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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Part 8. 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: 1023 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Zoë sat on the bed, her daughter's hand clutching her own even as the girl slept.
Everyone had agreed it was the strangest rescue they'd pulled off. There had been no gunfight, no bargaining...just Mal going up to the bridge and then returning in a daze moments later as the two ships joined. When the door opened, Kya had catapulted herself into her mother's waiting arms and the two of them hitting the bay floor in a confusion of tears, laughter, hugs, promises and kisses.
The man who had taken Kya off-world had waited on his own ship, watching the reunion intently - a slight smile on his face. Mal hadn't invited him aboard Serenity and the man had not invited Mal aboard his ship, but the two talked quietly until River came down from the bridge and stood at Mal's side.
"You remember her," Mal said quietly.
"Of course," came the reply. Then he directed his next statement to River herself. "I am so very glad you are still well." River only nodded, her shoulders tense.
"I am happy to have been able to give your friend someone so very dear to her. I understand the girl's father was lost in our last...meeting."
"It's appreciated, what you've done here," Mal said, placing one hand on River's shoulder reassuringly and leaving his other free to draw the pistol strapped to his thigh, a hint to the man facing them.
"I see I have overstayed my welcome," the man smiled a ghost of what a real smile could be. "Captain, you continue to surprise me with your survival. I hope to be surprised by you again."
"Yeah, well," Mal shrugged, keeping his eyes on the stranger, "I tend to do that whether or not I try."
"Please give my fondest regards to Inara," the man said, moving to close the airlock. He noticed Mal's jaw clench and looked between River and Mal quickly. "My apologies, I thought she would be with you..."
"Please go," River said, her voice strained. The man nodded and closed the door tightly before returning to his bridge. River fairly flew to the bridge, and they were away before anyone could form a complete question of what had happened.
"So that's what happens to an Operative who lives past his usefulness," Mal murmured numbly.
"Momma, what's wrong?" Kya asked, tugging her mother's shirt. "I'm back, he let me go, why is everyone so..." The girl looked around at the faces watching the Captain. "Wait, Momma, who are these people?"
Hasty introductions, a meal and a quick shower later, Kya revealed how exhausted she was and she and Zoë had gone to lie down.
Now, a quiet knock at the door and Zoë invited Mal into the room.
"I can't leave her alone yet," she explained.
"Didn't expect you to," he replied, keeping his voice low, so as not to wake the child. "Just came to let you know River said we'll be back to your home by dinner tomorrow. Unless you want to hurry to that. I know the hun dan is still there, and probably moving closer to your place by the minute."
"Thank you," she said. "We can take our time. Won't change what needs to be done and I want the quiet with her first." Mal nodded his understanding.
"Y'know," he offered, "If we hadn't been flyin' Serenity, he never woulda recognized us from back when. Stroke a luck there."
"So Kya said," Zoë smiled. She looked at Mal finally and saw him watching her daughter sleep with a sadness in his eyes. "If you wanted to take your ease after this is all settled, no one would complain. It's been a long while."
"It has," he agreed. "But I have to take the Tams home, get Jayne situated somewhere and return the ship. Hope the circus hasn't trashed the Anathema too much so we can get back to work again."
"I understand," she replied. He turned to go. Knowing what it would start, she pressed ahead anyway.
"How long has it been since you've been back to see her?"
He stopped and looked back to her.
"I can't go back right now," he said softly.
"I took Kya two years ago," Zoë explained. "It helped some. Answered some questions she had. Gave me some peace again."
"Did it stop the dreams?" he asked, his voice low and his eyes on the floor.
"No," she answered truthfully. "But I'd miss the dreams if they left fully. Some nights, I need his arms around me - even if it is just my mind calling up rusty memories of sweeter times."
"I haven't had those," he replied.
"You will," she assured him. He nodded, already retreating from her again - like he had six years ago.
"I'll leave you two," he said, indicating Kya's blue eyes blinking open.
He left them behind him, making his way to the kitchen, Zoë's words buzzing in his mind. Once he made it to the kitchen, though, he found he was restless and continued walking. He could hear Kaylee and the children playing a game in the cargo bay, Jayne's voice calling out directions to one child or the other infrequently.
He found himself standing outside the infirmary door, just listening to the hum of the ship and the lives within it.
"Captain?" River's voice broke into his thoughts. He turned.
"Thought you were mindin' the course," he said absently.
"Simon had an emergency call from the clinic," she replied. "Asked me to leave for the patient's privacy. For the look of it." This last she added on when Mal rolled his eyes.
"Sorry about earlier," he said, referencing the dream that had helped overwhelm the psychic. "I hadn't dreamed of her in a...long while."
"I know," she said flatly. "It's the ship affecting you. Memories here."
"I'm aware, River," he said, hoping to stall another plea from her to visit the grave. "How did Briel know what was happening?"
River looked at him, confused.
"The youngest," Mal clarified. Still, River's confusion remained. "Kaylee was callin' to wake me, saying there was something wrong with you - Briel had told her, crying and carrying on. When I got up, Simon had gotten you out of Jayne's bunk and was taking the boy off... Later, though, he followed me, asking questions about Nara, her death and why I still dreamed of her. I know you didn't tell him and Kaylee and Simon don't know I dream of her. So...how did he know?"
"Why don't you want to visit her grave?" River asked abruptly.
"Did you hear my question?" Mal returned, slightly annoyed.
"Yes," she said. "Simon says the children are very sensitive to me and I should be more careful around them. Why don't you want to visit her grave?"
"River, don't...not now," Mal sighed, waving her off. He started to walk to the cargo bay, stopped and turned back. She was still waiting.
"I can't," he said finally. "I can't go there and know I did it to her. She put away the drugs that were working for her so she could take a chance at having a child with me - for me - and it killed her. I can't do that. I can't make peace with that. I can't go there. I can't."
"Make peace with her here, then," River responded. "You want to. You can't look at the shuttle, but you see it all the time. Make peace here. I did."
She swept past him then, on towards the cargo bay where she joined the game easily. Mal stood there, silently, until she was gone...and then went to his bunk and lay down to sleep.
Mercifully, he did not dream.
"I wasn't expecting anyone out here," Simon said, coming into the kitchen. It was late and Serenity was quiet, save for the engine hum. Mal looked up from his tea.
"Makes two of us," he replied. Simon smiled quickly and continued to the kettle.
"It's strange how quickly one adapts to shiplife," he commented. "And how fast one forgets little things."
"Such as?" Mal asked. Simon shrugged.
"How turned around you get, not seeing the sun for days at a time and relying on the ship's clock to tell you if it's late," he said finally. "I suppose it's the fact that I want to see my sister again, to know she's still happy out here, that makes me feel as though my time is wasted by sleeping."
"If you're looking to guilt me, Doc," Mal smiled. "You're gonna have a hard time of it. Your sister chose her life."
"Oh, no, that wasn't it at all," Simon protested. "I... Well, that was it some time ago, when you and she first left...just after Inara's funeral...it might have been... I know you think I don't approve of this life and that I believe you conscripted my sister into service with you, but...I know she's happier out here. In the black."
"Far away from prying minds and fussy brothers," Mal nodded. "She has her days she needs the quiet. Guess I don't think hard enough on those days to be a bother."
"How often do your dreams 'bother' her?" Simon asked, more blunt than usual. Mal's smile dropped.
"I'm sorry to ask, but after what happened the other day..." Simon put the tea down, his concern evident.
"You talked to River about it?" Mal asked, swirling the tea in the bottom of his mug.
"No, but Gabriel asked about her," the doctor replied. Mal looked to him, annoyed.
"Asked about River or Inara?"
"Inara," Simon conceded. He paused before continuing. "I don't really tell tales to my sons about a Companion and a Captain and Kaylee was unaware Inara was even sick, let alone using diproxynol to stay the effects. So, how Gabriel knew about a beautiful lady screaming for release is...something of a mystery to me."
"She never screamed," Mal said quietly. "Not once."
"Captain, I apologize, I didn't mean to--"
"Did you come here to talk me into letting River go her own way?" Mal interrupted suddenly.
"Actually, no," Simon said, thrown off balance. "I'd never...she does seem happy in her current life."
"Then what did you want?" the Captain asked, standing up. "My tea's gettin' cold with all this wasted chatter."
"What is the plan?" Simon asked. "Once we return Kya and Zoë to their home, that man will still be there, and still making their lives hellish. What is the plan to stop that from happening?"
"Honestly, Doc, I hadn't gotten that far yet," Mal admitted. "You have some input?"
"As a matter of fact," Simon smiled. "I did think of something..."
Saturday, February 14, 2009 8:46 AM
Saturday, February 14, 2009 8:47 AM
Saturday, February 14, 2009 8:56 AM
Saturday, February 14, 2009 4:12 PM
Saturday, February 14, 2009 5:55 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2009 7:38 AM
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