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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation and, sometimes, you find you're better for it.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1991 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Yeah, I promised answers in this bit, I know it. But they ain't here. I'm sorry, the characters just wouldn't stop their own little stories and it was getting too long. The answers will come. I promise.
I didn't want to end it here. There was a very interesting and revealing scene scheduled RIGHT AFTER it. But it would be a long one and it shall just have to wait.
Title: Something From Nothing (3/?).
Disclaimer: Only one is mine, the rest belong to Joss.
Comments: There are some highly amusing theories flying about right now and I'm not going to tell anyone who is and isn't right. That said, it would be interesting to see if someone got it right.
Previous Chapters: one and two.
Kaylee woke up with a start, her heart pounding as she scrambled back and pushed herself up to a sitting position. It took her a second to remember, to recognize the shuttle.
She'd fallen asleep on the floor next to James.
Her eyes sought him out in the near dark and her ears pricked for the sound of air being pulled, noisily, through his nose. He was going to snore when he got older, she knew it. Just like his father.
For the first time in a long time, the thought made her happy.
"C'mon." He was a dead weight when he slept and she concentrated on that to stop her hands shaking. "You come keep me company."
She carried him over to the bed and snuggled down into the blankets with him. His head smelled clean as she ran her fingers through his hair. Thick, dark curls that tangled as she stretched them out and let them spring back. She hadn't had the heart to cut them herself.
"Kaylee? What in the gorram hell is that?"
She looked up to see Mal standing at the edge of the corridor with Inara. He was frowning and Kaylee had the sneakiest suspicion it was because of the drilling so early in the morning.
She'd forgotten how much of a grump he could be.
"It's a work bench, Cap'n."
"I can see..." He pinched the bridge of his nose and breathed in. "Ain't it a little small?"
"I think it's the most adorable thing I've ever seen." Inara grinned. "Mal, look at it."
"I am lookin' at it and I'm wonderin' why, in all seven levels of hell, you're sittin' there fixin' up toys when the engine ain't holdin' together."
Kaylee stood up and made sure she didn't flinch as she set her face.
"I don't work without my son. I don't take my son into open engine rooms and let him wander. He needs somewhere safe here before I even begin with the mess your man left behind."
"Kaylee." He immediately backtracked. "I didn't..."
"Engine's holdin' fine, Cap'n." She didn't blink. "Last thing I don't ever do is put my son in danger, that includes flying in a ship ready to blow. Which this ain't, I already checked."
As he stepped toward her, Kaylee only hoped he couldn't see how much she was shaking.
"I'm a fool, mei mei." Like she could ever deny that man anything. "You know that, I don't ever think before I speak."
"You gotta understand, Cap'n." Damn it, her chin was trembling. "There ain't nothin' more important to me than that boy. Not me, not his daddy, not you, not this ship and certainly not a... a gorram job. I will... if I gotta... I'll..."
"Kaylee." She couldn't remember when he'd gotten so close, or when his arms had reached out to her, but she found herself buried in his chest. "Oh, Kaylee, what the hell happened out there?"
"Mal, don't push her." She could feel Inara behind her, felt the hand that ran through her hair. "Kaylee, mei mei, it's alright. You're okay now, both of you."
Kaylee didn't cry. Kaylee never cried. She didn't know that weak person in Mal's arms, the alien being whose sobs choked on the way out and whose hands gripped the front of his shirt.
He found River and the boy in the cargo bay.
"James." She held up the triceratops again.
"River, what are you doin'?"
"Expanding his vocabulary. There are very few formative years left." The dinosaur jiggled in mid air. "James."
Jayne huffed as he sat on the nearby weight bench.
"But he already knows his own name."
"I know that." River said through clenched teeth. He couldn't help interrupting her teaching session, sometimes she was an easy mark, just like her brother. "He doesn't know ours. Now let me finish."
"Hey, I didn't do nothin'."
She didn't respond to him and instead waggled the toy for a last time.
"James." She pleaded.
In front of her, sitting on a blanket spread out on the cargo bay floor, James studied her face with a serious expression. His eyebrows crinkled together and his eyes swam between her and the dinosaur in her hand.
"James." He answered.
She grinned and dipped the toy down, tickling him with it. He had a bright, gurgling laugh that hiccupped throughout the bay. Jayne watched the same joy spread over River's face. He could tell she loved the kid, could tell that bein' with him made her feel better.
"Okay now." She sat back, making her face serious again as she pointed to herself. "Ray."
"I want." His hand reached out to grab the dino and she pulled it out of his reach.
"Me too, but you say my name first." She pointed to herself again. "Ray."
To Jayne's ever lovin' glee, the kid pouted.
"Nearly." She coaxed. "Just Ray. Once. Ray."
Jayne chuckled, couldn't help it.
"You're not helping." She threw at him.
"Whatever." He sneered. "Ray Ray."
"Fine." River pointed over to the bench and grinned at the baby. "Jayne."
The kid frowned again and he could feel see the confusion waft over him, saw him struggle to make the connection River so obviously wanted him to make.
"No, sweetie." There was a hint of frustration in her voice as River picked him up, settled him in her lap and guided his hand to point over to the bench. "Jayne. Nnn."
The kid pulled his hand out of hers and brought it back to his own face, his finger pulling his bottom lip down.
"Aw, hell, girl." Jayne sighed as he sank down off the bench and onto the floor next to them. "It don't matter much what he wants to call me."
Big, blue eyes studied little ones as they faced off.
"What do ya reckon, kid?" He stretched his arms out to the side. "Huh? Whaddya think?"
"Big." James answered seriously.
Jayne watched River's shoulders tremble as she tried to hold in her giggles. It didn't work, they spilled up and out of her. Her head fell forward and her hair tumbled after.
"Well ya ain't wrong."
He grinned and took a chance.
The boy was small in his hands as he lifted him up and out of the tangles of long, brown hair. Slowly and softly, he gave the kid every chance to protest. None came. Jayne's arms shook as he held the boy in front of his face. His own large fingers wrapped nearly all the way around the little body.
Small fingers reached out and touched his nose.
"Ray Ray's laughing."
"Yeah." He breathed out with relief. "She is at that."
It was crowded, so very crowded at lunch. Kaylee tried not to notice it, hated noticing it. She'd never noticed before how so many people made so much noise in a small space like the mess.
Mal sat at the head of the table, as always, and she tried not to remember the last time she'd been there. Next to him sat Inara and there was nothing new in that, they'd always sat together, but as wrapped up in her own world as she had been, Kaylee could see that there was something different between them. They didn't fight as much and they didn't walk alone.
Zoe sat on Mal's other side, with Wash next to her. Kaylee found them comforting, knowing that they hadn't changed, that they still cared so much. She found it endearing, the lengths Wash was going to, trying to win James over. And she hoped Zoe would take notice.
Simon kept to himself and she couldn't figure if he'd gotten that way after she'd left or if he was just giving her the space she'd asked for. He was still there, she felt it, felt his quite support and understanding and was grateful. Book sat at the other end of the table, pragmatic as ever, with his kind voice and kinder eyes.
Which left Jayne and River and she couldn't quite remember how she come to sit between them. It had just happened. All she knew was that she’d tried to avoid sitting too close to Mal. It wasn’t personal, she just wanted to distance herself from earlier.
River was a godsend, it surprised her how well James had taken to her, but it shouldn't have. She'd been able to set up his little work bench just out the door of the engine room that morning without worrying too much about where he was.
Jayne, for his part, didn't say much to her at all, but she hadn't expected him to. He didn't even look much at her, not that she could see, but he was watching them. She could feel it. It surprised her when he reached over and grabbed the bread basket, bringing it to her just before she'd been about to ask.
She bounced James on her knee, one arm wrapped around his middle as she ate with her other. There was no doubt about it, she was glad to be back where there was real food and plenty of it. Even if she could hear the way they'd all once complained about the never ending protein.
One thing she'd noticed was that no one had made any comments about the lack of choice after she'd eaten third helpings the night before, one after the other, without stopping. She hadn't been able to stop herself, ravenous and relaxed in front of a full table didn't allow her much self control.
Of course, she'd paid for it after, her belly knotting in a hard lump, closing in on itself and grinding, but she didn't think any of them needed to know that. She was just more sensible with it today.
A small whimper brought her out of her reverie in time to see the bread roll James had been gnawing on hit her plate and roll off towards the middle of the table.
"Hang on, sweetie, I'll..."
"Here ya go."
Before she could even put down her own food, Jayne had grabbed it and held it out. Kaylee waited for something, anything. It stunned her when all James did was break out in a grin and take it back.
She blinked and found herself leaning forward, whispering automatically into the small ear.
"What do you say?"
"No problem, kid." Jayne nodded. "I got your back."
"Did you see that?" Wash asked. "He likes Jayne now! Does he like everyone else, too? Am I the only one?"
"He ain't taken to me, either." Mal grumbled.
"Well." Inara nudged him gently. "Maybe if you stopped growling orders for longer than five minutes at a time..."
Kaylee kissed the top of her baby's head, her brain couldn't concentrate, kept replaying the last minute over and over.
"Wash?" Jayne stormed onto the bridge. "You turn this boat around, dong ma?"
"Wash?" Mal stood up from the copilot's chair and faced Jayne, his voice carried behind him. "Don't even think about it."
"Mal." Jayne was nearly past caring that his voice sounded like it was pleading.
"I know what you want, Jayne." Mal's voice was steady and his eyes stayed still, forced him to meet them. "And we ain't going back. Not now."
"Maybe you ain't, but I am." Kaylee and the kid weren't anywhere near them and Jayne finally allowed the anger of it, the frustration rise up and bubble in his fists. "I'll take Inara's gorram shuttle if you don't..."
"You won't do a gorram thing, do you hear me?" His voice was steely, but the look in Mal's eyes was nothing but gentle. "She ain't ready. I don't know what happened and I don't even think she knows, but she ain't ready for what you're plannin'."
"I gotta do something." He could feel himself weaken. "Mal, I gotta..."
"You ain't gotta do nothin' but what you are doin', what we're all doin'." Mal placed his hands on Jayne's shoulders and lead him to the now empty copilot's chair. "An' that's just letting her be, letting her get back to normal with us."
"I wanna hurt someone real bad." Jayne may have been sitting down, but he wasn't calming down. "And if I ever..."
"I know." But Jayne didn't think he did, didn't think Mal got the real truth of it yet. "Now you sit there and don't you leave until you're calm again. Wash? You help calm him down."
"Me?" Wash squeaked. "What the hell can I do?"
"I don't know. Anything." Mal made a face. "Show him shadow puppets if you have to. I got stuff to do."
“Did you make these?” Inara’s face lit up as she examined the small wooden tools. “They’re just gorgeous.”
“Me?” Kaylee squeaked as she bounced James on her hip. “Oh, no. I do machines, I don’t do carving. I only ever did one, back when I was too big to do nothin’ but sit, and it ain’t pretty to look at. My daddy made these for him and the bench, too.”
“It’s an ingenious little set up, I must say.”
“Yeah.” She couldn’t keep the sad, wistful note out of her voice. Three months was too short a time. “James loves it, he sits in there when I work. We work together, mostly, he can stay there for hours if we need it.”
Her face paled.
“Not that I let him.” She hurried to say. “Not often. Really. There just wasn’t anything else to do with him when I had to work.”
“I wasn’t saying anything, mei mei.” Inara smiled. “I can’t imagine it was easy for you and I admire how well you’ve done.”
“Yeah.” Shrugging it off, Kaylee quickly sat James in his special seat. “We got by, didn’t we, sweetie? We’ve got a routine down pat.”
“Judging by the success of this morning, you do realize River would be more than happy to watch him sometimes?” She noticed Inara kept her voice simple. “And I would adore nothing more than spending time with him if you need a break.”
“Wouldn’t work.” Kaylee screwed up her nose. “He don’t take well to being apart for long. Small bit, yeah, but he grows real restless. Besides…”
She grinned a little, found the humor in it.
“River was more’n happy to have him until he started to get on the nose, then she brought him up quick enough for me to change him. It’ll just be easier if he’s here, then I can watch ‘im and not worry when I work.”
“If that’s what you…”
“Here, watch this.”
She picked up her tool box and the boy grinned.
“What should we start with? How ‘bout a wrench?”
Inara laughed as James quickly picked up the wooden wrench and held it up. His face glowed.
“Wait, no, what about a spanner?”
Again, he picked out the right tool and held it up. It was obvious he was playing for an audience as he watched Inara laugh again.
“Oh, you’re the sweetest thing alive.” Inara gushed. “There’s absolutely no doubt you’re your mother’s son.”
Kaylee grinned. She couldn’t help it. There was nothing but pure joy and pride in hearing her son being praised.
“Inara?” There was a tinge of disappointment she couldn’t explain as they turned to see Mal peering at them. “Can I talk to you a minute?”
“Of course.” Inara gathered her shawl around her shoulders and then placed a soft, transitory hand on Kaylee’s shoulder. “If you need me I won’t be far.”
It was selfish, she knew it, feeling resentful that he’d taken Inara away. They’d been laughing and she missed that, missed having someone to talk with. A smile hovered over her lips as she thought about asking Inara all the old questions about her clients. That old familiar yearning to share the romance, even if she couldn’t be part of it herself.
“Guess it’s you and me, James.” She grinned. “You ready to get to work?”
“Might as well.” She sighed and looked into the engine room. “I get the feeling we’ll be using all of them today.”
Jayne stared out into the black as they sat in silence. He wasn't going anywhere, wasn't about to get in the way of anyone when he was like this. That wasn't how it was done. Mal was right, he had to be calm before he left this room.
"Jayne?" Wash finally asked. "How'd you do it?"
"Huh?" He rolled his neck to look over. "Do what?"
"Get James to like you."
"You're too eager, little man. You gotta back off." He could see the confusion, the little frown in the middle of Wash's forehead and the tilt of his head. "He won't be won over with jokes and shiny toys."
"That's all I have." Wash pleaded.
"Kid like that? You gotta make 'em comfortable first." A pause. "You make him nervous, you're gonna make Kaylee nervous. You make Kaylee nervous and that kid ain't ever gonna trust you."
"Don't rush at him. Don't speak loudly to Zo' like you were or pretendin' to attack River. You just sit by whenever he's sitting quiet like with his ma, or even River, you let him see that they're comfortable with you first, he'll warm up."
“Jayne?” Wash looked down to the console before looking up. "A reaver attack doesn't do that."
"Yeah." Jayne's fingers curled around the arm of the chair as he looked out into the stars, he could feel the tendons around his knuckles stretch tight. "Don't I know it."
Kaylee felt her eyes droop as she placed the socket wrench in the tool box. She’d been unprepared for how drained she was going to feel, how utterly exhausting changing her routine would be.
She couldn’t quite understand the carelessness of a man who would let the engine go to ruin like that. Couldn’t quite understand how Mal would put up with it. Serenity was a beautiful ship and she deserved better.
“How you doin’, sweetie?”
James looked up at her when she popped her head around the corner. His voice had kept her going, she loved his chatter, even if it didn’t mean anything. She couldn’t add up all the time she’d wasted sitting still to see if she could decipher any of it. Most of it was nonsense, jumbled sounds that were almost words.
“Yawn.” He pointed at her.
“Yeah.” She stretched her jaw. “I did, but I ain’t sleepy. Not really.”
Kaylee sat next to his table and watched him, his busy little hands. Her back rested against the wall and she felt her shoulders grow heavy. It couldn’t hurt to sit down for a few minutes.
He walked down the corridor, heading to get a bite to eat when he heard it. Kid was mumblin’ to himself, his voice high and soft. Jayne hadn’t heard him sound like that before, all comfortable, like he was having a real conversation with someone.
Course, when he peeked ‘round the corner, James was sitting in that damned table, playing with some wooden toys and mumbling things to himself that weren’t real words. Least ways, not words Jayne had heard before.
Kaylee was lyin’ on the ground next to him and even Jayne could see she was asleep. He walked softly, slowly towards them.
“Hey kid.” James eyed him warily. “What’s up?”
Jayne squatted down, rested his wrists on his knees and pretended to look bored.
“Yeah, I see that.” A nod. “You think we should move her?”
The little face went wide.
“Mama’s workin’, stay put.” He frowned. “Mama’s sleepin, stay put.”
“They’s good rules.” Jayne ran a thoughtful thumb over the bristle on his chin. “Your ma ever let you sleep on the floor like that? Where it’s cold and uncomfortable?”
He watched the boy turn to look down at Kaylee and frown, then turn back and shake his head slowly.
“You want your ma sleepin’ down there?”
James looked down again and frowned even more.
“Tell you what, we’ll make a deal. How ‘bout you scramble on up my back, hold on ‘round my neck and you can watch over everything from up there? I’ll carry your ma.” Jayne winked. “Hell, tell you what, you think I ain’t gettin’ it right, you can even kick me. How’s that?”
It was too ruttin’ damn cute, the way the kid’s brow wrinkled up like that, as if he was makin’ the most serious decision of his life. He held his breath until he got a small nod as an answer.
“Come on then.”
Jayne lifted him out of the bench and stayed still as he climbed up, digging small shoes into the back of his kidneys. Small hands loosely gripped him ‘round the neck.
“Well, that ain’t gonna do. It’s a long way up.” Jayne carefully took hold of the hands and wrapped them tighter, steeling his throat against the grip. “Yeah, that’s better.”
Only then did he turn and look at Kaylee curled up on the floor. Her face was evened out in sleep, he hadn’t even realized how tense she’d been, how ever alert she’d kept herself until he saw her there.
His hands slid underneath her shoulders and her knees, gently pulling her up and taking her weight. Whatever there was left of it. He’d carried Kaylee before and in his memory, she weren’t ever as light as this.
It wasn’t easy going, keepin’ steady with Kaylee in his arms while a kid was hanging off his neck, but Jayne managed it. Kept them all from falling in a heap as they made their way down the small staircase and into the common area.
It would have been closer and probably easier to take her into the mess, but that was too crowded, people goin’ by all over the place”. At least down there, she could sleep on the couches while he kept the kid busy in the cargo bay. And the kid could still keep an eye on her.
When he lowered her down, her hand trailed over his shoulder and down his arm and Jayne closed his eyes for just a second. He shifted the muscles of his back, twisted them ‘round so James could slide right off.
“Hang on a sec.”
There was a blanket thrown over the back of the couch and Jayne pulled it down, covered her with it, and gently tucked it up around her shoulders. There was a mumbling sound in the back of her throat.
For his part, the kid stood next to the couch, watching every move Jayne made intently as his hand came out and touched his mother’s cheek.
“Ship gonna fly.”
“Yeah, kid.” Jayne sighed. “Your momma makes the ship fly real good.”
“An’ nice people?”
“If you say so.”
He watched as the boy leaned over and kissed the top of her head.
“An’ sleep, Mama.”
more to come...
Friday, March 24, 2006 6:52 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 7:08 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 7:23 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 7:55 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 9:07 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 9:09 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 9:14 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 11:01 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 11:10 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006 12:14 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006 12:22 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006 12:47 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006 2:12 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006 3:23 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006 4:52 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006 8:49 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006 10:07 PM
Saturday, March 25, 2006 2:41 PM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 2:15 AM
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