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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Mal and Wash meet up in the Alliance internment camp they are both assigned to.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1204 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Mal looked back up at Wash. "What the hell kind of summer camp did your parents send you to, anyway?" he asked, a grin sneaking across his face.
"The kind where spiders are haute cuisine, apparently."
Mal opened his eyes wide in shock and blinked rapidly. "You want me to eat him? But...I thought you were giving me a pet!" He looked fondly at the plate. "I couldn't eat Danny!"
"Man must do horrific and....horrible deeds to survive," Wash replied soberly. "Thanks for not punching me again, by the way."
"I like to save that for special occasions," Mal replied. "Too much work, punching folk before breakfast."
Wash stood. "Speaking of breakfast, that incredibly annoying ringing noise in your ears means it's time to go eat." He smiled at Mal. "Let's go. You can bring back a little something special for Danny." ____________________________________________________________________
Mal surveyed the small group gathering by the door in his housing unit. It was built to hold at least twenty men, yet he only counted six, including him and Wash.
Wash waved in Mal's direction as the two of them approached the group. "This here's - uh - a guy."
Mal nodded. "Yep, that'd be me."
Taking pity on the discomfited Wash, he introduced himself. "Mal Reynolds. Formerly Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds."
"Zeke Hamilton - pilot, like Wash here," said a stocky man with close-cropped red hair, stepping forward to shake Mal's hand heartily.
"Hello, young man," said a lanky man no older than Mal himself. "I'm Captain Straaker, but you can call me Lance if it puts you more at ease." Mal raised an eyebrow slightly, nodding at him wordlessly with a half-salute.
"Chan Albert Sun Moon Lee," said a forty-something Asian man with a mocking bow. "My parents clearly hated me, and in the spirit of revenge I make myself known as Matty." He grinned. "Oh - and I'm a pilot too, if we're doing the whole life-history in a word thing."
Mal returned the playful bow, turning his gaze to the last of his fellow prisoners, who showed very little inclination to introduce himself, avoiding eye contact with Mal entirely. He was average in just about every feature, excepting the giant bruise Mal saw on his cheek." And you?" asked Mal.
Reluctantly the man glanced up at Mal. "Anthony Gray," he said briefly before turning away and leading the group out the door.
As the line of men was marched towards the mess hall, Wash quietly fell in beside Mal, a friendly and supportive presence. Mal glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. Reminded him of someone else who'd done that for him, back in the war. ____________________________________________________________________
"You adopting me?" Mal asked as Wash followed him after breakfast.
"Nah. Studying you, more like. Alien life-forms and all that." Wash sprawled out on his bunk and looked at Mal. "Really, I could stand with some conversation. Not much happens 'round here."
Mal nodded. "Can see that might be the case." He sat down on his bunk, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Maybe I should punch him again, he thought. Not that it seems to have worked too well last time.
"So what happened to you?" Wash asked. "You look like hell."
"Not something I'll be discussin.' You can get your gossip elsewhere," said Mal shortly.
Wash looked hurt, and his reply was defensive. "I wasn't looking for gossip! That was concern for a fellow human being -" he paused, tilting his head to the side "- well, I'm assuming you're human - who looks like he's been badly hurt."
"Shiny," said Mal coldly.
Wash stood. "If you want to be left alone, just say it," he said quietly. "I'll be outside with the others." He walked out, and Mal lay on his bunk, grateful to be left in peace yet feeling suddenly isolated in the empty housing unit.
He stood and wandered the room, exploring every inch even though he could pretty much see it all. Compared to the cramped cells he'd been living in, this place felt almost roomy, and if it was bleak and utilitarian, at least it had an occupied air about it. He looked out the window and watched his new roommates outside in the gravel yard, playing some sort of game that appeared to be an intricate form of pebble-tossing. All things considered, he decided he was glad to be here.
Mal felt his legs go weak from standing and returned to his bunk. He lay lost in thought until Wash came wandering back in.
The scruffy and now breathless blonde flopped down on his bunk, stuffed a pillow under his head, and looked over at Mal. "Pebblemaster," he said with a grin. "You should try it sometime when you get to feeling better. We do manage to have fun in here, you know."
Mal returned the grin. "Despite the sudden intrusions of grumpy and violent outsiders?" It was as much of an apology as he could muster at that moment.
Wash's face sobered instantly. "Look.....can I talk at you for a while?" he asked. "Without getting punched, or glared at, and maybe no snarky comments?" Mal nodded uncertainly.
“Worst is over, Mal. I know bein’ here kind of seems like the end of life as you know it, but you’re through the most miserable bits.” Dear God, I hope so, thought Mal. They hit me with anything else and I’ll be finding out real quick just what it feels like to go insane.
Mal looked at the kind young man trying to reassure him, seeing the cheerful smile behind his eyes and the carefree way he was lounging on the bunk. This guy’s annoying, but kinda incredibly likable, he decided. “You mind sharin’ how you come to that conclusion?” he asked.
“Once they stick you in here, they pretty much leave you alone,” Wash said. “A few of the guards might want to kick us around, but they won’t. Fortunately for us, playing piñata with the prisoners is against policy. They feed us good, it's halfway comfortable in here, and we got a yard to go out into whenever we want. It's not so horrible.”
“No, aside from the really horrific bit of irony of bein’ the prisoner of the murderous moon-brains that I’d have died to keep from takin’ over the universe, I can see it’s shiny. Who wouldn’t enjoy bein’ their pet, seein’ as how they’re all benevolent and such,” said Mal sarcastically. He was, however, careful to keep his voice friendly.
Wash gave him a compassionate grin. "Listen, I know you probably think I can’t possibly get just how miserable and vulnerable you’re feelin’ about now, and from the looks of you you’d probably be right,” said Wash. “But I figure there's a few hurts and fears an’ such we share."
Mal was listening. “Nobody comes in here who doesn’t want to hide in a corner and hope everyone would just go away,” continued Wash, his voice low and understanding. “I remember the feeling. Took me days to come round to even introducing myself when they stuck me in this place.”
Wash's sounded gentle and sad. "Spend weeks being interrogated and thrown inta' one cell or the other, no explanations, not the tiniest little clue where you're gonna to spend the next night or what they're going to do to you."
"You're all scared and miserable and hurt, and there's no constants left, nothing you can count on. You do the only thing you can and shut down to endure it. Makes you not want to have much to do with anybody." Mal's head sank, a look of misery on his face, and as he continued to speak Wash saw his words had hit home. "Your life has been reduced to cells and bars and fences and handcuffs and people giving you orders they're more than willing to back up as painfully as possible." Wash’s voice had suddenly grown a little unsteady.
“You sound like you speak from experience,” said Mal gently, a little disturbed at the shattered expression on his new companion’s kind face. “Didn’t mean for you to be draggin’ up what you’d just as soon not think on.”
Wash shook his head. “It’s okay. I just want you to maybe believe me when I say things get better. You got a lot to be afraid of, but you’ll find you’re among friends, and before long you’ll realize it’s not such a bad life. This isn’t one of those prisons you hear horror stories about. Just don’t do anything stupid to get yourself thrown back into the center buildings where they got nasty things like solitary confinement cells and such, and you’ll be fine.”
Mal met his eyes. “Thanks,” he said quietly. He spent a few moments looking around once again at the walls of his new home, and the uniform rows of metal bunks, most of them empty and unused.
"How's it come to be there's so few of us?" he asked.
"Let the rest go," Wash replied. "Noncombatants and the like."
Mal looked surprised. "Seems awfully charitable, for the Alliance."
"Nothing charitable about it," said Wash. "They have to let us go sometime, and releasing a bunch of prisoners they really shouldn't have been holding in the first place was nice, fuzzy public relations."
"You think they will?" asked Mal quietly. "Let us go?"
Wash met Mal's eyes, his gaze serious. "I think so," he replied. "If I've been here for six years just to be-" he stopped short and sat up at the look of horror on Mal's face. "It's not so bad," he continued gently. "You're not gonna be here for anywhere close to years. War's over, they're sending folks home. You'll be outa' here before you know it."
Mal looked at him with a haunted expression. "Ain't me I'm thinkin of. How the ai-yah tyen-ah did you-"
"It's not so bad," Wash repeated. "Not that I'm keen on bein' locked up or anything, but they treat us pretty decently, you know. It's boring as hell, but they aren't monsters.“
“So what do y’all do in here all day?” Mal asked.
Wash laughed. “More than you’d think. Make up word games, pull off some really world-class practical jokes, watch whatever go se they happen to send over the cortex –“ he pointed to the screen mounted behind a pane of plastic near the ceiling – “and talk about it for hours on end, go outside and play games, run wacky competitions like who can run the furthest with two pieces of gravel up their nose –“
“I get the general drift,” said Mal, chuckling. “So, this gravel, does it feel nice in the nose?”
Wash considered for a moment, tilting his head slightly to the side. “It’s what you might call an acquired taste.”
Mal grinned, realizing that far from wishing he’d go away, he was incredibly grateful for the company of his newfound friend. Maybe things were looking up, after all.
Sunday, April 02, 2006 10:03 PM
Monday, April 03, 2006 3:38 AM
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 6:09 AM
Saturday, April 29, 2006 7:25 AM
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