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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Little Zoe talks to Michael about Berke, and Michael does not respond as well as she'd hoped. Inara talks to Simon and receives another birthday gift.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 970 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Zoë had been stewing the whole night over the identity of Michael’s captain. She’d never known him by name, but she remembered every word that was spoken between them, and she couldn’t believe her little brother had been traveling more than a year with this man, and she wanted Michael to know that he was safer than he’d ever realized.
Tipping open the door to Michael’s room, she saw him lying in his bed next to Courtney. Michael was fast asleep, and Zoë thought she’d never seen him sleeping so soundly. He and Courtney were laying side-by-side on top of the blankets, holding hands, but not touching anywhere else. It looked like they’d fallen asleep gazing into each other’s eyes, and Zoë figured that was the reason no one else had disturbed them. With a devious grin, she snuck across the hallway to her own room, found her camera, and went back to take a picture.
Michael stirred and rolled over, blinking his eyes irritably when he saw her with the capture.
“Zoë?” He mouthed the word more than he said it, and then cleared his throat. “Are you drunk?”
“A little,” she confessed, setting down the capture. “We’re still cleaning up downstairs.”
“That’s why I volunteered for set-up,” he grumbled, then rolled back to face Courtney and go to sleep. He scooted closer to Courtney, making space on the bed, in case Zoë wanted to bunk with them for the night. Given the number of people here, it was likely someone would end up on the floor. Zoë sat next to Michael, and poked his shoulder again.
“I wanted to talk to you,” she whispered insistently. Maybe she was more drunk than she realized. She didn’t know if she was being quiet enough.
“It’s three in the morning,” Michael complained, lifting his head enough to glare at her. “Can’t it wait?”
Zoë made a face as she thought about it, but then shrugged and left. There really was no urgent need to have this conversation now. She was half-way down the hall before Michael got curious enough to chase her.
“Jie jie, wait,” he said, jogging to catch up with her. “What is it?”
“Berke,” Zoë said simply. “I’ve met him before.”
Michael rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. “I gathered as much.”
Zoë looked up and down the hallway, making sure no one was listening before she spoke again. “He lost his daughter thirteen years ago. I think it was the same wave that nearly killed you and Aunt River. And I’m almost certain he’s protecting another reader.”
Michael tensed, finding the revelation more unnerving than relieving. “Do you mention the cocktail if you only suspect he’s protecting someone?”
Zoë nodded. She was not in the habit of keeping the life saving medicine a secret. The news only further agitated Michael.
“So he might know about me already.”
Zoë nodded again and touched Michael’s arm encouragingly. “Follow your gut, but it’s probably safe to let your abilities show a little more.”
“No, are you crazy?” he hissed, jerking away from her and pacing down the hall. He turned sharply, raking his hands through his hair and then closing them over his ears. “That’s just what he wants. That’s why he brought in Courtney – he knows about the soothers and wants to control me. The Feds pegged us after the Osiris heist. Jamie, he … oh, God. Berke sold us that ship.”
“You’re being paranoid,” Zoë said critically, pulling her brother’s hands away from his face before he started digging in with his nails.
“Am I?” Michael asked a little too loudly.
They both fell silent as the floor creaked in Michael’s bedroom. A minute later, Courtney padded into the hallway sleepily, and pinched Michael’s arm as she passed them on the way to the bathroom.
“Your family would probably be able to sleep if they weren’t all hyped up on cake,” she said sarcastically.
Michael watched her go, his face clouding with hurt, as though his treasured new girlfriend were suddenly revealed as a Trojan horse.
“Yes, you’re being paranoid,” Zoë said firmly.
“How can I be anything but?” he asked forlornly. “Even Uncle Jayne betrayed Aunt River once.”
“Because she was a fugitive and worth a pretty penny,” Zoë pointed out. “Not because she was a reader.”
Michael glared at her angrily. “The law isn’t looking for me because they don’t know about me. That doesn’t mean there’s not a price on every reader’s head.”
Zoë stayed silent as the bathroom door opened and Courtney came by again. As she passed them, she put her hand on Michael’s elbow, raised up on tip-toes, and kissed his cheek sweetly.
“Night, Babe,” she whispered, and then walked away.
Michael’s eyes flashed and he whipped around as fast as lightning, grabbing her elbow, and pulling her back to his side. At first, she wrestled back thinking he was being playful, but Michael got rough.
“Hey, easy!” Courtney carped, swatting him irritably.
Michael loosened his grip, but didn’t say anything. He was confused and acting rashly and Zoë wanted to help, but she knew it was best to just wait for Michael’s words to surface. After being jerked around, Courtney had no such patience.
“Did something happen?” she asked, looking from Zoë to Michael. “Something else, I mean.”
“What do you know about Berke?” Zoë asked her, when it became apparent that Michael couldn’t.
Courtney’s looked at her warily. “He’s a friend of my uncle. Why?”
“Is that why he hired you?” Michael asked bitterly.
“He hired me because I’m a damn good pilot,” she said defensively. “Is he okay?”
“He’s fine,” Zoë said quickly.
“How did the Feds peg us after the Osiris heist?” Michael asked.
Courtney tensed, realizing she was on trial.
“You know!” she said insistently. “The incubator had already been tagged. But it was our primary target and we were on a strict deadline. We couldn’t leave it behind in favor of the other goods or the whole thing would’ve been a bust. You know all this, Michael. Now you tell me why you’re suddenly so suspicious of the Captain.”
Michael ripped at his hair, not knowing what to believe and Zoë prepared to stop him in case he lashed out.
“He trusts you with his life every day,” Courtney said, desperately. “We both do. Michael –”
Zoë held up her hand, warning Courtney to be quiet and wait. She got herself as quiet as possible, and bowed her head to lend her brother strength. Courtney tapped Zoë’s arm and mouthed the words ‘is he okay’ and Zoë nodded apologetically. Michael reached out to Courtney, but she backed away fearfully.
“Is he protecting a reader?” Michael whispered.
“Why are you asking me these things?” she pleaded, her eyes shining with tears. “You know the answer.”
“So he is,” Zoë confirmed.
“Well, yes, I supposed,” she said, throwing her hands in the air and looking at Michael. “Inasmuch as you let him. Michael, he loves you like his own. He’d never betray you.”
Michael’s eyes went wide as saucers and he looked at Courtney incredulously, mouthing the words ‘You know?’
Courtney stuttered and stared back at him, realizing that he didn’t know his secret was out. She nodded uncertainly, still glancing to Zoë for direction. “Why? Were you looking for someone else?”
“Does he know about you?” Michael asked breathlessly.
“I’m not –” she stammered. “I’m not a reader. I’m not anything. Am I?”
Michael covered his face and opened his mouth in a silent scream, then he peeked out from behind his hands and whispered timidly. “You’re everything to me.”
Inara didn’t remember falling asleep, but she woke up in her bed, roused by a sound in the hallway. She stretched tiredly and listened, trying to discern if there was any danger. Had Daquan not showed up and unexpectedly crashed the party, she’d have dismissed it as a simple fight over bed space. As it was, she considered herself lucky to have her own bed to herself. It was just after three in the morning and she’d been packing her things, preparing to move away from this planet for good. Her shoes were off and her dress was draped over the back of a chair. Mal must have found her and changed her, because she wouldn’t have changed while there were still guests here. He’d put her in one of his old t-shirts. He said it was easier than trying to get her into one of he silk nightgowns, because he knew where the armholes were and there was enough traction on the fabric that he wouldn’t drop her. It was such a tender, loving thing he did.
Touching her face and imagining her husband’s sweet kiss, Inara sat up to start packing again. She was too excited to stay in bed. She heard a door close, and peeked into the hall. Zoë stood alone, standing across from Michael’s closed door.
“There’s room in here,” she invited.
Zoë jumped a mile, and looked like she’d been caught stealing. “Were you listening?”
“No,” Inara said, becoming immediately concerned by her daughter’s tone. “Was there something to hear?”
Zoë looked guiltily at Michael’s closed door. “I was trying to help, but I don’t think I did.”
“The way those two have been looking at each other all night, I’m sure you haven’t done anything nearly as damaging as you think,” Inara assured. “Come on and lie down.”
Rubbing her nose with the back of her hand, Zoë looked from Inara to the stairs. “I said I’d help clean.”
Before Inara could protest, Zoë trotted down the stairs and into the back yard. Inara went to the window in her bedroom and pressed her nose to the glass, seeing Cole, Jayne, and Mal still out there. Mal greeted Zoë when she came into the yard and tackled her playfully onto the ground. He would miss this place. As much as they both wanted to return to the sky, he loved this home, and tonight he was saying good-bye.
Deciding she needed to say good-bye too, Inara went to her closet, slipped into more appropriate attire, and headed down the hall. She pressed her ear to Michael’s door, and heard him talking somberly to Courtney. She desperately wanted to know what Zoë had said, but she didn’t dare interrupt them. Crossing the hall, she tipped open Cole’s door to check on River and Serry.
She laughed, finding the room fuller than she expected. Kaylee was half asleep, snuggled in Simon’s arms, and they were lying on the bed together staring at each other. River was draped perpendicularly across their knees alternately quoting Romeo and Juliet and counting backwards from a hundred.
“Hey, ‘Nara,” Kaylee greeted sleepily. “I thought you went to bed hours ago.”
“Inara, I’m glad you’re here,” Simon said. He tried to jump out of bed, but first he had to extract himself from Kaylee and dig his legs out from under River.
“It’s a present,” River said sweetly, rolling onto her stomach.
“You already gave me a space ship,” Inara said, watching curiously as Simon went to the desk and fingered through the littering of medical supplies there.
“This is better than a space ship,” Simon said surely.
“Better?” Kaylee asked. She looked at Inara and shrugged, clearly having no idea what her husband was up to.
Simon found his computer pad, rooted through the files, then handed it to Inara. “Jamie gave me this earlier tonight. It’s a draft of a letter to the medical journal.”
“How is that better than –” Kaylee quipped, but stopped when she saw the look on Inara’s face. The title alone rendered Inara breathless and she practically fainted into the nearest chair. Simon rushed to catch her, but he was smiling like crazy.
“I guess I should have told you to sit down first,” he said.
“A cure?” she managed. Mal was right. Medical breakthrough happened every day, and Jamie was making tons of them.
“I haven’t read the details, but it’s possible,” Simon said. “Jamie stumbled on it by accident and dismissed it because it’s a childhood disease and the treatment was too harsh for a child. But on a healthy adult …”
“Will it … can it …” She couldn’t even finish her thoughts, she was so overwhelmed with the possibility that the transition would not kill her. She could finally grow old with her husband.
“It’s a starting point,” Simon said, but was unable to squelch the hope under that reservation. “That’s more than I had before.”
Friday, July 10, 2009 6:47 AM
Friday, July 10, 2009 11:57 AM
Saturday, July 11, 2009 2:45 AM
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