BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

ALIASSE

Farewell Part I
Wednesday, June 13, 2012


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1142    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

On the same morning, each former member of Serenity’s crew – those that were still on Highgate – found an envelope close to where they awoke. Inside was an invitation: Say Your Farewell to Our Captain, with a date, a time and place. Around the edge, carefully drawn in green, was a border of vine tendrils.

_________________________________________________________

Later that same day, Mal looked for a chance to talk to River. He found her out on the edge of Warminger, stroking sheep.

“You listenin’ in on their conversations?” he asked.

“Don’t interrupt,” River replied.

Mal raised his eyebrows, smiled a ‘you asked for it’ smile. “Got to talk to you, little psychic,” he said.

River turned her face towards him.

“Now,” Mal began, “I’m assumin’ you got one of these.” He held up an opened envelope.

River sniffed.

“Y’see, that’s exactly it,” said Mal keenly, crouching down to impress his gaze and the seriousness of his intent upon River. “You’re gonna be comin’ to this shindig,” he stated. “And you’re gonna behave yourself.”

“It’s her idea,” said River, with all the spite that she yet bore towards Kaylee.

“Yeah, but it’ll be nice. It’ll be nice for everyone.”

“If you weren’t leaving, there wouldn’t have to be a shindig,” said River.

Mal sighed, softened his tone. “Said I’m sorry,” he said. “Can’t make me feel guilty no more.”

River seemed to decide to accept this. “What will your act be?” she asked.

“Uh – I dunno.”

On the back of the invitation were instructions for all attendees to perform some kind of act of farewell.

“You got any ideas?” Mal asked.

“I could dance.”

Mal smiled encouragement: “That you could!”

“But I’ll be shy.”

“What about your brother? Sure he wouldn’t mind pairing up.”

“You mean, a duet?”

“Yeah, exactly.”

River leapt up. “Oh! That’s – Oh! I know exactly what we can do!”

And she was gone. She whirled into town, running from doorway to doorway, looking for Simon, though there was no need, since he was in the clinic he had very recently started up and virtually taken as his abode.

“Have you heard?” River cried, as though a general end to poverty and disease throughout the whole ‘Verse had been announced. “We can do a duet!”

Simon set his face determinedly. “I’m not going to ask you what you’re talking about,” he said. “I’m going to work it out for myself!”

River grabbed a surgical cloth, put it over her head and turned a circle around her brother in tiny, mincing steps, babbling all the time in Chinese. Gradually Simon realized what it was that she was saying, joining in with the last few lines.

“That’s it!” River cried. “We’ll be Fi-Lo and Jo-Shi!”

“Oh my God,” Simon said.

“It will be so funny! Can you imagine how they’ll laugh!”

Simon could imagine precisely how much Jayne would laugh.

“Mother and Father – do you remember, they used to have tears running down their faces!”

Simon had forgotten about their performances in front of their parents, of the low-opera stalwarts Fi-Lo and Jo-Shi. It amazed him now that River could remember them fondly. Had his parents really found it funny, he wondered now? Those tears – had they been real?

“When shall we practise?” River asked. “Do you remember your lines?”

“When is this party, anyway?”

“In five days! There’s still time!”

“Five days.” Simon reached for excuses. “I – I” –

River shook him. “It’ll be good.” She shook him again, dissatisfied with his response. “It’ll be wonderful!” She was getting angry, distressed. “You’ll be Jo-Shi and I’ll be Fi-Lo. Like before!”

Simon was holding her gaze now, as he did when he was trying to calm her. He was nodding too: “Okay, okay, I’ll be Jo-Shi.”

“And I’ll be Fi-Lo!” River cried, as joyful now as she had been nearly-tearful before. “I’m going to make you a costume!”

And she whirled around the examining table and out of the room.

__________________________________________________

Telling himself it was foolish to give any thought at all to Kaylee’s response to his upcoming performance, Simon nevertheless imagined to himself her hopes for the evening. He wondered, if Kaylee hadn’t organized it, would anybody else have done so? But nobody else would have thought of it, because they knew that Kaylee would. She wanted to bring everybody together; she wanted necessary goodbyes to be said; she wanted singing, dancing and laughter. Simon whispered some of Jo-Shi’s lines to himself, shaking his head and blowing his cheeks out as the old dame did. He smiled.

“Can you imagine how they’ll laugh?” he said to himself. At least he wouldn’t let her down over this.

____________________________________________________

Mindful of the other hundred more important jobs she had to perform in her role as a Warminger town committee member, Lucy was angrily making Sunday dinner. No-one was forcing her; she had guests coming but she didn’t have to go to so much trouble. It was her misfortune that she just liked good food. She had killed and prepared a chicken and was now stuffing it – she pulled both ends of the string she was using to tie it up as tightly as she could, not just because it would result in a better flavor but also by way of taking out her frustration on the damn bird.

Just then Jayne appeared at the back door and stood there, like he always did, looking satisfied with himself, and expectant. At the beginning, even a month ago, she would have pulled up her skirts and got straight into it, wanting it to be as quick and crude as usual. But as sorry as she was to see the back of something that had been a source of such unadulterated pleasure, she was getting tired of it now. He never changed his clothes, never combed his hair. Never made an effort. Which took spontaneity into the realms of slovenly, and Lucy had no truck with that.

She glanced at him. “I’m making dinner,” she said, turning back to her work.

“Any for me?” Jayne asked, amazed by how easily the double entendre came out. Just showed what a little practice could do.

Lucy looked over her shoulder again, looked him hard in the eye. “No,” she said, turning away again.

“Oh,” said Jayne. “Well, got something to show you anyways.”

Lucy realized that Jayne hadn’t properly entered the house – he was half-in, half-out, with his hands behind his back.

She was wondering if he had somehow realized the need to introduce some finesse into their couplings –flowers, perhaps, or a candy offering of sorts – when Jayne brought an enormous firearm into view.

“Beauty, ain’t she?” he said.

Lucy ‘uh-huh’-ed as, holding the heavy roasting tin that contained the bird, she opened the stove door with an elbow. Now the pie.

“Y’know there’s this shindig?” Jayne asked. “Kind of farewell thing?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Got to put on some kind of show.”

“Uh-huh.”

“So I thought I’d take Vera here and, you know, do a strip and reassemble. Got it down to 15 minutes.”

“Impressive.”

“Want to see it?”

“Sure.”

“Ain’t talkin’ about cleanin’. That’d double the time. Not so entertainin’.”

“I see.”

And Jayne got started, with an expression of utter gravity and clearly intensely conscious of impressing his audience: removing the magazine, locking the bolt open, yanking the retaining pin, grasping the buttstock –

He stopped. “You ain’t even watchin’.”

“I am,” said Lucy, thinking that if he were to prepare Sunday dinner for her brother and his guests and still have time to strip the beds, beat the rugs and sweep the stairs before their arrival then she’d be really impressed.

Jayne continued, with the diminishment in intensity that arose from an awareness that he had lost his audience: pulling the buttstock off the receiver, snapping up the retaining spring, pulling the trigger group out receiver. Lucy looked up periodically from the pastry she was folding, but it wasn’t enough.

Jayne stopped again, deflated. “If you don’t like it, can’t see as they will.” He hugged Vera protectively. “If you could see her, out in the open. Way she’s built. She flames like a dragon and kicks like a mule.”

“Well, it’s very good,” Lucy replied, coring the first of many apples. “What really matters is whatever you do, you do it with sincerity.”

“Got real sincere feelin’s ‘bout Vera.”

“Yes, but maybe your friends aren’t quite as fond of her as you are.”

“Don’t know what else I could do.”

“What about a short speech?” Jayne’s expression went from doubtful to downright scared.

“Or a poem?”

Jayne felt a pang; his ma loved poems. “Something what rhymes?”

Lucy nodded encouragingly. “Something sincere.”

“Yeah. What rhymes.”

________________________________________

Many many thanks to newoldbrowncoat, who, in his own words:"'da loved to see Jayne actually fire Vera, out in the open. The way she's built, and the size and shape of the bullets, she probably flames like a dragon and kicks like a mule." (Sound familiar?) Also to Geezer, for the gun parts and verbs. Also to Bytemite, for tapping into the unfamiliar world of heavy weaponry for me. Tell me if I got anything laughably wrong and I'll change it.

COMMENTS

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:25 AM

BYTEMITE


At first I saw the envelope and I was like "what?" and "uh, guess Mal really has changed" and then of course it was Kaylee. *face palm*

Simon and River were fun to see again, especially how quickly River got over her reluctance.

And now Lucy is losing interest in Jayne, as was pretty much inevitable. Long term relationships are just not in his nature.

Does she know yet?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:41 AM

ALIASSE


That's she preg?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:48 AM

ALIASSE


That's she preg?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:14 PM

BYTEMITE


Is there awareness, and she is being hostile to Jayne as a result? (Spoilers!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:50 PM

AMDOBELL


Uh oh, not sure the Farewell will turn out as shiny as Kaylee hopes though it would be fun to see River and Simon's double act. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:03 PM

ALIASSE


Byte - soon!

Friday, June 15, 2012 3:17 PM

HEVERUS


There are some really poignant pieces in this. I'll admit, this is the first thing I've read from you and I realize I'm jumping in the middle of a series, but I enjoyed the sentiment built between the characters-- how River convinces Simon to dance with her -- how Jayne automatically turns to his weapons. I don't have the back story, but I thought there was a lot of sadness in that scene between Jayne and Lucy....riddled with crushed expectations, disappointment, and a touch of disdain under the surface. Aw.

Saturday, June 16, 2012 7:13 AM

EBFIDDLER


Liked Mal and River's conversation ("Don't interrupt" made me laugh) although for the life of me I cannot recall why River has anything to do with sheep. River's enthusiasm for the Fi-Lo and Jo-Shi act was so refreshing and joyful to see. Simon could use a little lightness in his world these days; I hope it improves his mood to practice with River. I love what you did with the scene between Jayne and Lucy. It's both comic and poignant. Having been in on the firearms conversation ahead of time it was lovely to see how you integrated it into the fic. Too many spoilers in the comments, I did my best not to see them when I read them. :-)

Saturday, June 16, 2012 11:54 AM

ALIASSE


Thanks very much for joining mid-series, Heverus and EBF. Have a look at the 'Previously' post, it might help. Otherwise, it would take a few hours to read from the beginning. Don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of time to spare at the moment.

Saturday, June 16, 2012 6:55 PM

EBFIDDLER


Aliasse, I read your entire series back in lurking days, before I signed up and started posting. But I still don't remember why River had anything to do with sheep. :-)

Saturday, June 23, 2012 12:58 AM

AGENTROUKA


I like how you need only the word "vines" to identify Kaylee's involvement, hehe.

There's something disconcerting about River's childlike joy. I feel primed to expect the worst, even while adoring her determination to remember some things fondly and with less bitterness than Simon does. Who is sincerely fun to watch, himself, considering Kaylee. There's something comfortable about him now. Enough of an outsider to analyse the crew as it dissolves, enough insider to do it well, make some kind of effort to participate in the rituals and do it well.

And oy. Jayne and Lucy are.. just good. I adored this, her vaguely passive-aggressive disinterest, his, er, sincerity. *gigglement*

Sunday, June 24, 2012 7:13 AM

PLATONIST


Sad and poignant, very Jossian.


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