BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JACQUI

Hybrid Lives 5: Mal
Friday, October 14, 2005

Explores each of the crew after "Serenity", no non canon pairing and not particularly angsty either.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2423    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

All comments and disclaimers in full in Ch 1 (Simon), it's the usual fare: not mine. Comment or send feedback, wily_one24@yahoo.com.au

It figures Mal would be the most stubborn out of all of them.

***

"That's the way it's always been. It all comes down to creating time. We don't always have to make it right. We'll all drive by in our hybrid lives. Chances are... chances are... We'll make it back." - Sheryl Crow.

***

Superstition is an ugly word when you’re responsible for peoples’ lives, he knew it, yet he’d never been able to shake the belief that there was a balance and the good times were always paid for with bad, but he had never questioned himself as to who paid and who gained and whether it was worth it in the end.

“Tea?”

He barely needed to ask, he knew she would say yes and he knew that as soon as he started making it, Inara would smile to herself, walk up next to him and gently take over. He knew that she knew it, too.

Sometimes her hand would linger on his arm or shoulder and sometimes he would brush her finger when he took the cup she offered and sometimes, just sometimes, it would make them both jittery and breathless.

“Are we still on course to land at eleven?”

“Far as I know.” He shrugged and sat down at the table. “I haven’t been told otherwise.”

Their words, sparse as they were, stopped for a while as Mal’s finger traced the pattern of the wood on the table. There were little things he tried not to see, like the fact that they no longer needed that extra stool to fit people at the table when they ate. That the chair next to Zoe was always left empty and the chairs next to Kaylee, Simon, Inara and himself never were. That Jayne sometimes lifted weights alone and with a viciousness that was almost foolhardy.

He didn’t ask her what she had to do on Aberdeen and she didn’t offer, but the knowledge of it hung heavy between them, waiting.

“Morning, Sir, Inara.”

He looked up to see Zoe in the doorway and, before he could stop himself, his eyes scanned her up and down, he wasn’t sure what he was looking for, just that he couldn’t stop himself checking for it. A weakness, a sign that she wasn’t coping as well as she’d like everyone to believe.

When he got to her eyes, she didn’t look away, her brows raised slightly and he knew that she was getting very close to annoyed with his overt concern. And it was only going to get worse.

“Jayne and Simon are coming on the job today.” He saw her pause on the way to the food nooks, a moment to gather herself and curb whatever she was going to say. “You’re staying with the ship.”

“If you think that’s necessary, Sir.” Her cup was placed on the bench with a sharp force that made him wince.

“It’s a dangerous job.” He tried to explain. “I don’t want you out there right now.”

“Of course.” Zoe sipped her tea.

Fact of the matter was, he had to think about his crew, all of them. It was a dangerous job and if anything happened he wouldn’t be able to handle the guilt of it, not on top of the guilt he already had. They’d lost two of their crew, he wasn’t about to betray their memory by losing the possibility of another.

Kaylee and Simon chose that moment to bound into the kitchen and suddenly it seemed full, the shadowed corners that threatened to implode when it had just been the three of them.

“Hey Zoe.” Kaylee smiled and Mal thought he saw Zoe smile back. “How’re you feeling today?”

Mal wondered how she did it, how she was able to mother Zoe so blatantly and not get on the woman’s bad side.

“I’m keeping down the tea.” Zoe said. “It’s an improvement on yesterday.”

He watched Kaylee and Simon share a glance and saw something in it that terrified him. It was inevitable, impossible to even think of fighting it, that Kaylee would hover over Zoe right now, that she would cluck and fuss. He just hoped she wasn’t getting any ideas.

Prayed, as a matter of fact, with the same vim and vigor he used to thank whatever deity for Zoe’s health, for the possibility of laughter again, with the kind of faith he hadn’t allowed himself in a long, long time.

A smile edged the corners of Inara’s mouth and he knew that she understood what he was thinking. Woman had always gotten under his skin like that, the only difference was that he didn’t mind it quite so much anymore.

Superstition is an ugly word when you’re responsible for peoples’ lives, Mal knew it, yet he’d never been able to shake the belief that there was a balance and the good times were always paid for with bad, but he had never questioned himself as to who paid and who gained and whether it was worth it in the end.

***

COMMENTS

Friday, October 14, 2005 10:57 PM

AMDOBELL


This was very good but also too short. Would have loved a little more of Mal's thinking. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 3:13 PM

LANCECONSTABLELOGAN


Oh, Jacqui! I just discovered this series and WoW! Wowwee Wow! So hypnotic and true. The characterization, especially in this one is pitch perfect, telling us things we've always suspected but could never put into words. Just Shiny As Hell!


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