badinlatin: (bwah)
After all the joking, all the "I'm fine, no worries, I'm shiny", Mal is finally back on the ship, and trying to will things back into normalcy.

He's also trying to will himself not to jump when he hears Jayne's tromp of their boots footsteps thundering on the catwalks above him in the cargo bay, or flinch when Inara moves to kiss him.

He's not having a whole lot of success with his current to-do list, and is thusly in his bunk, idly rearranging the few bits of precious he can't ever part with.

The War's been over for some time, now.

Everything has at least a fine layer of dust collected on it; Mal had been sleeping in Inara's shuttle more and more. Still does, even if Mal fights his own urge to recoil every time Inara comes near the newest addition to his collection of scars. He told her most of what happened, or the parts he could. Not War's kiss. Not the "Because I can."

Shoving a few heavier blankets away into a tiny closet, Mal spots a square board, riddled with holes filled with pinprick-sized divots.

Dartboard. Mal had forgotten he even bought one. A moment's further searching finds several broken darts - easy enough to fix, with parts from calligraphy brushes Mal had dismantled earlier in his stage of fidgeting. The dartboard is hung, the darts are fixed, and Mal perches on his cot, back against one wall, and idly chucks the weighted darts toward the center of the target.

This is boring as hell. Need something to focus on. Something to tack up on the dartboard, maybe?

Pictures from old newspapers Mal hadn't thrown away yet, from worlds Mal doesn't remember visiting. An old note - Don't worry about dinner - Inara; Mal moves on. Under the bottom of a particularly unwieldy stack of constellation charts, Mal finds his box of pictures from Shadow.

He passes quickly by pictures of Lilly and David and his mother, flipping through them without any real destination. The one picture he finds folded lengthwise in the back of the box is one from boot camp. All the members of his platoon - all of them, proud and straight and ready to serve...whatever planets they were all from - to the right of the insignia of the 57th Overlanders Platoon. Balls and rutting Bayonets Brigade.

A quick, precise tear seperates the image of his platoon from that of the insignia, the bright green banner to which they were all so loyal.

A thumbtack sticks the image to the center of the dartboard, and Mal reaches for his iPod, turning the music up as loud as possible. Eventually Mal finds a rhythm - three darts launched and their retrieval every ten beats or so. With the music up so loud, Mal easily drowns out the question sitting in his mind with every launch of agression and pointed metal.
How many goddamned times can I lose the same War?


Mar. 4th, 2006 10:08 pm
badinlatin: (why did you leave?)
It's never quiet on a battlefield. Not even after both sides have 'laid down arms'. It's just a different kind of noise that lays over the Valley now, scattered and as jarring as the broken bodies laying still where they had fallen ... one week? two weeks? more? ago.

Zoe and Mal had taken to sleeping in shifts, if one could call it that. Mal couldn't - he called it more one of them shutting their eyes tight to block out the screams of the dying while the other tried to find anything that would burn in order to keep their fire going.

There were too many things to choose from to burn, here. They went cold and clung to each other before letting themselves think of the next closest source of fuel. This was one of those nights - Zoe had managed a fitful and altogether uncomfortable sort of sleep, Mal pulling off his rank and regiment markers on his coat and flicking them into their pitiful excuse of what Zoe called "a signal light".

Mal was trying very hard not to pay attention to MacAvoy, who had curled into a ditch earlier that day, having lost what little sanity and reason was left to him.

"How loud are the drums of War, they come when you call..." was all Mal could make out from what MacAvoy was mumbling, and it was all Mal could do to not pull off his last boot and chuck it at him to shut him up.

A short grunt focused Mal's attention elsewhere, as a young man - Mal wants to say lieutenant, but rank markings don't matter here, if they ever did - was inching his way toward him, probably the most put together out of anyone still moving up on Zoe and Mal's hill. He had one hand to his thigh, but it didn't look like he was seriously wounded. Not that Mal was really noticing anything besides how the lieutenant's red hair made his fire look even more pathetic by comparison.

"HEY!" shouted the newcomer to MacAvoy, who retreated further into his ditch. "Shut up or I will shut you up, dong ma?"

Mal liked this guy already, but the fear in MacAvoy's glance worried him. The newcomer - Mal just called him Red - sidled up next to Mal, looking at the flames.

"Think we're gonna die here?"

Great. Another cheerful one.

"You maybe," Mal croaks, throat dry. He hasn't seen water for awhile. "Not me."

A laugh from Red, which throbs in Mal's ears like adrenaline after firing off a round at an Alliance skiff. "Good answer." There is an uncomfortable stop, then, which only ends when Red reaches to Mal's chest, pointing a finger - too pale for battle, who is this guy? - at Mal's crucifix.

"What you got that still hanging around your neck for?"

A swallow. Zoe is still asleep, for as much as she ever sleeps. "Used to think God was flyin' my colors."

"Oh yeah?" Another laugh. "Whose colors is he flyin' now?"

He was the first one to hear the medships. He moves to wake Zoe first, before looking to his other side to see if Red was still there.

Long gone. Mal convinces himself he was never there in the first place, forgetting most of whatever invented conversation had passed between them.

He does take his crucifix off before he lights the signal flare, shoving it roughly in his back pocket. He has other crosses to bear heavier than this one, now.


Feb. 28th, 2006 01:25 am
badinlatin: (why did you leave?)
Mal leaves the main bar with the newest arrival in Milliways, both men heading toward the stables.

There's so much to say, yet so much to completely and utterly avoid. Mal's had nearly a decade to deal with Serenity Valley; the more this soldier can't think soldier person stays near Mal, the less he is convinced that he's really dealt with anything at all.

So. There they are, two sets of brown coattails flapping in the wind, heading for the stables. Talking outside is better than talking inside.

It's quieter.

And, like a crew member of Mal's once said, the rules are a mite fuzzier away from the center of things.


badinlatin: (Default)
Malcolm Beauregard Reynolds

July 2017



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