BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

MARKOMI

Lessons (Part 8/11)
Friday, December 30, 2011

Mal does some more pondering.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 861    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

TWO DAYS TO BOROS

Mal was avoiding his crew. He was well aware of it and he had his reasons. Serenity was a small boat, despite of all the nooks and hidden compartments, and it felt even smaller for a man trying to keep a straight face. It was years since he'd last been this space crazy; yeah it was quite possibly the most space crazy he'd ever been. But he couldn't lose it.

Not now.

Not here.

Hopefully never.

Book would look at him, discreetly but obvious enough, whenever they happened to meet somewhere. They would talk; about what awaited them on Boros, about how they soon would have to ration the food, never about personal stuff. The preacher knew better than to probe, at least with words, but Mal still felt uncomfortable around the man. He found it hard to lie to him, and in more ways than one. And so he tried cutting their conversations short and kept his distance as much as he could. Luckily the shepherd seemed to be busy looking after the increasingly impatient patient in the passenger dorm, and so far that plan had worked just fine.

Simon had seemingly been caught up in his own issues and stayed tense and distant as the days in the black crept by. But now that appeared to have changed somehow, as he was suddenly more relaxed. This very morning he'd even smiled and been particular chatty.

Kaylee… Something was up with Kaylee. She was jumpy and almost frightened, and she would nervously move about the ship and look at him with those puppy eyes of hers whenever she got the chance, as if begging him to save her. From what, he wasn't sure.

Wash was Wash and Wash stayed Wash, and what else would you expect? Space never seemed to get to that guy.

And Zoë… He feared Zoë more than anyone. No one knew him like she did. And she was on to him. At least she had been. She too seemed preoccupied by her own problems now, he'd realized that morning, though he doubted anyone but him could see it. He had no idea what those problems were exactly; perhaps he'd ought to ask her. But then again he didn't want her to ask him. And so he kept quiet.

This boat wasn't safe, and for the first time ever, he longed to get off it.

He slid the door open and slipped inside the room, dumped down on the vacant chair, propped his legs on the side of the bed and leaned back with a heavy sigh.

Jayne had cocked an eyebrow when his captain entered and watched him silently, and he continued to do so as he absentmindedly flipped through the magazine someone had brought him. Somebody (probably Book) had also brought him Vera and a small collection of his other favorite guns, Mal noticed; they were strewn around the bed.

For a while everything was quiet.

And then Jayne spoke, his voice laden with suspicion. "You ain't talkin'."

"Didn't come here to talk," Mal replied.

Jayne frowned. "Whatcha come here for then?"

Mal shrugged. "Oh you know, just hangin'."

Jayne raised his eyebrows again. "You mean hidin'?"

Mal mimicked his expression. "Hidin'?"

"She's still gonna find you. You know that, don't you? Hell, she ain't even on the boat, so if you can't escape her out there, what makes you think you can in here?"

Mal just stared at him, not quite believing his ears. "Gorramit, Jayne!" he exclaimed and got to his feet. He stabbed the air with his index finger. "You've spent too much time around the preacher!"

Jayne lifted his hands in a defensive manner. "Hey, don't blame me!"

Mal offered neither an answer nor a goodbye; he just left and went straight to the cargo bay. It was the most spacious place on the ship and he really needed room right now.

He went up unto the gallery overlooking the bay, just to suddenly be reminded that his favorite spot was someone else's favorite spot too. River was sitting there, in the lotus position, her small hands gripping the banister in front of her and she peered through it at the space below.

"Hey, little one," he greeted as he approached her. "How you doin'? You itchy too?"

She looked up at him, a small smile gracing her lips, but her eyes stayed unfocused and distant.

"Going to burst," she said.

"What is?" he asked.

"He put too much inside it, tried to put the lid on so we wouldn't see. But it won't hold. If he doesn't release the pressure, it'll explode."

He gave no reply, and she turned away from him to glance back at the room. "You're just a country boy," she said.

He frowned. What now? "Come again?"

"Money have you none," she continued, steadily and uninterrupted. "But you've got silver in the stars, gold in the morning sun."

Apparently she was now talking in riddles and in rhymes.

He turned to walk away, but stopped when she softly started humming, "Never gonna kiss the ruby red lips of the prettiest girl in town. Never gonna ask her if she'd marry you, she'd only turn you down. 'Cause you're just a country boy. Money have you none. But you've got silver in the stars, gold in the morning sun."

It was an old folk diddy or something. And it struck him.

Where it hurt the most. And hard.

"Never could afford a store bought ring," she sang, "with a sparkling diamond stone. All you can afford is a loving heart, the only one you own."

He left.

He more or less ran.

Away from the cargo bay. Away from the singing. Away from the girl and her spooky mindreading.

He hurried to his bunk and closed the hatch securely behind him.

And there he released the pressure.

And cried.

***

A/N: The song here is "You're Just a Country Boy", written by Fred Hellerman/Marshall Barer and performed by Alison Krauss. I figure 500 years into the future people will simply remember it as an old folk tune ;)

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COMMENTS

Friday, December 30, 2011 7:54 AM

AMDOBELL


Ow, Poor Mal! I am glad that he has finally allowed himself to cry, to let the pressure out - just hope it helps. I am always comforted that River knows things, even when her knowledge is all creepifying and non specific. This time she just nailed it. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:19 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


I dunno who to feel worse for after that final scene...Mal, as he breaks down in mental agony over apparently losing Inara and apparently getting his Rim status and limited fortunes thrown in his face? Or River, who I don't think was trying to be mean when she quoted that Alison Krauss song...I think it was supposed to be an encouragement, since Mal could give Inara things that her super-rich clients have either never owned or lost getting to their current stage in life. Fantastic work, in any case :D


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