BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

MARKOMI

Eagle (Part 3/7)
Friday, December 30, 2011

Mal sometimes forgets that River is a reader.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 803    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Forty-two hours had passed since they left New Lafayette, and everything felt different. A strange atmosphere had fallen over the crew. By God, sometimes it felt like even Serenity herself was under the influence of it. Mal had spent the better part of that time trying to pinpoint exactly what the difference was. It was not like people were sad or anything (with the possible exception of Kaylee), they were just… No, he couldn't really describe it.

The trip to Aphrodite had been strangely uneventful. They'd had no trouble with the Alliance or any rival crews, they'd delivered the goods and they'd been paid the agreed-upon fee, and it was good money too. Things should have been looking bright at this point.

Life onboard had been peaceful and quiet, there had been no bickering among the crew, no yelling or fighting. Except for River's fits and rantings, which truth be told had been a little more frequent and intense than usual, nothing particularly noisy had happened. And now, finally, as everybody, except precisely River, were sitting in the kitchen, it suddenly dawned on Mal what was wrong.

Everybody was so gorram polite all the time.

It was like they were all walking on eggshells around each other, afraid to address the real issues, to talk about the unpleasant things, and Mal realized now what had possibly been Jayne's most important contribution to this crew: He always spoke his mind, he cleared the air, got things out in the open.

He recalled something that River had once told him, just before Inara left. Something about a ball of yarn and that if you pulled one string, you pulled them all. He hadn't understood it then.

He did now.

They hadn't talked much about Jayne in these forty-two hours, but now as they were all sitting around the table he eventually became the topic of the conversation.

"Where do you think he went?" Wash asked. "You figure somebody offered him a job?"

"Most like," Zoë said. "Guy like him shouldn't have any trouble finding work. All things considered, he's good at what he does."

"Still can't believe he left all his stuff, though," Wash continued. "That's so not Jayne, if you follow me. All the guns…"

"He'll ask for his guns!" Mal snapped, desperately wanting that weird feeling of… was it betrayal?... to go away. "Once he's settled, somewhere, he'll wave me and ask for his guns."

"In that case you should sell them now," Simon said, but something in his voice gave the impression that he didn't really mean it.

"Or better yet, distribute it amongst the rest of us," Wash suggested.

Zoë glanced at her husband, but then turned to Mal. "Perhaps we should think about hiring someone?"

"Stop!" Kaylee exclaimed. "Jayne's been gone less'n two days, and y'all goin' on about sellin' his guns and replacin' 'im. I don't wanna hear it!"

"We need the manpower, Kaylee," Zoë explained, in the softest voice and with the mildest look she could possibly sport under these circumstances.

"Yeah," Mal slowly mumbled. He looked at Zoë. "Do we know anyone?"

She didn't answer, nor did any of the others. The tension in the room suddenly felt even heavier. Simon was staring at his fingers, flexing them, as if he'd just discovered he had them; Book seemed lost in his own thoughts; Kaylee looked at the others, one at a time, as if she was searching for something she desperately needed but knew she wouldn't find.

And then River burst into the room, heading straight for Mal. "The eagle," she shouted. "Must get the eagle. He doesn't fly."

Simon quickly got to his feet and intercepted her. "River," he said, calmly, mildly but sternly, pulling her closer. Then he glanced at Mal over her shoulder. "I'm sorry, Captain. She's been going on and on about this eagle ever since we left New Lafayette."

"He belongs in the sky!" River cried. "But they clipped his wings, they broke him, and now he's not flying."

"Mei mei," Simon said, and managed to get her to sit down on a chair. "There's no eagle. You need to calm down."

Mal stood up and turned to leave the room, feeling slightly thankful for how River's action had broken the eerie atmosphere, but as he reached the doorway he abruptly stopped, suddenly remembering. He pulled Jayne's emblem out of his pocket and studied it closely.

The imprint.

An eagle.

He turned back towards River and watched how Simon desperately tried to soothe her. If there was anything he'd learned about the girl's rantings it was that they always seemed to harbor some kind of truth underneath all the nonsense.

Could it be?

Well, the girl was a Reader, after all.

He went back to the table. "Now, River," he said, pulling out a chair and taking the seat across from hers. She reacted to this and gazed at him with that knowing, almost nonchalant look of hers. Their eyes met and he kept his face stern and grave. "Tell me more about this eagle of yours."

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COMMENTS

Friday, December 30, 2011 6:06 AM

AMDOBELL


Hooray, finally, Mal is listening to River! Hang on Jayne, the cavalry can't be too far behind now (I hope). Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012 5:05 AM

EBFIDDLER


"It suddenly dawned on Mal what was wrong. Everybody was so gorram polite all the time." -- glad that Mal figured out what Jayne's real role aboard ship is. And how important it is to bring up those issues. Jayne did it in an ungraceful, loud-mouthed, often rude way, but someone needs to point out the elephant in the living room, and that's always been one of Jayne's special talents. When Mal pays attention to River, he often begins to understand her cryptic statements. Progress is being made.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 8:39 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Right...things are finally getting kicked into high gear! Cavalry's coming, Jayne!


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