Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Mal and Inara get one more surprise at the space dock, then return home to deal with their uninvited guest.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 826 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
One thing Inara had to keep in mind until she resolved this medical thing was that while acupressure alleviated the pain, orgasm completely obliterated it. Her body still tingled with delight and the simple act of walking made her shiver with want. She couldn’t believe that as of now, she officially lived in the sky again. It suddenly made sense why Mal had spent the last several weeks re-organizing the house and putting things into storage and selling off things they’d kept packed away for years.
They were still giggling like children when they landed the ship and came down the ramp. Mal kept pinching her playfully and running his hands under her blouse. It was things like that that helped her believe they would never truly grow old.
Mal went suddenly stiff and held up his hand. Inara froze too, seeing the figure sitting on a cargo crate at the edge of the docks. Inara wondered if the man needed help, but she could tell Mal was more wary that the stranger posed a threat to their new home. He closed the ramp quietly, locked the ship, and checked the lock twice.
Inara was glad to be wearing shoes she could run in if need be, but she opted for a diplomatic approach first. Keeping her distance, she circled around the figure so she’d be in view of his face but out of reach of his fist. He sat cross-legged on the crate, and his body was hunched. He wore a white collared shirt and a woven vest that was too light for the weather, and his hair was scraggly and unkempt. It wasn’t until she came around that she noticed the bright orange flip-flops he wore.
“Jamie?” she asked incredulously.
Jamie lifted his chin and smiled tentatively. “Surprise.”
Inara gasped in shock, but Mal rushed in gleefully, man-handling Jamie to his feet and giving him a giant bear hug. It was incredible to see, but Jamie was taller than Mal now.
“What are you doing, sittin’ here all creepy-like?” Mal asked, touching Jamie’s face and shoulders as if trying to make sure he was real.
“Long journey,” Jamie said distantly. “I thought I should gather my wits before stepping into the madhouse.”
“What a wonderful surprise,” Inara encouraged, hugging him warmly. “I’m so glad you were able to come.”
“Me too,” he said, melting gratefully in her embrace, in desperate need of some unconditional love. “Sorry, I couldn’t bring a cake.”
Inara chuckled and kissed his cheek. “There’s no shortage.”
Jamie kept quiet as they walked back to the house, and Inara didn’t force conversation. Jamie had never been a fan of social gatherings and he’d be bombarded soon enough. Mal carried his bag, and Inara kept her elbow linked in Jamie’s so he wouldn’t lose pace staring up at the sky. As they rounded the last bend approaching their house, there seemed surprisingly little noise emanating from the back yard, and the bonfire that she’d expected to be taller than the house by now wasn’t even visible. Emily stood militantly by the front gate and she squeaked joyfully when she was Jamie.
“Jamie! Jamie! Jamie! Jamie!”
Running at full speed, she plowed right into Jamie’s arms, and Jamie caught her easily, throwing her over his shoulder like Jayne had always done with the kids. Emily squealed with delight, saying Jamie’s name over and over again, sitting on his shoulders and hugging his head.
“I knew you’d come!” she said, squeezing him tight. Then she hooked her legs around his neck and hung upside down from Jamie’s shoulders like a human bib.
“I missed you too,” he said, holding her arms so she wouldn’t fall off him and hit her head.
“Did you have a good walk?” Emily asked, turning to Mal and Inara. She looked completely silly, and all the blood was rushing to her face, but she acted as if hanging upside down were a perfectly normal position in which to have a conversation.
“You can drop the pretense, little one,” Mal said. “She knows about the space ship.”
Emily’s face immediately lit up and she flipped off of Jamie’s shoulders, then held out her hand. Mal turned his face resolutely to the path ahead.
“I told you, I ain’t paying you for keeping quiet,” Mal said. “Silence is its own reward.”
“Well, yeah, for you!” Emily complained. “You got laid.”
Inara smothered a giggle and Jamie laughed out loud.
“Listen to you!” Jamie guffawed, ruffling her hair and tickling her sides. “You are not allowed to date until you’re thirty. I forbid it.”
“I want my five credits,” she said seriously, trying to keep hold of Jamie’s hands.
“I brought you Jamie,” Mal cried dismissively.
Emily looked from Jamie to Mal and held out her hand again. She wanted her money.
“How about when we move onto the ship, no chores for a week,” Mal offered.
“Done,” Emily said and they shook hands.
Inara was bursting with amusement.
With the business settled, Emily turned surely to the path ahead, and she squeezed in between Jamie and Inara, taking their hands as they walked. Inara had taken the role of Emily’s mother since Sky died almost four years ago, and she’d worried about what might happen to Emily when she died too. But when they moved to the ship, Kaylee and River would be there to help, and Emily wouldn’t be alone. Whether Inara survived transition or not, she knew Emily would be taken care of.
“Did you like it, Auntie ‘Nara?” Emily asked meekly. “I helped weld the shield plating.”
“You did a beautiful job,” Inara said. “Did you also put the chocolate in the armory?”
Emily nodded bashfully and kicked the pebbles as they walked, smiling wistfully at the memory of her mother.
Simon had steeled himself, and he tended exclusively to River, doing his best to ignore everything else. He’d set her up in Little Zoë’s room, because there was a good amount of medical equipment already there, and he’d hooked up the monitors, even though he wasn’t worried about her heart rate spiking. His hands needed something to do. He should’ve been keeping a closer eye on her and not drinking so much. He’d sedated her almost mechanically, not even thinking that simply telling her the truth would’ve calmed her.
Baby Serry’s cradle had been moved to this room, to keep her from the noise down stairs, but it was still so loud, Simon was convinced the floor was shaking. It had taken them weeks to get Serry on a schedule where she slept through the night, and it would probably be weeks again to undo tonight’s disruption. She’d probably wake up again in about twenty minutes, wanting to be fed.
Deciding he needed coffee, Simon set a baby monitor in the room, and went downstairs. He glowered as the others carried Daquan inside and tossed him on the couch. Daquan was unconscious, and as a medic, Simon felt compelled to check him out, but if it were something that needed checking, someone would’ve called him. Simon went straight to the kitchen and set the coffee pot percolating. The others, who didn’t have any requirement of sobriety at the moment, were medicating their adrenaline rushes with cake and alcohol. Simon leaned over and watched the coffee start to drip, letting the smell of the beans sooth him.
He jerked stiffly when he heard the front door open, instinctively anticipating trouble.
Mal’s voice carried over the din, and Simon relaxed. “Looks like I missed all the excitement. But hey, I picked up a souvenir at the space port.”
Curious, Simon peeked into the living room and his eyes went wide as his son walked through the front door.
“Jamie!” Kaylee exclaimed, running to embrace him. Simon ran too, as fast as his legs could carry him.
“Where did you come from?” Genny cried.
Breathless, Simon looked at his son, wondering at his disheveled appearance, like he’d gone to a formal event several days earlier and hadn’t changed.
“I thought you couldn’t get away,” Simon said, reaching out and touching Jamie’s face. Jamie had an aged black eye, and he flinched as Simon traced the wound.
“Disagreement with a co-author,” Jamie said before Simon could ask. He retrieved his bag from Mal, pulled out a handheld, and gave it to Simon. “Speaking of which –”
Simon made a face.
“There’s only two in this batch,” Jamie promised.
“There’s more to my life than proof-reading your papers,” Simon said, shaking his head, though secretly, he loved it. He waited through the greetings, and when Jayne started recounting the most recent events, Simon returned to the kitchen to retrieve his coffee. He was surprised when Jamie broke away from the others and followed him. As much as Simon loved talking science with his son, he was still a bit frazzled by all that had happened, and he’d agitated his leg by running so quickly to greet Jamie. He leaned heavily on the countertop, watching the coffee drip into the pot, and smiled as Jamie got the cups and sugar for him.
“What were you disagreeing about so strongly it came to blows?” Simon asked him.
“Nothing that bears repeating,” Jamie grunted dismissively, leaning his elbows on the counter as well, matching Simon’s posture. “Dad, were Genny and I at risk for Tome’s Dystaxia?”
Simon’s eyes widened in surprise. He hadn’t meant to give Jamie that particular batch of notes.
“You were doing a lot of work on it just before we were born,” Jamie continued uncertainly.
“I was,” Simon allowed. He’d started researching the research at Inara’s behest, but didn’t have the resources to get very far. He’d always been more of a practicing physician than a researcher. Jamie was the opposite “But, no, you weren’t at risk. Don’t tell me you’ve found a cure.”
Jamie shook his head. “I poked at it a little. I honed that diagnostic technique you were working on, and turned it into a letter for the journal. There are a few other ideas in there. I was hoping you could take a look at it.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” Simon said. The coffee was finished and he poured himself a cup quickly. He could hear a rustling on the baby monitor. “I should go upstairs.”
“Finish your drink,” Jamie said, confiscating Simon’s cane from him and pulling over a chair. “I’ll check on them.”
River sat up in bed, even though her head was heavy. She crossed her legs to stabilize herself and waited patiently for the world to stop spinning. The room was quiet, lit only by a soft lamp, and noise floated up from downstairs. How long had she been out?
Serry lay safely in the cradle across the room, her swaddle half-kicked off, one arm raised and wrapped around her little head like a little ballerina. The peacefulness of the room enveloped them, holding them safely apart from River’s shame. Were they here? Were they really safe? Were they still sitting on the swing outside fighting the nightmare? River didn’t dare move, because she sensed that wherever Serry was, she was safe, and River couldn’t risk disturbing that.
She’d failed to protect her child.
Footsteps echoed in the hallway and River looked up. Simon would come soon. She would recognize Simon if he were real. He needed to rescue her from this place. Everything was shadows and cobwebs. A tall figure blocked the light from the hall, and River knew she wasn’t safe from the dreams yet. She knew Jamie shouldn’t be here.
“Oh, I haven’t seen her since she came out of you,” Jamie said excitedly, kneeling by the cradle and touching Serry’s face. River wanted to cry for help, but she sensed Serry was safe. Even in a dream, Jamie was safe. He exclaimed over Serry’s beauty, remarked on her untamable hair, and then he let her be, and sat on the bed next to River. Folding one leg so he could get close, he hugged River from behind, and she acknowledged his touch distantly. Through the haze of the drugs and dreams, it felt like he was touching someone else’s skin.
“It’s her father’s hair,” River said mechanically.
“And that ear crinkle,” Jamie said. “She gets that from him too.”
River looked a little closer. She’d never noticed the crinkle before, but Jamie was right – Daquan’s ear turned the same way.
“He’s right,” River said as a mournful shudder shook her body. Jamie felt warm against her, like he was real. “I’m not fit to raise her.”
“No he’s not.”
“I’m a bad mom,” River insisted. “I can’t even tell a real danger and an imagined one.”
“You’re still adjusting to the meds,” Jamie said assuredly. “They work, you just have to get used to the fact that they do. I never realized that not hallucinating could be as disorienting as hallucinating given the right definition of normality.”
A good mom wouldn’t normally hallucinate. Whether River could control it or not, Serry was not safe. River’s chest caved under the weight of her sorrow. “I’m a burden. A good mom doesn’t need –”
“A village?” Jamie finished, then he squeezed her shoulders comfortingly. “Do you know how many mothers I had growing up? How many fathers and brothers and sisters? Serry’s a lucky little girl. Hell, her daddy loves her so much, he chased you all the way out here.”
“He left us to die,” River whispered. “He’s dead to us.”
Jamie patted her hand and looked at her critically. “If that’s really how you feel, there are a goodly number of people downstairs willing to make this fact. He didn’t come to take Serry from you. He came to take you too, and he was a bit concerned (understandably) by your reaction. If there’s a place for him at all in your life or Serry’s, he wants it.”
River squirmed against Jamie, no longer liking the way he held her and spoke to her. Setting her jaw, she gathered enough strength to move her hand, and she pushed him away. “You’re not real.”
“You’re telling me my dream – that we could be a family. But we can’t. He left us to die. He’s dead to us.”
Jamie backed away and River felt weak. Her baby stirred, then cried, but River couldn’t move. Simon would come soon and tell her what was real.
“Shall I bring her to you?” Jamie asked.
River shook her head. “It isn’t safe.”
“Should I take her?” Jamie asked.
“You’re not real.”
Jamie pressed his palm to her forehead, checking for fever, and then he pushed her shoulder, laid her down, and told her to rest. Simon would come soon.
The dark-skinned man on Mal’s couch was well-dressed, lean, and slowly regaining consciousness. The story was that Genny knocked him out, which Mal found hilarious. Mal had met Daquan Cooke more than once and he’d threatened the man more than once. He’d even shot the man once, which he maintained was an accident, and he’d stick by his story so long as Emily believed it. The only real accident was that Emily had been there to witness the vindictive bit of gunplay.
Mal rubbed his forehead and sighed heavily. The night had been going so well. Now everyone was tense and resting on the fence between slander and cruelty toward their uninvited guest. Were it not for Jamie’s miraculous appearance, Simon would’ve shot Daquan by now, though Kaylee would have tried to stop him. Mal felt for little Serry, because he’d grown up without his dad around. Though his own momma kept quiet, the other hands at the ranch never had anything good to say about his dad. As much as he resented his dad for not being around, there was one story about him that Mal always treasured. There was a hold-up at the local liquor mart and his dad jumped in front of a bullet and saved the life of the clerk. He didn’t get hurt – just grazed. It was long before Mal was even born, but it helped knowing his old man was a hero to someone. Mal was always looking for something good in Daquan, so he’d have a story for Serry when she was old enough to ask.
Finding a pen, Mal scribbled some numbers on the back of an envelope.
“What are you doing?” Inara asked him.
“Math.” He folded the envelope and gave it to Inara. “Hand this to me when I ask for it.”
Daquan was stirring. He needed to thin the crowd a bit, else he’d have no control over the situation. Raising his voice, he pulled his kids by the elbows and herded them to the back door.
“Y’all better eat that beef before it attracts the coyotes,” he hollered. “Grab your drinks, but everyone under the age of thirty is going outside … except Inara. She can stay.”
Mal winked at his wife and she blushed.
“Why do we have to go out?” Genny complained. “Why not take him outside and deal with him.”
“Because I’m dealing with him and I don’t want to be cold,” Mal said firmly, frisking Genny quickly and taking her gun. “Out, Little Genny. You’ve done more than enough.”
Genny grumbled but found her coat.
“Zoë, you too,” Mal said, motioning his daughter, who was lingering by the stair. She looked a bit pale, but stood stoic and militant. “And Zo –”
Zoë looked pleadingly, and they argued a moment with their eyes, before she finally huffed in defeat, and groused, “Fine. I promise not to send spies.”
Mal nodded, and turned to his boys. Cole made a face as he donned his coat, and looked at Genny.
“We promise not to organize a militia and attack the house with handmade weapons,” Cole sighed.
Michael crossed his arms confrontationally and jutted his chin. “I’m not giving you my gun.”
Mal squared his shoulders and pulled himself to his full height – six inches taller than Michael – daring his son to defy him again, but Courtney jumped between them quickly.
“I’ll keep him occupied, sir,” she promised, then smiled coyly at Michael. Michael blushed and ducked his head bashfully, which was enough for Mal. He bowed slightly to Courtney.
“Thank you, miss.”
Once the kids were outside, Mal turned to look at his crew. There was a small burst of joy that came with the thought that as of a few moments ago, he’d dropped the adjective ‘former’ from that description. His crew had come back.
Simon was in the kitchen, chasing down pain pills with coffee and working the joint on his knee.
“Doc, do you want to check on your sister?” he said, nodding his head toward the stair. The only staircase was in the front hall adjacent to the living room, so Simon would have to pass Daquan to get to River, and Mal prefer that happen while Daquan was unconscious.
“Jamie is with her,” Simon said dismissively.
“Best send him out with the others.”
Simon pressed his lips together so tightly they disappeared and that vein on his forehead started throbbing. “Mal –”
“No one is laying a finger on that man,” Mal said, pointing back to the living room. “Tonight, he is under my protection. We patch him up, let him say his words, and send him away.”
Simon stood and stared Mal down, showing no hint of fear. “You’re not my captain yet.”
Mal couldn’t criticize Simon’s anger or defiance. He’d learned over the years that saying ‘trust me’ never worked with Simon, but any explanation, no matter how transparent, would suffice. “I’ve lived peaceably on this world for four years and I am not leaving a body my last day. Is that understood?”
Simon bowed his head, features smoldering. He was conflicted; he, too, wanted to find goodness in his niece’s father.
Mal walked with Simon to the foot of the stairs, and then placed an empathetic hand on his shoulder. “Son, I’m sorry this happened here.”
Simon took a deep breath, surveyed the room with stone cold eyes, and then went upstairs.
Mal turned to Kaylee next, wanting to gauge her. She was his best hope for finding the good in anyone, because she could spot a ray of sunshine even if she were blindfolded. Kaylee was perched on the arm of one of the chairs, and Mal always told her she’d break it off, but she never did.
“This is my fault,” she murmured when he came next to her. “I told him about Serry.”
“Mei mei, we have been trying to contact him for months,” Mal pointed out. “Ain’t your fault just ‘cause you got through.”
“I thought he’d step up to the plate, not pillage the field,” Kaylee said. Mal hugged her lightly, and tried to rub the guilt off of her shoulders.
“I need you to clear your head or I’ll have to raise the minimum age for staying in this house,” he told her. It may be better for her outside with the others. They needed a positive influence. “I told you once and I’m not gonna tell you again. This ain’t your doing.”
“You just told me again,” Kaylee chuckled.
“Well I’m not telling you a third time. You stand next to Jayne and keep him from …” Mal looked at Jayne who leaned against the front door, blocking escape, with a blade in his hand. “Jayne, look threatening. No violence.”
Jayne grumbled disappointedly. “I thought we was gonna kill him.”
“This is Serry’s father. On account of that kinship, we’re on defense only,” Mal warned. “He came unarmed. He leaves whole.”
Please commente before reading on to Part 7
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 1:31 AM
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 1:32 AM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.