and signaled the men he brought with him that all was clear.

“They were ready to come in here and bust heads,” Kaylee said, watching them go from the window.

“The townsfolk do seem attached,” Mal put in from his corner of the room.

“They like having a doctor. In the last 6 months they haven’t lost a baby or mother in child birth, all the ones born have made it so far… I’m a fair commodity, Captain.”

“If you were a ‘commodity’, Xiaofan,” Simon said, handing her a glass of water, “they would have come in here hell bent and bullets flying. They waited for your word.”

“So, should I humiliate myself and get it over with or shall we just pretend I’m not a complete loon?” Xiaofan said.

She surveyed the group, noting the new woman Ruby’s presence, close to the captain.

River uncurled from her ball on a chair and walked up to her. Before anyone could react, she’d slapped Xiaofan smartly across the face, leaving her hand sized welt on the older woman’s face.

Jayne moved forward.

“No,” Xiaofan said, “River’s right… In her mysterious way. She’s right.”

Everyone looked at them in confusion.

Then it dawned on Zoe.

“You scared her, Xiaofan. She didn’t want to lose you.”

Wash looked at his wife.

“River watched you from a distance, she saw into you. She took you in. She was the worst off when you were gone. Well, she gave Jayne a run for his money in the miserable bastard competition.”

“I really didn't know,” Xiaofan said, taking the girl's hand and pulling her onto the cushion next to her.

Jayne made a noise and threw the front door open, it slammed behind him.

“I can’t exactly go running after him…” Xiaofan whispered.

“I’ll make him understand,” River said, head on her shoulder.

“We were used to you,” Wash said, “In a good way, not a furniture way.”

“Makes a girl heart sick, keep having her friends leave,” Kaylee put in.

“I got so tired of fighting…” Xiaofan said, holding a hand out to her friend, and feeling the comforting warmth when Kaylee took it. “I thought it would be best if I was out of the way.”

“You, Doctor Lo, weren’t the cause of our problems. Anyone deserves that mantle it’d be them Tam’s. No end of trouble, those two,” Mal said.

Simon tried to look affronted atthe jibe, but failed due to exhaustion, River just gave him a look.

"But, much as I’d like to stand around all touchy feely with everyone… We do have a reason we’re here.”

“Other than saving my life?” Xiaofan smiled and River slipped off the seat and headed out the door.

Simon opened his mouth, but Kaylee shushed him.

“We needed a safe port. You reckon we got one here?”

“Ben is… circumspect. He’d let me know if anyone came looking.”

“I noticed. You know anyone by the name Phillip Barton?”

She thought a minute.

“No, should I?”

“Just checking. We got our own troubles, need to sort some things out.”

“Well, I suppose we can sort together,” Xiaofan said, smiling at Mal who had the good grace to smile back.

~~~~~

“She was thinking about you,” River said, once she caught up with Jayne.

“When she put the needle in her? Or when she damn near died?” he asked angrily, never breaking stride.

“All the time,” River replied, keeping pace with him. “She never stopped thinking of you.”

“She knew Kerry was far off from where we do jobs. Knew we weren’t likely to see one ‘nother for a long time.”

“She thought it was best,” River paused, “At the time. Once she settled in here, she regretted it almost every minute.”

“’Cause of me?” Jayne made a disbelieving sound and stopped.

River stood on a nearby rock so as to be eye to eye with the man.

“Mostly. Most all. She missed Kaylee and Simon and Me and Wash and-”

“I get it, girl,” Jayne snapped, “I don’t want to be made a fool.”

River looked into his eyes.

“Then don’t be stupid.”

He looked heatedly at her.

“Really. Take a hint from my boob of a brother, our closed off captain, from the loving Wash. Learn from mistakes.”

Jayne hauled off and punched a tree.

“Good, now that you got that out of your system, you can go talk to Xiaofan. Simon is putting her back to bed.”

“You really are a moon brain, girl.”

“You’re welcome,” River said, and took off in the direction of the house.

~~~~~

Xiaofan’s door opened slowly.

“Simon, I’m fine. I have-”

She stopped when she saw him.

“I’m sorry,” she said immediately, “I wasn’t trying to-”

“It don’t matter. You almost did.”

“I know.”

“Gorramit, woman! You wanted to die?”

(Simon stood in the other room, River and Kaylee pushed him back onto the seat.

“She’s fine,” River said.

“Jayne ain’t gonna hurt her,” Kaylee added.)

“Maybe… For a minute… I didn’t care if I did or not.”

“Cause… Why-”

“Many reasons. Not beginning or ending with you or anyone onboard.”

“How you gonna act the next time you come over all blue?”

“I don’t know.”

“I guess that’s an honest answer.”

“You still don’t like it,” she replied.

“Don’t have to.”

“I suppose.”

“I don’t know what-” he started to yell.

He stopped himself.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say,” he said in a more even tone.

“You know what to do?” Xiaofan asked, stretched out on the bed, looking frail.

He blinked at her and made a sudden decision.

“I’m going to grab some of that timber and get your fire stoked up. Head out to that stand of trees, see if I can bring home some venison, and have it ready for Kaylee to cook,” he said as he walked over to her, leaned down and pulled her up off the bed. He took a deep breath and grimaced.

She noticed his face.

“I know, I need a bath,” she tried to joke.

“The smell is still on you,” he said, not responding to her comment.

“I know. But it’ll go away, once the drugs are out of my system.”

“Ain’t gonna be pretty.”

“Probably not.”

He laid her back on the bed.

“I better get going, then.”

She relaxed into the covers and watched him go.

Xiaofan enjoyed the feeling while she could, fairly soon, she knew, she’d be a sight less comfortable.

~~~~~

“We got time for this, sir,” Zoe said.

A statement, not a question.

“You sure?”

“I ain’t seen a clock. Not hide nor hair of anyone heading this way, so Wash says. Simon needs to help her through this.”

“So does Jayne,” Kaylee said, joining the two.

Mal pretended to be dense.

“Jayne ain’t a doctor…”

“But Xiao needs him, will need him. And he needs her. Ugliness is coming. She’ll need a rock.”

“He’s working himself into a lather. Built that fire, been out in the woods over two hours…” Mal said.

“It’ll be nice to have real food,” Ruby said, also joining the group.

“You don’t have to be here, Ruby,” Mal said, “You can-”

“I know, I can head back to the ship…. And what? Twiddle my thumbs? I’ll be more useful around here. Kaylee’s going to cook, I’ve hunted up some herbs and vegetables, River is keeping Simon company-”

“I’m heading back to the ship to see to Wash,” Zoe put in lightly, heading out.

“See, you’re the only one not doing anything helpful,” Ruby teased.

“I’m being all strong and captainy, overseeing the crew.”

Kaylee snorted and went to Xiaofan’s kitchen, leaving Ruby and Mal on their own.

“That’s what you call it?” Ruby laughed, “Pa’d call it settin’ on your backside and watchin’ all the work done.”

“Miss Ruby Delacroix,” he said, light glinting in his eye, “I do believe you’re heading the right way for a smacked bottom.”

Ruby batted her eyelashes and then laughed, turned and followed Kaylee.

“Might be, Malcolm Reynolds.”

To Be Continued

(A/N: I found it and I have a plan. Thank you so, so much for all the lovely Browncoats who came to my call!!!!!!)

COMMENTS

Monday, August 18, 2008 10:32 PM

JANE0904


So glad you got there! Xiaofan's not going to have it easy, but I think Jayne is going to be a tower of strength for her. But I sense more trouble on the horizon ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 10:48 AM

ANGELLEMARCS


Wonderful. I am anxious to see where this is heading.


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