BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

KACIDILLA

The Reunion - 5 of 9
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Part 5. 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: 1419    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The big glowy thing was talking again. It was saying words, but the words were muffled, like she was underwater, which didn't make any sense because if she was under the water, she shouldn't be able to breathe. Also, the words were behind her...and they sounded so familiar...maybe the big glowy thing was talking through cotton - crates and crates of it. If that were true, though, there should be a warehouse of cotton around her, and that wasn't quite it, either. She felt confined, but the fabric wasn't cottonish...it was just...heavy. And if she were in a warehouse, then the balcony should have overlooked crates and barrels and warehousey things...not men in silver-blue jumpsuits.

Maybe she was underwater, River thought again. And those weren't men in jumpsuits, but minnows. Maybe this was how minnows saw the world around them. But if that was the case, why was the big glowy thing talking to her?

And why did it sound like Mal swearing?

Something was off...River shook her head once more to try to clear the cottony water from her head... Jayne was watching the big glowy thing, too, his thoughts slow like molasses...River wanted pancakes suddenly, and turned to tell Mal, but saw Simon rambling with the barest of coherence at a slightly confused man in a blue-black suit that glinted weirdly in the light. Confusions were spilling out of his ears and River suddenly knew there was something wrong again. She could still hear Mal swearing, but when she looked at him, his mouth was closed tight. He glanced at her, his eyes widened and all his curses became one, very focused word, followed by a clarity of mind so sharp River was certain he would cut himself with it.

"Doctor, I'm sure your discussion of these cases are all quite fascinatin'," Mal said out loud, clearing some of the fog in River's head. "But we have our schedule to keep. Wouldn't want Belix to get to wonderin'. They don't have such a fancy set up to ease worries and the like."

"Of course, you're right," Simon replied hastily. "And I can send a copy of that hallucinogenic induced mistaken identity disorder file to you, Warden Edwards, at any time. I'll have my assistant wave it to you directly."

Edwards nodded absently, Simon's speedy explanation rife with large medical words, jargon and near-unpronounceable names swimming through his mind at an unprecedented speed. Even Mal had been surprised at Simon's quickly assembled cover for Jayne's untimely recognition. Of course, calling it the Saffron Complex might have been a bit much, but since those were the smallest words Simon had used, Mal decided to let it go. Jayne was ushered between River - who was only barely responding to instructions now - and Mal, shuffling down the long hallway once more.

"Is she all right?" Edwards asked, regarding River. She stumbled nearly as often as Jayne, and kept trying to stop to inspect the paneling along the way.

"She's very...intrigued...by sheet metal," Simon finished weakly, hurrying to his sister's side and guiding her towards the warden's office. She looked at him and blinked, trying to focus. It was getting slightly easier to focus the further they were from the prisoner's exercise yard, but the fog lingered such a long time...

It felt longer than possible before they were back in the warden's office. Then Simon found himself signing the name of a fictitious Belix Prison doctor on form after form, officiating the transfer as he kept answering questions on the Saffron Complex from which Jayne apparently suffered.

"It's common for those with HI...the disorder to invent lengthy histories of their relationships with the, ah, the - do I need to sign or initial here?"

"Initial, please," Edwards replied, glancing at the papers long enough to miss Mal stop River from sitting on the plush green chair opposite Edwards' desk. He looked up again and saw Jayne envelop Mal in a hug and express his deep gratitude that good ol' Mal would come for him. "But he seems so insistent that he knows this gentleman..."

"Oh, yes, it's often very confusing to those unused to the symptoms the first time they are exposed," Simon rattled off. "If any of your other prisoners begin so-called 'recognizing' anyone else, I would not hesitate to have them transferred at the first opportunity. That looks like everything, I believe we should be leaving now. Thank you for your time."

As Edwards shook Simon's hand, Mal convinced Jayne to finally put him down and walk towards the airlock. He had to come back and catch River's attention, which might have caused concern if Simon hadn't suddenly expressed an interest in the painting Edwards had hanging on the wall opposite the exit.

Simon wondered why he'd missed this.

***

"Is he gonna be okay?" Kaylee asked, once they were safely away. Jayne had been led directly to one of the passenger dorms now serving as a secondary infirmary (the original infirmary's bed had never been found) and was resting in a narcotics-free environment. Mal had tucked River into a corner where she could stare as far into the floor's gridwork to her content before making a mad dash to the bridge and flying Serenity out at a steady, nerve-wracking slow pace, so as not to attract attention.

Now Kaylee, Simon and Mal stood outside the room in which Jayne was happily drooling in his sleep, discussing the future plans. When no one answered her question, Kaylee repeated it.

"Simon, is Jayne gonna be okay?"

"He's been breathing in that concoction for over three months," Simon answered, his frustration evident in his words. "I can't exactly make an antidote to undo the damage. Without even knowing the concentration or the chemicals used to begin with, I don't really know where to start."

"Will there be withdrawal?" Mal asked, his voice low.

"I can't see how there wouldn't be," the doctor replied. "Any substance administered - willingly or not - will have its own farewell party in your body."

"What should we do?" Kaylee asked, glancing at the room where her children's things were scattered. She had sent them to the shuttle with a small plate of biscuits and two mugs of sweetened tea when they had emerged from their "nap."

"First chance we get, we'll have to move Jayne to his old bunk," Mal said. "I don't like the idea of the children being so close to anyone going through withdrawal, and I like the idea of them being sleepy and havin' to climb down those ladders even less."

"I agree," Simon nodded. "And if the worst should happen, we can keep Jayne in his bunk better than we can out here."

"Don't we need Jayne to help find Kya?" Kaylee asked slowly. "How're we gonna find her now?"

"There are other ways," Mal admitted. "Just thought having Jayne back might hurry along other aspects of the job." He straightened and began to walk back to the cargo bay. "Let me know when he's up and able to walk. I'm not looking forward to carryin' him everywhere."

***

River?

The familiar voice - even as a memory - sent shivers down her spine. She closed her eyes and remembered how the shuttle used to be, the smells...the light...the air...the voices...

Mal, don't go yet. I'm sure River can handle it.

I'm not worried about River. I'm worried about the other fella.

...how they would change with the moods...

I don't know what to expect from you.

Maybe all that fancy learning was a waste, then.

...with sharing...

I've known for a long time, Mal.

And you never once, in all this time, thought to tell me?

...and with time...

Don't go yet, don't go.

I'm sure River can handle it.

She can, but Nara, I can't. Don't go...

...all to end with a tangible absence and an unbearable silence. River lay on the floor and waited as the spiderwebs of the prisoner's stupor drifted away and allowed her mind to wander. Mal was walking across the cargo bay floor, working hard to not look at the shuttle, struggling to avoid the memories. Further along, she found her brother holding Kaylee close to him...comforting her at the sight of friends in pain. She could feel the cottony fluff of Jayne's dreams - already the ends shredding slightly, red tips reaching for the blue haze that would not be coming again. She coughed and physically turned her head away from it. She sought out the children...the webs of intricate patterns and shapes in a blissful chaotic harmony as welcome to her as diving into a clear lake after a long day.

She could feel sleep creeping up on her and smiled, welcoming the peace.

***

Zoë sat up in bed, catching her breath at the last and holding it in her lungs until it burned. She would not cry out - it always scared Kya when Zoë had her nightmares. She let the air out slowly, brushing absently at the tears that spilled down her cheeks. She always cried when she dreamed of Wash. It had been hardest on Serenity, but the dreams had lessened some since she left.

She was opening the door to her room with the intent to check on Kya when she remembered her daughter was not there. She froze, the knowledge a blow even now...her fingers tightened on the doorknob. Slowly, carefully, she closed the door and walked back to her bed.

The soft light of the moons gave the room an eerie glow and she fought the urge to look for her husband's ghost behind her. She tried counting to ten, and when that didn't work, she tried counting to twenty.

Three days. Kya had been taken from her three days ago. And still, she had no answers. Iona had said patience was key, they were nearing the end. Hammin had Iona arrested for illegal trade of goods, and he was working on the rest of her employees. A number had quit after Iona's arrest and Zoë couldn't blame them...they had families. They wanted to keep their families.

She thought, briefly, of her family - not her father and mother - but of the family she had loved and left behind. She wondered where they were...how close they could be if she called...and how dangerous it would be to involve them. Kaylee and Simon had their own children, now, and Jayne was in that prison...and the Captain and River were...not responsive to communications unless a direct question was formed. Hammin would intercept direct questions and use them against her...

She stood up, finally, with a decision firmly in place. She crossed to the wardrobe and removed her trunk from the base, allowing it to thump against the floor with satisfaction. She had locked these items away when Kya started crawling - she did not need her infant daughter to discover some of them and others would just be easier explained once Kya was ready to hear them. Now, as she opened the lock in the moonlight, she wondered why it had taken her so long to come to this conclusion. The trunk opened, releasing the warm smell of leather and gunpowder.

If Wash's ghost stood behind her, Zoë knew he was smiling in agreement now.

COMMENTS

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 2:50 PM

KATESFRIEND


Great job! Loved lovable, fluffy stupefied Jayne's reaction to Mal. The flashback to Mal/Inara in River's head was a nice way to integrate so much information in such a small space - very clever. Please let them get there before Zoe goes postal.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 3:06 PM

BYTEMITE


Eep, I haven't been commenting.

I like how the other inmates were affecting River, making her loopy as well. Surreal narrative.

I hope they don't get there and Zoe's gone and done a fool thing. ._. Mal's going to be somewhat pissed if she's gotten herself killed before they get there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 7:28 PM

PLATONIST


Another good chapter with vivid descriptions, especially of Zoe flying into action

River’s memories of Mal’s and Inara’s evolving relationship and Mal’s sheer desperation as the end came near, simple and brilliant work

Looking for more

Thursday, February 12, 2009 7:14 AM

MAINEAXE


Are we about to see the 'REAL' Zoe?
Can't wait!

anxious4more


Thursday, February 12, 2009 1:35 PM

JANE0904


Laughed at Jayne, applauded Simon's quick thinking, got teary eyed at the memories of Mal and Inara's doomed relationship ... how much more can you pack into one chapter? Oh, yes, Zoe possibly doing something very stupid. Good story!

Friday, February 13, 2009 1:14 PM

AMDOBELL


I just love this. Marshmallow-headed River coming out in sympathy with a still drugged Jayne and Zoe finally getting back to the warrior women we have come to know and love. This is a very fine story, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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Part 5. 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.