Have Wings, Will Fly Chapter 4: Wakeup
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The morning after the jailbreak, Arden meets the crew. Whether that's a good thing or not, well, that's for him to decide.


Have Wings, Will Fly Chapter 4: Wakeup

Here’s the next chapter! A little is revealed about Arden. More to come, you’ll see! Thank you all sooo much for the input and comments. They make me smile. A lot. Enjoy! ~*~*~ River had some difficulty waking up the next morning to prepare Serenity for her next flight. Her thought’s trailed to that of the newfound Arden. He was down the hall sleeping a hard and dreamless sleep. The crew decided they would have a Simon-style explanation the following morning after takeoff.

River, knowing that the captain was about to yell at her any minute for not having the ship ready, climbed out of her bunk. She stopped and peeked into the guest room. Arden was on his side. His hair was a light, almost sandy brown. River, being the tactile person she is, wanted nothing more than to run her hands through it. Deciding he looked peaceful enough, River slipped the door shut.

She sat in the cockpit and flipped the three overhead switches. River glanced forlornly out of the window to admire Marina’s coastline in the early dawn. The sun was just a faint pink-orange glimmer on the horizon.

“This is your pilot speaking. Buckle up and prepare for takeoff. I know it’s early, but the sooner the better. My breakfast should be ready by the time we get out of atmo. Unless you want another dance lesson.”

Mal awoke with a grudging groan.

“That girl has a lot to learn about how orders are given on this boat,” he pulled on his trousers and shoved his feet into his boots. “That ‘how’ would be me!” Mal walked down the bridge, ramming on everyone’s doors yelling, “Wake up, sleepyheads. We got us some items need tendin’ to after take--”

Mal didn’t have to finish his sentence. River had set Serenity flying sooner than he had expected, sending him and the rest of the half-awake and half-dressed crew hurling around their cabins. Mal hit the deck hard and tasted blood. Gorrammit. He slowly picked himself up and made his way to the cockpit.

“Now, little one, there’s no need for more of your spectacular flyin’ showcases today. We just want to get to Newhall in one piece, dong ma?”

“I’m sorry sir. I honestly can’t help myself sometimes.” She looked up at him.

Mal initially thought that she was being sarcastic. Not helping herself sometimes was a severe understatement when it came to her and her flying. This time she looked sincerely sorry, and Mal cursed himself for thinking otherwise. He placed a hand gently on the top of her head.

“’Sokay. It’s certainly a better wakeup call than I could ever give.” Mal sat down in the copilot seat, strapped in, and watched outside the window as they breached atmo. It was always a beautiful sight as the clouds whipped past them, then the fiery explosion as they reached black space. Hopefully, this time we’ll finally be off to a calm, relaxin’ vacation. I could really use a decent nap, Mal thought. Then again, we now not only have one crazy on board, but possibly two. And that just makes vacations not go smooth. ~*~*~ Arden jolted awake by Serenity’s violent lurch. He sat up, and immediately wished he hadn’t. He retched and looked at his feet. Slowly, he brought his head up and looked around at the sparsely decorated passenger bunk. There were a few touches of homeliness, (unbeknownst to him, but thanks to a certain mechanic). A crude framed picture of a flower in a vase hung on the wall, and a flower-painted lamp sat on his bedside table. This certainly wasn’t like the room Arden was forced into at Achilles. Suddenly, the memory of the previous night hit him like a moving train. He had just met a whole flock of strangers who beat up the guard who punched him, and then they tossed him into a ship. The last thing he saw was the face of a beautiful girl. He had seen her before, but only in his dreams. Arden rubbed his face. I’m safe now, I think. He stood up slowly, made a note to clean up his mess later, and stepped onto the bridge. He looked around, and saw a girl in coveralls climbing up out of another bunk.

“Oh! You’re awake! Did…you have a bit of an accident?” She nodded towards his shirt, which had bits still plastered to it.

“I, uh, where exactly am I?” Arden asked tentatively. He had every reason to be suspicious of everyone now after he met those guys with the blue gloves on. Looks could be mighty deceiving, but he had a hard time not immediately trusting this girl. She just exuded a sort of warmth he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

“Why, this here beauty is Serenity. She’s the finest ship this side of the ‘verse if I do say so myself. I’m Kaylee.” Kaylee reached out and put a hand on his shoulder. “Come on, let’s get you a fresh shirt.”

She led him down into her bunk, where he saw a man hastily pulling a pair of pants on.

“Kaylee! What the--! Can you at least let me get some clothes on before you bring someone down here?!” Kaylee giggled. She loved a flustered Simon. Added to his charm.

“I just need one of your shirts. Our new friend here seems to have made a mess of his.” She tossed him a clean white t-shirt and climbed back up the ladder. “I need to make breakfast now. Although, I wouldn’t mind at all if River made y’all dance the tango up on that table again.” She smirked at Simon, who returned with an exasperated grin.

~*~*~ The crew surrounded the dining room table, chatting, yawning, and stretching. Kaylee was standing at the stove cooking. Simon and Arden entered the room, and everyone silenced. After a few seconds of awkwardness, Inara spoke up:

“Hey there. How are you feeling? You had quite an ordeal last night. Here, take a seat.”

Arden blushed as he sat down. She was breathtaking. Inara tended to have that effect on everyone.

“So, Arden, is it?” Mal asked. “Mind telling’ us exactly why we followed the instructions of a crazy girl, nearly got our asses shot off, and dragged you out of a Fed-infested mental facility?” Inara shot him a would-you-let-him-rutting-sit-down-first? look. He pretended he didn’t see her and folded his arms across his chest.

Arden took a deep breath. “Well, my name is, uh, Arden—“

“Yeah, yeah, we gots that part boy. Just get to the meaty stuff so’s we can get us some breakfast!” Jayne interjected none too gracefully. River tore her eyes from Arden and tossed a spoon at Jayne, hitting him smack in the forehead. Jayne made to stand up, but Kaylee punched him in the arm. He sat down and scowled at River. She poked her tongue out at him, making Jayne’s scowl deepen.

“Acually it’s Arden Nereus, but most just call me ‘Ari’. I- well, thank you,” he took another steadying breath. “Thank you so much for getting me out of that place. It was, not what I had expected, that’s for sure. I thought that I was going there to become a top pilot. They said my talent mentioned by all of my teachers in grade school was just what they were looking for. I went in for what I thought was an aptitude test. The men, well, they were courteous enough, but when they strapped me into that chair I knew I wouldn’t be getting out of that place anytime soon. Until you came.” He turned to River and gave her a small, sincere smile.

“So what planet you from, son?” Mal asked.

“Ariel. I lived in a small town called Lyn. My parents were both pilots and owned a shipping company. See, I was sent to the most prestigious school on Ariel and was recommended to apply for this “Academy” that I had never heard of. The scholarship possibilities were more than excellent. I wanted to be a pilot” He shook his head in disbelief. In the space of two weeks I was sent to a wacko school, and got busted out by a ragtag crew on some luh suh wreck my parents wouldn’t even have touched. Oh, and I was somehow able to psychically contact some girl I had never even met before. What next?

“Arden, if you don’t mind me asking, what did they do to you when you were in there? Did they perform any kind of surgery? Because if they used any kind of implantations, shots, electro--” Simon stopped mid-question as he spotted River clutching the table, white knuckled and shaking, her eyes squeezed shut.

“Uh, Simon, perhaps less describin’, ‘kay?” Kaylee shot Simon a troubled look from across the table.

“I’m sorry, mei mei,” he rushed behind her chair and rubbed River’s arms.

“No, I’m fine. I want to hear.” Truth was, River already knew what Arden was going to say. He hadn’t been tampered with at all. The tests were preliminary for deciding placement for students. He was supposed to be a stealth pilot. His mind was racing now, searching for answers to questions he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to answer. He felt River’s presence in his mind, and out of pure habit forced her out. River’s face shot up at Arden. She looked at him with a mix of puzzlement and frustration. His mind was certainly stronger than everyone else she’d met except for a few students at the academy, and hers, or course. But she already knew he was psychic even before she saw him in person. How else could he have reached out to her so powerfully?

Arden faltered from the intrusion, and sat down quickly.

“If I may speak, which I haven’t done much lately thanks to all you nonstop chatterheads, I think that maybe that’s enough questions for this morning. I’m hungry!” Wash yelled from the infirmary. Zoe sighed and rolled her eyes to the crew before grabbing a plate and heading for her husband.

~*~*~ Arden sat in his quarters. He wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to talk to anyone else from the crew right now, and everyone was now off doing their own things. He was very disorientated from the whole ordeal.

Just then, his door slid open, revealing a face framed by long, messy hair. River stepped into his room without a sound. Arden was still wondering why she walked around without any shoes; the gorram ship was an icebox. She sat next to him on his bed and gave him the strangest look. He wasn’t sure if it was amusement or…well, he just wasn’t sure. She tilted her head to the right and lifted her chin, looking down at him.

“Um, hi?”

“You blocked me.”

“I what?”

“Shut me out. I’m thankful, though. You’re an enigma.” She smiled.

Arden shifted uncomfortably on the bed. He really wasn’t what you would call a ‘ladies man’ back on Ariel despite his unmistakable attractiveness. His parents had sent him to an all-boys school. He really hadn’t been this close to a girl, and he could tell this one wasn’t quite right in the head. I really had to ask ‘what next?’, huh?

“You can read minds like me. But you have the power to control it. I cannot,” she tapped her temple. “Did you know that?”

“Well, no, not really. I never really believed in psychics or anything like that until I was around thirteen or so. I began to hear things in my head, and wondered if I was crazy--”

River gave a hollow laugh.

“Well, uh,” Seriously, this girl was giving him the major creeps. She kept staring at him oddly, or played with her foot. “I seem to be able to reach out to other people, hear some thoughts, and convey my own towards them. With my mind, you know?” He paused awkwardly.

“You can also shut people out. Closed door, but not locked. Many keys, but only one fits. My door is erratic.”


“But then you found me.” Arden wanted to be making friends, here, not crazy enemies.

“No, you found me.” River lifted her hand and ran it through his hair. She then stood up and flounced out the door, grinning. Behind her back, she could just see the confounded look on poor Arden’s face as he ran his own hand through his hair.

She bumped into Simon in the hallway.

“River, what are you doing down here? Shouldn’t you be flying this thing or something?” He peered over her shoulder to Arden’s closed door to his room.

River turned her head slightly to the left and gave him a sly smile. “Leave the door open.”

“River, what door?” But before he could say anything, she disappeared down the hallway. Simon stood for a second, then opened Arden’s door. Arden was still sitting on his bed with a dumb look on his face. Simon didn’t know exactly what made him do it, but he’d seen that look on Arden’s face when River talked to other people. Simon suddenly said, “You so much as touch her, so help me God, and my scalpel will mysteriously find itself stuck up your--”

“SIMON!” Kaylee stormed up to him and grabbed him roughly by the arm.

“Kaylee, what…?”

“Don’t scare the poor boy! I’m sure he’n River was just talkin’! You threaten him again and you’ll find yourself explainin’ to the captain why my wrench is up your ass!”

Simon opened his mouth a few times like a fish out of water, and gave Arden a fleeting what’s-gotten-into-her look before quietly walking off to check on Wash.

“Well, someone had to say ‘ass’! You and your gorram manners, Simon!” Kaylee yelled after Simon. She turned to Arden and said, “I likes to keep my men in check, ‘s all, Ari.” She winked and followed Simon.

Day keeps getting better and better .

~*~*~ “You know Mal, I’m sure he’s a fine boy. You don’t have to always assume every new crewmember is going to try and kill you in your sleep.”

“Well, considerin’ our past little incidents, I’d say I have every right to assume. Let’s go back to ol’ Dobson. ‘Member him? Shot Kaylee, called the Feds, and woulda shot me, too had he gotten the chance. Oh, and let’s not forget our little Albatross, here. Scary as guay, that one is. Pulled a gun on me twice!”

“But we still trust her, Mal.” Inara began to pour some tea as they sat in the kitchen.

“Yeah, sometimes not entirely sure why that is.”

A silence filled the kitchen broken only by Inara’s polite sips and Mal’s

“Hey, you got any respectable clientele lined up on Newhall?”

Inara gave him an incredulous look.

“Take that as a ‘no’, then. Well, uh, perhaps we can all go and, y’know, do some sight seein’ when we reach Delmar.” Mal scratched his head and glanced at Inara, who seemed to be struggling to find the right words.

“Yes, well, we could all do with a vacation, couldn’t we?” Inara knew she added the ‘all’ simply to clear up any assumptions Mal might have misinterpreted with her answer. Sometimes she wished he would leave out the ‘we all’s, too. Was it too much to ask for an ‘us’?

~*~*~ Jayne and Zoe sat in the infirmary with Wash. Wash had been in the same bed for weeks now. The only time he got out was for sponge baths from Zoe, which he wished he had more of.

“I’m just curious what this Delmar place if like. Doesn’t seem nearly as grand as Marina, but at least it’s small, not a likely hangout for Feds,” Zoe stroked Wash’s hair gently.

“If they juggle anything, I’m out of there.”

“Well, the cap’n suggested it, so’s I guess he has somethin’ relaxin’ in mind.” Jayne said thoughtfully. Unusually.

“’The captain suggested it’. Shouldn’t that be a big, ruttin’ red warning sign?”

“Honey, need I remind you of your suggestion?”

“Just thought it would be a cultural experience…” Wash trailed off. He was still in denial about Canton, and every once in awhile tried to find his crappy town where he was a hero. He was convinced that somewhere, some small town had heard of his flying prowess and decided to devote themselves to his name. He suggested going to one of Athen’s moons, which are indeed crappy.

~*~*~ River sat at the cockpit, as became the usual fashion while they weren’t planetside. They’d be landing on Newhall late tonight or early morning. River wished for things to settle down. She didn’t think she could handle more trouble after the hell everyone went through earlier. She picked up the careworn Bible and opened it. Arden was confusing. He didn’t seem threatening or deceiving. Yet…he seemed something else to her. Having the ability to read minds doesn’t reveal all, and River knew that.

She sighed and glanced down at Book’s old Bible. In these yellowed pages River hoped to find a trace of his wisdom and guidance. Her mind wandered and she soon found herself looking at tiny blurred words. She placed it back on the console next to Wash’s captive stegosaurus. River peered back outside at the black. Millions of stars winked and flickered at her. She turned off the lights, leaving only the blue glow of the consol illuminate the cockpit and cast it in an eerie light. To River’s surprise, she felt warmth spread across her entire body, and she could almost swear she felt a gentle touch on her shoulder. She smiled softly and began to drift into a dreamless sleep.

End chapter 4.


Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:57 AM


Enjoying this but wondering what in the nine hells that was River felt at the end. Somehow didn't seem something Arden would be doing but in fanfic you never know... Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, December 15, 2005 1:44 PM


Yeah, I'm not sure exactly *what* Arden is doing right now. He seems a bit of a mystery, but a normal kid at the same time, you know? I think he'll be fleshed out a lot more in the next chapter. I'm just wondering as to how that will come around. I'm not too much of a fan of this chapter. It just seems awkward to me, but that's what I get for writing it on 2 hours of sleep.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 12:16 PM


Then again, we now not only have one crazy on board, but possibly two.
that ship is turning into a regular institution, ain't it?


Monday, December 19, 2005 6:13 PM


I love awkward Simon! That was too cute. And I'll thank you very much, you owe me a shirt, since I spit my very hot coffee out when that spoon smacked Jayne right in the forehead. You have a gift for those cute little moments.


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