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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Repost of chapter 6. Mal goes to face his demons, but does not expect what he finds. Elise feels out of place, and Mal brings home a guest, but Harvey sees that something is not quite right...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1108 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Raising the Dead
The Captain of Serenity turned slowly away from the windows on the bridge of his ship to face the Captain of Destiny. The night was beginning to fall, and both crews were now mingling in Serenity’s Dining Hall, which was filled nearly beyond max capacity. The only two not in attendance were Simon and River; Mal wasn’t willing to risk that someone from Destiny would I.D. the brother and sister and alert the Alliance, so the Tams were safely tucked away in Kaylee’s bunk for the night.
The pair of Captains, however, at Mal’s request had slipped away to the relative privacy of the bridge, and with the doors shut to the outside world, the two of them had sat in silence until Etris broke the still air between them.
“Inara,” Mal echoed. He still didn’t know how to put names on the emotions that swirled inside of him. He knew that some of them were because of Inara, but the majority were all wrapped around the words that Inara had written in her letter to him:
I had the privilege of meeting your mother today, and she begged me to get in touch with you…
His mother…still alive?
Mal focused on Etris. “Just Mal,” he said softly. He took a deep breath. “I remember you, you know,” he began. “When Zoe started organizin’ those who were still walkin’ to round up all the wounded, she disappeared for a while, and then came back with one of my wounded men.” He paused, considering how to say the next part. “You were helpin’ her carry him. Him, and then a few others. Then you disappeared.”
Etris looked down sheepishly. “You know as well as I do what they would have done to an Alliance officer caught helping the Independents, even after the war was over.” He paused, and then, softer, “Even if that Alliance officer didn’t want to be Alliance anymore.”
Silence again. For at least fifteen minutes, neither man spoke. Instead, Mal focused again on thoughts of his mother. Memories of his life before the war, before the Reavers…
“I need to do something,” Mal stated bluntly, “And since Zoe’s busy keepin’ order, I think I’m gonna need some company.” He looked at Etris expectantly.
The other man nodded.
* * *
The sign stood crooked in the ground, the words on it nearly faded after years of neglect. How the sign hadn’t blown away long ago Mal didn’t know, but he took its continued existence as a good omen. He needed something good now.
He looked back at the mule where Etris still sat, leaving Mal to tend to his business alone. While a lot about Destiny’s captain screamed Alliance, like his posture and the way he interacted with his crew, something about the man had grabbed for Mal’s trust, and had somehow gotten it. Maybe it was his memories of the aftermath of Serenity Valley, or maybe the eclectic crew that followed the man, but Etris Kurdian had earned the respect of Malcolm Reynolds faster than Mal would have expected.
Mal turned back to the sign and gave it a good dusting with his sleeve before moving past it. He began climbing up the hill, the one that at one time had overlooked his home. The grass had grown wild, and by now had probably overtaken the burned out husk of what remained of his family’s ranch. Of course, he hadn’t stepped foot on his land in nearly six years, not since the Alliance released him and Zoe from that luh-suh of a prison. Not since he had found all that his family had worked so hard for destroyed, and everyone that had worked for it dead. Not since he erected the simple memorial for his mother.
That’s where he headed now.
Before he crested the hill and saw the ruins of his former home again, he wanted to visit his mother. He had to see the memorial and make sure that it was still there. Inara had said that she had seen his mother, but that simply wasn’t possible. She was dead, had been long before Mal found the charred body wearing his mother’s favorite dress. She just couldn’t be alive.
He reached the memorial, and something inside of him jumped. The concrete headstone was still there, and in the fading light he ran his fingers across the inscription, across the name that had always been his strength. Abigail Reynolds. Ma. He felt the tears coming, and he tried to fight them. He knew that somewhere underneath where he stood, her body lay. Inara was wrong. She was dead.
He dropped to his knees and began pulling at the dirt at the base of the headstone. He hadn’t only buried his mother there. He had buried something else as well. His fingers dug into the ground until they raked against something solid. He felt for the outline of the small box, and dug it out, lifting it up to his face.
The box was small, no bigger than his fist, but what was in it didn’t need a bigger vessel. When he buried his mother, everything that had happened to him over the previous years all came crashing together. From the war, to Serenity Valley, to the prison, to the Reavers killing his mother, it all came to a head. The betrayal he had felt at Serenity Valley was even stronger then, so alongside his mother he buried piece of his strength: the gold cross she had given him years before.
Alongside his mother, he had buried God.
Now, he just had to see it again, just to make sure that it was still there, that it was still buried. The simple lock was crusted with dirt. He had lost the key to it long ago, but all it took was one smash from the butt of his revolver to break it off. He took a deep breath and slowly opened the box to find-
-Nothing! The box was empty. The cross was gone. What kind of tah mah de would do something like that?
The grass rustled behind him, and he spun, gun in his hand and pointing at the silhouetted figure standing there.
The figure that held his cross, swinging from one of – her? – hands. Who in the good gorram…?
And then the sun dropped below the horizon, and in the light of the evening Malcolm Reynolds found himself, for the first time in almost a decade, staring into the face of his mother.
* * *
Elise Dyan sat with her arms crossed, surveying the scene in Serenity’s Dining Hall. All of Destiny’s crew was there, save for Harvey, who had volunteered to stay behind with the ship. Serenity’s crew was there as well. The two crews, after the extensive introductions done by Captain Reynolds’ First Officer, had gathered together for a meal cooked by the Shepherd (a Shepherd on a cargo transport?) that was actually edible and rather tasty. Now, everyone had seemed to find their counterparts and had separated into little groups.
The First Officer Zoe and her husband Wash (Serenity’s pilot, and apparently as good one, despite his rather loud Hawaiian shirt) sat with Hesh, the two pilots apparently striking a rapport while Zoe simply looked on and smiled. Shepherd Book and Rian were huddled together by the far door, with Book gesturing furiously at his bible while Rian argued back, obviously defending her Muslim upbringing. To their right, Serenity’s young mechanic Kaylee (how a girl like that could keep a Firefly in flight, Elise would never understand) was engaged in an animated discussion with Togan about something to do with a catalyzer and compression coils. The final group consisted of Tark and Gretta laughing up a storm with Jayne (Ha! A mercenary with a girl’s name!). Apparently, everyone had found someone that they had similarities with.
Everyone except her.
She stood up, walked to the other side of the room and stepped into the hallway containing the crew quarters. She glanced back and saw Hesh look her way; but the glance was fleeting, and he looked away almost as quickly. It hurt her, the way things were falling apart between them, but she couldn’t back down on what she believed, no matter what it did to their relationship.
“Hello Elise,” came the voice to her left, and Elise cringed.
“Nice of you to join us, Inara,” she shot back sarcastically. Inara was the last person she wanted to see right now. The whore just seemed to know the worst times to show up. She looked over at the Companion, who was smiling softly at her as she walked out of the small alcove of stairs that led from the cargo bay below. “Everyone’s in there,” Elise said, jabbing her thumb in the direction of the Dining Hall.
Inara smiled again. “Thank you,” she said, before strolling past Elise and into the room. Elise listened for a moment, hearing Kaylee chirp with delight, and then decided that she couldn’t take any more. She walked down the hallway and up the stairs to the bridge, sliding the door shut behind her. The voices faded quickly and she breathed a sigh of relief.
She stood there for a moment, turning slowly and taking in the room around her. The main lights were off, but the lights on the panels, along with the starlight filtering in through the windows was enough to light her way. Walking slowly, she ran her hand along the back of the pilot’s chair, smiling as she recalled the nights Hesh and her had spent on Destiny’s bridge “getting to know each other better.” God, she loved Hesh. But why did he have to be so damn chivalrous all the time. If she was upset about something, he was supposed to side with her, not some interplanetary whore.
She sighed as she reached the windows and looked out over the landing tarmac. She would have to have a sit down with Hesh at some point. Maybe when they were back in the air.
Something caught her eye below and she looked to see the lights of the mule in the distance, its three passengers hanging on over the bumps in the road.
She looked harder, and sure enough, sitting between Etris and Mal was a young girl, no older than sixteen. She couldn’t see her features from her viewpoint, but she did notice the way Mal held onto her, almost as if he were afraid to let her go.
But what were the headlights behind them? Another mule? She glanced at the first mule again and saw the girl looking up at her and there was a flash of pain -
The mule rounded a smaller spaceship and Elise got a better view of Mal and the older woman he was supporting…but wasn’t she a girl only a second ago? – flash – the mule approached Serenity and Elise caught the eye of the older woman right before the mule disappeared underneath the nose of the ship, and all she could think of was how much the woman looked like Mal.
* * *
Harvey peered around the edge of Destiny’s cargo bay door for the hundredth time, the gun he had grabbed out of the storage locker held tightly in his hand. Gorramit, he hated being on Shadow. After all, the Reavers had already attacked the planet once, what was to stop them from doing it again? He glanced over at Serenity, sitting on the tarmac not 100 yards from where he stood, and saw Etris and Serenity’s captain pull up in the mule with what looked to be a young girl. Now who would that be? He was about to walk over to the other ship when a second mule pulled up behind the first, and two men in identical black suits stood up off of it and walked over to where the first mule sat. The odd thing was, though, only the girl seemed to notice them. Both Captains remained oblivious to the suited men. Who were they?
And why were they wearing blue gloves?
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