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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Part 2. Post-BDM (8 years post, actually); all the characters belong to Joss, and the idea for the story was handed to me by my Dadoo, who said he didn't have time to write it, so would i do it for him. i said yes. we still hope you enjoy.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1130 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
"Who did you sell it to, a travelling zoo?" Simon asked, attempting to breathe through his mouth. The stench had brought tears to his eyes when they first entered the cargo bay, despite the protestations Mal and River had given about the amount of time they'd spent cleaning.
"Circus," River responded with a grin. "Sparkling lights, painted faces, high wire and trapeze. Feats of daring and danger, skills so amazing they've been outlawed by common folk on four planets already! Generations leading back to Earth That Was taught talents to their children's children's children - all for your benefit! And all of this spectacular, wondrous, spectacle yours to view for a fair price of only--"
"River came close to joining them if I hadn't promised she could choose and name the new ship," Mal interjected. At Simon's look of horror - his sister wanted to join the circus?! - River laughed and took the children to explore the room they were to share during the "little adventure" they were about to embark upon. Simon overheard her say something about previous occupants including a sword swallower, a fire-juggling unicyclist, and a renegade doctor on the run from the law.
"You mean t'tell me," Kaylee was saying, near tears when Simon looked back at her, "That my girl Serenity, my home and yours, was...a clown car?"
Mal had the sense to look ashamed.
"Was better than letting her go to junk," he said softly. It was Kaylee's turn to look horrified. "There weren't many options at the time."
"Did they at least keep her in good shape?" the mechanic asked, not very hopeful.
"No one could keep her happy like you could," Mal managed a smile as he led them to the engine room. "But they seem to have tried."
Kaylee wouldn't let them take off until she had investigated nearly every nook and cranny in the engine room. Her scrutiny wasn't unappreciated - Simon remembered more than one occasion where Mal had been in a hurry and they had paid the price later (usually mid-getaway). Of course, then, Serenity had been running continually and quite often coasting on fumes and Kaylee's will alone. Mal seemed content to let her rail at him as he waited in the doorway. If Simon didn't know any better, he would think Mal had missed the accusations of abuse he'd allegedly laid upon the ship's inner workings.
After checking on the boys in what had once been his room, Simon made his way to the infirmary...and stopped abruptly in his tracks. He hadn't really looked into the small, once-sterile room on the way to the engine room. And he had taken a quiet tour of the rest of the ship before returning to the place he had once felt truly at home.
Kaylee had her sanctuary - the engine room. Wash had had his - the bridge. Inara, her shuttle; Jayne, his weights in the bay. Simon's had been the infirmary.
"Clowns need a lot of room for paint," River's voice startled him from his shock. Every surface in the room had stains - paints and dyes, if River's word was to be believed. The entire room was in disarray: stools scattered and upturned, burned-out lights that had once been hanging from the ceiling were now stretched to shine up (if they could shine, that is) at faces reflected in the twelve mirrors that currently lined the walls. And there were bits of paper and cloths strewn about everywhere. Simon staggered into the room, unable to speak. He gestured vaguely to where the examination bed had once resided and turned questioning eyes to his mind-reading sister.
"It was moved to one of the quarters," she answered. "They needed beds in bedrooms."
"I thought you said you cleaned," Simon finally gasped, his shock slowly evolving into outrage.
"We cleaned the bay," River clarified. "Animals were never housed in here."
"I beg to differ!" Simon cried out, waving his hands at the wreckage surrounding him. "How could this happen?"
"When leaving, a trace of resentment remained at being so unhoused for an undisclosed amount of time, taking shape in the passive-aggressive action of removing their tools of trade while refusing to accept commonplace housekeeping suggestions."
Simon stared at the placid face of his sister. "What?"
"They didn't clean up after themselves," she simplified with a careless shrug.
"I am aware of that," Simon ground out. "How could you let Captain Reynolds sell the ship to people who would not treat her with respect?"
"They did," River replied. "They simply did not wish to leave her with us once more."
"What are you talking about?"
"This was not only our home," River sighed, walking into the room. "They lived here, too. And loved it. And when we requested to have her back, they were unhappy to think of what dangers and new scars may appear when returned - if returned."
"When returned..." Simon repeated. "River, did you...are we renting the ship? Is Serenity..." Simon found he couldn't form the words. He couldn't think that Mal didn't own the ship still. It was such a part of Mal, and Mal was such a part of Serenity...it was difficult to think of one without the other.
"River, you in here?" Mal called, coming into the room abruptly. He looked around quickly. "Oh, yeah, we need to clean up some in here. I was just...mop's in the galley. If you wanted to start early."
"I'll take us out," River answered an unasked order. She swept past the two men and into the hallway.
"You're renting Serenity?" Simon asked without ceremony.
"Can't exactly afford to buy and sell ships whenever the notion hits," Mal half-joked. "Circus was making good money with her. I was lucky to catch the troupe when I did. They needed the rest just as we needed the bigger ship."
"I can see they were only too happy to loan her out," Simon said grimly, motioning to the mess with both hands.
"Folks tend to get attached to a ship," Mal replied stonily. "Tend to make it a home, memories pile up after a while and oftentimes, they aren't exactly ready to just hand her over to others. When it's not up to them, they have a right to act up same as I'd expect anyone to do. Kaylee certainly threw a fit when she learned what..." Mal's voice trailed off, but he recovered quickly. "If you want some help cleanin' in here, just say the word. I'll find where the bed ended up."
The ship heaved beneath their feet suddenly and a thump sounded in the guest rooms. Mal regained his footing faster and made it to the fallen child with Simon just steps behind him. Hoban had fallen (fourth time that day, really) and Briel was staring at him with a confused look.
"Your Aunt River does enjoy remindin' passengers she's flying," Mal said to the child as he helped him up. "Any new bumps or bruises?" When Hoban shook his head in answer, Mal nodded and turned to Briel.
"What about you?" he asked. "Any bumps or bruises?"
"I don'fall," Briel responded guardedly. "I know how t'walk."
"I can walk, too!" Hoban retorted. "We're flying now and the floor moves without me!"
"It happens often," Simon cut in before the boys could begin bickering. "However, since we have left the planet behind, I'm sure we can expect a smoother ride. Right, Captain?"
Mal smiled at that.
"Just be sure you keep your balance," he said. He looked at the children and Simon now kneeling to check on his son before exiting the room quietly. His gaze automatically turned to her shuttle - it would always be her shuttle, even now, six years after she was dead and buried. He considered going there, just to remind himself...then turned and walked past the infirmary to the kitchen instead.
"River certainly enjoys piloting," Kaylee sang out from the stove. Mal smiled at her, grateful for the distraction. "She knows there are ways around lurchin' out of atmo, right?"
"She says it's good to remind folks they're leaving a place behind," he shrugged. "Y'get used to it."
"The kids will have to get used to it," she replied. "I wonder how long it'll be before Simon remembers how, too."
"I'm starting to rethink the children on board," Mal admitted, grateful he and River had moved a table and several chairs back to the large room. He sat down heavily and realized what Kaylee's look meant.
"They're good kids," he admitted hastily. "Take after you and Simon well enough. But this ship is no place for little ones. Not little like them."
"I wasn't leaving them behind," Kaylee replied. "Besides, we all got through okay. And we wasn't all that old when some of us joined up."
"You were older than them. Old enough to know what you were doing," Mal pointed out. Kaylee grinned at the memory.
"Yeah," she admitted. "But I still don't think you were. If Zoë weren't around back then, who knows how far you'da got?"
"Serenity ain't safe for children," Mal insisted. "And getting Jayne out...it's not exactly near a nursery."
"Most planets you visit aren't," Kaylee teased. "I knew that coming in. We'll figure it out."
"Nara used to say that," Mal admitted. Kaylee waited for him to continue.
"First things first," he finally said, standing up again and moving to the cabinets. "We have to figure out dinner."
"Actually, I was hoping we would discuss the plan," Simon said from the doorway. "I'll need to know how soon I'll have to have the infirmary in working order again."
"Where are the boys?" Kaylee asked her husband.
"I gave them each a scrub brush and some soapy water in the infirmary," Simon explained. "I told them it was a game."
"And that works?" Mal asked, skeptical.
"On occasion," Simon offered as Kaylee shook her head 'no' vehemently. Simon returned to the question at hand. "What sort of events should I plan on treating in this particular jailbreak?"
"Don't see much need in the way of doctorin'," Mal said, continuing his dinner plan. "Just need a doctor and two guards to make it look official and off we go. Smooth."
"Simon, I'm having difficulty remembering," Kaylee mused aloud. "You ever remember a plan going...smooth?"
"So, I should start cleaning and resupplying now?" Simon asked deviously. "We may need to stop for some things...will there be any bullet removal, do you think? I seem to recall a good deal of those."
"You two through amusing yourselves?" Mal asked calmly.
"Oh, come on, Cap," Kaylee grinned. "When have jobs ever gone smooth?"
"I admit to a few...wayward events," he nodded, trying to hide a smile. "But this will go smooth. There's practically nothing to it, so practically nothing to go awry."
He continued preparing a meal for the six on board, despite the laughter bubbling out of Kaylee and Simon's litany of wounds he once treated - the causes usually plans that had been so close to being smooth.
"It will go smooth," Mal insisted.
Sunday, February 8, 2009 4:26 AM
Sunday, February 8, 2009 4:44 AM
Sunday, February 8, 2009 7:59 AM
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