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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Fights, lies, and plans. Doesn't that sound exciting enough to read?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2074 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters.
Authors Notes: Once again, my thanks to Reginaroadie for being the voice behind Travis Walken. Also, I realize I've been posting a bit slower than usual. I apologize to those of you who enjoy my stories. My excuse is life. It has the tendency to get in the way of fun. Hopefully, in a few weeks, life will start to slow down again, allowing me to have my precious writing time back. If not, I might just scream. =o) As always, feedback is appreciated.
Another month had passed and Mal still had no leads on finding the Tams. His normal nightly routine of wandering Serenity had become a time for his thoughts to explore hundreds of possibilities. However, with every passing night, the hundreds of ideas began to slowly decline. Tonight his mind was a total blank. He had absolutely no clue how he was going to find them.
As he wandered into the kitchen he was pleasantly surprised to see Inara pouring herself a cup of tea. “You’re up late.” He reached into a cupboard and pulled himself out a mug.
“It’s been hard sleeping lately.” She smiled, not allowing her exhaustion to show through. “Isn’t it a bit later than usual for yourself?” She began pouring Mal a cup of tea.
“Doesn’t seem right to sleep when there’s stuff to be done.” As he reached for his mug, his fingers brushed lightly against hers. It was only for a split second, but he smiled and she blushed. “What’s your excuse?”
“I’m worried about Kaylee. This has been so hard on her and the symptoms of her pregnancy are only adding to the toll. I feel like the only thing I can offer her is to hold back her hair during her morning sickness and that’s not much of anything. Not anything she truly needs anyhow.” Inara sighed.
“She’s a tough kid. She’ll make it through this just like we all will.” He took a sip of his tea. “That includes all the kids. Simon and River will be found…somehow. That ain’t somethin’ I can give up on.”
One of the many qualities she loved about Mal was his good heart. All too often he let it guide his decisions. Sure he’d back those heart-based decisions with sound reasons, but that was Mal. Masculinity always surpassed feelings. He was nothing more than a sweet candy center inside a hard outer shell. On the flip side of things, one quality she hated in Mal was how he fought his heart on many issues that seemed so simple. Such an issue was her. “Maybe it’s wrong for me to ask with all that is going on, but I don’t understand how it is possible for us to spend one beautifully romantic evening together only to pretend it never happened later on. I need to know where you and I stand.”
Mal practically gulped down his remaining tea. He took a deep breath before he began to speak. “I wasn’t rightly sure how you felt about that night. I’ve been looking for a sign.”
“I wasn’t aware I needed to send out a solar flare to get your attention.” She was a little more than hurt. Was she so insignificant to him that he couldn’t notice her feelings?
Mal replied with undisguised bitterness. “You are a complex woman, Inara. One night you act like you’re mine and the very next day you are off whoring again.”
“So that’s what it comes down to, my occupation?” On top of being hurt, she was frustrated. It seemed like most of their fights revolved around this topic.
“If you can call whoring an occupation.” He knew it was mean, but it’s how he felt. He believed no woman should have to do that.
“Malcolm Reynolds, you make me ill. If it wasn’t for Kaylee I’d have half a mind to leave this ship for good.” She was more than angry. She was furious.
“Don’t let Kaylee be a reason stopping ya. She’s got more than enough folk here to watch after her.”
“Some more qualified than others.” She directed a nasty glance towards Mal and stormed out of the kitchen.
* * * *
It was late. It had been another long day at the office. She wanted nothing more than to go home. Needless to say she was disappointed, and even a little panicky, when she found the note on her desk. She took a deep breath and walked into his office having absolutely no idea what to expect.
Travis Walken noticed her standing in the doorway, but he didn’t bother to look up and acknowledge her. “Here's a little fact, I don't know if you know it or not, but here it is anyways. By the age of either three or four, fifty percent of a person’s cognitive development will have already developed. That means that half of whom you are, how you interact with the outside world, and your mental functions are established before you hit kindergarten.”
She hated his off-the-wall, sociological factoids. They always made her edgy. “That's not surprising. There are lots of adults who still act like they are in kindergarten.” Nervously, she asked, “So you wanted to see me?”
He ignored her question. "It's interesting to me, because we have so many profiles on billions of people, nothing huge or major, just regular fact sheets of common people living common lives. We know them better than they know themselves and with that little bit of sociology there, it should be easy for us to find out everything about them. I mean, we should know half their story before they know half the alphabet. And yet, it's that other fifty percent that prevents us from ever truly knowing them. It's both infuriating and fascinating.”
“Yes, fascinating...and infuriating. But no one can know everything. We just weren't meant to. Knowledge is power. If everyone had knowledge, we'd all be on the same level. Besides, life was meant to have mystery.” Uncomfortable couldn’t begin to describe how she was feeling. She wanted nothing more than to leave. She started making her way for the exit. “Umm...if you didn't need me, I was going to take off. It's late and tomorrow is the start of another long day so...”
“Did I tell you to leave?” He finally looked up at her. She wished he hadn’t.
Nothing scared her more than that look on his face. Some might describe it as the angry look of Satan himself. “No, I just thought...” Feeling scared and stupid she sat down in front of his desk. “Sorry, Mr. Walken.”
“The reason I asked you here is because of that other fifty percent. The fifty percent we don't know about. Particularly on our young doctor and whatever space whore he conned into wearing that cheap little silver band around her finger.”
Your wife is in this group? Yes, she is. She’s with them. Kaylee, my wife, her name is Kaylee. Her conversation with Simon replayed in her mind. She couldn’t explain why she was about to do what she was going to do. She was a smart girl. She knew lying to a man like Travis Walken could be a fatal mistake, but for whatever reason, she didn’t care. She lied. “You were right about him. He is very stubborn. I've done everything I can to get information out of him, but he won't talk to me. I guess he doesn't care for me too much. I can't blame him. I do work for the very people he's against. I don't think there is anything left that I can do to get him to open up to me. It's a hopeless task. He obviously cares for his wife a great deal, which is no surprise seeing how he risked his whole life for his sister. There is just nothing else I can do. I'm sorry, Mr. Walken.” Lying wasn’t really her forte, but she hoped she was skilled enough.
Walken gave her a strange look. The same strange look he gave Simon right before he punched him. “Stand up.” He ordered.
“Okay...” She got up out of the chair. Not that she did, but if she had, no one would have blamed her for wetting her pants. She was scared out of her mind. It seemed like hours passed by during the time it took him to walk from his desk to her.
He examined her like a doctor would a patient. He stood directly in front of her. “So you really don't know anything about the good doctor, do you?”
“No, nothing, honest. What possible reason could I have for keeping something from you?” More lies. She prayed he couldn’t tell.
“Because you are afraid.” Very quickly, his hand shot out and clenched her throat. He squeezed hard and even lifted her off the ground. “Afraid of me, afraid that what you know could hurt you, and afraid that if you choose one side over the other, you'd be betraying the trust of the people who have faith in you. That same faith you've been craving since you were a child. Now, before you asphyxiate and I have to begin interviewing replacements, tell me. What do you know?” He let go of her throat at the last minute.
“Nothing!” She gasped. “Not a gorram thing! This job is all I've got in the 'verse. I wouldn't do anything to compromise my position here.” She gasped for more air. Talking was somewhat difficult. “I've worked with you for the past four years, you know me. How could you think I would betray you? Afraid of you, yes, I am afraid of you, which should be reason enough why I would NEVER betray you.” She was starting to gain control of her wheezing. “Mr. Walken, I'm a little hurt that you would think otherwise.” Not all of that was a lie. She was afraid, but she did betray him.
“In my position, it is imperative that you think various different things of the people you work with. You keep one hand stretched out in a handshake and the other in your pocket, fingering the switchblade that might come in handy. Now, you are a very loyal servant, and I am sorry that I nearly crushed your larynx, but as you know, deplorable actions must be done in order to attain progress.” He sat back down at his desk. “Go now. I'll lock up afterwards. You deserve a break.” His attention quickly returned to his paperwork, acknowledging her no more.
She rubbed her neck. She was in disbelief it was still there, all in one piece. She was sure he had done severe damage. At least it felt that way. “Thank you, Sir. I'll see you in the morning then.” She hustled out of his office.
“Good night.” He said so politely, so friendly even. It was as if the last few minutes never happened or rather that he didn’t care. After all, Kiara was disposable.
The next morning Kaylee was up bright and early. The kitchen looked as if a tornado had just passed through. Food items and dishes were scattered all about. She had cravings that led her to begin searching for something to suit her desires. She went from one thing to the next, leaving half eaten items laying all about.
“Miss Kaylee, I sure hope you are the one with kitchen duty today. If not, whoever does ain’t going to be all that happy.” Mal was happy to see Kaylee out of bed and searching for breakfast. It seemed like all the morning sickness had finally passed, leaving behind a ferocious appetite.
“Don’t worry Cap’n, I wouldn’t leave this mess for no one.” She smiled as she stepped out from behind the counter, a healthy plate of assorted food in hand.
“Wow, you really are going to be a mom.” He didn’t realize he had said those words out loud. He hadn’t meant to, but when he saw Kaylee walk out from behind the counter, he noticed for the first time.
“What did you think I was gonna be Cap’n?” She giggled as she sat down at the table.
“I could never tell before, but today, you… you just look like you are pregnant.” He thought about what he’d just said. “That probably don’t sound right.” He tried to apologize.
“Nah, I know what you mean. I’m three months along. That’s about the time women start to show. ‘Nara downloaded me this timeline of what to expect off the Cortex. I’m really looking forward to month five.” It was no secret that Kaylee loved strawberries. She had the feeling her baby did too. She craved strawberries. She craved strawberries and applesauce to be exact. Those foods weren’t usually found on Serenity, but on their last trip planet side, Mal made sure to have Book swing by the market.
“What happens in month five?” Mal sat down across from her and picked at her plate. He reasoned she had enough food for three. Plus, as strange as it might be, dunking a strawberry into applesauce was rather tasty.
“That’s about the time I’ll be able to feel her kick.” Kaylee said happily in between bites.
“Her? So is that a feelin’ or more of a hopin’?” He asked in between bites of his own.
She shrugged her shoulders. “A little of both I guess.”
“Well I can’t see a little girl bein’ called Malcolm. Maybe you can call her Mallory.” He joked.
“That’s actually a pretty shiny name, Cap’n. Jayne told me I could call her Jayne if I wanted to, but it’d be hard to give a girl that name, he said. I could barely keep a straight face.” She laughed.
After her laughter ceased, a moment of silence drifted into the kitchen. Mal watched Kaylee’s smile flatten. He didn’t need to be a reader to know what she was thinking. “Simon will be back in time to name her. Can’t imagine River will miss out on that either. The girl probably already knows what you’re gonna choose anyways.”
“It’s been two months and we ain’t even found out where they are.” She pushed her plate towards Mal. Suddenly, her appetite was gone.
“Do you trust your captain?” He looked at her intently. She nodded her head. “Then trust your captain when he says he’ll find Simon and River.”
“I love my captain.” She said with a hopeful smile.
Cotton balls, or cumulus clouds as they were technically called, filled the sky. She’d spent many days just like this laying in the grass looking at them. Sometimes she would dream they were angel’s beds. It was reassuring knowing they were watching down on her, keeping her safe. Other times she let her creativity soar. From puppies to cars, bicycles to banana splits, she could see it all. Her mind would dance back and forth from cloud to cloud, always amazed at how quickly they could travel and change shape. Even with as much joy as it brought her, that was the last day she ever looked up and saw something more than just clouds.
It was early evening when she heard the screams coming from inside her house. Screams weren’t all that unusual, something of a routine nature actually, but the excruciating screeching sound accompanying them alarmed her. She left her cozy little spot in the lawn and made her way inside the home. As she walked in the doorway, she saw the man who called himself her father making his way to the basement just like he always did, setting himself apart from the world. As he stomped down the basement steps, muttering vulgarities under his breath, her mother went running down the hall to her bedroom.
She followed her mother down the hall and slowly walked into the bedroom, asking what was wrong. In between the sobs her mother managed to tell her it was her. They were fighting about her once again. Her mother began tossing a few items into a suitcase. “Kiara, you are fourteen years old. You should learn to accept what happens and move on. It doesn’t matter if you are right and he is acting like the devil himself. Life is nothing but a disappointment. You should be thanking me you’re learning this lesson now instead of having a midlife crisis later on. From now on, I’m staying out of it. You are on your own, completely on your own. Do not ask me for a thing. You want to be an adult, fine you are an adult. From now on whatever you want, you find your own way to get it. Clothes, food, school tuition, those are all your responsibility now. I’m done with you. I’m done having a daughter.” Her mother shut the suitcase, fastened the locks, wiped away her stray tears, grabbed her bags, and headed out of the room, never looking back.
She didn’t cry. She hadn’t really cried in years. It never solved anything. She knew ever since she was in diapers that she only had one crutch in life. The father figure could not be trusted. He was one lie after the next, with each additional one becoming worse and worse. The only emotion he was capable of was hate and he seemed to take pleasure directing that emotion towards her. Her mother, her crutch, could be trusted. She loved having a daughter, she wouldn’t always defend her against the father, but she would comfort her. She would tell her things would be okay. She would tell her she just needed to give it time. As the years continued on, the father seemed to consume more hate and her mother weakened.
Even though her crutch became wobblier and wobblier as the years went on, it had always been there. It was the only constant in her life. She trusted it would always be that way. With this being said, the realism of that day, the reality behind the words of her only crutch finally snapping in two, leaving her with nothing more to lean on, was a brutal reality.
She walked back to her favorite spot in the yard and laid down. The clouds, once full of happiness and joy, now taunted her. They were no longer the bed of angels. They grew dark and thin, stretching across the sky forming into what she believed to be a sword and another resembling a heart. As the clouds floated along the sky, the one shaped of a sword slid through the one of the heart. That was the perfect visual for how she felt. From that day on she walked down the road of life crutchless, never trusting anyone again.
She stood in front of the bathroom sink wearing only a bra and her Alliance-issued, uniform pants. She splashed some cool water in her face. She needed to wake up. She needed to leave the night, her bad dreams, behind her. She had to get to work after all. Travis Walken wasn’t the kind to approve of tardiness. She had ten minutes before she needed to leave the house. She became fixated on the mirror that hung before her.
As she stared into her bathroom mirror, she asked herself the question, “Who am I?” She didn’t have an answer. She used to think she had it all planned out. A few years ago she could have recited her future timeline. She’d always made it a point never to stray off the path. With that being said, it made her wonder how the hell she ended up in Oz. Where was the Scarecrow searching for a brain? Where was the Tin Man searching for a heart? Where was the Lion searching for courage? And where in the gorram hell was the yellow brick road that led to the wizard? The wizard would have the answers. He’d be able to tell her the way home. The way back to the life she knew. All she would need to do would be click her heels together three times and say ‘there’s no place like home’. “Where is home?” She asked herself. She sighed. She didn’t have an answer for that question either.
She put on her uniform shirt, making sure to tuck it in smoothly. She’d spent last night re-ironing the collar, attempting to make it as crisp as possible. The crisper the collar, the taller it would stand, the more of her neck it would cover. It did in fact cover most of the bruises along her neck. She’d think of a story to explain the rest if anyone asked. She needed more practice at lying anyways. She couldn’t help but think Walken still had some doubts about her honesty yesterday. She couldn’t help but be frightened that he would find out. She knew if… She knew when he found out he’d... She couldn’t think about that now. She had to get to work. “Shit.” She looked at the clock. She should have left ten minutes ago. She slid into her shoes and went running out the door.
Wash was sitting in the pilot’s chair. Dark circles were painted around his bloodshot eyes. His hair was a mess and his facial expression was anything but happy. Sleep hadn’t been an easy thing for him these past couple of months. It seemed like every time his eyes shut, the image of the Tams being kidnapped, tortured, sometimes even being killed flashed in his mind. They were nightmares, dreadfully vivid nightmares.
“Wash,” She walked up behind him, placing her hands upon his tense shoulders, slowly starting to massage them. “You were gone again when I woke up this morning. Did you have another nightmare?”
“They keep getting worse. Only thing I know that can stop them is finding the kids.” He placed his hand upon hers. “I’ve been searching as best as I know how and I haven’t found out a thing.” He sighed.
“Dear, it isn’t going to be easy. The Alliance knows how to keep something covered up that they don’t want let out. We know Simon and River are two needles in a haystack. Knowing that they are in that haystack ain’t much, but a lot can be said for just knowing. Knowing gives us hope. There is only so much hay. Overtime, the needles will turn up. They might just be at the bottom of the bundle.”
His wife was an incredible woman. Here she was, standing behind him, rubbing his shoulders, reassuring him that things would turn out for the best. Even though he knew she had no fact behind her words, he knew she meant them. He knew she believed in him. He loved how she always reminded him of that just when he needed it, just when he’d about given up on himself. “Do we have any jobs lined up around Core planets? Maybe I can do some investigating.”
“I’m not sure that is such a good idea. It might lead to bigger problems.” She stopped massaging his shoulders and moved around the chair, positioning herself in his lap. “We’ve already lost the doc and his sister. I ain’t going to take too well to losing my husband.”
“I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been thinking a lot about it actually. They can’t kill me.” He said very assured.
“Excuse me?” Her eyebrow rose.
“They wouldn’t kill me without knowing what I knew. It could be a bargaining tool. I might be the only bargaining tool we’ve got.”
“Bargaining for what? The Alliance isn’t in the bargaining business. They would take you and torture you until you either talked or died. The Tams would still be missing and I’d be a widow. I don’t think you’ve fully grasped the bigger picture here, husband.”
“Someone has to know where they are. If you could put a tracking device on me…” He’d pictured the plan in his mind a hundred times. He’d wear the tracking device, the Alliance officials would take him in, he’d demand to see Simon, they’d take him there, and then the crew would know the location. They could plot a rescue mission. Soon enough he and the Tams could come back home to Serenity. It wouldn’t all go smoothly, but he knew the few rocky bumps along the way would be worth it. He reasoned it was their best shot of finding the needles.
“NO!” She got up from his lap. “They are smart enough to drill into a girl’s brain and turn her into a reader. God only knows what they would have been capable of turning her into if Simon hadn’t intervened. I think they’re smart enough to notice a tracking device. This is the stopping point to whatever harebrained plan you have blueprinted in your mind, dong ma?” She looked intently into his eyes. She knew this was important to Wash, but he had to know that what she was demanding of him was important to her.
She walked into his cell, tray of food in hand. It was when she bent over to set the tray down that he noticed.
“Kiara, what happened?” He walked closer to her, gently extending his hand to her neck, inspecting the bruises.
“Shower accident.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m such a klutz.” She knew that was a horrible lie. She figured Simon would see right through it, but she hoped he’d ignore it.
The title of doctor came with a pretty detailed handbook. One of the sections concerned domestic violence. It was normal procedure that whenever a lady was admitted to the ER that she be asked if she was a victim of domestic violence. It was also normal procedure for doctors to report any suspected cases of domestic violence regardless of the patient’s response to the first question. Kiara wasn’t his patient, and this cell was certainly no ER, but the bruising on her neck was apparent to have been a result of domestic violence. “Kiara, I’m a doctor. I can tell those bruises weren’t the effect of a shower accident. Not unless said accident involved someone helping you up by grabbing hold of your neck and nearly choking you to death.”
“Simon, it’s a little hard to be a victim of domestic violence when you are a single woman living all alone. It is very easy, however, to slip and fall on wet tile.” She didn’t even think about that one, the lie just rolled off the tip of her tongue. It was becoming rather like a second nature she guessed.
“Okay, maybe this wasn’t the result of domestic violence. Maybe it was the result of workplace violence.” He didn’t even second guess himself. He knew Travis Walken was accountable.
“Simon, I’d like to think you know I’m not like Walken and his goons. I’d like to think you know I’m warm-blooded and actually have a heart. If I’m right, and you do think those things of me, I ask that you think enough of me to let this be. I ask that you trust in me when I say I can handle whatever mess it is I might have gotten myself into. Simon, I ask, I beg of you, that you speak nothing of this, please.” Her eyes looked up at his as if her fate rested in her hands.
“Tell me why.” He demanded.
“What?” She was expecting a yes or no. A ‘why’ caught her off guard.
“Tell me why he nearly asphyxiated you and I’ll let it be.” He crossed his arms. His stance indicating this was not a negotiable issue.
“I can’t.” She whispered.
“Yes you can. You can tell me why. You choose not to tell me.”
“Fine, you want to know the reason why? You! You are the reason why. Walken wanted me to warm up to you, to become your friend. Once I did he wanted me to find out the name of your wife. He wanted to know the names of anyone you’ve been in contact with. Last night he called me into his office wanting the answers and I lied. I told him I didn’t know anything. I told him you were as stubborn as mule and I’d probably never know anything. He didn’t believe me. He figured nearly crushing my neck would be a good incentive to tell him the truth. I told him again that I knew nothing. I’m not exactly sure he believed me the second time, but he let me go anyways.”
“You mean he let you go for now.” Simon was stunned. He’d wanted her help, but he never expected she’d lie for him, not when her life was nearly fading away. “Kiara, if he finds out…” His tone was soft.
“I know, Simon. I know. He’s that type of man and I knew that before I told the lies.”
“Why did you?” His asked out of curiosity.
“It just ain’t right what he’s done to your sister. I’ll be damned if he’s going to bring in your wife and… I can’t live knowing I’m responsible for whatever he’d do. It just makes me sick thinking I’ve spent the last four years of my life working for him. It makes me wonder how many personal files I’ve researched and compiled for him that have led to…” She bit her bottom lip, struggling to keep herself together. “I’m ashamed of myself for looking the other way all these years. Looking away never solves the problem. It only lets the problem grow into something so overwhelming that it breaks down every part of you, leaving you absolutely helpless. It’s a domino effect. Once you snap, everyone who leaned on you falls to the ground, abandoned.”
“You can’t stay here. It’s not safe.” Simon had been accustomed to comforting distraught women. Something made him think there might be more behind Kiara’s breakdown then Travis Walken. He pulled her into his arms. “You need to leave. You need to go some place he can’t find you.”
“If I leave he’ll know I lied. He won’t rest until he’s found me, until he’s made sure I know the pain accompanied with being stabbed in the back.”
“That won’t do me any good either. If I quit now, after yesterday, that will be proof I was lying. I’m stuck here. I’m stuck in an ocean of lies and the only way to keep afloat, to keep from drowning, is to continue telling lies.” Her sobs were muffled by his cotton shirt. It had been so many years since she cried. She had a lot of them built up in her and it felt good to finally let them out. She was still embarrassed though, especially since she was staining his shirt with tears.
“You could come with me.” He gently pulled away from her, allowing himself to look into her eyes. “Serenity can be your home until we find you a safe place. It might be a different style of life from the one you are used to living, but you might be surprised by how quickly you can adjust.”
“Simon, that’s crazy. If he found us, he’d kill us.” It was crazy. Breaking two fugitives out of an Alliance facility was crazy enough, but by doing so she’d be becoming a fugitive herself and that was even crazier. The most illegal thing she’d ever done was shoplift a pair of shoes from the mall when she was sixteen. The consequences of that, had she been caught, would have been highly insignificant compared to what she’d be charged with for assisting in the escape of two highly demanded fugitives.
“If my sister and I stay, we will be killed. If you stay and he finds out, you will also be killed. Running is the only chance at having a life aside from fear.”
She wiped the tears away from underneath her eyes. “So, you said that Companion’s name was Inara Serra?” There might be consequences to becoming a fugitive, but at least she could live with herself. She couldn’t turn her head any longer. She needed to do what was right. It was right that no one had to suffer the wrath of Travis Walken.
To be continued... (Hopefully Soon!)
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 8:01 PM
Thursday, April 21, 2005 4:06 AM
Thursday, April 21, 2005 6:58 AM
Monday, May 23, 2005 3:40 AM
Saturday, September 17, 2005 8:51 AM
Saturday, September 17, 2005 8:53 AM
Friday, November 4, 2005 8:14 PM
Wednesday, December 14, 2005 3:29 PM
Saturday, January 28, 2006 4:24 PM
Thursday, October 20, 2011 4:59 PM
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